My wife wrote a book - The Mystery of the Cursed Elves (The Magic Cube Book 1) -

Time With My Children

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One of the biggest benefits of moving to Dublin has been the lack of projects on my list. In Washington, it seemed I was forever organizing the house, building things, and just working on projects in general. There were never enough hours in the day to complete anything, it seemed. On top of all the continuous projects, there was the normal day to day taking care of the house and children; let’s just say I was forever busy doing something or other. Not to say in Dublin I have nothing to do, trust me, I have plenty to do until the day I win the lottery and acquired a full household staff to clean, cook, and do laundry. I digress. The point is, in Dublin I don’t have any house projects to suck up my time. I have more time to spend with the things that matter the most to me, my children. Now, I still have “chores”, because four children and two adults make huge messes; laundry and dishes pile up quickly. However, I have more time during the day to do things with my kids. It’s nice when Kevin is home because we just take off for a few hours, or the entire day, and explore. I have ventured out a few times on my own to the park or the store, but four kids is a bit overwhelming when you have to walk everywhere; especially at their ages.

Often times during the day, the children vie for my attention; all wanting to do different things while I “watch”. The other day, I was sitting at breakfast with my kids and had an idea. I decided today I was going to dedicate an 1 hour of my time with each child, excluding Roxi, to do whatever they wanted to do. We had several Tinker Crates we hadn’t opened yet, Maddex and Mila both had Lego sets they wanted to do, we had several puzzles and games in the closet, and toys in the play room. I gave them the choice to do whatever they wanted to do for their hour. It turned out to be one of the best mornings for all of us.

First up was Maddex, he was working on a large Angry Birds Lego set, so we worked on that together for about ten minutes. Then, he decided he wanted to do his Bottle Rocket Tinker Crate. The crate came with a bottle, wood for the stand, and some chemicals (baking soda and citric acid) to make the rocket blast off. We quickly built the bottle rocket, it didn’t take long, then took our supplies down to the courtyard to see if it would shoot into the air. Success! The bottle rocket was so fun, we had a blast seeing how high we could make it go. The Tinker crate came with another project where we could use the bottle rocket to “blow” up balloons. The kids thought that was awesome, gotta love science.

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Next up was Mila. She had a Lego Friends set she wanted to build. We got our bins ready and got to work. I normally “help” the kids by finding all the pieces they need for each step and they do most of the assembling. Mila is still learning how to look at the pictures and follow directions, so I was able to be a little more hands-on with her Lego set. Maddex doesn’t let me do anything but hand him pieces. Her Lego set took us over the time limit by a few minutes, but Khaleesi let us finish the final steps. After we built the set, Mila was able to play with it while I moved on to Khaleesi.

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Last, but never least, Khaleesi. She was excited to do her Garden themed Tinker Crate. It came with two projects. The first project was putting beads on an apron, which would hold a shovel and rake. We threaded the beads through yarn provided and tied it to the apron. The second project was making a plant. We used tissue paper, twisted them to look like flowers, and glued them around paper leaves provided and put those on the paper trunk provided. We had a fun time doing these art projects together.

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Roxi didn’t get an hour of my time, but her time will come soon enough. She did take up most of my time the first year of her life, so I don’t feel guilty. As I was cooking lunch, I went back to helping Maddex finish up his Lego set, he had been working on it the whole time I was playing with Mila and Khaleesi. It was a big accomplishment when we put the last pieces on the tower; he did awesome. The set is 859 pieces.

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Spending time with children is important to every parent, but it can be a struggle. In life, we have so much going on and there is always something to do, but I think it is important to take some time out every once in a while. The laundry can wait, the dishes can wait, the bathroom can stay dirty for one more day, the garden can be watered later; the kids, they can’t wait. This isn’t a preachy blog, or a bragging blog; just a reminder to take time out for your children. Taking three hours out of my day was difficult, that may sound selfish, but its honest. There were at least twenty other things I could have been doing, but I needed to take that time for my kids; so that each of them got a little “mom” time. It’s hard to give and get that one on one time when there are four of them. However, with school starting at the end of the week, it was important for me to spend that one on one time with them. I want to build memories of time spent with my children and I hope this can inspire me to take time out for individual one on one time more often. Maybe not all in one lump time period, but giving each child individual attention as well as time spent together as a family. These moments don’t last forever and all to soon they will be gone.

Here are some links to the products listed if you are interested:

Lego Friends set

Angry Birds Lego set

Tinkercrates

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