Routines

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Goodbye laid back summer days. Hello September routines!  I am thrilled with the prospect of what a more structured routine offers as a new school begins.  That said, I will miss summer, which was incredibly adventurous, full of spontaneity, and far from daily deadlines or constraints.

I’ve tended to be very structured and orderly most of my life. My two eldest daughters would tell you that when they were young I was all about structured routines. We had charts for each ¼ hour of the day that detailed school, chores and bedtime routines.  I’m a “Type A” personality married to a completely relaxed husband.  Thankfully, he has rubbed off on me these past 28 years and with time I’ve mellowed tremendously.

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There are no easy routine recipes that will suit every family. Each routine needs to be based on your child and your family dynamics.

My husband works out of the house, which is both enjoyable and difficult at the same time as he is physically home but his mind and attention can be in another part of the world. He travels about 40% of the time, which is disruptive to maintaining a consistent routine for Cayley and I. Our two grown daughters live in different states as do our parents so keeping up with them oftens means they are traveling to see us, we are traveling to see them or we are all traveling to some exotic destination.  Sorry Facebook, but having real face to face time is uber important to this family. Originally, we wanted to be available to travel with Jon on his longer business trips so relying on structure took a backseat to being flexible thus the idea of having routines seemed constraining to me and I fought them.

Recently, God has shown me that our youngest daughter, Cayley, desperately needed more order in her life. She likes to know what’s next and will often ask, “What are we doing next?”  Disorder, spontaneity, and chaos created stressful situations for Cayley and sometimes a bit of anxiety.  Schedules and routines help her make sense of her day thereby reducing anxiety and apprehension.  I discovered that Cayley handles change best if it’s expected versus stressing over how to fill her day.  She has dealt with many unpredictable changes – her dad’s frequent business trips, sisters moving to Detroit and San Diego, death in the family, six moves before the age of 8, our love for travel, etc.  Thankfully, I’ve come to realize that all of these changes have slowly eroded her sense of security while playing into anxiety issues.  As I continue to study my daughter I better understand her specific needs, thereby providing her with the best home and school environment to thrive in.

Studies have shown most children do best when routines are regular, predictable and consistent as they help bring order and structure in the home allowing kids to thrive and become well grounded.  Structure and routines teach kids how to effectively control themselves and their environments.

Routines well planned and written out tend to work best.

As I embarked on the new school year I evaluated the previous year by looking back on strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth for Cayley.  I sought God, hubby and Cayley for direction and input. Together we agreed on establishing routines to help achieve our goals for the year. Being visual and having a passion for making charts, Cayley and I created a weekly routine. I’m in the process of training her how to keep a day timer where she will put her school assignments, upcoming appointments, her next sister visit, dad’s travel, etc., so when she inquires I can simply say, ‘go look at your calendar.”  Also when we have our weekly family meetings she can participate and write in future events.

For those with little ones make a poster with the written schedule, including photos of each child doing the activities in the right order, to empower them and make your life easier.

It helps to reevaluate your routines regularly. We have a family meeting on Sundays to preview our upcoming week.  It helps me greatly to know when Jon has phone conferences, meetings out of the house, and future business travel. Having Cayley part of our family meetings helps her tremendously as she is able to see what’s coming down the road and feel more connected as a family.

Routines take time to become habits.  We’ve been getting up a lot earlier as we’ve added exercise to our day.  Getting out of bed at 6:15am to exercise has been a struggle but each day it’s becoming easier and now has become something we all look forward to. This has made our evening dinner and bedtime routines more consistent as we are ready to be in bed by 9:30pm if not earlier.  If it takes 21 days to break a bad habit I’d venture to say the same holds true for creating a good habit ;-) Don’t be afraid to tweak a routine if it’s not working for your family.

Lastly, having a routine doesn’t mean that every minute of the day must be rigidly scheduled, whew! Remember a good routine should work for your family.

I’ve found a way to embrace routines that work best for my family and now I’m reaping amazing benefits such a peace, a less stressful child, direction, and a better understanding of expectations.

What are some of the routines in your home? What have you found to be the main benefits of maintaining a routine?

Remember When ….?

life_brings_tears,-87714 I thank my God for every fond memory of you– Philippians 1: 3

 One of my most valuable family possessions consists of the various memories we’ve created and share together as the Werner family. When we are together, I enjoy hearing the phrase “remember when …” as memories are about remembering when. We all desire for our children to grow up having wonderful memories to look back on and as mom’s we get to be the conductor of making beautiful memories.

To glean a few ideas on creating memories join me at Mom Heart

Hey Moms, did you know we have an wonderful opportunity to be the memory makers for our family? What are some the memories your children will recall?

The Werner girls would say, “our family meal times and “high point/low point” game,” are some of their fondest memories along with family vacations and holiday traditions.

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Family Fun = A Mother’s Day

Oh My!!! The Girls Visit, Joan Uyvari’s Wedding, My 50th Surprise Birthday Celebration, and Then The Dreaded Good-Byes

Last Monday 4/29 was one of the hardest days for me as a mother as I again sent both older girls back to their perspective homes. Honestly saying good-bye does not get any easier.  I know many of you have little ones so this day seems eons away :-) as it did for me once upon a time.  God was gracious in blessing Jon & I with precious Cayley as I enjoy being a mom and well it would be hard to have an empty nest.

The occasion for my girls visit was the wedding of their dear high school friend.  However, as a family when opportunities present themselves to be together we cram in as much fun and celebrating as possible.  For twelve short days we played hard and had lots of fun staying up late, eating, walking and talking.

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Caryn arrived April 17th so for 4 days we eagerly visited her favorite Austin restaurants, walked around Town Lake, and soaked in as much sunshine as possible given this was her first winter experience in Detroit as she desperately desired sunshine.  We dropped her off in Waco on the 22nd to be available to help Joan with last minute wedding details and setting up Joan & Jason’s new home. Then we had special time with Courtney and David, an incredible young man in tow, who arrived on the 23rd thus sending us out on an Austin sightseeing adventure of visiting our previous homes and many of Courtney’s favorite places to reminisce, a Town Lake walk, as well as visits to some of our favorite eateries (Amy’s, Chuy’s, Salty Sow, etc.) plus lots of talking and laughing as we became better acquainted with David.

Friday the 26th of April we drove to the destination wedding which was in Sulfur Springs, TX about 90 miles NE of Dallas in the middle of the country.   Joan and Jason truly have an incredibly unique love story along with the most unusual dating experience as they dated for ten minutes and were engaged for almost twelve months while Joan was in Thailand finishing a masters program and Jason was working in Dallas.  363 days after meeting, Jason Huang and Joan Uyvari became husband and wife in the most God honoring wedding I have yet to attend. My entire family was part of their wedding.  Jon and I did some of their pre-marital counseling, Caryn was a bridesmaid/ photographer, Courtney sang during communion, and Cayley carried an umbrellas saying, “here comes the bride,” who gracefully appeared on a horse.   Read their story and view their engagement photos taken by Caryn here. The wedding took place outside on Joan’s father’s farm property set beside a picturesque pond followed by a reception in the barn. The weather forecast all week showed rain but so many interceded in prayer and it was the perfect day for an outdoor wedding – cool with cloud cover allowing the sun to occasionally peek through as if to smile upon the ceremony.  The couple washed one another’s feet, worshipped God, and then they recited their vows to each other that they wrote.  Those in attendance could sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in all the small details.  I have some of the photos on my Facebook page album 1.

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Sunday I was with my entire family :-) as we drove back to Austin together.  As a mom I desired to use that time to get to know more about my girls and David so we played a game I made up where we each would ask a question that everyone answered.  I now know everyone’s favorite candy bar, coffee drink,  movies, life changing book, meal, travel destination, song, etc…  As we spend time getting to know each other we can then be purposeful to better love one another.  Spending time together is just one way I feel loved and thought of by my girls.  Visit me over at MomHeart where I share practical ways to thoughtfully recognize, bless, appreciate, and/or honor your mom, mother-in-law, and the many mother like figures throughout the year as EVERYDAY IS A MOTHER’S DAY but wishing you a blessed day.

Love & Blessings