What a weekend.
On Friday, Sam and I had an old fogey date to Costco. Awesome. Pizza and a smoothie for me. Something like ten different things for Sam, all for around ten bucks.
On Saturday, Lucy played with the North Carolina Symphony in Play with the Pros and we went to watch her at this beautiful amphitheater in the woods. It was sort of like a symphonic tailgate party. The symphony plays all their summer concerts at this amphitheater and people come early with food (and alcohol) and lawn chairs and listen to the symphony play under the stars. The best part: the kids are free (even Mary) and adult tickets are only $20 bucks. So for forty dollars our entire family can go to the symphony and we don't have to be nearly as quiet as we do in a concert hall. (Lucy did not want to do Play with the Pros. She was scared to death and she complained before and after the rehearsal. She proclaimed she wasn't going to do it even as I drove her to the amphitheater that evening. And she loved it. Would do it again in a heartbeat. Ha!)
Sunday was a beautiful day of church and playing games together. We played this:
It was great fun, except there was way too much bickering on Sunday. Wayyyy too much.
So we get to Monday and the grand plan Sam and I concocted of painting the deck. I had visions of sugar plum children, each with a paint brush in their hands, happily whistling while they worked. The deck would be painted in no time with seven brushes going. Sure there would be globs of paint in places, but it's a deck, so who cares, right?
Weeding is a great activity for the whole family. Not so much deck painting. I will leave it at that (picture me, struggling alone with globby paint in the afternoon heat, and you'll get a good idea of how it went).
That night we had Family Home Evening, something we do once a week as a family. We share a spiritual message, have a special musical number (Shaemus played the theme from Star Wars on the double bass, which was awesome), discuss family business, have a treat, and do an activity together.
We talked about all the bickering that has been happening lately. All the picking on each other. All the fights. We talked about how we don't want to create wedges in our family, wedges that will start small, but get buried deep until relationships have been weakened and possibly ruined forever. We talked about how we want to build each other up because we want our home to be a safe place. We picked a phrase Sam and I can say to the kids to annoy them whenever they start fighting: "No Wedges—Be a Builder." (It is already annoying them after one evening and morning of saying it, but they aren't going to forget those words or what it means!)
For our activity that night, we watched a movie (a Memorial Day treat—we don't usually watch movies on Mondays). We found this wonderful movie that really helped cement the idea of wedges and building:
The Magic of Belle Isle with Morgan Freeman. I hadn't heard of this movie which came out last year. We really loved it. I cried. Some of the kids almost cried. But it is all about learning to get along and to see past hurt to love and just be together. (And the main character is a writer!)
With all that in mind (sorry for the rambling), here are some great books that deal with sibling rivalry.
Julius: The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
Koala Lou by Mem Fox
My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco
A Baby Sister for Frances and Best Friends for Frances by Russell Hoban
Classics, but really awesome. I could read these aloud over and over!