While my parents were here visiting, they told me about this study that was done to compare two different types of parenting. In sum, the study apparently compared a highly regimented parenting style that consisted of a busy schedule with lots of structured activities against a relaxed parenting style without much structured activities but did offer an environment with plenty of books and free play, and behold! The latter won out. They were describing this to me to tell me they were relieved and surprised to learn of these results because my sisters and I grew up in more of the latter type of house. Apparently, my mom had always worried that not being able to offer us consistency throughout our childhood (we moved a lot), or a plethora of activities (either due to lack of funds or my parents being heavily involved with church and studies) would be something that was detrimental to us, but from what I can remember we grew up with tons of free play (this being some of my favorite memories), an immense amount of books (every time we moved, we prioritized our boxes of books), plenty of travel (always on budget which meant we all learned the joys of camping), and family time (where we shared ideas and dreams). It was encouraging to me to be remember of how much I enjoyed and appreciated my childhood in this context. My job as a parent isn't to drive them from one activity to the next; it has much more to do with raising children who have character, creativity and compassion.
I am so grateful to have my parents around to discuss the joys and trials of parenting. It is a dialogue that is enriched by their experience and my realizations. It is also highly satisfying to be able to ask my parents about what I was like when I was young, and to find out what kinds of things they tried. In the same way, I love being able to ask Ken's mom about what it was like to raise him and his sister and find out similarities and nuances between our own kids and what we were like when we were their age. I don't take access to this sort of information for granted.
(Hey, look at our naked Christmas tree! We finally took the decorations down the other week and just this past weekend the tree came down.)
My mom has recently taken up sketching on a daily basis, and Sloane loved being able to sit beside her and work on her own drawings. I hope this is something my daughters, mom and sisters can all do together as a family in the coming years.
A very sweet moment between my baby and my dad. A kiss on each cheek, and a kiss on the forehead!
The next series of photos are the girls putting on a show. Or more accurately, Sloane putting on a dance and song performance and Lola trying hard to follow suit.