Thursday, July 14, 2011

To Tell the Truth . . . .

You may remember This Post - the one about church envy.  I thought I would share some recent experiences we've had visiting some churches.  See, after I posted that, I did more digging and we decided to visit a couple of local churches.  I mentioned the long drive we have currently and we happened to come across two churches that are much closer that we figured we would check out.  Summer is a great time for this, for us at least, because we are busy so many weekends that we end up with only 2-3 Sundays where we are available.  My husband plays in a Christian group and they have concerts 1-2 Sundays a month plus we've been other places than home! 

So, most recently (I will leave out all names!) we visited a church that was 16 minutes away.  I kinda pushed for this one because I checked out the website and was so excited with how wonderful the church sounded.  They said they had a mix of worship and traditional music, lots of activities, etc.  I mean, they made it sound perfect.  So, here's rule number one, Church, don't make your church something it isn't by playing it up on the website (to tell the truth . .. )  :-(  It is all traditional . . very traditional, actually.  I kinda have the "Three strikes your out" kind of idea when it comes to trying out churches . . .strike 1) 90% of the church folks were in their . . 80's.  Seriously!!  2) That Fellowship time - you know what I'm talking about, where everyone walks around and shakes hands.  I know you shouldn't say you hate anything about church so I'll just say that I de-test it!!  I don't know who thought it was a good idea, but it is not.  Well, this one lasted for a good 5 minutes, for real.  Even my husband, who is ok with the concept, made a comment about how long this went on.  3) The message - I won't get into it but have you ever sat through a sermon and were actually thinking that you aren't good enough to go to that church? Yep.  Not good!  It's pretty sad when you feel like you wasted an hour of your day . . ..

Prior to that we had attended a church that was 9 minutes away.  It was a church we had looked at years ago but they were without a pastor at the time.  We would have never thought about it except my Ultrasound tech (who became a friend) attends there and invited us to come by for a visit.  I had no real strikes for this church (except for the lady in front of me with dread locks - I keep waiting for the little cartoon worm/bugs to poke their heads out at me - yes, I'm odd like that).  The message was fantastic - I didn't even day dream :-)  The music was pretty good - there was traditional and than a great worship section.  They are just introducing this concept - but it was still a great part of the service.  The people were friendly and there were a lot of young couples.  One thing that is different is that all of the kids (babies too!) stay in the church until the (ready . . wait for it . . ) the fellowship time (ha!)  Than, you take your kids to the nursery.  At first, I was taken aback but than realized, I had just finished reading "Parenting in the Pew" - what better way to start this than by keeping the kids in for like 10 minutes of the service??  I'm really not sure how my 18 month old will do - he is an energizer bunny - but if nothing else, I wouldn't have to sit through the fellowship time!!

So, right now, it will be mid-August before we end up back in a local church - between concerts, a family reunion, and some other special plans.  I'm thinking we may check out the first church again and than we'll decide what we want to do - keep driving the long distance, or maybe aim for something closer - something easier to be involved in and have our kids involved in . . .sometimes change is hard, but sometimes change is needed.  

Tot Time - The Week I really got down to work

Tot School

This week, I really got my mind wrapped around what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it!  For me, it all starts with planning so here are a couple of snapshots of what I'm doing:

 The first thing I use is this simple planner.  This idea comes from my teaching days - the standard lesson planner.  Each row is for Monday-Friday and the columns are: Circle Time; Bible; 123/ABC's; Reading; Math; Other (Science, SS, ect).  I use this to go through the various sites I'm using to write down the quick reference of what I want to do each day in each "subject"  Basically, this is my brainstorming sheet. 
(I tried numerous times to get this load the right way but Blogger just say no!!"  From there, I write out each weeks "Specifics".  I go day by day and list everything from lyrics to the songs or poems to the items I need to make, print, or purchase.  The last page has the specific purchase items as well as where to purchase it from and the cost so I can plan my budget.   I have accomplished the first 4 weeks of planning on paper and it gets easier each time.  The nice thing is that the base curriculum I'm using has a review week ever 4 weeks so I can do anything on that 4th week that I did not get to during the previous 3 weeks!!   My next goal is to work the next 2 weeks (yep, 2!) and get everything I need made, printed, and purchased so I can than start working on weeks 5-8. 

I also wanted to share a few of the books that my 18 month old is really loving right now! 

The Dr. Suess book was a favorite of both of my boys but my 18 month old just adores it right now.  It has all kinds of textures to play with while reading.  Another favorite is the Book of Opposites - it is just a simple one word on each page but he loves hearing it and can now say many of the words.  We also have Baby's First Animals (shown) and Baby's First Words (non shown).  He loves going page by page and naming all of the pictures (or making the animal sounds)  I also forgot to get a picture of Seven Silly Monkeys - he adores that book!  Nine times out of 10, he will grab one (or all ) of these books for us to read!

Next week I'll post the specific sites I'm using for the various "subjects" and plans. 

That's all for this week!