mental & physical

I often hear it said - younger children (& babies) are physically hard, but as they grow the challenges become more mental as you work to raise them. Honestly, I've decided that having a 2.5 year old, a 1.5 year old, and a seven week old is challenging
physically AND mentally. I need help.

How about this, I'll tell you some of our less shameful struggles and a few of our successes once a week or so - and we can use this blog as a parenting sounding board. If you have advice or experience, please feel free to leave it and if you find anything encouraging - well, that's just amazing.

First, some struggles:
- Time apart. Elias & Glor are so close in age and they are literally together all of the time - they even sleep in the same room. (although - not for long) Right now, by the end of the day - I am convinced they would be doing amazing if they could just be separated for a bit, because they are literally on one another's nerves! So, any tips on what to do with a very rambunction one year old that needs to be constantly wrangled while keeping a two year old separate and stimulated (i.e. not just sitting him in front of a movie).
- Stillness during booktime. To call Gloriana active is like the biggest understatement of the year. Have any of you had super, super physically-active children and if so, how did you calm them down to read books? I would love to be able to sit and read normal books with her, but I'd also like for her to be able to enjoy her Bible time with Daddy a bit longer, but she literally sits in our laps for about 2.5 seconds before she starts saying "UPPPP PEASSEEE!"
- Gentleness with one another. Simply put, these two cage fight all day. We talk about gentleness, practice being gentle with mommy, they see their Daddy serve and be gentle with mommy all the time - and they still pummle one another constantly. Is it just a phase? When they play, I'm usually on constant hyper-awareness-mode that one of them is going to break an arm.

Some successes:
- "tartar time". This one I stole from Kelly, but a few times a week the kids get tartar time before bed; meaning Nick will play just a few songs on the guitar for them and they get to sing, dance, or play along on the play guitar. They really genuinely love it & I pray this will turn into an organic sort of family-worship time as they grow.
- cooking time: For us, 4pm-5:30 is probably the absolute worst time of the day. They're tired, hungry, annoyed with one another and just restless. So lately, I've let them "help me cook". I put Glory in her highchair and Elias either on the counter if I'm cooking something not so dangerous or in his chair. Sometimes I actually let them help (sort of) and sometimes I just give him the funkiest cooking utensils I can find ... i.e. garlic press. It gives me an extra thirty minutes to cook and then, when dinner is ready - they are more excited to eat what they've helped cook!
-youtube videos. Ok, I'm probably the last person in the united states to be excited about this, but Ruby's visit got the kids all into short videos online! It helps in a pinch, when they're bored or I just need a distraction while I feed big Benj.

ok, it took me about fifty minutes to come up with any good suggestions to put on here, but maybe you guys have some to share! Hope so, I'd love to hear!