Chalk it up


First, a gratuitous picture of Baby Guy, who was terribly pleased at finding himself the only tiny person in a room full of toys:

We were blessed with a day of surpassingly beautiful weather today, which meant that the tribe spent as much time as possible outside.  Because the size of our house means that most of what they do indoors has to be at least somewhat structured, we try to let their outdoor play be as unstructured as possible.  They have play equipment out there, along with some good shade trees, a couple of fruit trees, and our faithful dogs, and a big stockade fence to keep them from wandering off into the woods or the swamp.

Every now and again, though, it’s fun to give them something different, and some very general instruction as to how they might use whatever it is.  Today’s offering was sidewalk chalk (which I buy in big buckets when the local big-box stores put it on clearance.  Since Mr. Man has never really met a chalk before, he required some rudimentary teaching about what to do, and not do, with it.

I did not get a picture of Mr. Man mistaking this new and interesting substance for a giant Smartie, as I was too busy removing it from between his incisors.  Following that clarification, I handed Bugaboo the tray of chalk sticks, reminded her that they were for sharing, had her explain what “share” means, and headed back in to check on the increasingly mobile Baby Guy.

Baby Guy hadn’t moved, but Bo had knocked another toy over to him.  That duck spinner has now entertained all four of our kids, plus more than a few of their friends.

After half an hour or so, while Baby Guy was in his high chair snacking on rice puffs, I peeked out the window to check on my budding artists.  Sidewalk chalk works wonderfully well on wood, so Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man had decorated quite a few things in the yard.

Bugaboo found a piece of scrap wood and turned it into her personal canvas.

Beanie showed Mr. Man how to draw on the fence.

They, and their chalks, are still out there.  I suppose I’ll have to call them in when it gets dark, since they’ve already come in, eaten their dinner in record time, then sped back downstairs so as not to waste a single moment of daylight.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, You have graced our home with little blessings who can wring every drop of joy from the simplest of things, like chalk on a wood fence on a sunny day, throwing leaves into gusts of wind to see how far they’ll fly, chasing a gleefully sprinting puppy until either he or they drop from exhaustion.  Your oldest blessing thanked You this morning for today’s gifts, and pleaded passionately to be allowed to run outside to enjoy them.  Thank You for helping us teach them that Your creation is beautiful, and that it is a wonderful prayer to spend as much time appreciating it as possible while still attending to our necessary tasks.  Please help me teach them to be good stewards of Your world and the resources You have given to nourish us.  And thank You, Lord, for sidewalk chalk and wooden fences.

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