Maintaining a reasonable clean home
I love that expression (stolen from the Like Mother Like Daughter blog - a reasonably clean home. I can do that. I'm a born organizer and between that and a small house, we don't have a lot of clutter. We just can't. And the kids are well trained. They know before naptime and bedtime (and sometimes after dinner if its been a really "fun" afternoon) we have a tidy-up time. So it's pretty easy for me to keep the house at a decent level. It's rare that everything in the house is spotless at the same time, but I'm not afraid of a neighbor popping by.
Reading aloud to the kids
I go through spurts where I do all the pinterest activities I see with my kids and others were I'm more like "Here are paper and crayons. Sit there. I'm making meatballs and my hands will be covered with raw meat so don't ask me to do anything. And don't touch each other." (Hypothetically speaking of course. Not that this happened on February 3, 2015 or anything) I think they are both valid approaches to parenting small children so I don't really feel bad about being on either end for any period of time.
But one thing we do really well is reading aloud. My deep love for children's literature is a big part of that but I know it's good for them too. Every nap and bed time we read 2 picture books and one chapter from whatever chapter book we have going. We also read at other times but that's pretty much the bare minimum. Lucy is quite so rigid anymore but if we were out close to nap time and Jonah would fall asleep in the car I would have to make sure to tell her "book stories" on the way home or she would cry that we were skipping them when I tried to put her down for a nap quickly so I could go transfer him. But it is just what we do around here. Always have, hopefully always will.
Saying I'm sorry and I forgive you
I know the impression I give off on the blog is that I'm Mary Poppins - practically perfect in everyway :-) But in reality, I have a pretty bad temper. It doesn't quite rival Anne Shirley but close. And I don't do well handing my hormonal emotions, which is really bad in this current season of my life because my hormones are crazy. (like lab certified crazy!) But I don't want that to be an excuse for my bad behavior. I still control how I act. So I'm pretty good at apologizing. I've had a lot of practice. And luckily for me, Craig and the kids are all pretty good about accepting those apologies.
One thing I try to do, which started because I wanted to be a good example to the kids, is to say "I forgive you" when someone gives me a real apology. Not "That's alright" or "No problem" but "I forgive you." I don't do that for accidents or little things, of course, but real apologies deserve real forgiveness. And it's a lot harder to say "I Forgive You." Try it! It's hard! But at the same time, it is meaningful. I want it to be a habit that the kids are learning early so hopefully it won't be as hard for them. When I apologize to Lucy for losing my temper and she gives me a hug and says "I forgive you, mommy!" - totally worth it!