Cheri Timko, her husband Wayne Gillo and their three children, Kendra, 9, Leann, 7, and Maura, 6, moved into their new home not that long ago.
The home is so new, in fact, that Wayne was busy hammering away, putting in the second door of the year.
When they can, the children pitch in and help.
It’s all part of being a responsible part of the family, Timko said.
“We’ve spent a lot of time on the house,” she said. “We did the last 15 percent of it ourselves ... painting, putting trim on and doing the flooring.”
They’re a do-it-yourselves kind of family. Wayne is “pretty handy” at fixing a lot of things around the house. And Cheri is even busier, making sure her growing children eat as healthily as they can. She makes their food from scratch, and cans and freezes what she can.
She grows the sprouts that go into the bread she bakes. She emphasizes a nutrient-dense traditional diet.
She heads up the MOPS (Moms of Pre-Schoolers) group in Morgantown. It brings those moms together with special programs and speakers on topics of interest to them, and just a time to socialize and connect.
“It’s to make us better moms,” she said.
Gillo is a network security engineer and she just opened a private practice as a psychotherapist.
It’s a busy, busy, busy life “just getting things done that need to be done by the end of the week,” she said.
That’s why it’s important the kids help out.
“We spend a lot of time together as a family,” she said. “We have a priority of family time over activities.”
Still, the two oldest are taking piano lessons and one even performed in the school Christmas play.
“We want them to get exercise to get fresh air and be helpful around the house.
“It’s important for them to get started on the basic fundamentals.”
When they come home from school, it’s time for play, chores, homework, dinner, bath and bed.
They also help in the garden, among other chores.
“They love to plant seeds and pick the produce,” Timko said. “They’re learning to weed and recognize which plants are wanted and which are not.”
This year, or maybe next, they’ll even get their own little gardens to plant the seeds they’ve picked out.
They help with the canning by peeling potatoes and other vegetables, she said.
There’s a lot to get done by Friday evening. So their schooldays are pretty structured.
“The goal is, over time, that they become more responsible for themselves and the family. We put a premium on that over extra activities. But come the weekend, there’s a little more free time for fun things like trips to Pittsburgh and other places.”
Notice she didn’t mention watching TV. They have a TV. The kids watch pre-approved videos and movies. As of yet, there’s no access to cable.
“And that’s a real blessing,” she said. “They don’t spend time in front of a TV. They watch maybe an hour and a half, two hours, of videos on the weekends.
“And they’re not being bombarded with commercials. A lot of companies are creating brand recognition in children. We don’t want them to worry about corporate sponsorship of shows.”
Instead, she loves to read to her children and see them reading.
“We just read the whole Laura Ingalls Wild ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books,” she said. “It put a different context on life.
“Reading is important to us and we want to pass this on.”
She loves being a parent.
“It’s fun but it’s hard work and a lot of responsibility. And I’m not necessarily the ‘fun parent.’ A lot of things have got to get done by the end of the week.
“We work hard to keep the kids from going to child care. We’ll have them for such a short time. We want to know we’ve influenced them with our values.
“We want them to grow up godly. We want them to have a good education. We want them to work together and we want them to contribute in a positive way to their community.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.