Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm "That Kind" of Mother

You know the kind?

The kind that leaves a 10 year-old babysitting while they run to the junior high to pick up 5 teenagers.

The kind that upon arriving back home finds their 2 year-old running around the neighbor's driveway playing with a borrowed dump truck found in said neighbor's garage.

No big brother is in sight. Well the 4 year-old one is, but he's distracted with sidewalk chalk also from the neighbor's garage.

Not only is the 2 year old running around unattended. He's running around unattended like this:
The outside temperature reading in my suburban read 44 degrees.

And where was the 10 year-old you ask?
Obediently sitting at the kitchen table doing his homework, mere feet away from the open back door and open mud room door. While the house heater vents were blowing out warm air to compensate for the 44 degree temperatures creeping into the house.

I am slowly yet surely discovering myself to be "that kind" of mother. "The kind" that everyone else tries so hard to avoid becoming, yet somehow for me, I am becoming "that kind" of mother far too easily.

I heard the outside temperature is supposed to be even cooler today.
Good thing I don't have a junior high carpool to drive.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Too Many Memories in a Plastic Tub

There are a few different parts to all this.

1. My overwhelming project I alluded to the other day is a far too large plastic container with miscellaneous photos in it. You know the kind of photos. The ones that people have either given you, or the ones from the days of "double prints" when you put one in an album and you couldn't quite throw away the duplicates. Or the ones that you did put in the album, but the other 5 attempts at the photo couldn't quite get thrown out either. (Thank heaven for digital cameras now-but even still-don't photos need to be printed out and looked at? Not just stored away on a hard drive?)

2. While visiting with great company tonight, I decided to make the most of my time, and pulled out the big plastic tub to write names, dates and places on the back of photos. Currently, I have a fabulous memory and can remember places, days, people and events very easily when looking at a photo. I want every photo labeled in case one day my memory begins to fade.

3. We all seemed to get wrapped up and distracted by the few hundred photos discarded in the container. As Mike said later, "Id be looking through several photos not really reacting and then all of a sudden one would pop up and I couldn't  help but exclaim, 'Oh yeah!!!'" Oh the memories.

Until about 4 years ago, I was really good about photo albums and/or scrapbooking. But even back then a lot of the everyday stuff didn't quite qualify for a whole scrapbook page to itself, and sometimes not even a slot in a photo album. At the time it may have been "cute" even "funny." But I guess I didn't really realize how "big" some of these everyday moments would one day seem.

You know the whole, "Enjoy the little things in life, one day you'll back and realize they were the big things."

And that is where my stress has come in with this big plastic tub.

There are literally scores of photos in this tub that have stories behind them. Perhaps the photo is somewhat mediocre, even insignificant to most anyone looking at it--but there was a tender, funny, heart-felt, sentimental story to either me, Mike or both of us.

I was quite surprised this evening after our company left, when Mike referred to the container of photos. He too was feeling somewhat melancholy after reflecting on so many memories that we currently only have recorded in our minds.

Snapping out of his sullen state, Mike wisely suggested, "How about I pick out a "oh yeah" photo each week and you be in charge of recording the memory and/or story behind it? Just think in a year, we will have 52 memories permanently recorded that otherwise may get forgotten."

What wisdom! Even though it is essentially adding one more thing to my 'to-do' list each week, it is at the same time clearing out a "stress" from my mind too.

A win-win for everyone.

I'm reminded of a fact I read somewhere recently referring to journal keeping:

"If you wrote one sentence everyday for 5 years, you could capture over 1,825 memories."

Time is passing way too quickly. There is so much I have to remember so watch out. Memories and yesteryear photos coming soon.

Because really-who wouldn't want to hear the story behind this bad hairstyle of mine?
Remember we lived in England, t-shirts from Utah were cool.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Doesn't Take Much

You know there is always so much talk about how entitled children feel nowadays. They expect a lot... they think they are owed something... and so on.

But Ellie? Not so much.

A little over two years ago all Ellie wanted to do on a date with mom was to go to the store and buy deodorant. (You can read about it HERE.)

It was recently Ellie's turn for a date with Mom and Dad. The possibilities are somewhat endless for the child to choose what to do. Same criteria as always--should fit within a 1.5 hour time period and of course fit our family budget. Restaurants, mall trips, fishing, trip to Cablea's are a few examples of what have been done in the past.

Ellie was told she could choose. Her choice??

"I really want to go to the dollar store and buy glue sticks?"

wwwhhhaaattttt??????????????
With the glue-sticks in hand, Mike and I offered to throw in a trip to an ice cream store for good measure. New glue-sticks or a Baskin Robbins ice cream cone? I won't tell you what Ellie preferred.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Once Upon a Time

I'm in the middle of a big organization project. (Which will be a whole post in itself. I'll be needing some feedback.) I found this old gem of a photo in a container yesterday and found myself staring at it for longer than I probably should have.

Life looks so much simpler! We look so young! Contrary to what this picture looks like, I was not 16 years old in this picture. I was 25! And even though it has only been a little over 12 years since this photo was taken, I feel as though it was a lifetime ago.

(November 1999)

This picture was taken back in the days before I had to question why there was pee all over my bathroom floor and a little boy says, "Because it was dark and I couldn't see the toilet."

...Before homework was put away in a backpack only half done thinking I wasn't going to find out.

...Before we have to turn around and go home because the Science Fair poster wasn't put in the car.

...Before I would ever have a plastic container sitting in my garage with fish in it from the nearby swamp that I am expected to take care of while the owner is at school?!?

...It was back in the day when my house was probably cleaner, my pantry stayed full longer, the noise level was much quieter and the contention almost non-existent.

...It was back in the day before I had the permanent line/wrinkle between my eyebrows that is surely a result of scowling and frowning far too much.

Recently a friend said something along the lines that she is in a bad mood, and maybe it is permanent. At the time I laughed. Except the last few days I'm beginning to wonder the same. This morning as I was less than patient with my children I had the horrific thought that maybe this is not just me having a bad morning, but THIS IS ME!

My poor children.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our Love/Hate Relationship with the Piano Teacher

Between our three (kind of four) piano playing children, we've gone through a few different piano teachers over the years. I have the occasional moment when I feel as though I can't completely forgive our all-time favorite piano teacher for a. moving away and b. deciding she needed to be a mother to her two children rather than teach piano lessons to my children.

For the most part I'm content with our new piano teacher. Except the times that she comes barging into mine and Mike's bedroom carrying her three-ring binder. Every time we know we're in trouble.

"You need to make sure their practicing calendars are filled out every day, not just once a week when they can't remember how many minutes they practiced."


"You need to tell Luke to practice THE WAY I  HAVE TOLD HIM TO."


"I am done. I am not going to be Ellie's teacher. She won't listen to me."


"Luke and Ellie need to treat me like I am a REAL piano teacher. So do you guys."


"Your piano bill is like way past-due."


Other than those few phrases we hear at least once a month. Megan is a pretty swell piano teacher. At least her four non-related piano students think she is. Luke and Ellie are still deciding.

Last Thursday, Megan hosted her first piano recital for her students. Each student performed a musical number, including Joshua who floats in and out of piano studies depending on the day. It was a proud parent moment seeing Megan watch her students with pride in her own eyes as they played their well practiced pieces. Megan's own efforts as well as her students' were rewarding to watch.



I even refrained from a "told you so" moment when Ellie performed her piece from MEMORY. Contrary to the nagging I received from the piano teacher for 36 hours prior to the recital, "She will be the ONLY one without her piece memorized. You need to tell her to memorize it."


I may not be a piano teacher, and I may have never memorized a piano piece in my life, but I am a mother and I often know best. I politely told the piano teacher to refrain from crossing over into my parenting skills attempts, and to just let the natural consequences be.

Ellie performed her piece flawlessly.

Who can't love Megan?!
Piano teacher or not.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Yellow Snow

Upon arriving home from Nana and Grandpa's on Sunday evening, my two oldest children were given the simple task of taking the garbage cans out to the street.

Mike and I thought nothing of the screams and wildness we could hear coming from Megan and Luke out on the driveway. We generally aren't very quiet around here. (Sorry neighbors.)

The screaming got louder as Megan burst through the mudroom door, and then more dramatic as soon as she realized she had an audience. I will however grant her my approval for the level of dramatics she displayed this evening.

Luke, (I really can't believe I'm going to admit this so publicly--but I'm keeping it real folks) being a boy, decided to pee outside on the snow. Okay-no big deal really. Boy, snow, pee. Not exactly appropriate, but oh well.

Megan must have decided to take disciplining Luke into her own hands, and threw a snowball at him while he was doing his business. Unfortunately for Megan (and ultimately for Luke) he decided that when Megan hit him with the snowball, she deserved a snowball thrown right back at her. Only problem? Luke decided to pick up the snow at his feet. Yes-that would be YELLOW snow he decided to scoop up into a nicely formed snowball!!!

Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you are, Luke very accurately aimed and hit Megan's left cheek and upper body.

No wonder Megan's screaming probably reached decibel levels that were close to breaking the city sound ordinance. Despite initiating the said snowball fight, Megan was less than pleased to have yellow snow covering her face and clothing. Needless to say, Luke was sent upstairs to think about his actions and how he would apologize to Megan.

Sweet Luke returned downstairs a few minutes later with a nice, hand-written note complete with a piece of candy, gum and artwork with his apologies to Megan.

(I am sorry I threw pee snow at you. You can pay me back with a noogie. The noogie can last five minutes. P.S. Again I am very sorry. P.S. I will wash whatever got pee on it.)

There was one major problem to this. Can you see the monogram on the bottom right corner of the card? Yes, that would be an E. As in E for Ellie. Further stated as, the cards belong to Ellie. And everyone in this household (well apparently not Luke) know that Ellie's desk and everything on Ellie's desk are off limits to everyone and anyone.


And so we had a whole new set of tears and drama about a card being used that shouldn't have been.

And without any advice from anyone, Luke wrote an apology note to Ellie (on a scrap piece of computer paper-he was not going to take anymore risks) apologizing for using her card, and attached some candy and gum for good measure.

It was still not quite enough for Ellie's dramatics to end swiftly, but I was pretty proud of Luke's efforts.

Luke may be pretty uncouth when it comes to a lot of things. Namely his bathroom habits and then throwing it (albeit disguised in snow) at his sister, but at least he has a tender heart and is not above compensating with a sincere note of apology.

Even if the note cards weren't his for the taking.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Smiles

Sorry if that last post was a little bit of a downer. Thanks for the encouragements and kind words. Though this week hasn't exactly been "peaches and cream" there have certainly been a few moments that have caused smiles and laughter. I don't want to forget them.

The other night Ellie needed help with her homework. Luke was also needing assistance with something and everyone seemed to be needing ME, when Mike was sitting right next to me. So I told Ellie to "ask Daddy instead." Her response, "He won't know." Thinking maybe it was a school paper or something he indeed wouldn't know about, I asked her to go ahead and show me. Her question, "Whether 'candy' comes before 'Cupid' when listed in alphabetical order." I'm mildly concerned she thinks Mike wouldn't know that.

On the days I don't exercise first, I put on my bath-robe over my nightshirt while doing the morning routine. I usually end up staying in it until after the kids have left. The other night (being one of those nights) I put on my nightshirt early, and threw my bath-robe over the top while tucking kids into bed. As I walked into the boys' room, Drew turned to Mike laying next to him and pointed to me saying, "Mama's wearing her 'beff-fast' thing." Guess I wear it for breakfast more than I thought...

Sometimes when I read the little boys a book, they fight about which one is going to sit on my lap. I always remind them, "I have a leg for each of you." The other day, while a fight was beginning to escalate, Joshua said to Drew, "That's why she has two legs. There's one for you and one for me." I'm still deciding whether to be proud of him for sharing my lap with Drew or be concerned that he is self-centered to think the ONLY reason God gave me two legs is for him (and Drew).

Drew has progressed in his potty training stage to not always telling me he needs to go and certainly doesn't need me to help him every time to get up on the toilet. However I haven't decided whether to be humored or horrified that instead of STAYING in the bathroom and saying, "Come help me", he crawls around naked on all fours with his bum up in the air to wherever I am in the house and says, "Need wipe me!" I know that is an awful mental picture I've just given all of you, but he's TWO--I can't help but smile.

No. There are no photos to go along with this post. It was too hard deciding which one to include. One of me in my bathrobe? One of my legs? Or one of Drew on all fours?

You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Not the Dessert Part of Life

Lest anyone think everything is all peaches and cream around here. I will dispel that myth. As Mike said last night, "It's just life." I know that, but sometimes I wish it wasn't.

I don't like that on Monday we had to spend $550 to repair one car. Before we even picked it up from the shop, our other car broke down too. Mike declined to even tell me the repair cost for the other vehicle--I think he was worried about my mental ability to handle it. And there is no choice about fixing it--it's the only one all 649 of our children can fit in together.

While visiting the dentist yesterday with Megan, I was told that the previous visit with another child in which 4 cavities were filled was SIX days before the insurance waiting period and they denied paying it. Someone dropped the ball on the phone call I had made-but someone else's misunderstanding-and my lack of double checking is to the tune of $660.

On the heels of the last 12 months and for a landscaper in February, those are some pretty big costs.

I have a child who can not seem to find a group of friends that aren't back-stabbing and mean.

Not to mention the lack of working vehicles, a family to care for and other appointments and commitments has made me unavailable to support a dear friend in the throes of some serious life events. All I can do is stay home and text and pray.

I have another child who requires extra parent assigned homework each night to master a specific math concept.

I have another child who I am beginning to wonder maybe has emotional issues that prayers and love alone aren't solving--and perhaps it is time for professional intervention.

And then there are always far more personal goings-on and the not so personal goings-on that are just the everyday unpleasant stuff that aren't going to find their way into blogosphere.

It is no wonder that yesterday afternoon, while Mike had the two little boys for a few hours, instead of doing anything productive, I climbed into bed and read a book. By dinnertime when Mike returned, he threw off the blankets and told me I had to get out of bed. I told him I quite liked the idea of laying in bed depressed, but he insisted I do otherwise.

I got out of bed and was dropped off at a crowded restaurant to stand in line to pick up dinner. While there, a friend called to tell me her mother-in-law's death is imminent.

It isn't just me.
Life isn't easy for anyone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Nice Guy and A Ornery Wife

I don't think I have ever received flowers for Valentine's Day. Neither Mike or I are big fans of the day and I've never cared one way or the other about receiving flowers on February 14th. Yet this year a pretty vase of flowers sits on my kitchen table.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the date and everything to do with a nice husband who surprised me with flowers last Friday afternoon.

I'm not sure if it was because of the tears I shed most of Thursday (not from anything he did), or the fact I was kind of a mean wife on Friday morning and he was trying to remind himself that yes he really loves me.

We are a good match.
I'm glad he's mine.
Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sad and Delicious

Oh what sad news to hear that Whitney Houston died! I have lots of fond Whitney Houston music memories.

It all started with the "Whitney" cassette tape I received for Christmas 1987. I LLLOOVVEEDD it. Upon hearing of Whitney's death Saturday night, I couldn't help but feel badly I don't have more Whitney Houston songs on my i-tunes library. Uploading songs to i-tunes is now on my to-do list for Monday. I will be joining the ranks of the millions who will be causing Whitney music sales to sky rocket this week. I will be purchasing this album--except not the cassette tape version. I have that upstairs in a box in my closet.
In a personal ode to Whitney. I spent 15 minutes Sunday night on You Tube singing along to some old Whitney favorites. I sang into a pen in true Tiffany style (as loud as possible), while Drew (and then Joshua) stood next to me conducting with a pencil. Excuse the poor photography, but Megan couldn't resist the photo opportunity!
Our "Ode to Whitney" memorial was topped off with some d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. sugar cookies, courtesy of yours truly. Now if you remember THIS POST, I am a self proclaimed sugar cookie snob. I know which sugar cookies I like. (My recipe, made by my mother or myself, sugar cookies from Parson's Bakery or Cutler's.)

I'm rarely even tempted to sample other sugar cookies. It isn't worth the disappointment. I think it all stemmed from when I was first married and my visiting teacher brought me a plate of sugar cookies that looked like her young children had frosted them. (First clue.) But being a LOVER of sugar cookies, I looked past the appearance and took a bite. I never even finished chewing that one and only bite. It and the rest of the cookies went straight to the garbage can. I've been skeptical of sugar cookies ever since.

Anyway, why all this sugar cookie talk? Because I went to a cooking class the other week and the people from Cutler's were there and shared their sugar cookie recipe.

I made them tonight.
(This plate was for my neighbors, but they weren't home when Mike went over. I'm sorry to say there will probably not be a second attempt at delivery. I do wish they had been home though. Not because I don't want to eat them, but because I think our friend would have gotten quite a kick out of opening his front door to Mike standing there holding a plate of pink heart cookies.)

Yum. Yum. Yum.
It was a perfect way to end my personal Whitney Memorial Service.

"I will always love you."
(I'm referring to Whitney and sugar cookies.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Slice of Humble Pie

About 6 years ago I nagged Mike to go to the doctor. I was convinced he probably had high cholesterol, high blood pressure and a plethora of other imagined diagnoses. Besides, he was long overdue for a checkup.

Mike obliged my nagging, and dragged himself to the doctor's appointment I made for him. Mike returned home from the said doctor's appointment with "a slice of pie" for me.
Humble pie.

His cholesterol and everything else were at optimal levels and Mike, who though very physically active, has "exercised" only a handful of times in his adult life, was even asked by the doctor if he worked out!! Needless to say, Mike has never let me forget his infamous doctor's appointment in 2006. (Yes, he has been back since.)

For the last year or so I've taken on a new subject to nag about. I'll make a long story short and I'll preserve some of Mike's dignity, but suffice it to say that last year I began to nag Mike to see a dentist. I convinced myself that his mouth was full of cavities. Besides he was long overdue for a dental visit since his last one in 1990, a couple of months before his LDS mission!!!!!!!!

Yes. You read that right. It's been 21 years since Mike set foot in a dental office.

This last fall I started going to a new dentist, that Mike has had some business associations with. I could tell Mike really liked this dentist and so I used it to my advantage to begin warming Mike up to the idea of him visiting the dentist. A month ago I decided to quit the nagging, and instead I came home from my last dentist visit and declared,

"I have to go back to the dentist in a couple of weeks for them to fix a cracked filling. I've made an appointment for you to go too."

What??? 

But of course the appeal of a "date" with his dear wife on a Monday morning was too good to turn down. Who cares if it was a date to the dentist, he was on board.

Almost three weeks ago, as Mike and I walked out of the dentist office together, Mike had a big grin on his face.
And me?
Well I was yet again left holding a generous helping of humble pie.

He had one cavity.

I think I'm going to quit nagging.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Clearing a Few Things

I feel the need to clear a few things up that have come to my attention...

First of all--going back to the breastfeeding/family bed post--the private comments I received from people were all very encouraging, kind and complimentary. Most of them sharing their own disappointments and feelings of guilt to do with breastfeeding. I was reminded how important it really is to be very careful what we say to others--especially to new mothers. I didn't make myself clear, and someone queried if the comments I received were mean-they weren't.

Second--the article I wrote (HERE) about a food processor and a coat. After reading the article a few times after it was published, I was concerned that our dear friends came across as superficial and caring only about looks and clothes. So far, far from the truth! These friends are some of mine and Mike's very favorites. As different as we may be on outward appearances, we have spent many, many hours with these friends talking about stuff that really matters. (And plenty of time talking about stuff that doesn't!) I wish every married couple had such friends as neighbors.

Third--the homework article. Of course if you've read my blog for any length of time you know I have a pretty tongue-in-cheek style of writing. I'm often sarcastic in my attempt at humor. As much as I dislike homework, I can absolutely extol its merits. My children have mastered many concepts and subjects through homework. I still however maintain there is absolutely no reason EVER for elementary school children to have weekend and holiday homework. My children do music practicing, chores and other required "not fun things" on weekends. Homework is just not one of them.

Fourth--As I've mentioned more than once, I have a wonderful BFF. And she thinks the same about me! I loved her little tribute to me HERE. But as wonderful as she makes me sound, she is better because she watches my kids for no reason at all way more than I ever watch hers.

Fifth--Hank is not the father of Hazel's soon-to-be born babies. I know, I know, it is slightly scandalous that they live together. But remember, they are kind of married. Hank is actually having a separate shelter built as I speak. We (Luke and Mike) don't want him being mean to the new baby kids, whose births I am hoping not to assist with.

Think that is about it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Everything

What a fabulous "nothing" weekend, that turned out to be a great one!
  • An long-overdue lunch with my friend Allyson
  • Mild weather with kids playing outside for hours
  • A spontaneous afternoon date with Mike to the hardware store and gas station for a fountain rootbeer, a once a month indulgence (the rootbeer not the hardware store)
  • A frantic phone call from Melanie with her laughing her head off telling me we were on the home page of KSL all Friday afternoon and evening. You can read it HERE.
  • Take-out Cafe Rio with our good friends, Kari and Kellen.
  • A highlight of our half birthday tradition on Babble. You can read it HERE.
  • Our typical one hour "cleaning hour" on Saturday morning that dragged into almost 4 hours with Mike vacuming, organizing, and cleaning behind shelves and under couches.
  • Joshua and Drew being invited to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa's house!!!!!!!!!!! The 22 hours they were gone our house stayed calm, peaceful, and clean! 
  • Dinner with just Mike, me and the older three kids at one of my all time favorite restaurants (Spaghetti Factory). I hadn't eaten there for over two years, and as I remembered, it did not disappoint.
  • Church meetings, specifically Sacrament Meeting without a two year old and four year old were pure bliss! Not to mention I didn't have to visit the restrooms once with those pea-sized bladder children of mine not with me. (Grandma on the other hand at her church with said two and four year olds visited it at least three times...)
  • Sunday dinner with Grandma and Grandpa with a bonus slide show and joke session.
  • A Superbowl party hosted by my BFF's son. And me who knows nor CARES anything about football won the prize for predicting the EXACT score. (Even though I switched the teams around.)
  • Megan coming into our room at 9:30pm Sunday night almost in a panic that she completely forgot to memorize a poem that was due Monday morning. Oh wait--that wasn't a good part of the weekend. But the fact we sent her out of our room to deal with her own natural consequence and this morning she recited it perfectly for us, was.
  • Oh and we can't forget the fact Megan wanted to pretend it was the 1980's and Drew was a work-out instructor and dressed him in a doll outfit of Ellie's.

That pretty much sums up our weekend around here. It may seem like nothing much, but it was everything.

"enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things."

Happy Monday!

And don't forget you can enter the blender give-away through tomorrow (Tuesday) night by clicking HERE.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Opportunities

Do you ever get to the end of a day, a week, or a month and realize you've tried your very best to make sure everyone's laundry is done, everybody has been fed and bathed, everyone has been taken to this activity or that, and you were even able to squeeze in moments of one-on-one time with each child and the husband! Everybody is happy and content!

BUT...ever wonder who has made sure MOM has been taken care of!? Sometimes we're the last ones on the list.

My friend Janelle is going to be addressing this very issue at a Power of Moms workshop "Taking Care of the "ME" in Mom." It will be held in a home in Farmington and promises to be a fulfilling, fun evening. Follow the link HERE to read more about it and to register.

Or if that one doesn't work for you, put Saturday, March 10th 10am-12pm on your calendar for one by my friend Lindsay in Provo. (Registration will be up soon!)

If none of those grab your fancy, maybe this will: a Couples Family Systems workshop being held in Orem on March 2nd. You can read more about it HERE.

And if none of the above appeals to you. Here's an opportunity that I may have soon...

Helping this goat give birth!
It gives me anxiety to think too much about it. When Luke runs in the house each day describing to me the telltale signs that the goat is indeed pregnant and will very likely give birth in the next month or so, I want to cry.

I'm not quite sure what in the world Mike and I have gotten ourselves into. All Mike says when I ask him what we need to do in preparation is smile and say, "I'm not sure, but I do know we need to go buy some full arm gloves."

Oh boy.
Now if those aren't some decent opportunities, I'm not quite sure what are.
Take your pick.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Money Grab

One of my very favorite things about meeting with people through The Power of Moms are the fabulous ideas I get. So many of the systems we have in place in our home come from an original idea I heard from someone that I've tweaked to work for us.

This one is no different.
But let me give a background to why I've chosen to implement it in our own unique way.

A couple of months ago we chose a new system for every day chores and assignments. We've found for us that switching things around every few months work the very best. Even though we may have gone through several systems over the years, we figure as long as we have something in place we're doing okay.

Each child has a small piece of paper--that has a short checklist they need to mark off every day. (Each child's is different.) It has to be checked and turned in before any playing or free time after school. When we first implemented it, we told them that after a certain number were gathered, we would reward the family as a whole.

Which we did in November. But you see, it took a little longer than the month we estimated it to take to get the number of "tickets" required to be turned in. Some children didn't do their stuff as faithfully as another, yet all of the children participated in the family activity... It didn't seem quite as fair as it should be.

Introduction of an idea I heard at our recent Power of Moms workshop:
One family has a jar full of coins that kids were able to reach in and grab a handful of for their weekly allowance.

Hmmm...

Mike and I have never been big "allowance payers" and we aren't a big fan of paying our children for every day stuff or for Saturday's Cleaning Hour. Typically our children can earn money for "above and beyond jobs" they ask for, or we assign.

But we've been looking for something to motivate our children to want to turn in their papers, and to work a little more quickly and willingly.

So after a trip to the bank for lots of coins (my job), and some creativity and calculations (Mike's job), we recently introduced to our children our very first "Money Grab."

Except it was more of a money throw as Mike set the stage by throwing money across the family room carpet.

Mike calculated the seconds each child would get based on their age and how many papers they had turned in for the previous week. As cheap Mike looked down on the floor and saw too many quarters scattered, he decided at the last minute to throw in one last negotiation. Each child could "buy" a couple more seconds if while they grabbed for the coins, they were blindfolded.

Of course, that turned it into a game and they all wanted blindfolds.

Megan ended up with the least amount of money. And even though she earns a pretty cushy wage each month teaching her four piano students (six if you count Ellie and Luke), she will probably opt not to be blindfolded next week.

It turned out to be a very minimal "allowance" they each earned. But their confidence in grabbing more money next week, is certainly helping them stay on task with their chores and assignments this week! It's all about setting up systems to help the children want to work hard and obey. We'll see how long this one lasts.

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