Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I just wanted to give a little update about our contributions.

Since starting contributions it's been on and off. I expected too much from the kids. I expected perfection from the get go. It was pointed out to me that kids are afraid to do things right or 100% in the beginning. That is because if they do it "right" or 100% from the get go then there is expectation from me as a parent that they will always do so. And they will get in trouble if they don't. Well, that makes a lot of sense.

I've tried out a bunch of different ways. I've reminded, badgered, nagged and fussed. Well, those ways didn't work. I've set up my expectations of what should be done and then gotten crabby when it was done to my expectations. Duh, I keep setting myself up.

This time around it's been a bit different. I went to the dollar store and picked up some craft sticks. I wrote 6 different contributions on those and now we each pick a stick there are only 4 of us so there are a couple to spare. We can trade but only with what is out on the table. I have made it a point to cheer when I get something I like and grumble a little when I get something I don't like. I think this helps the kids know that even I have my preferences. But I still have to do things I don't like doing.

The first week Webby pulled laundry we talked later. He said he didn't see how he was going to do it because he is gone all day. I told him I wanted to the kids to see how he made it work for him. He put loads of laundry in in the morning before work (when the kids could see him do it.) He asked me to help switch laundry over. He took baskets up after he got home. He ironed! The next week Sweetie Heart picked laundry. She said she couldn't do it. I sat down with her and told her she didn't have to do it my way (2 loads of laundry twice a week) she could do it whatever way worked for her. We problem solved it together. She decided that she could put a load in before school 4 days a week. She asked me if I could switch it over and fold it and then she would deliver it when she got home. My laundry schedule has now changed. It doesn't really work for me to do 2 loads twice a week. But really I'm flexible. Now laundry works for everyone in the family!

I am doing my best to keep my expectations relatively low. I can't expect Sweetie Heart to clean the entire kitchen yet. She hasn't been doing it long enough to feel able to do that. This morning I asked her if it seem reasonable that she could set and clear the table for every meal she was home for. Yes! She did ask if I would help her. I told her that I would be in the kitchen cleaning up with her.

After breakfast came to an end she walked away. We were about leave for school when I noticed she hadn't done it. I reminded her about her contribution. She said she didn't have time. I told her she had plenty of time. One of the problems we have is with the kids clearing their places. Last week Webby and I decided that we would take care of it for them and the next time they pulled kitchen we could allow natural consequences to occur. Today Sweet Girl left her breakfast dishes on the table. Sweetie Heart said she "didn't have to" clear her place. I reminded her that she agreed to clear the table and that included her sister's place. I also pointed out that I had been clearing her place the week before. Probably shouldn't have done that. I had, "That sounds like a problem for you. Go put it on the problem solving board" all ready. But she didn't complain. She didn't even grump about it. She just did it! I was shocked!

Sweet Girl has been a trooper through all of her contributions. She doesn't usually remember, but I either remind her or use, "Yes, as soon as..." and that seems to be working pretty well. I am working right next to her, taking the time to train. I have noticed that once I start sometimes she slows down and just watches me. That makes me crazy. Kind of like the Tom Sawyer thing. So I stop and let her know that when she is ready to work too I will come back. She was on floors last week. She did one upstairs and one downstairs everyday!!

Kids are so smart! They catch on so quickly. It's hard to train but worth all of the energy and patience (or lack there of) to do it. It makes me really excited for when Squeak starts to walk. Because you know what Vicki says, "If they can walk they can work!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gever Tulley on 5 dangerous things for kids | Video on TED.com

Gever Tulley on 5 dangerous things for kids | Video on TED.com


Can we go camping tonight? That was the question that was asked Friday night. Well...why not! I don't really camp but if Webby was willing, I had no problem with it. So they three of them camped in the back yard and had a blast!

We're making memories here!

Sweetie Heart asked ma anther interesting question the other night. She said, "What would you do if I failed (did bad) in school." I'm trying to remember if she used the word failed. I dug a little deeper. Asked a few questions: what subject, are you doing bad at school? Apparently it was just a general question. I'm sure she is doing fine at school. The question was an "all of school" question. I sat down with her and told her we would need to change a few things. First thing we would do is sit down and talk about why she wasn't doing well. We would need to problem solve from there. Things would have to change a little though. She wouldn't be able to activities after school, except for mentoring. During mentoring she would need to work on homework instead of playing. She would need to come home after school and do homework every night and not play first. She might need also tutor.

Interesting question though. I wonder why she asked it. It may go to the root of acceptance for her. She wants/ needs to know that no matter what we will love her and be by her side. If this ever happens I hope that I can stay calm and not react poorly. I hope I can go into it as matter-of-factly as I did when answering her question.

Squeak is doing great! He is growing like crazy! He really is an amazing little man. He's 8 months now, how time has flown. He started saying "mama" about a month ago. He says "dada" a little too. But then the kids call Webby "papa" so we'll have to listen for that later. He's just started moving about on the floor. He's got the pushing himself backward thing down pretty well. He's lets me know when he's backed himself up against something by short little cries. He's also sitting up some and can turn himself in a circle when he's on his belly. He's showing us how un-baby proof the house is. He can now see what he wants, get himself there and pull stuff down so he can chew on it. He also has the cutest laugh and loves to play peek-a-boo!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Preview to Summer

Vicki recently wrote a post about summer vacation. Summer can go one of two ways. It can looked forward to and be tons of fun or it can painful and dreaded. I usually go into summer hoping for the best but expecting the worse.

But I love this about making a plan for the summer. Have everyone write down their expectations for the summer. Then you sit down together and actually make a plan. A Road Map for the summer! It's genius really. And yet so simple. I thought to myself, "Well, duh"! So we're going to do this. I am so excited!

I also realize it's about attitude. Like how my attitude made for stressful vacation, when everything else was going so well. My attitude for the summer will effect how it will go.

I feel like yesterday was a preview to summer. Sweet Girl came down with a fever yesterday afternoon. She slept most of the day. Webby had a meeting in the evening so he wasn't going to be home until late. Sweetie Heart met with her mentor after school. There was no school the next day. Hmm, it can go whatever way I want it to. So we had dinner early, honestly evening almost always goes better when we eat dinner before 5pm. Yes, I know it's crazy...but it's true.

After we cleaned up I put Squeak to bed, cleaned up the kitchen, and had the girls brush teeth. Sweet Girl was ready to get back in bed, so I put her there. Sweetie Heart asked if I would play with her outside. Yes! Everything was done that needed done right then so out we went.

She made up a game where we threw a ball in the air and tried to get it to bounce off the roof of our 2 story garage/ barn thing. Kind of like basket ball without the bouncing since we were in the grass. We each tried to keep the ball from each other. There was a bit of wrestling, a bit of tickling and lots of laughing! We had been out for a little bit when I noticed Sweet Girl at the door. She heard us outside laughing. She came down to investigate. She watched us for a little bit then announced that her head and belly were feeling better and she was going to get her shoes. Really I had to laugh. She didn't want to be left out.

Sweet Girl couldn't find her shoes, but I told her it was fine for her to be out in the grass in her feetie jammies. She wasn't really up to running around so we took a break and sat down and threw the ball back a forth. We had so much fun running around and playing. Lots of laughing!! We need so much more of that!

We came in around 7:20pm. Bedtime is usually 7pm, so this was a treat. I put Sweet Girl back to bed. Sweet Girl asked if I would read a little to her. I said yes. She was surprised! She said, "I didn't really expect that you would say yes!" So we read until almost 8pm. As I was tucking her in to bed. She said, "I had so much fun playing and wrestling with you tonight." I did, too!

This is what I want summer to look like. Fun! Laid back! Lots of laughter! I also want to have everyone working together so I am not required to do all the work. If we are able to work together we are going to have a blast this summer!! I can't wait!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One Small Step

Let me take a few steps back to set up this story.

Since we been back from the April Break things have been pretty hairy. Actually, it started while we were on vacation. Despite making good time traveling, beautiful weather, wonderful time spent with family and friends, we seemed to taint our time with negativity. There was fighting and short tempers. Since we have been back it has been more of the same.

Mornings have been rough. When we got back I asked her what time she wanted to leave for school. School starts at 8 am. It takes about 5 minutes to get there. She said she wanted to leave at 7:55 am. No big deal...except she wasn't even starting to get ready to leave until that time. After one of her meltdowns last week she brought up the fact that her teacher has been "yelling" at her for being late. It was the first I had heard about it. Seems it has been going on for awhile.

I asked her what she wanted to do differently. She said something about making her lunch the night before, to which I pointed out that she had been eating hot lunch since we've been back. She thought about it a second and said she wanted to leave at 7:45 am. So we've been doing that for a few days and she has been getting to school early!

Yesterday we left on time. A block away from the house she realized she left her sneakers at home and it was PE day. I asked her what she wanted to do. She said she wanted to go back and get them. she did so and still arrived to school on time. I said, " Doesn't it feel great that because we left earlier enough you were able to go back for what you forgot and still got to school on time?!" She agreed.

This morning, and this is the real story I want to tell, it was time to leave. I've taken to sitting on the porch with Squeak when it's time to go. Kind of like sitting in the car and waiting. Her sister came out, followed by herself. She went back in. Sweet Girl went back in. She came back out. Sweet Girl came back out. I reminded them that the last one out needs to shut the door. Sweet Girl went back to shut the door and Sweetie Heart started walking. She was several yards ahead of me. So I asked her if she wanted to walk by herself today. She looked back at me and said, "I can't cross the big street by myself." I told her I could help her cross the street and she could go on from there or she could go the other way where her PE teacher is a crossing guard. She thought a minute and said, "If Ms. N is there, I'll walk by myself." Then she noted to herself that we left at 7:47 so she should still be there and she was. She gave me a hug and kiss, hugged her sister and kissed her brother and walked to school all by herself! I watched her until she crossed, she looked back and waved.

This may seem like such a small thing, but it is huge! I have been encouraging her to walk on her own, even part way, for most of the school year. I think she's only done it twice and it was at the edge of school property, like 1/2 a block. I have told her that whenever she is ready to let me know and have asked her a few times each month. Each time it has been no. She has even told me she always wants me to walk her to school. I told her I walk her to school as long as she wanted me to, and that I thought she was old enough and capable enough to do it when she was ready. She begs me to come in the school foyer nearly every morning to drop her off.

This is huge for her! Today she had courage to do this on her own! I'll be going to pick her up in a few minutes. We'll see how she feels about it. Maybe she'll do it again tomorrow maybe she won't. But even if tomorrow she asks me to walk her to school again, she know she can do it because she already has!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


While we on vacation in Ohio we visited with friends and family. We had a great time. Where we live there is a little science center that Sweetie Heart said was here favorite place. It is fun! But I knew a place that would knock her socks off.

I remember being a kid and going on field trips to C.O.S.I. I always loved it! My favorite part was the olden time street and the coal mine. When you went "down" the coal mine, they had you get into an "elevator" and took you down. You had to go to the basement to get to the elevator. I always thought they were actually taking you down deeper. They had these little windows in the elevator so you could "see" yourself moving down. I also remember when I was old enough to figure out that the walls must be moving because we really weren't. Plus when you got done you walked up a flight of steps to the main level.

Anyway, my dad took us to C.O.S.I. and the kids loved it. My brother went, too. It is different now because they moved buildings, but it's still pretty great. Here are some pictures of our day at C.O.S.I. I'm post more pictures of our trip later.

And, yes I know a couple of them are sideways. I thought I had turned them all.