Friday, January 30, 2009

I Twit

My three year old just told me, from his position atop the potty,
"I twit." translation: I quit.
My question is this: if he is old enough to "twit" potty training, isn't he old enough for underwear???????

I'm still here

Wow, how could it have taken me this long to post something?? It's because I never seem to have two hands with which to type...
So, I now have a few minutes and I decided to update the bloggy.
Each month, our homeschool group has a Mom's Night. We discuss a different topic each time; anything from curriculum, to discipline, high school, etc. One of us volunteers to lead the meeting and they are the one who chooses the topic. This last time we discussed keeping toddlers busy during school time.
The great thing about our meetings though, in my opinion, is how we can lift one another up no matter what the topic is.
One idea that I thought was particularly great this time was a way to simplify meal planning. One mom makes the same thing each day for lunch: Mondays are always tuna sandwiches, Tuesdays are always such and such, and so on. (Supper has it's variety.) This simplifies her shopping and the kids always know what to expect. I think I'm going to try this. Then my older kids can get started on preparing the meal if I'm busy. (When would I be busy? is what you're thinking...I know, I know...)
We also talked about having some "school time" boxes. Also suggested was using ziploc bags for the activities. Many of the ideas were from an Above Rubies issue.
Anyway, about the boxes/bags: cheerios or froot loops, yarn and a plastic yarn needle for lacing; cardboard shapes with holes punched for lacing with yarn; some rice with hidden little things in there for dexterity (and some mess, but worth it); playdo; etc. We basically arrived at the premise that it is much easier to plan things for them to do than to try to always redirect them. For example, "hey boys (my two toddlers are boys), let's take out the car rug and play cars!" as opposed to "go play with the car rug" after they've been into everything already.
I find myself sort of shooing them off, instead of purposely guiding their play.
They don't really need so much directing--a few directed activities is really all they need, and the rest of the time they'll find their own things to do.
Just as we need a plan for what our older kids will do "for school" that day we need to have some idea what we want our little ones to do, too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Down Memory Lane...

A little "flashback" to share, from WAY before this blog came to be...
When I was nursing Linnea, someone asked Nathaniel (he would have been about 4) about Mom needing to feed the baby. He said "yeah, she uses skin bottles..."
Isn't that great??

Needing your advice...

Does anyone else in blogland have trouble adding pictures to their pages??
I can't seem to find the reason why--sometimes when I click "add image" it pops right up and lets me load a picture. Other times, it doesn't do anything. Any suggestions??

Friday, January 16, 2009

Note to Self

Note to self:
An Elmer's glue stick and a thing of lip balm look too much alike for a 2 year old to be expected to tell the difference...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Princess Ruby

In Other News...

* Elijah fell today and hit his head, really hard.
* Elijah hit Ruby on the head with a plastic plate.
* Christopher finally went potty of his own volition!! (as opposed to because I told him it was time to go...)
* Andrew knocked over a lamp and bent it pretty bad.
* I am nearly out of edible items in the pantry. I also lack the means and the motivation to go to the store to remedy the problem.
* Apparently, Ruby no longer believes naps are necessary during the day. Teeth, maybe???
* It is so cold, the key in the van won't even turn, much less start.
* Somehow, Copper (one of our dogs) got shut in the garage and chewed up Isaiah's barn boots. Isaiah was none too happy, let me tell you.
* Lastly, I'm ready for the day be done NOW, but it isn't...

Who am I going to be?

My friend Diane has given me words that I repeat to myself all day long:
Who am I gonna be?
When my child spills AGAIN, I need to ask myself "Who am I gonna be right now?" The one who crushes their little heart or the one who simply helps them get a paper towel to wipe up the mess they made?
When I'm changing ANOTHER diaper (I have two in diapers...and one "in training") I need to remind myself: am I going to take advantage of this time on the changing table to look them in the eye and love them or will I complain because I am up to my elbows in diapers? (Admittedly, there are days when my cloth diaper idea isn't as appealing as it was at first...)
I ask myself this question so many times throughout the day. Too many times, I am the one who chooses the wrong option. I'm working on that. I WANT to be a better mommy, a nicer mommy. I'm working on that, too.

Another thing I ask myself each morning is a question my Auntie Donna ;-) posed to me. She told me that every morning, when we are getting dressed for the day, we need to ask "What am I going to say about myself today?"
I used to think that since I'm home and it's just me and the kids all day, why dress up? Most days I didn't even put on makeup. I did always shower, I will say that for myself. I only looked nice on days that someone from "the outside" might show up or if I was actually,really and truly, venturing out of the house.
So, as I am picking out my clothes for the day, I ask myself that question. I decided that my kids were worth looking nice for. Not to mention it's made those surprise visits from "the outside" much less panic inducing. I put on makeup, wear earrings, and I do my hair, every day. I need to do it, for myself as much as anything else.
I feel much better about myself when I am presenting a more "put together" picture and I think (ok, I know...) that my attitude permeates the household.

I'm no Donna Reed; I don't wear pearls while I scrub the toilet.
But I might put on a necklace and watch while my eight-year-old daughter does it...

Saturday, January 10, 2009


At supper last night....
Andrew (6 year old): Were people naked during the Depression?
Nathaniel (almost 13): In their bathtubs, yeah.

I totally busted out laughing. Nathaniel has a very quick wit and great sense of humor. Andrew asks and says the WEIRDEST things. What a funny combination.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I wear an apron

I wear an apron.
I do so mainly because I've stained too many shirts with grease splatters.
But I also wear an apron because it makes me feel "home-maker-y". (I just made up that word. I don't think that's in the dictionary.)
I like how when I'm tying it on (no, I'm not drinking...) I feel like I'm ready to tackle my kitchen work. It's like my kitchen uniform.
When I wear my apron, I feel womanly, motherly--like I am enjoying some connection with homemakers of days gone by.
I wipe my hands on my apron and I don't worry about splashes or splatters or spills.
I'm covered--I've got my apron!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Every house has their own "system" for getting the work done.
Here is mine:
They're called chore cards.
I have each kid's name on a wooden clothespin. (Four of mine are old enough to do chores, so four clothespins.)
I have a WHOLE BUNCH of chores written out on index cards; they are kept in an envelope. In the early morning when I am up and about before the kids, I look around and survey what needs to be done for the day. I then assign the chore cards.
Some of the cards are:
sweep entry steps
clean up living room
vacuum living room
clean upstairs bathroom
clean off the stairs
vacuum front steps and entry rugs
straighten shoes and boots
clean your room (I have four of these)
put dishes away
clear off the table
clean hallway
shovel front steps
little boys' laundry (this means they fold and put away the little boys' laundry)
Ruby's laundry
sweep under Elijah's chair

You get the idea...(I have many more, some are more specific to our home. I also didn't want to make this post any longer than it already is going to be!!)
When they are done with the chore, they remove it from their clip and put it back in the envelope.
When we began this system, I had only some cards. I have added more cards as I think of them.
Of course, shovel steps only applies in the winter. In the summer, I assign mow the lawn for my bigger boys. I also assign clean off the yard and sweep garage in the months that aren't winter.
The point is that this way, I don't have to keep on them about what they are supposed to be doing. (OK, I have to keep on them about doing their chore cards, but at least I don't have to keep saying specifically what they are supposed to be doing!)
I had found myself telling them to do this and do that, and they'd be like "but Mom, you told me to do such and such"; I had forgotten whom I had told to do what and it lead to such frustration for all of us.
In the sometimes chaotic moments as a mother of many, when you have a new baby and you're changing diapers, and the phone's ringing, and the timer's going off, etc. the chore card system has helped eliminate the "who's supposed to be doing what" problem.
I normally assign about six or seven chores for the younger workers (ages 6 and 8) and about four or so for my older boys (10 and 12). This is because my big boys go out to the barn every morning and night and do the milking and calf chores, bedding the stalls and pens, etc. So, when they come in from the barn, they've already been doing lots of chores that day!!
A "light" day is when they all have only three or four chores to do.

I think each job should be divided up as much as possible. Like clean up living room and vacuum living room are two separate chores rather than one. I do this because I can either split it between two kids, or let one kid feel as if they've done more. Also, it doesn't always need to be vacuumed, but it does need to be picked up every day.
I used to write down what each kid should do each day, but I was just writing out the same things all the time, it seemed. This was my solution to that problem.
This way, I can also see how each child is coming along in their work. No computer or TV time until all chores are done.
I tried to post pictures of what my system looked like, but blogger won't let me add an image for some reason. I hope you get the idea.

I think this system would be easily implemented in any home with any number of kids. Even those who don't know how to read. I have had chores slipped under the bathroom door for me to read for a non-reader, and of course the older kids can quickly tell them what it says. My Andrew doesn't read yet, but he can identify all his chore cards. He has memorized how they look I guess.
Also, don't be afraid of assigning too many. Kids are quite capable of doing work around the home that they live in!!
Many people are surprised at how many household chores my kids are able to do. I also recommend getting some kid-size tools they can use, like a little sweeper/dustpan set for sweeping stairs and under chairs, for example.
Even if the job isn't perfect, it's better than not being done at all!!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas is over

Why are the helpers so much LESS enthusiastic about taking down the Christmas tree than they are when it is time to put it up?

Putting the tree up, I was like chasing them off with a stick!! "Wait, don't put that up yet!" "Ahh! Don't step on that ornament! " "No, the angel goes on last!" "Please, just slow down!" "Look, now, see? You weren't watching and now you broke it!" etcetera, etcetera...

Taking down the tree: "Kids?! Hey, guys? Time to take down the tree.........guys?????"

(on a completely different note, has anyone else ever noticed what a weird word "guys" is? It looks so weird when I'm typing it...)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Words of Wisdom

When you are in the lower level of your home and you call upstairs to check on the two toddlers (ages 3 and 2) by asking "what are you doing, boys??" and they respond with "hiding from you..."
Always check it out.
Trust me.
Unless you were playing hide-and-seek.
(We weren't.)
Just check it out.
Every time.
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