Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Week Success

Week one of school is completed! I completely changed our lazy morning routine to capitalize on, especially Aliza's, morning energy. It has been working! The rule is no computer entertainment until rest time. (Side note: I've known that this needed to happen for a long time. It is only now that I'm of a state of mind that I can effectively implement it. I'm not sure what changed except that I'm not pregnant and baby is getting bigger.) I was expecting lots of drama over this change, but there hasn't been any. Aliza and Josiah are welcome to start listening to to their lessons as soon as they wake up. This happened the first couple days, but by the end of the week they were finding other things to play with! This week we were home ALL week so every day, with the exception of cousin play morning, we were finished by noon or earlier. This makes all of us so happy. I can think about and do more things than school--amazing! By taking advantage of the early morning hours even when we are away later in the morning we will still have a good start on school by the time we get home.

I decided to do a K4 program with Anna since she turns 5 in November. She is pretty excited to have school. Most days she has had her folder and supply box out before I get out of the shower. She is very independent in her work and subscribes to the "do it as fast as you can" method that her big sister uses. There is lots of music and stories built in to the lesson. Here Anna is making billy goat puppets to act out the story of Three Billy Goats Gruff that she heard in the lesson.
Here's another great thing about the morning--I'm more patient and more capable of using a calm, quiet voice. So when the whining about writing or having to do History comes I can just calmly say "this is the way it is" and move on which helps the whining to move on more quickly to, I think.

Oh! I almost forgot my favorite Josiah success story of the week. Last year I really just went through the motions of Spelling with Josiah. He copied his word list and did the work, but I never made him memorize words. I am a little concerned that I am going to regret that in 2nd grade. This week he did not have a list, but he had his first journal entry for day 4 of the five day spelling list cycle. They are given a topic and I have them write as much as they want on their own--without me spelling words for them. Josiah had to think long and hard about what he was going to write. (He frequently counts letters in words to make sure he chooses short words.) He chose to write "I like going to the beach." He said, "I think I know how to spell beach, Mom. I'm going to surprise you." I was totally expecting him to spell "beech." Nope. He spelling beach correctly. I exclaimed, praised and must have done a happy dance because I was standing up. When I sat back down he continued with "It is fun." But before he started writing he said, "Mom, next time you don't have to get so excited."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

We've Hired Our Kids

Several years ago we did most of a money study with the children. I pretty much stopped when they assumed that an allowance would come with the completion of the study. The whole idea of a chore system was overwhelming to me at that time.

It's interesting how time changes things and how a Mom adjusts to different work loads. We recently started a commission based chore system. I even realized that some work was getting done and I wasn't doing it! Amazing concept!

Here's how we have had it structured based on principles of Dave Ramsey. Aliza and Josiah have the opportunity to complete three jobs every day. The jobs vary each day because that's what works for our household. If a job needs to be completed at a certain time (setting the table for a meal) I tell the child one time and make sure they respond to me. If they choose not to complete jobs during the pay week their pay is reduced. They are paid on a certain day of the week. We want them to learn that pay is not immediate and that if you don't show up and do your job, you don't get paid. They each have three containers, one each for giving, saving and spending. We've told them that they need to put something in each container, but we've chosen not to micromanage percentages.

At least several days a week I try to think of bigger jobs that require the kids to work together. Today it was washing the car. They did a great job on the car and then they had lots of fun water play afterwards. Water play was my hope in the first place and I felt pretty brilliant that it worked out that way.
I have not had complaining about jobs. Josiah thought maybe he didn't want to clear the supper table tonight. I just reminded him how much it would cost him on payday and he decided to go ahead and clear the table.

Right now I'm feeling like this is a sustainable plan for us. Assigning jobs every night is a bit tedious for me. The job lists are in the childrens' rooms because that is where they wanted them. Tonight I wrote them in completely dark rooms. It's just one of my jobs...

Friday, August 21, 2015

Another Week Overview Post

There were several nights this week that I wanted to write, but didn't feel like I had anything interesting to say. My life is feeling rather mundane right now with three of my closest girls getting ready for some big change that will make them, at least, feel less accessible to me. It has been one of those weeks when I have had to go over and reassess why I do what I do and come to the conclusion, quickly, that it is still right for me and my family at this time.

Aliza and Josiah finished swimming lessons. They are truly swimming! Aliza worked so hard for this accomplishment. There was one week that she desperately wanted to quit and I convinced her to talk to her teacher and keep going. It was the next week that she had broke through and felt successful.

I think Isaiah grew up over the course of this week. I was playing with him today and he just looked older. He is almost one--I keep reminding myself. He loves things with wheels. Anna purposely laid her bike on its side so Isaiah could play with the wheels. So thoughtful...
Isaiah loves the water!
I've picked some nice peppers from our plants. This week I made Sloppy Jo Stuffed Peppers and Isaiah loved it.
There are plastic containers, pots and pans and ziploc baggies all over my floor. =)
Does this girl looks thrilled to be with her Daddy at the coffee shop for a few hours? A little time with Daddy alone goes a long way.
This is a quarter of a huge watermelon and apparently someone knew what the best bits of the watermelon are. Sometimes I just have to shake my head...and wish that it was me who couldn't resist temptation!!
Aunt Meghan brought a bag of watermelon to the beach cut up and de-seeded just for Isaiah. He stood right there and ate the whole bag.
Three sweet mermaids! I figured since I started the summer by taking 6 to the beach I should end the summer the same way!

And just so that we all remember that Isaiah is really still a baby, he was sound asleep by the time we got home from the beach. He woke up enough for a bath and a bottle and then he promptly slept for almost 3 hours.
We are starting school on Monday. I feel like I should be looking forward to it more than I am. I know why I'm not--I'm setting my alarm clock and changing the kids morning routine so that we get an earlier start and hopefully an earlier finish each day. I suppose if that actually happens it will be worth it. I'll let ya'll know how that goes!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Here's what has been happening here--

A "campfire" for our Family Dinner Book Club. Our book was The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary.

New backpacks were a huge hit.

And when you have a new backpack you must play school.

Frozen yogurt at TCBY. It was evening and he was dressed for bed hence the long sleeve sleeper in the middle of August.


Learning the kick for Butterfly stroke. Aliza has worked so hard to learn to swim this summer and it has paid off. She swam across the deep end all by herself today!

Be still my heart.

This hole has become quite massive.

Excited to see Grandma and Grandpa
I'm gearing up to start school again, but in the meantime our days are going to continue to revolve around slow mornings and water.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sports Camp

Aliza, Josiah and Anna had so much fun at Mega Sports Camp this week!

This first picture is to show that Anna (in the pink shirt) participated in the preschool class. Halfway through the first night she came running over to me to say, "Mommy, I don't need you anymore." It was great. I didn't know how to act! I sat and read.
The second night it was super hot, I had Isaiah, and Anna didn't need me. So Isaiah and I hung out in the air conditioned church foyer. Isaiah enjoyed standing up and looking out the huge glass doors.
Halfway through the third night, Anna came to me and said, "Mommy, I'm exhausting." She was tired and done for that night. Thursday she hung on Jeremy's leg the whole time and Friday night she just wanted to play soccer with Daddy. So she ended on a positive note.

Josiah chose Outdoor Survival Skills for his group. He loved it. He had so much to tell me every night. Monday night he could not wait to tell me that it's possible to filter pee to drink. I wasn't sure what to expect from the rest of the week!!
They built shelters one night. It was still standing two nights later. =)

Aliza chose Drama. After the first night she wasn't feeling very confident about her class, but by the end of the second night she loved it. She had lots to tell me every night and came home super excited. The group prepared a play to perform on the last evening for the camp. They had to choose whether they wanted to do a play with words and no movement or movement and no words. They chose movement and no words.
The play was the Christmas story--narrated by the drama coach. Aliza was the angel. She was just thrilled with her role. Here's the video:

Each night they sang songs, learned a mega point, listened to a mini sermon and memorized 1 Peter 3:15. The mascot of the camp was Mega. He was very involved with the kids this year and Aliza and Josiah loved him. Anna wanted absolutely nothing to do with him.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Another Beach Day

Isaiah stayed with Grandma and Grandad while I took the big three to the beach with Meghan and the boys. This was a much better scenario for me.

Everyone enjoyed catching sand fleas.
We had a bucket crawling with them.

The boogie boarders... So. Much. Fun. Josiah wouldn't even stop to eat lunch. As soon as his board hit the sand, he was up and running back into the surf.

Aliza preferred body surfing. =) And having a buddy with her in the waves--Mommy was acceptable. Aunt Meghan was preferred.
Anna and her cartwheels.

This time we were at a beach that requires you to drive past several ice cream places to get to the beach. I thought I was going to resist the temptation, but I gave in. It was HOT and we were all HUNGRY!

This day made me appreciate our simple lifestyle. After getting back to Mom's from the beach we had just enough time to take showers, have a conversation and grab a snack before heading out to Sports Camp for the evening. It was ok for one day, but not something I want to repeat frequently! More on Sports Camp another night...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Isaiah--10 Months

Isaiah and I hung out together while the big kids had Sports Camp tonight. Since it was SO hot, we stayed in the church foyer and he enjoyed crawling all around and looking out the huge glass doors. Apparently the glass tasted pretty good too! ;) I love this little guy. I still look at him while he eating and think how lucky I am to be his Mama. As much as I love to kiss his cheeks and enjoy those snuggly moments, Isaiah is getting in to things--like the toilet--and has to be given a stern No and removed. Just so you know I am parenting and not just loving on him!