Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Venting Leads to Revelation. . . And a clean playroom

Yesterday, I used my blog to vent a little and posted about how My Kids Are Slobs.  Well, today I have had a couple of revelations I wanted to share.

For starters, a friend of mine (who is also a fabulous mom) posted a story on Facebook yesterday about some words of wisdom she had received from her 5 year old daughter.  My friend (I'll call her A) made a very general request to which her daughter complied.  Her daughter didn't do it the way A would have done it, though.  Through her daughter's words, A realized that she couldn't be upset because her request was so general and the end result still worked.  (Thanks, A - you're awesome!)

The same principle applies to my kids and their chores.  I cannot expect specific result if I don't make specific requests.  Just saying "clean the playroom" or "clean your room" is not enough because, obviously, their version of clean is not the same as my version of clean.  I have to give specifics; put the books on the shelf, sort the art supplies, etc.

Here is my second revelation.  After my kids finished their chores, my oldest asked "Why do we have to do chores anyway?"  This, of course, made me realize that I had never explained the logic behind my nifty little chore chart, so I seized the opportunity and gave her the following reasons:
  1. Keeping our house clean shows that we are thankful for what we have and that we take pride in it.  For example, if you don't take care of a toy, it will probably get lost or broken.  We are very fortunate to have a nice house and nice things, so we should take care of them.
  2. Keeping things cleaned up keeps us organized.  If you need a specific toy or want a particular outfit, it is much easier to find if it is in the proper place - not on the floor covered by other toys or in a pile of laundry three feet high.
  3. It shows respect for your father and me.  We work hard to provide you with nice things and maintain a comfortable house.  When you do the chores we ask you to, it shows that you appreciate what we do and that you are willing to help out.
Want to see the end result of all these revelations?????

Cue the sparkly lights and the hallelujah chorus!

Let me finish by clarifying something, though.  Please do not get the impression that today's chores were done by happy children who whistled and skipped about as they cheerfully cleaned up.  There was plenty of complaining, whining, eye-rolling, and even some yelling.   My hope is, though, that we ALL learned a few lessons and that, if we ALL continue to practice what we have learned, it will get easier.  Maybe.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

My Kids Are Slobs

I try not to use this blog to "vent" too often, because I figure nobody wants to read that and I want this blog to be full of happy memories for my girls.  However, sometimes, venting is what I need to do.  Maybe, when my girls are reading this twenty years form now, they will have a little sympathy for all they put me through! ;-)

So here goes. . . .

MY KIDS ARE SLOBS!!!  I really don't think I'm asking that much of them.  They are 9, 7 (almost), and 4 and I don't think asking them to pick up their trash and do a few little chores around the house is unreasonable.  Apparently, they disagree.  After a lot of nagging and frustration, I finally came up with this adorable little chore chart in an effort to combat the messes.   I hoped the chart would accomplish a couple things: 1) I hoped by putting the chores on a schedule would keep me from having to nag my kids all the time.  2)  I also hoped the girls would realize that, by doing the chores regularly before they piled up and got out of hand, it really wasn't that difficult.  Basically, they get a happy face for doing their chore each day (cleaning playroom, putting away laundry, cleaning their room, wiping down their bathroom, and a day that says "help mom" so I can ask them to do whatever I need).  If they don't complete their task or if I find they have left a dirty bowl or trash behind, they get a strike.  Three strikes = an extra chore.

Well, so far, it has failed miserably.  Here's an example.  Today the chore was to clean up the playroom.  My oldest had an orthodontist appointment, so there was a limited amount of time.  I told the girls they had twenty minutes to get it done.  This was the result:

Remember - all this was AFTER they "cleaned up."  I don't want to be a nag, but I also don't want to continually clean up after my little litterbugs.  I want them to learn to take some pride in their home and to take some responsibility.  Am I expecting too much??  Is there a better way to teach them??

O.K.  I have finished venting.  Thanks for "listening" and I welcome your comments/suggestions! :)

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Disney Highlights

Two weeks ago, we returned from our first family trip to Disney!  (I say first, because we will definitely go again sometime - we just have to wait for our feet and our wallets to recover!)  I did an immense amount research and planning for this trip and it really paid off!  We had a wonderful and completely exhausting time!  Here are some of the highlights:

The girls' first flight!  They were all a little nervous, but ended up loving it!

Thanks to my hubby's travel points, we got a sweet suite at the Hilton for about 1/2 price!  Our balcony overlooked this pond where the girls liked to watch the ducks and cranes.

Lots of smiles and quality family time!

Fun rides, more smiles, and family time!

The girls actually got along with each other for the better part of  FIVE WHOLE DAYS!!!!  

Christmas Lights!!  Lots and Lots of Christmas lights!!

The Chocolate Volcano from Rainforest Cafe!  (Almost made up for the mediocre yet expensive meal!)

Character sightings!!  We were disappointed that we didn't see any princesses up close, but we sure got everyone else - Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Daisy, Chip and Dale, and some more!

Rachel finally admitted the Disney was FUN!!!!  (Although, she still won't admit that it was better than school.)

One more highlight - we got our Christmas card picture!  You will have to wait for that one, though! ;-)

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Playing Catch Up! (and an award!!)

Wow!  I havent't written a new post in almost two weeks!!  I definitely have some catching up to do!  One reason it has been so long is because we went to Disney World!  It was great fun, but completely exhausting.  I will have to give Disney a post all of its own very soon!

After that, I was just super busy playing catch up and getting back to reality.  Well, I'm back, but still trying to catch up! :)

One great thing that happened during my blog hiatus is. . . . . . (drum roll) . . . .   My blog got an award!!!

I am very flattered to receive this award which was given to me my Jeri Kleiber who writes an adorable blog called Life Under Construction.  Considering I completely copied one of her blog ideas, I am honored that she chose me for this award!  Thanks, Jeri!

The Liebster Award is passed along to blogs with fewer than 200 followers.  The purpose of the award is to help Bloggers like me build a bigger following.  What a great idea!!!!

The Rules:
1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Here are My Five Top Picks!

1. The Snarky Mom

2. Pink Dryer Lint (This one actually bends the rules a little because she has a little more than 200 followers, but it's one of my most favorite blogs, so I had to include it!)

3. Snips of Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

4.  Lollygag Blog

5.  RedHead Housewife

So, there you have it - my first ever blog award.  If you already follow my blog - THANKS!!!  If you just found it, I hope you enjoy it!  I also hope everyone enjoys checking out these other 5 blogs, too!!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Random Memories

I do a lot of blog hopping and, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a cute blog called Life Under Construction.  It is written by a gal named Jeri who is very much like me - a mom of three (although two of hers are twins) and a fairly new blogger.  Also, like me, she hopes her blog will serve as a way to document memories for her children.  The problem is that, since we are both new bloggers, our blogs missed part of our children's lives.  Well, she has come up with a great solution!  In fact, I think it is so great, I am totally copying her! :-)

She started a segment of her blog called "Dear Kids" where she basically takes an older picture from the archives, posts it, and writes about her memory of it!!  Genius!!!  On my blog, I am calling it "Random Memories" and I have created a tab for it at the top of my blog homepage.  Here's my first entry:

This is one of my favorite portraits of Rachel.  It was taken just after she turned two years old.  I love it because it is the first portrait in which you can see her precious little curls.  Her hair grew in so slowly that it seemed to take forever.  Then, we saw that she had these beautiful curls.  To this day, they are still one of her signature features.  As a baby/toddler/young child, Rachel was always very photogenic.  She loved the attention of the camera (imagine that!) and always smiled.  Most of the time it was very difficult to choose just one or two poses to buy.

Such a beautiful little girl who is now not so little, but still just as beautiful!

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

What's on Your List???

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog very often probably knows that I am an organizer and a list-maker. I make lists for everything - chores, groceries, what to pack for trips, my kids' school lunches - everything.  For me, having a list gives me a clear path to follow which helps me focus, complete the tasks at hand, and, therefore, reduces my stress.  However, at the moment, there is one list that is creating much more stress than it is relieving - my Christmas list.  The reason it is causing me stress is because I simply cannot finish making it!!!!

Our tradition is that the girls can ask Santa for three gifts each - one large and two smaller.  (This is supposed to reflect the three gifts Jesus received from the Wise Men.)  They also get one gift from Mommy & Daddy which we try to make a little bit of a surprise.  I think I finally have a list for the little one mostly done, but the lists for the two big girls are driving me crazy!!  Normally, the problem is narrowing down their "I want this" lists, to fit our tradition.  This year, however, they don't even know what they want.  I have asked a couple times and they can't come up with anything. (Except that the older two want a bunny.  I was willing to consider it out of desperation, but Daddy gave it a very quick and resounding "NO WAY!")

So. . . . HELP!!!!  What are your kids/grandkids getting for Christmas this year??  What would you get for a 9 year old vegetarian who loves animals and social studies and almost NEVER plays with anything toy-ish???  How about a 7 year old who loves horses, puzzles, and reading???  Please leave me a comment with your ideas and suggestions.  Seriously - I'm desperate!  I'll take any suggestions you can offer.

Thanks in advance for your help!!  Hopefully, soon I'll be finished making my list, so I can start checking it twice and doing some shopping!! :-)

You only have 47 days to figure it out!!!!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011


Many of my Facebook friends have been posting "30 Days of Thankfulness." Basically, each day of November, you post a sentence or two about something for which you are thankful. I think it's a great idea, but I seriously doubt I could remember to do it 30 days in a row. Therefore, I am taking a different approach. Here, in one post, I am listing 30 things for which I am thankful.  Some of them are serious and some are more light-hearted, but they are all things I am thankful for every single day.  Here goes:
  1. My husband and our strong marriage
  2. My three beautiful girls
  3. My parents
  4. My in-laws
  5. My home
  6. Megan's crazy energy and joyous demeanor
  7. Rachel's curls and freckles
  8. Emily's sweet kisses
  9. A vibrant church family and continuously growing faith
  10. Good friends
  11. Caffeine
  12. Chocolate
  13. Bedtime - Mine and the kids'
  14. My ratty, worn out, fuzzy gray slippers
  15. Wireless technology
  16. Sophie - our lovable family pooch
  17. Freedom - God Bless America!
  18. Music
  19. Good food and all the cooking lessons I have gotten from my mother, Mamaw, and mother-in-law
  20. Teachers - It takes a special person to be a teacher and I truly appreciate those who give it their all.
  21. Lysol/Clorox wipes
  22. Memories
  23. My Keurig
  24. Moments of silence
  25. My health and my family's health
  26. The beauty of nature
  27. Modern conveniences like my dishwasher and washing machine
  28. Books (and the creative people who write them)
  29. The innocence of children
  30. That I am fortunate enough to be a stay at home mom
As I came up with this list, I really kind of liked the impact of putting it all down here at once.  I understand the purpose of doing it daily as it is being done on Facebook.  But, seeing it all here - all my blessings listed together - is powerful.  If you have never thought about it or done anything like this, I encourage you to make your own list.  It doesn't have to be 30 (that was actually harder than I anticipated).  Start with 5 or 10.  Just give it a try and and take a few moments to reflect on the joys and blessings in your life!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Teachable Moment Gone Awry

Did you ever stumble upon one of those "teachable moments" and jump at the chance to teach your kids a valuable lesson only to have your magical vision of light bulbs and Hallejuah choruses shattered??  That happened to me this morning with my ever-so-quick-witted Emily.

My current torture device of choice
My girls do not like coats.  they complain about how coats are hot (ironic, huh?) and uncomfortable.  They whine and generally resist wearing them in any way they can.  So, this morning, as we were heading out the door to preschool and I told Emily to put on her coat, she, of course, began complaining.  Our conversation went something like this:

Emily:  Why do I have to wear this stupid coat?  I hate coats!

Me:  (Seizing the opportunity) You know, Emily, there are some children who don't have a nice warm coat like you do.  When they go outside, they just have to be cold.  Isn't it nice that you have such a warm and cozy coat.

Emily:  No!  I hate coats!

Me:  Well, like I said, some children don't even have a coat because their mommies and daddies don't have enough money to buy them one.  When they go outside and feel how cold it is, I bet they really wish they had a nice coat like yours.

Emily:  Well, you can give them this one!!!

Me:  (Sigh) - because there was really just nothing else to say after that!

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