Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Each and Every Day!

The past three years I have had the best time staying at home with my twins. I stayed at home with my older children until Abby was eighteen months old. At that time I accepted a full time teaching position. Both staying at home and working outside the home have been rewarding as well as had their challenges.
Currently, as a stay at home mom I find I do better if I have a little schedule in my days. That begins by controlling when they wake and sleep. I wake the twins in the morning by 7:45. Yes, this time around I am one blessed momma to have kids who go to bed at eight and sleep through the night until 7:45.
My morning is basically dedicated to Roman and Renley. I complete basic household cleaning after breakfast while the twins free play. They also help me do some the housework when its appropriate. They think it is pretty fun to help do chores.
Each day, with the exception of the day I work, I try to plan some activity for the twins. Not only is it important for them to have free play, I find some structure and activities that require them to complete a task and focus for an age appropriate amount of time, makes our day much more pleasant. I have to admit it is more challenging to get Roman interested. Proves that every child is different. There are days when I am just excited that he sat down with us and attempted to participate!
Here is what we did today:

We read "Elmer the Elephant" by David McKee and discussed colors.

We talked about Elmer's colors while we colored our own elephants. I had them identify the colors and talked about how Elmer was different than the other elephants. We talked about how my eyes were blue and theirs were brown and we looked at pictures for their sisters and talked about how they looked different.

Then we did this:

After some fun outside, we came in and reviewed our colors. We searched for items in the house and put them in our " color graph." When we were done we counted the items. We spent maybe 15 minutes on this activity. They seemed to enjoy it.

At noon we eat lunch and then its is time to read a few books. Next is nap time. I am pretty adamant about not scheduling anything during their nap time. If they are not awake by 3:30-4 I will wake them. After nap is free play. Often their older sisters are home and they like hanging out with them. Then its dinner, fun time with Dad, bath time, story time and often they like to watch a Bubble Guppy show before bed. Then its prayers and lights out at 8!

I think it was a pretty successful day!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Everyone Helps Out!

It definitely feels like a Monday in our house today!

After the weekend it is always hard to get things back on schedule. Since the birth of the twins I have found that I am a very schedule oriented Mommy!

A one of the things that I think helps get the twins back into the groove of our schedule is making sure they are given the opportunity to help me get the house back in order after our weekend. I think every member of a household should be responsible for keeping the home in order, whether mom stays home or works outside the home. It not only makes them understand what it takes to run a house but also teaches them responsibility and gives them self-confidence. Plus, we have a lot of fun while working together. We talk and sings and sometimes just act silly together. It is finding the fun in the mundane that makes everyday good.

I haven't always felt as strongly about children having chores. Several years ago I realized I was not doing my job as mom if I wasn't teaching them how to survive in the real world. Here's what that looks like in our home.

The kids are all expected to clean and take care of their rooms. I don't touch them! They are expected to dust, change the sheets, and vacuum. We don't allow food or drinks in the bedrooms so it does make that job a little easier for them. They are given this responsibility when they enter jr high school. Upon entering high school, they are expected to do all of their own laundry, from sorting it, washing it, and putting it away. They are also given chores they are expected to complete daily & weekly. We don't pay them for these chores, it is part of living in this house. We do however, give them the opportunity to additional chores to earn money for things they want.

A few challenges I faced in the past included making sure each person felt they were treated fairly and someone wasn't getting the most undesirable chore frequently. We have tested several systems of assigning chores in the past eleven years. Our blended family made assigning chores a little more complicated. I had to take into considerations the time they would be spending at the other parent's home. My step-daughters were not here on Monday and Thursday's and on those nights I would need to assign their chores to someone else. When the girls were younger we would wait to do the main chores on Saturday. At first, I would assign each child three chores to be completed and would change that chore each Saturday. They were usually at our house every first and third weekend. Later, I would write the chores on strips of paper and each child would draw three slips and responsible for that chore for the entire week.

Lately, the three girls still living in our home decided they would like to have certain chores they would be responsible for at all times. So far, that has been working well for us. It does cause a problem when there are numerous ball games but we make it work. Larry and I often pitch in and do their chore during that time just as we would want them to do for us if our schedules became extremely hectic.

Age appropriate chores are also one of the biggest things to consider. You can't expect a child to do a chore they cant physically accomplish. Also, keep in mind you will have to teach them how to do the chore as well as look over their work when they are done. I feel it is my job to make sure they do the job well and if that means we have to go back and do it over again, we will. It is equally important to let them know how proud you are of the work they have done. Praise is always a must!
Below I am sharing a few pictures I took of the twins helping me out this morning!

An example of things the children do:

Twins (toddler)
*Pick up their toys
*Carry their plates from the table to the counter.
*Wash off their dishes and put them in the dishwasher.
*Wash off the kitchen table.
*Put their clothes in the hamper.
*I give them a dusting cloth and have them help me dust.
*Help with the cooking (not heat related, we are talking pouring, mixing and stirring)

Grade School Age
all of the above plus:
*Set the table
*Clear the table
*Make their bed
*Help make dinner
*Load and Empty dishwasher
*Feed the pet
*Bring clothes to hamper
*Take out trash

Junior High
all the above plus:
*Clean their room

High School
all of the above plus:
*Clean toilets and showers
*Help keep car clean
*Drive siblings to and from school and events

Friday, January 23, 2015

A little bit of me and why I am back at this blog.....

Hello, it's been awhile. I want to get this blog going for real!! Let me re-introduce myself. I am a 48 year old, born in 1966, wife and mother of six and step-mom to four. My husband and I were married in 2003 and began this crazy journey of blending two families together and adding two more to the crew. The children range in age from twenty-six to three. Many of them no longer live at home, but there was a time when our house was full of the craziness that comes from a large family. I never set out to have a large family but life has a way of taking a course that we never expected and I think true character comes from how you handle that path. I am currently a stay-at-home mom of three year old twins, and 15, 17,and 18 year old girls. I spend one day a week working at my husband's office. I have seventeen years of teaching experience, which help me daily with my twins, and a whole lot of life experience. I love to run and enjoy cooking and creating healthy meals and some not healthy recipes as well. In a nutshell, I am married to a wonderful man who I am thankful to have by my side on this journey. I make my way through each and every day loving the Lord and depending on him in every circumstance. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 I have made too many mistakes in life but have learned lessons along the way. I hope to share some of the things I have learned and maybe some of the things we can learn together along the way. Hope you join me!