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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Deficit

It seems in my life I am always falling short of where I keep thinking I ought to be.  I have all of these great plans swirling through my mind - usually around 11pm or so - and by morning they all fall apart and it seems as if I'm doing pretty good to get a shower and maybe convince my girls to comb their hair.  It seems that everytime I do a blog posting about the family it is long and I'm trying to cover what happened in the last month or more.  Always behind!   Sigh.  Either way it looks like I'm going to be doing that again so I may as well get started:

1.   The "getting caught up" syndrome
I have a million things in my life right now that I really want to do.  Somehow I have this mistaken idea that I'll be able to do those things when "I get caught up."  You know?  It occurred to me the other day that it is possible that I will never actually get caught up.  There will always be something.  I think, "I'm going to: blog, clean up that bookcase, play outside, go for a walk, get on the treadmill, blog about the family, paint the upstairs bedroom, refinish the kitchen table, work on food storage, plan a better dinner menu, get a better schedule, do such n' such chores, etc....when I get caught up."   I am really annoyed that I discovered that I'm probably never going to be caught up.  This really ruins my procrastination plans....now I'm stuck figuring out how to move forward, even though I'm in a deficit.  Bummer.

2.  The Co-op.
So, you remember we decided to join a co-op right?  Classical Conversations.   Well, it has been both good and bad. 

The good?  Kayley loves it...Maggie too!  Kayley has made a lot of friends, she is being stretched and challenged and given an opportunity to answer to someone else for a few hours.  Maggie has done well going to "Essentials Play" which is a bit like a nursery only...not. The girls were beyond thrilled to carry a backpack and take their lunch.  Kayley gives a presentation each week in her class and that is pretty interesting.  This week she gave a talk about Penguins and shared her lapbook.

The bad?  It's a trillion degrees in the dinky little classroom.  Anyone who knows me well knows that if I get too warm...I get irritable.  I do NOT like to be hot.  Also, Essentials Play (although Maggie is doing well) is a joke.  There is a small handful of small kids (like Mag) and a very large group of older kids (like age 7+).  Essentials Play is designed for kids aged 4-7 who have to wait for older siblings while they are in Essentials...it is an added bonus that we can drop our 4 and unders there to play while we work with our other children during Foundations.  I know, it's confusing.  Either way the whole set up is a little messy.  The chance that Maggie is going to get beaned in the head with a basketball or run-over by a larger child is inevitable.  There is no point in complaining, because like I mentioned earlier...the fact that Maggie can even go is a "bonus." 

To add to the bad:  There is no playground so the kids have "recess" in a parking lot.  Can you say skinned knees?

More bad:  I totally DON'T even remotely, closely, at all, fit-in.  The ladies, other Mom's in Kayley's class, are all scrawny, trendy, gorgeous, vegan/organic, yoga women*.  I must have missed the memo before joining...  I feel dowdy, sloppy, fat and ghetto compared to these women and I come home every Wednesday feeling like a depressed loser.  Wonderful huh?

*(Where do these women find the time to be perfect?  I can't even figure out what I'm having for dinner today - much less where to find the best prices on goat cheese and organic artichoke hearts or where to pick up my raw milk that day.)

More Good:  On the upside, we are learning a ton.  I created this fabulous tri-fold board to keep us somewhat organized while we learn our weekly stuff.  It has helped a ton.  I got the idea at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood.

3.   Kayley lost a tooth.  
There was quite a bit of excitement here when Kayley discovered her first wiggly tooth.  The following day she wiggled it so hard it stuck straight out.  She started to panic a bit but I calmly told her that there was nothing left to do but just pull it out.  So, brave girl - she did!  The Tooth-Fairy brought her a 1$ coin. 

4.  Chores:
We've been working hard to try to implement a few changes.  One of them being how we do chores.  We were consistently doing chorepacks for a long time, then moved to the chore board for a bit...then it got to where I needed to be realistic.  We were trying to do too much and because it was overwhelming and frustrating...we gave up and did NOTHING.  Ok, well doing nothing wasn't working either (obviously) so I created a very, very simple daily chore list for us to complete.  I mean VERY simple.  I created 2-3 family/shared chores per day and turned a lot of the old chores into personal jurisdictions.  For example, now not only do the girls have to clean up their rooms, but they are responsible for cleaning their own windows, dusting their own furniture and vacuuming their own rooms.  In order to make this work we made the investment in a dorm vacuum.  Very light weight Kayley can easily manage this tiny vacuum on her own. 

The girls have to complete their own jurisdictions and then complete 2 or 3 chores off of the daily/weekly list.  They earn an allowance (.25 per chore) for chores they complete that are NOT a personal jurisdiction.   If they do NOT complete their chore...and Mom or Dad has to complete their chore...then they owe us the .25.   Since we are giving an allowance...kids may NOT ask Mom or Dad to buy them something at the store...if they want it, they need to earn the money to buy it for themselves (with a few exceptions like clothing or school supplies and so forth).

So far it is working great and I've only made .25 on doing 1 chore...

5.  Behavior
As we've gotten busier and in more of a deficit it seems our behavior has taken a nose-dive.  I revisited the book 1-2-3 Magic and we held several family meetings to try to get to the root of the problem.  Since then we've implemented the Magic Principles again and it is working pretty well.  I can always write more about this later...  Basically using a system of counting for time outs has proven strangely effective.  We have written down basic rules for most situations as well.

We are also consistently using our We Choose Virtues cards to memorize catch phrases that remind us of appropriate behaviors in addition to Kids of Character from The Learning Parent that share scripture references that encourage this behavior.  They work really well together.  Last month we spent the entire month learning "I Am Attentive" and this month we've been working on "I Am Self-Controlled."  It's been a fun adventure...even Maggie can recite the catch-phrases.

6.  Schoolwork:
Is going great.  We've implemented "school hours."  I have made an effort to NOT answer the phone, do laundry, get on the computer, etc during "school hours."  I promised the girls (mostly Kayley) that I will be at the dining room table from 9am-12pm.  Those are designated as school hours.  We take 2 breaks, one at 10 and one at 11 (with a snack at 10).  Schoolwork needs to be completed during that time...if it does not get done, it is assigned as "independent work" and must be completed alone.  I know that may sound a little harsh but I found that I was getting frustrated how long it was taking us to get simple things done.  I try hard to make school palatable and fun...and I think I do a pretty decent job.  
Like spelling with shaving cream:
 

Or reading in the doorway:


I do not want to be demanding but there are some things that I am going to require - like Scriptures, Prayer, Reading and Math.  Now we have this CC stuff to keep up with too...it gets a bit overwhelming.  Ok, so anyway, schoolwork has only had to be completed independently once...and it stunk!  So we've never had THAT happen again.  Oh, and if schoolwork is completed early, then we are done early! 

This leave plenty of time for you to be creative 
and build an awesome rocket-ship out of boxes...


 Or play Rapunzel:
 Or Puppet Show:

7.  Review Stuff
Argh!  Not much to say about this other than I'm drowning in review stuff!  I love reviewing but it has definitely taken over my blog.  I am constantly running behind and it is so frustrating!  I have, no joke, from Deseret Book:  Scripture Power CD, The Rent Collector, 17 Miracles, Messages from Thomas S. Monson, The 13 Days of Christmas, Journey into the Fringe, and What's on the Other Side.  I can't wait to share them if I could just manage to get them posted!  From the Schoolhouse Crew I have coming up, BeeYoutiful, ZooWhiz, and With the Children on Sundays.  This keeps me busy for sure!  I love it but not when I'm behind!  :o/

8.  Maggie's Health
I'm kind of throwing this on here as an afterthought but Maggie's health has been a little troublesome.  She's fine, nothing to worry about, but she has been having recurring fevers.  Predictable fevers.  Like, literally every 24-26 days she is running a fever, swollen glands, and sheer misery.  She has been in and out of the clinic and urgent care (tested for strep and UTI's and so on) and I finally decided to take her to a pediatrician in town because it was getting a bit ridiculous.  They did some blood work (can you say nightmare?  drawing blood on a toddler is torture) and her Dr. believes that Maggie may have what is known a PFAPA.  Basically frequent, recurring fevers, with an unknown cause.  Lovely huh?  We are getting a referral to see a pediatric rheumetolegist and infectious disease specialist in St. Louis and we will find out more then but from what I understand there isn't much they can do.  They treat it with prednisone and eventually if it is bad enough they take out their tonsils - which cures it in about 80% of cases.  It would be nice to find something that will help because when Maggie has an "episode" we are literally down-for-the-count for 3-5 days.  It is awful but, I'm grateful that it is nothing more serious.

9.  What else?
We are keeping busy.  We are really excited that fall is finally arriving and we can begin to move around again and get out of the house.  We have some fun things coming up:  Silver Dollar City Homeschool Day, General Conference, Science Sprout Museum Day, Titanic Museum, and the Friends of the Library Book Sale....hey! It won't be much longer and Gramma will be here for a visit too!   It just occured to me a couple weeks ago too that it is time for my annual Fearlessly Feminine challenge!  I nearly forgot!

So, if you've stuck with me this far thanks for reading...  Have a great weekend!

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