Friday, June 24, 2011

Dinosaur Park 2011

The annual trip to the Park...well can you just hear all the squeals of excitement?  Garrett was just wonderful..."Garrett: Everyone say it with me!!! Let's Go Dinosaur PARK!! Say it, say it with a smile...many smiles...April, are you happy? Look! Look!! I see your smile again!! That is three in a row! You are happy!! This is the Best Day Ever!!"
This was said a few hundred times on the drive up to the third time is was getting a little old, but Garrett was just to excited to let that damper his spirits.

We ran around that park for over three hours.  Garrett was beat red from the heat and the running, but he has a ball. 

Saddest moment: Isaac was being a helper and put sunscreen on Marianne, but didn't rub it all the way in...she got it into her for the rest of the park she was swollen, teary, and just miserable.  So sad.  He felt so bad he just kept hitting his head..."I'm the worst brother ever!"  Mom:  "it was an accident.  They happen."  Isaac:  "Why do they always happen when I'm always around??"  Mom: no comment.

Funny, but not funny moment: Isaac is still feeling bad about Marianne and so he starts to cry a little bit.  Then he rubs his eyes...with the same hands that had the sunscreen on he looks like Marianne...teary, miserable, and SWOLLEN!  He is shouting, "I can't see!!  I can't see!!"  Of course, Kellis just has to comment: "Now you know how Marianne feels!"  Those two went after each other and ran around trying to catch each other for about ten minutes.  (Remember that Isaac is swollen and can't see very was funny).
The family.

Best moment: The girls!!  No complaining, crying, was heaven!  They were polite, helpful, and just had a wonderful time.  It was a blessing.

Hot day?  yes, but we had a slight breeze and so it was bearable. 

Most Awkward moment: I had to go to the hospital to get my shot since I was up in Ogden and so I took all the kids into the hospital.  I'm getting looks, comments like "are ALL THOSE your children?", and snickers.  I just proudly hold my head up high and we politely come in and just get our business done.  Well, I'm taken into a room to have the shot in my hip.  Three of the six kids come in with me and well, one of them was Garrett.  Ok, let's just say that some of the plastic "models" of anatomy were very curious to him.  He would say, "What is this?  Why is there a thing here, and a place there, and WOW there is a baby inside that one...and GROSS!!  Why do you need to have those"... and so forth.  The nurse was very humored and just laughed to herself.  It was an educational moment.  Anyway, it was a little awkward.

Overall, great day!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Sweet Children...They all have their moments.  I mean just look at my Margaret Susanna Giauque Leprechaun! Sweet right?  I need more pictures like this to remind me!
WHY??????   UGH!!! NOOOOOO!  DON'T WANNA!  You did it!  Not me!  No YES, Na-uh, Ya-ha, Na-uh, Ya-ha!!

Ahhh, the chorus of love, right?  I have two family members who are at each other constantly.  Yes, I know it is the age.  Yes I know that it will happen.  And yes, it is a battle.  But, how can you find and ESTABLISH peace in such an atmosphere?  What are the fights about?  "that's mine!" (some silly plastic--broken I might add--thingy).  Or, "they are breathing my air!" Or, "It is my turn!  NO!  IT is MY turn!!  Na-uh!  Ya-ha!!  So after another round of the two going at it in Grandpa's music room, one got a smack on the butt and the other one had to "re-boot" this morning and start over.  This actually put one child back to sleep...which is what they most needed.  And the other, after reading to them, is now in a better mood. 

I understand that PARENTING is full of days like this.  I know that there are choices I can make as a parent to just 1) leave it alone--plug them into something electronic and just sit back, 2) send them to a seat away, or 3) actively research, figure out, and understand the situation (complicated by a lack of theory of Mind with Autism Spectrum Disorders).  I choose 2 and 3, however, I sometimes don't always know the next seat aways help, and I offer a prayer to figure out things, but I don't always get the answer to prayers that FAST.  But, I'll keep on going.  Parenting it the toughest job I'll ever love.  But really, fighting  at 7:02am?  We hadn't even started the whole day. 

Ok.  Breath!  After morning chores, weeding, (reading is finished), pick up, we are going to the Library.  It is a "Library" day, and we are hoping that a distraction will help.  But ultimately I need to figure out what is eating them inside.  Why do they just have to claw, scratch, and fuss at each other?  I know that as a kid I did most of my fighting because I was just drawn into the hurtful words and teasing and just had to fight back.  I guess I'm just seeing a mirror image of what I used to do, but I am determined to do better then that. "kryptonite"--MURMURING/WHINING.  I'll stand strong and take deeper breaths.  Any advice and support?  I'm all ears!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Family Investment for Summer 2011

How many of you are tired of the "I'm bored!", or the "there is nothing to do" or the house falling apart, mommy screaming at everyone to clean up, and asking, why are we all fighting, why is this a mess, why, why, why, why??? (Do any of you have these kinds of words come out of your mouth? I know I do, so I am working on myself and this routine is helping!) I have an age range of 12-1 year and so this covers a lot of smaller families and so forth. I look at it as a 9 week summer camp or "family camp". It is very helpful and the ultimate goal is for the kids to "gain an appreciation for what it takes to run a family".

Anyway, here are some of the things that we do:
I have 4 days of rotation:

1) Service day: this is where we make things for other people, cut the grass for grandparents, clean for your brother or sister, and so forth. Their motivation is for extra computer time on Sat.

2) Adventure days: we can go to the park--anywhere search on the net and find a new one, swim, go to Dino park, Zoo, go on a hike, bike on the trail, and so forth. They love these days and to have an adventure day they need to have completed their reading/weeding for a week (for hikes and parks) or for a month (to go to the Zoo and "big" stuff like that).

3) Home days: sometimes things at home just need to be done, shopping, reading, projects, recover from sickness, tired, and so forth. We have ASL to learn for baby, and we need to work on this daily.  We can watch a movie marathon (only 3 per summer), DEEP CLEAN--closets, and the yucky parts that we all hate, and so on and so forth.

4) Library days: we rotate to the 7 different branches of the Davis county Library system and check out things. It is a new look on a very important part of our summer. IT breaks up the monotony of only going to the same library every week.

WE have a chores schedule (this even happens on Adventure/library/home/and service days):

Each child has a set day for dishes, picking up certain items (in our house it is things like, shoes, socks, papers, dvd, and toys), making the bed, all folding laundry, and so forth. On Sat we do the same and add dusting and vacuuming, bathrooms, and cleaning out the car. They are earning a day at the dinosaur park (Kellis is earning time to go to a movie in June--the park is a little too young for him)

We have a morning routine:
breakfast, reading, then weeding (it is important that they help with this to learn how to work, and help to make the home look beautiful and that it takes work to eat yummy things from that garden--ok, my kids just want the pumpkins for Halloween, but hopefully the idea is there), Then math, then an hour of free time (it is NOT tv, computer, or anything electronic--except of listening to books on cd/tapes).

We do lunch at the same time (to stop the grazing) and then they can have two hours of some TV time. This is all they get for the day. So if they choose a 2 hour movie at 2pm, well, that is it! They are very careful to budget this time. (while they are watching I'm doing the finances, FB, journals, blogging, reading, sewing, or working on a project that I can concentrate on--it keeps me on my toes to not go over as well). Now granted there will be those "summer" days that just drain you, everyone is tired, or sick and I will declare a "movie Marathon day...I have only 3 of those planned for the whole summer, but it is just a guideline.

They have an afternoon routine: following lunch, baby takes a nap, fold laundry, practice music, do craft times, and so forth. Those that have dish night also (and anyone else is invited to help) has to help in preparing the dinner--again cooking life skills are learned here.

They also help in planning the family food for the week, the shopping, the budgeting, and how they can make it taste good. They are becoming VERY aware of how much money it takes each week to feed the family. Kellis and Isaac are shocked. Isaac always says, we shouldn't eat as much so that we can buy legos...I hope he is getting the point.

The three oldest have to help with sorting, cleaning, and making sure that the pockets are cleaned out of the laundry. (case in point: Kellis left a small fountain pen in his CHURCH it looks like a RAINBOW attacked it...he is MAD! He now has to help use some $ to get himself a new made a lasting impression). The three youngest help with folding towels, unders, and sorting into the boys, girls, and mom and dad pile. It is getting easier to do, because one week we didn't do it and no one had clean unders for school...again, lesson learned.
The last thing that they are helping with the planning of the Family trip: food, hikes, route to travel and so forth. It is cool to have their input.

These are just some of the ways that we spend our time together. Sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you all. Thanks for waiting, and I hope that wait was worth it.
Just remember to keep the chores real, the rewards real, and a calendar/schedule so that the kids can mark their progress towards what they are earning (for us, going to places is a huge reward).

***(for example to get Garrett started on this he had to see exactly what he needed to do to mark off each day to get towards the DINOPARK. Last year he needed a small treat (like 3 skittles after each chores was done in order to keep him motivated--I started slowly fading this from 1 for every 2 chores per day and then 1 for every 3 or 4 done per day and now he just works for MARKING off the day that brings him closer to the DINOPARK). That way it won't be vague, but it will be tangible.

Start small (on chores and rewards) if this is your first attempt, and gradually increase it. RE-vamp and tweek things so that it works for your family. You know what is best for them, so be proud of them and when you see your "harvest" for the family for the summer of 2011, it will be worth it. Let me know how it goes, I'm going to let you know my success and failures (that hopefully I learn from and tweek). I think we can all help each other however we can. Good luck and Welcome the summer of 2011 :)!!!