Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chore Charts Revisited

I decided at the beginning of the summer that I wanted my kids to learn the value of work.  And, let's be honest, I was sick of cleaning up after them.  So we resurrected the chore charts. Each girl has 6 jobs to do every day, plus a "special help" column if they do something extra that day, like help make dinner or weed or some other non-everyday job.  For Julia we have read a book without help, empty the silverware basket, tidy up toys, schoolwork, clear the table, and make her bed.  For Ella, get dressed without help, put away books, tidy up toys, schoolwork, set the table, and make her bed.  They get a sticker for each completed chore.  100 stickers = a treat. (I'm thinking Slurpees.)

Let me be clear: I was sick of cleaning up all the toys.  I wanted them to tidy up the toys every day.  That was the main objective of the chore chart.  The other jobs were nice and all, but I really wanted those toys picked up.  I also wanted Ella to dress herself, but that was a distant second to the toys. 

If you were to look at those charts today you would see that Julia has a total of 87 stickers, with a whopping 6 of those being from tidying toys.  6.  Ella has 91 total, with 4 in the tidy toys category.  There continue to be toys ALL OVER MY HOUSE.  So much for that.

On the upside, Ella gets herself dressed every day.  On the downside, she still requires someone to watch her get dressed for reasons unbeknownst to man.  And if you try to offer help, you get this response: "We really need me to do this by myself now."  I swear, that kid knows how to push every button you've got. 

Now that I've vented, it's obvious that they've done chores, and I'm very glad for every single one they've done.  Beds actually get made occasionally, Julia will read and write and do math without complaint, and the table is set and cleared most evenings.  They are good kids, even if they scatter toys like nobody's business.

Seeing Red

We saw this on our walk in the woods today. Already? Seriously? What happened to summer?

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Have I mentioned before that I'm the planner in our marriage?  Clark is a great many things, but a planner he is not.  And that's ok, we need one of us to not be stressing out about "a plan," it saves our family from turning into a giant ball of worry.  However when  it comes to my birthday, I want a plan.  I need a plan.  And I've learned that I need to be very clear on what that plan should be ahead of time. 

Knowing we are on a tight budget, I kept my requests fairly simple.  I wanted to be the one who stayed in bed after the girls woke up, and then to have breakfast brought to me, which I could consume in peace while I read a book.  I wanted to go for a hike at the Chippewa Nature Center (and I wanted everyone to LIKE IT).  I wanted homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner, with pie and ice cream for dessert, and I would even be happy to whip up this feast, but I was NOT doing the dishes.  And I wanted my girls to complete each job on their chore chart for that day.  That's it.  That's all I wanted for my birthday. 

I am ever so pleased to report that my family really came through for me.  I got everything I wanted (although there are a few dishes still waiting in the sink, but I'm not worried, Clark will get to them).  Plus flowers.  Plus new sunglasses.  Plus some birthday money with which I purchased an apple corer and a Les Mis CD.  (As an aside, how is it possible that I have made it to 32 and not owned this music??  I think I can call myself a music lover, in fact, and this is some of the most amazing stuff I've ever heard!  Where have I been?)  Julia presented me with a number of drawings that she has been working on throughout the week.  These include Safari Julia, Pirate Julia, and Julia and Mom on a Sunny Day, and they are awesome.  Some of her best work. 

But the real kicker, was Clark had an interview.  On my birthday!  And he has another scheduled for next week.  Who knows if a job will come of it, but I've discovered that there is nothing so rejuvenating as a return of hope.  We are still in the same situation, but there is hope, which lightens the load, and makes everything seem brighter.  Marvelous thing, that hope.

Here's to 32!  I've got a good feeling about it.