Friday, April 13, 2012

{Odds & Ends}

My last post was so gloomy, and I'm happy to say my perspective has definitely improved over the past couple of weeks. With the help of others, I have implemented a new chore chart and I cannot express enough how much smoother our house runs now.

The kids each have their own daily chart that is just for their bedrooms. It includes 4 items (each worth 25 cents) that have to be done daily (for a maximum weekly allowance of $5 if all check marks are received). The goal is to have the chores completed each morning, but I have made allowances to the time I check because Annie has learned how to open doors and will literally trash a room in a matter of seconds. The boys have started locking their door when they finish their chores so that she can't go in there before I have a chance to check their room...they learned from experience. =)

I also implemented a weekly cleaning chore that pretty much covers the entire house. There are a couple of exceptions because Teagan & Annie are included on the weekly chores but they really can't do a whole lot. They are responsible for picking up toys scattered throughout the house and putting them away, as well as wiping the glass on the doors and fronts of the appliances in the kitchen. However, they are not old enough to have a bottle of Windex so I have to spray everything for them, and then they wipe it. I went ahead and included them on the chore sheet so that: a) they get in the habit of doing them each week when the others do them; b) eventually they will be big enough to complete their chores alone; c) it keeps them occupied and out of trouble for a bit

I have a kitchen/daily chore chart (items like setting the table, vacuuming, loading/unloading dishwasher, folding laundry, etc) I still need to finalize but once that is completed, everyone will know what to do and when. I am still struggling with laundry but it has definitely improved. I try to do it every other day but finding time to sort it and start it is sometimes challenging. I'm not getting discouraged though as I know once summer gets here & our schedule calms down a bit, I'll have the time to get it done in the morning when I have the most energy.

Because of the new chore schedules, I've had more time to work on my own (fun!) projects since I've been delegating the other stuff. I stripped the paint and am in the process of sanding a dresser for Taryn, I painted a lamp and am in the process of covering a lamp shade, and I planted a flower bed around our new mailbox. I haven't been able to complete the first two projects because of weather and I need more fabric from the fabric store (hopefully this weekend I can finish at least one of them!) I also found time to sort through children's books and brought a box full to be donated. Just by getting rid of 1/3 of our books makes the shelves in the playroom look so much better!

On a personal note, TJ and I rejoined the YMCA.  I started running again, and it felt good to get my body moving, but it wasn't enough. As a "new" member benefit, I was able to meet with a trainer for an hour and we discussed my weight loss goals, she showed me how to use the machines, and we came up with a full-body exercise plan. I am hoping to go at least 4 mornings a week because I honestly feel better and eat less on the days I work out (I work hard to burn those calories & don't want to exercise in vain!) =)

Update on the kids:
Tanner began volunteering at Tender Hearts for an hour each week sorting, pricing, and shelving donation items. He LOVES it as he greatly enjoys physical labor.  Tanner is playing baseball and like all kids, he is looking forward to summer break. He is excited about being homeschooled next year.

Thomas is almost finished with school for the year (only 3 weeks left!) and he just completed his homeschool pottery class. He, too, is playing baseball. This is his first year on "kid pitch" so it's been a transition for him and his teammates. =) This summer he is excited about going to the Wilds for a week with our church. It will be his first time away from family for an exteded period of time and we are praying the Lord will do a great work in his heart while he's there. 

Today, Thomas volunteered with Special Olympics for the first time. He was a little nervous at first but he greatly enjoyed himself. As we were leaving, he made the comment, "I can't wait for next year!" He now understands firsthand that just because someone has a disability doesn't mean that s/he has to be treated like they're dumb. He saw that they have feelings just like he does (one girl got really upset and was crying because she didn't come in First Place). He just patted her on the arm and told her she still did good- it was sweet!

Tristin-Grace is also playing baseball. She has the same coach that she had last year, but unlike last year, she is the only girl on her team. She is preparing to graduate from preschool in about a month. She is registered for kindergarten at our local public school, and she is really excited about it.

All in all, life is going well & God's grace is continuing to sustain me. As I counsel each Wednesday night, I never cease to walk away a little changed for the better. I am enjoying my counselee as we have much in common. I am thankful for all that the Lord has allowed in my life over the past few weeks to better prepare me (& my heart) for our sessions together.

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