Thursday, August 18, 2016

Normal Life

 Between summer trips and school and preschool, Chris' getting ready to start a new school year and getting ready for our Church building's Open House on top of regular responsibilities we kind of almost forgot about our anniversary. We were almost falling asleep around 11:30 on Sat. night when I looked at my watch with a big jerk wondering what the date was because maybe we had totally missed our anniversary! I was both relieved and a little stressed to realize it would officially start in 30 minutes. We both forget the date. Almost every year my thought process goes something like this:  is it the 9th? or the 8th? or the 7th? No, the month is the 8, not 7, like my birthday, but the 9th is my parents so its not the 9th, so it IS the 7th. 8/7: August, 7th.   I didn't want to let Chris off the hook for almost forgetting so when he asked what was wrong, I thought about something else to say about why I would look at my watch so quickly. He said nothing for a minute and then said, "Did we miss our anniversary?" So Chris remembered too... just barely. We hadn't had any plans or gifts or anything and it was a Sunday - which usually are long days with lots of meetings and responsibilities.  Usually, I will get bent out of shape about missing the chance for some celebrating, but it was interesting to exercise the creative juices and try and come up with something special, free, and spur of the moment.  We watched our wedding DVD with the kids and looked through our wedding photo album. Then we put the kids to bed a little early and just enjoyed time together reminiscing about our early years and where our life has taken us.  It was actually a very sweet and memorable anniversary.  (With NO expectations it is impossible to be sad about UNMET expectations.)

We are finding a nice rhythm for life back in school.  The tantrums and tired behavior, while expected and realized, haven't been too overwhelming for me. Our system of work and rewards is relatively the same as last year. Kids have to do a 5 min job, their homework, and piano practice before getting their screen time... (20 min for each kid) they have to at least do their job before watching somebody else's screen time, and on Wednesdays piano lessons count as both their 5 min job and as their piano practice. Also, 6:00 is mandatory homework time if they haven't already done it. For poor choices or really annoying complaining they get extra jobs that they have to finish before the next time they watch screen time. They get smiley faces (our family's "money" that correlates to allowance) for doing homework, jobs, piano practice and taking showers/baths. If you hurt anyone, you give them 5 smiley faces and sometimes earn extra jobs.  If anyone complains too grotesquely about food at dinner they have to wait 5 minutes before they can eat (which doesn't start until they're done complaining).  Monday, is an early dinner day and FHE because Alec has soccer from 6:00-7:30. Tuesdays Gwen has Ballet from 4-5, Wednesdays is Piano Lessons from 3:30-5:00 with cub scouts for Alec (and soon for Charlie) in the middle of that from 4:30-5:30. Thursday night both Alec and Charlie have soccer, Chris has late meetings on Tuesdays and Y/M on Wednesdays and occasionally Branch Presidency visits on Thursdays night. Friday is still (almost religiously) Friday Night Movie Night where we eat pizza in the living room while we watch a family movie.  Freddy's bedtime changed over the summer from 6:30ish to when we start putting the rest of the kids down at 7:15. We go from one to the other, until Alec usually around 7:45 or 8.  The kids read in their beds for as late as they want really, so sometimes Alec and Gwen are up for another hour or so. Charlie usually falls asleep pretty quick. It makes for a tired Gwen some days: 

Freddy does the most annoying thing! He always gets out of bed after we tuck him in, either for naps or bedtime, and lays at the base of his door and falls asleep there. He likes to look under the crack and listen to the (often chaotic) sounds of us trying to get the older kids to sleep. He still has a child lock on his door so he can't open it. Its dangerous because we can't open the door without crushing him. Chris very gentle and has long strong fingers so he slowly lifts and nudges Freddy's sleeping body out of the way inch by inch until he can open the door wide enough to enter and carry him to his bed. I usually end up pushing the door in little bursts until I can squeeze in. I think I've only hurt him once doing this.. but it must not bother him that much because He. Keeps. Doing It. 

The kids were losing too many smiley faces for poor behavior and kept getting mad at us for never letting them buy things that they would see at the store every time we entered one.  Alec's "Its OUR OWN MONEY... and you NEVER let us spend it... why do we EVEN HAVE IT?" struck a chord and we knew we needed to change something.  Warning them of the dangers of Impulsive Buying and trying to teach them about Quality toys, and smart purchases wasn't doing anything if we never let them buy anything. So we instituted something we called Buy Days, that would happen around twice a month.  Days set aside for them to spend their money (hopefully on things they have been thinking about and maybe even priced out before hand). Its been a hit. Both with the kids and in our bank account. ;) And although it hasn't completely stopped the whining for stuff at stores, it has decreased it dramatically.  

Also, we had to try our hand at a legit mohawk before giving Chris a clean cut before his class started - despite being sorely tempted to 'be-that-crazy-professor-with-a-mohawk.'  It seems like every year Chris comes up with a new way to 'be-that-crazy-professor-who..." I love that guy.

In other normal news, Freddy is absolutely lovable. Be he sick, or crazy, or tired he's adorable to everyone in the family. He likes to cover his ears whenever a scary part comes on during a 'moo-mie' or expecting loud noises like the blender, or vacuum, or the kids' remote control helicopters.  And somewhere in my crazy brain I thought it was a good idea to try and potty train him in the middle of a very crazy week. Luckily my sanity returned after an hour so when Freddy asked for a diaper I obliged and we've shelved the potty training for another time.


Katie B. said...

I actually found it super interesting to read the details of your daily schedule, job/practicing/homework requirements, screen time amounts, smiley face allowance system, etc. Things to think about as our boys are getting old enough to have jobs and such. Our little Isaac does the same thing as Freddy (and I think they're about the same age - 2.5?), but we have the door open with a gate up, so it's easier to get him back in bed. :)

MandaMommy said...

Brittney...I forgot you have a blog! How horrible of me. But reading it just makes me want to go running with you and live next door again. Our lives are still similar in so many ways and I think it would be therapeutic for us. :D Knowing someone else is in similar circumstances just kinda feels nice. Plus there's always the added benefit of bouncing ideas off of each other. So whaddya say...wanna move to Hawaii? I miss you guys!!