Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Working on the land

We have been readying our land out in Hunt for hunting season: clearing brush, setting up feeders, etc. While we were there on Saturday we moved some rocks and found this guy. When he stretches out he is almost as big as my hand! He is a Texas brown tarantula. We left him under his rock.
Yesterday we told Seth that we had him so that we could eat his belly any time we wanted to (we were holding him down and zerberting him, as all good parents should and do) and he said, "No, you had me to be a hard worker!!" He has such a servant's heart. Most kids would be offended by that idea!
Start them when they're young! He had fun working like Dad.

My smiley little guy. What an easy baby! He has to be - he is always getting yanked out of bed to go here or there, or popped off the breast and set on the floor so I can rescue Blake or discipline one of the older boys. He usually just lays there happily for me to return.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Out with Socialism, in with Capitalism!!

No, this is not a pointed remark towards Obama (although it's certainly apt), this is in reference to the playroom! I read an article several years ago on an approach to getting kids to share toys and at the time I found it unworkable and sort of crazy. But about a month ago, now that Blake's favorite word is "mine" and they are interested in playing with the same toys, I was going crazy anyway listening to them whine and argue. I hate refereeing. I want them to work it out themselves, but I don't want one of them to be the bully (don't assume it's always Seth...). I was always saying things like "Who had it first?" or "Can brother have a turn" or "I know that it's yours but let him play with it. Learn to share. Be happy." For us it wasn't working. Things weren't horrible or anything, but I always felt sort of at a loss as to how to handle the situation each time. They did not play well together.
So, I reread the crazy article and decided to give it a go, at worst it would be a memorable experiment. I decided I'd try it for a month and then blog about it. Maybe it would be helpful, maybe not. Here is what the article proposes: Socialism doesn't work because it encourages selfishness. Having ownership settles disputes. How warm and fuzzy would your heart be if you were forced to share your car with another family? Chances are you wouldn't like it and would struggle with your attitude. Why force your children to do something you aren't capable of? Under the "who had it first, all share" rule, kids are concerned with getting to the good toy first, and when one kid is enjoying a toy, it makes the other kid want it. When they own a toy and decide to share it, it feels good, and they share more.
I followed the steps it layed out. I went through and labeled all the obvious owned toys with an "S" or a "B". I piled all, ALL, the community toys in a pile and called the boys. They took turns picking and I labeled away. They may not play with each other's toys unless given permission. Blake is a little young to always know whose is what, but it still works because Seth will check the initial and then tell him. I explained the rules: "These are your toys. You may decide whether to share or not. You do not HAVE to share anymore. If you leave your toys out, they're fair game." Of course, my huge fear was that they would each be content in their selfishness and never share or play together again.
Results: IT WORKS!! Really well, actually. There is no arguing. Kids love having a solid system. It's the same with Rock, Paper, Scissors -there's just no arguing with the results. Seth checks the initial and moves on, or asks Blake if he can play with it. Seth shares a lot on his own and you can see how good it makes him feel to decide to be nice. They play sweetly together - unless physically hurting each other, but that's another story. More than once in the last month, Seth has come to me and said "Mom, I think you should change the "S" on here to a "B", and I'll give it to Blake!" Oh, to see the kindness in his heart! And I haven't heard "I had it first!" in a good three weeks.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Blake turns 2!

Did you know a tree this small could even be climbed?! When I saw him I said "Friggs! How are you ever going to get back down?!" He said, "Same way I got up here, I reckon." You know you are from Texas if your 5 year old uses "reckon." By the way, he did shimmy right back down with no problems.

We celebrated Blake's second birthday at Katie and Andy's house. We were going down anyway, and didn't want everyone to have to makc a trip the next week, so we had it there. What a great sister-in-law to host a nephew's party! He had a great time and enjoyed the cake.
Seth's first day of Kindergarten. I cried the night before, but the morning of I did fine. My sweet husband went in late to work so that we could all drop him off at school together. Seth loves it, and is doing great. He is so big!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Long time, no blog

I cannot believe it's been a month since I last posted! We have been so busy, and I tried to not let myself blog until the house was clean and all my chores were done. Hence the no blogging. In a month. HA! So, the new system is to work a little time into the day for blogging, as I will rarely be all done with housework. I am working on that though. Organization and lack of clutter is the trial of my life! (Hey, I'm thankful it's that and not so many other things.) My house is clean, mind you, but cluttered. I have been rereading How Not to Be a Messie by Sandra Felton and I had forgotten how much I loved it. The author is funny and I have a sneaking suspicion she crept into my house one day and took notes watching my inefficient attempts to keep things tidy. She talks about distractible people, saying they tend to "start looking at a book while dusting the bookshelf; go to put the socks away and end up re-organizing the sock drawer." I am much better than I used to be, however, and I am generally not embarrassed to have unexpected company, as long as they can overlook a pile of clean clothes. But, with a new kid I am re-committing to a schedule and trying to stick with it. For any fellow Messies out there, the following web sites have been very helpful:

I will catch up blogging on the events of August soon, but I'll leave you with some pics:

What's more fun than shooting at a dead raccoon with your Grammy? Doesn't everyone do that?

Cullen and his sweet smile, complete with spit bubbles.