Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Swimming lessons

What's better than swimming lessons with your best friend on a hot summer day???


(yes, they are the same age)

Well, maybe swimming lessons with your cousin on a hot summer day!

And this is a bit random, but I had to share Avery's crazy tan with you. Boy, that girl does NOT have her mother's skin!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My little garden

I love summer. This summer has been filled with lots of imagination and running. My kids have this innate desire to run everywhere they go. Especially Allie! They've spent hours in our yard with their neighborhood friends and we've had lots of play dates at parks and pools.

And yet, I am finding myself at the end of the summer feeling frustrated and weary. I have spent my summer trying to teach them a little responsibility and a desire to "do their part" around the house. They're 5 and 7 - I think it's time. But it's not working. I still watch them bring out toys to play with in the front yard and then just walk in when they're done. Who does that? How do they not see all their Littlest Pet Shops and their radio sitting in the grass and pick it up? I don't think I'm asking too much.

So we started a "no tv" rule for when their stuff is a mess. What did they do? They didn't watch tv for 2 days. They complained quite a bit about it, but it wasn't worth it for them to actually clean up the mess so they could watch a Phineas and Ferb on netflix.

God is so good. All I have to do is pick up His Word and He calms my heart and begins to show me a better way. I see their laziness and I get angry at the sin. But once again I need to remember their age and be realistic in my expectations. I can't expect them to be perfect and not sin. And I can't expect to be their Holy Spirit. Every time I start in on a lecture, I'm drowning out what He wants to say to them. I love applying 1 Corinthians 3:7 to my parenting: "Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but it is God who does the growing." I can plant and water all I want, but no roots are setting in unless I get out of the way. Once again He reminds me to simply be obedient to what He asks me to do, which is be patient with my children, teach them in a loving manner, direct them to righteousness, and He will do the rest.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Another go-round

I'm excited to share about a new season of my life and our family. Before I had kids, I happily taught at Albany Christian School. I was the eighth grade homeroom teacher. I taught 7th and 8th grade Algebra and Pre-Algebra, Science, and PE, 8th grade Bible, and music for the whole school. Yep, I think that's it...

Well, very unexpectedly I received an email asking if I would be interested in returning to ACS to teach 7th and 8th grade math again. At first I thought it was very unlikely that I'd take the job. I had no desire to be working every day in addition to running my household and raising my children. Anyway, no reason to drag it out - it became apparent that God was leading me down this road after all. I am very excited! Allie will be able to join me and attend kindergarten there while I am teaching in the morning. I will have 2 classes of around 16 students total and an hour of prep. Man, this is going to be good!

I love jr. high students and have really missed working with them. I have often thought about my days of teaching those young teenagers. I came to the conclusion quite a while ago that I would be a very different teacher, now that I've had children. I can't wait to try out my "sea legs" now :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

an additonal thought to Rowzee Bucks..

I wanted to add one more little thought for those who have already read the post on our Rowzee Bucks. Not all of our rewards cost me money. A few of the coupons are free to me - like "30 minutes of extra snuggle time with Mom before bed" (not kidding, Avery bought that the first time in was in the store!), and "You decide what Mom makes for dinner" (Avery bought that one, too!). Allie thought about buying the dinner one last week and had decided we were going to have milkshakes. She opted for Jamba with Daddy instead :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rowzee Bucks

I've been wanting to post about our little reward system we have going on in our house and we had such a good night last night as a result of it, that I thought I had to share about it. We borrowed an idea from a friend who has "done raised" her kids and they've have turned out pretty awesome, so we thought she was a good source for advice and suggestions :) Her family had a system called "Bernard Bucks", in keeping with their last name. They used fake money and rewarded their kids for good behavior. Beyond that, I'm not sure what their rewards were or how easily they doled out the dinero. I took the idea and made it my own.

Rich wanted to call ours "Rowzee Rubles". We decided it was a little cheesy. So we just call ours Rowzee Bucks. I bought a couple packs of fake dollars at the dollar store and I keep them in my kitchen cupboard. I also keep a little "wallet" for each girl - they are little plastic note card holders. We give out Rowzee Bucks for anything from an extra kind word or going out of their way to help out, to helping Dad weed in the yard. Avery has been working on a ton of Scripture memory this summer as a participant in our local Bible Bee. Every Saturday she gets a Rowzee Buck for every verse card she can recite perfectly, as a way of reviewing and rewarding her efforts. Allie gets one for each verse she can say, too.

So, as for the rewards... I have a bin with various prizes all priced. I don't spend more than $2 or $3 for most of them. I also have coupons for different things the girls can buy, such as a date with Daddy to Jamba Juice or a trip to the carousell. It depends on how much the prize costs me as to how much I "charge" for them. A $1 ball from Walmart cost the girls 5 Rowzee Bucks. A date with Daddy to dinner at the mexican restaurant cost them 30 Rowzee bucks. We open the Rowzee Buck Store most weekends if we get around to it.

This system is working really well for us. It is hopefully teaching them the value of money and the value of saving for something they'd like to buy in the future. It gives me a chance to reward the girls with something tangible when I'm pleased with their behavior and a chance for them to earn something. I will say that there are times when I take away Rowzee bucks, too. I try not to do it very often, but there are times when it seems like an appropriate punishment.

Last weekend the girls each bought a date with one of us with their earnings. Avery bought a date with me to Limeberry (self-serve frozen yogurt) and Allie bought a date with Rich to Jamba Juice. Monday was a bit of a long day and Avery had had an especially hard day with me. After dinner we got in different cars and headed off on our dates. Rich says it was the best time he's had with Allie, just the two of them. Avery and I talked of school coming up and she crawled into my lap after she finished her yogurt since it had made her cold and we professed undying love to each other once again and all was well. We had such a good time, puts me in mind to start a regular date night once a month. We could switch kids every month. I'm thinking the first Monday of the month and spend no more than $5 on each date.

Thank God for my husband and kids! I'm humbled at the thought of how much He's blessed me. He is so good!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Adios... wait, that's Spanish...

Well, the two weeks is over. We had a sweet 15 year old "daughter" who hardly spoke a word to us. I hope it's not indicative of our future with our own teenagers! Somehow, I don't think a loss for words is going to be our problem...

Ayumi loved our dog! I'm so glad. It could have been a big problem, since he is so darn friendly. Luckily, she was most comfortable when he was around to pet and play with.

We took her to the aquarium on her last day with us. I'm sure her lack of a smile has to do with knowing it was almost time to leave us...

If you come to America, we figured you have to roast a marshmallow and try a s'more! She loved it!

This is the last morning as we were seeing her off.

One last hug!

The 2 weeks didn't exactly end up how I thought. Actually, a lot of it did. I expected our student to not know a lot of English and for my kids to possibly overwhelm her with their enormous personalities and crazy antics. That was pretty much how it went. But I didn't expect to be dealing with a family of pukers and have to ship her off for a couple of nights to keep her from catching it. Thank the Lord Ayumi and I both were spared from the really awful bug that the girls and Rich caught.

It was such a good experience, sickness and all. God was in it and I'm good with that! Maybe we'll even do it again sometime...

Monday, August 1, 2011


Our sweet exchange student, Ayumi, has been with us for one week. For my mathematically-challenged readers, that's halfway through her 2-week stay. Overall, I'm glad she's here! It was awkward at first, since we can't have a whole lot of conversation. She doesn't speak much English, but we anticipated as much. She has had 3 years of English class in her school in Tokyo. I figure it's a little like me going to stay with a Mexican family back when I was in high school. Being surrounded by it and expecting to understand quick conversations is much different from learning nouns and phrasing in a classroom setting.

She has a very sweet spirit, though, and is a fun addition to our family. Allie has especially made it her goal to talk to and interact with Ayumi. She asks her questions all the time and I have explain again that Ayumi can't understand most of what she says! But Ayumi keeps trying and does her best to answer her back :)

Origami lessons.

I'm writing this in the middle of the night because I'm up with Avery. Allie got sick two days ago and threw up a whole bunch. I was hoping that was all we were going to have to deal with, but Avery has it now. Is it too much to ask God to not let Ayumi get it??? Rich and I are of the mind that her parents have shelled out a lot of money for her to get to be here and we really want to make her stay as interesting and enjoyable as possible. I would feel soooooo awful if she were to spend a day throwing up and missing out on all the activities the organizers have planned. But nothing is a surprise to God and for reasons I may never know, He chose to let my kids get this tummy bug at this time. So I'll do what I can and get through what He's got in store for me!