Thursday, July 17, 2008

Emma and Sam Go Overnighting

So ... Emma and Samantha have been attending Girl Scout Camp all week. They both did it last year (not the same camp) so they believe they are old pros. It is a loooong week for young 7 year olds. They have to be on the bus at 8:00 am and don't get off the bus until 5:00 pm. As the week draws to a close, they are tired girls. So, I was hesitant when they wanted to do the optional overnight tonight.

By all accounts, it really should be a blast for them. It involves a swimming hole (yep, no pool - a real swimming hole), campfire with cook your own fare, campfire songs, and spending the night in a platform tent. Oh - and no indoor plumbing. They have been using the "greenies" all week so they are used to them. Just not in the dark. This required some really careful prep work this morning before they left.

This may be routine talk for some more experienced camping moms but it really took a while to get it drilled into Emma's head. I had to break it down into a few steps before she got all the components.

Me - "OK - When you wake up in the middle of the night and have to go to the bathroom, what do you need to do?"

Emma - " Get my flashlight and my shoes, wake up Samantha and go down the trail to the greenie."

As you can see, they were all set to go bright and early this morning. The moms didn't look so certain. It is a looong time to be without Emma. For me anyway. I wish I could just call and see how things are going. But - I'll hold out - she warned me not to embarrass her anyway.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

For Their Well-Being ....

I saw an interesting article in a magazine last week. I can't recall where exactly or I'd post the link. It was a REALLY good article about parenting. It has always driven me crazy when parents complain they don't get any help around the house from their spouse and/or children. WHAT? Who's running the show? Women really shouldn't do everything. It's not good for anyone to be the only clerk minding the store.

This article addresses that very issue. It suggested, among other things, dedicating a whole day to your children's well being. Here's the good part. It didn't go into building their self-esteem by catering to their every whim or buying them the lastest and most expensive gadget. Quite the opposite. It talked about giving them the tools that will BEST suit them in life - namely - responsibility, respect, and healthy habits (including diet and exercise).

Well, I seized the day. I figured out which issues I really wanted to tackle, made a list in my mind, and went for it. I prioritized what I felt were critical issues for our family and came up with spirituality, responsibility, and healthy habits. Then, I cleared the schedule and we dedicated the WHOLE day to this stuff.

First off - Emma and Grayson are attending vacation bible school for the third week. They are familiar with the church and many of their friends are there. They love it. I encourage it. Claire was not so sure so she and I are spending some great quality time together this week. But today, I decided that one of the healthy habits I wanted to target was sleep. So, we skipped VBS today and everyone slept until 9:00. All of us needed it and I really wanted good attitudes today.

Then we tackled chore day. I've been working on new chore charts - new responsibilities and monetary rewards - so we went over them then set them to work. I decided on one chore for each year with different rewards - all paid on the same day of the week. Then we went over how to do each chore. They actually really can do this stuff. In reality, they are capable of more but I really wanted to pare it all down and focus on one chore for each year. Emma and Grayson are asking for extra credit chores as they want more money each week. We'll have to see how the first month goes. There is the responsibility piece.

Throughout the day, we've talked about all the healthy choices for breakfast and lunch. We went over all the healthy habits that are already part of their day (brushing, bathing, etc) and how to incorporate healthy habits for the environment (someday, God willing - they will remember to turn off the lights) like recycling and donating toys/clothes.

Then, it is off to the library to address the community piece as well as reading as a responsible and healthy habit. This afternoon, Emma and Grayson have swim lessons. Claire and I do our own thing in the pool while we wait for them. That counts as exercise right?

The article sounded so interesting but a whole day sounded so daunting. Now that I've scheduled it in and made it fun for the kids (not to mention I need a few more new releases from a favorite author), it's actually pretty doable. The best part - it didn't cost a thing but time and energy. Which was the other part of the article. The best things for a family really are free.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Fourth of July Celebrations - Continued

Fourth of July Celebrations

Some friends of ours invited us to spend the evening at the local country club. There was lots of kid-friendly activities - including moon-bounces, rock wall climbing, face-painting, glowsticks, sparklers, and of course, fireworks. All five kids decided to get their faces painted with fireworks on them and each of them found at least one activity they really liked to do.

And, how many times can kids dig in the sandtraps on the golfcourse and NOT get into trouble?

For the grownups, it was a complete people-watching FEST. The plaid shorts, polo shirts and designer shoes were in abundance. The weather was perfect, the company was grand, and the kids were tired when we got home. They wouldn't even wash off the face paint.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Birthday Nana!

My mom's birthday was actually June 27th but we wanted to sing and do the whole cake thing when she brought the kids back from a few days in Illinois. Of course, the kids' favorite part was blowing out the candles so they all got a turn - I think we relit the candles four times or so....
And ... the kids rearranged the candles ... I'm not saying how old she is ... just that she is NOT 46.