Saturday, June 30, 2012

100 acre woods birthday

Our third boy, Tayton, is in love with Winnie the Pooh. Pooh was one if his first words and something we knew from very early on in his life that he really liked. I however am not a fan, (does that make me crazy?) Everyone of my older kids has gone through a Winnie the Pooh phase, and as much as it makes me cringe, and no I don't have any idea why it does this to me, I love my kids and I support them in their loves, even if it is Winnie the Pooh. Tayton however has been the one that loves it the most. He walks around the house singing "Hunny, hunny, hunny" (from the new Pooh movie). And gets very excited when he see's anything relating to Pooh (he also calls all of the Pooh Characters, Pooh!). Of course it was only fitting that his second birthday party be a Winnie the Pooh theme! I search pinterest and came up with lots of fun ideas, I mixed some of my ideas and tweeked some of the ideas I saw and came up with a Pooh Party that I was rather happy with.

His Invites were little red balloons because Christopher Robin carries around a little red balloon.

I spent several days working on his cake, and watching a million and one 6 different YouTube videos. When all was said and done, my fondant didn't take right and was very moist so the cake didn't turn out exactly like I wanted it too, but I was still pretty happy with the results, because after all this was only my 4th cake using fondant and since I am a cake expert  have no professional knowledge or skill whatsoever when it comes to making cake, I'd say it turned out pretty good.
 I got lots of honey flavored treats and yellow, red, and orange goodies to put out to complete the Pooh themed snack table.

 I made little signs to go with each one. That part was a pain in the behind because I am not a frequent line cutter and I couldn't find the blade for my paper slicer, so in the end I just dealt with the fact that the lines were not straight. It was a two year old's birthday party, none of the kids would know the difference anyway, right?

 I love this quote from Winnie the Pooh "As soon as I saw you I knew an adventure was going to happen." I knew from the moment they laid Tayton in my arms that he was going to bring a whole new dynamic of adventure to our home. Three boys just screams adventure doesn't it?

 I made some amazing Pineapple Lemonade:
2 liters of sprite
1 bottle of pineapple juice
1 cup full of country time lemonade mix
1 jar of maraschino cherries (with out the juice)
3 cut up lemons
2 tablespoons of honey

This stuff was amazing and was gone so fast. I just winged it and added some pooh bear hunny, some yummy yellow and red fruit for pooh colors and it turned out amazing!

Tayton is a banana lover so I made some bananas dipped in honey and then dipped in peanuts. It was pretty yummy, I think Tayton ate all of those and no dinner.

The cute birthday boy playing with some bubbles.  (holy cow!! do you see the foot prints on the chair behind him? It was from the kids at the party. Its because our table stinks and needs to be cleaned a million times a day and I don't give it the attention it needs, because well I have four little kids requiring much more needed time and love. Geez, guess I'm not perfect after all.)

Getting ready to blow out the candles. I'm not sure what face I am making so just ignore me and look at the cute little kids.
 Our little man loves puppy's, so we got him a puppy that barks and licks you. Can you see the excitement on his adorable little face? It was priceless.
 And I just had to throw this one in there. Its my sweet birthday boy on his big day! And my sweet little angel with him, these two are best buds, and I absolutely love it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The ugly truth....

.....about Post-Partum Depression!

All my life I have been a mind over matter type of person. If I hurt I would think, it will go away soon, it can't last forever. If I had a headache I would just deal with it and continue on with life. I grew up with a mother who had (still has) bipolar disorder. She was constantly trying to put her problems off on me and would tell me I had it too and try to make me take medicine. I would hide the pills under my tongue and spit them out in the toilet after she left. This type of childhood left me thinking the worst things about clinical/mental conditions. I watched my mom and thought she should have more control over her condition instead of it controlling her. I hated that she wanted me to have the same problems she did (wouldn't you NOT want that for your kid?.) I'm just a strong willed person and when she was in her depressed mood and I called her out for the things that she did that I didn't agree with, like trying to kill herself, she and I would butt heads, A LOT. Over the years I came to resent psychiatrists and most forms of pain killers because I saw how much "help" they all were to my mother. 

When I as 16 I started getting some pretty severe kidney stones and had multiple surgeries and different tests run to figure out why I was getting so many. I've been put on several diets but I still, 11 years later, get some pretty intense stones 2-3 times a year, and I usually pass 2-3 every single week. Each one hurts, but I, the mind over matter person, have come to except them and live with them, not love them, just live with them. I don't let them knock me on my feet, I don't wallow in the pain or let it make me miserable. I have come to embrace them and think of them as a test and trial that my father in heaven has given me to teach me things on this earth, in my journey through life. I chose to find joy in it, to learn from it and to except the things I can not change, because of course if this is a test, the stubborn, strong willed person I am, I WILL NOT let myself fail. 

 However this past December I encountered a trial like nothing I have ever experienced before. Up until then I had given birth to 3 amazing boys, the first one had colic and I was learning how to be a parent and so I was overwhelmed. Handsome hubby left for a deployment shortly after baby #2 was born, so I learned how to be a single parent to two kids and baby #3 had so many health problems after he was born that I didn't have time to think about anything else except to just survive and find joy in the trial I had placed before me of raising a very sick, very tiny little boy. Of course with all three I went through some days when I felt inadequate and under qualified, but the feeling quickly passed when the baby would smile, or laugh or one of the other kids would come and give me a hug, I had the baby blues on occasion, nothing out of the ordinary. So now fast forward to last December (my favorite month of the year) when we had our baby girl. I had waited so long to have her. I shopped like crazy for her and spent so much time day dreaming about what it was going to be like to have a baby girl. I cried when I found out it was a girl, because I was so overwhelmed by all the things I was going to get to share with her from my childhood (like barbies and babies and princesses and my little pony), that I didn't get to share with my boys. Her labor was the longest 18 hours (the longest of mine so far) of my life and it was all done without an epidural.

After she was born, I held her and was overwhelmed with how much I loved her. The first few days flew by in a blur, I remember just kind of going through the motions. She was a great baby. She slept all the time, ate really well and hardly fussed at all. She was just the perfect baby. But something was missing, I was missing, just going through the motions. I was anxious all the time, and my thoughts were all racing in a constant blur. I was on the verge of tears or full out crying ALL THE TIME. At first I thought I was just tired, having 4 kids can be very exhausting. I would never let myself think about the words post-partum depression, because that was something that would NEVER happen to me. I fought the thoughts in my head all the time. I would tell myself to just smile, at least act like you are happy. Some days I didn't even have enough fight in me to put on a happy face, so I just went through the motions like a robot. The battle raged on in my head and I wanted so badly to be happy. I would find myself crying for no real reason and when I tried to talk myself out of it, to make myself happy, it just made it  worse. Of course I should be happy, I would think. I have 4 beautiful kids, an amazing husband, a wonderful house, and awesome group of friends, the gospel, so why can't I be happy, and of course thinking all of that would just make me hate myself even more, because it was all perfect, I was just the messed up one.  I never wanted to harm myself or our kids so I told myself I wasn't depressed, it was just more intense baby blues.

One day however, I took my son to school and was in a daze the whole way  there, in fact I don't even remember anything about the drive to school or the drive home. When I got home I sat on the couch, held my baby and cried, full on massive tears that came from somewhere deep within me. There were no thoughts in my head at that time, I wasn't even in my head, I was lost, completely lost and hurting. I thankfully did remember to go get my son from school, but again I don't remember the drive there or back. And when we got home from school I sat back down on the couch with a blanket, turned on the tv and cried some more, in fact I cried for almost 3 hours straight and didn't even realize it. When my husband got home and found our kids running free and me sitting on the couch looking very messed up he was in shock. I hadn't wanted to talk to my husband before this point because he is a lot like me in the sense of mind over matter, and I couldn't really explain it to him with any real solid reasons, because I didn't even know why. So of course this all came as a surprise to him and he did the best he could for me that day. I think this is when I really realized that this was more then just the baby blues.

My poor husband didn't know how to help me. After a couple of weeks of living with me in this state, he kept telling me that I should get over it, that I could talk myself out of it, so I just quit telling him. I put on a brave face while he was home and dealt with the battles in my head all on my own. I didn't feel like I could tell anybody else because that would mean admitting I was "weak, and couldn't do it." (I was VERY, VERY wrong in that assumption.) The big "nail in the coffin" so to speak was when our sink disposal broke and overflowed right before he was headed to work. He told me to block off the area and wait for about 8 hours till our neighbor was home from work and could come fix it. Up until this point I was fighting hard with myself. I was fighting my depression. I was fighting my heart and my head. I wanted to be there for my kids and enjoy life with them. I lost it at that point and just cried and cried. We had a nice, big fight, and during this fight I poured my heart out to him and told him how tired I was of fighting. I told him that I had been fighting every day, and that it was exhausting. I was so exhausted and so overwhelmed with everything that was going on in my head. I was tired of fighting by myself. I was tired of hurting. I was tired of missing all the joy in life. It scared him. He had never seen me like this before and had never known how bad I really was. His usual immediate reaction to things he doesn't like or doesn't understand is anger, and this time was no different, which made it even harder for me to talk to him. We talked fought for a long time, it was probably our worst fight ever. Noah was scared and worried about me and our kids and he did not know how to handle those emotions. He had a lot of preconceived notions to let go of, just like I had had to do several months before.
 After we both cried a lot, and yelled way too much, and finally after we both calmed down and were able to start to actually talk to each other and listen to each other we both felt a lot better. I was able to open up to other people, to talk to my doctor, to talk to my friends and find the support system that I needed to help me make it through the last part of my depression. I didn't want to take medicine, (not because I don't believe in it, because sometimes in these situations it is necessary, but because after seeing my mother abuse it for so many years, I made a decision years ago that I would try other options for things before turning to medicine.) so having a support system was vital to my ability to continue fighting.

 My baby was 4 months at this time and I felt like I had missed ALL of her tiny newborn baby things. Its really kind of crappy when you think about it, they are only a baby for so long and when you are depressed and you can't focus on that, you miss it. I missed A LOT over those 4 months. I felt like Christmas was just another day, I didn't find any joy in pretty much anything the whole month of December. I tell my husband all the time now that I can't wait for Christmas this year because for me, the real me, its been a year and half since the last one.

By 5 months my depression was leaving, and it was easier for me to find the joy in all the daily tasks and find joy in the journey. I learned a lot about myself during this time, I learned a lot about how to support others who are going through this same thing. I learned that sometimes all you can do is fight and sometimes it's really hard to find joy in the journey and also that those times pass and that if you can learn to love them (after you have gone through them) that you will look back on that season of your life and see how much you have grown. My opinion on mental illnesses is different now. I still think people with them should fight it, because I know I sure did, but I also know that some times there are days when you don't have any fight left in you and you just have to survive. 

I turned to the Lord a lot during this time and pleaded for him to take my burden away, and while he didn't take it away, because obviously I had some learning I needed to do, he did help ease it. When I went to him with tear stained cheeks and could hardly speak because I was so overcome with feelings of failure and pain, he knew my heart. He comforted me and held me up through it all. I couldn't have made it through if it wasn't for him. He knew who I really was, and what I was going through. He knew that I was a good mom and knew that I could make it through, because he knows me better then I do. When all I could see was the pain and the darkness and couldn't see a light at the end of the tunnel, he knew that that it would come, he knew that the darkness would soon be lifted and that the light would shine brighter then it had before, and he knew that I could make it to that day. It wasn't easy. It wasn't fun. But I grew so much. I changed so much and learned that sometimes its always darkest before the dawn. And what a beautiful dawn it was.

My baby is 7 months tomorrow and sometimes I have survivors guilt. I feel bad for all the things I missed out on with my kids. I feel bad for all the meals I didn't cook, for all the fun things I failed to do. I feel bad for not making Christmas more meaningful and for not being an attentive, loving, supportive mom for so many months. I look back and realize that I made some mistakes, but I did fight. We did secret Santa's at Christmas and we took the boys to do as many fun things as we could, I still went through the motions but my heart was never there, I forced myself to do those things every time and hated myself for not being happier during those moments, but I fought and to me that's what matters. I learned what a fighter I really am. I learned fighting sucks, but sometimes you just have to do it and I have learned that there are so many many bright days ahead and that while I can, I will make the most of it and I will find joy in my journey. I have learned that we never know when and what trials will face us, so when we are faced with the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope we dance. (man, I love Lee Ann Womack go here , to listen to the song) 

These kids are worth fighting for!
This handsome guy is worth fighting for!
And I am worth fighting for!

Here is a list of the most common symptoms:
Apathy or loss of interest or pleasure in activities
Lethargy, lack of energy
A sense of detachment from the baby
Persistent feelings of sadness
Feelings of anxiety or panic (many women don’t realize that persistent anxiety is one of the signs of post-partum depression)
Feeling worthless, hopeless or helpless
Changes in appetite, sleep patterns
Loss of interest in sex
Withdrawal from family or friends
Feelings of harming the baby or yourself
If you think you may have post-partum depression I encourage you to talk to people. Don't fight it alone, you need a support system. Talk to people who love you and remember you are not alone. You are strong, you can do it, and you are worth fighting for.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

inspiring words

I just love this quote and wanted to share!

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother... Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply and, in keeping with the devotion she has for God and her husband, prioritizes them above all else." Elder M. Russell Ballard

Just another day in paradise

Today was just an average day in the Jenkins home. Nothing particularly exciting happened and there were not really any long term, mood changing, meltdowns. So all in all I'd say we had a pretty good day, minus Landon's freak accident with the sand and cedar chips. I got  to be surrounded by 4 amazingly beautiful kids and got my sexy hubby for a few hours this morning too. Not to shabby of a day

I changed 8 poopy diapers

Did 2 loads of dishes (what? wait, hold the phone, when does that ever happen?)

Broke up 5 fights between the oldest two

Packed a few boxes (for our move in exactly 4 weeks)

Did two loads of laundry

Dinner got on the table an hour late, (we had company show up unexpected) but I also made Landon's favorite, Tacos, so I guess that makes it okay.

Made our Meal Menu for the next two weeks

Went to the grocery store to buy food for the menu

The boys got early birthday presents in the mail from our amazing friend Kirsten and they had a ball playing with their new treasures.

I ran out of my allergy medicine and spent the day itching like a mad woman

Fed this sweet girl peas, and she made some of the funniest faces I think I have ever seen her make, needless to say I'm not sure she liked them. I guess after a few more tries we will find out for sure.

Vacuumed the downstairs and had the two oldest fight over whose turn it was to vacuum (both wanted too), so in the end I barely had to do any of it myself. Landon did under the furniture and Braddoc did the floor.

Tayton told his daddy I love you for the first time (he told me for the first time last night when I put him to bed). 

I swept the kitchen floor twice (that NEVER happens, I'm lucky if I get once a day)

Cleaned out some of the junk in the garage

Made nachos for lunch (and no one ate them, even though they asked for them)

Cleaned up a spilled cup of water (how is it that one tiny cup, with a teeny tiny bit of water in it makes a HUGE mess?)

Braddoc fed Aowyn a bottle for the first time, and LOVED it, you can't really tell from this pictures, lol they both look a bit miserable, but I cross my heart and hope the die  (ok maybe not that serious) promise you they both loved it.

I found out this little miss is afraid of the dark. She hasn't been wanting to take naps lately, she took them great in her car seat when we were at Disneyland and falls asleep like a champ in the living room. However, lately when I put her in her bed she cries and cries. So by divine revelation, I had the thought to take her curtains off her window, because maybe she didn't like the dark during the day, (she is fine at night) and low and behold she took a nap, a TWO hour nap. No more 20 minute, cat napping baby! (I hope) 

Played Tarzan with the boys and Braddoc wouldn't answer to anything but Tarzan for two hours.

I kissed some adorable chunky baby thighs (have I mentioned how much I love having a chunky baby?)

I dried 7 different episodes of tears

"Punished" 4 different inanimate objects for hurting my babies (that always seems to dry their tears faster)

Held my babies 12 times just because they wanted some love

Landon and Tayton both helped clean up the kitchen after dinner (I put on some music and we "jam out" {as Landon likes to say}, while we clean.) 

Braddoc however did not help clean, instead he did this....

Tayton hung out with me while I cooked dinner, drew some pictures and talked to me A TON. "Zat pizza?" (pointing to the stove) Me: "No, that's Taco's" T: "Ohhhh tacos? hmmm." Today was a lot of first words for Tayton, I love this stage because he is like a little sponge and soaks in everything and repeats everything. 

I went to answer the door while cooking dinner and came 
back to find Tayton standing on the counter, his response when he saw my face, "hi, I cute!" (does it make me a bad mom that I left him there long enough to grab the camera? I told him to not move, that makes it okay right?) :O/

I also had little boys standing right in front of me, act like they couldn't hear a word I said... hmm that happens EVERY DAY.

Since dinner was so late, we opted to forgo baths and instead I handed out washrags and we all washed our faces than feet (and yes in that order, I'm not that bad of a mom. At least I don't think. The kids loved it, so that's all that matters, right?)

I held a very sweet, very sleepy, doe eyed, little Braddoc, who has 8 freckles on his cheeks right under his eyes, in my arms as he drifted off to dream land and I got to kiss his cheek as I carried him up to bed (man that kid is getting heavy).

As I sit back down to watch a movie with Landon I rest my head back on the couch and look up at the ceiling and see the piece of streamer that I have STILL not taken down from Tayton's birthday party that was 3 weeks ago. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

And then after the songs were sung and they were all in bed and the house was still and I was patting myself on the back for a nice pleasant day, I realized we forgot to brush our teeth and say our family prayer. Errr okay maybe today wasn't a complete success, but there is always tomorrow for me to perfect being the perfect mom  try again (and tomorrow night daddy will be home, two great minds working together can't possibly forget that kind of stuff, can they?).

At least my babies still love me and don't judge me too badly for those kinds of mistakes.

Lesson learned?

I tell my boys to not run around outside naked, I think at almost 4 and 6 that they should probably have some clothes on, (am I terrible, tyrant of a mom for that?).  But low and behold they still do it, I mean its 100 million degrees outside here in hot Vegas, so who can blame them? I went outside today and my beautiful nail polish that I painstakingly applied (okay maybe I just applied it while watching Back to the Future last night), bubbled in the heat. REALLY!? Its that hot!? Summers in Vegas are like winters in Alaska, no body goes outside because its too cold there, and nobody goes outside because its too hot here.

My kids are feeling the summer heat blues and are going stir crazy, so I told them to got outside and play in the sprinkler. We have synthetic grass so it has to be watered down because it it so stinking hot it feels like you are stepping on hot coals. Every time I go outside, even just to walk the two feet, to turn on the sprinkler I am doing the hot potato dance (why don't I ever remember to put on shoes?). This time the boys actually listened and went out to play in the sprinkler, and even turned it on themselves. YEAH!!! no burning feet for mom. I hear them laughing and running around in the water and sneak a peek out the window and there they are,  both of them naked as a jail bird. What the what?! Okay I said play in the sprinkler, which means get your swimsuit out of the bag that is sitting right there by the garage door, ready for you to wear. But apparently I actually needed to say that part.

Less then 30 seconds later I hear Landon screaming at the top of his lungs, you know the cry that every mother knows is the real deal! Not the, my brothers picking on me, or I think I MAY be hurt and want your sympathy cry, but the real full on, I'm in pain cry. I go out to see him and he can't even catch his breath long enough to tell me what happened. I kneel down and hold him, (him soaking wet, which means I'm now soaking wet) until he can tell me whats wrong. Apparently he slipped while going up the slide and fell on the sand and cedar chips with his little bare naked bottom. I turn him around, and sure enough his butt is covered in sand, cedar chips and blood. Poor guy cut up his entire backside and had sand in places that sand really should never find. I got him cleaned up, calmed down and sat down on the couch (laying on his side, because man, laying on a bruised bum is not fun.) As soon as I got him calmed down he says to me, "Mom since I got hurt can I have some food?" Ohhhh boys, always thinking about food.

Well little man, I hope you learned your lesson about not playing outside naked. Sand in the bum is not a good feeling, that's why mommy doesn't enjoy the beach ( I know, I know, I'm crazy and should be checked into a home.)

Its times like this where I feel like I'm really a stay at home MOM. My job in my house is not to clean up everything, cook all the food, or run all the errands, that's all just part of being an adult and a parent. As a stay at home mom, my job is to be first and foremost a MOM. My wonderful hubby always tells me that our kids come first and if all the rest isn't done everyday, its okay, because its usually because I put in overtime at my real job. I love that! I love that he is so supportive and totally helps with all the rest of the parenting stuff. I love my job as a mom. I love being there to wipe up the tears, mend boo boo's, tell stories, give big bear hugs and sweet kisses, to play games and hold my little babies when they just need some love.

Sometimes though I feel like there is not enough of me to go around. I saw a pin on pinterest that said "Being a mother is like being pecked to death by a chicken." Yeah its kind of morbid, but true too. There is always some one there who needs me, always someone who wants something and the word Mom is probably the most used (yelled, whined, said with love) word in our house. And while sometimes its seems overbearing and never ending and sometimes I just need a little break from it all, to just be Aurie for a bit, I wouldn't change a thing about it. I know that one day when those little voices are all grown up and not needing me so much anymore that I will miss it more then anything in the world. I know I'll miss little naked bums running around in the yard and I'll miss them asking me for food 8 trillion times a day. I know I'll miss being a stay at home MOM, the rest of the stuff will always be there, in smaller doses of course. So Ill enjoy "being pecked to death by little baby chickens" while it's still happening.

big and beautiful

I love bows! The bigger the better. When I found out I was having a girl, bows was one the of the first things I bought. Some may call me crazy, but I think they are just plain adorable! One of my friends asked me if I was training her to be the Princess of England because she wears some pretty insane hats and accessories, and well or course, what little girl shouldn't be a princess?

 I found a site on etsy, just by mistake one day, that was everything I dreamed of, it was like my bow mothership calling me home. (is there such thing? If there is I sure found it.) Here is where you need to go to check out this incredible woman and her incredible talent for making the mother load of beautiful bows. She makes each one by hand when its ordered, so each one is an original. I'm in love I tell you, In love!!!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A penny saved is a penny earned....

So we are trying to teach our oldest (almost 6), Landon, about earning money, saving money and owning your work. This process started when I asked him to go clean his room one day and he threw a MASSIVE fit in which he told me he wasn't the garbage man, that I was. He said it wasn't his job to clean his room and clean our house, that is was mine and his dads and that he was just a kid and kids dont have to clean. I am not sure where he got any of this from, because he has ALWAYS had to help us clean, from the time he was big enough to walk he had to pick up his messes. I think it was just one of those heat of the moment things filled with passion from some unknown place, but in any event it took me by surprise and I sat down with Noah (handsome hubby) and worked out a plan to teach Landon differently, to show him how to clean and to take ownership of things. I have to admit at times its like pulling teeth, at times I want to abandon the whole process all togther, but I guess as the saying goes, Anything worth doing is worth doing right. He is the kid who throws fits all the time about, what feels like, everything. He is also a very sweet loving, helpful at times kid, it just feels like the tantrums and fit throwing out weigh everything else. Trying to get him to earn money is like pulling teeth, I mean who would have thought? A kid not wanting to earn money to buy toys? Crazy!!

He earns $5 (his age) every week for cleaning his room. At first I wanted his room to stay clean all week in order for him to get his money, but I wanted him to have ownership of something in the house and his room is of course the perfect place for that, so his room only has to be clean by Family Night on Monday night if he wants to earn the money, no consequences are given (except that he doesnt earn his money) if Family Night rolls around and his room is not clean. Now I am a CLEAN FREAK about messes, so walking into his messy room drives me insane and I have to fight every instinct I have to not stop and pick it up for him (I mean after all what does that teach him?). He has learned (hallelujah) since this earning money journey has begun, that it is much easier to keep his room clean and to pick up after himself on a daily basis then it is to rush and clean a room full of mess 10 minutes before family night begins. My least favorite part of this though has been the ownership part, I cringe and want to sit down and have a 5 hour talk with him about it (hahaha, can you imagine how well that would go over?), when Family Night rolls around and he decides that he just doesn't want to earn money this week, because the daunting task of cleaning his room doesn't seem worth the $5. Oh child how I wish you could understand that when we go to the store and you want to buy every toy that you see, that you have to actually clean and EARN your money for it, in order for you to be able to buy it. We have found that letting him go browse through the store looking at toys and picking out a toy and seeing the price has helped him to want to work a bit harder to earn money, it gives him a tangable goal, instead of just hearing mom and dad droning on and on about saving your money for the ten billionth time.

Each week we have certain chores that he can do for extra money. Cleaning up trash in the yard, vacuuming (the stairs or other BIG jobs, he has to help vacuum the rest of the house just because) , cleaning the playroom (usually a mess caused by his younger siblings), cleaning the kitchen (not including cleaning up after dinner, which is just part of being a family), all earn him extra money. Its usually only $.50 per chore (depending on how messy it is) and sometimes, when he has a certain toy in mind, he will ask to do chores and will do multiple ones a day.  Now he has to help with the house hold chores, like cleaning the family room, doing the laundry, cleaning off the table and picking up his messes, and for these things he doesnt earn money because, in our house, this is just part of being a family. I keep a daily tally and pay him out at the end of the week (or rather on Monday night at Family Night). He needs to see his tally, so I put it on the family calendar and he asks me (sometimes multiple times a day) how much he has earned, which is totally fine because, well who doesnt want to see where their hard work has gone, and for my almost 6 year old this is in terms of money.

I would like to say this plan has eliminated ALL of the tantrums at the store when he wants to buy and toy, but I would be lieing. It has stopped the "but every parent buys their kids toys, but you!" fit because its his own fault that he doesnt have the money to buy said toy (because we, as the parents, give me all the chances to earn the money to buy the toy), the fit has now just turned into "I need money! why does this have to cost so much." And I have to say I much prefere these fits because he is taking ownership of the fact that he needs to earn the money and is realizing how much things cost, now I wish I could just make him be the kid who saves, instead money burns a hole in his pocket.

We also give our almost 4 year old the chance to earn money, but most of the time he doesnt care about it and doesnt care about getting the toys at the store. I think this has more to do with his autistic nature then with anything else, but I guess time will tell.

My favorite part of all of this is when Landon has showed me his loving brother side when it comes to his money. Yesterday we were at the store and he had $5 left over from his money that he had made to use on our latest trip to Disneyland. He pays 10% in tithing (for church) and 10% goes to his mission fund, we are also working on him putting 10% into a savings account but he is not on board with that, so after that he had $4 left. He used that $4 to buy each of his brothers a box of cookies and then with his $2 left he search the store for some toy to buy (he of course found nothing). When he realized $2 was not enough he found a toy he wanted to save his money for and we worked out a money saving plan. As we are leaving he threw a fit because he wanted to go to the Dollar Store to buy a toy, we brought up his money saving plan and he decided to buy a chocolate bar instead with the change he had in his wallet and save his $2 for the Batman Jetpack toy.

We have tried a million different ways to help him learn about earning and saving and this has worked best for us. What works best for you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

these two have a bright future together

I knew from the minute I found out we were having our surprise baby #4 when baby #3 was only 7 1/2 months (meaning babies 18 months apart), that they would be best friends-or at least I hoped they would be.
Tayton adores his little sister, and she adores him. Its weird going from having Braddoc (#2) who we joked was like Lenny from Of Mice and Men, who OVER loves on Tayton and Aowyn, to having Tayton who is mostly soft and gentle and very "fatherly". I loved this sequence of pictures because it shows their brother sister relationship of love.
Aowyn was getting fussy while we were playing in the garage and front yard, so she makes a few little peeps.
 Her knight in shining armor runs over with his camera in hand ready to make her laugh and take her picture to cheer her up (hmmm, who do you think he got that from? surely not me!). He tells her "cheese wee wee" and she gets shy and says "beat it kid, Im tired, I look sleepy, this is not the time to be taking my picture." All the while she really is saying, "me? you want to take a picture of me? Of course you do, cause Im sooo cute!"
 So Tayton goes in and give her love and says "hi, wee wee, ahhh."
 Now that I have you calm Im going to take your picture again, and you are GOING TO LIKE IT!!
 And my beautiful daughter who has to be brave, and tough and hold her own, because she is growing up with three CRAZY older brothers, pulls out her head grabbing move to save herself. This move however doesnt phase the budding photographer, er brother, because he is still saying, all be it muffled, "cheese wee wee."
 I give up on this stuff. Im out. Ill find someone more willing to let me photograph them. But of course the little miss Diva has other ideas! "wait" she says, "come back, Im not through with you yet. I need to slobber all over our head some more and eat your face while trying to kiss you. COME BACK!!"
 "Wait, where did you go? I thought we worked this out! Ill be good I promise! Tayton? Tayton? Darn it!! I blew it."
Yes, best friends indeed!

To be a mom....

Today was one of those days, you know the ones we ALL have! It was the kind of day where no one wanted to listen, where lots of things get broken from the crazy ninja fighting in the living room (the only room that I tell them is for mommy and they cant be crazy in) one of those things being a willow tree- I have to admit I wanted to cry, WANTED but didnt and I was very proud of myself for how I handled it. There were many fights I had to break up, many messes I had to clean up. There was lots and lots of whining and lots and lots of tears being shed (and yes some where mine). It was one of those days I hope I dont see again for a long time.
 After feeling myself get to a point I didnt want to be at I decided it was time to put myself in time out and I went to my bed and knelt down and prayed, and cried and pleaded with my Father in Heaven for the strength and energy and most important patience to make it through the rest of the day. I pleaded with him that I wouldnt just make it to the end of the day but that I would HAPPILY make it to the end of the day. That I wouldnt have to try to be a nice mommy and I wouldnt struggle to find the patience when it was needed but that I would already be there. When I closed my prayer I stayed there for a minute and waited. I felt the warmth overwhelm me and I knew my father had heard my pleading.

 He also sent and angel in the from of this wonderful little man!
Tayton came walking into the room a few seconds after I was done, wearing a winter Mickey shoe and a flip flop, both on the wrong feet and smiled at me with his most adorable smile, the kind where his one little dimple is so prominent and his eyes are bright and twinkley and said "Hi momma, I cute!" Oh how I love that kid!

I knew from that moment on that I could handle whatever craziness was headed my way for the rest of the day. And it was all still there, the kids didnt change, the crazy didnt change, the messes still happened, the fighting and fit throwing and disobidience was still there but God had changed something in me and I was able to carry through with a smile on my face, a sweet voice coming out of my mouth, and a happy heart. I am blessed. I am loved. I am a mom and nothing is sweeter then that (except being a daughter of god and wife to a super wonderful, sexy man).

 Landon had one of the roughest days. I think he is going through the beginning of summer blues (is that a thing? if it is he is totally in the midst of it). I think he was tired of being in the house all day and not being able to see friends, especially since he has been sick half of the first week of summer. He was having some crazy mood swings, in and out of being nice. I could tell was really working hard on listening until he wasnt. And of course we had some long talks about listening (and doing it the first time) and being a good example to his brothers. We talked about trying to follow (be like) Jesus and listen to the promptings of the spirit in his head. In the end he was sent to bed early (a whole 5 minutes) because the threw a fit about cleaning up the playroom and livingroom and in the end decided he didnt want to earn chore money for cleaning and when I told him he should go to his room to think about the fill extent of his choice, he threw a full out, jumping up and down screaming at the top of his lungs fit. I looked at him and said "I am very sad that this is your choice, because of this you need to go in your bed and think about how you are acting and we will talk in the morning." He flailed his body the whole way up the stairs and he screamed and cried for daddy until he fell asleep. I hope one day he understands what I do for him is out of love and is only me trying to teach him (even though he thinks Im just being mean.)

 This little lady, makes every day better. Even when she is teething she is still the most sweetest thing ever. She loves her tongue. She loves to talk, and she loves to spit. she loves to make me happy.