Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reward Jars!

Anyone else struggle with getting their kids to do their chores without grumbling? They want their allowance but I am constantly having to nag, I mean remind, them to do their chores plus I was tired of having to come up with a weekly chore chart that changed the chores around so they didn't get bored....yes my kids have told me that doing the same chores over and over is boring! I can totally relate...I get so tired of cooking, cleaning, working, etc...it is so boring, you can hear the sarcasm in my voice can't you? I came across a neat idea in Family Fun's July edition....reward jars. The idea was to have a small jar or container for each child, they can even decorate their jar. The kids earn marbles, pebbles, etc for chores done. Every chore has a set amount of marbles it is worth. Some of chores are simple like brushing teeth and only worth 1 marble and other jobs like cleaning out the bunny cage is worth 3 marbles. When their jar is full they get a reward either cash, special outing, friend over, etc. The reward can be different based on your child's age and what they enjoy. Money is a big reward over here as my kids are always saving up for something! So the child does a chore and comes to move and tells which chore they just did and ask mom/dad who are they keeper of the marbles, for the correct of amount of marbles. There is a catch to it though.....you can lose marbles for bickering or doing a job sloppily in order to get a marble! My kids are super excited about this new system and I am too. The author of the article said she had kids ages 8-17 and had been using the system successfully for over a year. I am hoping we have great success with it to. I think it will be great b/c the jars stay sitting out where the kids can see them so they can see it filling up and be proud and excited!

Yesterday we went to The Dollar Tree and got our jars and pebbles to put in them. Today I am working on a list of chores and how many marbles each chore is worth. The kids have already earned some marbles and are on their way to filling their jars!

The jars and pebbles....we still have to get some paint and decorate them.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sun Sphere with friends!

After our outing at UT Gardens a few weeks ago we continued our outing by taking the kids on a trip down to the Sun Sphere. My kids had been asking to go down there for a long time. We enjoyed the trip with Cindy T, Will, Sam, Amy, Clara and Coy. It was really neat and I look forward to going again sometime.

The kids at the top of the Sphere

The kids getting a lesson on Knoxville history

A beautiful view of the city

A view of the World's Fair Park fountains

I loved this shot of all the kids lined up by the water!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

UT Gardens

A few weeks ago we went over to the Gardens at UT and had a picnic lunch after our last swim lesson with Amy and her girls, Cindy and her girls and Cindy and her boys! We enjoyed sitting in the shade and talking while the kids enjoyed exploring the gardens. The boys like doing their own thing....they kinda acted like they were on an adventure. The girls enjoyed running around too. It was a very enjoyable time and we look forward to going back this Thursday for Books and Blooms!

This was the best shot of the girls!

The boys being well boys :)

The best shot of all 9 kids!

Sweet Sisters...Coy and Clara

My sweet kiddos!

The boys off "exploring"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Caleb's New Bike

For months Caleb has been asking for a new bike! He really wanted one for his birthday but wanted his own DS more so he has been having to save his money to get a new bike. He gets paid as a reward for having all A's so he had that money. Then he put some toys he didn't play with anymore in the yard sale to make a little more. And finally he had me put his old bike on Craigslist. On Friday a lady and her son came and bought his bike so he had all his money together to purchase his new bike. We went to Walmart on Saturday and he picked a new one out. I wish that I had my camera while at the store....I thought his face might crack from smiling by the time we got the bike down and wheeled it to the front. He was so proud! He got his wallet out at the register and gladly paid for his new bike. He has ridden every free moment since then. We even took it to Amy and Aaron's so he could ride over there. I am so proud of him for saving his money for something he really wanted!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Swim Lessons Completed!

The kids finished their swim lessons on Thursday. All 3 did really well and accomplished new things. Taylor's strokes are great and again this year we were approached about her joining Pilot's Swim Team that meets there at UT. It is such a huge commitment though and I am not sure we as a family are willing to do that. It would require practice down at UT Monday - Thursday from 8:00-10:30 AM as well as meets twice a week. That is alot both for Taylor and for me! It is something we are going to think about for next year though. It was kinda sad though b/c Anna graduated in May and will not be teaching lessons next year at UT, well unless she hasn't found a "real" job as she calls it! Caleb's strokes definitely improved. He can swim the whole lap length which is pretty impressive for a 7 yr old...not sure I could swim the length of lap! He perfected a back flip off the diving board and I got it on camera! He is fearless! And Madison is a different child. She started off lessons clinging to Anna and ended by swimming on her own short distances, floating on her back w/o assistance and jumping off the diving board with no floats! Matt and I are so proud of her b/c she was really afraid! We had a "end of swim lessons" party with Cindy M, Lauren, Allison, Cindy T, Will, Sam, Amy T, Clara and Coy that included a trip to UT Gardens for a picnic lunch and some playing followed by a trip to the top of the Sun Sphere and ended with a walk through the Art Museum. That will be a different post though b/c I got some great pics and I don't want this post to a book!

The kids traded Silly Bandz with Anna on the last day!

Caleb swimming a lap by himself!

Caleb doing a back flip!

Taylor and Anna

Caleb with his teacher Leslie, we didn't get a picture with his other teacher John

Madison swimming and loving it!

Madison jumped off the diving board 3 times!

Madison with her teachers Anna and Gabe

All 3 kids with Anna!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Swim Lesson Update!

Swim lessons are going great! The oldest 2 are fish and loving every minute of lessons. Their favorite part is getting to dive off the diving boards at the end. They both love the regular and the high dive. Caleb has mastered a back flip off the low dive and is so proud of himself...we are too! The first time he tried he landed with a flop on the water and I thought he might not try it again but he did and his practice has paid off! His teachers were thoroughly impressed with him and I feel bad b/c I didn't get a picture of it just video which I have no idea how to upload! Taylor has finally mastered the flip-turn and is so proud and again we are too! She also successfully dove to the bottom of the 15 ft and retrieved 3 rings :) It is amazing to me how much they want to try and then practice until they can do it!

Caleb loves the high dive!

He makes a pretty big splash for such a little guy!

Taylor always holds her nose!

She makes the butterfly stroke look so effortless

Madison is doing great too! She is still not as comfortable in the water as Taylor and Caleb but she doesn't freak out and no longer needs her wings or puddle jumper. She still uses a noodle or kickboard to go out very far. She will jump in and today she went off the diving board. She tried yesterday but just couldn't do it however today she just walked to the end and jumped off! There was much cheering from me, Nana and Pops as well as a reward of a frosty and new toy! Tomorrow is our last day and I will be kinda sad. It will be nice not to have to get up so early but I love watching the kids having fun in the water!

Gabe trying to talk Madison into jumping to Anna..he didn't succeed!

Madison jumping off today!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Swim Lessons

Swim lessons are off to a pretty good start. The older 2 really didn't need them but wanted them....actually what they wanted was to jump off the high dive. We took lessons last year at UT. Taylor and Caleb both know how to swim, their lessons are more for perfecting the different strokes. Madison is terrified of the water if you take her floats. She was doing good last year after lessons but has regressed over the winter. She did remarkably well for her 1st day. She had the same teacher that she had last year which really helped. Also Sam, Lauren and Allison are in the class right next to hers. I was so proud that she jumped off the side on the 1st day and the other 2 went right off the high dive like pros!

Taylor working on her freestyle

Caleb had swam all the way out to his teacher with no help...they were surprised at how well he swam for his age!

Taylor dove off the diving board..her form is great!

Taylor going off the high dive

Caleb going off the high dive...he goes straight down!

Madison wanted to use a noodle the 1st day so Gabe let her

Madison jumping to Anna

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Madison Turns 5!

This past Monday my sweet baby turned 5! I am not sure where the time has gone....seems like we just brought home our tiny, dark haired bundle and now we have a tiny, blond princess! We just had our family and the Tomlinson's over on Monday for dinner and cake. Madison requested I make bbq and she wanted chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and sprinkles. She is having a birthday party in a couple of weeks at Jumppity Jump...she has been planning this party since last year. It was nice to have a laid back evening where the adults could talk and the kids could play. We didn't even get many pictures since everyone was having such a great time.

Madison blowing out her candle

Madison is our "surprise" baby. We were planning on having another at that point...Caleb had just turned 1 and I was enjoying him so much. We were dealing with Pam's death and just trying to get through each day the best we could when we found out we were pregnant. I don't know now what I would do without her. She is my constant companion. I rarely go anywhere w/o her....her favorite place to be is right by my side. She drives me bonkers sometimes but I wouldn't trade her for anything! She is spoiled rotten and used to get her way...that is our fault though and we are working on it :) She is absolutely hilarious! I am so thankful to be her mommy and I am so glad that God gave her to us even though it wasn't our timing!

Happy Birthday Sweet Madison! We love you baby girl!