Tuesday, July 19, 2011

the 15 minute shakedown....

.....  I got this idea off the Enjoying the Small Things blog, bookmarked on the right over there.  Kelle does a shakedown to make it look like she's been productive right before DH comes home on the days she's been productively playing with her little ones.  I've modified the idea a bit and it has worked so well for us that I thought I'd share.  Each evening after dinner around here, my house resembles a primordial cave full of savages.  I was tired of it taking me another half hour of straightening up after the kids were finally down before I got to sit down and relax with the dearest.  Since I head to bed early right now due to the inconsistent waking times of our youngest, that was leaving me with precious little time for the most important relationship in the house.

Soooo, each night after dinner we have a shakedown.  I put 15 minutes on the timer.  Baby goes into the swing, happy or not, and everyone who can walk gets busy.  My main focus is the kitchen while Daddy and the older 2 go from room-to-room putting things to rights.  We have 3 rules for the shakedown:

1. No stuffing or cramming - everything goes back where it belongs.
2. Each room has to be put to rights, this means mama has to get a move on putting dinner away.
3. A room is not clean unless Mama has declared it so before the timer dings.

Having to race against the timer puts everyone in high gear and the motivation is completed with the promise of 3 M&M's if the work is done before the timer buzzes.  It's super cute to hear the kids encouraging each other to work hard to get the job done right.  This system has brought out the best in our kids, which was our goal - teaching them to work well together.  And ain't nothing wrong with a little reward for a job well done. 

This works so well that now all I have to do is yell "Shake-down" and everyone gets busy.  Ethan will run into a room and overturn something if that room is clean just so he can pick something up.  Emory comes running into the kitchen every 30 seconds to make sure there is still time left on the timer.  We haven't had to use this during the day (only at the end of the day), but I totally reserve the right to use it twice in one day if things get really out of hand around here.

So far, we've beaten the buzzer each time.  Our home is small enough that it can totally be picked up by 4 people in 15 minutes if everyone is diligent.  I imagine there are homes out there that would need a bit more time to get picked up.  Whatever works for you.  I just think it shouldn't always be mama doing the picking up, and there is no reason why cleaning can't be made fun for the kiddos. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

soccer mom...

.... Emory has found her athletic niche.  After trying our hands, or rather feet, at ballet, tap, gymnastics, and swim I think we've settled on what may be this girl's calling... athletically speaking.  She comes by it naturally.  Daddy was a soccer super star, even landing himself a scholarship to Belhaven, which he turned down for the promised land of Mississippi State.

I have to admit to being a little surprised.  We enrolled her in this week-long soccer camp to give her an introduction to the sport.  I thought fo' sure we'd discover that she hated it.  NOPE!  Just shows ya what do I know?  I'll even admit it felt really natural to pull up to the soccer field and watch her do her thing each day this week.

Her scrimmage team for the week.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

my husband is dating a beautiful blonde...

.... he's also thinking about taking up with a curly headed dude.  Good thing we all live under the same roof so I can keep my eye on the competition. 

Emory's daddy asked her out on a dinner date for tomorrow night.   They've been dating for some time, about 2 years now, but the dates have all been of the breakfast variety.  Now, at long last, it looks like the relationship is being upgraded.  I think he's teaching her to take it slow!  We're making a big deal out of this time they'll have together by encouraging Emory to choose something special to wear tomorrow.  There might even be a fancy up-do and some pretties applied to the lips to complete her look.  She and I have had a few conversations about the upcoming night out with her daddy and she's totally stoked about the idea of dressing up and going out with an older man.... even if it is her old man!

Next Friday night is Ethan's turn for a "man-date".  I smell a tradition developing.....