Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Keeping Score

Some people have cleaning ladies.  I don't.  But I have three kids and I thought it time to put them to work.  While they have always had a few regular chores, they were minimal and the large majority of the housework has always been left for me, especially during the school year.

Well not anymore.  They have more time in the summer, they are old enough, capable enough and darn it, it's about time they earned their keep.  And we're keeping score of their helpfulness.

It's been a dream.  

We decided on some pretty awesome rewards and then started tracking points earned by doing work.  I don't have to beg or plea, I just dangle a few points in front of them and I can get them to do just about anything.  (Except bathrooms, nobody has offered to do those yet.) 

Alyssa helped with dinner for two weeks.  She planned the menu, helped me shop for groceries and then learned how to cook the meals.  She learned that putting a meal on the table is not as easy as it looks.  She passed off a Personal Progress requirement in the process and I loved having the help at dinnertime.

Caleb's done all sorts of odd jobs that were long overdue but just got perpetually buried in the list of household chores.  Things like dusting those really hard to reach places, weeding behind the shed and cleaning up some things in the crawl space.  The best part?  He's done them all eagerly!

They've done lots of regular ol' chores, too.  They do the watering (we do not have a sprinkler system), the weeding, the dishes and so much more.  Now, if I could just convince one of them that the bathrooms really are worth the points as well.

The kids seem eager and determined to earn their reward, but they are a bit intimidated by the lofty 500 point requirement.  Caleb said, "If I don't earn it, then I'm just going to say you tortured me!"  But you see, there's some gospel analogy in all of this and I took this opportunity to explain the concept of grace.  I told him to work hard, give it his all and if in the end he comes up a bit short, we will make up the difference.

I think they're learning.  I'm relishing the help.  

We're keeping score but I think we're all winning.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Caleb Turns Fifteen

It may be that having a 15-year-old makes me feel old.  It may be that I'm in denial that he could be on a mission in three short years.  Or it may be that I'm baffled by how quickly 15 years passes.  Whatever the reason, this birthday has been a hard one for me to accept.  I just can't wrap my head around my first-born being 15. 

 But he is.

His birthday celebration was perfect.  We started with his favorite breakfast--french toast and bacon--served at a BYU-decorated table.

Then he and his friends headed to a fun center for some go-karts, mini golf and batting cages.

All that fun worked up an appetite for pizza, gatorade and DQ ice cream cake served on BYU plates.

I bought a plain DQ cake and added the Y.

The boys then played Wii Party for several hours before making their way to the park for some basketball.

We ended the day at Caleb's favorite restaurant, BJ's.  He ordered his usual--chicken fingers with shoestring potatoes and a pizookie for desert.

Happy Birthday, big boy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

High Adventure

Why do they call it "high adventure?"  Is it because it's more exciting than your regular ol' scout campout?  Or is it because it's more dangerous?  Maybe it's both.  Either way, I must admit I was a bit nervous sending my husband and son out on the whitewater rapids for the teachers quorum's high adventure activity.

A great adventure it was.  Exciting, but not all that dangerous.

Their three-hour guided rafting trip down Wenatchee river included a steak dinner.  All reports say it was delicious but the flimsy plastic forks didn't hold up against the strength of the scouts' meat-cutting.  Look at all those broken forks:

Back at the campsite, they tried their strength at breaking a very large branch for firewood--none were successful.

So they did some "sword" fighting instead.

They went on a hike that was probably too easy to qualify as high adventure:

Left to right: Mason, Caleb, Bro. McGuire, Corbin, Ben, Adam, Landon

They made spaghetti for dinner the second night and Brother Curtis brought cobbler and ice cream for dessert.  

Part of their trip included a meal at a restaurant in Leavenworth.  Where's the high adventure in that?

They had a fabulous time and I was glad to have both Jon and Caleb home safe and sound.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Fourth of July Holiday

Our Fourth of July had all the essentials: food, fireworks, family and fun.

After breakfast in Yakima with my family, we headed to the Tri-Cities.  Some friends of the Childers family invited us over for some swimming and a BBQ.  The kids had a blast in the pool.

Aren't little goggle eyes the cutest?  I loved watching Henry and Sadie dive.

My nephew Daniel is cuddly, sweet and adorable.

What's a party for America without sparklers?

Christopher put on a great display of fireworks.  It reminded me of my childhood when my parents ran a fireworks booth every Fourth of July.  I never did like those Piccolo Petes with that high pitched whistle.

Look at Owen cheering the explosion:

The Childers' friends shared their tradition of glow sticks and ring pops.  Fun!

That night the kids decided they wanted to sleep outside.  It was so much fun that they wanted to do it again the next night.  Only someone forgot to turn off the automatic sprinkler system the second night...

There was lots of great cousin time.  Basketball, Wii, secret meetings in the tree fort and Nerf gun wars.  Boy stuff, you know.

After saying good-bye to Lucy and her boys on Saturday, we went to the river for some fishing and kayaking. The fish were on to us, lots of them jumping but none of them biting.

Then we headed back to Yakima where my parents treated us to a night out at the theater.  After church and a yummy steak dinner, it was finally time to get on the road.  Alyssa crashed almost as soon as she buckled her seatbelt.  Proof that we played hard.


Happy Birthday, America!