Christie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day — that’s me today.  Two different toilets have clogged here today. When I went to use my blush today, the made up look I got was not the one I’d intended. Apparently some unnamed suspect in this family (and I’m pretty sure I can rule out Wayne) used my blush brush in my new dark gray eye shadow – alot — so my cheeks ended up looking like a prize fighter after a losing match. It took me several minutes to clean the brush out since there was SO much gray eyeshadow on it. When I asked for the guilty party to fess up — the children got all doe-eyed and halos formed over their heads. I think it was Savannah, but I can’t prove it.

Miss Savannah also decided to “help out” by washing her brand new Princess and the Frog tennis shoes – in the pedestal bathroom sink – to nearly overflowing!!!!! The shoe was there swimming around in the muddy water and she was happy as a clam saying, “Wook, Mama. I’m cweaning my suuuu.”  That was a big mess to clean up and now the poor kid’s shoe is soaking wet and she can’t play outside. She’d just outgrown her other pair of shoes so these are the only ones that fit at the moment.

My self-esteem is so low today. I’ve had a good cry.  I just feel so — sad. I’m angry at myself for not finishing that race. I’m frustrated at myself for caring that I didnt’ finish that race. I’m exhausted from all the mental energy I’m giving the whole thing and I just want to rest.

It’s been such a busy week here in our home. I’ve worked so hard to create some new systems that I’m very proud of. I came up with a new Rewards System for the kids to encourage good behavior. It’s a sticker chart system, with clearly spelled out prizes the kids can earn when they do good. The kids are rewarded with a sticker for: doing their schoolwork, doing their chores, helping a younger sibling, achieving milestones in their math (say completing every 500 math problems, etc.), and being quiet little angles at bedtime (If Mom has to come in the room and say “Shhh” – you won’t earn that sticker the next morning at breakfast.) Etc. We’ve been doing it now for about a week and its’ working SO well!!! 

The stickers can be turned in for bigger prizes. Every 10 stickers = a small candy (I bought a couple bags of Valentine’s stuff and they choose from those), 25 stickers = going out for ice cream (the kids earned this a few days ago and we took them to Dairy Queen. It was so fun and they were so proud of themselves.) Earn 50 stickers and get a movie out with Mom or Dad at the dollar movie. Jr, Becca and Josh have reached that level and want me to take them this weekend.  Earn 75 stickers and get an extra hour of electronics time. This is a big one. I’ve started restricting games on the pc, wii, tv, dvds, etc to one hour a day – IF you earn it – so this means an additional hour that day. Earn 100 stickers and get taken to the park for the afternoon (of your choice.) Earn 150 stickers and get $5 to spend on anything you want. Earn 200 stickers and choose a day of rollerskating, ice skating or going to see a sports game with Daddy. Earn 250 and go bowling with a parent. Earn 300 and get taken to Chuck E Cheese.

My kids are so excited and this seems to be really motivating them and the better behavior has been worth the prizes completely. 

I also made a new discipline system for the kids complete with a little poster I made for the wall spelling out the behavior expected and the consequences of each infraction. I decided to go with a baseball theme but changed the “three strikes” to five strikes since I wanted to have enough “strikes” to last the kids in a typical day.  I called it “Five Strikes And You’re Out.”

For this week, I just wrote their names on the top of my big dry erase board that hangs in our homeschool (aka – dining room.) Under each name I drew an empty box where I can record “strikes” throughout the day.

Strike 1 = a time out (the minutes are equal to the age of the child.)
Strike 2 = an extra chore for the day
Strike 3 = an extra school assignment of my choosing
Strike 4 = writing sentences (equal to the age of the child.)
Stirke 5 = No electronics time that day

I think I’m going to make construction paper baseball mitts with their names under them, then cut out several small white baseballs numbered #1 – #5 and use velcro to attach the balls to the mitts when they get in trouble. If at the end of the day, no baseballs have been caught in their mitts — they get a “home run” and get a bonus sticker on their chart. 

I also spent some time printing out unique homework charts for each of the kids. I’ve been using this system more this year and really love how it helps the children direct themselves a bit since they can look at the checklist and see what comes next and mark it off as they get it done. It helps to have any tool that improves organization and efficiency when teaching several children at different grade levels!

One more thing I did yesterday was create a wall chart called “Things To Do When I’m Bored.” It ended up being two pages long — but the kids were begging me to make one. I admit, it’s nice to have this, so that when they have free time, there’s like 40 suggestions of fun things to do.

It’s been a successful school week, honestly. All of the kids are doing so well in their subjects! I should be on cloud 9. I think I’m just worn down.

Maybe I just need a good nap.

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