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Friday, February 6, 2015

January Wrap-Up

To prevent months of blogging from piling up, I'm going to make it a goal to blog at least once a month. So here's a quick recap of January and our Funny Family Moments:
  • Maggie loves rubbing Chris' chin and then almost every single time after tells him, "You need to wash off those whiskers."
  • Speaking of whiskers, looks like Riley grew a few in this picture! 

I sure do love Riley's sweet-natured spirit. He loves to make cards and notes for people now. The other day, I got this one out of the blue. I love the crafty touches added to the sides! And Chris got a googly-eyed note with a message on the back that said "Thanks for taking me to the circus. Love, Riley".

  •  We have a magician in the house! Watch out for The Great Rile-lini. He's been doing some amazing disappearing magic tricks using his blanket and a basket and some not-so-subtle hiding moves. Our favorite part is hearing him announce, "Abracadabra...Wally-Kazam!"
  • Maggie has a phrase that she has picked up somewhere as well. And I guess it's somewhat endearing in a Valley-girl kind of way. She'll be talking about something and then all of the sudden add in, "I mean...whatever!" Where does she get this stuff?? 
  • Our Learning Board has exploded this month! Riley's popcorn words are popping up all over one corner (his teacher complimented him on how well he knows these words) and his love of maps and countries has really grown as well. We are working on serving without being asked by taking initiative to see what we might be able to help with around the house. I tried to make this as kid-friendly as possible by connecting our memory verse this month (Mark 9:35 "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last and servant of all.") to us having helping hands (hence the colored handprints). Then Riley and I sat down at the computer and brainstormed some different ways we could serve others in our family, school, and community and found some clipart images to represent these. I cut these images out and taped them right below the "Helping Hands". When I catch one of the kids volunteering to help me clean or asking to make dad's coffee in the morning or offering to get someone's shoes for them than we move the image up to the handprint and celebrate the moment. We've also added 2 Christmas cards to our board each month to remind us to pray for certain families and ask God's blessing on them. 

  •  We started a new behavior modification program today. Instead of our usual Obedience/Disobedience Little Character Charts that we've been using to keep track of good and bad choices, I decided to try a more hands-on approach. I'm trying to talk to the kids about how good choices can earn us rewards (both on earth and in heaven) and at the same time, poor choices can lead to consequences. So we've got 2 different jars-the "Uh-Oh Spaghetti-O Consequence Jar" and the "Pickle A Privilege Jar". I asked for the kid's and Chris' input on what to write on the slips and then implemented the system today. The rules are simple. When I see one of the kids showing a behavior that I want to reinforce such as kindness, a servant attitude, obeying right away, etc. then I'll tell them to go pick a pickle. They can't ask for one though or they are guaranteed not to get one. Some of the privileges are to get to stay up later at bedtime, earn a prize from Dollar Tree, do a craft or science experiment, call Nan or Pap to tell them what they did so special, etc. On the flip side, when I catch them doing something they shouldn't like hitting, arguing, or not obeying then they end up with a consequence slip. I tried to differentiate these between small consequences (written on half piece of an index card like a short time-out, go to bed 10 min. early, lose 15 minutes of playtime and read instead) and large consequences (written on the full-size index card with things like a longer time-out, go to bed 20 min. early, lose 30 minutes of playtime) to help fit the severity of the crime a little better. That way it's also easy to look inside the jar and know which one to grab. I am working on trying to use more natural and logical consequence as well and requiring a positive action at the end of a consequence. For example, Riley has been having a lot of trouble keeping his hands to himself when he gets upset with Maggie. So he's had to have several time-outs by himself or not been allowed to play with Maggie for a certain time period and then he's been asked to do some kind actions for her that he helps come up (hug, kiss, draw her a picture, play a game she wants to play, etc.). So my plan is to use a mix of consequences that help teach correct behavior such as repeating a request without whining (Riley) or in a demanding angry way (Maggie). We'll see how it goes! I think it's fun to mix things up and try new things to keep shaping behavior in different ways. 

  •  Maggie's self-care skills have taken off recently. She's been very motivated to dress herself. We first noticed it with pajamas and then were surprised to see that she wanted to try and attempt to button her flannel pjs. After persevering for quite awhile, she managed to do all three buttons by herself! She now refuses help getting dressed in the morning and just today decided that she needed a mid-day costume change, so at naptime she changed back into her pjs. Here she is tonight laid back and ready for "Pizza and Movie Night."
  • We've been keeping a humidifier on in Maggie's room at night. She recently had a nosebleed that we think was caused by the dry air and warm temperature in her room. Maggie has gotten particularly attached to it and if we forget to turn it on for some reason, we'll hear her calling from her room, "Mom, I need my 'human-fire' on!" 
  • Riley is pretty particular about his foods. He doesn't like them to touch (with the exception of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches). He eats one thing at a time and he really doesn't like his foods mixed up (casseroles are his worst enemy, so I often put the ingredients separately on his plate). He has now decided that he doesn't like cooked vegetables...he likes them raw! 
  • The other day, Riley was taking down a toy tent and said, "Hey Mags, Mind giving me a little hand over here?" To which, Maggie promptly went over to him and extended her right hand and said, "Here you go!"
  • Maggie loves to ask who things belong to. But instead of saying "Are those yours?", she says, "Are those -urs?" Guess she can't quite make the "y" sound yet. 
  • Riley sure has been enjoying his toy bow and arrow that he received for Christmas from Uncle Tim, Aunt Jeni, and Anderson. And now he likes to tell hunting stories. A few weeks ago, he got very detailed into one story and described how he was going to skin the fur off an animal. The funniest part was that he said he was going to do it with an apple peeler! 
  • I got to spend the past 2 weekends with some pretty fabulous friends and family! January 24th I attended a surprise party for Sara's 35th birthday. My college CSTALCK girls were all able to make it as well and we had a great time celebrating Sara, having an old-fashioned spend the night party at Carrie's, and meeting for a delicious brunch at Fish Market the next day. 

  •  Then just this past weekend, I got the opportunity to celebrate with my dear sister-in-law, Amanda, as she turned 30! I met her down in Charleston for a fun-filled weekend of food and fun. We ate at a great restaurant called Starz. I stayed up much too late (but sometimes that just has to happen when you're kid-free and you haven't seen each other in 6 months). I sure do love this gal and miss her and Edward and the boys tremendously, but am so glad that they are doing well in Seatlle and I'm already looking forward to our next visit!

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