Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Chore Chart

This week I started a chore chart for the kiddos. They will also start getting an allowance. Here's how it will work.
They have a list of their daily routine that they must follow. It's mostly pretty simple things like get dressed, brush teeth, etc. I laminated these lists and they can check each task off with a dry erase marker when they are done. (I ordered ultra fine point dry erase markers off of Amazon.)
Side Note: Kids with ADHD (like Emmie) generally have problems with executive functioning skills. Executive Function skills are mental processes that help with things such as remembering instructions, completing a task, multi tasking and being able to organize to achieve goals. We found last year with Emmie that things ran much smoother when she had a list of tasks for the morning and bedtime. She liked being able to check off her list and I liked that I wasn't constantly telling her the same thing over and over which only served to frustrate her and me.
Then each kid, depending on age, is assigned a few chores or the week. We have some chores that are daily (like setting the table) and some that are weekly (like cleaning the bathroom). For the big kids I tried to give them a combination of daily and weekly chores. Emmie and Ellie got 3 chores each and Ruthie and JP each have 2. These chores will be switched out each week. I put Velcro on the backs of the chores so that they could easily be changed.
Ellie's task list and assigned chores for the week. She later added some "high value" extra chores because she's all about earning money! You can also see how her allowance is split between the 3 categories. 

Each week the big girls will get $5, Ruthie $3, and JP $2. Now I know someone is saying why does JP only get $2 when he and Ruthie have the same number of chores? However, Ruthie has more things on her task list. Things like making her lunch for school, packing up her backpack, etc so that's why there is a difference in their allowance amounts. On their task list the kids have listed how much their allowance is each week and how it is to be divided up. Following Dave Ramsey's method we have 3 categories: Give (church offering), Spend, Save. The kids will put their save money in their piggybanks and they have envelopes for spend and give.
In order to get all of their allowance the kids must check all their boxes each week. If they have a reason they think they can't do a chore that day they can be excused from it but they have to first talk to "management" about their reasoning.  If they are missing chores and not discussing problems then their allowance will be docked.
There are also extra chores each week. These are each assigned a monetary value and the kids can opt to do extra chores in order to make some money over and above their allowance. These chores are totally optional and it is totally ok for them to choose not to do any extra chores.
Some of the extra chores and their values. There are a few missing because Emmie and Ruthie had already claimed them. This is also my holding paper for all the chores so I can see what options there are when I'm assigning chores for the week. 

We just started doing the chore chart this week and I think we will need to make some adjustments once school starts and after school activities pick up but for right now it's working and we're willing to be flexible and figure out what works best!
Ellie HAPPILY doing kid laundry! I had to provide a fair amount of guidance this week but I know that over time she will remember all the steps and so each time she does it she will need less and less help from me. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Little Fish

Today I am SO proud of JP! This has been a huge summer of growth for him in the pool. When summer started JP was HIGHLY resistant to putting his face in the water. Well a week of swim team got him to where he would put his face in the water. Then he would NOT jump in. He just started really jumping in about 2 weeks ago. He has been wearing his puddle jumper all summer (other than during swim team of course) and had no desire to even practice swimming with me. Today he wanted to see if he could touch in the 3ft. Then all of a sudden instead of trying to touch the bottom he was swimming to me. Then he wanted to jump in and swim to me. He jumped in, swam to me, and swam back to the side for an HOUR today. He had the biggest grin on his face the whole time and of course he had his own personal cheering section while he was doing it. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

OIT Graduate!!!!

After 11 months, ~3,450 miles driven, 92+ hours in the car, and 29 hours in the doctor's office we have an official OIT graduate! Today the child who would react if you had peanut on you and touched her ate the nutter butter equivalent of 24 peanuts! Every single minute of time and every mile driven has been 100% worth it!

I think Paul and I both had some happy tears when the doctor came in to do his final check and said she was good to go. This process has been absolutely amazing. We were so glad that she didn't really have any bumps in the road so she was able to finish before kindergarten started.

Ruthie's shirt today said "Be Fearless" and this kid has been an absolute trooper throughout the whole process. She was definitely nervous at the beginning of OIT because she knew that she was eating peanut and that contradicted everything we had always told her! There were days, especially toward the end when she was eating a LOT of peanuts every morning, that she would get upset about having to eat the peanuts but she powered through. We now have things (like peanut butter and nutter butters) that we can substitute for actual peanuts which makes her much happier!

After her appointment we stopped and celebrated with some Cold Stone (her doctor had given her a gift card at our last appointment and she still had some to use). The best moment was when Ruthie was deciding what topping she wanted and she asked if she could have Reese's cups. I paused for a moment and realized YES! She ended up choosing Oreos but I think for me that was the moment when everything really sunk in. Not only do we not have to fear peanuts but now we can say YES to peanuts.

So what does life look like now? Ruthie will eat 8 peanuts (or the equivalent of 8 peanuts) every day, most likely for forever although that could change with future research. After she eats her peanuts she has a 2 hour rest period. We've learned that she can do lots of things during this rest period and it's really not a big deal at all. We don't have to worry about cross contamination. Ruthie can "freely" eat peanuts outside of her daily dose. She does have to observe the 2 hour rest period after eating them so we will have to be selective about when she eats peanut but it can be done! We will now see her OIT doctor once a year just for a little check up.

We can't say enough good things about Ruthie's allergist. He has been amazing throughout the whole process. I knew when we went for Ruthie's consult 2 years ago that he was the doctor we wanted taking care of our daughter. He has a true passion for his patients and loves helping people. He has been available anytime we have questions or problems...even on Christmas Day when she was sick! He has contacted us to check on her after she had some small reactions at the beginning. He helped settle our anxiety when the whole process started and he has celebrated each new milestone with us.  I will be forever thankful that we found him!

PS. Dr. Williams gave Ruthie this fabulous picture today! She loves it and has already found a special spot for it in her room.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

JP's Summerville Trips

JP has been making up for when he was too little to go and stay with the grandparents by himself so this year he went to GiGi and PaPa's twice! He went once in the spring and once at the end of May. He had a wonderful time (of course)!
Throughout his two visits he went to visit PaPa at football practice, the aquarium,

the fire museum,

the park,

the fountain at the Battery,

out to eat,

and lots of other fun things!

I'm so thankful that my kids get this one on one time with their grandparents and JP is so glad that it he's finally old enough to go!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Swim Team 2019

We just finished up another year of summer swim team. This year was the first year all 4 of the kids were on swim team and it was so nice! JP and Ruthie were on mini team, Ellie was an 8&under and Emmie was a 9-10. All of the kids improved SO much during the summer and I was so proud of all of them.
(Just a few disclaimers...I totally failed on getting good video or pics of Ruthie this year...I was a stroke and turn judge so that's the excuse I'm using lol! Also my video skills are very poor. Especially at city meet...I get a little enthusiastic and distracted when I'm cheering.)
JP started out not putting his head under the water and wouldn't jump into the pool. The first meet he sloooowly climbed into the water when it was his turn to swim. It was pretty funny. After 2 days of mini team practice he said "Mom, watch me do swim team" and he took a deep breath and stuck his head in the water! For the record I have been trying to get him to willingly put his face in the water for YEARS. JP is my kid that will literally launch himself out of the bathtub when you wash his hair because he hates water in his face so much. At swim team he bonded with one of the mini team helpers the first day and I think he would have done anything that Matthew told him to do. Now at the end of the summer he is putting his head in the water and enthusiastically jumping off the side of the pool!
(Ruthie is in the farthest lane in both videos.)

(The video above is early in the season and the one below is at the end. Roo ended up in the same heat as JP often and always on the other side of the pool from him lol so I don't have a great video of her.)

Ruthie had a rough start to the swim season. She did swim lessons with our coach at the beginning of the year and he told her skill wise she could swim up with the littlest group of big kids. Then before she got in with the big kids she got swimmers ear so she was out for a little while. After that she tried to swim with the bigger kids but she just didn't have the stamina to keep up with the older kids so she headed back to mini team. She was SO much happier and she got in a group that was kids who were swimming about at her level and had a great summer! Next summer she will definitely start out the season with the older kids and I think she'll be very ready by then.
Ellie. Sweet little Ellie. She had a fine season. You know just plugging along. Swimming with her age group. Middle of the pack. Enjoying her (apparently) leisurely swim time. Then she and Emmie decided they wanted to do City Meet. So we get to City Meet. She's ranked towards the bottom of all her events (butterfly, backstroke, freestyle). She swims butterfly and knocks off a second and I'm like hey good job kid! Then she swims backstroke and darn if that little rat didn't knock off FIFTEEN seconds. Nope...I didn't type that wrong. I don't know what she's been doing all season at the meets but WHAT?!? She (of course) won her heat. Then she took 11 seconds off of her freestyle and won her heat again. I mean the pool is fast but it's not that fast! Her free relay also won first in their heat. She had the BEST time at City Meet and was so excited about her blue ribbons! Her mama was pretty excited about her times and her new love for backstroke!
(Ellie is in the farthest lane.)

Emmie had big changes this season. When you move up to the 9-10 age group you have to swim 2 laps for each event instead of 1. I say Emmie is my turtle when it comes to swimming. She is not super competitive and she swims the same speed all the time whether it is practice or a meet. But she swims very consistently. She will get in there and swim whatever you tell her to and she will swim it the same speed all the time. The kid would probably be a great distance swimmer. She had a rough City Meet, adding time to her butterfly (which is one of her favorite strokes) and not having a great freestyle swim either. Her other individual event was breaststroke. We had been working on her breaststroke all season and she had made MAJOR improvements throughout the season and could finally swim it legally. Her problem was she would get in a meet and be thinking so hard about doing everything correctly that she would end up over thinking it and get DQ'd. We worked a lot on her breaststroke the week before City Meet. We practiced it and talked a lot about not overthinking what she was doing. SOOO....super excited that not only did she swim breaststroke legally at City Meet but she also dropped 11 seconds! For her former swim coach mama the legal breaststroke was a HUGE win! I was incredibly proud of her. She was overwhelmed by the noise and the crowds and the new situation, was coming off a disappointing swim in butterfly but she totally rallied and got out of her head enough to swim an awesome breaststroke!
(Emmie is the yellow cap farthest away.)

Our team won the sportsmanship award for our division.

We had our swim team banquet last week. Each child gets a certificate and then there is a girl and boy high point award for each age group and a girl and boy coach's award for each age group. It was a big night for the big girls because they both won the coach's award for their age group! They were absolutely thrilled and I was so proud of their hard work and good attitudes this season.

We had such a wonderful group of coaches this year and the kids had a fabulous swim season! We can't wait for next year!
The kids with our coaches minus one of the coaches who wasn't there.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Celebrating Ellie

We spent this past weekend celebrating our sweet 8 year old! On Saturday we had her birthday party. She wanted an Alice in Wonderland party and so we made a few crafts, had a tea(lemonade) party, and watched Alice in Wonderland. She had a really sweet little group of friends over and we all had a great time! 

Such sweet friends! Also one of the crafts we did was the "Mad Hatter hats" (headbands) they are wearing. They were really easy and turned out so cute!

Shrinky Dink teapots

Poor JP. Paul had to leave right before the party and JP took his plate of food into the room where the girls were eating and decided he would rather eat alone in the kitchen! Sitting at the table with 12 girls was just more than he could handle!

Due to a busy day on Sunday we let Ellie pick a place to go to eat on Saturday instead of doing it on Sunday. She wanted Which Which but they apparently close early during the summer so we headed to Chick-fil-A instead. 

On Sunday, Ellie's actual birthday, Paul took her and the little ones to Which Which after church and then Ellie chose to go to Edventure! Emmie and I met them there after City Meet. The kids all had a great time at Edventure, as always.

After Edventure we came home and let Ellie open presents. She had some cards to open, including one from her baby cousin...she was super excited about Katherine's "drawing", and presents from her siblings, Abby and her family, and Paul and me.
card from Katherine

Ellie has been asking for a new American Girl doll for about a year. She was THRILLED with her new doll, Rebecca.

After opening her presents she played with them while I took Ruthie to a friend's birthday party. While we were gone Paul also took the kids on a bike ride as this was one of Ellie's birthday day requests. That evening, after dinner, we went to Sonic for Ellie's special birthday dessert.

After the littles went to bed Ellie got to stay up and hang out with Paul and me. Usually we play games and this year she asked if Emmie could stay up with her. Ellie had such a great time playing Meme with Paul and me and Emmie and we enjoyed some time with our biggest girls.