Saturday, April 25, 2015

Chapter 2, Things I think people were too scared to tell me about motherhood...


1. Constipation... 1st/3rd trimester... Miralax....ahh, once a day "produces" relief.

2. Gift registeries... you don't really need EVERYTHING they recommend for babies. Think of who the recommendations are coming from - lists made by store... duh, they want you to buy more. Rule of thumb, start with the basics and then get more if you think you need more.
- 1 thing that makes motion for the baby (unless you will need them in different rooms- bathroom so you can shower, kitchen so you can cook). The baby can only be in one at a time, remember that.
- you wont need 16 thousand sheets. 1 on crib, 1 in wash, 1 back up incase of accidents.
- buy disposable changing table pads, cut them in half, and keep one on the changing table. When the mess happens, you can replace the disposable and not have to change changing table sheets. 2 boxes of 10 pads lasted me 6 months.
- bottle warmer- if you warm milk baby will always want it warmed. We just got the chill out under the faucet with hot water (when she did have a bottle). This allowed Cecelia to eat room temp when we were out and about.
- Avoid Target at all costs. Return policy sucks donkey balls... oh, I'm sorry you got 4 of thoses. Our computer system must have been broken. Oh, you want to return 3 of them, do you have the gift recipts. Oh, you don't. Maam, I'm sorry they are on clearance now so I can only give you $2.50 for each. Unless you contact who purcashed them for you and get the recipt or credit card statement.... ARE YOU KIDDING ME.......

3. Take a picture of yourself. You may feel like a cow, and don't want it remembered for posterity but you'll thank youself later.

4. The size your "girls" are 4 weeks prior to due date is pretty close to what your girls will be size wise after birth. If you need to go bra shopping. (See note in chapter one regarding bras.)


5. Bring pillows. Hospital pillows suck. Bring the Boppy/nursing pillow too!

6. Don't make a full blown "birthing plan." know the basics of what you want/don't want. Then you can't be upset when you plan doesn't go the way you wanted it to. no expectations of the event mean no heartbreak.

7. drugs, yes please.

8. outline for relative who you do/don't want at the hospital to see the new baby. Yeah, baby adorable, but... who do you really need to see (that can't wait 2-3 days) until you can sit up right and get a shower. (Example- MIL's new boyfriend who you've never met before.....)

9. hemorrhoids, stiches, etc... yes please, I'll have that stood softener. Better make it 2!

Post Partum

10. hemorrhoids- if you are lucky enough to have them- "hang" around for a couple of months. Just when you think they may have gone away one "straining" porcelin bus session can make them rear their ugly heads again. Miralax once a day for first three months, necessary. (see number 1)

11. Nipple cream- lanolin.... may uses other than intended...1 tube lasted me a year (even after all the uses you'll see below!)
- lip balm (best stuff ever- Erica actually went out and bought her own tube once she tried mine)
- apply to red/dry nose when you have a head cold
- apply to chapped/cracked hands from washing too much during H1N1 season
- apply under babies nose (thin layer) when they have a runny nose so they don't get that big, raw red mark
- apply to legs in winter (ahh, bye bye winter scally skin)
---- to be continued... I am constantly finding more uses
(squeezed some into carmex like jars and have one in my car, my purse, my desk at school. don't leave home without it!)

12. baby monitors- invest in a good one. Cecelia was 6 weeks old, second night in her crib in her room and our monitor failed. We had a mid range Fischer Price monitor. We didn't know it wasn't reading the signal from the other end. Woke after 4 hours wondering why Cecelia hadn't woken to eat.... heard a faint screaming from her room... still feel like the worst mommy ever.
-next morning we bought one that has a green light on it when it is "linked" to the other end. for the next 4 months I could stare at the green link light knowing that it was working. I thought those monitors where you could see baby were a I know why people buy them. You NEED comfort of knowing you can go to the rescue when baby needs you. Spend money for that comfort. Being able to wake up in the middle of the night, roll over and see the green light "linked" on is the best comfort you can imagine. You'll sleep better. You won't be disappointed.

13. pumping/storing- when you store milk, after baby is 6 months or older I wouldn't store in any more than 4 or 5 oz. Depending on how old they are and how much they are eating, when you thaw milk, you don't want to have more than you need. Better to have to take out 2 packages to get enough ounces than to have to waste some.
- let milk freeze laying flat in bag. When frozen you can stack more bags this way. I then put them in big freezer bags in the deep freeze with dates. I've heard other people who store in soda can box-upright ( you can read dates and store a lot in a small space). Laying flat lets them thaw quicker too because you don't have one big ice chunk. Hot water can get at larger surface of milk thawed faster.
- pumping- once baby is on a schedule don't elimiate the feed you were doing before you went to bed. pump that one. Once you let it go your body won't want to produce more milk than the baby is eating. Once Cecelia was sleeping 6-7 hours, I would pump before I went to bed and set my alarm and get up and pump the feed she would have had but was now sleeping through.
--- lots more advice in this area. I was able to pump and store enough milk (and pump at work) to get Cecelia to 13 months before having cow's milk. I went back to work when she was 12 weeks (but had July and August off of school). She will have her last stored bag of milk tomorrow (14 months 1 week old- boo hoo) and still nurses 3 times a day... having a bfing mentor helped alot.
-- no one will appreciate breast milk more than you. others will dump down the drain when baby doesn't finish without a second though... ahhhh. They don't understand the time and emotion involved. know that they never will and try to set it up so NOTHING ever has to go down the drain.
-- have a plan incase you get pulled over pumping.... yes, possible to pump and drive!! I had a quick abort plan!!!

14. Halo sleep sacks... best ever. Come in every size from newborn to 6x (after 24 months they start making feet holes in the bottom!). Don't have to worry about baby not covered, or suffocating on blankets. Babies r Us has them on sale a couple of times a year for buy one get on half off. Good deal. Any sacks under 9 months you need two of. They can still get caught in a middle of the night mess. You need a backup!

15. Storing baby clothes. Wash everything and sort it according to sizes. Store in those jumbo (could fit a small child inside) ziplock bags. You can label the outside of the bags with sharpie. They fold up and disappear when you are using that size clothes (those big rubbermaid totes are always there, even when emtpy). Know if you filled a bag, you are probably good on that size and don't need more. When size is done, put everything away clean and you'll be ready for baby number 2!!!!!!

I'll leave this for you to digest.... I am sure I'll think of more.

Lots of love, until next time.... Nat

#Momlife Series
Chapter 1: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood
Chapter 3: Nipple Cream: How I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways!
Chapter 4: Feeding A Toddler: Mission Impossible
Chapter 5:  Pregnant Again, How Easily One Can Forget

Chapter 3- Nipple Cream....How I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways!!

A nursing mother's best friend can be your new life partner....

 Nipple Cream Purposes- Expanded List!!

1. Intended use
2. as lip balm
3. as hand lotion
4. as diaper cream (when baby has yeast and you shouldn't use cornstarch based cream!!)
5. use on raw nose when sick... oh, baby!!
6. use on baby's upper lip when they have a runny nose so they don't get that red, chafed burn
7. on child's upper lip when they do that thing where they keep licking (from having dry lips) and get that red ring around their mouth
8. as lotion on legs in the middle of the winter itch season
9. wound care--- to help heal wounds they need to stay moist- ever catch a dry scab on something- ouch!
10. wound barrier- put today on open blisters on my feet prior to going into baby pool... acted as barrier and the wounds never got the nasty water on them!!
11. use on mosquito bites to stop the itch
12. use on knuckles in the winter when you work in an elementary school and wash your hands hourly (could probably also work in medical setting!!)

Well, 1/10 of the way to finishing my 101 Uses for Nipple Cream book!

** Note- there are different thicknesses of nipple cream depending on the brand. Some are better than others depending on how you are using it!!

#Momlife Series

Chapter 1: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood
Chapter 2: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood, Continued..
Chapter 4: Feeding A Toddler: Mission Impossible
Chapter 5:  Pregnant Again, How Easily One Can Forget

Chapter 1, Things I think people were too scared to tell me about mommyhood...

I am spreading the word as no one had the decency to inform me. Hope this helps!! Add items you feel are necessary.

1. Lower back pain is really sacroliac joint instability. If this goes untreated for 5 months because your OBGYN just dismisses it, you will pay. Pay with 3 time a week chiropractors and 2 time a week physical therapists the last two months of pregnancy, combined with the inability to lay, walk, sit, or stand without being in pain.. thanks Dr. Kuranz. (I've now switched OBs!!)

2. just bite the bullet and buy larger underwear. You will be much more comfortable.

3. Don't buy bigger bras, get nursing bras. And don't get suckered into the expensive Medella (namebrand) nursing bras. Target are the best. They uphold during washings and don't make you look pointy like Madonna. (Or get the bra strap extenders to hold you out.)

3. Lamaze class is really cheesy... I mean really cheesy, but realize that your hubby has not watched the last decades worth of Baby Story on TLC and has no idea what will happen. Do it for them.


4. Carry an extra set of pants, undies, shoes and socks (and pads) in your car at all times in the 9th month. Water breaking is like a flood. If you are in public, work, etc and it happens how horrifying would it be to have to wait in wet pants for hubby to come and get you.. urgh... oh and by the way... make sure to get pads... the long ones that go from your belly button up to your shoulders!!!!!

5. Really pack a bag in your ninth month. Packing at 3:30 in the morning (in labor) isn't the best. Also, pack about twice as much for your hubby (if he is staying at hospital) than you think. Chances are you will be there longer than you think. Would be nice to have a clean shirt and underwear past day two. Sorry Jason!

6. Everyone and their brother will be in your junk.... don't be surprised.

7. DON'T watch them set up the birthing "tools." Especially if you are nauseated in the least. You DON'T want to know what they may use that stuff for. You are much better off.

8. When they say the anesthesiaologist (sp?) is going into a c-section do you want your epidural now or later say RIGHT NOW.

9. Pitocin contractions are the DEVIL. Don't be too proud, take the meds. You are not a failure. My unofficial survey on Circle of Moms from mothers who did contractions naturally and on pitocin agree hands down, pitocin are MUCH worse.

10. Hurts like hell...

Post Partum...

11. Ice diapers... yes please. numming spray... yes please. You will be surprised, however, how quickly parts down under return to fighting shape!!

12. I would have liked my own robe. Didn't bring becasue people say it will get all messy. I would have gladly had to throw the thing out after for the comfort of my own robe.

13. Accept the lactation consultant's help. Make an appoitment if they don't automatically visit all mothers.

14. Send the baby to the nursery. You have no idea how nice 4 straight hours of sleep will be. baby will sleep in the nursery but not in your room. they can smell you and want to be held.

15. Know what vaccinations they will want to give baby in hospital. You can say no. It is your right... (here I am biased... I am a total vaccine freak...write me if you want a good book.)

16. Nursing will save you $3,000- $5,000 in the first year (depending on brand). Still breastfeeding and Cecelia is 14 months. Call/write if you need help figuring out the whole pumping mommy gig. Pumped for a year... I am a champ. 1. Buy the good Medella $200 pump. 2. Call me for pointers. 3. Don't give up.

17. Sleeping baby. Cecelia has been sleeping 12 hours and two two hour naps during the day- still at 14 months. We live by the book- Healthy Sleep, Happy Child- must read.

18. First week... keep track of times fed, how long, time pooped, time wet diaper. The peditrician will ask and after the first 6 hours at home is all gets foggy. If you can just show pediatrician they won't have to ask questions and your sleep deprived brain won't have to fight to find the answer.

19. Let the milk bags hang free at night at least. I slept on a towel. Only thing that kept the yeast of the milk ducts (yes, I said yeast of the milk ducts- hurt worse than giving birth) from coming back. Give those puppies air. Warm/moist environment breeds yeast. So they hang a cm lower than if I would have had a titsling on the whole time....getting rid of the yeast was worth it!!

My love and best wishes to all my preggos!!!

#Momlife Series
Chapter 2: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood, Continued..
Chapter 3: Nipple Cream: How I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways!
Chapter 4: Feeding A Toddler: Mission Impossible
Chapter 5:  Pregnant Again, How Easily One Can Forget

Chapter 4- Feeding a Toddler, Mission Impossible

This chapter is devoted to feeding a toddler- the never ending battle!! Here is what I have learned.

1. Yo Baby Yogurt- you can purchase with vegetables snuck in them! 

2. Veggie Shreds- looks like cheese, smells like cheese... HA, got yah, there are veggies in there!!

3. Trail mixes with a little variety can keep a toddler busy for a while- raisins, chex- rice/wheat/corn, cherrios, golden raisins, cheese bunnies (organic goldfish- Annie's Brand), bite size cherry essence prunes, mini chocolate chips/white chocolate chips, puffs, other cereals, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, etc... mix it up and they never get bored!!

4. Organic- it is much easier than it looks. Trick- get a good grocery store. Pick 'n Save can take a hike. Woodman's is my home! They have everything! When buying organic- stock up when it is on sale.

5. Hormone/antibiotic free milk-Look for the "Farmer's Pledge" on the label.

6. Cookies- We got away with calling crackers cookies for 23 months. The jig is up now!! Someone taught Cecelia Oreo- we are in trouble now!!

7. Smoothies come in all different varieties and are a mess free toddler snack. Don't use ice- they get too cold and your little one can't slam them down!!

simple- 1 yo baby yogurt in a cup, fill the rest with milk- shake. (also a great way to let a toddler who won't let you feed them anymore feed themselves yogurt!) They sell the smoothie Yo Baby yogurts but I can't bring my self to spend a dollar more on something I can do so easily.

average- 1 yo baby, some fruit and milk in blender- Oh the joyous slurping sounds.

advanced- whatever you can steam- you can throw into a smoothie- carrots, beans, avocado (doesn't need to steam),greens. Steam a whole bag of carrots at a time and keep them in the fridge. Always ready to be a front runner in the smoothie of the day. My sister actually gagged one time she saw me put left over beans from dinner into the blender. Slurp, slurp Cecelia downed the whole thing! They don't know it's gross unless someone tells them!- Tip- disguise veggie tastes with fruit. I would never go veggie all the way!

8. This one is a debate in some families for sure- To make the fussy eater their own meal, or not to that is the question?!?! I know some families whose 5th grader won't eat what is made for dinner. Do you really want to make two meals EVERY night? Yet, you want the toddler to eat. It's a huge predicament- Cecelia is old enough to get what we eat. She will only eat it on about 50% of occasions. Those are the nights yogurt is for desert and we have a snack before bed. I am NOT making 2 meals!!

9. Temperature of liquids- Cecelia still likes things to drink warmed. I think it is a teething thing- or could be her preference. So, I buy juice boxes- With veggies in them!!- that we keep at room temp. Then I'm never warming juice.

10. Bananas- Be careful. A love affair with bananas can cause one backed up little toddler!!

11. baked goods-  has a ton of recipes for muffins, breakfast foods, etc that can be made. Most of them don't use refined sugar. Cecelia's favorites- banana pancakes (we've started doing apple ones now- I like them better. They don't hold the heat as much as the banana ones do), apple/banana muffins, pumpkin/apple muffins, beet cookies, etc. Jason even likes them too. Well, not the beet cookies. My go to website for new recipes for the family!

12. Restaurants- you have to go, if you don't your toddler will never learn to eat at one. We like BW3, it is loud- can't hear a screaming toddler, there are 100 tvs- constant different stimulation for infants on up, kids night- $.99 - can't beat it! Things to pack- disposable bibs, disposable placemats. We had the one that rolled out and suction cupped to the table... was great- a pain to wash- until fine motor skills develop and they realize they can just pull it off. We now use disposable placemats that have a sticky strip on all four sides. Keep a box of disposable bibs and disposable placemats in the car. You are always good to go! High chairs- the dirtiest items in a restaurant and they rarely get washed down. We never got one of those traveling boosters that hangs from the table. Maybe with the next one. I keep a box of individually wrapped antibacterial wipes in the car. It takes 2 to wipe down a high chair and 1 to wipe the table and anything else within arms reach of the feasting toddler. Yeah, I'm a germ-a-phobe!! Little things to remember about restaurants- how long will it take them to get the food to the table? order a.s.a.p after sitting down. Bring toddler cutlery. They won't have toddler size spoons!

I am sure there is more. 

#Momlife Series
Chapter 1: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood
Chapter 2: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood, Continued..
Chapter 3: Nipple Cream: How I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways!
Chapter 5:  Pregnant Again, How Easily One Can Forget

Chapter 5... Pregnant Again...How easily one can forget!

You would think it might be easier the second time around....right. (can you sense the scarcasm already!)

1. Scheduling...You want your kids two years apart, three years apart, four?? Start planning a year or more before you want the next. One day I realized Cecelia was two. We didn't want two in diapers yet my sister and I are 4 years apart and I always felt that was too much... so, I looked at the hubby and broke the news... I still don't think he realized what he signed up for!!

2. Hemmroids... didn't really want to put this one number two on the list but I swear the minute I peeed on the stick, they dropped back out. WTF?

3. Maternity clothes.... small. Small who? How the hell did I fit into these last time around??? Only about half of my maternity clothes fit appropriately (yeah, the ones I wore towards the end with Cecelia) the others I inappropraitely squeeze myself into!

4. Belly- I swear, I started showing EARLY... like week 8. You couldn't notice because my wardrobe isn't as form fitting as it used to be back in the day... but for real, pants got snug, quickly.

5. First trimester with a toddler at home. Remember those early evening naps when preggo with number one... man, that was the life!! Contimplated propping my eyelids open with toothpicks while at work. What got done in my house for those first few months.... NOTHING!

6. Anxiety... sets in sooner with number two I believe. Dreams of how to get one breastfed, one fed and dressed and off to childcare BEFORE I am supposed to be to work started early on. What will I be missing with Cecelia? Will she adapt to not being the center of the universe? Do I really want to give up the "freedom" we have with an almost three year old? Nursing.... I feel like I just stopped. Am I ready to be strapped down for the next two years? Where will more baby/kid stuff go in this house? A name.... what to name a boy... harder than with Cecelia. All this ontop of my already controlling, A-type personality made me quite a bear lately... if you ask Jason!!

7. Aches and pains... wouldn't you think my body would have been ready and "used" to what was about to happen to it. Um, no!

8. Ouch, watch the belly...1,000 times a day, the toddler will bump, lean on, kick, elbow, push, prod, etc the tender, full belly. Start your defensive stanse (sp?) early on!

9. Husbands... it's like they forget everything. Your hormones, emotions, aches.... HELP ME for the love of God. I am NOT superwoman!

10. Prioritize.. I learned early on... spending time with Cecelia, going somewhere or doing something, is better than cleaning the house, etc, I can't do it all... I won't try to. I'll only do what is most important.

11. Baby gear... I might actually need to put this kid down sometime in the first three months of his life.. Baby wrap... check. Swing that rocks multiple directions... check!

#Momlife Series
Chapter 1: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood
Chapter 2: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood, Continued..
Chapter 3: Nipple Cream: How I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways!
Chapter 4: Feeding A Toddler: Mission Impossible

#Momlife Series

A long, long time ago, I wrote some Facebook notes regarding pregnancy, birth and being a mommy.  I decided to post them here to keep them in order to share more easily with girlfriends.

I warn you, some are not for the faint of heart!!


Chapter 1: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood
Chapter 2: Things People Were Too Scared to Tell Me About Motherhood, Continued..
Chapter 3: Nipple Cream: How I Love You, Let Me Count the Ways!
Chapter 4: Feeding A Toddler: Mission Impossible
Chapter 5:  Pregnant Again, How Easily One Can Forget

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Eiting's New Addition

Our New Addition

No, it's not a baby! Ha, ha! In order to aide the family homestead, we've added a composter to the family. It lives out side behind a bush. So, if you are over, don't confuse the bowl on the counter with scrap food with trash. It's waiting to get dumped to fertilize the next crops!

Here's Jason's baby below! 

link to product details

The carrots and lettuce are planted. Here's to a fruitful season! Rumors of hoop houses for next season.


Happy Earth Day!

Did you sign up for your CSA this year?
Eiting's 2013 CSA - 2015 CSA post coming soon!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

House Decorations

We've had to update our family pictures since Charlotte has joined us. As I was replacing the kids annual pictures, making Charlotte's baby shadow box and making prints, I thought I'd blog about everything. We painted our entire living space and kitchen last April, so everything got taken down. We then had to thoughtfully put things back up knowing to leave space for number three!!

Along the fireplace wall each kid has a 12x12 that I keep their most current pictures in. I always put a collage together in Photoshop and then print the 12x12 for the frame. These then get rotated into an album. In that album there are also questions to ask the kids every year. I'll do a separate post on those later!

See Cecelia's Six Year Old Post
See Charlotte's New Born Photo's Post

See Coletyn's Three Year Old Post

We had to figure out something to do on a long, blank wall in our kitchen. I knew we needed a way to let pictures grow and change without a million holes in the wall. Picture rails.. thank you Pinterest! On purpose none of the frames match. Makes life so much easier!!

In our living room each kid has a shadow box with the outfit they came home from the hospital in, their firth announcement, footprints and other odds and ends.

The pink background is fabric from her newborn photos. 

Our Due Dec. 23rd baby- Cecelia.

Only kid we knew gender of going in... Coletyn.

On our staircase there is a canvas of Cecelia, Coletyn and me in the hospital after Cole was born. Then each kid has a frame with the initial cleaned up and cozy new baby pic from the hospital and a clock with their birth time.

Cecelia Marie
Charlotte Josephine

Coletyn Thomas

Inbetween the kids bedrooms and bathrooms are three skinny walls. Each wall has a collage of the cutest pics of that kid's first year. Charlotte's is waiting patiently!

That's about it. There are a few other things on other walls but these are all the updates we did in the last year. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Confessions of a Sleep Deprived Momma!

I have to admit, the one thing other than diet Wild Cherry Pepsi and chocolate that holds me together is sleep. Sleep, glorious sleep. The thrill of sleeping in on a Sunday (while daddy entertains the kiddos) or passing out at 7:00pm on a Friday and getting 12 solid hours. Yes, those moments are wonderful and few and far between; especially with an infant at home.

The following is a list of the confessions I must make of things I've done while sleep deprived. All have happened in the first months after baby and over the course of three infants... don't call CPS thinking they've all happened this week!!

10. Couldn't find the third kid's name in my brain when talking about her.
9. Let the toddler eat an entire box of cereal bars... too tired to get off of couch to get a meal!
8. Closed my eyelids on couch with an 18 month old playing in livingroom. Two pound toy hit me between the eyes. Slept with one eye open after that!
7. Buttons, there were just too many button to snap in the middle of the night so just tighten the swaddle!
6. Lost the almond butter on the kitchen counter for three days.
5. Wore the same nursing tank for one, two, three okay, maybe four days in a row!
4. Found the tator tots in the oven three days later... oven was off!
3. Left the house multiple times in just my slippers (but fully clothed)!
2. Got gas with car running and kids in carseats.
1. I booked the family tickets to Houston, Texas booking our return flight in the wrong MONTH.. oops!

Don't pretend like you don't have something to add to this list!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Chore Charts.... One That Works for Mommy!!

Chores, chores, chores. I've struggled for quite a while finding a way to make sure the kids are learning responsibility and being a part of keeping our house running smoothly. I've also learned a lot of about what formats I DON'T like!! I'll give you a preview of what we have tried, let you know why I didn't like it and show you what I came up with that I am hoping will last!!

The first chore chart I attempted with Cecelia was when she just turned three. Her job was to sort socks and pair them up. I had buckets with mommy, daddy, Cecelia and Coletyn written on them. She would sort everyone's then match them up. This worked well for her age but I didn't like it. It took too much time on my part. This was when I learned that the chores I gave the kids had to be ones that they could do independently and helped get to the end of the day, not make more work for me. Also, at this point, we only did laundry every two weeks so the volume of socks was too much for her attention span- research says average attention is one minute for every year old a child is. So she was three and that was about right on. After three minutes she was done. This took too much of my time and was just faster to do myself. We did this for a few months but then I dropped it all together. Attempt #1... fail.

Second up, the check off chart with pictures attached. See below:

This one looked snazzy but didn't work. I found every Sunday having forgotten about it during the week and then we would quick have Cecelia do her chores so she could earn her money, 4 years old so $.40/week. Yep, don't worry darling, you only have to help the family on Sundays... FAIL. This one I didn't like because there were other chores during the week she could have helped with. Although, this one was one she could do independently, it didn't offer or reward her for helping with extras or initiating other chores. In the end, this chore chart was still extra work for me- something extra hanging over me on Sundays. So, #2 failed as well.

The next one is Jason's creation. After the previous chore chart, about two years went by without Cecelia or Coletyn being responsible for any chores weekly. I just used the old bribery technique to get them to clean up their toys. I knew that needed to change but I still hadn't found a system that worked for me. So, Jason gave it a whirl. See below.
Although a great effort, this one failed as well. First, Coletyn can't read. Second, too complicated. Third, Daddy never followed through every week!! TOO much oversight and work on behalf of the parent.

While all of these failed, they still gave me evidence of what I wanted a chore routine to include:
  • teach independence
  • teach responsibility
  • reward initiating extra chores/helping
  • teach team-work (family works together to complete tasks- clean house)
  • allow for different frequencies of rewards for the differences in ages of kids within one system
  • one I can run and manipulate to work in my favor but not be a slave to
  • one that includes chores that are actually NEEDED during the day/week

What could I design that could do all of those things? I pondered this one for quite awhile, used some of my behavior modification techniques from school and used a wander around the dollar store to officially create it. This is what I developed.
$1.00 pocket chart + $1.00 foam cutouts
So, what is it? The pictures don't show that the pink cards are Cecelia's and the green are Coletyn's. Notice there will be room for Charlotte one day! Each child has 5 cards. The general concept is once a chore is completed, the child turns a card to see a number. Once all 5 numbers are showing they get their allowance or a prize from the chore box. Yes, we have a prize box in our house... doesn't every family?

So in the picture below, Cecelia has 3 chores completed and two to go until reward. Coletyn has two chores completed and three remaining until reward.

So, what defines a "chore." Here's the beauty... the chores are what ever I need them to be. Not what a piece of paper allows them to be! Boo-yah! All I have to say is (an example that happened tonight), "Coletyn, go put all of your trains in the blue bucket and you can turn a chore card." He ran to his trains, cleaned them all up, and turned his chore card all in about 4-6 minutes. AWESOME, now I won't step all over the trains tonight or clean them up myself.

The general concept behind it is behavior modification. When attempting to modify behavior, consequences never shape behaviors. Rewards for replacement behaviors increase frequency of replacement behaviors thereby eventually extinguishing the undesired behavior. So in this instance, the undesired behavior is the kids not wanting to help clean up when asked. The replacement behavior is cooperating to clean up and initiating chores. In a short 4 weeks of this system being in place, Coletyn has really bought into it and now requests to help with chores. There was a time this week when I couldn't think of what to give him to do. I came up with something though, believe me.

Also another consideration is the differences in what Cecelia needs to do versus Coletyn to earn a chore card. Coletyn's tasks are much smaller as he is much younger. For example, Cecelia may need to clean her whole room to earn a chore card where Coletyn may get one chore card per game he picks up (he likes to sneak into the game cabinets and throw the pieces everywhere). Since there isn't a "weekly" connection to the chores and the kids get their reward once all five are completed, this works well. Also in the beginning the chore required was extremely short to earn a chore card. I have been slowly able to increase the length of chore now to turn a chore card. It takes Cecelia about a week to get 5 finished- she's gone all day at school. It is taking Coletyn about 3 days to complete all 5 chores.

Rewards for the kids are:
Cecelia can earn $.50 each 5 chores ($.10/chore) or a prize from prize box.
Coletyn can earn $.05 each 5 chores ($.01/chore) or a prize from prize box.
They both have selected prize box everytime!

Cecelia has a yellow card on her row that says "Toys, towels and sweep." These are three words she can read that are always options for her to do- clean up toys, change hand towels in both bathrooms, or sweep kitchen floor. She knows if she wants to initiate a chore, these are always options for her.

In the end, this one is currently meeting my requirements for chores in our house:  teach independence, teach responsibility, reward initiating extra chores/helping, teach team-work (family works together to complete tasks- clean house), allow for different frequencies of rewards for the differences in ages of kids within one system, one I can run and manipulate to work in my favor but not be a slave to, one that includes chores that are actually NEEDED during the day/week

So, it is rocket science? No. 
Am I pretty happy with what I've come up with? Yes. 
Have I seen anything like this anywhere on the web? Nope!!

I hope someone else finds this of value!