Friday, April 29, 2011


This fun trampoline place opened up in Draper recently. We took advantage of its much bounciness one evening as a family chore reward. It was super boingy and exhausting!

I am ashamed to say that I chickened out on my flip at the last second. I did redeem myself later with a
sweet front handspring into the pit . . . with no video to prove it, of course.

I think these blurry pictures are funny:

Pfew! Tired and ready to go home.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Basketball On the Brain

Elliot's new shirt says it all. This kid is obsessed with basketball. He watches it on TV (doesn't matter who's playing), collects basketball cards and shoots hoops in the front yard - rain or shine.

While we're on the subject of basketball . . . Elliot and Henry just finished a season of Jr. Jazz. I don't have a single good video of Henry because he literally would only keep the basketball for half a second every time it was passed to him. Not even enough time to press the record button on the camera.

But I have some good videos of Elliot:

Elliot's age group doesn't play positions, but he was basically the point guard. His teammates usually gave him the ball to take down the court. He definitely had the best ball handling skills on the team. By far. He's excited to go to a basketball camp this summer with his best friend.

Dylan came to one of Elliot's games

We're looking forward to when Elliot's in fifth grade and can play in a competitive league. Jr. Jazz is fun, but it's run by Sandy Parks & Recreation and uses volunteer coaches. Nathan coached Henry's team, but Elliot's coach had no clue what she was doing and rarely showed up on time (if she showed up at all). Nathan stepped in as coach a few times, which the other parents appreciated, and helped out on the scoreboard once too.

One more year of Jr. Jazz. Go Elliot!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Shower Buddies

A few months ago, I decided that Henry was too big for baths.  I had him start showering with Elliot, which actually saves a lot of time and hot water. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Anyway, during the boys' morning before-school showers, I'm in the bathroom as well, combing my hair. So, I can hear all the conversation that goes on between them in the shower. Don't get me wrong, once in a while I hear a lot of arguing and the sound of wet hands slapping wet bodies. But mostly, they are so cute that I stand there and smile and snicker to myself. I've thought about recording these adorable exchanges, and I still might, but for now, I'd like to share what I heard this morning. Word for word.

Henry: "It's my turn for the water."

Elliot: "Ok. Do I have shampoo still?"

H: "Yeah, in the back."

E: "Is it out?"

H: "No, a little more to the left."

E: "I don't feel any on that side."

H: "Oh, I mean your right."

E: "Here, let me get it a little warmer for you . . . ah, that feels good."

H: "It's a little hot, but it will do."

H: "K. All your soap's out."

I love it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Chore Chart

About six weeks ago, I came up with a new system for doing chores around here. You see, the old way of giving each child a mere one or two chores a week (plus keeping a clean room), and then spending all day Saturday begging them to do them, all the while enduring whining and complaining in several pitches . . . wasn't working. I had noticed that my children weren't acting like part of family. They hated pitching in to get a job done faster, wouldn't dare pick up an item that didn't belong to them and in general, behaved like a bunch of poor Cinderellas. (I do have to say that the issue was predominately my two teenage daughters - but is that surprising?) I felt it was important for my kids to serve each other and feel like they were contributing to our family.

The solution:

For Family Home Evening, we had a brief discussion about service and being part of community/family. We talked about how if one person chooses not to do their part, it effects those around them - like the idea that "if one wheel falls off, then the car can't go". Next, we all sat in a circle and I pulled out 30 or so small cards cut from cardstock. I asked the kids to name all of the things that have to be done to make the household run smoothly. The list was rattled off very quickly: doing laundry, making dinner, going to work, sweeping the floors, cleaning toilets, mowing the lawn, doing the dishes, pulling weeds, making the beds, taking out the trash, etc. As each job was mentioned, I wrote it down on a card and handed it to the person in the circle that is typically responsible for that particular job. The list went on and on and when we were finished, we each held up the cards we had been given. I'm sure it's no big shocker that Henry and Elliot were each holding two cards, and that I, the mom, had about 23 cards in my hand. Now, everyone could visually and plainly see the amount of responsibility each person in the family actually has. I'm proud to say that I got the reaction I was looking for - my kids said, "Wow, mom and dad sure do a lot of things for us!" And a couple of them realized finally that the meager amount of work they were asked to do on a weekly basis was absolutely nothing to complain about. I had them where I wanted them. Then, I brought out the chart I had made and the cards were redistributed. * I should note that although I don't have 23 cards a week anymore, I still have far more than the children do. And that's as it should be - after all, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do! Kids can't pay the bills. Or get the groceries. Nor should they have to.

Yes, I misspelled "when".

This has worked oh so brilliantly!

* The kids are actually excited to dump out the cards and pick new chores each week.
* Since we all have different jobs from week to week, doing chores doesn't get boring.
* Everyone has a say in choosing their own chores, so no one feels like they're being forced to do anything.
* Doing a job that someone else is usually supposed to do, like making their bed for them, feels a lot like service.
* Since the kids can see in their baggie what they have to do, I don't have to remind or nag (hallelujah).
* I'm surprised the kids haven't asked for a raise in their allowance, due to the addition of chores. Good thing, since we weren't planning on giving them one.
* I didn't think it would happen, but I have witnessed certain people taking chores out of other bags, just to be nice :)
* I have discovered that getting an extra chore for complaining only happens ONCE. That lesson is one quickly learned.
* I've learned that a mom is much happier and more laid back when some of the house work has been lifted from her shoulders.
* I'm super impressed with Nathan for being so willing to participate in this new chore system - the majority of the "cards" were never his responsibility before. I'm grateful that he's vacuuming and dusting with the rest of us, even after working hard all week.
* Best of all, everyone in the family, including the parents, feels motivated to get all their cards in the "Done" bag so that they don't let the rest of the family down by missing out on the family reward. It's happened. So far, our family rewards have included things like going out for ice cream, buying a new movie on DVD and going to Airborne Trampoline Arena (although we've told the kids that the family reward can be as simple as a pack of gum for everyone, which they're totally cool with as well).

Well, mission accomplished . . . so far. Here's how I know:

1. The last time we chose new chores, Gillian observed, "I actually have about three times the chores I used to have, but it feels like less." Exactly. It doesn't feel like work anymore.

2. This last weekend, Samantha commented, "I've felt a difference in our family lately. Everyone's happier I think." I've felt it too. I think we're all feeling that unity that comes from working together and serving the members of our family.

We'll see how long it lasts . . .

Monday, April 4, 2011

Intro to Ebay

I've decided to bypass worrying about catching up on the past and blogging in the now . . . for now. I'll still have to play catch-up later.

Tonight, Elliot and Henry had their first experience with ebay and learned how an auction works. They have both been dying to own an actual Harry Potter wizard wand. They found a seller on ebay who makes authentic replicas of wands used by various wizards in the movies. They have been drooling over them via computer screen for weeks, as their weekly allowance slowly filled their wallets. Tonight, at 8:20pm, with both wallets bulging with 20+ dollars and the wands of their dreams nearing auction end, the boys excitedly watched the little red numbers count backwards as their bids went higher. Dad helped with the clicking of the mouse at just the right moment. Very crucial. The Death Eater wand Henry wanted slipped from his fingers as the bidding went past his maximum bid of $23.

He was crushed for a moment, but wait . . . there was a Professor Severus Snape wand with a bid of $.99 ending in just 3 minutes! With much anticipation and much squealing, he became the winner of said Prof. Snape wand for a mere $1.04!

Henry's initial disappointment about the first wand disappeared. Tears avoided. Attention then moved to Elliot's Narcissa Malfoy (who is that?) wand.

He remained the highest bidder at $15.50 for the final 5 minutes of the auction and easily won his prize, although a little concerned that Henry only had to fork over a buck for his wand. But hey, it was his second choice. All in all, it was a great introduction to auctions - the bidding, the winning and the losing. (I'm just glad they both came away with something!)

What was so cute that it inspired me to sit down and blog about it, was that Henry sleepily came out of his room at nearly 10:00 pm, climbed on Nathan's lap and told him, "Dad, someone else got that Death Eater wand. And maybe a Dumbledore wand . . ."
Adorable- he was laying there in bed thinking about wizard wands.

I hope the mail isn't slow.