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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Autumn is here, and I'm rambling

Although here in Phoenix, the signs aren't as significant as elsewhere, we are still very well aware that Fall is upon us. The kids actually have to wear a long sleeve shirt outside first thing in the morning, and the days are so mild (we're talkin 80s), it is SO beautiful. Even though there aren't many falling leaves or night freezes, we are still loving the fall!

I have been taking the kids outside almost every day. We have gone to parks, gone on walks and a picnic, went to a Fire Engine Parade, and just outside in our backyard.

There is more to do, too! Almost too much! We want to go to the Phoenix zoo a time or two before our year pass expires (Oct 31st), go to the train park in Scottsdale, and go for more walks, and try out new parks. I love the fall.

On another note, discipline has been going so well for little Xander. My totally calm mannerism and structured time outs/spankings has changed his whole attitude. NO MORE counting to 3 to get him to obey. That only succeeds in teaching him not to pay attention to a word I say until I get to "2...". All of yesterday and today, he has heard and obeyed me much better.

I am faced with the challenge of trying to find more hours in my day. There is so much that I want to do, and the days just don't seem long enough! Oh, how I wish I needed less sleep. Einstein only slept 4 hours a night...why can't I!!?? If I thought I could still function well with 4 hrs, I would jump at the opportunity. There is just so much I want to do!

- Homeschool (well, preschool for now) kids
- maintain a clean and well organized home
-keep books for RitterBoys (not so much a want as a necessity)
-College (Same as above, am currently doing 3 classes online)
-Keep a budget and pay all bills on time (same as above 2)
- shop for the cheapest healthy food we can find, use coupons when I can
-train/raise children, with lots of love and attention
-Exercise at the gyme 1 1/2 hrs a day
- Home cooked, healthy meals
-Take time to blog, write in my journal, and write my novel

This is the main attraction to my life. Throw in spending quality time with husband, trying to find time for myself out with the girls, doing my devotions with God, taking care of my dogs, and hosting a small group for our church every Wed night, and things are just hectic. I know that I am not able to do EVERYTHING, all the time. My hope I guess is that in a weeks time, with a week worth of hours, I will be able to accomplish it all. I am hiring Auntie Carmen to watch the kids 2 days a week from now until mid December so that I can get everything initially set up. During the days that she takes the kids, I will be:

-figuring out a time efficient filing system for the business
-setting up Quickbooks so that it will see us from start (the estimate) to finish (our final payment), with everything in between ( receipts, bill pay, etc)
- Getting our house, and more importantly our Garage, clutter free and in order. Turning Garage into a hobby/art room. Maybe a small play area as well.
- Plan out routines (daily weekly and monthly that will help me to complete all of the cleaning)
- Plan when and how I am going to menu plan
-Plan for test semester school (Jan-June I am going to teach Jayna Kindergarten to see how it goes)
-Empty out storage unit, get rid of anything we don't need.

It's a lot, huh!? That is why I am having the kids babysat 2 full days a week for the next 10 weeks. I think that in 20 full days, I can get this all done. At least, I hope!

That's about it for now! Like I said, Autumn is here and I am loving it, even though I feel pressed with all my responsibilities. I will get it all in order soon enough!! Half the battle is knowing you need to make changes, and another good portion of it is the planning! Right?? I hope so!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

School Haze

I officially started school on Oct 5th, but only 1 of my 3 classes. My other 2 classes start on Oct 26th. It is exciting, but kind of hard to find the time to sit and do. I am a little scared of how hard it will be when I have all 3 classes going at the same time.

I have been doing "Relaxed Homeschool" with Jayna and Xander the passed couple of months. I sometimes use worksheets that I put in a sheet protector and let them use markers. Most of the time, though, I teach them through reading books, arts/crafts, music (circle time), and educational games (ABC Go fish; Animal/Alphabet Bingo, Candy Land, etc). The kids seem to really enjoy this fun way to learn. Xander is a little less into school than Jayna, but he's only 2. I'm not too worried about him learning anything besides life and play at this point. My main focus with Xander actually is discipline and love, which of course are one and the same. He can be a little booger at times, and I think it's because he needs extra attention. Baby Sonja is needing me constantly, and when she is asleep I am teaching school. That doesn't leave much time for a wiggly little boy who could really care less about his ABCs. I try to make sure to go to a park and to the library a couple times a week, but sometimes that's not enough.

I really want to raise my kids according to their love language, effective discipline techniques and their learning styles. This is what I have come up with so far.

Jayna- I believe Jayna has the love language of quality time. She is truly hurt if we don't get our game of "max and ruby" in, or if "circle time" or "book time" gets skipped. She is constantly asking me "mommy, what time is it" not meaning the clock hour, but what is it time for us to do. She loves being part of a family, and is perfectly content staying home and hanging out with me and her siblings. Her learning style is so simple- she just loves to learn. She seems to not have a preference how. She excels at written worksheets, at visual examples, and also with hands on games. She is also great at listening to stories/songs and learning through those as well. She is just Ms. Learner, plain and simple. Her discipline is a little more tricky. Jayna is very sensitive. Sometimes the slightest thing will cause a ton of tears. My main goal is to stay very calm, collected, and sit her down to talk with me in most cases. Of course, when she is losing her cool or throwing a tantrum, she is going to be put in time out. And for lies and direct disobedience, there is the occasional spanking- but I will never administer a spanking without first talking with her, making sure I see the whole picture and she is for sure in need of one, and making sure she understands why she is getting spanked. After the spanking there is always love and reconciliation.

Xander- Mr. "all-boy", his love language seems to be affection. He really loves being held, hugged, and kissed. While he loves to be played with along with Jayna, it doesn't seem like he NEEDS it to feel loved. He does get grumpy when I am holding Sonja and he wants up and cuddled. I try to find the time every day to make sure he gets loved on. At circle time, he sits on my lap. I also lovingly carry him to bed at naptime and bedtime. His learning style is still kind of hard to know for sure, but I think a lot of it is visual and a lot of hands on. He learns a lot just listening to Jayna, and also by watching people. Most of his learning (at age 2, anyhow) is simply by trying it out, seeing how it goes ...trial and error. Which I suppose is pretty normal for any 2 year old. Discipline is a tricky one. Our biggest struggle with him is getting his attention. Especially when he is immersed in either play or TV (which I am limiting to almost none at the moment). I don't want to spank him for not listening, because I am not sure whether he hears me but ignores, or if he just truly is zoning me out. I am leaning towards the latter. However, this is not a habit I want him to carry into his childhood. It is very important to me that he learns this. My current plan has been to eliminate my bad habits first. I have the habit of giving him a command while I am busy. For instance, while making breakfast and holding Sonja, I will say "Xander go get me a diaper so I can change you". I am busy, so don't pay attention to make sure that he obeys me the first time. So instead I end up saying it over and over. The first step is to walk up to him, touch him to get his attention, and tell him my command. Then walk him through the whole thing so he doesn't get distracted. That's my plan for now. After we master that, I'll work on giving commands from across the room. hahaha

Sonja- is a baby, so what can I say? She loves to be held. ALL.. THE..TIME!! She always wants someone around. But she is generally sweet and happy-go-lucky. She of course doesn't have much discipline (other than going to bed when she is too grumpy), and her learning is really just watching and playing with all of her family members.

I am excited to see how my kids grow and develop, and feel a great responsibility for "how they turn out". I want to make sure they never ever doubt that Mommy, Daddy, or God love them. I wish for them to be happy, Christ-centered, functional women and men (or man in my case).