Friday, September 16, 2011

Progress Report

My blogging on the Chronicles has been a bit sporadic lately, but for very good reason.  I've been setting up a blog for the Mothers Together program at church, which is something I'm passionate about and have felt honored to do--I just love these women! Still, I'm glad it's up and running now, and that I can dedicate some more time to our family blog again--hence this mod-podge post you're reading. 
1. I've been reading more (yes, more) parenting books, taking in more inspiring ideas, and realizing that the ones we've got in place are turning out to be excellent systems for our family.  You might remember the kids' (well, mostly Lorelei's) "Chore And More Charts" HERE. This has been fantastic, especially creating a super smooth early morning with whine-free violin practice, except that it's easy for Lorelei to forget some of the tasks all chunked together under her "Daily Jobs" in the afternoon, which is why I've brought them back out... our Pencil Jars.  O, how I love our Pencil In Priorities Jars.  I came up with these around the New Year (HERE), and they've been so helpful I mentioned them in my back to school article in KC Parent (HERE), because they're fabulous for breaking big things down into small tasks.  That's just what I've done with L's jobs, hoping she won't forget anything now... the poor girl is crushed if she misses earning a badge.  I think it's important that I do what I can to help her succeed, but at the end of the day, when it's time to count tokens, it's really up to her.  I'm hoping that by being consistent with our expectations, she'll learn to take initiative and do things without so many reminders.  Already I'm nagging a lot less, but my goal is that she's responsible enough to do things on her own, to move her own badges, and to tell us when it's time to count tokens.
2. Lorelei is beyond crazy about her Awanas Club, and her weekly goals (from our white board) have been to learn several verses each week since (in Sparks) they get to progress at their own pace.  I don't have anything to do with this, she's just totally motivated and wants to earn those sparkly jewels for her vest.  I was the exact same way as a little Spark.  I want to equip her to meet her goals, and Awanas offers the perfect tool for this--a CD with all the verses (if only they'd had these on tape when I was a kid).
For L's Suzuki lessons, she has to listen to her violin music everyday, and I've learned a little secret--the more she listens, the better she plays.  So I've started burning CDs with the songs she's working on played anywhere from 5-10 times in a row.  I took the same concept, and have been adding her Awanas verses to her Suzuki CDs, burning them together.  I have the verses play 3 times each, and voila--she's mastering them with hardly any effort on my part, and she's just giddy about it!
 This past week at Awanas, she went in ready to recite 8 verses!  Eight, word for word.  They only let her do half because it was the very end and they were running out of time, but I got to peer through the door as she recited one after another, and I could tell she felt so good about what she had accomplished.  It's amazing what a determined kid and a good strategy can do.  Three meetings in to Awanas, and Lorelei knows: John 3:16, 1 John 4:14, Psalm 147:5, I Cor. 15:3 & 4, James 2:10, Acts 16:31, a review verse, and John 20:31, plus most of the NT books.  I love the confidence kids gain through this program and the good study habits--it really carries over into school and life.
Poor Gryffy did not have such a good week--the Cubbies leaders got smart, and broke up the three little musketeers--Gryffy, Jack and Jonny--into different classrooms.  They were always so excited to be together, but I know three boys can be a handful!
 3. I'm tickled pink that Lorelei and Gryffy both love school this year too and have wonderful teachers, and that Lorelei has gone straight into kindergarten with confidence.  She got her progress report today, which seems so early to me!  But she was very proud, because I think she finds satisfaction in working hard and doing her best--all plus marks!
 Can you tell she's a little excited about that?  Just a bit?
 4. This boy steals my heart away.  While I was outside snapping pictures, Gryffy said, "Mommy-a, I-a pick a fwower-a for-a you-a."  (He adds the "a" sound after every word as he works so, so hard to pronounce them--it's really very cute, though I'm not sure his speech teacher thinks so.  He wouldn't cooperate this week, and his teacher looked a bit frazzled when they returned to the waiting room.)
 He always brings me flowers and tucks them behind my ears.  What a sweet, precious boy I've got.
 "Here-a yooou-a gooo-a."  Why thank you, Mr. Gryff.
5. And two weeks ago when we were in Des Moines, Mark twisted his foot and tripped as he took down his band equipment after a wedding.  He staggered into the hotel room where the kids and I were in bed, and said he thought he might have broken it.  It made him nauseous.  Lorelei rushed to nurse his foot with our ice pack (seriously, that girl is so nurturing) while I gave a little bit of sympathy, but was pretty sure Mark was being a bit of a baby over a sprained ankle.
A CT scan yesterday, and--oops--it really IS broken.  I guess I'm not winning the Year's Best Wife Award...
 ... but at least I helped to mow the lawn tonight.  Sorry, Hubsley.  I was a total failure last time he broke something, too.  It was his little toe, and it was horizontal.  HORIZONTAL.  I ran from the room, more worried about myself fainting than his horribly disfigured foot.  I guess he'll just have to stop breaking things, or at least manage to break them at work, where he has full access to an ER...

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