Puffy Balls and Structure

So sorry I didn’t do the “I’m Blessed” post yesterday.  In all honesty, I completely forgot until this morning.  Yesterday I took the kids to the library, and when we got home, Solveig was feeling a bit warm.  A few hours later, her temperature was rising very fast.  Knut came home for lunch, and we decided that we should take her into her regular doctor instead of the walk-in clinic like we did a week ago.

We stayed awhile at the clinic, because our pediatrician wanted to do not only a strep culture, but a urine test to check for UTIs, which both she and I were leaning towards as the cause.  (Well, we both thought it was either that or teething with a super high temperature, and we both wanted to rule out UTI.)  Getting a urine sample from a baby is not a simple thing, and I’m grateful that our ped was patient enough to see if we could get it without giving her a catheter.  It took over an hour, and Solveig was uneasy, but we were able to rule that out.  In fact, all tests came back negative.  She still is acting herself, though tired.  She still smiles and jabbers and plays.  She was eating and drinking like she didn’t have a fever of 102-103+.  No runny nose, no ear infection.  Just really hot!  I don’t think I would have brought her in if she didn’t have a 5 day fever that ended at the beginning of last week that also had no cause.

I got really uneasy at night because I gave her ibuprofen as directed around 6pm, when her temperature was 102.  When I put all the kids to bed at 8pm, when the fever reducer had been in her system for 2 hours, her temperature had risen to 103.5.  I wasn’t sure what to do at that point.  I had been rotating ibuprofen and Tylenol, so I gave her the next dose of Tylenol, said a prayer for her and put her down to sleep.  She was so tired.

Since her fever had risen with the medication, I was wondering if I should take her into the emergency room.  None of my kids have ever been that hot while medicated.  I decided to wait an hour and see how she progressed, checking her temp every hour.  Fortunately, after an hour, she had dropped to 102.  Another hour dropped another degree.  At midnight, she woke up by herself all sweaty and cool.  She had no fever at that point, and she didn’t need any more medicine through the night.  She did wake up every hour wanting to be held, though.  It was an exhausting night.

It didn’t help that Knut left for work just before 6:30 this morning.  He gets to drive a tractor over 100 miles away to pick something up, then drive back.  It will take him pretty much all day.  So if you see a tractor going 20 miles an hour on the road today, wave to my husband, and be safe.

Anyway, now that we’re all caught up, let me tell you about these puffy balls.  It’s our new “system” that we’re trying out in our house.

I found this idea on Pinterest, and adapted it quite a bit.  I’ve been having trouble this summer, and during the school year for that matter, with keeping the kids productive.  You see, I’m not sure if it’s all homeschool kids or not, but my kids often finish their work by lunch.  That means they have all afternoon of free time, and all they want to do is: watch tv, play on the computer, and play our little Pac man cheap video game.  I like that they have free time, but I hate that the only way I can keep them quiet so the toddler and preschooler can nap is to just let them watch t.v. all afternoon. 

I just don’t like it, but I also don’t want to spend all afternoon giving them chores.  They do a pretty fair share load of chores already, and I don’t think it’s fair for them to spend many hours a day doing chores.  I’d much rather see them explore outside, read books for fun, build forts, and do other fun kid stuff.  However, all afternoon is one long whine for the television or other screens.

After lots of threatening, and taking the t.v. away, and headaches, and disciplining, I’ve sought out a way to get the kids excited about doing “good things” during their free time.  They obviously need some more guidance in this area.  I want them exploring, learning, or serving others during their free time.  So here’s what we’re starting this week.

Just like always, they start their day off with their lists.  This has worked REALLY well for us during the school year, as it’s not complicated and all expectations of the day are laid out on the table.  The only hard part is that I have to make sure their lists are done the night before without fail.  If I put the list together after breakfast on the same day, the kids are already distracted and wandering around, and the whole day is a challenge to keep them focused.

The kids each have a composition notebook (that we still haven’t gotten around to decorating) that I write their daily lists in.  On the top of one page, I write the date, and then a list of things I want that child to do that day.  This includes both school assignments as well as chores.  I write out each worksheet that they need to complete, piano practice time, taking a shower, cleaning their room, doing the dishes, chapters of books that need to be completed, dogs that need to be walked, etc.  These assignments/chores aren’t rewarded.  It’s just what needs to get done because I said so.  Some of them are fun like “pick one craft from our crafting book and complete”, and as much as I can, I let the kids pick which order they get their work done.

However, when they get their list completed, the rest of the day is theirs.  That’s where I’ve had problems. I don’t want to give them 12 hours of school/chores.  I want them to run around and play without begging for a screen. Now during this time, they can do what they want as far as playing.  However, they have the option to earn some puffy balls.  It’s completely optional, but my kids are already so consumed with it.  We’ll see how long it lasts.

Here are some things that get them puffy balls:

1 puffy ball for reading 30 minutes of reading for fun.
1 puffy ball for playing outside for 30 minutes.
2 puffy balls for folding a load of laundry and putting it away.
2 puffy balls for picking up the toys in the basement
2 puffy balls for cleaning out the messy van.
1 puffy ball for saying a school memory card on a non-test day.  (Test day is Friday.  If they can say their memory work science card on Monday, they get a ball.  Tuesday gets a ball for the same memory work, etc.  They really strive for this, as we have 6 cards of memory work a week, they can earn up to 6 balls a day for getting memorizing their cards early.)
1 puffy ball for emptying 3 full trash cans in the house and putting in clean liners.
2 puffy balls for writing and editing a letter to someone they love.
2 puffy balls for picking weeds for 30 minutes

There’s a few more, and we’re still modifying it.  Here’s what they can buy with their puffy balls:

15 balls = 30 minutes of t.v.
15 balls = 30 minutes of computer time.
15 balls = 30 minutes of video games.
(marked) = extra treats (I have a basket for school of fun pencils, sparkly notebooks, stickers, etc.  They can pick a treat marked with a price)
100 balls = date with Mommy or Daddy

The first day it was tough for them to learn that they only had time to earn 7-8 balls.  They were a bit upset they didn’t even get any t.v. that day.  However, family movie nights don’t cost any balls.  Those are just family dates.  There are other rules, that we’re figuring out as we go.  I’m hoping by this fall we’ll have a good system worked out.  For instance, we have a rule that puffs are for good attitudes only.  That rule was written out from the beginning.  If they start whining and complaining, it’s no longer serving the family and the job stays, but the puffs go.  This happened when David started cleaning out the van.  When he realized that the job took longer than 5 minutes, he stomped his foot and said he didn’t want to do it anymore. I gave him one big encouragement that I thought he’d do a great job, and reminded him he had to have a good attitude.  When his attitude got worse, and he was dragging his feet and saying how terrible of a job it was, I made him finish the job, but gave him no puffy balls for reward.  He used up his reward by whining and complaining.  He was not happy, but obediently finished.  He finished with such a good attitude that I gave him 1 ball back.

Silje has decided to give up t.v. entirely and just save up for a date with her Daddy.  David wants it all.  He wants a date, (and picked me to go with him!) but he hates staring at 15 balls, and knowing his favorite show is on and he could watch it if he spent all he had.  It’s a good debate I see going on inside of him.  They are learning, and using their time a bit wiser, and that’s just on day 2.  I’m interested to see how day 20 will be.  So far it’s just for the older 2 kids, as I don’t think Elias and Solveig could grasp it, and neither one of them have trouble just sitting and enjoying the day and people around them.

Wedding Day

Last night, Knut’s brother got married to his sweetheart who he’s been with since 7th or 8th grade.  I forget.  They met in one and started dating in the other, I think?  I’m shamed to say that I did not get a picture of the bride and groom to share, but I had pity on those poor people who went through hours of picture taking.  Congratulations to Lars and Molly!

Yesterday in our family was pretty crazy.  I had to work in the morning to get Silje and my hair done before we headed out to the church.  I changed the kids when we got there, and I’m glad we decided to do that.  There were 2 major spills in the car on the way out.  It’s just too typical.  I got the boys some little suits at the kids’ consignment store about an hour away.  Well, the girls got their dresses too, so I guess that’s our store!

Taking pictures with the bride and groom and their nieces and nephews was quite an ordeal because there are now 11 ages 8 and under.  We remembered that the last time one of Knut’s siblings got married, Silje was the only grandchild at the time, and I was pregnant with David.  Those were simpler times back then.

Knut’s sister, Rondi, was smart and brought the movie “Up” for the kids to watch at the church while they waited a few hours between pictures and the ceremony.  I ended up having to leave the ceremony because Solveig was screaming for joy.  Silje and David had the job of handing out programs.  They did fabulous.

The reception was at a golf course, and we had wonderful treats, cupcakes, food, and to top it off, my kids’ favorite part: the dance!  The boys had a tough time waiting for the music to start, and ended up wrestling nearly non stop.  I think with a whole day having to sit still and be quiet and strange people and places, they needed to burn off some steam.  So I just let them.

Pictures of the dance didn’t turn out too well.  Knut’s dad never dances at these things ever.  Silje mentioned to me during the meal that she wanted to dance with grandpa.  Trying to let her down easy, I explained to her that Grandpa never dances.  Wide eyed, she said, “Never?”  To reinforce my point, I said, “Yes, I’d pay you $2 if you could get Grandpa to dance.”  Well, she did it.  It drew quite a crowd.

The kids danced non-stop.  Knut pulled me out there too, and we had so much fun!  The band there was amazing and I loved them and the good ol’ songs they played.  David has a break dance style that usually got a circle around him cheering, and Elias pretty much went to town too.  It was the cutest thing ever.  My other favorite moment of the night, was seeing our pastor take Solveig from my arms and groove with her out there to the tune “Play Than Funky Music, White Boy.”

On the lows, Solveig was so clingy all day, so my back began to hurt.  I fell in the parking lot to the reception, and skinned my knee and twisted my ankle a bit.  Not enough to keep me from dancing, so it couldn’t have been too bad.  David bruised his knee once, dancing and had to sit out 2 songs.  I’m told he had a failed cartwheel out there.

Bringing the kids home was a hoot as I’m not sure I’ve ever seen all 4 of them so tired.  Knut stayed to the end, but I went home to put them to bed.  It was about a 30 minute hysterical operation as none of them could wake up.  It’s 9:30am here, and Elias is still sleeping.  I should probably wake him up eventually.

Today so far is restful.  I’ve been drinking water like crazy since I’m certain I didn’t get enough yesterday.  The kids haven’t melted down over anything yet, so that’s good.

Welcome to our crazy family, Molly. 

Yarn Along

I finished all the pieces to the French Press Slippers, and now all that is needed to finish is to sew them together, felt them, sew on the buttons, and measure, cut, and sew on the leather reinforcements on the bottom.  I wonder if all those last steps will get done any time soon.  The “finished” pieces have been sitting here for over a week, so I’m not too optimistic.  I’m terrible at finishing work, and this project seems to me about half finishing work.  I wouldn’t have picked it if they weren’t so cute!

Well, actually my crafting room has been terribly messy.  That’s been part of the problem.  I’ve been working so hard to stay on top of the rest of the house, that the “sewing room” has been sorely neglected all summer.  It’s becoming a dumping space and it got to the point where you couldn’t even walk in comfortably.  Yesterday, I got about half of it cleaned up during nap time.  That was the great accomplishment of the day.

For reading, I took the recommendation of Kristin Lavransdatter from Ginny, and ordered it for some beach reading in Hawaii coming up in less then a month!  It’s a huge book, which surprised me.  As I went through it, I saw I had accidentally ordered the trilogy of 3 books.  So there should be no lack of reading for me to do.

I sneaked a peak of the book when I was sitting in Elias’ room the other day waiting for him to fall asleep.  He’s been getting into the habit of sneaking out of bed so quietly during nap time, and getting into all sorts of mischief.  So I’ve gotten in the habit of sitting in the rocking chair in his room until he falls asleep.  It’s been working so well, and he’s been falling asleep so quickly that yesterday I decided he’s probably over the hump, and I probably don’t need to sit in his room anymore.

Well, I was wrong, because about 30 minutes later I went to check on him, and he was covered all over with red permanent marker from a Sharpie that I have no idea whatsoever how he got a hold of.  He colored the walls, his sheets, his clothes, the windows, and some of the windowsills.  Fortunately we’ve just removed the wallpaper from his room, and have not painted it yet.  Still, I scrubbed him in the bath, and he still has red marker all over, which does not fair well for his uncle’s wedding coming up in 2 days.  At least I have him wearing long sleeves for that day.  That should help.

Anyway, back to the book.  It took me awhile to get into because there are so many Norwegian names, and so many places and the book is set in medieval history.  However, I’m about a third of the way through the first book and I am having a harder and harder time putting it down.  I think I may have to be careful after all not to read too much before vacation so I actually have something to read when I get there.

I’m Blessed

I have been so blessed this last week to have Knut home so much.  I’ve gotten so much done around the house, it’s almost like we got the house “company ready” but just for us. 

Knut finished painting the upstairs bathroom and hung an old cabinet in there as well.  The new shower curtain was hung, and now we just need some towel hooks.  I may spray paint (er…get Knut to spray paint) the gold light fixture in there to match the rest, as I did in the dining room.  (With the dining room chandelier, I spray painted it a textured brown, and then sprayed over it very lightly with copper to get an old bronze finish.  I miss the days when we had HGTV.)  It worked so well in the dining room, I don’t hesitate to do it again.  I’m so excited that yet another room in this house is getting done, even if it’s just a little one.

I’ll have to post pictures later. 

I’m so blessed to have Solveig come with me to my midwife appointment.  She wanted to badly to play with the little baby doll in the “model uterus” on the shelf and the midwife took it all apart so Solveig could parade around the room with a baby in her arms and feeling really important.  Needless to say, Solveig really liked her.  Ultrasound is scheduled a week from Thursday.  I’m anxious to see this little one!

I’m blessed that Knut came home this afternoon saying he has the rest of the afternoon off…as well as the rest of the week.  I guess this dry spell is making for little work on the farm.  He’s excited for a big chunk of time to work on the school bookshelves in the den.  I’m quite excited that he’s excited to do that.  Not that we’d be disappointed with rain.  Nope, wouldn’t be disappointed at all.  We are blessed with some time to get things done at home, though.

However, he won’t spend all week on the built-in bookshelves.  His brother, Lars, is getting married this weekend.  Lots of parties and events and pictures and appointments will follow for at least parts of our family, and some for all of us.  Weddings are such blessings!

I was blessed to drop David off at Bible camp.  We sort of dropped him off in a hurry so I didn’t have a chance to dwell on the emotions of it.  He’s spending Sunday afternoon, all day Monday, and Tuesday morning out at camp.  He was so nervous, and so excited.  I’m sure he’s having the time of his life.  In his place at home, Elias has been fighting with Silje.  Good to know Elias was ready to step up to the plate. 

I was blessed to finally catch my sister on the phone this morning.  We’re both having crazy summers, and it was fun to finally touch base with her.  What a huge blessing that was!

I know it’s late in the day, but don’t hesitate to join in whenever you read this!  Leave a comment saying how God has blessed you this last week and share with us all!  It’s good to take a moment to pause and praise Him from whom all blessings flow!