Saturday, June 25, 2011

Pajama Mama

We're celebrating the last 24 hours of testosterone-free, lid-down livin' week!

We miss our fellas, really, we do. We don't miss their odors of many sorts. We don't miss their massive consumption of grocery items. We don't miss their multi-media preferences. We don't miss their odors...did I already list those? But we miss their smiles and their help.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Everlasting Arms

Ward & Cari 1971

Today I am thinking about my dad. He went ahead to be with Jesus 16 years ago this Spring. I remember his artful skill as a conversationalist. I remember his generosity and his wisdom. I remember his perfectly straight, really white teeth. (He should’ve done commercials, or something!) But my most vivid memory, even after all this time, is of his arms.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Out of the Mouths

Ok, so yesterday's post about dental bonding brought up some opposition. I admit it was a very limited, specific metaphor with a very personal message.

What if crooked gaps are part of the fall of man?

I wore braces. I'm glad I wore braces. My brothers did not, and we've joked through the years, that I was the one Mom & Dad had to get "married off", so it was a wise investment.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good as New

"Oh, dear! She's bleeding!"

The other mom pointed toward the dugout where Ardyn had been serving as honorary bat "boy". I looked, but I couldn't see her bright pink shirt until she rounded the corner of the dugout. Our frightened eyes locked as we approached one another.

In those first few seconds of panic, I had subconsciously handed off my toddler, grabbed the pouch of baby wipes, and sped through the possible onset and responses to worse case scenarios...just in case.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY Sunday, June 12, 2011...

Outside my window...H.O.T.

I am mom and dad and I would harmonize on long road trips. We'd pick a hymn and I'd lean up from the middle row of seats. Mom would sing melody, and Dad would let me have first pick of a harmonizing note. He'd throw in a third and we'd go as long as we could remember the lyrics. Good times!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Busy Town

Ashlin awoke before the rest of us this morning. She shared the secret of her consciousness by filling the house with the buttery aroma of cinnamon raisin toast.

Within an hour we were all fed, dressed and in the car.

We dropped Mari Alice and Luke off for the first round of haircuts.

To the church house to fill out various forms, to pick up a vbs shirt, and to officially reject the box of dust mite infested, scraggly haired, missing eyed puppets that were graciously offered to be used at caMP3 next month. Umm, no thank you, please.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Today, the little Gizzard turned two. She woke up happy and when we asked her if she slept well, she responded with her usual, "uh HUH!" She is precious in every way. She hung out with her sibs while I took MariAlice to day 3 of dance camp. (?When I came home, I found diet coke in her sippy cup...something about it being a special day...boys: ugg.)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Let Us Sing

My good friend, Todd Agnew, posed this question recently.

"What Songs Does the Church Need?"

Here is my response...

I think statistically, there are people in every worship service who are facing hurt, pain, loss, and suffering. With so many “happy” songs, we might be fostering a perceived prerequisite to “put on our happy faces” in corporate worship.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Boredom Busters

Summer reading programs have been around since ...sheesh, since a LONG time ago. I love to get grade-level reading lists off line or from school or TEA site and you can use that as incentive too. Go to library every other week and get books off list then have a reward two weeks later when you turn them movie? one electronic blitz day etc.

Jot down what you think is important for your children to know when they leave your house in a few years....cook a meal? grocery shop? iron clothes? type well? clean house? Call it Life Skills. Schedule opportunities for them to develop these skills.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chore Charts?

Recently I was asked, "Do you have a summer chore chart for your kids?" I don't really have a separate chart for summer. I'll share what we do around here and maybe you'll be able to grab something helpful...

Our house is divided into zones. (don't judge me:) The kids each rotate responsibilities each week. I welcome all people who have completed zones to dine at my table at mealtime.

Just like WalMart - which is where I heard this phrase and thought "if it works to keep this place neat and tidy, maybe it will work on Southfield." - just like WalMart we do zone defense 4 times a day. Before each meal and bedtime.

Our Zones each week are....

Oscar/Laundry: This person is responsible for keeping O-dog's water & food maintained, keeping the laundry room straight and overseeing the "family" loads like towels/sheets/dad's work clothes throughout the process. (All kids 5 and older do their own laundry)

Kitchen/Dining: This person is my go-to kid for help around mealtime. I usually have everything under control until a few minutes before a meal...they can set table or whatever I need...usually there are many hungry folks offering to help speed things up. Then after the meal that kid and I work together to get everything back to normal. This is a pretty big zone since meals happen SO often, but they know they only have it once a month.

Living/Bath/Hall: This person is in charge of keeping our main living spaces tidy. They don't HAVE to put everything away themselves...but they need to persuade their fam to put stuff away. This cuts down on my nagging. Landen would like the girls to please put away their coloring books, not me. It also verifies -as he runs through and checks for a fresh hand towel and toilet paper - that a visitor would feel comfortable using our facilities at any time.

Car/Garage/Patio/Nook: This person is in charge of maintaining these high traffic places. Again, they CAN just go deliver stuff to people's room, or encourage folks to do it, or at times I've heard a public service announcement that goes like this, "Hey guys! There is a ton of junk form the ballgame in the car. Whatever is still there in 5 minutes is goin in the trash." lol

With fewer kids, you could combine a couple of these zones...Kitchen/Dining/Laundry and then Living/Bath/Car/Garage. Or Do Kitchen/Dining by the Day and then Divide the others evenly into two weekly zones. You could even have your kids help you divide the duties....mine are MUCH more enthusiastic when they have a part in organizing it. It's fun to hear their perspective too.

Our allowance is not tied to these zones. Johnsons have zone responsibilities. Johnsons who have done so are welcome to attend Johnson meals.

The boys mow the yard - no money. Philip doesn't get paid to mow. They don't. The boys babysit my girls - no money. I don't get paid for caring for them, they don't either. The girls are responsible for helping around the house while others mow, and submitting to their brother's authority while we're away. "Everybody working as a team!"

We give allowance for the purpose of learning money management. It is for snacks/ birthday gifts etc. They get 40 cents for each year of their age...which puts teenagers above $5 a week. They can save it or blow it, but I'm not responsible for their snacks. If they earn money outside the home, that week's allowance is cancelled. (They have provided their own money to learn to manage:)

During the summer I would think electronic time would be easy to get out of control. This summer we have WAY more electronic choices around our house than ever I'm probably going to have to come up with something. They could earn minutes of electronics by reading. Or perhaps we'll have certain hours of the day that are electronic free-for-alls, and then besides those time slots, we're low-tech old-school:)

What works great at your house?? Leave a response, pretty please:)