Sunday Share

I’ve been doing this share thing since I was inspired by A Momma’s View‘s “My Pick’s of the Week”. I think that was a long time ago, like when Yoda was just a baby. I started it because I really enjoyed finding new blogs to follow through her lists and wanted to help spread that joy like peanut butter on a PBJ. I learned quickly that other enjoyed my lists and it helps them become known.

Then I learned about the perks. Sometimes, people want to share me because I shared them and love getting those emails saying I need to approve that new pingback. It’s like having your cake and eating it, too. It’s like when the kids willingly help with chores. It’s a virtual fist bump.

Knuckle up and Happy Reading!

Forever Being Daddy
Cutting your lossing and giving in to a 1 year old’s demands…

Modern Mommy Madness
When kids notice the change…

Fitness and Others Passions of A Dad
An intro to him, his family, and a cliffhanger on how he got to where he is now…

The Salty Mamas
When all hell breaks loose at Trader Joe’s

Tracey Tobin
When you’re in a book club and your book club honestly wants to read your book…

All In A Dad’s Work
3 night camping trip summed up in 1200 laughs words…

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Go forth and be helpful…

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The Last Day

Well folks, it’s finally here. The Last Day. Thanks to Alice Cooper there’s a song for this day, actually. While most  considered last Friday to be The Last Day, today is REALLY The Last Day. Even if they are only there for an hour and half. Long enough to give a teacher a present, say see ya in Grade Four (4th grade) to their friends, then grab their report card and skedaddle for the summer.

We ran into a bit of a snag with his previous teacher (who left in March to begin maternity leave). A lack of communication is what it boiled down to. But that’s in the past and things have improved with her replacement. The report card comes home today. Crash has always done well. He always comes home with A and B’s. Smart like his parents (he does do dumb stuff like the generation of dads before him did when they were his age).

Anyway, this isn’t about the dumb acts of the invincible youth. I’m not even really sure what this is about today. I’m just spewing nonsense.

So I’ll keep it short and ask for you help. Tomorrow is “Questions I Ask My Kids” day. Last week’s science questions were a huge hit that I’d like to try to replicate. Their answers were hilarious! What I need some help with is the questions I should ask. You can read last week’s questions here.

What would be a good science question to ask a kid? 

Just leave your question(s) down in the comments and I’ll even give you a shout out tomorrow!

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Chore Chart Update #2

We now have two weeks of chores under our belts. The chart is working magnificently. It’s easy to use. It’s easy to read. Easily printable from week to week. While Crash and Bang don’t exactly go looking at it for what chores they have to do, they do understand that if a chore gets put on the chart it has to be done. No arguments. No questions. No ifs, ands, or buts.

We stuck to the Sunday is pay day method instead of paying them at the end of the day to let them watch their quarters add up. This way they’re not so tempted to go spend it. But also, because it’s easier.

This week went much smoother than last week. While last week there was much arguing about having to do chores, there was only once this week. Last week Crash complained that it wasn’t fair that he had chores but none of his friends did. Complained that he hated cleaning. Or that he just flat out didn’t want to. This week there was only one hiccup. That came when his chore was to put his laundry away. I’ll give him credit for putting away what was in the laundry basket without fuss. But when it came time to hang up his pants and shirts he had pulled off the hangers in his closet the attitude came out. I stood there and watched him put away the first 3-4 items (there were about 10 in total) before I knew he was back on autopilot and would put away the rest without supervision. Other than that, when it was time to do chores, they got done!

So how much did they earn this week? More than last. Crash earned himself $3.25 and
Bang earned $4.25.Bang earn an extra dollar because he did extra chores. He only did extra chores because he volunteered to do them. No on asked, he just did. He vacuumed the mess that was on the mat by the door. He put all the shoes not on the shoe rack back on the rack. He helped a stranger with her groceries and helped our neighbor in her garden.

While these last two were exactly considered chores, we included them because we wanted to reward him for doing good. Naturally, not every good deed gets rewarded in such a manner, this time it was. I must also point out that Bang did his extra chores without being prompted and without knowing he’d get an extra quarter for doing them. He did them to help. He took it upon himself to do the extra bit of work.

Now, today, they’re home  from school at 10:00 because of an unexpected early dismissal. Since they’ve come home early they think it’s also a day off from chores. I think I’m about to encounter a bit of resistance. Here’s goes! (I’ll let you know later how much of a battle today was).

I uploaded an .xls (Excel spreadsheet) and PDF file in this post if you would like the chore chart for yourself. They are also down in the footer. You’ll just have to change the names. Or not. Doesn’t matter what you call them so long as they’re doing their chores.

Saturday Share

Here we are at yet another weekend. There are just 5 of these left until Christmas. But if you’re not too busy and would like something fun to read, please take a peek at what I gathered JUST FOR YOU this week.

Ah Dad
Fighting evil two bullies at a time. Seriously, this one needs to be read. Like, now.

Bumbi’s Mom
Our kids kids change so fast. So do their likes and tastes.

Faraday’s Candle
Dreamers and doers. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

The Science of Mom
Well supported evidence and the truth to the ingredients in newborn Vitamin K shots. I’ve had two infants in my time as a father so I was definitely curious about this one.

Dream Big, Dream Often
The selflessness is endless.

Scary Mommy
The speed of life…

Chore Chart Update

So last week I wrote about (there is an .xls and pdf link to the file there as well if you’d like to have it for yourself) how we were going to create a chore charts for Crash and Bang. Well we did. Now we have a week under our belt. How has it gone so far?clean

We decided on a flat rate for each job done instead a flat rate per day. Twenty-five cents per chore. Piece work. So how much did they earn last week? Crash made a grand total of $2.25. Bang earned himself $1.75. They were excited to be paid. I don’t know if it will be enough incentive though. It was like teaching math to a mule.

I explained to Crash that he would be doing chores no matter how big of a fight he put up. He could either do the chores willingly and get paid for them or he could fight and argue with us, still have to do the chores but without pay. It was his choice.

At one point this week, when I instructed him to clean his room, he tried not to. So I sat his bed and told him what to pick up and where to put it. Then he vacuumed his room.

“None of my friends have to do chores” he tried to tell me. My response was simple.
“It’s because I’m not their dad.”

“But I don’t want to clean.”
“Me, either, bud. But we have to and mom and I really need your help.”

“But I hate cleaning.”
“There are far worse things that could be happening instead of cleaning.  Would you rather clean the whole house? No? Then clean the few things I ask you to.”

piggyBang is just the opposite when his big brother isn’t around. He’ll vacuum out the couch or the door mats. He’ll help empty the dishwasher. He’ll help load it. He’ll help me with laundry. He’ll take out the garbage and recycling. When Crash isn’t around. Otherwise he adopts the same attitude.

But there is payment and they now know they’ll be paid because they got their money yesterday. Perhaps we’ll get a roll of quarters from the bank and they can be paid each day. Then perhaps they’ll be more willing and they’ll be able to see their earnings immediately. Then later we can switch back to weekly payments. Perhaps we’ll switch to a glass jar for a piggy bank so they can watch their earnings add up.

To be continued…
I’ll give you another update next Monday to let you know if this week goes any differently.

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Chores (or how to use child labor to your advantage)

We have been himming and hawing about giving Crash and Bang an allowance for doing chores. A little incentive to help around the house. Well, I finally created a chore chart. Then it was critiqued by DW and a few changes were made. I based it on a few others I found online. Though the others just didn’t fit what I was looking for. I wanted simple. I wanted it left open for change each day. There chores will change from day to day depending on what needs cleaning and how much time they have.

For example, Crash vacuumed the stairs yesterday. That’s not something that gets done every day. Once a week will suffice around here. Bang put the clean silverware away after the dishwasher was run. That’s something that only needs to be done when the dishwasher is run. In our house that’s about 3 times a week.

I wanted a chart that could be filled in day to day as needed. Most of the charts I found online had the chores filled in already. Or the days of the week weren’t laid out properly. Or it was too colorful and distracting. My chart is perfect. It shows the whole week so we can plan ahead if we want. It’s left open so we can fill in whatever our hearts desire for them to do. It has plenty of space to give them plenty of chores without being too demanding.

It also has a spot for us to deduct earnings from them. BWAHAHAHA! Right now their deductions are only 10 cents. However, there are several ways they can be deducted. Peeing on the toilet seat because they left it down. Leaving a cup or bowl laying around. Not putting their dirty breakfast or supper dishes in the dishwasher. I’m sure more will be created as we climb the learning curve.

They are now four days into doing chores. They are still growling about it. Fingers are crossed that sooner or later (praying for sooner) that it becomes routine. But if I know Crash well enough, he’ll growl about until he moves out. Bang, on the other hand, without his big brother around is eager to help.

Right now they are earning up to $3 a week. One dollar is for them to spend. One dollar is for them to save. One dollar is for them to spend on someone else – birthday, Christmas, etc.. This comes to 75 cents per day for six days. This leaves them with one day without chores. Their first pay day will be this weekend. We’ll see if it motivates them to clean more or not!

chore chart xls

This  Chore Chart is an xls spreadsheet that will open in Excel

This Chore Chart is a PDF that will open in adobe

The Hidden Illnesses

Anxiety. Depression. Bi-polar. Grieving. Anger. Stress. Psychosis. Anorexia. Bulimia. PTSD. Mental illness comes in many shapes and sizes and colors. It can easily camouflage itself from those it affects and from those who surround the affected. Diagnosis can be difficult, especially if those who need the help aren’t seeking it. Perhaps they don’t feel it’ll work. Perhaps they don’t believe they need it.

For a little while I was believing the world was getting past the stigma of mental illness. There is a fear of being weak. A fear of appearing crazy. Or psycho. There’s a fear of not being normal, whatever normal may be. However, I’ve come to discover there are still those out there battling, struggling without seeking the proper support for these exact reasons. The stigma and silence needs to be broken.

If you break your ankle, what’s the first thing you do? Go to the hospital for x-rays and they put a cast or a boot on it, give you crutches, tell you to keep off it for a couple weeks, and send you on your way. You seek help. You get the support you need for that ankle to heal properly.

Realizing you have a mental deficiency is a bit trickier to recognize than a broken ankle. There’s no physical pain. There’s nothing to x-ray. Doctors can’t put a cast on it. Crutches and an ice compression are useless. In many cases, those who struggle with mental illness may not even know it and therefore won’t seek the help they need. Essentially, their mental illness never receives proper treatment and therefore never heals.

If left untreated, in the long run, a year, five years, ten years maybe, the struggle could prove to be too much. At best, they suffer alone in silence trying to cope. At second best, they make their illness more visible through actions and or their words yet refuse to get help. At worst, they decide to end the struggle themselves.

Mental illness can often be covered with a mask, hidden from the world behind a smile. Who would have guessed that Robin Williams battled depression his whole life? He was comedian who loved to make people laugh. Surely, someone as outgoing and funny as Mr. Williams couldn’t be depressed.

I’ve been thinking about this for the past year. A year ago I didn’t have a blog. Now I have a blog, I have a voice to the world. So I’m taking the next few days to write about this because I think it’s something that needs discussing. We need to break the stigma and end the silence that surrounds the topic of mental health?

Read part two- Breaking the Silence written by my wife about her battle with depression and getting through it.

Some weird stats…

Is the WordPress stats page reliable? Maybe it’s just my writing. Last Friday and Saturday I had 121 views between the two days. Since Sunday, over a four day period, I’ve only had 46 people come to read my posts.
Last Friday I was writing about our vacation so my tags were traveling related. Perhaps those tags drew more people? Hmmm…

Do you find that certain topics tend to draw in more views and visitors? Do you stick with those topics or do you cover various subjects?