Fathers and Sons Camp Out/Girly Girls Night 2013

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Fathers and Sons

I think this post is a bit out of order, because Andrew was still in school when they had the Fathers and Sons Camp out. The boys decided to go with Scott’s parents’ stake for the camp out this year, so they could go camping with Grandpa Cromar. Andrew and Scott went two years ago, when we were in California for the summer, and Andrew had been looking forward to it ever since. We thought Miles would have fun camping out too, so we sent him along…without Mommy. It was good for him.

The next morning, Grandpa taught Andrew to flip pancakes and they all went on a bike ride around the lake and a hike across the dam and up the hill. Miles looks so big hiking around with his big brother.

Fathers and Sons1

Not to be left out, the girls and I joined Grandma Cromar and Tara for a super girly girls night. We took the girls to a roller rink and let them skate around for a while, then we went out to dinner. That night we played Pretty Pretty Princess and painted our finger nails. After the little girlies were in bed, Kim, Tara and I stayed up playing Heads Up on Tara’s iphone. It was super funny.

More photos and video of our fun day here.

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Cleaning

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A couple of months ago, my good friend Ashlee, posted a special post all for me about how she and her boys approach housework. She has since posted an updated version of their chore system. The first post came at a time when I was feeling especially frustrated with the cleanliness of our house. You see, I had been trying and trying to follow the counsel from church leaders to relax about all the things we need to do each day, to be okay with a little mess in our lives and things like that. It’s really good advice for most things, and has helped me to focus on the kids and not the work. However, either I had taken things too far, or I failed to take into account my own personality.

I just really, really like things to be orderly and neat. Scott does too. Between the two of us we have systems for how to do everything. And trust me, I don’t take for granted that I have a neat husband who likes things clean and doesn’t need me to pick up after him. Makes life so much easier, because also I especially hate cleaning when there are other people around who are not cleaning. But then there are the kids…

Reading Ashlee’s post made me realize a couple of things. First, that I really, really can’t clean up after all these people by myself, and that they can and should be helping more. Second, that I was underestimating the amount of time it takes to clean my house. Somehow I thought if I had the kids clean with me for 20 or 30 minutes each day (or an hour twice a week was probably more the case), then I could finish up the rest on my own. The house was a disaster. And the clutter and dirt was really stressing me out (mostly the clutter – Does anyone else hate when you can’t walk through the house on flat ground not covered by toys?)

Anyway, we started immediately to clean together for longer each day. I try to make it fun, and the kids’ attitudes have been improving. I’ve noticed a big difference in the house, and my stress about it. I think Scott has noticed it subconsciously too, because he seems to be less stressed out about the clutter and mess than before.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been wondering whether a chore chart would be beneficial. I like all things with charts and systems of any kind, but is it really what we needed? Also, I’d been re-evaluating how I involve the kids in the work. Andrew and the girls are like having triplets, and I’ve been having trouble involving all of them simultaneously in the cleaning. They start to fight over who can do what, who’s not helping enough, etc. Yesterday a plan started to come to fruition, and I jumped on the chore chart bandwagon. Let me introduce you to: Chores and Mommy Chores.

Even though I’m jumping on a bandwagon here, I’m pretty proud of myself for looking at what my own family needs and thinking about what will work for us. (That said, I did just put this into action this morning, so it may need some tweaking and a follow up post about how well it’s working.) First, the kids are only in charge of cleaning up after their cluttery little selves. It was too stressful for me to have them all helping with the bathroom or the vacuuming or whatever. So they are in charge of picking up stuff off the floor. Also, occasionally one of them will ask to help me out anyway, while the others are playing. I’m planning on taking advantage of more one-on-one time when one kid is interested in mopping the kitchen with me. It’ll just be more spontaneous and less planned.

Second, at the moment they really need to learn when their actions result in a mess (and usually they are just making clutter everywhere), and the best way for them to learn that is for them to be cleaning up said mess. Third, I won’t have to explain every little part of what they need to be doing (“pick up that ball, put that paper in the trash”). I plan on saying, “you know what a clean living room looks like, does the floor look clean to you?” a lot.

I came up with the mommy chores for a couple of reasons. First, I could use a reminder of what hasn’t been done lately. Second, the kids complain a lot about me not helping them (“why aren’t you doing any work mommy?”). Sadly, this often comes when I am actively doing the exact same job as them (“um, I am helping”), but it also comes when I’m doing a different chore (“do you see that I just washed a hundred dishes?”). Since the new chore chart has them doing the de-cluttering and me doing the deep down cleaning, I anticipate a lot of complaints about me not helping. So, now I can point them to my chore chart and they can see that I have more chores than they do anyway…is that mean of me? Hehe, they can deal with it.

So, there you have it. The new Cromar Housekeeping Plan. If the kids can keep the floors clear of clutter, I will gladly vacuum or mop or clean the bathroom. Then, I also won’t have to rally the troops to de-clutter before tackling every other chore, and I can do the other chores when I have a spare moment. Wish us luck!

Oh, I also really like Ashlee’s house cleaning rules: have a good attitude, stay on task, work efficiently. I plan on saying that to the kids a lot too.

 

Andrew’s Kindergarten Graduation and Summer Begins

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Donut Day and Kinder Graduation1

Since we’re doing a blog catch up again (I should start blogging more often than once every three months. Seriously.) , I’m writing about Andrew’s cute, cute graduation. Their class did a fashion show, in which each kid got to dress up in their favorite outfit. It could be nice clothes, Halloween costumes, traditional cultural dress, or as Andrew chose, your favorite Lego Batman pajamas. The kids were all so cute, and the fashion show made it way more fun to watch than your average graduation. Each pair of kids would walk up the stage steps, turn around at the top and walk to opposite sides of the stage, while their teachers described their outfits and why it was special to each child. The finished off with some singing. Does anyone else get emotional at hearing “This Land is Your Land?” I don’t get very emotional usually, but for some reason that song gets to me…weird huh? We got lucky and Andrew was in the front right corner, right in front of us.

Here’s a couple of shots Zana took of us watching Andrew.
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There were snacks and playing with friends afterwards. These cute kids are Andrew’s best buds from school. Near the beginning of the year they started some recess game called “fighting stars.” It took me and the other moms a couple of weeks to understand this game. Since they mentioned fighting the “bullies” in the other PM kindergarten class, we were a bit worried. In the end it turned out that the “fighting stars” and “bullies” just stand facing each other and take turns doing superhero poses at each other. So funny.
Donut Day and Kinder Graduation3
Just a couple days after school ended we started summer off with a bang. Grandma Wilkie came over and we all went to Knott’s Berry Farm. Miles looks so cute hanging out with his grandma. He’s such a sweet boy. It was lucky for me to have my mom there too, because it saved me from riding the kids’ favorite roller coaster a hundred times. My pregnant tummy was not up for that bouncy little ride and Scott’s not allowed to ride, since he’s too tall.

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We finished off the day with dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. It was a bit pricey, but definitely yummy. Scott had the fried chicken and I had a pot pie or maybe I opted for the turkey dinner, I remember debating about which to get. The kids were having meltdowns by the end though. We had to leave before the kids had finished the ice cream that came as their dessert (they could choose pie or ice cream as part of the kids meal), because Miles was screaming. Scott and my mom took them out, while I waited for the check. The super nice waiter brought me a free piece of pie each for the kids, since they couldn’t finish their ice cream. It was a great way to start off the summer!

 

National Doughnut Day 2013

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Donut Day and Kinder Graduation

 

Scott likes to celebrate National Doughnut Day each year. This year we couldn’t do it on the actual day, but while driving home from a day at the lake with Scott’s family, we stopped by the nearest Krispy Kreme to pick up some yummy, yummy doughnuts. The kids were asleep in the car, so the next morning they woke up to enjoy the goodness. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are so the best.

Click here to see our previous National Doughnut Day celebrations.

Girls Riding Bikes

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Girls Riding Bikes

I’m forcing myself to sit down in a comfy spot and take a break for a bit. Throughout the day, we’re either out doing things or I just tend to wander around the house looking for things to do. However, this pregnancy I have had sciatic nerve pain like nothing else and it just is not going away. So I’m committing myself to sitting and resting, and maybe I can get caught up on our blog again.

So anyway, a couple of months ago, the girls wanted to ride bikes with no training wheels. Daddy was nice enough to run around holding them up, and off they went. They learned pretty quickly. It was funny to see some of their personalities in the way they ride. Zana was more aggressive and once she figured it out she was trying out sharp turns and stopping just before crashing into the curb. Elira, on the other hand, rode slowly and steadily the whole time. We couldn’t even get her to practice turning unless Scott ran ahead of her and stood right in her path. She had no trouble going around him, but that was the only way she’d practice turning.

They are both pros by now, and have moved up to a 16″ bike. Which reminds me that I still need to buy another one of those and sell the smaller bike. Here’s some more pictures and video.