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The Allowance Experiment: Part Deux


I’m almost three weeks into this whole allowance experiment and wanted to let you know results thus far.

A few details:
1. We are paying out $7 per week per kid to do a list of chores, all homework (of course) and to keep a good attitude in general.
2. Extra chores outside of this list are available should they want to earn more (cleaning the cars, re-roofing the house, etc…)
3. Not really on the re-roofing, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention.

The Great Allowance Experiment commenced on a Friday afternoon. The kids were required to keep to the list of chores for the week and each Friday, we pay out. Like a Greasy Guido at a singles’ bar, they told all their friends about their new–impending–wealth.

Sunday, Delaneigh, 9, dropped her iPod touch, otherwise known as an iAmStinkinFragile, and broke the screen. Now, while this was an accident and iFelt sorry for her little broken iPod Touch heart; iDo know iRepeatedly have said:

“You need to keep a cover on it, that’s why I bought you one.”

Or, “It’s going to break if you don’t put a cover on it.”

And also, “What would Jesus Do?” (Applicable in multiple situations.)

Now we have a predicament: There’s nothing like the heartbreak a parent feels when their kid is truly upset. But on the other hand, I had the overwhelming urge to do the ‘Told You So’ dance from Will and Grace.

will and grace image

So, the next day I pay $107.85 to have Lani’s iPod repaired/replaced at the Apple Store, I bring it home, I show it to her and then…..I put it away and tell her she must work it off. She is now $100.85 in the hole. She is quite forlorn.

Later that week, she wants me to buy her some cotton candy body spray in cute glittery pink packaging with flowers on it at Target. “It’s only $3.99, Mom.” she says. I tell her when she has her allowance she can save it for her iPod or buy body spray.

“UGH!!” She says, “I HATE this stupid allowance thing. I didn’t AGREE to THIS!”

Then she puts back the cotton candy body spray in the cute glittery pink packaging with flowers on it. I just realized I saved $3.99 plus tax and I buy myself new mascara.

Only once did he ask me for an iTunes song. He was told ‘no’. He surrendered peacefully.

The boys fared a little differently. Connor, 11, has cheerfully done his chores for two weeks in anticipation of the allowance. This is the most effort I’ve gotten from him ever. EVER! EVERRRRR!!! He’s happy, motivated, and diligent, if you will.

He’s also shown us no less than 3 pellet guns, a Go-Cart, a St. Bernard puppy, and a motorcycle that he plans on buying when he saves up. And when he walks in from school and says “can I have my $7?”, I hand it to him–he has earned it. My momma heart is proud.

By the following Tuesday, he’s spent $7 on candy and gum.

Only once did he ask me for an iTunes song. He was told ‘no’. He surrendered peacefully.

Tanner, 7, has almost as cheerfully done his chores. His favorite thing to do is spend our money at the concession stands during Connor’s baseball games, of which we often have 3-5 on weekends. He walks up to me asking for $1 to buy candy.

“Nope.” I say.

“UGH, (we say ‘UGH’ a lot in my house) but I’m STARVING!” he whines.

“We just ate.”

Kid you not if he says “Nevermind, I’m saving up for a new video game and a treadmill.”

“A WHAT?”

“A treadmill, ‘cuz they just look like fun!” Tanner runs away to play.

I high-five all the baseball moms.

By the end of week two, they’ve figured something else out: Working together has its perks. They decided to pool their money to rent a movie on Pay-per-View. Then they shared a pack of gum on Saturday. By Sunday, they’ve decided to invest their money in baby chicks. Random, I know. But since they’re all fans of Duck Dynasty, their names are Si, Si, Si, Si, I Don’t Remember, and Si.

So, in summary after two weeks, this is the official status report:

Connor: $0, 2 baby chicks, can’t wait until next Friday when we pay out again.

Delaneigh: -$101, no iPod Touch, 2 baby chicks, has begun to do extra chores so she can earn more money.

Tanner: $12, 2 baby chicks, is considering paying Connor and Delaneigh at a reduced rate to do his chores.

After two weeks, Copenhagen Fella and I have decided this Allowance Experiment might be the best thing EVER!

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Vacation Day 2: Wake UP People!


Day 2: Well, just thought you should know it’s day 2 of vacation for me. It’s 7:15. The plan is to leave at 8:30. We’ve packed nothing. Zip. Zero. I mean nothing.

Why, you ask?

BECAUSE I HATE PACKING!

No one is awake. I still have a lingering couple of loads of laundry which may or may not get folded. We have to feed the horse before we leave, my daughter will likely have a meltdown about what she will wear, and I am so stressed out by the thought of all of this, I think I’ll let them sleep a little more while I enjoy (a tad gleefully) just one cup of coffee.

Oh yeah, and here’s the kicker: once we do decide to get in the car–we’re not sure where we are going.

I want A/C and no crowds–cabin on the lake, suite on the beach, bathroom at the mall, padded white room–I’m not that picky.

The kids want giant whales splashing freezing saltwater that causes chafing later in the day–don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. They want to feed stinky fish to otherwise unfriendly dolphins, buy Dippin’ Dots for $6.50 a cup, look at ferocious–but yet sedated–crocodiles.

I bet the kids will win. It’s not that bad. Really, I’ll enjoy it once I have some coffee. I will love the family time and making memories with my kids, and it really is all about them.

Viva La Sea World!

20110805-074517.jpg

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Vacation Day 1: The Dirty Truth


Today, I’m starting official vacation. Here’s how it went down:

I said to my boss–okay, really I emailed him–his office is two doors down, and normally I yell at him, but I felt as though this deserved an email. Anyway, I emailed my boss, “Boss, I know you’ve scheduled a couple of meetings for the end of this week, how important are they, because I was hoping to take some vacation.” He replied with, “Have fun.”

That went well. It then led to a live conversation about how I’d like to only work 4 days a week and keep ‘bankers’ hours’, but that’s another blog.

So today = day 1 of my vacation.

This is the gist of it: My kids spent the night at their Aunt Sonja’s house (hooray for Aunt Sonja!), and the thought of being alone in the house for a few minutes this morning was hard to contain. I tried not to be over-anxious when I sent my husband, Courtney, off to work at 6:00. I might’ve inadvertently kicked him awake this morning. I prefer the word ‘nudged’. I nudged him. There.

Let’s just say, I couldn’t wait for him to spring to a vertical position at the crack of dawn and work for 10 hours on a hot roof in 105* weather. Poor guy. I do feel sorry for him. I wouldn’t do what he does. I thought of this for approximately 3.2 minutes after he left, but then I went back to sleep until I woke up (7:40). And it was silent! I laid there for 20 minutes listening to silence with a silly smile of pure glee on my face.

Then I started laundry, took a shower, logged in to do some work, continued laundry, ran to the store, got my kids, and then came home for more laundry and to log in again to get some more work done. Yes. Work. What is wrong with me? I’ve stopped. I think I’ve got it under control. I don’t know what came over me. It’s so unlike me (see above reference to 4 days a week and bankers hours).

If only I could have the laundry under control. If I posted pictures of my laundry room, you would all feel better about yourselves.

The rest of today will be spent cleaning house, packing, and doing something about the laundry.

Instead of boring piles of laundry, I thought I’d share some pics I took a few months ago of our horse, Cookie. Cookie’s foot is hurt right now and we may never get to ride her again. But we love her. And we love the country.

I know. It’s JUST a saddlehorn.

I know. It’s JUST barbed wire.

I know. It’s JUST Courtney’s boot in a stirrup.

This is beloved Cookie. She is feeling sympathy for me and my laundry. Maybe she needs a vacation.

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The Snake Story


I realize that Mother’s Day is truly a time to honor moms everywhere who sacrifice and toil for their children endlessly so they can know love.  But my Mother’s Day somehow ended with a story all it’s own.  After church, a nap, an amazingly pleasant early dinner at my MIL’s (where by all counts the men should’ve served us food while fanning us with banana leaves, but whatever), we then finally went for a visit to The Ranch to see my own dear, tiny, somewhat quirky and eccentric, and hard-to-understand mother.  This.  THIS is where the real story begins.

Courtney’s version (as posted on Facebook):

 “Ok here’s the real story. We’re walking up to the front door when my protector instinct alarm is just ringing like a fog horn in my ear. I ring the door bell and little baby Tanner sees a child’s garden hoe he wants to play with. Well as he grabs the child’s garden tool I notice that that’s the area my instincts are telling me the danger is in. So I (very swiftly and protectorishly) go to little baby Tanner and scoop him out of harms way just in time for snake scientifically known as ‘bite-us-ur-@$$-us’ (that would be a copperhead, Gina) to strike at him. When I turned back to calmly convey to the other children and Gina that there is danger present, I noticed that Connor (our oldest offspring) was holding his foot crying and Delaneigh (our middle offspring) was on the ground unconscious. I then grabbed the three helpless children and carried them to safety and called out to the one person who was missing… :-/ I said “Gina where are you?!” I heard no response so I called out again “Gina where are you are you injured!?” Out of the corner of my eye I see a silver family car speeding away kickin up all kinda dust gettin the heck outa there… So I realized I was going to have to go this alone. So I grabbed the deadly snake with two fingers and released it into the wild at a deadly snake sanctuary. Later when I asked the children what had happened to them on that day of days they said “We’ve never seen a person move like that. (Connor) she stomped on my big toe!!! (Delaneigh) then she jumped in the air and kneed me in the back of the neck!!”  So I kissed their wounds and told them it will be alright.
The End.

True story!!!”

~~~

While he is sort of right in that his protective instincts kicked in instantly and he very bravely faced the foot-and-a-half long copperhead to the bitter end, he is totally wrong in his perception that I was knocking down small children on my way to the car.  

I will in fact, give him a 10 in protective instincts with critters–snakes, wild hogs, skunks, and bugs.  However, he underestimates my own peace in the face of adversity.   And he overestimates his ability to calmly handle certain normal, typical, everyday-type situations such as: dentists, doctors, shots, stomach viruses–and for this I will score him at a 1.3. 

Case in point:  Connor was choking on a piece of meat once when he was 4.  Connor jumped up and started running around the table.  Courtney jumped up, flapping his arms–like wings–screaming “He’s choking!  He’s choking!”  I thought he was going to go airborne, he flapped so hard.  He broke out into a cold sweat.  His face turned red.  He fell to his knees, pumping his fist at the sky, cursing himself and the meat that he had prepared (dove meat, wrapped with bacon), guilt rose within his body like bile as he watched his son take a lap around the table with clogged airway.  He leapt through the air (wing-flapping was again involved) and hugged Connor’s feet, beseeching him not to succumb to the meat lodged deeply within his tiny throat.  The name of our Dear Lord and Savior was called upon in agony.  He thrashed wildly upon the ground willing his dying son to hold on, that he had plans for college, sports…grandchildren.  This was a matter of 3 seconds. 

Calmly, I walked to Connor, lifted him and turning him swiftly upside-down, whacked him on the back, stuck my finger into his throat, meat fell out, and I kissed him and said “Are you better?”  To which Connor coughed once and said “Thanks Mom! You’re the best!”

Lessons learned this weekend:

1) This is a copperhead.  If you see one, don’t touch it. 

2) While I’m at it: 

poison ivy in summer

This is poison ivy.  If you see it, don’t touch it either.

3) I have a blog, and I can say what I want on it.

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Perfection


You should know this early on in the game.  I am perfect.  At least I try to be.  It’s not working out really well though.  I really do try to put my best foot forward, present myself well, have it together, and be joyful in so doing.  But all I’ve really learned is that it’s impossible and that if you can’t admit your faults and more importantly, laugh about them, you’re only going to disappoint yourself and you won’t fool anyone.  It seems to me that the moment someone tries really hard to ‘be’ perfect, something happens that will totally blow that out of the water. 

Case in point, a few years ago, when my youngest child, Tanner was about 1 1/2, I was taking him to the nursery at church so that I could focus on the service.   Let me preface this story by saying that as I got ready that morning, I felt good.  I took the time to fix my hair and makeup just so, ironed my clothes and donned a cute pair of pants, heels, and a darling denim, pearl-snap button shirt.  Being a stay-at-home mom at the time, I didn’t always look so dressy, but I felt like I looked put together.  They would be impressed.  God, Himself, would be pleased.

Back to the nursery…A dad was working in there that day, very nice guy, whose wife I love dearly.  Tanner didn’t want to go.  He cried, clinging to me as ‘the dad’ tried to coax him into the room.  Tanner reached up and grabbed one corner of my shirt.  As if in slow motion, I hear ‘pop, pop, pop, pop, pop’.  In my mind was one thought, ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO!’   Tanner had fitfully, but dutifully, un-snapped my entire shirt–waist to neck–in front of ‘the dad’ in one fell swoop.  ‘The dad’ turns away and I’m pretty sure I hear screaming and “OH, my eyes!!!!!” 

Inevitably, the moment I appear anywhere feeling like I’ve got it together, I’m shamefully (I’ve had three kids, it was shameful, trust me) exposed.  I might trip walking in, I might have a Disney sticker on my butt, pepper in my teeth, someone vomits on someone else…something that announces ‘I might need therapy!’

Sometimes, all you can do is laugh.  It might just be the best medicine.