Thursday, January 23, 2014

More Snow

Perhaps it is that I have been busy settling in to the new house, but I don't seem to be bothered by all the snow fall and frigid temperatures this winter. But, it's not February yet. February is usually when I hit the wall with the snow.

Or maybe I am not as bothered by the snow because of our new toy, where we get to live out our dream of suburban farmers.

Yes, that was my husband you saw walking down Park Avenue to his office in the city wearing his John D*eere beanie cap. We're loving the new ride.

Even with all the snow fall, it wasn't until this week that the kids had their first full snow day. They got a four-day weekend. It wasn't until the 3rd day of the weekend that I started freaking out about the mess around the house and by the 4th day, I loaded the kids in the car as the snow started to fall and we went to the craft store to buy some items to create a new chore chart.

See the kids go from creating one mess to another and rarely pick anything up-which means we (translation MOM) search for "missing" shoes or end up cleaning up trash and discarded snack bags from the basement when we had planned on family movie night. Or, finding wet swimsuits and towels in the back of the SUV because someone just hops out of the car and doesn't bring their swim bag inside the house.

GRRRRRRRRR.....

So, to encourage Oliver and Chloe to do a better job picking up after themselves and to take more responsibility, all media time is now earned. I call it DMT (Digital Media Time) and it encompasses tv, iPads, Wii, Xbox, DS,  Facetime, Skype, texting, phone, etc. In order to get digital media time, the kids have to complete their chores and earn time when it is complete. Time can be taken away for fighting, arguing, whining, etc. When a task is complete, the popsicle stick with that chore is placed in the colored cup of the child completing the task.
Each chore is worth 10 minutes of DMT.

Chloe's tasks are in blue, Oliver's green. The red sticks represent things that can get DMT taken away in 15 minute increments. DMT can't be rolled over into the next day and some tasks MUST be completed before any DMT is given (i.e. homework).

We're day two into this new system. Day one had Chloe rushing to complete all chores so she could FaceTime during the two-hour school delay with her pals. She did great. Day one for Oliver didn't go so well. He tested the waters and wanted to see if I would really stick to my guns on this system. He didn't earn any DMT.

Today, day two had Chloe testing the waters and Oliver earning DMT like a man on a mission. As for mom, I am pleased with the new system. So far, so good.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Six Months!


It was six months ago today that Emma Claire ShiWen was placed in my arms and in only 10 days (February 1) it will mark one year since we saw Emma Claire's sweet face. Matt and Chloe will be out of town, but I hope to mark the occasion in some way with Oliver and Emma Claire, especially since it falls on Chinese New Year (January 31).

I can hardly believe that six months have past, especially when you consider that we have moved twice! This weekend we will have our six month post-placement home study with a new social worker (since we moved states).

Monday, January 06, 2014

17 Months Old

Emma Claire is 17 months old today. She's growing by leaps and bounds.

Milestones:
  • Emma Claire started walking on her own just after Christmas. This is about the same age Chloe began walking too. She could have walked weeks before but she needed some extra encouragement and cheers from a house full of holiday guests to really spur her on. Now, she's all over the place with her monster walk.
  • She crawled out of her crib before she could walk. I heard her crying one night, walked to her room and thought, "Wow, she's really loud and upset". I opened the door only to have it stopped by something in the way. That something was Emma Claire who managed to climb out of her crib and the crawl to the door. This was a pretty impressive feat and one we hope she doesn't repeat. Just to reduce the chances, we put her in a sleep sack at night.
  • Once Emma Claire started walking, her language also started to develop more. She is much more communicative than a few weeks ago but we've also entered into the tantrum stage when she doesn't get her way.
Notables:
  • Personality--Emma Claire has a spicy personality. She definitely knows what she likes and what she wants. We've no idea where she learned to make the most pitiful pouting faces but she does. Being redirected or told "no" will get the lower lip pushed out and/or the silent wailing cry and is lately accompanied by a shriek or loud crying. She is also persistent in getting what she wants.
  • Even though she is walking, she will have enough of it by late afternoon (aka "the witching hour") and demand that she be held by Momma. Her timing is impeccable as it is usually while I am cooking dinner --chopping vegetables and boiling pots of water aren't the best place to hold a toddler. Trying to divert her or get her to play can be a challenge (see previous bulleted item).
  • The girl likes to eat. Simple as that. She's never met a food she didn't like or didn't want to try. More times that naught, she eats more at dinner than her older sister and brother combined. Her favorite foods are still yogurt and bananas.
Emma Claire got her Certificate of Citizenship after Christmas too. We're working on getting a SSN and a NY state birth certificate. We are also scheduling our 6 month post-placement with our social worker. SIX MONTHS at home!!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Snow Days

Winter is here and even though the shortest day of the year is behind us and the days are getting longer, the snow is starting to fall frequently. Since the start of the holiday break, we've had three snow falls and bitterly cold temperatures.

We have a long driveway that goes nearly from the road to the back of our 1 acre property. The first snowfall took Matt over 2 hours to shovel us out. By the second snow fall, Matt had learned to step into the road and flag down a truck with a snow plow. The driveway is cleared in a matter of minutes!


Of course, there is still shoveling to do and Matt gets help from our zebra-helmeted oldest child who never seems to be fazed by cold.
I also have been informed of a valuable lesson by my two oldest children, snow days are even more fun if it means school is canceled because of it. The kids don't go back to school until January 6th, so the last few snow falls have prevented delayed openings and cancelations like our pals in NJ who started back just after New Year.
Wrestling/sledding in the snow in the front yard.

Something tells me we will have plenty more opportunity for missed school days thanks to the snow.
 
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