March 2, 2012

~Behavior Chart~

If you didn't already know, Landon likes to keep me on my toes and is always having me change my parenting style. He tends to have some behavioral problems at home, thankfully it doesn't seem to cross over into his school day. It is like he keeps it all bottled up while at school and then pops the top to that bottle once he gets home. He has always been very sensitive, I could not run the vacuum when he was a baby as he would just start bawling from the loud noise. Just before he was three we were in a big city, walking downtown. He could not handle the loud noise of the city and would not walk, Ted had to carry him as Landon covered his ears to soften the noise. He has outgrown this. Then it was smells. Oh. My. Word. If he smelled something fowl, it would ruin his entire day (and try to ruin everyones around him). I would have to have an air freshener for him handy at all times, if he smelled something he didn't like I would give him that to smell and it helped a lot. This he has also outgrown, he still doesn't like fowl smells but has learned to cope much better. Tags. Oh, how this boy hats tags. Tags on pants, tags on shirts, tags on gloves, hats, whatever. Tags must go, they make him itch. If he is itchy, he is mad, if he is mad, let's just say he doesn't want anyone else to be anything but mad with him. I wouldn't say he has outgrown this, but again is doing much better about not overreacting about an itchy tag. Socks, they have to be just perfect. Anyways, I could go on and on and add so many stories but I think you get the jist of it. He has heightened senses and sometimes has a hard time dealing with them. His quick fuse has been a problem in other areas as well, and what we were doing wasn't working for him or for me. I will admit that I have a problem with raising my voice, I hate when I do it but I have a hard time controlling it. It is the one thing that I am always working very hard on not doing as my duties as a mom. That brings me to our behavior chart, not only has Landon's at home behavior really improved. I can't remember the last time I have raised my voice with the kids. Win, win!

I first saw this idea in Landon's classroom. It is a color chart, you start on green, move up the chart for good behaviors and down for unacceptable behaviors. I decided to give it a try at home. We have been using the chart for about a month now, and Ted proclaimed it "my best idea of the year". We try to focus on just good behaviors, and reward that with moving up. For example, say Ethan is pestering Trevor and Trevor either tells me or ignores it. Instead of moving Ethan down, I would reward Trevor for making a good choice and move him up. That almost always stops whoever is not being the best boy, and I notice that then the other boys want move up so that they are as high on the chart as their brothers. Again, win, win! Like Landon's classroom chart, we start on green every morning. Our chart has a couple extra colors than the classroom chart. Above green you can move up to purple (for making good choices), and then above that is blue (for outstanding). Below green you can move down to yellow (as a warning to make better choices), then below that is orange (you would loose something here, like if they are fighting over a toy they lose that toy), and at the very bottom is red (if you get to the bottom you are in a time out). I now realize since we have been using this chart that we were overly using the time outs. Time outs were also not effective, now it takes a lot longer to get to the point of a time out and if one does get to that point it is over something serious and is much more effective.

Our time outs are much different now, as well. This entire chart is about them making their own choices and decisions, and then dealing with the outcome of those choices. If they get to red and need to take a time out, they are sent to a quiet place away from everyone and then are told they can come out of time out whenever they want to, that is whenever they feel like they are ready to make better choices. As soon as they decided this, they get to move up to orange and be out of time out. Before we were setting a timer and then said they could come out once the timer went off, that just didn't work for us. By giving them the decision of how long they are in time out, they really do change their moods and come out of time out ready to make good choices. Before, they often would just be sent right back into time out. Also, they usually are not in time out very long. Sometimes this is not the case, and they need more time to mellow out and be in a better mood, but it seems like the majority of the time it is much less than I would have set the timer for. What happens when they end up on blue for the day, you ask. Well, I made punch cards with their names on them and when they end up on blue they get two punches plus 10 minutes of free time before bed (Trevor loves to have yo-nanas as his free time, Landon like to play on the ipad for his), on purple and they get one punch and 10 minutes of free time, on green they get one punch. Once they fill their punch cards they get a prize. Trevor just filled his yesterday and he got the full version of Where's My Water for the ipad ($0.99). Landon is close to filling his (it is actually full, but I will get to that next) and said he wants to go bowling once it is full. Once your card is full you have to be on blue in order to get a prize. Landon filled his card yesterday, but was only on  green (and that was a generous green!) so he didn't get his prize yet. I know he will be working really hard tonight to get to blue!

Another plus from our behavior chart is that they try really hard to get to the top, and go out of their way to pick up, be nice, and help around the house. Ethan is so cute and always doing stuff like putting his dishes in the dish pan, or picking up toys, and then asking, "Can I move up?". Ted thinks I need to come up with an app. for my phone so that we can have the chart on the go. I wonder if there is already an app. like that?

Here is our chart, I did a google image search to get some ideas and then put those ideas together and made our own. It is really big, but I think the big visual aspect of it helps a lot. I have it taped on our fridge, and then taped the punch cards onto magnets. (yes, it wouldn't be mine if it didn't have a typo! *Loose, should be lose on the orange).

February 21, 2012

~Brotherly Love~

All of the "big" boys are just the sweetest when it comes to their baby brother, Logan. From day one, heck even when I was pregnant, they have just loved him up. Nothing but kindness and love. All three boys are so great as big brothers, but Trevor especially has a very soft spot for Logan. I am sure that will change as soon as he is crawling and getting into their things, but for now I am soaking it all up.

February 20, 2012

~Loving the boxes~

The quiet boxes are still a huge hit! The boys are asking by 9am if they can have quiet time, I have been holding them off as long as I can. I didn't make any boxes for the weekend, and soon found out I should have. They all wanted quiet box time on the weekend, and that included Landon. Landon had a long weekend home, he was off from school on Friday and also today. He was very excited to be able to do the quiet boxes. I don't have any boxes made for Landon (yet), so he used Trevor's. I added something that didn't fit in the boxes that my boys love, 

Boys' World of Doodles

Over 100 Pictures to Complete and CreateIf you have boys that love to draw and create like mine do, and you don't have this book you should buy it. Your son will love it, promise! I spent some of my quiet time on Friday snapping a few pictures of the boys' quiet time.

February 15, 2012

~Quiet Boxes~

Nap time, you know that time of the day that moms look forward to. That time of day where you can get a lot done or not do anything and just relax. That cherished two hours every afternoon. That time of the day that I wish I got. That's right, naps have been boycotted in this house. For some reason my boys hit about two and a half and just stop napping consistently. Yeah, I will get them to nap occasionally but it is not something I depend on day to day. When Landon was small I would try to make him take a nap. I got so tired of fighting him, getting him to try to nap would take over an hour and I would be at my wits end. I decided it wasn't good for either of us and with the rest of the kids, I decided I would not make them nap. If I can tell they really need it I will try rocking them for a little bit but I was not going to force them. Like I said, it just created more problems than good here. Because of this lack of nap time, I have been wanting to put together some activities that the Trevor and Ethan could do on their own while I was able to devote some serious time to picking up, folding laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming, etc. I had an idea in my head and did a search on pinterest...jack pot. Most were called quiet boxes, and are basically a sensory and activity box that are for little ones to play in and have fun with for a certain amount of time.

We have a lot of really fun toys, games, and learning activities in this house. The problem is, you get all that out and you have a giant mess to clean up after they are done using it all. These boxes solve that problem! For example, I put a few of our lacing boards in the boxes, a few of our matching puzzles (words and math for Trevor, number recognition for Ethan). I started with the Trevor and Ethan on Monday, and the last two days have been a HUGE success! Monday, I set the timer for 30 minutes and Ethan went the entire time and then Trevor wanted to keep playing with his box and I think played almost an hour. Same thing yesterday, Trevor really gets into it and played for over an hour. I was trying to build up Ethan's time and set the timer to 40 minutes but he was done after 30. During this time, they have to pick a spot they want to be and can't play with anything besides what is in the box. This way I can really pick up, with out them counter acting what I am doing and getting other toys out!

I have a different box for Monday through Friday, and with two boys partaking that makes of total of 10 boxes. I was able to find plastic boxes (about the size of a shoe box) at Walmart for $0.96 each, and as far as everything in them, that didn't cost a thing. I found all of the items in the box around the house. I used modge podge to glue down the labels (I love the Dr. Suess font!) and dressed them up a bit with some scrapbook paper as well. A few things I will have to change every week, like coloring pages, paper, mazes, stickers, but most of the items in the boxes will stay put and not need to be replaced.

A few things that are in Trevor's boxes:
  • Color by number (he can read almost all of the colors by himself)
  • Math puzzles (one piece is a math problem, the other piece is the answer)
  • Lacing letters
  • Blank paper
  • measuring cups
  • beans
  • clothes pins
  • fabric
  • crayons, markers, and/or a pen
  • small puzzles
  • legos
A few things that are in Ethan's boxes:
  • Coloring book pages
  • clothes pins
  • beans
  • measuring cups
  • crayons
  • number puzzles (a picture of a ball puzzle piece connects to the number 1, four trucks connects to the number 4, etc.)
  • sunglasses
  • a wheel
  • buttons
  • magnets

I hope they continue to love this time, because I know I sure am loving it. I really can get a lot done in just 30 minutes of constant CLEANING mode. They ask if they could play in them right away yesterday morning, but I didn't let them until "quiet time", which for me is 2pm. Any time after 2 is when I have decided to make it "quiet time". I try to nurse Logan and get him down, and then I get the big boys going in their boxes and then I am free to do what needs to be done (or nothing at all if that is what I need!). 

February 7, 2012


Hello, again. So, I know I promised pictures from the birth of Logan. Well, the pictures are on Ted's laptop (my CD drive is broken on mine...almost everything is broken on mine) and I haven't had a chance to get them off of it yet. BUT, yesterday I made some Valentines for the boys to take to school. I saw the idea for these on Pinterest and then followed the link to this cool blog, a small snippet. You can print off the ones she has made, I really liked them but wanted to try to make my own with photoshop elements. I love how mine turned out and have decided to share them with you! Please enjoy for your own personal use, and give credit where credit is due.

Here is Landon's Valentines (I will update with the finished product, with the actual pop rocks candy and the tag folded in half once I go and buy 50 pop rocks!). He needs to write the name of his classmates on his, which he will do in the green dot area.
Trevor's I made different, because his teachers requested that the students not write the names of his classmates but instead he should practice writing his name. He will write his name in the green dot area, under the Love, . These are the Valentines that I am sharing with you! You can click on the picture to download a pdf file. Let me know if you have problems, this is the first time I have added a pdf file to share and I am not all that tech savy.

Clicking on the picture will (should!) automatically download the pdf file for you, or you can click HERE to be promted to download the file.

January 26, 2012

~Catching up~

Starting with the birth of Logan.

I hope I remember this correctly, crazy how fast you can forget things in just three months! Back to the beginning of October. I knew it would be the month my daughter was born (at least so I thought!). I was excited, but for the first time was not ready for the pregnancy to be over. I was enjoying this last month of pregnancy, probably because I knew that it would most likely be the last time I was pregnant and I just wanted it to last. I was feeling great, too. Which was kind of unheard of for the last month of pregnancy. I had my 36 week appointment and everything was great, then a week later came my 37 week appointment. I had noticed I was a bit itchy (NO!) and was hesitant to say anything, but I did mention it and my doctor told me to let her know if it got worse.

Well, that night it got worse. So much worse. I went from feeling so great to feeling awful, in one day. I did not get any sleep that night, seriously, no sleep. I looked like the living dead the next day. I called the clinic and they had me go in for bloodwork, then the phone call and the decision making. If you don't remember, I had cholestasis of pregnancy with Ethan and was induced in my 37th week. My bloodwork came back with high liver counts, indicating I once again had cholestasis of pregnancy. I knew it but still it was not fun hearing the news of this. My doctor gave me some choices, I could try to wait one week to let the baby develop her lungs that much longer. I could go up to Mayo Clinic in Rochester and be induced, or I could stay in Decorah and be induced knowing that if the baby's lungs are not ready she might have to be aired up to Rochester. After stressing out big time all day, going on zero sleep, and just not knowing what is best for the baby, and with the help of family and friends, I made the decision to be induced in Decorah. Instead of going in that day and getting induced, I decided to go in that night so that the baby could be monitored and so that I could just sleep, and then to start the induction the next day.

I drove to the hospital that night, Ted stayed home with the three boys. I slept so much better than the night before, as in I actually got a few solid hours of sleep. I felt so much better the next morning. So, here we are. It is October 5, 2011 and I was at the hospital getting an IV put in. This was really happening, I was finally going to meet this little baby! To my surprise, they wasted no time starting the pitocin. I guess I should add that I was already 4cm dilated and having lots of contractions, just nothing that was putting me into labor. Around 6:30am the pitocin was dripping. Ted was at home getting the boys ready, Landon off to school and Trevor and Ethan to my mom's. I can't exactly remember when Ted arrived at the hospital, but he did bring me breakfast. I remember my doctor coming in and checking me around 8ish and the baby's head was not engaged enough to break my water, so she was going to check back in a few hours. A few hours passed and just before 11am she broke my water, like all of my pregnancies it was like raging river of fluid. So much, and it didn't stop for a good 10 minutes.  I should add that contractions are now in a nice pattern, about 2 to 3 minutes apart but are really just a tightening feeling with no pain at all. I think it was about 15 minutes after Dr. Wymer broke my water, that I started to actually feel a little sting with the contractions. This is also when my aunt, Mari, stopped in. Followed by two more aunts, Chris and Heather, and my sister in law, Ellie. I was also so lucky to have Auny Pole photograph the labor and birth! I think everyone was planning on stopping in and saying hi, and then coming back when things started moving. Well, there was no leaving because by 12:30 the contractions were strong and I was at a 6. I could tell this was it. Time just really didn't mean anything to me at this point, everything was measured in contractions. Get through this and I have a break, contraction after contraction. Telling myself that I can do this.

This is when details and time and all that gets fuzzy do to the huge amount of pain I am trying to live through.  I know around 1 it was getting really really painful, and I was checked and was still at 6cm. It was a very "hard" check, meaning it was very painful but was stretching me to dilate more. I needed something to take the edge off. Around 1:20 I was given an IV drug and just as I started to feel the effects(as in feeling sleepy and loopy, oh the pain was still going stronger than ever my body was just more relaxed to deal with it) I NEEDED to push. As in my body was trying to push this baby out, nothing I could do to stop it. Then everything speed up so fast, my nurse checked me and yes the baby's head was right there. My nurse, Connie, was awesome! I loved her! Anyway, she helped me try to not push while we waited for my doctor to show up. Sarah (Dr. Wymer) got there super fast, a few pushes later and I looked as the baby was getting suctioned to see, just as Sarah announced, "Oh, my gosh you guys, it's a boy." All I can remember is happiness and shouting, "It's a BOY!" He was so perfect, how could I have ever imagined a more perfect baby? We joked while I was in labor that if she comes out a he, he will not have a name. Sure enough, she did come out a he at 1:41pm weighing 7lb 14oz with perfectly healthy lungs, and no name. It took Ted and I about an hour of throwing names back and forth until Logan popped in my head. I remember Ted was on the phone with my dad, announcing the news and I said Logan. Ted just shook his head, yes, and so Logan it was. Ted then said James for the middle name and it was perfect for him. Logan James Kuennen, what a wonderful surprise you were!

Remember how I mentioned Auny Pole was there to capture this amazing day, that will be my next post!