Wednesday, November 04, 2009

How to get most of your kids to stay in bed at night.

Not too long ago I was pulling out my hair because my kids wouldn't stay in bed when I tucked them in. They were like super rubber bouncy balls, I'd tuck them in and ... booooiiiinnnnnggggg, they'd bounce right back. All evening long I was listening to "Mooooommmmmmm, Geo came in my room" or "I can't sleep, Eli is bothering me." Multiply that by a hundred or more creative variations of reasons not to stay in bed and you can see why I was starting to get a little stressed.

Out of desperation I went searching on the net and found something I thought might work. It suggested giving your child 3 tickets that they can use for coming to see you, if they want water (and didn't get it before going to bed), they can use one ticket, if they're afraid of the dark, they can use one and come see you, if they just feel like getting up, they can use one more, but then after that, they have no more get-out-of-bed-free coupons. If they get up any more times after that, they don't get any tickets the next night (I was SO hoping my kids didn't just say "so what?").

To sweeten the deal I decided to throw a reward into the mix so I told them that they had 3 tickets to use how they wanted, but IF they didn't use any of their tickets, they would get a sticker on a chart the next morning and when they filled up the whole line (10 stickers) they could have an ice cream cone after lunch, (if they were sick, they would get an ice cream rain check to be used as soon as they were sufficiently well).

Well, that really motivated them! My older 2 said "Mom, this is easy, it's easy to stay in bed." I wondered to myself why, if it was so easy, hadn't they done it before? Anyway, they haven't been down one night since I started it about 20 days ago, we're still working on Eli, he only 1/2 gets the concept that if he even uses one of his tickets, he forfeits his sticker, but he really is getting better.

My evenings are more peaceful, I'm less stressed, much happier; they stay in bed, go to sleep sooner, get more rest. ♥☺ Of course your mileage may vary, but I just had to share what's working for me.

My Thanks For The Day

The last two days has had me fighting with my computer, trying to get my new OS to play nice with my old(ish) Epson printer. I got the HP online, no problem, but I really wanted to get the Epson up and running because it takes cheaper ink. (When I finally run out of ink, I'm going to try a continuous ink system, but for now I have some cheap ink I've had for several years that is still good).

I spent the equivalent of about a day on the computer chatting with 3 different tech support guys. The first guy was quite helpful and got it working for awhile, but then it stopped printing again. The second guy was hopeless, basically told me "hopefully Epson will come out with a driver soon, ... I was happy to help you." Ha! He was no help!

Then I connected with just about the best tech support person ever. He tried every trick in his play book. We installed, uninstalled, restarted more times than I can count, he took control of my computer for awhile to try to figure it out, finally (I think as a last ditch effort), he had me reinstall the OS over the existing OS installation to try to repair anything that might be damaged and ... drumroll ... my printer still wouldn't print.

So then I went online and started searching for reasons why documents would go into the printer queue and not go any further and definitely not print. I tried restarting the print spooling, read a little further and read that if the printer is out of ink, it won't print. It also said that if the light on the front is solid red, that means the printer is out of ink and won't print. Um, yeah, you guessed it, the light was on and yep, it was solid red. I had known that my ink was low, but I was expecting the printer software to tell me that it was time to put in a new cartridge (I think my other printer does that), but it never did. So I put in a new cartridge. I clicked print... it started printing and I just started laughing. What else could I do? I felt so foolish and so relieved at the same time. I needed my printer and it was finally back and for that I was so glad, but it was also pitiful how much time I spent trying everything but the actual solution. But, it's finally back up and running and I am SO thankful to have my printer back. And that's my thanks of the day; and the moral of the story is, if your printer ever quits working, check the obvious, is it plugged in, is it connected to the computer, does it have enough ink? 'nough said.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

MOTH to the rescue

No, not a flapping-winged fluttery thing, MOTH stands for "Managers of Their Homes" and is a "duh" sort of common sense approach to managing all the little details in a homeschooling-mom-of-more-than-a-couple-kids' life. I have always balked at the idea of a rigid, by-the-clock kind of schedule, but a dear friend of mine suggested I try it for a month or so and just see what it might do for me. Well, I'm always one to try a new challenge so I opened up my friendly Excel, made a bunch of tables and started populating all the little cells. I have a column and so do each of my kids. The schedule starts when we get up in the morning and ends when I go to bed at night. It has actually helped our days to flow much smoother, the kids seem happier knowing what to expect, they are pretty much guaranteed a nice bit of free time in the afternoon, the house stays neater because I have something planned for them one way or the other all day. Either it's meals or chores or school or playing/free time, ... and having something to do keeps them out of trouble and keeps the messes to something like a minimum. I don't have the book, but as soon as I can, I'm going to get my own copy, I've heard great things about it. But till then I'm implementing it as best I can imagine how with a few pointers from my friend. It's going well, really well and now I can truly say I love my strict, line by line, 1/2 hour by 1/2 hour schedule! I'll get a sample of my schedule up asap.

My Busy Life

I feel too busy to blog, but I DON'T like to see "inactive account" wallpaper on my page so I'm going to post to get rid of it. I've been meaning and meaning to post on here, maybe this is the feet-wet-again that I need. In the last year I've had a baby, added a new student to our homeschool and those two things have been enough to make everything else slide a bit. SO, now that Ana is almost a year old, I have started to get more organized and get a handle on things. Thanks to a friend who challenged me to try out a MOTH (Manager's of Their Homes) schedule, I went way overboard and now have one for every day of the week (and they are constantly changing, though I hope that eventually we'll settle into a nice routine and they'll stay put for awhile). I'll post more about MOTH in a separate post. Basically I'm making baby steps in the right direction so follow along, hopefully I'll have interesting things to say real soon.