Hey, someone took pity on me (I noticed it wasn't you MOM) and gave me a list things they want to know. About us:)
More than happy to answer ya- actually jumpin' up and down that I have something to post about.
So here goes-
Chores- every one over age 11 has a "dish night". This starts with Chase on Mondays down to Camden on Friday, I do Sat and dad does Sundays. So there's no fighting over dishes or forgetting what night is their dish night.
Usually everyone gets their clothes (Camden is the only slacker here) to the 2 laundry baskets, one in each bathroom. I wash 3-4 loads of clothes daily. I wash, Chloe or Chance will throw them in the dryer and fold when done. Baskets of clean clothes go to my room for sorting by me or Chloe, and everyone comes for their own clothes and puts them away. (Kat helps Phoebe with this since they share clothes) If anyone doesn't get their clothes to the baskets, they don't get washed, I do not go looking for them. No one has gone naked yet (even Camden). I do tell them when to strip their beds for me to wash bed stuff.
Cleaning- I run the vacuum, mop the floors. My children are very hard on machinery of any kind, even can openers ( including non electrical) so I don't invite trouble. I will assign bathroom cleaning as I see fit, usually twice a week, rotating who cleans. The kitchen counters, table, stove are done as part of the assigned person's dish night.
I let the younger girls dust- I tell them when and where. Extra stuff like sweeping the porch, wiping out the fridge, feeding the dogs, I usually can tell Chance to do because he asks me multiple times a day "You have anything for me to do." Now, you *could* say this is unfair but he KNOWS this will be a chore I give him to do, not finger painting or picking roses, so I keep in mind little things that can be done for when he asks this. Miss Phoebe asks too, wanting to "help" so I keep little things she can do in mind as well.
Oh, any chore I do ask a child to do and they slack and do it poorly, they get to redo same chore till mom is satisfied with the job they have done and then they get ANOTHER CHORE to do for not doing chore #1 well. It keeps me from having to make them re do a chore very often.
Everyone is expected and does keep their rooms clean, make beds daily, take laundry to baskets, get laundry and put it away, keep rooms tidy. We have a few (Camden, Kat, Paisley, Chance) who believe out of sight means tidy. So every so often I have to go and point out the mess their closet, dresser, desk, is and tell them to "get on it."
I am kind of spoiled because my kids are seriously great helpers. They ask to help and want to help. I don't get many groans, eye ball rolling, refusals to do chores. We are very thankful and make sure the kids know this as well as them realizing that doing their part is a help to the whole family. Something very important we stress to our kids- this family works because everyone does their share.
Clothing-- this many kids. I am a die hard clearance/off season shopper. I will buy shorts and swim stuff in the dead of winter. I am looking NOW for clothes for winter. I recently bought 4 pairs of brand new colored jeans for $1 each for the girls. (Chloe, Kat and Phoebe). Because who is out looking for jeans NOW? So I got a steal for jeans, my kids aren't as big on "names" at least not on their bottoms, as they are fit. And I can pair up some name brand (bought on clearance) tees, with those $1 pants.
I do the same with shoes, for the little girls, bought on clearance off season, a size bigger. We are also blessed that all the girls, even Chloe still fit in the little girl dept sizes, which are cheaper. The boys we buy clearance time tees, jeans at the discount place for $10 each or less, usually their big expense is shoes.
God blesses us with the ability for me to work extra during the summer when the child I care for is not in school, thus giving us added income which goes to school clothes and the extra for groceries with the kids home. But I do coupon because food just gets eaten, I have yet to convince the kids we should only have to feed them every other day (Just joking MOM) and why NOT use coupons?
Now for Christmas, last year we did something new. I told dad he was figuring out what the kids were getting. This solved a HUGE problem we had been having for years. I would purchase months ahead of time-- gifts. I would often forget what I had purchased. So I would purchase MORE, then dad would get his Christmas bonus and he would buy MORE. I have trouble EVERY-SINGLE-YEAR with what Christmas has become.
It's maddening. I want it to be about GOD, about His Son's birth, soooo important. Not about how many gifts the kids are getting. So----- when I didn't buy anything early, dad started coming up with gift ideas (he had some great ideas too) and we talked more about what they were getting and even though he STILL went and bought more at the last minute with his bonus, I felt more at peace about how our Christmas went. It was nice, enough, not over-the-top. And all paid for as we went, we set aside each week to buy gifts, a little money from Sept/October on.
Sibling rivalry-- well. We get some of this. BUT our kids have heard enough times "Worry about yourself" and know what it means. It does not mean ignore a sibling needing help. It only means, worry about what you are doing, how you are acting, what you have or need to be doing. Because we have a 12 year old with a cell phone and a 16 year old doesn't have one. For our home, this is how it is. For a typical home, age would define when someone is "ready" for a cell phone, computer time, Ipod, etc. In our home it's behavior/maturity. Some can handle having a phone and not misusing it, some can not.
As far as getting to do things, same applies. You show us you can handle it, then cool. Child acts out, misbehaves, can't see what the issue is, they won't go do things until they know what we expect of them. Our kids are language/experience impaired, not stupid. They pick up real quick on what is acceptable and what is not, going places and sitting with parents is NOT fun when everyone else is off playing/having fun with other kids. This includes church, they have issues behaving in church (Sunday school classes) we make them sit in our class. And to them it's BORING.
One good thing about having so many children, it's a RARE occurrence that someone does something wrong either at home or out anywhere and we do not find out. We do not encourage tattling but we do LISTEN when the kids are talking and often will hear snips of things and can tell something isn't right, something happened that we need to address.
Chinese holidays-- We celebrate Chinese New Year, of course. Gotta do that. We also like to recognize Children's Day, June 1. Because our children are so special. And Autumn Moon Festival is usually a celebration at our local college where we are a "Friendship Family" for a Chinese student (our girl will be a junior this year so we may accept another student to follow through their college years).
Between those holidays, our religious holidays, birthdays, gotcha days, anniversary, I get plum "celebrated out." I mean, just from June 26- July 22 we have 5 kids birthdays. I have been known to be clueless up until 1 day before a birthday as to party time, cake not ordered, etc, even who is invited- YIKES. So don't give me any awards for Mom of the Year for that:(
Plan a menu for the week. Hummm. No. But then neither is any meal usually spur of the moment. Too many people to feed to "pull something together." And rare leftovers so can't say that's an option, we don't hardly ever eat out, I can't stand knowing how much I could have bought in groceries that is spent on just 1 meal feeding us all out. It makes me sick:(
I usually have an idea of what I'm going to make every evening for supper. We almost always do noodles, sandwiches for lunch. So my cooking is suppers, except Sunday, I make lunch and supper is noodles, sandwiches, even cereal (Don't call me MOM, it's my one evening off cooking).
I try to alternate if we had chicken for one meal, next be pork, spaghetti, etc. And it's not easy to cook for the majority of kids who do not like CHEESE. I make many things in my crock pot, like tonight, I (already had thawed) cooked a LARGE sized flavored pork loin (or 2 small ones) in the crock pot. Adding a side of flavored rice (3 packages), broccoli (frozen family size bag) fresh pineapple (whole one) and we have supper. Tomorrow night will be salmon cakes (4-5 cans salmon to make enough patties), tator tots (family size whole bag), green beans (at least 2 cans) and peaches (2 small or 1 big can). I can tell you who won't like what-- I don't like pork loin. Won't eat it. Dad is "sick to death" of rice. Paisley and Phoebe do not like pineapple. Camden will not eat broccoli.
I do not worry about who doesn't like what. With 7 kids, 2 adults, there's always someone who doesn't like something I make. I do not take it personally ever. I just tell them "Hopefully you will like tomorrow night's meal." I do not make different food for anyone-- there's almost always SOMETHING they all like and can eat more of that than the stuff they don't like as well.
And I always cook and have everything ready at the stove. We do a line to get our food, then sit down together at the table. Because when the kids first came (teens) they didn't care if they got 3 servings of food and another person got NONE. So now I watch over the "dishing out" and we sit down, everyone having food. THEN when they finish they can go back for seconds.
It works best that way-- when the boys first came home they really couldn't understand "feeling full." It was something they didn't know how to accept, their bellies being full. Especially for Chance who seems to have had food issues longer than any of the others-- to know there is another meal, and another, and to go ahead and STOP eating-- not eating just because there is still food available.
Taking the food away from the table and having them get up to get another helping really helped them to give their stomachs time to register as "full" and not feel the panic that the food in front of them would disappear and that they "should" eat it just so they would have food to live on. They finally both have learned to walk away from the table full, not stuffed, not worrying about what is still at the stove not being eaten and also not eating as fast as possible to get MORE the fastest.
For our teens (other than Paisley) who all 3 gained 20 lbs each and are NOW at healthy weights, that's huge. Chloe was 76 lbs at adoption, she was like a stick. And Chance has shot up to 5 ft 10 1/2, so there's where his 20+ has gone. As well as Chase who has gotten taller, but is more muscular than Chance.
I don't ever cook small, when I do chicken legs, I will bake 2 packs of 15 legs each, which is about 3 per person. I make 2-3 lbs of spaghetti, with 2 big sized jars of sauce, at least 2 loaves of garlic bread.
The only meal that doesn't go over well is "breakfast" for supper, they do not like fried or scrambled eggs, toast, pancakes, omelets, French toast. Really the only "breakfast type" food they really like is onion flavored bagels that they burn to a crisp which drives me nuts smelling burnt onions so I wouldn't be caught dead making those for supper. They will eat sausage, bacon. (They love meat, all but Camden).
The kids are all healthy and active in biking, running, field hockey, basketball, pretty much any game you can think of they want to play. All but Paisley and Phoebe who have restrictions with her vision (Phoebe) and Paisley's arthritis issues and even they will go outside, walk around, play when possible. Nobody overweight, so I figure their diet is okay.
I'm gonna leave "Differences in background stories" next time----so I'll add in a few pictures of the kids from this week and there you go. Some of them were off Bible Quizzing, some at Bible School all week, some helped our Youth Pastor move (sorry to see you go Pastor Dave) and they all were quite busy this week.
Oh and thanks all of you for being so nice and not telling me of my big goof of 7 vs. 6 months. I know you all figure I am busy (I am) and cutting me some slack was really cool of you. (Not talking about your call MOM) And for giving me some questions to answer:)
Made my day- seriously. Well, that and when I got up from working nights/sleeping days and the kids had tea ready for me as soon as I got up every day this week. Are they just the BEST or what?