MT. Saint Laundry

Right now…

*the trashman’s (lady) truck is shaking as she empties our communal trash can. I can see her from where I sit,

*there is a right footed black converse size child’s 9, toddler glasses, almost empty water bottle, a box of tissue, an almost eaten chocolate chip paleo cookie, my phone and a note with a couple of contact numbers on my desk,

*a load of The Chief’s jeans tumbles and clang in our dryer,

*dishes are left from breakfast and lunch,

*Hubby is napping behind me on the couch,

*Larry Boy is laying in the hallway just waiting to be picked up,

*The kitchen table needs to be cleaned from lunch,

*The General in napping!!

*I know there is more, but you get the picture.

 

I don’t want to get to any of those at this moment. I want to write about laundry.

Yes, laundry.

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(This is just part of the amount of laundry that is done on a weekly basis.)

With seven of us, laundry is a BIG part of our lives. If not kept up on it can overtake us as we run around either in dirty, smelly clothes or in our birthday suits. Neither is preferred or acceptable, so here’s how we tackle the loads and mounds of laundry.

We have set days for individuals in our house. For YEARS I have washed Hubby and my clothes on Mondays and Thursdays. Mondays being the heaviest day. So Mondays and Thursdays it’s Papa & Mama bears turn. I also wash the little guys’ clothes on Mondays. Right now The General’s clothes have been with ours since he got his cast on. The Lawyer (aka Mr. Bubblewrap) is learning how to do his own as well. While he and the General share a room, they no longer shares a hamper. The Lawyer has a problem soiling his undies and thus his needs to be washed separately. The only older child who picked a washing day when we had the laundry talk was The Chief. He is on Tuesdays. Our eldest son and Miss Nana are on their own. They usually wait and wait then try to butt in on someone else’s day. Much more her than him. Oh, there’s also the hamper drawer in the kids’ bathroom. I just recently gave that one up. No one said anything. I had been reluctantly doing the clothes in there since we moved. It was mainly the older two boys. Don’t know how it happened but I don’t wash them anymore.

Exceptions are of course soiled bedding and hunting clothes from a successful hunt. Which take priority.

Everyone, okay, most of the household put away their own clothes. I put away Hubby’s and the General’s (he’s a toddler) and of course mine. I used to put away all of our ninos clothes, but quickly phased that out and taught them how to do it. Our 9yo still struggles with it, but it is more of a lazy thing than him being incapable.

When the kids first came to us they changed everything (except their undies and socks) all.of.the.time. I would be overwhelmed by the sheer volume. We had to tell them they could wear their jeans and the like more than one day. I know everyone is different about how many times to wear an article of clothing before washing it, but this mama out of plain ‘ole lack of time had to change something. Change is hard. It took me making the older two ninos wash, dry and put away their own laundry for them to see just how much clothes they were wearing. How much work they were making. While they change clothes more than I’d like (again, socks and undies not included) (OH and those security blankets they called hoodies, zip up sweatshirts!! I had to stand my ground this morning for one to get washed today! Yuck!!)

Towels…so many towels. Again, everyone has their own opinion as to how often to wash towels. Again, we are not of the everyday group. Sorry to my son-in-law and to all like him. Miss Nana has to put her own towels (pink) in her laundry. She will use, I swear, two towels per shower if we don’t stay on top of her. Hubby, the general (who gets washed in our bathroom) and I put ours in our hampers. The others have a basket in the hamper drawer in their bathroom. It works out so much better washing the towels separately.

Unlike some BIG family blogs read, I don’t make my own detergent. I use Tide and the scented beads (our ninos and smells in another post) and occasionally fabric softner. Everyone has their own space in their perspective closets. No need for communal closets here. And because (how’s that for bad grammar?!) we all vary in age and size there are no sharing clothes.

Even with our semi-organization there always seems to be laundry for me that needs to be done. Usually, it’s the putting away that gets me. I get too busy with other things.

How do you manage the laundry? I’d love to hear.

Read to Me

Read to me and I will grow.

Read to me about the things I should know.

Read to me right by my side.

Read to me and these things I will apply.

(by me)

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“Read to them”, “Have them read to you”, read, read and read.  This was the most common advice for all of our ninos, who came to us behind on various levels.  The advice came from their teachers, therapist (OT, Speech, etc.), everyone at their IEPs. Yet books, when the kids first came, were foreign, something they just didn’t “do”.

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The first summer reading program was like pulling teeth just to earn their T-shirts.  This was a blow to my mom ego, as I had been bringing my bios to story time and the summer reading program since they were in diapers.  Literally.

But we pressed on and this past summer reading program the children’s librarian commented, “You have some good readers.”  Boost to the ego for sure.  Mine and theirs.  The general is our bookworm.  Nana is reading big books.  Still working on the comprehension part of reading, but we’ll get there.

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Here Mr. B is reading to the library’s cockroach. Mr. B really struggled with reading.  Could not sound out words to save his life.  It was such an emotional time having him read to us. I had to give it up for awhile.  Hubby stepped in and yet the little wires in Mr. B’s brain seemed to be having such a hard time clicking and connecting.  Fast forward to the most recent report card…Mr. B is ON level in reading!!  This guy has accomplished so much already.

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We read everywhere.  In just about every room in the house.  We read labels, cooking instructions, homework, the Bible, street signs, etc.  It helps them realize why they need to read and understand what they are reading.  Mac-n-cheese doesn’t taste too good if you can’t read and/or follow the directions.

There are also some good online sites that read the book to the kids. Storytime Online, Storyline Online.  Also, if you have kids from birth to 5, be sure to sign them up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  The kids just love getting the books in the mail with their name on the postal label.  These are all free!

 

How reading helps kids:

*Sitting still.  Can’t say enough about sitting still.  For all kids but especially kids who don’t know what still means, what safe means, being still means you have not been on alert, not worry about what’s going on around you.

*Focus.  Focus on what the pictures are telling you, what the words are saying.  Again, focus on the story and not fear what’s going on around you.

*Comprehension.  When you can put words to the pictures you see you can get a better understanding of what’s going on in the story.

*Vocabulary.  Reading alone won’t build vocabulary, but alongside comprehension, it will.  It a child can figure out what a certain word means by deciphering the context of the sentence then they have pretty good problem-solving skills and can figure out just about any word.  If you don’t now the words you’re reading, reading won’t be any fun.  Chief Potato and Nana don’t really enjoy reading out loud to me.  I stop them often from seeing of they understand certain words, if they comprehend what they are reading.

*Problem-solving skills, relational skills.  When you read how the main character solved the conflict in the story you gain the knowledge you may need to get out of a jam in the future.  You learn how not to be a bully and what to do about bullies, and so on and so on.

*Increases the imagination. Do I even need to explain this one?  You can go anywhere, be anyone when you read books.

 

Tell me your favorite kid books, book sites, or tips on how to get kids to read.

Is Spelling Really That Important?

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Flashback to when our oldest daughter was in elementary school.  We would drill that week’s list of spelling words, over and over until she could spell her list.  Then forward a bit to homeschooling our oldest son.  Spelling was not his strong point and we had special ways to learn and practice his spelling words.  (I just did a quick web search and golly, there’s a wealth of info of teaching the right-brained child that wasn’t available then.)  All the while giving them grammatical tips that help to spell words.  Today, they are good spellers.  Fast forward to this week.  I am sitting at the bar, kitchen bar, with Mr. Bubblewrap going over his spelling words for the week.  This time I am teaching a bit different.  With technology, spell checks, etc. even bad spellers can write a decent letter, report, etc.

However, I am more concerned if they know what the words mean.  All of our ninos came to us behind on so many varying levels.  A biggie was their vocabulary and comprehension or a lack thereof.  Sure the older ones could read chapter books, BUT seriously only understood 50% of what they were reading.  A lot of life will pass then right on by at that rate.  Chief Potato found reading out loud to me quite a chore.  However, we do see the positive results in most of the kids.

My point?  Sure, knowing how to spell is good, but knowing what the words you’re spelling mean is so much more important.  We still go over the how-to-spell and the grammar side of spelling, but with less emphasis on those and more on their meanings.