I had a GREAT night! I took my second son out on a date. Just him and I. You know how you can just tell that a kid needs some time alone? I have been going through some behavior issues with three of my kids so those three are the ones I am focusing on. That doesn't mean the good ones are being ignored because they earn really awesome things for their good behavior.
Over time I've loved observing how large families operate. I even watch smaller families. One of the biggest frustrations to me is mom making their kids doing EVERYTHING. Sitting down while their kids do the work. I remember when I had a lot more time for reading and I had read some advice from James Dobson. He said that kids will resent watching their mom sit down while giving out orders to their kids to clean. Every since I read that I've made it a point to be working on my chores the same time as them. Even if I've finished my chores, I'll get up and find something to work on. Our job never ends anyway. I remind the kids when they complain about their chores that I'm always working alongside them. Never standing over them. I know exampleship is really important to my kids and they aren't slow to point out discrepency in things. I'm glad we all hold each other accountable. ;)
Over the last few years, maybe 3 or 4, I have worked on and perfected a chore list for my kids. One that I feel is fair per age. I've had to switch them around many times in order to find which chore fit which kid. I feel like I have to assign chores because if I just tell everyone to clean then some of the kids, particulary one I can think of, will hide somewhere. Or I'll have the kids that work ultra fast while the others are turtle slow and get away with picking up very little. When I assign chores, I'm able to see each of their work and know who didn't do theirs. Works great! I was one of those kids that would hide somewhere while my older kids did the work. I tell my kids that I tried getting away with a lot as a kid so they aren't gonna get things passed me very easy.
There is one kid I have who is generally pretty good but he is like a volcano. If he erupts and starts being very naughty and defiant then there is a reason behind it. After I figure out what's really going on, I try to find what their needs are and fix them. At least what I am able to do. I took Ryan out to dinner tonight. We had dinner and then shared an oreo shake. I took him out alone to pick out a new pair of shoes and a couple other treats. He left very happy. So did I with my New Balance Heart Rate Monitor S4. Heh heh. I also got Charles his Father's Day gift but shhhhhh.... don't say anything. Ryan and I did a little couponing at the store and had a fun time goofing off. I couponed for very little since the night was supposed to be for Ryan. However, since some of the couponing benefited him, he walked out with a smile. On the ride home he told me what a wonderful time it was together and that made my heart happy.