Clever is in business!

My eldest son, Clever, 8 1/2 (officially) has been hired.  His first job.  His father and I are his employers and we could not be more thrilled with our new employ.

We never really did the allowance thing with our daughter.  It just never came on our radar.  We presumed we would skip it for our final 3 as well, but these times and people are different.

We realized the need for an allowance with Clever a few weeks ago.  He paid his younger sister, Spicy, $23 to switch dinner glasses with him at supper.  “Okay.”  We said to ourselves.  “Someone needs to learn and appreciate the value of money. ” So I decided to come up with a system.

Here is what we did.

First, I wrote an iron-clad contract!  🙂  Clever, his father and myself signed it.  It states what his job duties are AND what is expected of us as employers.  It states payday is every Friday.  It also states that of all the monies he earns, he is to split it the following: 50/40/10.  50% Save, 40% spend and 10% Give.

Second I went to Staples.  I bought a binder.  Its the color GREEN for MONEY and is labeled “Woolford Bank and Trust”.  I also bought a calculator and an insert for the binder that had a velcro flap and 3 sections to it.  This was to break down his money each week into his Save, Spend and Give sections.

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I scooted over to our bank and asked for a mound of Savings Deposit Slips so we had plenty on hand for when we were doing our banking.

Next I went online to look for a kid-friendly bank register.  I mean, what’s the point of teaching him about money unless I teach him how to balance his “checkbook”? Am I right?  I found one I liked online.  It is from Moritz Fine Designs, LLC.  I liked this particular register because it provided big enough spaces for my 8 year old who still writes big and also has Save, Spend and Give (Donate) broken down so he can easily keep track of each “account”.

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Now to the job/work.  Clever already has regular chores he has been doing.  We consider these things he does to contribute to our family and household.  Things like making his bed, bringing down his laundry, bringing trash cans in, etc.  He now ALSO has a list of 5 additional chores that he gets $10 each week to do. Bam!  That is his allowance.  Every Friday he gets his “paycheck” in $1 bills presuming he has done his job well.  So far so great.  I decided to pay him in $1 bills because it is much easier for him to break down into each account (Save, Spend and Give).

There is an additional things we do as well. I wanted to teach Clever one step further with this lesson.  As it is in life, you can do what is expected and you can earn your paycheck.  You can also be a “go-getter” and earn even more on top of your base.  So I created “The Jar of Opportunities”.  This is a glass jar that sits next to the Woolford Bank and Trust binder.  It is filled with popsicle sticks that have various jobs written on them as well as Yard Sale stickers that show what each job is worth. Clever can earn even MORE in his paycheck if he does MORE work.  Crazy idea, right?  LOL   He can choose to do them all or do none.  It is up to him.  Luckily for me, my Little Alex Keaton wants to work hard and get the most money that he can.

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Every Friday, he gets paid his Base Salary and whatever extra money he earned from the Jar of Opportunities.  Then comes the fun part, I sit with him and we break the money down into each account and he has to figure the balances as well as count out the money to make sure it matches.

This is proving to be such an awesome experience.  He is learning so much about money and our fiscal system.  We went shopping the other day and he learned about Sales Tax.  He learned that the list price of something is NOT its actual cost because of taxes.

This helps him with his Math skills, with using a calculator properly and the proper way to balance a check register.  The life skill of being practical with money.  All things that sadly are not often taught and so desperately need to be.  It also teaches him that if you WORK for something, you EARN it and there is a great deal of PRIDE that can be taken in that.

Of course, now my younger two are dying to hit the pavement for work but I told them , you have to be 8 1/2 to get hired.  I need time to work with each child independently to be sure these important life lessons are soaking in.

XOXO

Reflections…

This blog is nearing its birthday.  3 years.  It seems like its always been here.  Of course, writing has been at the core for me always.  I wrote for every occasion and event.  I was never happy or fulfilled unless I was lost in an imaginary world I was creating.  Whole worlds created with just 26 letters.  Amazing, isn’t it?  26 letters alone and I get to jumble them around over and over for pure delight.

There is something about this little space here of mine.  This little corner of the internet that changed something for me.  Perhaps inside me.  It created a sense of belonging.  While I always wrote and it most certainly defined me, it was not a public thing.  Now it very much is.  I identify as a writer and whats really a blessing is that others do now as well.  I am no longer the person who says they like to write, I am the writer.

I always have been but its more now.  I now have a book that has been published and that is out in the world.  I have another following and yet another being written still.  I am now friends with illustrators, agents and other authors.  I am invited to the table for discussions that perhaps I would not have been before.

I think this little section of the ether plays a role in this.  Whether it be by allowing me to stand up, declare and PROVE that I am who I claimed to be or just by giving me the dedicated place where I could do what I loved, I am not sure.  But I am loving my place at the table and thank you all for your role in helping me along the way.

XOXO

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Wonder Wednesday 03.21.18

I took a break last week from my blogging and my writing. I settled in on vacation with my family and tried to be present for all of it.

And you know what? It was amazing. It was the epitome of the wonder I am seeking year long.

This was last week. Beautiful beach. Sea air. Colder but still majestic. Today? I sit staring out at the first full day of spring- watching the skies dump huge amounts of snow for hours upon hours.

I see the wonder in both. I am so lucky!

The point of choosing a word is so you can have focus. So you can enhance your life and hopefully other’s lives. I feel blessed because I am finding the wonder in each thing. And it is such an amazing quest to be on.

Dont misunderstand me; not everything is perfect or without stress sometimes- but this word is leading me intentionally to seek the joy; the wonder.

xoxo

 

 

Wonder Wednesday 03.07.18

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I’m feeling all the feels today.  Full of wonder and gratitude.  Even surrounded by inclement weather, I feel the sunshine.  This man, my husband, turns 43 today!  And I am in wonder every day that we get to share this life together. It is a blessing.  I see it for what it is.  That is a gift in and of itself.

I am also feeling a touch of melancholy today. You see, this 43rd birthday for my husband has been huge for me.  My father died when he was 42.  I was 7 and at the time it seemed as though he was so old.  I remember being perplexed when people said, “Oh, he was so young…”  I was cognizant of many things all year that my husband was 42.  I was aware we also had 4 children.  That we also had a 7 year old.  The familiar roles were at times, startling.

And now, today, he is 43.  The spell has been broken.  We are together and we are living on.  Sometimes tedious, sometimes hard but always, always full of wonder.

 

 

Wonder Wednesday 02.28.18

I suspect most of the wonders I seek this year will be hidden.  Will be things that I need to take a second or third look to see and find.  That is part of their wonder, true?

Today, I found wonder in an obvious place.  Some would say easy even.  I don’t care.  My goal is to delight in wonder all year long, where ever I should find it.  Even when I don’t have to look far at all.

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Look at her.  My eldest child, Studious.  She is my wondrous find today.  I often marvel at how she has grown.  How she has navigated this life to find her own place in which to stand and grow.  She has faced adversities and she always and repeatedly rises.  I am so proud and so in absolute wonder that I had anything to do with this.

In this photo, we were on a recent trip to NYC – just the two of us.  It was such an amazing gift from my husband.  It was perfect for too many reasons to list here.  In this picture, she is standing on the top of the Empire State Building (which needs to Go Gold for Pediatric Cancer- seriously, their refusal infuriates me BUT that is for another time).  She is standing overlooking NYC and I am in awe of her.  The old adage of ‘The world is her oyster’ is so true and she is so lucky.  And what makes her so full of wonder?  She knows this.  She knows that she is a participant in this world and she was not just put here to pay bills and die.  She has goals and aspirations and she will leave a positive impact on this place.  She is so wonderful or rather WonderFULL.

When I look for things or moments this year to encapsulate wonder for me, I will look broad and far.  However, today, I recognize that when someone you have known their whole life, still takes your breath away- you call it what it is and you celebrate them.

I am so blessed to be on this journey.  I am so blessed to be a mother.  It is the greatest role in life.  I will stop to see it and I will do my absolute best to recognize and delight in it.

Thank you to Studious for constantly showing me wonder.  For 21+ years I have been in awe of you, your dedication and determination.  I love you.  XOXO

You’re kidding that its almost March, right?

My word for 2018 is Wonder.  My word I pick is always intentional and thoughtful.  I try my best to map out the year I want to have, the year I envision and then I set out to pick the word that will best help me stay my course.

2018- Wonder.

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(art done by in house artist, Spicy)

I want to see the world through a different lens, perhaps a psychedelic one.  I want to see the good in all.   I want to feel that glimmer of extraordinary in everything.  I want to make intentional choices for myself that bring me wondrous things.  I want to inspire others to seek their own wonders.  That was my plan.  It most certainly still is.

But somehow, it is nearly March.  How is that possible?  Is anyone else shocked by this?

I feel in times such as these, when we have fabulous notions and ideas but we let time slip by (or rather it squeaks by on its own), the best plan of action is a PLAN OF ACTION!  A purposeful intention that is also a regimented intention.

I vow to check in here each week, we’ll say Wednesdays- I call them:

Wonder Wednesdays!

  When I write this little blog of mine, in my little space on the internet- I will report to you the wonder I have seen, felt, tasted and discovered.  I challenge you all to go find wonderful things as well.

 

 

Christmas Spirit Fail

Not feeling like such a hot parent today.  I had big plans.  I was going to pick up my children early to surprise them and take them to the new Christmas movie, Star.  I thought it would be a fun moment for us as we get ready to swing into the holiday season.  After all, Marlin (our Elf on the Shelf) will be here this week and we are psyched for his arrival….

Then, today, my children did this cute little thing they do some mornings.  I don’t know if any of yours do this.  Ah, its the BEST!  See if it sounds familiar….

“AUUGHHH!”

“HE touched me!”

“She is looking at me!”

“It isn’t MY job!”

“You need to come because now its getting physical”

“AUUGHHHH!”

“Why can’t we have Halloween candy for lunch?  Seriously, Mom!  You are such a fun ruiner.”

etc, etc, etc,  (all actual quotes here).

Surprisingly this doesn’t have me feeling all the feels if you catch my drift.  It has me thinking, “The only star you are going to see are the ones twirling around your head like a cartoon character…” just kidding about that part but COME ON!  A Fun Ruiner?? I am like- the QUEEN of Fun!

I am now sitting at the library working on a writing project but I keep coming back to this morning.  I keep coming back to the fact that despite it all, I STILL want to surprise them and pick them up and share this magical moment with them.  Am I delusional???

Then, now that I am calming (writing does this for me), I am forced to remember some other things that ALSO happened today that I had forgotten when I let the negativity take over.

“Spicy, you can go first.  Ladies first- Always.”

“Thanks for recording the Steelers for me mom. I can’t wait to see if they won.  Don’t tell me, I want to be surprised.”

“I’m going to love nature A LOT today in Environmental Science class today. Like more than normal.”

“I’m going to ask my Spanish teacher to help me write a book in Spanish.”

“I love you, Mom” – times 3.

I love you all, too!  I love it all.  The Christmas spirit isn’t failed here like I thought.  I just need to embrace it all and remember that its tough sometimes; being a parental unit.  But, if you just keep your eye on the Star (the good), you’ll find something that makes all the travels worth it.

XOXO