Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Ticket to Cleanliness: A New Chore Chart

I wish this blog post was going to be about my latest deep philosophical and spiritual moors, but instead this about the inner workings of the newest addition to the Hepworth family home life - our chore chart. Then again, cleanliness is next to godliness, they say. . .

Whenever I see those memes or blog posts about how we should just disregard all the messes in our homes and cuddle with our sweet babies instead, I cringe inside and have a mini panic attack knowing full well what my not keeping up with the mess in my home looks like - for me, that reality is anything but cute, cuddly, relaxing or sane. And also realizing that far too often, that IS my highly uncomfortable reality, is an unwelcome reminder.

I have thought a while about implementing a new chore/consequence system in our home to help me out in this ever-daunting arena of home management. I had read about having a jar full of strips of paper with the chores listed on them to be used a negative consequences or as money making opportunities. The idea was appealing, but not structured enough for my taste. (However, every other parenting idea in the book where I read about the chore jar is AMAZING. Hands down, best parenting book I have EVER read: Nicholeen Peck's A House United. *This is an affiliate Link.*) When I read about this chore chart idea by Diann Jeppson, on pg.69-74 in Vol.3 of the Leadership Education Library A Thomas Jefferson Education Home Companion, I knew I had found the holy grail of chore chart systems. I modified it slightly to fit our family's needs. I am including all the nitty gritty details for whatever they are worth to you.

The chores are assigned as (AA), (A), or (B).

(AA) chores = 4 pts./$1
(A) chores = 2 pts./ 50¢
(B) chores = 1 pt./25¢

A child must earn over their daily minimum point threshold to start earning $ for extra chores. For our 3 year old, that is 5 points a day. For our 5 and nearly 7 year olds, the minimum is 8 points a day.

To reward consistency, if a child earns their minimum points for 5/6 days (Monday-Saturday, points aren't counted on Sundays) they receive a $2 bonus on pay day.

Points are recorded on our family calendar before we begin our bedtime routine each night. The kids are paid for their weekly work on Mondays.

After breakfast, I put on some fun upbeat music and we all do our best to earn our minimum daily points in the hour or so we have before our studies will begin. If the chores aren't completed, they will have wasted valuable time for earning their daily points. Because I am doing chores right along with them, though, this really encourages a group effort.

If some one else joins in on a chore to help, points aren't lowered for the one who started the chore first. Instead, additional points are awarded from the misc. envelope to the helper (AKA my 3 year old.) This is to prevent the "She's stealing my chore!!" problem.

Working side-by-side with younger children is necessary, and instruction for how the chores are to be done is also essential. Chores like tidying need to be done first before other chores. Every day, every family member is assigned tidying their own room and making their bed. They are also assigned animal care chores. The others flow out of necessity and what I assign as needed (or earned as a negative consequence.) Certain chores can also be requested by kids interested to make more money.

If a child is behaving negatively (hurting a sibling, being disrespectful, etc.) I issue a chore for the child to complete (without payment of course) as a means to amend the bad feeling the child is bringing to our home. Having my chart organized like this it is so much easier to come up with a consequence on the fly.

To make the pockets for my chore chart, I laminated two sheets of paper together and sliced them open with a razor. I used a different kind of scrapbook paper for each room and their corresponding tickets for easy location. I also made pockets for each family member. Simple silver tacks hold every pocket on the board. They are also used to create a middle divide on each family member's pocket. Chore tickets on the left side are To-Do and when tickets are moved to the right, they are done. The tickets are all laminated and written on with Sharpie.

Here are the specific chore tickets in each pocket:

Living Room
(A) Tidy the living room
(A) Clean the blinds
(B) Wash window
(B) Scrub down walls
(B) Scrub down baseboards
(B) Dust all wood furniture, picture frames, etc.
(B) Sweep up around rabbit cage
(B) Vacuum room

(A) Wash dishes
(A) Clean out fridge or freezer
(A) Deep clean oven
(A) Take out trash and recycling
(B) Empty dishwasher
(B) Wipe down all counters, sinks, and oven top
(B) Sweep kitchen area
(B) Mop kitchen area
(B) Straighten up pantry
(B) Clean window
(B) Scrub down all cabinets and appliance fronts

Dining Room
(A) Scrub down walls, back door and base boards
(A) Scrub down cubby shoe holder
(A) Clean light fixture and glass panes in back door
(B) Scrub down table and chairs
(B) Dust dining area
(B) Wash window
(B) Tidy dining room
(B) Sweep floors in dining area
(B) Mop floors in dining area

5x (A) Make Bed and tidy room
3x (A) Scrub down doors and walls
3x (B) Sweep/mop or vacuum floors
3x (B) Dust room
3x (B) Clean window/mirrors

(A) Scrub walls in hallway and stairs
(A) Sweep/mop stairs
(B) Tidy hallways and stairs
(B) Scrub down entry door and glass window
(B) Scrub down garage door
(B) Shake out entry rug and sweet entry landing
(B) Sweep/mop downstairs hallway
(B) Vacuum upstairs hallway

Bathroom #1
(A) Clean toilet - inside and out
(A) Clean shower/tub
(A) Deep clean floors
(B) Wash mirror
(B) Scrub sink and sink area
(B) Tidy area
(B) Dust light fixtures

Bathroom #2
(A) Clean toilet - inside and out
(A) Clean shower/tub
(A) Deep clean floors
(B) Wash mirror
(B) Scrub sink and sink area
(B) Tidy area
(B) Dust light fixtures

Home School Room
(A) Tidy room
(B) Vacuum room
(B) Dust room
(B) Scrub down walls
(B) Scrub down doors
(B) Clean window and sill

Guest Bedroom
(B) Make bed
(B) Vacuum
(B) Dust room
(B) Scrub down window and sill
(B) Scrub down walls

Animal Care
(AA) Deep clean chicken coop
(AA) Deep clean rabbit cage
(A) Feed and water chickens
(A) Lock up the chickens
(A) Empty and wash out full litter boxes - replace with fresh
(B) Feed rabbits' pellets
(B) Sweep rabbit cage
(B) Refill rabbits' water bottles
(B) Take chickens food scraps
(B) Give chickens crushed egg shells

Outside the House
(AA) Rake leaves in front yard or shovel snow in driveway
(AA) Rake leaves in back yard
(A) Pick one full grocery sack of weeds 
(A) Distribute rabbit manure to plants/trees/garden
(A) Help mom or dad with yard work
(A) Sweep and tidy the play house
(A) Sweep and tidy the back porch
(B) Sweep front porch and steps

6X (A) Put laundry away and return box*
2X (A) Sort 2 loads of laundry
(B) Fold all rags or match all socks
4X (A or B) Help Mom or Dad with Project
8X (A)
4X (B)

*Side note to our chore chart - the picture below shows our laundry system: clothes are sorted (ideally) fresh out of the dryer into every individual's bin. Then each person is responsible for folding and sorting them into their appropriate drawers and returning the bins to the laundry station.

So far, this chore chart has been like magic for my home. The kids are really enjoying it, too. That said, we are only one week in so far. Time will tell how effective this is for the long haul. But for now, it is giving me hope that a clean home with 4 home-schooled kids is totally doable.

What amazing home management tips have you tried with success?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Red Pill Resources for Vaccination Research

**Since this is a health-related post, I need to make sure I clearly state at the outset that this is NOT intended to be taken as specific medical advice. I am not a doctor. You are totally responsible and liable for your own health choices, as am I for my own.**

I have had several friends and acquaintances reach out to me in recent months, wanting to know what resources I have found on the topic of vaccination. I have decided to put my favorite sources in one blog post for anyone who is wanting to learn more on the topic, to be able to use as a spring board for further research.

I have requested on several occasions that my friends who promote vaccination with a fervor, share their best studies or investigations of studies with me. As I have read past the abstracts on such papers and links, I am easily able to find flaws that weaken my trust in what I increasingly suspect to be simply a dogma and NOT reliably proven by science – the idea that vaccines are safe, highly and reliably efficacious, and more beneficial than harmful to our immune systems and our minds. But, by all means, if you have a study that you feel is out of this world in its execution, that you believe proves vaccination (including the current recommended CDC schedule) to be the nectar from the gods it has been purported to be, I’d love for you to share it with me so I can examine it for myself.

At this point, unless I can find enough solid evidence to be convinced otherwise, I will refuse all vaccinations for my own children and myself. I will also continue to fight for everyone’s right to choose for themselves. Where liability and outcomes rest solely on the shoulders of parents and children (thanks a lot National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986. . . ), the choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate has to be our own to make.

And now, some resources for your review:
  • A family medicine doc of 35 years, Sam Eggertsen, gives a well-researched explanation about, “Why do parents refuse to vaccinate their children?” A very good intro to the topic, especially for doctors, to better understand the variety of issues people are taking with vaccines.
  • Dr. Suzanne Humphries – all her youtube videos are phenomenal. Especially love her videos on herd immunity and measles, Vitamin C, and aluminum (here and here.) She wrote the book, “Dissolving Illusions.” One of the best books to read to put vaccines in their proper perspective historically. It has been a very eye-opening read for me.  
  • Vaccine Papers is a really great blog that delves into the science on the topic of aluminum toxicity. The info on this site has convinced me that the aluminum adjuvent is a major concern with vaccines. To see a two page document that sums up a lot of the pertinent info on this site, check this out.
  • Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on the CDC website. It is hard to navigate data, but in it you can discover things like the fact that 108 people died from the measles vaccine, and 0 people died from actual measles over the course of over a decade in the U.S. Neil Z. Miller has looked at this data extensively (and studies on vaccination in general) and has a great book, Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies.
  • “Vaxxed” documentary – This one is all about fraud at the CDC regarding the MMR – their study found it actually does have a strong correlation with Autism and at a much higher rate in African-American boys! Dr. William Thompson is the whistleblower and Brian Hooker compiled 10,000 pages of documents using FOIA to further show this and other fraud. The integrity of the science surrounding vaccination should be of utmost concern for all of us.  
  • I found evidence of further fraud about the mumps component of the MMR as well. Also, Dr. Gary Goldman, a former CDC researcher, explains the fraud the CDC was trying to get him to participate in his interviews on Vaccines Revealed. This document sums up that story well, too.
  • I want to read the book, “Vaccines and Autoimmunity”, but it is very pricey so I have not yet purchased it for our library. This is the introduction of the book is at the following link. There are many studies to check out even just at the end of this intro. You can youtube speeches by the authors as well – more dry on the presentation, but important info to consider. Along these lines, it is worth going down the rabbit hole about the speculation that the HIB vaccine has caused the peanut allergy epidemic (peanut oil in manufacturing process), and that other vaccines have contributed to the allergy epidemic as well.
  • Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych's book, “Vaccine Illusion” is a good one, too. Made me question whether vaccination wasn't actually hurting my and my family’s true immunity against disease. She is a well-spoken advocate for vaccine choice. I got access to her e-book for free by subscribing to Green Med Info’s newsletter.  
  • Super succinct blog post part 1 of 4, that looks at the research and claims about vaccination. From a decidedly anti-vaccine stance, in a debate-style format.  
  • The book, “The Vaccine-Friendly Plan” by Dr.Paul Thomas may be a helpful resource. He recommends a very limited and spread out vaccination regimen. Dr. Thomas explains how he gave his patients informed consent and then he followed the kids in his practice to see the outcomes. With over 1,000 patients’ data, he observed zero patients with Autism in the groups who followed his plan, or amongst those who chose not to vaccinate at all, but the patients in his practice who followed the traditional CDC vaccination schedule have national average rates of Autism. 
  • The Mawson Study – Interesting but not without its flaws. This is however, one of the only studies that even looks at vaccinated vs. unvaccinated kids on a variety of health issues. If nothing else, the findings should be getting everyone outraged that we DON’T have any reliable studies that look into this issue more deeply and accurately. Vaccine Papers discusses this study and other purported vax. vs. unvaxxed studies in more depth.
  • Worth researching more in depth – the MTHFR mutation. Many believe this is the mutation that makes individuals more susceptible to vaccine injury!
  • This gal - also a doctor's wife, did a better job than I did compiling research and resources. You may be interested to check out her 21-page document here.

  • Here is a great compilation of questions to ask your doctor – or if you are a doctor promoting vaccination, questions to be able to answer. . . Also, I have to admit I got a kick out of this document. It is for clients to give to their doctors who try to get them to sign a “refusal to vaccinate” form. Puts everything back in perspective, and power back into the hands of those who really have to deal with the outcomes of vaccinating or not vaccinating – whatever those might be.  
What information have you found valuable in your own research on the topic of vaccination?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Wren's Hypnobabies Birth Story (Jami's Perspective)

I've been wanting to write Wren's birth story. The very real demands of life as a mother of 4 young children have been preventing me from doing so.  But today is finally that day! :) A big THANK YOU to my friend Heather for taking photos during the experience.

Wren Bailey Hepworth was born on August 13, 2017 at 7:37pm. She was 8lb. 2oz. and 23 inches long.

Reader's Digest Version: 15 hours of pressure waves were followed by my water breaking while on the toilet. I quickly got on my knees and baby came out into my arms in one easy push.

I don't know that I have a whole lot more to add to that Reader's digest version. Even as I say that, I know I will. Birth is such a funny, everyday, yet epic kind of thing. And Wren's arrival was no different.

The week before:

After being woken several times in the middle of Sunday night/early Monday morning August 7th, I thought I better encourage my mom to get to Pocatello (she was in Salt Lake, visiting her sister before heading over) or else she might miss the birth. Squire called in to work to let them know he would be staying at home. I let him check my dilation the night before and that morning and we had found that I had gone from 3 cm to 6cm and my cervix was 90% effaced over the course of the night. (For anyone who has stumbled upon this blog post and is not familiar with our family - my husband, Squire, is a family medicine resident and has done several rotations of OB training.) Incidentally, my sister McKenzie, her husband Nate and their baby Jude were visiting us. My mom and aunt Jan drove to Pocatello as quickly as they could once they got the news that baby might be coming. We informed the midwives. I made waffles for the kids. I was so excited that this was the day! We got the birth tub set up and filled up in the middle of the room. But over the course of a couple hours, I found that my pressure waves were stronger only when I would go to the bathroom or to my room. My midwife asked me if I was ready to take off my pants and get into the tub. I remember coming out into my living room in the light of day, pants on, with the birth tub in the center of the room, full of warm water just waiting for me - and then seeing the crowd surrounding the tub as though in a sports arena. It was just too much for me. My pressure waves stopped completely after 12 hours of consistency. We spent the days running errands, and I got a lot of walking time in, but to no avail. That day, was not THE day like I had hoped and felt.

I felt a little deflated, but I was relieved my mom was finally there. That week we focused on getting our home in even better order. Squire repaired the washing machine which had broken and wasn't working. (Great timing, right?) And we all just waited. I accepted the fact - yes, the fact - that I would be pregnant forever. And I told myself I was totally fine with that. .  .

The big day:

Around 5:30am on August 13th, I woke up to some very strong pressure waves. Maybe this was the day baby would come!? After a couple of hours of consistency, I informed my friend, Heather, and my midwife Angela, that I thought the real deal could be starting. She let Valerie and Mary, the other midwives, know. Everyone trickled in as the day moved on. The kids helped Squire fill the birth tub.

Angela is checking my pulse here while I experience a pressure wave.

THE BEST tasting coconut water - natural electrolytes, baby.
This time, the atmosphere was better managed than the week beforehand. We set up a table for the midwives to put their things. We arranged the seating in a less obtrusive fashion. We had everything in order, and we kept the feeling calm. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks on my birth ball, in the birthing tub, and as I walked around my home. 

At one point I had Squire check me and I was dilated to 8cm. That number, coupled with my past experience of having my babies in 4-5 hours time, led me to anticipate a baby's arrival in the next 20 minutes or so. But the 20 minutes turned into hours, and we waited and waited and waited. Baby was posterior by the way, so I think that may have contributed to some of the waiting.

Why is this baby not born yet?!
A See's lollipop lick to cheer me up.

Our last family pic before Wren was born.
Checking baby's heart tones.
At one point I thought I felt my water break while in the birth tub. I felt a pop and a bit of a leak. Squire was in the water with me at that point. He asked me if I was sure my water had broken. I told him he had better hope my water broke, because if it hadn't, I had just peed in the birth tub he was sitting in! I guess the joke was on me, because as I found out later, my water didn't actually break until much later. 

I asked my midwife for help. Was something wrong I wondered? When I was so far along, usually things went extremely fast. We did a couple maneuvers to try to get baby to rotate. We did some in my room, and a time later we did some maneuvers while I was in the birth tub. Squire and Angela did a little hip-squeezing on me as well. But things kept plodding along at a snail's pace while my cervix held itself wide open.

At one point I tried to push inbetween pressure waves while listening to my Push Baby Out Hypnobabies track. My midwife asked if they were involuntary pushes. I said, "No. I just thought if I pushed a little I could help baby move down." "Jami. Everything is going fine. It's just going a little slower than you are used to. You should wait on that pushing."

OK! Nap time then I guess.

Not for long, though. I decided that if now wasn't the time to push, now was the time to help the baby rotate. I remembered that I had a Turn, Posterior baby, Turn! Hypnobabies track and listened to that. The whole time I listened to that track I felt intense pressure and openness. The kind of intensity you expect to feel when baby's head is right on the lip of the cervix. But no pushiness. So I listened and waited and relaxed and stayed and dove deeper into my hypnosis. I was so relaxed that I found I had drooled a bit on the side of the tub when the track completed playing.

I continually got in and out of the birth tub to use the restroom during my birthing time. After finishing the Turn Posterior Baby track, I felt like I needed to have a bowel movement. I don't like to poop or pee in the water I'm giving birth in if I can avoid it. So I got out of the birth tub and headed to the bathroom to pass my #2 for what felt like the thousandth time. I think I had to take a break draped over the birth ball in "Off" position before proceeding if my memory serves me right,

When I sat on the toilet and started to push, my water broke with a gush and all at once I felt baby's head. I think I said something terribly significant and meaningful like, "Poop! Baby!" I quickly dropped to my knees and called for Squire to get behind me to help make sure I was clean. And then in one easy push baby slid right out into my arms. You can see that pushing footage, here:

And there she was. My soft-skinned warm sweet baby in my arms. I'll never get over that feeling of holding my naked freshly-born babies for the first time.

Surprise! Baby was a GIRL!

 Angela tucked a bowl under me and I pushed out my placenta while admiring my sweet new babe.

Lincoln cut the umbilical cord:

Candid Hepworth family picture - Wren included.

While I was nursing and snuggling baby girl, our other two girls decided it would be a great time to dip into the birthing tub for a swim. (GROSS!!) Haha! Oh, well. That's just what really happened. 

Mimi with baby Wren.

Little baby hand.

While the wait was confusing and a bit frustrating at times due to my previous experience of having very quick births, with my Hypnobabies tools, I was able to remain comfortable and focused throughout my birthing time. I was surprised at how many hours had passed the couple of times I requested the time, and I believe the hypnosis helped with that as well. It was a rewarding experience bringing Wren into the world. I learned that I can give birth "on land" comfortably and smoothly, and that I am capable of giving birth gracefully, even facing the challenge of a much longer birthing time.

We have loved getting to know this girl this past month. She lives up to her name, Wren, quite well - an inconspicuous little bird with a distinctive song. She is a really calm, quiet, easy-going and content little baby most of the time, but when she needs something, she expresses that very distinctly for all to hear. ;) We love this girl and feel peace knowing that "that someone" who we felt was missing from our family, has arrived at last.


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