Do you keep the letters etc in their memory books/journals {from THIS post about the letters I write to my kids on Mother’s Day…I wrote about it HERE too}?

I have plans to put all these letters in a special three ring binder for each of my children and give it to them at some special meaningful point when I’m ready in the future (maybe when they get married or graduate from college??).  Growing up, my Mom kept special books for each of us in her own handwriting.  They have become prized possessions.  I’m kind of modeling these after what she did.  She had all kinds of pictures in there too mixed in with her letters to us. So many different ways to record things.

Could you do a post sometime on how you do memory books/scrapbooks etc for your family? Do you do project life or things like that?

I answered a little bit of that question back HERE.  Sadly I haven’t come very far since then!  I would sure love to use this time in China to do a little work on getting some digital scrapbooks printed like people mentioned in the comments back on that post, but honestly sometimes I feel like I am in quicksand, things take so long to do here!  

How do you get great close ups of the letters etc? Do you take close ups with your camera? I’d really love some tips on how you do this.  {from THIS post}

I just find good light (outside under a porch or in a great window with non-direct light) and get as overhead as I can with my camera and snap away.  It’s not professional in any way (my brother has this awesome tripod thing that does it way better), but it’s capturing things and it’s quick so it works for me!

I have been following your blog and have so enjoyed an appreciate many of your parenting stories and tips. I have 3 (little) girls (ages 1, 3 and 4.5) and we are just barely getting into the world of sibling rivalry and I’m just curious how you’ve handled delving out bedtimes/responsibilities/privileges in varying amounts with each of your girls being so close in age to the other. My girls are all a tad under 2 yrs apart, and I am trying to start having age specific bedtimes, chores, etc. it’s hard because they’re so close in age! Help!!!!!!!

That’s a tough one…and still is in some ways with older kids I’m sorry to say!  

BUT what has worked best for us is to make a big deal celebration out of the different stages and responsibilities.  Like a rite of passage.  For example, when our kids turn eight, they start doing dishes.  We make a big effort to make this into an exciting thing rather than a form of complete drudgery.  “Oh my word, it’s going to be so great when you finally turn eight and you can help us with the dishes!  You’re getting so big and mature!!”  Then we pour on the praise when they do a good job.  Sure, the magic of the whole deal wears off after a little while, but kids can’t help but love having responsibilities when we make them positive.  

They love having the responsibility of teaching their younger siblings to do the jobs they become old enough for when the time is right too 🙂 I love the idea of kids becoming “certified” to do certain things, i.e. cleaning the toilet, wiping down the counter, putting the shoes away, etc.  Once they are a “certified” expert at a specific thing, they can teach their little siblings to do it just as wonderfully awesome as they do.

There is a whole section about this in a great book called The Parenting Breakthrough
.  I’ve talked about that one a bunch back HERE and in response to other q & a’s too.  

Just as we make the responsibilities a big deal, when we had younger kids we made privileges like later bedtimes a big deal too.  I think it’s important to point out that hey, your sister is a whole year and a half older than you are.  When you turn four, you will get to stay up a little later too.  There are a bunch more ideas on privileges back HERE.

When it comes right down to it, little kids just want undivided attention every once in a while.  If they get their fill on that, they aren’t so bugged if some things don’t seem fair.  My favorite way for doing that with young AND older kids is back HERE (initials on fingertips thing).  

Good luck and enjoy those little sweeties for me!  Man alive my kids are getting old!

Have you ever held a tiger before?

Why yes, I have!  Today at the Shanghai Wild Animal Park, as a matter of fact!  

So did my kids.  

It was the coolest.

Did you make up that last question?

totally 🙂

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