Household Manual for Tina Yothers' family.
Wondering how Tina's family operates? Take a look at her household manual below to find out.
WELCOME TO OUR HOME
Put on your comfy clothes and flip flops, and get ready to be a hands-on Mom with strong "family ties" to adventure and the outdoors-- with lots of animals around! You may remember me as the child actress who played Jennifer Keaton, the girl with the worst Eighties hair on television! But that pampered Hollywood lifestyle never appealed to me, so today I'm a happy suburban dance mom. That said, my entertainment background has carried into my adulthood as I creatively raise my children in the suburbs of Los Angeles with lots of theatrics and song.
Soon you will meet my husband, Bob, and our beautiful children: Bobby (3) and Lilly (5). Our extended family isn't all that extended because they are as much a part of our lives as the children we had together. Bob's twin boys, Jason and Corey, are twenty-one, and their sister Sarah (12) lives with us as well. When it comes to kids, the more the merrier! I do not consider parenting a spectator sport, so I am all about joining in on the fun. I enjoy being an active participant in their lives.
My husband Bob is an electrical contractor and he's a man's man who works extremely hard so that we can enjoy our time together as a family. We often go dirt biking in the desert, fishing in the mountains, surfing at the beach, or taking the boat out on the river. We also love working on the house and yard together; there is always something to be done around here.
I've always been family-oriented and life is too short to miss any precious moments with my kids. I understand that families who require both parents to work need outside help. I, on the other hand, am very fortunate to be able to stay home with my children. My Mom and my niece Jenna are always a phone call away to help but I don't miss a thing: from running the business with my husband to playing pirates with my kids in the backyard. Life goes too fast which is why we are so passionate about our kids and our relationship. The bottom line is when it comes to family time, our "Family Ties" could not be stronger!
Bob (46), Jason and Corey (21), Sarah (12), Lilly (5), Bobby (3)
JoJo (Chihuahua/mix) and Luda (Boxer named after Ludacris)
Lilly is basically me when I was little, a big ham with an old soul. I take her to dance three times per week and gymnastics twice a week, but she is NOT a pageant kid by any stretch of the imagination. She has big aspirations for her future in the spotlight.
Bobby is our baby and the one who is always on the go! Even though he lets his sister dress him up, he is ALL BOY. When I bring him to Lilly's dance practice, I am grateful for the extra sets of eyes from the other mothers. We are constantly running after him and keeping him in line. He is your typical three-year-old boy full of wonder and a touch of innocent mischief.
I met Bob's twins when they were nine years old and it was very important to me that I be a part of their lives. They have grown up to be great guys and are both are pursuing their music careers. They play in a band together called "Charles Mansion." Bob and I have always encouraged them to follow their musical dreams. We even built a sound proof band room in the backyard so they can rehearse when they come around on the weekends. Feel free to join them.
Their sister Sarah has become a part of our family and is now living with us. She is a sweet girl who is growing into a young lady right before our eyes. Since she's quite a few years older than Lilly and Bobby, she sometimes takes on the role of camp counselor with them; she's a great big sister to them.
I stay at home with the kids while my husband goes off to work. We have small children so we try to make time for each other whenever and however we can. Bob is such a hard worker, sometimes twelve hours a day, especially in the summer. But the nice thing about owning your own business is that he gets to make his own hours and we keep in touch throughout the day. No matter how tired he is when he comes home, he will always find time to play with the kids and make sure they have his full attention. He is a great Dad and loves the time he spends with his kids but is not as inclined as I am when it comes to singing to the kids. The kids have been known to put their hands on his mouth when he tries.
We work on our home together and there is plenty to be done, from feeding chickens to tending to the yard. The garden needs care and the kids love to pick our own vegetables and fruit to eat. Involving them in the process helps them to understand where the food they eat comes from and encourages them to want to eat healthy, which is half the battle at their age.
I do my best to keep up with my household duties, but since I am so drawn into my kids' activities, it is a daily challenge to get everything done. With a hardworking husband, two small children, a teenager, two dogs, four hens, and a psychotic rooster who may attack you at any given moment, I sometimes have to let the laundry pile up and wait until I can get to it.
I love to work on projects around the house, some more than others, but I still need to do the less appealing jobs like cleaning up after the dogs and chickens. Before the kids go out and play I make it a point to clean up the "land mines" the dogs have left on the lawn. Believe me when I say that the yard is our dog park filled with them. I hope that is not going to be a problem for you. It is better if you find the dog poop before Bobby does, or you'll be cleaning it up all day!
There is a lot of chaos in the house, but it's "fun chaos." An outlet for me has always been singing and performing. It is in my blood and a part of who I am. My days with the children are filled with singing, dancing, playing dress-up and other games such as "salon," where they style my hair. You will enjoy the "Sing-It-Don't-Say-It" game! You have to sing everything you want to say or else you get ignored. It is actually a lot more fun than it sounds.
We're very close to our families. My mother lives a mile away and is the best mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law you could ever ask for! She never lets a day go by without at least one phone call. Grandma has always been a big part of our daily lives. They love their Grandma time. My father -in- law (Pop) is also a huge part of our family, the kids have the best time with him, and I am proud to call him my father -in- law.
We enjoy our family getaways. We have a quaint little cabin in the mountains and a toy hauler trailer we take camping. We also go to Pop's place by the river where we take our boat out. This is a typical suburban California lifestyle and is my idea of a dream life! I promise it is an experience that you will not soon forget.
COOKING AND EATING HABITS
I hope you love to cook because preparing home cooked meals is a big part of our daily life.
My kids love everything I cook. We BBQ steaks or tri-tip a few times a week, make rotisserie chicken and occasionally pork chops venison.
We cook every night and we VERY rarely eat out. We like to sit and eat together as a family. At least once per week the twins will eat with us as one big family.
The kids love to pitch in. The younger two love to set the table and I even have a step stool for them to contribute to the meal by being my little helpers while I cook. Everyone helps clean up, excluding Bobby because we do not need him flooding the kitchen.
HOUSEHOLD MAINTANENCE and CHORES
A housekeeper is nice in theory but I want to teach my children responsibilities. The housework can get overwhelming, especially the several loads of laundry that need to be done per day. This house is about group participation and I try to turn everything into a fun activity for them.
We are all responsible for making our own beds in the morning. Lilly tries to make her bed on her own but needs a little assistance. The topic of bed making is not up for discussion with me, it is something we have made part of our daily routine… along with the kids brushing their teeth.
I don't find value in spending tons of money on clothes and accessories. I will just throw on some comfortable clothes and go. It is not uncommon to see us barefoot and in crazy costumes. I would rather spend our money on something we can enjoy together as a family before I would buy some outrageously expensive designer purse. I bargain shop for our clothes. Bob and I both lead a very casual life and our clothes and appearance represent that.
DAILY ROUTINE - EARLY MORNING
There is no sleeping in at my house! Since it can get up to 110 degrees here in the summer, my husband tries to get to his job site by 6 AM or earlier. On the weekdays, I get up with Bob early in the morning. The kids are not up yet so this is our quality time together. We check the garden, fruit trees, and yard by walking around the property. We feed the chickens and collect their eggs, but are careful of the rooster (you never know what kind of mood you will find him in). This is a very peaceful part of the day when we drink our coffee and talk. We are partners and friends. I enjoy making him breakfast and packing his lunch while he loads his truck with his materials for the day. I send him off, but we keep in touch throughout the day.
After Bob leaves, I get out in the backyard and clean up all of the lovely "presents" our two dogs have left for us. It is not the nicest way to start the day but it must get done. Also, the chicken coop needs to be cleaned once a week. Think happy thoughts if you have a weak stomach!
After I pick up around the yard, I will take a few moments for "me time." I go online to check my email, Facebook, and drink coffee. Before the kids get up it's a brief moment of silence that I do enjoy but I also look forward to them joining me for the day. I don't get a whole lot of quiet "me time" but I am perfectly happy with the way my life is.
The kids usually get up by 7:30 AM, that's when I fix them their breakfast and let them watch cartoons for about one hour. While they watch TV, I try to do a little Mommy catch-up by cleaning-up around the house, and starting a load of laundry.
DAILY ROUTINE - LATE MORNING
I get the kids going after an hour of television by making them brush their teeth and get them ready for the day. This is followed by "Play-time." I am the Mom who has no problem being goofy and playing with my kids. We play a lot of dress-up. The kids like to put on shows. I'll sit on the couch and introduce them and get fully entertained by them. Then I usually send them outside to play something creative; they love everything from catching bugs and butterflies to playing Pirates. I'm not afraid of getting down in the dirt with them. When I am not doing that, they are perfectly happy entertaining themselves.
DAILY ROUTINE - AFTERNOON
We built our home office in the back yard so I try to sneak out there to make some calls and handle some of our business. I am a founding member of "Oxford Preparatory Academy," a charter school where Sarah and Lilly both attend and I volunteer several hours a week. The kids always know where to find me and are never far from my sight.
Lilly goes to dance practice three days per week. We spend a lot of time at the studio and have made lifelong friends in our "dance family."
It gets VERY hot in the afternoons so we head out to the yard to play in the water either on in the sprinkles or on the slip 'n slide. The neighbors' kids come over for play dates and we all take turns cooling off and having a blast! If you are worried about messing up your hair and make-up, then you'll definitely miss out on all the fun. To get the party started, I usually take the first run on the slip 'n slide.
Before dinner, I try to work in some quiet time to settle them down. Education is a top priority to us since I did not go to college we would like our children to go.
They work independently in their bedrooms on their summer "bridge workbook" (It's a school book that bridges the gap to the next year). I'll pop in to see if they need help.
DAILY ROUTINE - EVENING
Bob and I usually make dinner together at about 6 PM. We like to sit down as a family to eat dinner at 7 PM.
After dinner is reading time. We love to read to them. I tend to be more animated when it comes to doing characters' voices than Bob, but the kids love to have this time with their father. It's very sweet.
Then it's usually bath/shower time. My kids are not needy or clingy, but at the end of the day is when the tenderest family moments occur for me. My kids become extremely snuggly and loving. Without fail, I sing each one a song or two every night. It is probably one of my favorite parts of the day. I have left a list of their favorite songs for you to sing to them before bedtime.
In the middle of the night, the kids might get up to bed swap. They love to snuggle. You never know who you will wake up next to in the morning. It is all just part of our family charm, I guess.
We don't live by a rulebook. It's all about communication. With the little ones, you have got to pick your battles; nonetheless, it is important for kids to know their boundaries and limits. Not every mistake they make warrants a time-out; however, doing something like being too aggressive towards each other falls in the category of a "teachable moment." That's when you have to separate them. Lilly is old enough to grasp the time-out concept better than Bobby. With him, you have to try to talk it out and keep him on "pause" for a few minutes.
If Bobby picks up a curse word, I think the best defense is to down play it. He is going through a phase and looking for attention so we try to change the subject and not give a big reaction. So don't be offended if he calls you a Poo-Poo Head.
I would say we are liberal conservatives. When asked if I would have Sarah Palin over for dinner, I said sure as long as she would go hunting with Bob. I do not mind her personally; she seems like a great mom and a good woman. I feel badly that she gets a bad rap, but I wouldn't necessarily vote for her for President.
My husband and I keep up with current events and believe that people should have the right to bear arms. People kill people, not guns.
We don't go to church, but we try to instill in our kids a faith in a higher power and a heaven. We will say a prayer before dinner to express our gratitude or for the wellbeing of strangers when an ambulance passes. The topic of death came up after the loss of a friend so we talked about life changing to a different form, like a star in the sky. I want them to have a sense of security and comfort.
My relationship with my husband is an amazing partnership. We have been married for eight years and share the same passions in life; they are all around us in the home and children we created.
My husband is an amazing dad and the best husband ever. So we don't necessarily go out for candle-lit dinners, but we enjoy so many moments each day. Our joy comes from our life the way it is, so it is hard for me to imagine it being any other way.
I signed up for Wife Swap as an experiment because I love new experiences and I am open-minded about how I can learn from an outsider coming into my home and suggestions to better our household . My biggest concern is being away from these people who I wake up with every day and share my life with. I have never been away from my children for more than two days. The thought of walking out my front door makes me incredibly sad. Will you sing my children to sleep, know what to say to them when they need comforting, and enjoy them? Is it even possible to change my household for the better? We are not perfect, but it is perfect for me, even with its imperfections. I love my life.
YOUR TO-DO LIST
1. Feed the chickens and gather their eggs. Watch out for the rooster!
2. Pick up the dog poop. It's NEVER fun but necessary.
3. Keep up with the yard chores, which include cleaning the chicken coop and weeding. They will grow faster than you can pull them out.
4. Make Bob breakfast before he goes off to work.
5. Get started on the laundry early.
6. Participate in dress-up time and play time; do not try to fake it. Kids will know if you are.
7. Make sure the kids make their beds and brush their teeth. Have them help you clean up.
8. Play the "Sing-It-Don't-Say-It" game. This is a silly and fun game.
9. Help the kids with their summer bridge workbooks.
10. Make a meat and potatoes, hearty meal for dinner. Don't forget to pick vegetables from our garden with the kids.
11. At bedtime, the kids take baths. Please sing to them.
I hope that you find the joy and happiness in my "simple life." It's not as simple as it sounds. I hope you came to enjoy some time with a great all-American family. I know I look forward to meeting yours! From the chicken coop to picking up dog poop, do not forget to sing a happy song! Before long, you will get the hang of it.