I had a stroke of genius tonight (I hope!): I’ve decided that I need to set aside time in the day for my kids burn off steam — after all, it IS the middle of winter, and I can’t just tell them “go outside and play!” so starting tomorrow, I’m going to try an experiment and see if and/or how well my idea works: I’m going to tell the kids up front that they get 15 mins of free-for-all time every couple of hours — they can run, yell, make whatever kind of noise they want, have races down the stairs, “skate” in the kitchen, whatever (the only thing they still may NOT do is throw things in the house)… I’ll set a timer for 15 mins, so the kids will know it’s not just me deciding I can’t take any more noise (that’d only take about TWO mins), and when the timer goes off, no more free-for-all; after that, they’re expected to obey ALL of the rules, including not running in the house and keeping the decibel level down to a low roar w/the noise… I hope this works and makes things a little more manageable for me AND the kids, especially the boys — I really don’t want to be the wicked step-mother, and I figure if I give a little they’ll be more inclined to give back… oh, I thank FlyLady for this idea, too! her idea of setting timers for housework (I know I tend to put things off b/c I feel overwhelmed by how long it’s going to take to get all the way through a task) helped me realize that I can do the same thing w/my kids (break things up into smaller chunks instead of trying to tackle them all in one effort — in the case of my munchkins and the boys in particular, it’s allowing time for noise and rowdiness), and the timer even makes things seem more “official”… I’ll post updates on the results — keep your fingers crossed!