After talking with some friends about my dilemma yesterday we decided that whatever level I was at it didn't merit going back to 0. I am happy with this decision! Today was another great day. I don't even find myself raising my voice as much.
How do I do it?
I'm glad you asked!
I have become more diligent about getting up to talk to the boys when I need to. I have been lazy and created a bad habit of "hollering" to them from another room. Not just as a means of yelling when they are misbehaving, just in general when I need them I don't seek them out, I call out. Now I am trying to go find them or grab the closest child and send him on a manhunt for the brother of his that I need. Ok, so that is still kind of lazy, but at least I am finding more ways to keep my voice level down.
I am also stopping to just take deep breathes when I feel like I can't talk to them and want to yell. This actually usually prompts them to ask "Mommy, what are you doing?" To which I respond, honestly, "trying not to yell at you" and I keep breathing until I am ready to talk to them in a calm manner.
I have, however, discovered I need a whistle or something. When they are all playing together they get VERY loud and if I need their attention it is impossible to get, even if I try to go up to them they just run and think I'm playing. Not that yelling even works most of the time but it was my default, I think a whistle would be an amazing help.
Now... If I could figure out a way to get the babies to lay quiet in bed I'd be golden!