Long Time, No See

I know, I’ve been gone forever. Well, there is a very long list in my head right now about things that are super aggravating me and that is one of them. Here are a few so I can feel like I have vented and can get on with my day:

  1. Fundraisers – I know, I know, I’m on the committees and I know all about the budgets and where the money goes and why we need it right now just after all the school supplies were bought, but that doesn’t mean I am any happier about it than the rest of you. I really, really hate fundraising to the very core of my being. I wish we all had all the money we needed to do all the things that need being done.
  2. All the stupid reminder apps I need to download to keep in touch with kids schools and extracurriculars. Dude, I am so happy you want to keep in contact with us, but can we just agree as a whole town or state to use this one thing and be done with it? I have two for Greg, three for Ben, and two for David. Plus Evite and FB Events and PTAvenue and WordPress and and and. MY PHONE IS FULL, people. Either the state or local government needs to start paying for more storage for our phones or stop using these things. Remember paper? I like paper. Paper is good. I can set it on fire when I get tired of it. I CANNOT SET MY PHONE ON FIRE. It’s very toxic.
  3. Schedules: I just want the school schedules to get along. I want to drop my kids off youngest to eldest and pick up that way and I want to be able to have time to drive to one school and get in the pick-up line in a decent place at the next school without someone running me over or giving me death looks every day. I also want the elementary programs not to overlap the middle school or the high school and all that vice versa. I don’t want to figure out how I am going to chaperone a high school football game for band and a dance for the middle school at the same time or how to pick my kid up from band, take him to scouts (which he’s late for because it runs the same time as band, which makes no sense because scouts are usually band kids), and attend a school board meeting all at once (which, seriously, all the scouts meet on Monday night and scout parents are usually the kind of parents you want at your school board meeting.). Also, money pick-ups for schools: If I am dropping off and picking up all my kids at the same time as the schools want me to be picking up money brought to them by said children for PTA stuff, how am I supposed to be picking up and dropping off my kids? I literally literally cannot be in that many places at once. Do you see why I am insane?
  4. Ok, I think I’m done. I mean, I have more, but my brain feels a little calmer now and the ringing in my ears and the tightening of the vice grip of anxiety has lessened to a point where I might be able to get on with my day now. Thanks for “listening” people. I love you. 🙂
Advertisements

Rear Window, y’all

Once upon a time, oh, maybe 3 neighbors ago, there were beautiful palm trees planted in the neighbors backyard along the back fence. They were lovingly wrapped up several winters in a row, until the neighbor before this one let them die of neglect.

The latest neighbor, faced with dead palm trees, has decided to use a 4-wheeler to remove them. For the first part of this process, he drove into the stumps repeatedly, bashing the poor stumps over and over. Then he moved on to a new plan of action and tried tying a rope to them and then driving back and forth to pull the stumps out. The rope eventually snapped.

Now after a long period of quietude where I thought about checking that he was still alive, he’s gotten a chain out and is trying tactic #2 again. It’s a very noisy process and I’m worried that he and the 4-wheeler might end up in the pool. So I’m staying right here by the window, phone in hand, hoping he doesn’t drown or come crashing through the fence.

Last week of October

The last week of October was exciting, at least for me. I had a CT scan and got registered for surgery early next year.

 

Ben had an exciting week, too: a meeting for his upcoming trip to Camp Tyler and a visit to the dentist that resulted in three teeth pulled.

 

And then, of course, there was Halloween….

Last Week at the Blue House of Joy

2014-09-22 06.31.31 2014-09-22 10.32.07 2014-09-22 10.32.37

In between the arm breaking and fall festival shopping craziness, things still did get done around here.

  • I got a plastic dresser from the clearance rack at Wal-mart (bright turquoise) for Greg’s closet and got his stuff moved over and Ben’s moved down. Now they have a shared Treasure Drawer and Ben has three drawers for clothes and so does Greg. I’d show you a photo, but it’s kind of boring in there.
  • I made my lunch drawer happen, even though it wasn’t on the Official List. Nick and I had a discussion about the plastic ware and where it needed to live (my answer: Goodwill. his answer: in the kitchen) : it’s gone into the top cupboards with the regular stuff. Some of the  stuff was removed from several categories and will be making its way to Goodwill this week: mugs we didn’t care about, bowls that didn’t fit our needs, lunch drink containers that ended up not being as leak-proof as advertised.
  • A tall bookcase arrived for David’s room, so he has room for the books that came out of my room (for his age and interests). We still need to get that moved in and the top of the old shelf arrangement mounted on the wall above his dresser for his Lego creations. The old shelf may go to its forever home in the garage.
  • I have plans for the garage. Oh yes. Plans that are not fully envisioned yet. But I did start work on making it tidier for the present. (For the future, I would like to take in half the garage and make a “project” room or -even bigger dream- the whole garage and move the master bedroom over there and let each kid have his own room. Nick would like to think on these further. Poor Nick.)
  •  Last, but not least, I got my lovely, lovely, lovely electric teakettle for a feast gift from my sister-and-brother-in-law. Isn’t she gorgeous?

Life goes on…

You know what? I thought I’d post more once I got out of my hectic-working-two-part-time-jobs-and-pta-president lifestyle. It turns out that I just don’t. I want to, and I mean to, but then things just go on and it doesn’t get done because it’s not on my calendar of things to do.

So what have I been doing? Here, let me show you:

lisasdailies

First I made a weekly schedule of all our extracurricular activities, then added in the housework and stuff I need to do at home, then I put it into Excel and made a handy-dandy worksheet for the fridge and my family binder.

mealsandsnacks

Then I made a template for our meals and snacks. Nick and I still work on the dinner menu together in a two week format for the fridge, but having this here one week at a time gives me a better way to figure out what snacks and lunches go best with the dinner plan we’ve already come up with.

weekly

Finally, after looking at a bajillion planners online, I realized that I wasn’t going to 100% love any of them and I’d better just make my own. So here we have it. I loved the idea of a TOP 3 for my week and I loved breaking down what I needed to do not by day, but by for what/who. My text/call/email/snail mail list is awesome, too, because I can do those things whenever I have time for them.

If you zoomed in on those pictures, you saw that I have time to clean, time to work out, time to eat… some of the schedule still needs tweaking. I forgot to put important things like laundry and Bible study time in there. But I also have time set aside for “Special Projects” which is super fun. So far “special projects” has really meant “in-depth house cleaning and reorganization.”

2014-08-21 18.10.56

If you follow me on facebook, you’ve seen this one. I cleared off my grandmother’s desk and rearranged my art (adding some new pieces and repainting frames) and added back my desk tray. I even found my label maker and labels! 🙂

2014-08-24 12.28.24

Ben & Greg’s room got the next treatment. We took down the bunk beds that were causing musical bed nights (the kids take turns sleeping with the puppy and she couldn’t be on the top bunk). Ben has a light he can reach now and he can look out the window at the pink crepe myrtle trees outside while he’s reading.

2014-08-24 12.28.30

We’re reusing the ladder as a magazine rack (though it’s moved into a different place since this was taken) for Boy Magazines (Lego, Cobblestone, Kind News, Boy Scouts, etc), and Greg has room for his side table and music stand & guitars in there as well.

2014-08-27 14.44.52

During the desk cleanout, there was also a cleanout of the Giant Filing Bag of DOOM (a queen sized-comforter bag filled with old papers and file folders). I spent a solid day and a half sorting through papers, shredding, recycling, labeling folders, and filing. I have four of these bins now living in my closet on shelves.

2014-09-06 11.50.40

Change of seasons: I do this every year, even when the house wasn’t clean. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem like school is back until I’ve put up my fall decorations. There’s more than this, of course, as we’ve got a few things in nearly every room of the house. This is just my favorite view. 🙂

2014-09-07 17.15.58

I hesitated to post this. I’ve been feeling private lately, which may be why it took me so long to blog at all. Anyway, this is my bedroom. You would not even believe how awful it had gotten in there. My room used to be the dumping ground for everything any time anyone came over. NO MORE.

2014-09-07 17.16.07

Yes, I actually TOOK OUT a bookshelf from our bedroom. I didn’t get rid of the books. I just sorted them out into two categories: 1) appropriate for boys in the near future and 2) things the boys will probably never want to read or if they do, they have to wait til the far off future. Anyways, this made the hugest difference in my room. I really cannot explain how big a difference; it has to be seen in person. Anyway, the room looks twice as big now.

2014-09-11 08.51.27

Organized liquor cabinet. Yes, this is all some sort of scotch or whisk(e)y. It is nearly all earmarked for some special occasion or other (each of the boys turning 21, anniversaries, special whisk(ey) tastings). I made Nick move it all out of the kitchen so I could put kitchen items in the cabinet there. *gasp* I KNOW, right? Anyway, it looks much better here.

2014-09-11 08.51.44

Bins for Morning Snacks (we got notes this year from all three kids teachers that lunch is much later than usual and to PLEASE send healthy morning snacks) and Outdoor Toys that Live Indoors. A weird combination, I know. This is a temporary location at best. What I’d really like is a part of the kitchen cabinet set up as Lunch Making Central and a cabinet outside in the back for Things That Are Outdoor Related, but Shouldn’t Get Wet. But I have neither of those things at the moment, so we have bins sitting here. At least all the boxes of snack food in front of this shelving unit have a home now (scroll down for the next picture).

2014-09-11 08.51.52

This used to be the liquor cabinet. Now it stores the aforementioned Sam’s Club sized-boxes of extra snack items (yes, Ramen is an after-school snack for starving middle school boys), a few Need to Be Used Soon alcoholic beverages (that I don’t actually recognize, so maybe they’re just THAT old), oddly sized boxes of baking gear, and of course, the special-from-London chocolate I don’t want the kids to get their hands on (it really does taste better than the ones you buy here.)

What’s next on my list?

  • Moving the shelves from Ben’s closet to the front hallway closet and the bins from that closet to his closet.
  • Sorting through the last two boxes left in my closet.
  • Tidying the hallway bathroom closet.
  • Rearranging storage boxes in David’s room’s closet so stuff he needs is below and stuff he doesn’t is above.
  • Getting a second dresser for the younger kids clothing.
  • Tidying up the last bits of the garage (things get dumped there now that they’re not being dumped in our room).

Those are all small projects compared to the ones I’ve already tackled, so I’m going to do those on evenings and weekends as the year moves on.

So what’s really up next? Finishing the novel I started last year. I’m nearly there, I just have about a dozen scenes to finish and some segues to throw in between things I’ve been rearranging this week. When I need beta readers, I will tell you and if you’re interested, I’ll send it your way. 🙂

And now I’m off to do laundry. Because it’s Thursday, and regardless of the wrongness of the above (now corrected) chart, that means it’s Laundry Day.

Image

PAPERS!

I realize that there are bigger issues I should be worried about, but this gigantic pile of papers I had to fill out really is getting to me. Every year the school sends home one page of info about my kids, already filled out, for me to correct and send back. They also send me more than a dozen pages asking the SAME info over and over again that I then must sign and sometimes have my spouse also sign and sometimes even my little second grader. I have three kids and there’s about an hour per kid to fill out. I did two last night and one this morning. I have no idea if my kids ate or put good things in their lunches or brushed their hair or teeth…not just this morning, but last night, too. It is all-encompassing, this paper duty.

Yes, I know it’s not just “the school” sending these things. Some of it is from the not-associated-legally-but-still-at-the-school after care program, some of it is from my kids extracurriculars, some of it is from individual teachers. But the stuff in the district packet, that stuff? I shouldn’t have to write my kids name and particulars on every freaking page. The first page has all the details, I corrected them, the rest should just be a page of tick boxes: can we take your kids photos? are you living in temporary conditions? do you need federal aid for lunches? And then send those forms that legitimately need info home with the kids that need them later. This waste of paper and waste of our time needs to stop.

AIE.

First week of summer break!

Well, the first week of summer week has come and gone. SO.VERY.FAST!!

 

Day One (which was Monday. I don’t count weekends.): Rain, with a side of rain, some more rain, swim lessons, and some instrument shopping.

2014-06-09 08.58.46 2014-06-09 09.06.01 2014-06-09 10.38.58 2014-06-09 14.10.01 2014-06-09 14.25.48

Day Two: Library Time, instrument trials, and new muffin recipes. We are already tired of summer.  We’ve not done a single fun thing I’d planned on doing this week. Themed days thrown out the window due to swimming-lesson-induced exhaustion. School bridge activity books ignored in favor of books from library. I am too tired for words. The kids seem…fine…actually. So, success?

2014-06-09 15.12.20 2014-06-09 16.50.29 2014-06-10 08.16.56

Day Three: Swim lessons are really fun!

2014-06-10 13.49.35

Day Four: 

New plan: kids ASKED for return of the responsibility chart, dailies & rewards list. Apparently they like that better than a timed schedule. Also made dailies list for the mama & dad, so everyone can feel equal, and also get stickers (Greg insisted we needed them – maybe we do). So we printed those out and immediately people got their morning lists done without me asking. Interesting. And now the planned activities are a list they can chose from at random when boredom strikes (which we’ve done before & they said they hated, but now want again). Interesting. I’m just rolling with it. If things get done, good. If not, good. The chore chart request is still cracking me up.

2014-06-12 09.22.59

Day Five: We´ve been in the backyard watching lightning bugs tonight. They’re coming way closer to the house than they used to. Here, Nick has caught one for the kids to look at closely.

2014-06-13 20.40.34

Status

CCOOOOOFFFFFEEEEE

So I only slept about an hour last night and have been living on coffee this morning. The kids are saying things like: “MOM, YOU ARE SO HYPER!!!” and “STOP DRINKING COFFEE!” and “WE ARE CUTTING YOU OFF!!” (while drinking coffee themselves, of course.)

Oh my goodness. The morning just keeps getting better (she said sarcastically). Rose got out and we were already running late to school and I was chasing her down the street with my wild hair and inappropriate footwear and yelling for David to come help (she’ll go to him) and this sweet walker lady was trying to help and David was not coming out. Oh, it was delightful. He finally came and walked the dog back home, so we drove around the block on our way out of the neighborhood and saw the walker walking into her yard & stopped & thanked her & now she probably thinks we’re stalkers. Got back home and David was curled up in a ball on the couch moaning. He’s got the stomach virus the rest of us had last week and it’s his last B day of school and he’s insistent that he “has” to go to school. I am sure I need more caffeine now.

Note to self: being sarcastic about the morning does not make it better.

PS. I am NOT bringing cookies to the Fifth Grade Graduation tonight. No one needs this stomach virus.

NAPOMO # whatever

I’m not even bothering to catch up. 🙂 I am having an unanticipated quiet day at home, due to lost keys. I’m listening to the DVD of yesterdays musical adventures and cleaning up from all the fancy dinners.

Here’s an untitled poem from another quiet day this year:

I can hear:

tick   tick   tick

chime     chime   

HUMMMMM

No cymbals,

No shouts,

No tinny music

Just this:

tick   tick   tick

chime     chime   

HUMMMMM

No machines, 

No requests,

No frantic running.

Only quiet sounds:

tick   tick   tick

chime     chime   

HUMMMMM

Lisa Holcomb 2014

Flying!

Getting back on The FlyLady bandwagon and getting my house/life/sanity under control. Spring Break was fabulous, but the cleanup is going to take a while. Have had a nice last few days at home. It is so good to finally be at home and get things done that need doing. I’ve updated my household notebook and finally put some of my lists in sleeves so I can use the dry erase marker on them. I love technology, but somehow my brain does not equate checking something off a digital list with crossing something out on a paper list. My brain wants paper.  What can I say?

Also had a fantastic time having coffee with a sweet, uplifting friend of mine.  Have I mentioned how much I love having coffee with people?  And that I will continue to call it “coffee” til the end of time regardless of whether or not actual coffee is involved?  Oh yes I will. BTW, I need more people to coffee with.  I am available during the day and will even make time for coffee with dessert in the evenings for all you working gals because I still love you even though you’ve gone off and left me during the day (boo hoo. sniff-sniff.)