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.

What I’m doing this year

People are asking, so here we go:

  1. I didn’t “quit” the PTA, despite how gleeful I might be about stepping down from President-status. I’m still going to Student Health Advisory Committee meetings and am acting as a Council Delegate for at least the middle school PTA (and I’ve offered to do the same for the elementary school, since I’m already going to be there and be writing up reports, may as well kill two birds with one stone, right?). I’m still on the Staff/Teacher Appreciation committees and bringing food up for those days and also doing the Flex Day and 93 and Up Party at the middle school, and heck, I’ll probably even chaperon some field trips and dances while I’m at it. But I’m not on any Executive Board this year and really, that is a lot of work/time/mental stress I’m “skipping out” on.
  2. What am I doing? To sum it up quickly: writing and exercising and organizing.
  3. Oh, you want details? Okay, here goes:
    1. Writing: I have a few novels that are nearing the end of Draft One that I’d like to see actually finish Draft One and move on into Draft Two and Ready for Human Consumption/Editing sometime this year. Also a dozen or so poems that are probably finished, but need Eyes and Sending Off.
    2. Exercising: I’m trying to lose about 90 pounds (a number which I find horrifying). I’m a stress eater/drinker. Boy, have the last few years been full of stress. (Joy, too, but still a lot of stress.) Plus I have been taking multiple medicines that have been shown to cause weight gain as a side effect.  So I’m starting with restorative yoga one day a week, strength training a couple days, aerobics a couple days, and a couple days off because I can’t keep it up if I don’t take time off for rest.
    3. Organizing: I’m a pseudo-hoarder. I occasionally watch those shows on TV and think “Oh, thank God I’m not THAT bad!” while I have boxes and boxes of things carefully labelled and awaiting sorting/filing/recycling. I love labeling things, but throwing things out or recycling them? AIE. I’d rather die. What if I need something out of that pile?!?!? No, really, I’d rather scrapbook them and move on, but barring time and energy to complete those tasks, I’ve labelled and boxed things up and now my house is impressively full. So my plan is to start going through the boxes and start tossing/recycling things that no longer have meaning to my family. Once that part is done, I’d like to get back into scrapbooking things again. I like scrapbooking; it’s just time consuming and I have been far too busy with working for money and working for the good of our schools and our church to get that kind of thing done. So part of my time this year will be catching up on that.
    4. Extras: singing in the church choir & ladies ensemble, helping out on the kitchen crew one weekend a month, playing with the church ensemble and playing piano/clarinet solos/duets for Special Music or Offertory, helping out with kids crafts/social time at church, maybe starting up a book club again, helping out with Cub scouts and Boy scouts, helping people figure out their computers and smart phones, writing blog posts, and updating Facebook. You know, the usual. 🙂

Quantifiable things

1. I have exercised this week.  I’m stretching each morning and trying not to fall on my face. I’m following the Workout Trainer App on my Android and while I’m not in love with it, it’s better than nothing for a free exercise course to get me started.  Also, my friend Monaca and I agreed that we’re not getting any skinnier meeting for sweet rolls and floofy drinks, so we’re going to try walking in the future around Rose Rudman trails instead.

This is not Rose Rudman, but a walking trail close to home that I can use in the evenings. And these are the sweet kids playing there.

2. I have figured out a better daily schedule, but it includes me getting up at 5am.  Umm.  I’m not getting ahead on that plan, so I re-revised it and now I’m getting up at 5:30 and doing the aforementioned exercising in the comfort of my own room. Whee!  I’m also writing a bit more, not fiction yet, but daily stuff and a little poetry that’s rattling around in my brain lately.  Also taking care of the kids and trying to make life more sane.

3. I’m doing a Bible study off the YouVersion app and answering its questions. Not as good as going to one with other people, but way better for scheduling.  For real people, I’m going to a weekly book study on Raising Resilient Children (that’s the authors website).  It’s a really good book and has challenged me to respond better to my children.

A good book about child rearing.  Go, read it!  :)

4. Today I’m booking our trip to the UK for June.  Thursday night Nick and I are discussing our hotel options and more detailed itinerary.  Whee! (Two goals for the price of one?)

5.  I downloaded the My Fitness Pal app for the iPhone, since the SparkPeople app cost a ridiculous amount of money for the update (it used to be free).  So now I have two fitness pals (one a very skinny lady indeed and one person who I don’t remember at the moment) and I can track my food weirdnesses.  Whee!

See, we're eating healthier already!  :)

See, we’re eating healthier already! 🙂

6. There is never going to be a #6.

7.  Scaling back on the internet, I figured out how to add people to my acquaintances list on Facebook, so they practically never show up.  It even suggested people.  Some of them I didn’t acquantintize.  Yeah, not a word.  Whatever.  Also, set all my newsreader subscriptions to Mark All Read so I’m not tempted to try to catch up and so am just starting over.  I may dump some, we shall see.  I also set my FB notifications to archive immediately so I’m not having to see them all the time.

NY Resolutions and 2013 Family Motto

Yesterday my little family took a tour of the house and looked around.   I mean REALLY looked at things: the socks on the floors, the fingerprints on the walls, the dishes on the coffee table, the unmade beds, etc, etc.

Messy bathroom

Messy bathroom

Then we had a little refresher talk about kindness.  We’d talked at church about ways to be kind to others at church (holding doors, handing out hymnals, bringing water to the disabled during fellowship time) and out in public (again holding doors, giving someone with less stuff the first turn in line at the grocery, etc).  We needed to think about how to be kind to each other at home. We talked about things like putting away items (clothes, dishes, toys, towels) when we are done with them so other people don’t have to, cleaning up our messes as we make them so they don’t get stuck on so someone has to scrub (rather than wipe) later, and wearing headphones when we’re with our personal electronics so we’re not disturbing the people around us.  Then we talked about our 2013 Family Motto.  We’ve never really had one before, but as I was reading FlyLady and trying to get back on my cleaning schedule, I’d really liked hers and thought we’d co-opt something like it.  “Be as Kind as can be in 2013”

 

My resolution this year is simply to take a bit better care of myself. To choose ME this year instead of others more often. Because I haven’t done that in a long time and when I look at myself and pay attention, I see that I am another year older, another 20 pounds heavier, and stressed out beyond belief. So I’m going to just be good to myself this year and see where that takes me. 🙂  My best friend mentioned that I need to break that down into a list of Things To Do, so I can check things off at years-end, which is not something I’m very good at remembering to do.  In fact, looking back, I fulfilled NONE of mine this year and didn’t appear to make any resolutions at all the several years before that (at least on the computer.  I might’ve on paper, now that I’m thinking about it).

 

Resolutions as Things To Do:

1. Exercise a couple or three times a week.  This can include, but is not limited to: walking, swimming, yoga, some kind of Wii sports, whatever gets my heart rate up, actually.

2. Drop a couple of my less-than-enjoyable obligations.  I already have two in mind, but I’m not sharing those here yet. 🙂

3. Investigate the idea of going back to school to be a media specialist for schools.  I’ve been asked about doing that a lot lately and while I don’t know if I am interested enough yet to go through with going back to school, I’d at least like to look into it.

4. Plan our trip to the UK.  Go there.  Enjoy ourselves as a couple, rather than as parents.

5. Date my husband more this year.  By more, I mean at least once a month go somewhere not chore related on our own and smile at each other.  Whee!

6. There is no #6.

7. Figure out a better daily schedule, so each day doesn’t feel like a crisis situation.

8. Pay attention to what I’m eating and drinking so I don’t eat a billion pieces of chocolate or all the french onion dip in just two sittings.  I don’t know how to make this one quantifiable yet, as the last two programs I tried that kept track of that stressed me out more than helped me.

9. Scale back on my internet time somehow.  I think this will involve dropping some of my newsreader subscriptions and the facebook friends I am not terribly close to will go to unchecked for updates. I’m also turning off a bunch of notifications, as I spend half my time these days seeing double updates, as facebook sends them to my inbox and the phone posts them twice.  So that will be done, too.

 

So that’s quite a lot for now.  Some steps have more than one step.  So exciting.  I’ll set myself a phone reminder to check the list midyear and see how I’m doing. 🙂