Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's Always Something

I was talking to one of my homeschool mom friends the other day and we were talking about scheduling, cleaning, schooling and juggling.

Inwardly, I laughed as we talked.  Why?  Because her story echoes my story.

Later that day I ran into another friend who explained why she was late.  Her story involved 4 kids, a new house, a dead battery and a lost wallet.

Inwardly, I laughed as she talked.  Why?  Because her story echoes my story. 

Too much on our plates, too much on our minds.  Trying to live our lives to the absolute fullest.

Trying to have it all.

Back when I was a nursing assistant at a nursing home I was continually frustrated by my workload.  I was constantly trying to figure out how to get all of the things I was supposed to get done accomplished in the correct amount of time.  I thought I was slow, I thought if I could get a better system, I could get it all done.  One day, I sat down and timed out all my tasks.  I realized that it was clearly physically impossible to meet the expectations.  Once I figured out that it wasn't me that was inefficient, that it was simply never all going to get done, I was able to relax a little bit more.

Over the years I have stubbornly held to the belief that I can do it all, and can do it all well.  But I am finally to the point where I realize that it is physically impossible to do it all.

What things should I give up?  I have been giving that question a lot of thought.  I have been streamlining some processes in my life, thinking about eliminating some of my more stressful activities, and that is all well and good but it is not going to completely take care of the situation.

I can work on it, I can continally try to relax, try to not over schedule, try to slow down.

But that is not me.

It is simply not who I am.

I can change part of it, but not all of it.

If I wasn't homeschooling, I would be working more, volunteering or organizing fun preschool activities and playgroups for my girls.

If I didn't have 5 children of my own, I would be offering to watch friend's kids, tutoring, helping out at the homeless shelter.

If I didn't volunteer at church, I would volunteer somewhere else.

If I didn't run, I would walk.

I have a whole list of things that I am doing, but I also have a whole list of things that I would like to do.  The world is full of opportunities, and I am not one to sit on the couch and miss them.

My mom told me to prioritize everything that I do, with 5s being the highest priority, and then to only hang on to the 4's and 5's.  The problem is, everything that I do IS a 4 or a 5.  You should see my list of 1's, 2's and 3's that are on the back burner right now.

So I am going to continue to keep prioritizing, keep simplifying what I can, but I am also going to remember my motto, "If I can finish all my day's work in a day, then I am not dreaming big enough".

Dreaming, reaching for more, trying to make things better, is part of who I am.  I just have to figure out how to do it without losing my purse.  And my mind.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flat Tire and M&M's part 2

(I need this story to be written down, so that in 2 years or so I can laugh about it.  Or at least think about it without shuddering)

When you last saw us, I was resolutely heading toward Customer Service at my local Walmart, hoping to get some money back on my clearance M&M purchase.  I had all 5 kids in tow.

We approached the service desk and I assessed the situation.  Employee #1 was helping a guest, the only one in the area.  Employee #2 was standing at the counter, with a large amount of Hostess Cupcake boxes in front of her.  She looked vexed.  Employee #3 was leaning on the counter in front of all the cupcakes.  She seemed to have more authority than the other two, judging by the size of her walkie-talkie.

I got in line behind the other customer.  I couldn't help but overhear some of the Hostess fiasco.  Seems as if someone had ordered the cupcakes online, but they were hard and past the expiration date, so they had been returned to the store, but prehaps hadn't been paid for?  It was unclear, but this was clearly a VERY upsetting situation for Employee #2.

The other customer finally left, and I moved up to the counter, only to be completelely ignored by Employee #1, who actually turned her back on me in order to join in the Hostess Cupcake Situation Containment Discussion.  My kids were getting antsy.  Berean was peering at someone completing an application in a booth.  Ever was shifting.  The boys were having a fine time, which usually isn't a good thing in a store.

Still ignored.

I shifted and sighed, passive aggressive, I know.  But isn't passive aggressive sometimes better than aggressive - aggressive?

Employee #3 turned and looked at us and addressed the other 2.  "Has she been helped?"

"No", I replied simultaneously with Employees #1 and #2.

All three of them looked at me.  No one said anything.

Finally, after an awkward silence, Employee #2 gave a big sigh and said, "can I help you?"

It must have been her turn, but I was clearly getting in the way of the Cupcake Crisis.

I took out my receipt, explained the the M&Ms were supposed to be 75% off, but that I had been charged $2 a bag.  She didn't say anything to me, just started angerly punching numbers into a calculator.

Finally, still without saying anything, she handed me a new receipt and $1.68, and turned back to the Cupcake Conversation.

I glanced at the new receipt.  She had cancelled all of the $2 bags and charged me $1.50 a bag.  Apparently charging me 75% of the price, instead of 75% off.  I said "Thank You" and left, boiling mad inside.

"Why did you leave and not say anything?", Noah asked me later.

"Have you ever been at Walmart Customer Service with 5 kids and a Very Important Hostess Cupcake Situation going on?", I answered. "I clearly was not going to get anywhere with this lady in any constructive fashion, so I was not going to torture myself and the kids further."  I planned to call when I got home and to complain, prehaps, but I was so done with Walmart for the day.

We headed for the van, and I loaded Everyn in from the left, and then went around to the right.  We had a flat tire.  Completely, undrivably flat.

To be cont...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Flat Tire and M & M's Part 1

Gotta tell you all, having 5 kids ranging in age from 1-9 is much more difficult than having 5 kids ranging in age from 0-8.  I don't know how that is possible, but it is.

Maybe it is the fact that I was on maternity leave Jan, Feb, March last year or maybe it was that a newborn is a lot easier to carry in an infant seat and to contain than a one year old.  Or maybe it is that 3rd grade homeschooling is harder than 2nd grade homeschooling and that a 2 year old fearful child is less work to maintain than an almost 3 year old independent princess.

Or maybe it is the new kindle and the *gulp* 4 fiction books that I have already read this month.

Who can really say what is causing me to be behind, tired and somewhat stressed?

But, on to the story.

Last Wednesday I took the kids to swimming lessons.  The plan was to stop at the store after lessons, at the boys request. They had Christmas money that was burning a hole in their pockets.  They insisted that they needed to go to Walmart, and since Walmart also sells milk and eggs (of which we needed) I agreed.

We pulled into a parking spot and I hauled sleeping baby and overtired 2 year old into the store with 3 excited boys bouncing all around me.

We did our shopping and the boys were disappointed not to find exactly what they were looking for.  They nearly spent their money on an alternate, but I convinced them that if they really wanted the other item, they should wait for it and continue searching.  Roman thanked me, which I thought was sweet.

I found some Christmas M&M's that were on the 75% off clearance shelf.  I snagged 5 bags for baking.

By the time we got to the checkout line, it was clear that I was getting closer and closer to mutiny by the girls.  We quickly checked out, while the boys looked at Pokemon cards in the next aisle.  I was assisting Berean in putting groceries on the belt, and missed watching the M &Ms go through. 

As I walked away I glanced at my reciept and noted that I had been charged $2 per bag!  Having enough sense to know that that was not 75% off, I was stuck with a dilemma.  The cashier was already checking out the lady behind me, but  customer service was right in front of me, on the way out the door. 

Now some of you may be thinking, "is she crazy?  Of course she should go to customer service!  That is quite a lot of money!"  I know there are some of you reading, however, that understand that taking 5 kids at their limits to the Walmart customer service counter may not be worth $8.  After all, I could always call the store and deal with it later.

I glanced at the kids, they seemed ok.

Frugal nature wins, and I head over to the counter.

to be continued...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Just Some Thoughts

*Today Deacon told me that my new glasses may be too "perky" and that they reminded him of, "you know those girls who wear big dark glasses that no one really likes"

*Last week I tried on my wedding dress for the first time in 12 years.  It fit easily, and the only effort was for Noah having to button up all 50 buttons with no crochet hook.

*Everyn doesn't need toys, she just likes to climb up and down the steps

*I LOVE, LOVE my new Kindle.  I am reading too much perhaps, but I still love it

*I am planning to run tomorrow, but not today

*The papers in my life are overwhelming me.  This week I am going to figure out how to use my scanner and start scanning in children's "medium-good"  and "good" artwork.  Then I will throw out the "medium-good" stuff and file the rest.

*Still debating getting a maid service/helper kind of person.  I go back and forth, sometimes thinking I want to do that and sometimes thinking that I should just make the kids do more work.

*I don't like seafood that much, and yet I periodically get strong cravings to go to Red Lobster or Joe's Crab Shack.

*The boys are not happy to be back doing schoolwork again, legos are far more exciting.  I can't say as I blame them for their lack of enthusiasm, but we must get some momentum going!

*I need to go do my 10 minutes of cleaning to get the house slightly tidied up before bed- it is one of my new goals...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's That Time of Year!

It is the time of year when I make goals, or rather start to make goals, but then never even finish making them, because life catches up with me and suddenly there is no room for planning, just for doing.

I am not one for giving up, however.

Especially since my options for this evening are 1. clean something  2. blog  3. sort papers.

Noah is monopolizing both the treadmill and my kindle.

We definitely need another treadmill and another kindle.

We also need a full sized gymnasium for the boys, having space to run in January would be awesome.

Basically we need to buy a million dollar home.  Why not add a swimming pool in as well?  And a housecleaner.  And maybe being independently wealthy so we would have lots of time to be on our treadmills, reading our kindles.  Or in the basketball court, shooting some hoops.  Or swimming and surveying our clean surroundings.

I am breaking my goals down a little bit, and just going to look at the first 4 months- basically, these are goals through the end of April.

1. 30 miles a week, at least 10 running.
2. Swimming once a week
3. Weights 2x a week
4. 7 mile trail run the end of April (goal to complete it in <70 10="10" a="a" aggressive="aggressive" and="and" at="at" but="but" faster="faster" for="for" goal="goal" i="i" is="is" it="it" like="like" looking="looking" miles="miles" min.="min." min="min" nbsp="nbsp" on="on" one="one" p="p" past="past" pretty="pretty" run="run" terrain="terrain" that="that" the="the" think="think" this="this" time="time" times="times" trail="trail" would="would">5. I don't have specific weight loss goals, I just want to tone.  I think if I dropped 10 pounds or so, I would be in good shape, but I don't mind staying at my current weight if I just tighten up a bit.  Moms should be a little squishy, right?


This area needs an overhaul.  My kids are picky.  The last thing I want to do after I finish homeschool stuff is to prepare meals, but obviously it needs to get done.  I am debating a variety of things in this area, but right now I have 3 basic duh-like goals:
1. Get my kids to be less picky (we don't give them alternative meals, but they will choose just to go without dinner)
2. Drink more water
3. Eat less junk  (I am debating how extreme to be on this one.  Hopefully I will decide soon and I will let you all know my plan!)


This is another area that Noah and I are still in negotiations on.  Once again I have 3 overarching goals:

1. Pay off lot (by end of summer)
2. 3 months of a strict "trial" budget and then renegotiation
3. Figure out the financial ramifications of adding on


1. Plant fruit trees (in spring)
2. Go through, sort and reorganize file cabinet (goal for Jan, Feb, March)
3. Photo books for kids (complete at least one a month)
4. Scan pictures and artwork into computer (Jan,Feb, March)
5. Work on daily/weekly/monthly home/yard maintenance plan


1. Add on typing program for Deacon
2. Add on focused spelling book
3. Add on focused handwriting book
4. Preschool for Berean
5. Work harder with Lincoln on K stuff


Right now I am in a good place at work.  I enjoy my job and I am not adding any big goals for my nursing career this year.  (I would love to say I am going back to school or have big education plans, but it is not the time, and I am not doing that right now.)


1. Set up a devotional/Bible reading plan on my kindle
2. Beth Moore Bible Study with a couple of friends
3. Read through New Testament with kids


1. Line up week long "romance weeks" once a month
2. Hang out with another couple/couples once a month
3. Do something new or fun together once a month


1. Be more consistent with nightly prayer time/devotions
2. Weekly "mini" dates each week with each kid
3. Figure out consistent family nights (still working on this one)
4. Take the kids swimming at least once a week


1. Bible Study with friends
2. Make exercise a priority
3. Read at least one book a month for fun
4. Read at least one book a month for learning
5. Buy some new clothes
6. Noah wants to have people over more, so I am trying to force myself to include more of that into our schedule.