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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Super Mom in Hindsight

I told you how I'm doing this bible study called Seasons, and this morning in our group discussion there was a question for all of the older moms.  If I felt like going out to my car to get my book I could tell you word for word, but I'll give you the gist of it...

"super mom" "comparison is the thief of joy"
She asked, with the advantage of hindsight, what would you tell younger moms about enjoying their current season of life (or something to that effect)?

My sweet group leader said, "You know, I look at all of you young moms today, and you just think you have to do it all and be Super Mom."  And she never said, "But DON'T!!" because she's much too sweet for that, but it was implied.

All the other ladies said pretty much the same thing, "Why did I try to do so much?" "Leave the cupcake making up to the ones that are good at it, and bring the store-bought ones."

And when we really get honest...."Don't try to live up to everyone's expectations."  "Say no to keeping up with the Joneses!"  Not that you don't do that, and I don't either...ahem...but I just thought I'd pass along the message.  ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Autumn Season of Life

We can not be green and bright year round. We are beautiful when we are red, orange and yellow. - Dorothy Beal from Mile Posts

I love Dorothy's blog.  She's a marathoner with three kids my kids' ages and pushes a triple stroller while training.  She's awesome, but lately I haven't been that excited to read her blog because it honestly kinda bums me out.  I haven't been able to run and had to give up my goal for a marathon this year, so I'm trying to get my mind off of it.

Something told me to read it this morning, though, and I'm pretty sure it was that still small voice.  Tears came to my eyes when I read:
Fall is a time of wonder. A time of renewal.
The fall of the leaves reminds me that nothing last forever.
That in life there are seasons.
We can not be green and bright year round. We are beautiful when we are red, orange and yellow.
It feels like a part of me is dying, a part that I really love. (Why can’t the crappy parts about me die, right?)  But I'm counting on God to make beauty from ashes.  

Ironically enough, I'm doing a bible study at church called Seasons where I'm learning the exact same thing, and I couldn't go this morning because we left the carseat in Michael's car and I'm stuck at home. God still wanted me to hear the message loud and clear.

That's just like Him, isn't it?
I'm blessed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A little complaining and a little Halloween

Oh boy, are you ready for a complain-fest?  No, you're right, it is annoying, so I'll spare you.  I WILL say that I'm very ready for my doctor's appointment with the rheumatologist on November 16th.  I so want some answers (although I likely won't get them right away).

Yesterday, I worked on the lawn while the little ones were in preschool, and since then I've been wiped out.  I've been on the couch most of the day, and I just told Michael that I'm letting them fend for themselves for dinner tonight.

Anyway, I hope you're enjoying this season.  It's my favorite.  I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from our pumpkin carving (taken with iPhone, sorry).  My dad was in town, and he was poo-pooing my idea to use a stencil to carve the pumpkins, so instead I had the boys draw pictures on paper and I used those pictures as stencils.

One of them is Samuel and the other is Batman.  Can you tell which is which?
"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils

"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils"kids drawing on jack o lantern", kids, halloween, pumpkin, "Jack o lantern", templates, stencils

Monday, October 15, 2012

Housekeeping Notebook

If you are on Pinterest at all, then you've no doubt seen a few dozen examples of a housekeeping notebook.  I'll admit that when I first saw one I thought it was cool but a bit of an overkill.  I mean, do you really need a chore list?  Can't you just look around and see what needs to be done?

Well, I've definitely been humbled, because I can safely say that I need one!  The older my kids get, the more complicated my life gets.  There are just so many moving parts, and it's so hard to remember everything.

Who remembers this guy right here from Covey's First Things First book?  Every single thing you do in a day falls into one of those quadrants.

Well, I had been in the trap of just getting the the 1st and 3rd quadrants done and neglecting a lot of the 2nd quadrant things.  Shoot, even quadrant 4 stuff started seeming urgent (hello Facebook).

So I knew I needed more organization, but I genuinely felt like I had it already.  I have a pretty massive Excel spreadsheet with a tab for everything under the sun in it.

  • Routine cleaning checklist
  • Deep cleaning checklist
  • To do
  • Grocery list
  • Meal plan
  • Large item shopping list
  • Current financial plan
  • Long term financial plan
And that was good.  It was the start of some organization.  The problem is that, maybe I'm old school, but I needed it on paper.  (Wow, yeah, I'm old.) 

So I decided to actually use all of those printables that I pinned on Pinterest and put together a cute little notebook.  And it's working!  It feels so gratifying to scratch something off of my checklist.  It also feels great to write something on a paper list to get it off my mind.  

Most of my printables I got from this website.  They basically just compiled a bunch of printables from a lot of different blogs.  I just found the ones that suited me best.  This is where I got most of them.
Design Finch
A lot of the things I altered to fit my needs, but some I didn't.  Here's what I did.  

I went to Target and got a cute 1 1/2" notebook and a pack of pocket dividers.  Then I printed up about 9 months worth of lists.  I knew that I'd want some changes, but I didn't think that I'd set aside the time to do this again, so I just figured I'd write in the changes.

This nifty little printable has it broken down by days so that you can put what you need to do each day and feel the gratification of scratching it off the list. 

Then I took all of the nagging papers off of my bulletin board and put them in the pockets of the appropriate section.  For example, I need to buy lawn care stuff, so I put the brochure in the folder of the "To-Do" section.

My next section I printed two sheets for each month.  This one has a spreadsheet of a month broken down into four weeks, and you can mark on there when each chore needs to be done.  That one is found here.  There is a line for each thing that requires deep cleaning.

And then there's a more detailed list for each of those items.  That's found on the same site.

I love this section.  Meal planning.  I write it all out and then scratch it off once I've cooked it.  I can then save old sheets for ideas for later.  I can jot down things to add to my larger spreadsheet for grocery shopping on the right. 

And for the fun but stressful section....House Projects.  I jot it all down, and then for the current projects I keep all of the business cards, estimates, etc. in the pocket.  

Then there's a section that I can jot down blog ideas.  If you don't have a blog, then you can have a hobby section.  

I still need to make an emergency section, so it's a work in progress - like everything.  :)  Also, as the kids get older I'll have a homework section.  I just put it in the to-do section now, though.

I'll warn you.  It takes a lot of paper, printer ink, and a couple hours to get this done, but you'll make that time and energy back in PRODUCTIVITY!!!!  I promise!  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Calm and Consistent

Imagine a busy intersection where the traffic lights are not working and a police man has to direct the traffic.  The police officer has total control.  He's in a uniform.  He calmly but confidently directs the traffic so that everyone makes it through the intersection safely and efficiently.  Everyone listens to his direction because he commands authority.

Now imagine a guy out there in a bathrobe frantically directing traffic to go through the intersection, yelling at the cars, flailing his arms about, and exacerbating the stress that everyone is feeling.  You don't listen when he screams for you to proceed because you're afraid that you'll get hit.  You're probably right, too, because many others are just speeding by to get through this as soon as possible.

So who would you obviously listen to?

That illustration comes to you secondhand from James Dobson's Strong Willed Child.

I don't know if I'm alone in this or not, but I feel like I fell into the parenting slump of the flailing guy in the bathrobe for a while. 

Michael and I have had an ongoing disagreement on how to handle the increasingly frustrating temper tantrums of our precious 4 year old.  Sweet little Levi loves control, and let me tell you, he had it.  Out of sheer frustration, I've just been a flailing idiot.

Sometimes when I'm getting frustrated, I feel like there is no other choice but to lose my temper because  I feel like it's not my choice - like something physiological takes over and I just boil over.  It doesn't seem like a choice.  I know intellectually that it is a choice, but it doesn't feel like one.  Anyone else experience that?

My biggest prayer to God was to show us how to raise this child so that his personality can be used for God's glory.  I know it can be, but I felt like I was losing my grip on him in the discipline arena.  I was just at my wit's end; I had no clue what to do.  

Well, Michael went on his yearly silent retreat this past weekend, and I would be single-mommin' it, so I knew that I'd have to get things organized if I was going to survive.  The first thing I told myself was to not lose it!  Whenever I get tired (as I've been lately), I have a tendency to get short-tempered but not this weekend.  I told myself that I would be calm and consistent no matter what.

Well, I don't know what happened, but something flipped in me this weekend.  I have seriously never felt such freedom and self-control.  It was like I was on Xanex or something.  It was fabulous.

I chose to not give my children control over my emotions.  I was in control of me.  If Levi was going to throw a fit, then I would calmly and consistently put him in time out or give him another disciplinary measure.  I didn't freak out or worry that it wasn't working.  I just followed through.  I never even felt angry.

And it worked!

They started taking me seriously again.  They knew that I meant business, and they actually started listening to me and respecting me.  

Michael and I are on a unified front to keep it calm and consistent.  No more flailing.  I feel so much more peace and less stress in my life in just the past week that I've been doing this.

And, ya know, just looking at that picture of Levi it would seem that the kids are miserable, but they're not!  They're happy and learning to be more peaceful, too.  They feel more secure and enjoy us more.  It's wonderful!

My new mantra is CALM AND CONSISTENT.  Do you have one?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Slab Leaks and Security

We were just about to move forward on our flooring projects, but before that I knew I needed to get this crack in our kitchen floor and upstairs door that won't close checked out.  It's been getting worse over the past few months, and the door that, of course, closed when we moved in no longer does.

But who wants to do that, right?  Let's just pretend it's not there.  The tile guys will put that magic stuff underneath the tile that allows for movement, and it will just disappear.  And I can shave the door so that it closes again, right?

Ugh, do people actually think that way?  That stresses me out to even type it.  There's no way in you-know-where that I was going to ignore that.  Foundation repair and slab leaks scare the bejeebers out of me, but then I realized that it's really not a big deal.

That's Levi on a roller coaster - get it?
See, thanks for Mr. Dave Ramsey and GOD for leading us to get straight financially, things like that don't have to be a crazy roller coaster of emotions and financial stress on us.  That's what emergency funds and insurance are for!

Yeah, it sucks, but it's not going to make us lose sleep.

And there is just nothing like feeling secure.  There's peace.  There's contentment.  There's a heart beating at a normal rate.  There's the assurance of knowing that we can get done everything that needs to be done.

If you're not out of debt and don't have a savings, I can't recommend taking FPU more.  Changed.My.Dang.Life!  There's no shame in where you're at; just start heading to where you WANT to be!!


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