Having it all together

I wrote this draft in February of 2014. On reflection, I realize how very much was going on. I was dealing with ‘weening blues’… Little Man had started weening the fall before and it was wrecking havoc on my hormones. We were wanting to try to get pregnant again, which meant we needed Little Man to finish weening, give my hormones a chance to settle down, then we could see what would happen. With that in mind, here’s what I wrote:

My dad gave me a great compliment the other day… he said “I’m so proud of you. You’ve really got it together and you don’t get overwhelmed, stressed out, or depressed over the business of life.” I felt an odd need to defend myself in that I don’t have it all together, I do get overwhelmed, stressed out and grumpy over all of it. But the Hubby-man is amazingly able to help me pull it together, get a few things done, and move on.

I’ve had several projects recently (as in late 2013) that I reached an “ARGH!” point where I stressed, freaked out, and verbally vomited all over Hubby-man. He is so effective at helping me deal in these situations that those outside our family rarely see the moments. And they are short lived, as in less than an hour usually.

It struck me, though, when Dad complimented me, that others might see me in the same light. And I desire that people know I don’t always have it together, but I try to be proactive about living life intentionally and living life in a state of peace and joy. As I thought over this, I realized my general ability to get back on track comes from three different areas, and I thought I’d discuss each area in turn. Today, the practicals of getting a handle on life at this point in life. Tomorrow, the foundations of having the right perspective on getting a handle on life. Day after, how knowing yourself helps a ton in getting a handle on life.

The practicals of getting a handle on life at this point in life
In light of the many flopped 2013 goals, my primary ‘goal’ for 2014 was something to the effect of ‘get a handle on life’. I flopped on so many of my 2013 goals that I decided to not make any such goals for 2014. For those who know me, they know that this is revolutionary and very out of character. I am a goal setter, list maker achiever. But before you start to wonder who this is and where did the Mom-mom go, I did decide to work on 1 or 2 habits each month this year to help me ‘get a handle on life’. And there were several things I decided to stop doing. So, here’s how 2014 is different…

  • No goals. Having a 2 1/2 year old (who turns 3 in May) around means less time for projects of the ‘no, you can’t be involved’ sort. My goals tend to be oriented in this way. Yes, I’ll still do some sewing and other projects, but I take them on as I have time and inclination. I’m not setting out a set of them as goals to do in 2014. Its just the right time of life to work like this. At least for me it isn’t.
  • Work on establishing good habits. For example, for January, I focused on daily routines and regular exercise. And, I’m working on the same habits in February since I felt that I didn’t really establish these as habits yet.
  • Not gardening. I love getting out in the soil, planting, watching things grow. I don’t like getting up early to water and weeding. I certainly love the idea of canning and preserving and having a store of food that we raised ourselves. But really, this is a family project. I’m so thankful I have the freedom to just buy my fruits and veggies and meat from the store and be done with it. I will garden again, just not in the near future.
  • Sometimes laundry stays piled in the living room for a day or two (or three). Sometimes the floor of the dining room gets a bit grimy. In other words, I’ve figured out what things I can live with and when I need to slack on something, I have a few things I can slack on without feeling guilty.
  • Remind myself often that most tasks are not huge tasks that take a long time to do. They are relatively quick. Rotating laundry. Wiping off the table. Putting books away (goodness, I’m as bad about having stacks of books around as Little Man is!). Making the bed. Vacuuming. Sweeping. Flylady teaches “You can do anything in 15 minutes (except whine).” Sometimes, I have to verbally remind myself, “this is a 5 (or less) minute task”.

I figure that as life progresses and our situation changes, I’ll have to make more adjustments. It might be that in 2015, I’m ready for goals again, and that might not happen till 2016. And I’ve decided I’m gonna be good with that. It helps that I know what’s important.

The key here is that I stepped back from what wasn’t working (making goals) to consider why it might not work (full time caretaker and Mom-mom of a little, sleep deprivation at times, general natural tendency) and how I might still get to where I want to go.

I’m inclined to say that if you feel like you don’t have a handle on life, work on some simple routines first. Simplify your general expectations (any other perfectionists out there?). Cut out extra projects/tasks (simplify!). Figure out what is truly important and focus on those things. (more on that tomorrow)**

**I didn’t end up doing more on this series. I might pursue it, especially now that I’ve come through that time, found my feet and am finding myself *feeling* rather stable. Just remember, no matter how together someone seems, they probably aren’t *that* well put together.

turn your back for one minute….

We are still finding our summer rhythm… 5 weeks into our ‘summer’. The Hubby finished with his teaching duties back in the beginning of May, but with moving people out of houses and apartments and just general life, we never found ‘normal’. This week is finding a ‘normal’. And its so refreshing and nice.

Apart of finding normal is figuring out our daily rhythm when we are at home all day (Little Man and I, that is. Hubby is going into school to read and write that dissertation — home stretch!). This morning, Little Man declares he wants to finger paint. I’m totally good with this — fine motor skill development, creativity, a sensory experience and who-knows what other benefit is to be found in finger painting. He started smearing the paint up his arms (yes, I can handle this…) and I decided we’d go outside to clean up. I step away for about a minute (maybe 2) and come back to find….

Look what I can do!

Look what I can do!

Paint in his hair and all over his face. :::sigh::: After I took the picture he says “I want to see it!” Its a bit scary how much he knows about how the camera and phones work.

Last summer, we spent a lot of time out under the trees. These are huge Live Oak trees and they tend to sprawl outwards as much as upwards. And they cast a deep, deep shadow on the area underneath, which can easily be 5 to 10 degrees cooler than the areas in the sun. After the rain we got on Sunday morning and 2 cool nights, the breeze is still cool, which makes sitting out under the trees a very enjoyable experience.

Summer days

Summer days

I’m thinking through what ‘science’ activity we might do this week. Maybe we will just focus on the general experience and less on any sort of discovery. I picked up to browse “The Well-trained Mind: A guide to classical education at home”. Its been good to read and remind myself of what is come and general expectations (knowing it could easily be a year or two off for any one child). At the same time, I picked up Natural Born Learners (free from amazon kindle last week. $3.99 now), which is a series of essays on unschooling. I’m philosophically attracted to both theories, and there seems to be one, very important, underlying assumption that is different between the two. In fact, I think its the assumption that sets unschooling apart from every other educational philosophy. The assumption is about how children learn (of course!), unschooling assumes that a child will learn. You put the information out there, you provide some interesting question and a child will learn. No teaching needed, no special methods needed, no formal sit-down-and-work needed. Children will learn whether you want them to or not. Every other philosophy assumes that if you (or someone) doesn’t “teach” it, the child won’t learn it. How you “teach” it varies from theory to theory. I put ‘teach’ in quotes because in some theories, its not what we imagine when we use the word ‘teach’, but its some form of active presentation of the material to the child. I suspect that I’m drastically simplifying the assumptions here and it might be that this basic assumption creates a continuum along which philosophies lie — some at extreme ends of you have to beat it into a child and the other end of not being intentional about presenting any new material. As I explore this, I hope to write about it. I feel like there is plenty written about all these things so I don’t need to add it, but I have this quite voice in my mind saying I can present a different view point which might help someone. Who knows… though we will find out!

Of course, the book I’m currently devouring is ‘The History of the Renaissance World’, but S.W. Bauer (same author as well-trained mind). I totally plan on purchasing all her history books… Ancient, Medievel and Renaissance is out. I’m hoping “modern” or some version is to be out soonish. Though it will take me a while to get through these three. The Renaissance book is *fat* at about 2 inches thick and 688 pages of text. The last 1/2 inch is notes, works cited and index.

And, if you are on goodreads.com, look for me (https://www.goodreads.com/friend/i?i=LTM2MDQ2MTUzNTg6MzY1) and if you aren’t on goodreads.com — you should be as its a great way to keep track of what you’ve read, what you want to read and what you are currently reading.

New Day, New Habits

We finished up UYP (local uni youth program thing), finally. Hubby had a great class; mine was mostly good. But as with most 4th and 5th graders, there were 2 boys who just couldn’t pay attention. I think they got roped into the class by Mom, or some such, and they were a bit disruptive. But, its done now. Would I do it again? perhaps.

This week I’m going to work on a few habits. First, eating up before Peanut to have some coffee and a “quiet time”, also known as “QT”. I think this will give me a good start to the day and better able to handle a handful of Peanut. Second, working to get my various “chores” done in the first few hours after breakfast.  I figure two new habits for this week is plenty.

Peanut made his first movie last week. He loves to push buttons and if Mommy or Daddy is interested in it, he is too. We regularly pull out the video camera to catch something cute that Peanut is doing, and so Peanut is quite interested in the video camera.  So, for about 15 minutes one afternoon, I let him play. He found a few settings and adjustments I hadn’t… how to video in black and white, and how to set it to just take a picture, rather than video. Grandpa and Grandma Y thought the final video (where I strung all the short bits of video together) was reminiscent of the Blare Witch Project (I probably spelled that wrong… I’ve never seen it).

And I have a slew of toads living in my pots and garden. I love it! We figured out that they are Gulf Coast Toads.

I promise picture of garden and products soon. I’ve been puttering around the lappy long enough and should get back to the tasks I’m trying to finish this morning.

Hope you have a blessed day!

Baby, Habits and Household

One blog that I read regularly (its in my google reader) is http://down—to—earth.blogspot.com. Today, she posted about getting her household organized and her commitment to get this done. Its a funny thing, as I’ve seen two TV shows recently about hoarders and the situations they create (neither where actually about hoarders, but the hoarders provided a plot point). And then, this morning’s sermon was over James 5:1-6 and the lure money has on us (brief reference to hoarding money and possessions given). So, it seems I’m hearing, seeing and reading about things and stuff quite a bit recently. Could just be my perception.

Anyhoo, all this discussion of things and stuff has me thinking about our household. We do pretty good and the house is C.H.A.O.S.* free most days. And I have fairly good habits to keep it that way. I tend to clean and do laundry on Saturday (or other day off), and grocery shop on Monday afternoons. Honestly, the carpet hasn’t be vacuumed in a few weeks, but by in large, these chores are kept up with. No, I don’t do it to the level of my true satisfaction, but its good enough. Good enough is the level of doneness that I give to those things that really are not all that important. Honestly, will weekly vacuumed carpet keep my relationship with Hubby good? No, it won’t. But making sure we have something reasonable to eat each evening will impact my relationship with Hubby, both by just providing for him and making sure both of our blood sugar levels are adequate for general life. So, that say, I feel okay about where my house stands on the housekeeping standards, especially while I’m working full time and growing a baby. Different times of life call for different priorities, especially when it comes to housekeeping.

There are two areas of the house that really do need some work… decluttering or organizing or just putting away stuff. First is the office closet. Its really not that bad, but when this room becomes the nursery, where is all this stuff going to go? That may be an issue to be dealt with when the room is truly converted. Second is the guest bedroom closet. This, unfortunately, has become my dumping ground for all things without a home. The room itself needs some picking up, but its not bad compared to the closet. I really need to think through these items… should they stay and just be organized? Or does it need to be thrown away or given away? Do I need to acquire some shelves to add some organization? Ah, decisions, decisions, decisions.

As for the baby front, I’m feeling pretty good. My belly has started to “pop” just a touch and one pair of beloved pants have been outgrown. But, I am in luck, a good friend blessed me with a large stash of maternity clothes, so I’m set for the next 6 months. The hard part has been finding a place for all the clothes, as I now have more maternity clothes than I had of regular clothes previously. I have more than doubled my wardrobe. My plan is to trade out regular clothes as I outgrow them for maternity clothes so that I shouldn’t need to buy a slew more hangers. Some of these clothes are just so cute! I’m excited to get to wear them. In fact, I wore some today, and the outfit is quite comfy.

I have rambled enough for today, I think, and I should get this grading done. Or take a nap. Hmmmmmm……..

*Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome — its a flylady.net word.