Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting organized

Okay, no laughing.  I have realized that 1 year (almost!) in to having 4 kids I need to get this family on a schedule.  I have been feeling a bit like I am running on a treadmill.  You know, always on the go, but never really going anywhere.  Nothing is more discouraging than sitting at the end of the day and wondering to yourself what really got done. 

My kids are good kids and are helpful, but sometimes they just don't get it.  I have been left frustrated and feeling a bit taken advantage of.  Well, they are kids.  And I need to give them the direction to do what needs to be done.  We are getting a chore chart and implementing the screen time schedule.  I am also going to get my own cleaning schedule and calendar. (I will post it when I am ready).  I have also seen household notebooks.  I want to get one of those together.

I have been working on decluttering the basement (again) and getting the learning room organized.  We are going to start a bit of schooling next week.  Hopefully we can get a plan together and get to work!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Constrant Induced Therapy

Just a couple of weeks after the serial casting on both feet was over we have begun Constraint Induced Therapy to help with Kid #2's hemiparesis.  Because she had a stroke in utero she has one side of her body that is weaker than the other.  I wasn't sure how this would work, but this is the second summer we have done this and last year's results were promising.  I don't believe she would be able to hold on to her walker with both hands if we had not done it.

I have been trying to find activities that will encourage her to use her right hand (or "righty" as we call it).  We have done quite a few things, but all my kids LOVE playing with dough.  I stuck these chopsticks in the dough and she had to use righty to get them.  In addition to the activities we do at home she receives therapy several times a week with occupational, physical and recreational therapists.
After all the hard work, I let her use her cast to play too!  She works so hard she deserved a break.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Budget

A while ago, I spent a year cutting over $5000 out of our family budget.  I cancelled magazines, newspapers, and cut out cable TV.  I am cloth diapering kid #4 and have been reselling my kids clothes.  I am posting lots on eBay and have considerably downscaled the birthday celebrations at my house.  I clip coupons, buy on sale and am always on the look out for a bargain.  Since is it has been sometime, I thought I'd document where we stand with our budgeting.

Here are some positive moments in the budgeting process:

Paying off my husband's car
Getting all the kids on board with the "party or a bike" birthday plan
Great garage sale haul for kid #4
A TON of summer clothes for kid #1 given to us by a friend

Here are some down times:

Paying more out of pocket for health coverage
Husband's transmission died 2 weeks after pay off
Kid #3 wants to play hockey (YIKES!)
Copays for kid #2 over and above what we are used to
Adding a gluten free diet for kid #3 (Those groceries aren't cheap!)

So, I am getting ready to take some of our extra items to my parents' house for a neighborhood yard sale.  I have some items listed on eBay.  I am looking for a flexible part time job.  I am trying to get okay with telling the kids no.  I am missing a real hair cut and highlight.

We have goals.  I want to be debt free.  We want to move or renovate.   So I am trudging along.  I know that the real blessing is that I am home with the kids and I need to appreciate that. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where have I been?

It has been several weeks since I have made a post.  I have been so busy.  Actually it took me taking a vacation to get back on track.  Sounds crazy, doesn't it? 

To be honest, I have been running on empty.  I have been running from one activity to another, one commitment to another, one appointment to another.  I am often asked how I do it.  The answer I always give is: I just do.  Lately, it has become apparent that there are some things lacking in This Mom's household.  We have been so busy that our mornings are stressed, the house is a cluttered, our diet is awful and we have been tired and grouchy.  The children have become increasingly irritated (and did I mention grouchy). 

My husband has been saying for a while that we need to focus on the "business of the family" and I would take offense to that.  Isn't that what I was home doing?  But after some reflection, and a strong dose of reality, I realize he is right.  We need to focus on what matters most, what our values are and what our priorities are.  So, I have been spending the past weeks (and will be spending a few in the near future) putting together the systems to improve the family's business.  Also, we will be making those decisions regarding schooling, activities, and volunteer commitments.  We will be decluttering, selling and budgeting.  We will be paying off and saving.  I have already realized that some of the decisions are not going to be easy, but they need to be made. 

We have been just moving through life, but without a real blueprint or set of goals.  That is all about to change.  It is time for me to focus on doing a few things well and not lots of stuff in the nick of time.  I do believe I have been trying (without really thinking about it) to justify my role as stay at home mom, as special education mom, as mom of 4.  Always trying to prove that "this" wasn't going to slow me down.  I haven't slowed down, but I need to change my focus.  I will spend the next few weeks chronicling these changes and the sources for them.  Hopefully there will be tips everyone can use. 

I figure that I my children are only young for a little while and I only get one shot at this.  I want to make it count!