Monday, December 31, 2012

The Return

Well, after a long respite I have decided to try this again.  I have always enjoyed this as an outlet and love connecting with people this way.  One of my priorities for the new year is to create more "me time" and this is one of the ways I hope to achieve it.  In the next couple of posts I will catch up on all the things that have fallen between the cracks as I have gone back to full time work, shuttled children here and there, and treaded water to keep myself afloat.  I no longer have the excuse of just having gone back to work (it will be a year in January) or I just having a baby (She will be 2 and a half in February).  This year will be about finding happiness where I am and not obsessing over where I want to be.  I have goals, plans and ideas to share for sure, but I need to spent some time in the moment.  I hope you join me.  If you can find something in my writing that helps move you along, terrific, if not send me an idea to help me along.  That is really what this whole thing is about-moms helping moms...

It is a vision I have had for a while.  I hope my return is helpful, thoughtful and useful.  I hope I am too!

Happy New Year!

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Brief Reset

It seems like there has been one thing after another since I started working. The kids and I have never been so sick as they we were this winter.  In March, a tornado hit our small town and a tree landed on our house.  We had a hole in the roof, siding and window damage,  and lost the "playground" in our backyard, all the belongings off our deck, and in our yard (and the dance with the house insurance company began).  The health insurance that we needed so badly gave us trouble about covering Kid #2 (has been resolved).  My direct supervisor left his position, leaving the department in a state of transition (exactly where my home live is too!).  So, despite feeling like I should be at work, I am taking the weekend off.  We have NOTHING scheduled...nothing.  Today I am getting house work done, grocery shopping and working on a plan for the rest of the weekend.  On Monday, we will celebrate the holiday by attending the community celebration for our local veterans.  I feel so far removed from the goals I had set for myself and for the family.  Now is the time to check in with those again...

Friday, April 6, 2012

A new way of shopping

I have made some changes to my shopping habit to make the most of my time.  I was surprised how many places are offering services to help me do this.

I have a box of organic produce delivered once a week from Door to Door Organics.  This a wonderful service and we get to make some substitutions (like extra bananas and no more Napa Cabbage).  My kids are so excited when the box shows up.

I have sung the praises of Calder Dairy before.  Something about milk in class bottles.

A local supermarket, Busch's, takes the list I make online and shops for me!!!  It is a $7 charge, but for me it is worth it.  I can still use my coupons (the site even links to some) and bottle deposits.

I recently did the same thing at Sam's Club.  They call it Click 'n' Pull.  It was fast and easy.  And free!

Finally, I shop at Amazon for lots of stuff - groceries, baby stuff, birthday gifts.  I have several of our favorite items automatically shipping through Subscribe and Save.  I LOVE it and it gives me a discount on the item.

All of these places are getting my money because they make my life a bit easier and the time I have with my family a bit longer.  Barely a day or two goes by without something showing up on my porch.  The dog doesn't even bark at the UPS guy anymore - or the milk truck.  He brings dog treats!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Planning for a Plan

So now that I am working, planning has been a dirty word.  I mean, my plans need plans.  A child care plan, a laundry plan, a meal plan, a lunch plan, a weekend plan...I am planned out!  I am beginning to focus on the things that really need  - a plan.

Here are my main focuses for now:

- A organizing plan (managing a house, four kids (and a husband) and my own life)
- A finance plan
- A meal plan (dusting off eMeals or other options)
- A housework plan
- A paper plan (the VOLUMES of paper that come home with my kids each day)
- A spiritual plan (we have not been as present in our faith lately)

This week I will be getting the organizing plan in place and will blog about it.  I would love any tips for getting things in order.  Let me know what your favorite or most important part of your daily plan is and why.

Thanks in advance.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Changes for This Mom

It has been a while since I have written anything.  My family spent the winter in "transition mode".  I have always considered myself to be able to change a plan in midstream, but this stream was a bit more than any of us had bargained for.

The week before Thanksgiving my husband was notified that the office he worked in would be closing at the end of the year.  We have been lucky living in an area somewhat insulated from the economy and my husband had been with this company for over 20 years.  Every time they downsized, we survived.  So, we began  thinking, looking, and planning.

I started looking for work.  I looked for teaching jobs in every local district.  I found a website that collects all the open positions in our county and let's you fill out applications for all of them at once.  I logged in several times a week to check those openings.  Imagine my surprise when a job opened in my home district.  Not just any job- a job I had done before.  I applied in early December.  I interviewed and was hired.  I started the job in mid-January.

I have developed a routine, found care for the kids, and managed having all 4 of them get sick (at 4 different times).  I am lucky to have grandmas near by and friends that are willing to drive my kids around.

So, with spring coming I am hoping we are getting in the swing of things.  It has been sad, thrilling, frustrating, challenging, rewarding and a ton of other emotions.  I am happy to have found work (and my husband has found work too!) and that my insurance benefits will help my family. 

I am sad that my plan was sped up a bit.  I wanted to give Kid #4 the same amount of time home with me, but I needed to do this for my family.  Life has changed and we are getting used to it.  I am working hard to develop a plan and maximize the time I am home. 

I'll keep you posted....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What about me?...My road to the fifth decade.

This post is not meant to be a pity party.  It is not meant to be a complaint session or a lament for the loss of my free time or a desire to have fewer kids and enough time.  

I have 4 great kids.  And it is a big job.  I mean, $5 loaves of gluten free bread, medical expenses, dispensing medicine, and oh yeah, they like to eat.  I run the dishwasher at least once a day, but most days twice.  I keep my laundry machines in full hum at least two full days a week.  I prepare and clean up three meals and countless snacks each day.  I sweep the floor under my dining room table a lot. (but not as often as I should!)  My quest to get my kids exposed to stuff results in me driving all over: music therapy and piano, basketball, library and therapy appointments.  Some mornings it is 10am before I realize that I brushed 4 sets of teeth and none of them were mine. 

One morning this week, I looked in the mirror and realized I didn't really recognize the person staring back at me.  This isn't some TV movie kind of moment, but I haven't done something "just for me" for a long time.  I don't have coffee with friends, I don't get my hair done, I don't take long vacations away from my kids, and I can count on one hand how many times my husband and I ate dinner alone all of last year. 

I think I might like to have some time to do just stuff I like this year.  I have a bit of guilt as I write this, but I do want to be okay with the idea of being somewhere other than with my kids. 

Things are changing for my family in a really big way.  There is a certain amount of excitement and fear that comes with these changes.  Also guilt...maternal guilt.  In the coming months I will work through these feelings of self doubt and guilt and hopefully get ready to enjoy the fifth decade.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Budget

If wagon falling was an Olympic sport, I would be in serious training.  The budget is another area that I have lost track of in the past couple of months.  I mean, I am paying bills and buying groceries, but not with the same plan and purpose that I have in the past. 

Here is the deal, I have squeezed a lot out of our family budget.  We don't have cable, don't subscribe to magazines, don't have car payments, but we need to have a real plan for our money.  I need to have a real look at all the items in our budget and make some difficult decisions. 
I will spend the next couple of days going over the items in the budget and making a plan.  I am taking advice from Family Balance Sheet.  She has some great ideas and is on her way to debt freedom.  Also, I need to get the envelope system in full effect. 

I also need to get a handle on the food budget.  I usually pick a random number and say we are not spending more than $this, but I never really think about how much we are spending now.  Also, I am a bit of a food snob.  I like my organic produce box, my home delivered milk, and the grocery store that does the shopping for me.  (I see another post developing)

So, I will also be creating a budget tab in this family notebook.  With a real plan for paying off bills and creating some wealth.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Meal planning

I confess...I have fallen off the wagon.  Meal planning has not been a priority here lately.  I can feel it, the kids can feel it, and my husband can feel it.
Feel what???

Well, for one meal time here is chaotic.  Since there is no plan I am in the kitchen rushing around, throwing things together, and not as pleasant during the dinner hour as I used to be.

Another thing we feel is unhealthy.  Since dinner is a scramble, our choices have been less healthy.  We have been eating out more.  It is fast, convenient, unhealthy and expensive. 

And that leads me to the last thing I feel...over budget.  Because I don't have a plan I go to the store more often.  Making more trips does cost me more money. 
So the plan is to get a plan.  I am looking at e-Mealz.  There is a gluten free option there and for a three month subscription ($15) I am sure to get some good recipes. There is a grocery list and you can even customize it for specific grocery stores.  After trying it a few weeks, I will review.

I am going to keep a meal planning notebook as well.  I will post it when I get it the way I want it, but it will include a shopping and budget section.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Well, the new year is upon us.  The last 2 months or so here have been ones of transition, stress, holiday chaos, overscheduling, lack of get the picture, right?

I am glad to see 2012.  It gives us a natural reset button, a reason to make new plans, a time to set goals and renew old commitments.

So, that is what I am going to do.  Here is the list of things I want to reconnect with and recommit to:

1. Our diets and meal planning.  It needs it!
2. Making time for myself.  To read, to write, to reconnect.
3. Some sort of regular physical activity.
4. Minimizing my outside commitments and focusing more on my home and family.
5. Get back into a regular mass schedule.
6. Devote time to getting to know my husband again.

This year will mark my 40th (gulp) year on the planet.  I want to get ready for this decade by prioritizing my life and loves. 

Happy New Year!