Reluctant Realizations

Guess what? You’re on this journey to a better year with me!! Aren’t you excited?? I know I am! I’m going to need your help though – I have a tendency to get excited and start out really well with things and then the excitement wears off and it becomes a slog and UGH! I usually get bogged down and eventually stall. I DO NOT want to do that this year. I NEED to, and my family needs me to, keep on going even when it becomes a slog. Sharing my thoughts along the way is one way I have to make sure I keep on going – a way of being accountable. I am hoping that knowing someone might be reading this just might be what I need to beat those slog days down! Thanks for joining me!

 

Now to what I really wanted to say today:

 

I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking over the last couple of days about how our house functions and the routines that we currently have (even no routine is a routine). The current (lack of) routines aren’t working (as I’ve stated before) so I’ve been trying to put down on paper reasonable routines that work for all of us.

IT ISN’T WORKING!!

Up until now I’ve been getting up at the same time (or close to the same) as all of the children in my house. With a toddler this is almost a given especially when he finds himself in our bed every night – I can’t really get up without him knowing! But the big kids are getting up just after me most days because I am waking them up (problem #1 to be addressed in my mind…at 14 and 13 they should be getting up on their own, IMO!). I haven’t seen this as being a problem until now.

What’s the problem?

I need some alone/quiet time in the mornings to wake up and have a cup of coffee, to read a little, write a little, catch up on Facebook, review what the day holds for us before it actually starts. I also need someone to be somewhat aware of Liam and what he’s doing while I am busy getting ready for the day. If I am getting up at the same time as the big kids, we’re all trying to wake up at the same time, eat breakfast at the same time, use the washroom at the same time…you get the idea. We’re on top of each other! Not such a good thing when you have 2 people who are not really morning people – me!! and Emily – and 2 who are more that way – Isaac and Liam. Most mornings it results in a bunch of not very happy people! THIS IS NOT WORKING! And trying to create routines and order to the morning based on all of us being up at the same time is just crazy – continuing to do what isn’t working while hoping that it will finally work is downright certifiable!

So what’s my solution?

I need to get up earlier than the big kids.

DID I JUST SAY THAT IN MY OUTSIDE VOICE??

This is a somewhat really painful realization for me – I am SO NOT a morning person! And for this to happen it means I have to be up at the same time as my husband. What’s wrong with that?? HE’S A SUPER HAPPY MORNING PERSON! He likes to TALK in the morning! I DO NOT. I’m not sure if he’ll be able to deal with me being in the living room, quietly drinking my coffee, and not talking. It also means I am going to go to bed before 1 in the morning. EEK! But reality is, I need to get the beginning portions of my morning out of the way before the big kids get up so that I can get on with the active parts of my morning while they are in their wake up times. I need their help keeping an eye on Liam without it causing conflicts. Our household needs this just to function smoother. I can’t do this without revamping the bedtime routine. A lot hinges on when I get up.

Oy vey! I am thinking this might be the hardest part about implementing new routines. I was trying to avoid recognizing this need but reluctantly I must. Guess I’ll be setting my alarm tomorrow….

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I can do this!

blog imageI’m looking forward to the start of a new year. I can crack open that new calendar and write in the special days – birthdays, anniversaries, etc – and dream about summer plans, possible holidays, special occasions with family, etc. It’s lovely. It’s especially lovely when I find just the right pen, or even better – PENS, to do it with. I’ll admit that I am a bit of a calendar/stationary junkie. This year we have the added need for a calendar/planner for homeschool. We’ve introduced the use of Google calendars but I am a huge paper & pen fan when it comes to planning – my brain just seems to work better that way.

I have to admit that since becoming a “stay-at-home” mom (HAHAHAHA!) I’ve had a hard time finding a system that works for us, for me. I find that most calendars/planners are designed for people who work which was great when I was working. I knew the weekly routine and could set things up accordingly ahead of time. It was fabulous. Sometimes things would happen that would require me to deviate a little from the usual but temporary upsets of the norm were easy to deal with. Being at home with big kids and a baby/toddler hasn’t been so easy.

I’ve been struggling with this for a couple of years now. I’ve also settled into that and been okay with the struggle to a certain degree – it’s become comfortable. But it’s not working and that means change needs to happen. So it’s time to figure out/find/implement a system.

My kids are rolling their eyes at me right now…well, they would be if they weren’t in bed. They’ve heard it before. And watched it fail miserably. Or rather, have watched me fail to follow through miserably. I keep thinking about how things were BEFORE…the LAST time I wasn’t working outside the home. I had a great routine. Housework went like clockwork. Laundry was always up to date, for the most part. There weren’t baskets of unfolded half-clean laundry in my room all the time. I had time for me and my business. It was a well oiled machine. I’ve been having a hard time figuring out WHY it worked so well and the last couple of days it dawned on me. I had a system and I WORKED the system.

So. Back to working the system. No more late nights waiting for diapers to finish washing because I didn’t get them put on in the morning (I MIGHT be doing that right now…maybe. Or maybe not). No more wondering where the day has gone. No more failing to do something because I forgot to write it down. NO MORE FLOUNDERING.

It’s important to me that my kids live in a house that works, a home that is clean and comfortable. A place where they know what to expect and when to expect it. It’s important to me that my husband can go to work in the morning and know that when he comes home dinner will be ready or almost ready and he’s free to relax and enjoy his kids. It’s important to me to have time to connect with friends, to be able to plan errands, to have the freedom to work my business, to have regular sleep! Getting things in order is going to help with that immensely!

A new year. A new plan. I’m excited to see what 2015 is going to bring our family. Knowing that there is going to be a plan and a system in place to help things move along relatively smoothly is freeing. Now to get on with the working it part!

I can do it! I can do it!! I can do it!! One day at a time….

This Changes Things

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo - picture taken shortly before the tragic events of today unfolded. Thank you to Guillaume Hache for sharing this with us.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo – picture taken shortly before the tragic events of today unfolded. Thank you to Guillaume Hache for sharing this with us.

Today, October 22, is a day that Canada will never forget.

History was changed and made.

A man lost his life as he stood proudly in his uniform. It was a senseless act of terror such that our country has never experienced before.

Today a country was changed.

Much will be written about today, about this man, about what this means for us as a nation. Many tears will be, and already have been, shed as a reaction to what happened today. People are mourning the loss of life and the loss of a nation’s innocence.

Today changed me as a mom.

My son recently joined Air Cadets and I’ll admit that I was viewing it as a great opportunity for him to meet other kids, to learn new skills, to learn some discipline that comes from a source other than me! The implications for the future beyond the potential for him to get his pilots’ license hadn’t really occurred to me. Until today.

Today I realized that one day my son may choose a career in a branch of our military. At 13 he stands almost as tall as myself – maybe an inch

My Son.

My Son

shorter. He can rest his chin on my shoulder when he hugs me. He is starting to look like the man he will grow up to be. And I realized that some day I could lose him simply because of his uniform. I was moved to hug him and as I did, the tears flowed as I grieved the events of the day and said goodbye, in my heart, to the little boy who has grown up.

Today my country was changed. A family was changed. This mother was changed. Will we ever be the same? No. Our country will always mourn the loss of our innocence and sense of security. A family will always mourn the loss of their father, son, friend. I will always miss the little boy who has grown into a man in front of my eyes and wonder at the speed of time.

Today has changed everything. It has changed how we see the world around us. It has changed how we see ourselves. It changes how I see my son. And now the hard work begins – working to make sure that those changes move us towards good, to make sure that we don’t lose ourselves, to make sure we don’t allow the enemy to win, to make sure that I don’t hold on too tightly allowing fear to win.

Thank you to the men and women who responded in this crisis. Thank you to those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect our nation. Thank you to Nathan Cirillo for your service. And thank you to my son who is teaching me to be a better mom simply by being himself.

“God keep our land, glorious and free…Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee.”

canada

 

 

Who knew?!

For several months now I have been beating myself up because I have an office full of awesome fun things with which to create beautiful things – cards, gifts, home decor, whatever. It’s crafty heaven for me. And yet I have avoided that space like the plague.

I’ve walked into my office every few days thinking “I really need to make something” and then would just look around before walking back out again. I had no idea where to begin or what to do. I’d sit down to make a card and I would get bogged down with all the options and would end up not making anything. I’d see pictures of things my friends were making and think “I really ought to get creating stuff again!” But I’d do nothing.

I spent the last few weeks thinking long and hard about why I was feeling this way, why I was avoiding this space. It didn’t make sense to me really. I love to make things. I have a need to be creative every day. I have missed doing it. So what was stopping me?

Expectations and lack of purpose.

I have realized two things about myself in the last few weeks.

1. I was setting expectations for myself that were impossible for me to achieve, based on past circumstances rather than on present conditions.

2. I need a reason to create something, a purpose. I can’t just sit down and make something for the sake of making something.

Who knew?!

2014-08-08 21.42.35

A baby card I made for friends

So I’ve made some changes in my head and it’s affected everything!! I changed my expectations – I’m out of practice and I can’t expect that I’ll be churning out beautiful things quickly and easily like I once did. I’m going to have to labor over them like I did when I first began to make pretty things and I need to relearn the skills I had before. And that’s okay. I’ve also changed how I approach things – I’m looking for reasons to make things, to create things and I am finding them everywhere! And with that change, I’ve made several things in the last couple of days and I have ideas for more!

I’m no longer looking in the door of my office and feeling guilty about not using it. I’m not feeling the pressure that I was before. Who knew a simple change of perspective would change everything?

Overwhelmed

A couple weekends ago I went to a really great conference on worship and the arts. I had a great time listening to the amazing speakers/teachers and interacting with others from my church, getting to know team members better and learning together. It was so worth going to but WOW! Talk about information overload!

Over the last couple of years I have found that my extrovert/introvert tendencies have balanced out a lot more and I actually require quiet time on my own to process things. Whether those things are emotions I am feeling or things I am thinking about, I need that space from people now in a way I have never needed it in the past. The weekend was great but there was zero downtime to process. And then it was home and back to reality!

It’s been two weeks and I still haven’t had a chance to quietly process my thoughts. My days are filled with caring for kids, running errands, taking care of the house, etc. I was getting some quiet alone time in which to get things done each day when Liam napped but I babysit now for a few hours each day and the timing usually coincides with naptime so that time is gone. The landscape of my days and my weeks has changed but my need for down time, for time with my husband, time with friends, time with by myself have not changed. I so badly want to have time to just sit and rest and ponder things I am learning but there isn’t any time.

A couple months ago I started reading a book called Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. The small print title is “Hope for the Mom who Needs to Breathe”. I began reading it feeling like “I want to read this so that I can help others” – at the time I wasn’t feeling like that mom who doesn’t know how she’s going to make it through the next day, the mom who needs just a few moments in which to breathe and recharge. HA! Joke’s on me! That is exactly how I am feeling this week!

What does this “joke” tell me? That we, our lives, go through cycles. We have those times when we are feeling free and relaxed and on top of things and in control. We breathe easy. We face each day with a smile and a sense of adventure. We go to bed tired from a day of activity but we awake refreshed and ready to go. We also have those times when we drag all the time. We feel like we can’t get enough rest. We go to bed exhausted and wake up tired. We feel like a heavy weight is on our backs, holding us down and preventing us from flying. We feel like life is no longer a fun adventure but something to be endured and survived. We can barely breathe.

I am so thankful that in those moments when I don’t feel I can breathe I know, even if I can’t “feel it”, that God isn’t far. He’s right there holding me up and keeping me going. I am learning to lean hard into Him when I feel overwhelmed. Often times my circumstances don’t change at all but my attitude or outlook does which makes all the difference.

So, overwhelmed self, remember you’re not in this alone. In the midst of the chaos and craziness of life, there are moments of quiet scattered through to allow you to breathe. These overwhelming days will pass. Just lean in and hang on! Tomorrow is a new day!

Keeping In Touch #2

Currently…..

Obsessing over: Wishing my mom was here. I have friends who are really struggling with different things and I wish I could ask her how to help them. Since that’s not possible, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what she would do in these different situations. The extension of  that is simply doing what is on my heart to do which I can only trust is what God would have me do. It’s scary and exciting and so awesome all at once!

Reading:  I mentioned last time that I am reading both “Cleaning House” and “Desperate”. I’m still reading both of those – the problem with reading more than one book at a time is that you don’t get through either very quickly!! I’ve been reading more of Desperate and really enjoying it – I continue to be encouraged and challenged by it. This week’s challenge is to come up with a list of women I could ask to be a mentor to me. Then to come up with a list of women in the same age/stage of life as I am (hard when you have toddlers and teenagers and adult step kids but not impossible!) to cultivate relationship with and then to come up with yet another list of some younger women who I could potentially give of myself to. It’s a bit daunting…

Working on: my lists as mentioned above. I need to work hard to overcome the lie of “why would anyone want to enter into this type of relationship with me?” to do this. But it’s so worth it and so I am determined to begin or to at least look to see if some of these relationships already exist in my life and purposefully continue to cultivate them. Other things we’re working on around here? The decluttering is a constant thing – we accumulate so much STUFF!! I am trying to teach my kids to let go of things which means I need to demonstrate this! Not always so easy!

Thinking about: major changes to our family and home. My big kids have been splitting their time between my house (2 weeks) and their dad’s house (1 week) for the last few years. We’ve gotten into a routine and while it hasn’t been ideal, it’s what we’ve gotten used to. As of yesterday that has changed – the kids are home with me fulltime. So many ways this changes things for us.

Anticipating: A busy week! Basketball 3 days for Isaac, choir rehearsals and festivals for Emily, coffee/playdates for Liam and I…I also have some things I am hoping to accomplish this week. Sorting through my office and craft supplies & reorganizing things is priority 1 on that list. Oh and Tim and I are attending a marriage conference at our church this coming weekend with the Smalleys. Should be good.

Eating: We’re still working on those great meals I put together last month! Can’t tell you how awesome it is!! I also tried my hand at brownies this week – yes, I have never made brownies before! Crazy, I know! I was quite impressed…they were really yummy!! We’re having family over for dinner on Wednesday so I need to figure out something for that – ideas anyone? I’m working on adding more fruits and veggies to both my diet and that of Liam (the big kids & husband do pretty good on their own). I will admit to not being a fan of veggies etc. But I know I need to so I’m going to try. Sigh.

Mmmmmm...Brownies!

Mmmmmm…Brownies!

Praying for: so many different things! As always – my kids! In particular, those friendships that are so essential! Also for smooth transitions as we all adjust to our new reality. Other things I am praying for are friends who have a couple sick kids and are needing to head down to the US for treatment – they are trying to raise the funds and it’s weighing heavily on my heart. I’m praying for my husband as he works so hard to provide for us. Some days the list of things that weigh on me is so long…BUT the flipside is that the list of things I am so very thankful for and beyond grateful for is even longer. As I consider the many ways I would like to see God move, I can’t help but remember the ways He already has and that is so very awesome!!

Wishing for: Good connections with others this week. For warm weather that doesn’t come with rain (HA!). Good rest for all in my home this week. Time to craft. Date time with my hubby. And that’s about it! We’ve had a busy weekend and I am tired. Moving kids. Cleaning house. Friends over to share a meal and hockey. Watching Liam continue to develop his personality (it’s HUGE) and abilities. The OSCARS! Yup. It has been a busy weekend but oh so good! Looking forward to what this week is going to bring!

Liam's Favorite Moment This Weekend - NAKED TIME!!!

Liam’s Favorite Moment This Weekend – NAKED TIME!!!