Sunday, October 26, 2014

People Are Strange and Other Musings

I'm going to start with a list today. There are some weird people in the world. Here's my top five for the week of strange things I've overheard.
1. "I don't like my child's daycare. They spend way too much time playing outside and my child's clothes get too dirty."
2. "Why are they wasting time repairing sidewalks? No one actually walks anymore except from their house to their car."
3. "I can't believe the prof only gave us three weeks for this assignment. Don't they know we have other classes too?"
4. "I'm so tired. I had a really stressful weekend. We drove to the mountains for a family vacation and got home late."
5. "I want to get up early on Saturday."
1. First, I strongly believe that kids are supposed to get dirty. It's in their natural job description. You shouldn't buy designer clothing for kids, that's really just insanity. Second, who on earth ever says that their kids spend too much time outdoors these days? 
2. Just because YOU don't walk, doesn't mean that all people choose not to walk. I've seen a lot of foot traffic in our city and some of our sidewalks are in terrible condition. Even if you don't walk, pretty soon you will have to shovel snow off that mess. Wouldn't it be better if it was even?
3. The prof actually gave us a bit more than 3 weeks. We are writing a 5 page paper, not even in essay format, and he has provided most of the background research for us. Why can't that be done in three weeks? Additionally, the basics of the assignment were provided right from the beginning of the term. You should have known this was coming at some point.
4. Why do you expect sympathy because you chose to spend a weekend in a hotel in the mountains? If you have that much to do when you get home, don't go away spontaneously. This also came from one of those people who often complains about a lack of money and also about never being able to find time to do homework. They have only two classes this term too. I've got 4 classes, plus 3 kids, and had to take a sudden 13 hour drive, each way, to attend a memorial service. You don't know what stress is, lady.
5.This was Macboy, and I understand his logic. In some ways, I wish that I could actually do this too. He plans to wake up early on Saturday because everyone else will sleep late and he can enjoy some quiet time at the beginning of his day. It sounds wonderful really, but it doesn't actually happen often. For someone as anti-mornings as I am, it sounds crazy.
Enough about that. I suppose I pay attention too much to the people around me. It is frustrating how negative some people can be. It often makes it hard for me to find my positives. But they are there. The last few weeks have been very busy. My mind is full of negativity and so many things I'd love to rant about but I'm not going to reduce myself to that level. Instead, I will highlight the positives of my personal situation and be proud of the good things that came out of this stressful period.
I'm up to date on homework and assignments. Some days it feels like all I do is homework, but I do what I need to do to succeed in a way that suits my own expectations. I want to do well and I will do whatever it takes.
My kids are doing well in school too. They are such strong readers. Even the oldest, who has his own set of difficulties is blossoming and succeeding this year. He is becoming a fascinating young man and really coming out of his shell. I am confident that he will not lack the self esteem or knowledge to succeed later in life after all that he has overcome.
We brought back Wednesday Without Electronics this week. It was the trucker who suggested it, too. Wednesday was a very fun day here. The kids adjusted without any complaints into a quiet and unplugged evening. The three of them played together almost the entire night. Thursday morning was a breeze because everyone was well rested.  Well, except that someone hid the TV remote so that the others couldn't use it and that led to at least an hour of ripping apart the living room trying to find it again. Oops.
I met a whole new bunch of in-laws last weekend. Our families are quite spread out and it is difficult to see everyone. Our trip to the coast was nice though. After being together nearly 20 years it seems strange that we haven't met each others families entirely. There are just too many people to see and not enough time to travel there and see them all. I'm pleased that I still feel like a full part of the Truckers family, even when I'm surrounded by people I've never met. It was like I had always known them.
I am getting strong enough now to recognize when I'm reaching my extroversion limits. I require certain amounts of time alone to recover/recharge after extended periods of being around people. Particularly these situations where I must be the extroverted self to visit with family members that I've never met. In addition, there was an exceptional amount of time spent in close proximity to the trucker, in the van for so many, many hours of driving. I love him dearly, and our time was very therapeutic, but it definitely left no room to be alone with my thoughts. Early this week, I was able to identify that I was struggling and stopped it before it progressed beyond control. I told the Trucker what I needed and he helped me find some time to myself. I was able to skate through this time, without a crash.
I feel strong and in control. I'm feeling quite accomplished also, even though the only accomplishment was catching back up to regular life. Not long ago, it would have likely taken months to get back to where I am right now after just a bit more than a week.
I am positive. I am strong. I am focused. I am determined. I am motivated. I am loved.
And I am saying those things as much for myself as I am for any who might read this. Take a moment and tell yourself these same things. It will pick you up a little so you can continue to do all those things you have to do. Repeat it as often as necessary. Change the words as you see fit to cover your own needs. Be your own sunshine. It's worth it.

Friday, August 22, 2014

End Of Summer, Updates and Thoughts

I am so excited for September. This is a very unusual feeling since I normally hate the enforced structure on everyone and the morning rush. I am not a fan of mornings. I get to start my second year at university and I'm thrilled. With a short schedule last year that had to fit in the morning kindergarten program hours, I almost feel like I haven't really even started and that this fall is the beginning of the real deal.

I've had an eventful summer. It was incredible. Excellent family vacation and lots of stay-in-your-PJs-all-day days. I also had an eye opening experience through babysitting a boy with special needs. I do have my own version of special needs here, but this was so different. My children have invisible issues, like Tourette's and social anxiety. But this summer I had the experience of being a caregiver for a child with very visible difficulties. Frankly, people are jerks. I hope to share more of that story but it needs to wait for a different time, as I try to decide exactly how to explain what I saw and felt taking this little amazing miracle boy to the park.

Yesterday was my last day with him. In many ways I feel that my summer is just starting. I only had him for 15 days but it really did change my summer. I now have an abundance of free time until September starts. Of course, that's not very far away now.

I'm searching for the ideal agenda/organizer again, and I will likely return to my hand written calendar that I used last year. I just know that I need to keep everything posted in one place and what I had last year worked great. I just need to set it up a bit better so I don't have to re-write everything a million times.

I've got all our school supplies ready. For all four of us. I need to find myself a new school bag but everyone else is covered. I have kept up to regular life for the majority of the summer months too, so I don't have a lot of scrambling and cleaning to do before the school workload hits. I'm prepared and very ready mentally for school to start.

My only regret of the summer is the lapse in my writing. I had a short burst where I poured out thousands of words in two works in progress and I felt amazing. Then the physical exhaustion of babysitting hit me and I stopped a lot of things. I read non stop, because it was the least physical thing I could do to keep myself surrounded by words. By time I return to school I will have finished about 25 books running from Shakespeare plays to YA fiction. Now, I'm fueled up and ready to write for days, but of course those days are now numbered. Perhaps my dream of "I published my first novel while I was in University," just won't work for me.

It takes a shift in perspective to pull me through these thoughts. I do hope to be published eventually, but the plain reality is that if I don't write, I will go slowly crazy. Crazier, at least. These stories scream from the back of my mind at all the wrong times and I get frustrated when I can't let them out. The characters are like pieces of me that are trapped and I can't find peace of my own anywhere until I release their words. So, rather than dreaming of future publication, I am just enjoying the art of the writing itself.  I write for me. I hope that it finds other readers someday, but the beginnings are just for me. I must get it out before I can edit or change anything for anyone else. And the act of writing, preferably with a simple pen and paper, is so therapeutic for me that I have got to start making time for it every day.

My two works in progress are very different and I do not struggle with keeping storylines straight or characters in the right places. One is very much YA and the other is definitely women's fiction. My mood dictates the story that gets the attention, and I enjoy having the chance to switch gears when one story starts to stall or suffer. It keeps my creativity flowing. At this point both stories are pretty much crap, but they are started and that is more important to me anyway. I suppose that is how the writing process works and even after a million edits I will still feel that they are crap.

With my new schedule for school, I actually have a little window in the day where I may be able to place a writing routine. Of course that depends on my homework load. I remain optimistic and will make something work.

I've been very torn about whether or not to continue this blog, I've mentioned that before. For now, I will just keep it as it is, no promises of posts or schedule for writing. I will write when I can, if I have something worth sharing or something to work out in my own mind again. My other writing does take priority, if I have to make a choice. I didn't create this for money or for followers. I am already amazed by the number of you that are here and come back regularly. Your best bet for slightly more regular updates is to join me on facebook anyway.

I hope that everyone is ready for fall and that the return to school is smooth for all of us. Are you looking forward to September too?

Friday, June 6, 2014

Fifteen Days Until The Kids Are Out

I am not taking any spring or summer session classes this year. I considered it but it just didn't work out with my schedule. The kids are still in school until the end of June and I was looking forward to two months of mornings to myself.

It's kind of nice on the occasional day that I've been able to just relax. But most days, I don't really seem to have any time to myself anyway. After I do my volunteer tasks in kindergarten, I don't have much of a morning left. I had great plans to reorganize all kinds of things in the house and most of them have been left untouched. I've scraped through a few big jobs but not nearly as much as I had hoped for. Eight months of slacking on the homefront has left me a little overwhelmed. So many stash and dash places are overflowing.

I miss my classes quite a lot. I had direction provided to my days through various professors. I had a reading list given to me and didn't have to search out my own materials. I can always find things to read but the assigned readings generally make me extend myself. I read things that I might not have chosen on my own. I often find myself bored now and this is not a common occurrence for me.

I am normally busy, looking after my kids and their schools, making dinners, tidying toys. Usual stuff. I read. I volunteer. It has been exceptionally nice to be able to attend a field trip or two. I miss that while my classes are running. My first semester was hard. It was very difficult to develop a decent groove that allowed me to get assignments and studying done on top of everything that is normal. Second semester was incredible. I felt so totally in control most of the time.

And now, I have time that is not so full. My daily life is comparable to carrying money. When you have a hundred dollar bill, it lasts longer than if you have a hand full of twenties or smaller bills. Things just get spent little by little. With the multiple stops I make each day, I am interrupted from many things. My mornings result in an hour, two on the best days, of time to devote to other projects. Kindergarten ends, then Art comes home for lunch, then the afternoon with Angel until Macboy is done, 40 minutes until Art is out. My day is full of stops and starts, so it is hard to really accomplish anything bigger.

I have been reading and writing so much, especially these last few weeks. Something about reading John Green novels sparks a wildfire of creativity in me and the words just flow as though they never were mine to begin with. The story is just pouring itself from my brain to the page. I love this feeling, it is the closest thing to escape I can ever manage. The rest of me just drifts away and I am nothing more than a vessel for the story to be written. My mind doesn't wander. I don't think of anything that needs to be done. Stress triggers drift away. For the time that I have devoted to the writing, Wendy ceases to exist. I drift into the character and his story is my own. I become him. I become his voice and write his words.  I can feel his feelings and think his thoughts, not because I am creating them but because they are from him.

I don't always feel this connection in my writing. I do sometimes have to place myself into the mind of another, I have to craft their thoughts and expressions. But sometimes, the best times, it just comes so naturally. It is not a desire to create a story but the need to release a story that exists already.

I have never felt so successful with my writing. I have never lived the flow quite like this. I know the direction the tale will follow. I do know the future of my character, but it seems most like he his telling me how he got there instead of myself having to brainstorm anything.

If it were not for this writing frenzy that has caught me, I would be going slowly insane. I hope that this lasts at least until the kids are out of school. Once they get out for the summer, I know that my schedule will change again. I am sure that I will be missing classes then too, as I really don't get a break away from the kids at all in the summer.

University has absolutely nothing to do with socializing and friends for me, it is entirely for myself. I pursue subjects that I love, that I choose. I exercise my mind and learn so much. Oh, how I love learning new things. I don't always love doing stuff with things that I learn, but I LOVE the process of understanding things that I didn't before. Or understanding something in a totally different way than I had ever thought of it. This is what I am missing the most. Discovery. Accomplishment. Pride. I like to have my house clean, but it is not the same kind of pride I get from a good mark on an essay.

Being graded on everything is hard for some people. But I don't strive for good grades to please a teacher or anything else. Each A that I've earned tells me not only that I understand what they have taught me, but also that I can explain it in a way that another understands. It's the achievement of communication. And as being a writer is the strongest drive within my soul, mastering these milestones of communication are very important to me. I miss that. I miss those benchmarks and reminders. Even if a grade is lower than I hope for, I spend the time reviewing my words so that I can say it better next time.

I know the summer will drift by so fast, especially once the kids are home all day with me. I'm grateful to have this time. This is an opportunity I've never been able to have before. I also know that when September rolls back around, I will be ready for it.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Being A Mom In University - My Brief Thoughts

I have been away from this blog for quite awhile. I'm sorry. I was fueled with all these great ideas that I wanted to share. I have a long list of post ideas floating around the house and in my head. But, I'm afraid to admit that I will probably never write many of them.
In a nutshell, the best way to survive a return to school when you have kids and a husband is to just do what you have to do. Balance as much as you can without draining yourself dry. Spend time playing with the kids. Sit down for dinner as a family. There are no secrets. If you want something bad enough, you make time for it. I became very selfish with my time. I do not tolerate demands of others, I will choose what I need to do and when.

I did homework and readings when I could. Sometimes waiting in the car at the end of the kid's school day. I'd read while I was cooking dinner. I carried a notebook everywhere and also switched to a windows phone that syncs better with my MS Office suite. I worked beside the kids as they did their homework. I waited until everyone was in bed and then started my work some nights.
The key to my success was to never allow procrastination in. If an essay project is going to take me 8-12 hours of  work before I think it is worthy of handing in, I must be realistic. I can not ever leave it to the last minute. I will never get 2 hours straight of work time, forget 8 or more! I just reminded myself as I worked after the kids were in bed and I was already exhausted, that the assignment would end. The semester will end. Eventually I will have time to catch up to sleep and housework.
School work and family were my shared number 1 priorities.

If you are a in university, success is possible. You show up. You take notes like a madman. You study. There is time. There is always time for something you really want. So do it.

A whole year of university and that's my advice. Just shut up and do it. One day at a time, you just push through. Some days will be really hard. Some will be painful. Some days you will cry like a baby and wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea. But following your heart and doing something you love are always going to be the good idea.

My mantra throughout my first year was "It's only one day." No matter what needed to be done, it was only one day and would be totally different tomorrow.

There were days when I got up at 5 am to drive the trucker to his truck, came home, did some reading, got kids up and all of us off to school, rushed back, spent half an hour in the kindergarten classroom, squeezed errands and appointments into the afternoon, emailing back and forth with a teacher about some child related problem as I went. Then I'd get the boys picked up, two different schools half an hour apart. Get home, put away laundry or clean something up, make dinner, clean up dinner, get through a bath and two showers, bedtime stories and good nights... Take a run to the store because I forgot something, usually milk which is needed for breakfasts and COFFEE. Then, maybe around 10 pm, I could stop moving for a minute.

I could sit down, assess what I had left to do and decide. If I miss one day of study time, what will it affect? Do I have something due tomorrow? No? Okay. It's only one day. I can make up one day easily.

And then the tricky part... Actually picking up the school work slack the next day.

Sometimes I couldn't. Sometimes the whole week was insane like that. I'd be so exhausted and have a longer list of things to catch up. The trucker suggested I take my books and go out somewhere, which I did try. But honestly, I'm better at ignoring the distractions at home. I could not focus in a coffee shop, or anywhere else really. So we switched it up. On some weekends, when I was struggling, he took the kids out instead. I got the house to myself. Had quiet time to focus and also no chance of forgetting something I needed because it was all here. It is amazing what one can accomplish in two hours with no interruptions. And I used that time. It's tempting to just go have a bath or something, when you know that no one can knock or try to come in. But you have to USE the time you have.

There is no way to plan how you will adapt to a change like this. Trust that if you want it bad enough you will find the strength to make it work. It is just how it is.

I don't find this to be that hard, really. It sucks sometimes, but everything in life sucks sometimes. There are bad days for sure. I believe I have a strong advantage over the kids that fill the other seats  in the classrooms. I know what I want. I know where I'm going. I know what it is all for. And though I have a family to take care of in the background, this university experience is so much easier for me than it is for most of them.

You know the fear that you had when you were pregnant? That 'how am I ever going to manage this' fear? Or, how about when you had a second or third (or more) child? You wonder how you will ever keep up to another baby too. Then the baby comes and somehow, almost magically, you find that life is still the same, just a bit busier maybe. University was the same for me. Life doesn't change, it just gets busy. It will only ever be as hard as you think it is. And even when a day is hard, it's only one day. Tomorrow will be different.

There you have it. A long pause between posts and then I finally write something, only to share that of all the advice I wanted to be able to share boils down to no advice at all.

I am starting to think that the end is near for Wendy Can't Cook. I either need a change of direction, or perhaps a change in medium. I'm not sure. I make no promises at all. I found a desperate need to focus on priorities while in school and as much as writing maintains my sanity, blogging is not the only way to write. I've been through some very personal changes that I do not wish to make public. And I rarely have time to sit and write a blog post even without any edits. I do not aim to make a living out of blogging, I share here because it feels good to share sometimes. Much like reading for pleasure is out of the question while I'm in school, blogging is not high on my list of priorities. Somehow, my little following here continues to grow even when I'm not active and I am grateful for those who do come by and read any of my words.

In essence, blogging is somewhat a distraction from where I really want to be going. I may need to let it go to make room for bigger and better things. I miss it when I'm not here, but I need my family time more. I am sure that you will understand. My facebook page is often more active than the actual blog, so feel free to join me there.

Take care my friends.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Love Tuesday

I do, I really do. I love Friday too because it starts the weekend, of course, but I just really love Tuesday.

Tuesday is a good news kind of day. I seem to find the most positive messages on Tuesday. Maybe it's only because I am happy and notice them more, but who cares.
Tuesday is less rushed than most days, Thursday is a later start for me too, but the kids get early dismissals and make the afternoon more rushed and busy.
Tuesday starts with a fun radio session they call Dirty Text Tuesday. My drive to school is filled with a conversation of messages that sound dirty but really aren't. They choose a random topic and have listeners text in or post online. Some of the responses are really fun.
My Tuesday morning class is awesome. I'm not a fan of Anthropology as a whole, but the professor makes it great. She can take this information that is dry and not even remotely of interest to me personally and make it entertaining. I'm doing well in the course and I know that it is because of how she teaches. There are always many laughs in that class.
Tuesday is the day I seem to hit more green lights on my drive.
I find a closer parking stall at the university on Tuesday.
The kids are in a good mood on Tuesdays. They are not yet exhausted from the week at school and our routines run more smoothly. Monday is like the practice run for Tuesday every week. Monday sucks for all of us.
Tuesday doesn't usually bring large amounts of homework. I can manage my week well. Most assignments have been due for either Monday or Friday. Even midterms have been either Monday, Thursday or Friday.
Tuesday is not a busy home management day. I usually have laundry and general clean up done over the weekend. By Tuesday, everyone still has clean clothes and the house is not trashed yet.
My mail comes in earlier on Tuesday. We currently don't have a specific mail carrier in my neighbourhood, just an assortment of those who can fill this route. Whoever brings it on Tuesday is almost always earlier than the rest.  Not that I need a lot from that comes in the mail, but it's nice to have it dealt with early in the day.
Generally, the Trucker doesn't have to work too late on Tuesdays. Of course, now that I've said that it will have to change. His boss is semi-psychic, I think. He knows when I'm getting too comfortable and makes sure to change things up.
Tuesday was never my favorite before. I think I depended on the lure of lazy Saturday mornings and the lack of a need for an alarm clock. Honestly, I think the most I've ever even thought about what day it even is, was to point out that Monday sucks and Friday starts the weekend.
The best part of Tuesday is that it tends to bring me up in spirits and I can carry that through the week. Even if Monday were to leave me feeling defeated or exhausted, I recover on Tuesday. That's not such a long way to the weekend either. In my teens and even the twenties, I probably chose a preferred day based on some TV show I was addicted to watching, but I don't even have that any more. I really don't watch TV. I watch the rest of the house watch TV, sometimes I am sitting with them, but the TV doesn't really ever capture my attention that closely.
I can even book things like doctors appointments or pay a bunch of bills, fill my afternoon with errands, and it still stays awesome. The mornings just set the tone in the right direction and I float through the rest of the day.

Do you have a favorite day? What do you look forward to each week?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Smarter Than My Smart Phone

On January 31st, I cracked. The whole week was hard. And rushed. And miserable in so many ways. I was running late. The kids were all late to school. I was set up to be at least ten minutes late for my first class.

I had the beginning signs of high anxiety creeping up on me. My heart was racing, my thoughts rushing and my breathing speeding up. I couldn't take it. I couldn't slow it down. I knew that it really wasn't the end of the world if I was late. I've discussed my personal situation with a very understanding professor. I knew he wouldn't be upset if I was late.

But I couldn't stop the racing.

I turned the van in the opposite direction. Headed to a coffee shop with my books. I tried to focus on what was causing my problems. I went through the long mental list of all the things the kids were doing in the morning that drove me insane. I considered all the reasons why we are regularly rushing. The Trucker says "you just need to wake up earlier." HA. Yeah. That doesn't apply with my own completely inability to actually follow through in a plan to get up earlier. I just couldn't understand it. I get up at 7. I don't do my hair or makeup, I just pull my hair back in a pony tail or clip. I should have enough time.

The kids are so hard to wake up. That has to be it. I need to crack down on bedtime.... Well, no. They actually have been pretty good at bedtime. I can't seem to get the younger two moving until 8. Why? Where does this whole hour go?

I sat there, frustrated at this particular point. I'm getting up earlier, why does it take so much to get them up?

I reached for my phone. I decided a short break from thinking so hard was in order. I opened the Facebook app. Stared at it for a minute. Closed it. Opened Candy Crush, maybe just one level...

Then I closed that app too. This is the moment where it all came crashing down. I figured out the root of my issue.

I opened up my notebook and started to write. It was that soul cleansing outpouring of words that happens every so often. A moment where the pen starts moving and I have to read it all again when I'm done because I have no idea what just poured out. Here is what I scribbled (seriously, I can barely read my own writing.):

Today I change my life.

For one month, just February, I am taking all of my usual distractions off of my phone. If it's all for no real reason, I will know very soon. But this thing is taking time away from what is important.

I read it like a morning newspaper before I get out of bed. I end up rushing because I am looking at things that are not important. These things can set the tone of my day. These things can put me in a sour mood before my feet even hit the floor. It's not worth that.

I look over the top of it and see my daughter's lonely face.  I told her that I needed to finish my school reading first and now, she's waiting for her turn to be important.

I look past it and see the Trucker roll his eyes. I say that I am playing this game because he is watching TV and ignoring me anyway, but what if he is watching TV because I'm not paying attention?

It takes time away from school work.

It interrupts bedtime snuggles and stories, at the very least it delays it.

I can't count how many times I've said "Just a minute." or how often the boys get in the van afterschool and start talking, and I'm trying to finish a level, or enter a comment, before we drive home. Then the drive home is silent, because I have squashed the words they were saying when they got in.

I want more.
I want more eye contact.
I want more Hello's and Goodbyes.
I want more kisses at the door.
I just want more LIFE and I'm taking it.
I'm taking it back.
IT IS MINE. MY life.

Since I have deleted my distractions from my phone, I've had an amazing amount of time returned to me.

I'm astounded (and saddened) by the length of battery life my phone has now. I am also feeling the same about the number of times I find myself reaching for my phone only to stop and remember that there is no reason to. It's getting better, but it's still a lot.

I have had amazing conversations with my family.
I have had a lot of focused study time.
I have enjoyed a break from a lot of drama.
I have had smooth running mornings and no fights with kids because we need to rush.
I have slept really well, because I'm not staying up saying 'just one more level,' or 'I'll just see if someone posted something, I'll be quick.'

I haven't played any of the games I was hooked on, even though I can access them on the laptop. I just don't have the desire to do it.

I am still a Facebook user, but instead of being a constant checker and connected through never-ending notifications, I log in just once or twice through the day. When I do, I do not have the desire to try to scroll through all of the missed time either. I check notifications, pop in to the groups I am involved in. Sometimes, I don't even look at the newsfeed at all.

I keep my phone in my purse or pocket while I am in the van. I make eye contact and conversation with the kids when they get in now. I am waiting for them. They are not waiting for me.

I get out of bed and start the day on my terms. By the time I look at any of these online distractions, I've usually finished the majority of my day.

I hate to admit that the problem was me. Who ever wants to say that? But it certainly was. I wake up at the same time everyday as I did before. But instead of rolling over to look at the smartphone, I get up. I get my coffee made. I crawl in beside the Angel and snuggle up. She wakes up with a smile and a big hug for me. There is no struggle to get her out of bed; she wakes up loved and happy. I go into Art's room and sit on the edge of his bed. I rub his back in small circles for a minute or two, he wakes up with a sleepy "Good Morning, Mom."
Mr. Macboy, He gets himself up these days. He is often up before me. But I greet him every morning and take a minute to ask how he slept.

I will say that the phone helped my transition to wakefulness in the morning. It was a small step on the road to resetting my body clock. At the very least, I was staying awake and not just fighting with the snooze button. For months, I was waking up nice and early and staying awake. But I'd stay in bed where it was warm and cozy for as long as I possibly could. The first few mornings without the distractions were not exactly easy, but I was able to convince myself that if I just got up and made my coffee, I could crawl back in bed and warm up for a minute. Of course, once my feet were on the ground, I didn't go back to bed.

The benefits so far, just ten days in, are real. I am confident that I will not have any trouble getting to the end of February. I am at peace.

Friday, January 3, 2014

As Ready As I Can Be

An interesting thing happened today. I was feeling like I'd kind of wasted some of my time off. I had a few things I wanted to deal with at home and a few things got done. I felt like I should be doing something more, though I couldn't figure out exactly what. And I had absolutely no motivation to look for it.
It's not really a bad thing. I spent a large portion of my holidays taking care of important things. Like playing. Or reading. Or just listening to the kids. I spent a bit of my time on my marriage, some quality time with the Trucker. All good things of course.
I read a novel. The last installment in a series I loved. I read more of a text that I'd started in my Lit class. Reading was actually on my goal list. I love it and I miss reading for pleasure when classes are running. I may be the one who takes "reading week" a little too seriously and spends all their time with their nose in a book.
I've been writing more too. See, these kinds of things would never appear on a to do list and I think that's why I was so upset this morning. (Well, not that upset except when my coffee cup was empty.)
I headed in to Art's room this afternoon. He started cleaning yesterday and needed some help with organization of the things that he wanted to keep in there. (Like the Trucker's new tool box that was a Christmas gift and is now slotted for their remote control cars, tools and parts, and will never make it to the garage where it was intended to go.) It didn't take very long, because Art actually keeps himself pretty well organized. He sure doesn't get that from me.
At five o'clock, I was trying to decide what I was cooking for dinner. The Trucker was on his way home. I was standing in the kitchen when it hit me.
I am actually ready.
I can't honestly tell you the last time the house has been in this kind of order. And I felt like I wasn't getting anything done at all. So How Did That Happen?  My room has been picked over and reorganized, even went through my clothing and added to the donate bags. ALL THREE KIDS have clean rooms. I know where all the lunch bags are, and backpacks. I have the school library books ready, not lost. I am caught up to my laundry, it is even put away. I have my text books ready and my binders prepared. I will not be freaking out at 11 pm on Sunday night because I can't find anything.
And I didn't even see it happen.
It seems to me that:
When you really make an effort to be present
To be in the moment
To pay attention
To do the little things
To use the help you are given
To find the silver linings
To smile and laugh more
Things start to just happen.
You are doing it,
No different than you did it before
But you are not seeing it the same way.
It doesn't actually seem like work.
I enjoyed my holiday. I had fun. I relaxed. I spent time with family. I worked in small doses. When I stopped and looked at the things that DID get done, I barely remember doing some of it. I guess I have caught up enough to the flow of crap in the house, and taught the kids a bit better about not keeping things that break or giving away things we no longer use.
Really, the only thing I remember 'working' on was Angel's room. She was long overdue for an overhaul. I'm not really sure when all the rest of it happened. Macboy did a great job of his room on his own and didn't need any help. Mom folded and put away one basket of my clean laundry for the kids.
I will even admit that I sent a text message to my family to say:
"Holy crap, all the kids rooms are clean, and mine, and the laundry is caught up....
This has probably never happened before and may never happen again,
so maybe we should take a picture!"
I can start classes this term on even ground. I am not starting out behind. I feel great. Just when you think that doing a little job won't matter, it surprises you by adding up. When you think that you don't have time to build a puzzle or listen to a nine year tell a highly exaggerated story, do it anyway. It will pick your spirits up in a way that nothing else can, and then things just start to happen. And you don't feel the 'work' of it, you just feel good.