Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday, September 7th, 2015

This Friday will mark a month since we moved to a new house. It's been hard getting used to a new area. Nothing is where I expect it to be and nothing is familiar. Yet. Someday it will be. Someday we'll have been here long enough that stores and restaurants will seem like 'home' but right now, I feel like I'm in someone else's house. Someone else's very large, very closet-y house. 

Schooling while unpacking is not for the faint of heart. Between not having a clear schedule made up before starting and finding out that we didn't even have all the right books, it's been a rocky first week. This week will be our 'make up' week... catching up on the studies we couldn't complete last week so that NEXT week can be our for-real second week. 

My best friend had her baby yesterday. I cannot wait to see them. 

I've discovered that I take things to heart that I probably shouldn't and that I find it impossible to work through those things without massive shedding of tears. My husband tells me it's because I don't connect easily with people but that when I do, it's deeper and more intense. I'm sure he's right... he's one of the few. 

Today, I just want to crawl back in bed and watch bad tv until I fall asleep. Tomorrow will be different and better and less stressful. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

March 9, 2015

 Spring Break is here! Yayyyyy... or something. It's raining, which makes it even harder to really get excited about Spring Break.

Yep. "Even harder". I say that because for the last few years, the husband has taken the man-child for road trips during his Spring Break and the girls and I have stayed home. It's not like we CAN'T do anything but we have dogs so that makes a mother/daughters road trip unlikely. So we're here... some more. I have plans for this week but they involve still being close to home and having to wait till the weather is more cooperative. So I REALLY hope it stops raining and brightens up a bit.

I'm fairly accustomed to being the default parent here but I think it's getting harder not to be a liiiiiiiiittle bitter about the extended hours when the husband is out of town. Whether it's for work or fun, it's hard not to feel left-behind. Left-out. I know that's the depression talking, most of the time. I should take some ownership here and find things to occupy my time and thoughts. But the sneaky thing about depression is that it finds a way to cloud your thinking so you forget to make those plans, go places, do things, see people. And you just want to wallow a bit and think about how you don't get weekends off, you don't go anywhere exciting...

I'm going to blame Monday for my mood and mental state. It's Monday and raining and I'm alone with some slightly demanding small people and dogs.

Friday, January 2, 2015

January 2, 2015

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? How is it 2015 already??? Remember when it was going from 1999 to 2000? That seemed so epic and now we're 15 years later and I'M NOT READY YET! What the heck??

Ok. So now that ONE freak-out is out of the way, here's another one. I will be 36 this year!! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! This is not even funny. Once upon a time, I didn't understand why people had mid-life crises. I thought "come on... you've seen this age coming for a WHILE now. Just get it together and BE that age." Nope. Not even close to possible. I have been 24 for 12 years and I see no reason to stop now. I will be 24 until I'm old and wrinkly and crabby.

Moving on!

The other day, I received a book I have been looking forward to for a WHILE. It's Ruth Soukup's book: Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life. Last year, I participated in her 30 day zero spending challenge. It was HARD, but worth it. It gave me a better idea of what I was spending money on. The rest of the year, I tried to be more mindful of what I spent and WHY. I feel like we did a better job but there's always room for improvement. This is why I'm so eager to read Ruth's book. I've read the first chapter in a pre-release e-book format but there's nothing like holding a REAL book in my hands so I'll be starting all over shortly.

Also last year, I went through the 40-bags clean-out challenge. I got rid of at LEAST 40 bags (of all sizes) but there's still a long way to go. We let ourselves get overwhelmed with stuff these days, don't we? There's always something 'better' or more useful or newer or cuter... and we get sucked into obtaining those things. Yes, I have used the things I've bought. I've gotten rid of clothes that no longer made me feel good about myself and replaced them with better pieces that I still love. But I still have more than I need. More is not always better, sometimes it's just more.

My resolutions for this year are simple. At least, they seem simple because I haven't actually written them out yet. haha! So here goes:

1. Make more time for reading with the girls. I want them to love books as much as I do and they need to immerse themselves in those 'other worlds' to really get why it's so amazing to be able to read.

2. Take risks. I became an independent consultant this year, something I have NEVER attempted. I am fearful of failure, always have been. But this is something fun, something new, something challenging and I need to climb out of my hidey hole and just do it.

3. Stop comparing what I have with what others have. Oh, this applies to so many things. Other people are better at lesson planning, other people have kitchen gadgets that seem so useful, other people find ways to have cleaner homes, other people have prettier yards, other people dress their kids in cooler clothes, other people have clean kitchen counters, etc etc.

4. Make a damn budget already. Seriously.

5. Get rid of the stuuuuuuuff already. We're off to a decent start with this. We've sorted and purged some toys, bagged up clothes to donate, sold games no one plays, burned old papers we didn't need to hold on to. Today the boy child is sorting things in his room. He's got bags and bags of things to give to younger cousins or donate. Woohoo!

Friday, September 12, 2014

September 12, 2014

Fall is around the corner! Today has been cool and drizzly, and I'm half-way pretending that we're in the Pacific NorthWest, instead of Texas. Texas, the state of half-way seasons and constant teasing. 

We're three weeks into the school year and Lily seems to have really embraced this whole 'learning' experience. She's sounding out words, insisting on doing math, loves to have me spell words for her to try out... much easier than I thought it would be! She's still very resistant and stubborn in other areas but it's quite a relief not to be fighting her every moment of our (short) school day. 

The history curriculum we went with this year is taking a bit of getting used to. It's so involved! So many different resources to use and I'm never quite prepared. I guess it would help if I looked at the lessons the weekend before... haha. I can only blame myself. Maybe I should have a parent-teacher meeting and voice my concerns. 

The girls are looking forward to cooler weather. They're convinced that it means playing outside, right up until Izzy (my little memory bank) recalls every time they've ever played outside in the cold. "Oh, I don't think it'll be so much fun after all. Remember last winter? We went outside for like 5 minutes and our hands started to hurt and we came in. I don't think it'll be fun this time either." So I guess we're really looking forward to the same things: NOT going outside too much, sitting inside in front of the fireplace. :) 

Here's something else from last year: rats. Yep. Our neighbor likes to over-feed the birds and squirrels, so since last winter we have been inundated with... wildlife. Rodent wildlife. The dogs took care of several but since they dislike being out in the yard during summer, the vermin have managed to make themselves at home under our shed and *ugh* in our garage. The garage thing is a recent occurrence and the final straw. I called a pest control company, they came, set out bait stations. and told us to expect rodent corpses. Unfortunately, these #)$)* do not believe in dying conveniently located. One has lodged itself in the wall by our fireplace and is currently off-gassing. Blech. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 13, 2014

Last year and the year before that, I thought, "This is the year we'll get a real budget figured out. This is the year we'll really SAVE money again." I THINK I tried to be more mindful of my spending. I THINK I tried to donate things we didn't use, rather than hold on to them for possible future purposes.

But this year, I found the Living Well, Spending Less site. More specifically, I found the 31 day challenge. Guys, this really shook things up for me. I actually printed out and signed the 'commitment' page, I cleaned out my pantry and inventoried the contents. I made the freezer list, the meal idea list, and wrote down what I would NOT be spending money on.

Comparing this January to January of 2013, I spent about $1,000 less. I cleaned out my closet, I donated a pretty sizable pile of clothes, books, kitchen items, toys, and unused decor. We still have more than we need but it's getting better.

As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, it's FAR too easy to use the "we need to get out of the house" excuse. Yes, we sometimes need to just be away from these walls but we can just walk outside when the weather is decent. We can get out of the house and go drop off donation items. We can get out of the house and go see a friend or cousin.

Lists are important these days. A list of tasks makes it easier to feel like I'm accomplishing something, even if the list just breaks an assignment down into its most basic components. A list of what we need at the store is essential, if we're going to stop impulse buys. It's hard. There's always something that I think "Oh, I'm sure I can work that into this week's menu" or "I don't have that yet..." about. But those things cost money and if I REALLY need them, they'll be available next week or next month or whenever.

What I discovered last month is that the things I talked myself out of by saying I'd fit it into THIS month's budget, I didn't remember to fit into this budget. I don't even remember what those needs or wants were, honestly. It's humbling to realize that I think of things as needs that aren't and even the "wants" disappear if I just walk away from them for long enough.

February is nearly 2 weeks in and so far, we're on track to spend half the amount we spent in February of last year. We might manage to actually set money aside this year to pay off the smaller house mortgage.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5th, 2013

Yesterday it was 80 degrees and we went to the park. Today, it's 34 degrees and looks absolutely miserable outside. No rain yet but I hear it's coming. Texas weather is so bizarre! While we were getting back in the car after playing in the park, Lily was telling me how sweaty and hot she was. I told her that it would be cold today and that if we ended up having to go anywhere, she'd probably get to go in her warm pajamas. I love her sweet response "Really, Mommy? In my pajamas?? Well, you're very nice. And you're very sweet." That sort of reaction more than makes up for all the times she says "You're not fair. That's very rude of you."

I thought Izzy would find it interesting to know we can make our own vanilla extract by putting vanilla beans in vodka. Apparently, tho, vanilla smells weird and it looks gross once it's in vodka. Who knew? I'm almost tempted to take a sip of the concoction to see if the vanilla makes vodka more palatable but... no. I'm not that brave. I'll just wait for it to turn a deep shade of brown and then I'll put it in everything I bake. :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 3, 2013

I used to think that I was fairly adept at multi-tasking. After all, how can a mother NOT end up with more than one project requiring attention at any given time? Lately, tho, it seems that I cannot get anything done. I start clearing a counter and before I'm done, my attention has been redirected to making a meal, starting someone on their school work, switching out a load of laundry, or fending off a dog's attentions. Briefly, I considered getting up at 6 every morning just to have time to start a project and get it well under-way before having to make breakfast/beds/school-plans/everything else. Pretty sure I abandoned that thought somewhere between "I could get up at 6" and "that would mean I should get to bed by 10pm." Neither one is going to happen. 

There's no way I'm going back to look but I'm fairly confident that I start every blog-year with lofty goals of decluttering, organizing, and becoming more thrifty. And I end each year with "well, that didn't work". This year will be no different. hahah! Oy...

School is going well. I'm not sure how many days into the year we are but it feels like FOREVER. haha! Reading is still slow-going but I feel like there's steady progress so I'm not discouraged. Lily still has her days when she doesn't want to co-operate at ALL but for the most part, she's learning something every day. She's just about abandoned her monster drawings for spelling words on every surface to which she has access. Today, she was far too quiet while I was reading aloud and I discovered her writing her name and ABCs on the leg of my antique table. Ugh. Thank goodness for magic erasers, right?