Thursday, May 29, 2014

Look out, here comes Summer!

So I realized today that there are only 11 days of school left for my kids.

And IMMEDIATELY I start trying to figure out how to get all MY stuff done before that happens.

Obviously, it isn't going to happen, but that's just how my mind works when I'm up against a deadline.

I am extremely excited about one thing, though; summer means no more packing lunches!
Can you hear the angels singing??!! 
I can!

I'm not even sure why I despise this task so much, but I really hate packing lunches.  Buddy absolutely REFUSES to buy lunch at school unless I make him, so I have packed his lunch EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. this year with maybe 6 exceptions.  On those days, it was breakfast-for-lunch day - mini-pancakes, sausage, syrup and the like.  It's generally the 3rd Friday of the month and a much needed break for me.

So the thought of TEN WHOLE WEEKS of no lunches to pack??!! It thrills me!

What doesn't thrill me??

TEN WHOLE WEEKS of my kids at home all the time!

What about you? What are you most excited about this summer?

Linking this post up with Mama Kat's writer's workshop

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Days like this...

Today was one of those days when I should've taken a hint...

left well enough alone and gone back to bed, but I didn't.

As I was packing Buddy's lunch and simultaneously making my own breakfast, a smoothie, I needed to shake the Almond Milk.  A thing which I do every time I make a smoothie and that is almost every morning. Only this time, with the pour spout closed and my finger on top of it as usual, it still managed to spew milk everywhere as I shook.

Ok, fine - freak thing, clean it up and move on.

After making my smoothie, I put the top piece {the part with the motor; the heavy part} of my immersion blender back in the overhead cabinet above the sink. Before I could get something else out and close the cabinet, the blender stick came tumbling down and almost hit my head but instead fell into the sink.

At this point, I'm starting to wonder what's going on!

I was getting behind on time so I knew I needed to hurry.  I quickly put all the dirty smoothie-making-items in the sink and turned to get the vitamins my kids asked for.  The counter was all clean, the lunch was packed, and my smoothie ready to drink.  I put the lid on the vitamins and moved to return them to their usual spot when IT happened! 

I spilled my smoothie! The one I had just spent a good bit of time creating that was supposed to be my breakfast.  The one that was now all over the recently cleaned counter top.  The one that would no longer fill my belly and would have to be accompanied by something else.

Cleanup on aisle 2 - AGAIN!

I hurried through the rest of the morning routine barely getting out the door in time to get the kids to school and not be tardy.  My makeup was in a bag in my hand and none of it was on my face as we raced towards the school.
Wednesdays are my volunteer days in Sweetpea's class so I wasn't coming back home right away.

This morning, traffic seemed to be on my side and we made it to school with no delays and in almost record time {while driving the speed limit - approximately}.
As I dropped the kids off in front of the school, I looked around deciding where to park the car for the morning.

Have you ever parked in a fast food restaurant lot only to realize after you were wedged in there, that parking near the drive-through lane might not have been smart?
Well that's the same at our school.  The closest parking spots are practically IN the carpool lane and getting out of them during drop off and pick up is tough.
As I was looking for an open spot, I realized someone in a front parking space was leaving.  Back up lights were on, they were moving; BUT so was I!

So I slammed on brakes thinking maybe they couldn't see me.
ONLY the guy behind me was too close to stop no matter how hard he tried.

AND I got rear-ended in the carpool line this morning.

Honestly, I couldn't believe it because the morning had just been so bad already!

It turned out not to be a big deal.  No real damage to either vehicle and we exchanged information quickly.  I don't even think it's worth filing an insurance claim over.

And the rest of the day went mostly better.
The ladies in the front office joked that I couldn't take a hint when I told them about my morning!

I had a child I was trying to help with end-of-grade math test prep who wanted nothing at all to do with me, school, math, or life-in-general today.  I tried so hard to engage him, but he just wouldn't bite.  I felt bad for him because I'm thinking home hasn't been a great place lately.  He's a smart kid and I want him to do well.

I had "lunch" with both my kids in the cafeteria today before leaving the school.  They ate and I sat with them.

Then I got myself some lunch and did some grocery shopping.
While in Walmart I ran into some people I knew and was able to catch up a little.  I knew I had a lot to do at home before it was time to go back for the kids, but I talked anyway.
One of them made a comment about what most people wear to Walmart and then something like, "but you always look so put together."

Say what? That always surprises me to hear and I usually don't agree but today it caught my attention.
Not because I was put together or even dressed all that nicely.

It caught my attention because TODAY the important thing was about slowing down and enjoying the people in my life.  Sitting still and not racing to the next thing. Taking time to foster relationships. 

After my little fender-bender this morning, I was tempted to go straight home after volunteering but I stayed for lunch with my kids because I'd originally planned to. All my sons little kindergarten friends were excited to talk to me during lunch and I made a point to listen to them and make eye contact and let them know that I was hearing what they were saying.
They are so little and so full of energy, but it doesn't last long! They grow up so fast and in a few years they will not want to talk to someone else's Mom during lunch.

And my friend I saw in Walmart? She amazes me! 
Most days my 2 kids make me want to pull my hair out, but she has 4! All of them sick and at Walmart with her today to get medicine.
Honestly, I have no idea how she does it.

So, Mama didn't necessarily tell me there'd be days like this {or maybe she did and I wasn't listening}.  
Life is about relationships and too often we hurry past them in our quest to do the next big thing.  Get to our next appointment.  Make up for time we wasted on something else {like, oh, SLEEP}.
But if you get a wake-up call like I did today, don't ignore it.

I truly believe there is always a reason for everything in our lives.  
Who knows, maybe the guy who rear-ended me today is someone I was supposed to meet for a specific purpose?

I guess time will tell.
So take your time...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Next Big Thing...

Things have been all kinds of crazy here lately and they only stand to get crazier in the next 3 weeks.

My kids have 2 weeks and 3 days left of this school year and the "stuff" is starting to pile up:

~ end of the year awards for Buddy is next Friday, for Sweetpea it's the last Tuesday of school

~ those two days that got tacked onto the end of the year for snow? Yeah, those are now Field Days and guess what? One child has it one day and the other has it the second day and so I get to be there both days 

~ the husband's birthday is next Friday, same day as Buddy's award ceremony at school

~ the end of year celebration for Sweetpea's class is on June 10th before the 4th grade awards ceremony - guess who's in charge of planning that??!!

~We have 2 rehearsals and a recital this coming weekend

~Did I mention the FOUR Pampered Chef shows and events I have between June 3 and June 14th??

Honestly, I'm sure I forgot something in that list.

In fact, I know I did because Father's Day is the same weekend that school gets out and then Buddy's birthday is the following weekend.

And I'm tired just thinking about all of it!

It's also why when someone asks me to do something or if I'm available for something on a certain date, my eyes sort of glaze over.

All I can think about at one time is the NEXT. BIG. THING.

This past weekend was my daughter's 10th birthday party.  It happened to be ON Memorial Day this year and we took advantage of that.  I wanted to weekend to finish preparing so the party was on Monday.
Until Monday evening when the party was over, I really couldn't think of anything else.  Now I'm playing catch up and trying to make up for not "working" the past week or so.

I hate the feeling of having to catch up or rush to prepare for something, but no matter how much prior planning I do, I can't seem to get ahead.

I've pretty much convinced myself that at this stage in my life, with 2 kids who are still young, there just isn't much "getting ahead."

If you look closely at this pic, there are two little birds sitting on the middle branch.  They are two of the hatchlings from the nest on our front door! Who knew birds went from eggs to nearly full grown so quickly??!!

And so it goes.

I focus on the next big thing and make tiny steps towards the ones a little further out.  Like Buddy's birthday which he wants to have at a certain place so I have to call and check into that tomorrow.

Other than that, my next BIG thing is the dance recital and rehearsals this weekend.
And prepping for the end of the year party which I'm supposed to plan.

Due to, what I hope is a minor, injury, I haven't worked out much this past week. BUT my mother-in-law has loaned me her bike so I'm hoping to work off some of my stress by riding.

What about you?
How do you keep it all straight and make sure you don't lose your mind when things get crazy?

Friday, May 16, 2014

A journey of a thousand miles...

On Sunday May 4th, I started a journey.

It began at 6:00 am on that day and I'm still running it.

In a previous life, {read as "before I had kids"} I used to run regularly.  I started very begrudgingly in college, my second semester when it was my turn to take PE 100 - affectionately termed "RUN 100."

The goal of this torture class was to prepare students to run 3 miles or 30 minutes, whichever came first at the end of the semester.
Needless to say, I took this "pass/fail" rather than for a grade that might further tank my grade point average.

I did continue to run after I passed this class {by the skin of my teeth}, but it was never something I particularly enjoyed or felt good at.  It was something I did WITH my husband, because HE enjoyed it and I wanted to be with him.

Fast forward to today and my "journey" hasn't taken me too far.  If I had to imagine it on a map, I'd say I haven't moved far from the starting "dot."

BUT, this Mama likes her sleep.  More specifically, this Mama tends to stay up late working and doing housework when everyone else is in bed, so I've never been an early riser.

EVERY DAY starting on Sunday May 4th, I've gotten up at 5:30 or 6:00 am and gone for a run or a walk, followed by an indoor workout upon my return.

Now, I must clarify: the term "run" is used rather loosely here! My first attempt included running "segments" that were as short as 38 seconds and no longer than 2 minutes. And I struggled to get to those times because I never imagined that I was so far removed from the "runner" that I once was.

So, while my journey is just beginning, here are some things I've learned while running {or walking, depending on the day}:

  • Sometimes you have to put yourself first and it has to be ok.  No Mommy guilt! It's like the airplane analogy: when the oxygen masks drop, put yours on first so you are better equipped to help others.  If I don't take care of my body, eventually my body will not allow me to take care of my family. In addition, my days go so much more smoothly when they start earlier and I can get a jump on the day BEFORE the kids arise.
  • The first step is always hard no matter when your last "run" was, but if you don't take it, you can't make progress and you can't reach a goal.
  • Looking at nature first thing in the morning,  I'll never understand how the existence of God can be questioned. Wonderful sights and sounds greet me each morning and they've made their way into this post via my iPhone camera.

  • Running at 6:00 am is WAAAAY different this time of year than trying to run at 9:30 am! I won't be trying that too many more times!
  • Sometimes, you just need a day off.  On Wednesday, the only day so far that I have not run or walk, I stayed in the bed just a tad too long and my kids were both up before I could make it out the door.  Instead I worked out with my hand weights and did my "floor" exercises, while my kids proceeded to make fun of me.  But guess, what? Thursday's run was my best one yet!
It's hard to tell in the picture, but the clouds looked like rolling ocean waves and they
were actually moving! It was so cool!

  • There are parts of life, that just like running, are not within my control.  Think about what it takes to make an ideal run: for me, it means good running shoes, mostly flat terrain (not in my neighborhood!), no dogs chasing me, and music whenever possible.  But is EVERY run ideal? No! Not even close! There is no way to ensure life is always "ideal" either.  Just today, I took someone's words and began to internalize them.  Blaming myself for something that wasn't my fault.  A situation that, in fact, I had no control over at all.  Running is helping me learn to let go.
  • Practice never makes perfect because there is no such thing, but it does make progress.  So when the going gets tough, as it does daily, I tell myself that by persisting, trying my best, and pushing farther whenever I can is progress no matter how small or slow.
  • And lastly, have you ever realized just how many earthworms are in the road first thing in the morning? If they love dirt so much, why in the world are they on the blacktop? So maybe the lesson for me is, unless you want to get squashed, stay out of the road! LOL!
Do you run? If so, what's your favorite tip?

While I have seen some progress in my journey, it is largely frustrating.  If you have any ideas that will make things easier, please share.