Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One Room School House

If parents of school-aged kids got graded, I’m pretty sure I’d be getting a D right now. 

So far, we’ve had Open House Night, Meet and Greet Night, Room Parent Tea and holiday party sign-ups, about 20 forms in various colors due, Market Day fundraiser, Fun Run fundraiser, Pizza Night fundraiser, a PTA meeting, and send-in-three-different-but-very-specific-types-of-apples-to-class-tomorrow day.  (To be fair on that last one, I’m pretty sure I’d have had 3-4 days notice to get the apples if I was an A+ parent and checked the backpack every day.  But it’s Kindergarten for crying out loud.)

I’m exhausted. 

I just filled out and turned in my last form today, after two reminder phone calls from the school nurse.  I didn’t get my PTA membership form and money turned in during the big incentive time, so my kid didn’t get a gumball in the picture on the wall and her class didn’t win the most memberships in the first week and didn’t get the pizza party.  I didn’t hit up 25 of my family members and friends for money for the Fun Run so my kid didn’t get ice cream that day. (We were encouraged to send the letters to everyone on our holiday card list.  You’re welcome.)  We ran into the school secretary at the park one day and she recognized Eden and asked my name, and then remarked, “Oh, you haven’t turned in the Field Trip Permission form yet.”  They are keeping special tabs on us D parents. 

It’s September.  I’m exhausted.  I seriously can’t imagine having several children in several different grades or schools to keep track of at the same time.  It’s ridiculous.  I think I’d homeschool just so I didn’t have to deal with the paperwork.  Our own little one room school house. 

Thankfully my kid didn’t seem to notice her lack of paper gumballs or pizza or ice cream.  And I understand the need for fundraisers, I really do.  It’s just that I wish there was an option to pay a certain amount of cash up front and then have those fundraising papers and forms and events magically disappear.  I promise, I’d have my cash in by May, at the absolute latest. 

At least we’re on time for drop off, usually.  And Isaac’s wearing shoes, usually.  And Eden’s clothes are clean, except for the days last week where she wanted to wear the same cleanish clothes several days in a row and I couldn’t really think of a good enough reason not to, so off she went. 

I’m exhausted.  It's hard work getting a D.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

Making Emends

I’m three days into this ten day challenge and am finding it to be too much.  In aiming for creating meaning and simplicity, making a list of nine changes to incorporate into my life all at once is proving to be too much.  Surprise. 

And there is so much I didn’t account for when making my goals…like, how am I supposed to go to bed at 10pm when Kasey and I recently got hooked on Downton Abbey?  And how am I supposed to keep my time online to 30 minutes per day when I have to do research for teaching and place orders for my art and look up recipes and check the weather so we know what kind of clothes to wear?  And most importantly, how can I possibly add “give up sugar” to any list, since just giving up sugar requires all of the willpower and emotional energy I have in a ten day span? 

So.  I’m making emends.  I’m not making amends, because there is no harm in making a goal and realizing it to be ridiculous.  I’m making emends; because this list-text needs serious revising. 

I picked two goals that have proven to be important and rewarding so far. 
~ Go for a run or walk every day.
~ Keep daily gratitude journal with family. 

I’m loving my walks and runs.  They’re turning into something more – river wading and wet pants, new running goals. 

I’m loving keeping a gratitude journal.  Writing down a couple things I’m thankful for first thing in the day brings my priorities into focus.  And I love hearing what my kids are thankful for…

Eden: “That God is mine and everybody else’s.” 
Isaac: “For the fish in our house.” 
Eden: “That you (Mama) are with me and Daddy is with me and Isaac is with me.  That I live with you guys.” 

That last one was especially meaningful to me, since Eden has been declaring as of late that she wants to live with her friends, or her cousin, or whoever’s house we’re leaving at that moment.  I’m glad she likes living with us sometimes too. 

Now that I’ve decluttered my list, I think I can continue this declutter your world challenge for the remaining 7 days.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Day One Report: Surprisingly Hard and Surprisingly Easy

I’m halfway through Day One of the 10 Day Declutter challenge, and I’m taking notes. 

What’s surprisingly hard?  Being online for only 15 minutes, 2 times per day. 

Did you know 15 minutes goes by in the blink of an eye when you’re online?  I thought this might be true, and boy is it.  I actually took a minute to plan my time online so I’d be sure to check in on things I needed and wanted to.  I’ve used 8 of my 15 rest time minutes so far and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to do everything I want to do in the remaining 7. 

I’m noticing myself gravitating towards surfing online when I’m avoiding other things, such as the jolt of waking up and getting going in the morning, or my to-do list in the afternoon.  I’d rather sit down and zone out in the mornings, or sit down and click through pages rapidly in the afternoons to give myself the illusion of accomplishment.  But neither of these times are really good for long surfing sessions. 

What’s surprisingly easy?  Taking a walk. 

The hardest thing about going for a walk or run is the planning.  Once it’s planned in my day, it’s as good as done.  I’m thankful to have a beautiful bike and hike trail right near Eden’s school.  I pushed Isaac in the stroller for a long walk and then we waded in the river for awhile.  It was gorgeous and fun and I love how the planned outing led to unplanned adventure. 

He said, "I love you Mama" right after I snapped this pic.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

10 Day Declutter Your World Challenge

Welcome to my blog!  If you're interested in reading more about my quest for a simple life, check out this post on Tips for NOT Living Simply, this post on Creativity and Consumerism, this post on True Poverty, or this post on Creating White Space in your home. Or, click on the "simple living" tag.  Thanks for reading and I hope you'll stick around! 

I’m making an impulse decision at 11pm to join in with bemorewithless.com and the “Declutter Your World in 10 Days” challenge.  Here’s to refocusing and reenergizing at the start of a new (and my favorite!) season.  I’ll write at least one update at the end of the challenge to report back on how it went. 

Basically, the gist is to pick a few goals to work on for the next 10 days within the categories of “Shape Up,” “Pare Down,” and “Tune In.”  I’m feeling a pull to do these things right now, as our new school and work routines get underway and we settle in for the fall.  I hope this 10 day challenge will help me establish new routines with purpose and intentionality. 

Shape Up
~ No sugar.  Yikes!  I can do anything for 10 days, right!?!
~ Go for a run or walk every day. 
~ Start Fall Hiking Spree with the kids and do 2 hikes in the next 10 days. 
~ Go to bed at 10pm and read for a short while, then sleep. 

Pare Down
~ Sort kids’ clothes for size and season.  Donate or sell whatever we’re not keeping.  Store properly whatever we are keeping. 
~ Limit time online to 30 minutes daily…15 minutes during nap/rest time and 15 minutes after kids are in bed.  Set a timer.  For realz.  Other than that internet is used only for music. 

Tune In
~ Write morning pages at least 5 of the next 10 days.
~ Keep daily gratitude journal with family. 
~ Make cookies or care packages for 2 people. 

My goals are lofty (for me) and numerically defined, which I normally avoid like poison.  But I was instructed to “get extreme and a little uncomfortable” by Courtney over at bemorewithless.  And though I’ve never met her, I’m trusting her and throwing this out there. 

Wanna get crazy and make some New Year’s Resolutions in September?  Let Courtney and I know and we can encourage each other for the next 10 days.