Sunday, February 19, 2017

Cleaning, planning, and journaling - who am I kidding? I hate all those things. Except maybe planning.

Hey look - I've managed to write TWO posts in the SAME YEAR! Will wonders never cease?

I don't know if you've noticed or not, but we're more than halfway through February. How the hell is that possible?  As with all things, I start with the best of intentions and then get thrown off course and sidetracked somehow. In an effort to get control of this that and the other, I ordered a planner/calendar/journal last month from Ink+Volt. Told Matt about my plans, how this was going to help me be a better 'whatever hat I'm wearing at the moment' - he may possibly have rolled his eyes. I suppose after 22 years he might know me a little bit... I managed to sit down on Super Bowl Sunday (because yeah I don't watch it...) and tried to plot out the next week, anticipating lots of accomplishments and organization. Did any of that happen? No. I think like 30 minutes later my throat started getting scratchy and I started sneezing, and just like that I lost a week of productiveness.

Aside from that, the planner is really cool, if I can get into the habit of using it. Lots of space to organize your month/week/day, and set goals for each day/month/year.  It's all about those daily habits, isn't it? Matt is REALLY REALLY good about his routine - get up/work out/work/do the thousand little things that need to get done when you have a full time job and a business and kids and a house/relax for 15 minutes/go to bed and do it all again. Me? Not so much. I've always flown by the seat of my pants and gotten along by the skin of my teeth.

I get overwhelmed and panicky, and like to bury my nose in my kindle and pretend there aren't a thousand fires burning around me demanding attention. You can only get away with this behavior for so long before something has to give (and I totally wrote 'behaviour' - I think - HA! I TOTALLY KNOW -  I was British in a former life..) ← see, sidetracked!

So in an effort to get control of my home/kids/life - I'm trying on the Flylady method for size. I know she's been around forever, but I never really paid much attention. Do I need a computer to tell me how to clean? Yes - yes I do. Her positive words of encouragement throughout the day, reminders to throw on that load of laundry to keep the mountain away, and her 'good enough' cleaning tips and zone management are totally up my alley. My bathrooms are cleaner, the kitchen counters are getting under control, and the laundry is all folded and put away. We may be on to something here....

What else is going on? De-cluttering. Projects. Work. LIFE. Checking out the new snap chat filters every morning 😀(Matt hates them by the way - so I usually send him a couple of the worst ones lol!) Yeah I'm really good at wasting time. I'm hoping between the journal and Flylady, I'll be able to finish the project I've had on the back burner for THREE YEARS - and the others that haven't been waiting for my attention quite as long, but are waiting nonetheless. 2017 is the year, I am determined. And if I actually finish something, I'll have something to talk about - and pictures! Wouldn't that be something....

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cleaning House, Literally and Figuratively

I'm staring at this blank page, wondering what to possibly write. It's been so long - and so much has happened in the last two years (really, four years since I posted anything regularly) that I don't even know where to begin. We bought two businesses and sold one - Matt's had 3 jobs and is finally somewhere excellent and stable - Evie's in high school, William's a teenager, and Sarah and Jason are like an old married couple - they crack me up DAILY. I drink too much wine and have the extra padding to show for it, but my doctor complimented me last week on my excellent lung capacity and low blood pressure, so I've got that going for me! 😃 And look at that - blogger has emojis now - that's excellent because I use them all the time!

2016 was a wild ride, no? I'm still gobsmacked that Donald J Trump is the President of our United States. A year ago I would have thought it was a joke. Six months ago I thought there was no way the people in charge of it all (because you know it's not We the People...) would ever let anyone other Hillary Clinton win. I stayed up all night November 8th watching returns come in because I couldn't actually believe he pulled it off - but here we are! Time will tell what the next four years will bring, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

So 2017 is here, and we're off to a good start at the House of Harried Mom. The Grand Purge of Stuff is under way, and it feels SO GOOD to clear out the clutter. A long way to go, but we've made a good start. I'm making a serious effort to feed my people cleaner - less packaged, more whole foods, and to get my exercise in every day. If you can't change the world, change yourself - right? I'm determined to get my head out of the sand and actually make progress on all the stuff I need and want to do, rather than burying my nose in a book and ignoring the things that need attention. Goes against my procrastinating nature, but I'm going to give it a shot. Last night Jason was rattling off the things he's looking forward to this summer, and pretty much all of them with the exception of going to the beach (omg I miss the beach, it's been too long!!!) were things we did last summer, so I guess I'm doing something right. It's hard to know, with this mom thing....

Since I always feel like I need a picture with a post, I'll leave you for now with this - our Texas sunset from last night. Four years in and no regrets - I love Texas.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A post with no title is still a post. right?

Ollo 2015! Yes I know it started a week ago, but I've been doing things, and stuff. Please bear (bare? I think it's bear (and I had to look it up to make sure - definitely 'bear') with me, there will probably be a fair amount of pop culture references in this one.
So my kids finally went back to school on Tuesday, after being off since December 19. That's DECEMBER 19TH people. It was a bit of an adjustment, to say the least. No more staying up until all hours of the night and staying in pajamas all day - we have stuff and things to do and learn!

I think it was about 16 degrees or so this morning. Did I mention that we moved to Texas 18 months ago? I really, really never expected this kind of cold when we talked about relocating. Sure, we looked at average temps, but I guess I didn't pay much attention to lows, thinking they were outliers. Yesterday Matt turned down the heat at night to 64 to try and conserve propane, and we're running 66 during the day. Got my fleece hoodie on, as well as socks (which I hate wearing!), and scarf :) I have plenty of hair to keep my head warm, but I have seen Matt sporting a House Hat.... brrrrr!
Sarah and Jason both received ipod touches from Santa this year, and it's been a hoot to watch them text each other (and me!) and learn how to navigate technology (no more fighting over my phone! and I can delete all their games!) - I think Sarah has an alarm set for almost every activity you could think of (wake up - feed the fish - go to school - computer time - brush teeth - read...etc.) Of course, the alarms go off randomly around the house during the school day and I have to go shut them off.....

What else?? I have no idea. I fight a daily battle to stay out of the wine. My issue really isn't so much food, we eat pretty healthy, and unless there are fresh baked goods that must be consumed (by me) before they go stale, I'm good - but I do love me a fermented grape. And the more fermented grape you consume, the more your tolerance for them increases. Along with the size of your - pretty much everything, unfortunately. But it's a new year, and I'm making an effort to take back control of things I've just let slide. Exercise will be a priority, posting here (since it's the only place I write anything down) and - well, pretty much everything I've been ignoring while I've had my head in the sand.(although I'm beginning to see why I stopped doing this, it takes TIME! Oy.) We've done some fun projects in this house that I have pictures of & will share at some point, but many, many more rattling around in my brain, waiting for time and fund-age to turn into a reality. I think I make Matt crazy with the constant remodeling-in-my-head that I must share with him, but I think I'd go crazy without having those changes to look forward to. We'll get there, I'm confident of that. Carpe Diem.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Sayonara 2014.

Are you there blog? It's me Jen.

I've almost forgotten how to do this, the whole blog-thing - it just hasn't been a priority in the last two years. I also haven't been taking nearly as many pictures, which used to be a driving factor here.
 The kids are bigger, and at the point where 1) it's next to impossible to get a nice shot of all of them together and 2) they are possibly at that awkward place where they don't know how to act natural in front of a camera.
 And they pick on each other. Well - Evie and William do. Sarah and Jason, as always, can be taken anywhere to do anything, and they're pretty much guaranteed to behave. mostly.
 So we've been in Texas for about a year and a half. Not going to lie, it hasn't been all sunshine and roses - more like grasshoppers, fire ants and the occasional scorpion; leaks in the sprinkler system and appliances at the end of their useful life; job stress, and not enough cash to deal with everything the way it really should be dealt with - but we're still here, alive and kicking.
On the positive side, all of us, from the tallest to smallest, have settled in and made some life-long friends. Evie's BFF's got off the bus with her the day of Christmas Break, and I can't tell you how happy it made me to hear how they LOVE coming to our house :) Every mom's dream, that. You won't find homemade cookies and lots of structure here, but everyone is happy and for the most part safe from injury. Construction debris notwithstanding.
 So 2014 and our time here hasn't been all that carefree and easygoing, but it's pretty much over  - thank you Lord - Matt and I are both ready for it to end. Life is what you make it, no? Time to take control and forge our own destiny. 2015 is the year we turn this all around.
 Tomorrow is a new day in a new year, and it's time to get down to business and own it. I won't find the answers to our problems in a bottle of wine (or my kindle), and said wine certainly won't help how my pants fit.

Have a freakin' awesome New Year. It's yours for the taking.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weary Mama.

I'm a weary mama.The days are long and busy, no? Filled with things that must be done, things that should be done, and then - at the bottom of the list - the things we'd like to do. I'd REALLY like to curl up with my new copy of Allegiant - which finally arrived Saturday, after originally being mailed to our old house - because I'd pre-ordered it, and didn't even think about having moved in the meantime - but instead, there's a pile of clean laundry in the dining room, mocking me; Jason's Halloween costume has paint drying at the moment; there are four HUGE pumpkins sitting on the porch waiting to be carved - and the house is filthy. The pool is dirty. The grass needs to be cut. The indoor cat's favorite way to get my attention is to shred paper left laying around - you know, the important ones you leave out because you need to deal with them. The outdoor cat - left to our care by the previous owners who denied having a cat - wants to come in, and the indoor cat wants to go out. I have a thousand things I want to do to this house, and no money to do it. Sometimes I want to find a dark hole and stay there.

It helps to look back and see how far we've come - I am so.grateful for the two weeks I spent homeless at the beach with the kids. We all love Duck, NC, and I think it was probably the best decision I could have made, to leave Virginia and head to a place familiar to us after moving out of the only house our kids had known. I know I really needed it - and we all got along amazingly well.
Coffee and Othello with Sarah on the deck
Part of that probably had to do with the fact that it was just me and the kids, and I didn't really care what we did or how late we stayed up. I kind of got on the same schedule they did - we woke up with the sun and went to bed after watching some of Season 1 of Doctor Who....

We played in the ocean - which was COLD at first, but changed every day! - and sewed Zombies. Well - Evie and I sewed zombies - William spent most of his time on his ipad, playing Minecraft and chatting via Facetime with his friend Rianne (technology has been the biggest blessing with all of this...)

The big kids rode boogie boards, and everyone helped bury William.

They dug holes, and made sand castles, and just sat in the surf....

We had fruity drinks and games, and waited for the waves to wash us out to sea...

My dad spent a week with us and treated us all to dinner and ice cream...

I dragged everyone to Kitty Hawk for a history lesson - because while I have every intention of going back to Duck, I have no idea how long it will take me to get there. They were NOT happy with me making them LEARN....!

The beach was gorgeous, and different every day - and quiet, as it was early in the season. We saw a wedding party posing for pictures, dolphins jumping in the sea, and just relaxed, played, and decompressed from the insanity and stress that was the end of the school year and moving out of the only house the kids had known. Stuffed to the gills in the van, with the cat. Did I mention that? Yah. 4 kids, myself, and the cat, stuffed into -oh, I don't know, 20 cubic feet? Halfway across the country? No wonder I've gained 10 pounds. I need to look at that beach view again....

There, that's better.

I leave you with William, playing the new song he'd found, while stuffing his face with Duck Donuts. Oy.

Monday, October 7, 2013

My baby girl turned 7....

Seven years ago Sarah came screaming into our lives. No, seriously -I've never heard a baby cry that loud at birth. Matt and I just looked at each other somewhat in horror at how loud she was. The nurses got a kick out of that, and warned us we were in trouble.
Love the feet :)
Aside from the screaming - she did NOT like baths, and I swear I have some hearing loss from the sound echoing around the bath tub.... - Sarah was a great sleeper, and we definitely had our peaceful moments - I've never seen such a smiley baby....

I miss sleeping with a baby :(

Sarah was my only thumb-sucker. We didn't really use binkies, when they cried, I picked them up, no matter where we were (seemed like I always had to hold it in their mouths anyway, otherwise they pushed them out). I'll never forget finding her sleeping in her crib, thumb in mouth, the first time :)

Sarah doesn't suck her thumb anymore, but she DOES make the same faces :D Life with her is intense. She's smart as a whip, and has a fantastic sense of humor. She uses big words like preposterous, loves to sing (in the shower) and dance (when you're not watching) and help me in the kitchen. She's to have around, and can always bring a smile to my face.

Simple things make her happy, like a big red button that says 'NO' in a bajillion different ways....

A hat so she can pretend she's Derpy from My Little Pony....
...and some stuffed guinea pigs. Sarah can apparently never have too many stuffed animals.

"It took me all my computer time to get all my webkinz (4 new ones) signed up, but I DID IT. PHEW!" - Sarah, aged 7

My baby girl is 7 and I want to know where the time has gone.......

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Three months in....

October 1! Welcome to fall, y'all :)It hardly seems possible that it's been 3 months to the day since we moved into our Texas house. Is it me or does your current reality kind of overwrite everything that came before it, and it seems like you've been in it forever?

It helps to have our own things around us, I was SO HAPPY to have back MY furniture, kitchen things, and CLOTHES after living out of a suitcase for a month & having most of our house packed for three. Of course - not much fits, because moving is stressful on a Harried Mom, and she tends to drink more wine when under stress. It's a good thing we're in Texas, and I have a month or two before I need to fit into my jeans. My 'drink less' effort wasn't going so well, so now I'm working on 'run more'....

So, we've been here 3 months, and the kids have been in school for several weeks. They're settling in and making friends (dear moms of friends - I'm giving you my phone number because my child wants to have a play date with yours, and I don't have your number - please call!)
 We're dealing with all the issues of a 12 year old house that - I have to say -seems to have been a bit neglected in the last couple of years - but that's a whole blog in and of itself (coming soon to a blog near you!)
 My small kids, after about 6 weeks of swimming in the pool with vests, ditched the vests at the end of the summer and were swimming on their own like fish....
pool noodle jousts
 We enjoyed long summer days swimming and swinging on the playset left behind....
 ...and I caught William READING A BOOK. The book I insisted he get from the library. I think he actually enjoys reading now, that he's fluent and it's not so much work - not that he'll ever admit that to me....
 William turned 10 and can now be seen zooming around on his electric scooter. When they only ask for one thing, you sort of have to get it for them, no?
  We had birds having a pool party....
 ....and inherited a cat that was left behind. Sugar is a sweetheart, and I'm happy that if the previous owners didn't want her, they left her for us. She's also a fantastic mouser (if only she'd stop leaving them for me...) and I'm hoping that will cut down on snakes...
Finally, I have never in my life seen such consistently beautiful sunrises and sunsets. It is gorgeous here, and I love it.

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