Mom Tips: Creating a Schedule

I have such a deep longing in my soul to be a scheduled person and I’m just not. I’m just not.

There have been brief moments in the past when I have established a schedule and followed it (mostly) for a few weeks and it’s so freeing. It allows me not to stress over things undone because I know that I accomplished today’s tasks and tomorrow holds more things that have times allotted for them. It makes me disciplined, it allows me to relax and spend time with my child and my husband, and it helps me get done all the things that need to get done.

When I’m forced into a schedule because of work, I thrive. Especially when I was in college where I had to manage my time between class, work, and homework.

With the exception of the last few months when my work schedule and picking up boys from school schedule and taking care of a two year old schedule and cooking meals for everyone schedule didn’t allow much time for me to schedule anything else…what I’m saying is schedules are good for me.

So, I sat down this morning and devised a schedule plan. One that’s loose enough to allow for interruptions and structured enough to keep me from wandering aimlessly around looking at messes and allowing them to overwhelm me.

I talked it through with my husband who’s rationality to a faultness was quite helpful. I don’t deserve him. I tell him regularly, and think it even more often, that his life would be so much simpler without me. The ability to cook good food is really all I’ve got going for me. He’s way neater, cleaner, more organized, calmer, simpler…the list goes on and on.

So here’s my non-work day schedule. Note: Other than wake up and bedtime, these are all approximations just to keep me on track. Also, on errand running days, I do that type of thing in the morning so anything after breakfast and before lunch would get nixed or pushed to nap time:

Wake up – 7:00 AM
Bible – 7:15 AM
Shower – 7:30 AM
Breakfast (Aisley wakes up-ideally) – 8:00 AM
Morning Activity with Aisley – 8:30 AM
Clean Kitchen – 9:30/10:00 AM
Play Time (Aisley)/Clean Time (Me) – 10:30-11:30 AM
Lunch/Pick Up Toys – 11:30 AM
Read Books – 12:30 PM
Quiet Time/Nap Time – 1:30-2:30 PM (unless she falls asleep!)
Afternoon Activity with Aisley/Dinner Prep – dependent on quiet/nap time
Bath Time – 5:00 PM
Dinner – 6:30 PM
Bedtime – 7:45-8:00 PM
My Bedtime – 10:00 PM

On the days I work, my schedule is 9 AM-4 PM with time to drop off/pick up Aisley so I’m hoping everything up until breakfast and starting at dinner time can remain the same.

Wish me luck. And I’d love feed back/recommendations and suggestions on how you keep a schedule!–or lack there of.

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Nap Time Rebellion

It’s been a rough few weeks around here. We stopped nursing completely (we’d been down to once or twice a week for a long time) in the middle of all the holiday hustle and bustle when we were constantly surrounded by new people, visiting friends and family, and lots of travel. It threw Aisley off enough and kept her tired enough that she still napped without a lot of fuss. But since we got home from Wisconsin, nap time has been pretty sparse. And I’ve gotten a lot of attitude, unwillingness to be consoled, kicking and screaming for no reason in the kitchen floor…and this look. I get this look a lot. Especially between the hours of 4 and 7:30 p.m.

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I’ve tried sleep training which she’s always responded to so well by establishing a lunch time routine followed by reading books in her room and then laying her in her bed to fall asleep on her own. In the past when we’ve been home during the day, she always did so well with this. She would cry a lot the first day, a little less the next day, and by the third day there were only a few whimpers. This time, not so much. I tried for almost two weeks before finally giving up.

Then we tried to do a quiet time. It was a no go. She would scream and cry in her room until I finally came and rescued her from the trauma of having to play alone in her room. We’ve tried napping together, napping on the couch, napping in my bed, falling asleep in the car…the list goes on.

But yesterday, I took a cue from something I tell my husband all the time: “The child requires much transition time.”

So I started at breakfast telling her that it’s hard to have fun with Daddy at night when she’s so tired and upset so today we’re going to rest. I told her that same thing in various ways throughout the day gradually adding more detail of how this whole “rest” thing was going to play out. Then around lunch time I started telling her, “In just a little while we’re going to go read books in your room and then you’re going to rest in your bed.”

I was met with a little resistance, but she was cooperative. After reading many books and pretending many times that I didn’t know she was hiding in her closet, I told her that she and her babies needed to lay down and take a rest so they could play later tonight. And she went for it. HOORAY. It took about 20 minutes of on and off talking to her babies, tossing and turning and a few tears, but she finally fell asleep. And look how sweet:

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I don’t know whether or not she’ll do it again, but an afternoon of quiet plus knowing that she fell asleep all on her own without me becoming more and more and more frustrated has been much, much needed.

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My Real-Life Pregnancy Must Haves

I’m 32 weeks pregnant with a baby boy that I’m rather certain is quite large. Among other things, getting this child out of me is something I process daily and anything I can do to relax a little is proving to be very helpful in me not losing my mind. I think there’s a whole market out there of things you “need” when you’re pregnant, and while some of them are certainly wonderful to have, my must haves aren’t really “products” that are exclusively maternity, but rather parts of my day or week that I’ve found I really do need.

1. Warm/Hot Bath: You know when you were little and were mesmerized when you realized that you could pick up your dad in the pool? It’s kind of like that. Some days in pregnancy, it feels like you have dumbbells inside your body and being weightless for a little while can work miracles for stress and soreness and tiredness. But I have to fight this one for a turn. She’s all about the bath tub these days.

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2. Stretching: I try to stretch every day. My 2 year old likes to help. In fact, sometimes she asks to stretch. I don’t really have a stretching regimen. I just try to stay loose and stretch specific muscles that are sore or tired or achy. Areas that I find the most relaxing are my hips, my back and my calves. I don’t know about you, but I get charlie horses in my calves while I’m sleeping and keeping them stretched has made that happen much less frequently.

3. Coconut Oil mixed with essential oils: Coconut oil is fantastic for stretch marks of which I have plenty. I told my husband the other day that this kid better be REALLY cute or else. It’s also a great moisturizer in general. But in addition to that, it’s a great “carrier” for essential oils. (see 6)

4. Alba Body Lotion: I came across this lotion at Target. I’m pretty picky about the contents of our household items so it took me a while to find a lotion that I really liked, kept my skin moisturized, didn’t smell awful, and was free of some seriously harmful chemicals. Plus, it was on some crazy super sale for only $7 when it’s normally $22. I was thrilled and it works wonderfully at soothing my skin which has decided to become desert like during this pregnancy.

5. Sleep: I’ve always required a good nights sleep to function properly and between chasing a two year old, working, taking care of the house and growing  a human, I’m a little more tired than normal. Napping when my two year old naps often leaves me feeling better than if the whole house were spotless. However, there are certainly days where sleeping through all the time I would have had alone results in some serious frustration.

6. Essential Oils: Lavender oil was our most used oil for almost 2 years before I fell in love with Eucalyptus oil. I can’t get enough. Essential oils are good for more things than I can count or list, but eucalyptus oil seems to calm my senses and relax my body more than anything else. I’m not big on medicines around here. Even before I was careful about paying attention to what went into my body I shied away from all things over the counter. But when you’re pregnant there are so many things you CAN’T take even if you want to. I rely heavily on a concoction of coconut oil, lavender oil, eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil to open up sinuses, relax sore muscles, sooth headaches, and help me get good rest. I also plan to use them during labor as I’ve read that they can really assist in keeping you from being anxious as your body is contracting a child out of you.

7.  Honest Pre-Natal Vitamins: This one is specifically for pregnancy, but I can’t imagine not having them. We were gone for a week over Thanksgiving and I forgot to take them with us and I could tell a HUGE difference in my energy levels. I felt more nauseous and just weaker in general. They’re much more expensive than the cheap-o bottles you can by in the vitamin section at your drug store, but they are so much better for you.

They are filled with iron, probiotics, and include ginger and vitamin B6 to help with nausea. Plus, the packaging is fantastic. And I’m a sucker for good packaging.

8. Good Food: This one has been hard because food doesn’t sound good, but I found that I feel so, so much better when I force myself to eat food that nourishes my body rather than food that my taste buds tolerate (mostly sweeter things and bread). I started keeping track of my meals and snacks and forcing myself to include plenty of fruits and vegetables at each meal time. Fruits weren’t too hard, but vegetables sounded like garbage. I almost had to treat myself like a child and find ways to “hide” good food in other food. For instance I made a nacho meat sauce that was only half meat and the other half diced up veggies that I otherwise would have turned down. Then I loaded it up with guacamole and a little sour cream and cheese because those are three things that always sound good.

DSC_2093I took advantage of my bread loving self and “hid” lots of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber between two pieces of warm toasty bread. But mostly it was a lot of, “suck it up and eat good food.” And while chocolate and french bread sound good, I always felt significantly more energized and much less irritable when my body had veggies rather than junk.

What are your current/past must haves?

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Happy Anniversary to Me.

I’ve officially been blogging at this address for three years. Consistently. Inconsistently.

But I like it. And even when I’m not blogging actually, I’m blogging in my head. There are so many good things I’ve told you guys in my head over the last few months that just haven’t made it on here in real life. Recipes, stories, photographs. Maybe I’ll have time sometime to get it all down. Or you know, maybe not.

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Washing Dishes

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Since before Aisley was born I’ve been wanting to wash dishes with her. I even put it on my 101/1001 page.

I’m not really sure why, because I don’t particularly love washing dishes, and my husband will tell you that I’m really not that great at it. He’s the much better dish washer. It seems like no matter how thoroughly I scrub and clean at least a few of the dishes in the drainer have food (or something) still on them. I’m not sure how. I promise I try.

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But I’ve been waiting to wash dishes with Aisley. And the day has arrived. Actually it arrived a couple of weeks ago. And I’m going to be honest, other than the occasional frustration with the fact that she forgets to be gentle with dishes that are maybe a little bit breakable (like today when she every so gently slid the glass blender pitcher into the sink that was housing my cast iron skillet) that I just didn’t have a chance to wash and put away before she NEEDED to wash dishes THIS INSTANT, I really love it. And the dishes are clean and sink empty much more often than before.

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Because she’s two, and because she’s just a little bit ornery, she asks to wash dishes at all the wrong times, and she insists on washing her hands every 30 seconds, and she always needs more water.

But she got her mad cleaning skills from her father and she’s actually quite proficient at cleaning the dishes.

 

DSC_2091 And it’s adorable. She now comes to me and says, “Mommy, take of my shirt and wash dishes, please?”

I love her.

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Is this real life.

Life is really coming at me lately. I feel so behind and unable, or at least unaware of, how to catch up. I feel like I’m so far behind that I’m missing important things. And more than that, I’m missing little things. Aisley followed me around for a good minute tonight asking me to pet her puppy before I finally took a step back to listen to what she wanted. I turned around to see her holding a stuffed animal puppy closely to her face bearing the sweetest expression asking me to “Please, Mommy feel my puppy. He’s so soft.”

And today in the middle of  all but having a melt down about, “Please, Aisley just lay down and be still and take a nap,” she leaned over to my tummy and started talking to her baby brother.

“Hi, baby brubber. Miss you.”

I thought that not working at the pre-school anymore would slow things down, and while it has allowed me to run errands during the day rather than after work, I wouldn’t describe it’s affects on my life as “slow.”

Nothing about being pregnant and staying home with a 2 year old is slow. Nothing about having two teenage exchange students and a husband who works 13+ hour days is slow.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I would like slow. But I would LOVE orderly. I keep telling myself that if I could just have a whole day to myself to catch up I could be in good shape. But I’m not gonna lie. If I had a whole day to myself I would probably take a really long nap, go get my hair cut cute, and take a bubble bath. That’s kind of like catching up.

There are all these things that I tell myself, if this and that and this and that were different then this and that and this and that would be different and THEN I could be good at staying home and taking care of the house and playing with my daughter and having dinner ready before bedtime.

But my goal for right here and right now is to stop focusing on “this and that and this and that” and just take responsibility for what I can do. And right now, all I can do is not that impressive.

 

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Independence and the Terrible 2′s

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While life has certainly been more frustrating around here lately with a finicky two year old, I’m realizing little by little (although not necessarily learning from) that the terrible 2′s really have very little to do with your 2 year old being terrible, and much more to do with the fact that your 2 year old wants so badly to be independent and has so few outlets to do so. It’s like they are fully aware of all there is to do, and so unequipped to do actually do it. Like taking a bath, eating, getting dressed, making something fit just the right way, etc.

I can easily relate to her frustration in many ways. One such way is my camera. Last year for Christmas my family bought me a gorgeous, wonderful, fancy DSLR camera which, a year later, I am still in love with.

However, I know that with the right skill, that camera can do so very much more than my skill level is capable of making it do. I am aware of all it’s settings and fancy do-dads, but not knowledgeable enough on it all to operate it the way it’s intended to be operated. It’s frustrating knowing that with the right abilities, my pictures could be so much better than they are.

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I’m trying to remember daily that she just wants to be able to do things that she sees us doing every day. And I also try to remember that while it often seems she is fully aware of what’s going on, she’s still just 2 and I can’t possibly expect her to understand and properly respond to every little thing. Because I’m almost 25 and I fail at that regularly.

 

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