My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

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My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

Was I always a little flaky? I don’t know. For years, I could get away with being very loosy-goosy with my planning because I was a stay-at-home mom of preschoolers. We moved all the time too, so by the time people developed expectations of me, we were off and away to the next town.

Over the years, I have slipped into a routine of planning as little as I can get away with planning. I’ll procrastinate decisions until they are made for me. Yep. Guilty of that. Sometimes I get this fear of commitment. If I sign up for things, I’m going to have to figure out how to actually accomplish those things with toddlers in tow.

And I never knew when my husband would be here or not be here, so making plans felt like shooting darts– real darts–in a room full of people, blindfolded.

No thanks.

So friends, that is how I became the version of April you have today.

April, are you going to the yada yada yada meeting?

**Total deer in the headlights**

Ummmm. Uhhhhhh.  Umm, yeah, you know, I might…

(Inside my head I’m thinking……IF all 4 kids are well, IF Alan is in town, IF I have energy left that day…..IF I am not supposed to actually be at Dan’s tee-ball game or some Army function that I can’t remember the exact dates for…..If, If, If…..)

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

I love to rock me some babies. Go away, world, until I finish this.

 

Actually, for the past 11 years those were all perfectly good reasons to be flaky, indecisive, unprepared, uncommitted, and unsure. Did I shut the world out a little bit? Yes, yes, I definitely did.

In fact, I had to google the word “twerking” not too long ago. I’m so out of touch with pop culture, and I kept hearing that word. All I can say to that one is ew, girl! Ew. Somebody get that poor girl a sweater and some capri pants.

But things keep popping up on our calendars, and I’ve re-entered the world of work with my blog. I actually HAVE to FORCE myself to plan and be less free-spirited, more grown-up like.

You people who have a plan amaze me, and I mean that in a good way. You totally have my respect.

You know when you are going on vacation. You’ve actually committed to specific dates, and you probably even know how you are gong to pay for that.

You have a budget.

You know when people’s birthdays are, and you plan for that accordingly.

You keep some sort of planner or calendar.

 My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan
About that….Y’all! I have purchased TWO different “planners” this year. They are both mostly blank. I have a calendar hanging in my kitchen too, which makes 3 planners, really. All I’ve written on that one is what the kids are doing for lunch and when their dentist appointments are.

I even downloaded an editorial calendar plug-in to try and start planning my blog posts. (It’s actually extremely helpful, fellow bloggers, check it out. It’s called “editorial calendar.”)

Only I’m so anti-structured in my thinking, I can rarely bring myself to write about what I’m ‘scheduled’ to write about.

I also have 2 different e-books I’ve written half of, and now they are just sitting on my hard-drive taking up space. My hard drive is so full, my computer has actually stopped letting me download or upload new things.

And suddenly I find myself wanting to change.

See, I bought all those planners. That’s the first step. I WANT to do the right thing and be all responsible again. I always was one-half responsible and one-half not at all, even back in high school and college. I used to make myself plans and stick to them, sort of. Well, I used to make plans. Maybe I never did really stick to them. I almost always turn in everything on time, actually, but I live in fear of signing up for extra things.

So I decided to pray about this today.

And this was my answer:  If you can plan out each day by making a list and crossing things off, then you can apply that same strategy to weeks. Then apply it to months. Then do that for years. Do it at the start of each week, each month, and each year, just like you are doing now for days.

Huh. Brilliant. Maybe even doable?

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

My planning tends to never go past the day that I’m on. This is the typical extent of my planning.

 

What I do now for each day is this. After I have safely delivered all of my children to school, I come home and have a little time for Bible study and prayer. You have to pour inspiration in to yourself if you expect to pour any out, right?

I close with prayer, and I ask God to help me make my to-do list for that day. I write the list out on the wipe-off board in the kitchen. Then I mentally prioritize the things that HAVE to get done.

That’s why I usually cook supper in the morning, by 12:00, because I know everyone HAS to eat, and I don’t want that task hanging over my head. Also, I have no energy left at 5:00pm.

I see no reason why this method for planning each day could not be applied to my weeks, months, and years, with one of the 3 planners I’ve purchased laying open on my lap.

My Brilliant Plan for How to Plan

And don’t even say that I should use my phone as my planner. I can’t do it. This falls under scatter-brained people problems. The minute I open my phone to use the calendar or some other useful, productive app, I immediately forget what I was doing and end up reading Instagram or my email or something.

So watch out, world! I now have a plan for how to plan!!!! Who knows? Maybe next week I will make a budget, a meal plan, or catch up on my 2,809 emails…….nahhhhh…

Please share your best planning tips in the comment section! We would love to hear more ideas! Thanks, y’all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My New Stay at Home Mom Job: Just JD and me (and the blog)

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All of us at Open House

I LOVE being a stay at home mom.

No, I mean literally. I LOVE IT. I always have. This is my pace of living y’all. Yes, I have to get up BEFORE 6am now to drag sleeping boys out of bed and drive them to school, but that is the ONLY down side.

My life is so free now. I made a schedule on day 1, just to make it all feel official. Then I took the notebook I wrote the schedule in, closed it, stuck it somewhere I’ll never find it again, and got on with my stay-at-home-mama life.

enjoying the slower life after school: One advantage to moving is that at first you belong to NOTHING. No clubs. No sports. Just freedom.

It’s just JD and me during the day now. He already made up his own routine, perfect for a 3-year-old.

Here’s his basic daily plan of action:

my new job

  1. While Mom begs brothers to get out of bed, JD is always the first kid up.
  2. Drink milk that is 50% white milk and 50% chocolate milk.
  3. Ask for breakfast food, but never eat it.

    my new job

    Also he does love to sweep.

  4. Piddle around with toys, usually planes or cars.
  5. Ride with Mom to drop off his brothers.
  6. Eat a snack.My New Stay at Home Mom Job: Just JD and me (and the blog)
  7. Paint and then stand behind Mom while she does her workout asking, “Done yet? Done yet? Done yet? Done now? Now?” over and over again.
    my new job

    Getting’ fit with kbburn.com, while JD stands behind me asking, “You done yet? Done now? All finished? You wash Dusty now?”

    Dusty is his airplane. He likes to draw on his eyes and then beg me to wash all of the marker off.

Hot Tip: Sharpie is easily removed from any surface, using rubbing alcohol. Even walls. This is my true area of expertise.

8. Watch Planes while also playing with about 15 toy airplanes.

9. Before Planes is over, ask to take a bath with 30 or so toys.

my new job

So much cuteness! I love my job.

10. After the bath, let Mom dress him and then have lunch with Mom.

11. Story time!

12. Nap: He sleeps on Daniel’s top bunk with the box of 20 toys that he carries around the house.

13. Mom carries him, asleep, from the top bunk to his car seat.

my new job

mini-Alan #4

14. Jump on the trampoline with Joshua. This is so adorable to watch.

This is so different from what spending the days with Daniel was like.

Daniel and I had one year that was just the two of us, back when he was 1 1/2- 2 years old. With Daniel, I had to re-trace my steps every few minutes to make sure he wasn’t pouring syrup all over the table, painting his chair with lipstick, or emptying an entire bottle of baby powder all over himself. And let’s not even talk about the poop play-doh incident. *Shudder.* I was really thankful for the steam cleaner that day, and also thankful that Alan and Nonna cleaned Daniel up while I got off scott free.

My New Stay at Home Mom Job: Just JD and me (and the blog)

There was no limit to the things he’d get into. He was always helpful and sweet, and I would take him anywhere, but whoo–he could think up some messes to make and execute like no other.

If John David miraculously lets me stay in a room by myself, I can guarantee you the most mischievous thing he has done so far is color all of his cars with markers, which I let him do because who cares, they are his cars.

And yes, he’s finally 100% potty-trained.

I do miss my assistant chef, though. The other night, I held Daniel in my lap, and I just sobbed. Kindergarten is emotional for mommas. Gracious, what is with me lately? I said, “Daniel, I miss how we always baked cookies together, now that you are in school all day. I miss you so much.”

John David looked at me, with the cutest, guiltiest, sheepish look on his face and said, “Sorry, Mom. I’ll cook whi choo.”

But he didn’t, and that’s okay. We don’t all love baking. I get it. Maybe I’ll lose weight without Daniel here, driving me to bake goodies.

my new job

I do miss all three of them, but I’m enjoying spending my days at this slower pace too.

Now if I can just figure out how to squeeze in a little “working at home” time, maybe I could make some money. It’s the best of both worlds. I just need to get in the habit of picking up more writing/blogging jobs.

However, next year John David will go to pre-school part-time, and I will have even more time to work. Years and years stretch ahead of me in which I can and will work for money, but these are precious years, years that you cannot get back. And I am loving this!

my new job

Babies don’t keep. They tell me he’s not a baby anymore. Fine. If you insist, but he looks like a baby to me. Pre-schoolers don’t keep either, and I could just eat him up, he’s so darlin’!

Yep, I’m back to being a regular ol’ stay-at-home, occasionally work-at-home mom, and this is the life for me.

 

 

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Classical Conversations, Basketball, Busy Bags, and Other Mom Stuff

Caleb carved this shark in the coral reef onto foam board. Then he painted it and stamped it onto paper. This photo is of the foam board after using it to stamp the paper with the picture.

Caleb carved this shark in the coral reef on foam board. Then he painted it and stamped it onto paper. 

These are the kinds of fun things we get to do in Classical Conversations, our home school tutoring service and curriculum. Look closely at his picture to see if you can find the eel coming out of the coral. (Hint: middle-left, It’s a profile with an eye.)

Classical Conversations is a rigorous way to approach home schooling, but it is also fun. It has definitely raised the educational bar for us.

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If you felt like you were reading the blog of a pitiful, dying woman in January and February, then I have good news for you!

I’m feeling better!

Going gluten free was my first step towards wellness. Now I’m also doing this Purification 21 day cleanse, which I’ll tell you more about soon, and I’m feeling even better. I haven’t lost a single pound, though. Ah, well. Go figure.

Plenty of happy things have been happening lately in school and sports and life in general, and of course you know I’m here to share all that.

First, let’s talk about home school.

I’m well aware that I have not been much of a home school blogger this year, so let me show ya a tad bit of what we’ve been up to lately without upsetting my big boys with over-share, of course…

home schooling with classical conversations

because sitting down is overrated, apparently

home school with classical conversations

Voluntarily reading the Bible! This kid knows how to make his momma smile!!

home school with CC

With our CC curriculum, the boys learn 5 new geographical locations to map out every week, which we practice everyday.

Last year we mostly traced a dry erase map, but actually drawing out the map locations every day has helped them learn it better. This particular map went along with our history lesson on the advanced (native) civilizations of Mesoamerica.

preschool homeschool

Dan and JD aren’t in CC yet. They are sorting colors and letters in their egg crates. (Thank you, Amy!)

The boys have an aunt who is crafty and extremely teacher oriented. She makes these off-the-chain busy bags, and THEN she ever so kindly shares them with us!! So exciting! She puts these kits together, complete with instructions and personalized details, and sends them to us in the mail!

Thank you, Amy!!!

homeschool with CC

We’re memorizing all of the helping verbs as well as all of the prepositions this year in grammar for CC.

home school with classical conversations

See! They do sit and work sometimes!

home school with classical conversations

Super proud mom moment. I took the boys to the park, and Caleb brought along a book to read. It was one of those unusually perfect days, in which the boys played and shared and helped each other out so perfectly (In public!!!) that I got to look like Mom of the year. Thank you, boys.

 

home school with classical conversations

We’re in earth science for this part of Cycle 1. (I liked life science better, but it all must be covered.)

home school with classical conversations

I got especially excited about this one because he beat the timer.

home school with classical conversations

This is another one of Amy’s incredible busy bags. Um, hello? They even have our pictures on them, and of course, they are laminated.

No, she doesn’t sell them, but if she ever decides to open shop, you can bet I will sell them for her right here.

But you know we are not just academic here. Allow me to share this winter’s big passion:

home school with classical conversations

Yes. This is my basketball necklace.

Basketball!!!

Did you know that Alan coached a team this year, a team that both Joshua and Caleb got to play on? And did you also know that we won almost all of our games?

home school with classical conversations

That’s Joshua with the ball.

Most importantly, both boys had a blast, made new friends, learned a great deal about basketball and how to play it, got tons of exercise, and grew in confidence!! (I was most excited about that last part!)

Joshua, passing to Caleb

Joshua scored so many times, and Caleb made a few baskets as well. They were both energized and highly involved, and it was such a pleasure to watch them play.

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Caleb, keeping it high

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Coach Dads

Alan is that unusually experienced and exciting coach that every parent or kid would want to have, unless having snack is important to you. Alan’s stance on snack: “If someone wants to organize snacks, that’s fine. I’m not going to, but feel free.” And you know what? No one did, and I don’t think anyone missed snacks.  Fun season!

 

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Of course, now it’s time to move on to baseball, but don’t worry. I already have two baseball charms ready for my necklace and my bracelet.

 

Hope everyone has a fabulous week, whether we like the election results or not!

When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” C. S. Lewis

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