October 07, 2010

What Day Is It Anyway?!?!?

I awoke this morning, in a panic, thinking that I had to get the children up and ready for school. I literally flew out of bed and raced to the shower, with my heart pumping like crazy.

It wasn't until I was dressed, hair done, makeup on, and practically dashing back into the bedroom that I realized it was Thursday...I had, however, gotten up and completely ready for my day in about 27 minutes.

Littlest One was still snoozing happily, DG was asleep in the hallway outside our door, where she'd come back to at some point after the massive storm that sent her scurrying to our bed in the middle of the night, after which I tucked her safely back into her bed...and Captain Chaos was snoring loudly from his fancy big boy bed.

BB was also snoozing, amazingly, as I know I wasn't very careful or quiet getting ready.

I was sort of miffed at myself. How could I lose track of what day it was?!?!?!?

And then it hit me...I have been so relaxed this week, not scurrying and hurrying around the house doing things, working through a list...I've been going about my normal business, keeping things tidy, keeping things picked up, organized, counters clear and wiped, floors swept and vacuumed.

I've still done housework, just not nearly the intense level of it that I've been doing for the last several months really.

And now, I want to tell you just how it is that I've accomplished all that I have in the last months.

Back in January, I got a wild idea that we needed to take a class through our Church, Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. We started attending classes and along about Week 3, we decided that we did indeed need to Live Like No One Else right now, so that later, we can live like no one else. We were tired of being slaves to credit card companies, or the mortgage company, or just saying to ourselves, "we deserve it, we work hard!" and buying things that we've never used since. We embraced the idea of becoming debt free. We committed to the plan, we made a budget, we have stuck to it. We have stayed committed.

Now, for my family, that means that I have stopped just going places because. I don't just load up the kids and drive to Target or Wal-Mart or Kohl's, or a mall just because I need something to do that day. I don't load them up and drive the 2 miles to the closest Starbucks for an overpriced cup of coffee. I don't load them up at 11:30 to run errands knowing that it means we have to eat lunch out somewhere.

We plan out in the weeks leading up to the end of a calendar month where every single dollar will go in the next calendar month. We stopped using our credit cards. Yes, you read that right...I don't even carry one in my wallet anymore. They are safely locked away until we decide to close the accounts. I go to the bank on days that BB and I decided and withdraw cash. That cash is separated into envelopes to cover every thing that we do on a regular basis - hair cuts, food shopping, diapers, clothing, co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions and the like. We have an envelope that holds money to pay for things on our vacations. If there's money in the food envelope after I do the grocery shopping, then we can use it for one of two things - stocking up the freezer or pantry, or going to eat at a restaurant. If I see something really cute for the kids, and there's no money in the envelope, then we don't buy it.

As a result, I've been a lot more careful in planning my errands - down to what day I visit which locations and what time of day, to minimize wasting gas driving all over town, and maximize the time in which I have happy children.

We've been spending lots and lots of time at home. I don't mean sitting around and watching TV or just laying around. I've spent hours and hours in my garden, planting, weeding, harvesting, pruning...I've spent hours watching my children play in their pool, on their slide, in their sandbox...running around the backyard. I've spent hours playing games like Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Memory, Dominoes. I've spent hours reading stories to the kids, helping Captain learn how to write his letters and numbers, teaching DG to recognize the letters of the alphabet by sight. Working with them both on things like Play-Doh and Lego creations, flashcards with vocabulary words, we even started learning Spanish.

However, that only worked when the kids were awake...once they were asleep, I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with myself. I was getting up early to workout after Littlest One was born and I was back to "normal" (no comments please!), so working out during that window of time when they were sleeping was not something I wanted to do again...I'm not a multiple workouts in one day kind of gal...I was faced with the decision of spending my hours on the computer, surfing the Internet, or watching TV. If you've ever spent any time watching daytime television programming, even with all the channels satellite TV affords us, you know that there's nothing but junk on from about 10am until the evening news on your local network affiliate...and so, I sat down one day and made a master list of all the things I have wanted to do around the house since we moved in. I asked myself what would my ideal living situation be, if I had nothing but time? And I answered...and boy did I answer!

And that is the reason that I'm suddenly faced with this dilemma of which hobby to pick up first!

I made it through my entire list of things I can do which don't cost us any money. I still have things on my list like finishing my laundry room (no money to buy paint right now, but the home improvement fund is slowly growing in the direction!), I still want to have my floors done in hardwood and a new kitchen...BUT...for right now, everything is clean, shiny, organized, and neat and tidy.

I've come to realize that now that all things are in a state of organization, and we've sold just about everything we can sell, I've nothing left to do!

All my veggies that are ripe, are harvested and preserved or eaten. All my laundry is clean, mended, ironed, folded, and put away neatly. All the books are organized. The kids' closets are traded out for cool weather clothing. The garden is as clean as it can be at this time of year. The basement is neat and tidy, as clean as an unfinished basement can be. I've spot-cleaned furniture and carpet, dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed and mopped everything into a web-free environment.

And now, I'm wondering, what do I do?

I can't volunteer during the kids' naptimes, because they can't be left alone. I can't get a job, for the same reason. I have aspirations of writing, painting, knitting, quilting, and I have a TON of photos to sort and get scrap-booked.

I just don't know what to do next. I'm enjoying this sense of accomplishment, but don't want to rest on my laurels or lose my motivation...but I want to relax and enjoy living in my house. I want to enjoy being a Mommy to my kids. I want to enjoy being a wife.

I am enjoying the fact that we've had complete meals every night for the last 2 weeks that have only one time included leftovers...and that was very deliberate - we had no room in the refrigerator!

I would welcome your input on this one - do I start a massive scrap-booking session - working my way from our respective single lives, through our dating and courting, our wedding, the early days of marriage, and our growing family - or do I do something that is purely for me like knitting that sweater I've been working on for 14 months or work on some crafty things like painting or quilting or sewing clothes for the kids?


Anonymous said...

I suggest:

a) sewing..with fabric sales the kids and christmas gifts it would give you a sense of accomplishment.

b) knitting..with cold weather, you could knit the kids hats, scarves, slippers, blankets, shawls, sweaters..and the list goes on.

Peruse the internet for free patterns or go to the fabric store and view the catalogs..Maybe the library for ideas on craft patterns too.

Can't wait to see the pictures of your new project..

Inkling said...

How about you leave BB with the kids for a week or two and come and do what you did to your house for me? Wow. I'm impressed......and a little depressed. You get more done in a morning than I get done in a whole week.

Part of it is that my energy levels really stink right now, and progress in that department is slow as molasses thanks to a weakened immune system the likes of which I've not seen since at least a decade ago. But still.....I should be doing more. So I think you should come and bring a cattle prod or something, along with your list. And I can have a new house by Friday, along with new habits by Saturday. =)

Of course, if you do that, I would imagine that you'd have to start all over again once you got home. Because we all know what happens when mama isn't there to keep it all going.