Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Learning From The Previous Winters

The boys hootin and hollerin it up in the hall.

I feel the need to communicate that my babes do not get a long very well most of the time. But there are a few moments where life seems good, even if it's a mere 7 minutes every few hours. I think the hardest part of my day, every day, is when the kids beat on each other. I know that if they were to get a long the day would run so much smoother and be enjoyable for everyone. But alas we all are little self centered individuals, fighting to be ontop, whatever that means in each of our little brains. I relish those few small moments where everyone is getting a long and the tv is not on-everything is right in the world in those moments.

I long for the warm days of summer where we can play outside all day long and lounge under the fantastic blue sky. Summer is a renewing time of year in some ways. In our house summer is the beginning of a fresh start. Where we can start new habits and prepare for the next winter of being cooped up for months.

Since winter of 2005 I've learned a few "things" about myself and also about what works and what doesn't work in terms of not just surviving every day in the winter but instead truly enjoying each day with my kids and spending time with them and playing with them.

I really hate lists. Like despise them. I tend to like to wing things. But for me lists are sometimes good b/c they serve as reminders for me. My mind moves so much that I often forget what my focus is and what I want to complete, etc. So there is a place in my life for a list whether I like it or not. And it's a good thing for my family life. So with all that crap said I want to share about what I'm thinking about for next winter. Things I need to work on.

I want to continue to strive to go to bed at a reasonable hour, before 11:30 if possible. That was something I struggled with even though I know I'm not that nice of a momma on all levels (or wife for that matter) when I don't get adequate sleep. Also, the weekends tend to consist of naps, in order to make up for the lack of sleep, instead of quality family time which I'm realizing my hubby really adores and misses if we don't have it-although I don't recall him actually telling me that.

As a person that struggles with depression, I know I want to keep up on my Vitamin D levels and just take care of myself in general ie. watch the amount of processed foods and "crap" I take in and somewhere, somehow fit a bit of exercise in, even if it's just stretching.

I also think I want to have not only a consistent dinner plan but also a consistent plan for breakfasts and lunches. I think this will be especially crucial with keeping the kids from intense hunger/mood swings and also Super N and W will both be in Preschool next winter so it will be important to send them off to school with full tummies versus this year with W. I seriously think his many timeouts in school are partially my fault in that I've struggled with being organized and setting aside enough planning and time to feed him well before he goes to class, sad but true. I often have the attitude of winging breakfast and lunch and now I think I cannot do that anymore, sometimes perhaps, but that doesn't work for my babes or my family as a whole.

I think I need to set aside specific times to use the internet, my friend Amanda recently setup parameters on her internet usage and I really admire her for that step. I know it's not easy and I know I personally tend to use it as a way to check out from my responsibilites because it's gratifying.

I want to try to get up before the kids and get some quiet time for myself in order to read or study or pray or just to think through the day. I know this one will be tough since I'm going to want to stay up late and then it will be rough to get up early but hopefully I'll improve in this area.

One more thing is I think it would help me to set aside specific times to read to the kids, do arts and crafts, watch a movie, etc. I know it helps me to be reminded, sometimes with a loose schedule, with suggestions of things to do. My mind tends to get in a rut and if I'm sick that day or really tired or struggling with depression I'll do what's easiest, ie stick them in front of the tube and check out!

So that's what I'm thinking at this point in the year. I know myself well enough to know that I don't expect to one day just start following all the "rules" on here and voila life will be better. No, I will take it day to day and try to keep the vision I have for my family at the fore front of my mind-which will hopefully inspire me the majority of the time to keep on keeping on.

In regards to this last winter and what I will never do again, I will never ever try to put a house on the market again with tiny children, in the winter without being financially secure enough to buy another house and move first. I am not sure what I was thinking and I think the stress just about knocked us on our butt. I cannot say I am grateful about anything that went into the process. Perhaps I'll be able to find something to be grateful about in regards to that whole ordeal later after time passes, I don't know.

My vision for my family...

I mentioned to try to keep the vision I have for my family at the fore front of my mind, which will inspire me...What is my vision? I need to type that out here so I can continue to come back to it when needed. I'd say my vision is to engage with my kids by talking to them and playing with them. I don't want them to be dependent on the tv for entertainment but I would instead like to guide them towards books, arts and crafts and playing. I want to be more patient with them and include them more in chores, so we can accomplish laundry and cleaning together. I also want us to sit down for each meal and snacks at the table and eat together. As much as I hate it I think me being proactive in these areas will help my kids relationship with their dad too and us as a familial unit as a whole. I struggle with wanting my husband to be the one to create the structure and take the lead there but you know what, I'm better at it then he is and I'm the one with the kids the majority of the time and i'm running the household persay. Me keeping a structure and the house in order allows him to come home and then just fall into his daddy role. He is able to relax because the house is in order (I'm not talkin spic and span but things are in their place) and the kids are better mentally because they're fed consistantly and the meals are healthy and everyone has an idea of "what's next" so there's not a lot of chaos and unexpectedness and everyone can relax and enjoy one another and life. Perhaps this is idealistic but you know if you don't set goals (or in my case have desires) you'll never reach them or achieve them.


Rachel said...

I think you have a perfectly wonderful, and definitely reasonable vision for your family. It's totally do-able. Acquiring the motivation is tough, but once you get the schedules, down it becomes second nature.

I happen to LOVE lists and schedules and routine and predictablility. And I'm the type who thinks that children thrive on it, as well.

Good luck, I'm eager to see the progress you make!

erin fry said...

amen, sister.

for meals with me, i try to write out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas once a week (for grocery list purposes too), then i put that list on the fridge. that way, i know i have everything on the list, and when it's time to do a meal, i can just scan the list and pick something i'm in the mood to make. it's definitely help me with meal times because pb & j gets old after a while. =)

my kids love playing games. you should try go fish, candy land, etc. do you have hullabaloo?? my kids love it! next time you're over, we'll play.

sometimes i sit and color with them at the table. i kind of like it. i also let them use watercolors because it's way less messy than real paint! and it gets them used to using a paint brush.

i've done the more structured thing sometimes, and i have noticed my kids behavior is better, and so is mine! i think i changed my mentality towards treating things like daycare or preschool... they have reading time, craft, snack, free play, etc. i think i did each thing for 10 - 15 minutes each since their attention span is rather short. and during free play (which is longer), they could either play or help me clean.

okay, i've said enough. let's get together soon for apple pie and coffee. let's do my place so the kids can play in the yard and we can chill on the deck. =)

Shady Lady said...

What great observations you've made. You have a wonderful plan that is totally realistic. Changes are best made in little bits, adding new a new thing once the last new thing becomes habit. I look forward to hearing how it all goes.