Life in our household has recently become busy. Busier than we’d anticipated for summer being upon us. When I had thought of this summer during the history making freeze that hit us here in the desert last winter, I had envisioned lazy slow days and getting used to dry heat again (having spent the last many summers in the humid Southeast). I had envisioned field trips to find petroglyphs as a family and camping trips-maybe even to the Grand Canyon this year (we haven’t had much in the way of summer vacations in the last several years)! But at the end of May we were presented with the opportunity for my husband to work a lot of overtime through the summer. We looked at our financial goals and realized it could fast track us to the finish line of our debt free life. We just had to be willing to “live like no one else so that we could live like no one else” (yes, I listen to a lot of Dave Ramsey. It keeps me real with myself financially and it inspires me to stay on track). So. With a little bit of sadness to let go the lazy days of summer we decided to go for it and be done with debt once and for all by Fall. This meant maybe two or three days (not weekends-but only days) off a month if we are lucky for the next four months. We decided that, having survived two military war-zone deployments, at least he is in the same town and will, mostly, come home once a day to see us. We could do this. We prepared to put our heads down, square our shoulders and put our backs into it as we invited the stronger winds upon us. We embraced the blessing of opportunity. This was still the beginning of May.
By mid June I was already beat. Our routines had been tossed by those winds of hard work and a family visit managed to throw us off track all the more. I was struggling and not happy about it. After a bit of a tirade one evening to my ever-patient husband to let off some steam, I decided there is always an answer. I just needed to do what I’ve become so adept at doing. I reached down and yanked myself up by my bootstraps. I took a hard look at how I was contributing to my failure to adapt to our new schedule. I quickly realized my attitude was in need of adjustment. I prayed for strength (I do that a lot too.). I went to bed early for good measure in order to get up the next morning determined to find the answers and be cheerful about it too.
The next day, up I got. I poured some coffee, got the kids dressed and took them outside to play while I began my quest to organize our lives so that we could get things done everyday as painlessly as possible and still manage to have fun. I needed a way to smooth out the bumps. I started out by looking for some meal planning instruction because mealtimes were not going so well. I kept finding myself trying to toss a meal together at the last minute and dinnertime kept having it’s way with me by sneaking up and shouting “boogity boogity!” each and every night (which is really ridiculous considering dinner is something that comes daily and I know this). I quickly stumbled upon a very lovely menu planning printout that was free and I said to myself-THAT’S RIGHT! Not only do I need this to be organized and practical but I need it to meet my particular and peculiar need to look lovely so I’ll actually use it. I have a great habit of re-using and re-purposing in this house, but I still find that most things need to meet a certain aesthetic criteria for me to use it consistently and cheerfully. So after some further poking around online I found the FlyLady’s Control Journal-which is basically a daily roadmap for family life-much like a homemade version of the organizer I used to depend upon back when I worked outside the home. I’d heard of the FlyLady before and I’m pretty sure I had even a vague memory of this Control Journal in the recesses of my mind. I quickly discovered that this was, indeed, the answer I’d been after. Hallelujah!
So I am now in the process of putting together our Control Journal. It’s slow going (as the FlyLady recommends) but I’ve prioritized the sections that I need to add in first to at least get us some smoother sailing so we can move forward a bit at a time. For now, it’s contents are in an ugly black binder that I had on hand, but I’ve found some prettier planning printouts to put inside of it. I’m sure in the next few days I’ll manage to find or create something more charming-more like my homegrown recipe collection book that houses all my recipes for wonderful concoctions from apple cake to homemade all purpose cleaner to laundry soap. And while I haven’t gotten to make my “summer board” that I’d mentioned in my previous post, I now have a centralized list, a place to put my plan for that board, and a way to get things back on track and moving smoothly so we can, indeed, look back on this summer and see it as one full of wonderful memories in spite of the hard work and “busy” that is upon us. It’s been only a matter of days, but I have to say this is already working and I can see how it’s going to be a great solution for our family. I’ll keep you posted about my progress with it.
So, dear readers, I’d love your help on this one: What things do you do to keep your busy family life from running you down like a Mack truck? Post your comments here on my blog if you’d be so kind. I could use all the help I can get!