Something exciting is going on here at Structure in an Unstructured Life! Keep watching!
Here’s a hint:
I get asked more often than you would think if I am having any more babies. About half the time, the question is phrased around if I am going to “try for a girl.” In regards to a girl, the answer is simple – I don’t really care if I have a girl or not. After having two boys, I’m not sure I would know what to do with a girl. But in regards to having any more babies, that is the tougher question to answer.
When I was pregnant with Monkey, I was positive he was my last one. I am not one of those women who love being pregnant. In fact, most of pregnancy I hate. Ultrasounds are fun, the funny little movements you feel in there are fun, but everything else, as far as I’m concerned, kinda sucks. Granted, I get horrible morning sickness, migraine headaches, sciatic nerve issues, and a host of other odd ailments when pregnant. And after my long and difficult birth of Monkey, I was really positive I was done having babies.
Then when Monkey was about 8 weeks old, I moved him into the pack n’ play in our room and out of the bassinet. Both my boys slept in the bassinet my dad and my aunts had slept in as babies, and me and most of my cousins slept in as babies, and my cousin’s kids slept in as babies. It has a lot of tradition and sentimental value. I went to pack it up and put it in the attic and started sobbing. The thought of never putting a baby in that bassinet again broke my heart. Then the same thing happened when packing up the newborn size clothes, the baby toys, the bottles; you get the picture.
So then I was sure I wanted one more. Not to have a girl, but to have one more baby, boy or girl. I started to forget the bad stuff, like the horrendous labor and delivery, and remember the good stuff, like that moment when the doctor hands you the baby and at the sound of your voice, he stops crying and just stares at you. The whole rose-colored-glasses thing. All of a sudden, I couldn’t imagine life without one more baby. I was convinced I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t have one more.
Lately, I have started to wonder again if I really want one more. As Monkey gets older and I see his personality more, I wonder if he would do well as a middle child or not. I think about how nice some things are now that he is older. Monkey and Roo can play together in the living room while I fix dinner and I don’t have to keep checking every two minutes to make sure “the baby” didn’t put something in his mouth. Monkey can actually walk when we go somewhere and my hands are full of stuff. I have a little bit of independence as he gets older and more independent himself. And my boys are starting to play together.
While I was pregnant with Monkey, I remember watching Roo sleeping one night before I went to bed. The thought ran through my head that maybe I had made a mistake. Life was so good most days with our little family of three. We hung out together and had fun. We had figured out how to manage, and were doing it quite well, I must admit. I panicked that this new little baby would rock our perfect little boat we had going on.
Then Monkey was born. I’ll admit, we had our rocky times. The first day I spent alone with two kids I did yell, through my tears, that everyone in the house needed to stop crying. Not my finest hour, but we made it through. And I look at our life now, and realize it wasn’t complete without Monkey. He fills a hole I never even knew was there. I can’t imagine our family without him.
So how do I know what to do? Some days I wish I would just either accidentally get pregnant or would find out I medically can’t have any more kids. (I am fully aware I should REALLY watch what I wish for here!) Then the decision would not be mine to make. But unless that happens, I have to continue to wonder what to do. All I can say is, stay tuned, there may or may not be further programming…
I can’t count the number of articles and blog posts I have read about the importance of creating a morning routine and how to do so. The problem with every one of the these routines, is that they are all structured for stay-at-home-moms or work-at-home-moms. I don’t have anything against these moms, but their morning is drastically different from my morning. A routine that works for them, will not work for me. So these articles I read just ended up making me feel crappy and guilty that I couldn’t start my morning right for me or for my children. Uggghhh – Mommy guilt.
I knew a routine would help all of us, but I also knew that my morning routine would never look like the ones I read about. I didn’t have an hour to myself, then time to get ready, then time for the kids in my morning. We had a specific time to leave the house because I needed to do two different drop offs and get myself to work on time. I also knew getting up earlier, as some suggested, was not an option. I already get up at the unGodly hour of 5:30 am. Not easy for a non-morning person like myself.
What did my morning routine need?
First, I had to figure out what I needed in my morning routine, and what I wanted in my morning routine. Here’s my list:
- Time to get myself ready. I know I could shave time off here, but I have a professional position and need to do things like dry my hair and put makeup on.
- Get the kids ready. I have it pretty good that Monkey can go to daycare in his jammies with clothes for the day packed in his bag. But Roo, during the school year, goes to abefore school program so he needs to be ready for the day. And they both at least need shoes on and a small amount of time to get themselves together for the day.
- Quality time with the kiddos. This started the want part of the list. I hated the mornings when it was rush, rush, rush and me yelling at the kids to hurry up because we were running late. It didn’t make me or them feel good as we started our day.
- Focus on the day. I like a few minutes to think about my day and what I need to accomplish. Some days I can do this when I get to work and sit down at my desk, but some days I go straight into a meeting or presentation and don’t have that luxery.
- Prayer. I have a lot of issues that trouble me and I often think I need to pray about these things. I just don’t always have the time carved out for this kind of reflection like I should.
So here’s how I created a morning routine that works for this working mama. Click here to tweet!
I started out by thinking in terms of time blocks, because scheduling seems a little easier to handle than just the general order of things. I started with the “big rocks” or the things that were needs. Then I found a way to add in the wants, one at a time. Here’s what my routine looked like after I took the times out:
- Wake up; get myself ready for the day.
- Prayer or read a devotional.
- Focus on the day.
- Quality time with the kids – read or just talk to them.
- Get the kids ready.
- Out the door!
The tricky part is that this routine needs to be fluid and flexible. If the kids sleep until 6:45 or 7 am – perfect! If not, then the flexibility needs to come in. So my routine needs to include a way to have prayer or devotional time with the kids, if needed, and double up with that being quality time. Time to focus on the day is not a sure thing. If the kids get up early, then I either do that when I get to work, skip it, or try to think in the car as I drive to work.
I do best with routines if I can see them and be reminded of what comes next. So do my kiddos. So I’ve created a printable with my routine, in the style of subway art because I really like that right now!
I’m offering the printable free to all new blog subscribers for this month! Just hop up to the top of the blog, and click the “Click here to follow” button. I’ll email the pdf version of the printable right to your email within 24 hours (WordPress subscribers: WordPress does not allow me access to your email. Please email me your address at email@example.com and I will get your printable right out! Sorry for the inconvenience!)! Current subscribers, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send a printable out to you, as well!
This week, we went with a circle theme for our Muffin Tin Meal. With Monkey being almost three, I figured it was about time we started talking about shapes, even if we are not “working” on them. We did things like that so much more with Roo, since he was the only one. I often realize that I am forgetting to work in talking about colors, numbers, and shapes as much with Monkey. So here’s our circle themed meal:
Top: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich (cut with a circle cookie cutter), blueberries, Circle crackers
Bottom: Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches, Watermelon (also cut with circle cutter), string cheese (sliced)
This Muffin Tin was a big hit! Both boys ate almost everything in it! I think there was only food left because they got full before they finished it!
Whew! What was supposed to be a relaxing week last week ended up being a little crazy! We sold our car and then bought another one within 24 hours. Good news, but all that was stressful! So the poor blog got a little neglected with all the running around! For the most part, we did stick to our meal plan though. I scrapped the hot dogs for dinner on Sunday because my boys ate hot dogs at the pig roast we were at the day before (I know – crazy kids – picking hot dogs over pork!!). I’ll be linking up on I’m an Organizing Junkie if you’re looking for more meal planning ideas! Or check out and follow my Yummy board on Pinterest!
Here’s what we’re eating this week:
Breakfasts (we don’t plan for each day – see here for why – but these are our choices along with a fruit)
- Granola bars and yogurt
- Cream of Wheat or oatmeal
- Toast or English Muffins
Lunches The Coach has the week off and is home with the kiddos all week, so I took a break from planning lunches and the boys are being spontaneous (just how The Coach likes it!)
- Monday – Chicken Quesadillas (using the leftovers from a rotisserie chicken yesterday), fruit
- Tuesday – Grilled pork chops, cornbread, grilled zucchini and summer squash
- Wednesday – 4th of July cook out and pool party!
- Thursday -Pasta, garlic bread, salad
- Friday – Pizza
- Saturday – Burgers, potatoes, sugar snap peas
- Sunday – Hot Dogs, baked beans, fruit
What are you eating this week? Leave a comment and feel free to link back to your blog if you have your plan posted!
Since I am a blog writer, I’m sure it will not come as a surprise to you that I am also a big blog reader. And since you are reading this right now, there’s a pretty good chance you read other blogs as well (except the few family members that faithfully read my blog, and only my blog – thanks!). If you like to follow just a few or quite a lot of blogs, Google reader will certainly be a valuable tool for you! Here’s why I love using Google Reader:
- It provides “one stop shopping” no matter where I’m at. I can go to one site and read everything I want to keep up on. There is no need to make a long list in my favorites of all the blogs I read. And then replicate that list on every computer and device I use! By using Google reader, I can see my list of blogs from my computer at home, at work, on my phone, on The Coach’s iPad, or any other device I choose to use that I can connect to Google on.
- It is simple to add (or delete) blogs to my list. I can either choose to add a subscription while I am in the Google Reader by typing in the name of the blog and searching for it. Or if I am on the blog, and it has an RSS feed button, I can click that and add it to my Goggle Reader list right from the blog.
- I can do all my reading right in the Google Reader window if I want to. This is great if I I have limited time, but want to keep up. I don’t need to click out to other sites and wait for anything to load up. I do click out if I want to comment or sign up for a giveaway or “like” a post, but I don’t do that on every single post I read, so it still saves me a considerable amount of time.
- I can easily see at a glance how busy the “blogosphere” is at any given time. If there are only three new posts since the last time I checked, then probably a fairly slow day. If there are 24 since I checked, then the blog world is hopping. Maybe this is only interesting to me, but I think it is a perk of the Google Reader!
- It makes it easy to find recent, but not new posts. If I know I read something on a blog a couple days ago, I can easily scroll through the Google Reader list of posts until I hit the right date, or until I see the title of the post I was looking for. This wouldn’t be very efficient if I was looking for something from 6 months ago, but very helpful if I know I read it within the last week, but can’t remember what day.
So fellow blog readers, I love Google Reader and wanted to spread the love. Give it a try if you are looking to keep your blog reading a little more efficient and organized (or more structured!).
Do you use a reader? How do you keep track of and catch up on blogs you love (like mine!)? 🙂
Recently I wrote about why living in the moment leads to happiness. Basically, I am most often unhappy about something in the past or something I am worrying about in the future. For the most part, right now is usually pretty good. So I resolved to try to live in the moment more and ask myself if right now is good when I am feeling unhappy.
As I talked to The Coach about this, he said he thought he was always in the right now, and that’s why he was generally such a happy person. I know this about him because I have gotten on his case many times about forgetting something from the past or not preparing for something in the future. What can I say, we’re opposites.
But then we came to a situation where we both realized that a little of both is needed. A small amount of background is required for this little scenario.
First of all, three of the four people I am directly related to (my children not included) are incredibly high maintenance. Let’s just say having to rush to someone’s house, the ER, or a jail are all things I have done in the past couple years (and more than once!). Emergencies happen, and quite frequently, in my family.
Second, The Coach has been known to not be very good about accessibility in the past. To prove this statement, both times I was in labor I had trouble reaching him on his cell, in his office, or via pager. He loses his cell phone a lot or simply forgets it in his car, office, bag, etc.
There’s the background. So The Coach and I have had conversations about how important it is to me that I be able to reach him in an emergency and he has agreed to try to be more accessible. Which, he has done to a certain extent (have to give credit where credit is due!). But a few weeks ago he went away for the weekend on a golf outing.
He played some practice rounds then headed to the cabin he was staying at. Here’s where the issue happened. He got to the cabin and there was no cell reception. To make a long story short, I was not happy with him.
As we talked about the situation, we realized he had just been thinking in the moment. He made sure he had his phone with him. And that was as far as his thinking went. I thought about, what else, but the past and future. I reminded him if he had thought about the past he would have realized his phone had not worked before in similar areas. If he had thought about the future he could have asked his buddy if there was reception there and then made a back-up plan. All points he agreed with.
So while I wrote a post all about living in the moment, I realized that I needed to write a follow up post about not doing it exclusively. A certain amount of thought about the past and the future can bring greater happiness to the moment than simply living completely in the here and now. Ask The Coach; he agreed he would have had a little happier weekend if he wasn’t feeling bad that he let me down on the accessibility front, as well as being bummed he didn’t get to talk to Monkey and Roo when he wanted to. And I’ll admit, I would have had a happier weekend too if I had let it go and lived in the moment a little more, instead of worrying that there was going to be an emergency any minute and I wouldn’t be able to reach him.
So we both learned a little about the other, and are trying to find a balance between his style and mine. Do I envision us both finding the perfect middle and residing there happily every after? No, not really. But I can move a little more into the moment and he can move a little more out of it. As for the rest, well, that’s why we have each other.
Do you live completely in, or out, of the moment? What kind of balance works for you?