I’ve missed you, old friend

Yes, I know. It has been eight months since I last opened up this blog to write. EIGHT MONTHS! It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I have. More than once, I have constructed interesting posts in my mind, only to never find the time to put pen to paper, or I guess fingers to keyboard as it were.

My last post came right before school started for the year. I guess that should say it all. This year has been busy; busier than I could have ever imagined. I actually remember thinking that with my youngest boys starting preschool, I would have all this spare time to work, to get caught up on projects, to have time for myself….. except that isn’t exactly how it has gone.

Instead I have spent a very hectic last eight months juggling everyone’s busy schedules. My days are spent driving kids to school, picking them up, volunteering at their schools whenever possible, driving to after-school activities, finding time to help with homework, trying to keep the house running, and just occasionally sneaking in a few moments to sit back and enjoy life at this stage. It’s exhausting. Seriously. I don’t know how other moms do it, especially if they have more kids than me. I am worn out….

So no, by the end of a long day, I’m usually not in the mood to sit down and write. I’m much more in a curl-up-with-a-book-and-glass-of-wine mood, or maybe a Netflix-and-ice-cream-sundae kind of mood.

As it is, I find my time here drawing to a rapid close, as the clock tells me I must head out very soon to pick up my boys from preschool. I’m glad I was able to at least sneak on here for a few precious moments.

So tell me fellow moms, how do YOU do it? How do you get everyone where they need to go, get all the homework done, and get dinner on the table each night? I’m open to any and all suggestions. And maybe those of us who have this craziness worked out into a well-oiled machine, can offer some inspiration to the rest of us who are trying our best to keep up.

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Hello, old friend

It is hard to believe it’s been more than 6 months since I last touched this blog. Logging in, WordPress doesn’t even look the same! Of course, life keeps moving forward, as do all things tech, even when you wish it would just stand still for a minute.

It is not that I did not want to post over the past half year, in fact I must have written more than a dozen posts in my mind. But somehow I never got around to putting them down on (virtual) paper. Truthfully, I didn’t really want to. I find that as of late I have developed a very strong love-hate relationship with social media. And more times than not, I have been far too comfortable to take my quiet spot, hanging back in the metaphorical woodwork, staying out of the fray.

I also honestly just needed to focus on me for a while. It’s something that no mother of three really has the luxury of doing, and yet, I got to a point where my stress was making me physically ill. I was overwhelmed by everything, even writing a damn blog. I needed to just take.a.break. A long break, from a lot of things.

But I think I’m ready to get moving again, even if it may happen at a snail’s pace for a while yet. Which brings me to the real reason I decided to finally jump back on here tonight and post. So without further ado, I’d better get to it….

When less is more

That crazy time of the year is upon us, holiday shopping! Black Friday is less than a week away, Cyber Monday only a little over a week, not to mention all of the other deals that will come along as businesses fight over our hard-earned dollars, promising the toy or gadget of the year that our loved ones simply cannot live without. Are you ready for it?

I’m not, but I’m getting there. I am doing something very different this year, but I will admit, it is something I probably should have been doing for the last several years. I have made a budget, and I plan to stick to it! In year’s past, I have done my best to shop sales and discounts for gifts for family and friends. Yet I never set a cap for myself, and that is something we always seem to pay for financially come January and February (when the credit card bill comes due). Not to mention the material excess we face from the holiday forward! When you have to actually take a break from gift opening because it is too much and too overwhelming for small children…. you may have gone too far. I admit it, it is a mistake we have made in the past. Not happening this year.

Because why on earth should it? Is that what Christmas and Chanukah are all about? Who gets the most presents? Or is it about family and love and togetherness? And celebrating births and battles won, and all that great historical stuff too?? It is a beautiful time of the year, and I think the boys are old enough now to realize it is about more than lighting candles, Santa coming, and tons of gifts. There is more to these holidays than that. So let’s focus on that for a change, not making sure they have a ton of gifts under the tree.

But don’t get me wrong, I still think there is very much a place for gifts, and treating our loved ones to something special! That is still going to happen, just maybe not in as much full-force. We don’t tend to buy the boys presents unless it is their birthdays or this time of year, so I am still very much going to enjoy that process, and getting to buy gifts for all of our family and close friends. But I won’t go overboard.

This year I set an overall dollar amount, and I set it pretty low. Then I divided that amount by the people on our list. And to be honest, I came up with a VERY LOW number to spend on each person. Granted, there is a little wiggle room in there, which is why I started so low, so that going over by a few dollars won’t totally break the bank. But that low amount is going to force me to get much more creative this year. In addition to shopping sales like crazy, I also have to sit back and think…. what do people really want? What do they really need? Is this gift something useful that will be appreciated? Or is it just something nice that may or may not add to the clutter and junk we all seem to struggle with. Because why would I want to add to that for others, when I have a hard enough time dealing with my own clutter and junk???

So that’s the plan. I have a few people figured out already, and have a few gifts already purchased. But I still have quite a few more to go… I guess I will be spending the next few days scouring Black Friday ads for more inspiration and ideas. By the way, did you know some stores will start their Black Friday on Thanksgiving ONLINE???? Yup, I will be taking advantage of that, from the comfort of my home, in my pajamas and a warm cup of coffee by my side. Knock it out first thing in the morning so I can spend the rest of the holiday being thankful with those I love most in the world. Because that is what I want to focus on most.

And in case I am too busy planning to post again beforehand, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to enjoy a beautiful day filled with yummy food, love, and laughter with those who mean the most to you!!!

Breaking the radio silence

I’m disappointed in myself. I’m disappointed in how much I have neglected this blog this year. This is supposed to be a place where I can share, I can vent, I can just get all of my thoughts out on proverbial paper. Instead I have been keeping much of it in for too long.

Why? I’m not sure. It’s not like my brain isn’t constantly rambling through a million thoughts a day; it is, the hamster wheel literally never stops turning. I guess lately it’s been turning so quickly I can’t seem to focus in on just one thought. But I would really like to change that.

How’s this for an idea? To begin immediately, I will push myself to post on here every Friday. Some weeks I might have something amazing and insightful to say (ha), other weeks it might just be a recap of the in’s and out’s of the past seven days. But regardless, it will force me to commit to getting back into blogging. I am putting it in my calendar right now, so I can’t forget.

Now I understand that I didn’t sell myself well in that previous paragraph. Truthfully, some weeks might be rather uninteresting, but I promise to try to include the very best nuggets, so as not to completely bore everyone.

Until Friday…..

Milestones, transitions and a small serving of chaos on the side

The past few months have been full of changes, both personal and professional. In order to fill you in on it all, I would have to write a novel. And let’s face it, there isn’t time for that. So instead, I would like to focus on the biggest change of all. My sweet young man has just about completed his first month of preschool!

While we did a homeschool preschool program last year, and are continuing that program this year, Connor now also attends a formal preschool three mornings a week. It is an enormous transition, not only for him, but for his brothers and me as well. Connor does not remember his days of daycare, he was too young. His memory only includes life at home with Mommy and the babies. So this has been a very big change.

So far, he is doing phenomenally. There were no tears the first day, not even the slightest apprehension. He has warmed up to his teachers, is getting to know his classmates, follows instructions beautifully, and is adjusting well. We wanted to place him in preschool outside of the home so that he could adjust to that kind of environment and having a teacher other than me, in order to prepare him for Kindergarten. And it seems to be working. Already I notice that my once unbelievable shy boy is becoming more confident around adults he does not know well. He even struck up a conversation with my dental hygienist the other day, leaving me speechless!

Benjamin and Alexander are adjusting fairly well to the change too. At first I could tell they missed their big brother (aka the ring leader) and felt a little left behind. But they now understand that preschool will be there for them as well, once they are a little older. And until then, Connor is not gone forever, he comes back everyday after a few short hours, ready to play and fight and be big brother again.

Then there is me. I think the adjustment has been hardest on me. It has been hard to give up three mornings a week with my Connor. I miss him. But I know this is a natural progression, and I try to remind myself it is only a few hours until he is back within snuggling distance again. And it is nice to get a little one-on-two time with Ben and Alex. We have found ways to keep ourselves busy and engaged, whether it is playing quietly at home, visiting with friends, running errands, whatever. I enjoy getting some time to spend with just them, just as I have always enjoyed the times that Connor and I take off and do something on the weekends, just the two of us.

When I first put this whole plan together in my head, I told myself that I would take advantage of Connor’s preschool time to start going to the gym and having a little “me” time. But I’m starting to rethink that plan. There is a great daycare that I can place Ben and Alex in while I work out…. but I just don’t really want to. I don’t want to be away from them, I don’t enjoy my time to myself when I’m thinking about them and what they are doing, how they are doing, are they missing me, etc… I know it is healthy to have “me” time, but thanks to some other big changes, I am already getting more of that than I have in the past (more on that in a future post). My mornings working out don’t feel like “me” time, they feel lonely. So I don’t think I will be going to the gym much more. I think it is back to workout DVDs and exercising on the XBOX for me. That way I can do my exercising in the company of my favorite people.

I have to admit, I am also still struggling a bit to get used to the new schedule. I find that almost funny, seeing as how I am the complete Type-A, OCD, scheduler, planner person…. I thought our days were pretty regimented. Now they are even more so. I’m still trying to get everything worked in and everything done, hence not even posting a blog this entire month. The boys continue to come first, but with me seemingly having fewer hours in the day somehow, everything else is taking a back seat. For example, the load of laundry I ran on Monday is still sitting in the dryer, waiting to be folded, two days later. I will be addressing that as soon as I publish. It is easy to let the feelings of being overwhelmed creep into the back of my head, but I am trying hard to fight them. I know this will get easier as we continue to work out the kinks in our new daily routine. And until then, I will continue to just focus on my priorities, all three of them. And if the laundry has to sit…. so be it.

Playing Catch-Up

You would think that with the holidays behind us now, life would slow down just a bit. Not so much around here, life is charging on, busy as ever! I find myself in catch-up mode right now, trying to wrap up loose ends before I feel I can fully embrace the new year and all of the projects and goals that it holds for me and our family.

The tree is bare, the holiday decorations are 90% put away (and reorganized for next year, whoo hoo!), almost all of the toys have been unpackaged and set up, the last of my own gifts to give are in the mail as of this morning (behind the curve ball, oh yes, but I can blame the company for losing my order for two weeks….), the receipts have been filed, the bills are ready to be paid, Connor’s preschool resumes today, and on and on….

My hope is to spend the next few days finishing the little projects that need to be finished, so we can move on to bigger and better things! Among the goals for this year: teach Connor to read, figure out which school he will be attending in (gulp) 18 short months and get him on the necessary wait lists, continue expanding the twins’ vocabulary, find new and fun adventures for the boys to enjoy every day, write more, start a new fitness routine, sleep more (yeah right), go on an actual date with my husband, and just try to enjoy every single day a little more.

Wish me luck, it’s going to be a busy but exciting year ahead!

To-do lists: Necessary evil or modern day torture device?

I will be the first to admit, I’m a little bit obsessive-compulsive… okay, a lot bit. It’s a trait I have often embraced, a quality that allows me to multi-task, whether in my career or in my everyday life as a busy mother of three small boys. Multi-tasking is a necessity, and I excel at it. But sometimes my obsession bites me in the you-know-what.

I am all about the to-do lists. They are organized, simple, efficient. What do I need to accomplish today? Why, just go check the to-do list, your answer is right there in black and white. Except as of late, my to-do list has taken on a life of its own. For every one thing I am able to cross off, I have three more that need to be added. How many times have I opened up the nifty smart phone app that houses my list, only to realize I cannot cross anything off but must add half a dozen more items? Too many times to count. It is downright depressing.

Last week I was finally able to cross something off my list that had been there, literally, for months. The feeling of accomplishment was incredible! And so, in a way, I truly believe that I am addicted to my to-do list, no matter how long it gets, how many items I add to it with no end in sight, that momentary euphoria when one little mundane task can finally be deleted forever… it’s all worth it to me.

Is there a to-do lists anonymous I could sign up for somewhere?