Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blending Together

It's fall. For us, it's one of the busiest times of the year. This year, however, has seemed even busier... perhaps because of DH's travel, perhaps because I am homeschooling two children, perhaps because we actually are busier than in the past. I'm not sure. Maybe it's a combination of all those reasons, and more.

Whatever the reason, I cannot believe how my days are blending together, bleeding into one another until I really can't see any differentiation between days and weeks. Without my daily agenda emails, I would be completely lost. (Thanks, Google!)

And yet, it's all good. Our lives are full... in the best possible way.

And, somehow, everything is getting done. The important things (school, daily mass, household chores), the less important (soccer practices, dance classes, playdates) and even the silly things (Halloween costumes, baking scout snacks from scratch), somehow, are all getting done.

I wonder, though, if there aren't some things this fall that are helping me keep this family on schedule and moving forward, despite the craziness.

  1. Praying the Hours. I started this practice in early September. I am, by no means, perfect in my attempts; many, many days I miss one or more of the prayer stops. But I have noticed that, generally, my life is feeling more balanced. I keep my prayer book with me throughout the day, and sometimes all I have time to do as I am rushing out the door is to set my hand on the top of the book, pause, and ask for His help. But, it's there. It's a reminder to stop, to quiet myself, and to pray. It's a reminder that I am not in this alone.

  2. Scaling down my expectations. When I realized that 2 months into our school year we had already accumulated 1/3 of our required hours, I decided to relax. Maybe we didn't have to do science and social studies every single day. Maybe we could alternate days for those subjects. Maybe we could alternate days for some of BigBro's language arts (we do lots and lots of language arts). We are still covering all of the important stuff, and have time for the fun stuff... and there is a lot less frustration, a lot less annoyance, a lot less yelling on my part.

  3. Getting organized. Admittedly, I am still working on this one. But, I am trying to be more organized. The kids' drawers/closets have been cleaned out and sorted. I am trying a new approach to tame the ever-demanding laundry monster. I've gotten the main level of the house less cluttered than it's been since BigBro's baby shower, and I am really motivated to keep it that way.

  4. Getting the kids involved. My kids have always had chores, always pitched in. But, we've scaled it up a bit. I've given them more responsibility for their laundry. BigBro is my weekly vacuum-er, and Princess helps clean the bathrooms every week. LilBro's been pitching in a lot more... and the more responsibility he gets, the happier and more cooperative he seems to be. But it's not just chores. I've been giving them more responsibility for completing school work, for planning meals, and for planning family activities. The more they are involved, the smoother everything else runs.

  5. Regular, scheduled time away. This time last year, I was a mess. I remember feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and stretched to the breaking point. This year, with the help of my once-a-month visits to Vision of Peace (and, of course, DH's unfailing support), I am much calmer, better able to manage the craziness of our daily lives. Truly, Vision of Peace is an absolute necessity for my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health.

  6. Regular exercise. Even if I am not getting 45 minutes every day, like I did all summer, I am still running regularly. My body tells me, in stiffness and lack of flexibility, when I've been too lax and need to ramp it back up. Even though it's still a struggle to get started, and I still don't love exercising, at least I am doing it. That, in and of itself, is enough for now.

Whether these things, individually or together, are the key to my smooth-but-busy fall, I do not know. I do know that, by the Grace of God, these same things will help me get through the next 10 weeks of holiday craziness, out-of-town guests, decorating, shopping, baking, and party planning, in addition to the usual stuff to do.

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