Tag Archives: scheduling

Too much to chew

I believe I bit off more than I can chew this week.

I’d planned for this week, as you’ll remember from my meal planning post. I knew that it would be crazy busy. But I thought I could handle it all plus cooking dinner for the family. And for the first couple of days I could.

Sunday was our softball game, and I had the whole meal prepped before we got there. We lost miserably, but enjoyed one of my favorite dinners of late, the miso cod and Japanese salad.

Monday was another easy day. The game ended up being just practice, but that still meant I had to leave work in Santa Rosa early so I could rush to Petaluma and drive Taz back to Santa Rosa to the field. I grabbed a few things from the grocery store while he practiced, then picked him up and brought him home afterwards. One practice cost me 60 miles in commute. Oy. The meal that night was Shrimp Louie, and I totally second guessed myself on whether the amount of food was enough for the iron stomachs in my house. So I added a plate of leftover BBQ chicken and a twice baked potato on the side. As it was, no one touched the chicken, but the potatoes were much appreciated.

After dinner, the teens and I even conquered a little Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. Frizz wondered if that was all there was to it. DQ and I tried to reattach our worn out limbs. Truthfully, I noticed a difference in my stamina since I’ve been running regularly. But I was definitely noticing my muscles more – especially when I went to climb the stairs. Jello city!

Of course, when I went to sit down, Mr W lovingly reminded me that I’d planned on prepping dinner for the next night. Ugh. So I dragged my ass off the couch and went to prep the gnocchi eggplant casserole. Omg. It was heavenly to taste. I even set aside one that wasn’t smothered in cheese. And then I mopped the floor since I ran out of time on Sunday.

Tuesday was the Taz’ game which meant 60 more miles of commute after leaving work early again. (Granted, I was making up these early leavings by skipping my lunch and showing up early in the morning. But it still doesn’t make me feel any less like a slacker.) I rushed Taz to the game where his team annihilated the other, and then made it back home to eat by 8. I then prepped the next night’s meal of tortellini soup.

That looked like caca.

Oh man, this one did not look good or smell good. I was really worried about it. But what was I going to do? I finished making it and stuck it in the fridge for Wednesday. I went for a short run since my legs were a little sore from the Jillian Michaels DVD, but still needed to burn a few calories. And then all 5 of us sat down for some mandatory wedding cupcake tasting at 10pm to help me add those calories (and then some) back in.

I know. Life’s rough.

Wednesday I could barely move. It seems that Jillian Michaels conquered me. I re-found out last minute that DQ had a camp get-together that afternoon that I completely forgot about, plus she needed to bring a snack, plus she was spending the night at a friend’s house. Oops. Another early trip home, a trip to the store for chips and dip, and then back home where I had an hour to kill before I had my hair appt. I pulled out the soup and saw it was kind of chowdery, so I added some more chicken broth. The smell coming from the soup was quite delicious, a far cry from the detestable soup I was witnessing the night before. I whipped up some biscuits and left them wrapped in a towel in the still-warm oven so that Mr W would have dinner all ready when he came home, and then fixed myself a bowl. O. M. G. This one totally took me by surprise. The Taz so could not eat enough of it. Mr W, on the other hand, didn’t like it very much. Too bad.

It was about 10 pm that night when DQ texted me, informing me that she needed a ride home from her friend’s house the next day. I had my whole day mapped out to a tee. I was already leaving work early again for Taz’ counseling in Petaluma. And I’d already told DQ that she could stay with her friend IF she had a ride home. This threw a wrench in the whole system. We finally figured it out through all sorts of acrobats in scheduling and all is well with the world.

I’ll move Heaven and Earth back tomorrow.

Today is Thursday, and I’m exhausted. I’m at the finish line of the week, and I’m struggling to find the motivation to not bury my head under a pillow and hide.

One more day. That’s all. One more day to go.

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5 ways to be prepared for school

At the beginning of the school year you can usually find me kicking and screaming my way from summer vacation. Schedules? Homework? 20 more things added to my already hectic calendar? Nooo! Luckily, I’ve found a few practical ways to avoid being overwhelmed by the suddenly busy days of the school year.

School lunches
Probably the biggest time waster in the morning is the school lunch battle. I’m a firm believer that kids should be involved in planning their school lunches, even packing them on their own. But leave them to it on a rushed morning and they’re liable to snag a few convenient snacks as their lunch, ending up hungry by the end of the day. A better way is to start the bagged lunch planning before the week even begins. Sit down with them on the weekend and create a list of lunches together for every single day – from the sandwich to the snacks. Then, have them pack up anything they can the night before school so there’s barely anything left to do in the morning.

Create a routine
Left to his own devices, my son would come home from school and make a beeline for the fridge, and then to the TV. That’s why we’ve created a routine. He may get a snack first, but then he must finish all of his homework and have me check it before placing it in his backpack and by the door for the next day. Then he has chores he must complete that are clearly listed on a weekly chore chart. Only after all these are done is he allowed to watch TV or play outside. Before bed, clothes must be picked out, his lunch must be prepped, and then it’s shower time. A routine is even more vital in the morning, since kids tend to be groggy. This is also why we prep everything the night before. All my son has to do in the morning is wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, finish making his lunch, and then be out the door with all his belongings.

Keep your child’s space organized
If your son or daughter can’t find their clean shirt in the morning or don’t have a cleared off space to do their homework, things are only going to go downhill quickly. Get your child in the habit of putting all their dirty clothes in the hamper, and keeping their clean clothes in their drawers by category. Teach them to make their bed. Create a space for every one of their belongings so they can easily put them away when they’re finished using them. Help them keep their work station cleared off and supplied with pencils, scissors, tape, glue, and anything else they may need to finish their homework. File all papers worth saving (artwork, notes from teacher, project guidelines), and throw away everything you don’t need. An organized space does wonders for an organized mind! And you’ll be creating valuable habits for them to grow up with.
(note: we’re still working on perfecting this tip in my family)

Keep in contact with the teacher
Our most successful school years have been those when the teacher and I were conversing regularly about my child’s progress, and what was going on for the week at school. Some teachers keep parents updated through a website. Others use email or letters home. And in some instances you may have to visit the class regularly to find out what’s going on. Whatever the method, stay involved with what’s going on in your child’s class. This way there will be no surprise projects or reports due, and you will know how to help your child if they’re struggling in an area of school. Your child will see that you care enough to be involved with their education. And their teacher will fully appreciate your involvement in their efforts to educate your child.

Keep a detailed calendar
The start of school can be quite a culture shock to those of us used to the lazy days of summer. Suddenly there are new activities, sports, clubs, and responsibilities that dictate our days. And this usually means everyone is going in separate directions. It’s enough to drive anyone insane! We tackle the crazy schedules by keeping a huge dry erase calendar centrally located on the kitchen wall, detailed with all our schedules in time order, and color coded to show which schedule belongs to which family member. This helps us to know when there’s a conflict we need to work around, and also helps the kids know where they need to be and what they need to be doing every single day. There are no surprises. And it also helps us to avoid overscheduling by seeing at a glance what’s going on day by day.

Here’s to a brand new school year!

Letting go of the reins

The first few weeks of summer vacation are admittedly hard in our family. It’s not because the school year is finished. Quite the contrary, actually. I welcome three whole months (or at least 2 of those months before the kids kill each other in boredom) free from projects, homework, bagged lunches, the daily scramble to find kid clothes that are both clean and rip-free… But at the same time, the change from a school schedule to lack of a structured schedule always throws me for a loop. And when we still have things going on (baseball, dentist appointments, and more), it’s a bit of a learning curve as we get settled into the new way of doing things.

Making things a little more complicated is the fact that we moved out of town, and much of our life (and my job) still exists in Santa Rosa. This week alone I have 4 days of baseball games and practices where I have to juggle running back and forth between towns to get everyone where they need to be. Today is one of those baseball days, and is also a day when I have to be two places at once. When situations like this arise, I have no choice but to ask for help. On this day, my saviors would be my wonderful mom and dad who have graciously offered (read: accepted only after I begged and pleaded repeatedly) to take the Taz for two days and help me out in my predicament.

Let me explain a little something for those of you just tuning in to this blog. When it comes to my kids and their schedule, I am a little OCD.  I have their whole schedule in a calendar on my phone, and check it repeatedly to ensure that I’m not missing anything. I orchestrate every single day so that I know to the minute when I should leave Point A to get to Point B, lists of everything vital that must be taken care of, and which route I need to take if I have multiple stops. And I let this schedule roll around in my brain all day long in an exhausting way of guaranteeing nothing goes wrong. I own the schedule. The schedule is my…baby.

And letting anyone in on the schedule, i.e. helping me out, is very difficult for me.

I hate asking for help. In these past years as a single mom with 98% custody of the kids, I have definitely learned that help is necessary in parenting. But that doesn’t make letting go of the reins any easier. Even worse is when I have to ask for help and it involves a scheduling situation. It’s one thing to ask my parents to watch the kids while they hang out at the house. It’s an entirely different ballpark to ask them to watch the kids, get the Taz to baseball by 5pm, and make sure he has the snacks we bought for the team that must be passed out at the end of the game.

I kid you not, I almost had a panic attack as I dropped the Taz off.

The ridiculous part is that my parents have done this before. My sisters and I were so loaded up with activities that sometimes it seemed my mom’s head was spinning. We had 4-H, ice skating, cheerleading, track, social events, community service, and a need to be at all of them at the same time. At the time, we loudly wondered why my mom was complaining about taking us places when she didn’t even have a job. Later on, I bit my tongue over and over when I had my own stint as a stay-at-home mom and realized it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world.

At any rate, my parents are more than capable of getting the Taz to his game. And I reminded myself of this as I wished my dad luck, giving him a few more instructions about that evening’s game. He insisted they’d be fine, with a chuckle. And I left before I could find another tidbit of advice to give on how to raise a kid – only to turn right back around and race in the house. The Taz was right where I left him, watching TV as I chatted about all his needs and scheduling requirements…where I left him without even saying goodbye even though I wouldn’t see him for two whole days.

Hey, just because I’m all whacko over the schedule doesn’t make me most attentive mom of the year….

The kids leave for their dad’s house next week for 10 whole days and I have no idea what I’m going to do with myself. Think I’m crazy now? You haven’t seen anything yet.

P.S.  Hey all you dads!  Don’t miss out on showing off your genetic good looks.  Enter the Father-Son Look-alike contest and you could win a $300 photo shoot!