Starting Monday

For as long as I can remember, if there is anything new that I'm going to start, I always seem to wait until Monday to do it.  This year, school started on Thursday like it usually does, but I knew our routine wouldn't really get going until Monday.  Monday...the first FULL day of school.  It seemed like a good time to start several things:  a different laundry routine, resurrecting an effective food journaling system, add an extra day of running in, starting a good "after-school" routine...get the picture?  ROUTINE.  I'm a big advocate of rountine, and while I haven't been really excited about the summer drawing to a close and sending the kids off every day, I know and I've known that it is much easier to keep something going or get something started when the environment surrounding is consistent.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....did I just imply that my environment could be consistent?  Well, it gets close.  In twelve or so years, I've at least figured out that the most consistent thing in our house is that nothing is predictable. 

On Monday, the forecast was for high temperatures, so the school day was reduced to a half-day instead of a full day.  Mentally, this creates a challenge for me because now my Monday has shifted a little, but never fear, I had the weekend to modify so I could keep my Monday ideals.  And then...Joshua woke up with complaints of pain in his hands and ankles, and upon taking a close look, his extremities were swollen and his whole body was covered in hives.  Off to the doctor we went...he has never had hives before, so we wanted to make sure that's all it was.  (That was all it was, so a dose of Claritin and he was back to school).  We shifted the rest of our day a little and I was still able to salvage some of my plans.

Considering that it is almost Friday, I'm pleased with the way my new routines have been working.

The laundry:
Each day of the week is designated for a specific collection of dirty laundry.  The laundry can no longer be thrown down the stairs (our laundry shoot), rather collected in a basket in each child's room or bathroom.  Our towels and sheets are all white.  The kids' socks are black this year.  Jakob is doing his own laundry.  It is much easier so far to reduce the piles of clean, unfolded laundry on the couch that turn into clean baskets of laundry piled high in my bedroom because each basket of dirty laundry is a load and when it is done drying, it is returned to the basket and then to the proper location.  For the older kids, what they do with it is their business as long as it does not end up on the floor or stay in the basket.  If they want to dump it, unfolded into their drawers or closets, I'm ok with that.  The goal is to reduce mountains of clean AND dirty laundry that seems to litter our house non-stop, and also to reduce hearing "I don't have anything to wear".  So far, so good.  I'm caught up!  (Note:  laundry is caught up...August 26, 2010)

The food journal:
In junior high, I was obsessed with weight loss.  As an eighth grader, I lost 30 pounds, which would have been great if I wouldn't have been 5'7" and started at 125 lbs.  That was nearly 25 years ago when the media and society both had less influence than it does today regarding body image. Since then I have not been quite so obsessed, but I admit, my figure isn't what I would like it to be.  I'm not suggesting that I have a goal of wearing a size 6, just one to be healthy and fit...and maybe a solid size 10.  :)  That goal is challenging because of a number of things:   busy schedule, lack of organization--refer to busy schedule, way too many unhealthy, convenient options, age, processed foods that mislead one into thinking that it is a healthy choice, age...oh, I already said that, will power.  That last one is the kicker!  Will power is incredibly challenging when you love to cook and love to eat just as much!

My sister recently enlightened me about a website called Livestrong.  I had heard of Livestrong, because of Lance Armstrong, but didn't realize there was a whole site full of great tools for healthy living. has offered me a different way to journal my daily diet and remind me how quickly things add up, or how easy it is to consume lots of sugars and few protiens, or intake way too much sodium, etc. and it also allowed me to log my runs.  I journaled this way for 2 weeks a while back in June/July and then stopped for a while.  During those two weeks, my energy level was great, I slept well, and I actually lost about 6 pounds!  (Then I went of vacation!)

For three years, I have oohed and awed over the images in the Ballard Designs catalogs (and many others for that matter).  Specifically, I have had my eye on an organizational aid--go figure!  It is a hanging magazine rack basically, but will be a homework organizing unit (and will also house the school directory, communication envelope, SCRIP forms, etc)  After three years of searching for basically the same thing, I'm sure I've spent at least the cost of one of them and not had any success of replicating it, so I finally bit the bullet and clicked "purchase now".  I can't wait for them to arrive!  The plan is that backpacks will be emptied nightly and folders/homework be deposited into the child-specific pocket, checked, attended to and returned to backpacks the following morning.  This way, everything is together and if it is in the pocket, it is Tim's and my responsibility to review them. 

Running:  Tim is willing to get the kids up and ready solo one morning a week so that I can add an extra run into my routine at a different time of morning.  Apparently Mondays are good days to start a chest cold too!  I think I'm officially out of that elite bracket of people who never get sick since last H1N1 fall.  (Next Monday!!)

My calendar is hanging neatly on the side of the refrigerator.  My daily task list hangs right beside it.  There is a sense of order and a resulting peace that accompanies it.  I recognize that this particular rountine may be just that for only a short period until something completely disrupts it and I have to modify and start again.  We haven't jumped into a task schedule for the kids yet...I'm waiting for the first Monday of September for that!  Still thinking on how to modify the previous one to better suit our current dynamics. 

NOW...the other really fun new routine involves Joe.  Joe is going to preschool at home this year.  He is completely prepared with new supplies, backpack and new school shoes, and has been looking forward to it for weeks.  I won't tell that his "lessons" are merely hanging out with mom and coloring or reading books or playing a computer color-game...for now, they are "school work". 

Now, as much as summer was enjoyed, I LOVE the fall.  I would be sad if I could not experience the change of seasons.  I love this weather.  (The new-to-me allergies that I'm experiencing could go away now)
AND...Even though things like this are nearly over

Who could possibly resist more and more of this, no matter what season it is??: