Friday, May 15, 2009

A Better Life. Is It Really Possible?

There are lots of things I would like to change about myself. Am I alone in this feeling? I hope not, and I think not. I'd like to lose these last 10 pounds of baby weight, I'd like clearer skin, I'd like a larger chest (TMI!). But I think what I'd like to change the most is my complete, chronic, lifelong inability to get and stay organized. I've tried FlyLady, I've tried Sidetracked Home Executives, I've tried my own plan, but nothing has ever stuck. I basically hate housework, but it has to be done, and I know (or at least I believe) that I would be happier if it were done more often. Maybe someday I'll be able to hire someone to do it for me, but until then, I need to improve. Also, my lack of knowing how to do this may have come from my mother hiring someone to do it, and I want my kids to be better at this than I am. I'm honestly not trying to blame someone else; I'm just trying to understand this problem, learn how to fix it, and hopefully not pass it on to my children.

So what would my "ideal" look like in this area of my life?

1. Laundry: Ideally, laundry would never get piled up and would always be put away the day it is done. No more searching through giant piles, and no more hearing David ask, "is this pile clean or dirty?"

2. Clutter: There have actually been moments when I have thought that, with the exception of pictures, it would be easier if the whole house was just destroyed and we could start over from scratch. Every time we move, a lot of stuff gets thrown away either while packing or unpacking. I can only imagine what the house/apartment would look like if we had never moved. There are so many things that just do not need to go with us to Arkansas.

3. Cleaning: I would like to have a reasonable schedule for doing the basic cleaning chores. I have tried this many times before, but life always gets in the way. Maybe I have too many things on my list. Anything is better than nothing, and as FlyLady says, "housework done incorrectly still blesses my family." Of course, this flies in the face of my upbringing (anything worth doing is worth doing well).

Now before I get too overwhelmed again, I should mention that I have made a lot of progress in a couple of areas, although there is always room for improvement:

1. Calendar: I use a calendar faithfully which has all but eliminated missing appointments and deadlines. I really can't imagine life without it anymore.

2. Meal planning: The calendar I use has a column to list meals for each day of the week. (I don't worry about assigning a day to them. I just check them off as I use them, and then I know what I haven't used yet when planning for the next week.) It also has a perforated column for a grocery list. This is wonderful for listing things that I use up as we go through the week. No more wondering, "now what was it I wanted to be sure to replace?" I cannot recommend strongly enough Amy Knapp's Family Organizer.

3. Checkbook and bill-paying: Much of the last year has been very tight, money-wise (more on that in another post). Although I've been fairly diligent about bill-paying and such for the past several years, it became especially critical recently, and I've become much better at planning for upcoming bills rather than just dealing with them as they arrive in the mail.

So how am I going to make these changes? I have no idea. But I'm not going to stop trying. First up, end this post, cook supper, and start putting away the laundry....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Logistics of Moving

So the Baggetts are moving again. To Fort Smith, Arkansas, of all places! For those of you keeping score, this will be #11, and it should culminate the week of our 11th anniversary. Sigh....

Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled to be leaving this apartment, and I'm excited about the prospects for the future. It's exciting to be heading to an area I have only driven through before now. But the details are overwhelming, and no matter how many times we do this, I never get used to the chaos that always ensues or the weeks that it takes before a new place feels like home.

You would think that after 10 moves (not counting auxiliary moves or "half moves" following the sale of houses) that we would have this down to a fine science. Well, this move looks to be our most challenging one yet. For one thing, we now have two children. We may be able to actually drive the U-Haul to Arkansas with only one child, but that one will be just under 10 months old, and we will have to drive back across the state a couple of days later to pick up the other one. Plus, there's the matter of packing and cleaning around two young children who are too small to help but big enough to add to the mess.

If that wasn't enough, David has decided that now is the time for him to take a trip to Virginia to see his cousins, a trip which will require at least 4 days. On top of that, there's the matter of missing a number of paychecks. We have some money in savings as a result of recently selling one of our cars, but I had sure hoped to use more of that money to pay off debt. Sigh again....

But after 10 moves, I have learned (and will need to remind myself) that somehow things always get done, somehow the move always gets made, somehow we do settle into a new normal, and somehow we eventually feel at home in our new place. If I click my heels together, can I fast forward to that time and place?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A little background info....

This post was originally written on August 8, 2008, shortly after we moved back here to Huntsville. I'm reposting it again here on my new blog because it explains a lot of our background.

Today as I was driving either to or from Mother's Day Out, I passed a cute little Mustang car. I used to have a blue Mustang that made me look much "cooler" than I actually was. That car was just the best, and I was so sad when it got totalled a few years ago. As I was thinking about that car, I realized that I was driving an SUV with two carseats and now two strollers in the back (none of which would have fit in the Mustang). How did this happen? I guess my kids (one is 2 and the other is still unborn) are too young for me to really be called a Soccer Mom, but the title still fits.

Don't get me wrong. I don't want to be working, and most of the time I love my life, but this is certainly not the life I would have predicted.

I grew up in a small town and graduated from high school with some of the same kids who were in my kindergarten class. We moved twice while I lived there - from the South end of town to the North end, and then back again. When I went away to college, I definitely didn't plan to move back to that same town, but I guess I figured I would likely end up somewhere fairly nearby.

Well, I currently live about 45 minutes from where I grew up, but it hasn't been a straight line from there to here. I got married in 1998 right after graduate school, and we have moved 10 times in the past 10 years. Our longest-running address was in Seattle, WA, for 2 years, so you know many of the other moves were less than 1 year apart. It's been a wonderful adventure, and I would change very little, but it was just so unexpected. (I'll save the latest part of that adventure for another post.)

I was never a Mommy type of person. I hated babysitting and was scared to death of working in the church nursery. I think I would have been perfectly content without kids were it not for the "peer pressure" of some friends in Knoxville, TN. Once they all started "trying," I definitely didn't want to be left out. :)

Nathan arrived in 2006, and my world completely changed. (You know you have changed when you find yourself picking someone else's nose!) I never knew I could love someone so deeply and completely, and I have never known such intense frustration and exhaustion. Some days I can't quit hugging him, and other days I want to run away and join the circus. (Being a trapeze artist is one of my two dream jobs, but again, that can wait for another post on another day.) We're expecting a little girl in about 6 weeks. We have a name picked out, but David doesn't want to share it with the family until she is born - a tradition started by my brother that drives my mother crazy. Again, I have a wide range of feelings from excitement and anticipation to fear and incompetency. (The second stroller is a double stroller in case I get up the nerve or feel the overwhelming urge to take them both to the mall or the park.)

I used to teach Calculus and Differential Equations. Now I wipe noses and sing silly songs. Are there days when I want to go back to teaching? Sure! Are there more days that I'm glad I'm at home instead? Absolutely! So how exactly did this happen?

I saw an advertisement for Campus Crusade once that consisted of a picture of a girl lying peacefully on the beach as the waves crashed in front of her. The caption read: "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Unfortunately, this probably isn't it." God's plan is often not the easiest, and it seems to be almost never what is expected, but it is always for the best. I wonder what will happen next?
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