Solve Me a Problem

One of my reasons for blogging is the ability to problem solve. The process of writing out my thoughts and feelings, analyze situations and cause--->'s more than a vent. My blog is a safe place for me to come and work things out. Make things better for my family.

And so after a couple of rough weeks {well, let's face it, things haven't been as I'd like for a few months now}, I'm working hard to figure out what's going on in order to correct it.

I don't always share the solutions I find, but today, recorded live... Answers to Current Problems, Somewhat Untested and Very Freshly Brainstormed.

1) Vitamins.
I ran out of my multi-vitamins sometime during the summer. I didn't buy more. {tut tut} Did I think I was super-woman or something? That I could get everything I nutritionally needed simply by eating food? Ya. I was hoping. Or forgetful. Or lazy. Wow. Can hardly believe myself.

So, on November 30th I ordered more Multi for Her. And I HAVE had more energy and my hair seems to be falling out a *bit* less {going to try some Biotin as well}. I've added Vitamin D to my pill pile and extra calcium/magnesium/zinc. Immune system seems to be functioning much much better {yay!}.

Bottom line: Take your vitamins.

2) Daily and Weekly Checklist. 
We have been all over the place here. Lately I've been trying the "go-with-the-flow" method of dealing with daily tasks. It has its high points, but over-all I am feeling like we're doing what we want to do but not necessarily what we should be doing. There's a time for everything.

So -- a loose schedule DOES help. We have our "days of the week" schedule: Monday Hike, Tuesday Groceries, Wednesday Playdate {and Laundry}, Thursday Mad-Clean-Up, and Friday We're-Supposed-to-go-on-a-Field-Trip. Nap or no-nap has made daily planning tough, especially when mom thinks YES nap and kids think NO nap. Then I have to go holler in a different room and re-align my expectations.

The day can become very out of balance {with mom escaping to Facebook and the kids glued to Curious George}, so I've created a daily checklist of sorts to help us stay on track with our goals.
We'll either write down what we'd like to do, before we do it, or write things down as they are accomplished. It's just a framework to help us remember that life is multi-dimensional. If we've already played Starfall and watched Leapfrog, it's probably time for some cooking or outdoor play. This simple {sheet protected so we can write on it and erase} page should help.

Bottom Line: Having a plan helps.

3) Alone Time. 
I know I need it. I know I have to schedule it. I don't know exactly how to do that. Getting up at 4am worked for awhile. When the kids go to bed at 5pm and Tim has somewhere to be...then I get some time. But it's REALLY hit and miss. I need something consistent. Something I can count on. I think as the kids get older and need me a bit less, they'll be able to work on a project {Peter can already, so I'm mostly speaking about my two-year-old} for a 30 minute chunk or so and I will be intentional about using that time efficiently. Having a to-do list of alone-time tasks will help. I'll just jump right in.

Bottom Line: Scheduling alone time is crucial to me. 

4) Girl's Night Out.
It feels so super nice to talk to another mom {without our kids distracting us} and commiserate with each other. Oh, it helps. :) I felt very refreshed after my evening out with a friend last week, even if we were getting together to plan a baby shower. We managed to fit in lots of stories about our kids and plenty of empathy. I need to be intentional about this.

Bottom Line: Scheduling time with friends is very helpful. 

5) Planning Time.
When it comes to homeschooling-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, I'm not flying high. I need time to plan, time to collect materials, time to psyche myself up, [time to learn about what I'm going to teach!!]. I need to plan activities for the week, ahead of time. I need to print off the worksheets, think about when we'll do what -- get ready. When I do this...the day goes better! We're all happier.

Along with the afore-mentioned page listing goal areas for the day, I've put together a binder with other sheet-protected pages -- things for Peter to work on every day. Here's his checklist for morning work:
Just a framework to help bring structure to our lives. Peter likes putting big X's on each box.

I got all these free printables from 1+1+1=1. I'm so thankful for her inspiration and materials! I'm still doing most of the writing for Peter, but he's almost got all his letters and numbers down and soon you'll see his handwriting on all these pages.
Have I mentioned how much he LOVES drawing?

Here is his letter "k" practice page with his drawing of Jack playing kickball with Kate.

Bottom Line: Having systems in place and activities ready to go makes days pass much more smoothly.

So. Five areas to continue to work on. And I may discover more. But for now, I'm thankful I've had time to stop and think and come up with some good solutions to help us have happier days.