Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Missed posting last week — so have a bit to update here:

During Week 6 I tackled #39 from One Bite at a Time:  Creating a Daily To-Do List.  I have to say this has probably been the most transformative Bite thus far.  I’ve been doing it for two weeks now and I feel so efficient.  I have to say that simultaneously I am also exhausted at the end of each day.  But I’m exhausted AND accomplished — which makes it ok.

The most interesting part of this exercise has been that it has taken me back to my pre-electronics days.  I started using DayPlanners in high school and continued those into college.  At one point  in college, I developed a system based on my own “week at a glance” charts that I would custom make in Paint on the earliest Macs housed at my Communications Department job.  These were color coded and “textured” to indicate work hours, study hours, classes, exercise time, etc, and were kept in my three-ring binder.  I kept to those schedules religiously.  In fact, I’ve still got boxes of the old ones in the garage!  Later I fell in love with the Lonely Planet yearly calendars that gave me just enough space to jot down any details I needed too while entertaining me with travelogue shots…

Yet, since the first Palm Pilots and other gadgets, I’ve tried to be hip and cool and keep my schedules “paperless.”  I’ve had an iPhone for a couple years now and have purchased app after app to try and organize everything from appointments to chores to housecleaning to worm medication for the dog.  I’ve used a lot of them.  And many of them are very, very nice, but in the end, there is something that my brain really likes about a physical list that can be scribbled on and altered and touched.  I think part of it is that I’m very visual (taking tests I could always picture where the answer was on the page in the book — not photographic memory at all, but just very much on the visual end of the spectrum).  And I think inputing a meeting into an app that organizes it so beautifully into the whole loses some of that visual “pop.”  For instance, I write things bigger when tasks are a bigger deal or underline or CAPITALIZE or write a note sideways that is just a secondary thought.  That kind of thing is hard to translate into a computer program.

So when I started with Tsh’s Daily Docket, I decided to do it sort of in a weekly fashion.  I printed five of the single sheet Daily Dockets and one of the two-to-a-page Dockets.  I stapled them together and labelled them Monday-Friday (single) and Sat-Sun (double).  I then added in all the appointments for the week (from my iPhone & iCal — which means these are still very necessary to keep the “whole”).  From our calendar (Brent’s Duty days, my Weight Watcher hours).  And from my brain that had not yet been dumped into iCal (Jake’s costume prep, Valentine’s cookies, etc.).  Next I added in the meal plan and made any notes necessary (crock pots that needed to be started in the morning).

At that point I just waited.  I did my Brain Dump (#19) at night before bed, and then the next morning I used it to fill in that day’s Daily Docket after my devotional time.  The most empowering part was picking the three MITs (Most Important Things).  Because I knew if the long list of 10 didn’t get done, I’d still feel good accomplishing the MITs.  I also love that she’s got a specific spot for “blog and/or work” because then I can remember that blogging is a priority for me and can keep my Okinawa Hai to-do’s separate from the “life” list.

And it has been VERY successful.  I even bought a new clipboard/notebook thingy at Target that allows me to clip the Daily Dockets on the front, and use the notepad inside for my nightly Brain Dump.  I’m also storing old “weeks” behind the notepad so that I can refer back if necessary.  It’s really going great!

For Week 7, I chose #47:  Wake Up Earlier (and use Kaizen).  This has been only mildly successful.  I am not a morning person, never have been — so this is very difficult for me.  But I’m finally willing to admit how much smoother the universe runs when I am ready for the day.  When I’m not late before I even get started.  Being up BEFORE the kids is like my worst nightmare, but I’m truly able to say that it’s a good thing.  And I’m striving towards that.

I started the week just trying to get up on “time” — which is 6-6:15am.  That gives me nearly a half hour before the kids get up and allows me to have devotional time and get my daily docket ready.  BUT, I’m realizing that another half hour to do somethings around the house — start laundry, get Jake’s lunch ready, straighten things a bit, do an Oki Hai post — would really lighten the load of my day.  And it would also mean I’d get to actually see Brent for a few minutes each day before he leaves for work.  However, after consulting my handy sunrise/sunset app, I found that 5:30am will be dark about 80% of the year.  That is rough for me.

So, I managed to make it between 6-6:15am this week, but I’m going to back it up a bit more for this coming week and see how things go.

And for that reason, I chose an “easy” Bite for this coming week:  #16 — Schedule Regular Date Nights.  Thought it was a great thing to start right after Valentine’s Day and our lovely Valentine’s massage date.  I’m always reminded how important date nights are when we have them.  And now that we have a great babysitter on the hook, I told Brent that we need to make Date Nights a bigger priority in our budget when we are finally out of debt next month.  BUT, then I realized we shouldn’t put it off til then.  So I called a friend of mine, who very unfairly has only ONE child, and said, “Hey, wanna trade kids for date night?”  She had been trying to prioritize the same thing and oddly thinks it’s fun to have ALL of my children to play with her daughter.  So she said she is IN.

We had her daughter over on Saturday afternoon/evening and they were able to have a lovely date enjoying yummy Italian food at a local restaurant.  The kids totally entertained themselves and I fed them orange dye #14 with cheap Mac N Cheese (and oranges and edamame – I’m not a total loser!).  It’ll be Brent’s and my turn to go out this weekend.  I’m thrilled to have a regular plan for spending time together without the kids.  Because as Tsh said,

We like movies that aren’t always animated. We like to play cards, drink wine and beer, and not cut up each other’s food. We also like to stay up later than 8 p.m.

Here’s to time with the most important person in my life.

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Hmmm.  So, it’s probably good I attempted two this week since I was only able to manage one.

We had a rough week.  Spent two days (18 hours total) in Navy seminars meant to explain to us all the ways they are helping (and not helping us) after kicking us out of the Navy after 14 years of faithful service.  Pretty much mind blowing and heart hurting and hopeful and infuriating and helpful and all that.  Simply put? Exhausting.

The silver lining was that I spent a LOT of good time with my awesome husband. We even managed dinner out one night during San Diego Restaurant Week (a great deal on a dinner we couldn’t normally afford).  So, I definitely managed to do #13 – Weekly Meetings with your Spouse.  We spent a lot of time this week discussing hopes and dreams and fears and concerns, as well as the daily details of schedules, pickups, meal plans and potty training (which is still going well, btw!).  And I’m hoping to make it a Sunday night tradition (unfortunately probably not including the yummy dinner out!).

The eating my frog thing (#1) did NOT work.  We were out of the house by 6:30 on the meeting mornings, Monday was a day off, Thursday we had Nature Adventures and Friday I had to buckle down and catch up on tons of work.  SO, no “good laundry practices.”  Will try again next week.

Have nicely continued with the water drinking and envelope system, so hanging in. And after the coolio appointment with my nutritionist this week, who is helping me work on reviving my adrenal glands, I’m going to try #18 – Get More Sleep. Shooting for a 10:30pm – which puts 6am at the top of a 90 minute sleep cycle.

And uhhh…  evidently I’ll try to start THAT new plan tomorrow. Good night (or good morning technically!).

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I wrote about the book, One Bite at a Time HERE and I wanted to update my progress:

Week 1: #48 – Using an Envelope system.

This was an easy one for me (and it was the last day of the week when I started) because we already do this (thanks, Dave Ramsey!).  I don’t do traditional envelopes, I actually have this fancy app for my iPhone called, amazingly, Envelopes. I withdraw all our cash on payday and subtract on my phone as I go.  Highly, HIGHLY recommend.

Week 2: #34 – Drink more water.  

I did some reading and it seems that 2 liters is the rule of thumb for women (not counting water you need if you exercise).  So I figured out that our Juicy Juice bottles are 64 oz (nearly 2 liters) and so I’m filling one of those each morning and trying to finish it by around lunchtime.  That way, anything beyond that just puts me over the 2 liter mark.

It’s gone really well this week and I think some of the brain-fog I’ve been experiencing was reduced this week.  Last night is the first time I finished the bottle right before bed.  So, on the whole a successful week.

This next week I’m going to go ahead and attempt… wait for it…  TWO new ideas.  I know, pick yourself off the floor.  I figure that eventually there will be a week I’ll flake on, so if I can get a bit ahead, that will be ok. And I’m really needing these next two so…

Week 3: #1 – Eating your Frog & #40  Plan Weekly Meetings with your Spouse.

Eating your frog relates to doing the thing you most dread first each day so that it’s a cake walk from there on out.  I have been thinking for the last three weeks — wondering what my frog is…  And I couldn’t figure out.  I mean, there are MANY MANY things I hate to do — how do I pick just one?  But then it hit me.  What is the thing that just never GETS done.  That would clearly win the prize as the thing I hated the most, right?

So I looked around the house and it was crystal clear from the piles of CLEAN clothes on every possible surface — on my bed (placed there in the morning with the HOPES they will magically fold themselves, but by 11pm must be moved into some sort of other container so I can sleep), in every possible basket shaped vessel available in the house, in a pile on the couch, in overflowing baskets in front of the dryer…  I don’t mind DOING the laundry.  I don’t mind starting the washer and moving things to the dryer.  What I hate is FOLDING AND PUTTING AWAY clothes.  SO.  That’s my frog.

Before I came in to do breakfast this morning, I folded 3 big baskets of clothes.  Last month, I had put little signs in the boys rooms on their shelves (to indicate short/long pants, short/long-sleeved shirts, underwear, pjs, socks) and had taught them how to put their own clothes away, so once I folded this morning, they came and put things away.  Granted, I didn’t put my OWN clothes away, but that is because of THIS project I started yesterday (refinishing my grandparent’s dresser).

And as for #40, Brent and I had a very busy week last week and this week isn’t looking much better.  We “missed” each other quite a bit — forgetting to fill the other in on appointments/meetings and just didn’t get to touch base much.  So, I think a weekly meeting is a great idea and I hope we can work it into being a habit quickly.  We will start tonight after my Weight Watchers training.

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