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Head is still above water.  I wouldn’t say I’ve ARRIVED yet, but I’m managing to keep moving forward.  Laundry went a little better this week than last.  Slacked a bit on the water drinking, but not horribly.  Spent lots of time working out details with Brent last week.  Withdrew all our cash for envelopes on payday this week.

And the Brain Dump (#19) from One Bite at a Time was this week’s new task.  It was an interesting exercise.  Lately, I feel like so many of my thoughts end up flying out of my brain and into the stratosphere never to be heard of again.  The brain dump idea gives me a time/place (bedtime/in bed) to just sit and mull and write down everything that is on my mind that needs to be done.  I’ve never really been one to struggle falling asleep, but I feel an even greater peace laying my head down when I’ve sort of flopped everything out on the paper.

However, what I found was some frustration at what happened with the Brain Dump.  Which was…  nothing.  Because I don’t have a method for organizing that stuff, it just sat there in my notebook.  I did refer to it a couple times to see what I’d hoped to do, but that was about it.  SO, have decided to tackle #39 for this coming week:

Create a Daily To-Do List!!!

I absolutely love what she says about this:

“But I’d say the number one enemy of productivity in a mom’s life, especially when she has very small children at home, is trying to do too much.

Don’t get me wrong—we have more than tons to do, and I for one have never accomplished everything I’d ever needed to do in one day. But that’s the very reason why trying to do too much will set us up for failure. To put it bluntly, if we think we’ll successfully check off a 20-item to-do list within 24 hours, we’re kidding ourselves.”

SO true.  And as a Planner at heart, I love making lists but they invariably lead me to my number one nemesis:  FAILURE.  When I have a list of 903 things to do, I obviously will fail and that’s never good.

Tsh also mentions that she has tried every organizational system under the sun but that they are always too rigid.  I have found the same problem with all my lovely iPhone apps.  My most recent failures have related to setting LITERALLY about 23 alarm/reminders per day on my iPhone.  Instead of them helping to structure my day, they just become another thing that I basically hit “snooze” on.  Rather than being helped to keep a schedule, I find myself going to the app just to clear my overdue reminders.  FAILURE again.

The main suggestions that Tsh makes is to take your Brain Dump and pick 10 things to do.  And then choose three of those to make your MITS (most important tasks).  Then if all you get done is the three, you’ll still feel you accomplished the biggies.  And if you get to more or all of the 10, you’ll just feel like a genius!  And THAT’S what I like.

I’m going to dry her downloadable form this week and see how it works for me.  You can find it HERE if you wanna join me (there is the full Daily Docket and the Pocket Docket).

And so here we go.

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This last week went better but it’s getting tough keeping all the balls in the air.  In general, the 52 Bites aren’t things you do once.  They are tasks that you are attempting to incorporate into your everyday life.  So now, having completed week four, I should have four new weekly tasks that I’m maintaining.  At this point, since I doubled up one week, I should have:

1.  Envelope system – check

2.  Drink more water – check (and truly making a difference in my life, I think)

3.  Weekly meetings with your husband – check-ish (was done over dinner last night – I think better as a sit down just the two of us)

4.  Earlier bedtime – check-ish (somewhat successfully this week – probably 11pm, not quite back to 10:30pm as hoped)

5.  Eating my frog – check-ish (did better this week, but still can’t figure out when “first thing in the morning” is… is that really before my devotional time, before waking up the kids, before getting ready for the day?  Or is it the first thing I do once I’m home from taking Jake to school, which is often not til 11am after going to the gym…  I think it should probably be first thing after my devotional time — before waking the kids, but then that plays into #47: Wake up earlier, which I have NOT started yet.  So.  Like I said, check-ish.  Better than last week.)

So, will continue to work on these and add…. drumroll please…

#19:  Dump Your Brain

I think this is a perfect one for me to try this week because lately I just feel like I’m soooo full of info.  So full of things to do.  And I keep forgetting things too.  I’ve tried to use my iPhone app called Awesome Note, which I really like, but if I don’t take the time to set a “due date” and just throw the item in there, it tends to get buried and I forget about it.

The idea with dump your brain is to just get it all down on paper and then allow that paper to dictate your daily to-do list (#39).  I know we all try so hard to be paperless and to just use our gadgets, but maybe sometimes, the ole paper and pen is the best.  I think I must have already been feeling this way because I purchased this cool notebook at the end of December.

I decided to use it for everything — my morning devotionals, all the “getting kicked out of the Navy ERB” note taking, my notes for my Weight Watchers training, meal planning…  Everything.  I like it because it has a date you can circle at the top which allows me to feel a bit of organization.

She mentions that some people could do this in the morning, but that she’s too sleepy then.  I think I agree that doing it just before bed is best for me.  Dump all the info and then maybe organize it a bit in the morning to get an idea of things to do that day.  SO.  Will give that a shot this week.

So, I’ve had self-imposed sleep issues with each of my kids.  The self-imposed part simply means that instead of doing what I KNOW how to do and nipping in the bud all bad sleep habits, I am lazy.  I want to go have my ME-TIME (i.e., watching DVR’d shows and eating popcorn ALONE) and so instead of just sticking with a sleep-training plan for 4-5 nights knowing all problems will probably be solved (though those nights would be hellish), I don’t.  Instead I do whatever FEELS at the moment to be the fastest way to get them to sleep.  Currently it is sitting on her bed.  Rubbing her back.  Putting on music.  Laying down with her.  Whatever I think will work fastest.

Of course, it’s never fast.  Always takes at least 30 minutes and I’m usually mad by the time I finally leave her room.

It’s ridiculous really.  I was one of the few people I knew who never breastfed my kids to sleep.  I fed them when they first woke up and then swaddled them and put them down to sleep (which meant we could actually go on a date now and then cuz someone else could successfully put them to sleep).  However, the moment they could stand (Jake & Quinn) and the moment they moved to a big kid bed (Kira), the nightmare began.

With Jake & Quinn, whose difficulties were with being mobile in their cribs, I FINALLY used the Baby Whisperer’s Pick Up Put Down method, which worked like a charm after 4-5 nights.

Kira was a GREAT sleeper, even once she could stand.  I’d put her in her crib, I’d walk out, she’d fall asleep.

And then the big girl bed.

Sigh.

I’m so embarrassed that we are going on 10 months of this now.  I can use the excuse that we spent all summer traveling and then Brent (and the ensuing adjustment period) returned from deployment, but even if I do that, we’ve still been dealing with this for a good four months.  Too long.

So, tonight it begins.

My friend, Evonne, gave me a sleep book the other night and luckily I only needed to read about one chapter of it (towards the end of the book where he finally gets to older kids) to get his recommendations for preschooler sleep problems (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth).  It’s a pretty simple concept that starts with making a sign together that lists the four “Sleep Rules” and then discussing before bedtime what is going to happen. Namely, that she needs to follow the rules.  If she does not, I will pick her up without talking to or looking at her and will put her back in bed.  I will do this over and over and over and over again.  Until she follows the rules.

And the kicker is, I will do this in the middle of the night as well.  This is where it gets really tough for me because I’m great at having self-control and sticking to a plan (once I set my mind on it) while I’m alert.  Doing so while in the twilight world of sleep is another thing.  Firstly, I like being warm in bed and don’t WANT to get up and put her back to bed.  Secondly, it’s just so EASY not to move.  Thirdly, I don’t even remember half the time letting her in bed.

But, if she follows the rules, she will get a treat in the morning and a dollar (fake money that I’ve just started using on our 143,598,389th attempt at having a successful chore plan).

While we were talking about it mid-rule-poster-making, she got very upset and cried until she heard the word TREAT and suddenly the tears stopped and a smile appeared.  What a little manipulator.

So wish me luck.

 

UPDATE:  

Night 1 – She screamed and yelled for me and DAAAAAD (like the pissed off, I am NOT getting my way and I DON’T like it kind of yelling) for about 45 minutes.  During that time, I took her back to bed (no eye contact, no speaking) five times.  She then stopped and went to sleep.  At 12:45pm she woke crying and came into our room.  I took her back to her room.  She made sniffling noises for about 40 more minutes and then came in a second time to BRENT’S side of the bed.  I took her back to her room.  She slept til 6:45am.  Woke to MUCH praise.

Night 2 — She cried (not as pissed off) for about 15 minutes.  Did not come out of her room.  She then slept ALLLL NIGHT!

Night 3 — She yelled (pissed) for about 5 minutes.  Did not come out of her room.  Woke at 1am and cried for a few minutes, but didn’t come into our room.  Slept the rest of the night.

Haven’t LOVED the experience.  However, the fact that I was sitting on the couch alone in a quiet house at 8:15pm last night has got to be worth BOATLOADS of gold and happiness.  🙂

Explosion

Shoot.  Missed posting last week.  Dang it.  Will have to make up for it with some extras this week.

So the explosion is from Jake.  It’s an explosion of learning.  It’s crazy really.  I can hardly keep up.  In fact, I am definitely not keeping up.

He can suddenly read.  He is often heard starting a sentence with the phrase, “Did you know….?”  He wants to know more about everything.  For the first time ever, I will come in and find him with a writing implement and paper just drawing or writing stuff or illustrating some story in his head.

It’s amazing to drive down the road and hear him sounding out street signs from the back seats.

It’s like magic.  A magic explosion.

He bursts into Chinese phrases at random and loves asking me if I know how to say this word or that in Chinese (generally I have no clue — that 10 months in China was TOOOOO long ago…).  He’s totally up on the current discipline issues in his classroom and I get a blow by blow each day after school.  He can play video games at levels I could only imagine.  He quoted scripture (from AWANAs) back to Brent yesterday when they were discussing why it was necessary to wear seat belts —  that it’s the law… “For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”

It’s fantastic.  Fantabulous.  Amazing.

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!).

Tooth Two

I have a lot of angst around the Christmas season.  And it’s not because of the over monetization of a religious holiday.  It’s not because people buy puppies they don’t really want.  It’s not because of all the children starving around the world while we in America spend umpteen dollars on plastic toys for our already spoiled children.  Well, I mean, that stuff bugs me too, but my real problem is Santa.

And what to tell my children about him.

See, I was that kid.  You know, the one who told you Santa wasn’t real when you were 8?  The one who brought you to tears and ruined your life?  That was me.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to be unkind, it’s just that Mom was very deliberate in her choice NOT to teach us to believe in Santa.  She was also not unkind.  And didn’t mean to hurt us or you.  But she felt really strongly about two things:

1.  Lying.

2.  Having kids who thanked Santa instead of the moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas who worked hard to earn money to buy the gifts.

Now, I know that there are wonderful things about believing in Santa, and as an adult, Mom and I have discussed the pros and cons many times.  I think she feels she was a little extreme in the “not believing” side of things because we missed that chance each year to have our imaginations caught up with the ideas surrounding the Santa story.  But I think, on the whole, she’s still glad we always “knew.”

And unfortunately, I’ve been torn.  It wasn’t a big deal the first couple years because Jake was too young too care.  But each year comes and goes by without me deciding.  Do we believe?  Or do we not?  Instead of making up my mind, I’m ridiculously vague when questioned and often just change the subject.  It’s like I can’t bring myself to say, “No, there is no Santa,” but I also can’t get the words, “Of course that’s the REAL Santa” to come out of my mouth either.

Luckily, I’ve got 11 more months to figure it out.  Again.

Which is why it is so funny that for some reason, I’ve got NO PROBLEM at all with the tooth fairy.

In fact, she visited last night and traded Jake for his second baby tooth.  A whole dollar.

And have I mentioned being a closet dentist-wanna-be?

As the daughter of a dentist, who worked every summer of high school in Dad’s office, I always had a little part of me that wanted to follow in his footsteps.  Life led me elsewhere, but I have been tickled pink to finally pull out some teeth (other than my own).  On tooth number one, Jake didn’t know what to expect, so was very willing to let me pull it out.  This time, he was MUCH more nervous.  In fact, it took 3 days for him to agree to let me pull out the dangling tooth.  But he finally let me.  YIPPEE!!  Thrills for Mom!

Tooth #2 from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

What  a trooper.

Then What We Need Do?

I remember years ago hearing that my eldest nephew cared deeply about the day’s schedule.  Each morning, Holly was required to tell him the plan for the whole day.  At the time I, a HUGE planner, thought that was so cool!  A kid who liked to know THE PLAN.

Then I had kids.  Much to my chagrin, none of them have seemed to care a whit about THE PLAN, until the last few weeks when the following phrase appeared out of thin air.  Each day I now hear this phrase repeated again and again and again and… Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

What we need do… from Joelle Yamada on Vimeo.

And in case you don’t have your Kira Translation Headphones on, the line is:  “Then what we need do?”

She has also recently perfected the slacked jaw gape.  Also known as the “Huh?” or the “No way!” or the “Gasp!” look…  She loves tossing this in during the recitation of responses to “then what we need do?” when one of my scheduling bullets is especially provocative.  And example might go like this:

K:  “Then what we need do?”

Me:  Then we are going to get Jake at school.

K:  “Then what we need do?”

Me:  Then we will go the the farmer’s market and you can pick out your fruit and veggie.

K:  Open mouth, shocked look followed by a quick intake of breath, an excited hug delivered to my leg and…  “Then what we need do?”