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Vacation Edition 2014 – Fort Bragg CA

Blair_House._Better_known_as_Jessica_Fletcher_s_house.__

For those of you who don’t recognize that house, it is Jessica Fletcher’s house from Murder She Wrote. I took this picture this week while exploring Mendocino.  It is now on my bucket list to actually stay overnight in the Bed and Breakfast that is now located there – The Blair House. We had a lovely week of vacation in Fort Bragg (and outwards up and down the coast each day) and the weather was beautiful.  We are now back to the 90 degree heat and home.  I have the weekend to get my life together before Bean starts Kindergarten (!) and I have next week before I start teaching again.  So, what would it mean to “have my life together”?  Excellent question.  I’m not sure of the answer, but here are some things I have as goals:

1.  Have a clean and organized house to start the school year.  

I am in “post-vacation chaos” right now.  Lots of laundry to do, putting some areas back together after the rush of last minute packing of things we almost forgot, etc.  The house isn’t a huge mess though and I think it can come together relatively easily and fast.  I just want to start the new year with clean spaces so that #2 will work better.

2.  Have routines in place for maintaining house, work and sanity.

This will quite possibly be the biggest challenge.  I am so bad at sticking to routines.  But, I know that I am in desperate need of them.  I need routines to keep the mornings less stressful, I need routines to keep my daughter sane and rested in the afternoons (she tends to want to go, go, go and if I don’t have something set, I can’t convince her to rest, eat or anything else on a schedule).  I need routines in the evening so we get to bed at a decent hour and have everything done that needs to be done instead of me trying to stay up all hours finishing whatever it was that didn’t get done during the day.  It will also help with the nights I’m teaching to keep things on track around here. 

3.  Menu planning

I have resisted this with all the fibers of my being.  I don’t know why.  I guess because I often feel unmotivated to cook whatever it is that I’ve planned so I find it less guilt-inducing to just not plan anything.  But, with our schedule, needing lunches for school for Bean and trying to save money, I feel I can no longer resist.  I just need to be totally realistic.  Easy and fast foods that don’t require a lot of prep.  Keeping it simple so both my husband and Bean will eat it and I will also be able to make it (or he can make it on the nights I’m teaching).  So, I’m hitting my Pinterest boards and the Kraft Food and Family magazine and I’m doing a plan.  

So, what’s your plan for back to school this year?  Or are you even impacted by back-to-school?  

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Fill

Five-Minute-Friday-new

Today I am participating in Five Minute Friday, which is being hosted in a new location.  Kate Motaung has taken over for Lisa Jo Baker and has even created a nifty new button for the party!  If you are like me and struggle sometimes with what to write or how to write something, this is a great once-a-week party that gives you something to write about and tells you not to worry about HOW you write about it.  Takes the pressure off!  So, think about joining the party over at katemotaung.com!  Here is mine for this Friday:

Fill.  It is a word that means so many different things to me right now.  I could say “I’ve had my fill” of some things in my life.  Certainly there is that.  But, I could also say that I am excited about how my life is being filled now.  A little more positive and optimistic.  So, I think I’ll focus on that aspect in today’s writing exercise.

My life is very much filled for the Fall semester.  I’ve already started filling in my calendar and I will be teaching two more classes this semester (an overload, which is great for filling our bank account, or perhaps emptying our debts a bit), Bean is starting to Kindergarten (!) which is sure to come with many new and exciting activities.  I am also going to start her in a gymnastics class as I think she needs to be doing some organized activity that builds muscle and confidence and gymnastics seems like a fun one.  I am also going to have my husband at home this year (!), which is certain to fill the space with a bit more adult conversation and socializing (hopefully) than before – when he was gone for three nights a week on average for his job.  I am also joining a small group at my church which will not only fill my Wednesday mornings, but hopefully will fill my heart and soul with friendship, fellowship and faith.  The woman I worked with doing crafts at Vacation Bible School this year sent me a personal invitation to join her group, but said there were others and that I should feel free to look around.  But, I think I will join hers.  She was wonderful and I felt a connection with her during VBS.  Finally, I am looking forward to new students and team members to fill my classes and make memories with this semester.  I had a pretty good semester last semester, but I’m looking forward to even more and better classes this semester and making more connections with my students to fill their heads with knowledge and hopefully fill their hearts with a love of learning.

Time’s up.  Already.  That went fast this week!  I hope you’ll consider joining us for the #fmfparty this week!

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I am alive and kicking…

Well, I can’t believe it has been almost two weeks since I last posted on the blog.  I’m not sure what happened to cause me to lapse for so long.  I started a couple of posts, but didn’t finish them.  And the rest of the time, I’ve just been focused elsewhere.  But, I’m back now.  I am looking down the barrel of the first day of Kindergarten and first year of school five days a week for my daughter, a Fall semester where I will be teaching two more classes than I have for the last seven years, and a husband who is home pretty much full time.  The last may seem out of place on that list, but I’m still deciding whether its going to be a help or hindrance.  I mean, having him home more often is definitely going to be great, but having him home all. the. time. may be a bit stressful at first.  Two years ago he was on a schedule where he’s been working away from home for four days and three nights a week.  Last year he cut that back to every other week, but was still gone quite a bit.  This year, he’ll be traveling for a weekend here and there, but not during the week.  That is one reason I feel like I can teach more classes.  That and he took a pay cut to be home, so I feel like having the extra money for the extra classes will come in quite handy.  

My husband has been gone for the past seven weeks for work and let me tell you, I am really ready for him to be home.  I love my five year old, but we’re pushing mother-daughter time to a limit with me being off work and her being out of school and him being gone. Seriously.  Pushing it.  So, he arrives on Saturday and we leave for a family vacation on Monday for four days.  I’m really looking forward to that.  We’re going to Mendocino, which is one of my favorite places.  The weather will be in the 60s the whole time – a full 30 degrees plus cooler than it is here.  There are beaches, the hotel has a pool, there are fun things to do and see, and there will be other adults there (my in-laws are going as well), meaning I may even be able to get some me-time.  Maybe.  Oh, and on top of all that, Mendocino is where Murder, She Wrote was filmed.  I looked into staying at Jessica Fletcher’s house, but it really wasn’t conducive with the whole family.  But, it is on my bucket list, for sure.  

So, I’m trying to figure out how this new schedule is going to work.  How I’m going to protect myself against the burnout I usually tend to start feeling about five or six weeks into the semester. How I’m going to manage a couple of more classes and still feel like I can keep up with the house and Bean’s schooling and all the other things that pop up during a semester.  I am trying to approach this semester as one of “good busy”.  I am also going to try to weed out a lot of things that I consider to be “bad busy”.  I am going to fight my normal tendencies and try to follow a routine both daily and weekly.  I am going to try to find a balance.  Basically, I am going dream the impossible dream and try to live as much of it as I can.  

What about you?  What is your Fall starting to look like?