Close your eyes and imagine...

I don't remember where, but a while back I read an article about visualizing the outcome of something you want to achieve in order to help you truly achieve it. For example, if you want to lose weight, you should visualize yourself at your goal weight, how you would look and feel, and this will help you on your journey. I've been thinking about what I want my home life to look like.

I see myself sitting on the couch each morning reading my bible and talking with my God. Then I spend time readying the house for the day. I see Dylan and I sitting at the breakfast table each morning. We chat about the day ahead. We both get ready for the day and leave the house on time. Evenings are spent eating dinner together as a family. Then we do the dishes and spend the rest of the evening together talking, reading and playing games.

Gee, does that sound a little 'Waltonesque' or what? I can't help it. I love watching that show and seeing the whole family together in the living room after dinner. They gather around the radio to listen to a favorite show. John is reading the paper, a couple of children play checkers and Olivia and Grandma are mending clothes or kintting. That's what I want my world to look like. Now I just have to figure out how to get there.

I think it's going to take quite a while to get to where I want to be. Each and every inch of this house needs to be cleaned and the excess stuff that has accumulated tossed out or donated. There is so much stuff crowding our very small house that we can't enjoy the things that we love. I've started on the basement and oh my word it's going to take much more time than I thought. I'm afraid that a New Year's Eve party won't be happening this year. There is so much cleaning to do. Our basement gets damp when we have a lot of rain and this past spring was wetter than normal. As I'm pulling out boxes I'm finding that I'm going to have to wash down everything with bleach. Furniture will have to be moved and carpets cleaned. There just won't be enough time over the next 3-4 weeks for me to get it all done. I think we'll have to shoot for spring break instead.

Between now and New Year's Eve I'm going to work on my 2009 plan. It will be my year of learning to life a simpler life. 2009 is all mine.

So far, so good

I'm up! I read the first 2 chapters of Genesis and spent time in prayer for myself, my family and my coworkers. Then I put away the clean dishes in the drainer, washed some glasses that were in the sink and set out things for breakfast. Then I put a load of laundry in the dryer, another load in the wash and put away mine and Kevin's clean clothes. Dylan can put away his basket tonight. Now I'm headed to the shower. I'll have to hurry to be ready to eat breakfast with Dylan at 6am but I think I can make it.

Now, my confession. I never went to the grocery last night so I'll have to do it tonight after PTA. I also never made it to the basement yesterday. I'm going to have a lot to do next weekend.

Okay shower, here I come!

A Fresh Start

This is it. I'm making a plan and sticking to it. I've promised my son. There is no going back.

Our mornings are horrible so we've made a schedule that we are going to follow. No matter how difficult it is we are going to stay on track until we get used to it. I've read that it takes 30 days to create a habit. Getting started during the holidays probably isn't the smartest idea, but I'm always that person that waits until Monday...or the first of the month...or New Year's Day....or Groundhog Day....or whatever else will let me put it off another day. I'm hoping that by New Year's Day we'll be feeling like we are gaining some ground.

Our Morning Schedule

4:00-4:30 Quiet time with God - I need this, I really do.

4:30-5:30 Home Blessing (I've always called it housework but this sounds so much nicer)

5:30-6:00 Shower & Hair

6:00-6:30 Breakfast with Dylan

6:30-7:00 Bathroom time for me, shower for Dylan

7:00-7:30 I get dressed, Dylan has his bathroom time

7:30-8:00 Take Dylan to school and me to work

Note - I'm not leaving Kevin out on purpose, he just never gets up until we are out of the house because he doesn't have to be at work until 9am at the earliest.

This week will be a bit off because of the holiday, but here are our plans.

I'm heading down to the basement to clean. Later I need to run to the grocery so I don't have the fight the crowds later in the week.

PTA - Pack Thanksgiving baskets
Dylan's music lessons - Kevin will drive
Review Dylan's schoolwork

Review Dylan's schoolwork
Laundry & Ironing
Vacuum carpet & Quick dust with Swiffer

Review Dylan's schoolwork
Bake cookies for Kevin's Black Friday lunch (he works retail...yipes!)
Make slaw for Thanksfiving Day lunch
Make sure everything is set for Thanksgiving Day

Make sweet potato casserole and green beans
Mom's house for lunch
In-laws house for dinner

Put together tray of cookies for Kevin
Clean basement
Work on laundry

Clean basement
Work on laundry (yes there really is this much to be done)
Dylan's friend here to work on Science Fair project

Day trip with Mom, Dad, Kevin and Dylan to West Baden to see Christmas decorations.
Back home to make sure things are ready to start all over on Monday morning.

So, there it is. I'm putting our morning routine on the front of the fridge and in the bathroom so we can easily refer to it as we create these new habits. The weekly schedule will go on my weekly dry erase board on the fridge. I've already been using this to keep activities straight but now I'm going to put everything on there...chores, meals, everything. The hardest part is going to be getting up at 4am but it has to be done. At least until the clutter is gone. I hope to eventually hit a maintenance mode that won't require the kinds of hours I'm going to need to put in to get this place in order.

Now, I'm headed to the basement to get started sorting out what needs to go and what needs to stay. Wish me luck!

I need a plan

This weekend I'm going to take some time to come up with a realistic daily schedule and plan for the week. I've probably chosen a bad time to start this since it is a holiday week, but I can't put it off any longer. I am constantly making schedules that just don't work. They are unrealistic. I plan to get up much earlier than I'm capable of and do way more than I can possibly accomplish in the time allotted. I make a very valiant attempt to follow this 'dream' schedule for a week and then completely give up when I fail and fall back into 'no schedule at all' mode. This is no way to live.

Several things have come to a head this week that have let me know I and my family cannot continue on this chaotic path. Mostly, they had to do with Dylan. His schoolwork is suffering. He is not a natural organizer and he needs help. Because the house is a wreck and our calendar is bursting at the seams, I haven't been helping him the way I should. Days and weeks pass without me really checking his grades online or asking to see his agenda book. He says he doesn't have homework and I just run with that because it's easier and hey, we need to be across town 5 minutes ago so grab your coat and run for the car. I met with all of his teachers yesterday and we discussed ways to help him get back on track. I've known for a long time that we are too busy but that meeting with the teachers was the smack in the face I needed. We need more time to just be at home doing the mundane day to day stuff like looking at agenda books. After that meeting I took a scalpel to our calendar and cut out everything I possibly could for the months of November and December. I haven't started a 2009 calendar yet but the first thing I'm going to do is schedule a weekly family night. If it's on my calendar in ink I won't be lying to people when I tell them I have a prior committment. I'm choosing Thursday because it's my hubby's day off. He will be relaxed and can have part of dinner ready so we can eat shortly after I get home from work. That will leave more time for games and movies.

The second thing that really hit me this week was how badly I need to get this house under control so that Dylan can invite friends over. I'm so embarassed by the mounds of clutter that I don't allow anyone in the house. And then there is the basement. Back in April I pulled everything out of the storage area so I could go through it, throw away a bunch and organize what was left. Well, it's all still sitting there in November. Even though it isn't very nice, the finished part of the basement could be a decent family room. The bookcases are down there. There is a small sofa and television along with the stereo and all of our cd's. The treadmill is currently folded up because the floor is full of junk and I can't unfold it. Dylan's drumset is down there and I'd like to make a music area with his and Kevin's guitars and the keyboard hiding under my bed. It could be a fabulous place for a 12 year old boy to hang out with his friends playing music, watching movies or playing video games. I even have a dream of turning a corner into my office. I have an old computer that I'd like to set up on a small desk. This would be my place for doing Boy Scout and PTA work and paying bills. Right now all of this stuff is in my living room. Ugh.

I need to do this for Dylan. He doesn't have friends over which leaves him sitting in front of the tv or computer all alone. He's becoming a sad little boy. On Thursday night a friend came over so they could work on their science fair project. I managed to get the house into decent shape so that his friend wouldn't think we were truly horrible and Kevin was off all day so he did some more straightening. Kevin put dinner in the crock pot for me (I had it all assembled in a zip loc bag) so we would have a meal other than pizza. When I got home from work, Dylan and his friend were working ont their project and they were having a ball. They were laughing and goofing around. Then something happened that has never happened before. At the last minute we invited his friend to stay for dinner. I realize this isn't huge and it happens in houses all over the country every single day, but for us it was HUGE. I saw how happy it made Dylan. I saw his eyes light up and I saw him smiling from ear to ear. He's a very lonely little boy and it's my fault. I never let him invite anyone over because of the house, and he usually can't accept invitations from friends because we already have other plans. I have taken this very social little boy and refused to let him spend time with friends. Seeing the pure joy on his face at having a friend stay for dinner just broke my heart. Why on earth have I let our lives get to the point that I can't let my child invite a friend over to play, spend the night or have dinner? I want to see that joy on his face all the time. I don't want him to be lonely.

So, the plan. One must be made. I'm going to work on it and post it later this weekend. Today I need to straighten up the house, do some laundry and finish helping Dylan set up his new computer. He has worked and saved for the last year or so to buy this computer. We started setting it up last night but couldn't finish because we need a cable and by the time we figured that out the stores were closed. I can run and get that at 9am, then I'm going to finish the computer setup, straighten the house and put away clean laundry. The rest of the day will be spent in the basement. All day tomorrow will be spent in the basement. This coming Friday and Saturday will be spent in the basement. If I can get through all of the boxes, bags and piles by next Friday, that will only leave the deep cleaning. I can do that in the evenings. My goal is to get it in shape so that Dylan can have a sleepover party for New Year's Eve. He doesn't know that yet. I'm going to wait until next weekend to tell him. That way I'll be sure that I can actually pull it off. It will make him so happy and that smile will make my heart melt so it's a win/win situation.

And now I see there is still an hour and a half before the store opens so I think I'll start the house straightening right now. That way there will be less to do later. Gee, what a novel idea.