How I’m staying sane while my world has gone mad

So while things haven’t really gone swimmingly for us this year, at least they have finally calmed down a little. It’s really only the eye of the storm; we are tackling another interstate move in only 6 weeks, and Mark is still searching and searching for work. I so appreciate the suggestions from you all; we’ve decided to head for Missouri to be near family again.

So the crazy marches on. But for right now, our house is listed, and my sick kiddo is still getting better and has far fewer hospital visits and less gear to contend with. I can almost pretend life is normal.

In the lull, I’m trying to recover my sanity, while I also pack and keep my house absurdly clean in case we get a showing. Have I mentioned that we have 8 kids, a large hairy white dog, two cats, a rabbit, and a parakeet? So while I’m in the kitchen trying to make it look like no one has ever eaten anything in this home:

  • my 9 year old is in the living room accidentally spraying the walls with milk (I’m not kidding, that happened tonight)
  • my 2 year old is in the bathroom giggling while he pours soapy water on the floor
  • the dog wanders across the newly swept floor, casually shakes, and instantly sheds her entire winter coat
  • my 7 year old is knocking over another glass of milk in the dining room.
  • and what is the 4 year old is up to? Don’t ask.

Wait, we were talking about sanity. How I’m staying sane. Sorry, I got sidetracked. (Am I staying sane? Let’s just assume, for now. K? Good.)

I’m sleeping with my Rosary

Between some insomnia, and overwhelming busyness cutting into my prayer time, when I stumbled across this quote from St. Bernadette, it struck me as the perfect solution: “In the evening, when you go to sleep, hold your beads, doze off reciting them. Do like those babies who go to sleep mumbling, ‘Mamma! Mamma!'”

This is a practice that I don’t do all the time, but when I am very, very stressed out, I do find it a viable and very helpful way to keep up with prayer time.

I’m learning French.

My daughter introduced me to Duolingo, a charming little free app that lets you learn a foreign language in teeny little bits. I have my goal set to 5 minutes a day, and I’m still blazing through the surprising amount I remember from high school. I have always adored language learning and especially French, and just the little bit of something different that I love helps me feel more like me and less like a human fire extinguisher.

I’m focusing on my health. 

Months of high-stress crisis living have taken their toll on me, not to mention certain middle-agey things that seem to be happening. Did you ever wonder why women gain weight after 40? Now I think I know. It’s because it becomes physically impossible not to eat the entire jar of Nutella. Not that I’m 40 yet, but it’s staring me down, friends.

So, I’m fighting it by running again, and picking up my kettlebell more often, and trying to (mostly) eat like a normal person. This is hard, but I’m a zillion times happier on the days when I’ve done it.

I’m blogging.

This not only takes my mind off things and helps me to connect with others (which is of great value in itself), but I am also working on building this little blog into a business that can contribute to our family income. I’ve spent a lot of time and effort lately on education for myself in the areas of blogging and working from home. It’s been slow going with all the nuttiness happening, but I’m still making progress, and I love that I can set it aside when I have to deal with life.

So, with this little project well underway, I have found a lovely resource to share with you all: The Ultimate Work at Home Bundle. I was thrilled when I saw this recommended by bloggers who have been in the trenches for a good long while and who have built a solid business out of it.

I have not spent a lot of money on my business, but most of what I have spent is on educational resources.  I’m excited to dig into this bundle, which includes 30 eBooks, 14 full eCourses, 4 printables, and 1 audiobook, and comes highly recommended by longtime, successful work-at-home moms. (I’m especially delighted to see two ebooks from Jeff Goins, whose blog has been helpful to me.) It’s a complete library compiled to help you:

  • Identify your marketable skills
  • Juggle your responsibilities and find work + life balance
  • Manage your time efficiently
  • Avoid the most common pitfalls of the work-at-home lifestyle
  • Understand the legal and financial implications of your business (this is the one I need the most help with!)
  • Discover how to get into the business that most appeals to you, whether it’s a wholesale product, service-based, handmade, transcription, becoming a VA, or any other number of opportunities

It also comes with over $500 worth of bonus offers; the package includes 50 digital products and it’s worth over $2,300.

By offering the bundle for a short time only, the team at Ultimate Bundles is able to give us access to over $2,300 worth of amazing products for a whopping 98% off! It’s on sale for 6 days (including today, which is pretty much over, so we’re down to 5 days now). Consider this your heads up if working from home is something you aspire to, or already do! 🙂

The sale ends June 12th, and they do mean it. I missed out on a homemaking bundle a while back because I kind of assumed they’d extend the deadline and maybe knock the price down even more…but this one doesn’t work that way. When the clock runs out, the sale is done.

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(Disclosure: I’m an affiliate of Ultimate Bundles; sales made through my links help pay for another stinking moving truck – at no additional cost to you.)

What are your favorite self-care tips when life gets…lifey? Do share!

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This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

{SQT} Bronchitis, strep, pneumonia. And some other stuff.

~1~

 So October hasn’t really been our month.  Unless by “our month,” you mean, “our month to get sick over and over again.” In that case, yes, it’s definitely been our month.

I love having a houseful of kiddos, especially these days when I am poignantly aware that some of them are gonna grow up and fly away awfully soon. All of us under one roof seems like a sweet, fleeting treasure that will be gone tomorrow.

But when sickness strikes the big family – well, see ya in a month, hopefully. This time we were especially privileged to get hit by

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Pretty, huh?

bronchitis, then a week
later, strep. Then a week later, Becca came down with pneumonia, which she is still fighting off. Had a fridge full of antibiotics, and a big, hastily-drawn, not-Pinterest-worthy dosing chart on the fridge, and really have done very little beyond push fluids, take temperatures, watch breathing,  go to the doctor, get chest x-rays, refill the humidifier…all that.

~2~

 In other news, we did finally get back to school in mid-September. Planning a new school year for 6 kids on top of the huge pile of life changes we’ve tackled this year was daunting. We ended up doing a lot with Homeschool Connections for the older three; the monthly subscription is really affordable for multiple kiddos and takes a lot of the prep burden off of me, particularly for the history and religion classes, which I wanted to have a Catholic worldview but felt underprepared to put that together myself. Uppeschoolr math is Teaching Textbooks as always – I LOVE Teaching Textbooks 2.0. Self-grading math, baby. Enough said.

For the littler ones, we’re taking it easy but hitting the biggies with Math-U-See, Apologia, Hooked on Phonics, workbooks, and some classes from Kolbe. Mostly stuff we already had handed down from the older ones. Of course, we took a lot of time off to be sick this month, but c’est la vie.

~3~

We’re continuing to settle in to our new home. North Carolina is definitely a whole different world than Utah; I’m slow at adapting. Things I miss about Utah:

  • Mountains.
  • Family and friends left behind, of course.
  • Mormons. I’m not Mormon, never have been, don’t plan on it, but I miss LDS folks and culture. I might go over and visit the ward so I can meet some Mormons. Is that weird?  “Hey guys, I’m Catholic, but I lived in Utah forever and I’m not sure my life will ever be complete without ward Christmas parties. Can I come? Please??”  If you too have a fondness for LDS culture, hop over to Twitter and check out #MormonMafia. Hilarious.
  • Fry sauce. If you don’t know what that is, I’m so sorry.
  • Enunciation. North Carolinians mumble like nobody’s business. I can’t understand anybody I talk to on the phone, here, ever. It’s kind of a problem.

~4~

Then again, there are some things I don’t miss about Utah:

  • Traffic. We kind of don’t have any, here, except for that one weekend festival, when there is “CRAZY TRAFFIC” that is kind of like average, midmorning weekday traffic around Salt Lake. Other than that, there really isn’t any.
  • Crazy drivers (of which I kind of am one, now. Thanks Utah).  Utah drivers are pretty aggressive, and I picked that up over time. North Carolina drivers are more…sleepy. They kind of dawdle along, and then sit there for a while, as though pondering very carefully what their next move shall be. Frustrating to an overcaffeinated, overly busy city mom driver? Yeah. But better than getting mowed down. And good for practicing patience. I guess.

~5~

I started running again! I totally quit over the summer, as moving craziness took over my whole world. When I started up again, I had to start the beginning program all over, and made a lot of progress. I have had to quit again for the last month while I get over bronchitis and strep, but I’m almost ready to start up again…again.

The running was made worlds easier to fit in when I realized that I could run in the evening when I habitually take Timothy for a bedtime walk to calm down. He enjoys the running, and so do I. Previously, I’d ruled out running then – aren’t you supposed to not run right after a meal? And not too long before bed?

But the last few months, I’ve gotten sick of not getting things done because of not being able to do them “right.” If my realistic options are a) run after dinner, at the “wrong time,” or b) not run, I’m ready for option a.

~6~

Happy birthday to Jonat20161029_160016.jpghan and Alex! Their birthdays are only days apart, and so far they are content to share a party. Lucky me, I hope it lasts! Jonathan’s day is today, which commemorates 9 years since the elevator incident. And, a few days ago was 7 years since Alex’s birth, which still stands as the toughest birth I have done. May it ever be so.

~7~

I organized my pantry, back in those days before sickness, now buried in the mists of time. (I think it was September.)

Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep a pantry organized with 10 people in the house? You clean that thing, and 2 weeks days minutes seconds later, boom. Totally randomized, to the subatomic level. I kid you not. My husband called it the “Where’s Waldo” storage method.

For years I have meant 20160923_094737.jpgto label the shelves, but alas. I didn’t have a label gun thingy. I had a label gun thingy in my Amazon cart for awhile, but it’s not the same.

I can’t believe it took me so long, but I finally realized that scrap paper, a Sharpie, and clear tape could do what really needed done, which was to make sure we can all find the pickles.

Not Pinterest-worthy, but it works, unlike all the elaborate projects in my head and good intentions left, unbought, in my Amazon cart.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

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Sweet Little Ones

Running: Day 5

20160520_134039.jpgFive days into my little running project: so far, so good.  I’ve run/walked three times and I did still get in kettlebell once, and that’s with plenty of crazy going on.  It’ll just take time before I know if I like it, or if I just like the shiny newness of it.  It is nicely refreshing to get out of the house!  I forget to leave the house for days at a time if nobody makes me.  It’s not like I’m gonna get bored in here.  (I’m looking at you, laundry piles. Not to mention the packing which I have only technically started.)  

Anyway, I like the 2 minute walk/1 minute run format, it’s not excruciating the way I expect running to be. I’m a little scared though because on the beginner program I’m following, tomorrow is the last day of that, and then we run more.  By next Friday, I’m supposed to be running 4 minutes, and walking 1.

I kinda don’t feel ready for that, but we’ll see.  I’ll give it a go.  I have this vague idea that maybe a mud run with the kids would be fun someday, but I probably would need to be able to run more than 1 minute in a row, first.

Here’s some shots I took during my walking portions this morning of my prettier stretch.  The uglier stretch looks like a huge busy 4-lanes with a construction project across the road, and who wants a picture of that?  But I want to share these, because I just discovered the filters on Instagram.  Don’t tell me how long they’ve been there, I don’t want to know. People talk about filters, I thought they meant an actual, physical filter on a camera.

Mmm-hmm.

I get there in the end.

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Another New Thing – or, don’t I have enough to do?

A few days ago before the blog went live, I was thinking maybe I’d do some posts about kettlebell.  I have been working out with kettlebells for a few years; they are really a busy mom’s dream, giving you a great workout in a very short time – 10-20 minutes will do a lot.   I have loved using them and have gradually worked my way up from my 10 lb starting bell – which about killed me at the time – to my current 20.

But honestly, I have been having a hard time squeezing them in.  I’ve been blaming the move, which is part of it.  And a nagging neck injury, which is also part of it.  But yesterday I hit on the real reason: I’ve gotten bored.  I’ve put a lot into improving, and I’ve gotten to a point where, unless I’m really going to step things up and go all bodybuilder (if I had time for that, I’d spend it doing something else!), I’m not going to increase the weight of my bell any more, and my technique isn’t going to improve that much more.  So I’m maintaining.  Which is fine…but boring all by itself.  I like something that I am learning and getting better at.  Kids are great for that.  I can never figure them out.

So after I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a runner, I thought maybe I’d give it a try.  I did used to run a little in college, but I was never very good at it, and I haven’t tried it since.  Yesterday, I did Day One of the beginner program on Runner’s World.

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After our first run.

I always hesitate to start stuff like that, because then I feel dumb if it sputters out – and you know, I obviously don’t have enough on my plate moving ten people across the country on a shoestring, starting a new blog, and the other miscellanies that come from being in charge of a small nation  large family.  Clearly, I need to embark on an 8 week beginning running program, too.

Well, I can’t pack all the time.  I have to stay sane somehow!

But I liked the first day.  I thought maybe that the very first stage would be too easy, what with all the kettlebell, but apparently it’s a whole different skill set, because I was plenty challenged.  And bonus points, because fussy teething boy could come along in the stroller.