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Time to Write

Things are changing. They are always changing. Every moment when I get into the rhythm of “I got this” life happens and I have to learn to dance to a different beet and sometimes life doesn’t even provide me with the music to dance to and I sort of have to be super creative. Now is one of those moments where there is music but it the station keeps getting changed a lot and I have learned to just roll with it. Funny thing is that it keeps mixing my favorite hip hop station with my least favorite techno station and I have NO idea how to dance to techno. But even my favorite Hip Hop station is throwing me curve balls that I can manage and they are not horrible but throw me off beet. Thankfully there is more Hip Hop than Techno.

So here it is. Remember when we purchased the house the summer of 2016? The 1978 monster of a house that was frozen in time in 1978. There was shag carpet everywhere. Even in the bathrooms. There was carpet in the kitchen. Yep you read that right. IN THE KITCHEN!!! We knew that was not going to fly with 4 young boys, a dog and 2 cats. So we ripped out ALL the carpet except in the formal living and dining room which looked newer than the rest. But Ya’ll the carpet in there is cream colored and that is where I have the boys fenced off when I need to finish dishes, laundry, cook dinner or what have you and the dining room is the play room at the moment and the formal living is the game room with the ugliest pealing pleather couch that you could think of. We stalled out of updating the house about 7 months ago. Getting all of this done with 4 kids, a dog and 2 cats in tow on top of homework, school pick up, mountains of laundry, all the meals and all the normal stuff we have going on just wasn’t happening. One of our investments did well and we suddenly had the money to pay someone else to do the work and it was like a light shown down from the heavens. This is where I spend most of my time. In this house and we have had nasty concrete floors for over a year. The toilets and everything in the bathrooms is an ugly beige that makes me want to stab myself in the eye. But we have a great friend that does AMAZING work and was willing to take us on as clients and I am so excited to see what he will do for our house. Hopefully by the end of February I will have the house of my dreams. Before then we ran into some snags.

We found bats in the attic Bye Bye $1170 for removal and clean up

We hired a structural engineer because of some uneven floors and wanted the foundation to be fixed before we put new hardwood floors on. We need piers and foam to stabilize the foundation. Bye Bye $10,000

We needed some trees trimmed and removed from our property and the rental property. Bye Bye $2400

This all before we even start on the whole house remodel. The new appliances needed and the furniture that we need after that is done. We never fully moved into this house because it was never finished. The attic above the garage (that doesn’t have bats) is still full of our stuff that I never moved in because we had so much left to do. Also we moved from a 1500 sq ft house to a 3390 sq ft house. We still have whole rooms that we don’t use at all because they really aren’t usable because there is just subflooring.

As I was dealing with all the contractors (I’ve already been stood up 2 times and we haven’t even started on real renovations) I get a call from my 3rd boy’s principle. It is that call that no parent wants to hear. “You need to come pick up your preKer because he has been violent towards another child and has left marks on him.” I was in complete shock and disbelief. He is stubborn and sneaky and a hand full at home but never would I have imagined that he would be violent towards another child on purpose. I left a note on the door that I would be back in a few minutes for the contractors and speed off to school. Ashamed of my sons behavior. When I asked him why he did it he told me that he wanted to come home and this is the only way he gets to go home. It was one of my few days where I get to get stuff done without having small children under foot. My youngest (who is almost 2 and throws the greatest tantrums ever at the moment) was at his little preschool and I was trying to pack as much into my window as I could. Alex, my #3, got suspended for the rest of the week. He thought he won the lottery and got to stay home. I took away screens, I took away games, but honestly there is little I could do to make staying home with me less great. He hates school. Says his teacher doesn’t like him and even though I have asked for a change, written emails and showed up to meetings and other things nothing but a Behavioral plan has been done for him. The child that hasn’t done anything like this before is suddenly labeled a psychopath by his teacher because he is trying everything in his power to get out of there. What really makes me sad is he begged to go to “big kids school” for almost a year before he started. He had been dreaming of it for so long and I remember sitting down with the teacher at the beginning of school and thinking “oh no” that she was not a good fit for him and this might not go so well. I thought he would be unruly for her but NEVER violent. I can’t change things for him at school. I can just be a loving place for him at home. Make sure he talks about his choices at school and try to move on. This part of parenting sucks. When they have to learn to be outside of your zone. If they never really learn this the rest of life will be hard. I don’t want that for him.

As all of this is going down, the endless estimates and contractors and Alex making himself seen in our large busy family, I am also planning a trip to Iceland to see my family for Christmas. We won’t be there for long so I’m trying to introduce my boys to all of the different families on a one on one basis. This takes planning. I also have to make sure that I have all the outdoor clothing we will need for all 4 of them. Good shoes for all kinds of weather and that I make time for friends and us too with out hurting too many feelings.

Like I said at the beginning of the post, most of my music is good music that I love to dance to, finally getting the house done the way I like it and money not really hindering that, but I find myself stumbling through the techno noise and feeling like I am failing in ways along the way, when I am navigating the parenting outside of my control zone, watching my child not thrive and knowing that he needs to learn to be without me and I will not always be able to pick and chose his caretakers or bosses along the way. I hate that he is learning this so early. He is only 5. But also sheltering him even longer might not be helpful either.


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So Much Change!

OK since the last time I posted a lot has happened and since I am suffering a bad cold at the moment and stuck on the couch I thought I would update everyone. You know because having a 4th kid wasn’t enough. A) we got a puppy! and B) we bought another house!

I know I’m crazy and my body is completely telling me how crazy I am but that is a whole other blog post. 13217393_10156975132635118_3143750346418388979_o

This is Freyja! She is a mess of a Beagle Pug mix. Shortly after mom died I had a dream. My mother visited me in the dream, held my then 3 boys, and told me “Olof give the boys their puppy and everything will fall into place.” At the time I just took it as a grief dream and I didn’t give it much thought. Almost 3 years later I suddenly needed to get a dog. Husband wanted (and still doesn’t) nothing to do with this dog. She is a mess. She can’t be trusted with the kids but she is now only 8 months and getting better every day.

Shortly after adding a dog to our, already large and busy, family, I suddenly needed to move. It was like an urge that I just had to fill NOW. My children needed a better school and we needed more room. I used to daydream of a beautiful colonial home and drive though a neighborhood here in Tulsa that has these BEAUTIFUL colonial homes. I knew that a house like that was not in the cards. Especially not in that neighborhood. I also was wanting a home in a neighborhood where my kids could go outside and ride their bikes. I had a tall order for a house on a limited budget. We wanted to stay under $200K and at least 2000 sq.ft. We needed at least 4 bedrooms because I was not going to move again before the boys move out unless we are moving out of state or out of the country and then I would just sell everything and not bother with moving all of it.

I started looking at Zillow and texting my awesome Realtor to start looking at houses. We had looked at a colonial in a good school district but the people that owned it wanted more than we were willing to pay for it and the kitchen was small. We looked at so many houses. The only ones I really liked were under contract before I could even make an offer. We were looking for something that we wouldn’t need to do anything to. Yeeeaaah…….. The ones that were within our budget were too small when it came to bedrooms for the boys. I had looked at our current house on Zillow. Loved the exterior, the space, the school, and the neighborhood  BUT the interior was horrendous. It was stuck in the 70’s with original shag carpets, wood paneling and all.There was carpet in the kitchen and the bathrooms! I looked on Zillow but did not want to do all the work so I did not want to go see it in person. Then I started getting really frustrated. I needed to move! It was like I was being pushed and pulled to move by something. I finally went to looked at this house with my realtor and husband and kids. I saw the potential but knew that it was going to be a process. This house is more than double the size of our last house that was 1500 sq. ft. At 3392 sq. ft. 4 bedrooms, 2 and a half bathrooms and a bonus room over the garage, it is a monster of a house. I still have to pinch myself that we actually have a house this big and in such a great neighborhood. I couldn’t believe that I had squirreled away enough money to pay for a down payment on a house like this without selling our other house. 13346319_10157062611325118_5197928201563293277_o

The closing was a mess of papers and the move was a sweaty mess with 4 kids in tow. We were moving during the hottest time of the year here in Tulsa, Oklahoma but we needed to be moved before the boys started school. We were so lucky that my in laws, my brother, and several friends were an amazing help. Both moving and with renovations.

We have only gotten flooring on a small portion of it. We started by tearing all the carpet, except in 2 rooms, out. Scheduled a large trash pick up by the city and got all of the carpet on the curb. We had to wear masks. It was Soooooo gross. But it got the smell out of the house that was stuck in it.

Then we got all the doors off, even the cabinets. They were all a dark wood. Making the house really dark on the inside. We painted them all white. It was a great face lift for the kitchen. We have managed to put floors in 2 of the bedrooms and 2 of the 3 bathrooms. We have amazing dreams for this house but it will be slow going since we have now used up all of our extra money. All gone! What is left is our emergency fund and that is for emergencies. But slow and steady the paint is getting done and flooring is getting put down. We don’t want any carpet.

Every time one more thing gets done I feel a weight lifted off of my shoulders. Because, you know, taking care of feeding and keeping 4 kids clean and a 11 month old safe from himself leaves me plenty of time to paint and keep working on the house. My health issues have not helped either but I’m hoping that I will start seeing the end of the tunnel soon.

What did we do with our other house, you may ask, since we didn’t sell it? You guessed it, we are now landlords. Friends of ours offered to paint, repair and clean the old house and in return they will be saving $1500 over the next year on rent. I thought it was a great trade and I knew that they would be amazing tenants.

I’ve had to make some changes since moving. HOA laws say that we can’t have chickens so my chickens went to a wonderful home at my amazing in laws. They are treated much better there than I was able to with everything else on my plate and they are about to take my bees too. My plate is more than full at the moment and these beings deserve being taken better care of than I can at the moment. I was so thankful I could get them somewhere they are really cared for and that I can visit. One day I may get back into bee keeping but right now I am going to focus on making this house our home. Less than half of our house is being used at the moment. There is so much left to be done. I will slowly make this house a home my children will hopefully love to come home to and my friends and family will love to come visit. Having plenty of room for visitors. I will get into my plans for this house in a different post. I hope I start blogging more often and share my story again.

What are you up too? Any advice for our renovations?

getting things done, How to, stay at home mom

How to Get Stuff Done Even When You Don’t Feel Like It as a SAHM!

OK, I know everybody has been there. They are home and the house looks like a tornado went through it and that tornado is your kid. I have 4 boys so I know exactly what you are talking about. The baby has been crying all night and you are so tired that you feel like you are going to fall over. The kitchen is a mess. There are piles of stuff all over the house that you have meant to get to “later”, there are food crumbs all over the house and just looking around makes you feel even more tired. Believe me I have been there. Just thinking about unloading and reloading the dishwasher or doing a load of laundry and actually putting it away is like asking me to pull the hairs out of my arm one by one or worse. I just wanted to leave the house or just see if it would “accidentally” catch on fire and we could just get a new home.
People ask me how I have time to do it all with 4 kids. The answer is that I don’t. But my home is picked up, the dishes get done (most days), meals get made, kids get dropped off and picked up. Here is how you can do it too.

1. Face what is keeping you from doing what you need to do. 

I know that there are days where things are just not getting done because the baby is nursing every 30 min but at some time they are going to sleep and as much as you think sitting down and watching a show will help you rest it will actually do the opposite. Unless you are laying down and closing your eyes you are not resting. The TV will not help you unwind. It will help you escape for a few min but your unconscious will keep making you feel even worse knowing that the mess in the other room is still waiting for you. So if doing the task just feels like it will take FOREVER set a timer for 15 min and see how much you can do. If you are anything like me the dishes almost never take longer than 10 min. Each time you have a task to do set the timer for 10 or 15 min and get cracking. See how long it actually takes to do these house tasks. When I did this it really helped me mentally to just do it because it only takes X amount off minutes.

2. Turn your internet/TV off!

It is time to treat yourself like your children and turn the internet off until you are done with your chores. If you are anything like me then someone messaging me on Facebook or liking my activity on Instagram will drag me into the internet black hole where time gets sucked away. I know being a stay at home mom is lonely and talking to friends is so tempting but you will be able to focus on them so much better once you have finished all the things you need to get finished and then you might even not be ashamed to invite them over for coffee. Same thing with the TV, especially Netflix, I tend to start watching a series and suddenly 4 hours are gone and nothing got done. Oooops! Now if the TV is on it is to keep the 3 year old occupied for a few min so that I can get something done and it is by far nothing I want to sit down and watch.

3. Figure out when you are at your peak performance.

Are you a morning, afternoon or evening person? When do you feel the least draggy. Mornings are my time because afternoons are spent doing kid pick up, homework, snack, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays swim lessons, then dinner and bedtime. After the kids go to bed I need me time. I need to clock out of work and veg out in front of the TV with knitting or just a cup of tea and a favorite snack. So in the mornings I pack in as much work as I can possible do. The dishwasher gets emptied and filled with dishes from breakfast, a load of laundry gets washed, animals get fed, the bathroom gets wiped down, one clutter pile gets tackled and I vacuum and get stuff done. This is just on the mornings that I am home which is Tuesdays and Thursdays and on the weekends. MWF  are the days where things just get done when they get done because I have too many other things going on like grocery shopping, Dr.s appointments, orthodontist appointments and getting together with friends. But usually I manage the basic Unload the dishwasher and start a load of laundry while the coffee is brewing in the morning. Mind you I might be restarting a load that I washed the day before because life go in the way.

4. Get Organized

If you think hourly planners are just for people that work you are dead wrong. I use mine to keep on top appointments, my menu planning, my to do list, and put in all the time spent picking kids up and other things done so that I see that even if I feel like I didn’t get much done that day I can look at my planner and see that I was quite busy. Menu planning is important both to save money and to know when to start dinner and to have everything you need on hand. To do lists help you stay on top of your goals for your self, your family and your home. My organizer is always with me everywhere I go. I have my Google calendar too but my pen and paper organizer are how I survive and never feel like I am forgetting something. If you start using pen and paper make sure you use an erasable pen or pencil. I like the Frixion erasable pens because of their gel ink, the many different colors and when you erase it looks like nothing was there before. I also get the erasable markers to highlight the different things in different colors. If it is just me it is pink, if it is a weekly appointment or pick up it is yellow, if it is a family thing is it is blue, if it is just my husband it is green. But I will write a separate blog post about how I use my organizer (The Inner Guide Planner). But spend one day a week planning the coming week. Thinking about what you want your week to look like. Thinking about what you want your week to feel like. When and how you will make time for you. This will help you feel more centered and ready to do what needs to be done for the family.

5. Let it go!

From this day forward each time you pick something up to put it away ask yourself if it brings you joy or if you really need it. If not LET IT GO. If you thinks someone else can use it then give it away, if it is worn and ugly then toss it. As  you start letting go of all the things cluttering up your home you will start feeling lighter and there are fewer things to pick up. There are many books out there about simplifying your life here is a link to just a few. If your kids have access to more toys than they can pick up in less than 6 min then they have access to too many toys. Get rid of the ones that don’t mean anything to them and Make a toy library for the toys that they enjoy playing with. Keep them in plastic bins that you can see through so that it is easy to identify what is in each bin. If they want to play with another bin they need to return the bin that they have first like returning a library book before getting another one. This will make clean up much easier and less stressful on both you and your child.

6. Make a master list.

Now that you know how long it really takes to do your tasks make a master list of what needs to be done every day and then another that needs to be done weekly and spread it through the week and then another that needs to be done monthly and then the ones that need to be done every 3 months or every year. Use your organizer to schedule these things like oil changes and washing the curtains. Having a list to refer to with the most important tasks first helps me stay on track and remind me of what I was working on. I am horrible about getting distracted by a dirty diaper of hungry child and the forgetting what I was actually doing so the list keeps me on track. I also forget when oil changes are due and when the taxes need to be paid on my vehicle so when I mark that in my calendar every year I don’t forget anymore. I spend 15 min in the morning with my cup of coffee and my daily journal to write down my thoughts for the day, my gratitude and my progress on my ongoing projects and figure out how I will work my day around the things that need to be done. Giving myself a vision with out over planning.

7. Turn the Music On
Music helps me get stuff done and keep on task. If I need to write a blog post then classical music will do it for me because there are no words to it but if I need to clean the house then dance music is what helps me stay upbeat and moving.

8. Accept help!

This has always been the hardest for me. My mom was the only person that I was comfortable with really helping me. But now my mom is gone. I still need help. I need my village. So this year I decided that I was going to accept all the help that came my way. I am worth it. My children deserve it. It is amazing what comes your way when you open the doors for it. My in-laws have been very helpful but they also live 3 hours away. My friends have really stepped up. One comes and cleans my bathroom, windows and floors for only $40 every 2 weeks. I wouldn’t be comfortable not paying anything for something like that. I have 4 gross boys and only one bathroom. We also made the decision to put our 3 year old in preschool. It is a $210 investment every month for 3 days a week from 9am-2pm but it helps me go grocery shopping and taking the others to their appointments with out having a very active 3 year old that has no self control and a 2 month old with me at the same time. We are lucky that my husband’s work has a childcare fund that you can put your money in pre tax to pay for childcare. Plus the 3 year old loves going and playing with is friends for that time. He gets to do crafts and go outside while I am running around getting things done. My friends have also come to watch my children for me when I have had to go to the Dr. But if you don’t have family close by to help then build your village.

9. Get your friends involved

I’m sure you, like me, have a friend, or two, that has a hard time getting stuff done. When I am especially not in the mood I have a friend that I text my list to and she texts me her list and we take before and after pics of what we are doing and then celebrate each other’s success when we finish something even if it is just a small thing like calling to make an appointment at the dentist. But don’t start chatting. Chatting is not OK until the list is finished.

Nobody is perfect. Especially not me. Right now I have spent a decent amount of time writing this post on a Saturday with everybody home and snack time has come and gone. The dining room table that I am sitting at is covered in leftovers from snack time and since I have not been paying the living room or my feral children any attention, since my husband is home to watch them, toys are everywhere and the clean clothes are sitting in the washing machine from this morning waiting to be put in the dryer, floors have not been swept or vacuumed and just because I have not been on top of things for a couple of hours the house looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in days. No worries. It will only take me about 30 min to get on top of it again. I will have my cup of coffee. Make my list. See in my minds eye what I want my home to look like before dinner needs to be made and make it happen. So can you.

What are your favorite tools to get stuff done? How do you make your chores easier to tackle?

If you really have a hard time doing the things that need to be done and no amount of pep talk or planning can get you motivated enough to get off the couch and this has been going on for more than 2 weeks it is time to go to your Dr. and discuss what is going on. But be warned, do not automatically believe that you are just depressed. Have the Dr run a complete thyroid panel (not just the basic one), check your vitamin D, iron and B12 levels, and check if you have sinus issues that can cause the feeling of being tired and unmotivated. When your body is not in a good state it is hard for your mind to work properly. Believe me I know. I had sinus issues that I did not know about and I felt so tired all the time. Come to find out one of my sinuses is completely blocked and would get infected on a regular basis with out sinus pain. Just a low grade fever for about  3 weeks that the Dr.s could not explain on a regular basis. Now after the CT my Dr ordered they saw how extensive my sinus troubles were and I am about to have surgery. So figure out what is wrong physically before you start taking antidepressants but see your Dr. Figure out what is wrong. You deserve to feel better. You deserve to be happy and healthy and should fight for it just as hard as you would for your children.

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To Do Lists

OK if you are anything like me then even your to do list can seem super daunting. You write it out with the best intentions of finishing it and then you stare at it for the rest of the day thinking that you don’t even know where to start after the list is written.

Here is what I do to keep me to doing. I start with a piece of paper and three colors of either markers or pens that I find pretty and/or fun. I pick my main color that I write the list out in. Then I write the day and to do at the top. Then I make boxes in front of each to do item to be checked off later. It is very important that even if you have already made your bed that day to include it because you should never underestimate how gratifying it is to check that off your list of to dos as DONE. Also if you do something that is not on the list like you notice that the front porch needs to be swept and you do it. Add it to the list and then check it off. Then I pick the second color to make the list more appealing by outlining the check boxes and underlining the date to do header and then I have a whole other color to check off my done to dos.


Enjoy reading? Put 10 min or more of reading on your to do list.
Enjoy knitting? Put 15 min or more of knitting on your list.

The adding to the list of things already done, things that you enjoy and things you think of through the day is important because it makes the list more doable and less of a chore. And like I stated above NEVER underestimate the psychological feel good of checking things off a list as DONE!

I try to write mine in order but with kids and all I get distracted and things end up all over the place.

Also if I have something that I need to do multiple times through the day like 3 loads of laundry I put one check box at the front and then three behind it so that each time a load goes in the wash I check it off and then when the three loads are done I can check off the box in front of the item. I also put dry, fold and put away in their own separate check offs each with 3 boxes behind them so I can check off at each step.

Why all the colors?  Because this is something you are going to look at often through the day so you want it to be appealing!

At the end of the day I might not have finished ALL of my To Dos but seeing how many checks I managed is very rewarding non the same.

How do you do your To Dos?