Superpaige's Pad

The Trials of a Busy Mom

Category: Goals-set some

New Year. Hooray!

new-yearIt’s January! Welcome to a new year and all that.

Only I get a little overwhelmed by the “new year” kind of stuff. People are all like “GOALS!” and “Self-Improvement”, and “It’s a fresh start!” Is it really? Did something magically change with the ticking of the clock between 11:59 on New Year’s Eve and 12:00 on New Year that erased the past year? I don’t think so.

Meanwhile, at church, there are tons of meetings. There’s a New Beginnings for Young Women, special ward council to discuss our goals for the year, the Stake Relief Society Presidency wants to meet with us, ‘Priesthood Preview’, ‘It’s great to be 8’and various other NEW YEAR type meetings.

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But me, I’m dragging my feet putting away my Christmas decorations. I LOVE CHRISTMAS! Everything is magical and beautiful and the music and the concerts and the presents and the wrapping and the shopping and the food and the cooking and the parties and the wonderful feelings and the reading of the birth of the Savior. I’m sad that Christmas is over, that my birthday is over, and now we’re stuck in dreary, snowy, cold (2 degrees yesterday, folks) January. It snowed last night, but now it’s drizzling rain OVER the snow. Megan left today to go back to school (once her car thawed and the door closed ok, which it didn’t last night), and I’ve had a week with no chimes choir, but I have to start tomorrow. I’m not ready to get back to my real life, let alone make GOALS. Shovel snow, trudge out to feed the chickens, the floor is constantly yucky and needs to be mopped all the time, people leave their gloves, scarves, coats, and boots all over! January is just yucky!

January blah.
Whine, whine.
Cheer up, old chap, at least you don’t have to do yardwork!
(That’s me talking to myself in my encouraging British accent voice)

But we do have things to look forward to. Jenna and Kate both have birthdays this month, so we will be planning a big party for that, my chime choirs get to play at 2 Lone Peak Basketball games this month, it’s good to get back into a routine and clear out the clutter, of course.
In February I get to go to Europe with Ryan, so that is one thing I am REALLY looking forward to. In spring we plan to take the kids to South Dakota.

Right-Oh! Good on ya! Fish and Chips and all that.
(There’s that annoying British voice again.)

So, things aren’t ALL grump and dreary. But it would help if the sun would shine. Please?

And when I need a laugh, there’s always this.

February was…fine.

It’s the end of another month, time to give an accounting of my progress toward goals of being, having, and spending LESS

Shape up. I did go to the gym a few times before cancelling my membership. Can’t afford to pay for a membership I only use 4-5 times a month. I’ll just have to go walk outside, use our treadmill. Of course, cancelling a gym membership is no simple task, but I’m hoping I’ve gotten that taken care of now. No amazing progress, though.

Clean out. The tiniest drawer right by the sink wasn’t closing. What is the deal, here? I thought.
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I looked in there to see what was blocking the drawer from closing, but couldn’t see all the way to the back.

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This is the drawer that we keep sponges and cleaning brushes in. I reached back there and pulled out sponge after sponge, paint brushes, toothbrushes, etc. A WHOLE LOT of stuff had fallen out of the drawer and gotten wedged in the back and side of that little drawer.

I took it all out and got rid of a bunch of it. That drawer is happily closing now.

I cleaned out our linen closet. My goodness how did we get so many sheets, towels and blankets?

It was quite a mess as I was cleaning it out.

And we took a load to DI. But when it was done it felt so much better!

I haven’t purged any other rooms, although I did a big clean up of the family room after the kids had been down there playing and the infomercial filming rearranged everything. Today I need to clean out Cole’s room because we will be hosting not one, not two, but three exchange students from Taiwan. So not only Cole’s room, but Megan’s room, the bathroom, and the family room all need to be cleaned and ready for company by tomorrow when they come. I also have to get curtains up on those windows. These girls are from a big city and would never change clothes next to a window, even if it’s a basement window. Add that to my list of things to do today.

Ok, hosting students for two weeks doesn’t really simplify things, but it’s a fun opportunity, and we think it will be fun.

It will cost us to feed them and entertain them, but their program does pay us for hosting them, so we plan to use that money in our entertaining. It’s fun for us to go out, too, so it’s a win-win. The kids are excited to go bowling and go out to Los Hermanos for dinner and to get frozen yogurt. I’m not sure what else we are going to do with them. They have a lot of things already scheduled with the group, so we don’t want to duplicate those. They will be going to Music and the Spoken Word, shopping at City Creek, go cross country skiiing, go to a Jazz game, and some other fun things.

I worry a little about what to make for them to eat, and will have to make them breakfast every day (something I don’t do for my kids much anymore) and pack them a lunch on certain days. I don’t know if our regular “sandwich, chips, snack” routine will work. Have to find out if they eat sandwiches.

Less busy? I tried out for a play this month. I know, it totally goes against the whole “Less” thing, but it was possible to fit it in before the bells concert time, and they actually had roles for women over 30. Drowsy Chaperone, have you heard of it? It looks super fun. However, I didn’t get in. I didn’t get a call back. I didn’t even get a “thank you for auditioning” email. Nothing. Kind of rude of them to not let me know anything, actually. Kind of good that I didn’t make it, though. I guess.

Spending less? We thought we had payed off our car at the end of last month. But they didn’t ever send us the title. Ryan went in to check and it turns out we owed them 96 cents. Were they going to tell us that we still owed them 96 cents? I guess not. Probably just charge us late fees when we didn’t pay our bill this month. But he paid them the 96 cents and now it’s our car. We own it. I plan to reevaluate our insurance now and see if we can lower that bill a bit.

We are still working with our budget, mostly sticking to it. I went over a bit on my food budget and had to use my personal money. There are always things that we hadn’t planned on and we have to adjust a bit, but we are doing much more than we were in the past. We are working on paying off our debt, and it’s very exciting to see the progress that we are making. In addition to teaching my chime choir (yes, that IS a job), I sub occasionally to earn just a bit of extra money. Just enough to pay for daughter’s AP tests this month.

Our emergency fund is not fully funded, but it’s good to see it growing. I am working on saving money in small ways. I use coupons, shop sales, and save my change. I have cut my eating out and impulse buys a LOT. I am selling 1-2 dozen eggs a week to friends who want local fresh eggs. Hopefully as it warms up, the chickens will step up their egg laying and I can sell more. (and they will stop pooping on the porch!)

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They should be cheaper to feed in the warmer months, as well. Hopefully they scrounge more bugs and weeds and eat less pellets.

Of course, as it warms up, we have to worry about lawn care, fixing our lawnmower, gardening, and maybe getting another tree or two. Each season has it’s own expenses, and it’s sometimes hard to foresee what those are going to be.

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Living in Utah county there are so many wonderful free activities, so we can still do a lot with the family and not spend a ton of money. We went to the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the BYU Museum of Art. What a wonderful experience! They are switching out four of the Carl Bloch paintings. These paintings are amazing.

To see them up close is really amazing, and I’m so grateful that BYU worked so hard for so long to get these paintings on loan. If you haven’t gone to see it yet, schedule a visit. In fact, maybe we’ll take the exchange students. Maybe.

So, that’s the wrap up. I don’t feel like I made much progress, but it’s always a one step forward, two steps back, then one more forward kind of thing.

Family Home Evening

I’m not sure why we were asked to speak about Family Home Evening for a Relief Society thing. Probably because I visit teach Addy and she knows I would do anything for her. Whatever. But we did speak a bit about family home evening with teenagers and kids of varying ages. We weren’t at all profound in what we said, but hopefully it helped SOMEONE. This is kind of a wrap up of what we talked about.

With teenagers, it sometimes hard to get everyone to stay home for FHE. Sometimes we have to adjust that. If someone is in a play or a concert that performs on Monday night, that becomes our FHE. We go to that activity to support that family member. Same with sports. I don’t like it when there’s a softball or baseball game on Monday night, but when there is, we go as a family.

We had a non member foreign exchange student live with us last year. While not a member, she was a part of our family for that year. We didn’t want to preach to her about everything gospely at home, but still wanted to hold family home evening, since that’s what we normally do. After she had been here a couple of weeks, I told her about Family Home Evening, and we gathered together for FHE. We did our traditional opening, with a song and prayer. We probably sang “Popcorn popping” or something super serious like that. For our lesson, I talked about Writing in Journals, and how that’s a record that we keep for ourselves, and for our kids and grandkids. I asked the kids if they all had journals, and she didn’t have one. She had never thought about keeping a journal before, and wanted to start one. She kept that journal and wrote in it the whole time she was here, and hopefully that will be a treasure to her to have a record of her thought and feelings while here in America. Of course, our girls tend to write in their journals during church, and she quickly picked up that habit as well.

Family Cheer-
Years ago we took a cruise that turned out to be a bit less than the perfect vacation. The Norwalk virus had us all quite sick for about two days each. One day we disembarked on an island (I can’t even remember what it was, something like Cabo?) we were dragging, tired, and just barely not sick. We also didn’t have enough cash to even pay for the girls’ braids, but that’s another story.

At that time, I remember starting our family cheer. Now we tend to do the family cheer on vacations and family home evenings.

Group Family Home Evenings- Ryan’s family had a tradition of meeting once a month as an entire family for FHE. We would rotate the who was in charge of lessons and snacks. Most of the time we met at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, but sometimes we would rotate. Some times we had a family pool party or a barbeque, or an activity. The kids got to see and interact with their cousins and hear testimonies of the gospel from family members…not just their parents.

Now-

–The kids would be happy if we joined a bowling league and went bowling every week. That’s always the activity they want to do together, even though we don’t go very often.

-Let the kids teach the lessons. Sometimes they are working on something for Faith in God, scouts, or personal progress that requires them to teach something. This is a great opportunity for them to teach the lesson or part of the lesson in FHE.

–Use church magazines. Sometimes we end up just reading and discussing an article from the Friend or the New Era, or watching a video clip from lds.org.

–Sometimes around birthdays we have a lesson honoring the birthday person and why we value them.

–Some of our FHE nights in the summer are family weed nights, yard work nights, or we go for a walk or a bikeride to a nearby park.

–Don’t be afraid to be silly. We want our kids to ENJOY the time spent with the family, and have fond memories of FHE, even if they never remember a single lesson that you teach, they’ll remember that time you played hide and seek in the dark, or played the silly game where one person is the arms for another person.

–Just do SOMETHING together as a family, and be consistent about it. Call it family time, call it Time out for Family, or call it FHE. Just as long as the kids know that family is important enough to get together. And when you do, no matter what contentions there are before or during the lesson, y9ou will have added peace as a family AFTERWARDS.

My Quest for less

At the beginning of the year I picked a one word goal that expresses what I want to work on this year. It’s time for my monthly accounting.

Am I less? Have I spent less? Do we own less?

We did ok in the fight against clutter. A trip to DI took several bags and boxes of stuff that we decided we didn’t need. A friend was also doing a clothing drive, and we contributed three large garbage bags to her stash, but once the Christmas clean up was over I haven’t been as good at getting rid of things. Ryan has cleaned up his office and gotten rid of a significant amount of junk, and I did some serious work in my office clean up as well.

It’s fun when we can actually give something away. Last week I went to help a young mother in our ward who is going to be on bed rest. She needs help taking care of her two little ones, and before I went, I grabbed a stuffed monster out of our ‘donations’ bucket. The kids might enjoy this, I thought. Sure enough, it was a nice ice breaker to give them that monster as something they could play with, and maybe it helped make me not seem such a stranger. I go again tomorrow, I’ll have to find some other toy that we were going to get rid off.


Less me. Well, I seem to have lost about five pounds this month. Trouble is, I gained back four of them. Sign. So I failed at that this month, enough said.
Baby steps.

Spend less. We have been working on our budget for three months now. It’s not hugely restrictive, but it IS a budget, and we aren’t used to working within a budget. I never realized how much I was spending when I went to Walmart or the grocery store, but those seemingly little purchases were really adding up. Now I stick to my monthly household budget, and when it’s gone, I have to dip into my personal money (there’s not much in there, and I certainly don’t want to use it for groceries). I’m learning to shop the sales, use coupons, and only buy what we NEED. We still have SO much food in our pantry and storage that we’re not every going without, but we are trying to use what we have. And only one trip to Costco per month. There’s no running for fast food, either, unless it’s planned. One of the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve not stopped for lunch very much. I do have a few lunched out with girlfriends, but I only hit the Wendy’s drive through once in January, and when I did, I had a coupon. So, that’s progress.

Well, at the beginning of February, we were able to pay off our car loan. If we had continued paying only the regular payment, we wouldn’t have had that thing paid off until well into next year. But now it’s paid off and we can put that money toward a different loan. I am really pleased with our progress so far, and hope that we can continue this budgeting thing.

It’s fun to see how many things we can do for free, or little cost, too. I’m always working the radio contests, but there are other things as well. A friend on facebook posted that she had comp tickets to her show that night, and because we didn’t have plans, I was able to take my daughter to the show for free. Studio C taping was free. Lady Antebellum concert was free because I had won the tickets. So we can see how far we can stretch that entertainment budget. No, we’re not crazy budgeters who live on $100 a month for groceries (although I have tried that and it was almost possible), but we’re not going to be shelling out for the expensive valentine’s candy, either.

So, it’s a good start. Except for the exercising thing, I feel pretty good about our progress. And, it’s a new month!

What’s the word?

I have read many people who are posting instead of resolutions and goals to work on, a word for the year. I have loved that idea, and love that one word can be a reminder and a focus for my goals. My friend Jenny even posts a monthly blog post about how she’s been doing with that word and that goal. As I’ve tried to think of this one word, I’ve been stuck a bit.

De-clutter? Clean up? Organize myself? Reduce?

I want to have less baggage, less stuff, less fat. At the start of the new year, we are pretty good about putting away the Christmas things, maybe do a little closet cleaning, etc. Well, I need to do that all year, to get rid of the excess, clear out the clutter, and have less stuff. I want to be able to see the floor of my mudroom and pantry not just once or twice a year, but on a regular basis. I want to be able to hang everything in my closet and not have to have piles on the floor or on the bed. I want to eat healthier, get in better shape, and have less of me to love. Ryan and I are working on a budget so we know where our money goes, and to try to control the impulse buys and overspending. To spend less and save more of our money. I also want to manage my time better, so I can remember to do the important things, like reading the scriptures, having family home evening, and going to the temple. To do that, I need to waste less time goofing off or doing mindless activities like watching tv, and focus on using my days wisely and productively.

That’s a tall order, I know. I’m not setting out to be perfect, just to make progress, even if it’s just a little bit.

So my word of the year is LESS. Less Clutter, Less Fat, Less Drama, Less waste.

And I’ll check in periodically and let you know how I’m doing. Happy New Year, everyone!

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