TO DO: Spa Day Reward

I kinda suck at the whole “take care of yourself” thing. I don’t take care of my skin, my hair, my nails. I’ve told you before about my haircuts and how terrible I am with that. In my entire life, even through a six-week modeling course, I have never once plucked a single hair on my body. It’s all just kinda foreign to me.

But lately, I’ve been desperately craving a spa day.

I want to lounge in a seat while someone expertly paints my toenails. I want to get my eyebrows shaped and have a nice refreshing facial. I want to get my hair did and done. In a perfect world, I’d get a relaxing massage too!

And I have begun putting the gears in motion.

I told The Boyfriend that I will make all the doctors, dentists, optometrist appointments if and only if, he makes me a spa day appointment. It’s a task that I need to get done but for some reason cannot make myself do it. Firstly, I am deathly afraid of dentists. The idea of any of us having to go see a dentist, scares the crap out of me. The rest, I’m not sure why it seems like such a chore for me, but it’s been on my to-do list for years and I just keep making excuses.

Maybe if I have a reward to look forward to at the end of it (other than knowing we’re all somewhat healthy), it won’t be so hard for me to do it!

The Boyfriend liked the idea a lot. He liked it mainly for the idea of me treating myself to something. He always gets a kick out of treating me like a princess, although never thinks to do it himself – I think mainly because he’s afraid I’ll reject it.

So now, he has to:

  • Find a spa
  • Book me a…
    • Mani/Pedi
    • Eyebrow Threading (because I’ve always wanted to try it! Especially over waxing)
    • Facial
    • Haircut

And then I have to:

  • Find out how each of the kids are covered under their Dad’s healthcare – the older three with Alfie and Carter with The Boyfriend
  • Call our doctor who we haven’t seen in about four years
  • Find a dentist for the whole family and book first appointments
  • Find an optomotrist for the whole family and book appointments

Geez, just writing that out makes my palms sweaty. So much work but it’s gotta get done and at least I’ll get a spa day out of the deal 😉

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TO DO: House Rules and Family Meetings

My family is a disorganized mess! For many years, this has worked for us. During their baby and toddler years, flexibility was absolute, especially having them all so close together, being less structured made more sense – as I was deadset on raising independent, free-thinking, personality-filled little individuals. I’ll let you know right now, I succeeded, maybe almost too well…

Now, as they’re all in school and their days are taking on more structure, it’s important that we as a family start introducing some structure. However, the concept is absolutely foreign to us. More foreign than the Chinese or Swiss. Structure is just something we’re not used to, or even really desire for ourselves, but moreso need for the sake of our family and their sanity (mostly my sanity)!

I’ve talked about a lot of these issues in past posts, including the still needed routine, the once-a-month cooking, and the desire to create a household management system. But really, it’s all about building a foundation.

I like to relate to a book I read by Iyanla Vanzant. When I was at the worst part of my depression, many moons ago, I was utterly obsessed with Oprah Winfrey. And everyday before Oprah, one of her regulars had a show called Starting Over (which I desperately wanted to be on) and this is how I came to know of Iyanla Vanzant. Anyways, in this book she looks at life like a house. You have your foundation, first floor and so on and each level represents different aspects of your life, like your values, beliefs, things you were taught, etc.

Well, as my homegirl Alanis Morisette says (we’re like this *crosses fingers*), “My foundation was rocked…” – and mine definitely is. And it’s beginning to crack. Okay, enough with the pop culture references!

What we need to do, as a family, is create some basic rules and some consequences for breaking those rules. I’m talking about foundational rules. For example, my kids have a very bad habit of blatantly disrespecting me, like when I tell them to do something, they’ll get right in my face and shout no and then will sit down and do whatever they want. While I deal with these situations, it seems to be completely ineffective and I think there are a few reasons why that is.

First of all, we don’t have a hard and fast disciplinary action. Often, it changes depending on mood and time of day and season of the sun – who knows why it changes for sure, but it does. One time, it will be get sent to their room, the next time it might be lectured or put in a time-out, other times, I’ll throw my hands up in the air and walk away speechless.

Second of all, we don’t have hard and fast rules. We are rather flexible parents and the rules can often change. For example here, one day Kaeidyn wasn’t allowed to walk to the store by herself and then one day she was. Originally, the rule was no friends on the walks with her, but then she ended up running into a bunch of them on the way home (there is a park between our house and the store), and now the rule is only on the way home. So, a lot of times, the rules are in constant flux.

All of these things would be easy to deal with, in my opinion, if we had some ground rules and a regular forum for us to discuss any changes – especially as the kids all get into pre-teen and teenagehood. Especially if I ever go back to work!… Ugh!

In a Perfect World…

First, as a family, we sit down and draft up these house rules. We say to each other, “this is what we want as a family, this is how we’re going to achieve it as a family, this is how we’re going to behave along the way, and this is what happens when we don’t” – basically, in short, a vision statement.

Then, we figure out a way to display it all nice for the family to see. This way we’re constantly reminded of the rules. We’re constantly reminded of what it is we want to achieve. I want it to be pretty but also functional for us.

Finally, every couple of months, we revisit the rules and the family vision statement and see if how we’re doing things is working and what, if anything needs to be changed.

Definitely something to work on… Anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

TO DO: Once-A-Month Cooking

One of my biggest goals is to create some sort of manageable routine that our whole family can depend on. There are many of small steps that must be taken in order to reach the top of the routine staircase and once-a-month cooking is one of those steps.

I cannot even tell you how many times a month, cooking goes on the absolute back burner in this house. As the primary cook in our household, I am really bad at my job. First of all, I love the idea and concept of cooking a lot more than I actually like to cook. Cooking kind of reminds me of doing dishes – I dread getting up to go and do it, but once I’m there I enjoy myself well enough, and once it’s over, I never want to do it again. Generally, my place is not in the kitchen!

I also wouldn’t say that I’m a skilled chef. I tend to make a lot of the same meals and any real chef will tell you I’m doing it wrong every step of the way. To this day, every single time I make a roast, anyone who wanders past my oven will gape and moan about the atrocities being committed. My Mom, to this day, every time I cook that roast will comment that she can’t believe that it’s as good as it is being that I just killed an already dead cut of beef… And my lack of skill doesn’t necessarily reflect on the taste or quality of my meals, since I’ve never had a single person (not even my sometimes picky kids) say that my food wasn’t good.

I tend towards massive limitations on the type of foods I’m willing to eat as well, which make the whole once-a-month cooking idea that much more daunting for me. In our house, I am definitely the pickiest eater. I’m not a huge fan of any fruits and the only vegetable I eat regularly is corn. I seem to really enjoy foods that come in cardboard boxes – although I think that’s more learned than it is actual enjoyment. But things like onions, mushrooms, the things you normally add for additional flavoring in freezer cooking, really turn my taste buds off. Just writing them makes me cringe a little…

However, all those negatives and excuses now being laid out, I cannot stop obsessing over the idea of being able to easily pull out a basically prepared meal from the freezer and have dinner on the table with only a tiny bit of preparing. And most definitely a lighter clean-up. It just looks and sounds like a blissful experience. What? I just have to pop this in the oven for dinner tonight? Like a pizza? It’s perfect!!

I’ve read many things about this fantasy land known as freezer cooking. They all say the same things, but I often wonder, can I really do this? Is this really me? It’s something I would like to try and at least be capable of providing a definitive answer to that last question.

TO MAKE: Household Management System

Some people think that having a binder dedicated to the running of the household is a useful tool to have. I would normally agree, except that in my house, if it’s paper (or walls), it gets drawn on. And while these 4, 6, 8 and 9-year-old beautiful abstract flowers are nice to have, it makes keeping organized impossible!

So, we bought a white board thinking this would solve the problem. That white board is still sitting in my closet and we’ve lived here for three years with the goal of putting it up… In two different ways we’ve tried filing cabinets. I have a rolling drawer one, which is now completely broken and I have a little desktop one that just kinda gets shoved full of papers and then forgotten about.

This is one of those situations that really has me stuck on my goal of creating routine. To create a routine, I need to have a household management system in place. To get a household management system in place, I need some type of routine. It’s a total catch-22/vicious cirlce type of situation. Where do you start? What was first – the chicken or the egg?!?!?

In a Perfect World…

If we lived in a perfect world – well first of all, I would have a job, the kids would be homeschooled and have after-school activities to go to, there’d be a vehicle and a driver’s license, we’d live somewhere else in the world, etc. However, we’ll just use today’s world as an example of how a home management system might work or how I’d like it to work…

First, there’d be a station at the most commonly used door. I’ve seen many variations on this space, but mostly, I’d want:

  • A garbage can for junk mail
  • A mat for shoes to be placed on
  • Hooks for coats and backpacks
  • A table with a bowl for keys and change
  • A mirror
  • A place to put important mail and school stuff that has to be looked at every single day and organized!!

Then, we’d need to figure out some way to keep track of all the things we have to keep track of. Like when certain “days” are at school, when bills are due, when birthdays are and when we should start planning for them… I’ve attempted a variety of different mediums for date tracking (online calendars, wall/fridge calendars, apps, etc.) and none have ever stuck.

Really, I just need to pick a method and then become consistent with it. Do you notice the common theme here? Consistency – I need to be become more consistent in EVERYTHING!!!

I hope to spend the next month really trying to figure out how to make a routine and home management system that will work for us, so that when school starts (especially being that all 4 will be in school and then I’ll be able to think about going back to work soon), we have something in place that will help us keep track of everything. Because I do not need another repeat of the disaster that was last year or the years prior…

Does anyone out there feel like they have an organized life, a consistent routine? Do you think it’s easy to maintain or do you sometimes struggle too?