Category Archives: Homemaking

Fly-by – hellloooooooo!

Fly-by – hellloooooooo!

Hi!  We survived August!

And jumped right into a busy, mostly joyful, September.  The boys are thrilled to be back in school, and everything seems to be going swimmingly with that.  The cost of all the back-to-school shenanigans has, once again, taken me by surprise ($22 for the cheapest school photo package! $25 for PTA! $15 for back-to-school picnic!) and I’m a little grumbly, but really, I should just go ahead and adjust that cash envelope already and write Future Erika a note not to adjust it back down in the winter when She thinks “we can’t really need this much for back-to-school shenanigans.  It must’ve just been a strange year.”, as She does every year.

Andrew and I have been finishing up a long-desired outside project – we’ve cleaned up the “junk” corner of the yard (where previous owners have been throwing yard and construction waste, Christmas Trees, and rotting firewood, for YEARS), framed and mulched it, and moved the trampoline over there.  In the new spot vacated by the trampoline, we are putting up a swingset for the kids.  We got it for free off of freecycle, and have been cleaning, staining, replacing some stuff, getting it ready…all summer.  We got half of it up last weekend, and (fingers crossed!) will finish up this weekend.

Stage one - pretty corner, shifted trampoline.

Stage one – pretty corner, shifted trampoline.

Both our jobs got CRAZY this September.  My work house increased, and the growing pains of shifting everything else I do around that haven’t quite settled yet.  Andrew has an AWESOME new not-ready-for-public-sharing project at work, which involves rather more travel than we’re used to. We’re both thrilled at the new creative opportunities at our jobs…but it’s a lot of crazy too.  Waiting for the dust to settle.

Before I got my new work hours, I’d planned to spend those hours working on my new creative project: my Eating Liturgically blog.  It’s all planned and worked out, with the first month or so of blogs and recipes planned…IN MY HEAD.  I have got to start getting some stuff in 1s and 0s, you know?  I’m hoping not to have to go all JK Rowling on this and get up at 4am and work before my kids get up…but maybe?  Ugh.  Creative Muses are so mean sometimes. (Also, I’m really excited for this! I want to do it! Just at, you know, 10am.)

Anyway, that’s my flyby update – mwah!

Silver Linings. Very thin ones.

Silver Linings. Very thin ones.

August is, as always, August.  Both kids are rough without school structures and therapies, Andrew and my work schedules remain full, childcare is costly and logistically complicated, it’s stupid hot, etc, etc, etc…but there are a few good things.  Kind of good.  You can note their goodness as you sink into the bog of August soul-sucking angst.

  1. Family rallies.  We have a steady stream of family coming in to adjust the adult to child ratio, to watch the kids so we can squeeze work in, to facilitate the Camp Hagan schedule I set up to try to give the kids some sense of order.  Aunt Kyla is here this week, Cousin Lena is coming for a long weekend, then Grandma Kathy comes on her heels…and then it will very nearly be the first day of school.  It is wonderful not only to see family, but to feel their love and support in their sacrifice of time.
  2. Be in the now.  The only way to get through August, I find, is to shut down the long-term thinking.  It’s too much.  It’s impossible.  It’s an unreasonable time frame of hard.  When you look at it, you get completely overwhelmed and kinda bitchy (I mean, I do anyway).  So – you only look at today, and maybe a peek at tomorrow to be sure you have childcare.  And you find that today, this hour, this minute, this breath, you are, in fact, doing it.  You are okay.  And the next breath.  And the next.  It’s – good? – to be reminded of that.  It does take some mental discipline.
  3. Setting expectations.  We’re not new to this August thang.  So, when you say year after year to your job, your church, your friends, your facebook feed “August Hard.  We can’t do August.  No, it’s August.”…well, people eventually get it, and stop asking you to do things in August.  My daily log in my BuJo has way less items on it, and that’s essential because I can’t do anything, it’s August…but it’s kind of nice to have a few less plates going in general.
  4. First Day of School Joy.  I’ve heard other families talk about their kids (and even sometimes the parents, which I do not understand, but whatever) mourning the end of summer.  Resisting the new school year.  Whining about getting up in the morning.  Not my family!  We all eagerly see the day count get shorter and shorter, and on that First Day of School, there is so much rejoicing in our house.  That much joy has to be a good thing.

This August is additionally hard as it’s our first in Trumplandia.  The internal stress from the home combined with the external stress of poking the bear of North Korea/nuclear war and Nazi’s marching about in Virginia  (good Lord, who’dve ever thought I’d type that sentence in freaking 2017…?) is at times simply too much.  But we do have these small silver linings as well.

The System

The System

It’s a hard thing to admit, that your life is this crazy.  That there are so many variables and responsibilities and balls in the air that your life, your family, your household requires a weekly business meeting.

Ugh.  I mean, really?

I’m not talking about a cute family meeting where we plan our upcoming vacation and talk about the socks a kid left on the floor.  Our kids are nowhere near this meeting.  Kai is very interested in what is going on, but his constant questions make an already long slog of a meeting even longer, so we invite/demand our children go downstairs and play computer while we meet.  I have been known to bribe with veggie chips.

meeting-1002800_960_720

We look through the calendar for the week, find all the holes, all the due dates, all the forms, all the meals, all the prep, all the babysitter needs.  Then we look at the next month to try to anticipate what’s coming up, to try to get ahead of things.

We look at our money – our bills due and money coming in and any issues that arise and where do we want to put this money next month – good times.

We look at the house maintenance – plan what needs doing, what materials we need, how much, when can it fit on the calendar.

We look at housekeeping – what’s not happening, what needs cleaning, where can we tweak our routines.

We look at the cars.

We look at the kids.

We look at the dog.

And at the end, we are exhausted, but there is a list of stuff to do and to look up, and the color-coded Google calendar has been updated, and we fall into the rest of  the weekend.

And after a few weeks of this, last night, I said, “Andrew, don’t let me forget to take Isaac to his field trip tomorrow.  Don’t let us just do our usual morning routine and forget.”  And he opened up the tablet mounted on the wall in our kitchen, and said, “you mean, this field trip?” Which was displayed on the Google Calendar.  Which we put on the calendar at our last meeting. The calendar which we discussed adding to the kitchen tablet so we could check it in the morning while making food.  Which he did.

“The system is working,” he said, and I feel into his arms for a hug.

“I’m so happy.” I said.  And I meant it.   Because, even if we weren’t ready to admit we were at weekly-business-meeting  vida loca – we have been at this level for a while.  And the only thing worse than being at weekly-business-meeting crazy is being at that level, but not having a weekly-business-meeting system in place.

We’re gonna get through this season of our life.  Team Hagan.