Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sleepless Season

Weighing sleep in the balance. I long for it. I crave it. I watch my husband plodding through days and evenings where just sitting down brings on a doze. For what, you ask? A newborn? A baby cutting teeth? A young child struggling with nightmares? Absolutely not! Our sleep deprivation is thanks to an 18 year-old boy who can't get enough of us!
Each night this boy is somewhere nearby, at least intermittently involved in our family life- not running around, not on the phone with his friends, not texting. At least three nights a week we read aloud from a series of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Tarzan" books. Twice a week we watch movies together. Wouldn't you think that's all he could handle of us? I would! After all the evening rituals are complete, the dogs, bunnies, and mice fed, lights out, daughters tucked in, the parents are nearly comatose and the bed is looming enticeingly, we hear the pitter-patter of giant footsteps coming up the stairs....
He knocks, enters, and flops face-down on the bed saying "How you do?" Thoughts on the day, reflections on life, sweet banter keeps sleep at bay. We savor these moments. They are treasures. They will soon be over, but they will last forever. This is our routine, our son. What did we do to deserve this?

We were willing to miss a little sleep!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Priorities: Phase II

One week down on the new priority system, and I'm still feeling cautiously optimistic. There are so many things that seemingly must be done, and so very many more that I want to do! How to make it all fit...that is the question. The sad discovery is that no matter how hard I try, it just won't all fit into one day or even one week. The good news is, that with my new system, the things I'm getting done are important things, and I'm accomplishing lots of the big ones!
My list of important things includes 8 broad categories: Jesus, relationship time, teaching, work (housework, etc.), relaxation time, grooming (ugh! I begrudge all the time showering, hair, and makeup require!), exercise, and oh yes, blogging. These are broad categories, but they basically sum up my life. This way I can keep track mentally. I pick the main focus points the night before, or even that morning. Then I don't feel guilty about the things I'm not getting to that day. I just feel good about the things that are happening.
Layni is the main thing in my teaching category. The older kids don't require nearly as much teaching time any more. Within that category, I've had to think in terms of the "big 3." I try to get these in every day. The rest is gravy! These 3 consist of therapy (occupational, 30 minutes, twice a day), learning to read, and piano practice. My reasons for focusing on these 3? First, the therapy is building a foundation that will make everything else easier. Second, being able to read will allow her the independence to do a myriad of other things. Lastly, piano has mathematical and therapy benefits, and even more importantly, if you're paying for piano lessons, you need to practice every day, besides to the fact that Layni doesn't cram well. Hence, the "Big 3." All that being said, I feel obligated to mention that I'm not including scheduled events. They happen without extra planning. I teach a group of four little girls language arts two full mornings a week, and we make a concerted effort to get math done as well, so no alarm that she's not getting educated, and the big girls have quite a few co-op classes :). I'd just forgotten that first grade takes so much "me" time!
Each day the priority list looks different. If, for example, I tried to do a full Bible Study, exercise, and shower/makeup, it would take somewhere near 3 hours including breakfast. All before my day even begins. Is that unbelievable, or what?! Some mornings, therefore, exercise wins over grooming, and I stay grubby all day, but with that healthy glow! Some mornings, relationship time gets combined with exercise, meeting special friends at the gym. Those are great mornings. Two for one, gotta love it. Occasionally I do all three, and Layni and I start school late. As long as it stays generally balanced, I feel like I'm winning.

The main reason for a priority list is to ensure that I'll stay focused, on track, and being a responsible steward of the many gifts with which I've been blessed.

Hopefully this is helpful and stirs some creative thought! How do you prioritize and accomplish everything on your list?