September 14, 2019

Adjusting to a New Fall Schedule (and a Cool New Planner)

Well, so much for blogging every day in September! But, I'm not giving up. I missed three days, so I'm going to try to do an additional three posts at some point (probably something simple like recipes or a short list or a running report or something).

I found that once I skipped one day, it was so easy to skip again and again. The first day was simply because I was completely exhausted after a long day. All I wanted to do was get in my pajamas and watch a show with Jerry.

This school year is the most difficult/stressful for me so far. Jerry's been working a straight day shift--he pushed for years for the plant that he works at to stop doing swing shift and to switch to straight shifts. They FINALLY agreed to do it on a trial basis this year. Unfortunately, Jerry wound up with a straight day shift. Since the shifts are 12 hours long, he leaves for work before any of us are awake and then he doesn't get home until 6:30 pm.

This is stressful for me now that Noah is going to school at the community college. There is no busing which means I have to drive him there/back. I do carpool with another mom, which is helpful, but regardless of who is driving, I still have to drive him to the spot where we meet in the mornings.

After school, I either pick him and his friend up and drive them home or his friend's mom does if it's her turn. Three days a week, I coach cross country practice (and now it'll be four days most weeks because we have races starting Tuesday). I hold practices from 6-7 pm so that I'm home right after Jerry gets home and showered and we can at least spend a little time together.

Eli is playing fall baseball, so I have to drive him to practice. He has double header games on Sundays (and tomorrow, he may be playing three games!). Since Jerry is working, I'll be there an hour before the games start until the last game ends. Thankfully, I love watching baseball!

On the days that I drive Noah to school, I usually get home at about 8:15 AM and then I have to leave to pick him up at 1:45 PM. So, despite what it may sound like, I really don't have as much time to myself during the day as one would think.

I spend that time blogging (if I'm going to--sometimes I'll begin to write a post and then work on it a little each day because I don't have enough time to finish it), cleaning the house, meal planning and/or grocery shopping, running errands (which reminds me, my car needs an oil change), and if I have time, I like to do something I enjoy (lately, this has been working on home projects).

Sometime during the day, I cook dinner. It could be at 3:30 pm or 7:30 pm or anywhere in between. Just whenever it fits in.

In the evenings, I like to chill with Jerry, even if we're just sitting and talking (or feeding the squirrels, which has become a favorite pastime in our house, haha). So, anything that I need to get done will wait until the next day.

Things were much smoother when Jerry worked swing shift (and if he was to have a straight night shift, it would be even better); every four weeks, he switched from days to nights and vice versa. (There is a chance he could switch over in the future, but as of right now, he needs to stay on his shift)

Being on night shift is much more convenient for family life. He gets home in the morning with enough time to hang out with the kids before school (and drive them to school sometimes). Then he sleeps during the day and wakes up just as they are getting done with school (so he could pick up Noah sometimes, too).

Then he could spend time with us before going to work. Usually, the time when the kids and I are all here at the same time is between 3:30 and 5:00, so I would cook dinner at 4:00 and we could all eat together. Then it's baseball, cross country, work, and whatever else.

Jerry says that he got more sleep when he was on nights and he misses the nights when he had a day off work. He stayed on his same sleep schedule, so even though he wasn't working that day, he would say up all night at home. He used that time as fun time to himself--playing video games, watching movies, etc.--while the rest of us slept.

Anyway, I've had a really tough time adjusting to this school year. Consequently, I stopped my 3-3-3 running schedule after only three weeks--I was so sure I was going to stick with it. I'm not giving up, though! I bought a planner (not like a bullet journal--I needed something easy and fast so that it would keep my schedule organized but not take much time to work on).

I absolutely LOVE the one I ended up buying on Amazon. It's everything that I need it to be without taking much time to plan things. On Sunday nights, I can spent about 20 minutes filling in the schedule for the entire week. It literally only took me about 15 minutes to fill this weekly page in:

Here are some other pages. At the beginning of the book, there are some goal prompts, so I filled out what I wanted to. I still want to do the vision board pages, but I need to set aside some time for that. I've tried to make a vision board so many times but I get overwhelmed!

And there is a monthly spread (the one I made for September is a mess, so I'm not even going to share it, haha. I was a little too ambitious! I like on the far left, how it gives you a prompt for Habits to Adopt, Skills to Learn, Things to Avoid, Places to Go, and People to See.

I love that you fill in the month and year yourself rather than having it all filled in for you.

In the back, there are some regular dotted pages for notes or whatever. I listed the cleaning list I made (and haven't been following very well) and a page for blog post ideas.

This particular planner is the Clever Fox Planner, which I bought on Amazon (affiliate link). There are lots of different colors, but of course I chose orange--my favorite.

Anyway, this is MUCH easier for me to use than a blank bullet journal. While I love how a bullet journal looks, it takes up so much time in itself to use as a planner; I like that this is basically a fill-in-the-blank planner and that it focuses on goals (something I love to list out anyways).

I'm going to schedule my runs into my week just like I would any other appointment, and make it a non-negotiable part of my day. By the end of 2019, I should be back to running three days a week as a habit. And then maybe I can start to think about some goals to try next year (as far as running goes, I mean).

I also need to do better meal planning. I got really good at this when I first started our budget to get out of debt in 2017. It felt like it took forever, but I'd spend once a week planning out our meals and then I'd grocery shop on Friday for just that week. We saved a ton of money doing it that way. Somewhere along the way, I started rushing the planning part and then my grocery list wasn't accurate and I'd wind up having to go to the store a couple of times a week to get things I'd forgotten.

Now, again, I need to schedule in my meal planning and my grocery shopping. I'd also like to spend a couple of hours after grocery shopping to prep as much of the food as possible to make it easy to throw together when it's time. I used to love cooking, but now it's definitely a chore--so the more I can prep ahead of time, the better.

I also need to reconfigure our budget to continue to stay out of debt. Eli just got braces ($1,000 down payment and $200 per month for a really long time--grand total of about $5,500). The orthodontist said Noah can choose to get them now or wait a little while (a year or so) to see what happens as he grows. He doesn't have structural problems with his jaw like Eli does, so it's not urgent. Regardless, we will probably be getting his braces on next year ($5,500). Isn't it insane how much braces cost?!

Also, Eli is taking a class trip to Washington D.C. and Jerry is chaperoning. Those payments are $100 a month for Eli and $140 for Jerry until March.

Finally, with Noah driving, we are going to incur some big costs. Thankfully, we don't have to add him to our car insurance now (only when he gets his license next July) but to add a teenager to car insurance is insanely expensive.

So, all of this is to say that we need to re-budget everything to fit in the extra expenses (the amount of excess nearly adds up to a house payment!)

The positive in all of it is that we finished paying off our credit card debt ($14,000!) a year ago. I can't imagine trying to pay off debt AND come up with money for these extra expenses! I'm so grateful for my bipolar diagnosis which led me to the correct medication which helped me to become mentally stable enough to focus on and finish the important things.

Well, today is Jerry's birthday (he's at work now) so I'd like to figure out what to make for dinner tonight. See? Meal planning ahead of time would have been very handy today ;)

By the way, the winners of the mug giveaway are:

Laura W ("you say crazy cat lady like it's a bad thing" mug); and
Denise E ("dress for the job you want" mug)

I've sent each of you an email, so please respond with your shipping address.

I like doing giveaways--I'll have to think of some more fun things to give away!

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