36 Days

36 days to get tons of stuff sold

36 days to get packed

36 days to clean

36 days to prepare Georgette for full-time living

36 days take care of all the little things that need to be done

36 days to see people and say so-long, until we meet again

36 days and then we leave our home in Illinois

36 days and we head to our new home in Texas

36 days just isn’t a lot of time

Life’s Challenges

Life is challenging right now.  Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just challenging.

Every day we see improvements in the boys, but every day we have challenges, especially with FS1.  As foster kids do, he came with baggage.  Every day we preach kindness and respect.  Every day we see him trying to demonstrate those things in little ways.  Knowing a little about the environment he came from, I have no doubt it’s a challenge for him, but he is putting forth great effort.

Kindness and respect is also something that Naomi is hearing a lot about these days.  She has been displaced as the youngest child in the family and while she was very excited about it at first, she isn’t always handling her new role in the best way.  Jealously has reared its ugly head more than a few times and time-out has become a popular past-time for both Naomi and FS1.  It’s one of the many challenges right now, but there are little signs that it’s improving.

FS2 has done remarkably well.  I recently found out that he was a co-sleeper.  I had a strong suspicion that was the case, but he wasn’t sleeping soundly with me the first few nights and has since become a pretty good crib sleeper.  We’ve learned that he HATES being covered up, so warm jammies take the place of a blanket and most nights now he sleeps thru the night.

Teething has been another challenge we’ve been facing.  FS2 came to us with 4 bottom teeth and a ton of drool.  This week his first top tooth emerged and 3 others on trying to work their way thru.  He has had some rough moments with the teeth since being here, but overall he has proven to be a pretty happy little guy and is attaching and bonding well.  He has made it clear that he prefers me and will whip his head around when he hears my voice.  He also cries when I walk in the room and immediately wants me to pick him up.  He craves that attention and it’s challenging.  With 3 other kids to care for, I can’t give him all the attention he wants and probably needs, so we’re trying to find a good balance.  We’ll get there.

Lili has probably handled all the adjustments the best.  She went from the big sister of one to the big sister of three.  She has become a wonderful momma’s helper and enjoys caring for FS2 when my attention needs to be elsewhere.  She is learning how to feed him, will give him a bottle, but isn’t eager to jump in and change diapers yet.  Naomi, on the other hand, is all about the diapering.  She’s even willing to try changing dirty diapers.  Between the two of them, I’m just about set 🙂  Not too many challenges with Lili right now and that’s a good thing.

I took FS1 in for testing and he qualified for the pre-k program.  We now have the new challenge of sending him off to public school each day and getting our homeschooling done.  This is something new this week and we’ll find a good rhythm that works for us.  It’s just not going to happen this week.

Another challenge is the boy’s visits with mom and dad.  It’s part of the deal in foster care.  Parents need the opportunity to fix what was broken and kids need to continue their relationship with mom and dad while things are being fixed.  They’ve been with us 1 month on Sunday and they’ve had one visit with mom.  I really can’t go into detail, but I will say that punctuality doesn’t appear to be a strong trait of moms, so they’ve spent very little time with her and haven’t seen dad at all yet.  Getting regular weekly visits has been a challenge, but it’s much more a challenge for their case worker than it is for me.  My challenge comes in making sure they are ready and then sitting back and waiting to see if things will work out.  So far, it hasn’t worked out, but it’s early in the game.

Harvesting and preserving the harvest has also been a big challenge this year.  Getting sick really set me back and my energy level still hasn’t returned to normal.  I managed to pick tomatoes last weekend and canned 6 pints of tomato sauce, but that’s all I could handle.  I still have tomatoes that need to be canned and more tomatoes on the vine to be picked.  The weather has also hampered things.  We have had a tremendous amount of rain this summer and it’s raining as I type this.  I’ll do my best to get everything done, but between the kids, school, activities, and my recovery, it’s not going even close to what I had planned.

Hubby begins a new job on Tuesday.  It’s with the same company, just a new position, but we had to making some scheduling changes.  One of those changes was cancelling our cross-country field trip.  The boys were another reason we had to cancel.  We could have taken them, although we aren’t sure we could have taken them for two full weeks, but the bigger problem was hubby getting started in the new job.  I can’t provide details other than to say that it was a slow process moving into this new role and the customer wanted him in the job weeks ago, so taking 1-2 weeks off right now really wouldn’t have been the best decision for his career.  So we cancelled for now and will work to reschedule it for a later date.  My challenge now is not focusing on the fact that we were to leave early tomorrow morning on this trip and instead we’ll be staying home.

Like I said, we have challenges, but they are manageable challenges and aren’t necessarily a bad thing.

There is one other challenge as well and that’s my computer.  It’s beginning to die a slow death and we’ll be replaced soon.  As such, I’m limiting my computer time and not uploading pictures until I have a new computer to use.  Of course I can’t share pictures of FS1 or FS2 and I do apologize for the lack of pictures on my blog.  For now, I’ll share some picture quotes which seem very applicable to my life right now.

If At First You Don’t Succeed

I realized that I hadn’t posted the results of my February challenge or my March challenge.

So let’s start with the February challenge.

It didn’t go so well.

That’s short, sweet and to the point.

So here is the March challenge.

I will make work-outs part of my weekly routine.

I will reduce my grocery bill keeping it under $75 per week.

Quite honestly, I’m not sure which challenge will be tougher.

But as I was thinking about my lack of success in February the quote, “If at first you don’t succeed . . . ” came to mind so I decided to find a fun picture quote to add to this post. Little did I know I would find several that I liked and a few that had me chuckling.

Planning A New Plan?

For the last 18 months, we have been in planning mode.  Planning a change of job for hubby; planning the sell of our house; planning the purchase of property; planning our move to the country; planning for animals;  planning for outbuildings;  planning . . . . planning . . . . planning . . . .

The problem with all of our planning is that it really isn’t moving us any closer to our goal.  While we have certainly been busy planning, we have not been busy living on our homestead.  We’re not busy planting the trees for our orchard.  We’re not putting in our raised beds for our garden.  We’re not building a chicken coop which means we’re not raising chickens.  We’re not putting up fencing.  We’re not putting up a barn.  We don’t have goats.  We don’t have sheep.  No ducks, pigs, horses, guinea fowl, or any other animals we’ve talked about having on our little homestead.  I’m frustrated!!!  Hubby is frustrated!!!

Planning isn’t a bad thing.  For a matter-of-fact, a life change as big as the one we are trying to make means planning is necessary .  But hubby and I had to begin asking ourselves if all our plans made sense.  Was it time to scrap all the plans we had made and start all over again?  Should we keep some of the plans and change others?  Should we keep things the way they are and just wait?  Would changing the order of our plan create forward movement?

Ultimately we decided that it was time to make changes.  It was time to start planning a new plan.  We had begun to define insanity – doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. We need a more workable plan that gets us on our homestead more quickly.  A plan that moves us toward our goal instead of walking in a circle.  A plan that allows me to sooner, rather than later, begin sharing stories of the joys and struggles on our property.  Pictures of our land, our orchard, our garden, our animals and our home.   A plan that creates positive momentum.

I wish I had wonderful details to share about our new plan, but there is still a lot of discussion taking place as we are planning our new plan.  What I can tell you is that it feels good to let go of the insanity.  It feels good to look at things from a different angle and to start over again.  While the plan may change, our goal won’t change.  We will one day be living our homesteading life.  Now we just need to figure out a faster and better way of getting there.

Tackling 4 in 2014

For 2013 I vowed to leave Facebook and on January 1st I closed out my account and didn’t look back.  I thought it would be much harder than it was and it was a very good change in my life for many reasons.  

Now, as 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to tackle 2014 and I have some big plans for the coming year.

Some may call them goals.

Some may call them resolutions.

You can call them whatever you like.

But here are the things I would like to accomplish in 2014.

1.  Lose weight.  Not just a little weight, but a significant amount of weight – 40+ pounds. 

2.  Exercise daily.  Not a walk around the block once a week, but a regular daily exercise routine and stick with it all year.  It pretty much goes along with #1, but I need to get in much better physical shape.

3.  Complete 12 monthly challenges in 2014.  That is one challenge a month that will improve my mental, emotional, physical and/or financial health.  This was actually hubby’s idea, so credit where credit is due.

The 1st of each month I will share my challenge of the month and then the outcome of the challenge will be shared the last day of the month.

4.  Reduce my computer time to no more than 2 hours per day.  This will likely be the most difficult challenge to accomplish in 2014.  The only exception is if I’m using computer time to learn something, such as how-to videos on knitting, quilting, making soap,  etc.  I also have most of my recipes on my computer, so using the computer to get a recipe for a meal is the last exception.  In other words, my computer time needs to be educational or productive.  No more sitting at the computer looking through Pinterest, reading news stories, checking email or doing anything on the computer than keeps me from doing more productive things in my life.  And no roll-over minutes!  So no more than 2 hours per day on the computer which should go a long way in helping me accomplish #1, #2 and #3 🙂

Ultimately, tackling these 4 things in 2014 is meant to make me more disciplined and discipline is necessary if I’m going to be a successful homesteader.

 

 

The 2014 Challenge

Hubby suggested that in 2014 we challenge ourselves and commit to a different 30-day challenge each month in 2014. Not silly challenges like eating chocolate every day for 30 days, although that one sounds like a really good challenge. Wait, I’ve successfully been on that challenge my entire life.

Our goal is to make changes in our lives that will be long lasting.  By committing to something for 30-days, that change will hopefully become a permanent part of our lives.

For example, hubby wants to do a 30-day water challenge. For 30 days we drink nothing but water. Since I rarely drink water that doesn’t include tea with agave, that one will likely be quite difficult for me. However, the hopeful outcome would find us choosing water as our drink of choice more times than not after the 30 days.

Another challenge might be walking 2 miles every day or no eating out for 30 days. Walking obviously has great health benefits and not eating out also has health and financial benefits tied to it.

We’ve come up with a few potential challenges, but would like to hear from you.  What are some interesting challenges you’ve taken on or maybe just considered?