The Flipside

I could say that I have been “Incredibly Busy” these last few months…yeah, I could. But it would only be partly true.

Re: Work – There have been some changes. I’m still in the same job, same department. I was asked a while back to consider working primarily in the nursery, and after a bit of deliberation, I agreed. I worried that I would regret limiting myself to the one area so often, but the truth is, I actually enjoy it. Not to say it doesn’t get hectic and extremely busy some days, because Oh, Boy it definitely does!

I have also spent much of my time at work the last few months orienting newbies…first a nursing school student shadowed me for several weeks, and then immediately after that, I was orienting a brand new nurse to our unit for two months. While both of these girls are awesome, the mental toll it takes on this introvert to never have ANY time to myself has been quite significant! I’ve had a couple weeks without an orientee now, but next week, the original nursing student from before will be starting her preceptorship with me.

Re: Family – School for my littles started in early August. And as expected, 8th grade and 5th grade have come with their own unique challenges. Both kids are doing well enough, but each has a particular area they are struggling in.

Monkey made the decision to drop cross country and track this year. He had a lot of knee pain this past year, and I think that is ultimately what led to his decision. He still does the multiple bands at school, and I have many days when I think his band teacher has totally flipped her lid this year because she is demanding so much.

Diva changed from attending regular gymnastics classes once a week to twice weekly competition gymnastics sessions, and she’s getting pretty good! She has her first competition coming up in early November. It can get a little annoying to have her cartwheeling and handstanding all over the place, but I tell myself she’s just practicing…

And? My sweet baby nephew was born last week! He is the most perfect little creation since, well, my kids ;) My brother and sister-in-law gave me the honor of staying in the delivery room with them, and seeing Sweet E enter the world was nothing short of amazing.

Re: Health – Eh. I’m not really sure what to say about this, other than it is what it is. Nothing I can really point to, and I haven’t been sick exactly. I just have zero get up and go these days, and absolutely no motivation. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been incredibly LAZY…not working out, not reading much, cleaning the house just enough to get by, and I spent far too much time watching shows to clear out my Hulu queue. I’m due for thyroid labs in a few weeks, and I’m really curious how those results are going to look…based on how I’ve felt as of late. (and yeah, I do blame as much as possible on my crap thyroid.)

Re: Reality – The truth is…I burned out, in more ways than one. I was mentally drained, and stress was coming at me from multiple sources. I changed up the blog design hoping to spark something. I stopped checking in on Twitter because I was overloaded and overwhelmed every time I logged on. I have sat down many times, fingers on the keys, ready to write something…and nothing comes. I felt like I was constantly having to figure out what to post here, write a post for every day, and I was running out of ideas. And that was not what I wanted for my blog…I don’t want to be someone else, I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing. I want to be me, and I want to be real.

I’ve cleaned up my Twitter account, pared down my lists, and I’m actually trying to get back into it. I am considering killing off the blog’s Facebook page, maybe even the Google+ page that I rarely ever use. Not even going to lie, I haven’t even touched my feed reader in months…I’m a little scared to look in there. Baby steps, baby steps.

 

So there you have it…life in a nutshell these days! I hope to get back into the swing of things soon…perhaps even post about our vacation over the summer, my adorable nephew, who knows?

Peaceful

I took this photo in the early part of June. It is a walking path around a large pond, in almost the farthest area of our county.

Peaceful

It is where my son’s cross country team meets up for running practice. It is also where I sometimes get some walking and thinking done.

When I took this picture, I remember being struck by the view…it was so serene, so peaceful. Lily pads on the water, a nice breeze to counteract the 90+ degree heat. At that time of the morning, not many people were there…just me, my son, and a couple of people out for a stroll.

Honestly…that day is probably the last truly peaceful day I’ve had since the summer started. Now it’s all kids arguing, dogs barking, chaos in my house 24/7.

When does school start again?

 

Mama Kat's Writers Workshop

Shake Off The Dust

Tap, Tap. Is this thing on?

This summer has proven to be quite a busy one. The kids keep us hopping pretty much every day!

Monkey has his cross country running club meet ups three mornings a week, and only just finished up his Scouting for the year. He and JB recently ventured off on a week long camping trip, which of course…was difficult for me, as usual.

Diva has been keeping busy with several gymnastics camps, and she has cheerleading camp coming up soon. She also has her regular weekly gymnastics classes, too!

So much for a nice, relaxing summer! I need a vacation! (the planning of which is currently in the works…)

What’s going on for you this summer??

 

 

It Works For Me: CalenGoo App

Droste Clock

Chances are, if you have more than one child, or even just one child…you find yourself staying pretty busy on a regular basis. The older my kids get, the more activities they want to do, and it seems like my husband and I are constantly running the family taxi service to get them to each one.

So how do you keep your family’s schedules straight? Some people like day planners, others just use a regular calendar. Me…I keep everything in my phone!  (Every. Little. Thing.) Specifically, I use a scheduling app called CalenGoo. (app website)

Yes, it’s a little pricey, especially for a cheapo like me who doesn’t like to pay for apps! I likely would never have tried it, simply because of the price. But I downloaded it as a free app of the day way back when I had an Android phone. (yes, Android users, it’s available for you, too!) I loved it so much that I convinced JB to download it, and he didn’t even bat an eyelash about both of us spending $14 on iPhone apps when we got our new phones…because it works so well for us.

Buy on Amazon App Store ($5.99) | Buy on iTunes App Store ($6.99)

Sync All Your Calendars…

The beauty of this app is that it syncs up to your Google calendar (and your iPhone calendar). Both my husband and I heavily rely on our Google calendars to keep us on track. I don’t keep a set work schedule, so whenever I get a new schedule I sit right down and plug it into my CalenGoo calendar; it automatically syncs to both of our Google calendars, and when he checks his phone later, voila! He’s got my work schedule right in front of him.

JB is the Scoutmaster for our son’s Boy Scout Troop, and they go camping one weekend every month. Because he shares the troop calendar with my Google account, it also syncs up to my CalenGoo, and when I am setting my schedule up I know which weekends to not schedule myself for.

Now with our children becoming busier with their extracurricular activities, we have cheer practices, basketball games, band concerts, track practices and meets, birthday parties, etc, all scheduled in…and we just have to open our app to see what’s going on for the day. (plus, daily events all show up in your pull down on your iPhone.)

When I am scheduling doctor’s appointments and such, I don’t need them to give me an appointment reminder card that’s just going to end up floating in the abyss of my purse. I add the appointment on my calendar right then and there.

Altogether, I actually have four different Google calendars, pulled into one place. It pretty much rocks.

Now for the not so traditional ways I use this app…

Meal Planning 101

I am a meal planner. I learned this during my SAHM days, and wondered why I had never done it before, because it just made life so much easier (and the grocery trips cheaper)! I used to pencil and paper it, and that worked well enough. But then I started entering the day’s planned dinner into the calendar, complete with the page number in my recipe book and the recipe typed into the description field. On my work days, we usually have a crock pot dinner, so I plan 2-3 of those every week. For everything else, I tend to make the “events” repeat every couple weeks, so planning dinners for a month is a snap. Then the next month, I rotate them out for a new batch of recipes. Because it syncs to both our phones, whoever is doing the cooking that night knows what to take out for dinner.

I also discovered, quite by accident, that I could actually email my recipes to people directly from the app. This made one of my coworkers very happy, as she had been begging me for some recipes.

 Editorial Calendar

Another non traditional way I have used CalenGoo is as an editorial calendar of sorts. There is a plugin that does this on self hosted WordPress blogs, and that is what I currently use…but if you aren’t using self hosted WordPress, the Google calendar route is a wonderful thing! It helped me keep track of what I posted or what I might want to post at a later time, and it worked pretty well!

Sound off! How do you keep track of your busy life?

 

{this post was originally published in February 2013.}

photo by: Jlhopgood

Long Weekend, Family Time!

Memorial Day weekend is always a travel weekend for us! It is the weekend that I get to see all my family (my mother’s side anyway!) and often several good friends from home.

I was a little bummed because I had to cut my visit short by a day…I wasn’t able to get the holiday off work, meaning we had to leave earlier than usual so I could work on Monday. I had been so looking forward to the long weekend, because it was a chance to spend time with my family…I hadn’t seen any of them since before Christmas. Also, I really didn’t get to make any of the usual plans with friends because we simply didn’t have the time. Sad face :(

We hit town late Friday afternoon, just in time for a yummy spaghetti dinner cooked by my mother. After that, we all sat outside on the front porch in the swing and rocking chairs. (Oh, I also drove my dad’s newest midlife crisis…a.k.a the Corvette.)

The 'Vette

Saturday, the boys all took off for a trip to Gander Mountain! They even managed to pry my sweet nephew away from Diva for this boys only shopping excursion…usually, sweet P. will never leave Diva’s side when we are visiting! I did a little shopping with my sister-in-law and my daughter; Diva had conveniently forgotten her “flats” and whined until I found her a pair of flat sandals to wear with her dress that night.

Saturday evening found all 9 of us with reservations at a newish cafe style restaurant near our hometown for my sister-in-law’s birthday dinner. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much…but that was quite possibly the best dinner out I’ve had in a long time! I am fairly certain that we will be going there again when we are in town.

Sunday was the day of the family reunion. Same time, same day, same place as it has been for the last 20+ years…and yet we still had some family members asking for details right up to the last minute that day. (Those were also the people who arrived late, after my uncle’s blessing of the food (which makes him nuts)…and they tend to eat and bolt. Really, guys?

Family Reunion 2014

We headed for the lake, and discovered that our reserved location had apparently been the victim of some extremely heavy rainfall, and the park officials had relocated us to higher, dryer ground…with no shelter. Thank goodness my family is full of rednecks, campers, and hunters…because quick phone calls resulted in us securing 5 large pop up tents, and we made do with a not so great situation!

It was a wonderful weekend, even though it came to a quick end. How did you spend your holiday weekend?

It’s A…

Rewind to January of this year. My brother sends me a message asking me if I could possibly make sure to be off work and able to visit the hometown around October 6th.

I was confused, because while that particular date does mean something to ME (my oldest nephew’s birthday is that day), I couldn’t think of what it meant for him.

He finally got around to telling me there would be a baby due to be born on October 6th.

I couldn’t stop smiling after that! First, that I would be an Aunt again! Second, that he apparently believed his child would arrive on October 6th because that was the due date…did he not remember that my first child went 5 days overdue, and my second child was born 8 days before her due date?

A quick browse through my mental calendar reminded me of three of my four nephews’ birthdays: October 6th, September 27th, and October 17th. Yeah, we’re kind of busy around that time of the year!

I was especially happy for them because of the heartache they had endured several months before, after losing a pregnancy. I wasn’t sure they would ever be brave enough to try again.

I quickly downloaded a pregnancy tracker app to my phone, and once we were allowed to tell the kids there would be a new baby, I started showing them the size comparisons and ultrasound images at different gestations. Since we don’t live close enough to see them every week, I thought this would be a great way to let my children still be a part of everything. It’s been so fun for my daughter to ask me, “Mama, can I see what our baby looks like this week?” I did notice we got a couple of funny looks at the gym the other day when she said it…the person looked at me like, “You don’t look pregnant…”

I have to admit that I did want them to have a girl to start with…I don’t have any nieces, and they do have a boy already, my brother’s step-son. But when they told me their boy and girl name choices, I simply adored the boy name, for several reasons…and then I was hoping for a boy because I loved the name.

The big ultrasound was this past Monday. I had talked to my mother the night before, and upon learning that she would be going with them that day, I said I would be expecting to know by noon if I was getting a niece or a nephew. Winking smile Well, it was barely 10 am when my brother sent a group text to our family members…saying that his SON would be carrying on the family name! It was a BOY!

Baby E's Ultrasound

I literally screamed, ran though the house to my husband’s office, and shoved my phone in his face. He was happy, but clearly not quite as excited as I was! And no lie…I spent the next two hours bawling off and on. I was pretty much a basket case, but a happy basket case!  One would think that I was the one having the baby…

I can’t wait to meet this little bundle of joy, and I definitely can’t wait to spoil Baby E!