Monthly Review and Goals

March was a mixed month.  I didn’t cross much off my list, yet I felt I moved forward a lot.   I am so thankful to God.

We continued with our usual.  We added in more basketball practice.  We mostly met our savings goal.

I was able to decide what program to put them in next year for school.  They will both continue with Classical Conversations (homeschool).

The second grader was selected in the lottery at a good charter school, but we declined.  He currently seems to be learning so much at home in his free time about topics from the presentations in his Foundations class.  I didn’t want to take that away.  I also looked over what they are covering next year (American History) and it looked fun.

I learned some info about transcripts for the high school magnet school applications and that it wasn’t a problem, so I decided to continue homeschooling my 7th grader.  He is pretty high up on the waiting list for another charter school’s lottery, but he wants to continue with Classical Conversations, so that’s what we are doing.

I haven’t made summer plans, other than continuing to homeschool through it (except for a small break).  The gym will be packed, so it makes sense to do school then.  We will either be reviewing or getting ready for the following year.  I would like the older one to  take the PSAT 8/9 in the fall.  I would really like to go the library.

I have been sensing a need to be refreshed.  I go along with the flow (which restaurant, which vacation) most times.  I have forgotten what I truly enjoy and what will refresh me.  So I spent some time on that, and will continue figuring it out.

I am not getting enough done, despite my best efforts, so I have been researching that.  I have to decide what needs to be done first that will make the most difference towards reaching my goals.  I need to limit my to do list, which is burdening me.  I need to set myself up for good habits by planning for resistance.

So I have a lot of reflecting and planning for April.  Hopefully that will move me forward.

All this downtime from activity has caused me to move slower. All this necessary reflecting has caused me to turn to God even more.   As a result I am able to notice and appreciate my family more.  I am so grateful for them.  It has truly been a blessing to be able to appreciate them.

How about you?  How did you do with March?  What are your goals and plans for April.

 

 

Persistence

We’ve been participating in recreational basketball for three seasons now.  It hasn’t come easy to the kids, but they don’t want to stop. They are ok with just participating.  I am not.

Maybe for some things I would be fine with just participating.  Maybe if the other kids weren’t progressing so well, it would be ok.  But the other kids have gotten better and I feel there is no reason that my kids can’t also.

I know it sounds bad.  I know I shouldn’t use the other kids as a benchmark.   What matters is if my kids are doing their best.  And they are not. (If they were, I might try to persuade them to do something they would be better at.  That sounds terrible, but that’s also another topic to deal with separately.)

So we have been going to the gym to practice more.  We also signed up for an 8 lesson basketball class at the gym.  And they are finally showing some improvement.

No, I didn’t enjoy having to go to the gym even more frequently.  And it was pretty discouraging this past year.  I worried that they wouldn’t get better despite even more practice.  But we kept going and finally there were signs of hope.

What made me not give up? Well, it took the youngest a long time to get the hang of swimming.  He’s still not great, but he’s much better then before.  And then there’s reading which the youngest really struggled with for a long time,  but he is much better at it now.  And then of course there’s my personality, I don’t mind working at most things even if it takes a while.  When it got so discouraging, I set goals for them, along with a plan.

But what if they didn’t get better, or if they don’t continue to do better?  Well, they were definitely better than when they first started.  Either way, we learned valuable lessons on values, persistence, goals and time management.

How much time do you give to learn a new skill?  How many times do you keep going despite lack of progress?  What helps you to persist despite lack of progress?

 

Wants and Gratitude

It’s so hard be be grateful sometimes.  There is always more we could do, more we could have, more we could be.  Dreams are good, goals are good.  As long as we don’t forget the good that is in front of us already.

I have a great view outside my patio door.  Instead my mind wanders to  how I can change or fix up my home.  It wanders to exciting vacations and being able to casually  eat out.

So I need to remind myself to look for and enjoy the good that I have already.  As for the wants, I need to figure out if they are really that important to me to make them a goal, or if they are just an automatic reaction that needs to be stopped.

How about you?  What have you overlooked that should be enjoyed instead?  What wants are important enough to set as a goal?

 

Monthly review and Goals

Time to check in. I can barely remember what happened in February.  We were busy with basketball games and our weekly Classical Conversations homeschool classes.  I was able to stay focused on my goal of kindness by thinking of the kind people I admire.

I was able to enjoy something, however simple, every day.  Continuing a simple schedule and decreased spending has continued to help with that, along with making the time to notice nature more.

I was able to delay my needs (till the end of the day, etc.) to give my children the attention they deserved, most of the time. Continuing to sleep well, eat better,  along with paying attention to nature, slowing down, and setting aside some time to destress has helped.  I spent some time researching homeschooling and college.

I was able to mostly keep God in the center of my days.  Having some time to reflect helped. Long days also had me seeking his help.  I borrowed a Bible Study ebook and read it only for a few days.

I dug out some of the paperwork for our taxes.  I continued to spend time researching saving/making money along with  researching investing.  I was able to save more than usual, by continuing to make do even more with the clothes I already had, and decreasing eating out and convenience foods with fairly simple and healthier homemade meals. Continuing to read how others saved, helped.

Habits helped.  When I would be tempted, the habits of eating healthy, going to sleep early, doing chores at certain times, going to the gym with the kids, because “it’s good for us”, would push me forward most of the time.

Should I have decluttered more?  Finished our taxes already?  Have our summer school plans set already?  That would have been nice.  But then I think our quality of life would have suffered.

What about our March plans?  It looks like I am ready for and badly need a planner, so that’s in my list.   March should be easier as there is a short break in basketball and the seventh grader no longer has weekly presentations.  I plan on working with the second grader more with basketball (he is not progressing as well as I want him to).

I would like to prepare for the start of basketball practices again and the end of school year busyness that happens in April.  I need to research school plans for our summer and the following year.  Eighth grade is a critical year.

I would like to plan for the rest of the year.  I would like to find a Bible Study book that I am drawn to.

How was your February?  What are your plans for March?

 

 

Simple Family Life

In our Classical Conversations’s homeschool group they do family presentations, where they share about their family.

When they do these presentations, I usually think, wow, why aren’t we doing those things.  There are so many activities we could be doing.

Since we’ve always signed up late, we haven’t done any family presentations.  But it has been on my mind.  I have also read of creating a family shield, which also sounds good. In addition to creating unity, taking the time to reflect on your family’s characteristics can lead to appreciation, contentment and gratitude.  It can make it clearer what is missing and what kind of family we want to become.

While I haven’t taken the time to write one up, I have some ideas.

Our family consists of…both kids participating in recreational basketball, a husband that loves watching sports, a mom and a tween that are bookworms,  kids that love video games big time, and also love utube and Netflix,  Star Wars and Disney Parks/Universal Studio fans (mostly), a curious kid that loves Legos , a tween that enjoys technology and big words, kids that enjoy riddles,comics, and beating me badly in basketball.

We all enjoy eating out inexpensively or cooking on  the weekends, though our taste in food varies. We enjoy seeing our out of state families and friends once a year, and we have enjoyed science museums on our past trips.  Although my  husband enjoys rock concerts, we haven’t because of the kids.

Pretty boring and basic, I know.  But that’s who we are.  We could do more, do different things, but would it be better for us? Some of it would, some of it wouldn’t.  I would really like more time on good literature with the 2nd grader.  I would like the 7th grader to spend more time on being creative.  The 2nd grader might enjoy theater and piano lessons, but he doesn’t want to give up basketball and I don’t want him to be that busy.

I would like exposing them to different activities and interests but they are not interested, though some of the activities are beyond my husband’s and my knowledge (like hunting). Some of them we don’t do because we have allergies.  And some of them, like computer camps, do not seem worth the expense with our budget, so we will have to get creative with that.

Have you reflected on your family’s activities and characteristics?  Have you found doing it helpful in planning and increasing contentment and gratitude?

 

 

Ways We Saved

These past few weeks I..

Read parts of finance ebooks from the library.

Worked a little on taxes, bills and paperwork.

Decluttered some books and organized toys.

Only bought $6 youth shorts (Sam’s Club) and didn’t buy any other clothes or homeschool books, just used what we had.

Packed snacks instead of using the vending machines.

Added sides and variety to dinner to decrease eating out more.

Researched simplified homeschooling online.

Some joys were…

Eating simple comfort foods like soups, muffins and hot tea.

Appreciating my family’s presence and their company.

Enjoyed the company of the moms at our homeschool group.

It helped to to eat better, sleep more and stop to enjoy nature from our backyard.  Reading some blogs on frugal living helped inspire me, along with the finance books.   I organized toys and decluttered books so I could have some order and not feel so weighed down.

Having some routine, reviewing the day, and asking myself if this is how I want to be, helped.  And stopping the negative thoughts and replacing them with  “it’s not so bad” or gratitude helped.  Once we say no to things, gratitude comes easier.  And if it’s his will, I think asking God for help, helps a lot.

How are you doing with your saving? What simple joys have left you feeling satisfied?

Motherhood

Motherhood is constant.  It doesn’t stop when you need a break.  And while we are not always in control we do have influence.  Do we react with denial/inattention during those times we badly need a break?  I know I do.

Sometimes it works, and inattention at the moment was the best, but most times it is not ideal.

Do I really need a break, or do I just need to stop my negative thoughts and just do what I know I should be doing?  Do I  do my best to take care of myself by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, cutting back on the unnecessary, and getting support, so I can react well?  I know, it’s easier said than done, but we can give it our best.

I am realizing just how big a responsibility motherhood is.  But I am realizing it comes with joys just as big, if we’re paying attention.

What has helped you the most in managing the constant demands of motherhood?

 

Faith First

I admit it.  It hasn’t been easy to keep my faith first.  It’s lately stayed in the background.

Saving money to be a good steward was easy.  Simplifying my wardrobe and home decor to be a good steward was fairly easy.  Home decor was planned to create an environment that would make it easier to draw closer to God.

But then it became harder.  I spent too much time on a putting together a  pleasing  wardrobe.  And then there is the joy I get from my wardrobe.

I guess it’s just one of the many things I need to work on.  So while I do find joy on things like that, I will make a point to find joy in God instead.   Concerning my wardrobe, I will aim only to be neat and presentable (which I was not ready for until now).

As I work towards my goals, I need to remember they should not be my goals first.  I should seek his goals first.

That doesn’t mean I don’t research and plan and work hard.  It means I pray about it, listen and read the Bible first, then do what I can.  And what I can’t do reasonably, I leave to God.

What areas do you struggle with when you reconcile your faith to your goals?