Getting into the Groove of Fall

Fall is quite possibly the craziest time of year for our family.  As we reincorporate school and activities into our lives after a summer of freedom, evening walks, and warm weather, mom always goes a little batty.  I spend more time in my car carting my kids around town, I sleep less, supper is more difficult to get on the table, and my dependence on calendars and planners becomes more obvious.

Todd adjusts to the changes really well, which is good.  He is the voice of reason and sanity in our home.  Todd has also learned to predict, almost to the day, when I will start to crack up.  He is in my head and he knows the warning signs.  We take several steps as a family to lessen the learning curve and reduce the chaos, but I have come to accept that feeling overwhelmed in late September and early October is almost inevitable for me.

I fell down my slippery slope of self pity about three weeks ago.  After many supportive conversations with Todd and a several long prayer sessions with God, I slowly drug myself back out.  And now?  I have come to accept my new normal.  I do not know if I am embracing my new schedule yet or not, but I will soon.  As evidence that balance is reappearing in our home, I have been able to find margin in my schedule and fill my own cup just a bit.

A few of my favorite activities this past week:

1. Periscope, podcasts, and online conferences.

Have you heard of Periscope?  If Skype and a podcast got married and decided to have kids, their first baby would be named Periscope.  It’s a very cool smartphone app, and a few of my favorite bloggers are on it regularly.  In addition to watching the “scope,” Periscope viewers can interact with presenters live through a messaging feature.  Even Jocelyn has gotten in on the fun.  My favorite Periscope?  Crystal Paine, over at Money Saving Mom has a morning “scope” for moms.

Watching Periscope while getting her hair done.
Watching Periscope while getting her hair done.

At the suggestion of Todd, I recently discovered that podcasts and online conferences are quite awesome.  I can start a podcast, plug in my headphones, and listen with one earbud in while going about my normal activities around the house.  I don’t catch every word being said, and I avoid listening to things while teaching school to the girls, but a few minutes here and there add up!  One of my favorites? Fletch and Kendra Fletcher’s podcast, HomeschoolingIRL.  IRL stands for “In Real Life”.  Even if you do not homeschool, they have some pretty interesting things to say about parenting.

Last week, I participated in Michael Hyatt’s Influence and Impact Summit.  Many great speakers were a part of it.  His next project, which I also plan to watch, is the Skyrocket Your Impact training.

This week, I listened to several presenters from The Mom Conference.  My favorites so far have been Marla Cilley at The Fly Lady and Jordan Page at Fun, Cheap, or Free.

2. Overwintering onions.

A few days ago I received a call from a good friend asking if I’d like some spare onions to plant in my kitchen for the winter.  I did not know onions could be successfully overwintered.  Truthfully, I am still a little skeptical.  My friend assured me, though, that she has successfully accomplished the project previously and even showed me what to do.

I planted the onions and I’ll give it my best shot.  My biggest obstacle?  The cat.  He thinks the onions are tasty.

Cats are supposed to be carnivores...
Cats are supposed to be carnivores…

3. Alone time.

I have become a little unconventional with this one.  Mornings are not really my thing, but they go much more smoothly if I can sit alone with a cup of coffee before things get wild every day.

My alarm has been going off at 5:30 a.m. for a little over a week now.  While it takes me a couple minutes to pull myself out of bed, I am not dragging by the end of the day, so it looks like my body can handle the adjustment.

Setting my alarm at 5:30 a.m. gives me exactly thirty uninterrupted minutes, each day, to get myself organized, drink coffee, and finish my daily devotion.  It sets me up for success and allows the rest of the day to go so. much. better.

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4. Quality time with my girls.

This last Saturday, while Todd enjoyed a friend’s surprise invitation to a college football game, the girls and I went to the fabric store and purchased supplies for Christmas and 4H projects.  The older girls have stated, on their own, that they are making sizable and thoughtful gifts for several family members.  I really enjoyed the opportunity to help them make selections.  Unhurried, fun trips to stores filled with way too much stuff are a bit of a rarity for us, and they only happen on days when we have nowhere else we need to be.

Todd also shared on the blog a few days ago about the funny things our girls have been up to in our home.  I have appreciated our children’s humor, companionship, and one child’s spontaneous decision to fold ALL of the laundry laying around the living room for me.

5. Movie night with Todd.

Todd and I utilize Netflix and DVDs to watch old television shows pretty often (Murder She Wrote or ALF anyone?). Movies are rare.  By the time all the kids are in bed there just is not enough time until we turn into pumpkins and need to go to sleep, too.  This weekend, though, we had an in-home date night.  It was quiet and simple, but it was nice.

I hope the transition to fall is going well for you, too.  What do you do to adjust to new schedules every fall?  Let me know in a comment or email!