I've had this post sitting in my brain for a while now, but it felt too hypocritical to actually type it out. Zach and I just aren't really intentional people. I'd say it's our biggest weakness as a couple and as parents. We just don't really intend to do things. We're more of a spontaneous, fly by the seat of our pants type of family. I think the last intentional thing we did in 2013 was decide to move to Tennessee and that was a hard decision. We thought about it for over a year, prayed about it, made about a dozen pros and cons lists, talked to several family members and mentors, and then finally made the call. It was exhausting. Maybe it just wore us out or something. I don't know. But 2013 happened to us. We didn't happen to anything last year. We were just in this constant waiting period. "Just wait till we get to Tennessee, wait till you get a job, wait till we get an apartment, wait till we find a midwife, wait till the baby is born..." We were living in limbo. Existing in the question mark. What will life be like when/if XYZ happens? And then Zach lost his jobs, the midwife quit, and things just went downhill. I started living in what we dubbed "The Haze." I just kept waiting for something better to happen. In the meantime, things got worse and I'd get to the end of each day totally exhausted. I slept until Jonah woke me up. I ate lunch when I felt like cooking and did activities with Jonah when Emery would let me put him down for a second. We went outside when I was bored. We went grocery shopping when we ran out of food and I rarely had a meal plan or a shopping list. It wasn't that we just didn't care about anything and were irresponsible with our money or time. We just ... didn't PLAN anything.
When you live without intention, life happens to you. I'm not saying our lack of action brought on all of the annoying things that happened last year, but it definitely didn't help us deal. So we've decided to be intentional this year and happen to 2014, instead of the other way around. I just can't live in the haze anymore. I can't keep waiting for something to happen. I need to live with intention and thrive, rather than just hoping that things will get better tomorrow. Does that make sense?
This is the life I've been blessed with. I have no reason to keep waiting for something else. What I have is pretty awesome. So we're going to start making choices and living our lives as if this situation is permanent. As if Zach will always work at Jimmy John's and I will always have little to no free time. Not that we're defeated or hopeless or anything sad like that. It's just that if we can't learn to thrive now, then I'm pretty sure those habits will continue once things DO inevitably get better. I'm starting to plan my days and work within the framework of my intentions. And you know what it's meant for us so far? Less TV, more one on one time with my kids. Less yelling, more cuddling and book reading. Less crying in the middle of the grocery store and more feeding my family the healthiest stuff I can find. Less eating out and more fresh home cooked meals.
So here's a little glimpse at what we're doing to try and reverse the bad habits we created last year.
1. Plan meals & shopping list at the beginning of the week. Obvious, I know, but we have to remind ourselves. Also this is kind of changing since we just moved back in with my parents. (More on that later...)
2. Wake up before the rugrats. This hasn't happened yet. Because Jonah is on rooster time or something.
3. Plan out Jonah's activities the night before. Nothing too specific or scheduled, but just a rough idea of what we want to do that day. for example : Play Doh, coloring, pre-school activities, play dates, etc. It really is helpful. Fo-reals. Also the fact that I wrote a book on this subject kind of helps me come up with ideas easily.
4. Weekly budget meeting. I HAAAAAATE budget meetings. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. They really do help us stay on track for the week and the cash system really does work...but I hate it. I love you Dave Ramsey, but I'm a free spirit. I'm a peacock, Captain!! You gotta let me FLY!! (100 awesome points to whoever knows that movie without googling it.)
5. Adult time. GET YOUR MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER. This is a family blog! I'm talking adult conversations without kids yanking on our clothes. Hanging out with people our age and doing things that have nothing to do with our offspring. I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to make time to be Kristen and hang out with people that know all of their letters. I have to do it on purpose. Get out of my comfort zone and invite someone to get coffee or let Zach take me out and not talk about Jonah or Emery. It's hard. But it's necessary.
I don't claim to have the recipe to success, but I know for fact that the saying is true : When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I know 2014 has better things for us than 2013, but even if it doesn't, I don't want to get to the end of this year and look at Zach and say, "What just happened?" I want to say "BOOYAH, 2014. The LaValleys happened to YOU this year." And that will be all.