Enjoying the respite, rolling with the changes

It’s been a good news, meh news kind of day. Which is in keeping with how it is all going these days. I have a 3 day weekend to look forward to, which is always nice. And I get to start it with an evening without kids thanks to Grandma & Grandpa (and Aunt & Uncle.) And now I get news that I will be able to get in a game of D&D before everyone scatters for vacations/camps etc. But the best news is that Kim will get to join us on our vacation in a week.

It’s going to a different kind of 3 day weekend. With the bigger gatherings at the beginning rather than the end, so I will get a day to recover, which I always like. Of course I will still have to get up early on Sunday to take Jimmy to meet his ride for his summer wrestling camp. But I can then come back home and nap if I want.

It was touch and go on getting in a game with the boys before we all left. But one of their vacations got postponed for a week or so. Which means I will be able to play Friday afternoon. I am pretty amped for this session, because I have been working on it for a while, I expect it to be a real challenge for them. I have a plan to make it interesting as well, try to break away from the almost video game like challenge of the past couple of sessions.

Kim’s store has been working through a massive remodel for a number of months. And it is almost done (thankfully.) But there were rumors that since the Grand opening was coming up that all vacations would get cancelled. Which would mean that Kim would not be able to join us for most of our vacation in a week. But she was told today that she will get that week off! Which is great news because there were a number of logistical issues that were wearing me out. Not to mention I would hate for her to have to miss the vacation.

Like I said, no bad news. Some meh news (sorry one family friends trip got postponed, and things will be a little tricky to start our vacation.) And some good news, getting to play D&D and Kim gets to join us for our trip after all.

But the best thing of all is I get to spend an evening with just Kim tonight to start my 3 day weekend! And, unlike our Anniversary, there is very little chance that we will get a call to come get a child to bring home. It is definitely rare that we get entire nights to ourselves (sadly Kim does have to work in the morning so it cannot be a late night.) But we will make the most of what we get.

And with that, I am off line for a few days, have a good holiday folks, USA! USA!

Some times a different approach makes all the difference

It started a week or 2 ago. It wasn’t planned at first. But it is making such a big difference that I will keep doing it. What are you talking about you ask? It is simple, I’m talking about how I have been dealing with the kids.

Maybe it is my generally feeling better anyway, but a couple of weeks ago I started changing up how I was asking the kids to do things around the house. Instead of just laying down the law, and working with Imperial Decree’s I changed. for the last week or 2 it has been a matter of just asking them to do stuff, and not overreacting when it wasn’t done.

For example last weekend I asked Jimmy to vacuum the 2 main rooms, and mow part of the lawn. He was really guarded when he came to tell me that he couldn’t do either, the vacuum and mower had both stopped working. No big deal, just went and got them working for him and let it go at that.

And at night I have been leaving it up to Jimmy to get himself to bed, just giving him a general guideline and going to bed myself. And he is following that rule without any problem. So it is all working very well so far. Basically I have changed from presenting a list of demands, and then jumping on him repeatedly to get them done. Instead just being friendlier with him, and getting him to buy into it all. And it is really working.

Now I don’t know if this was more a matter of my own personal attitude changing up, personally relaxing more. But whether it is that or working hard for a friendlier approach doesn’t matter. What matters is that the kids have been much easier to deal with this summer.

I heard an advertisement the other day about how to make this summer the best, and my immediate thought is that it already is. The kids have been good for the most part. My mental outlook is much better. And while we don’t have any major trips planned like last year it is still a great summer.

It has been quiet, but not too quiet

The past couple of days have been very different around the house. I really noticed it this morning, as I quietly crept out of the house (letting Danny continue to get some much needed sleep.) It has been very quiet around the house without 2 people there.

I love my wife and daughter greatly, and I miss having them around the house. But Emily especially does not really get the idea of a peaceful silence. She is a very talkative, extroverted person. And not having her around can really quiet down the house. And even Kim does like to talk some, or at least be doing things that involve some talking.

But without those 2 around, and with Jimmy not having a friend over (talking to them on the phone) it has been quiet around the house. I mean I have been watching TV, or at least listening to music. But silent in terms of minimal human interaction. It has been very peaceful and restful.

And I think Danny especially is really enjoying it. He was still asleep at nearly 8 this morning when I left, which is unusual for him, he is my normal early riser, but I think having everything so quiet helped him get some rest. And while he loves Emily, and likes playing with her, I think he is somewhat enjoying this time to himself.

It has been very refreshing to just go home and ease into the evening, maybe get some things done, but mainly just relax. I for one am enjoying it all very much. I will be happy to have them back, but this time without them has been nice.

An interesting weekend, and now some different dynamics

It was productive, fun and yet had it’s share of slow, boring moments as well. The weekend was not the whirlwind of activities that the previous ones were, and yet I can’t say it felt too short either. We got some yard work and house work done. I got the girls sent off for a couple of days, Jimmy got a taste of playing with adults. And Danny just did his own thing. And just now realizing how odd the coming weeks might be.

Jimmy and I got the yards mowed, picked up and looking as good as possible. It really is a shame that I don’t have grass in my yard, because this year it would look magnificent if I did, with all the rain. But I don’t, so I will be content to mow the weeds to a reasonable level. I also took a short walk, picked up some new shorts, generally kind of wandered around most of the day Sunday. I eventually settled down to watch some women’s soccer and then a movie. But overall it was a relaxed day.

Sunday Kim & Emily took off for 2 nights and 3 days of Girl Scout camp. This is really the longest the family has been broken up like this for a while. Kim took Danny off for a night of camping a couple of times last year, as I did too. But it has been a couple of years since Kim and a child were off this long. And it is a different dynamic with Kim and Emily gone, leaving me and the boys home.

For Danny this should be a nice break. I know that he and Emily play really well together, more than he and James do most of the time. But at times I think he just needs a break. And this will be a good break for him. Yesterday he spent time with family, even spending the night with them. Today he is having a good buddy over. And tonight I will encourage him and Jimmy to play at something, without any extra kids around. I think it is good for him to get that time without the dominating force of Emily’s personality around.

Then later in the week the kids will be gone for the night, leaving Kim and I alone. And then Jimmy leaves Sunday, leaving the little ones to sort of fend for themselves. Which will be a break for them, without having big brother around to boss them around, or take up our attention.

Jimmy got to join my Denver game and it went very well. He blended as well as can be expected. He played well, and it seemed that there were no problems on the part of the other players with him. He wants to make his addition a regular thing, which I am at least open to. I have to be sure the other players are fine with that. And then see how it goes.

On the personal side of things I am moving on to what I hope is the next phase of good habits. While I have taken caffeine out of the question I was still drinking fair amounts of soda. My plan is now to wean myself off that by only drinking soda at meals at fast food places, where it kind of makes sense. And otherwise cut the soda consumption to as close to zero as possible. It’s a gradual thing. They say it takes 30 days to develop a habit. So it has been about 30 days without caffeine. So now I will try to spend the next 30 on the reduction of soda. And also keep working on the physical activity and making it a part of my daily life in some fashion.

It is officially all good now.

I slept well last night, and long, getting a good rest. And life resumed as normal today. And I am excited for the weekend. And having some realizations about some other stuff.

Took the car to the neighborhood repair place yesterday. Expecting to have to pay for a new alternator. Instead got a call that the battery that the Autozone guy said was good was in fact shot. That was a definite ‘glass half full, half empty’ situation. On the one hand I could be upset that the Autozone guy was wrong, which probably cost us around $100 in labor costs. On the other hand, I was expecting to pay double what I ended up paying because my alternator had to be replaced. I choose to go with the later approach. And just be happy that I have my car back today.

All that disruption and stress from dealing with the car took it’s toll, I was definitely wiped out last night, and was happy to go to bed earlier and get some much needed rest. One of the things I have learned in the last year is how much mental energy can get soaked up by stress and social occasions. I just did not really understand that before. Better late than never to understand that I say.

And I have a good weekend to look forward to now. Saturday remains utterly clear of plans. Kim will be getting her and Emily ready for their camp but otherwise zip, zero, nada plans. I will probably do some yard work, maybe try to recover some of the basement. But otherwise try to relax some more.

And then Sunday Kim & Emily go off on their adventure. And I take Jimmy to my Denver game. Which I am looking forward to in a real way. I am excited to let him see what more grown up role players do and how they handle the game. And to be honest I am excited to just play in this game, it is fun enough that the normal month between sessions is a little tough on me, wish it was a shorter time between.

Last, it has been a nice month without caffeine, and not doing too much in the way of exercise. But I have realized that I do need to get back into some form of regular exercise. I accept that I can’t do running, and even too much walking might be a problem without a certain kind of shoes. But there are things I can do, and I just need to make the time in my life for them. I just need to add these habits without obsessing over them, like my shaving everyday, or brushing my teeth.

But yeah, survived the mid week stress, got everything back to normal, and now can return to getting excited about the future.

When it rains… I just do my best

Remember the problem I had a few weekends ago with my car? Well it came back yesterday. And I spent most of the evening dealing with it. With no small amount of anguish and pain. But I backed off, slowed down, took breaths, and moved on. Yeah there were some panicked thoughts, but I gave them a little vent, and then moved on.

When I went to leave work the car refused to start, I was able to get a jump, so I went from work to the Auto zone near our house to have them check the battery. They tested it and said the battery was fine, but maybe I just needed to clean the corrosion off, so I bought supplies for that, got another jump, and went home.

Cleaned off the battery after dinner, jumped the car (again), and went to fill up the gas so I could leave it running longer. Well here is where it got real frustrating. The gas station by our house was closed, so I had to drive farther away, and I accidentally kept the keys to the other car with me. So after filling up, when the car would not start I had to call my sister in law to come give me a jump. So I got home, tried to relax a little.

I gave vent to my frustrations in a somewhat constructive fashion by doing a little online car shopping. Which reminded me that it is worth it to just get my car fixed. And I refrained from just setting my car on fire. Which is my preference for when things get me that frustrated (not really, I just talk about it.)

But when I got up this morning I had a plan. Went and got Kim’s car so I could go to work, and take care of an errand before hand. And now I will go home at lunch, take my car to the repair shop near our house to get it fixed (likely the alternator.) And then work from home if possible. And hopefully my car will be ready by the weekend.

Last night was not easy. From frustrations with inanimate objects beyond my control. Trying to cope with mental errors (taking both sets of keys to the gas station.) But I managed it all without losing control, yelling, kicking things or any of that. I kept my cool through most of it.

I could have easily just broken down last night, or stayed up all night worrying about it. But I didn’t, I dealt with what I could, and accepted what I couldn’t control. And that is a big step for me, yay team Mike!

Planning and preparing for disruptions

It was a nice couple of weeks, pretty normal stuff. There was a little adjustment for the kids as they entered vacatio in earnest. But things have more or less settled into a rhythm. Just in time for it all to get disrupted. But I know about this, I can prepare myself ahead of time.

This weekend Kim and Emily will leave and be gone for 3 days and 2 nights for Girl Scout camp. So that means a couple of nights of just us boys at home. But I have already made plans around this. Jimmy will come with me to Denver for my game, and Danny will go to a family birthday party. And then Monday the boys can hang out together. So it should only be minimally disruptive.

Then a week later we get a double whammy. I have a 3 day weekend for the 4th, and then Jimmy leaves for his week long wrestling camp in Arizona. So that means it will be Danny and Emily fending for themselves to some extent for a couple of days. But they have Cousins Camp with Grandma that week so it should all be good.

And then the week after that is our family trip to Estes Park (although Kim may not get the whole time off from work for dumb reasons.) So that is a week totally off the routine for me. Could be a tad crazy.

But after all that finishes we will have 4 weeks of the ‘normal’ summer routine left before school! Wow, this summer has just flown by! But it has been great so far, I am definitely enjoying and appreciating things more this year.

It is a good exercise to kind of list all of these things. To know that there will be adjustments, and a need to make allowances. But if I know about them, and can mentally prepare, it should flow much better.