I feel like I haven’t written in months. Between getting sucked into good books and spending too much time in homeschooling online groups which then evolved into spending too much time reading prepper message boards… add in some work and volunteering, some travel to a conference and not much time or inspiration has been left for writing.
One of the things that have kept me busy is an ant invasion in our home. We had seen a lot of the tiny sugar ants for a while but it wasn’t a huge problem and they were easy to manage as they responded to all of the “home remedies”.
We went away for a weekend to attend the LLL Parenting Conference and we come back to a full fledged invasion. The tiny and friendly ants had been replaced by some mutant, oversized ones that were immune to peppermint, black pepper, garlic, salt, cornstarch, vinegar, etc. They were excellent swimmers and simply refused to drown or even let go of the cloth that I was trying to wipe them with. It was a declaration of war!
I usually have a “live and let live” approach but these aggressive ants did not allow for happy co-existence. I had to let go of my moral conflict and go on the offensive. Thankfully I keep a spider friendly household, I safely evict big spiders and let the Daddy Long Legs live in peace (I’ve even given some of them names, lol). So I told the spiders to earn their keep and relocated them to the ant trails. It was a feeding frenzy! We got a homeschool science lesson out of it and the spiders were happy to help the cause. We had happy spiders with full bellies; but there were many more ants than spiders, it just wasn’t enough. I was done trying the natural and homemade remedies.
After hubby went to Home Depot and bought one of each ant control products we had relief within 24 hours. I was finally able to declare my house ant free….
Until I went to outside. It looks like all of the ants have moved to our front yard. I counted 9 separate colonies when there had only been one for the 2 years we’ve lived here. It looks like they are preparing for a siege and invasion. I don’t think that I have enough spiders to handle that army. I had to bring the “guns” outside.
Sometimes when counseling a mother with a second child I am asked about my daily routine and how I manage to balance house, 2 kids, 1 part time job and 2 volunteer jobs so I decided to write down what a typical day looks like for me during the week. I have the advantage/disadvantage of not having a car so I don’t have to worry about errands such as grocery shopping. Weekends and Wednesdays (if I have a babysitter) look different but this gives you an idea.
All of these activities are done while having a 3 year old asking what something means, to spell something or to say something else.
7:30- Shammy wakes up but he knows better than to try to wake me up so he cuddles me while I snooze.
7:45- Zen wakes up and has his morning “milkie”
8:00- we finally get out of bed and the boys beg to go to the computer room where they beg to watch their preschool videos. I do my best to wake up and catch up on e-mail/Facebook while they do their videos
8:10- we all change out of jammies and head downstairs for breakfast.
8:45 to 9:00- done with breakfast and tidy up a little.
9:00- the boys watch PBS Kids while I shower
9:15- I empty the dishwasher and/or start a load of laundry, the boys usually help with the laundry.
9:45- Homeschooling, reading or playing together with blocks or puzzles. If the weather is nice or the boys have a playdate we walk to the park playground.
10:30- small snack
10:45- the boys have free play while I continue the laundry or do some minor cleaning like sweeping, vacuuming or scrubbing a toilet. I check Craigslist for new daycare/babysitter ads. Call daycares to be disappointed that they don’t have space or I can’t afford their rates. Have mini anxiety attack over not having a babysitter.
11:30- start to cook lunch
12:00- lunch time
12:20- post lunch cleanup and diaper changes
12:30- nurse Zen and attempt to put him down for a nap, lately it can take as much as 45 minutes for him to fall asleep
1:15 I do at least 20 minutes of cardio exercises using the XBox Kinect, Shammy will either join me if it’s an exercise he likes or play with a homeschooling app on his Kindle
1:35-15:00- Shammy will either color, read, practice writing or watch Sprout while his brother sleeps. I will attempt to do some work, return breastfeeding calls, answer La Leche League help forms or do homework, I am not always successful and end up reading a book instead.
15:00- snack time
15:15- play with the boys or they have free play while I try to finish some work or try to talk a breastfeeding mom off the weaning ledge
16:00- the boys clean up whatever mess they made during the day while I do some assorted cleaning such as floors, bathroom, etc or may be talking to a breastfeeding mom that is freaking out about not having enough milk
17:00- start to cook dinner
17:40- hubby gets home, we eat dinner
18:00- Tidy up after dinner, start to load the dishwasher, the boys usually hang out with their daddy.
18:15-19:15- If I am lucky the boys are upstairs driving their daddy nuts and I catch some me time that I spend reading or watching Doctor Who. Sometimes we will take a family walk to the park and let the boys run around and throw a ball for a while.
19:15-20:30- family time, usually in front of the TV :-/
20:30- small snack
20:45- finish loading the dishwasher, take out trash and recycling, bedtime prep
21:00- bedtime for the boys
21:10- mama computer time, usually spent looking for a babysitter online, checking out part time job listings, doing volunteer work such as bookkeeping for Best for Babes or web stuff for La Leche League. If I am specially awake I will read or watch something on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
23:00- I am usually still awake but I drag my rear to bed and toss and turn for half an hour before I fall asleep.
And throughout all of this sprinkle a generous amount of kisses, hugs and cuddles. My past self would be horrified at how much screen time my kids get but I am not perfect and sometimes it’s the best way to ensure that they stay out of trouble while I get something done. As it is my house is never perfectly clean but I do enough here and there to keep it livable and prevent it from getting out of hand.
It has been a while so I’ll give a recap… In the last couple of months we moved to a new house. One that is in a (supposedly) safer and quiet community (so quiet that we didn’t hear fireworks on New Years) and is right next to a park. It is a 2 story house villa which I love despite the inconveniences that living in a 2 story unit with kids brings.
One of these inconveniences is that our computers are upstairs while I spend most of my time downstairs with the boys. This meant that every time I felt inspired to write something it didn’t happen because the computer was no longer in the living room like I was used to. To try to remedy that I have a bluetooth keyboard now so I can write on my Kindle Fire without cursing the touchscreen keyboard’s existence.
Babyproofing a set of stairs when renting can be challenging. We have a pressure mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs which although it won’t stop Zen if he is determined to go up, it does work well as a deterrent and keeps them from trying to play on the stairs. The top of the stairs is still open and after 3 months it hadn’t been an issue until last week when Zen figured out how to climb down, at least he did it safely!
At our new house we converted the master bedroom into a computer/play room and chose a secondary bedroom as our sleeping room. This room has wall to wall mattresses on the floor and no other furniture making it the perfect cosleeping space.
During this time Shammy has made excellent homeschooling process. Since he is only 3 years old I wasn’t pushing any curriculum or lessons, just trying the whole homeschooling thing on for size and it’s been working very well. Shammy is now able to read at a primary school level and is starting to write. I admit to using a lot of technology tools such as ABCMouse for math and social science and Kindle Fire apps for writing. We do reading the old fashioned way though in addition to e-books.
While the holiday season was very enjoyable, it also meant the end of the daycare that the boys were attending 1 day a week while I worked at the WIC office. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find alternate care but it has turned into a 3 month nightmare. Despite the things we didn’t like about the old daycare we now miss it because it has been so hard to find anything after searching for so long with no luck. Granted, we may have higher standards and a lower budget than some parents but it had never been this hard to find the right match. In the meantime my mother in law has helped out but I can’t count on that as a long term solution and I fear that we may reach the point when I may be faced with having to quit my job (which only has me out of the house 1 day week) because of this.
I did the math and working full time after factoring the cost of daycare and other expenses wouldn’t allow me to provide any extra contribution to the household budget than I do now unless I got a REALLY good paying job, something that doesn’t exists in this area.