Monthly Archives: August 2007

Time management and the big rocks

Today was the first day of school for my oldest son – the first official school day in seven years!  He started high school today, and I definitely have mixed emotions about it.  On one hand, I know he will do really well, but on the other hand, it feels like something is missing when he’s not around. 

With his school day being so extremely long, it means that his personal schedule has to change to adapt to his new needs, and I’m now easing everyone else into his sleeping/waking schedule so that they can still see him when he’s around.  If I don’t, he’ll leave before they wake up and get home when they are heading for bed. 

 I also need to change our family chore schedules since he won’t be around for the things he’s currently slotted for.  I find that basic schedules for our daily routine really help keep us all on track and helps us have a more relaxed feeling about our time, since we all know that there’s time for everything and the important things will get done. 

 I was actually talking to a relative about this last night.  She told me “I don’t know how you do all that you do.”  I told her that I find Stephen Covey’s visual demonstration of filling a container with large rocks, small rocks, gravel, sand, and water very helpful.  If you first put in the largest items, and then put in each additional item according to it’s size (ie, largest to smallest), you will get a lot more in than if you haphazardly put in whatever your hand happens to touch first, and you will ensure that the biggest things always fit in. 

 It’s the same thing with our time and priorities.  All of us have the really important things that we need to do – our ‘big rocks’.  And there are plenty of little things that we can fill our days with that don’t really matter much (that would be the sand and water) that could be fit around other things.  What happens when we just do whatever we want to do without assigning priorities to our activities?  Usually, the big rocks don’t get put in – we end up not doing the most important things that really matter the most, because we don’t have time for it – we’ve filled up our containers with the small stuff.

What I try to do is assess what my personal big rocks are – my husband, my children, their education, regular meals and chores to keep our home running smoothly – and schedule in time for those things.  For example, I make sure to hit all the academics with my kids first thing in the day, because I know that if I take care of everything else first, the day would be over and I would never get around to working with them on the academic stuff!  All the other things I need to do I schedule for later in the day.


Premature water breaking, and thank goodness the phone is working again

On Monday night I went out  for three hours, and when I got home, discovered that I had no phone service (apparently caused by the storm we had).   Since it was after 10 pm and I needed to immediately make arrangements for a friend to watch my kids the next day, as well as to get driving directions to NJ (where I needed to pick up ds14 from his camp bus), this was NOT a welcome realization.  I dashed out to a neighbor and used their phone and internet, then came home, relieved that though I didn’t have a dial tone, at least I had taken care of everything that would need taking care of until the next night when I got home.

Well, I was wrong.  Once I got home, I cleaned up the kitchen and dining room, and headed for bed, so that I would get a decent night’s sleep before doing so much driving.  I almost always read something before I go to sleep, and while I was reading, I hazily noticed that my back was slightly damp.  I didn’t really pay much attention since I was so involved in thinking about my reading, but ten minutes later, it suddenly hit me that I wasn’t imagining it, that I really was damp.  I sat up suddenly, and felt the bed all around me – wet.  I have to honestly say that right at that minute I was came close to panic, realizing that my waters broke (five weeks early) and I had no way to reach my midwife, dh wouldn’t be home until the next afternoon, and since it was after midnight by then, it was too late to go to a neighbor to use their phone.

After a few minutes in which my brain wasn’t working properly, I quickly got dressed and drove over to a friend’s house, fervently hoping that she would hear me knocking, and not ignore it if she did hear it.  I was so tense worrying about what to do if she didn’t answer that I almost cried with relief when she opened the door!  She generously loaned me her cell phone so I would have a way to make calls until my line was repaired.  I called the midwife when I got home to give her a heads up about the situation, and told her I was going to be visualizing that it was a high leak and it would seal up on its own.  I went to sleep, and when I woke up – no more leaking, no more signs of early labor!  I called my midwife and told her about it.  Of course there’s no way to know what happened without doing testing that would make giving birth essential within a very short time.  She said that there are two layers to the amniotic sac, the amnion and chorion.  Sometimes the outer layer breaks, and water that is trapped between the two layers is released, but the sac where the baby is stays intact.  That seems to be the most likely scenario to explain what happened with me.  Isn’t that fascinating?

Today, two days later, the phone suddenly started working again (I still need to cancel the repairman’s visit, which was supposed to be tomorrow – the fastest someone could come out).  It’s amazing how much more appreciative I am for having a dial tone when I pick up the phone than I was before!

By the way, ds came home from camp last night (dh ended up driving to NJ to get him since the midwife felt it was very unwise for me to take a chance of going into labor after the excitement of the night before and drive there myself as planned), and dd12 came home this afternoon.  It’s so wonderful to have them back again!


Catching up

Things have been much busier this summer than I ever expected!  I’ve had so much to write about but not made the time to post.

On the personal front, my oldest two children went to overnight camp in NY for a month (a last minute decision), and I drove up with the kids for visiting day last week.  They are having an amazing time and it’s so gratifying as a parent when you’re able to provide your children with special opportunities that they really appreciate.  Something funny happened when we visited dd, though I can’t say what the significance is.  She’s attending the same camp I went to 21 years ago, and out of the 18 bunks available, ended up in my old bunk (the bunk numbers have been changed so I didn’t realize it until I got there).  Ds8 noticed that lots of campers wrote their names on the bunk beds, and asked me if I wrote my name on mine.  I told him ‘no, I didn’t do that kind of thing’.  And even if I had, it’s been a long time since I was there, beds were moved out to other bunks, and it wouldn’t have been likely it would still be there.  Not even two minutes later, he told me, “Mommy, I found where it says your name!”  Even after he read it to me, I couldn’t believe it, but sure enough, someone else in my bunk at the time had written her name, followed by the names of three others (out of 10 or 12) who shared the bunk with her, and below it said ’86’.  And my name was one of those.  And guess which bed it was written on?  My daughter’s very bunk – out of the hundreds of bunk beds in the camp, she ended up sleeping in the only bed with her mother’s name on it!  Interesting, isn’t it? 

Then we were home for a day, and needed every minute of the time to get ready for the two day family vacation to a family amusement park/campgrounds in PA we went on next.  We never go to amusement parks, because I generally find them artificial, commercial, and wanted to wait until the kids were old enough to appreciate it and not become jaded.  This was a great time to go since the baby is 16 months, and the next child up is 5, and tall enough for most of the rides.   We got passes for the nighttime, which was good since there was a heat wave and I don’t know how much we would have enjoyed it if we had gone during the day.  The kids had an amazing time together – I manned the stroller, and dh went on the rides with the kids.  Even though I’ve always loved amusement parks (particularly roller coasters), I was satisfied to watch everyone from the sidelines this time.  Everyone had a great, great time.  The campsite was okay – not the kind of place we would go just to camp, but good as a convenient location to access the park from – and I learned my lesson from the last camping trip.  We got the site closest to the bathrooms and water, and that was really practical!  Trying to sleep on a camping cot and being 7.5 months pregnant was not fun or a successful experiment – I tend to not be a picky person, but in this case I was in so much pain (sciatica) that it took me over 20 minutes from the time I woke up until I could move my legs enough to get out of bed. I transferred to the passenger seat of the van after three hours, and just reclined it back.   I didn’t get much sleep, so later in the morning, when the kids were up and having breakfast, I crashed on the floor of the tent and slept soundly for a couple of hours before we went back into the park. 

 We got home from that on Thursday night, and then dh and I spent the weekend at home together without the kids – we usually go away but this time we’ve had so much travelling that it seemed more relaxing to stay put.  We spent all of Friday unpacking from the trip, packing the kids up for their time away, and trying to catch up on all the things waiting for us when we got home. 

On the business front, we’re having our new site built, as well as making changes to the business structure and product name.   The main reason I haven’t posted in so long is that the blog has also been transferred here, and I haven’t had the time to try to figure out how to post to the new site.   

But now I’ve done it and will be back to posting more regularly!