Lately I have been busy, tired, overworked, under appreciated, cranky, stressed, overwhelmed.

Sometimes, I have taken these feelings out on those closest to me.

Of course, this is pretty normal. However, it isn’t the right or good thing to do.

So, I am going to take a moment to appreciate all those close around me. To appreciate their contributions and acknowledge their limitations. I promise to try harder to be less cranky, and to lower my sometimes unrealistic expectations.

Thank you for all you do, big and little! We are a family, and we are in it for the long haul! So let’s let love reign!

Goal Setting

I am a goal setter. I set goals for everything. How long it’ll take to clean the bathroom or make supper. How far I can go on a tank of gas. What I will let myself do, if I accomplish something in a certain amount of time. I try to make myself go faster, do more. Some might suggest it can even occasionally flirt with obsessive about it.

I am always pushing myself. Trying to maximize my time and accomplish the most possible. To say that my life is busy, is true. Sometimes busier than I would like. But I mostly like it that way. I chose to have 5 children and everything that comes with that. With that, means that I am never at a loss for something to do. There’s always something that needs to be done, always lots of things that have been waiting forever to get accomplished.

However, sometimes I push the goals a little too much. Try to accomplish more than I am capable of doing. Sometimes these unreasonable goals fall onto my family and I expect too much of them.

So, although having goals can spur me on and help me accomplish what I need to get done, it can also be depressing when the goal isn’t reached – no matter how much IS accomplished.

By setting goals I definitely get more done in less time. I am better able to manage my time. I don’t procrastinate as much. I am not lazy, sitting around getting nothing done.

But balance is also necessary. I have to remind myself sitting on the couch is ok. Watching tv and not folding laundry or some other multi-tasking is ok. Sometimes just starting a project is enough for one day, finishing will come later. And people are more important than tasks.

The Weekend that couldnt be over quick enough…

This weekend was a LONG one. It shouldn’t have been, but never the less it was. My oldest son was gone on a gr 9 school trip to Quebec. My middle daughter went with her dad to his parents’ and brothers’.

That left me and only 3 of my children. It should have been a fun-filled weekend. However, last week when I went to return my completed census route I was asked to do another route and a half. It would mean an additional probably 70 hours of work. But we could use the money.

So, this weekend I spent 7 hours on saturday doing the census and 5.5 hours on sunday. I have many, many hours yet to go. However, I have made some headway. The kids spent the bulk of the weekend home alone, and surprisingly they didn’t completely destroy the house!

Katarina even cleaned up the house (for a mere $15). And the kids purged their dress-up, exactly as I asked. And I must say they did a great job!

So, although a weekend should be relaxing, mine has been anything but. But my laundry is caught up, some more packing done, some purging, some census…so I guess I accomplished something at least…

Standard or Automatic?

A while ago my husband and I sat down and discussed what we would need to do to get our son behind the wheel.

If you don’t know us, we have a 15 passenger van and a honda odyssey that’s seen MUCH better days.

We felt that neither vehicle was appropriate to learn to drive on.

So, we knew we needed a different vehicle. We quickly decided we would not give him a choice, but would require all our children to drive standards.

The reasons were simple.
– if you can drive a standard you can drive anything
– you can’t text and drive in a standard
– you have to remain focused to drive a standard, distracted driving is harder

So, we looked for a smaller vehicle that was a standard.

We found a guy who sells nothing but Honda’s and BMW’s. He buys wrecked cars and parts them if the frame is damaged, or fixes them up if it is cosmetic.

We bought a 1998 Honda Accord for $1000. It has numerous dings and scratches. BUT, it is perfect for us. Perfect price. Perfect dings…so we don’t freak out if a scratch does happen. This car runs awesome! I LOVE driving it! Besides, at this price the car pays for its’ self in 8 weeks in fuel savings. So, it owes us nothing! And the guy will fix it for us should it break down. He has a shop full of parts, and if we need new parts all we do is bring him the parts and he’ll do it for hourly wage. Because he takes such pride in his work, we will definately bring him more business. He obviously gets attached to his cars, they’re like his kids. He WANTS to see them again and keep them in good working order. He told us about a client who had just wrecked ANOTHER one of his cars. You could see it made him sad. He puts his heart into fixing these cars and making them have a new life.

Yes, it’ll take some work and thinking and LOTS of practice for our son to get the hang of the clutch. BUT, it’s a life skill we believe he (and all our kids) should have.

So, bring on the practice driving!

Why Driver’s Education?

We have made the decision to put our children in driving school.

Although I am a “professional” driver, and am evaluated on my driving skills annually, I would prefer my kids to learn to drive from someone who does it for a living. Someone is hyper aware of teaching proper habits and making sure they do everything just right.

So, the policy in our home is that after much research we have decided every child must take AMA platinum drivers’ course. It certainly isn’t cheap. However, as my husband said, “What is an accident worth?”; “What is the safety of our child, his friends, and everyone driving near him worth?”

The Platinum course costs $1500. It includes 18 hours of in class learning, and a final exam of their learning. It also includes 20 hours of in car driving, and drop-off and pick-up anywhere you choose. As well it includes a follow-up Defensive driving course to be taken about 6 months after he gets his driver’s license.

That gives me peace of mind.

We also decided that if our children were “invested” in the program they would get more out of it. So, we decided we would pay half, they would pay half. Our son has known this for a year so had begun to save for it. For his 15th birthday we gave him the very generous gift of $300 towards his course. We have told all the kids that this generous birthday gift can be theirs too, but it has strings attached. The strings are: behaving responsibly (most of the time, being kind to their siblings (most of the time), and keeping their marks at a top level for THEIR individual abilities. We have also provided opportunities for doing work to earn additional money towards their course.

So, none of our children will sit behind the wheel of the car for the first time with us at their side…and I’m SO happy about this! The patience and tongue biting I can save!