Boys are in school — what now?

There's a new level of chaos in the morning routine around here. Instead of one boy to get ready, there are two. Joseph has joined Will at St. Rose, moving from his 3-day-a-week half-day preschool to a full school schedule. We expected tears in the morning but he walks in ready to start the day. It's not all smooth sailing but he's doing all right. We miss his old school and would still be there but the opportunity to have both boys in the same school was too good a decision for the whole family.

When I tell friends that both boys are in school full time this fall, the first comment is how great for Joseph. The second is, what are you going to do with all that time to yourself?!

I'll be here more. Well, that's the idea at least. But I started writing this post almost a month ago. Several weeks were the boys have been out of the house and still not much writing from me. It's not that I don't want to write and share what I see and do. I just need to schedule the time, write down my ideas, make a posting schedule. You know, do it already!

Exercise. I put on some pounds after last year's job loss. And I enjoy Christmas treats. Drink too many Cokes. I know less in + exercise works and that's the goal. Both boys did not like the babysitting room at the gym (one of the main reasons we had joined!) so no excuse now — I can go while they are at school. Guess how many times I've gone? Twice. Ugh! Must go more!

Clean house/clutter out! One reason I haven't been writing or going to the gym is I have plenty to do in the house. Laundry, dishes, ironing, mopping -- it all falls on me. And I'm not the greatest house cleaner -- I would much rather play with the boys than swish the toilet. So if I get it done while they are gone, I'll have more time for them in the afternoon. It may not always work out, but it's a good plan. Competing with the cleaning is the clutter. We have now lived here eight years and it's time to look around and see if the stuff we have accumulated really does work for us and our space. Maybe say goodbye to toys we've outgrown? And books that we want to read but haven't touched in more than 10 years? Less stuff in our small house would make everyone happier and make the house easier to clean. Now to talk the rest of the household into this ...

Get back in touch with friends. I've got some great friends scattered around the country. Facebook is good for keeping in touch but I want more. More phone calls and e-mails, maybe even letters. I want folks to know I am thinking about them and that I care.

Volunteer more. We've got some great events in town. But the hours they needed help didn't always fit around the schedule of taking care of little ones. Now I can help while the boys are at school. And I did just that recently for Artwalk, helping to set up tents and move stuff around during the day for the event that night. It was fun. I got a cool T-shirt. Now I want to do more.

Especially at school. I'm very involved at the boys' school. Yearbook editor and room mom. I love the community of parents and staff/faculty that is fostered by our principal. Happy to spend more time there. But I'm behind on my yearbook deadlines. Again, do it already!

More time with me. Also competing for attention is all the books and magazines I haven't read for the last seven years, the TV shows I'm several seasons behind, crafts that I would love to make and even sell for profit. But I'm still on the back burner until I get the house straightened out.

Here's the REALITY — by the time I get going after my caffeine, run one or two errands (so much faster without kids but still time killers) and do one or two basic home chores I look at the clock and it's time to pick up the kids. Where did the day go? It can only get worse because I am starting to look for a job. Maybe something seasonal as stores gear up for Christmas or maybe something real and related to my profession.

Overall, you can see I've got to start writing some major to-do lists and get better at managing my time. Right after I beat level 125 in Candy Crush ... well, maybe deleting games off my phone just went to the top of today's to-do list.