Preparing to Launch

“I don’t know how you’re doing it all.”

I’ve heard that phrase over and over since I announced that I was having not one, but two books published next year. And homeschooling on top of that. And my reply is always the same.

Me neither!

(And then I secretly wonder if I should have said Me either, because now that I’m all I’M A WRITER WITH BOOKS COMING OUT, I feel like I should edit every word that comes from my mouth. It’s a very difficult place to be, inside my head.)

But it’s the truth – I don’t know how I’m doing it all. Although I can say with certainty, I am not doing it all well most of the time. And I’m okay with that.

My house is messy, and my kids haven’t eaten what you might call nutritionally well rounded meals every day. Some of that is just summertime. I can’t be expected to keep up with all of their dietary needs three meals a day, every day when they’re home all the time with zero semblance of routine.

I just can’t.

And my house isn’t clean. It’s not a disaster. A little here and there every day means that the house is functional…but it wouldn’t pass Mary Poppins’ white glove test, either.

I can’t seem to find time to blog these days, and I really do miss it. But life, you know? It’s busy and full, and seriously my brain is in constant motion as I think about all the things I need to do to launch two books in the next twelve months.

I’m finishing writing one, while anticipating the edits for another. I’m formulating marketing plans, contest ideas, making connections and partnerships, preparing for a minor site redesign, and even tossing around writing a couple of ebooks to give away for free.

Because, you know – there’s too much down time in my days.

When I have a minute to sit still, I go through homeschool curriculum, and I’m familiarizing myself with the books and their formats. I have our first two weeks of lesson plans almost all filled out, and I’m wrapping my mind around how each day will operate when we officially start.

And in between all of that, I’m trying not to miss my kids. These days are just so hectic. Even if I wasn’t doing all of these other things on the side, though, not missing my kid’s summer days is a tough order. Because honestly, they don’t really want to sit around and hang out with me.

They want to be with friends and play games. They’re going to camp, and they’re swimming, and I’m happy they’re having so much fun. I don’t feel like I’m missing it. I’m sort of watching it from the periphery, and that’s okay.

So I have a survival plan in place, and somehow it’s all working. There are, however, a couple of pieces missing in my ultimate plan of survival. And these missing pieces are causing some problems.

Sleep and exercise. I’m tired, and sluggish. Both things need to improve, or I really won’t survive these next twelve months, no matter how airtight my plan may be. So I’m working on that.

This is all the challenge of motherhood and working. I’m not complaining – not by a long shot. My days are sweet and full, and for the most part I am enjoying them, even if I’m slightly overwhelmed. And truth be told, I know this won’t last long. These hectic days will be gone in an instant, and maybe I’ll miss them.

Or maybe I won’t.

I don’t really know, nor do I much care because today I have enough to think about. So I’m not going to worry if I’m doing too much or too little. I’m just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and crossing things off my never ending to-do list.

I’m just here for the ride.

Tell me, moms. How are you all doing with the crazy hectic fatigue of it all? How do you work sleeping, eating well, and exercise into your crazy packed days? I’m open to suggestions for how to make this all work. 

First and Last and Bittersweet

We say goodbye to elementary school today. It’s bittersweet. As Sloan prepares to head to Middle School, and I plan to homeschool Tia and Landon, I find myself nostalgic a bit. I have loved their school. I leave with no hard feelings. In fact, loving the school is what made the decision to homeschool so difficult.

A lot has happened since the kids started this school year.

Where once there were only three of them:

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Now there are four!

Last Day 2

Where once Sloan had no braces:

 

First Day

Now he’s a metal mouth!

LastDay3

 

Tia’s has gone from this (those shorts don’t even come close to fitting her now!):

First Day 2

 

To this:

LastDay4

And Landon had teeth when he started school!

First Day3

LastDay5

It’s been a heckuva a year. I’m looking forward to the next year. It will be challenging, yes. But I have a feeling it’s going to be full of so much fun.

Now, BRING ON SUMMER!

Links to inspire

Once upon a time, I made sure to blog every day. Even through the summer, I somehow managed to blog a minimum of 4 days/week.

I don’t know how I did this!

Maybe it’s because my kids were younger, and I could tie them up in their rooms for hours at a time without fear of them ratting me out. 

I’m kidding!

They did take naps, though. Is that when I wrote? Or perhaps it’s because they were younger, so a strict bedtime was important, which gave me more evening hours, and made getting up early easier.

Or maybe I just neglected them altogether?

Whatever the case may be, for some reason this summer it has been nearly impossible for me to find time to write. I tried waking up early so I could savor the quiet hours of darkness, but I have a child who also likes the quiet hours of darkness. The only way to beat him up would be to get up in the middle of the night.

I like blogging, but I like sleeping more.

We’ve had late nights and busy days, and blogging has been firmly placed on the back burner until next week when school starts.

SCHOOL STARTS NEXT WEEK! You can’t see it, but I just started dancing – a comical sight when one is 15 months pregnant.

Anyway…

Since I haven’t had time to come up with decent bloggy words, I’m going to leave you with a few links of posts that have impacted me this week. These were all probably written by people who still lock their kids in their bedrooms all day long.

I’m kidding! Actually, one of these links was written by me, so…

Goodness. End of summer makes me punchy.

Links to Inspire

robin-williams1

“Phenomenal Cosmic Powers

Itty Bitty Living Space”

My friend Wendy wrote a beautiful tribute to Robin Williams and to creatives everywhere. 

lunchboxes

Looking for adorable lunch boxes to send to school with your children this year? I would suggest these gems from Rockey Paper & Design. Not only are they fun to look at on this outside, but inside is equipped with a small chalkboard on which you can write notes to your cherubs each morning.

In short, these lunch boxes will set you well on the path to that Mother of the Year nomination you’ve been working toward.

 

Photo Credit: www.shaungroves.com

Photo Credit: www.shaungroves.com

Shaun Groves offers some great tips to help curb choice paralysis at conferences. This post offers potential solutions that lead to a win-win-win for both conference attendees and sponsors.

Floridapost

I’m over at Extraordinary Mommy today offering some Florida travel tips, none of which involve the giant mouse. Bonus tip: If you come visit Florida, you can spend a few days with us.

DEAL JUST GOT SWEETER, EH?

Photo Credit www.preemptivelove.org

Photo Credit www.preemptivelove.org

If you, like me, have wondered why more Muslim leaders aren’t standing up against the atrocities happening in Iraq, then this is the post for you. I was relieved to see that Muslim leaders from around the world had taken a stand against the actions of ISIS, condemning it for the wickedness that it is.

I would also urge you to spend a little time on the Preemptive Love website to learn about the amazing work this organization is doing in Iraq. There is an opportunity to do more than watch in horror by giving to this organization as they work to aid the persecuted people of Iraq.

 

It’s been a hard week, hasn’t it? Worldwide news of destruction, the death of beloved celebrities, and the heaviness of this world were enough to darken the walls of our hearts. But take joy, my friends. There is still beauty in this world, and there’s hope for tomorrow.

I pray this weekend is restful, peaceful, and filled with enough laughter to chase away the pain.

 

The Season of Right Now

In roughly seven weeks, our life is going to change drastically. I think I’m ready for it, but I don’t know.

Are you ever really ready to have a baby?

This is the fourth time I’ve done this, so I feel like I’m a little more prepared for the process of transition. I’m ready to not be pregnant. I’m ready to meet her. I’m ready to see my big kids become big siblings, some of them for the second or third time, one of them for the first time.

Lee and Kelli-30

I’m ready to to move forward, but I’m also not.

I’m not ready for middle of the night feedings. I’m not ready for the sleep deprivation. I’m not ready to try and get three kids up and out the door in the mornings with an infant in my arms, and then get those same three kids to bed at night with an infant in my arms.

I’m not ready to figure out how to fit eating and nap schedules into sports schedules.

I won’t really be ready for any of that, which is why I’m priming myself daily to just let it all go. Go with the flow. Ride the wave of crazy until it crests a little bit.

“You’re not going to die from disorganization,” I tell myself daily. Although with the nesting settling in full force, I am finding myself a bit twitchy at all the things that need to be done around here. The clutter – AH! The clutter. I want to get rid of all of it. I want to stop spending money (last bit of summer fun combined with school time preparations is making me feel like I’m just tossing stacks of bills into the wind…)

I want to hole up in a neat, quiet, organized house and wait for her to come.

But I can’t.

Lee and Kelli-11

There are activities in which to participate, preparations to be made, messes to be tolerated, and bills to pay. Insurance confusion won’t sort itself out, and kids want to swim three times a day while they still can.

(I just wish they would quit swimming in their clothes because the laundry is killing me softly.)

As I work on my new book on motherhood and creativity, I’m challenged to apply the lessons that Wendy and I are so passionate about teaching to my own life. One of those lessons?

There are seasons for everything in life.

Kelli Silhouette-6 copyThere’s a season in which creating, working on my craft, takes a much more prominent role. And there are seasons when mothering my brood has to be given greater precedence.

There’s a season for a neat house and fresh, homemade meals, and there’s a season for dirty floors, dirty laundry, and take out and left overs.

There’s a season to keep up, and a season to fall behind.

I’m not sure if there’s ever a season for sleeping when you’re a parent, but I hold out hope as it’s the only thing that gets me through the days.

Right now, as we finish out our final two weeks of summer before school starts, I find myself in a season of activity. That’s okay. I’m going to be okay with that. This is a season with friends over, lots of noise, messy floors, and memory building. It’s not a season for extended hours of writing.

In two weeks the season will change.

And after that? An entirely new season will begin.

Embracing the crazy is my only option…because drinking’s off the table.

I’m kidding!

Sort of…

What season are you in right now? Are you enjoying the season, or are you, like me, talking yourself through it, clutching onto the joyful moments like a life vest?

The amazing photos are courtesy of Lulu Photography.

On Vacation

breathe

I am giving myself permission to do something that I haven’t allowed myself to do in the six and a half years I’ve been blogging.

I am going to take a break.

Funny story: Last week, Lee and I decided to take a spontaneous family trip to Gatlinberg, Tennessee. We rarely take vacations just the five of us – in fact, I honestly am not sure we’ve ever taken a vacation just the five of us. Most of our trips consist of traveling with people, or traveling to see people.

The problem is, I got my dates wrong. I was certain that I made our hotel reservation for Wednesday to Sunday, with the plan being we would leave Tuesday, drive half way, and arrive Wednesday. So I’ve been frantically trying to get us packed and ready to leave tomorrow for three weeks away, because after Gatlinberg, we’re sending Tia to camp in Crossville, TN, while the rest of us go to Nashville. And from there, we’re all headed to Arkansas for a week.

Are you exhausted, yet?

I realized just this morning that our hotel reservations are actually Thursday to Sunday, which means we’re leaving a day later than planned, which kind of disappoints me, honestly. But I’m also a bit relieved because trying to pack for three weeks in three different locations was giving me palpitations.

My brain is on serious summer overload, which normally wouldn’t be too much of a problem; however, I happen to be 64 27  weeks pregnant, which means sleep is already elusive. Add to that a little stress, and this mama ends up tired and emotional.

In an effort to not throw myself into an early labor, I’m unloading a few things from my plate. I simply don’t have the mental capacity to generate decent blog content right now.  As it is, I already have a few deadlines pressing down on me for other sites (the ones that actually pay me to write), and I’m in the final stages of editing my e-book, which I will hopefully get to the designer in the next few days.

So I’m going to take a couple of weeks off in this space. I’m going to breathe a little, enjoy my family, read a few books, unplug, and take in a little fresh, mountain air.

I’ll be updating on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on occasion if you want to keep up with our family and see whether or not it really was a good idea to take a trip to the mountains at 28 weeks pregnant.

Also, Lee and I are attending a celebrity charity dinner in Nashville on Sunday night. Tune in to see what my gigantic belly looks like in a nice dress, and to see if I get to rub elbows with Carrie Underwood, or if I simply stalk her from across the room.

I’ll come back here in a couple of weeks when the dust of family fun time has settled, and I can string together a coherent sentence outside of, “Did you pack your toothbrush? What about underwear?”

In the meantime, I hope all of you are enjoying some fun in the sun this summer break. Sit back with a good book, a tall glass of iced tea (sweetened, of course), and take some time to breathe.

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