What the week looks like, when my household gets busy.

May 2016 is proving to be one of those months where everything is hitting at once.

Our family’s week required the ultimate in patience, perspective and flexibility. I’m so glad it’s Friday and I’m feeling more caught up!

As the workload and additions to the calendar kept piling on in the last two weeks, it seemed that the ability to keep up was nearly impossible.

3 kids and a busy school month

With Rylan being promoted as a 5th grader, end of school year parties and assignments, Aubrey in 3 performances this month through school (and 2 more outside of school), teacher appreciation week and more, it’s ridiculous how much is happening at the school.

Every day, or so, was a new note from school telling us about a dress rehearsal (your children need to be there next Thursday night) or kindergarten concert (you parents don’t want to miss this!) or new field trip (your child will beg you to chaperone) to add to the calendar.

Yesterday, I was sitting in front of Sierra’s classroom (which I rarely do, since we usually drop her off and she walks there herself) and I had to make a note that Friday was purple pinkie day and if she wanted to be included in the class reward of getting a popsicle, she needed to bring a dollar with a post-it note with her name on it to school. Add it to the list.

Tuesday, Aubrey had a friend over to practice her talent show routine, when she told us she had a big art assignment to do to at home to tie in with a project she was doing at school. I thought, oh no, not one more thing to be on top of! Thankfully, she and her friend got out the paints right then, and she got the entire painting knocked out. Then Wednesday morning on the way to school she mentioned she also wanted to make a diorama! Same thought went through my head. And, then, again, she just got it done while at Grandma and Grandpa’s house that afternoon. That kid has so much pressure on her right now with all the performances she’s in and she’s taking it so in stride. I’m secretly wondering if she’s going to explode at some point.

Wednesday, I realized that I had the school’s fundraiser set for the wrong date on my calendar. I thought it was Saturday evening, but it is Friday evening! So much for hoping to take the girls to the Community Center art gallery display where my student artwork is being exhibited tonight.

About a week ago, the Boy Scouts moved the overnight camping trip, originally scheduled for the weekend of Aubrey’s birthday, to this weekend. We adjusted our schedules. Then, Sunday, I logged in to sign Rylan up, and it said they were leaving at 9am on Friday morning – which is a school day! We again adjusted our expectations, trying to consider if it was worth Rylan missing a day of school and ruining his perfect attendance record. Monday evening, we learned that the information was incorrect on the website and indeed they will leave Friday after school. We readjusted our schedules again, and planned for Rylan to go.


Meanwhile, I was helping the school fundraiser team put together, design and print a 20 page catalog that summarized the coordinated efforts of over a dozen parents at the school with over 80 sponsors and donors of auction items. The catalogs were to be designed, printed, stamped with auction bid numbers, attendee names and table numbers before tonight’s fundraising event.

Snag #1: the print schedule fell behind. I got an email over the weekend about this, and had to wait until Monday morning to beg them to help us. Major stressor for me – having not worked with these women before, I really didn’t want to be the one responsible for a major additional cost to rush the job, or for the catalog not to turn out looking great. Thankfully, I was on the phone Monday morning with a really helpful customer service agent who pulled some strings and got our job rushed and back on schedule. The catalogs were to arrive Wednesday, just in time for our planned gathering to put stamps with big numbers on the back of the catalogs (my idea to stamp, last year they used printed labels that didn’t look very classy).

Snag #2: the stamps I ordered with plenty of advanced shipping time to arrive by Wednesday were delayed, and while there was hope that they’d arrive, based on the new shipping estimates, by Wednesday day, they indeed did not. I almost was off to Napa to buy some new stamps from Michaels that day, when our team decided we’d just go back to printing on labels like we did last year.

Snag # 3: BUT… just when it looked like we were good to go for our work assembly party Wed. evening, the data for the bid numbers and tables was incorrect. AND we decided we’d meet anyway to simply put together the auction posters. BUT… the person who offered to print the auction posters for free at work that day was in Marin until 8:30 for her weekly soccer game. AND… the night before Tim told me his friends were in town from Southern California and getting together and if he was to meet up with them, I needed to get home before the posters would arrive in town.

Luckily, the posters and a parent came to me at home and we stayed up until 10pm assembling. Bonus was hearing how this parent, who has 3 kids as well, but about 4 years younger than ours on average, was so impressed with how my kids could put themselves to bed without any assistance from me. And so in the midst of craziness, I was offered some perspective and appreciation of what my life wasn’t like now that my kids are older and more self-sufficient.

And, the labels got printed successfully yesterday. I handed them off at Girl Scout pickup and the weight of the catalog design, printing and assembly was completely off my shoulders.

And, somehow a bunch of work stuff quieted down over the week. One especially annoying client who has been hounding me on a project that has been dragging on, has quieted down. I got the printing out for a couple of new Etsy orders that came in. I almost feel caught up with the miscellaneous requests from old and new clients that regularly comes in. Check.

Thursday 5pm: On to family stuff for the evening.

Offer letter from Wells Fargo received for Tim’s new job there, after two weeks of hoping that his move to suddenly quit, so he could change departments without his supervisor’s approval, was worth it. Check.

Whew! Summer camp decisions made – July 18-22 Sierra will do dessert camp and Aubrey will do toy inventing camp. For sure. Registered and paid. Check. Text to friend so they could coordinate summer camp schedules with their child. Check.

Rylan had math homework, his reading log, corrections from his people section of his state report to make, and needed to finalize his climate section to turn it in. An hour and a half at the computer with him. Reviews. Breaks. Annoying delay tactics. Finally. Done. Check.

Last additional requests from fundraiser team for special signs designed. Last minute coordination between the event chair and Tim who is MCing the event, finally got some instructions on what he is to do. Check.

New jump rope ordered for Aubrey’s talent show which is next week because hers broke during practice this week. Actually, I’m ordering two in case another breaks. Helped Sierra pick out her birthday present to Aubrey as well since the jump ropes were an add-on item with Amazon so needed one more thing to get free shipping. Check.

Message from Aubrey’s teacher that they may cancel the Friday field trip due to rain. Duly noted and check.

Dollars in all 3 kids’ backpacks for the purple pinkie day. And actually telling them so they know where to look. Check.

Prepared for the next day: Packed for Rylan’s overnight Boy Scout camping trip and left a note for the girls to pack for their night at Grandma and Grandpa’s in the morning. Reminded Rylan that he has his early morning coding class in the morning so he’ll need to eat breakfast at 6:40am so we can leave by 7am. Check.

Deep breath.

The last week was a little more than I’d like to take on usually.

I didn’t even mention that we shuffled the kids off to Aubrey’s gymnastics class, Aubrey and Sierra to their separate BBK musical practices, Sierra to ballet (my mom does this so we hardly get credit for making this happen, although I did remember to send her summer class registration and payment this week), Rylan to Boy Scouts, Rylan & Sierra to piano practice and Aubrey to Girl Scouts. And I didn’t mention that Tuesday, I was last minute shuffling to get my artwork framed to get it to the Community Center for their art show tonight.

And thankfully Tim was available all week for school pickups and drop-offs and errands.

I made it through one of those weeks that I hope I don’t have too often. I hope most of us don’t have too often.

And it’s part of why we make sure we have weekends away fishing in Shasta. And why we headed out on Sunday to hike at Point Bonita and view the Golden Gate bridge, feeling worlds away from worries about deadlines and a busy schedule.

Committing to a lot is a dual edged sword – yesterday I was feeling like the chaos would never end. Today I can relax and feel accomplished.

As a mom, we all want to feel capable.

So when you get through a week like this, you really can sit and reflect on what you are capable of. How many people you’ve helped. How your volunteered time helps the school be a better place for hundreds and a whole community. How you’ve allowed your kids to do their thing – sing, perform, dance, hike with friends, spend time with grandparents, be the best little people they can be.

What I also realized this week, is that if I don’t take the time, to not just reflect, but document what my life is like, I will look back and wonder, or forget what this was really like. When my friend was over and she was talking about how careful she is with her time, because of her responsibilities and commitments with her young kids, I thought about how crazy life was when my kids were all babies and toddlers, and life was another kind of chaos, and I realized how much I’ve forgotten how it felt in those years. Sometimes it feels like that was the special time I needed to document. But not true, I will look back at these years and feel as nostalgiac about them one day as well. Feel like it went too fast. So it’s important to write posts like this and recap weekends right after they happen and to publish and caption photos from outings and adventures. I have to realize, it’s a gift from the me of now to the me of the future. And I think I will be incredibly thankful.

Even when it’s documenting the chaos.