Monday, August 29, 2011

This is why...I am not a bookkeeper

O.K.  Well, I really am the bookkeeper of the family.  Just not a very good one if you ask me.  I handle the bills, etc.  My husband is the accountant.  A tax accountant.  Really.  He gets paid for this stuff.  It's in his brain.  He gets it.  He looks things over things once in a while (at least at tax time) and graciously explains to me the error of my ways :)   Apparently it's not acceptable to consider it a wash if you are under 100 in the expenses  and over 100 in the credits.  It works our mathematically so I can reconcile, but when it comes down to it - it has caused some problems. 

After doing this for 16 years (I took over when I became a stay at home mom) I thought I was finally getting the hang of this.  Until 4 little pieces of mail arrived over the last 3 days that make absolutely no sense to me (or didn't).  It doesn't help that we recently bought a foreclosed house and are in the process of selling our old one.

1.  A late pmt notice for a loan that we have never received a bill for. 
2.  A stmt for said loan that tells me the amount due in the next couple of weeks - yet includes no return envelope, nothing to include along with a check, and get favorite...NO ADDRESS ANYWHERE on this notice.  Not even in the fine print.

(well...I did receive a call from that bank this morning stating that they are new to this, no one is being charged late fees, that that was indeed my billing stmt, and giving me the address to mail my check (although it was on the late pmt notice).  So...none of that was my fault and they are fixing things on their end.  Just in case, I photocopied the information and wrote down the address for future pmts - Quicken will let me know when they are due. :)

3.  A refund check.  This may be an escrow refund - but it doesn't seem big enough.  I really don't know.  I'll have to ask my dh accountant about this one.  The notice does contain a transaction ID.  But, no phone number or anything to ask anyone about this.

4.  This one isn't so confusing.  Just a little unfair I think.  I received the first bill for another loan.  Pmt due date in 3 days.  I don't have a problem mailing a check tomorrow - but I hope there aren't any delays - sheeesh.  Again, Quicken will let me know when the next one is due, so I'll be ready.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Funerals...for the young and the old

This week we attended the funeral for two people.  A 6 year old boy from our parish and my 87 year old grandmother.  The funerals were very different.  But one thing was clear.  Everyone has a purpose.  Everyone has an impact.  God is in charge. 

My grandma lived a long full life leaving 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.  I look at my own kids and marvel at the fact that neither they (nor I) would be here right now if it weren't for her.  She was one of the sweetest, quietest people I ever knew.   Before stopping for a visit, my kids would always remind me to buy her some chocolate covered raisins.   She loved chocolate :)  When she moved to a nursing hom a bit farther away, our trips became less frequent (this I am sad about).  But, my kids enjoyed going to the nursing home and playing piano music for her and she would just watch everyone and smile.  She was hard of hearing, and hard to hear, but her smile said it all.

Peter, age 6, wasn't even supposed to survive.  He was born with Trisomy 18 and his parents had to fight for medical care after his birth - the same medical care a "normal" child would have received without question.  They were told his life wouldn't really amount to anything.  Well, they were wrong.  Peter laughed.  Peter smiled.  Peter had an impact on everyone around him.   His mom started   so that other families with adverse prenatal diagnosis could receive the love and support they need.   Peter will not be forgotten.  The world is a better place because of him.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

...finding out a loved one died...on facebook

I'm not so annoyed about this as I was at first...but I still feel the need to bring this up in my little corner of cyber-space.  I still don't like it.  I've just accepted it.

There was a message on my phone late Saturday from my dad.  No information, just to please call him on his cell phone when I got his message.  My elderly grandmother had been in the hospital for a few days and things weren't looking too good.  So, I presumed that was probably what my dad had called about.  My dad has tact, he would never call and leave a message like that over the phone.  In fact, when my aunt died somewhat tragically a few years ago he called and told my husband.  My dad didn't want to share that over the phone with me.  He wanted to make sure there was someone there who cared about me that would give me the news compassionately since he could not possibly be there.

Back to my grandma.  I don't use facebook very often, but I figured I'd check to see if someone posted something about her.  Sure enough, they did...only about 20-30 minutes after she had passed away.  I don't fault the people who did this.  I am sure that in their grief they were reaching out in their own way.  However, had I not received that call from my dad (giving me the idea to check facebook), and I was just looking at facebook (like my sister had), I would have been even more upset. 

My parents were still grieving themselves (30 minutes after they got the news) when they received a phone call from another family member who was notified by someone else who saw the post on facebook.  The caller was pretty upset wondering why no one called her...and rightly so.  While I don't think my parents should have jumped on the phone immediately (I think grieving first and telling only immediate family members is more important)...I do know that they would have called this person as soon as possible.  And, this person would have compassionately been given the news by someone who cares about both the caller and my grandmother. 

Information moves fast in cyberspace...we need to remember that.  I am not against the post itself (maybe they aren't called posts...see how much I use facebook...I just read other people's stuff once in awhile) I do think a little more thought needs to go in to what people put out there and when.  How many other people find things out in this way?

and...just for the record...I know of no friends or relatives that read my blog who don't already know about my grandma.  I waited a day, watching all the facebook comments to be sure.  And..I am glad I did.  I was a lot more annoyed last night, and this post is really about slowing down and thinking if this should be said?  and should it be said now?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Small Successes

Short Version this week.  For more inspiring stories click here

  1. I ordered nearly all of our schoolbooks.  Only 1-2 left to go (I forgot them :) )
  2. Created a skeleton of a school schedule for next year which will give us a greatly reduced schedule for both Dec (baby due and Christmas) and Jan (our snowmobiling month - well...maybe not me as much this year). 
  3. Admist all the chaos of moving and getting our new home liveable and our old home sellable, I finally finally finally took the time to start taking care of myself.  Swelling from this pregnancy (and probably being in the heat and not sitting much) had finally spread to make my arms and hands look almost as bad as my legs and feet.  But took my stubborn self to end up with carpal tunnel and exasperated tendonitis in my hands to make me step back and realize I wasn't being martyr, I was being stupid.  Today my swelling is finally down to a manageable point. I was sitting alone in my room one morning feeling sorry for myself because my hands hurt so bad I couldn't do anything....I pulled out my prayer book.  The page I opened to was something about sadness being "stupid" and getting me nowhere.  I needed to offer my pain up.  I've been offering it up for all the people who really have carpal tunnel...not like mine that will go away in 3-4 months, but people that have to live their lives with it, people that likely earned their livings with their hands. 
And....a little prayer plea?
My father-in-law is undergoing radiation.
My grandmother is in the hospital with another bout of UTI (causing sepsis) and pnemonia.

May God Bless your day!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Small Successes

For more small success stories click here

Well....right now it almost seems like the smallest things are my biggest successes...the stuff that only takes a couple minutes to do but need to be squeezed in among the big things and have been put on the back burner :)

So...that being said I am going to list big successes and little successes this time- 'cause they both matter have overtaken my life!!!!!!!

The small overlooked items:
1.  Filled in my calendar for August - along with homeschool co-op classes for the school year.  My email calendar seems to work the best every summer - but I'm a paper and pencil (no longer pen :) ) gal once the school year begins.
2.  Called and made numerous appts (ha!  I can do that now that I have the my calendar in order).
3.  Am starting to take a few minutes for myself and some more time to do something fun with the kids (I'm giving myself 5 minutes for this blog today)
4.  Made rice krispie bars for the guys working on replacing our septic system.  I wish Terese were here.  Yesterday she made them delicious sugar cookies for them!  But, she's off today finishing her quilt she had started at quilt camp in June.

The big all consuming items:
1.  All necessary rooms have been unpacked after moving 2 weeks ago.  While we should be back at our old house working to get it on the market...we have numerous workers coming here for fixing items we cannot do ourselves (septic system, sandblasting, etc.) and I need to be here.
2.  Cleaned out much of the bsmt of our old house.
3.  Gave the kids much of the day off yesterday.  How could I make them work when they could sit and watch/video tape the removal and installation of the septic tanks and pretreatment tank?  This is a once in a lifetime situation! ( should be!)

Next week:  I'm hoping my small successes will include having ordered all our school books - I am literally months behind my comfort zone on this. I don't like that, but when I look back and see what has been taking all our time.....I don't feel bad.  This is the way it should be.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My favorite spice cabinet

We are now living in our new home (still working on the old one too :( )

I absolutely love the spice rack/cabinet here.  I've never seen one like it.  In fact, we even took a picture of this on one of our walk throughs so if we didn't get it (it was foreclosed with more than one offer) we might be able to make this at home.  See, it has this swing out rack on the left side.  No more lost spices :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Transformational vs Transactional Parenting

I heard a talk on relative radio this morning with a former sports coach (unfortunately I don't know who or even what sport he coached - if you know - please leave the info. in the comments :) )

He talked a little about tranformative vs transactional coaching.  It got me thinking.  Can't this same information be applied to life?  In particular, to parenting?

Much of our parenting is transactional.   It gets the job done so to speak.  It's quicker.  It's easier. 

But as they kids get older it needs to switch over to more and more transformational.

I'll use just one of my kids as an example.  My dh has taught our oldest son (and he's teaching the others too) to be able to think about things - not just do them.  I've seen it in action.  My son is a much better assistant when my dh is working on a project than I am.  He can anticipate what tool may be needed next, etc.  He has taught him skills for life (however, I do believe that this is partly due to that being my son's strength - but if it hadn't been brought to the surface with the help of my dh it wouldn't be what it is today).  I even see this when other people come to work for/with us.  My son, barely a teen, quickly earns their respect.  They will ask for his help and his opinion.  

Today we unpacked our schoolroom/office/etc area.  It took us all day.  (we just moved in a week ago and are still go back and forth between houses working on both)  While I was having kids put books on shelves, removing empty boxes, sort craft items, etc. it was pretty clear where their strengths lie.  They can all follow directions (transactional).  But they have their own skills for particular jobs that allow me to "let them loose" on them (they had been previously "transformed").   Someone mentioned that the screen door off that room didn't close right.  My oldest son then stopped what he was doing and took it upon himself to get the appropriate tools to fix the door.  Very likely whatever I had him doing before that was something anyone could step in to finish.  He was more of a help filling a need that only he (well my dh certainly could have done it but he was away at work) could do.

This is something I need to work on myself.  Transactional parenting comes easy.  I am good at dictating.  It's quicker.  I have 7 kids.  I have a lot to do.  But, although my dh is just as busy/busier he has slowed down over the years and become more transformational in his parenting.  My kids have benefited from this and so have I.  And....I am working on transformational parenting as well.  It not only helps get more done around here, they are becoming more and more interesting people to spend time with, and their abilities to think outside the box and be not only a follower (I do think everyone needs to know how to put their heads down and follow directions - so to speak) but a leader and a go getter as well.