Three Extra Days… and a Whole New Perspective

posted by Andrea | 01/9/2014

3 extra days

Last weekend, after spending over 2 hours dealing with Nora screaming and fighting her bedtime, Dave and I sat down to go over our schedules for the month of January.

Normally we just take things a week at a time over here — but since January is going to be SO insanely busy for us, we thought we’d better get a full-month overview before the end of our Christmas break.

Things were going fine… until Dave started listing off ALL the dates he would be gone extra hours for basketball practice, basketball games, homecoming week (which he’s in charge of), other special school events, and other evening obligations.

I was already tired from dealing with Nora that night, I was achey from doing WAY too much around the house that day, and the realization that our glorious Christmas break was coming to an end was already enough to “push me over the edge”.

Then, on top of all that, I had Dave listing off night after night after night where he would be gone — leaving very pregnant me home all day and all night with our little Energizer Bunny (as we lovingly call Nora).

Hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I processed all the information Dave had just shared with me — and I realized that there was simply no way I could do everything I had to do without Dave being home to give me a break each evening.

After such a relaxing Christmas vacation, the reality of “real life” was starting to hit me again… and I just wasn’t ready for it.

But then this happened…

lots of snow and ice

Fridge temperatures hit the Midwest (like -25*F wind chills), and huge storm came through, and massive amounts of lake-effect snow covered all of West MI.

That little “teardrop marker” is where we live — right in the middle of the worst of the snow (and with a Winter Storm Warning).

Winter Storm Warning

Churches (and all church activities) were closed on Sunday, all schools (and school activities) were closed for Monday and Tuesday, and basically everything we “needed” or wanted to do was put on hold for 3 days.

This meant that I had 3 extra days at home (with Dave helping me and entertaining Nora) to get a bunch of stuff done like…

  • finishing up a few random house projects
  • finally painting the furniture for Nora’s new room
  • finishing up my applesauce canning (and getting everything put away)
  • finalizing and ordering our 2013 photo albums (this post explains the process and resources I use)
  • packing away the Christmas tree and reorganizing a few storage bins
  • catching up on some laundry and house cleaning
  • making a couple freezer meals and doing a little baking
  • working ahead on my blog posts
  • finalizing plans for a fun Baby Giveaway Event in February!
  • getting my business paperwork ready for tax season (and finalizing all the 2013 income/expense reports)
  • updating our Important Information Binder to reflect changes over the past year

Those 3 days were a gift — and I definitely put them to good use!

They were just what I needed to ease out of Christmas break, find my productivity groove again, and tie up some loose ends before “real life” started up again.

It felt like a HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders by crossing all those things off my list — especially since I’m starting to mildly stress about getting my personal, home, and business affairs in order before this baby comes (only 8 weeks to go!)

I know life will go on if I don’t have my freezer stocked, if I don’t have weeks of blog posts written in advance, or if our taxes aren’t filed before this baby comes; but I also know how life-changing bringing home a new baby is, and if at all possible, I’d rather be working ahead now than frantically playing catch-up later.

Thank you Lord for the snow!

I realize Dave and I are extremely fortunate to have jobs where we did not have to venture out into the snow (and I’m extremely fortunate to have a helpful husband when he is home!) — but that snow storm, and those 3 extra days, gave me a chance to catch my breath, to finish up, to work ahead, change my perspective, and to realize that I CAN do this.

Plus the snow looked gorgeous from the inside :)

Cheers to a crazy-busy January and February… and then hopefully a relaxing “babymoon” in March.

I can do this!

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34 comments

  1. Rochelle

    01/09/2014

    My husband is a teacher, coach, and active leader in his school also. We live in Western PA and had record lows monday, tuesday, and wednesday so it was so nice to have him home those extra days as well!! Though he and the kids won’t be so thrilled when they tack on those days at the end of the year in June, haha.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Dave’s school actually plans for snow days every year — so unless we get a bunch more snow, he won’t have to make them up at the end of the year (which is super nice!)

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  2. Victoria

    01/09/2014

    I know the feeling, my husband ended being home Monday due to the heavy snow fall in Indiana and was kind enough to put away all the Christmas decorations and make dinner while I worked on my blogged and homeschooled the kids (no snow days for us, I want to be done school when the nice weather hits).

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  3. Stel

    01/09/2014

    I was wondering where you guys were in terms of the winter storm! Wow. We have funny weather in South Africa, Torrid rain in winter rainfall areas. Glad you had the few days.
    Oh, I remember when my eldest didn’t want to go to sleep, I’d have to sit in his room for how long, and fell asleep myself there! The younger was so much easier. Now I just have both in my bedroom, read to them, they fall asleep there while I’m reading and my husband takes them away later :-)
    Hope you have more relaxing times over the last couple of weeks.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stel — 2 weeks ago, we had a VERY short stretch (3 nights in a row) where Nora slept fabulously. I thought maybe we had crossed a milestone or figured something out as it was the best she’s ever slept. Then, the last 7-10 days have been awful. Hours and hours of screaming and fighting; waking up every couple of hours all night long. So much for my hopes of figuring something out :)

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  4. Lea Ann

    01/09/2014

    I completely understand, our lives revolve around 1 very busy work schedule and me being a SAHM. Sometimes, it is difficult when the schedule doesn’t allow you to have the other person around to be there…sometimes, its just the little things that they can be there for that make a HUGE difference. We had the same polar vortex and snow here too…didn’t affect the work schedule any, but, I also wasn’t at one of those stressed moments either….good luck and I love reading your blog!!

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  5. Kristina H

    01/09/2014

    Nice post to show appreciate for “bad” weather!!! After reading it all I still chuckle that you’re having a Baby Giveaway Event! I’ll take one:) Blessings to you and your family!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha! no actual babies to give away — just lots of baby gear and sweet products / gift cards / etc. :)

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    Kristina H Reply:

    Love it!

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  6. Angela

    01/09/2014

    I can relate! My husband is very busy right now studying for the bar exam and under a lot of pressure. I also have a first born who can be quite intense. I will add that my baby (2months) has been a total dream. I am in awe of this easy going little man. I have actually found that life with him on the outside is much easier than my last trimester. I pray that this will be true for you too ;)

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  7. Daniele @ Domestic Serenity

    01/09/2014

    I completely get this feeling! Here in central PA we had days of unexpected pause too, which helped me to catch up around the house and do some planning/organizing. To be grateful for a snow storm is a good thing! :) Blessings & grace to you…

    [Reply]

  8. Laurel

    01/09/2014

    We are in Grand Ledge, MI and we must have gotten it worse than you did. We had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday off. Today is the first day back for my kids and my teacher husband. I was glad to get back into a routine again and start crossing things off my lists now that I have the house to myself :). Guess your perspective depends on what ages your kids are. I love snow days and having my kids home, but tagged on to a two week vacation (plus an ice day the last day before vacation) was almost overkill. Hope you are able to get all of your things done before the baby. Keep us posted on how Nora does with the transition to her new bedroom. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s easy.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, totally. If we had older kids, I probably would have been rejoicing when they went back to school — but since I’m home all day with Nora, it’s super nice to have an extra set of hands :)

    And the bedroom transition is happening very very soon. She loves playing in her room but is pretty against sleeping up there… so we’re working on it!

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    Laurel Reply:

    I know, I loved snow days when my kids were all at home and my husband didn’t have to go to school. I don’t know how single parents manage. They deserve a lot of credit just for maintaining their sanity!

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  9. Sarah

    01/09/2014

    It is funny Andrea, because I love the snow days, but for me it’s the opposite-I have so many older kids home from school, and I just have to let go of most of my to-do list for another day/week/month! Hope you are staying warm!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I can only imagine how crazy your boys were getting after SO many days of cold, snow, and no school. I’m certain you are a much more patient and “go with the flow” mom than I could ever be :)

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  10. Rebecca

    01/09/2014

    Having a baby is life changing. It’s hard, especially with a little one at home, but I PROMISE you this one will be easier. You will be more relaxed and the baby picks up on those cues. My second one was so much easier to handle because I knew what sleepless nights felt like. I knew what could wait. I knew how to breastfeed. It wasn’t this huge thing I had never done before.

    The recovery is typically a bit easier as well.

    I recently had our third baby girl. She’s is so chill. Plus, when I can’t get to her needs right at the moment, I send my other girls to entertain her. She thinks their dancing and high-pitched voices are super funny.

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  11. Lauren

    01/09/2014

    I agree with Rebecca. My second baby was so much easier than the first. I think it was because I was a lot more confident in what I was doing. I also didn’t have my hubby hanging over me with his poo/pee/feed chart that he had come up with for the first. ;). I am praying that your little boy will be as chill as mine was because he was such a blessing after his high maintenance sister. I’ll be in the trenches with you as baby #3 is due March 6!

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  12. Julia K

    01/09/2014

    Wow – SNOW ….. still can’t get my head around it – I’m from Australia LOL and we have had some SCORCHER days – I’m actually on vacation in Thailand at the moment (we have a family wedding to attend in Phuket next week). We’ve been watching the US “cold snap” on TV here and find it so hard to comprehend – especially when it is so steamy hot here…anyhow – I digress…..my comment was intended to offer a “please don’t stress” message on the potty training – it can be such a HARD thing to do – especially as it’s something that only NORA has control over – and – God love her – she sounds like one determined little girl – it’s only gonna happen if SHE wants it to happen…
    My first son was potty trained by his day care mother ( I was working full time) – when my 2nd child came along – almost 11 YEARS later – she was NOT INTERESTED and it became a real issue for me. Fast forward a couple of years and I decided I was not even going to TRY to potty train child # 3 until he was 3. When I did – the whole process took – 2 days and he was done – day and night – with NO STRESS – ’cause I was NOT hung up about it – at all. Did exactly the same thing with child # 4. SO much easier.
    I’m not at all saying “thou must wait until the child is X years of age….” what I’m saying is that – taking the pressure off myself seemed to take the pressure off the kid – and what was a NIGHTMARE with child # 2 was just a “non-issue” with #’s 3 & 4.
    I remember my mum rolling her eyes when I said I was not starting “potty training” with # 3 – by that time – I was beyond caring what other people thought – and that is NOT a bad place to be :)

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  13. Christina

    01/09/2014

    Isn’t it wild how things can change your perspective!??!

    I had four kids home, after a snow day the Friday before the break started and the two snow days after! My husband works at home, and I had my lists all ready of ALL the stuff I was going to finally get done!!! NOPE! Everything shut down, from the older girls work to church to school, by dinnertime on Sunday even.

    Instead of focusing on what we couldn’t do, we took this as a sign of what we should be doing and that was enjoying some more time with them! We played silly games, all bundled up and made a huge snow fort and even snuggled in for a family movie night. We are rarely ALL home at the same time and choose to embrace it rather than complain about losing one more day of production. It was indeed a gift!

    It was even more of a gift when EVERYONE left yesterday morning! :)

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  14. Organize 365

    01/09/2014

    I am so glad you enjoyed the 3 extra days. I was loosing my mind. :)

    But, just last night I was thinking about you and figured you had about 8 weeks to go. I love your 2014 goals and know how hard it is to NOT plan and NOT be productive!

    It will be so fun to watch you grow this year as a mom of 2!

    :)
    Lisa

    [Reply]

  15. Nicole D.

    01/09/2014

    Andrea, this post so resonated with me. My husband is also a teacher and basketball coach. I work outside of the home, and life seems so much easier on his breaks. I too was grateful that Christmas break was a couple days longer with no basketball!

    [Reply]

  16. Kristen @ Joyfullythriving

    01/09/2014

    I’m right there with you, Andrea! We’re actually on our fourth snow day, due to wind chills and icy roads. We’ll see if we make it back to school tomorrow! My husband teaches, coaches basketball at 2 schools, and is the athletic director at his school. I can never keep up with all the practices and games! Plus, he’s in charge of hosting a tournament next weekend. And to think, our baby is due the week of Nationals for his grade school team, and State for his high school team. I’m glad you had the extra days to accomplish projects! I’ve organized the upstairs bedroom, taken down our Christmas decorations, and worked on taxes, too. I’m very thankful for the extra days at home!

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  17. Sue

    01/09/2014

    This could be a good “wake-up” call to get a taste to what having a second baby in the house will be like.. and how you might have to learn to adjust that, ya know.. you might not be able to get it all done when you want..

    Going from 1 to 2 is a big jump.. after that any more is a piece of cake.. LOL

    Sue in NJ

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  18. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    01/09/2014

    That’s awesome!

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  19. Abra

    01/09/2014

    I am glad to hear you received three extra days and were able to get so much done! I hate it when I get that overwhelming feeling that you described. I am doing my best to get our paperwork and finances organized better this year. I am using all of the resources you have shared and will be referring to a lot of your posts as I work on this project. I am very grateful for the time that you put into your blog. It is a huge help to me! Thank you for that, Andrea.

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  20. Natalia

    01/09/2014

    Andrea, you are incredible!!!
    I can’t believe you’ve done SO MANY HUGE things in just 3 days!!!

    Now I’m wishing for a snow-day (or 2 or 3), but here, in the mild NW, it’s been years since the last time I’ve had one. When (and IF) I’ll have that extra day, I’ll read this post again as inspiration and motivation and I really, really hope to be able to do at least a few of the things you mentioned. I so need that day!!! ASAP. Please….

    I’m so glad that the storm was a blessing for you and you took full advantage of it all! And I’m glad to see that you can face “tomorrow” with a totally new perspective: prepared instead of overwhelmed (despite of Dave’s busy season).
    Best wishes for a brand new year!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Natalia — but honestly, the things I did were not huge things. They felt like huge things to me (which is why I was stressing) but all of them just took an hour or two to completely finish (some much less time even).

    It’s crazy how I can exaggerate projects in my mind — and thus put them off and put them off thinking they’ll take so much time. But then when we just bite the bullet and do it, I’m always amazing at how quickly I can cross things off my list!

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  21. tina

    01/09/2014

    We had to move the day I went into labor. Talk about stressful! And with an unplanned C-section and a high-needs baby I was about to be put over the edge!

    Nothing was unpacked, cleaned or put away where I wanted it to be probably until a year later(just in time to move again because the house was infested with mold!!)

    All this stress taught me something. We cant just relax or be happy only when things are just-so. We have to enjoy the in-betweens too.

    We’ve got to do the best we can and let go of the rest. Laundry can wait, picture hanging can wait, so many things can wait. No one will think less of you(I think everyone in the world is sooo busy they probably don’t have time to even know whats going on with other people).

    Learning all this has made me feel ready for the future. One step at a time. Set priorities and let the rest go!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh my word — I can’t even imagine moving the day I have a baby! Honestly, I would say that the day we moved to our farmhouse was probably one of the more stressful days of my life — there is no way I would have made it if I was also going into labor at the same time. You are amazing!

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  22. Lauren B.

    01/09/2014

    Andrea, you’re doing great. I’ve read so many of your blog posts that I feel like I’m a close friend, but we’ve never met and you don’t know me from Adam! I can relate to so much of what you discuss about juggling life as a SAHM and wife. I’m also a SAHM, but work 12 hours a week at a local supermarket two evenings a week and part of a Saturday, am a mom to an almost 2-year-old and am expecting our second daughter at the end of March. I am amazed at your perseverence and how you accomplish so many goals. Although I have a blog I post pictures and videos on for my family, I only dream of having a separate blog about money-saving techniques and “lessons learned” a fraction as “good” as your website. Just want to let you know that you’re an inspiration, even though we don’t know each other.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Aww, thanks Lauren!
    Sounds like we’re in a very similar situation — with a 2 year old and baby on the way in March. Also, keep in mind that it’s my “job” to be organized, to set goals, and work on projects… don’t be too hard on yourself :)
    Here’s to two more months before lots of craziness!

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  23. Jenni/Life from the Roof

    01/09/2014

    Andrea, I really feel for you. I think you’re doing a lot more than I did, though – once I had my first, I never tried to work from home. My husband was a high school teacher as well that coached certain seasons and drove the bus as we had more kids to help make ends meet. But it was hard when he was gone – those days felt so long, and we had an intense first child as well!

    He is a 3rd year law student now, and strangely enough, while he is gone and busy with his studies, it is a lot easier because he doesn’t have coaching, and he is at home usually by 5:30 pm and studies here for the evening. Just having him “in” the house makes me feel better, even if he has to study!

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  24. Barbara Miller

    01/12/2014

    I didn’t have an energizer bunny baby but one of my son’s four children comes close. Look at those tears as vented frustration. And everyone needs to vent in some way that does no harm to others. Some mothers run, some mothers cry. I say whatever works for you.

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