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Change in plans: Weeks 7 & 8

March 3, 2011

Sorry I didn’t get a post up last week. I was out of town on the day that I normally write my new posts.

During week 7 I was supposed to start adding in a new routine for the girls with unique daily learning  activities. I tried to plan this while I was out of town but I started feeling overwhelmed by how much this would add to my day. I decided that when I got back I was going to evaluate my goals, make some changes, and plan a catch up week. I didn’t realize that week 8 was a scheduled evaluation week anyway. Here are some of the changes I made to my week-by-week plan:

  • I did some reorganizing so that some of the more intense tasks are paired up with easier ones.
  • Instead of having an evaluation week every 4 weeks and a catch up week every 12, both are now every 4 weeks.
  • On tasks that will take longer than a week to complete (but aren’t added permanently to the weekly schedule), I have them listed for each week that I’ll be working on them. Example: to make a good price book, I am going to need to spend more than 1 week on it. So it’s listed for 4 weeks. This helps me to visualize and think about how much I have planned to do for each week.
  • I’ve added 4 more weeks to the schedule. At first I was bummed about this because I really like the even 6 months. But when I remind myself that originally I thought it would take me a year to accomplish all these goals, I’m okay with 7 months.
  • I’ve added 2 new tasks to accomplish: 1.) I want to start blogging more. As I get more done on my lists, I want to be able to give you more details on my goals than just how my week went. So be prepared to see more blog posts throughout the week. 2.) Start using cloth diapers. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while and planned on adding it to my goals for the second half of the year, but I’ve decided to start it earlier. Here is the story on why. This past weekend I went to a friend’s baby shower and she is planning on using cloth diapers. I got jealous. After the shower I was thinking about why I don’t use cloth diapers yet and my reason is that I still haven’t been able to catch up on the laundry. There’s no way I would be able to add cloth diapers to the laundering schedule right now. But… if I could get caught up on the laundry, then it would become a possibility. That evening I was talking to Matt on the phone (he didn’t go with me on this trip) and he told me that he had all the laundry done. Isn’t he wonderful? So now all I have to do is keep up with the laundry for 2 weeks to prove to myself that I can do it, and then we will start using cloth diapers. I’m very excited because there are many benefits. The biggest benefit is that it will save us lots of money. It’s also good for the environment of course and it will help with potty training too (something that we have started earlier than I scheduled).

I think that is all the changes I made but you can check it out yourself to make sure.



Wives that Submit

March 3, 2011

I have a friend that started a discussion about wives being or not being submissive on her facebook. My response is too long to put as a comment and I want to share with everyone, so I made it a note on facebook and now I’m sharing it on my blog since it pertains to being a wife:

I used to hate the idea that women were suppose to be submissive to their husbands. I found ways to interpret the scripture so I could leave that part out. But my viewpoint has changed throughout the years as I have heard sermons, read books (including certain scriptures), talked with different Christians, and prayed. I hope that no one feels attacked as they read this. I just want to share my viewpoints and spur on some friendly discussion. Also note that I’m not good at making things short and to the point. This will be long…

Alright, so one of the most well-known and quoted scriptures about wives submitting to their husbands is in Ephesians 5. And it starts in verse 21 with “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” God wants everyone to be submissive to someone. He puts authority in our lives so that we can learn to obey. If we can’t obey the authority that He has given us on earth, how are we going to be able to obey him and respect his authority? This part of the scripture is given to all Christians, not just wives.

The next part of the scripture says (and this is from The Message) “Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.”

First of all, because this is found in the New Testament and it was written after Christ died and rose again, I believe that it isn’t like Old Testament law that we are now free from. I also don’t believe that it is a cultural statement (like telling women to keep their hair long so they wouldn’t be confused with the prostitutes). I believe that it is still applicable to us today.

I believe that the word ‘submissive’ has a different connotation today than it used to. When most people hear it they think of being dominated and ruled over, but that isn’t what this scripture is saying. This version gives a better explanation of what submissive means. It says to “understand and support your husbands.” It also says that husbands should not be domineering but cherishing and it uses the word leadership. I don’t know of many good leaders throughout time that were successful by mistreating and not taking into consideration the needs of the ones they were trying to lead.

Alright, on to the third part of the scripture “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.”

Wow! To me that sounds so romantic. Going all out, evoking beauty, marked by giving. So often people focus on the directives to the wife in this scripture, but you can’t leave out the directions that God gave to the husbands. I think it’s the most critical part. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church—and He died for His bride! That scripture says that the husband should bring out the best in his wife. If my husband loves me so much that he is willing to die to bring out the best in me, then why would I NOT want to submit to him? If he is willing to go to such lengths for me, then would it not be like a slap in the face to him by not doing as he asks? Just like it’s a slap in the face to Christ who died for me when I disobey his commands?

I once heard a sermon on just this part of the scripture. Like I said earlier, I used to hate hearing that I was supposed to be submissive. It seemed like a horrible concept to me and I still struggle with the thought of it sometimes. But when I remember that God told me to be submissive and told my husband to die for me, it puts things in a whole new perspective.

The next point that I want to make is that men and women are different. Uh, duh, right? Ok, so hear me out on this one. I believe that God created the sexes differently, with different needs, desires, strengths, weaknesses, gifts, talents, abilities, tendencies, etc. When Adam and Eve sinned the curse wasn’t that man would rule over the wife but that they would now fight to control the relationship. But because of God’s great love, He gave them a solution to this (just like he clothed them when they realized they were naked). He chose one of them to be the leader based on how he had designed them, and that was Adam aka the husband.

In the book For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn, over 400 men were surveyed so us women could learn about them and better meet their needs. The first thing Feldhahn learned from this survey is that while women need love, men need respect. Over and over again in scripture men are told to love while women are told to respect. Go back to Ephesians 5, the last verse sums up all the submission talk with “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” God knows how he designed us and he knows what we need. While it’s hard for me to be submissive sometimes, I trust that God knew what He was doing when he commanded me to submit to my husband. It’s just one huge way to show Matt the respect that he needs.

So, this is what submission looks like in the Mann household (well ideally this is what it looks like). We have a big decision coming up. We pray about it, come together and discuss it, weigh the pros and cons, pray about it some more, and try to come to an agreement. If an agreement can’t be made, I humbly tell Matt that I will trust and support his decision, then pray that he sees it my way. Haha. Seriously I do that, but I also pray that God will make it clear to him what the best choice is even if it’s not the way I see it.

God teaches us so much through this. When we can’t come to an agreement together I really have to humble myself and trust not only Matt to make the right decision, but I also have to trust God to guide Matt in the right direction. This can really be hard sometimes, okay everytime. Then, once Matt makes the decision, I learn to follow and obey, again, not only Matt but also to follow and obey God.

Hopefully this is where the process would end. But I won’t lie. There have been times, not many, but times that the wrong decision was made. When this happens, every part of my flesh wants to get angry and cry out “I TOLD YOU SO!” But again God uses those moments to teach me. He teaches me humility and how to be supportive and understanding despite the fact that we made a mistake. I can’t tell you what Matt is learning during all of this, but I hope and pray that throughout this process he is feeling my love and respect in a big way and thus we are creating a stronger marriage.

The differences between man and woman, the art of submission, and all that we learn and gain through the process “is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all” (Ephesians 5:32, The MSG) but I have to trust that God knows what he is doing.

Week 6: the shower and its curtain

February 20, 2011

I’m torn on whether I should call this a good week or not. There were 2 days that I got everything completed on my lists, which up to this point hasn’t been done before, and one of those days I got it all done before dinner. :)  But there were also a couple of days that I barely got anything done. Here are the details:

Add 2 more tasks from Weekly Chores list each day (4/day total)– I’m starting to get into some stuff that hasn’t been done in a very long time. One of those: clean the shower. I’m a little embarrassed to show you these before pictures, but this is what my journey is all about. From now on my shower should always look like the after pictures here.





My shower curtain liner was even worse. Here are the before pictures:






I was very tempted to throw this out and buy a new one, but I decided to try and clean it first. I threw it in the wash with 2 towels, some detergent, and 1/2 cup of baking soda. I set the washing machine to the largest load and hottest temperature. After it ran through the cycle, I did an extra rinse and added a cup of vinegar. When it was finished, I was prepared to take out the towels and wash it once more with bleach, but to my surprise it was pretty clean. In fact it looked so good that I realized that it was actually quite a bit dirtier to start with than I originally thought. Here are the after pictures:



Sign up at this one has been put on hold. I’m still studying my calculus and as soon as I complete the book, I will sign up.

Begin selling clutter- uh-oh. This task fell on those couple of days that I didn’t get much done on my lists. But I’ll add it to next week’s tasks.

Your challenge for this week

Find one thing in your house that desperately needs cleaning and clean it. This shouldn’t be a room or an area that needs organization, but something that needs a scrub brush and a little elbow grease. Then come back here and tell me what is you cleaned and any other details about the project.

Week 5

February 13, 2011

I had a GREAT week! Didn’t get everything done on my lists everyday, but its the best week I’ve had since the first week.

Here are the details:

Add 2 tasks from weekly chores list each day- 7 out 10 of these got done for the week. Could have been better, but when some of the tasks haven’t been done in months, it takes a little extra time to get them completed. The whole house got vacuumed this week and now there is so much hair and dust in and on the vacuum that before I run it again, it’s going to have to be cleaned.

Research how to use resources more wisely and put into practice- I mainly looked at cleaning supplies for this one. I found out that I can’t really cut back on my dishwasher detergent because we have hard water. But I did learn that I should be using a different type of detergent to get better results. It’s a little pricier than what we are using now, but if it works better, then in the long run, it should save us a little money.

I probably can cut back on my laundry soap however. I found a great article from the New York Times on the topic (so great in fact, that most of the other articles I found referenced it). The article stated that most people use 10-15 times the amount of soap they actually need and that most people can getaway with using 1/8 to 1/2 of the suggested amount on their detergent’s label. Here is a test from the article to find out if you are using too much detergent:

Take four to six clean bath towels, put them in your front-loading washing machine (one towel for a top loader). Don’t add any detergent or fabric softener. Switch to the hot water setting and medium wash and run it for about five minutes.

Check for soap suds. If you don’t see any suds right away, turn off the machine and see if there is any soapy residue. If you see suds or residue, it is soap coming out of your clothes from the last wash.

I haven’t done the test yet, but I plan on trying it this week. I hope that I find suds, so I can cut back on my detergent and save some money. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Create folders for the more in-depth file system– Still working on this one, but I got a great start. I found a list of categories for the folders here. After I found my list, I went to Staples and purchased some colorful folders to make this seemingly boring project a little more fun. Then I sat down with my list, folder, and my label maker and got to work. I soon discovered that I probably wasn’t going to need to use all the categories on the list for my file system, so I got the basics and started a new approach. I got the paper work that needed filing and made my files as I went (I still used the list as a reference though). I hope to finish this one tomorrow after church.

And the update on waking up earlier- could’ve been better, but not near as bad as last week. Monday was going to be my first day for the coffee run reward, but I didn’t get up at 7 like I was supposed to. I don’t think it was too much later, but it wasn’t early enough. On Wednesday, I woke up at 7 but when I realized there was no way I was getting out of the driveway because of the snow, I went back to bed. Again, I still got up early, just not 7 early. But on Friday, I got my coffee and it was as good as McDonald’s coffee gets.

I want to hear from you…
How is your journey going? Are you accomplishing your goals? Are you becoming a better wife and/or mommy? Tell me what has been a stumbling block for you and what has made a part of your journey successful.

Appreciating Matt

February 9, 2011

In my last post, I promised I would let know how I was doing with the task “deliberately appreciate Matt on a weekly basis.” Before I tell you what I have done to accomplish this the past 3 weeks. Let me tell you why he is so very worthy of my love, respect and appreciation.

Matt works several hours a week at 2 jobs so that I can stay home with the girls. He is well-respected at both jobs. After only 4 days working at the Boys and Girls Club, he got promoted and now runs his site. I wish that I could see him in action while he is there, but I get a glimpse of it when we teach children’s church together or when we see one of his B&G club kids at church or out in public.

He does such a great job working with those kids. He can get even the rowdiest ones to behave and kids are always having fun when he’s around. He’s such a goofball with them and I love it. He’ll ask a 5 year old if they have gotten married and had any kids since the last time he saw them. Haha. The look on their faces is priceless.

His other job is youth and outreach pastor at our church. He is so well-respected here too, and not just at our church alone, but all over the state of Missouri. When we took our youth to a state-wide youth conference a few weeks ago, everywhere we went, we heard “MATT MANN!” One of our youth pointed out that he has an easy name to remember and a fun one too, because it sounds a lot like Batman. He hears the na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na MATTMANN theme song all the time.

But I don’t think that its just his name that makes him known by youth and their leaders throughout the state. If he was a real jerk, people would not want to have a conversation with him no matter what his name was. (A rose by any other name…) People like him and respect him because he is so relational, real and (hmmm… I can’t think of another good ‘R’ word).

Besides being a hard worker and good at his job, he is a wonderful husband. Here’s a story to demonstrate. Before Kennedy was born we had to go to the hospital 2 or 3 times for pre-term labor, and then of course when I was in real labor. Every single time, the nurses commented on how supportive and friendly he was. They told us a few stories about other dads being jerks and how often they see that. But they could not stop complimenting him on how well he was taking care of me. And it wasn’t only one nurse or only one time. Almost every nurse that came in our room gave him a compliment.

He’s also a good daddy: practical, fun, and caring. He has never been afraid to change a poopy diaper. Not even the biggest blow-outs (practical). And he is helpful with the girls in other ways too. For instance, he is watching both girls right now while I type this and I can hear Kaylynn laughing hysterically (fun). And here is one of my favorite stories. One night as he was putting Kaylynn to bed, he asked to hold her hand as they walked up the stairs to her bedroom. From the other room, I heard him whisper “I’m gonna cry the day you get engaged” (caring).

There’s so much more to Matt than what I can write in one sitting. He’s creative, visionary, encouraging, funny, sweet, attractive, wise, good at video games, a spiritual leader, a go-getter, talented, diligent, genuine, and I could go on and on.

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He does so much for our family and for others. That is why I want to make sure he knows just how much he means to me. So each week I plan on doing one thing (beyond the things I do on a daily basis) to show him my respect.

In week 3 my plan was to rub his feet for 45 minutes. This is a pretty big deal in our house because my hands usually get tired after about 5 or 10 minutes and he’s always asking for longer foot rubs. So we turned on a movie and I started rubbing his feet. 20 minutes later he was gone, asleep on the couch. I rubbed for another 5 minutes, but decided to stop because he wasn’t getting to enjoy the full effects anyway.

In week 4 my plan was to learn everything I possibly could about football so he could talk with me about it during the Superbowl on Sunday. I started doing my research and discovered that there is a lot of information about how its played, the rules, and then the actual teams that were going to be playing. The only thing I really picked up is that there is a guy named Troy that plays for the Steelers (I think) and his hair is insured for $1 million by Head and Shoulders. I decided to hold off on this one until I have more time to learn about the game. So instead, I sent him a text message with 3 reasons I’m thankful for him.

In week 5 I wrote a long post on my blog about how wonderful he is so the whole world could know. =)

What do you love about your significant other and how do you plan on letting them know this week?

Two-in-one: Weeks 3 & 4

February 7, 2011

Alright, I’m gonna jump right in and tell you what got done and what didn’t in weeks 3 & 4. Then I’ll share a little what I’ve learned from those weeks and what’s going to be different about week 5.

Week 3

Plan for February– done. But I realized that when I plan for the next month I should also budget for that month. So, I’m going to revisit this one sometime this week.

Add all daily tasks to routine– if you’ve been following along, then you should know that this refers to the chore planner I purchased here. I emailed The Project Girl (I think her name is Jen) to get permission to post a picture of each week’s page after the week is over. I haven’t heard back yet, so no pictures this week. Hopefully next week, you’ll get a glimpse of what I’ve been working off of.

Anyway… I added the tasks, but I have to be honest. They didn’t get done. More on this later.

Deliberately appreciate Matt on a weekly basis- I’m going to have a special post on this in a couple of days. But for now, I’ll tell you that this did get completed, sort of.

Week 4

Make bath nights for girls part of weekly routine- I picked out bath nights and will be implementing them this week.

Evaluate goals and make changes as needed– done and done. Which leads us into…

Changes for week 5 and beyond

When I evaluated my goals, I realized that on the days I managed to wake up earlier, I got so much more accomplished. And as you know from this post, waking up early has not been going very well. Last week I had a discussion with my dad about sleep cycles and how to make sure that I’m getting enough good sleep in so that waking up is easier.

He helped me come up with a plan on what time to go to bed and what to do in the morning to help get out of bed. It all sounded good and made perfect sense to me, until Matt pointed out later, that my sleep cycles are totally messed up because I get up a few times a night to feed Kennedy.

So we are trying 2 new things to combat my sleeping-in problem. First, we started sleep-training Kennedy last week. I promise that we didn’t start doing this for my benefit only. We could tell that Kennedy was really needing to start working on her sleep habits. She isn’t able to sleep through anything like she used to be, she’s too big for her bassinet, and she started getting very fussy without her sleep. Also, she was making it a habit to wake up every couple of hours and not go back to sleep without nursing. I won’t go into detail about how we are doing this because I don’t want to bore you or get into a heated debate about sleep-training. But if you let me know that this is something you are truly interested in, I’ll write a post on the topic later.

The second thing I’m going to start trying is rewards. I know a lot of sources suggest using rewards to help you accomplish your goals, but I’ve been trying to avoid them. First, I always have trouble thinking of good rewards that are free. And second, I would rather my rewards be intrinsic: the feeling accomplishment, knowing that I’m setting a good example for my girls, peace of mind, being able to relax with my husband at the end of the day.

But in this case, intrinsic rewards aren’t working. So here’s the plan: every other morning I’m going to get a coffee from McDonald’s if I have gotten up at 7:00 am both days. That’s 3 coffee’s a week. The first one will be a regular small coffee, the second a medium iced coffee, and the third will be a medium or large McCafe drink (I need to look at the cost of these drinks to make sure it fits in the budget before I pick a size).

I’m hoping that after a while, my body will naturally wake up at 7 and I can start weaning myself off my McDonald coffee runs. We’ll see how it all goes.

Is this journey going to be all bumpy roads?

If you have been following my blog from the beginning, I hope you aren’t too depressed. It seems like my journey so far has been more bumpy roads than smooth. I’ve had 3 not-so-great weeks and only 1 good week (2 if you count week 0) since I started again. But I am determined to keep on truckin’. I could give up at any moment and declare, “this just isn’t me. I will never be the woman with her life in order.” But I refuse. Part of this journey I’m taking is about learning what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, in the beginning, its more about what doesn’t. I haven’t given up yet, so don’t you give up on me either!

How I was awarded the “NOT Mom of the Year” Award (& Week #2)

February 3, 2011

So I felt really good about week #1, and I was ready to go with week 2. I knew it was going to be a tough week because Tuesday was my birthday and Saturday we were gone for a youth retreat. But I was pumped and ready!

When Tuesday came around, I decided to take the day easy (remember it was my birthday). So I didn’t get too much done on my daily cleaning list. Then I decided that I didn’t want to cook dinner (and why should I, again, it’s my birthday). So I loaded up the girls before Matt got home, went to the post office to see if I had any birthday money in the mail to pay for this birthday meal, and this is where it gets bad…

When I got to the post office, I decided to leave the van running. It was cold out and I wanted to give the van a chance to warm up. I got out of the car, closed my door, went to open the side door to get the girls out, and found that I had somehow managed to lock the car! The keys AND THE GIRLS were locked inside.

I was very grateful that the car was still running (although, if it wasn’t I probably would have had my keys and thus not been locked out) and the girls weren’t freezing (the way I was in my flip-flops). But I was still freaking out!

I tried Matt first, hoping he could keep me thinking rationally and maybe help me find the right number to call. But no answer. Next I tried the Rockaway Beach police, but the only number I found for them sent me straight to an answering machine that said I wouldn’t get a call back till the next day. Tried Matt again. No answer. Started crying. Sent him a desperate 911 text. Called 911 (don’t know if this counts as an emergency, but I sure felt like it did). They informed me that if they did anything, it would include breaking a window. But they gave me the number for a locksmith. Tried it. Didn’t work. Looked it up myself. Frantically explained to the lady what was going on. Got a condescending “What? You locked your babies in your car?!?!” (aka YOU ARE A HORRIBLE MOTHER!!!). Gave directions to where I was. Hung up. Cried. Took a deep breath. Cried some more, and waited for the locksmith to arrive.

The girls were fine; Kaylynn was laughing the whole time and even though Kennedy was upset, she was physically okay. Once Matt got home he took us to Arby’s (he doesn’t like Arby’s so he didn’t get anything).

2 hours later, Matt and I were both crawling to the toilet sick. And that is how we spent Wednesday as well. In the time we have been married neither one of us has ever been that sick and definitely not at the same time. Needless to say, I didn’t even look at my list for Wednesday. So now I’m two days behind and I don’t have my normal Saturday catch-up day.

Those are my excuses. Here’s how the goals for week 2 looked:

Add daily bathroom cleaning tasks– I only did this 2 days of the week.

Add tidy up the living spaces daily– this got done once

Create list for ways to appreciate MattThank you for your help!

Start re-learning calculus- I’m gonna update you to the present on this one, but first let me back up a little. I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, why in the world is she doing this! Well, I have always been a math geek. I know, strange, but its true. I took calculus in both high school and as a freshman in college and really enjoyed it. (Okay seriously, I know you are looking at me like I’m crazy. Please stop. I’m sure you have some weird quirks too.)

Anyway, I found a website where I can sign up to be an online tutor and start out getting paid around $9/hr. Everything I read about it sounds legit, but right now they are only hiring for calculus, statistics, and physics. I’ve never had statistics and I’m okay at science but I don’t think I could tutor someone in it. Since its been 8 or 9 years since I took calculus, I’m trying to refresh my memory before I sign up.

My plans to start relearning it was to 1) print off class notes that a university professor has posted online (he has them there so that anyone can learn calculus without having to sit in the classroom) and 2) study for 30 minutes every day.

Well we ran out of ink for our printer, so I couldn’t print it. Last week I got more ink, but when I got the notes ready to print I discovered it was 584 pages! I wasn’t about to use up that much paper and ink, and started looking for other options. I thought about having Fedex or Office Depot print it for me but that would still cost me $35-50. So this week I went to Books A Million and bought the Calculus for Dummies Book and Workbook for $30. And now I have two sources to refer to. If I get stuck in the For Dummies book, I can check out Paul’s Notes for more help.

I started looking at it last night and got through the first 3 chapters. I’m hoping to be ready to take the test at in 2 weeks. This will put me a little behind schedule on this goal, but at least I’m still getting it done.

In conclusion…

I had a pretty bad week. But I’m not letting that discourage me. Some weeks are going to be great and some weeks aren’t. I just have to keep going and remember why I’m doing all this. In 6 months, when I look back at this part of my journey, I know that I will be grateful for the lessons learned. Even the moms and wives that I look up to the most have bad weeks and I have to keep this in perspective.

Alright, now I’m dying to know… If you were to be awarded  the “NOT mom or wife of the year” award what would it be for?

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