Monday, January 25, 2016

Trampoline Parks and HIIT

High Intensity Interval Trainig. Not really my usual choice for a fourth part but when it is wall sits and jump squats and nothing is on TV, I'm in.

Ok, we have an early fourth part around here (thanks to trampolines and G Adams starting dinner) so I was going to settle in for an evening of mindless television watching. DVR is empty. I've caught up on shows. Bravo has Vanderpump Rules (shockingly, not a fan). And, the networks have shows I don't watch. As a last resort, I've out on The Batchelor. Lord, hear my prayer that I raise girls who do not become these women! To make it more fascinating, the ladies are in Vegas with Ben. Now, he's going on a date with the twins. Really?!?

Wait, I'm supposed to be doing HIIT and my heart rate is going up just watching this crazy show. He's at the twins' house and the mom is there. Please, let her be thinking this is nuts and that she should grab her girls and tell that boy to leave.

Th point of explaining TV, HIIT and fourth part is you can have a few fourth part activities. You can work out and watch some crazy TV. You can pin and play Cookie Jam in between writing or going through emails.

Now, he's talking to the mom. Well, she's wearing hole-y jeans. 'Nuf said.

The other bonus for tonight was early bedtime. I wish early bedtime happened every night but then I couldn't write that it is early.

My girls wore themselves out at a trampoline park Sunday at a birthday party. Then, tonight, Camille had tumbling. There has been a lot of bouncing the last few days. I'm sure they are flipping and jumping in their sleep. (The melatonin gummies help,with that, too.)

The tiring out of children is magic. But there is that balance between having them tire out and getting them revved up. While I've never quite figured it out, I do know my girls wear out from outdoor, physical activity. They rev up with indoor tag and watching TV.

All trampoline for them and all Bachelor for me ... With a side of HIIT.

But a full-serving of fourth part. Only 30 more seconds of a wall sit. And 21 minutes of Bachelor.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Laying Out Clothes and High School Musical 2

Sometimes in the midst of fourth part planning, you get a gift. Sometimes that gift comes in the form of a easily prepped and cooked meal or an earlier than usual arrival home from a day of work.

Other times, that gift comes in the form of the Disney Channel programming. High School Musical one night and the next night is High School Musical 2. Record one, live play the second. DVR up and running at 5:30 p.m. while dinner prep is being finished. Showtime at 7 p.m. for the second. Yeah, you read that right. My precious, mind needing to be formed in the right way girls watched over two hours of TV straight.

Gifts. I tell you gifts. I know, it's TV. We should probably be reviewing word wall words or practicing handwriting. But, we are not. We are watching TV.

A sweet fourth part gift provided with tunes. Peppy, we are all in this together music. Disney .... You are the music in me tonight.

With all this time, dinner done and girls situated, I can pre-plan my work wardrobe. My Friday wardrobe is a bit complicated. I have to be corporate for a morning meeting, but then get to change into 'I work on a campus-like setting now' on a blue jeans day. With this luxury of time, I can puruse Pinterest for clever Friday outfits and organize my thoughts on what shoes to pop in the car, make sure my undergarments are appropriate for both outfits and have the right accessories. I mean who needs Rachel Zoe? OK, I really would love a stylist but I've got tomorrow figured out!

Tonight's fourth part brought all my favs together in one place -- TV, Pinterest and fashion. Too bad Olivia Pope or Claire Underwood aren't on the TV, but I know they would be proud with my outfit choices. And, glasses of wine. And, calm, cool demeanor.

Fixing and plotting how to solve all sorts of problems. What a big fourth part. Now, how would Sharpei and Zach Ephron put the choreography together and sing this one out?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Duncan Hines and Pinterest

I'm wrapping up a three-day weekend. Thankful for MLK Jr. and who he was and what he stood for. Grateful for his bravery and civility. Pleased that because of who he was we have a federal holiday. And, I work for a bank, so I get the day off.

We needed three days this weekend. All kinds of fourth day needs and requirements that were achieved because of planning, friends, Duncan Hines, Pinterest and prayer.


My son came for a visit this weekend after being in school for a week. He also came to a decision of wanting to transfer to another school next year. He wants to continue playing football, too. Lots to do in a short time (his timeline is now which is another story and requires lots of prayer and planning). Lots of prayer. Lots of conversations. Lots of agreements. I'd like a Pinterest board for having college, future, think in the long term, adult conversations with an 18-year-old. Should I do a search?

My fourth parts were so nice this week. Yes, I did the usual catch up on the DVR and did some mindless Cookie Jam playing. But, I also got to see two movies! One was with my husband because our neighbor friends had the girls over for a sleep-over. That also gave us Sunday morn to have a long convo with our son. Friends are a gift and a critical piece of achieving fourth parts. They can help with carpool and school pick up, provide kitchen staples such as soy sauce and get mail while on vacation. 

Another key to fourth parts is shortcuts in the kitchen. Enter Duncan Hines and Pinterest. I hit two home runs tonight which gave me an early fourth part .... 8 p.m. fourth part! This  mini cake mix with a frosting mix, too, is easy, amazing and yes, the perfect size. And, after watching a video on Facebook of a quick meal being made, I found it on Pinterest. Pinned it. Made it. It's this creamy butter chicken dish with spinach. Delicious.

Sent my son off with half his favorite cake, packed up leftover chicken for lunch tomorrow and prayed a lot. All for a Monday holiday evening fourth part. 

Social media and boxed cake mixes can be used for good. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Walgreens and Pizza Hut

Friday nights used to be a time when we went out to eat as a family. We went to the same Mexican food restaurant every Friday for weeks, months, years.

Wait. Hold on. That was when we only had one child who was in elementary school and my husband didn't coach high school football and basketball.

With three children and a husband who does indeed coach high school football and basketball (and up until a minute ago I had a son who played football and basketball on Friday nights), our Fridays of fun eating out are rare. I mean bloody, cold center steak rare. And, oh, by the way, we sure don't eat out at a restaurant that doesn't offer up crayons, coloring sheets or a TV in close proximity to our table.

So when an invitation came from my parents that we could meet them for a Friday night dinner close to our house, we said yes. My husband was coaching (it's basketball season .... which I seem to forget about because my son doesn't play anymore) and my son was at home from college on Christmas break. I rushed home from work, got the girls dressed in going to dinner clothes and we rolled down the street to Pizza Hut. The standards are high my friends. Very high.

We wemt all out at the Hut .... even visited the salad bar. And, ordered the cinnamon sugar dipper sticks. I don't eat gluten, what?

Bonus, my parents paid. Double bonus, we had some time to run over to Walgreens to stock up on toiletries for Chris.

All four of us. Together. At Walgreens. After eating together.

No, Pizza Hut isn't my first, second, third, 80th choice for Friday night dinner. And, no, visiting Walgreens and spending over $50 on shampoos and lotions isn't big time Friday night fun.

But we were all together. I didn't have to cook dinner or run an early morning Saturday errand. I watched my girls hold their Bubba's hands as they wandered the Walgreens aisles. I heard my dad share his college football stories with my son. I provided allergy medicine advice to my son (he asked me for my advice!).

When we made it home, I got a fourth part because I had a Friday night dinner with my children. Fed and provided for (I mean the hair care required for these three!), I sat and read. I sighed with a smile as I listened to my children laughing. I paused and thanked God for the gift of Walgreens and Pizza Hut. I even said thank you for the kids running around the house playing chase. All from my chair in front of the TV with my iPad close by and my book in my lap. What a fourth part.

(But I didn't say thank you for the upset stomach later from the Hut.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bath Time and Work Study

Let's say you decide to get pregnant pretty close to when you get married -- like you are seven months pregnant at your one-year wedding anniversary. And, let's say you decide to wait almost 12 years to have another child and you have twin girls. Oh, and let's say you are 41 years old when your twins are born. And, because I think the following is a badge of honor, let's say you move when you are in the seventh-month of your high-risk pregnancy (because you are old and having twins).

All that results in sitting at your house trying to fit in bath time for twins who are girls and who have hair that needs to be washed, conditioned, combed, conditioned again (I've got a curly-headed one). And, there's the lotion and the PJs and the putting away of the swimming Barbies.

And, that results in your college freshman son deciding 8 p.m. works for him to figure out the work study application that needs to be taken care of before he goes back for spring semester (which is in a few days).

And, it's at that point that I want, no need, a fourth part. And, actually, it's at that point when I realize I had done all I needed to do to have a fourth part.

Baths get done (including the combing throught the very curly hair and braiding for the nighttime ahead).

Application gets submitted because in today's world all ya do is click the job you want and then click submit. That's it. (Oh, and spend about 30 minutes deciding what job you want because you don't want to dress business casual and have to answer phones and talk to people or fold towels and wipe down workout equipment.) (And, telling your mother that your friend has a job doing something or the other in some department and take a pause to call the friend and find out that job is no longer available.) (And, have to listen to your mom say you better pick a job because cafeteria and landscaper are all that is going to be available and that will be hard work and thinking your mom might be secretly praying those do become the only jobs left so you learn a lesson).

But it gets done.

Maybe because I made time to have a fourth part. Maybe because I finished all the other things that needed to get done before the baths and applications.

Or maybe, this time, it was because G Adams arrived home early from basketball practice and gave the baths so I could finish up dinner prep and all the next day requirements prep and be ready for the application process.

Partnership. Fourth part occurs. Aaahhhh, another way to get a fourth part.

Friday, January 1, 2016

File Cabinets and Calendars

It's the first day of the new year. So, yeah, I'm all fresh and ready for calendars, filing systems and organizationing plans. I've found free printable downloads of clever to-do lists, workout trackers and blog editorial calendars.

Wait, I have a system of to-doing, working out and blogging. It's all about the Fourth Part. Yeah, that's right. I organize myself daily to help me achieve what I need to do now. In the today. In the moment. I know what and when I will cook for dinner/ I know what bills to pay. I know what TV shows to watch or DVR. I know the cleaning process (uh, housekeeper) and I know our laundry system (when baskets are overflowing with dirty clothes, it is time to wash). I have my system in place so I can have a fourth part most every day. Talk about a goal.

Yet, why am I so tempted by another fruit -- some other blogger's idea of how to keep track of household goings ons or some Pinterest post with the best daily journals. I know why -- I'm a perfectionist who is always looking for something that is just right. Instead of looking for what works for now.

Because for now, I do have a two-drawer file cabinet that is not full. It has only warranties, guarantees and how to manuals for appliances and technology we own. It has a stack of old Martha Stewart Kid and Baby magazines that I just really like and cannot give away. And, it has an expand-a-file that is not over expanded, with insurance, shot records and other important papers that don't get to go to the safe deposit box but are worth keeping safe.

And, that filing system works. Is it color coded with beautifully decorated file folders? Nah. Are there labels? Nope. It's two drawers that aren't full with the right stuff for right now.

Can I get a celebratory cheer for two drawers not full? And, drawers that do not contain oil change papers from a car we no longer own? (I spent the day after Christmas going through those papers).

I also have an empty box, cube ottoman thing that now just rolls from corner to corner in the art center that is now again a study/office! I'm typing on mhy laptop in the office chair, on the office desk in the office. I'm not typing while sitting on a bar stool with a laptop on the kitchen counter. 

Insert a second celebratory cheer.

Does my paper system make sense to anyone else in this house? Probably not. And, do I want to replace some of my beat-up file folders for something more lovely. Sure, if I see some on sale (like in the $1 bin at Target). But it works.

Something else that works and has worked for around 10 years now is my Mom's Calendar. It comes with stickers and reminder sort of do-dads, but I toss those. It has vertical columns for everyone in the house and horizontal rows for the dates.

It's a Christmas gift I can count on from G Adams. And, it's in place today. I even have some January events and appointments already written down.

(When I was cleaning out my files, I found all the past years of Mom's Calendar. I didn't throw them away. I like to look back. Life before the twins. Life before Chris was in high school. Life before he was in college. Life at our old house. And, recent life -- first grade and freshman year in college.)

Maybe don't give out a celebratory cheer for hanging on to those. Maybe ponder wistfully upon your past years and reflect on those events you scheduled and attended.

I like my calendar. There was one year when G bought me another version and I struggled. It didn't have the same lay-out. The months were in order and yes, dates were listed accurately, but it didn't work.

I prefer the familiarity of my calendar even though the times change, the events differ and the activities fill in and out.

So, for this year, I'm hoping for familiarity with the ability to adapt to change. I'm resolving to ask questions out of concern and care, to listen, to read my Bible and pray every day. And, because I plan and organize and calendar, I'm going to notice and heed my appetite for joy. I'm going to trust that my appetite is in cahoots with some greater good. (Thanks Pilar Gerasimo and Experience Life).

I can do all that with a calendar, with a slim filing system and with many a fourth parts.

Oh, and, by the way, when I was cleaning out the day after Christmas, I found my read the Bible in a year print-out from 2009. I'm only about half-way done according to the check marks. I think I started when the girls were first born. I recommitted to that practice of reading my Bible every day and earnestly praying at 7:08 a.m. this New Year's Day morning.

I think that practice will truly heed my appetite for joy. It will be my joy. It will make my fourth part the real part of every day.