Mrs. COD and I enjoyed the outdoors before we had children….and we still do, but it’s not as easy as it once was. At times, I have longed for the days when we could go kayaking on the spur of the moment. WELL LONG NO LONGER! We’ve gone kayaking with our little guys 4 times in the last few weeks and once even by ourselves (thank you Gma COD in-law).
So to say the least, it has been awhile. In the last year I have taught my first graduate class, or any class, since I taught ELL classes in South Korea in 2004. It was part side hustle and part “Am I ready to move to a new career?”. I really enjoyed teaching the career class to future counselors so much that I decided to explore teaching full time at counselor education programs.
For those who don’t know, counselor education programs are graduate programs which train counselors for mental health, higher education, or school counseling positions. I limited my search to certain locations that met living criteria for my family: location, size of community, not too far from family, etc. Fast forward October to June: 12 applications, 6 phone interviews, and 2 on-campus interviews….say hello to a new job at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. I really took the changing our default to heart and decided to uproot my entire family.
Little kids like to make messes. It’s fun for them. I have discovered that children don’t know what decluttering or organization mean. I don’t like messes. It throws off my zen and moves me towards the Dark Side. When I notice how messy an area is, I can’t unnotice this fact. Consequently, a few times a week, I become a cleaning tornado where I take 10-15 minutes to pick up random Cheerios, throw away junk mail, pick up toys, and put away clothes. Afterwards, I look around and say “This is good,” and my OCD self is again at peace. I’m not sure if Mrs. COD finds this humorous or disturbing. Both? I’m afraid to ask.
This is my problem to solve, not my kids’. Admitting I have a problem is the first step. Some organization keeps me from going crazy or at least as crazy. Me not feeling crazy = better parent. So what default have we changed to limit the problem? A couple things. Kids don’t need access to every toy in the house at all times. This doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids or you’re a bad parent. We Limit Maximum Disaster Potential (LMDP), perform strategic rotations, and other toys are primarily on a request access basis.
Limit Maximum Disaster Potential (LMDP)
We learned to LMDP by not having all toys available at all times, especially blocks, colors, or any other items where there are dozens or hundreds of pieces to pick up.
Some donated toys from family and friends have remained securely packed away in our basement. We have given the boys some of these toys for birthday and Christmas presents. Of course, we wrap them up and they still get a boatload of new gifts from everyone despite our pleas. Then we rotate old items back to the basement for our youngest or donate them to a charity.
Not all toys are within toddler reach. Some loud annoying toys, colors, markers, toys with small pieces, pianos, etc. are out of sight, out of mind. There are safety concerns with some of these because of the baby. We also want him to learn to ask for things and not have instant access to everything. It also works to Limit Maximum Disaster Potential.
How do you manage your toy landfills? How many toys are too many toys? What do you do with old toys?
I have no shame admitting we have bought very few new toys for our kids. As a matter of fact, I take great pride admitting it. Our kids have plenty of toys they enjoy; still too many despite efforts to curb the inflow of presents into our home.
I get it. I too have found myself in the bowels of the toy section in Walmart looking at all the cool stuff my kids would love (and I would like to play with). (more…)
So a little over five years ago I cut the cord. I decided ESPN, the History channel (which no longer showed history), and dozens of unwatched channels could go. Our cord was actually a dish provider running us $60+ per month. However, it was the middle of the NFL season and the Walking Dead had just premiered on A&E and I likey me some zombies and Green Bay Packers. So it was going to pinch a little, but I wanted to save some money.
So you only paid a penny for a $600 cell phone and for 80 bucks a month you have unlimited data, texting, minutes, and a lifetime supply of oxygen included for FREE! WOW! That’s a great deal!?
For many people you could spend less than $20 per month per phone, if you changed a few of your defaults by utilizing wifi options. The switch from major cell providers was easier for us once we realized how to utilize the FORCE (wifi) and that we could effectively and easily manage our data consumption, texts, and phone minutes.
I use a razor every day to shave more than just my face. As they say I’m “follically challenged” and have been for over half my life. So good razors are important to me, but I also like to get the last bit of life out of my razors because they are so damn expensive. I was very excited when the triple blades came out. What an improvement over the dual blades. Smooooooth. As you may or may not know there are now several shave clubs to join which save a lot of $$$ and you can use fresh blades more often without feeling guilty for moving on to a new $4 blade.
I wish I could pull a Doctor Who time travel and go back in time to save myself from some costly mistakes. I would give myself some sage advice regarding investing or at least tell myself to listen and FOLLOW the advice given by my friend Ryan circa the year 2000. Love those college years and all that debt, but that’s for a later post. (more…)
A few months ago we got serious about slaying our remaining debts. We had already discovered ways to decrease spending, from razor blades, dropping dish/cable, shopping at Aldi, changing cell plans, and car insurance. While that’s all great and good, one also must slay the debt dragon if you want to get out from under the shadow of Lonely Mountain*.