The New Normal

The Navy spouse motto: Semper Gumby (Always Flexible).

The normal in my household has undergone some pretty drastic revisions over the last few months. After just getting home from deployment in March, and then being gone much of the summer, my husband’s ship learned they’d be repeating the same deployment…with a little less than 2 months notice. He left a little over a month ago, and we don’t know how long they’ll be gone (8 months minimum, we’re told).

Daddy comes home
Last deployment’s homecoming

And for the 2 youngest in the house, school started this month (a much happier milestone, by the way). Jeffrey just started 2nd grade, and is attending the same school 2 years in a row for the first time (he’s very excited by the concept). He’s struggling a bit with daddy being gone, and that’s led to some misbehavior (hence the bucket filler idea) that we’ve had to work on. But he’s doing much better these days, he’s got another great teacher and he does really like school. We started with the traditional first day of school picture where he’s holding the picture I took on the first day of first grade (holding the picture I took on the first day of kindergarten). He found the idea of a picture holding a picture holding a picture totally hilarious.

First day of school 2012 (1)

Lexie was even more excited than Jeffrey, since this is her very first year of school. She’s doing full-day preschool 3 days a week (so she can keep doing her gymnastics the other 2 days). Her personality is very different from her brother’s in some ways, and she’s handling all the upheaval and change much better. I was not surprised, when I dropped her off for her first day, that she strode right into the room without a backwards glance. She loves school, loves her teacher…and has already picked out her future husband from amongst her classmates, adding to daddy’s gray hair long distance.

First day of school 2012 (2)

And to add to the kids’ schedule, they’ve just started tennis lessons. This one was rather unplanned – we’ve got a tennis court on base so I was buying myself a tennis racket, saw they had kids’ sizes so I picked up one each for the kids…then I happened to noticed that Lexie’s preschool is right next to a tennis club that was having a membership special that turned out to include 6 months of free lessons for kids ages 4-10…and now Jeffrey and Lexie have tennis lessons twice a week. Lexie’s sort of “eh” about the whole thing, but Jeffrey seems to have found his sport. He loves it, and I’m working hard on focusing on that and not thinking about raising the next Rafael Nadal (although Jeffrey is a lefty…)

1st tennis lesson (1)
That’s Jeffrey in the far back corner in the blue; Lexie’s closest to the camera in pink.

So I’m simultaneously twice as busy with the kids and house as before, with my parenting/household partner out at sea, and finding myself with actual free time on my hands during the day. I can go to the gym! (Ok, not so much the gym these days. Part of my new normal involves dealing with my first broken bone in 38 years – namely, a broken left foot. Fortunately, it’s more annoying than anything else.) Get my hair cut! Get a massage! Nap!


Mostly, I’m excited about the design thing (the massage is high up there too, I admit – I have a monthly membership I never got to use during Steve’s last deployment). But as I started trying to figure out where to start, I ran into this:

yarn non-organization (2)

Most of the yarn you see overflowing those bins is yarn for prospective designs or swatching for prospective designs. I’ve at least gotten better about buying yarn with fairly specific plans – not a complete design idea, but knowing what type of item I’m going to knit, and enough of the features that I can figure out how much yarn to buy. Where I’m not great? Getting all those ideas entered somewhere, getting the design on a schedule, getting the yarn organized…pretty much everything past the idea stage.

yarn non-organization (1)

So what you’re seeing here is an intermediate step in a move to get organized. While I’m Type A enough to love the idea of organization, it can be hard to make myself take the time to do it. I’ve got 2 to-do list programs (neither completely updated), calendars for noting when things are due or should start (still pristine for the most part), and drawers for storing yarn (totally disorganized). So, I’m in the process of:

1. Getting my yarn into my Ravelry stash
2. Figuring out what I want to do with all of the yarn
3. Prioritizing the designs I want to do
4. Storing yarn accordingly – the first designs I’m going to be working on will be going into the drawers in my bedroom; all of the personal yarn that was in here will need to move elsewhere

yarn non-organization (3)

Of course, I want to do all of that and keep actually working on designs, not to mention have time for some personal knitting (and sewing – I’ve got clothing I need to make Lexie). I’m way too good about getting involved in one thing and ignoring the other things that need to happen…and too often, I’ve gotten sucked into something that’s just a time waster. So I’ve worked up a rather detailed schedule – winging it might be more fun, but it’s not working for me.

Starting tomorrow – the word for my new normal is organization.

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4 Responses to The New Normal

  1. Jean says:

    I’m totally showing these stash pictures to my husband to let him know that I’m not the only one….

    • Jen says:

      When you do, tell him that’s just what’s in the corner of my bedroom. What’s piled up around in the basement was just too horrifying to post without a NSFW notice. ­čśë

  2. KathleenC says:

    Although neat is not a word most would attach to me (def not type A), there is nothing so satisfying as getting your stash truly organized. Good luck!
    And many hugs sent your kids way. I’m a Navy Brat myself… dad went on four long term cruises (Vietnam) while I was growing up. I know it can be tough… but I remember the good mostly. And there sure is lots of good!

  3. Christina says:

    Repeated deployments are exhausting. I’ve been lucky not to have that with my Reservist, but he’s got two cousins who are gone more than they’re home. Good luck with your stash organization! I’ll be reading along for tips!