People, particularly my family, have been asking me how the heck I am going to pull this off with a full time job and two small kids. Since I opted to start classes in January to give myself 5 months to prepare, I've been spending my free time arranging my life to fit this new venture into it.
Here is what I am working on in terms of "arranging things":
a. Negotiating with Bilingual Kids Club to move their monthly meetings to Sundays so that the kids and I can still participate.
b. Looking into hiring a house cleaner to come in once a week and clean for 3 hours.
c. Cleaning up and sorting through and storing all my scrapbook stuff. My desk is bare now and I will be making it into a study zone.
d. Signing up for Saturday Daycare at the kids' daycare. There may be some weekends when Yusuke wants to spend the day with the kids, but I have a feeling that on most weekends, he will be too tired or annoyed to do it. My classes take place every Saturday morning, but then I can spend the rest of the day studying if I need to.
e. Getting information on all wi-fi cafes and internet cafes in our area so that I have a nice place to study and use the internet on Saturdays, when I cannot be at home.
f. Looking into buying a laptop computer that I can use at these wi-fi cafes OR upgrading an old laptop we have. I guess the latter is a bit cheaper, but it is starting to add up to more than I imagined. (I will tell the story of my laptop in my next post!)
g. Borrowing interest-free from our other savings accounts to pay for the grad school bill in December. If I pay in full, I get an extra 10% off!
h. Finishing up some personal projects. I'm making a few more decoupaged magnetic boards, taking a class to make my own photo album based on the book Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, turning my articles for the AFWJ Journal into a bound book through a web site called Blogs to Books.
i. Paring down - once again, it's time to pare down our stuff, and it is definitely time to get rid of Luka's baby stuff because he is not a baby anymore. It will feel good to clear the house of some of these things. I am not sure if we'll ever be able to get rid of that crib though. We barely even used it with Ailin and almost never with Luka, but since MIL gave it to us, we are kind of stuck with it, out of Yusuke's sheer devotion to her.
j. Giving in to Japanese food - I have decided that the easiest and most economical types of dinners consist of Japanese food. Why? Because it's easy to buy it and there are many dishes which are quite simple to make. I prefer donburi, which is food placed on top of rice and served in individual bowls for each person. Many of the side dishes served in Japanese cuisine can be purchased ready-made and no one blinks an eye if you serve the same side dishes every single day.
What do I want to hold on to?
This is a good question since I realize that for the next two and a half years, I need to spend a lot of time concentrating on my studies. But, there are certain things I don't want to let go of completely. I had to make a list of everything I do and then decide what I needed to change, stop doing, or just keep in my life because I need it or love it so much.
1. My Blog - obviously, I love to write and it is a good way to keep in touch with family and friends without writing separate emails to each person. And, this stuff will be valuable to me someday, so I want to keep recording my thoughts in this way. I'll do whatever I can to keep my blog up to date even if they are much shorter entries than usual.
2. Bilingual Kids Club - I started this club and I really like it, so I don't feel right giving up on it. I am also afraid that if I don't continue going, it might not survive. I'm not sure. I would feel bad if Ailin could no longer see her friends, some of whom she has known since she was six months old!
3. Sundays - I decided that I would deem Sundays sacred family days, so aside from the monthly BKC meetings, it would be nice to devote Sundays to family time. Now, to figure out a way to get the grocery shopping done...
So, what am I giving up?
For the next two years, I am okay with giving up things like our monthly Craft 'n' Chats, paper scrapbooking, certain podcasts, subscriptions to magazines, etc. I am pretty confident that Chris will carry on the Craft 'n' Chats, and the scrapbooking will still be there when I finish grad school. If I get really desperate to make a page or two, I can make something very quickly on Photoshop.
I think that I need to seriously consider changing my lifestyle in terms of my sleeping/waking schedule. I tend to stay up late to do chores or work on hobbies, but then I have a hard time falling asleep. Keep in mind that I sleep on a futon with both of the kids, and I am still nursing at night. There are times when I need to go and tend to Luka for a while late into the evening, and I STILL try to get up and continue with my projects until late. It would be best to just go to sleep with the kids and wake up early. If I could wake up at 4am or 5am, potentially, I could work on laundry, read or study, catch up on email and maybe even get ready for work before everyone else wakes. I talked with Shannon about this, and I was saying that someday I would like to take up "running." Well, I don't see this happening anytime soon, but she suggested that I get up early and fit running into my morning routine. That would defeat the purpose, I think. I wanted to do chores and study, not go out for a run and then shower upon my return! Maybe I should think about waking up at 3am. No way. Running can be taken up somewhere way down the road.
Anyway, over the next few months, I am going to do some trial runs (excuse the pun!) of this new lifestyle. Maybe a week here and there to see if I feel okay with it. There are some disadvantages to it, but they might be outweighed by the advantages. I keep ya'll posted.