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Reflections + Intentions

It’s the last day of a long, crazy school year as I type this. I am so excited for two months of vacation, swimming, beach, adventure, quiet, and family time.

A few reflections:

  • It’s been a challenging and unique school year. It felt long and short, hectic and tedious, calm and crazy.
  • It’s been a year of feeling guilty. When I was working remotely, it was about feeling guilty for not working when I was home with my boys, and then feeling guilty when I was working because I wasn’t giving them my full attention.
  • It’s been a year of mega multi-tasking – always doing multiple things at once, always juggling, never fully present anywhere.
  • The end of this year is also the end of my three years at my current school. In the fall, I’ll be switching to an elementary school closer to home. I am so, so excited for the change – and yet, so sad to leave my current co-workers and students.
  • I feel exhausted. I often do, at times like this. The last few weeks of the school year were a sprint to get everything done in time. When I walked out the door today, I was completely done – everything filed, everything signed, every e-mail addressed. I’m a little in disbelief that I am actually all done. Can I relax? Can I actually feel comfortable with the fact that I did everything I needed to do and can now fully focus on being present with my family and enjoying my summer?

A few intentions:

  • This summer, I am striving to do one thing at a time, fully. Especially when I’m with my boys. The OPPOSITE of remote learning multi-tasking.
  • Enjoy the opportunity to reset family routines, rhythms, and rituals, without the burden of work/life exhaustion getting in the way.
  • The summertime for me is always a great time for a reset – a reset of my exercise routine, my reading habits, my eating habits. Today, I am exhausted. I’m hoping that after a week of work-stress-free living, I’ll be feeling renewed and refreshed.

Happy official summertime to all! May we spend this season doing whatever we do to feel rested and rejuvenated.

Photo by Kammeran Gonzalez-Keola on Pexels.com

goals

Summer Schedule Intentions

OH MY GOODNESS AM I READY FOR SUMMERTIME! My summer break starts tomorrow, and I could not be more stoked for two months at home with my boys.

This summer feels incredibly special to me. There will be more opportunity to see family and friends than there was last summer, and it’s Edgar’s last summer before starting school. (Yeesh – that is not possible, for sure. Definitely accidentally fell into a time machine.)

When thinking ahead to what I want our summer to look like, I mostly think about the vibe. I want our summer to feel relaxing and fun for all of us. My big picture intentions for the summer are lots of exercise, lots of time outdoors, and lots of creative time for all of us. I’m also excited for lots of time writing (for me), quality time with family and friends, a strong rhythm to our days and new emphasis on routines and rituals, a fierce personal commitment to mindfulness, yoga, and presence after a long year of multi-tasking, and (of course) our super-duper-stress-free summer vibe.

We have two big trips this summer – two Big Rocks, if you like that metaphor. We have a two-week-long camping trip and a week-long beach trip. During the weeks when we’re at home, I’m planning for us to spend lots of time at the pool and on local adventures. Here are a few of my thoughts regarding summer scheduling intentions:

WEEKLY RITUALS

I am definitely a creature of routine. I love spontaneity, for sure. But I find so much joy and peace in a weekly family ritual. Our number one example, currently, is pizza and a movie on Friday nights. This ritual started when I was returning back to work after a year of working remotely. Our screen time rules had gone out the window while I was working from home with the boys with me, and we wanted to cut back on screen time, particularly in the evenings. So we decided – on Friday evenings, we do pizza and a movie. On all another nights, no screen time. Of course, we can break that rule whenever we want, and it feels like a treat for the boys when we do – but we mostly stick to it and it feels good.

I’d like to do a similar thing over the summer with a few other regular activities. My loose ideas so far are:

  • Mondays: making popsicles for the week
  • Tuesdays: library
  • Wednesdays: bake bread and/or muffins
  • Thursdays: summertime cold treat (ice cream or snow cones)
  • Fridays: pizza, movie, family meeting
  • Saturdays AND Sundays: hikes and/or play dates
  • Sundays: farmers market

PLANNING AHEAD

I am not a huge planner; I rarely think ahead about things like the weather. I’d like to try to be more intentional about that over the summer.

First and foremost, I want to be intentional about PLAY DATES! The summer is eight weeks long, but we’re away for several weeks and the time is going to fly by fast. For the past year, it’s been mostly the four of us spending quality time together. I am so excited to be able to safely spend time with friends.

I also want to think ahead regarding things like rainy days, preparing for big trips and de-escalating when we return, and the lead-up to the return to school in September.

RAINY DAY RITUALS

I’m planning to spend as much time as possible at the pool when we’re home in Maryland. For rainy days, I want to work in one or a few activities to break up the day, especially if it’s a day when we’ll be cooped up at home. (Most of these activities are also on the “weekly ritual” list – my goal is to plan ahead and switch things up if there’s a week with one or multiple bad weather days.)

  • Making popsicles.
  • Baking! (Bread, cookies, muffins, protein balls.)
  • Library.
  • Pick a special craft/sensory activity from this list. (Link here!)

ROUTINES + RESPONSIBILITIES

I love routines, in theory, but they’re not my strength in practice. I make resolutions – like, whenever we’re done with a toy or area, we’re going to tidy up before we move on. But in the moment, I often forget or abandon the routine in favor of transitioning to the next thing.

In general, I find that summer is a great time to introduce new routines or responsibilities. This summer, I’d like to focus on a few key routines:

-When we get home, we go inside and unpack our things, every time. This is the kind of routine I often abandon. When we arrive at home, I get the boys out of the car, and they often immediately ask to play outside in the backyard. I say yes, because outdoor play is awesome and putting our things away is not – but I’d like to change this up and make a family habit of taking a little reset before we move into free play mode. With Edgar starting kindergarten in the fall, it’s the perfect time to do this. He’ll come home with a backpack and a folder, and it’ll be good to take a moment to go inside and get organized before we dive into anything else. I also really want to stress that it’s the boys’ job to take care of their things; they’ll need lots of help, especially Jo Jo, but we can start to build that sense of responsibility and the need for organization and care.

We get ourselves ready in the morning. Brush teeth, eat breakfast, get dressed, shoes, socks, and all the rest.

-We tidy as we go. So many things would be easier if we could make this routine stronger! It’ll never be perfect, but it could be a lot better than it is now. The boys’ bedrooms, in particular, get a little crazy

-We tidy after dinner. – the kitchen and the dining room, 100%, and then living room and bedrooms, too. We are semi-okay at this, but we often fall out of the habit after long and tiring work/child care days.

-We help with jobs and chores. I’m still contemplating this, but I don’t think I want to make jobs/chores a daily thing at the moment. I really want to focus on building a strong morning routine. I do want to involve the boys whenever possible if I’m cleaning or trying to accomplish jobs around the house.

KEEPING OUR DAYS CREATIVE + FUN + PLAYFUL

I have felt really impatient with the boys lately. One of my biggest intentions for the summer is to remember my goals of being a playful, peaceful, and present parent. Cheers to days that are silly, playful, creative, engaging, and FUN – and cheers to the days when we lounge and laze about, too. Cheers to all of it.

Recently, I announced (to no one) that I officially claim summer as my favorite season. With all the getting-to-know-you activities that come up at school, the question “what is your favorite season?” actually comes up quite a lot for me. When I was a kid, I always said winter was my favorite. In recent years, it’s been spring. Now it is officially, officially summertime. I am so happy for work-free (almost, since my private practice is still going) days and summer fun.

Happy summer, everyone! Wishing you sunshine and a fun, relaxed vibe all summer long.

Photo by Simon Berger on Pexels.com

rhythm + routines + rituals

Summertime Reset: Early Morning Routines

It’s been many months since my early morning routine has looked the way I’d like it to look. With remote working, energetic boys, and lots of commitments, I’ve been pretty exhausted, and it’s been hard to get myself out of bed at four in the morning. Most days, I have gotten up somewhere between 4 and 5, but even on the days when I have, it’s been challenging to check all of the boxes I like to check in the early morning – like exercise, writing, meditation, running, yoga, etc.

While it might seem counterintuitive to use my summer break as a time to get back to waking up earlier, that’s definitely my plan for the summertime. When the new school year starts, I’ll have a different schedule; my day will likely start a little later in the morning. That means that I’ll have even more time in the mornings for an intentional routine that helps to set the tone for my day and allow me to get some important priorities met before my kids are awake.

My ideal morning begins with waking up at 4 a.m. A few minutes later, I’ll either be writing or meditating – whichever feels more natural to begin with. I can definitely see this changing depending on the day!

I’ll drink a cup of coffee while writing. After writing and meditating are done – probably sometime between 5 and 6 a.m. – I’ll go for a run. When I get back, I’ll do some yoga and/or strength training.

THAT’S IT. It covers all of my major goals – running, yoga/strength training, writing, meditating – within the first two hours of the day. Which also happen to be, typically, my best and most energetic two hours of the day.

I’m planning to get this new and improved routine going starting today. So excited for a chance to reset my routine and get back on track with all the things.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
all the things

Seasonal Bucket Lists

I love the idea of a seasonal bucket list.

I have a constant worry that I’m going to run out of time or forget to do the things I want to do, for myself or for our family. I get very caught up in day-to-day life, and I like having a reminder of things I want to do during a particular season – things like berry picking during the summertime, or ice skating during winter. They tend to be activities that require a little money and planning.

I am forever and always trying to come up with new ways to organize my life, thoughts, and planning. Recently, I started jotting down things that I want to make sure are on one of our seasonal bucket lists. I’ve been using the Google Keep app, which is just a clear and visually pleasing means for organizing a bunch of my to-do lists. When I have a seasonal bucket list, it makes me feel calmer – like I’m less likely to forget All The Things.

This year, more than ever, it feels good to make a list of fun things we want to try to make happen during the summertime. This isn’t our full bucket list, but here are a few things I hope we check off this summer:

  • Visit our local farmers market.
  • Swim lessons.
  • The beach.
  • Orchard.
  • The Smithsonians.
  • Leakin Park train.
  • New York.
  • Ukazoo.
  • Canoeing.
  • Tubing.
  • Hammerman Beach (including tire playground)!
  • Sandy Point.
  • Playground bucket list! (More on this at some point.)

Happy summer, everyone! Cheers to the return to semi-normal.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

all the things

Currently: June 2021

Currently reading:

I’m on a fantastic reading kick lately. Currently, I’m still in the middle of Do Right By Me by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D’Angelo; it’s great, but I keep getting distracted by gorgeous novels. I am halfway through How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue, and I am re-obsessed with Ann Patchett after finally reading The Dutch House. Additionally, The Four Winds was incredible, so I definitely am planning to try out a few more Kristin Hannah titles as soon as possible. It feels wonderful to be in such a good reading place, after experiencing a bit of a reading rut in March/April.

Currently listening to:

I’ve been listening to the audiobook versions of whatever novel I’m currently reading – that way, I can continue “reading” while I commute to work or clean up the kitchen. I also have been stayed devoted to the podcasts Slate Political Gabfest, The Girl Next Door, and The Mom Hour.

Currently watching:

Early seasons of The Big Bang Theory – hilarious. I’ve seen the series up until Season 9, and at some point I want to catch up on the last three seasons, but the early seasons are solid gold. In little kid land, we’ve watched Wall-E recently and the boys have had a revived interest in the Toy Story franchise.

Currently the boys are:

Wrestling nonstop, and it’s driving me NUTS. Especially since it almost always ends in tears eventually. day when it’s 65 degrees or warmer. Edgar plays blissfully and Jonas hangs in there until his teeth start to chatter.

Currently grateful for:

THE LIBRARY BEING OPEN FOR BROWSING! Edgar and I dropped in last Saturday and we were both so excited. I basked in the joy of just being in the room full of books, and Edgar grabbed every book with a truck, boat, dragon, or dinosaur on it to check out. (He also found two Curious George books and Jojo and the Magic Trick for his little brother to read.) I love how excited he was when we got home, to show off his books and to read them all. I’ve kept a steady flow of children’s books coming through the house for the past year, thanks to the library’s curbside pick-up, but it made such a difference for Edgar to be able to take the books off the shelf all by himself.

Currently looking forward to:

Our camping trip! We’re camping for two weekends in June and then going on our big trip to the Ozarks – almost two full weeks! – after school is out. I am so excited for it. Please send prayers that our kids figure out reeeal quick how to settle and sleep in a tent!

Happy, happy June! We all deserve an exceptional summer this year. Let’s make it happen!

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