all the things

What To Do During Naptime

There are no answers in this post; only questions.

The main question is this: It’s Sunday morning and the boys are both napping. What should I do with my free hour?

Here are the potential answers:

  1. Brush my teeth. I’ve been awake for five hours and my mouth feels disgusting.
  2. Get dressed and packed for the day. We are potentially attending a child’s birthday party later, meaning a) I need to change out of my pajamas and b) I need to fill my backpack with an amount of gear that you’d think was meant for two days on the Appalachian trail.
  3. Write a blog post.
  4. Read a chapter in the book I started this morning – The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams.
  5. Put laundry away. SO MUCH LAUNDRY. Always so much laundry!
  6. Work on Christmas gifts – mainly on crafty Shutterfly projects, like photo books, ornaments, magnets, etc. Things that I would like to NOT pay for overnight shipping for this year.
  7. Straighten my hair. I haven’t been able to find my straightener or my preferred hair dryer since we moved and my hair has suffered.
  8. Have Special Time with Edgar. (Because, let’s be real – I tried to lay him down for an early nap and he is NOT asleep!)
  9. Unpack some more boxes on our jam-packed guest room. Or, just spend some time in there, organizing boxes into categories – things that are going to the dump, things that will go in our shed once it’s built, things that will stay in the guest room closet.

I don’t know the answer. Not at all. For today, during the 40 minutes that Edgar remained in his bedroom not napping, I accomplished #1, #3, and approximately 30% of numbers 2 and 6.

But – there’s so much, always, pulling my attention in different directions. And I know the house will not be “in order” anytime soon.

I plan to take a little time tonight to think about when and how I want to tackle all the things that merit attention in life this week. For now – the boys are awake and it’s time for many, many wagon rides around our new backyard. Happy fall!

autumn word surrounded with leaves
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all the things

Excuses

It’s November 7th as I’m writing this. We just moved into our new home. It is slowly becoming livable, though I have no idea where my winter hat is and our guest room is filled with boxes and bags.

It is exactly 3 weeks until Thanksgiving, and there is less than a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Every day on my morning jog, I find myself in a tizzy thinking about Thanksgiving, Christmas, gift giving and celebrating and all the rest of the holiday madness. When Tamara woke up this morning, I greeted her with a conversation about Christmas gifting and scheduling, which she was pretty gracious about for a 5:30 AM topic choice.

So life is still in boxes, there are one million things to do at the new house, the holidays are creeping closer and closer, and Tamara is still extremely busy with wrapping things up at the farm.

In case you haven’t noticed, this post has so far been just a list of excuses for why I didn’t stick to my blogging schedule this week. It’s Thursday and there was no post on Playful + Peaceful on Tuesday.

It definitely bothers me when I get away from my blogging schedule. In a way, neglecting my blogging schedule is like a little signpost for me, a signal to let me know that life is getting a little too crazy and I’m not taking enough time to write and reflect.

My best time to write is in the morning. I’ve been waking up at around 4:30 every day and going for a short jog, which has been wonderful. I’m not running very fast, but I’m doing it consistently and that feels great.

Then, I get back from my run, and I get ready for work, and then – I get distracted.

The thing is – setting up a new household, or even just maintaining basic cleanliness in your home, is SO MUCH WORK.

I should know this already, right?  But it’s sort of new territory for me. For the last four years, we’ve lived in a two hundred year old farmhouse. It was charming and cozy, and also muddy and cobwebby and impossible to clean thoroughly. And – we lived on a farm!  Even if I did scrub everything every day, nothing ever looked clean and it would get grubby and muddy again within a day. Plus, we were full-time working parents with two kids under three. So cleaning was always a much lower priority for us than it was for other adults.

I didn’t mind the clutter and dirtiness too much, but I do think it represented a sort of low grade stress that was always present for me. At any moment, I could think to myself, I really should be washing dishes or sweeping the floor right now. So even if I intentionally chose to write instead of doing the dishes, the dishes were still taking up some mental space in my brain, and that  didn’t feel great.

Our new house is pretty freaking new. It was completely remodeled by the last owners, it has beautiful new carpet and hardwood floors, and when you clean things up, they really look clean. Tamara and I talked a lot before the move about new habits we wanted to adopt – things as simple as cleaning the kitchen after dinner. We’ve been doing a pretty decent job of sticking to our new habits – keeping areas clean, sweeping, wiping down surfaces, keeping on top of the laundry. And all of this is going to get way more manageable when Tamara is done with the farming season, because she’ll be at home with the boys and have more bandwidth for household chores and tasks. Plus, will be less of a cluster once we actually hang up bathroom cabinets and have a place for everything we own. But man – it really does take up time to keep things tidy and to clean things up when you’re done.

So sometimes, it’s five in the morning, and I could write, but I find myself unloading the dishwasher instead. And that’s been okay for these two crazy weeks since Moving Day.

But really? It’s time for that to stop.

When I wake up at 4:30 a.m., that’s my time. I want to run, and then I want to write. After those are done, and I’ve gotten dressed and ready for my day – then I will empty the dishwasher. I believe in allowing for flexibility when big transitions are happening. But I don’t want to put off my self-care indefinitely, and for me, writing is definitely self-care.

I can’t promise I won’t be late again with my blogging. But as of today, I am back in business. Let’s do this!

photo of coffee cup on wooden surface
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goals

Monthly Goals: November 2019

Not surprisingly, my goals for November 2019 are mainly going to be focused on house and home. Things are slowly getting unpacked, and there’s so much to do, from hanging towel racks to building a fence to establishing routines for us and the boys related to schedule and cleaning.

  1. Unpack and declutter! Follow this maxim: Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. 
  2. Extend your break from fiction writing. I’m hoping this doesn’t turn into a “until  2020” thing. Once the moving is done and farming season is over, I want to dive back into novel writing.
  3. Make a huge list of things to do and things to buy. (SO. MANY. THINGS.)
  4. Establish new habits and routines related to exercise, cleaning, phone-free time with the boys, and family. I am all about using a move as a chance to start new habits! (Including meetings. That needs to be a priority ASAP.)

Happy November! So much to be grateful for.

sunflowers in churn
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Uncategorized

Life In Boxes

We’re in! Our life is in boxes, and we still have a ton to get done at the old house. But we are living in our new home and loving it.

My blogging routine is still going to be a little off this week. I’m currently typing this on my phone, because we don’t have internet set up yet. And it still seems difficult to write about the topics that are most relevant to me at the moment: habits, routines, rituals, and my work toward living a minimalist lifestyle. We are slowly unpacking, and we need to buy a ton of things: towel racks, shower curtains, baby gates, furniture. Our family to do list is long, and the time we have available to tackle different tasks is limited.

So, I’m going to do my best to stick to my regular blogging schedule – posts on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Hopefully the posts will get more substantial as my internet access and mental energy improve.

selective focus photography of dried leaves
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gratitude

5 Things I’m Grateful For (October 2019)

So much to be grateful for.

  1. A wonderful new house to make into a home.
  2. The chance to start fresh in a new routine with new habits.
  3. Waking up early and drinking a hot cup of coffee before the boys wake up.
  4. Ali Wong’s new book. LOVE HER.
  5. Glennon Doyle’s new book, coming out in March 2020. Can’t wait!
  6. Lovely fall walks down the NCR trail.
  7. This beautiful house we’re saying good-bye to – Edgar and Jonas’s first home, Tamara’s beautiful farm, right on the trail. We’ve lived here for four years and, as happy as I am to move forward, I’ve loved our time in THIS home and the memories we have of this beautiful spot.

This gratitude post is a little early this month, in the interest of low-maintenance blogging during Moving Week. Hope you’re enjoying the fall as much as we are!

all the things

Let’s Be Real

It’s Monday morning. We closed on our house on Friday, and we spent the last three days moving furniture and boxes to the new house. We’re still not done. We have lots to move and a million tasks to take care of.

So, let’s be real – there will be no new blog post tomorrow.

It’s not really about the lack of time to write. It’s the lack of mental energy. I’m exhausted, and also – I’m excited to write about the new house, new habits, and new routines, but I feel like I can’t really write about those things until we’re THERE – fully, completely, at the new house.

I am hopeful that I’ll be back on track with my blogging schedule by this coming Saturday. Fingers crossed for a smooth transition and a lot more writing headspace in the very near future!

beautiful bloom blooming blossom
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Uncategorized

How To Slow Down & Be Intentional When Life Is Crazy Times Five

When I sat down to write this post and glanced at the title I’d written – how to slow down and be intentional when life is crazy times five – I literally laughed out loud.

There are times when I write blog posts that I think might be helpful to others. And then there are posts that are just about me throwing my hands up in the air and admitting that I have no expertise or insight to offer.

Life is crazy right now because a) we’re buying a house and moving to a new town, b) we’re closing up shop for a small business, c) my job is hectic and stressful lately, d) ugh packing ugh, and e) we’re just a regular ol’ family with two young kids.

We start the moving process on Friday – three days from today. And I’m experiencing anxiety in various forms. I’ve got did we buy the right house anxiety, I’ve got so much to do anxiety, and I have my entire life is in boxes anxiety. Yesterday Tamara asked me what would help me to destress this week.and I couldn’t come up with anything.

This morning, I have three ideas for getting through the next three days. Exercise; everyday self-care; and aggressive mindfulness.

EXERCISE

You know how you can go off your exercise routine for a few days, and sort of still feel okay? But then a few more days go by, and then suddenly you feel lethargic, heavy, and like you’re busting out of your jeans? That’s where I am today. I don’t know how to squeeze it in this week, but I know that I always feel less stressed and more capable when my body feels strong and agile.

EVERYDAY SELF-CARE

Eat well. Don’t overdo the caffeine. Take your time. I think that the little things are important during times of stress. I mean, they’re always important – but the impact that healthy choices can have on my mood is significant. Things like staying hydrated and maintaining a calm state of mind are going to help me this week.

AGGRESSIVE MINDFULNESS

When I am stressed – and sometimes when I’m not – I fall into the habit of listening to Netflix constantly in the background of my life. Recently, I’ve been listening to and watching old episodes of The Good Place – while I’m washing dishes, while I’m getting ready in the morning, while I’m making breakfast.

It’s not good.

I started listening to books about mindfulness last week, and I checked out a few books from the library. Then yesterday, it hit me – I know how to be mindful. I can totally do it. In fact, I do it all day long at work most days. I don’t need a book, and I don’t need to learn a new technique.

I just need to DECIDE to do it. I need to CHOOSE that I am going to be mindful.

We close on the house in three days. THREE DAYS – that’s not that long. I am going to attempt Aggressive Mindfulness – no background noise – for the next three days. I know it will help me, and three days is a short enough time that I think I can attempt it without feeling overwhelmed. Three days of doing one thing at a time fully.

nature red forest leaves
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