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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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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all the things

Oh Boy

Oh boy.

Just when I thought that this fall would be calmer and less chaotic than last fall, we made a big decision and now my to-do list is reallyreallyreally long.

There are a lot of big changes coming up. It’s all good stuff – all great news. But there are certain intentions I set for the school year – about the habits I want to build related to cleaning, organizing, and leisure time – that may be slightly more challenging to meet as we deal with the upcoming changes.

The good news is that in addition to the fresh start that I’ve gotten with the new school year, I’m going to have an addition fresh start. And I always love a fresh start – such a great opportunity to press the reset button, adjust habits and routines, and rethink the way things have been going in my life.

So, I am gearing up for a crazy four weeks, followed by a blissful (but still busy) month afterward. And I’m not quite sure how that will affect my blogging routine! But I’m staying committed to publishing two posts a week throughout the chaos. STAY TUNED.

orange and blue abstract painting
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all the things

All The Things (May 2019)

WHEW.

The biggest thing that happened this May was that I finished my graduate school course. I was required to enroll in an eight week long class about special education, and it was rough adding an additional responsibility to my already-chock-full plate for two months. But I survived it, and I am excited to now focus on wrapping up my school year and readying myself for summertime bliss.

This month was the first time I set personal goals rather than writing goals, and I think it helped me a lot. I definitely maintained my blogging schedule, and I exercised pretty much every day. I did not entirely rid myself of my bedtime candy habit, but I decided that right now is too tricky of a time to successfully abandon that habit – too many late nights, too little sleep, and too little mental energy to make good choices. (Ironically, once I abandoned this goal, I actually improved a little and ate less candy than I’d been consuming. So that was great!)

Oh, and also – what were all the things this May?

Things I’m Reading: I finished reading This Is Where I Leave You, a novel that I enjoyed a lot. I’m still reading The Mindful Kind, and I’m enjoying it tremendously – I am in no rush at all to finish it! I also read two other novels, The Silent Patient and Jar Of Hearts, which were both major page turners.

Things I’m Contemplating: SUMMERTIME! Making plans and schedules in my head. Excited to wrap up the school year and enjoy two months of parenting and writing.

Things Up Next: Look out for my summertime post – with my planned schedules and agendas for days with the boys and days to write. I am so excited to sketch out what I want my summer to look like!

beach blur clouds dawn
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all the things

All The Things (April 2019)

It’s 5:08 a.m. as I type this. It’s a rare moment when I’ve taken care of Baby J.J. all night long, but still was able to get myself out of bed at 4:45 a.m. I did approximately three minutes of yoga and now I’m busily typing while my coffee brews.

This month has been busier socially than the three months before it. It’s springtime, and I’ve made lots of play dates with friends. That has unfortunately interfered with writing and exercise time; I’m still doing both, just a little less frequently than I’d like.

Here are the things for this month:

Things I’m Reading: I’ve basically been fretting about what book to read next all month! I have a Goodreads bookshelf titled “OMG WHAT TO READ” and there are 50 books on it. I ended up listening to two old favorites on audiobook this month – Carry On Warrior and Tiny Beautiful Things. I’ve also been slowly working my way through a good novel (This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper) and reading pieces of other books when the moment strikes me. I DO NOT LIKE READING LIKE THIS. But I’m finding it hard to zero in on one book. I’m hoping the May Book Of The Month selections inspire me to choose one to read. Stay tuned!

Things I’m Watching: I’ve been watching reruns of Dead Like Me, a TV show from 2003 – 2004 that only aired for two seasons, while feeding J.J. at night.

Things About Writing: The blogging is still going great, but my novel writing has not. I don’t know if I can make a big push until the end of May, when I’m done with the (annoying) grad school course I’m taking right now. But maybe I can? I’ll evaluate when I write my monthly writing goals.

I think that’s all the things for now. It’s been a joyful April, with Baby J.J.’s adoption finalized and lots of time with friends and family. Now we’re cruising until SUMMERTIME!

pink flowers on trees
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all the things

All The Things (March 2019)

I’m enjoying writing these monthly summary posts. It feels like a good opportunity to reflect on the month and see how things have been going personally, professionally, and creatively.

Here are the things for this month:

Things I’m Reading: Not much, sadly! I did finish reading Daisy Jones and The Six. I’ve been listening to an audiobook version of Drop The Rock, which is an AA book, and I’ve been enjoying that a lot. There are also 8 other books on the “Currently Reading” shelf of my Goodreads: Between The World And Me, How To Be Less Stupid About Race, Story Genius, I’m Chocolate You’re Vanilla, Freefall, The Dreamers, Come Rain Or Come Shine, and Unsheltered. I don’t love operating like this – reading a whole bunch of books at once – so I’ll probably zero in on one or two soon.

Things I’m Watching: I have been super into old seasons of The Good Wife recently. SO GOOD.

Things About Writing: I got a trial version of Scrivener, and I’ve been trying that out. I’m not sure so far – I find it a little overwhelming – but I’m excited to keep at it and see if it helps with my creative organization. Plus, the blogging is continuing to go well – 2 posts a week for all of 2019!  🙂

I’ll write a lot more about March 2019 when I reflect on my digital minimalist diet in another post.  Stay tuned!

nature flowers garden plant
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