balance · parenting

Afternoons

My afternoons have been delightful lately.

I started a new job last summer as a public school social worker. Overall, when it comes to lifestyle, this is one of the best work situations I’ve ever had. My day starts early; I have to be in the building  by 7:15 a.m., which would be difficult for some people but is no problem at all for a morning person like me. During the summers, I’ll be off from school and home with my boys, which will be such a gift. And my work day ends at 2:30 p.m., at which point I am free to go home and enjoy several hours of daytime play with my family before the sun sets at five o’clock.

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These afternoons have become really precious to me. If it’s not too cold outside, Edgar and I bundle up and wander around the farm and down on the NCR trail. We crunch through the snow and Edgar learns to ride the balance bike he got for Christmas. Sometimes Tamara takes Edgar out to play, and I entertain J.J. and veg out the best a mom can, watching old episodes of America’s Next Top Model while J.J. drinks a bottle.

It’s all delightful. The afternoons have always been a tricky time of day for me. When I was drinking, that was my will-she-won’t-she time, the time when I got anxious and stressed and found myself driving to the liquor store to pick up a six pack (clearly I really mean a twelve pack) of beer.

Now, I just feel so grateful that the afternoons are a space in the day when I can have special time with one or both of my boys. I’m especially grateful in the winter, when the days are so short, to have daylight hours in the afternoon to be outside and playing.

 

balance · goals

All The Things (January 2019)

This month has been a blur. I’ve been exhausted, foggy-eyed, and short on time and energy. Life hasn’t has that much variety – it’s been predominantly work, child care, and sheep. But – there have been some things.

Things I’m Reading: I finished Louise Penny’s latest (Kingdom Of The Blind) early this month. It was good, and I always love an Inspector Gamache story.

I started a new John Boyne book, Crippen, but then took a break one snowy day to read From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, a children’s book my sister loves and I’d never read before.

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I’ve been working my way through Story Genius by Lisa Cron, which is FANTASTIC and going to be a read-while-you-write slow burn kinda read.

I am currently taking a break from Crippen to read Ann Patchett’s The Patron Saint Of Liars. I discovered a copy in the Little Free Library at Oregon Ridge, and since it’s been on my TBR list forever, it seemed like an omen.

Things I’m Watching: I’ve had Amazon Prime forever, but I only recently discovered that I can watch movies and T.V. shows via the Amazon Prime app. It’s been great timing, since I often watch TV on my phone during J.J.’s night feedings. I started the month re-watching all six seasons of Sex and the City (major nostalgia for my college years) and now have been working my way through re-watching The Newsroom.

Things I’m Getting Better At: I’m trying to transition to using photos I take on the blog instead of photos I find online. I’ve done pretty well this month! Trying my best to snap photos throughout the day. It really takes effort, especially when my days are as plain-and-simple as they are lately.

Monthly Writing Goals: How Are Things?: My biggest writing accomplishment this month has been my blog posts. I have FINALLY gotten back to posting two posts a week, every Tuesday and Saturday, and I even had a few bonus posts, adding up to 10 posts total for the month.  WOO HOO! I was also proud of myself for re-evaluating my goals halfway through the month, checking in with myself and realizing that some goals were too far out of my reach and needed to be adjusted.

Happy January!  Well into Quarter 1, and I’m feeling okay. I’m tired and sluggish, but I’m moving forward. Keep it coming, 2019!

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balance · goals · parenting

Tired + Tired

It’s mid-January, and I have never failed at my new year’s resolutions so quickly before.

However, this time – TOTALLY not my fault. It’s not about procrastination or laziness or motivation, not at all!  It’s all about my kids.

Baby J.J. isn’t sleeping through the night yet. He’s 4 months old and it’s to be expected. BUT NOW. My Edgar – my two-year-old precious A plus amazing sleeper – has started having sleep struggles.

WTF.

That means Tamara and I just shifted from getting a solid 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night, while the other dealt with Baby J.J. – to now NO ONE IN THE HOUSE GETTING ANY SLEEP EVER.

I am still so so happy and grateful for my little family. The big picture is beautiful and blessed.

The little picture, though? The little picture is a tiny thumbnail photo of a family of four, totally exhausted and cranky and struggling. (With the exception of Baby J.J., who is developmentally appropriately able to function on his consistent diet of 2.5 hour naps throughout the day.)

Prior to the new year, I decided that I couldn’t wait until J.J. was sleeping through the night to start maintaining my focus on exercise, meditation, recovery, and writing. I recommitted to prioritizing my self-care and my goals despite my current life circumstances.

And yes – this still needs to be true. If my word of the year is NOW, then I have to do this stuff NOW and not later.

When I get overwhelmed, I think about this: If I can write now, I can write anytime. When I think about my goals for the year, my writing is one of my main priorities. And, while things could definitely get harder, I am pretty tired and have limited time – so really, if I can blog regularly and get some fiction writing done right now, even if it’s the bare minimum, then just imagine what I can get done when I start to actually have time and energy!  For me, the most important thing right now is ROUTINE – rhythm and routine. If I can get some kind of routine happening now, with two kids under three, a full-time job, and no sleep – well, it’d be a miracle. The kind of miracle you get when you work your butt off.  

balance

A Good Weekend

It’s Saturday morning, and my goal is pretty simple: a good weekend.

A therapeutic, restorative, pleasant, calm, connected, and fun-filled weekend.

I’ve been stressed lately – tired from night feedings, adjusting to the new job – and so my weekends have been all about crashing and burning and barely putting myself back together by 4 a.m. on Monday morning.

I’ve been trying my best to take care of myself during the week so that my weekends can be more fun-filled. And so now, it’s Saturday morning, and I am pumped to have a weekend that feels more like an adventure and less like a two day recovery period from a bout of the flu.

A good weekend will look really different for different people. After some contemplation, here’s what I’ve come up with – my ingredients for a good weekend:

Time with my family. Preferably some of this time would be just hanging out together at home, and some of it would be going out for an adventure together. (And our kids are under 2, so an adventure can be as simple as a 45-minute visit to a holiday train garden!)

Time with friends or extended family. Just one event per weekend is usually enough for me! Coordinating plans with others can be challenging; sometimes, time with a friend also means a shorter nap time or a later bedtime, and those are things we pay for in Toddler Land. But I find that having just one opportunity to meet up with friends or extended family really adds to the value of my weekend.

Time to exercise. This is especially important at this moment of my life, when there is little to no time to exercise during the week. On weekend days, I like to go running during Edgar’s nap time, and I get really disappointed when I can’t squeeze in at least two runs per weekend.

A little Kerriann time. My ME time often includes writing or reading, but it’s different for every individual, of course. It’s hard to imagine a solidly awesome weekend that doesn’t involve some ME time.

Adventure! This doesn’t have to be anything wild or crazy. But it’s nice when the weekend includes at least one opportunity to do something new, different, or special. This can often be folded into one of the other ingredients, like family time or friend time. I find that the weekend feels longer and more memorable when there is something out of the ordinary on the agenda.

Lots and lots of good sleep. As much as possible!

balance · goals

Rhythm & Routine (January 2019)

RHYTHM and ROUTINE. These words are music to my soul.

I love adventure and spontaneity, but I also love a good routine. For me, it’s easiest to maintain a habit if I do it every day – if it becomes part of my routine.

If you’re a semi-regular reader, then you know that my blogging schedule has been way off since my second son J.J. came home to us in early September.

A trick I am going to use to get back in the blogging rhythm is having a loose theme for each month. VERY LOOSE. Not every post will match the theme, and the themes might trickle into the next month if I find I have a lot to write about.

My theme for January 2019 is those two magic words: rhythm and routine. I’ll write a lot about new habits, weekly and monthly goals, and rituals and routines I am trying to establish throughout my life.

I got really excited when I came up with the idea of having a monthly blogging theme. It reminds me a little of a Gretchen Rubin happiness project – making small resolutions each month related to a theme. But it’s not exactly that. I’m not making resolutions – just using a theme to center my writing and to help me decide what to write about. I’m not going to list the themes now – they’ll be a little surprise every month.

A new year is a great time for a fresh look at ways to make life more rhythmic, to simplify. I feel excited and energized and ready to start.

 

balance · parenting

Happy + Tired

This is my current status, today and for two months before today and probably for several months after today: happy and tired.

That’s what New Mom Life is like.

I’ve been holding off on a lot of things recently, making lots of resolutions that start with As soon as J.J. starts sleeping through the night, I’ll – and I am realizing that I can’t wait until that far-off day arrives. I need exercise and writing and meditation, and I need them now.  

This morning is a good start. I woke up at 4, cuddled with J.J. for a little bit, got him back to sleep, and then came downstairs to do – stuff.  I wish it was just writing on my agenda when I wake up! But, I fed and walked the dog, got dressed, ignored the dishes in the sink, made coffee, picked out an outfit for Edgar – and intermittently, I sat on the couch and I wrote. It’s not much – but it’s what I can do at the moment.

This week, I’m allowing myself to begin to daydream about a longer piece of writing – a short story or a novel. I always have a million ideas in my head, but in this moment, it feels like I need something BIG to work on – something that I can revisit every day. I have several projects in the works, so I might pick one of those, or decide to focus on something brand-new – we’ll see.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that J.J. is here – that Our Baby is home with us, and that we’re a family of four. We are busy and stressed and joyful and delighted. We are oh-so-happy and oh-so tired.

 

 

 

 

balance · snapshots

All The Things (November 2018)

I have made a solemn vow to myself that I will return to my biweekly posting schedule as soon as J.J. starts sleeping through the night.

I’ve considered trying to make a lesser commitment in the meantime. I could commit to posting once a week or twice monthly. But nothing sounds quite right. So I will continue to plug on, writing when I can and trying my best to get back on track with biweekly posting.

Here are all the things for this month:

Things I’m Reading: Just finished a fantastic book: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. Loved it! I then started A Ladder To The Sky, by John Boyne, and I’m loving it so far. I am definitely reading slower than I usually do. #momlife

Things I’m Watching: I’ve been keeping pretty up-to-date with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and The Good Place. I am continually amazed with these two shows. They keep shifting and changing and still (IMHO) making me laugh and keeping my interest.

Things That I’m Struggling With: Finding time to write and exercise, and maintaining a healthy diet. I do feel somewhat refreshed after my four-day holiday weekend, so I am hoping that I can keep myself on track this week. I don’t have high expectations for exercise; my goal is to do a little yoga every morning, move as much as I can throughout the day, and run on the weekends.

I feel recharged and ready for the month of festivities ahead. Bring it, December!