all the things · Uncategorized

Oops (Yet Again)

So much happening. So much to process. So little writing actually getting done!

Last week, I noticed that I made a blogging error – a post was published that was still in draft form. SIGH. I wish I could say this was the first time I did that!  It’s not, and it likely won’t be the last.

Then, since realizing that error, I have also missed posting days on July 10, 21, 25, and 28. YIKES.

It does make sense that the blogging and the fiction writing have both slipped. I’d like to get back on track – as I indicated in my recent post entitled Getting Back On Track, LOL – but there are a few real things in the way:

-A few big items on my to-do list that are hanging over my head. Really trying to take care of a few big things – paperwork, household things – that have been causing me low level stress for a long time.

So much to read and learn. I’ve been reading a lot of articles and publications that I don’t usually consume. This is partly related to the antiracism resources that have been shared recently on social media, and partly related to working with my local chapter of SURJ (Standing Up for Racial Justice).

Some part-time work. Usually my summer is work-free but I’ve taken on a bit of part-time work from home.

SLEEP!  My sleep schedule is SO off!  It’s bonkers. I’m staying up late reading (or dealing with a four-year-old who has a LOT of things he needs to tell me at 10 p.m.) and then completely failing at waking up at 4 a.m. to write!

I have switched my mindset a little these past few days. Basically, if there’s something on my to-do list that is plaguing me – I’m trying to get it done, even if it means setting writing aside for the day. The work I’m doing with SURJ is important. Keeping my home tidy and sane is important – especially these days, when our home is our haven, our safe place, more than ever before. Spending an hour on Zoom with a friend is important. Contacting my councilman about the local Police Reform bill on the floor is important.

Spoiler Alert: it’s all important. And the writing is, too. I’m a little sad that my summer writing hasn’t been working out as I’d planned. But I also know the things that I’m doing day-to-day are extraordinarily valuable. AND these are – ahem, prepare for an overused word – unprecedented times!

So, oops. But as always – time to reset and move forward. Onward.

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Uncategorized

Entertaining Littles During Social Distancing

For the past few days, I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring activity ideas for my days with the boys.

Once you start looking around for ideas to teach or entertain your toddler and preschooler, it is an endless rabbit hole. There are so many amazing parent bloggers out there, with great ideas for activities. It’s incredibly helpful. I am a fun and silly parent, but ideas for crafts or sensory activities don’t come to me automatically. And I definitely benefit from the pro tips these bloggers provide. Many of them are current or former teachers, and have pro tips about how to set up these activities so that your kids are engaged and your house doesn’t get destroyed – both good things.

These are some of the activities we’ve tried out so far:

My favorite website so far has been Busy Toddler – such a great resource with so many fun ideas, and really easy to read and follow.

It’s been challenging, not being able to go out and about with the kids. They are pretty easy-going and have been fairly content, but I can tell there are times when they’re bored or feeling uninspired by the same old toys and activities. For them and for me, it’s been fun to break out a new and unexpected activity; they try out new things, they experiment, they figure out new and creative ways to play. It’s been really fun to find creative ideas for experiments and sensory play. Hoping to add to this list throughout the spring and summer.

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adulting · cleaning for beginners · habits · Uncategorized

Cleaning For Beginners

There is one new habit that we’ve been able to form since moving to our new home, and I have been amazed at how much happiness is brought me.

Let me start by explaining – we didn’t really clean at our old house. That probably sounds ridiculous to people who keep a clean and tidy household, but we really did the bare minimum. We’d wash our dishes – by hand, no dishwasher – eventually. When the floor started to drive Tamara crazy, she’d sweep it. When we knew we were having visitors, we’d deep clean the bathroom. But there was no regular cleaning schedule.

You’d think I’d be too embarrassed to admit this publicly, but I’m not. I have never been a neat and tidy person, and I have a pretty high tolerance for dirt, mud, and general disarray. Plus, at our last house, we were living on a farm, in an extremely old farmhouse that never gleamed no matter how much you cleaned. Keeping the house clean felt impossible. There was new mud and dirt coming in every day, and we had little time to do all the things we wanted and needed to do. I often sacrificed cleaning time for writing time, and I felt good about that.

Now that we’re in a new house and changing up our lifestyle, I feel a little differently about keeping things clean. First and foremost, I want to teach my kids good cleaning habits, and the best way is to teach them is to show them the different tasks that have to be done to keep a household clean and tidy. Secondly, I think I’ve been experiencing a level of low-grade stress due to having a cluttered and disorganized house. I really want to live a Marie Kondo-esque kind of life; I want to know exactly where everything is, because everything has a specific home in the house, and I don’t want to have or store a whole bunch of crap I don’t need. And I think it’s way easier to clean when the clutter is under control.

That said – it’s been hard, and we don’t have a system for cleaning yet. We’re still pretty busy, so I’ve just been quickly spot cleaning things like the bathroom sink or the toilet when I think of it. Things will slow down next month, and we’ll be able to get into a better routine then.

But for the moment, the habit that we have been maintaining successfully is cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. And it had made me SO happy.

It’s so simple. One of us cooks dinner – usually Tamara – and the other parent plays with the boys while that’s happening. We eat together as a family. Then, after dinner, one of us plays with the boys and the other parent cleans the kitchen. Sometimes we get the boys to ‘help’; Edgar does a decent job of wiping down the table and bringing dishes to the sink. Jonas likes to pretend he’s mopping. And when we’re done, there are dishes in the dishwasher, a clean kitchen table, clean floors, and leftovers put away.

I love it. The situation never gets so overwhelming that we’re going to have to spend an hour getting things clean, and I can enjoy my evenings and my mornings without staring at things in the kitchen thinking, I should really go clean that up.

ARE ALL OF THE HOUSEHOLD CHORES GOING TO BE AS SIMPLE AS THIS? I really, really hope so. I want to continue to prioritize writing, reading, and self-care, and I know cleaning and household maintenance take time. I’m okay with that.

JUST NOT TOO MUCH TIME. I’ve got stuff to do.

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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.

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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.

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