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5 Things I’m Grateful For (February 2021)

So much to be grateful for.

-Getting the COVID-19 vaccine. So grateful to have been able to receive it, as a school social worker, and continuingly grateful as others are able to be vaccinated.

-SO MANY GOOD BOOKS. I don’t even think I can pick any favorites so far this year, because I’ve lucked out with pretty much every book I’ve picked up. (Well, there have been several that I’ve picked up, read a few chapters or a few hundred pages, and abandoned because of my strict “do not finish unless you’re loving it” policy – but we won’t include those.)

-SNOW. Last winter, we had zero snow in Maryland and it sucked. If it’s going to be cold, I want snow. The snow has been beautiful and fun; it’s provided novelty and change at a time that can be pretty monotonous.

-My family’s health – knock on wood, it’s been a happy and healthy 2021 so far.

-This past year of working from home. I’m excited to be in the school building with co-workers and students again, but I’ve been so grateful to have so much time with my boys, especially at these ages. I have struggled a lot with being a working parent, and one of the gifts of this otherwise difficult year has been the time I’ve gotten to spend with them.

Happy February!

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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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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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Wrapping Up February 2020 (Kind. Healthy. Creative. Present.)

This happiness project is a BUST so far! I’m mostly laughing about it.

My plan for 2020 has been to pick a theme for each month, and make a few small resolutions every month that are aligned with that theme. But it just hasn’t worked out. Life gets busy and crazy, and I have trouble even remembering what my resolutions are, let alone actually keeping them!

Looking ahead to March 2020, my main priority is diet and exercise. I have made some progress in this area, but I still struggle to refrain from candy and junk food, especially when I’m feeling stressed.

My second goal is to prioritize creative writing. And my third is MEETINGS. I’m abandoning meditation for the moment. I love to meditate, and I do think that prioritizing that habit would be beneficial, but having too many goals and priorities means that I accomplish none.

I don’t know how I’ll structure these posts about my goals and priorities moving forward, but for today, I’m just trying to stay in the moment and keep these words in my mind: Kind. Healthy. Creative. 

Kind. Healthy. Creative. Let’s do this.

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Wrapping Up January 2020

This month, for my 2020 Happiness Project, I focused on health and longevity.

It went – okay. My resolutions related to meditation, AA, exercise, and caffeine were successful. My resolutions related to healthy eating were not successful, and I’ve been reflecting on that a lot.

My plan for February 2020 was to focus on service, but I think I sort of need a combo month, so that I can continue to focus on healthy eating habits, meditation, and mindfulness. Stay tuned for that!

Good-bye, January!  How the heck did you fly by so fast?

photo of planner and writing materials
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