Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shower Board as a DIY White Board

I'm finally getting around to sharing our DIY white board! It was a cinch to make. First, we purchased a piece of inexpensive shower board from Home Depot. We were happy with the 4' x 8' piece. If we had needed a smaller piece, we would have asked them to cut it on site. Shower board is literally the stuff that goes inside a shower.

Next, we screwed it into the wall. Then we used trim to frame it. (And by "we" I mean our friend Chris who volunteered to help with that part of it in exchange for a cooking lesson.) Then we caulked everything, primed it, and painted it. I purchased vinyl lettering from this Etsy shop. I used thin tape to create the outline of the monthly calendar and some sections on the right (for example, one of them says "On the Menu" and I list out the meals we're having that week). Each month, I use a dry erase marker to label the days. I transfer events from the yearly section over to the monthly section. That's it! 

I was afraid it would stick out from the wall too much or be really distracting, but neither of those things ended up being true. We really like it! 

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

For each anniversary, Matt and I alternate who writes a letter about our year and who plans a date for us. This year, it was my turn to right the letter:

Dearest Matt,

Has it already been six years already? Each day with you is too fast. Especially these days. I never feel like I get to talk to you enough (dinner time is so chaotic and then it's a mad dash to the bath and to bed). I still crave your conversation and your listening ear. 

What a year. We keep saying that every year, don't we? Last year at this time, we had a new baby in our arms. We didn't really think we were going to go down the path of second-time parenthood, but I'm so glad we did. Tater is so sweet, and our family really does feel more full and more complete. 

We did it. We made it through that hardest year with an infant. And I threw opening a school into the mix. And we moved into a new home. 

Why do we keep doing this? 

I see glimpses of it. When you and I cuddle on our IKEA sectional on the deck, I know why we've done this. We've pushed through all the hard stuff to get to the top of the summit. We're honestly almost there. Meaningful work, a beautiful home, friends, two sweet children, our trusty bloodhound, our families. Each other. I really couldn't ask for anything else. I seriously have it all. I just want to hold all of it so tightly in my arms and never let any of it go.

I just hope you know just how lucky I am that I got to partner up with you for life. I don't always show it. I get busy. I get frustrated. I focus on something you've done wrong instead of the gazillion things you've done right. You deserve more. You always inspire me to be more. You are so full of light and joy. I am so lucky that our paths crossed. I'm so fortunate we turned a potentially fleeting encounter into permanence. 

You are my very center. You hold me when everything is spinning too fast or too much. I couldn't do any of this without you. I mean that so sincerely and without any hyperbole. I love you. I am lucky you love me, too. 

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Monday, August 4, 2014

These Days

It's been forever! I've missed you all! I've also missed setting aside the time and space to consider and reflect and plan. Life has been packed to the very brim lately. Starting a school takes every waking moment. Then I'm still pushing to be a present parent. And of course I still want to sleep. So those three things have pretty much been the entirety of my existence for the past month and a half. 

I am eager for school to start so we can fall into a rhythm. I'm feeling the pull to start planning my time, so I can fit in all the things that are important to me on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. 

I'll need to stay late at school two times a week (once for an afterschool Spanish class and once for professional development). Beyond that, I hope to be able to come home with Tate and Henry and play together before it's time to start dinner. And I hope that our weekends are full of fun. I'd like to fit in a run at the lake once a week, and run on a treadmill in the teacher's lounge during my lunch break twice a week. I'd like to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. I'd like to have an interesting vacation on the horizon once or twice a year. And I'd like to have something social on the calendar at least once a month. And a date night with Matt at least once a month! 

A friend of mine once explained that highly demanding jobs make it nearly impossible to achieve "work-life balance." Instead, she said I should think about what I need on a daily, monthly, weekly, and yearly basis and make sure I have time for those non-negotiable things. Those are like the big rocks, and everything else is sand that can fill in around those. 

I sit down to generate a new daily/weekly/monthly/yearly list every time something significant in my life changes. Whenever I do it, I find that I don't need nearly as much as I think I do in order to feel like a balanced and whole person. 

I'm excited to work to fit in these things once school starts! 

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Around Here

These days. What fun! We try to spend as much time outside as possible. Trying to balance an insanely demanding and busy job with the practice of present parenting is a challenge, for sure, but it's so worth it. Sorry I've been so absent. School starts in 30-ish days! Here's a recent clip from the news.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy One Year, Tate!

Dearest Tate,

Not a single day goes by when I don't stop and think, "How did I get so lucky?" You add so much to our lives. You make the funniest scrunched up faces. Your hair is so curly on the bottom; I can't bear to cut it. We jokingly call you "mullet-on-the-go." You love to point things out to us all the time--airplanes and trucks and dogs. You have the sweetest gap between your front teeth. 

You love to eat but are very opinionated about what we put in front of you. You prefer cheese and avocado (and anything sweet). 

We celebrated your first birthday this past weekend. We just had one family with kids so as not to overwhelm you. The rest were some of the adults who make regular appearances in your life. Henry juiced lemons for lemonade, scooped out avocado for the guacamole, and helped stir the cake. It was a simple and lovely affair. 

You are so loved. We are so lucky. 

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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Garden

Oh, the Garden!

I had such reservations about it because I had quite the black thumb when I lived in Denver. It turns out that automatic irrigation makes all the difference. We are able to set our watering days and times and then forget all about it. The only work I do in the garden is pull out weeds (which is actually quite satisfying to my sense of order). 

We are growing strawberries, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe, tomatoes, bell peppers, and squash--oh my! 

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Intentions for Vacation

Vacation is upon us! It's hard to fully embrace the feeling of "vacation" when I have to get a school open in fewer than 50 days, but it is time for vacation. And we only get to live this wild and precious life once, so I don't want to lose sight of this time. And I am freaked out by the fact that 14 years ago I joined Teach For America and moved to rural Louisiana to teach 3rd grade in a town with only five stoplights. It doesn't seem long ago at all. In 14 more years, Henry will be 17 years old and heading into his senior year of high school. They always say it goes fast; I believe them and I really am trying to savor every last drop (even though I've been whining lately and struggling a bit with how hard it is to have two young children so close in age). 

So, vacation. We are heading to Michigan with Matt's family. Vacations with family are so nice, particularly at this stage in life. Henry and Tate will be thrilled to see Grandma and Papa, and it will be so nice to get a little reprieve. 

I'm a little sad to think about our last trip to Michigan two years ago. I had just found out that the baby I was carrying wasn't developing and I was waiting around for the natural miscarriage to start. It was a hard time, for sure. My heart goes out to those of you who are dealing with something similar. 

I will definitely have to do a little work while I'm gone to keep up with e-mail and make sure everything is moving ahead for the school, but I'll try to keep my work restricted to times when it's easy to multitask (like when everyone else is watching sports or other TV). 

Mainly, I want to relax. I want to talk and reconnect with others, read something super-light (and fit in a few books for work), maybe play Scrabble with Matt which we haven't done in ages, go out to the movies with Matt since we never make time for dates, dance, and play with my boys like there is no tomorrow. 

So excited! 

Do you have any fun travel plans for the summer? 

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