Friday, November 30, 2012

Preparing for Garden Season

The next garden season is a long, long time away for me. First, we have to get our house built. Then we have to save up money to build raised beds. Then we have to [hopefully] have our second child and go through the difficult transition into infanthood all over again. 

But after all that, I want to be ready. I talked with my friend who works at Urban Harvest in Houston, and she gave me some great advice:
  • Start Small: Of course I wanted to start with many raised beds. She advised me to start with one, get a handle on it, and then expand the garden. I definitely see her logic.
  • Install Drip Irrigation: She explained that garden stores sell drip irrigation kits that come with timers, so you can make your watering more strategic and even easier. 
  • Start with Transplants: Of course I had grand visions of starting from seeds. She talked me back down to reality. I want to start as simply as possible, so that I'll be able to maintain what I start.
So here's my general plan:
  1. Ask for this book for Christmas, so I can learn all about the specifics of gardening in Austin.
  2. Create a master vision for where the raised beds will go at our new house. Even though we'll start small with one or two beds, we'll want to see how they will fit into the larger scheme. 
  3. Create a vision for where to plant fruit trees. We should actually prioritize getting them planted as soon as possible, so we give them more time to grow and produce fruit. We might be able to do this as early as February if a) the north side of our house is nearly finished and further construction won't interfere with the growth of our trees and b) we have enough money to purchase the trees.
  4. Start researching the best fruit trees to purchase. I need to visit The Natural Gardener. In fact, they have a free gardening class coming up in Austin. Let me know if you want to attend together!
  5. Start shopping for rain barrels. I think there might be rebates available for installing rain water collection systems in Austin. I need to investigate this a little further. We would save money if we could get these installed while our house was being built.
  6. Talk with one of my friends to see if she's interested in sharing a garden. She loves gardening but lives in an apartment. Our new house is going to be on her way home from work. She might want to share the costs, work, and harvest. 
  7. Find a good internet tutorial for building raised beds (ooh, this one looks good!) or go back to my All New Square Foot Gardening book. We should try to build one as soon as we move into the house (if there's time before the baby is born). Once the baby is born, I don't want to have any major to-do items hanging over our heads.
  8. Create a planting plan and schedule for Fall 2013! 
I'm very excited to get back into gardening. Matt and I had a big (yet mostly unsuccessful) garden in Denver. When we moved to Houston, we struggled with our overly-shady yard. Now we're in a rental house. I can't wait until we're settled into the house where we will hopefully stay for at least a decade or two. It feels good to slowly--but surely--be working toward our vision. By the way, I loved Nichole's post about building a homestead and putting down roots in a community for the long haul. Matt and I are getting closer and closer to doing this for ourselves.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Making Handmade Wrapping Paper with a Toddler

The Christmas festivities have started at our humble abode! I hung up our Christmas countdown calendar and our "Cherish" bunting. We purchased a potted Christmas tree (which we plan to plant in the backyard of the house we're building after Christmas--which, by the way, we still haven't started because the city is taking FOREVER to get the building permit to us!). 

We've ordered or made most of our Christmas presents and have started wrapping them. A couple weekends ago, Henry and I made our own wrapping paper. Here's how we did it:

  • Paper grocery bags
  • BINGO daubers (we bought three of them at the Dollar Store for $3 plus tax)
  • Scissors
  • Turn each grocery bag into a flat sheet of paper by cutting up the side and cutting out the bottom. 
  • Use the daubers to apply circles in a haphazard and fun way!
Okay, it's really so simple you didn't need me to spell out the directions. Sorry about that. 

A few suggestions for doing this activity with a toddler:
  • Work outside if at all possible and wear old clothes (the paint does splatter).
  • Don't expect perfect circles from a toddler. Henry liked to smear them, stamp incessantly, etc. 
This activity was inspired by Otis's work with stickers. We tried to use stickers to make wrapping paper for Ruby's birthday present, but our stickers didn't like to stay stuck to the brown paper. We had much better luck with the daubers. 

I hope your holiday preparations are merry and bright!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

How to File Paperwork

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to take a second to reflect on the paperwork organization system that I've been trying for the past 12 months.  

The set-up was really simple. I purchased a plastic bin that could accommodate hanging folders. I made a folder for each of the following categories:
  • Bills
  • Consulting records
  • Important records (birth certificates, social security cards, etc.)
  • Hoss
  • Receipts
  • Taxes
  • Cars
  • Henry Medical
  • Medical
  • Financial
  • Insurance
  • Montessori
  • House
  • Matt
We have a separate plastic bin with file folders for warranties, manuals, etc. We have one more bin for our taxes (organized into manilla envelopes with the year written on them). (These things are separate because I already had two smaller bins and didn't want to purchase unnecessary plastic.)

When mail comes in, I open it and process it into three piles:
  • To recycle
  • To shred (e.g., credit card solicitations that could be used for identity theft)
  • To file
Then I take the "To file" pile to my bin and file everything accordingly. I file all bills in one folder (with the most recent at the front) because I rarely have to go back and reference these. I've found that more granular organization is not necessary.

At the end of this year, I'm going to go through each folder and transfer stuff to separate manilla folders that are labeled "Financial 2012," "Insurance 2012," etc. That way, I can keep the manilla envelopes a couple years and then shred them. Here's a good guide for how long to keep paperwork.

If we can keep up with the system, I think it will work well for many years to come. As long as we shred the paperwork that becomes obsolete, we'll make room for the new paperwork, which will make scanning unnecessary.

P.S. I'm trying out a new posting schedule where I post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so I'll see you on Wednesday!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A New Tradition

For the most part, I have completely curbed all frivolous spending at the grocery store (I need to write a post about some of my new strategies for saving money while still purchasing primarily organic). But this past weekend I found myself standing in front of a display at Whole Foods (Henry was eating a piece of their free Kids' Club fruit), longing for a beautiful, handcrafted Christmas ornament. They were $5.99 and proceeds go to an international charity. In particular, I was struck by an ornament that reminded me of Henry's classroom at his Montessori school. It seemed like the perfect way to commemorate this year for him.

I've already decided to start purchasing ornaments when we go on family vacations in order to commemorate our trips together, but I also thought it would be fun to get each child one ornament a year to celebrate something about the year (or to help them make an ornament when they're older). I decided to attach one of these tags to each ornament to label it with the year and a brief explanation. That way, when we unpack our ornaments each year and decorate our tree, we'll get to reminisce. 

I stood--paralyzed with indecision--for a good long time at Whole Foods (Henry was content to chow down on his banana). I wanted to make sure I was okay spending $5.99 in the middle of our major spending hiatus, especially when we need to save our money to spend on gifts for other people and plane tickets to see family for the holidays. I brainstormed ways to make the ornament instead of purchase it, but in the end I decided that I might end up spending close to $6 on supplies and that if I decided to handcraft it, I might not have the motivation to do it this year. My energy is at a premium right now as I go into my third week of being sick and I battle the general exhaustion of the first trimester.

As for Christmas presents, we're working slowly and steadily to acquire them. Ever since reading Kelsey's post about getting an early start on Christmas, we've been following suit. We might as well get our shopping/making done now and save ourselves the stress. Henry and I finished making our own wrapping paper, so we're ready to start wrapping!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Holiday Guests

I'm so excited about the impending holidays. We're staying here for Thanksgiving, and my best friend and his sister (who is also our good friend) are flying in from Florida. They'll arrive on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. On Thursday, we'll trek to Houston for the most delicious dinner at our friend's house. She is the most exquisite vegetarian cook, and we always have the best time with the friends she assembles.

I asked my best friend how he wanted to spend his time during his visit in Austin, and he said he didn't have any preferences. Although I don't want to plan the whole visit myself, I do think it's worth thinking through what our days might look like and creating a list of possibilities to choose from. Otherwise, I can see all of us sitting around indecisively saying, "I'm up for anything. What do you want to do?" 

Henry will basically dictate the general structure of our day since he wakes up at approximately 7am, naps from 12-2pm, and goes to bed at 6:30pm. We'll have the following chunks to fill:
  • Tuesday afternoon/evening
  • Wednesday morning
  • Wednesday afternoon/evening
  • Thursday morning
  • Friday morning
Here are some ideas of fun things to do:
  • Walk around the lake
  • Hike on the greenbelt
  • Go up to the top of Mt. Bonnell
  • Walk to the little farm in our neighborhood to see the llama and goats
  • Make pancakes on an electric griddle outside
  • Browse the vintage shops on South Congress and eat at the food trucks
  • Make dinner together
  • Prepare our contributions for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Go to a local farm for a Christmas tree (are we getting a Christmas tree this year or will we purchase a live one and replant it?)
  • Go to the Alamo Draft House for dinner and a movie (maybe in the evening if we can get a babysitter through the co-op?)
  • Play board games
  • Make some kind of holiday craft? Like make-your-own-stamp and then write notes to friends on little cards? Or origami paper crane Christmas tree ornaments that we write wishes on?
  • Visit the Austin Zoo Sanctuary
  • Visit the Boggy Creek Farm stand
If we eat out, some fun experiences might be:
  • Chuy's for Tex-Mex on the patio
  • Abel's on the Lake for a beautiful view of Lake Travis
  • Mandola's for delicious bread and bocce ball
  • Eastside Cafe for healthy food and a visit to the garden/chickens
  • Kirby Lane for a classic breakfast experience
What kind of food should we have on hand for breakfasts? Maybe ingredients for one or two of the following:
  • Oatmeal (with dried cherries and pumpkin seeds)
  • Green smoothies (yogurt + spinach + frozen mango + banana)
  • Egg sandwiches on whole wheat English muffins with cheese (you can cook an egg in the microwave by cracking it into a bowl that's been sprayed with a little oil, covering it with a dishtowel or papertowel, and cooking it for 1 minute)
It's interesting to see how are traditions are changing over time. Andy and I used to travel to exotic locations during our Thanksgiving Break (like Costa Rica!). Although I miss those kind of adventures, I also look forward to more grounded and calm time with friends. I look forward to good company and conversations!

P.S. Today's post on 2000 Dollar Wedding is a reflection on creating our own lives on our own terms. 

Photo of my best friend and me during our adventures in Costa Rica six years ago (ziplining!)

P.S.: Purposeful Conception: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy started today. There's still time to join us. Register today! We'd love to get to know you better!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

DIY Toddler Apron

I've been meaning to share this apron for a while now. It took me forever to get around to making it, but I'm glad I finally did. One of the things Kylie wrote about in her sections of Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes That Build Independence and Confidence the Montessori Way was the importance of having aprons for separate tasks. They help define the task, and they provide another opportunity to practice independence.

Meg of Sew Liberated shared an awesome apron pattern for young children in a Montessori environment. It's specifically designed to honor the young child's need for independence. The neck has elastic built into it, so it can stretch over their (big) heads and then automatically tighten up around their necks without any adult intervention. The strap around the waist fastens with velcro on the front of the apron--again so the child can manage it themselves with minimal adult support. Being able to do things for themselves cultivates their confidence, and it's exactly what they need developmentally. Many of the tantrums that toddlers throw stem from their desire to assert their own will. The more opportunities we give them to be independent and do things for themselves, the more they fulfill their own needs and exhibit contentment. 

I didn't follow Meg's pattern exactly; I studied it and just improvised it (I was too lazy to print it and make the adjustments to Henry's size). Henry and I had more fun sewing together this time. I slowed down and lowered my expectations related to how quickly I could get the project done. We stretched it over several days. The project replaced our park time because all of us were under the weather for a while. Henry had the most fun picking the fabric out of our stash and putting the pins back into the container very carefully (and picking them up off the ground when he spilled them).

If you're looking for a holiday present for a young child or someone with a young child, I highly recommend pairing Kids in the Kitchen with something from Montessori Services. For example, the following gifts would be about $25:
Henry has and uses the wooden spoon, whisk, and vegetable chopper. We highly recommend all of them! As a reminder, all proceeds from this book go to the non-profit organization, Montessori For All

REMINDER: The next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy starts Monday. Register today! We'd love to have you join us!

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Tour Pondering

Friends, thank you so much for your outpouring of support in response to this request for help with my DIY, budget book tour. I know it's a lot to ask. I try to only ask things of people that I would be willing to do in return (for example, I tried to get Meg to do a book tour stop in Houston with the promise of a homemade wedding cake). 

I've had so much fun meeting kindred spirits over the years, such as Kelsey, Meghan, Kelly, Jennie, Sarah, Monja--and more! That's the real appeal of a book tour--meeting more of you. Book tours are increasingly outdated as a publicizing strategy in this digital age. 

I considered every single city that you offered up (even the tiny ones!). I flipped between the comments on that post and Kayak. I searched prices for January/February/March. Based on my preliminary search, it looks like the top contenders are Denver ($142!) and Portland ($255). If I do both of those stops, I would have to leave Matt and Henry behind, since we couldn't afford all those tickets. I'm thinking I would do:
  • Denver
  • Portland
  • Houston
  • Austin
  • Maybe Baton Rouge or New Orleans
I just wanted to keep you updated. I need to talk more with my publicist before making any decisions. If you're interested, you can read today's post over at 2000 Dollar Wedding about holding the book in my hands for the first time. Craziness!

REMINDER: The next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy starts Monday. Register today! We'd love to have you join us!

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Monday, November 12, 2012

Register Now: Purposeful Conception!

I've had two requests in the past two weeks to run another course about preparing your mind, body, and life for pregnancy, and that's enough motivation for me. I honestly feel like I'm living my best life when I'm traveling the path of healthy living--physically, emotionally, and mentally--with other kindred spirits. 

Here's some feedback from the last course:
"This course has done just what I hoped it would do - give me and my husband a framework of questions, exercises, and preparations for us to consider before starting a family. As a result, preparing for conception seems less learn-as-you-go, and much more of an intentional journey. Having a plan to work from will be so reassuring!"

"For me, [the lessons] were all helpful. Mainly because they helped me examine where we are in our journey and see that we're already doing so much right. If I'd taken this course four years ago, my answers and responses would have been so much different and I would have seen how far we had to go before being ready. I hadn't realized how much we've grown and how much of it has happened organically as a result of our conception taking so long....I feel so much more confident that we are READY!"

"Thank you so much for putting together this course and for all the support."
For those of you who are thinking about conception or are actively trying, this online course is for you! From November 19 through December 14, a new lesson will be uploaded each weekday. The lessons will address a comprehensive range of topics, such as preparing your body through solid nutrition and exercise, finding balance between what you can and cannot control, making space in your life for pregnancy, deciding whether to track your cycle, building a solid partnership as a foundation for your future family, and much, much more. As a participant in the course, you'll receive information, tips, reflection exercises and prompts, and a community of like-minded kindred spirits who are on a journey similar to your own.

The course doesn't presume that doing x, y, and z will lead to pregnancy. Instead, the idea is to focus on the things we can control in order to create a solid foundation (e.g., nutrition, stress levels, relationships, finances, etc.) and to make peace with the things we cannot control about the process.
I want to be upfront that I am not a healthcare professional. I simply spent a very long time researching and preparing myself for conception. This course is a compilation of all that information in one convenient and concise place--alongside information I did not find in any of the books.

Interested in learning more? Visit the Course Overview or About the Author. The total cost is $99 USD. Register Now! Or e-mail me with more questions. Happy Conceiving!


Please consider spreading the word by sharing this post via the buttons at the bottom of the post (especially the Facebook "like" button) or by reposting the information on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thank you so, so much for your support!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Babysitting Co-Op Revisited

It's been more than 10 months since we made the move from Houston to Austin. Some people said it would take about six months to adjust; others said it would take about two years. Honestly, I think it's both. I think it took six months to feel settled and comfortable; I think it will be two years before Austin really feels like home. 

One of the things we left behind in Houston was our amazing babysitting co-op. Since Matt and I don't have family and town--nor do we have extra money to hire babysitters--we are left to barter babysitting (which I honestly don't mind one bit). I love having Henry's friends over to play.

I've been reluctant to get a co-op going because we'll be moving to a completely different part of town in half a year or so, and I've been thinking a lot about how to minimize our driving. But I finally couldn't wait any longer. I reached out to two acquaintances in the neighborhood, and one of them was very interested in the co-op idea. We're going to follow the same set-up as the co-op in Houston: 
  1. Everyone who wants to participate begins with three tokens. Each token is worth one hour of babysitting.
  2. You contact people in the co-op individually or through the list to find a babysitter
  3. You drop off your child at the agreed-upon time at the babysitter's house, and pick them up at the agreed-upon time as well.
  4. You agree to the following norms:
    -Babysitting can only be done in one-hour increments. 15 minutes or less can be rounded down, but 16 minutes and above must be rounded up and payor must pay an extra hour.
    -All babysitting is done at the babysitter's home.
    -The clock begins at the scheduled time of arrival, regardless of whether the child is dropped off late.
    -Babysitting appointments must be cancelled with 24 hours notice or else payment is still required.
For "tokens," we are simply printing out the norms on 2.5" x 1" cardstock. Then we are putting a piece of magnetic tape (from a roll) on the back. That way, people can keep their "tokens" on the refrigerator for safe keeping.

On my post about marriage after baby, Carrie commented about the importance of spending time along with your partner (away from the children) as a way to keep your marriage strong and vital. I absolutely agree with the idea; we've just had trouble implementing it. 

I'm hoping the new co-op works as well as the old one!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Montessori Holiday Presents

As the holidays approach, I've had a couple requests to talk about how we communicate to others about what kind of toys we prefer for Henry. It's a delicate situation, for sure. It's difficult to sound sufficiently and authentically grateful for others' generosity while simultaneously saying, "We prefer not to have plastic or battery-powered toys." We're lucky because our families ask for lists of things. When I gave them the list last year (see below), I tried to include a range from very specific items to general brands and/or stores that tend to sell more natural things.

Hi All,

I hope this message finds you well!

Matt and I have been thinking a lot about Henry's first Christmas, which is right around the corner! We're ecstatic that we're going to get to see both sides of the family. He's growing so much and we don't want you to miss anything.

If you need/want some gift ideas, here are a few links that might be helpful (I apologize that I just got around to sending this and it's almost December!):
  • Object permanence boxes are interesting for babies
  • This box with pull down drawers looks fun
  • This catalog has lots of kid-sized things that children can use to participate in family life, such as things to use in the kitchen, garden, etc. He'll be doing a lot of that once he hits the 15-month mark
  • Haba toys (available on Amazon) are beautiful wooden toys
  • Plan toys (available on Amazon) are also beautiful wooden toys
  • The Wooden Wagon has some beautiful wooden toys
  • I love this beautiful marble run
  • Nova Natural is also a good site
In Montessori environments, we try to use toys made from natural materials instead of plastic and prefer simple toys to over-stimulating ones.

We're also socking away money for his college fund, so you could always give him an empty box with tissue paper and donate to the fund instead!

The biggest gift of all is going to be playing with all of you! He loves to blow raspberries on bare stomachs, so beware! (And he will lift your shirt to expose your stomach...)

Biggest hugs,


This year, I want to try to think ahead to generate a list of the major things he might need from 2-3 years old. He already got a bike from one of his grandmas as an early Christmas present (which will be his only Christmas present from her). What else might he enjoy in the upcoming year?
It seems like the major categories are: art, music, gardening/outside, woodworking, toys, and cooking.

Wow. Thinking through all of this makes me dwell in possibility about what our life should be like as Henry continues to grow. It feels like our time at home should be filled with practical and creative pursuits: gardening, looking for bugs, watering plants, sweeping, collecting dried leaves for the compost, hanging dishtowels up to dry, fixing things around the house, building things, drawing, painting, sewing, reading, cooking, baking, canning--the list goes on!

And yet this is not what my life is like right now. My free time is mainly spent in front of the computer: blogging, running e-courses, responding to e-mail, and doing my professional work on the computer. I don't feel like my current priorities compromise Henry's childhood. I mainly do these things while he's napping (from 12-2pm) and after he goes to bed (from 6:30-9:30pm).

When his nap goes away and his bed time gets later, I'll need to figure out how to spend less time in front of the computer and more time living my life alongside Henry. I'm looking forward to it!

What else should I put on his list for year 2-3?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Budget Update

As many of you know, Matt and I had to kick our saving into high gear in order to move forward with building a house. We revised our monthly budget and have had to work really hard to live within it each month, so that we can bank my entire part-time salary. 

At first, the adjustment was really stressful. I was very bought into the plan. While Matt supported the plan, he had a lot more difficulty implementing the plan (primarily because it meant eating out less). Once we adjusted to the differences, however, it's really been a lot easier. We eat out twice a week (spending less than $20 for all of us at each meal). It's still a lot of money to spend on eating out, but it's a compromise between how much Matt wants to eat versus how much I want to eat out.

I'm happy to report that it's actually working! We've been banking my part-time salary for several months now. Also, when extra money pops up (e.g., Matt's bonus for the year or a reimbursement check from work), we try to put it into other categories (such as Baby #2 and furniture for the new house).

The one area for concern is our personal allowances. Our personal allowances are comprised of Christmas and birthday money from family, as well as monthly deposits (which have ranged from $35-$60 this year). Now that we've essentially cut out all frivolous spending from our budget (except eating out twice a week), it means that we use our personal allowances a lot more. We used them to buy Henry some new things for the kitchen. Matt uses his to buy candy at the convenience store. I sometimes pay for things for the school. 

After tapping into our personal allowances a lot more the past couple months, I am now down to $50, and Matt is at $1 for the rest of November. His birthday is November 22, so hopefully he'll be able to build it up a little! Having the extra cushion of our allowances has been nice to help alleviate the constricted feeling that can come from living within a budget. We'll see how the next couple months go without those extra little cushions!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

November: Reflection & Rejuvenation

On the one hand, I can't believe the year is almost over, but, on the other hand, we still have 1/6th of the year left. That's not too shabby. 

Still, these two months tend to blur by. I want to stay ahead of everything that the season requires. 

Let's see how I did with last month's intentions:
  • Get my car's oil changed. I know this seems like minutiae and is hardly worthy of being listed as a goal for the month, but I need the accountability to get it done. Um, no. But I'm going to do it tomorrow, okay?
  • Be patient while we wait to see whether or not we successfully conceived during this cycle. Yes! My mantras helped a lot. And it turns out that I'm pregnant. I'm still in happy shock. Being pregnant after a miscarriage is a whole different ballgame for me. As optimistic as I try to be, I can't help but doubt the pregnancy nearly every single day. How come I don't feel more queasy? How come I'm not peeing more in the night? I've been reluctant to monitor the pregnancy by getting multiple blood tests done (to make sure my hCG is doubling nearly every day) for a couple reasons. First, I'm reluctant to fork over all the co-pays while we are on a super-strict budget. And, two, I have many other things to be doing and focusing on instead of trekking to the doctor. Really, I think I need to turn this topic into its own post.
  • Finish Purposeful Parenthood. I made some good progress, but I wasn't able to finish it.
  • Brainstorm Matt's birthday present. Yes! But I can't reveal it because it might get back to Matt.
  • Build our Christmas lists for family members. Oops.
  • Work on publicity plans for my book, A Priceless Wedding: Crafting a Meaningful, Memorable, and Affordable Celebration. A little bit. Thank you so much for your offers of support!
  • Publicize Kids in the Kitchen: Simple Recipes That Build Confidence and Independence the Montessori Way. Yep!
  • Read for fun and relaxation before bed each night (I hope to participate in this month's book club focused on Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs). Yep! I really enjoyed reading Wild, a memoir about a woman who hikes the Pacific Coast Trail to reconnect with herself.
  • Get started on the construction of our house! The appraiser considered the additional information we submitted and agreed to raise the appraisal another $10,000. It puts us close enough to make it work. We are so, so close. We closed on our construction loan. Now we are just waiting for the building permit to come back from the city. 
Extra things I accomplished:
  • Planned a play date at the park for families interested in the school.
  • Went to 17 meetings related to opening the school!
  • Planned an executed an event for community and educational leaders to learn more about our vision for the school.
  • Organized our craft room.
I struggled to accomplish all my goals for two main reasons this month: 
  1. The first trimester always knocks me on my butt. I'm napping for about an hour and a half every day. In the evenings, I'm not motivated to do any work. This month, I'm going to continue letting myself nap for so long, but I'm going to work harder at mustering motivation in the evenings. Henry goes to bed at 6:30, so even if I work for an hour or two, I still have time for relaxation before bed.
  2. I haven't been dutifully preparing my action plan at the start of every week. When I sit down to plan my week, I need to look back at my monthly goals and schedule in time to work on things. No excuses
So, this month. Let's see:
  • Continue to nurture the life growing inside me: daily naps, walks four times a week, solid nutrition, intentional stress release.
  • Select a midwife for a homebirth.
  • Get a lot of our Christmas shopping done. 
  • Select a partner for 2000 Dollar Wedding.
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving break with my best friend (and make homemade pumpkin empanadas with cilantro mint dipping sauce).
  • Make significant progress on finishing the charter application.
I know November is going to fly by, so I will stop there!

Photo Courtesy of the Nikki McClure Calendar

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dear Henry Jones: Halloween #2

I was able to keep up with the "living, breathing scrapbook" idea for Henry's first year. Once we hit the second year, I moved more toward the electronic version (i.e., sending notes, photos, and videos to a special e-mail account for him). I didn't think he'd want a binder for every year of his life. However, I might consider making him a book of photos each year. Or maybe some kind of electronic slideshow. I'm not sure. For now, I still like to capture notes and send them to him. Here's the most recent one from yesterday:

Dearest Henry Jones:

What a fun second Halloween! This year you dressed up like your second favorite fruit: a strawberry. I thought your first favorite fruit (grapes) would be too uncomfortable. You helped me sew the strawberry costume a little bit, although you made me nervous because you didn't want to try it on at all once we were finished. 

However, on Halloween itself, you totally pulled through! In fact, you didn't want to take off your costume. Every time we had to slip it off to get you in your carseat, you protested. First we went to the grocery store for early voting. You helped your dad cast his vote for Barack Obama. Then we went to another grocery store--Whole Foods--to "trick-or-treat" around the store. They had stations set up all around. You carried a little canvas bag with you to collect all the goodies they were doling out. We finished up the evening with some pizza on the outside patio. 

You are such a little joy to be around, dear Henry. You say "ya" to nearly every question we ask right now. You're so good at saying "please" and "thank you." You are such a sweet boy. Thank you for being a major treat in our lives. 

With love,

Mama + Dada

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