Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Henry has been really interested in money lately. He really, really wants quarters for candy machines around town. We choose not to give him quarters on the spot and instead tell him that he can remember to bring quarters from his piggy bank (he solves this problem by turning the knobs anyway--it works more often than you think it would!--and finding stray candy on the ground and putting it in his mouth before we can stop him--it builds his immune system, right?).
- Small Change: to spend on small, quick things (candy, cheap toys, etc.)
- Saving Up: to put aside for a larger purchase that takes a little time to save for
- Sharing: to give away
- Car: to save up for a car when he turns 16 (we will pay for his insurance and maintenance, but he will have to buy the car and pay for gas)
- College: to go toward his college savings account (we are saving for this, too, but we want him to have the awareness that it takes money)
- Small Change = 1 part
- Saving Up = 3 parts
- Sharing = 1 part
- Car = 3 parts
- College = 2 parts
Monday, December 16, 2013
- Get my organization system into a rock solid place. In order to maximize my time, I'm going to have to always focus on the most important priority. I need to have a clear sense of what needs to get done between now and the start of school, and I need to generate a timeline for getting it done.
- Plan ahead as much as possible. Working in schools is largely a game of execution; you're always responding to situations that pop up. But the more time you have for planning upfront (and the more time you allocate for planning while executing), the more you can anticipate and prevent certain things. This means I can't get into the habit of going to bed early or watching TV on weekdays. I know it sounds draconian to say, but it's true. There is so much work to get done between now and the start of school in August. If I choose to relax now, then I will pay the price later. It's a delicate balance for sure. I recently had a baby and I deserve rest. And without adequate rest, I won't be able to work effectively. But if I don't get my work done now, then it will pile up and have to get done later (while I'm also trying to respond to things that are happening in the moment).
- Make exercise more efficient. Right now, we're heading to the lake so I can run on Saturday and Sunday. I love being outside in nature (which is why I'm trying to exercise outside), but I think there are more efficient ways to meet all my needs. If I run on the treadmill at the local YMCA, then I'll have more time for other things. When we have lots of free time as a family, that's when we can head into nature.
- Get a robot vacuum. With a bloodhound and two children, our house needs constant vacuuming. I actually hardly ever vacuum, but asking for one of those robot things for Christmas would free up some of Matt's time.
- Hire a cleaning person. This is the hardest one for me. I've always had a problem with outsourcing basic human things. I think it's incredibly important for me to slow down and take care of my physical environment. I also think it's incredibly important to model for my children (and invite them to join in). Matt and I intentionally choose to live in a smaller house so that there is less to clean. But we're getting to a place where we feel stretched thin all the time. If we hired a cleaning person every other week (and paid him/her a good wage to honor their time/energy), I think we would still have plenty to clean on a weekly basis, but we wouldn't have to worry about bigger things: bathrooms, dusting, windows, baseboards.
- Give myself permission to drop down to two blog posts a week. I try to be pretty consistent with three postings a week, and I'm hesitant to reduce that number because I enjoy writing in this space so much. But it might take some pressure off to aim for 2-3 times a week versus a solid three.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Yes, it's that time of year already. It takes me a while to come up with my intentions for the year, so I need to start thinking about it early. I also need to figure out what my process will be for reflecting on the year.
- Flip through my electronic calendar to complete the calendar template from this year: What kind of year did I have? What do I want to celebrate from the year? What do I hope to do differently next time? What did I accomplish? What did I let fall by the wayside? Is there anything I need to do before declaring this year complete?
- Review my past forms to remind myself about my trajectory: How was this year similar to and different from years past?
- What kind of year do I want to have this year? What do I want to make more time for? In what areas do I want to grow? What do I want to accomplish? What do I want to maintain?
- What are my specific intentions for the year?
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
But then as we watched the babies, my boy flipped onto his tummy and proceeded to circle around the floor, grabbing any toys that caught his fancy, exploring and discovering. The other two babies just sat there playing with the toys their mothers handed them. The striking thing was that they didn’t even reach for new toys. Maybe they had learned already that if they tried to reach something they would just fall over. Or perhaps the thought of reaching for something they wanted hadn’t even occurred to them, since their mothers always handed them toys.
Labels: Montessori Method
Monday, December 9, 2013
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Matt and I have lived in a variety of homes. Our first one in Denver was a tiny little thing. It was tiny to the point of uncomfortable. Our bed had to be pushed against the wall, which meant that one of us was always climbing over the other person.
The house we bought in Houston was approximately 1,000 square feet with an attic but no garage. We stored our lawn mower and chicken food in the laundry closet, and every space had to serve multiple functions. We had two bedrooms and one bathroom, a tiny dining room that could only accommodate a table for four, and a tiny living room.
When we moved to Austin, our rental house was a huge 1950s ranch. It had a two-car garage and closet after closet.
When it came time to design our long-term family home, we wanted something in between. We honestly couldn't afford to build a garage, which we were okay with, since our past garages seemed to attract junk. We put as much extra storage space as possible inside the house, in the form of linen closets and even some "attic" space above the bedroom closets. Although I'm nervous about how our house will feel as the boys grow and take up more space, I'm happy with our amount of storage space. I like that we have to be strategic with the items that we own.
For example, a friend of ours just gave us a new cutting board for a housewarming present. We currently have a giant one and a tiny one. With the addition of this new cutting board, we decided to donate the tiny one. We have a basket that we use as a dedicated donation basket where we collect things that we want to donate to Goodwill. Once it gets full, we set it by the front door and Matt usually takes it. Having this kind of system helps remind us to declutter. I think it can be really easy to let things accumulate over the years. Old things can get buried under new things to the point where you forget that the old things are even there.
I'm especially feeling frustrated by my inability to keep up with Henry and Tate's clothing and toys right now. Because our closets lack any organization, it's difficult to rotate out clothing that gets too small and rotate in new clothing. I want to hurry and get closet systems installed so it's easier to access bins of clothing and toys.
One project at a time!
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Labels: Dwelling in Possibility
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
- Introduce foods as soon as he shows an interest of bringing things to his mouth (~4 months)
- Introduce a variety of foods quickly--all sorts of fruits and vegetables
- Make interesting foods as soon as possible, such as green beans with mint
- Make baby food from scratch because it tends to be chunkier and better preparation for eating
- Avoid relying on convenience baby foods, like pouches
- Accelerate to foods with more texture earlier than the average American book recommends
- Graduate to real foods as quickly as possible
- Never make a separate "kids meal"
- Share our food at restaurants rather than ordering off the kids' menu
- Never force him to eat anything and be okay if he chooses not to eat (and don't offer him something else beyond what's on the table)
- Introduce sugary food around the year mark but use it to teach moderation
- Serve his food on ceramic plates with real forks and spoons from the very beginning
- Limit snacks to mid-morning and mid-afternoon--try to avoid snacks while driving, walking in the stroller, etc.
- Push the high-chair right up to the table during family meals
- Serve snacks at a child-sized weaning table
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Pepper jack cheese
- Cheddar cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Colby jack cheese
- Rice cakes
- Pita bread
- Snap peas
Labels: In the Kitchen
Monday, November 18, 2013
For me, when it comes to making a change in my life, my first step is usually to be clear about what I want to change. I did that a couple weeks ago in this post when I wrote about wanting to eat healthier foods and get more exercise.
- How Do You Roll for edamame, miso soup, and sushi
- Chipotle for a salad bowl
- Mother's Cafe for a veggie burger and salad
- Greek food
- Lavaca Teppon for grilled tofu, vegetables, and rice
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
- Hands-on Memory game
- Book about building with children
- Hammering shapes
- Bongo drums
- Hoot Owl Hoot board game
- Candyland board game
- Dump truck
- Annual pass to the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary
- Slide whistle
- Push broom
- Flywheel Powered zeCar
- Giant farm puzzle
- Giant fire truck puzzle
- Car carrier
- Take apart airplane
- Bubble wands
- Bird feeder
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
- Get stairs built off the deck (right now it's completely enclosed, which means we can only access the backyard by going out the front and around--very annoying when trying to let the bloodhound out!)
- Landscape the front yard (right now it's just a big mud pit, which means we are constantly bringing in large amounts of dirt)
- Add iron railings to the front deck (this was part of the original plan but we ran out of money so it had to be postponed)
- Purchase a door mat
- Purchase pillows for the couch
- Install curtains
- Hang something above the couch
- Install spice racks
- Organize junk drawer
- Organize utensil drawer
- Install Tate's closet
- Install outdoor closet
- Plan bathroom closets
- Fix window
- Fix dry wall
- Replace dead plants
- Took out everything and organized it into groups of like items. During that process, I purged a couple of things that were repeats.
- I laid everything out on the counter in groups to create a draft arrangement.
- I used these drawer dividers from The Container Store to create different compartments.
- I used my label maker to label each section in order to make maintaining the system easier.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
We cannot get enough of you. Seriously, you are the softest, sweetest little thing.
What a month! You started by rolling over, back to front. We were having a play date one day, and you suddenly just rolled over. No struggle, no practice--you just rolled over. Now when I try to put you under one of your hanging toys, it captures your attention for about two minutes before you are already flipping over! I had to start putting out the bell and ball cylinder because you are eager to scoot toward things, grab them, and put them in your mouth.
Toward the end of the month, you mastered rolling from stomach to back. You lead with your head and then look startled when you flip over.
We continue to have so much fun with you. You love listening to the books we read, and you laugh when you are tickled. You were such a good sport when we dressed you up in a strongman costume for Halloween and painted a mustache and big eyebrows on your face. Henry loves going under tents with you (we get on his bed and pull his comforter over our heads). You try to eat the tent.
Your dad and I remembered the meaning of your name this month: cheerful. Yes, that is exactly right. You are cheerful and sweet and just generally fun to be around.
I thank the Universe nearly every day for the opportunity to be your mother.
Monday, November 4, 2013
And with that, the year is almost to a close. I haven't done my monthly goal posts since Tate's arrival. I think my overarching goal has been to put my head down and get through it! It's been a year of big things: Baby Tate! The House! The School! I wish I had time to just sit back and let it sink in. But there's been so much to do since July. I was back at work meetings just two weeks after Tate's arrival (my mom was in town and able to watch Tate and Matt was still on paternity leave).
Monday, October 28, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
I've been trying to decide what to do for Halloween. I posted on our neighborhood list-serv to get a sense of what our neighborhood is like, and it sounds like it's a lot of dark houses and not a lot of trick-or-treaters.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I had the great fortune of taking a Montessori parenting class with Sarah Moudry (the mom featured within my all-time favorite Montessori video, Edison's Day). We started when Henry was five weeks-old, and it was amazing to have her as a resource to answer my questions and provide guidance. Although I haven't read it yet, I bet there's some useful information in her book about toilet learning.
Labels: Montessori Environments