Wednesday, December 17, 2014

See You Next Year!

School gets out on Friday and then I head into two glorious weeks of vacation (hooray for working in the field of education!). I will be taking time off from blogging in order to help minimize the stress of the holidays. The truth is I will probably still be writing blog posts (but scheduling them to run in the new year so I feel like I'm getting ahead). 

My mantra for this year was "Make a clearing." I knew I would need space in my life to accommodate such a huge undertaking of opening a school (while parenting two very young children). As much as I tried to proactively make a clearing in my life, I think my job kind of did it for itself.

I am eager to reflect officially on this year and set my intentions for next year. I am leaning toward a mantra of "balance," but we'll see if I change my mind when I complete my reflection form.

It's hard to believe that another year is coming to a close. We only have one wild and precious life! My wish for all of us is that we use it with intention. 

Share |

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Host a Reflection & Rejuvenation Party

The new year is almost upon us! 

I don't mean to skip ahead--Christmas isn't even here yet--but I find that I have to stay one step ahead during this season in order to minimize my stress. Although I love Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, I especially love the new year. I love the fresh start, the opportunity to reflect on the past year and set intentions for the new year. 

I decided to host the Second Annual Reflect & Rejuvenate Get-Together. I invited some of my closest female friends as well as some people that I hope to get to know better this year. 

The process is simple:
  • We get together for two hours in the afternoon on New Year's Day (just us, no children).
  • I provide light snacks and drinks.
  • I make copies of different a reflection form for people to complete (electronic version, print version). I've also used Andrea's form in the past, and I really like it.
  • I provide old magazines, scissors, glue sticks, and card stock so people can make a visual collage of the kind of year they want to have this year. Here's what my looked like last year.
Last year, it was just three of us, but it was still a lot of fun. This year, it looks like there will be at least 9 of us, so I'm thinking about providing name tags and maybe doing a brief get-to-know-you activity. I just want people to have a chance to introduce themselves and start to feel connected with each other before they delve into such personal work alongside each other. Maybe we'll do the one where you select a penny and then share a major event from the year on the penny. 

I should also think about providing clipboards in case people want to move to the couch area. 

I'm excited! 

Share |

Monday, December 15, 2014

DIY Pants for Kids

Henry's been having a big problem with his pants lately, either that they are too tight around the waist or too loose. We've tried elastic pants and zipper pants, as well as a belt, and our strategies just don't seem to be working. I finally gave in and decided that I want to sew five pairs of pants for Henry to wear to school. 

Our school has a uniform. It's very liberal--the youngest children choose from three different color polo shirts or a school t-shirt, and navy or khaki for bottoms. I decided to go with navy blue corduroy for his winter pants. I ordered five yards of this fabric.

I'm going to use my favorite pattern of all time (pictured above). I used it to sew seersucker pants for Henry a year and a half ago.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Share |

Monday, December 8, 2014

No Time for Blogging

Just a quick post to say: "Sorry, I don't have time to blog this week!" 

Of course there's the usual stuff related to starting a school, but the more exhausting stuff has been:

  • Matt had to travel this past week, which meant I had to assume the role of Solo Parent (my heart goes out to those of you who have to deal with this regularly; it's so, so hard for me!)
  • I came down with a 24-hour bug on Friday afternoon, which left me incapacitated well into Saturday
  • Matt and Henry came down with the 24-hour bug on Sunday, so I had to go into Solo Parent mode again and take on Matt's share of house chores 
Even as I recount some of the hardships I faced this week, I am pushing myself to stay focused on the positive. I have so much to be grateful for. Two healthy children! An amazing life partner! Meaningful work! A supportive family! A healthy body! I am overwhelmed by everything that's going right in my world. It seems silly to waste time focused on the negative when I should instead cultivate gratitude. I'm working on this habit in my life right now. If I start to get annoyed or frustrated or whiny, I'm going to try to push myself to step back and focus--instead--on everything that's going right.

Anyway, I just wanted to check-in and say, "I'll miss you this week!" We are having so much fun with our Christmas Countdown activities each night, as well as our Christmas books. I'm getting started on my holiday cards and trying to finish up my shopping. Right after Thanksgiving, we went to a Christmas tree farm, took a hay ride out into the field, and then sawed down a tree from the field. 

See you next week!

Share |

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

End of Year Purge

We still aren't fully settled into our house (a year and a half later...). But we're close! 

Last year, we took advantaged of the Container Store sale on their closet system. We also paid for them to install it. Even with the sale, it's still an investment, but I highly recommend it if you're working with a limited amount of space. Having closet systems maximizes every crevice, and the Elfa system is incredibly flexible and can adapt over time to meet your changing needs. 

[end of unpaid endorsement!]

I'd like to use the winter break to really go through everything in our house, get it organize, and set up systems for everything to have a permanent spot. I'd like to:
  • Take every.single.thing out of Henry's closet and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of Tate's closet and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of our closet and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of the entryway bookshelf and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of the guest bathroom closet and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of the master bathroom closet and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of the guest bathroom cabinets and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of the master bathroom cabinets and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Shred all the bills and receipts I've been saving unnecessarily
  • Take every.single.thing out of the kitchen pantry and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out of the outdoor closet and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Take every.single.thing out from under the kitchen sink and then purge, organize, and put it all back in
  • Reorganize our napkin drawer

There are also other tasks we need to ask others to take on:
  • Taking care of our wood siding
  • Painting our deck (Matt started the job, but didn't finish it)
And then there are the things I want to do to make our house more lived in:
  • Hang up more artwork
  • Finish decorating the guest bathroom
  • Decorate the master bedroom
  • Decorate our front porch
  • Purchase furniture for the backyard that I've typed out that list, I'm not sure how I feel about devoting my winter break to executing on it. Home organizing is rewarding, but it is not relaxing for me at all. Last weekend I organized the cleaning closet and the refrigerator (not even the freezer!) and that was enough to leave me feeling exhausted. 

I'm also hesitant to take this on in the middle of the holidays, which come with their own kind of exhaustion.

I'm going to have to think about how to accomplish this list. The first step is to print it out and hang it on our whiteboard for increased accountability! 

Share |

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Brainstorming: Writing & Art Center

I'm eager to turn the table in Henry's room into a writing and art center.

In order to best know how to organize the space, I need to think through everything it will contain.

Some of the things I would like to include:

  • Different types of paper: plain white, construction paper, story writing paper, water color paper
  • Envelopes
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Stickers
  • Glue
  • Water colors
  • Paint brushes
  • Stamps
  • Ink pad
  • Scotch tape
  • Washi tape
I've thought about trying to purchase some kind of storage unit to slide under the table. 
The downside of one of these storage units is that I think it would make the room feel more crowded because it would take up more floor space.

We could also go the peg board route.

Or just attach various things to the wall to hold various components, like this one.

Ideas for organizing paper:

I'm inspired by:
I haven't reached any conclusions about this. I need to keep brainstorming! 

Share |

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holiday Countdown

We started a Holiday Countdown calendar a couple years ago, but now that we have young children, I want to add some additional activities that are more relevant to them (while also keeping it simple, since weeknights are already pretty hectic since we try to get everything done in time for a 6:30pm bedtime). Here are some things to add to our list:

  • Drink eggnog
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Visit the Zilker Tree
  • Visit 37th Street lights
  • Visit Christmas house at 1912 Crystal Shores 
  • Go ice-skating (we won't do it this year, but I'll go ahead and make a tag for it for future years)
  • Attend the Cherrywood Art Festival
  • Making bagged lunches and delivering them to homeless people on the street
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Write a letter as a family to reminisce about the year
Supplies we need:
  • Eggnog
  • Hot chocolate
  • Marshmallows
  • Paper bags
  • Bread 
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Bags of chips
  • Water bottles
  • Bags of cookies
  • Graham crackers
  • Candy
I'm looking forward to it!

I'll pay close attention and make sure this stuff doesn't start to feel stressful. That would miss the point entirely! 

Share |

Related Posts with Thumbnails