Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Countdown: Activities!

I don't mean to be one of those annoying Pinterest-y mothers talking about the perfect Christmas activities, but we are having a lot of fun with our countdown calendar. 

The boys especially love the activities related to food, such as drinking eggnog, making gingerbread houses, and making hot chocolate. They are excited when we get home from school and select an activity.

Here's our full list of things we choose from:
  • Drink eggnog
  • Drink hot chocolate
  • Visit the Zilker Tree
  • Visit 37th Street lights
  • Visit Christmas house at 1912 Crystal Shores 
  • Go ice-skating 
  • Attend the Cherrywood Art Festival
  • Make bagged lunches and deliver them to homeless people on the street
  • Make a gingerbread house
  • Write a letter as a family to reminisce about the year
  • Make handmade holiday stamps
  • Make gift-tags and cards
  • Cut down an evergreen tree (or buy a potted one and plant it after Christmas)
  • Decorate the tree
  • Make origami paper cranes
  • Wrap presents
  • Write little notes to colleagues and neighbors
  • Make baked goods for colleagues and neighbors
  • Deliver baked goods and notes
  • Decorate the house
  • Write cards to family
  • Make felt balls
  • Watch a holiday movie
  • Have a pillow picnic under the tree
  • Ride bikes around the neighborhood to look at lights
  • Cut out snowflakes
  • Write a love letter
  • Collect branches and pine cones and spray paint them for decoration
  • Dance to holiday music
  • Read a book about Kwanzaa
  • Read a book about Hanukkah
  • Cover the house in candles
  • Hang mistletoe and kiss
  • Make a list of what we're thankful for
I reduce the stress by keeping a standard lift of Christmas ingredients I need within our Meal Plan document. Then I check that box and the ingredients automatically get added to my list!

JOIN US!: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on January 16Register today! We'd love to have you join us!

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Monday, December 19, 2016

Dismantling Racism: Watch 13th!

The anti-bias, anti-racist committee at our school hosted a showing of the film, 13th. It's an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality. 

I highly recommend it! Very difficult to watch, but incredibly important. 

Also, this post about white supremacy culture is a lot to take in. I'm still processing it (and will be for a while). 

JOIN US!: Registration is now open for the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy, which starts on January 16Register today! We'd love to have you join us!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It Happened Again: 5-Minute Fix

Okay. This time it took more than five minutes, but the amount of time it took to fix (one trip to IKEA + ~10 minute of potting + ~10 minutes of arranging) pales in comparison to the amount of time I have spent feeling stressed about the entryway of our home. 

I wish I weren't someone who cared so much about the aesthetics of my surroundings, but I do. It's as if my mind is a permeable membrane that is absorbing the chaos (or the beauty) of whatever is around me. 

I just wish I were motivated to fix the areas that bug me instead of letting them stress me out for months (or even years). 

It happened here, here, and here.

Instead of berating myself, I should just ask, "So what's bothering you and what can you quickly fix?"
  1. Matt and I are actually in the middle of planning a big change; we are consolidating Henry and Tate into one room and then turning the extra room into a guess room and an office. 
  2. We need to reorganize our outdoor closet. 
  3. We need to use OxyClean on our outdoor cushions. 
Okay, I need to stop there before the list becomes stressful. I'm looking forward to Winter Break when I get get a lot of these projects done! 

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Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Gift Ideas

Here are some of the things I've put out into the world. They might make unique gift if you are still looking for ideas!

For Friends or Family Who Are Engaged
  • A book about how to plan a meaningful and memorable wedding without losing your savings or your sanity

For Toddlers
  • A simple, step-by-step cookbook for the youngest child (and the families who want to learn how to set up the kitchen in a child-friendly way). You can pair it with this first knife! Be sure to read the reviews first--some people find it too simple and short.
For Young Children

For Women Who Are Preparing for Conception

For Parents Who Want to Reflect on Their Parenting

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Illness that Will Mark Our Era

“‘People are now constantly connected to computers and machines, and this is changing the way we think,’ he said. ‘People just cannot make sense of what is happening. There is no respite. The world is going to go faster and faster in this regard.’

‘In the nineteenth century the biggest threat to humanity was pneumonia,’ he continued. ‘In the twentieth century it was cancer. The illness that will mark our era, and particularly the start of the twenty-first century, is insanity. Or, we can say, spiritual disease.’ He paused. ‘This next century is going to be especially turbulent. It has already begun. And when I say ‘insanity’ and ‘spiritual disease,’ I don’t only mean inside the minds of individuals. Politics, military, economics, education, culture, and medicine—all these will be affected.’”

This idea resonates with me even more these days. I feel bombarded with news and ideas, and it makes me shut down. It scares me because we are entering a time when we need to be more vigilant, not less vigilant, and yet I feel overloaded. I need to spend more time thinking about this.

Image courtesy my life partner

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A New Phase in Parenting: Travel Booster Seats

Our family is entering a new phase in our parenting: Instead of lugging our giant carseats around the airport (using our double stroller) and needing to stop and check them at the counter, we are now making the switch to using these inflatable booster seats for traveling. These things deflate and fit into a tiny bag that can be packed in the boys' carry-on luggage.

We are now a family with just carry-on luggage. What?!?

Don't get me wrong: I am all-too-aware of how fast our boys are going to grow up and how painful it's going to be when they leave the house. I try to savor every last moment as much as I can (but parenting is really, really hard!). But I'm not going to lie that it feels totally liberating to not have to schlep so much stuff to the airport for a vacation. 

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Monday, December 5, 2016

What Do We Do Now?

I'm embarrassed that my last post--first thing in the morning on the day after the election--was about food sensitivity testing. That's not at all what I was thinking about at that time. I had written the post the weekend prior and scheduled it to run on Wednesday without connecting the dots about what day Wednesday was. 

I am feeling too many things. I don't even know how to process them all in this space. I've had o step away for a very long time to deal with my grief privately.

Sometimes bullet points help me when I'm feeling blocked:
  • I am ashamed that I had my head in the sand about what was coming. I live within an "echo chamber," in which I get my news from very like-minded people. I was blindsided.
  • Racism and xenophobia and misogyny and homophobia and ableism are even more pervasive in the U.S. than I thought. I knew it was bad, but I didn't think it was half-the-population bad.
  • After the fact, I now understand why some people voted for Trump. When your own basic needs are not being met, it's really hard to have empathy for others or to prioritize the needs of others above your own (even though the needs of others are ultimately connected to your own needs). 
  • But I also want to be clear that a vote for Trump was a vote that sanctioned and emboldened racism and xenophobia and misogyny and homophobia in this country. 
  • None of this is "politics as usual." It's not time to keep quiet about whom we voted for because of what etiquette says. This is not an example of republicans v. democrats or conservatives v. liberals. This is more evidence that our country is a "domination" society as opposed to a "partnership" society. People are legitimately scared and vulnerable in our country right now. 
So how do we move forward? What do we do? 

This is where I thank my lucky stars that I am a Montessorian and that my life's work is to help as many children and families as possible have access to Montessori schools. The Montessori method is literally designed as "education for peace" in so many ways. Montessori disrupts the conventional model that perpetuates the "dominator/dominated" relationship between adults and children. When children grow up in a "command and control" environment, they are likely to become dominators themselves as soon as they have a modicum of power. 

I am also so thankful that Montessori For All is intentionally committed to building racially, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse schools. We need our children to learn how to navigate and appreciate lines of difference and to become leaders in a multicultural world. 

But my life's work is the long-game. What do I do right now? I think I need to do more to be an ally to the people in Austin who are the most vulnerable. Acts of violence and white supremacist sentiments are anecdotally on the rise. I need to attend local meetings with social justice groups and continue the anti-racist, anti-bias work that we have going on at our school right now.

Even as I prepare to post this message, I'm feeling like it's so incomplete. But I can't not say anything. And I can't go on posting about the trivialities of my life if I haven't said at least something--no matter how incomplete my thoughts are.

Sending well wishes your way,


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