Tuesday, March 27, 2018

March Madness

What a whirlwind! There is such a pattern in my life: Whenever I get myself too busy, I end up feeling unhappy and less resilient. 

I knew March was going to be rough! 

But that’s okay. I want to look forward, not backward. And I want to celebrate the positive! Our Spring Break was truly packed with some awesome quality time together and some incredible memories. Here’s a video that highlights only the positive (just know there are always lots of negatives when it comes to parenting two young children!):

I’m eager to get back into our daily routines. And I want to take care of my core, so that I can take care of everything in the periphery. On a recent airplane ride (I literally had to fly to and from a city in one day for a recent work trip), I sketched out concentric circles. The inner circle (#1) is my self. The circles radiate out from the center, as follows:

2) Mother and wife
3) Daughter, family member, friend
4) Colleague and leader
5) National collaborator

I spent a little time brainstorming how I want to continue to take care of my core, so that I have more energy and capacity to do #2 and then #3 and then #4 and then #5. 

I’m being cautious not to add new things because there are already so many things I want to maintain. I want to continue to try to stop working by 8pm every night, eat healthy food, run at least twice a week, and get enough sleep. 

The main new thing I want to do in this area is start Weight Watchers. I’m carrying around an extra ten pounds that makes my clothes not fit and makes running more difficult/uncomfortable. I think it's time to increase the level of accountability and awareness by starting an external program. I did Weight Watchers once more than a decade ago, and I appreciated how it approaches food holistically (versus just counting calories) and helps re-calibrate your mind about how much food one should intake on a daily basis. I'll let you know how it goes! 

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Monday, March 26, 2018

A Montessori Home (Ages 7 and Almost 5)

During my Spring Break I spent some time reorganizing our house as part of Simone's online course about preparing a Montessori home. It's crazy how much new stuff sneaks in all.the.time.

Update 1: Boys’ Room

I find that it takes constant vigilance to keep up with growing and changing boys. Tate and Henry still share a room. I spent some time donating toys that they have grown out of, and making sure each thing in their room has a spot. They are constantly bringing new things into the house (mainly things they get from other people, such as goodies from birthday parties), and it’s a constant struggle to keep stuff organized. I want each thing to have a spot, so that they boys can take responsibility for restoring the environment each night. 

Update 2: Art Shelf

I put this shelf together a while ago, but I refreshed it and updated it over the break. Honestly, the boys barely use this area, but I’m still inclined to have these kinds of things available to them. Tate is definitely increasing his interest in art (Henry has never really been interested in it). 

Update 3: Living Room

I moved all of Tate’s costumes into our ottoman, which opened up an entire shelf. I moved the boys’ board games out of a high shelf in the bathroom onto the low shelf in the living room. We’ll see if this arrangement works out! 

Update 4: Adventure Playground

We already have an area of our yard dedicated to free play with bricks, pavers, planks of wood, metal buckets, etc. I added an outdoor storage unit from IKEA (we pulled off the bottom of the legs to lower it more to child-height) that includes nails and tools. 

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Have a Great Spring Break!

For the past couple months, I've been dreading Spring Break. Normally, we go on vacation together as a family, which I love. This year, however, Matt got offered a position as a photographer for SXSW. Of course I had to say yes to my taking on more child care, so that he could pursue his passion. He has done so much for my career these past seven years. Of course I can do whatever he needs me to do. I owe him a ton! 

But I was bummed about it. Not only were we losing our family vacation, I was going to be saddled with lots and lots of solo parenting. 

I am not a big fan of solo parenting. I love, love, love my children, but I am happiest when we are all together as a family. Small doses of alone time with them are fun and cozy; but large and repeated chunks of time? Not so much. 

I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and decided to see what I could do to set myself up to enjoy that time. I thought about just jumping in the car and taking the boys on a road trip adventure to see friends in Colorado or family in Florida. I thought about taking them camping. 

When I really dug into it, I realized that with a little rearranging, it could actually turn into a pretty fun Spring Break. The trick was giving myself full permission to take my alone time whenever Matt was able to be with the boys. The other trick was to fill up my days with activities that I could look forward to. I found a cool, free SXSW event for families. I also sent out a Doodle poll to some of our friends to see who wanted to get together for play dates, so we now have something different scheduled for every day. Other friends are heading to Wimberly for a couple days, so the boys and I will join them for that (Matt will commute back and forth). 

I also realized that Matt was planning to take a couple days off of work to give me entire days of free time. Instead, I had him move those days to a different week so we could have a consolidated chunk of time together to actually take a quick trip to the Texas Coast. 

So now I'm excited about Spring Break! 

See you on the flip side....

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Inner Child Therapy

Did I already talk about my conversation with an inner child therapist? I don't think I did, but I apologize if this is redundant! 

The basic idea is that we all have these hurt inner children in us, and an important part of healing and growing is to acknowledge the hurt children, to try and understand the hurt, and to soothe it. 

My childhood could have been way worse, but there were things that caused me hurt: I never met my father; he didn't want anything to do with me after my mother got pregnant. We moved from city to city and I never got to spend very much time at the same school. There's a lot of judgment in my family--the feeling that you can't do anything right. 

The conversation with the therapist was really helpful. It illuminated how important it is to explicitly
connect with our inner children. I find it very calming and productive. 

The therapist also recommended that I read this book. My aunt and I decided to do a book club together. We are keeping it as low-stress as possible (see yesterday's post!) by only reading one short chapter a week. 

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Back on Track: The Art of Tuning in and Not Doing Too Much


As I write this, it's a Saturday morning (I typically write my posts during the weekend and schedule them to run during the week). I just got back from my first run in a long time. I drank a smoothie. I listened to a Podcast while I showered (Friendlier), and all of my boys are out of the house together while I have a couple hours of free time. I'm sitting on our outdoor couch. It feels like Spring, and I can even hear the creek rambling. 

[insert contented sigh]

I've had to work really hard to get to this place. I had to start eating healthier food again. I had to start exercising again. Both of those things impact how I feel emotionally and mentally. I had to tell my leadership coach that I needed to slow down what we were working on. We were forging ahead on new goals, and I realized that I was losing my grip on the goal I had worked on and "accomplished" the previous year: living my life in a way that enabled me to sustain the energy I need to be a better leader, colleague, mother, friend. I put quotes around accomplished because I can be such a box-checker. And the most important goals aren't those that can just be checked off and left behind. They require consistent maintenance. I like the analogy of stretching every day to become a flexible person. Once you achieve the pinnacle of flexibility, you can't just stop stretching. 

I have a limited pipeline and only so much can fit in. I have to be incredibly intentional about what I let in (and be intentional about leaving space so that when something unexpected pops up, there's room to fit that in, too). 

So my leadership coach and I paused the other goals we were working on and starting focusing back on last year's goal. I really worked on stopping work by 8pm so I could relax for two hours before bed (I sound like a scratched CD talking about my 8pm goal, but it takes constant focus!). 

And so here I am feeling so much better. Phew! It's crazy how much I do need exercise and healthy food in my life to feel good. Well, it actually makes perfect sense. I guess the crazy part is how hard it is to try and fit in those things! 

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Reflection & Rejuvenation: March

I'm not sure where February went! Poof! Where did the time go? 

Matt and I had our monthly date night. Then I traveled to Phoenix for a work conference. Then it was Henry's birthday weekend. No wonder the month passed so quickly! 

March is shaping up to be even crazier. We are hosting so many people at our school for SXSWedu. Then it's two weeks of Spring Break, but Matt is working as a photographer for SXSW. Matt's family is also coming for a visit. It's going to be a busy month! 

What are my goals? 

I want to enjoy the month, not just survive it. I need to figure out what that looks like. I might take the boys on some kind of trip while Matt is working SXSW. Or I might plan adventures around town? Nothing is really resonating with me yet. I'm just sad that we aren't going on vacation together as a family like we normally do. But I need to get over it and turn it into something fun! 

I'll have to keep thinking....

In the meantime, my Monthly Summit was less of a thing this time around. I kind of forgot about it and played cards with Matt and then watched some Netflix before finally remembering and then sitting down to write four birthday cards and order one present. 

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