Sang Gretchen. I smiled. My heart smiled. My soul smiled. I sat in our car as we drove adventuring on our rock, shut out my eyes, hoped I’d remember this moment of joy and — goodness loved this minute. Big girl your words are my now. Sweet awesomeness of four girls, adventuring, happiness and then … yes weeks that last a month.
“Weeks of the Month” had me thinking that task management is the same dang topic I’ve been blogging about for well EIGHT years. I can look at Sweetpea and realize that I STILL do not have a solid task management process…or I am inconsistent in my application. I drown. I plan. I stop drowning. I drown again. Repeat. According to all my things, I do change in April.
So let’s do change April. On a Sunday. On the 18th of said April. Because who doesn’t start mid-month.
A life coach reached out to me and said that yes her process was very simple. So that summarizes again to me to ACCOUNTABILITY. So. I’m going to just start with one thing at a time. This month, or what remains, I am going to practice putting my phone down. If I put my phone down, I will gain an average of 5 hours and 19 minutes back to my day (thank you Apple).
When on earth are two little people in bed at the same time — an hour early. Let’s start with never. Wow. So I’ve been thinking about this post for a while. First, that work at home myth where you know you have your kid quietly playing in the other room or the sweet pictures saying how wonderful it is to work at home with your baby. I don’t know what those people are smoking but below is how it works for me.
A year or so ago, I found out we were moving out of our Country to a far away land. I did the unthinkable — I told my boss as he offered me a promotion. For me, being upfront and honest is very important. It’s just me. Most people advised against telling him. I just couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I didn’t. This is the second time I’ve had to tell my future employer that I will need to work from home in the near future. Anyhow, a very difficult move later and I’ve been working at home now for a little over six months. I thought I would share some thoughts. After having Sweetpea I realized that a daily routine is apparently imperative for me. So this is mine these days:
Since we’re anywhere from 13-15 hours ahead of “home”, calls at midnight should mean that kids are asleep. I would be willing to bet that if I have an important call, someone will have a nightmare, fell out of bed, be hungry, have an accident or need a hug. (Seriously when do you wake up at midnight kid!!!)
The computer will stop working when you need it to work — write down the conference call phone number (obviously read the material before the call).
Oh don’t forget to charge your phone/laptop prior to meetings 🙂
Keep a local day planner (to where you live) and reference your meetings with your coworkers in their time zone (this is confusing)
Map out your meetings at the beginning of the week in your local time zone
Plan, predict, prioritize…everything (that’s not just true of working at home)
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate! (But don’t be a pain in the a$$)
Learn to eat and drink water while working. I struggling with taking any type of break when I’m working at home. I’ve actually lost something like 10 pounds because I just don’t eat.
Anticipate problems…that computer upgrade that was announced a week ahead of time…contact your help desk to get it done early.
Actively participate in conference calls…but don’t talk just to hear yourself talk.
Continue to look out for peers and friends as if you were in the office…hey did you see this training that’s coming up? I thought of you.
Find a peer to peer sharing service such as Business Skype/Microsoft Lync to screen share or “talk” with your co-workers (but don’t be a pain!).
Volunteer for things! You can do things even when you’re not physically present in the office.
At some point you will need to print/scan when you’re at home…have that option available.
If you have kids, anticipate problems: START ALL CALLS ON MUTE — For that midnight call you never have — that your kids never wake up for — but do for some reason….it’s fun I promise.
Have a backup plan when they do wake up. I often have “Daniel Tiger” on pause during my nighttime calls in the off chance Sweetpea wakes up and wants to chat.
Coffee, coffee, coffee. In all seriousness if you have to wake up at night…avoid the temptation to drink a cup. Drink water!
If you encounter a problem with your hours during the day (when your boss is sleeping), tell him/her just as if you were in the office. It’s about building trust.
Avoid the temptation to schedule things during the week that make your work at home schedule impossible. You’re not a Stay At Home parent so you really can’t meet at 10am on Tuesday unless you re-prioritize your hours (and let your boss know).
Make your work fun! Get out your white board and think through your thoughts as you would in the office.
Keep a running log of what you do every day! That way if someone wants to know…you can tell them!
Try to sent grammatically correct emails to co-workers, friends and your boss etc. Your emails represent you now.
Realize that what you thought was obvious via email might be lost in translation. So if it’s a sensitive topic try to have it via the phone, video conference or some real type method…as if you were walking to someone’s office.
If you/your kids are sick…take a sick day. No kid wants to remember mom/dad ignoring them when they’re sick. So if you can…take the sick day.
So to say life has been smidgen intense is an understatement.
Moved to another country
Had a second child
Learned how to use the pressure cooker
Found some awesome crock pot and pressure cooker recipes
(I really like the “Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts” concept. Each paper cut/fun moment isn’t in itself difficult…but a thousand of them…sometimes it can be a bit much. George mentioned this concept when talking about parenting…I think it fits well)
So until my camera is fixed, I will just write about my fun morning today.
We woke up at 5:45- 6am (or was it really 3am when Sweetpea joined the three of us in our queen sized bed?…I was almost kicked off the bed how many times?). I know for certain that at around 6am, we all saw George off to work. George thankfully had taken out today’s trash and walked the dogs.
Any rational person would think getting to preschool by 9 should (SHOULD) be a breeze.
…I really want to encourage curiosity in Sweetpea. So while we are eating breakfast, she starts to teach me how food is processed in our body. A very important part of the morning. So we watched a 3 minute video on the digestive system. We’ll see what I get taught later today on said video. Our little sponge likes to teach me. (Her latest interest is the Solar System and planets — Thank you Magic School Bus!).
You’d think 3 minutes wouldn’t impact the morning but somehow it was 7 and then 7:30 (wait yes I do…I talked to my sister amid seventeen thousand interruptions :)). Shower later, I insist on putting on my makeup (which might only be moisturizer and some eye make up with a side of … one-day-I’ll-look-polished *sigh*) while Sweetpea finishes showering in our non slip shower by herself.
Standing in my robe, I realize that a) Sweetpea is ready to leave, b) <<what is the blog name for baby #2?>> is ready and c) I haven’t made Sweetpea’s lunch for preschool. I hate feeling disheveled. I mean being a mom is the most rewarding and amazing thing I have ever done, but for goodness sakes I’m still a person here. So fine. It’s 8:45am. We should be in the car now. I take a minute to pretend to be put together. Sweetpea picks out my earrings, bracelet and watch and we go to the kitchen to make lunch. I REFUSE to spend hours making a cute lunch. I just don’t have hours to make that perfect bento box (and I get shamed for it by Sweetpea’s teacher…).
We get outside, it’s raining (thankfully I checked the weather so we’re good). We get to the car…yup. I forgot Sweetpea’s lunch. Back to the house.
Then preschool. One of the mom’s offers to watch baby 2 while I drop off Sweetpea. Can you ask any other day???!!! Here I am scrambling to repack Sweetpea’s backpack, it’s raining, Sweetpea just kissed baby 2 who is now screaming bloody murder, and we are staying calm. It’s really not that big of a deal. No one has died, nothing major got ruined. It’s actually quite comical. So yes baby 2 will be carried and not in the car seat. So wrapped in her amazing blanket, we walk down the hill (after my friend realizes it’s a lost cause :)). Oh you know my umbrella topples over, I tell Sweetpea to put her umbrella up…so she lifts her arm with her closed umbrella (touche child I didn’t say open it…the rain coat will do).
The clock at preschool says 9:23am.
I call my Mom to thank her for years of fun mornings.
Does your significant other do things that just make no sense to you? George over the last (goodness) 12 and a half years has sent me articles upon articles to read. It probably has taken me about 10-12 of those years to realize that this was a way we can connect with each other and discuss cool ideas, thoughts, news, life. So needless to say, I’ve religiously started reading them and commenting on them.
One such article was www.cnn.com/2015/12/28/health/healthy-foods-differ-by-individual/index.html. We both want to live a healthy, organized, happy life but often opt for laziness (which includes chocolate, Doritos, ignoring the dishes…)–because after a long stressful day the last thing you want to do is be accountable or disciplined. This particular article had one line that really resonated with me :”try to disrupt your environment, even just a little bit.”
I even like the picture for this post. It’s so representative of what I want to do this next year: how about cropping it, centering it, taking the time to make it a really good image.
We recently moved from our fun city-town to new country-town. This new, wondrous, scary, different, amazing, curious place has had me spinning since the move process started. But we’re settled now!
I plan on learning how to cook with a pressure cooker soon (sale notice compliments of http://www.mamainsticts.com). Sweetpea started Montessori preschool, I now work part time, and baby-to-be is doing great! I’ve started freezing new slow cooker recipes so I’m hoping to post a bunch of winners soon! We recently tried a slow cooker Strogonoff…it was good but just not Strogonoff. So back to the drawing board on that one. More to come!
1. Easel Time
In case you didn’t know, I’ve condensed from 1200 sq feet to 700! It’s amazing! We’ve discovered all types of ways to explore.
With a pink picture frame from Michaels (or something like this ) and a “chalkboard sticker” (which I also purchased from Michaels but cannot find online) I slapped the two together, and mounted with an adhesive hook.
Sweetpea loves it!
Somewhere along the way, our lovely lady has found a passion for cleaning. In an effort to make her feel empowered to clean whenever she’s interested…we made a 2 year old sized cleaning bucket.
Small…Medium…Large. I’m still clarifying this one. Using these wall stickers recommended by http://www.mamainstincts.com we decorated Sweetpea’s play area and bedroom (we’re sharing a room). I realized half way through that I could incorporate counting and sequencing into this idea. So I tried using the leaves for numbers (I need to take one off the smallest one) and then spaced them out so she could look at them to determine which is the smallest etc.
4. I Can Do It
I am a major proponent of independence and helping when asked. In an effort to support this we’ve been doing things like opening/closing her child sized umbrella or opening the wrapper for individually wrapped string cheese. It’s amazing to see what she CAN do!
Quite honestly, this activity was composed of candle holder glasses, IKEA utensils ($5?), an old pitcher, an old pot we don’t use anymore, a plastic container we had on hand and a bag of lentils. And the table and chairs are from IKEA for $20 (great purchase)
I’ve had some additional free time in my schedule of late due to some changes around our daily routine. Since we have additional “free” time — we’ve had more time for activities! Some of our activities include using tongs, pouring, and cooking.
Using lentils, which from my reading are not poisonous raw but can cause some tummy upset, we played in our “kitchen.”
Yes. Later on, we decided lentils belong on the floor…
In an effort to make the most of my third move in the last month, I find that having a simple goal for each day can be helpful. That and I’m realizing I like things to look pretty. So I imagine the next few months will be about parenting, organizational tools, and cooking!
I intend to change the three stock photos and keep yellow stripes. I’m thinking my next house will have some version of yellow, blue, raspberry, and cream as inspiration.
I’ll summarize the last months with a…we moved! THREE times! Which means my commute is well…longer 🙂 **ofcourse**. Our one car will be shipped cross country here shortly and I will be car-less. So that means our morning routine has approximately zero room for any extra fun. In an effort to try to stay on task, I created a “Sweetpea’s Morning” picture collage that I put up every morning. We have the same for nighttime so we have a clear evening routine.
First I took pictures, cut out some plastic covers, purchased some thin pink and white string from Michaels and also some fun colored clothes pins. So essentially we have a thin clothe line of pictures hanging in the morning for someone to check to see “what comes next!!!” It’s a very exciting part of our morning.
(Yes Sweetpea picks out her clothes…which means sometimes her socks do not match…”I do it Mommy”…I’m all about independence!)
While I was making pumpkin pancakes this morning (BECAUSE IT’S AUTUMN!!!!!), I thought I’d throw together a slow cooker recipe.
Yes, I love cooking with my daughter. She and I threw (literally) together our pumpkin pancakes this morning. I love that she wants to “help”. Anytime I’m in the kitchen, she’s asking to “heeaaallllllllllllpppp?” I love learning play!! I try to say yes! Get right in and up here. Cleaning up can easily happen and I can always make the recipe again if it all ends on the floor. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Pancakes/ (I did add about an extra 1/2-3/4 c milk to thin them down…as George said…not a fan of pancake bricks…I’ll take the pancake version).
Anyhow, while the pancakes were cooking (on very very low) we put together the spices and juices in the slow cooker while we defrosted the chicken in the microwave (on the defrost function). 8 minutes later I put the chicken in the slow cooker and turned it on for 6.5 hours.
1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 t prechopped garlic
1 tablespoon chili powder I used cayenne (I’m apparently out of chili powder)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
The recipe went on to say broil it and crisp it up but if you don’t have time…don’t!