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July 2017

    Organization, Parenting

    A Simple Summer Schedule

    I had a lot of ideas of how I wanted this summer to be as the school year was winding down. I also knew that it would be a summer of transition due to the fact that we had just bought a house. In the first couple of weeks of summer, I could see which ideas of mine would work, which would not and got a basic idea of what our weeks would look like.

    Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited to have all three of my kids home with me, but also, the thought of many, many long hot days ahead of me was a bit overwhelming. Because here in Texas, once July hits, basically the only thing one can do outside is swim. And even packing up and going in the car somewhere is sometimes unappealing due to the fact that going out in the heat is a requirement.

    So one of the first things I did was make up a summer schedule. It is not incredibly detailed but it sets out blocks of time for specific activities each day. That way, if we don’t have predetermined activities already, we can loosely follow schedule and feel like a productive day was had by all (mostly). When I first introduced this, my child who attaches most to routines insisted we follow the schedule exactly. But eventually, she relaxed a bit and now there is not a big commotion if we don’t fit in something during the day.

    To make our schedule, I wrote down the activities I wanted to happen each day and fit them in. We’re not perfect at this. Some days we follow the schedule exactly, some days we are out of the house all day so the schedule doesn’t really apply, and some days we just throw the schedule out the window and hang out in our pajamas all day. And we are swimming probably at least four out of five days during the week these days. But just knowing the schedule is there gives me piece of mind. It took me about fifteen minutes to make this schedule. Sometimes, it is better for me to finish a project, then worry about making it cute (though I love me some cute things).

    My next post is going to be all about our quiet time. This part of the day is critical for me. As a mostly introverted person, this time is so needed for me to recharge and check a couple things off my own to do list so that I feel refreshed and reenergized to focus on my kiddos for the rest of the day. So stay tuned!

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    Collective Thoughts, Health & Fitness

    Life Lessons in a Half Marathon (A Belated Recap)

    Back in April, I ran a half marathon. Doing this was one of my goals for the year and I am happy to say I was successful! It was also right about then that we put an offer on a house, got accepted and started the craziness of moving. Hence I am just now writing this post!

    When I hear most people speak of running of half marathons, they often refer to it as a race. It is not that way for me, because I am not at all racing. I’m aware that I am pretty slow in comparison to many other runners. I have done four half marathons and each time I have seen it more as a competition with myself. There’s a lot I could write about how I prepared for the half marathon, things I learned along the way. But I wanted to write today about the half marathon itself, how I got through it and what kept me going. This first photo is me during my first half marathon five years ago. The last photo is from my most recent half marathon. It was amazing to think about all that has happened in those five years!

    Run your own race/run

    This is literally one of the first thoughts I had at the start. In a race of over 2000 people, it would have been easy for me to think about all the people that were already passing me, or all the people that were ahead of me, or started out faster than me. But in the end, it’s about my own race/run.

    Set goals but be willing to adapt

    I had a couple of specific goals for this race. Some I met, others I didn’t. I could have let the fact that I wasn’t going to meet one of my goals cloud the entire rest of my run, but instead I chose to focus on the most important one which was, to me, finishing the race.

    Find your motivation

    Along the course, I used to different strategies to find my motivation. For the first five miles or so, I didn’t need a lot of external motivation. I was cruising along, listening to my music and feeling pretty strong. Around mile five, I started to lose mental focus a bit and so I started thinking how I could motivate myself. At this point, I knew my family would be around mile 6.5 and this kept me motivated for that next mile and a half. The funny thing is, I thought I would see them a bit sooner than I did, so when I didn’t see them I was so disappointed. I lost a little motivation and had to really pump up the music to get myself going again! But then there they were a little ways ahead and I was instantly motivated again.

    It’s okay to slow down, but don’t quit

    Of the four half marathons I have run, I felt the strongest on this one. This doesn’t mean it was easy. I did all of my training on a treadmill so that I would have childcare. About mile ten, this fact really started to wear on my knees. It was at this point I knew I most likely was not going to meet my goal time, but I could still finish. I slowed down, took a minute to regroup and started back up again. I got to the finish a little slower than anticipated, but I finished.

    Beat the mental battle

    So many times, little thoughts crept into my mind. There were points were I was sure my legs would not go another step. There were times where I was sure I would have to stop to use the restroom (thank you childbirth). Those were the times I really just had to push through and beat my mind. Another key to a successful finish, was starting with the end in mind. I started the run believing I would finish. That in and of itself got me through many parts of the run.

    Overall, this half marathon was an inspiring experience for me. I was focused and my mind was clear and all of these life lessons and thoughts came to me as I ran. I feel like this year as already been one of reflection and action. I feel confident and in control of my life. All of this is not to say that I felt “lost” or somehow less confident before, I just have felt very aware and much more deliberate in my daily life. I average about 2 years between half marathons, but it’s just about that amount of time where such a goal is really motivating and leaves me feeling inspired and feeling on top of the world.

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    Collective Thoughts, Organization, Parenting

    Making Spaces In My Everyday Life

    Well, it has been a long time! Much longer than I planned, but sometimes you just have to prioritize and many other things took a higher priority. We bought a house, moved and have been unpacking and organizing. We’ve been working on getting our home and “new” life organized. I started teaching online in the early morning hours about six months ago and it took several months to feel like it was a “natural” part of my day. But I am there now and it feels great!

    I’ve been so grateful that these transitions happened over the summer. It has been so nice to not really have any other obligations except for getting my home, family and life in order. Me being the perfectionist I am though, sometimes it is overwhelming when I can’t have everything I want it right away. It gives me some anxiety if I start thinking of things as one whole, but I often feel like if everything isn’t working, then nothing is working.

    With this fresh start of a new home and, let’s be honest, the realization that all of my decorating and organizing projects and visions will not occur in one weekend, I’ve taken a new approach. I’m working on making “spaces” in my everyday life. I try to compartmentalize my day, my projects, my goals, so that everything is more manageable, not one huge project starting me in the face. Here are a few ways I’m working on that:

    • Finishing smaller projects more quickly than large ones. It is satisfying to walk into a room and have even one small spot that feels “finished” instead of a whole house of “unfinished”. This little “space” of finished gives me patience in the other “unfinished” spaces. This one in our master bedroom just makes me smile and it gives me encouragement to keep working on the neverending project list.
    • Creating a daily schedule. I was excited for summer, but I’ll be honest, three months of long, hot days seemed a little…stressful when I first started to think about them. So I wrote out a simple summer schedule that has made these summer days go by relatively smoothly and enjoyably. The schedule is especially helpful for the days we have nothing planned and the “space” seems overwhelming. Smaller spaces of designated time help our days so much. Now, if they could just reopen our pool that they just closed for ten days, that would be great.
    • Quiet time. This has been a game changer for me. Everyday we have two hours of quiet time. My baby naps and my older two play together. I tried to have them play separately for an hour and then together for an hour, but that was not happening. So now, they play together for the full two hours. It’s not always quiet but it gives me the time during the “space” and time I need desperately each day to recharge and collect my thoughts.

    I hope to write more about each of these “spaces” in my life and others over the coming weeks. It has really changed my mindset and made my days feel lighter, more free and less overwhelming when there always seems to be something to do.

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