Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Need for a Schedule

I have always been a planner and an organizer.  I have my pen and paper calendar that goes with me in the diaper bag.  I have my wall calendar for all to see.  I even have a weekly activities calendar and menu on the fridge.

When my oldest was born we fell into a routine and schedule fairly easily.  As he grew and seasons changed, we tweaked the schedule.  We tried for awhile to keep with it once my youngest was born.  But as time passed by, the schedule became non-existent.

After digging in deeper into this month's Peace Circle theme, Yes to Ease, I began to remember that I thrive on having a schedule and so does my oldest.  It doesn't have to be filled so much that life just seems busy and chaotic.  It just needs to be more consistent.

Like, Wednesday's are Swim Lessons every week until we decide to take a break.  But I realized recently that having the same or similar activity on a certain day of the week each week can help everyone find their flow and things seem feel more natural.

So for my kids, certain days of the week are filled with a certain activity each week.  So we are picking which days will be days to visit nature centers, do forest school, visit the zoos, playgrounds, splash pads and pools, etc.  I am taking a list of activities my kiddos want to do and putting them onto a calendar.  Some activities will be a once or a once in awhile, while others will still be weekly.  This also allows us to easily change if something comes up, or friends want to get together, or if anything give us a list of ideas of what to do when we get together with friends.

For myself, that meant looking at my quiet time and down times and breaking them down by the half hour, then filling those spaces with the things I need to get done, want to get done, energy boosters, self-care.  This allows me to get to the things that are priority for me and not feeling overwhelmed.  It also gives me the flexibility to shift things a little, do them in a different order, or spend more time in one area if needed.  I also left time slots open.  What it really is is a written out to list for every day that helps keep me accountable.

So this is what it looks like:

Morning Time: this is before the kids wake.  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I workout to a cardio workout video and then get ready for the day.  After which, I do some stretches and then have my morning ritual.  My morning ritual is reading a devotion, then journaling, and then picking a simple clarity card for the day.  On Tuesday and Thursday, the focus is on Peace Circle work or reading my current book.  Then getting ready for the day and doing stretches.  And finishing with my morning ritual.

Nap Time: On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I continue my workout focus - Leg Day, Core Day, Arms & Back Day.  Then chores and any prep needed for dinner or the next day.  On Tuesday and Thursday I have my blog and writing time, as well as creative time.  And finishing with any prep needed.

After kids go to bed, it is my hope to just rest and relax before I head to bed.

I couldn't find pre-made calendar and schedule set up that I like or a template or something that wasn't bulky and expensive with too much other filler I knew I wouldn't use.  So I ended up created my own.  I took and printed out a blank 2018 calendar for the rest of the months of the year.  For my schedule, I took a word template and changed it to fit what I was looking for. Then I bought a report cover with pockets inside and place all the papers in it.  It sits on my coffee table and I am okay with that. 

Now, granted we are still in the beginning state for these schedules, so there will be tweaking done and some adjusting.  But so far, it has worked well.

I know, for some this may seem over the top or maybe even not enough.  But for us, it is working.  I have began to stop fighting the concept of the schedule and making excuses.  I feel more at ease as I am finding my natural rhythm again and thereby the kids are finding theirs.  The flow in our day is smoother generally.  I am finding myself more filled mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually instead of constantly drained.  I can fill my cup, so that I can fill the cup of those around me.

Planning and scheduling is a part of me, so instead of resenting it or pushing it away I am letting it back in again.

What do you do to find more ease and flow in the day?

Click here if you want to see my template schedule

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cute Rock Cacti

I found this fun idea to make a cactus from a rock on one of the pages I follow on Facebook.  As soon as I showed my kids they were all in and had rocks in mind they wanted to use.  And besides, who doesn't like to paint.

They started by painting their rocks with acrylic paints.  Once dry we added a few white lines and some google eyes, as well as a smile.  We put foam circles in the bottom of the flower pot to fill some of the space and give the cactus rock something to sit on.  Then we filled with some rocks we found that we liked, but you could fill with sand or an idea of your own.  Then I took E600 transparent glue and coated all the rocks and filled in any open areas.  After it dried, I sprayed the cactus rock with an outdoor spray sealant. 

We place two of them outside on our porch and the other two are inside.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Losing Your Identity in Motherhood

Before we had kids I was a wife, a teacher, and me.  I knew who I was, where I was, and where I was headed.  I also knew that one day, we wanted to grow our family. 

When you bring kids into the picture things change within you.  Maybe you don't notice it right away, but at some point, to some, it feels like we loose ourselves, our identity of who we are.  Maybe this has happened to you, maybe not.
When you have a clear perspective and knowledge of your purpose, gifts, strengths it helps.  But after so many sleepless nights, all the diaper changes, loads of laundry, and more it seems that all too often we just become so in so's mom.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and I like being a mom.  It is what I wanted.  What I didn't realize was that for a period of time, I would loose sight of who I am.

We give and give until the day is done, often little to no time for ourselves.  At what point does filling up everyone around you begin to leave you drained?  You can't fill from an empty cup as the saying goes.  If you are always on empty, how can you continually fill everyone else?  Truthfully, you can't.  You do your best and just carry on.  But at some point you need to stop, slow down, and refuel.

It is through the filling up everyone else around and forgetting about yourself that we begin to loose some of who we are.  What are your passions?  What are you dreams?  What fuels you up?  What do you need?  Who are you as a person?

These are just some questions that have run through my mind over the years.  You see, I have always wondered what my strengths are, what are my hobbies, if I didn't teach what would I do, and the questions just keep going.  Rolling around in my mind.

I had lost my sense of me, who I was.  All to often, I would be the person that those around me wanted me to be (or I perceived they wanted).  Hiding me, placing a facade on.  And when becoming a mom, I began to wonder more who I was.  Why?  Because so many times I would start talking with other moms and they would introduce themselves as a (fill in the blank) mom: crunchy mom, helicopter mom, and the list goes on.  I began to compare myself, my parenting, where I was at to those around me.  Comparing my inside, to their outside while trying to find and build connections, friendships with others - for my kids and for myself.

Through it all I began to lay aside the things that really made me who I was and I missed doing.  Like photography, being creative, writing.  As time has gone by, I was beginning to realize that I was not the mom I wanted to be.  Too much yelling in the house, too much overwhelm trying to get to do lists done, too much trying to fill the schedule busy because I saw that worked for others, too much just hoping and waiting for the next nap time the next bedtime, too much loss (in my mind) of self worth and value.

As I began to feel less value, my impatience and frustration grew.  Always exhausted from keeping up with two kids and changing seasons in parenthood, lack of quality sleep, feeling like I had an every mounting to do list,  carrying the weight of my many emotions and those around me (especially my kids) I began to feel depleted in all areas of life.  And it started to show.

I knew something needed to change and it had to start with me.  So I decided to take an Abundant Mama Project course.  It had been on my bucket list since I started following Shawn through Facebook and her blog.  But I had always kept putting it off and finding excuses.  In February when I hit my breaking point of needing to change something, this course came back into mind.  At the time when I signed up, there was also a bonus trial couple of months in the Peace Circle that she created to continue the work from the Abundant Mama course.

Each day I was emailed that day's lesson and activity to work on.  I will admit, some days I didn't get the work done, but that was okay because at some point I would catch up and continue to work through it.  After completing it, the work continued in the Peace Circle where the year has an overall theme to it, as well as a monthly theme.  Abundant Mama had me digging in and opening up, but I knew that I needed to go deeper, open up more.  So I have been a part of Peace Circle for two months at this point.

Things have began to fall into place, I am more ease and flow in the day.  I can be more flexible and bendy.  I am taking who I am and incorporating it into my day to day, finding dreams, and still going on adventures.  I am able to refuel and help refuel those around me, especially my family.  I can teach and still be a mom.  I can do my writing, my photography, my creative projects and help my kids grow their passions to as they see me grown mine.  I can treat myself and my health as a priority, and keep the kids health a priority.  I can find a better balance in my day, so that I can help create a better balance and flow in our days.

Sure, I am still working on it.  Just like knowledge, we are never done learning.  But I also know I can take a solid step forward, knowing who I am and who I am is okay.

If you are interested in the Abundant Mama Project course, you can find out more about it here:

Just know that it is home study now.  So, you get all the lessons at once to work through, instead of it being emailed to you daily.  It is still worth the investment in you.  Like it says, motherhood can be overwhelming.  But you can find a good solid footing to start where you are, move forward, and always have a spot to come back to if needed to reset.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Combining the Love of the North Shore With a Rock Collection

My kids love rocks. Rocks to climb on, rocks to hold, rocks to load, rocks to save, rocks to try to skip across the water.  Any size, color, shape.  It doesn't matter, they love rocks and our collection in the house keeps growing.

My oldest has random rocks he has collected on a shelf in his room that generally sit there.  But every now and then he pulls down his favorites to look at them or place in it's own spot in a different area of his room.  He has such a fascination for rocks.

My youngest has some he has collected.  One he calls his turtle rock because it reminds him of a turtle shell and a penguin because well, it is shaped like a penguin.  He generally picks up a rock and either plays with it outside or brings one into the house every now and then.

Both kids have jars from a trip last Summer of rocks they collected along Lake Huron.  I have rocks set out near the kitchen sink and in my room that were given as gifts to me from oldest.

On a recent trip to the North Shore we walked along one of the beaches in hopes of finding some neat rocks, maybe some sea glass, and just be closer to the water.  My oldest enjoyed looking at rocks, tossing them into the lake and trying his hand at creating his own rock stack.  He kept a few that he like most.  My youngest just picked some as he went along and filled a bag until I said enough, tossing rocks in the water, and touching the water.  I gathered some because they look unusual or like ones I hadn't seen before, and also looked for rocks to create a couple of dragonfly projects.

So now, we are left with a bunch of rocks.  Some smaller we have decided to polish up and see what happens.  But the bigger ones and the rest of the little, what to do?  We decided on the ones too small from the kids' collections to get a cool jar to hold them for in their rooms.  The bigger ones we used to make rock stacks.  Each kiddo has one and I have a couple too.

We placed the kids' rocks outside to see when we come and leave, mine are in our bathroom.  It is a fun way to connect the love of rocks, the North Shore, our memories from the trip, and our day to day.

It is a quick and easy project to put together too.  All I did was use hot glue to hold them together.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Seasons Change, I Changed, & Reminders From a 5 Year Old

So as February began to come to close I started realizing some things.

My attitude and mood most days was landing me promptly on my butt in the land of bitter and sour.  When my wake up started out there, it was hard to climb out of that.  Most days I was hovering near that close edge, that line of in-between.  The one where even the simplest thing could make thoughts and attitudes sway way to quickly. 

I have come to understand that I do not like all aspects that come with motherhood.  I do love my kids and what they bring to our family and my life.  But there are just some aspects I don't like.  I had been under the impression for too long that by not liking the aspects meant that I was not good a being a mom. 

I have been given this job, this job of of being a mom.  Just like with other areas of life, we like certain things and we dislike other things.  This is a part of who we are.  And just because we may not like a part of something of the bigger picture, doesn't mean a whole we love it any less.

I knew some things needed to change and those changes first had to start with me.  I tend to get too inside my head and loose sight of what is in front of me.  I tell myself something over and over, it becomes so real to me, but in the grand scheme of things, it is just not the case.

I am my own worse critic.  Truly, I am.  I see all the mistakes, failures, expectations not met, dreams fall flat, and so on.  Sometimes those things, well those things become my inner voice...good or bad, that is what seems to happen.  And then I compare me to what I see on the outside of others around me.

I have lost sight of me...Liz.  I have lost sight of Liz.  My purpose, my value, my worth.  Who I am, where I am supposed to, is it all enough, am I enough, what are my strengths (yes, I know there are weaknesses too, but I tend to focus all to much on those lately.). 

Most days I feel like I can't even put two thoughts together let along get two words into a conversation before something pulls my attention away.  I haven't gotten my fingers to the keys to write often.  I get ideas of what to write or post about, but by the time I can actually get to it, the moment has passed and it seems to late.  Even then, I sometimes still go back and try to play catch up on ideas and posts because it doesn't feel right to let them blow away in the wind.

I add on stress load after stress load onto myself.  And then it becomes that everything feels like a stress load.  Oh, and if I have to lay something down I feel so much guilt from it.

Add in the seemingly long Winter weather already and the need for green and warm breezes.

All these things have added up.  I knew it was time to take a step in a different direction and really begin to dig down deep.  Dig deep and begin to release.  Not an easy task sometimes.

But with the help of taking the Abundant Mama Program, I began to build a toolbox to help me work through all this and more.  The course was three weeks long.  I will tell you that it is just what I needed to help reset my direction, perspective, and it has given me so much more.

I am going to begin to share about it all, along with hopefully much more in other areas of life from creative projects, adventures, day to day life, and whatever else this new season brings.

My son helped me remember the other day that there are some things we are good at and some things we aren't.  We are always learning, no matter our age.  We need to keep trying and despite the hard things and the mistakes, we can still focus on the good parts too.

All this from a 5 year old.  Sometimes, we just need to have a long talk with a kiddo to be reminded of the important things. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Letter of the Week ~ X

 Recognize upper and lower case letter
  • Color sheet with the lower case letter on it (my oldest knows all the letters in their Capital form)
  • Letter Hunt: Throughout the week search for the letter of the week
  • Word Hunt: How many words can you come up with that start with the letter of the week? What around you starts with the letter of the week?
  • Where can you go that starts with the letter of the week?
    • I will be honest, I was not able to come up with a place to visit that started with the letter X.  But maybe near you there is a fun adventure place waiting for you to try out.
  • X-Ray
    • Trace your kiddo's arm and hand onto black paper
    • Glue on q tips on the fingers and wrist area
You can see more curriculum ideas on my post about our 2017/2018 curriculum by Clicking Here.