Happy New Decade!

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Happy New Year! 2020! I was super excited to start a new decade and here we are almost a month into it already. Like the start of a new school year, a new year and especially a brand-new decade feels like such freedom. I feel like I am opening the cover to a new book full of blank pages where I can literally write whatever I want. I can feel the excitement of leaving old ways behind and establishing new habits and patterns in my life. And although my big plans to ring in the new decade in style were crashed by the realities of a sick kid, I worked hard to stay present and enjoyed the options I had. (Aka, I stayed home and watched the Sydney fireworks and had a family dance party.)

More time at home meant more time to be introspective. Scrolling through my limited Instagram (more on that in another post) I was inspired by three posts that I wanted to share since they were very useful for me. One was by one of my favorite authors, Leeanna Tankersley, whom I’ve posted about before. You can see her full post copied below, but basically, she said to take a few minutes to look over your past year. Check your calendar or photos for reminders; but take time to take stock of all that happened for you and your family. Think about the highs and the lows. Celebrate all you have made it through. Write it down and give yourself a pat on the back for doing it and making it through to the other side.

I loved this idea and spent some time on it after I put my kids to bed one night. I hope to continue it as a yearly tradition and keep each write up as a precious memory of everything that was our life in each year. I know that times goes by (quickly) and I believe I’ll remember life the way it is, but I won’t. Even though it feels like this phase will last forever, because sometimes it certainly feels that way in the moment, I know it doesn’t.

My child’s cutest baby cheeks. The way they cuddle into me. Nursing my baby and rocking away in his super still nursery in the middle of the night. How they call for me for one more hug after I put them to bed. How they only want the blue cup when you’ve already poured their juice into the red one and it’s too early to even see a sliver of sunshine. How they are always doing puzzles and leaving their clothes on the floor.

Each magical detail. One moment an irritation, the next moment a fleeting memory laced with warmth and the feeling of tears welling in your eyes. So, I will write it down and save it. I will look at it again in the future. I will remember. I will remember what I learned, what I gave up, what I gained. And it will help me to hold strong and stay present in the current moment. It will help me to embrace the challenges and remember how I will think of these challenging moments in the future with love.

And other memories I might not remember so fondly. Other memories still hold pure sadness in my heart, like the unexpected death of my brother-in-law last year. I certainly miss him and want to hear his laugh and how he’d always say, “I’m going to slide out,” whenever he left. How he’d play with the boys and have fun conversations about science and movies with us. But in this sadness, I remember how our family came together, how we had an amazing time in Michigan honoring his life. We shared hot summer days and nights over the 4th of July telling old stories and laughing together, sending fireworks into the air, spending quiet moments sitting together on the porch watching the storm quietly roll in as lightning bugs blinked silently all around the yard. I know that we made it through hard times by taking it moment by moment and leaning on each other. And in these memories, I’ll know that I can make it through any hard moments that may come again God forbid.

I also reflected on another big milestone in 2019, our 10-year wedding anniversary. I was surprised at how much it meant to me and how proud I was at all that we had accomplished and been through together. I love my husband and it was nice to have an opportunity to stop and think about us, rather than just being us in the swirl of life that surrounds us being mom and dad to our two young kids.

The second and third posts that inspired me were from my friend and health coach Judi from @liferedefinedwithjudi. Her first post that stood out asked these two questions: “What are you going to leave behind? What are you going to take with you?” Again, the idea of leaving things behind seems so eloquent and beautiful.

As parents we’ve seen our kids leave things behind: pacifiers, baby food, diapers, cribs… As adults, what do we leave behind? Or should I say, why don’t we leave things behind? Why do we seem to take everything with us by default? We see the patterns of learning and moving on from our children. We too can choose to leave things behind.

Some things helped us when we needed them to, but now they hold us back, physically, mentally, emotionally.  Taking time to truly see ourselves and our behaviors can help us to choose what we want to leave behind. And like Marie Kondo says about donating our used items, we can thank whatever we leave behind and move on into a new future, free to create and use new or refined skills.

The third post that inspired me (more like made me cry!) asked you to think about the past decade and all your memories and accomplishments. When I thought about mine, I was jarred by the HUGE milestones that had occurred. I got married to my summer fling. I gave birth to my son and became a mom! I had another baby boy and we became a complete family! My husband started his own business and we moved into our home. We celebrated 10 years of marriage. HOLY COW those are some BIG moments!

So much happened in the last decade, and after reflecting on it I realized the possibility of all that we will experience in this next one. Therefore, I am bringing with me my desire to continue to learn about what it takes to lead a happy and fulfilled life. I am bringing with me the dear friends I have made and plan on investing time and love into these relationships. I am taking with me my dedication to health and well-being. I am taking with me resilience, patience, and grace. I am focusing on being present. I can’t wait to write the next chapter.

References & Links

“Take 10 minutes today to go back through your year month by month. You can look at your calendar/planner if you need help remembering, but some of us had the kind of year where you know exactly what happened and when it happened. Write down a few events, milestones, memories from each month. What was significant? Stream of consciousness, bullet point, words/phrases. See, on paper, what you’ve walked through, what you’ve navigated, what you’ve lost, what you’ve celebrated. It might surprise you. Give yourself a big il’ THANK YOU & HELL YA for showing up, for beginning again and again, for making it.” December 31, 2019 @lmtankersley

 

 

Two more days of 2019!! This being one of them. What are you going to leave behind? What ae you going to take with you?” December 30, 2019 @liferedefinedwithjudi

 

 

 

“It’s the last day of the year. The last day of the decade. Take a moment to reflect on the last 10 years. What were your top 10 moments or memories? What are your top 10 things that made you smile? What are your top 10 accomplishments?

These last 10 years have had their ups and downs. The best things about the downs are that you: 1. You become a stronger version of yourself. 2. Gain new perspective. 3. Its during the “downs” that growth happens. 4. You get to go back up!” December 31, 2019 @liferedefinedwithjudi

 

Back to School Madness!?

I thought that this year’s back to school transition would be easier than last year’s. It seems logical to think that since my son would be starting 1st grade and we had already gotten used going to elementary school the year before, that this year would be pretty straightforward. Wrong!

I guess that is exactly what it is like to be a parent though. You think one thing, and then boom, you are proven wrong yet again. But I guess in this instance I am referring more to myself and my transition from summer to school, than for my son.

Thank God he LOVES school! In fact, even just this morning he was upset with us for telling him we are taking him out of school a little early to go to Legoland and stay overnight in the Legoland Hotel. The kid would rather be in school than hang in a theme park and hotel designed solely for kids’ pleasure and entertainment! After showing him pictures of the Adventure-themed-room we are staying in and explaining how this hotel is different from others and that this is most likely the only time we will be staying there, I was able to win him over. Fingers crossed, he will be happy when we all roll up to his school early this afternoon to whisk him away.

Legoland aside, I suppose it is a new routine this year at our school. They have closed the campus so adults have to check in at the front office (which is located at the other entrance, significantly further from our house) and we have a new system for drop offs and pick ups.

But that isn’t the point, the point is with this back to school season I have felt overwhelmed and a bit bummed- and I consider myself an organized and happy person. I didn’t turn in all the papers to the teacher, I couldn’t figure out how to login to the online system for a couple days, I feel behind and wonder how other moms out there are feeling? What do you do to stay on top of back to school?

The night before school started I secretly cried before going to sleep. I didn’t want my oldest to start back in school full days. I wished he could still be on a half day preschool schedule like my younger son. I wanted to keep our beach adventure days, lazy mornings and utter flexibility going strong! Now that they are back in school it feels like I am just doing, doing, doing and I guess I miss the playing…

Two days ago, my son came home from school and said he doesn’t have enough time for playing anymore now that he’s in first grade. Hmm, guess we are having the same experience! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our kids are going through big transitions, especially when they are good kids who seem to be able to easily adapt. (And I guess it’s good timing to be heading to Legoland- lots of time to play.)

What is it about being human and having routine?

So we will push on and get used to this new routine. Now that my youngest has finally started preschool (a few weeks after my oldest), I will have some time in the mornings to get sorted and stay on top of things. In the mean time I have to offer myself GRACE just like I would to my children. We can only do the best we can do and it’s ok to make mistakes and forget things once in awhile.

In a few months we will be a well-oiled school routine machine and fingers crossed I can actually get some projects done that I have been putting off for ages (like baby books, toy sorting, closet cleaning, photo organizing, etc.)

As a mom the list of things we are responsible for is endless, but we have to make time for our own joy, fun and relaxation- easier said than done. So if you have a funny back to school story or a helpful strategy you’ve learned about making the back to school transition go smoothly, I’d love to hear it!

PS- I hope you like my silly 1st day of school pic! LOL