Do You Journal?

Do you Journal?

Young female is writing notes and planning her schedule.

When Super F was young, I had every intention of filling out his baby book in its entirety. I did well for the first year, and then I sloughed off and never finished filling it in. I feel a bit of mommy guilt over his incomplete baby book, but I just haven’t found the time to go back and fill in all the blanks.

What I started doing instead was journaling to him. I found a beautiful (purse size) journal that I could take with me whenever and wherever so I could write to him when I had free time (mostly in waiting rooms at the doctor, or my lunch break at work). It’s less cumbersome to carry around with me than his baby book, and is a bit more discrete.

So, occasionally I write to him about the things we’ve been doing as a family, holidays and how we spent them, the milestones he hits and funny things he says or does. When I don’t have the time to use the journal, I use the notes app on my phone to remind me of the little things I don’t want to forget so I can add them to the journal later. I also use an app called LittleHoots to share some of his anecdotes with friends and family.

What do you do to record the events/milestones in your child’s life?

Briana

 

image credit: http://timemanagementninja.com/

Advertisements
packing luggage

Ready, Set, Vaca!

Getting ready for a family vacation is no small task especially if you are a mom working outside of the home. With so few hours in the day you have to really project manage your preparation for any trip. It can feel like climbing a mountain or running a 5K due to the amount of energy you put into creating your vacation plan strategy. Today I am going to share some of my tips for preparing for family vacations. None of the services or items listed are paid endorsements. They are just things I find helpful when getting ready for trips. I also love to learn new organization tips so please share yours in the comments. Better yet, write a post and submit it as a guest blog! We are always looking for great guest posts.

The Packing List: The packing list is essential. It is the holy grail of what you will need on your trip. The more detailed the better. Creating this list early is very helpful. It will let you know if you need to buy a new swim suit for your kiddos or if you need another critical item so that you have plenty of time to purchase it before you leave. I like to carry my list with me so that I can add to it as I think of things. Wunderlist is a phone application that I enjoy using for organization. I also use the Cozi website and phone app so that Andy and I can sync our lists. However, Cozi takes a minute to update so don’t type a list and expect your partner to see it on their phone app instantly. To optimize my packing I split my list into several categories:

  • List by child
  • List for parents
  • Grocery list
  • House sitter, pet list

Having these list types ensures that everything including our home is taken care of fully while we are away.

The Staging Area: Packing for a family vacation is daunting. If you wait until the night before or even a few days before you could be scrambling. I set aside an area where I can place items that we need to take with us. Big things usually end up there first like the pack and play and boxes of diapers/wipes. The last things to go in the staging area are our suitcases. If you choose a place that has easy access to your cars it also makes packing the car up easier.

packing suitcasesSuitcase Staging: Similar to the staging area, I place open suitcases in each person’s room. This helps me slowly add items to the suitcase as I am able. The frustrating thing about packing is that there are some items you can pack weeks in advance and some you can’t pack until the morning you leave like your hair dryer or brush. This is why I stage our suitcases. I load clothes we don’t need or bathing suits in early and then leave them open so all I have to do the morning of is add a few key items zip and go.

Traveling Toiletry Bag: I hate rounding up toiletry items. You always have to do it at the last minute and they can spill and make a mess if not properly secured and packed in plastic bags. So I skip this step all together. Instead, I created a small toiletry bag. It has everything I needed in it. Now when I travel I just put the bag in the staging suitcase and I don’t have to worry about toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, razors or any other toiletry item.

As I said above I enjoy learning from you. Please share your traveling organization tips in the comments below.

Peace, Love & Organized Chaos,

Kristen

Image credit: stylebytifanni.com

Multitasking Mayhem

mom juggling tasksThe ability to effectively multitask seems to be all the rage these days, however my husband brought up a great point last week.  We are not designed for multitasking.  As our society has become preoccupied with productivity and efficiency, we have lost the ability to be devoted to and engaged with one task at a time.  Often times, losing our effectiveness.   As moms I believe we often struggle with this the most; I sure
do!

2015-03-11-14-19-00-1994889610

Multitasking is defined as “the handling of more than one task at the same time by a single person”.  We often want more, so we feel we have to do more…seemingly all at the same time.  So, what does this look like on a daily basis?

● Emailing your child’s teacher about parent/teacher conference while on a conference call for work

● Checking email while at your child’s soccer practice

● Texting your co-worker, while at a stoplight, about tomorrow’s meeting

●  Planning the week’s grocery list in your mind while checking voicemail

● Rehearsing your sales pitch in your mind while your child reads to you

It’s so unfortunate that we find it so hard to be in the moment.  As a matter of fact, I am writing this post as Junior plays at the playground, while waiting for Kid Flash, who is across the parking lot at soccer practice (thus the constant references to soccer).

Our minds are so crowded with and distracted by impending assignments that we don’t know where to begin half the time.  We don’t know whether we’re coming or going.  So, we run around like chickens with our heads cut off, scrambling from one task to another.

2015-03-11-14-15-29-72964903

A recent (Oct. 2014) Forbes article cites that “Multitasking reduces your efficiency and performance because your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you try to do two things at once, your brain lacks the capacity to perform both tasks successfully.”  Click here to read the full article.

Imagine a world where we didn’t feel the pressure to get everything done all at once…and get it done yesterday.  Is everything that we’re rushing to do really that important or urgent?  Each of us has to make that determination on our own.  Just think, having a “one track mind” might not be so bad.

Until next time-

“Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:6 NIV)

God’s best-

Alexis

I NEED an Easy Button

easy button

Staples was on to something when they created the EASY button. It’s my week to get the boys ready for school and take them to school.  Every morning is the same…we are rushing to get through our routine so we can get out of the door on time.  Our rushing is often accompanied by:

● arguing – me with them and them with each other

● fussing – me at them

● giggles – them with each other

● name calling – them with each other

● yelling – me at them and them at each other

● fussing – did I already say that?

Then, we finally make it out the door.

I need an EASY button!

After I returned home this particular morning, my Corporate, Lean, Six Sigma husband asks me about my “process”.  Oh, I’m sorry.  I thought we were at home, not the office.  So, I allow him to offer his feedback on “my” process.  His suggestion is to basically do it like he does it when it’s his week because, of course,  things run so much more smoothly.  Here’s his idea to make things “easy”: Stations.

#1. Bedroom station – where I watch the boys get ready, such that they stay on task. When we all leave the bedroom they are completely ready with shoes on.

#2. Bathroom station – where I watch the boys floss and brush their teeth (and most likely offer some assistance to make sure it’s done correctly) and wash their faces.  Finally,  I brush their hair.  [Who brushes their teeth before they eat?  I tell him I don’t like this part.]

#3. Kitchen station – where I prepare breakfast, then prepare lunch while they are eating breakfast. [I’m thinking I’ll switch #2 and #3.]

Oila!  The boys are ready and we are off to school with no arguing, fussing, giggles, name calling, yelling or fussing (did I say that already?).  I snapped,  “Fine, I’ll try your way!” and walked off.

Personally, between you and me…I’d prefer the EASY button.

Until next time-

“Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20 NIV)

God’s best-

Alexis

Image credit – staples.com

Mommy Brain

I don’t know what happens to you after you have kids, but my brain feels like scrambled eggs. This is your brain. This is kids. This is your brain after kids.

 

Before kids I use to think I was busy. I worked full time, was in graduate school, had a husband and three dogs. *Insert maniacal laughter* Before kids I knew nothing about being busy. I don’t know that it is as much about the kids as it is all of the things you have to do for yourself and the kids. It is honestly more about the stuff you must do in order to live in this world. This is the point where I usually wg019_island_life_1insert my fantasy about living with my family on an island in a little hut far from the modern world.

This week has been extra insane. I am going out of town for work. The baby got tubes. H’s birthday and party are 1 week away. The list goes on and on. The first really annoying thing I did was misplace my debit card. Watch my shoulders deflate. Cue internal monologue. “Kristen, really? Is it that hard to just consistently put it back in your wallet?” Then a few days later I misplaced my wallet. Awesome. I really hope I haven’t lost it. It isn’t a great idea to lose your license days before you need to get on a plane. Please keep your fingers crossed I find it at home tonight. Please…

This isn’t to say that I didn’t lose things before kids, because I did. It is just soooo  much worse after kids. Part of it is you don’t have time to find things. I still don’t know where my debit card is…. I guess I should call the bank and order a new one…. Insert deflated shoulders again. It isn’t that I don’t need to or want to accomplish everything it is just that I keep meaning to do x, y or z, but somehow x, y and z just stay on my long list of to dos.  I was much more on top of it prior to two bundles of joy entering my world.

There are things I find that help me stay a little more on task and help me not run around like a crazy woman. Admittedly, I do run around like a crazy woman some days, but here are my top three sanity savers.

  1. Slow Down – Usually I am racing in 100 million directions multitasking as I go. However, this pace is rarely effective and can ultimately be detrimental. See paragraph about lost debit card and wallet. When I do slow down. Life is better. The basics happen which prevent me from having to redo or spend extra time looking for lost items.
  2. Use An Organizer – It doesn’t matter what kind of organizer. It can be an electronic PDA or an app on your phone. Heck, it can be paper. The point is to compile all of the items you need to accomplish in one place that you can check frequently. I use an app called Things. It allows me to document tasks and projects while simultaneously keeping them all organized. I also get to check them off. Which I love!
  3. Schedule Fun and Relaxation – If I schedule time that I know I can chill with a glass of wine, watch my favorite TV show or even just hang out time at the house I know I can count on some me time or family time. If I pack the schedule so full that there isn’t this relaxation time everyone, including the kids, feels it.

What are ways that you try to minimize your mommy brain?

Peace, Love and a Slower Pace

Kristen

Banner Image Credit: Forthefamily.org

Artkive the Digital Archive

My sweet little darlings make the most beautiful artwork. Scads of little handprints papers and crafted treasures are stuffed in their baby books and all over our house. 

As much as I want to keep every little piece, my kids are only 2 years old and 4 months old and I am already running out of space.  YIKES! 

Let’s also be honest. Do you really need 50 cute handprint turkeys? Probably not…

What to do? 

Insert a new app called Artkive. (This is NOT a paid endorsement.) It allows you to make digital scrap books of your kids artwork by taking photos of it From the albums you can print hardcover books. 

If only you had the time right? Wrong! Mail them your artwork and they’ll photograph and upload it for you for a small fee.

I can’t speak to their customer service because I 

haven’t ordered a book or used their paid archiving service… yet. However, the app is fairly intuitive and allows you to access stored artwork easily. 

What a neat tool, right? Plus now I can store every scrap without adding to the clutter or feeling guilty about tossing out a future Picasso’s first strokes. I will still keep a few special hard copy pieces, but Artkive will definitely simplify the process. Plus once I have it set up I can snap photos of art from my  phone. 

Artkive is officially on the to do list. 

Have you used Artkive? What are your thoughts? What other ways do you save your little ones momentos? 

Peace, Love &  Archiving,

Kristen

The Schedule

mom-247You know exactly what I am talking about. For working moms “The Schedule” is critical to managing everything successfully and to ensure your child’s happiness and wellbeing. Every time we push them to eat later, stay up to see family or just want to enjoy them ourselves it back fires. Cue melt down in 3…2…1

We get a lot of flak for “The Schedule.” It isn’t convenient for family functions or to do things with friends, but it is perfect for my children. It gives them stability and consistency which in turn makes them feel safe and loved. We don’t always stick to it, but when we do it makes life soooo much easier.

So while they are little we are going to forgo convenient in favor of calm and use a schedule that helps keep us all sane.

Below is our sample schedule.

Do you have schedule tips? What types of scheduling tricks do you use to get it all done? Looking forward to reading your comments!

Peace & Love,

Kristen

Work Week Mornings:
6:30: Kristen and Andy get up and get ready. Andy is responsible for getting all the bags, bottles, snacks and stuff in the car
7:00: Wake, feed baby and get him ready
7:40: Wake toddler and get him ready for the day
7:45: Andy leaves for work
8:05: Boys put in car seats. 1 load of laundry in the washer ready to go for that night
8:20: On the road
8:35: Drop off both boys at school
9:00: Work

Work Week Evenings:
5:00: Pick up boys
5:45: Home, start washing machine
6:00: Dinner & Blessing – We try to do this as a family even if H starts eating before we do.
6:30 Bathe boys and get ready for bed
6:45: Feed baby and play
7:30: Story time
7:45:  Boys in bed
8:00: Put wash in dryer, pack bags for the next day, Kristen or Andy exercise, straighten up & do dishes
10:00: Feed baby last feeding of the night
11:00: Crash into bed

References:
Image credit: Mommy Bloggers of the Philippines
Image credit: Lipstick and Politics