Protecting my time

Just because I could do something, doesn’t mean I should.

Do you ever read something that creeps into your brain and won't let go?

Just because I could do something, doesn’t mean I should.

Or a sentence that in its simplicity and basic wisdom, solves all of the problems that you can't seem to solve.

Just because I could do something, doesn’t mean I should. 

Can you guess that I read something recently?

I did. I read this post "How to protect your time from too many good ideas" on Small Notebook, one of my favorite places on the web. And it may have just changed everything.

I have ideas for new businesses and products and blogs themes and DIY projects at least 20 times a day. I daydream and ruminate and plan and execute and think about. And I spend vital life energy, that I don't have available to give. So when I read Rachel's blog post {last year}, it was like someone gave me permission to go take a nap in the middle of preparing Thanksgiving dinner. It was like pulling the get out of jail card. But what does that mean really?

It means that for all the simplifying and living with less that I have created in our external environment, I have left the one environment that really affects me the most, cluttered and disorganized. No wonder sitting in meditation in the last year has been more like 30 minutes of "mindful to-do list making".

Essentially, I am re-prioritizing, re-assesing and re-ducing the half attended ideas in my head. The new problem is that our "project haus" has more potential than I know what to do with and right now, well, all I need to be doing is taking care of this peanut and myself.

So for now, here are the good ideas that I am letting go of:
  • Making my own laundry soap, inspired by this post by Penelope Dullaghan
  • Setting up a weekly girls night every Thursday night, inspired by Thursdays
  • Making Montessori placemats, inspired by these on Etsy
  • Making a photo worthy breakfast everyday, inspired by the oh so lovely Bkfst
  • Writing a post on education, inspired by Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk
Care to let go of any good ideas today?


Day 3: A bodyscan to help relax + reflect

"Want to hear the Frenchman?" my husband asks.

"Yes, oh yes." I say.

This is not the romantic interlude you would imagine it to be, but instead a body scan - a guided meditation that reconnects you to your breath and body and soothes you into a deep relaxation. And if you are like me - a mom of two little people who forgets about the Relax + Reflect part of the day until it is too late and I fall into bed completely exhausted at 9:30 - you need something to help you transition from the doing the being.

The Frenchman is Gilles Marin, a man with a delicate and gentle voice who with his words, sends me straight into deep slumber, every time. He is the voice behind The Bone Dreaming Meditation, a guided meditation based on an ancient Chinese Taoist practice translated most simply into the practice of bone breathing. This practice can help the body and mind attain deep relaxation that can help to reduce physical pain, mental disruption and aid in reaching and maintaining deep, restorative sleep.

First introduced to me 6 years ago by Erene Lejeune, a friend and gifted practitioner of Chi Nei Tsang, it has become an occasional part of our nighttime routine. I say our for at some point along they way, my husband learned the benefits of this bedtime ritual on his own.

And now, in the age of iPhones and apps, the Frenchman is with us, even faster, for he was one of the first CD's I scanned and sent straight to my iTunes. Now, he can go where ever we go.

I had forgotten about him until this morning and realized that it is just about the perfect time to bring him back.

If you find yourself with a racing mind and an aching body, unable to calm yourself enough to get the restorative sleep that you need, consider this. Seriously.

{image from the Chi Nei Tsang Institute}


Day 1: So glad I am here

The subject of today's Re-Charge email was So Glad I am Here, accompanied by a moving video to the sound of "So Glad I am Here" by Elizabeth Mitchell. As I watched a "mom" walk through her life, with spilled sippy cups and unfolded laundry, I felt the immense constriction of "I am so not glad I am here" when I see those things in my own house and realized that today I had the opportunity to be glad. Two hours into the day, while two of my men were at Saturday morning swim, I walked around the house and snapped these photos. And then, instead of cleaning it up or making my bed or reading some blogs (which I am not doing for these 10 days) or searching on Craigslist, I took a shower. A really long, wonderful shower and the Legos stayed that way until 30 minutes ago.

Back to this morning. Showered, dressed and even proud that I had made the bed, I had 3 more things I wanted to do, when suddenly...

And what I realized as I quickly took the picture and then scooped him up in my arms is that the constant thought in my head about not being glad I am here is about "not being ready for you to.."

It goes something like this...

"I am not ready for you to be awake because I wanted to..."
"I am not ready for you to be done playing with the puzzles because I wanted to..."
" I am not ready for you to call me and need my attention because I wanted to..."

And in those few words and thoughts I see how I am creating in myself a dissatisfaction, impatience and irritation that manifests itself outwardly in impatience, unkind words or behavior, resentment and most importantly a sense of not being glad I am here or there or wherever I am.

And well, not being glad about where you are is cause for the worst kind of suffering there is: wanting things to be different than they are and let me tell you, I could write a book about it.

So there is my first lesson: figure how to be glad I am here and really mean it.


Getting reading for the Re-Charge: Refilling the Well

The 10-day Family Re-charge starts today. Wondering what on earth that has to do with remodeling a house?


Because a house is only a reflection of what is happening in the lives and hearts of those who dwell inside. And for now, in our state as a new family of four, all house projects are on hold and we are simply doing what it takes to refill the well. Our project haus just gets to wait.

What inspired you to join the 10-Day Family Re-Charge?
In 2008, my husband and I did a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Thailand that significantly altered the course of our marriage and individual lives. You can read about it here. Every February since, I have reflected back on that time and used it to re-align whatever felt out of balance.

This year - we are in a newly purchased house and have a brand new baby and a fire ball of a toddler. What inspired me to join this recharge? Well, basically, it's a structure to help us regain our equilibrium.

What are your goals (personally and as family)?
For these 10 days, turn off all movie and internet browsing, except the FB and email format needed for this recharge.
For these 10 days, prioritize eating, cooking, snacking and all food planning.
For these 10 days, sit on my meditation pillow 10 minutes a day.
For these 10 days, practice 10 minutes of yoga/movement a day.
By December 2012, my pre-baby #1 clothes fit again.

What’s working well in your family right now?
Consistency in parenting our toddler.
Asking for help and allowing it to happen.
Not over scheduling or overcommitting.
Asking for what I need.

Where are some places that you’d like things to flow more smoothly? 
Food, food, food, food.
Oh, and getting back to a meditation practice.

How are you doing with healthy eating and shared meals?
Doing great with shared, family meals. Its the food prep and actually eating that needs our attention.

Are you enjoying regular joyful physical movement (a.k.a. exercise)?

How are you doing with managing “screen time”?
Good - We don't own a TV so that helps immensely. But when baby is crying and mama is tired and a certain toddler wants to watch Nemo..well, you know the answer. However the iPhone is challenging me. My husband's use of the iPhone is challenging me to be more accurate.

Are you getting enough rest / sleep / downtime? 
No, but for a 5 week old, he could be causing way more havoc than he is.

What is your family most needing right now? 
A plan around food buying, prep, cooking and eating.

Our guiding word for this Recharge: Refill the Well


Before & After: A room for two...



It's officially done! No more projects left to do!

A mixture of vintage, hand-made, IKEA, ebay and a few special pieces, the kiddo room is by far one of my favorites in the whole house. 

Welcome to this room for two...or almost two. For now, it is still just a room for one as we wait for number 2 to sleep a bit longer before adding him to the mix. Our almost 3 sleeps like a new babe in his IKEA crib so I haven't had the heart to move him to the toddler bed. I mean, he hasn't tried to climb out and he sleeps almost 11 hours plus a 2 hour nap in the afternoon - why would I move him?



We'll have to move him when it's time to share his space but we still have about 4-5 months, so until then, we''ll just keep things as they are.

I do think it will be a great set-up for 2 and though we lost the closet, I love that the crib fits like a glove into the space. When they are ready, we will convert the toddler bed to a bunk bed and then the closet nook can become a reading nook or Lego shrine. For the closet before & after and wallpaper project, click here.

Vintage desk found at a local consignment store and vintage chair was given to us. The framed tree is actually something drawn by my husband - I assume when he was just a wee one himself. I couldn't help but frame it and hang it front and center.

As for the changing table, you can see the early transformation here. And yes, we still have two in diapers so this set up works just right for now. 


Wallpaper hung!


Before {the floor}

installing FLOR carpet tiles for the floor


BEFORE {the wall}



Hang wallpaper has been in my list for 3 months. I assumed I would do it over the Christmas break, then I assumed I would do it before the baby came and then I assumed I would just "get it done one afternoon after the baby came." Well, it was number 3 but I didn't do it alone. With the help of our handyman/gardner and a sleeping 4 week old, I had 30 minutes to get it done today. And we did.

Lessons learned: 

1. Glueing wallpaper on uneven, semi-bumpy walls sucks

2. Hire a professional if you need it to be perfect