DIY daily chore board (or social distancing, week-one)

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Hi friends. We made it through week-one of social distancing relatively unscathed. While working from home (my norm) has become a lot more challenging with everyone else home, the kids actually seem surprisingly OK with this new arrangement. For the first time Jonah mentioned last night that he misses school (specifically his teacher and his friend Veda), and I suspect that longing will grow as time goes on, but for now things seem OK. Kristin is getting the kids out for hikes in the woods daily, which everyone loves. Continue reading

Social distancing, the beginning

Last weekend I went out to dinner with friends and we spent all of Sunday afternoon and evening at the home of more friends. Sometime between then and last Wednesday or Thursday everything changed. The governor announced late Thursday night that Michigan schools would be closed for three weeks (four, if you count spring break) starting the following Monday, and Kristin and I began to realize that the wave of “social distancing” (which I was texting friends to try to comprehend just a day or two earlier) was upon us.

So on Saturday we went into hibernation. We woke up debating whether it was OK to take Jonah to karate before learning that it was closed (we’d already decided that gymnastics for the twins was off the table – too crowded). We began exchanging activity and home school ideas with friends via text and did our best to dive into this new reality. The good news is that we’re mostly introverts in this family, so keeping to ourselves on the weekends rarely bothers us. So here’s lockdown weekend #1, a photo essay: Continue reading

Five things right now

The other day my sister sent me a belated birthday gift, a book called Moon Lists: Questions and Rituals for Self-Reflection. It’s basically a thoughtfully guided journal, which seems like something that I would take to immediately. I love clear instructions, parameters, boundaries, frameworks; that’s where I thrive. It’s also just the right amount of woo-woo to match my sensibilities. But as I flipped through it I had some big feelings that made me feel like maybe it wasn’t for me. There was just enough ambiguity to leave me unsure of the “right” way to proceed (I know, I know, but it’s a thing for me). On top of that, the book provides examples for a variety of the pages/prompts, and the examples are painfully and intimidatingly highbrow. I’ll give you an example: Continue reading

Optical Illusion DIY Valentines

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For the last year or so I’ve enjoyed making the kids’ valentines for school. I realize the kids who will receive these don’t care one bit that they’re DIY. In fact, last year some asshole kindergartener told Jonah that he didn’t like his because they didn’t include candy. You know what, you ungrateful twit? None of the valentines I got from classmates in elementary school involved candy. That’s not a prerequisite. I realize that sounds like a segue into…”so this year we included lollipops…” but it really had nothing to do with that. I had a total of two fun DIY valentine ideas (both inspired by the same blogger) and this is the second one. Next year I may be fresh out of ideas. Continue reading

Scattered thoughts and the search for new year’s clarity

I told Kristin today that I’m feeling just a tiny bit panicky about my lack of clarity for 2020. I generally give myself until my birthday (which buys me an extra two weeks) to think about any intentions I’d like to set for my year. Last year a friend suggested choosing just a few distinct words to focus on rather than traditional resolutions, and I settled on just one: open. It turned out to be a surprisingly lovely approach. While I didn’t begin each day reminding myself to be more open there were many instances and decision points in which I leaned on that intention to guide my actions. When I think about some of the things I’m proud of from 2019 many of them were driven (or somehow connected to) that intention: presenting at Pecha Kucha, adopting our first-ever pet (Ivy), and starting Karate (which might be the most humbling thing I’ve ever done).

I started 2019 with perhaps more intentionality than I have in any year past, and I think some of that had to do with it being the year I turned 40. This year though, I’m struggling to gain clarity on what my focus or intention ought to be. Kristin wisely pointed out that trying to force clarity is probably the opposite of what’s needed. So instead of insisting that inspiration strike, I thought that I might have more success writing out some things that have been floating around lately. Continue reading

PechaKucha – The power of doing things that scare you

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For 2019 my new year’s resolution was simply the word “open.” I was turning 40, and I wanted to be open to more things, more possibilities, more perspectives. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I wanted to say yes to everything (I’m too picky for that, though I know that exercise has been magical for some), I simply hoped to pause when judgment or old habits crept in and consider a new way of thinking.

Over a year ago I learned about PechaKucha when my friend Kara presented. According to the global website…

PechaKucha (Japanese for “chit chat”) is the world’s fastest-growing storytelling platform, used by millions around the globe.

PechaKucha is what “Show and Tell” always dreamed of becoming.

20 slides. 20 seconds of commentary per slide. That’s it. Simple. Engaging. Spurring authentic connections.

Continue reading

Creative energy – holiday edition

Kristin often seems bewildered by my desire to be doing something so much of the time. It’s not as if we have oodles of time to spare, but I get fidgety quickly when I have too much time and nothing to fill it. Not only that, but I’ve discovered that time actually seems to slow down a bit when I’m doing something creative. I recently wrapped up a photo editing class and have been excited to dive into some new things.

Last weekend I had all sorts of creative plans but wasn’t sure any of them would pan out the way I’d envisioned. This time of year one of my favorite things is always taking and choosing a photo and designing our Christmas cards. My sister and I always share notes and screenshots and plans because we’re equally bonkers when it comes to early holiday planning, and because we’ve both mailed cards without fail for years and years. Hers is always one I’m most excited to receive, because I know she loves the whole thing as much as I do. A month ago we attempted family photos when they were in town staying with my parents, but we had marginally uncooperative kids and finicky weather that weekend and nothing spectacular came of it. Continue reading