Family · movies · Planning · Reflection

Managing Mondays-Back to School Edition

Last night was a very long planning time. As I sip my coffee this morning, I am feeling a bit more at ease with today as well as the week ahead. It is back to school week. Not just any back to school week either. My youngest is starting her Freshman year in high school and that is a milestone. Makes me a bit sad.

We finished our clothes shopping on Saturday. Yay! That is quite a chore. We took in a final summer movie too: Eighth Grade. It was perfectly appropriate in its timing and its message to me as a parent and to my daughter. See it!

Back to the week at hand…

I spent my evening going through the papers we received from school and instead of inserting all the pages into my planner, I used my Erin Condren Purple color dots to mark all of the important dates for the school year.

Instead of this…

With the support of my fur babies I went from month to month placing purple dots like this…

Why purple? School colors are purple and black so I thought that would be easy to identify.

Did you notice my new planner? Yes. I changed from Happy Planner to Erin Condren. I am just in love with my new Erin Condren. I have been test driving it in July and really have found that I want to use it for my go to master planner. Watch for an upcoming post where I compare and contrast my old and new planning systems.

Am I ready for back to school week? I think so…

See my before the pen pages…

I spent yesterday shopping and sorting meals and am all set with simple fixings for an extremely busy week. I adore my new meal planning petite planner from Erin Condren. I love the smaller handy size because it slips right into my purse.

Wednesday will be a crazy day and in the tradition of every first day of school, the kids and I are going out to breakfast. I have taken the day off from work. I know the morning will be hectic and traffic flow will be annoying. And that evening will be filled with paperwork and syllabi and getting the school supplies from every teacher procured and organized.

My planner is ready. I am ready. My Freshman? Maybe. No matter what… I have planned to be there for her to help her be ready, for the first day and the whole year. I will be present to hear all about her first day as a Freshman. I have planned to spend my time where it matters the most. Now…if I can just manage to get through Monday.

Family

Resetting plans – June Reset, Ready for July

I know. I know. I haven’t written in a while. I have used the month of June as a mental reset month. It may have seemed like I spent the entire month on vacation. Far from it. June has been a roller coaster. Since coming home from South Carolina, our family has been experiencing highs and lows and everything in between.

One of our three pups hasn’t been feeling well. And as she is “my” dog, I have been feeling a bit fenced in with worry and care to get her back in good health.

Mystery, my girl, is not happy with the cone of shame nor does she like being isolated to one room all day. She is definitely enjoying quality time with me because I have spent nearly all of my time at home in that room being HER faithful companion. I believe she has enjoyed binge watching The Crown and helping me get through my playlists on Hulu and Netflix.

Luckily we have reached the mid-point of her convalescence. Starting tomorrow she can resume a near normal routine but the cone…well, that stays on another 7 days.

The one benefit is that it afforded me time to spend reading and contemplating on my vision board.

I have decided to make a few changes for the balance of the year in how I plan and prioritize. I am still struggling with balance. And need to find a big NO to put on my board. I agree to do too much too often.

How about you?

Family

Managing Mondays – June Reset, Ready for July

I know. I know. I haven’t written in a while. I have used the month of June as a mental reset month. It may have seemed like I spent the entire month on vacation. Far from it. June has been a roller coaster. Since coming home from South Carolina, our family has been experiencing highs and lows and everything in between.

One of our three pups hasn’t been feeling well. And as “my” dog, I have been feeling a bit fenced in with worry and care to get her back in good health.

Mystery, my girl, is not happy with the cone of shame not does she like being isolated to one room all day either. She is definitely enjoying quality time with me because I have spent nearly all of my time at home in that room being HER faithful companion. I believe she has enjoyed binge watching The Crown and helping me get through my playlists on Hulu and Netflix.

Luckily we have reached the mid point of her convalescence. Starting tomorrow she can resume a near normal routine but the cone…well, that stays on another 7 days.

Family · Planning · Reflection · travel · vacation

Resetting – Low Country Makes it So Easy

I am enjoying every morning this week sipping my morning coffee as well as every evening cocktail or glass of wine while sitting in a rocking chair like this and seeing these views: rain, shine, dawn, or dusk.

Phoenix just doesn’t have as much green as South Carolina. We can try to manufacture it but it just will never reach this beautiful level of green. My

Our gracious host has encouraged us to treat his home as if it was ours. Being so blessed to have this sweet retreat is immeasurable. I spend my quiet moments remembering the fun time exploring the Low Country and thinking of the next path of a new day’s journey. Living in the moment is not always easy for me because I love to plan. I promised myself that our days would be slow starting and gently flow from one thing to the next with no sense of urgency. In fact, yesterday was rainy and my daughter was, in typical teen fashion, disappointed that it wasn’t a good day for the beach. She stayed inside and I went traipsing in the rain to explore local shops and brought home trinkets and treats. I even cooked dinner for everyone with some fresh shrimp I bought at the local fish market. Our host did say to make ourselves comfortable and cooking shows I am all in on that invitation.

Today ends phase one of our visit, experiencing Charleston and Summerville. We have done so much already.

We spent a day exploring Summerville, the homes of sweet tea and two of the greatest people I have the privilege to know. Historic downtown is full of small local businesses and charming sidewalks that are fun to explore. It is also the home of the oldest pharmacy in the state that still exudes a small town charm while honoring the history of the generations who have been serving the locals over the years.

Our day downtown in Charleston was relaxing. We spent most of the day exploring its history contemplating the history and wondering how women in hoop skirts ever walked these narrow sidewalks We wandered in and out of the famous Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto festival events including

We grabbed lunch at the famous dive bar near Waterfront Park and left our mark on the walls like so many other patrons have done over the years. I can’t wait to visit again and find our moment in history. While we ate, we read the numerous dollars that lined the walls talking about the girl weekends, anniversaries, and family trips that have been memorialized by countless others. How cool is it to think that someone else may be doing the same when they read about our mother-daughter trip?

We enjoyed the peaceful spaces at the park on swings and benches. We quietly evesdropped on conversations that floated around us and tried to guess where folks were visiting from by focusing on languages and accents and stories.

We loved the trees and memorials in every park. Each stop was a history lesson just waiting to be discovered.

We visited Dock Street Theater, the oldest theater in the country. It has been standing and operating since the mid 1700s. It is beautiful inside. Our host works here and gave us the back stage tour before treating us to Chamber Music sponsored by the Spoleto Festival. What an amazing piece of history. While sitting there I thought of all of the plays and operas that must have been performed here and all of the historically significant folks who may have sat in the same seat as me.

Speaking of history…

We also visited St. Peter’s and in the West Cemetery discovered Vice President Calhoun’s resting place. Very cool find.

Charleston is rich in beauty and history and just walking to discover what we found was much more resetting and relaxing than making a list and schedule and pushing us to see so much. This wasn’t our first visit to this lovely city and likely not to be our last. Why rush to take it all in. Our slow roll really let us just take in the beauty and digest a little at a time. I loved it.

In our down time we spent the past few days just driving around with no destination. We found ourselves looking at the homes and imagining ourselves in them. We even stopped in some of the new developments and toured a couple of model homes.

A writer can dream. Heck this girl can dream any day of the year. And I do. Every time I visit this place I can easily picture living here. This time my daughter seemed to see it too. We may have to visit Clemson and some of the other schools in the area during our next visit. Always planning…

Now off to explore vacation phase two – Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Beach day. Yay!

Family · lists · Planning · Reflection · travel · vacation

Managing Mondays – Holiday Style

I am not sipping coffee in my normal spot today and it is not really Monday. Here is my morning quiet place.

What nonsense is This? It is called vacation. I am taking the week off from my weekly spread. (And work.) What? I know. Call me crazy. No planner in sight! I left it at home. Instead of planning the week I left it blank. When I get home I plan to make those pages memories instead. I bet you are wondering how I will survive a week with no planner or no plan, even. Ha! I am not that nuts.

I am in Charleston, South Carolina for the week. We got here yesterday which is why my Monday post is a day late. And while sipping coffee this morning, I have my notebook, pens, stickers, highlighters, and my one pager.

See! I have a loose plan. I left behind the hustle and the structure because I want to relax. So, I have goals. And whatever shape each day takes is what it is. I plan to take lots of photos, videos, and note down in my journal what I saw, felt, and thought about my experiences.

Did I mention my daughter is with me? Oh, yes, she is!

I have my journal page ready and we are heading out to explore in a bit.

I am excited to make lists about today. If you haven’t started following me on Instagram or Twitter find me. I would love to have you along on our adventures.

Goals · lists · packing · Planning · Planning · travel · vacation

Managing Mondays…and A week of one event after another

Sipping coffee this morning I thought about how busy this week was really going to be and I spent the quiet time focused on meditating instead of making lists. Afterall, I deserve to gift myself a bit. Tuesday is my birthday!

Weeks ago I told my offspring that the only gifts I wanted were ones that included their time working on projects around the house…indoor and outdoor beautification and organization. I am happy to see a little improvement each day as these small to big projects and various phases getting completed. So far so good. The goals are aggressive so the timeline was extended to the first week of June.

I love birthdays.

This week is also the last week of school for my youngest. So early release days and finals make the week hectic. As a working mom I am negotiating pick ups for the early release days. I truly am very blessed to be surrounded by a village of family and friends who help out on crazy weeks like this one.

I have work partners who are in town this week so I have a dinner out with them while they visit. I made sure I batch cooked a few meals yesterday to be easily warmed up for lunch or dinner. Good thing too since I got the invite to dinner on Wednesday very last minute.

Thursday includes an all day meeting and an appointment for my daughter. That day could be ripe with conflicts since it also the last day of school with an early noon release. Did I mention how blessed I am to have a village of support? I just need to note who is who and when so I don’t get confused or set false expectations with anyone. I cannot imagine life without my planner on weeks like this one. How would I ever keep it straight otherwise? And then there is the all day meeting…so of course there will be a lit of notes and action items. Insert a half page for a list and notes.

This coming weekend is Phoenix Comic Fest and as much as we want to attend all four days, we are only attending on Saturday.

Insert Checklist! This is a work in progress. Planning Cosplay and a survival kit for a day long convention requires planning and preparation.

But that’s not all…next week is Vacation so….I need to start making the packing list.

I want to keep it simple so that throughout the week I can add to my list and pack whenever I have a window of time. I know most will be last minute. That’s the beauty of the lists. I have a place to note down whatever I think of whenever it comes to mind. I can worry less and enjoy the busy birthday week.

So, let the list making and note-taking begin. I think I am ready for the week. Just keeping my coffee fresh and my planning time quiet and productive.

Have a great week!

Family

Mother’s Day – A Blessing of Tradition

It is Mother’s Day. And as a mother I began wondering, “How did this holiday ever come to be?” Why does it seem different now compared to when I was a child? Carnations were given to mothers at church and the focus on family and togetherness seemed so different.

Here I am, the youngest, in my favorite photo. Three generations of Moms (Well I wasn’t a mother yet but it certainly was my destiny.)

And here I am with my sweet and blessed destiny. (We really need an updated one.)

As I sip coffee and reflect, I remember as a child how eager I was for that time at Mass when all the mothers were honored as each of them approached the altar to receive a carnation. It was a symbol to the church family of all of the strength and love surrounding us. One year they let the church children present the flowers and I remember proudly handing one to my grandmother and mother along with so many other mothers.

Why did we do this every year? Why do most churches no longer practice this? Why has this tradition changed? And even more, when did it start?

Well, we can thank Anna Jarvis for this holiday. After her mother died, Anna wanted a day to honor the sacrifice mothers make for their children. And through her efforts she organized the first ever celebration in two locations: A Wanamaker Department store in Philadelphia and a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. Mothers were given a white carnatoon to wear as a badge of recognition and the day was set aside to spend time together as a family honoring moms. Anna continued to champion her cause to gain national support. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure making it an official holiday.

Isn’t it ironic though that within a few years the holiday evolved from a carnation badge, visiting church services and and spending family time together to cards, gifts, and commercialism? In 1920, Anna reacted to this turn of events by denouncing the holiday and actively lobbying until her death in 1948 to have the holiday removed from the American calendar.

Today, over 100 years from the signed measure, we still celebrate moms. I wonder if Anna sees that many families are truer to her intention than she imagined. I so believe we can certainly simplify the day.

Some of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts have been crafts, handmade cards, and just being with my family.

I would really like to see all the carnation badges proudly worn as we celebrate the day. How cool would it be to be sitting at a church service and a restaurant and look around at all of the honor badges on the moms who have spent the majority of life showing up say in and day out for their children? An outward sign of love that is just so simple. Can we bring that back?

Happy Mother’s Day!

Resource for history lesson: History Channel