Stories of Twenty-Fifteen - Week 8

Here’s this week’s story:

Title: Practicing Basketball
David’s class started their basketball practice and games in November. From November to March, they will have practice and a game each week. As opposed to many other boys in his class, David doesn’t play any basketball (or other similar sports) outside of school. This means that the weekly practice is all he gets.

In hopes of giving him a little more time to practice, Jake took both the boys to the park this week. As the boys practiced, I worked on my computer. Jake was shooting hoops, trying to teach David how to steal the ball from right under the net. I asked them if they could take a little break so I could take a photo of David shooting.

They were willing to accommodate me so David grabbed the ball and gave it a shot. It was the very perfect moment because David threw and it went right into the basket!

I am not a sporty person. I have never played any sports I wasn’t required to. I am way too clumsy and uncoordinated to be good at anything. Even when skiing and skating (the only two sports I can do) I am cautious and therefore not very good. Sports is just not my thing. It’s never been and I don’t think it will ever be at this point.

Which is exactly why I love watching my kids play. I love it when Jake takes them out there and works with them to improve their balance, their skills, and their dexterity. I love watching David try again and again. I love that he’s willing to keep going. I love that he’s getting to experience playing a team sport. I love that he keeps trying relentlessly.

I love sharing the things that I know how to do with my boys. It’s special for me to pass on my own joys and learnings. But, what I love even more is watching them do things I never could. Watching them ride bikes. Watching them sing or play an instrument. Watching them play sports. I haven’t done any of these things. I get to experience them for the first time through them. I get to see how amazing it feels to have your kids be better than you. To be more. To do more.

It’s a magical feeling.

Stories of Twenty Fifteen is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

You Choose – Week 6

This week’s pick is one that makes me feel every one of my core desired feelings: the sea. I love the sea. I crave the sea. I am so grateful for the sea. There’s nothing as magical as the sound of the waves hitting the shore. I am so glad to be so close to the sea and I need to remember to visit the sea way more often.

here is a side look for the shimmer:

here’s to embracing serenity.

You Choose is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

Note to Self - Week 8

This was another page where I just went rogue. I wanted to do something different from Tam’s lesson. I didn’t know what but I wanted an angel. Not sure of why, I just began to draw so I could see where it would take me.

I ended up with this girl with golden wings (maybe it’s the same girl from last week?) crouching down and her wings fully open.

Text says: find your wings

a reminder to have courage. to open my wings fully and fly. It’s implied that we all have wings. We’re not getting new ones, we’re not making wings, we’re finding the ones we already have because we all already have them.

here’s a sideways look:

Note to Self: you already have all you need.

Note to Self is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

A Book a Week – Perfect

I read Perfect because I loved Rachel Joyce’s other book so much. This was not as good. It was a considerably sadder story and I kept wincing as I read it.

Even with that, I am glad I did and I still think she’s a lovely author and i will read whatever she comes out with next but if you’ve never read her I recommend you start with The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Fifty-Two Stamps – Week 8

For this week’s stamp, I just did something fun. A little banner that I can use in my notebook or even in my scrapbook pages. Something small and simple but very reusable.

Here’s what the stamp looks like:

A fun little, useful one.

Fifty-two stamps is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

February Checkin

I was out of ideas to write to day but I really wanted to write so I figured I’ll do one of these currently kinds of posts since it’s been a while. (here’s the list i used):

Making: a fun planner for myself and loving it
Cooking: more vegetables and healthier food in general.
Drinking: more water this week. making an effort.
Reading: the book of strange things (for weeks now) and a spool of blue thread, just finished all the bright places and loved it.
Wanting: to find a schedule that works for me
Looking: for a good idea for my daily March project. Any ideas?
Playing: candy crush still. way too often.
Deciding: if i can take tomorrow off work. feeling really sick.
Wishing: i could function on less than eight hours of sleep so i had more time each day
Enjoying: watching my kids read. just enjoying my kids in general. and, yes, my new planner too
Waiting: for nothing. trying to be in the moment. trying to remind myself not to run ahead of it.
Liking: some of the recent life book lessons. i love sitting and painting.
Wondering: how it’s already almost March
Loving: my kids and my husband. so much. so so much.
Pondering: the car that was hit by a train by my house yesterday. poor soul.
Considering: schedule blocking my time. been thinking about this for months but haven’t managed to do it.
Watching: life book class videos
Hoping: i can feel healthy again
Marveling: at the beautiful weather here
Needing: sleep
Smelling: the vanilla scented candle on my desk, it smells yum!
Wearing: jeans but I think they are making my back hurt
Following: my plans this week. making plans and sticking to them.
Noticing: that i can never make it to bed at the time i plan to.
Knowing: that these days are precious. every day is precious and trying to enjoy mine.
Thinking: that the daily journaling really helps ground me.
Feeling: good about spending time with my kids. encouraging them to work hard.
Admiring: people who are always easygoing. people who can always see the upside. people who are comfortable in their skin.
Sorting: my plans for March. I have a vacation with Jake and a trip to Zurich on the books.
Buying: sandwich boxes for the kids
Getting: excited and worried about the number of approaching big deadlines in April
Bookmarking: middle school pages
Disliking: drama. not a fan.
Opening: my mind. my heart.
Giggling: with nathaniel. always giggling with nathaniel.
Feeling: grateful. tired, wiped, worried, overwhelmed but always so very grateful.

how about you?

Choosing Curiosity

Twenty Fifteen has been a tough year for me, so far. Or maybe that’s not a fair statement. Many things have been going well but I feel like some of the fundamental things that make me feel grounded or feel in charge of my own life haven’t been moving forward the way I’d like them to and that has made me feel like everything is going badly.

I’ve been fretting over this for a few weeks now and all that has done is make things worse. I find that when I am hard on myself, it doesn’t help me get back on the wagon, it just makes me wallow in pity longer and continue to make not the best choices. None of this is news to me. I am well aware of the negative cycle and how self-reprimand doesn’t stop it.

What I don’t know is how to find something that does.

So, last week, I decided to take the advice I often give my coaching clients: be curious.

I decided that instead of berating myself for not being able to get my work done, I would choose to be curious about what’s standing in the way. Curious why the systems that worked for me before were failing me now. Curious about what changed.

The thing that makes curiosity such a better choice is that curiosity doesn’t come with judgement. Curiosity doesn’t mean I am doing it wrong. Curiosity is about exploration. It’s about digging deeper and looking and trying to understand. It doesn’t assume one option is more correct than the other. It’s open to the possibility that maybe what worked before is no longer the best option. It’s open to the possibility of finding a new normal. A new definition of “good” and “bad.” Curiosity is so much more rewarding.

So I got curious. I quieted the voices that were judging me and took a look at my life and what’s getting in the way. What choices I’m making. What’s changed. Etc. etc. I’ve had a lot of changes in my schedule in the last three months and I still haven’t found my new normal. I’ve also committed to a lot more things outside of the house than I usually would. So both of these changes have meant that what was working for me before is not anymore. It’s not that I was doing a bad job. It’s really that it was impossible to continue doing some of the “good” things I was doing in this new life.

This meant that I had to go all the way back to the beginning and make a plan from scratch. A new plan that would work for this life. I bought a planner, I made some pages that contained the things I want to track, and I decided to treat today as day one.

Combined with the curiosity, I also gave myself grace. It was hard to figure out a plan that worked for my old life. It took multiple tries and many changes to get it right. I realized that it would be the same with this plan. I would be starting from day one and it would take several iterations to get it right. I would have to be open to failing. I would have to stay curious and keep paying attention to what works and what doesn’t. And, more importantly, why it doesn’t so I can figure out how to modify it.

So that’s what I did. I made a new plan. I woke up this morning, as it turned out, very sick and very tired. And, before, this would have stopped me from trying anything, but this morning I just did as much of my plan as I could. I was kind to myself. I acknowledged that this was only one of the many days it will take to find my new norm so it didn’t matter if it wasn’t perfect. I am tracking what I do and what I don’t do so I can get a sense of how off base my new plan is. And then I will change where and how I need to make it work.

Here’s to new beginnings. And to staying curious.

Everyday Brave – Week 7

This week’s page is one of my least favorites. The left side was my attempt to draw the Tivo remote I’ve used and loved for so many years. It’s hard to do black and watercolor. Well, it’s hard for me. I don’t absolutely hate this one, but I am not in love with it either.

The right side, I really hate. It was for a Sketchbook Skool assignment. It was supposed to be a school memory. I remember this one time when I was at school and we had an eye exam. My eyesight was so bad that I thought this huge A was an E. So I tried to draw that but I do not like how it turned out. The thing with learning something new is that you fail more often than you succeed. And you have to keep going and have faith that things will get better. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

And there we are. Here’s another week.

Fifty-two stamps is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

Weekly Diary – February 22 2015

This year seems to be going by in a blur. If I thought January was like that, February showed me how much more blurry the days can get. So much for feeling more settled. I would say March might do the trick but I am going to Zurich in the middle of March for a week and I am not sure what that will do to my schedule and ability to get back to being organized.

I am finding myself spinning my wheels a lot this year so far. I feel quite out of sorts. I am doing many things I am proud of but I am also not doing some things that I really really want to focus on and that’s making me feel frustrated with myself. I wish there was some trick that could help me get back on some type of routine.

In the spirit of keeping tabs on my priorities and goals weekly, here’s some of what worked and didn’t work this week so far:

Worked Well:

  • I feel like I am staying on top of my art/projects for the most part.
  • I am trying to go back on the exercise plan.
  • I still love teaching math to the boys.
  • I’m still spending a lot of time with David and Nathaniel, working and playing.
  • We started a daily 30-min reading time together where all 3 of us sit and read quietly.
  • I am co-organizing a mother-son book club for David’s class.
  • Took David to Orlando!
  • We had a lot of fun in Santa Cruz together.
  • I did a tiny bit more journaling
  • I spent some time getting organized, let’s see if it pays off
Needs more Work:
  • All things health and exercise have been on a major decline.
  • Still feeling disorganized and not-grounded.
  • Also feeling really tired and a lot of back pain, I need to focus on my health a lot more starting this week.
  • I’ve been feeling down, sad, disorganized, and frazzled.

Here are a few more photos from the last two weeks:

Two weeks ago was David’s 10th birthday. I wanted to do something special for him so I surprised him by pulling him out of school on the Friday before his birthday and the two of us flew to Orlando to visit Universal Studios so he could see Harry Potter land. Our flight there was delayed by quite a few hours due to high winds at SFO so we sat at the airport for several hours while he listened to music and I listened to my book.

By the time we got in and checked into the hotel, it was 2am. We woke up just a few hours later to make sure we could be there right when the park opened. Here’s David reading the brochure on the shuttle.

My camera was dead on the first day so I took most of our photos on the phone and posted on my instagram account. We started with Diagon Alley.

and then took the train

to Hogsmeade.

the next day, my camera was working so I made him pose by the door.

and everywhere else.

after we were done with harry potter, we went to some of the other fun locations

he liked the comicbook town.

after two days filled with fun and adventure, we got back home and had to return back to life. But only for four days because the kids started their winter break that friday. We were originally going to go to Los Angeles, but I felt wiped from Orlando and really wasn’t ready to go anywhere. So, instead, we decided to have fun locally. We went to Santa Cruz and bowled.

i did quite badly.

the big boys played video games.

they had a minigolf with a section with black light, it was really fun.

it was a really sunny and beautiful day

on Tuesday, we went to see an IMAX movie at the Tech Museum and walked around Santana Row. And then Wednesday we went to see the SpongeBob movie. It was a low key but also fun week. Then it was time to take family photos.

Nathaniel was on a roll.

always smiling.

silly face time.

nonstop fun for the little boy.

and a crazy attempt at tickle time.

and here we are. Another full week. I am so grateful for my life.

Weekly Diary is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

David and Nathaniel’s Books of Happy Memories – Week 6

Here’s this week’s offering from David:

And yet another card from Ari. Isn’t he awesome?

And one from Nathaniel:

A Window art Nathaniel made in class.

David and Nathaniel’s Books of Happy Memories is a two projects I’m doing with my kids for 2015. You can read more about it here.

Stories of Twenty-Fifteen - Week 7

Here’s this week’s story:

Title: Solar System Mobile
One of the presents Jake got for Nathaniel this Christmas was a box of Space Exploration projects. It wasn’t until Nathaniel asked him to help do some of the projects that he opened the box and realized how complicated each project was.

But he’d already promised to help.

So the boys got to work. They picked one of the simpler projects: a solar system mobile.

First they got a piece of yarn and put all the labels for each planet through. Then they tied a picture of the planet below each with a thread. Then, they blew up a yellow balloon to represent the sun. It sounds simple in the three sentences but these steps took quite some time. And then we had the challenge of where to put the finished project.

Jake and I took it upstairs very carefully and looked around Nathaniel’s room to find the perfect spot. As it turned out, we got lucky. We hung it right over his desk.

While the project is lovely, what I love most about this little story was watching the two boys work together. I love seeing how they are both so focused in the photo above. I love how Nathaniel’s not deterred by the difficulty of the task. I love how he wasn’t bored or didn’t get distracted and walk away. And, of course, I love what it taught him about science.

(I learned something, too. I had no idea how different the sizes of each of the planets were. And how much bigger Jupiter is than the others. )

I really enjoy watching the two boys play together and I love playing with them myself, but there’s something special, for me, in watching their dad play with them. Maybe it’s because it’s a father-son moment or maybe it’s because I love them both so much. Either way, these are special moments for me and I cherish every single one of them.

I love you so much, Nathaniel and Jake.

Stories of Twenty Fifteen is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.

You Choose - Week 7

Even though I like lattes as much as the next person, at heart, I’m a tea person. A cup of tea and a blanket to curl up in is enough to make me feel centered and serene. Add a good book to the combination and I won’t move from my spot for hours.

So thankful for simple pleasures in life.

here’s a closeup of the writing:

here is a side look for the shimmer:

here’s to remembering how my cup overflows.

You Choose is a project for 2015. You can read more about it here.