Live, Learn and Compromise

You may have noticed that there is a metre or so of snow on the ground, right now.  Looking out our front window, you would never guess that we HAVE a front walk - nevermind that it was shoveled less than 24 hours ago.  I'm drinking my coffee in my jammies, looking at all that snow, and trying to use telepathy to get that boy three houses down to come and ask to shovel our walks.

He wants a new snowboard.  I want him to have a new snowboard.  Especially if it means I don't have to get dressed, today.

Christmas break was a profound experience for me, in terms of learning and self-awareness.  I do a horrible job of doing anything except getting things done, which leaves less time for authentic connection with the people I love.  Or for authentic connection with myself.  So, in all of that sitting and thinking I did over the break, I came up with a few small, significant changes that made for a really good First Week Back around here.

1) Drink Less Coffee
As in, one or two cups, instead of three to five cups.  I'm sleeping better, my skin is softer, my acne is in retreat.  But, more importantly, I feel less stressed through the day.  Who'da thunk it?!?

2) Drink More Water
Everyone says this.  I didn't believe them.  But, really, in terms of energy, clarity, and overall good feeling, four or five large glasses of water help.  A lot.

3) Make Chocolate a Treat Again
For over two years, I've been eating one pound of chocolate a week.  At least.  Often two or three.  Chocolate covered almonds, chocolate chips, chocolate rosettes, chocolate bars.  A cup or two of those every day seemed to keep me going.  And then I just stopped.  And I feel so much better!

4) Get Our Weekends Back
Since I opened the dayhome in fall 2006, weekends at our house have been a crazy rush of laundry, cleaning, shopping and activity prep.  And then Monday would come and we would feel like we had never stopped working.  Slowly, we're finding time to rest, again.  Food made at home means a smaller grocery list.  Doing laundry two or three times a week means fewer loads at a time, which can be washed and folded while we hang out together in the evening.  Instead of nine or ten loads to be done ALL DAY Sunday, around all of the other stuff we're trying to do.  Activity planning and preparation during the week means less to do on Sunday night.  So far, so good!

5) Do Less.  Of Everything.
We bought a new EnergyStar dishwasher to save me time in the kitchen.  (Also, we discovered there were pieces falling off of our old dishwasher when we pulled it out to replace it.  It was time.)  Mike is putting together more cabinets and another work surface, so I can get more done in less time during breaks in the kids' schedule.  We're limiting our shopping excursions as much as possible, and avoiding traveling to one store for one thing.

We're taking a two week break from our dayhome curriculum while the kids get used to playing together, and while we get back into the swing of our scheduled field trips.  This has given me the time to reconnect with my crew.  (There is so much LOVE in my house!)  Which gives me the knowledge integral to helping them all enjoy and connect with our activities.  Yes, I know.  I have the best job in the world!

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What else have I learned?  There are thousands (if not millions) of families out there trying to leave smaller footprints on the planet.  Supporting small businesses with a strong environmental focus is a legitimately fun family outing.  Even when there is a metre of snow on the ground.  Seriously, visiting Earth's General Store yesterday reminded me so much of my childhood home that I was looking for the malt counter and the bins of penny candy.  (No, I'm not that old.  Really.)  Milk cartons are lined with polyethylene, but obviously far less than the HDPE used to make plastic jugs.  HDPE pellets made from milk jugs must be mixed with a high ratio of virgin plastic because the end product would otherwise be too brittle.

But, mostly?  Time is so important.  Take the time to sustain that hug for an extra few seconds, to make warm eye contact, to really listen, to be present, and to love with your whole heart.  It sounds cheesy, I know.  But these are parts of me I lost when I entered Business, and are slowly coming back to me.  Now that I am Home.

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