So loud you can’t hear it

January 8, 2013

bullet points

I found this list while I was cleaning today. My thoughts (other than: Henry needs to work on his handwriting) are that there is a quiet poeticism going on in my 9-year-old that I only find out about when I find discarded papers under the couch. Secret poetic tidbits.

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CATEGORIES: Henry
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Make City! Destroy City!

November 23, 2012

List makers breed more list makers. Here is Henry’s list for today.

Note: I am now redoing everything, so this can be my daily list too.

Can I even tell you how much I love this?

My 9-year-old's list for the day | World of Julie

CATEGORIES: Henry

Twelve Annoying Things (My) Kids Do

October 20, 2011
  1. Walk one centimeter behind me.
  2. Use markers in a manner which is potentially harmful to the walls and furniture.
  3. Fake cry. They think it’s hilarious.
  4. “Help” by “refolding” the laundry. I let this one go because I feel like one day it will turn into actual helping by actually folding the laundry, but I can barely breathe I’m so stressed out while the unfolding/bad refolding is going on in its current incarnation.
  5. If everything is going well, someone seems to hurt themselves in a random, self-inflicted way (e.g., whipping around a rope, which then whips the whipper in the eye), which leads to the need for five minutes of patting and soothing.
  6. Climb into my lap while I am trying to type.
  7. While I am cleaning up one room, they are making a mess in another room.
  8. Wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me they just peed in the toilet.
  9. Ask me, at 6:55 a.m., “What’s for dinner tonight?”
  10. If I am thinking adult thoughts for the first time all day, all four will suddenly want me to make them food.
  11. Make a mess, and then when I ask them to clean it up, say, “It wasn’t only me! They helped too! It’s not fair! I’m not gonna clean it up all by myself!” and then sit down and read a book.
  12. Say “Help me with this! I need help!” and then as I stop what I’m doing and am 6 inches from them, say, “Oh! I got it! Never mind.”

And still, I love them, and think they are super cute and fun and funny.

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CATEGORIES: Bad Kids, Julie, Parenting

More Resel

December 30, 2009

This, right here, is why I don’t understand how single parents manage. If it were just me, who would be the kids’ wrestling partner? I am no good at wrestling with the children. Any time I try I end up just hugging them and tickling them, which is not what they want at all. Or, they try to wrestle me, and I just snap, “Get off me!” and go to another room. But Dave loves it. Thank goodness. Usually when he gets home they are waiting at the door for him, ready to pounce.

This is a list of things that Henry was planning to do with Dave (and Eli) when Dave got home from work. In case you can’t figure it out, resel=wrestle. And “Blue Men” is a game that evolved from The Great Quillow that involves Henry and Eli yelling “Blue Men!” and jumping on Dave, who is acting as the giant. Dave then yells a lot and eventually falls down, screaming, “You got me!” Making Dave into butter has something to do with covering him in blankets and kneading him (the only one of these that I might personally be able to tolerate).

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CATEGORIES: activities

Daily Checklist: Living a Methodical Life

September 16, 2009

As promised, here’s what I’ve been doing to try to get myself going down the road to Happy Julie Life Land. As part of living life more methodically, I came up with four things I wanted to do every day: exercise, write, clean the house (or some part of it) and a general category I’m calling “housekeeping” which basically means anything related to running the business of our lives, from budgets to house renovations to researching various entrepreneurial ideas Dave and I come up with.

This is my list. It might not work for you. It certainly won’t if you work outside your house every day. But I’m going to tell you all about it, because maybe something about my thought process will help you to figure out what you want to do every day (alternatively, it will make you think I am a loony nutbar who’s full of herself and needs to get her priorities in order).

There was a great article in this month’s issue of Body + Soul magazine about breaking habits, and that’s essentially what I’m doing here (though maybe not so much breaking bad habits as starting good ones). Listen, I’ve known for a long time that I’ve wanted to do these things, but it’s time for me to buck up and just do them. Part of breaking habits is setting the goal, and part of it is just doing the right thing, every day, until that becomes your habit. The whole article seemed really relevant to what I’m trying to do here, but this part in particular screamed at me:

Take it step-by-step. One metaphor that adequately portrays how habit works is this: Picture yourself taking a sled down an untouched, snowy hillside. When you climb back to the top, you have a choice: Go down the same path or start a new one. If you go down the same track, the ride is faster and easier, and after a while it’s tough to get out of. That, says [Lenora] Yuen, is a lot like habit.

To change the direction and shape of that path, you have to be patient enough to forge a new one, and use it enough times that doing so becomes faster, requiring less thought and effort.

Ok! So I’ve been doing this for about three weeks, and it is slowly making a difference. My first thought every day is, “What am I going to do for exercise today?” (ok, that’s my first thought after, “Ugh, when will we ever get enough sleep?”).

Here’s a little more about my list (you asked, right? you didn’t? well, here’s a little more anyway):

Exercise
Three times I’ve been pregnant, and three times I’ve gotten back down to my fighting weight, but each time my body is different: softer, wider, pillowy. And it takes longer each time. But Zuzu is fifteen months old, and not only do I want to look better in clothes, I also want to just have that daily habit of exercising. Because I never have, and I know my life would be better if I did (plus it’s a good model for the kiddos). A few weeks ago I saw this Helena Rubenstein quote: “There are no ugly women, only lazy ones” and while she was talking mostly about cosmetics, I feel like this is true of exercising also. Someone all cheeky with the glow of exercise looks lovely. Someone pasty with the pallor of chips on the couch, not so much. The quote is fairly unfeminist when applied to makeup, but I really like it as a life lesson. Meaning: get out there and DO something, Julie! Don’t be a lump!

Clean
Now, when I say “clean,” I don’t mean doing dishes, or picking up daily clutter, making beds, or unloading the dishwasher. Those things have to happen every day. What I’m talking about is doing one extra deep cleaning thing. Because I was doing the dishes and picking up the clutter, and corners of my house are still appalling. It’s too overwhelming to do it all at once (plus: impossible), but if I do one thing a day, it works. Things on this list include: wiping down the baseboards in one room, mopping the floor in one room, cleaning the shower curtain, dusting, walking around with glass cleaner and a cloth and wiping away any obvious hand and nose prints. Also clearing clutter out of some area that has gone to seed, like my dresser or the mantel.

Housekeeping
Like I said, this is a broad category that just means doing something to keep the business of our lives moving forward. Financial things fall into this category, as do house renovation things, and have-been-on-my-list-awhile things (like figuring out a way to attach the bike trailer to my bicycle even though we can’t find the connector bracket thingie). Anything in this category supports our family and moves us forward.

Write
I really love this advice from DIY Planner: “The secret to writing every day is to write every day.” Exactly. If you really want to do it, find a way. Stay up a little later, get up early, hide in the bathroom, do what it takes. When I write every day, it’s like I’m exercising some little writer person in my brain, and then that little Bartleby is on high alert and keeps throwing out more little writerly sentences, more and more every day, and then I have notebooks scattered throughout the house so I make sure to write the things down when I think of them. And the writing every day just happens, then. But you really need to write every day in order to write every day. (Coming next week: more obvious advice! If you want to eat healthier, eat healthier! If you wish you read more books, then read more books!)

So there you go. What’s on your list?

CATEGORIES: Julie

Living Life Methodically: Create a Daily Schedule

September 10, 2009

So if you read my post the other day, you know that I’m having some issues getting some life balance going on. I don’t have a job outside my house, and I’m in library school, but most of my time is spent parenting. Or so it seems. It’s not really exactly how I thought it would go, but I’m finding that one of my biggest challenges as a parent is teaching my kids that I cannot — and should not — be available 24/7. After six years, it’s a lesson they seem to understand not at all. And all I know is that I miss me, and I desperately want to keep moving my life forward and not put everything on pause until they’re older.

One thing that became very, very clear during my break from daily computing was that we have no schedule. Our days would just be thrown into the river and we’d see where the current took us. Which is fine every once in a while, but as a general way of life it was making us all edgy. So the first thing I did was steal an idea from preschool and make a daily schedule.

This was one of those crazy ideas that I got in the middle of the night, when I got up and wrote up a potential schedule, in the dark.  Since a scribbled written-in-the-dark schedule would have been useless to the children, I made a giant table in Word and wrote up each task. I copied clock images from a website called Dositey, and grabbed clipart from various websites (a lot of it says “SAMPLE” in huge letters across the image, but it’s not like I’m selling this or anything — it only lives in my kitchen). Just do a search for something like “breakfast clipart” and you’ll find lots of possibilities, although I had to make sure not to use a picture of, say, pancakes, since I knew the boys would say, “Hey! It says we get pancakes at 7:00!”

I cannot even tell you how psyched Henry was about this schedule. Clearly he’s been desperate for some daily normalcy for his entire life. He was telling everyone from the grocery store cashier to the UPS man, “We made a schedule. It’s a big list of everything we’re supposed to do in our day!” (He may also have been influenced by Frog and Toad on this one.)

The absolute best part was on the first day, when noon came, and I said, “Ok, it’s quiet time!” Eli said, “I’m going into my room.” And went in, tucked himself into bed, and took a nap. First time that’s ever happened. Ever. Who knew all I had to do was write it down on a list?

There’s some flexibility in here still. It bugs me that there’s no time for getting outside worked into the schedule, but we’ve been trying to make that happen in the morning, after Henry goes to school (I’m interpreting “morning meeting” to basically mean “we do something together”). I know some people would put getting dressed before breakfast, but sometimes the kids are outlandishly messy eaters, and they’d just have to change again. Better for us to have getting dressed after breakfast.

Making up the schedule took maybe an hour. If you at all feel like your days could use a little structure, I highly highly recommend doing this.

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CATEGORIES: Parenting