Monday, February 27, 2012

Keeping Things Together ... Apart

Today included a variety of planning failure -- forgot to put on my watch, got buried under stupid stuff the moment I got out bed, Dave was especially needy and did not give me my counted-on 45 minutes of peace after breakfast.


And this is how life looks when the husband is gone. ... messy. Dave is particularly needy because he's missing his Daddy time -- right when I'm particularly busy because his Daddy is not around to help me. I'm trying so hard to give him the attention he needs and craves (if only to make-up for the Daddy Gap), but meanwhile feeling pressure from work, housekeeping, hauling heavy things that I usually leave sitting in a conspicuous place until someone else (ahem) takes care of them ... that sort of thing.

We ate lunch out. And then we ordered dinner out, too.

I feel only a little bit guilty about this, as you can tell. I'm going to blame Huck. What a bad child, making his mommy do bad things like eat really delicious, not healthy food. Bad!

But I DID manage to do everything on my to-do list today, INCLUDING blogging here! (TA-DA!) and reading to Dave. I am a MACHINE.

And now for facts that don't belong anywhere, but I shall share with you because the dog doesn't care:

- Dave may or may not think that the letter "A" is actually the letter "A Apple" and that the letter "Z" is not "Z" but "Zebra." He sees a "Z" he says "Zebra."
- Slightly related to the above. His overnight diapers, he informs me, have a picture of "poop" in the "bath" and a "zebra." Pretty much it's a picture of Pooh sleeping in a honey bowl -- the sleeping illustrated by "z"s. I can see how he got there.
- The other day at my OB appointment the doctor told me that Huck is "a good sized boy." Luke heard this as "he's a strapping man-child, like his dad!" and I took it as "OMG you are going to die giving birth to a FREAKING HUGE BABY." And that, folks, is the difference between men and women.
- Between the pilot of Burn Notice and episode three, the Fiona character basically lost an entire Irish accent.
- This day is coming up shortly. Wishing I was going to the Spouse Summit in D.C. so I could go by and say hello at Arlington on the day of. Tony -- I didn't know you at all, but I know your family now. You must've been a wonderful man to have such a fantastic group of people loving and supporting you.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How Many Days to a "Habit?"

I once read that it takes between two to three weeks to form a new habit.

I contend that this is only true for things we find unpleasant. For example: it would definitely take me three weeks of cleaning up dog-doo every day at the same time for it to be something that I do as a matter of course. But it took me approximately two days to form the "habit" of drinking a homemade latte every morning. And boy is that habit awesome.

There are a whole pile of things in my life that I would like to make habits of. Many of them are things that should already be habits but are not -- like wearing a watch so that we aren't constantly running just a tiny bit late. Or like spending at least 10 minutes a day reading to David and at least 10 minutes a day teaching him something.

You would not believe how much trouble I have making those happen.

You'd also be surprised by how much those two things - wearing a watch and working with David - go together. Every day I think "This morning we will sit down and talk about the letter "A" and then we will read a book!" And every day I get sucked into work or house keeping and then, before I know it, we are 15 minutes from having to leave for whatever appointment or play date or thing we have scheduled. The time always escapes me. And the person who suffers is always my sweet boy.

Today I made yet another attempt at starting those two habits. As soon as he got out of bed I put on my watch. I made sure that a good hour before we had to leave for his craft time at the post YMCA we were sitting at his little table, talking about the letters A, B and C. Then we colored some pictures, then we did some puzzles.

It was nice.

When we got home from craft time/a stop at the playground, we read some books before his nap.

And what do you know, I still managed to get done everything I would've done with that 40 extra minutes I dedicated to my little man.

(I feel like such a bad mommy).

Habit Day 1 - done.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Early Morning Trickery

... Or "how to trick myself into capturing productivity before 0800."

Most days I manage to get life started by 0600. That is, I am out of bed. I am wearing a shirt that is not what I slept in (but still in PJ pants). I am drinking my latte. I am pretending to do something productive.

And that's the key -- pretending. Because on most days, although I am awake and up doing something ... I am not being productive. I am cruising the internet, blowing time on Facebook, or really anything except something that actually needs to be done. And we wonder why a perfectly reasonable to-do list ends the day with some things still on it.

It's essential for me to immediately reign in my day the moment I get out of bed. To do so I've developed a few "personal best practices." Since you, obviously, are just itching to know what they are so that you can launch your morning into productivity overload, here we go:

- Get up at the same time almost every day. Once a week I let myself sleep-in to whenever Dave wakes-up. The rest of the time I thrive on the consistency of a 0530 wake-up. If I'm exhausted I take a 20 to 40 minute power nap in the afternoon.
- Get at least semi dressed as soon as I get-up. I don't want to waste precious, Dave-free moments in the shower (I can trick him into playing while I shower later). But I DO want to feel a little more ready for the day than I did when I was, for example, asleep. I wash my face, put on a clean shirt, that sort of thing.
- Make a to-do list before anything else (but after making coffee. Some things are just more important). If I do not make a to-do list and organize my thoughts and priorities right away, they get dumped by the wayside for several hours as I instead fruitlessly look at photos of bunnies taking baths.
- Focus on focusing. Working on that to-do list takes dedication. And every time my mouse wanders towards a Facebook link or an article on dresses made from recyclables I think ... is this on my list? Nope. DON'T DO IT.

I'm not saying these tricks keep me on track every day ... but they help.

What tricks have you found to getting your day off on the right track?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Blog Agan = Home Again

I miss blogging for myself.

It's been more than a year since I graced this page with my typed words -- a very busy year. Most of my writing time is spent over at SpouseBUZZ, where I am the brand-spanking-new Managing Editor. I worked hard for more than a year to make that happen, knowing that someday the opportunity would come and they would actually hire me to blog about military spouse issues.

Come, it did. And here I am.

All work and only play in other places than on this blog (examples: racing, playing with Dave, etc.) has not left me a "dull boy." It has just left me with very little to say here.

Still, there's something cathartic about blogging my own thoughts about things that have nothing to do with (or less to do with) being a military spouse. In short, I've missed it.

Things that have happened since my post here last February:

-- Dave has become a giant.
-- We moved to Kentucky, a place that is windy and not nearly as pleasant as our last two duty stations. It is also a place that does not have lovely places to run near our house.
-- Luke got a desk job. I feel bored for him.
-- I grew 9 months worth of a new human ... one month to go and then he will be all cooked. And then you can all meet him.
-- I did three triathlons, a half marathon, a 15k, an Urban Adventure Race, the Army 10 Miler and a 5k. I was 12 weeks pregnant during my last triathlon. During the Army 10 Miler I was 17 weeks pregnant -- and I STILL managed to do it faster this time than in 2010. The 5k was done when I was 24 weeks pregnant -- the last "long" run I did was 7 miles at 22 weeks pregnant. Then my Achilles tendon started hurting. Then I stopped running. I blame the unborn child.
-- I traveled to D.C. and home at least three times (I kind of lost count, honestly) and visited Boise, California, North and South Carolina, Washington, Georgia, Florida, Ohio and possibly somewhere else I'm forgetting.
-- I went crazy for two weeks and we bought a dog.

I feel like I'm downplaying some sort of excitement - because that list makes things sound much more dull than they actually are.