It's August, the boys have already been in school for a week, and my productive Mondays have returned. Ahhhh. I am welcoming back my calm energy for rhythm and creating that seems to vacation elsewhere every summer. I love the back-to-school season, as you can tell, and consider this the start of my "creative year."
There's so little thinking time, let alone work time, during summers with young kids. Whether it's buying new clothes for the kids, outlining a podcast, or picking a paint color. Over the summer my to-do list gets longer and my mind gets more crowded with thoughts I haven't had a chance to sit down and untangle. It's a seasonal feeling. I'm optimistic that summers will feel easier as the kids get older. The difference in needs between a 9-year-old and 2-year-old can be vast and I found myself caught in the middle, wanting to create summer fun for everyone, but not having many options to do so. Which is all to say that sitting at my dining table alone in the house (Chris even made a rare trip to the office today) hearing only the air conditioner and the soft click of my keyboard is quite a balm.
I've learned that I don't comfortably jump from one thing into the next. I'm not one to take the plunge from the side, even if it does get you used to the water faster. I prefer to ease in from the steps. But I'll make it to the deep end, stretching out my arms in a long stroke and squinting in the sun. So August is about easing into the school year, into my creative year, and even into our nearly-done refreshed house which is looking quite handsome. The word "anchor" keeps coming to me. This month is about anchoring myself and my family for the fall into the holiday season. It's about anchoring my work for this stretch of months where I have time. Weekly practices like my Monday morning ritual, my regular workouts, planning dinners, resetting the house on Sundays, and planning mini weekly dates and longer day dates with Chris all help me feel anchored. When my everyday foundation feels strong then I have more to give as a mother and person, which is how I like to feel.
It's still hot (so hot) but we've passed the crescendo of the summer solstice and are heading in my favorite direction: towards falls and winter, towards cozy. Sometimes just heading in the right direction is enough to let you borrow enjoyment of what's to come.
Big things happening in August:
+ Maeve's daycare schedule changes. Maeve just moved up rooms at daycare and with the change I was able to tweak her schedule. Instead of Monday, Wednesday, Friday she now goes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. This was the schedule I loved when Cedric was in preschool and to me is the ideal part-time childcare schedule. I love having two work days at the beginning of the week when I can get momentum and take full advantage of my new-week energy.
+ Book club retreat to Sedona! I look forward to this all year and love that we do this after school has started. We get through the hubbub of buying school supplies and the first week whirlwind and then we retreat to beautiful, peaceful Sedona with a kitchen over-stocked with everyone's favorites, a creek day, meals out, and so much conversation and laughter.
+ The interior of the house gets painted. If we had done a better job planning out all of these house projects we would have had the house painted and then installed new flooring. But this is how it worked out! We last had the interior of the house painted when Cedric was a crawling baby. I remember thinking, "Why did we do this right now??" but was also so happy once it was done. The walls, ceilings, and kitchen and bathroom cabinets will all be painted. I'm very excited for the refresh and have been envisioning white walls for several years.
+ Guard Mondays and Tuesdays for writing and podcasting. For this first full week of my new creative year I'm making time for fun including seeing a weekday movie (Elvis at 10:30 a.m., gasp!). But starting next week my Mondays and Tuesdays will be kept for writing and podcasting. This means not planning to run errands, go to appointments, or have social get-togethers on those days. Occasional exceptions are okay but for the most part on those days I'll be unavailable for anything other than creating.
+ Declutter and organize two closets: our bedroom closet and the hall closet. These projects have been nagging at me for months and it's time. Organizing these daily-used spaces will bring order and joy to my days.
+ Weekly coffee/budget dates with Chris. Back at it for the new school year and we're both feeling very committed to making these happen. What helps is checking in during the weekend before and blocking out the time on our calendars. These budget dates are important enough that they can happen on a Monday or Tuesday. :)
+ Catch up on processing kiddo art work. I still have things from the end of last school year, eeep!, but not too big of a pile. As a reminder, I take photos of kiddo art work on a white poster board and then save the photos to separate Google Photo albums for each kid. So far I've made printed photo books (using Blurb) for Dash and Cedric of their art work from "first scribbles" through pre-K. I think I'll plan to make them additional books for the early elementary ages. Here's a blog post about my process and how Dash's book turned out.
+ Notice what routines we might need. In a recent post, I wrote about school-year routines I want to establish. These include figuring out the buy/bring lunch situation for the boys, planning my days with Maeve, and finding my own balance between rest and productivity. Now that the school-year has started I want to mindfully survey the landscape, so to speak, and figure out what will work well in each case.
Wishing you good things in August, friends!