It's September, we're settling into routine, and I have one foot into fall while also feeling grumpy about the persistent heat. Sounds about right!
In August we saw the completion of all the big house updates we've been doing, whew! Having the entire interior of the house painted took about two weeks and was unfun to live through (but not as bad as getting new flooring!). I love the way our paint colors look with our new flooring and the overall fresh, calm look. When the noise and energy of the house feel chaotic my eyes can land upon our freshly painted walls or the warm flooring and it truly brings me some peace. Ahhhhhh.
We still have lingering tasks like installing towel hooks, changing a bathroom light fixture, and making a headboard for our bed. All of this has mostly fallen to Chris and he's my hero for getting so much done in the midst of working and managing three kids. So the house doesn't feel done done but we're 90% of the way there, at least with what the budget will allow right now. Our home feels more "us", cohesive, and beautiful. It's quite satisfying to have taken such big steps to create a lovely, cozy home from our for otherwise unremarkable suburban cookie-cutter house.
I'm watching for Canada geese to fly overhead on their fall migration but have not heard one honk. I know they've usually started by now. Have they changed their route? Is it climate change? I keep promising Maeve that we'll see them. Perhaps by the end of the month we'll see them as we open the doors in the morning when, at least for a little while, we can let in cool if not chilly air.
With routine and a new season on the horizon, I'm craving a house-wide tidy. All those lingering house tasks mean a boxed light fixture leans in one corner or our room, now unneeded wall speakers waiting to be sold or donated in another (just listed them on Facebook Marketplace!), and a huge piece of live-edge wood waits to become a headboard in another. Like all parents I daydream about having a string of days to get it all done. (Is that what all parents daydream about?) If not all at once we are making steady progress and I love what we're creating as we do.
Update on my August goals:
+ Guard Mondays and Tuesdays for writing and podcasting. Yes! Being fierce with protecting this time is essential for me to get momentum on my writing and podcasting. When I have the dedicated time for my work I noticed that I feel more fulfillment in life overall and have more patience and energy to give other parts of my life. For anyone wanting to make time for a creative pursuit or for yourself I will give the advice that you have to put that time on the calendar and then guard it fiercely.
+ Declutter and organize two closets: our bedroom closet and the hall closet. Progress has been made! I hope to have another organizing session this week.
+ Weekly coffee/budget dates with Chris. Yes. We've been doing a good job finding time for weekly mini-dates and budget catch ups. We've also been putting day dates on the calendar and have been enjoying making double date plans with friends.
+ Catch up on processing kiddo art work. Yes! Whew, always so glad to catch up on this. As always it's more daunting to get started than actually complete the task but it did take an hour or so of my time to go through the big art pile. I sorted the art by kiddo and roughly in chronological order, then photographed each piece, and then organized the photos into an existing digital photo album of art for each kid. Here's a blog post about my process and how Dash's book turned out.
+ Notice what routines we might need. Yes. And an update that some of you might find helpful: I mentioned wanting a system to help the boys do more of their morning routines independently and I've implemented a system that is working really well for us. I'm using the app Chore Pad which lets you create simple chore lists for multiple kids, and to customize each kid's list. For each of the boys they have the "chores" of getting dressed, making their beds, eating breakfast, brushing their teeth, filling up their water bottles, and packing their backpacks. Their deadline every morning is 7:30 a.m. and they can check off what they've done (plus have a few minutes to finish any lingering tasks). They have been so motivated! I'm still working out what the reward system will be but I'd like for them to be able to earn an award about every two weeks. So far the reward choices offered were: $5, going out for ice cream, or picking out a (regular size) candy at the store. They both chose the candy as their first reward.
Big things happening in September:
+ Chris turns 45! We had fun celebrating with a day date, then going out to eat as a family on Chris's actual birthday, and with a bigger family lunch.
+ Record Fall Extravaganza episode of The Girl Next Door. This is our most-anticipated episode of the year and so we put a lot of thought and effort into recording.
Goals for September:
+ Make a list of chores the boys can do to earn money. We've been wanting to do this for months and it'll take all of about 20 minutes to do. Sometimes little tasks like this have to be elevated to "monthly goal" to get the attention they need to finally get done. I think I might be able to integrate these paid chores into the Chore Pad app as well which would be great.
+ Make time each week to complete a house task or organizing project. There's always house work to be done but I'd like to check off all these lingering tasks by the end of the month.
+ Complete a big Girl Next Door Podcast project. I'm sorry to be vague about this! But this project and associated work deserves to hold a place this month. Erica and I have been working on offering something new to listeners which is requiring some extra work but we're excited to share it soon. If you follow our podcast you'll hear more about this on Wednesday.
+ Plan our family's Falliday celebration. I remember fondly a fall day with Maeve last year when we did a few fall things serendipitously all in one day like making fall-scented play dough, baking pumpkin bread, and reading new fall books. With a little planning I'd like to recreate a low-key fall day for the family.
Wishing you a happy September, friends!