Adventure

Last summer, the Mr gave me a surfboard (above) for my birthday, hoping that we could share one of his favorite pastimes. He had taken me surfing a handful of times over the years, but having my own board got me so excited to really learn. After a few slightly terrifying episodes getting tossed by waves (I’m a total wimp in the ocean), he thought it might be best to downgrade me to a less advanced board – this year’s birthday gift.

Years ago, I think part of my motivation to learn to surf came from the desire to be viewed as a tough girl, who could hang with the guys and fearlessly conquer the ocean (although if I’m completely honest, I’m more of a bask-in-the-sun-while-enjoying-my-book-type of person). But now my intention stems from wanting to spend time with my sons as they grow, doing something they might end up loving as much as their dad.

I love that my husband is always dreaming up ways to get our little family out of the house and into adventure. In this season of life, “adventure” looks like a night of beach camping, juggling pack-n-plays and sand toys, and making sure we have enough ice to keep the milk cold. One day when the boys are older, adventure might mean road trips up the West Coast, or surf trips to South America. And when those adventures come, I want to be out there in the water with them – talking about life and getting to know them in a deeper way – instead of sitting on the beach with a book.

We should still have a couple more warm-ish months this year, so I’m excited to get out in the water and keep trying. And as I’m getting tossed by waves, I’ll picture my sweet sons in the water next to me. Wish me luck! xo

Advertisements

Working from home

Kathryn_1

As long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to stay home with my children, if at all possible. When I got pregnant with our oldest son Augie, I could feel a shift in my heart that pulled me toward home life. I loved my job as a video editor, but also felt burnt out from a few years of intense work seasons. The Mr and I overhauled our spending so that we could get by on one income, and decided I would stay home full-time with the baby. I loved being able to watch him grow everyday, and spending our simple and quiet days together.

Once Augie was about 10 months old (and finding I was pregnant with our second), I felt a pull back into the professional and creative world. Since then, I’ve worked some hours here and there – mostly video editing and a little writing – which (very thankfully) I can do from home. It allows me to structure my days around my kids, while also staying connected to people I love working with and projects I feel passionate about.

As of now, 80% of what I accomplish is done while the boys are sleeping. I do my best not to work while they are awake so I can stay present with them (which can be challenging, but so worth it). On the days I do work, once the boys are napping, I typically eat a quick lunch and head up to my workspace in our bedroom. I like going to a designated “working” spot, as opposed to my laptop that lives on our dining room table. It helps me feel a bit more removed from daily life, and more creative and focused. It also helps if I’m showered and dressed in “real” clothes (as opposed to my sweaty athleisure ensemble from the morning)!

I typically don’t work in the evening hours, since the Mr and I really treasure our time together once the flurry of bedtime is over and the kids are in bed around 8pm. We get to talk, check in with each other over a glass of wine or a cup of tea, and catch up on any shows we might be watching. I also function and feel my personal best when I close the screens at the end of the day, and take time to unwind physically and mentally.

I’m very thankful for this season in life – that I can watch my little ones grow everyday, while also having a little time to engage my creativity and collaborate with other adult-type people. :) And I’ve found that my limited work schedule has actually forced me to manage my time more effectively over the years. These days, I can get way more done in 2 hours than I ever did when I worked a full day in an actual office.

If you work from home, how do you get the most out of your day?

Photo above c. 2013 from my pre-motherhood days. 

Everyday-ness

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it will not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky, and want more than all the world your return.” – Mary Jean Irion, Yes, World 

I’m an introvert through and through. Most days I’m scheming how to find just a few moments alone to clear my mind and organize my thoughts. I’m so thankful that I can be home with my little ones full time, but having to talk to and interact with a 3-year-old and not-quite-2-year-old all day long can be emotionally tiring for me (as I’m sure it is for most people).

Some days, after mediating yet another brotherly battle over something excruciatingly small, I feel brittle, stretched beyond my natural abilities, and loathe the sound of my own voice. When those days overwhelm me in their everyday-ness, I try to remind myself that someday, I will miss the smallness of our world together, and the thousands of sweet moments when all they want is for me to sit next to them, talk to them, notice them.

Lately I’ve had a few mothers of teenagers confide in me that they would trade the older years (with all the drama and emotional complexities they bring) for the toddler years in a heartbeat. Granted, they have years of distance from those younger, physically demanding stages. But I think there is something to this. We all yearn for a simpler time, an easier time, don’t we? Whether we long for the foggy, rose-colored seasons of the past, or for the yet-to-be-experienced seasons of the future, it can be challenging to be thankful for the season we’re in.

Over the last few years, the quote above has reminded me how brief and precious these years are and to be thankful for the simplicity of our lives, right at this moment. I hope you find some comfort in it, however you spend your everyday.

 

Flying with little ones

Last week, the boys and I headed to NC to visit my family while the Mr is away for work. Flying with little ones (especially alone) is no joke, and I’ve spent the last few years honing my traveling skills with squirmy babies and toddlers. Here are a few things I’ve learned. :)

1. Bag of tricks. This one has never failed me. A few weeks before the flight, I browse Amazon for new small toys and activities and put them in an opaque bag (these are great) that fits into my diaper bag. The boys love digging through it and discovering something new every hour (or few minutes, haha). Other favorites I bring are stickers (hours of fun, if not a bit annoying to tidy up), a few new lightweight books, and snacks (obviously).

2. Get organized. On the subject of bags, I’ve found it really helpful to organize every single item in my carry on / diaper bag into its own smaller, categorized bag – a change of clothes in one, snacks in another, etc. It helps me stay sane and allows me to grab what I need at one glance instead of rifling through everything. I’ll often just use clear, gallon-size plastic bags so I can easily see what’s in them. They can also serve as wet bags for any unforeseen / inevitable accidents.

3. More is not more. It’s taken me years to become a more efficient and minimal packer (and there’s still much room for improvement!). But now having to pack for two kids as well as myself, I really have to resist the instinct to overpack. It can be tempting to bring every single thing we might possibly need, but I have regretted overpacking way more often than I have regretted not bringing any particular item, or extra pair of whatever.

4. Schedule flights around naps (if possible). This one hasn’t always gone in my favor, but scheduling flights in the late morning / midday sometimes means my little ones are able to pass out at some point on a long flight. The older they get the less often this happens, but it’s always a nice break when it does!

5. Direct vs. layovers. Does your little one do better with a break to stretch her legs and run around for a while? Then a layover might be best for you. Personally, I’d rather deal with one longer flight than managing the stress of boarding, deplaning, boarding again and possibly missing a connecting flight. Taking the time to think about your babe’s development stage and unique personality can help you make the best travel plans possible.

6. Take a deep breath and relax. I used to stress to the max about flying with my little ones – I was so terrified of annoying people. But in the last 3 years, I’ve never had anyone be rude to me (I think people mostly feel sorry for me, haha!). Fellow travelers are most likely to be kind and understanding, and will probably even offer to carry something for you! So give yourself some grace.

We are heading back to California later today, so wish us luck on our cross-country flight!

Do you have any fool-proof tips for traveling with kids? I’d love to hear them!