Saturday, October 17, 2020

Using Jordan Page’s Block Schedule with Some Edits

It is a night at home, my list of "quiet," after-bedtime chores are finished. I have retired to reading and writing for the night. These are my two passions in between busy routines. 

And I wanted to share one method to add a bit of routine, efficiency, and quality to your day. It is Jordan Page's Block Schedule. You can read about it on her website here

In the article and the YouTube video, she outlines how a daily schedule is similar to a class schedule in high school. She then goes to separate her day into "Blocks" that make sense for her daily life centered around being an active person, a mother, a wife, a homemaker, a friend, and a relative.

What I loved most about this approach was that not one of these roles was taken for granted, put on the proverbial back burner of life. And that got me to fully pay attention. 

Her schedule of Blocks includes carved out hours either defined by external responsibilities or personal preference when she commits to specific tasks and once the "Block" is over, she moves onto a different task without dwelling. 

So, I tried it. And I loved it. 

I specifically loved it because it was a really good way to adjust to a more hectic morning routine. 

My particular Blocks are different between weekdays and weekends, with the exception of vacations and holidays.

My weekday routine is as follows:

Block 1: 1 to 2 hours

1. Wake up

2. Get ready

3. Get the kids ready (hygiene, vitamins, medicine)

4. Change diapers/take trips to the potty

5. Have breakfast

6. Prepare pumping equipment

7. Prepare bottles and daycare necessities

8. Prepare to leave by putting on shoes and outer wear

9. Drop children off at daycare

Block 2: 9 hours

1. Complete emails

2. Setup meetings

3. Work on long-term projects

4. Break for lunch and pump

5. Work on short-term projects

6. Attend meetings

7. Work on any projects that are due

8. Coordinate with clients and internal teams

Block 3: 2 hours

1. Pick up children from daycare

2. Come home

3. Have dinner

4. Do dishes

5. Play with children until bedtime

6. Change diapers, complete trips to the potty 

7. Help Baby 1 with nighttime routine

8. Settle Baby 2 to bed

Block 4: 3 hours

1. Decompress

2. Complete any necessary or not necessary chores

3. Read

4. Write

5. Play the Sims

6. Plan the day for tomorrow

7. Catch up with friends over zoom

8. Shower

9. Get ready for bed

Block 5: 8 hours

1. Sleep 

2. Wake up again and again as needed


I followed this schedule and although I vary my routine during the weekend, especially when I can have a few more minutes of sleep, I love the structure during my weekdays. 

Following this block schedule I know that I haven't forgotten something along the way like vitamins or medicine. This Block schedule is also a great way to share parenting or caregiver duties since it shows everything that the child needs to have in a day and what a parent or caregiver needs to do to facilitate activities.

As you can see, or imagine, I do not get to do my entire Block 4 in 3 hours each day. I would need more hours. And that's okay. I end up doing what suits the evening the best. Most of the time that is listening to an audio book and writing since I end up moving quite a lot at work and while playing with my children. 

I think one of the great takeaways from Jordan Page's block schedule is that I end up building healthy boundaries in my day for mental health. While I do not compartamentalize 100%, I do put limits on the ammount of chores I do during the day while the kids are awake so that I can play with them more. 

Since I have young children who always want me to play with them, I have this fear that once they are old enough, maybe well in their teenage years, that they will not want me to play with them, or talk to them as much. So I try to maximize our time with quality time. And I figured I could do chores during the day at some point later in life when my children are not interested in playing with toys or hide and seek, or peekaboo. 

Another great takeaway is the capacity to slowly build a schedule over time. It takes a while to get the whole family used to something and this way, you have a few broad strokes that you can then develop further into more granular detail. For example, I would like to have some help with chores once each child in my family has reached a necessary maturity level. Well, they cannot learn if they do not ever see the chore being done, if they do not participate in the chore, if they do not undertstand all of the actions associated with completing the chore. Therefore, some chores will start to be completed during the morning or the evening to start incorporating these chores into my family's routine instead of just my routine.


Maternity Wardobe Additions for a Fall/Winter Pregnancy

 

URSTYLE link: https://urstyle.fashion/styles/2773442

 

You don't have to buy an all new wardrobe in order to look stylish while pregnant.

If you are a clothing minimalist, or if you want to dress yourself without breaking the bank, this post is for you!

First and foremost, I want to say that most social media regarding pregnancy is a lot of lies. No one wears a maternity gown every day. Most expecting parents wear loose clothing that still fits from their non-maternity wardrobe until there is no choice but to wear maternity or otherwise over-sized clothing if maternity is not your cup of tea.

Outerwear

Second, yes, if you are going to be nine months pregnant during the winter then you will need a coat or a very, very warm wool sweater that fits over your belly and then some. There is no way around it in a cold climate. 

I would usually say that if you intend on taking walks, even if it's from your car to your destination that it is worth splurging on something comfortable. This being 2020 with outings limited due to COVID-19, it makes less sense to get something aesthetically appealing and more practical, social distance activity-friendly options seem like the best choice. 

Jeans and Pants

If you use the popular and brilliant rubber band technique or the belly bandit, then you might be able to spend the majority of your pregnancy in your favorite, non-maternity, jeans. 

Jeans are very practical and I placed these on my list because I wore them at least three times a week during the second and third trimesters.

If you work outside of the home where business attire is the norm, you will have to purchase enough office friendly bottoms. More often than not, business and business casual clothing is less friendly to the life hacks such as the rubber band or the belly bandit. 

One of my favorite shopping moments was finding a pair of Loft Maternity pants at a thrift store for maternity wear. It was a steal for the price, and although they were a bit tight in the ninth month of pregnancy, I love these pants and still wear them almost a year postpartum.

Nursing Tanks

If you are also planning to breastfeed, this is a good investment now. These tanks tend to run long and they will be the go to top after your baby is born. You might want to get some ahead of time now and have additional undergarments. These tanks tend to stretch.

Leggings 

Leggings are essential for the winter time to go under dresses. And if you are following your doctor's recommendations of doing light exercise, you need to supplement your athleisure with maternity choices during pregnancy. You don't even have to get maternity leggings although they are a big plus. If there is a non-maternity pattern or style that you like, you might be able to size up and wear them up to your due date, it all depends on the material and the clothing brand.

Dresses

Dresses are underrated as maternity wear. I love sweater dresses or wrap dresses because they will stretch. 

Shirts and Sweaters

While I highly suggest re-purposing your own pieces, it might be a good idea to have a few key shirts and sweaters ready to go for just about any activity. There is only so far that re-purposing can go. And sometimes, it makes sense to be put together just a little more.

I think sweaters are a good investment in general and they don't have to be maternity. A cozy wool or cashmere blend sweater will always come handy while sipping coco by a campfire or taking a brisk walk long after the baby is born. 

As someone who is naturally always a bit cold, I want to point out that Merino wool, machine cold-washable wool, is a great investment and will stay warm even when wet. It will always be worth the initial investment without the headache of dry-cleaning. 

Open Faced Cardigans

While this might look like an ordinary sweater, it is more of a maternity wear power house. These cardigans can often effectively shield a pregnant belly from the elements without having to be a maternity item. 

They are easy layers to put on and take off and will serve time and time again during pregnancy and long after the baby is born. 

If you live in milder climates, these pieces can be your outerwear layer. 

Comfortable Sleepwear

This last essential addition to the maternity wardrobe is comfortable, breathable sleepwear. The final trimester is not a comfortable destination. You need all of the comfort so that you can get the rest that you need and deserve. 

Also, chances are that when your baby does come, you want to be as comfortable as possible. 

To be fair, most Mamas I know tend to "borrow" an oversized shirt from their husbands, but it is far better to get your own.  


 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Preparing Your Space the Montessori Way For Adults

What I love most about the Montessori method is not the floor bed or the ways that kids can learn independence, but what it can do for the mother or the caregiver. 

The Montessori method allows the parents to reexamine their spaces and assess challenges not only for their children, but also for themselves. The home either serves as an asset or a liability for the life of the family. 

Sure, if spaces are not prepared for the children inhabiting them, the child eventually learns to move past or over or under the obstacles. And if that doesn't happen, the child can simply grow up. However, obstacles that can have a lasting impact on the parents, mamas, or caregivers are those rarely noticed because we, as adults, simply get used to them.

How often have we found a chore not done, a home not ready for visitors, or just a home with things out of place to the point that it bothers us? Or how often have we had everything in its place and it was just too hard to setup equipment like art supplies for a hobby because your home was not built or setup with fun in mind?

Preparing a space is a luxury in itself. In those precious, and at times rare, situations when we get to prepare our environment, it is amazing what we can achieve by removing some of these challenges.

The home defines what happens in it. It might be a hook onto which keys can be easily placed, saving time and energy for other activities. Or it could be readily accessible towels for those toddlers and preschoolers to clean up their messes with relative ease. It could be a few toys out of place that are obstacles to adults and children alike during the morning. It could be an accessible pantry, making it easy to plan and make meals. 

Like many mommy bloggers, I am over 25, and I still think that I can benefit from preparing my space so that I can have a slightly more fulfilling life.

So I am off on my journey, I am going to report back in weekly increments. Stay Tuned!
 




Transformative Journey From One Child to Two


 Urstyle source link: https://urstyle.fashion/styles/2767916

 

Third Trimester Pregnant with Number Two

All I wanted to do was sleep, to be comfortable, and wish my baby would get here already. 

And at first, it was a great relief. I was lucky enough to be back on my feet soon after getting home from the hospital. 

Our new baby presented this happy disruption to our daily routine. All of a sudden we were doing the same things we normally were, but now we had a new baby and the excitement that came with new interactions and watching our little cuddlebug grow and develop into a bigger baby with each day.

My often rambunctious toddler adjusted swiftly without too many hiccups. My toddler still maintained his fool proof sleeping schedule with only one or two late night wakes that evolved into a few extra minutes of quality time, and one or two times that he joined me on the couch as I took my evening naps. 

In the beginning, my newborn was stationary, sleeping most of the time. And besides loving our tired faces, he had no interest in the outside world and preferred to sleep. 

The Honeymoon Period Ended

This Honeymoon Period ended with a jolt.

This jolt happened very fast when my young baby gently grabbed a new toy toward himself and put it in his mouth. Then, he just kept discovering new and exciting things. Everything was a teething toy. He would see, he would reach or roll his body towards it, and he would grab. My toddler realized that all of his toys might become teething toys at some point, and he was not amused.

Next, he started to crawl towards new things. And soon after that he started to stand to get to new heights.  

Lets Get the disclaimer over with

No two mama or parent stories are the same.

When I say the honeymoon period ended, I don't want to diminish the level of suffering that I went through as a new mother again. Post partum is not a party, but I want to shift away from those painful body experiences and instead focus on family life. Also, I think my body purposefully, conveniently forgets what the pain was actually like in order get me ready to undergo the ordeal again. Funny how human bodies are built. 

Ways to Prepare for the Active Baby and Toddler Stage

I wanted to share some things that I learned fast from experience that have made a huge difference.

1. Siblings will Automatically Gravitate Towards One Another

The Good

If the age difference is small enough, the older child will not spend a lot of time remembering being an only child. 

Siblings will laugh together and will share a bond. 

Right now my kids are developing what I hope is a lifelong friendship. They smile at the same time when they play together. And they already know what the other one likes. They share their moods and try their best to play with one another, although this is still not possible because of developmental differences.    

The Bad

Sometimes, older siblings can gravitate towards their younger counterparts for "bad" reasons, like to deal with jealousy in their limited, but aggressive toddler ways. I know that my older child loves his baby brother, but once in a while his jealousy monster is fed and he ends up taking a toy right out of his baby brother's hands. 

I learned that my toddler needs just as much attention as before and I try to satiate this need with conversation since it is the easiest.

2.  The Cleanliness of Your Home Reaches New Levels

The Good

You get used to organizing and cleaning on the go during the day. And as a result, you will be more ready for planned or unplanned company. 

Yes, your home can still look like a hurricane blew through it, but you can fix it in record time since you had so much time to hone in your disaster control skills in homemaking.

The Bad

Things that were okay before, like storing the car seat on a low shelf in the home, is now a serious accident waiting to happen, so you have to figure it out and become more creative. 

Right now, I am in the middle of combing pinterest with a fine toothed comb to organize my small home in a way that enables us to live with less dangers for my mobile baby. It is hard.

3. Going Outside Is Hard Again

The Good

There is nothing more captivating than watching a baby discover new things for the first time, including everything that the outside has to offer.  

The Bad

I cannot just add layers and wear your baby. My baby is now an active participant.

 My baby might be interested in exploring that I have to be ready for. While I do not believe in raising my child in a bubble, it gets super tiring making sure he does not try to eat stems of roses or other plants.  

Also, while I am writing this during COVID, any activity outside of the home is difficult. Even going to a socially distance maintained park or playground is hard because you cannot just chase down and pick up your toddler if you are carrying your baby. You have to worry about all of the ways you can limit bringing germs home.

4. Some Days Will Just Feel Like Too Much Work

The Good

There is no good part to this one.

The Bad 

Sometimes, I just want to get a good night of sleep. And that is just out of reach right now. And from having this unmet need, I find that the rest of the day can lag behind or just evolve into a relaxed, but low activity day on the couch.

5. You Will Develop Fine Focus on Two Kids

The Good

This is a superpower similar to x-ray vision, flying, or time traveling. Seriously. And it is the thing that's needed when siblings are in two different stages of development. 

I end up being able to carry conversations, sing songs, organize, clean, play with, and feed your children and it is scary. 

My mind just goes in overdrive because it has to. They are only little once and they need attention.

The Bad 

Those times fine focus require lots of energy and sometimes, I just do not have the energy for the extras. Sometimes, I do not have the energy for the essentials. The little things can be put off indefinitely if they are not fundamentally required.

Afterthoughts  


Eventually your kids will learn to play peacefully either together or apart and the day that you can relax and maybe focus on something else, or yourself for once, will happen sooner than you think.


 



The Great Outdoors with Toddlers

  The Great Outdoors with Toddlers   One great way to ensure that toddlers appreciate out beautiful planet is by giving them increasingly mo...