Friday, August 27, 2010

Back to School!

The best recommendation I can give as an organizer to get your kids in back to school mode is having them work with you to declutter their bedroom, playroom, and homework spaces. What does this have to do with school you ask? Going through this process has many benefits. Organizing is about making a space better, and making it function so that you can be your best. Productivity experts point to the connection of an organized space and its positive impact on productivity. As parents we want to make sure that we are giving our kids every necessary tool to be successful in school so that they can learn and achieve. I assure you this easy exercise of purging toys no longer wanted, clothes that don't fit, bits of paper and junk (2 garbage bags full in my 9-year old son's room) will help to that end.

Once the spaces are decluttered then make sure that your child knows where everything is suppose to go (make sure he/she is part of determining where things are kept). Then lastly, as you are purchasing school supplies, do an inventory of your child's homework space at home to make sure he/she has everything they need readily available.

So now that the environment is organized, talk with your children about rules, routines and expectations for the school year. This is always a positive thing to do and to together figure out ways to streamline routines. Having this discussion sets the stage for less conflict and less negotiation and hopefully less stress as our children start another school year.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How Did They Do It?

We had a wonderful, busy time on vacation last week in Williamsburg. We bought a bounce pass that allowed us to mix up our week so that we could spend as much time as we wanted in Colonial Williamsburg, and the two amusement parks, Busch Gardens and Water Country. Of course our kids, especially our 5 year old, wanted to only go to the amusement parks, but our son who is 9 was intrigued by the amazing, historic city of Colonial Williamsburg. It definitely helped that my husband and I had prepped both of the kids for what they were seeing and the museum interpreters did an amazing job of explaining life in Colonial times.

My kids got to participate in one of the main jobs that most kids of that time had to do....lug water from the well to their house. The interpreter explained there was no running water and she asked the kids, in the program, to think of how many times a day they turn on a faucet at home. She explained that it wasn't uncommon to have to carry 50 buckets of water a day to use for cooking, cleaning and general use. I couldn't help but wonder how people survived in Colonial times with the never ending cycle of work and the lack of modern day conveniences. How did they do it? I'm sure, just like we do, they developed regular routines and short-cuts for common tasks and built in relaxing time when they could. My kids did discover that kids did have fun in Colonial times too, and my son now loves the Colonial game, Shut the Box.

In the spirit of being in Williamsburg, and because we didn't spend that much time at our resort, we didn't watch t.v., the kids didn't play video games (okay, maybe we used it as a good behavior bribe once or twice), and we didn't check e-mail every day. It was so nice to be disconnected and to be focused in the present.

This wasn't one of the most relaxing vacations we've had (I find amusement parks exhausting), but we thoroughly enjoyed our time together, learning and sharing interesting aspects of our country's history and having fun.

Now it is back to reality that there are two more weeks of summer and a lot to accomplish before the kids are ready to be back in school.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going On Vacation

My kids have been asking me for weeks, "how many more days until vacation?" It seems to have taken forever to get here and now we are going. I find there is always so much to do, both at home and at work, before I can shut down and relax on vacation. Luckily being a list person, I have my vacation to do checklist in Word that I pull up a few weeks before each vacation and a vacation pack list, which helps us remember all of the little things that sometimes don't make it into the suitcase. This takes some of the pre-vacation stress off of me.

I also am a big believer in fostering independence, so my son can almost be counted on to pack all the necessary essentials for a trip. My daughter who is 5 knows how to pack all of her treasures in her backpack that she just can't live without for a week.

We are going to Williamsburg and to prepare for the trip, I took them to the library yesterday to take out some children's books on that time period. I'm hoping that it isn't as hot as it has been these last few weeks so that we all can enjoy the amazing living museum of Colonial Williamsburg. Additionally, I hope that my husband and I can unplug and unwind and that we all enjoy and appreciate the more simplified time period in our history.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hanging Upside Down

I've come to realize I really don't like hanging upside down. My chiropractor convinced me that adding an 8 minute inversion table routine and a 10 minute stabilizing exercise routine to my morning would strengthen my back and postpone further disc deterioration. I'll tell you what, adding 20 more minutes of activity, that my doctor describes as necessary to my routine as "brushing my teeth",has been very hard. I'm more of a morning person, so getting up is not the problem. The issue is fitting these 20 minutes into an already tight morning schedule.

The solution I found is having a positive mindset, planning and modifying some of my existing morning routines. Just like wanting to be organized is a mindset, wanting to be healthy is one too. In order to be successful with organizing, there is a planing component. What I do is determine daily what needs to be done in the morning and then figure out what can be done later so that I can take care of my back in the morning. It hasn't been easy, but I have adjusted my mindset and have almost embraced that this is something that I need to do for my overall well being and health.

Really, the only thing I need to figure out now is where to put the extremely large, medieval looking inversion table in my house so that it isn't a focal point. Now that is a design challenge that needs to be solved so right now it sits in our master bedroom taking up a lot of necessary space!