Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ban Busy.

Remember a few years ago when Sheryl Sandberg launched her "Ban Bossy" campaign.  The one where we should stop calling little girls bossy but instead say they had "leadership potential," "CEO skills,"and were "risk takers." (Side Bar….here's an interesting perspective on that.)

How about we add 'busy' to that list?  Being SO busy, so overwhelmed with life, crazy, insane, can't keep my head above water, don't have time to call you back because I'm running from here to there, can't commit to anything because something bigger and better might come along, and "oh, my word you wouldn't believe how much I have to do," has become the newest syndrome in America. And maybe it's not so much that being busy is the newest syndrome (because I know we were busy growing up--and my mom and her friends didn't even have Amazon Prime!) but talking about it incessantly. 

It seems to me that people like to throw around the "I'm so busy" line lately like this passive aggressive weapon that proves how important they are.  A way to say that their pursuits, appointments, schedule, jobs, commitments are more important compared to yours because they take up more time, are more demanding, and are more urgent.  Because heaven knows---no meetings, events, paper work, initiatives, after-school sports practices, cookie sales, budgets, schedules, or outlook appointments could EVER be completed without their input.

Just ask them if you haven't seen them in a few days or weeks…."how've you been?"  "Oh my word--sooooo busy.  It's crazy.  I can't even believe how busy I am. YOU wouldn't believe it."    

And I find all of that so, so, so frustrating.  And I bet it's safe to say that the majority of people we lament to about how busy we are would find it as frustrating.  It's not that being busy is annoying--it's the constant talking about it.  Because the truth is…..a lot of us are really busy.  With things we've chosen to do.

A more demanding job.
More responsibility at work.
More community involvement.
A full calendar for our kids.
Amazing opportunities to advance our careers.
More helping out friends.
Book Clubs.
Committees.......for literally everything.

Good things.  Fun things. Important things. Marginally necessary things.

But bottom line--things of our own choosing.

And we choose them because….generally….they're fun, and challenging, and fulfilling, and stimulating…..at least they were when we first started them.

But sometimes those things become less fun, less fulfilling, less life-giving, and less defining.....but we think they're now mandatory.

They become the things that erode our relationships because we're always trying to make them more efficient (hint--relationships--if they're good ones--can't be efficient) due to the calendar space we've abused, turn us into users-of-people, make us late to the next thing, and suck our joy out of the moment because we've got eight more "moment's" left in the day that we're supposed to find amazing.

So what I'm saying here to myself…..to you if you need to hear it……is to be busy if you want to be.  Suck every drop of life you've been given bone dry.  But please stop talking about it and lamenting about it and blaming your neglect of other things on it.

When people ask how you've been say "Great!, I have a fantastic job that keeps me on my toes, my kids are loving soccer and gymnastics, I'm repainting my bathroom and it's been a learning experience."  Or just say, "great," or "I'm a little tired--but it'll be fine," or "It's a tough season but nothing I can't handle--how are you?," or "I'm really sorry for not getting back to you--I don't have a good excuse." But not----I'M SO BUSY followed by a dramatic pause and sigh and the world-is-ending-but-I-don't-have-a-choice-because-I'm-so-crucial-to-the-sun rising look.

Because we always have a choice.  We absolutely do.  If you want to be busy--be busy, busy, busy....but embrace it as your choice, not as a cross you have to bear. And let's stop telling each other how busy we really are.

We can do it.  I can do it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Turning Pages

This is not the thought provoking post that the title alludes to.  It's quite literal.

I am always on the look out for beautiful new children's books that make my kids want to sit on the couch and flip through the pages of actual books.  I'm not anti screen in any way and think kids should be pretty adept at maneuvering their way around technology but I think it's fun to look at printed pictures together; to touch the words we're reading, see the colors in a big way--bigger than a phone screen can provide, and to work our way through a stack of books and claim victory over them.

Here's a few we've been reading the last few months....in case you're on the look out too!

1.  The books on the top of the stack in the picture above are AMAZING for the toddlers in your life who are learning colors, and letters, and basic vocabulary.  Xavier Deneux fills his books with thick cardboard pages and rich colors and a tactile element that is so perfectly done for little hands.  Everything sticks up and kids can feel the shapes of letters and objects to hold their interest just that much longer.  And he has so many books!  We have three--there are a lot more to pick from.

That little finger.  I kind of love it.

2.  Before & After.  Honestly--a genius but simple book.  Truly such a basic but engaging way to teach kids cause and effect, progress, the passage of time, and transitions.  There are no words in this book so the conversations you can have with your kids and the predictions they'll come up with are really fun.  If I was still teaching a great activity would be to have kids write their own narratives describing the sets of pictures and why A leads to B.  There are very straightforward cause and effect images as I've detailed below and even more in depth ones that span four or five pages that show the change in a plot of land over many years.

3.  A lot of kids are curious about Braille since it's on every bathroom sign they ever pass, but don't necessarily come in contact with people who use Braille on a very regular basis. Georgia was curious about it....and of course Amazon delivered with a very pretty book on Louis Braille.

4.  The "What do you do with...." books.  Problems?  Ideas?  We've all got them and sometimes kids (ummm--and adults too) need a little clarity on how to process them and know that problems and crazy ideas are kind of normal.

5.  I am a Story. I seriously love this book.  So incredibly much.  This book details the importance of story and how it is passed down from generation to generation and even how some stories have been shunned and burned at certain points in history.  Loved reading this one with Georgia!

6.  The House On Maple Street and At the Same Moment Around the World are perfect for helping kids to understand timezones and the passage of time.

7.  And finally, these two books about being home and what home means and all of the wonderful things that homes can hold are as visually interesting as they are thought provoking. 

January is maybe one of the most perfect months of the year to curl up on the couch and read books with your kids.  What are some of your favorites? 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hey Little Blog.....

I had a moment of panic this afternoon when I decided to quick log into the control panel for Pink Shoes (for the first time in five months) and found myself locked out due to inactivity and I couldn't remember the log-in information.  I knew it was paid for because I had the confirmation e-mail from October--but the really rational side of me freaked out that everything was lost.

But here I am.......and here's Pink Shoes......safe and sound.....and really neglected.  I've been missing it for a long time now but clearly needed the threat of a break-up to feel motivated to return.  I have about 20 posts just missing a period or two that have been hanging out in draft purgatory since I took a "break" back in June.  Some of them were dumped immediately into the little figurative trash can and others are ready to go.

I don't want to make a resolution to write more, blog more (do people even really read blogs anymore the way they used to), or create more........I just want to hope that I get around to stopping in here on a more regular basis because I just really like to be here.....once I'm here.  And the more I'm here, the faster I return the next time.  That's kind of how it goes with everything worth doing right?

A few pics from the last six months.........

Okay--dipped my toes in the water a bit.......
I'll come back tomorrow.  

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