Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Morning in Seattle

Vacation, day 2: I'm sitting in Seattle waiting for Starbucks to open, so I can get a cup of coffee.  I can't believe Seattle doesn't have 24-hour gourmet coffee shops; what were they thinking?  Isn't this supposed to be the caffeinated city?  I suppose this is the problem of a 2-hour time shift right after we switch to Daylight Savings Time: 4:30 a.m. just doesn't feel that early. (n.b. I collapsed into bed at 7.)

Day 1 was the longest day of my life.  DS had a GREAT time on the airplane (ear tubes rock!); we landed and he said MORE! lol. After that 4 hour flight, he was still great on the 45-minute train to the hotel.  We had lunch (finally, fresh fish!) and then walked to/around Pike's Place for a while. I just wish he would wear a hat; his ears got cold!  Grabbed dinner on the way back to the hotel: the 3 of us split a plate of Tikki Marsala. DS's first try of Indian food, his choice (we were in the food court, I said we'd get him some black beans and he walked over to the curry), and he loved it.  Even though the lady at the counter was pushing me to get him something less spicy.  Guess I'll have to learn to make curry now.  After a dip in the hotel pool, we both collapsed.  (I think 2 double beds in a hotel is the way to go with a toddler!)

Looking forward to a train ride today, and to seeing Grandpa and Oma this afternoon! (and maybe, just maybe, he'll nap today. Here's hoping.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010


And you should see him with the new haircut! (no pics yet, but will come ...)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


So I have abandoned this blog for a while, but I have some Halloween Party pics to share!  We went to the KKids Halloween Party last week.  This party started a few years ago, when the big kids (now about 3) were babies, and has grown exponentially. And it follows the same basic pattern.

Starting with the sugar:

 W. wasn't the only lion of the bunch -- but he and S. sure had fun eating!

Then we move on to the pictures:
 This is where the babies sit, right?

Gotta get dressed!

cuz, that's what it's all about!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Crisis Cleaning Sunday

My house has finally gotten to the point where I can no longer bear to look at it.  I must clean. MUST clean. NOW!!!!

Just a preview of my messes
 Actually, I look at this picture, and it doesn't look so bad ... it FEELS like everything is so much WORSE! At any rate, I need to clean today.

I'm not on here to goof off, but to plan -- what am I going to do today?  Here's a starter list:
  • pick up -- in just about every room. (Tom is helping with this. W is helping mess this up.)
  • vacuum
  • cat litter
  • trash
  • laundry, so we have clothes to wear this week
  • dusting
  • sweeping and mopping
  • pick up in the basement
  • decluttering
  • some office work to do today
  • dishes and kitchen clean up
  • decluttering
  • START working on Hotspots
Wow, when I write down my list, it doesn't sound so bad. It feels so overwhelming though!  I'm going to make a plan and start with that.

This morning before lunch I'm going to:
  • clean up the kitchen
  • spend 5 minutes picking up in each of 3 rooms
  • take out all the trash
  • dust
  • declutter for 15 minutes in the dining room
After that, I'm going to take a little break, plan the next round of tasks, and have lunch.  It's a start ...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Top Idea

Good morning,

I was trying to get started working this morning, unfocused, as I usually am when I haven't done my evening routine the night before. As I was moving from one thing to another (not all of them minimally productive), I was trying to get something to stick enough that I would get absorbed and focus my attention on it. But with no one thing grabbing my attention, I just seem to drift. As soon as I start to actually work on one thing, I get sidetracked!

Don't get me wrong … I have gotten some things done today. I paid some bills and decluttered some. But I have not worked as well as I would if I were focused today. And then I stumbled on this blog post from http://unclutterer.com. It discusses an essay by Paul Graham about the "Top Idea in your Mind." Interesting stuff – it suggests that the one or two things you spend the most energy on, that occupy most of your "thought space", are the things that will continue to get most of your unconscious energy.

Everyone who's worked on difficult problems is probably familiar with the phenomenon of working hard to figure something out, failing, and then suddenly seeing the answer a bit later while doing something else. There's a kind of thinking you do without trying to. I'm increasingly convinced this type of thinking is not merely helpful in solving hard problems, but necessary. The tricky part is, you can only control it indirectly.

So how do you control these thoughts? Especially if it's indirect?

You can't directly control where your thoughts drift. … But you can control them indirectly, by controlling what situations you let yourself get into. That has been the lesson for me: be careful what you let become critical to you. Try to get yourself into situations where the most urgent problems are ones you want think about.

So here's a thought: instead of letting my thoughts control my actions, I should let my actions control my thoughts.

I can do this! For today, I'm going to figure out my "top thoughts" and also my "top priorities", and focus on making these the same. Graham suggests you can find out what your "top thoughts" are by taking a shower. For me, computer games work pretty well for that.

My top thoughts right now:

  • The dishes in the sink, from yesterday. (this is one of the hazards of working from home.)
  • Monday's Weekly Home Blessing

My top priorities right now:

  • Getting my netbook setup and ready for a meeting this afternoon
  • Finalizing a document for a client.
  • Call the bank

How will I merge these today?

First, the "out of sight, out of mind" doesn't seem to be working for my top priorities: I can't see the kitchen or my messy house, but they are nagging at me. So I will tackle that for the next 30 minutes, first.

Then, I will work on setting up my netbook, since I have that meeting at 12:30. If I can really focus on it, it won't be so bad.

Finally, I will work on that client document with what time I have left before the meeting. By not working on it, it goes to the back of my head, and I need it to be one of my "top thoughts" now, at least until it's done.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not behind - FLYLady Style

Good morning!  Well, i guess it's hardly morning any more, but I'm finally ready for my day!

I had a really hard time motivating myself the last few days and getting work done.  By the end of the day yesterday, the kitchen was a mess, my office was a mess, I had no idea what to do for dinner (since I hadn't started it in the crock pot as planned), and I felt like a mess.  We had leftovers for dinner (yay leftovers) and took DS to the pool to play, we all had a great time!  But we went to bed that night with a still-messy kitchen, and I ended up "oversleeping" this morning! (At least much later than I wanted.)

So I got DS to daycare in time for breakfast this morning, ate breakfast, and caught myself goofing off again this morning - but I DID something about it!  I decided I need to do my evening routine (since I didn't do it last night), and my morning routine, then I can look at my day!

I did my evening routine in 50 minutes.  Here is what I did:
  • cleaned up the kitchen/washed dishes
  • started the dishwasher
  • shined the sink
  • spent 2 minutes picking up the living room
  • put away all folded laundry in the bedroom
  • brushed & flossed my teeth.
After that, I spent 10 quiet minutes in bed reading and praying.  That's part of my evening/bedtime routine, and I was doing it!

After that, I got up and did a modified morning routine:
  • put my shoes on (i was already dressed)
  • did my face & hair
  • made the bed
  • rotated laundry, folded & put away 1 load.
  • Checked my calendar (I'm not going to do all I wanted, but had factored in some down time this afternoon that, I guess, I already spent)
  • ate another breakfast (I was hungry after all that!)
  • started dinner in the crock pot.
So now I am finally ready to "start" my day.  Ready to work now, and I hope the rest of the morning and afternoon will be productive!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 3 of Flylady Babysteps

Today is Day 3 of the Babystep Challenge, and the post says:

Easy! So far:

  • My sink is shiny after last night
  • I am dressed to shoes (not lace-up; I'm wearing dress shoes today)
  • It's not even 9:00 yet and I'm almost ready for the work day! Still need to swap laundry and finish emptying the dishwasher – my IPod is loaded so I can listen to legal podcasts while I work.

Have a great day! If you're doing the babystep challenge too, leave a comment with your blog :)


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beginner Baby Steps – starting at Day 2

A bunch of Flyladies are going through her Beginner Baby Steps during June. I started doing this a few months ago, have a sticker chart and everything … and I'm on day 8. Sigh.

So, after debating for a day or so, I decided to "jump in where I am" and start on Day 2. We'll see how I'm doing so far.

Day 1: the first step is to shine my sink. My sink is not shiney now, but dishes are mostly done (did them after breakfast and prepping crock-pot dinner) and I can shine it tonight. Yay!

Day 2: Get up and get dressed to lace-up shoes, fix hair and face. I didn't have a lot of time to fix my face this morning (at least not to do makeup), but I did brush my hair and put on some moisturizer after I washed my face. I wore sandals rather than lace-up shoes, but they have been on my feet more or less all day, including when I went out for doctor appointments today.

So, I guess I can start where I am. Not too much work! (and not really any extra. J ) Now I'm off to shine my sink.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Naptime challenge on Tuesday

After working so well for a few days, we had totally forgotten about the naptime challenge. My mom asked me how it's going, which reminded me to do it, so I would try again today.

It didn't work so well. After 2 hours of therapy, Lil' Bud was yawning by 10:15. When the speech therapist left at 10:30, I made lunch, and he ate at close to 11. Played a little bit, diaper change, and I put him down, somewhat calm.

Bud got worked up immediately, and within seconds was standing up in his crib and SCREAMING. I could tell his brain was in such a primal mode, he wasn't going to calm down. Deep pressure while in his crib didn't seem to help, so I picked him up and squeezed him while he cried. And cried. And screamed in my ear. It got to the point where I just gave up on trying to calm him that way and nursed him, he fell asleep quickly.

It's not even noon now, and he's fast asleep in his crib. I am so glad he's still breastfeeding, because that is the best way I know to calm him – and he still needs that help.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In search of adequacy

Just finished my Flylady Weekly House Blessing (WHB) – pick 6 chores and spend 10 minutes each on them. I mopped, vacuumed, swept, changed sheets, dusted, and did trash/recycling. Wow! My house is now *far* from perfect, and in fact, I feel like it's in worse shape than before. When I do this, I'm aware of all the clutter and messes around. On the other hand, I got a lot done, and more than I would if I hadn't done it. I know DH will come home tonight and mention how it looks better. (He makes a point to do this, since he knows his praise helps me stay on track.)

It would be wonderful if I could do a perfect housecleaning in 1 hour. Lots of things – like the bathrooms – I didn't even touch. But I have to admit that's not a possibility and look for adequacy, not perfection. And remind myself to say, yay me!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 2

Since I'm doing this now, I decided it needs to be planned. Last night I sat down with my calendar and blocked out 4 hours for every day this week, from 11-3, for lunch and nap. We ate lunch at 11, then Daddy played with Lil' Bud while I cleaned up. At 12, he got a diaper change, some songs and hugs, then went down.

I was prepared to be in there for 3 hours like yesterday. I had a bunch of stuff to read, I set the lighting so it was dim but I could see enough, and I was mentally prepared. I was by his bed for about 10 minutes, putting him down, enforcing "lie down" and massaging his legs and arms. He accidentally started his lightning bug toy, and this seemed to soothe him – although it only lasts about 30 seconds. After several rounds of this calmed him, I went to get his seahorse and put that in the crib – that really helped. I had heard about the seahorse being a miracle soothing toy for younger babies, but this is the first time it worked for us. Yay!

By 12:20, he was asleep, and I went to the chair and read. I left the room at 1:40.

At 1:00 he was waking up, and sitting up. I helped him lie down; he cried. I changed his diaper and gave him some hugs, and helped him lie down again. Just like before, he fought a little bit, but really was able to relax and go to sleep. I sat down and did some planning, then left by 1:15.

Now it's 1:50 and he's still asleep. Awesome!

2:00 he woke up. DH picked him up, I walked in and he pointed at Mommy. I know he had wanted to nurse for a while, so I sat down on the chair and nursed him; we both fell asleep. I finally made him get up at 4.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

sigh ...

DH came in, says he's been struggling to keep Lil' Bud awake for the past hour. :(

Naptime Challenge: Day 1

Wow. Lil' bud just woke up from his nap (at 3:20), I left his room at 3. Dad knows that he is on duty until 5:00; I'm so thankful for Saturday!

We've known that Lil' bud is determined from day 1, and he can be very determined not to fall asleep. He was playing with everything he could, and doing whatever he could do to stay awake. I lost track of how many times I got up to put him down, but I told him to "lie down" at least 3 times before I got up, almost every time.

Dad made me brownies; he knew I would need some chocolate this afternoon! I have a lot of reading to get through (old magazines that I've been meaning to look at "some day", etc.) I got a chunk of that accomplished – although it is hard to concentrate while he is screaming. I realized the vestibular motion of the rocking chair, that is so soothing to baby, is soothing to me too. (Thank goodness, I needed that calming!) I worked very hard to be calm during the nap time so he would get that from me.

This was exhausting. I expect that this afternoon and evening will be rough, too. But at least we can cuddle him to sleep tonight guilt-free.

The Naptime Challenge

Lil' bud always goes to sleep on Dad or me at home. But at daycare, he can fall asleep on his own, on a cot. I've finally decided, after 15 months, that I need to teach him to fall asleep in his crib. (Actually, I decided this months ago, but haven't been able to do it.)

I finally realized that we can fight this battle at nap time, rather than at bedtime when I am exhausted. So I have started our family Naptime Challenge, and I will fight this battle every day (except when Lil' bud is at daycare).

The Rules:

  1. This begins with lunch at 11:00, his normal lunch time.
  2. After lunch, turn on music and dance and play for a while.
  3. 12:00 is a diaper change, turn down the lights in his bedroom and turn on the sound machine.
  4. Help Lil' bud get comfortable in his bed by singing songs, reading stories, and talking for a short while.
  5. I go sit on the rocking chair and read until Lil' bud is sound asleep.
  6. Use the words "lie down" when encouraging Lil' bud to lie down (with the goal that he will, eventually, do this when I say it without me getting up)
  7. When Lil' bud is very worked up, use deep pressure on arms and legs to help him relax while he is lying down.
  8. Count to three before getting out of the chair to put him down, as I say I will help him lie down. (with the goal that, eventually, counting to 3 will work to get him to listen. When he's older.)
  9. Stay in his room until he is sound asleep.
  10. Ends at 3:00, or after he has been asleep for at least 45 continuous minutes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random thoughts

Random thoughts of a non-medicated adult with ADHD

(coming out of the fog of surfing the internet, blah, blah, blah. Starts out in the home office)

Oh, shoot, my phone's ringing. Daycare may be calling.

Where is the phone? I don't see it on the living room couch, is it in the kitchen? (goes to kitchen)

Shoot, I started the tea kettle to make tea, and it's boiling, probably has been boiling for a while.

Makes tea (which is now probably getting too strong and needs sugar).

This is crazy. I should blog about how random all of this is.

Aha! My purse is on the yellow rocking chair; my phone is in it.

Back to the home office to blog.

(Note that all of this transpired in about … 30 seconds …)

Now I'm off to take out the tea bag and add sugar. Then maybe I will get to the second thing on my list from earlier (first after eat lunch.) Focus just isn't there today …

Procrastination confession

Good morning, is it really 11:00 already? I need to leave for lunch in 15 minutes and have done nothing today. Or it feels like it. How can I do nothing in 5 hours? I have:

  • Played solitare on the computer (but did I really do that for more than 10 minutes or so?)
  • Checked e-mail
  • Finished a blog post
  • Played on Twitter
  • Rotated the laundry and folded what was in the dryer
  • Taken DS to school, after we napped together
  • Prepared dinner – it's in the crock pot. (Corned beef, yum)
  • Went to the post office to check mail

I should have been doing client work this morning. And I need to.

(distraction: I really need to close tweetdeck sometimes!!!)

So this afternoon, I will:

  • Eat a good lunch (looking forward to it!) and get some caffeine in my system
  • Draft the minutes from the church meeting last week
  • Call my business partner
  • Spend 20 minutes on a blog post
  • Call 1 clients
  • Research for 1 client for 20 minutes
  • Call 2 "other people"

Other than lunch, that should take me no more than 2 ½ hours. It feels like a long list, I have to remember it's really not!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Office Hats

I am a completely disorganized (yes, I'll admit it) work-at-home-mom with my own business. How do I keep it together? One step at a time, but I am trying to create systems and routines that make it easier on me (and my family).

Today I sat down and thought about what I would have if I worked in a "real" law firm. You know, all those little things I don't want to do because they take away from my billables. There's quite a lot, actually. First, I would have a set work schedule. OK, I can do that. DS is in daycare, so his daycare days help define my work schedule. I need time without him to do some housework, so I need to set some hours while he's in daycare to do household things as well (cleaning, laundry, that type of thing).

The scheduling has worked pretty well at least today. I considered the time I dropped him off as my time to start work – I did a planning session and hit the ground running. When I got home, I kept reminding myself that I'm not "home" until later today, when I can take care of the dishwasher, etc. I'll get "off work" about 2 hours before I pick up DS from daycare, hopefully enough time to get the house somewhat manageable.

The second thing I would have if I worked in a "real" office is support staff. I would have a janitor, a bookkeeper/accountant, a secretary/paralegal (in an ideal world), and an office manager. So I assigned chores to these people – what would each of these people be doing so I can do my work? I also listed my "lawyer" job description.

Then, I started working – I brought the janitor in for 30 minutes to clean. Wow, my office looks better! Then the janitor left and I worked as a secretary for another 30 minutes. Decided that's not nearly enough time, but at least I made a dent. The office manager then came back in and did more planning. Now I am freed up to be a lawyer for the rest of the afternoon. And, the best part – I actually feel like I've gotten things accomplished today! Recently I've had the feeling that I'm spinning my wheels and spending all day not getting anything done, so I feel much better about what I've done today.

I finally feel like I'm getting some progress toward having systems in place. Yay me!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Judith Jones

I got my brother Judith Jones's book "The Pleasures of Cooking for One" for Christmas.  After paging through it, I was hooked.  She has edited TONS of cookbooks (including Fannie Farmer and Julia Child), but written only 1 other book, a memoir.

I got her memoir from the library a few weeks ago and LOVE IT.  She has really gotten me more interested in cooking good foods.  I made macaroni and cheese from scratch twice now, and decided I don't want DS to learn what box mac & Cheese is like. (Had me some leftover for lunch, YUM!)  She is fun and easy to read, and tells a story in a paragraph or 2, so you can pretty much pick it up, flip to a random page, and find something interesting and complete to read.

Got an overdue notice from the library, the book is due. *sob* If you want to give me a birthday or christmas present someday, this is a good one!  (Matt, I hope you like her book as much as I did!)

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I'm trying out DH's Aspire One Netbook this evening.  The keyboard is awfully short, but it's really not too bad to type on.  Surprising.  It is annoying when I mistype and have to backspace though.

DS loves the up-down game.  He signs up, and DH lifts him high into the air.  Then lowers him (whether or not he signs down).  He's learning the more sign and the milk sign, too.  Still does the Tarzan yell when he sees the cats ... but the new game tonight is tease the daddy.  He goes for the cookbooks or water bowl, looks to make sure we're watching, inches closer ... then closer, and if we're watching, he goes for it so we have to chase him and make him move.  Argh.

OK, I think it's bathtime now. DH has to go get cat food, let the cats run out.  Maybe we'll skip bath, DS is seriously falling asleep.  Signing off.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Anti-stress work day

Woke up with no power this morning; I think it had been out for a few hours. No fun – and cold! It's a dreary, foggy day. I couldn't get myself out of bed until the sun started coming up, and even then, it was rough. To make up for it, I took some reading to BreadCo and read over breakfast. I couldn't get anything done at home, anyway! It was nice to sit, drink coffee, and read for a few hours.

I had to do some writing too, took some notes. I noticed my writing was sloppy, and made myself slow down. There is no rush to get a URL or note written down! That seemed to help relax me, too, and it was easier to write. Growing up with dysgraphia, I always felt pressure to write faster – and my mind goes much faster than my hand. It was a nice change to slow down.

My cats have needed some attention. I took some time this afternoon to sit down and pet Madeline. She was shredding earlier and has really needed it! I think that helped my stress level too. It made her very, very happy.

My mantra today: slow down. It is important to get work done, but not necessary to do it at the frenetic pace I usually move!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Preparing my Briefcase

I inevitably get to court or a meeting missing something out of my briefcase. Usually it's something minor, like I forgot to pack business cards. Today I spent a few minutes pre-packing my briefcase and making a list of what needs to be in there.

Always keep in my briefcase:

  • Yellow note pad
  • Pens & pencils
  • Paper clips
  • Binder clips labeled "urgent" "to-do" and "file"
  • Business cards
  • This list
  • Post-it notes
Add to my briefcase

  • Calendar
  • Blackberry
  • Wallet (unless I am taking my purse separately)
  • Lipstick
  • Client files or documents I will need that day
And when I get home:

  • Empty my briefcase, re-fill the "always keep", and put it away.
  • Enter new business cards into address book
  • Look @ my calendar, update case management software, and put calendar away
  • Follow-up with new client information and to-dos

Birthday cake ideas

Trying to think of simple birthday cake decorating ideas for lil' bud's 1st birthday (Friday).  I was thinking about a theme cake (maybe a turtle or a pig?) but ... maybe I'll just do a round cake.  Maybe a design on top.  My mom says a round cake with lots of frosting.  What do you think?

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Joy of the Rice Cooker

DH gave me a rice cooker for Christmas. I know, I already have way too many kitchen gadgets, but I have been using this rice cooker and find it really useful. Of course, there is basic rice. I made some for lunch today using chicken broth – great for when I don't feel like cooking. But I am trying to be more creative with it.

I steamed carrots and parsnips with the rice cooker, and everyone enjoyed them! My rice cooker has a steamer attachment with large holes; I wasn't sure how small carrot pieces would work. Surprisingly, they did not fall through, and I wound up with very nicely steamed vegetables.

My new favorite, though, is oatmeal. I am excited about new grains, and I made oatmeal in the rice cooker and steel-cut oats in the crock pot. The steel cut oats were nice, toasty warm on a cold morning last week. But I really liked the oatmeal in the rice cooker. I prepared it at the same time as I made the coffee: oats in the rice cooker, then I added water and some cranberries. (I threw in some brown sugar too.) Turned the rice cooker on to the "white rice" cycle, and voila! Hot oatmeal while I could shower (or watch DS play, which is probably what I was doing at the time. Anyway, I didn't have to stand over the stove.

I got a book on cooking with the Rice Cooker at the library, and it's giving me more motivation to be creative. The next recipe I want to try is flank steak (yes, in the rice cooker!)