Monthly Archives

January 2017

Brene' Brown Disappointment elections Expectations Fitting in Grief and Loss minimalism mom blog Parenting vulnerability worry

Here’s Your Notification: Turn off Your Notifications!

As I write this in the middle of the night, I am not struck by the irony of my thought or suggestion. I was tossing and turning tonight as I churned thoughts after attending at talk by Michael Lewis. He is known for his works The Big Short, Moneyball, The Blind Side among others.

In his varying topics last night, his talk included the new Trump Presidency.  I was really struck by his discussion with Hanna Rosin about what is going on in our country. Hanna asked, ‘Are we going to be dumber in four years? He said it’s like Patton standing in front of the American flag in movie theaters in the 1940s with the statement.

“There is one great thing that you men will all be able to say after this war is over and you are home once again. You may be thankful that twenty years from now when you are sitting by the fireplace with your grandson on your knee and he asks you what you did in the great World War II, you WON’T have to cough, shift him to the other knee and say, ‘Well, your Granddaddy shoveled shit in Louisiana.’” ― General George S. Patton, Jr. to his troops on June 5, 1944

Then WWII. Now, 2017, our new reality. Get involved. And make it count. And we’ve seen this over the weekend.qc6vnbe4jqs-jerry-kiesewetter Millions out walking, marching, speaking out for a multitude of reasons.

Yes, it is good (I know, there are plenty of competing thoughts on this) however, your involvement has got to be balanced or your going to end up in my office. This week, I found the tone of many sessions came back to and unpacked angst, fear, anxiety, worry, anger and grief.

In only a week and how many times have I been bounced around the blogosphere, social networking sites with topics and events from inauguration, women’s march to minute by minute updates of what is being done or said in Washington and, therefore, bouncing around the world)?

My clients and I discussed this and pondered, maybe we are not only online too much but, we are being ‘pinged’ too much.otedkfse3j0-anete-lusina My work is hearing about what is taking up space and interrupting people’s lives and making it not work as well – it frequently comes back to – too many notifications.

This week I have been talking with clients about a media diet and that delicate balance between FOMO and awareness. During sessions, my clients are aware that my office is one of the few places where they don’t look at their phone for 50 minutes. I see them carefully put their phone at the other end of the couch or hesitate in their handling of their devices as they settle in.

I had to take deliberate steps to reduce my access to information and I am doing this imperfectly. My morning routine, for nearly 30 years, has been listen to NPR. It is as much a part of my day as my coffee, and getting dressed. This news cycle is ruining my everyday experience. I used to find it grounding. Now, I find my own levels of agitation are raised before I leave the house. Then I may take it out on my kids, or in my driving or my stress eating. I can’t do this. Not every day. Not for the foreseeable future.

I think of Stephen Colbert’s Election Night speech. Before the outcome was fully decided, Stephen encouraged us to get back to our lives and reminisced about when he was a kid and politics was a once in a while topic at the dinner table. Now, it can be several times a minute depending on how many notifications you have on.

I am also drawn to work by minimalist parent advocate, Asha Dornfest, who has been trying to help us be better parents and humans with her blog and podcast. that-horrifying-moment-when-youre-looking-for-an-adult-but-then-realize-you-are-an-adult-so-you-look-for-an-older-adult-someone-successfully-adulating-an-adultier-adult-fcb44She said in 2015 at the World Domination Summit that sometimes we are searching for someone else to be in charge.

So, given this. What do I recommend? Who am I to recommend anything? Well, I am a struggling  woman, mom, business owner, therapist, friend and human. I have to figure out how to balance it myself or I won’t be able to see you and I don’t want to be in the fetle position in the corner of my bedroom. But, like Brene’ Brown says, we need to embrace our imperfections. Well, excellent I can do that!

Some suggestions include; screen free days or, a at minimum, screen free pockets of time in our days. zajstp1nb88-alex-holyoakeThat is a start. I also recommend a couple of apps Calm and Mindshift that help us distract or rather, be in the moment.

Okay, enough for now. Excuse me while I go crawl back into bed and hope my hot water bottle has a little love left to give. And I will resist the urge to flip over the phone to see what’s happened in the last 20 minutes.

elections Expectations marriage memories mom blog Parenting Pregnancy loss

One Small Personal Way We Measure Obama’s Legacy

Our son, Oakley Grange, crawled into our bed early this morning. This hasn’t happened in a while and it was a welcome, warm snuggle. There was a time when this was a nightly occurrence and, while it did disrupt my sleep some, I so loved the snuggles and pure loveIMG_1320 that radiated from this little boy along with the furnace heat from his body. It was like a living hot water bottle. I figured there would come a time when he wouldn’t come find us in the night and so, I always welcomed it.

Last night I thought it was poignant that he came to snuggle. See Oakley is, in his words, exactly seven years, six months and four days old. He was born in July 16, 2009.

He was our second successful pregnancy after his brother and a series of losses. We fought for our boys. So, in that journey to grow our family we tracked and tracked our ‘progress’. We knew exactly when he was conceived, Election night, November 4th, 2008.

He was a hard-fought prize. During my pregnancy I called myself an Obama Momma. I had read that Obama himself was a Kennedy baby being conceived when JFK was elected. I felt we were in good company.

I proudly felt that he was a gift of good will that came on a night when the world celebrated good things to come with an budding Obama presidency. Yes, we can and yes, we did. Oakley was one of our ‘good things’.

Gurr(small)_001_20090823Now, at the end of Obama’s presidency I feel a strong sense of melancholy when I look at Oakley. To us he is a living representation of length of Obama’s transition, presidency and tenure.

Of course, we will keep measuring Oakley’s life in other common ways; weeks, months,  years, feet grown, grades achieved, teeth loss and Lego sets built, however, he will always have this special place as a living reminder of the time that Obama was in office.

Oakley is snuggling less and less and Obama has left the White House. Change is upon us. Tomorrow will be the first day of his life that Oakley will wake up with a white man as the President. I hope his early years and Obama’s legacy give him wings, hope and strength in his life that what is diversity to us older folk is his ‘normal’. Right now, we can all use some hope and a return to normal.

family travel kids travel packing tips Parenting round the world travel travel travel blog

Minimalist Packing, Like the Name Says – Simplifying Expectations

This week in Portland, Oregon we got hit with a whammy of a snow storm.IMG_1218 All this snow has given us a lot of indoor time and aside from playing chess with my work schedule (seeing which clients could come in when), sitting by the roaring fire and playing competitive games of Qwirkle we have also been dreaming a lot about our travel plans.

In the planning for our trip, I am taking a lot of notes about some of the subtler areas of preparing for travel that may not be as exciting (although I find it tandilizing) as a destination search but, certainly just as important for a successful trip. Two areas I have been reading about are in the packing and minimalism.

I want to be a better packer in any of my travels. I don’t like spending time worrying that I am missing something and therefore, can’t really tune into my experience. You know what I am talking about; the FOMO (fear of missing out).

I first heard about this at The World Domination Summit that I have attended for four years. An amazing gathering of like-minded individuals that want to live “an exceptional life lguiueqplhw-inbal-marilliin a conventional world. I would recommend learning more about this gathering and community here through Chris Guillebeau’s website. I am certain I will write more about his community and work as we go along  but, I digress.

Two things I am excited about are these travel helps aka hacks. Smaller bags and unique packing tools to help one take everything in on a carry on (I have yet to master this) as well as help you find things more easily. Diane Smith of Kid   has some great suggestions in her 8 Hacks in Traveling with Kids. Their website Kidtripster is a fun overall site to visit. Who would have thought the travel cubes would be so helpful! Also, love the silicone liquid carriers.

The other awesome resource is Tsh Oxenreider whose site The Art of Simple has some fun places to poke around in to feed your desire to become more ‘simple’ as well as soothe your travel bug. I really like her list on a packing list for women.

Tsh and her friend Stephanie Langford gave a great presentation at the WDS Academy last summer on how to travel for six months or longer. fhblheica-k-clem-onojeghuoI was so inspired by their work I came home and told my husband about the possibility of changing our trip of a year-long move to Brussels to a Yeear Long Round the World trip. And here we are planning it all!

Thanks Tsh and Stephanie! I am sure I will reference them again but, here I tip my lightweight, crushable travel hat to them! More to come!

 

Expectations family travel kids travel Parenting passports round the world travel travel travel blog

New Year, Travel Plans, Ready, Steady Go!

The calendar has turned over to 2017 and we are that much closer to our plan to wander out in the world with our seven and nine-year olds. These next months are chock-a-block with plans to get ready. There is so much to do! 3oiymgdkj6k-dariusz-sankowski

I’ve decided I am spending any free time on these goals as well as personal wellness and to avoid unnecessary lurking on internet sites of click bait news stories that boil my blood. Check out what I find here as I find little gems to share.

This blog is going to help me be accountable for our plans as I share them with you. I love accountability! (mostly). I will still write other adjacent musings as appropriate as my life as a counselor brings many issues to the forefront of conversations.

However, here we go… to get on the road we have to

  1. Pick a departure time: Mid August
  2. Buy tickets. Gasp! This is a biggie as we are still debating the benefits of round the world tickets and one-way as you go. I have found myself hanging out on the site Bootsnall which has such lovely eye candy for travel dreamers.
  3. Decide destinations: So far – SouthEast Asia, including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. There was a vote for China (big country) so, we may add that. Then to Southern Africa to S.A, Mozambique and Rwanda. Big hopes for a stop in Israel  as we head back to the Northern hemisphere where we will go to Croatia, and into Western Europe to call upon all my good friends for floor space from Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, England, Scotland and a few other assorted places.
  4. World schooling strategies.
  5. Sort out insurance.
  6. Plan my sabbatical from work and Kelvin’s next steps when he leaves Le Cordon Bleu.
  7. Sort out finances (this should be on top, really). Save, save, save… Getting some advice from this amazing family.
  8. Set up ways to rent house and pay bills while gone.
  9. Sort out other ways to have income or access resources while we travel. So far our jack of trades include: counseling, chef-ing, writing, house/pet sitting (check out house sitting resource), volunteering, teaching.
  10. Sell our stuff! Getting rid of our ‘extra’ stuff that we really don’t need or want to put into storage. Kelvin’s big project is centered around this. We are hoping to clear out our heads as we clear out house. Already feels good thinking about it.

This list is not exhaustive. There are many, many parts but, it is a good round up of the current tasks. 1-29wyvvlja-andrew-neel

So, I hope you will metaphorically join us as we move forward with our goals and plans. I’d love any feedback on travel suggestions and those of you overseas let us know what tasks we can do for a place to lay our wee heads!

Ready, Steady, Go!

Sharing is Awesome, Do It!

Share this post with your friends
close-link

FOLLOW ME!

Keep Tabs on the Gurrs on the Road
SUBSCRIBE!
Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime.