I’ve decided NOT to run the marathon in May. It was an incredibly tough decision for me, but aside from feeling somewhat sad, I have a complete peace about it. My issue wasn’t with the running itself (although that’s been harder than I thought it would be, while pregnant), but with the sheer time commitment involved. As our runs started getting longer, they were (obviously) taking longer and taking me away from the family more and more often. I felt like things were started to suffer around here and something had to give. And so, a lot of things “gave.” For a time, at least, I’m not planning to go anywhere unless I have to, not planning to have anyone come to the house on a school day unless they must, and getting my photography work done at night instead of during the day while the kids are up. Things are already going more smoothly and I am SO happy about it. Not only that, but I feel like I have my kids back!!! The other night, my oldest boy did something incredibly sweet and it occurred to me that I haven’t been nearly as attentive to my children as I should be – I couldn’t think of the last time I took him in my arms for a cuddle, or played a game with him. I’ve been so distracted by everything, I have neglected my kids! NO MORE! I have the rest of my life to run a marathon, and I still plan to continue running, just not the distances I’ve been running thus far. I’m really happy with my decision and I feel like an elephant that I didn’t even know was sitting on my chest, has been lifted. And speaking of feeling like an elephant has been lifted…
I am currently reading a book that’s going to change my life and make me a more responsible, more organized person, a better parent and wife, and a fantastic cook. Okay, maybe not all of that, but I think it really will change my life and I’m really excited about it! The book is called Getting Things Done, The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen. The basic goal of the what is outlined in the book is to take all of the hundreds and thousands of thoughts that float around in our heads of things we need to get done, to buy, to work on, etc. and collect them somewhere other than our heads and into a (very simple) “trusted external system.”
He makes the point that our mind is a focusing tool, not a storage place. Our short term memories (which hold all the “stuff” we know we need to do) work much like RAM on a personal computer, with limited capacity for storage. Further, our mind reminds us to do things when we can’t actually do anything about them (for instance, we remember that we need new flashlight batteries when we notice the dead ones, as opposed to when we pass live ones in the store.) This causes untold amounts of stress. He writes:
“The big difference between what I do and what others do is that I capture and organize 100 percent of my “stuff” in and with objective tools at hand and not in my mind. And that applies to everything – little or big, personal or professional, urgent or not. Everything.”
He advocates documenting every thought we have throughout the day, and dropping it in what he calls our “inbox” (which is basically just a place to store them until we can process them when we have time.) I’m going old school and using a piece of paper and a pen (I ordered a notebook necklace from Etsy, so I don’t have to worry about toting a notebook around all day) to collect my thoughts and a physical basket as my “inbox.” Each day, we go through our “inbox” and process what has been collected there.
The process is pretty simple, taking the things in our “inbox” and asking: what is it? Is it actionable? If not, we can either trash it, save it for later, or file it as reference. If it is actionable, we determine what the desired outcome of the action is, and what the next action required is to get it done. Then we either do it, delegate it, or defer it. That’s where the filing system comes in, and I wont go into it in detail, but suffice it to say that every single thought we have that requires an action, or is reference material for a project we’re working on or want to work on in the future, gets sorted and filed away in a system that ensures it A. won’t be forgotten about, and B. helps us to organize how (and when) it will get done.
I only set everything up, yesterday (after collecting six pages, front and back, of thoughts I had of things that need to get done – some of them things I’ve been thinking about doing for years and never done!) and I still have a lot of work to do on it, but I already feel a thousand times better! Just the act of having everything written down somewhere and filed away has been absolutely priceless!!! Knowing that stuff will be gotten to eventually, and that I DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT ANYMORE is wonderful!
My kids are getting older, and their personalities are really starting to show in surprising ways! Our oldest daughter has taken to reading books to her siblings each night, and including her baby sister in a lot of her activities. Our youngest son has shown an incredible kind streak – this morning as he was making a sandwich for himself, the baby asked for a sandwich as well. There was only enough peanut butter for one, so he gave it to her and then asked me if he could lick the rest of the peanut butter from the jar. I was amazed!!! Our oldest son surprised me the other night by getting up in the middle of the night to cover his sister up when she woke up crying, and my second daughter has proven herself quite determined when it comes to the cello. The other day she spent hours practicing and sat playing the same song over and over (and over!) until she had it memorized. Of course the baby (who isn’t really a baby anymore!) is starting to come into her own and she’s marching around the house, bossing her siblings around (who are more than happy to accommodate her every want and desire [most of the time!]) and “talking up a storm.” Lastly, our third daughter has surprised me in more ways than I can tell. She’s always been a challenge for me – incredibly headstrong and determined to do things her own way, she and I have not been as close as I would have liked to be with her (mostly because I didn’t know what to DO with her!) But it seems that since we’ve been taking violin lessons (whether that’s a coincidence or not, I don’t know), our relationship has taken a turn. Not only are we closer, but she has become more loving toward her sisters, more responsible regarding her chores, and she and I are starting to connect in ways we never have before. I told Jon the other night, I am SO happy with our “little” family… SO happy with the way our children are growing and developing, so happy with the wonderful personalities they are starting to show. I don’t know what we’ve done right, but whatever it is I pray that God will continue the amazing work He has done with our family!
The weight gain has apparently started to slow for which I am incredibly grateful!!! I’ve gained 25lbs, so far, but I’ve held steady for about three weeks now. I actually thought it would be worse, I hadn’t weight myself in a while because I gave my scale to Manuela (I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore!) but the other day I broke down and had Jon buy a digital scale. I’m not being fanatical about checking it, but it’s nice to know I haven’t gained in a while! My food aversions are almost completely gone and I’m not hungry every five minutes anymore, so I have a feeling I won’t gain much more than this until the third trimester, and then hopefully (prayerfully!) only a small amount. It feels good not to be hungry all the time! :)
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