Thursday, January 31, 2008

Where did January Go?

The lead-up to January was big. It was a month filled with anticipation, as you can see:

- the big question: when will the books arrive?
- my daughter's first birthday
- my first author visit
- my college roommate taking her vet boards

And now it is the last day of the month. I'm thrilled to report:

- the books arrived a week earlier than we anticipated - it turned our worlds upside down, but in a good way!
- my daughter is now a forward riding gal in the car, enjoying the sites as we approach them, not as we pass them!
- I didn't throw up from nervousness before, during, or after my author visit this week (thank goodness for my public speaking practice as Co-President of MOD!)
- Jenny passed her boards!!!!!
- Kathrine Switzer sent a rave review of my book (to be posted soon on the Web site!)

With January under my belt, I'm ready to plow forward. Now I'm ready to look at the year more than one day at a time. The months ahead promise to be full ones:

- more author visits (not nearly as nerve-racking now!)
- press releases
- GoGirlGo! Seattle conference
- sending promotional copies of the book
- working to get publicity on radio, in magazines, in newspapers, on websites . . . and, and, and
- signing books
- enjoying the sunshine (on days the sun smiles down on us - rare now, but increasingly more frequent!)
- getting outside to play with the kids
- travelling to promote the book
- visits from family
- whatever else life throws our way!!!!

This is a BIG year for our family. So far, so good - and FAST!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Go Drill Team, Go!

I had the pleasure of meeting with the high school drill team and their friends, the dance team, this morning (poor weather yesterday may have kept the other spirit teams from attending, with the uncertainty of the event being held - the Puget Sound region enjoyed a snow day yesterday). Talking with them and watching their rehearsal made me feel young again! I don't really know what I was expecting, but I was really impressed by the girls and their amazing focus (even as they ate lunch!) as I talked with them about my high school pom squad years and how I took up running and wrote my book. These girls were a great audience - participating when I had an interactive life-balance activity and even crowding around me feet to listen to me read the book to them (their request!). They rounded out my visit by showing me their two routines that they'll be performing at the National competition this weekend in Florida. Their formations looked good and they radiated a positive energy. What a morning!

On a side note, I also learned an important lesson for my own life/body balance. High heeled boots look fabulous, but they should not be worn ALL morning. Next time I'll keep them in the car and change into them right before a visit and then put on my comfy shoes as soon as I get back to the car!

Good luck, Drill Girls - I know you'll do great!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Books, Books & More Books

I've been sitting in silence for at least the last five minutes trying to figure out where to start my description of the 3,000 books in cases that we have stacked in my husband's car bay (the remaining books will reside in my parents' garage under the watchful eye of my father as he breathes new life into pianos in the neighboring space!). My husband generously gave up the dry, warm space in the garage so that we'd have a safe place to store the books and so that I could continue to park the family car in the other bay. Hopefully this cold spell will pass quickly so he doesn't have to scrape his windshield too many mornings!

I wish I could have helped with the process of getting the 5 pallets of books loaded into my dad's work van and trailer. My mom was our business representative and Dad's wing gal for getting the books loaded at the port. I'm excited to see the photos she took of the experience! I had the job of holding down the fort with the kids back at home, pacing in anticipation and dreaming up my own scenario for how it was all going. I would have also like to have helped unload the precious cargo, but I was the master of the ham and macaroni & cheese (from scratch!) and worked hard to focus the soon-to-be birthday girl's limitless energy in the house while her big brother "supervised" and "helped" as his treasured Papa single-handedly transferred case by case from the trailer and van to our garage (until super-husband finally made it home from work and lent a hand for the last few dozen cases). I have quite a crew on-hand and I stand in awe as they all give unconditionally to make this dream of mine a reality.

So, there the books sit. Many of them crying out to me to sign them and get them in the mail to their owners. Others sitting patiently, knowing they don't yet have readers. Another few cases are more squirrelly, wondering what excitement they can ignite when they get in the hands of some health care and fitness leaders. They are all filled with hope and promise, ready to share their message.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Game Plan in Hand

My mom and I met for 2 uninterrupted hours tonight to create our business game plan for the next month. Really - uninterrupted! The kids were asleep, my husband stayed home to work on homework for his graduate class and I went to Mom's house. Her dogs even agreed to let us work once I gave them hugs and complimented them on their pretty new collars. My dad was at his own meeting, so for the first time in months, we really just focused on figuring out which end is up without distraction. It felt good to get everything listed out and "organized" so we could really get to business checking off the items. The meeting felt a bit like a pre-game coaches meeting:
- "My sales gal will swing around to the left to email your gym guy. Send your driver around the back to pick up the young one while I get the spirit squads ready for their big entry."
- "I'll pack the equipment to get it on the bus for delivery in time for the game. Look out for the confirmation emails coming in from above regarding the sales blitz."
It's really much more fun to think of it in sports terms than the reality of it all. This is why I take time to write some nights when I could be in bed. Reframing the events of the day in a more positive or silly light helps me process and find calm in the midst of the chaos. And then I can sleep. A necessary life element when EVERY day for the next month or two is Game Day!  Ready . . . .BREAK!

Friday, January 18, 2008

End of the week Calm

Last night our kids spent the night at my parents' house so we could have a date night. We celebrated our hours of freedom by ordering Mediterranean take-out and watching The Simpson's movie. We sure are wild!
To top of the excitement, I peeled myself out of bed at the new-usual 6:30 to get things done before picking-up the kids at 8:30: check email for anything urgent, put in a load of laundry, sweep/mop, vacuum (including the stairs!), swich laundry, run dishwasher . . . and even take a shower. The house was sparkling by the time I left to get them. Even the toilets had a fresh scent (well, okay, I'm just ASSUMING they did, because they were clean and they certainly didn't smell bad from a normal distance.  I'm not a toilet-sniffer!).
When the three of us got home, I was applauded by my son who said in his most awed voice, "Wow! Mama, it looks like you vacuumed the stairs!" To which I stood a bit taller, feeling pleased that my efforts were noticed so immediately.
He continued, "Oh! You vacuumed all this stuff," which makes more sense when you also get the visual of him waving his arms wildly and pointing to the entire carpted space that is our upstairs (playroom, my office/music room, hallway, bedrooms).  At this point, I was starting to feel like he was a white glove inspector, but again, it was early and I HAD accomplised much so I let him continue.
He sniffed the air. "Hmmmmmm . . . is that soap I smell?" he inquired. Yes, he is three and he DOES talk like this.  Really. "I think I smell soap. Maybe you used floor cleaner." He stepped into the entry of the kitchen, poking his head a few inches ahead of his body to examine the space. "Oh, you mopped the floor while we were gone. Is it still wet?  Wow, it looks good, Mama."  Yup, a white glove inspector.
While I was still standing tall, admiring my own handiwork, part of me realized that maybe he was making a big deal of the clean house because it is a RARITY that all of said spaces were clean at the same time! Sad, but true. The kid is observant.
Now, about 12 hours after the inspection, things still are fairly clean. The house survived two of my kids' friends who came over for a playdate, lunch for 4 kids under the age of 4, an afternoon of regular play, dinner for 4 and family playtime after dinner. True, the carpets aren't as fresh looking (those beautiful wheel marks and suction tracks that I love so much are long gone) BUT, they still look inviting, not crunchy or furry. I'd say the house is still presentable for my sister-in-law who is coming tonight for a long weekend.  I'd say that is a success story!
So now it is time for me to process this slice from my day. It felt good to have a clean house AND to have someone notice (though my husband is generally pretty observant and catches on to when I've stepped up to the plate and cleaned-up thoroughly - our son gets his skills from his dad). It felt good to have a mostly-clean house at the end of the day. But even better is the fact that I didn't spend the entire day cleaning around two small creatures (3, if you include the dog) who need constant affection, directing & redirecting, feeding and cleaning. We started the day clean and it went well to casually clean as I went for the remainder of the day. In fact, the day was filled with a nice CALM, even with 4 kids in the house!!! I think it has something to do with the newly found order to the house.
Now I know that future Date Nights come with the added bonus of Cleaning Morning. If I can muster the self-discipline to get out of bed, the payoffs will be great!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Resisting the Triple Chocolate Brownies

Caffeine and I aren't friends. Just ask my college roommate, Jenny. I nearly dropped a HEAVY dresser down the stairs (it would have flattened her, no joke) when we moved into our apartment Sophomore year because I was doubled over in fits of laughter. Ten years later, I'm not sure WHY I was laughing, but Jenny can confirm that the entire episode was caffeine-induced. Like countless college students of the past, present and future, we loaded up on pizza and soda for lunch with the parents in the midst of the moving fun.  So, for the following three years, I wasn't allowed to TOUCH any caffeinated beverages, let alone bring them into our apartment. This wasn't really too big of an issue, though, because I've never been one to turn to the stuff on a regular basis - hence the fact that one serving of the stuff makes me jittery and giggly. It just isn't pretty. Water is my beverage of choice.
I do enjoy the occasional chocolate treat - usually in the form of chocolate chip cookies (chocolate in a safe dose!). I'm more of a lemon sweet gal (lemon bars don't stick around for longer than 48 hours!), but I generally don't go overboard on the cookies (though I can hear my husband laughing at the absurdity of the comment, so maybe it isn't entirely true). My husband is the chocolate lover at our house (as is CONFIRMED by the fact that our food-allergy challenged son says, "This chocolate isn't on my list (i.e.., he's allergic to it), so I'll just bring it home as a special treat for Dad."). Brownies are a treat we enjoy, but I don't make them too often - and if we do have them, they're by my husband's request, or even his own making (he made the current batch in discussion). And last night I discovered why . . . they have more caffeine in them than my body can tolerate - I was twitching for nearly 8 hours afterward. It might have something to do with the fact that they are the triple chocolate variety. We don't do anything half-way!
Though it is too late to make a long story short, I will just end now with this reminder for myself: No brownies past noon for me. . . they'll keep me up until 2 AM, tossing any plans for an early-morning run out the window. And this kid-chasing mama needs energy for the day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Energy Spreads

So I sent out an email to friends and family yesterday announcing the book. Until I hit "send", the book didn't seem real. I was much calmer about the whole book arrival than I expected - until yesterday. Now, as the orders flutter in and I get feedback from people, it seems real. And my brain is in a constant spin - if you stand close enough to me, I bet you can hear it whirring! The residual energy from the brain has my legs in a constant state of twitch - something that ordinarilly drives me crazy in others. I think I'll be more understanding of my dad's, husband's, son's & daughter's constant need to bounce or kick their legs from now on! A run might help, too, which I intend to do tomorrow morning.
Probably the most exciting response I've gotten thus far is from some leaders of running programs for girls: Girls Run (sorry, no Web site yet, but we talked about the possibilities for it being up and going soon!) and Fit Girls ( I spoke with one of the founders of Girls Run yesterday and her energy is just infectious! I'm looking forward to meeting her in person someday soon - hopefully in November when I can visit the participants of Girls Run and some schools in their region of TX. My to-do list nearly doubled after talking with her, but it was well worth it, especially since she's so graciously spreading the word in her area about the book. 
Sarah from Fit Girls is also an amazing leader. She's preparing to run her 13th Boston Marathon, raising money through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge as she trains. This woman is dedicated to fitness, lifting-up girls, literacy and philanthropy. What an inspiration! I'm hoping we can work something out so her runners can get copies of the book, too.
So, just as I thought I was running out of energy, two fellow-runners and cheerleaders for girls swooped down and reminded me that this work is worthwhile. The task of selling the books now that their printed is a HUGE undertaking, but the rewards are numerous. Thanks for that reminder, Ladies!

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Dog Park!

The sun was out again yesterday. And it provided some warmth, too, enabling us to take the troops for a trip to our local dog park. When I say "dog park" I should really mention that this place is more of a dog's dream-come-true park. Acres and acres of open space to run and frolic with other dogs and humans. Beautifully wood-chipped paths for four-legged and two-legged creatures. A river with several access points for swims and drinks (though this is usually best enjoyed by the two-legged creatures, the four-legged kind generally bring their own beverages). Views of the mountains. All for a mere $1 to park!

We haven't visited the dog park in months. We're usually much more consistent with our trips there, as it is a place that we ALL enjoy. It was the first place we went when we got off the plane 3 years ago when we relocated to the WA from NC. Our dogs thought they'd died and gone to heaven. Really. It totally took the sting off the two flights it took to get here and they quickly memorized the route to the park from our house so they could know which car trips they should fill with their singing and tail-wagging. Though they seem pleased with trips to the mountains for snow shoeing, too . . . this is a great place to be a dog!

Anyway . . . yesterday's trip to the dog park was just the thing to clear the cobwebs from our brains and get the stale air out of our lungs. The baby (just weeks away from the big first birthday) enjoyed the experience perched atop her dad's shoulders in the backpack (thanks, REI, for making such a fantastic product - this thing has been priceless for 3 years of constant use). Though she'd been to the park before, this was like a first visit. She kicked her feet in excitement to watch the hundreds of dogs zooming around the fields. We thought she'd fall asleep, as it was pretty close to nap time and those backpacks have quite the lulling effect, but she was having too much fun to even let her smile waver for a minute, let alone let her eyelids close!

And our busy-body son . . . he RAN nearly the entire time. If he wasn't running, he was resting on a rock or a bench, "Whew, I'm really tired," he'd comment. We'd rest for a minute or two and then head back out to catch up with the backpack pair and to see where our great, lolloping black lab was. It is really a toss-up for who had the best time. I had fun running with "the boy" - my first such experience since I was on-duty with the baby on previous trips . . . and prior to that HE was the rider in the pack.

You are probably wondering about the DOG (his sister now lives with my parents, just a few blocks away - long story, but it is an arrangement that is perfect for everyone involved)! He did sing ALL the way there and slept ALL the way home. While at the park his tounge dangling, ear flopping and tail wagging fully expressed his utter happiness. The look in his eyes said, "Why did we wait SO long to come back here? This place is AWESOME!"

I think we'll be heading back soon, furry buddy, don't you worry!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Staying Connected

I've always had it in my mind that to be a strong individual a person should assert their independence and work to be successful with their own fortitude. Now let me put in a disclaimer that I KNOW that I made it to where I am because of the people around me who have offered support, love and encouragement. I didn't get where I am alone and I'm very thankful for the generous path I've been able to travel.  BUT, there is a part of me who embarked on this great book writing/publishing adventure that felt (maybe even still FEELS) it was a project I took on myself (with my great mom!) so I wouldn't bother others with questions/concerns/help for it as we marched forward to get the book in the hands of readers. My ego got the better of me.
The part of me that wrote the book is kicking that other part of me, saying, "HELLO!!!! Have you READ the book? Do you realize that mentors, friends and family are SUPPOSED to be part of the process?  Wouldn't YOU offer the same to others if THEY asked you for help?"
To that rather strong, yet logical alert, my independent streak answers, "Huh. Maybe you're right. But HOW do I ask for help?"
I refused to let my husband offer to help with technical aspects of the business. This is my project and I didn't want it to affect him anymore than it already has with funding and the time I have to put into it. But, duh! My stress and anxiety over problems I encountered CLEARLY were affecting him more than if I had been humble and just accepted his help off the bat. Hmmm . . . which would be better - 1 hour of help up-front, or a combined 5 hours of emotional and technical help?  My husband voted for the first option, but stubborn me didn't realize how great the first option was until it was too late and we hit the second option by necessary default. The self-centered me is quite stubborn and learns lessons much more slowly than my other "selves".
I used to get upset and frustrated when my mom would suggest we ask a "connection" for help or to pass along information about the book on our behalf. I felt that we were using our friends and business associates, and that we were supposed to make waves and get noticed on our own. It has taken me the full year of our endavor to learn that these people WANT to help us spread our message and that simple requests for passing along a business card or adding links to websites aren't the organ-donating and animal rescuing level of assistance I made them out to be in my mind. So now when my mom (usually a rather mild and introverted soul - quite the opposite of my own extraverted self - I'm more like my dad in that aspect) gets wound up (in a good way!) about the book as she tells people about it and encourages them to spread the word, I step back and enjoy her energy. I'm even learning to be my own best advocate by putting myself out for others to see. Easy? No. I never want to come across as a bragger . . . but I do know that the message I'm sharing in my book is one that is important for others to receive. I'm having to step out of my comfort zone to do this, but the experience is enabling my self-growth and humbling me.
It is okay to say to others, "I have a great idea, but I can't execute it by myself. I could sure use your expertise and help. Would you be available to help me?"
It is important to recognize that we don't have all of the answers ourselves. It's hard sometimes (MANY times, even!). It is something I'm still working on . . . and will continue to struggle with. But I guess that's where those amazing friends and family members come it . . . swooping down to save the day, even before I recognize the day needs saving. They save me from myself.
Don't be surprised if you get an email or phone call or even a letter from me someday soon asking for your help . . . and please, feel free to do the same of me - I'm happy to share MY resources with YOU to help you reach your goals, too. Let's stay connected and not let my ego get in the way - life is so much better when we can share.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Finishing a Book

On Wednesday night I finally finished Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It took me a good month or so to get through it, as I'm also reading the final Harry Potter with my husband (I won't even tell you how long we've been working on THAT title - but we're almost done with it, too!).
As I read the last few pages of Eat, Pray, Love, I was struck with a mixture of a sense of accomplishment and a profound sadness. Sure, it was great to finish the year's excursion with Gilbert. For 109 chapters and an epilogue of sorts, I followed her through a remarkable year of self-discovery and healing, living vicariously through her as she ate her way through Italy (reminiscing about my own summer there), struggled with silence and inner calm in India (she's so much stronger than she initially gave herself credit for!), and then allowed herself to find a new life balance in Bali (I'm ready to sign myself up for a trip there!). Through her candid and familiar voice I felt like her confidant and, as Anne of Green Gables would say, a bosom friend. And then, as quickly as the friendship began (ie., the introduction of the book), it ended (ie, the last page). Hence my sadness.
And so, while the journey was a fantastic one (I can't tell you how many times I laughed out loud), finishing it was a bit like returning home after a short vacation - you have great memories, but you wish it could last just a bit longer OR maybe just start planning the next one. That's what great writing does.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Generosity of Many

While this week has been exciting, hectic and stressful (to say the least!), it has also been heartwarming and reassuring. In the midst of the chaos and rushed schedule (preschool, music class, MOD Mixer, spreading the word about the book, doctor's appointments . . . you get the drift) each day has been brightened by the unconditional generosity of people around me. It makes me proud to be part of my own community and confirms what I already knew: there IS goodness in this crazy world. Here are some of the things that made my heart smile this week:
- The graphic designer for my book is donating a portion from the sales of his own newly-released books to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (to read about his beautiful picture books for all ages and learn how to order, visit his AMAZINGLY polished and stunning website:
- A MOD friend of mine is coordinating Random Acts of Kindness Week in our town next week to support our local businesses and remind people of how lucky we all are to have such an amazing community
- We had speakers visit our MOD Mixer yesterday from New Day for Children, a soon-to-be non-profit organization working to build an orphanage and offer educational opportunities to children in rural Tanzania who have lost their parents in the AIDS pandemic there
- My son's pre-school teachers read We Are Girls Who Love to Run to his class on Tuesday (the day after we got it in our own hands!) and are sharing the news of the book in the next newsletter - all UNSOLICITED!
- My healthcare provider is posting the newspaper article about me in the waiting area of his office (along with order forms and a copy of the book!) to spread word of the book and support our business as a fellow Chamber member
- A woman from the local Nestle' corporate training facility sent us a cookbook they just published and is offering to assist our school district's efforts to bring GoGirlGo! to our schools (I'm going with some PTA representatives from the schools in February to learn about this great program and how we can bring it to our girls! see: - national site, - Seattle site)
- Deena Kastor ( donated signed copies of her poster to the GoGirlGo! Seattle initiative
I think I'll stop now before my kids wake up!  I'm sure I could continue for another half hour listing out the positive things happening around me. Take a minute to become aware of the beautiful gestures swiriling around your world. It will make YOU smile and encourage you to be a positive element in others' lives. The goodness in this world is created by the compilation of single generous and giving gestures, ranging from simple smiles and volunteer time to monetary contribtions and organization of groups to help others.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The ups and downs of collaboration

I'm honored to be running a business with my mom. Her expertise/professionalism and understanding of my passion are priceless pieces that have enabled the publication of We Are Girls Who Love to Run and are what will keep the business of Balanced Steps going as we make the big push for the consulting/workshop branch of it. We've learned more in this past year about publishing a book and building a business than either of us ever dreamed we would need to know!  We've made plenty of mistakes, and have become stronger and smarter for them - thank goodness!
Since this business is all about BALANCE, it is something we're trying to establish with one another. How do we collaborate effectively? We are both involved in many decisions, but who is responsible for communicating the end results? Do we need to more clearly divide responsibilities and limit the decisions we make together and then just understand that we're to roll with the other person's decisions within their assigned realm?  How do we relinquish control and become more comfortable and confident with one another? Overall, I'd say we're making GREAT progress and producing some fantastic products and resources to make a positive impact in our community (and even the community at large - nationwide!), so I'm not really complaining. I just know that in order for us to take the book and the business to the next level, we have some tweaking to do - and I know my mom agrees. I suppose this is the challenge that all start-ups face once they are truly rolling forward . . . whew!  And then maybe we'll be prepared to get a few more hands on deck to help with it all - but first . . . book sales! 

Monday, January 7, 2008

The book is REAL!

So, after a year of working toward our goal of publishing my book, I can now hold it in my hands.  It is a REAL product now, not just a lofty dream. My mom and I expected to receive our first case of books (sent by air mail - the others are on a boat and will be arriving at the end of the month) at the end of the week and were more than pleasantly surprised to have them delivered to us today!  Woah.  I'm still shaking from the wonder of it all. Even my son was NUTS over the excitement of it all - dancing around, bouncing on his bouncy ball, and couldn't sit still to eat his lunch (and this boy lives to eat!). As soon as we could convince him to wash his hands, he got to be the first official reader of the book as my mom read it to him.  What a thrill!
There is more work yet to be done, but you can bet that now that we have the end result in-hand, we are twice as motivated and ready to get the full shipment into everyone's hands.  Hooray! 

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Budding Runner

As a parent, I'm sometimes left wondering if I'm on the right track with what I'm modeling and directly teaching my children. I'm human and I make my fair share of mistakes. But then my three year-old says and does things that give me reassurance and peace of mind that we ARE raising them well. One thing that my husband and I are doing well is modeling healthy physical fitness. We're not fanatical about it, but we do make it a regular part of our lives - and it is rubbing off on our children!  Here are just a few things that show me that our son will be health-minded:
- "Go, Mama, go!" he cheers as I run on our treadmill.
- "Can I wear my running shoes, too? They make me FAST!" he says while lacing up his New Balance shoes as I tie mine.
- "Oh, I know!  We can walk there, we don't have to ride in the car," he suggests when we make our weekly visits to my parents' house (though when both kids are sick and it is snowing, I reassure him that it is okay to take the car).
- "Maybe we could RUN down the hill to the mailbox and then walk up the hill to say hello to my friend, John," he suggests a full quarter-mile option for what is really more of 1/10 of a mile chore.
- "Maybe after my nap we can go outside and have a snowball fight!" (I literally typed this as the words flowed out of his mouth in conversation with my husband).  This kid likes to explore his world!
- "Let's go for a bike ride!"
- "Maybe I can get fast if I practice on the treadmill, too."
- "I can't wait for the grass to grow so Dad and I can go out and mow the lawn." We should get this on in writing for when he's fifteen and it is his chore!
Not only do his words make me smile, for he says them in a way and with inflection that is truly a unique part of his charm, but they let me know that we're on the path for raising a son who feels confident in his own skin and knows how to have fun and get his body moving. Our daughter isn't talking yet, but she's on the move, too. A confident walker at eleven-months, we're sure that her own entry into the world of running is close at hand. Yet another good reason for us to continue taking care of our own bodies and physical fitness - we have to keep up with these two!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Getting Jittery!

So today we got word that the books will be shipped on January 7th - holy moly, that's next week!  One part of me wants to crank up some music and dance around the house like a lunatic as this dream of mine becomes a reality . . . but that darn, practical side of me is listing out the hundreds of "to-do" items that stand between the thousands of books that will be housed in two garages (ours and my parents')  the hands of thousands of readers.
Deep breath.  In . . . out.  Whew!
Wait a minute!  How often can someone say that their first published book is about to be in their hands? Until 2007 (thanks to some networking with fabulous authors/illustrators who have done all of this at least once themselves) I didn't know a single soul who experienced that amazement, so I'm willing to bet that the answer to my question is, "Not too frequently - and that window of time is a slender one!"
That said, I think I'll ignore that stuffy, practical, perfectionist gal inside me for once (I really do like that gal, as she can reach a goal like nobody's business, but I can't listen to her ALL of the time - she's exhausting!) and go put up my feet and relax.  I'll unleash the dancin' gal when the books ARE in hand - you'll know when that is, because she'll be singin' too (you might have to cover your ears, though. Sorry about that - my dancing is much better than my singing)!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

What happened to nap time?

As the mother of two young children, I live for nap time. I've been known to use the time to catch a few winks for myself, but usually that only happens if I'm sick or didn't sleep the night before (hence my naps twice last week - the kiddos have been needing TLC in the wee hours of the night). Nap time is the time I reserve to wear my author shoes. You caught me - I don't wear shoes when I write, but you get the drift! The kids close their eyes and I know I'm safe to dive into my work when I hear the contented slurping of fingers (the thumb from my son's room, two fingers from my daughter's room).

But events from the last few weeks leave me in a bit of a panic. My daughter (nearly one) is content with just one nap in the afternoon (GASP!). To make matters worse . . . my son is now napping only EVERY OTHER DAY (double GASP!). That leaves me with just one opportunity for writing/reading others' work/researching/etc. a few times each week instead of my treasured twice a day gold standard. I fear this leaves me with no time for procrastinating or day dreaming because nap time is now more precious than . . . than . . . it is nearly as precious and rare as sleeping-in!

So now the work begins for me. My life-balance is out of whack and I'll be adjusting to find a new (and temporary, of course!) balance that will keep me working (books just don't launch themselves and my poor mom/business partner can't do it ALL herself!), the kids happy, the house hopefully out of the reach of chaos, my body healthy all the while maintaining my marriage so my husband knows I appreciate him and am still quite pleased that we found one another for this journey. I think that was a run-on sentence. Seeking balance sometimes does that to me - my thoughts get spinning faster than I can track them. Listing things is helpful in sorting it all out.

So, for the next few weeks as we figure out this new sleep schedule, you can bet that I'll be eyes-to-the-screen, fingers-to-the-keyboard every possible moment my children slumber. My blogs might be filled with to-do lists and adventures in figuring out how to sort through them. Stick with me, it means I'm problem solving and my brain is still functioning, slowly but surely. You can worry when the blog entries get sparse. It will mean one of two things:

- my son has given up naps altogether (it pains me to even type that, for fear it might come true!)
- the new speed of life has led me to establishing a balance that includes ME taking a nap on a regular basis

Either way, I'm up to my eyeballs in life's adventure looking forward to whatever comes my way! It will just be easier if I can somehow convince my son to keep napping . . .