Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Less Really Was More!

So, in looking back at my last post, it seems that I was right with the title. Less really was more for August: less blogging made for more of everything else.

More . . .

library trips
hula hoops hooped
books read
miles run
movies watched with the husband
veggies grown
tomato sauce canned
berries picked
concerts attended
State Parks visited
beaches walked
swings pushed

And as we get ready for our son to start Kindergarten next Tuesday, I realize that all of those "mores" will be great for my new take on "Less is More" in September: Less time with kids (because of school!) is more time for writing/working/running. Change is good!

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Less is More

Somehow August snuck up on me. June and July were filled with just about ALL of the things we were looking forward to doing this summer, but now it is August and we have 4 weeks until the start of the school year. My two lingering, yet contradictory, questions are:

1) What the heck am I going to do with these kiddos until school gets underway in September?
2) How is it that my calendar is filling so quickly for August and September when those pages were BLANK last week?

Since #2 is happening so quickly, I don't think #1 will be much of an issue. But it does leave me thinking that it is time to rethink and regroup. I'm changing my mindset to consider a new approach: Less is More. As a "Type A" go-getter, this is a tricky one for me. I'm betting it has big rewards, though.

For example:

1. Blueberry picking - eat less, put more in bucket

Instead of eating them all while picking (my kids' favorite approach), I'm opting to just nibble one or two every bush or so. The reward is a full bucket to take home and enjoy in muffins, pancakes, etc. We have 3 gallon-sized bags frozen to enjoy through the year. My parents have over 50 pounds frozen at their place. Less is definitely MORE!!!

2. Child Motivation - yell less, get more cooperation

Instead of yelling at my son (which never works anyhow, so I don't know why I'd even bother) to clean up the disaster in the family room, down the hall, in his room, in the bathroom . . . you get the idea, it was BAD . . . I implemented a tip I got from a friend's nanny last week. I set a timer for 5 minutes. My son worked on cleaning the family room. When the timer went off, he could stop there and pick the next space to clean. Then I reset the timer for 5 minutes as he worked on his bedroom. He could see immediate progress in a short amount of time without being overwhelmed by the sheer task of shoveling himself out of the disaster. In 20 minutes he had 2 rooms completely cleaned and neither of us had a single meltdown. Smaller chunks of time (less!), led to cleaner spaces (more!) and happier people (hooray!).

3. Entertainment and opportunity - less scheduled time, more time for unique experiences

One of the Seattle theatres called in May to see if we wanted season tickets (which included tickets to Wicked). I called my mom, we quickly decided on some shows and I hurriedly bought tickets for 4 shows between September and May. It happened FAST. Then I discovered that the IronGirl Seattle event (including a 2 Day Expo!) was the same weekend as Wicked and I'd have to find a babysitter for the kids after I had been gone all day at the Expo. Since my kids usually get Oma and Papa as their sitters (yes, yes, we're ALL spoiled by that one!), this is not really an easy thing. Just thinking about it for 2 days had me stressed to the MAX.

Having We Are Girls Who Love to Run at the expo is just too good an experience to pass up - especially since Seattle is just a stone's throw from us. And although I know Wicked is supposed to be AMAZING, the stress of the whole experience isn't worthwhile. I cancelled our tickets on Friday and couldn't be more content with the decision. I feel good about having the other 3 show dates free, too, even if they don't coincide with another event. I also feel good about not having shelled out all the moolah for the shows. I love theatre, but maybe this is our year to experience some good local talent. Less expense/time commitment for entertainment leads to increased potential for business and more family time.

4. Running - fewer people for a group run, more thinking time and quality one-on-one chatter

I'm keepin' on with my Saturday group run stuff. Some mornings I've had 6 or 7 women join me, other times it is just little ol' me. While I do get a bit bummed if I'm running solo, it isn't always a bad thing to have the trail to myself (and my cell phone for safety). This past Saturday I started the run by myself and was pleased that I fell into a nice pace and as able to work through some mental challenges. I also got to have a few powerful moments of eye contact with a cow in a pasture alongside the trail when I stopped to shed my long-sleeved shirt. That cow seemed to get me. Really, she did.

Shortly after my turn-around spot, a member of the Saturday crew came down the trail, so I turned back around to run with her. Big group runs are fun, but every run has its own purpose and I walked away from Saturday's run feeling more satisfied than I have post-run in a long time.

Whew! That was more than I expected to write, but now I have less clutter in my brain which gives me more thinking space for enjoying a good book tonight.

How about YOU? How can you apply the LESS is MORE theory in your life?