Routines and Self-Discipline


Routines. Really thinking about how I want to structure our morning and evening routines as we head back to school. I’m a night person but really trying to see if I can get into the swing of a 4am wake-up time during the school year. That seems so hard. But when I think about it, during the year I always have to get up at 5am. I can’t get up any later than that because of my commute and the requirements of when I need to be at school.

The hard part is winding down at night to get me into that restorative sleep mode. I tend to like to read a lot of articles online or watch some comedy. I do read my kindle with my orange glasses on. But I think I need to get the orange glasses on earlier in the night. More like 2 hours prior to sleeping instead of my usual 1. Joe makes fun of my super cool glasses. haha. But reducing the screen time I think will help. Part of the issue is I think I read about ideas and then my brain gets all fired up. I think I need to not read self-development stuff at night and read more fiction at night instead. I did that last night and fell asleep earlier than I expected to. It’s my last day here with my son so I slept until 8am! When you consider I was sleeping around 9:30pm that is like 11.5 hours. Haha woops. That’s too much. I’d like to get into the sweet spot of 8 hours but only if that is my sweet spot. I’ve been reading about it and I think I’d like to see how much quality sleep I really need. Gotta do my own sleep study here.

I will say sleep has been my top priority since I started my “Start Today Journal.” It’s definitely gotten better than I used to be. The year before this one I was NOT getting enough sleep at all. I was super stressed out. If I was lucky I got 5 hours. Nope nope nope. So at least this year that’s improved by a lot. Still needs more improvement because I think if I can get to be a good sleeper, I’ll be even more healthy. Sleep is probably one of the most important pillars. Sleep, movement, good food.

So today trying to work on my schedules and routines and seeing what I can do about that. I really don’t want to be reactive to emails and to other people within the first hour of waking and before I go to sleep either. That’s a huge thing as well. So I’m going to try not to check my email in the morning. I’ll start with not checking it until school begins (7:30) and not after 6pm. But thinking more of doing set times throughout the day.

So then the self-discipline piece. I think my three major secondary goals are to be better disciplined with my finances, better with exercising (made god strides this summer) and better food. Sleep will be my primary goal because if I’m rested this self discipline will come easier. With my finances, it’s not that I want to spend money to have stuff. That’s not my thing. My crutch is that I want the office space to look just right. “If I just get these few things it’ll be perfect.” But then it never is and I tend to overbuy. I want my outfit to be just right. etc. I’m not a big shopper- in fact I hate it. Which I also think is part of the issue. I tend to buy things online so I don’t have to do it physically which is a bit more dangerous. So really going to watch it. Gotta shop my closet and make do at school with what we have. I have to identify my triggers and get some strategies in place before I buy things not truly needed.

I guess this post is not too interesting to read but it is my thoughts as I plan the year out today and in the next few days.

Have a wonderful day!

Good Conversations

Happy Wednesday. I don’t have too much to say today. Been a busy couple of days at work. Meetings and trainings. Have to go back up today in fact with son in tow so that we can do a few more errands and get things ready for our first home football game Friday. Seems like the games are earlier than when I was in high school but I think they do it to avoid going so much into October.

Joe and I had such a nice conversation last night about perspective and I got lots of new good winter literature ideas from my colleague for my 7th/8th grade band and high school band. We are in the middle of a curriculum review so I’m excited to get this stuff written. I feel like I’m in such a better place. This time last year I really didn’t know where anything even was, so to even get going on curriculum was sort of a nightmare. So I’m excited! Plus since I have a better grasp on the equipment and organization that’s more to my liking, I can really focus on the teaching and planning this year. At least that’s the hope.

So a short post today. I am off to get my son up and get him moving so we can get things done!

Random side note- I got things out of the garage! Large item pick up for trash today so I cleaned out a whole cabinet and got rid of some damaged things. The other day I got rid of a piano keyboard (the kind you roll up on a desktop). I used to have it in my old classroom in Lena. My co-worker mentioned she’d love one for her little kids (she didn’t see mine- she just happened to send me a picture of one she saw in the store). So I gave it to her and that feels good! She’s excited.

Alright- time to roll! 🙂 And look- my plant isn’t dead yet! (I tend to be band with plants…)


Blood, Sweat, and No Tears!

I’m a work in progress- as we all are. Lately really trying to focus in on the process and journey. I tend to be a perfectionist and have endless to-do lists. Which, let’s face it are just going to frustrate the hell out of me because there’s no way to be perfect and have everything done. It’s just not going to happen. The best I can do is to keep striving for better. Keep hustling. Keep grinding.

I’ve been working this summer on health: exercising everyday (an intense work-out every other day, but at least moving my body every single day otherwise), drinking more water, not drinking as much alcohol, eating cleaner, unplugging more, being more present and more mindful. Taking care to get enough sleep. I’ve definitely made strides in almost every area. The trick will be to get it to stay when the school year begins again. Interestingly I was thinking today about my workout journey over the years. In the past I always had these deadlines: “I want to look like this when I get married” was one such deadline. A huge motivator to look nice for your wedding. The harder part is just to stay healthy for the sake of being healthy. Not for looks or for a specific reason other than that. I’ve been reading books by Gretchen Rubin (I highly recommend them ALL by the way). She has this framework called the Four Tendencies. They are, upholder, obliger, questioner, and rebel.

I am an obliger. People pleaser to the max. I don’t want to let anyone down. I have a hard time saying “no.” So the thing is when it comes to my own inner expectations of myself, I tend to let them go because I can always put myself second or break a promise to myself. It’s not someone else. I don’t say this because I’m a martyr. It’s actually pretty stupid. It’s perfectionism and at the end of the day because I put myself last, I don’t even know myself at the end of it.

SO. I am working on it. I have been saying “no” more. I haven’t broken my promise to myself this summer yet (too much anyway) in regards to physical health. As I begin the school year I will be really intentional about priorities. Anything that does not align with our vision or is just extra for the sake of being extra is a flat-out no.

More on all this later because this obliger has to get some zzzzzzzs. I am off to see a concert this weekend with my co-worker and former student. Should be a blast!


Back to School…

Funny to me. I am a teacher but I teach upper level music. Which really means that yes, I could have my summers off but I don’t really. If you want to have a good program at the secondary level, you invest your summer time. So I’ve been up at school a lot, same as most summers. I have had some time off here and there of course. But it’s not this huge time off and then bam “back to school.” In fact, just got out of a meeting last night.

It’s all good- not complaining. That argument always bothers me. When people compare teachers to the private or business sectors. Everyone has a choice. Every career comes with perks and disadvantages. Teachers work hard. So do corporate businesses. So do small businesses. So I work hard. I bet you do too. End of discussion.

Anyway. I got a lot of work done in the classroom yesterday (in one of my classrooms. I have two of them!) I’m so excited about the new whiteboard (previously it had dated chalk and green bulletin boards. So this is nice and fresh! Got my desk and everything all set up. So nice.


Lots more to do. I need to work on curriculum writing today and other clerical things. Can’t set up the high school band room again yet as they are cleaning. They always save that for last because we teach summer school in there. So that should be done by the end of the week. Then my students and I will be back next week 2 weeks before everyone else to get music ready because we have 2 football games before the start of the year.

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney


Ok I am excited. Off to work! Have a great day!

Year 6!

This past Saturday marked 6 years married to my best friend Joe. Hard to believe that we have also been together for nearly 9 years. Joe remarked that it feels like it’s been longer. And he meant that in a good way. I do feel the same. Feels like I’ve known him forever. He is my favorite. Much has changed in these 9 years but Joe is my partner to attack life!

We had such a great weekend of connection, good food, and relaxation. It was so nice to unplug for a bit and just enjoy each other’s company.

Here’s to many more years!

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The days are long but the years are short

So true. My son is 3.416 years old and super trying at times. He’s very independent and challenges just about everything. So he’s a typical 3 year old. Nothing wrong there. But it does get a person worn out. And then I think about that little smile and his monster energy. He’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.


This morning we got to cuddle a little- something my little human doesn’t like to do much. But he did and it was so nice. Laid his head against my chest and we rocked. And I know my days are so numbered with this. I did nothing but enjoy it. And now just thinking about the time when I can no longer do this brings a tear to my eye. He’s never been a person to cuddle so I haven’t had much time to miss it per say. But when it does happen, gosh you drop what you are doing.

The trying moments? Jumping off of EVERYTHING. Something we are trying to work on to get him to stop. I don’t like to curb his courage but yikes. I also don’t like to end up in the emergency room or have him majorly injure himself.

Having to do everything himself. Which is fine. But the fit that precedes the activity is not as fun.

The back-talk. “No John (xyz reason)”. “NO! I DO!” or “NO! There is more!” you know how that goes.

But then the wonderful moments? all his cute language. His zest for running (he LOVES to run). His curiosity is through the roof. He loves to explore and learn. He loves trains especially but also excabators (excavators), cars, trucks, bozers (bulldozers), and ambulances. He loves to tell you stories. He just went up to the “blue lake” and swam and threw rocks into the water all day. And threw the ball to Remi where it “spwashed” (splashed) into the water! A BIG SPWASH!” And then? She brought it back!!!. So animated. He sings along to his favorite songs which is adorable. He loves being asked questions. I’ll try to make a post more often about him because there are so many good moments. He is so sweet.

So this morning as we were cuddling I was just so grateful. Love that kid.

Late Night Memories

It is 1:49 in the morning and I should be sleeping but couldn’t sleep. Fair warning this post will twist and turn.

I found myself tossing and turning and thinking about crazy things that stand out in old memories in my mind. It’s so interesting what the brain chooses to remember about certain things.

My grandfather has always been an early riser to begin with but he also used to run a boat and liked to get an early start to fish. When we were kids, we would come up and a day out on the water was usually the case. Sometimes these were day trips for nothing better than just riding on the boat. But other times we would be roused before it was light out to go down to the boat and take off. It’s funny because I don’t really remember the actual fishing part on these trips (I do remember fishing during the day later on others) but I do remember being so excited we were going before it was light out that I had a hard time sleeping.

I remember once we were all laying on the floor in the room where my grandmother slept. My brothers and father have never had trouble sleeping it seems when anything exciting is about to go down. I’m always awake. They sleep just fine. Christmas Eve, you name it. Not a big deal to them. At least that is my perception. I’ve always been too excited to wait.

But I remember laying there and then I’d hear Oompah moving about. The kitchen light went on and his coffee machine. But then he came in boisterously and yelled at us all to get up. I think it was like 4:30am or something. I don’t really know. What has me laying awake at the moment is what he actually said. I remember when I was a kid my dad would wake me up and say, “up-get, school-go.” Which is not what Oompah said I don’t think but I can’t really be sure. The weird thing is I can hear his voice. I just can’t remember the words. Weird… I do remember what it was like though. I’ll have to ask now. I think maybe my parents got the “up-get” from him somehow. He definitely said something really particular for us to get up. “up-get, roll-out?” Something like that. Argh it’s bugging me. My mom probably knows. Will ask her tomorrow.

Then I remembered donut holes. The highlight of the weekend mornings in Elk Rapids. Oompah used to get up at his ridiculously early hour. Probably to go to the dump but then he’d always stop on the way back to get donut holes. Some glazed and some cinnamon. He even did that sometimes when I stayed with him in college while I worked at the local grocery store. But then somewhere along the way he stopped. Maybe I should pick some up this week. I don’t really eat that stuff anymore but for some reason that memory popped into my head.

Then my house where I grew up meandered into my thoughts. I still have dreams about that house and could tell you almost anything about it, I can visually still picture the weirdest things. I remember before we renovated the back of the house and kitchen. What sticks out to me? The way the handle on that screen door or whatever that was was like. How the paint was wearing off the button. The white gate between our yard and Clarks’ stuck. You really couldn’t go through it. You climbed over in those days. There was a time where I had some childish fit when my grandmother and mother and I were making Christmas cookies one year. And I hid on the stairs. At that time there was a door on the stairway and I laid between the door and the first step until my grandmother came and got me out.

Lots of stuff like that. I guess it’s just interesting what the mind chooses to pick out of memories. I’m so glad I do enjoy photography (I plan to spend a few more hours everyday scanning our old photographs and letters) or so many things would be missed- I just wouldn’t remember them. Particularly the funny things JM says. I guess for that reason it’s also good to write about them.

Right now he’s into excavators. Except he says, “excabators.” He says, “Yes. They pick up rocks and dirt and put them into the dump truck at the construction site.” Haha how cute he is. He likes to count how many “excabators” are on his sheets. There are many I’ll tell you.

Right now he likes to “do it myself.” He wants his blankie “over my head.” When we get home from picking him up from daycare at the end of the day and Joe is already home he says, “daddy is here! He is in the room with my trains.” When he goes places he has to “run faster.” “I want to” has sometimes become “I need to” or “I don’t need to do that.” He has gotten really good at throwing the beach ball back and forth. He doesn’t quite understand when HE misses the catch. He instead says, “oh you missed!” Bulldozers are “bozers”. I love that one. There are so many times in the day he can be trying. I can lose my patience when he says, “I want to do it myself” or “I got to count these excabators.” But then I realize how time flies. Days are long but the years are short. I’m enjoying this 3 year old because once he’s 4, the 3 year old version is gone for good. And then I need to enjoy the 4 year old.

Been a good summer so far. Really been thinking and pushing myself a lot. Mentally and physically. I’ve worked out nearly everyday. Hard work outs 3 days a week. The other days I just make sure to move my body. I get outside. I take care of my physical body so as to be there for my family and for myself really. I’m trying to take cold hard looks at what I really want to do and how I can improve that. One of my bad habits is to look for affirmation from others to know if I am doing the right things. Trying to let that go more and more. Unplug and be more present. Getting more sleep. In fact up until this little stint, I got 8 hours of sleep for a consistent couple of weeks. Reading a lot and listening to a lot of interesting podcasts. Working on listening more, talking less.

Reminders yet again about journey. Falling in love with the process. I tend to be a perfectionist. I want to have everything done. All the landscaping. All the photos scanned. All the house cleaned. Every project done. Every organizational thing at school done. Every piece to my office decor in place. Nothing unfinished. But that is life. Unfinished. And the attempt to try to “finish” it is just futile. Endless unhappiness that way. And then my perfectionist ways- if I can’t get it all done NOW then I tend to put it off or schedule unproductive long blocks when I tell myself I’ll do it but then feel overwhelmed so I don’t start. It would have been better to do small chunks here and there and deal with some unfinished ya know? I’m working on it. It’s a process. 🙂 I’m making small strides to do a little bit everyday and not care so much about what others think. Or having everything completely done all the time. It’s great to strive to do the very best we can. But we never arrive if we truly want to grow. That is the magic. I’m good at that in some areas of my life and career but forget in others.

Speaking of process…plants really don’t care about other plants. Or when they bloom. Sometimes they are late. Sometimes early. And they have to enjoy their process because all to soon it decomposes for the next season. I usually get frustrated by gardening because I hate weeding… blahhhh. BUT, I do love the beauty in flowers and I love how they have to just “be.” I particularly love this picture because one flower is in full bloom. Many others behind it are not. Various stages. Isn’t this flower incredible?


Happy Summer

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

Pretty hot and sunny here but enjoying the summer! John Michael, Remi, and I went to the park and played outside a whole bunch today. Unplugged and happy. We read books and played with trains. Been a good day.


JM and Rem loved sharing the pool today. I think these pictures sums things up nicely!

Some recent John Michaelisms:

“Yeah my did!”

“Hey dad. Hey Dad. Dad. Daaaaaad! Hey Dad!”

“Hey Mom. Hey Mom. Mom. Moooooom! Hey Mom!”

“Look at me!”

“I’m counting!” (He can count a little over 20!)

(Loves to tell his trains what to do) “You wait there. Oh no! Oh my! Stop at the station! Too fast! Slow DOWN. Percy! You fell of the track!”

I say, “I love you, do you love me?” He says, “love me!” Then with prompting, “I love you!”‘

“I need to….” or “I don’t need to…”

“I want to jump!”

“I’m 3!”

He lets me give him a ton of kisses every night before bed. I know my days are numbered  that he allows this.

Today he told me he was going to drive a REALLY BIG TRAIN. And said it just like that.

Probably many more. Ahh he is my little one. While the days are long (I’m super tired these last few days- stay at home moms are SAINTS), I know the years are short so I’m grateful for this time with him while I can.


In other news, I’m working on myself. I’ve been working not to drink as much. In fact, I completed a 2 week stint with not a drop. I had just a couple over the weekend (red wine) and back to no drinking again this week. Feels good. Working out everyday. I finally lost a few pounds! Also drinking tons of water. Half my body weight in ounces + some. No soda (but haven’t drank soda in years other than a handful of times. It’s been almost maybe 10 years since I have! Wow). Very low carbs. Look at that sweat rolling down my face. I weirdly like that. My skin and nails have been sooo much better.

Lots of work at school- still working. Paid down some debts which is a good thing. Working to get debt free as soon as I can.

Trying to just keep falling in love with the process. Nothing is going to be all in row or all completely done. Just fact of life!

Looking forward to going to Elk Rapids for Harbor Days. Some jobs of work there but mom and dad have the house looking fabulous. Really cool. JM will have fun in the really big lake and we will see the annual parade and fireworks. We also are going to try Siren Hall (a nice restaurant) which should be fun.

Anyway It is now 7:33 so I think I’m going to watch an episode of Big Bang and then retire to my bed! We do go to bed at 8pm after all! At least these days…


The Heat of Summer

Sunday night here. Haven’t updated this in a really long time! Yikes. I plan to get back at it.

Much more to catch up on- one big thing is I have a different job since the last time I posted! I’m still a band director but shifted more north and teach in a bigger school district now. So far so good. I love it! There are ups and downs but I’m surrounded by people who get it and it’s been wonderful. I’m definitely thankful to everyone as my last job- it’s not that. Very supportive colleagues there as well. It’s just been a great challenge for me and I love teaching only band. So that’s been a great switch.

I promised a colleague I’d convert all his drill over so I finally got that done. Which is pretty cool! Feels good to be done with that for sure.

John Michael is huge. Right now he is 3.3 and playing with his trains. Talking to himself. “Hey Thomas, where are you?”, “There you are!” Love listening to his imagination. I want to document more of how he talks for sure so I can remember later. More on that later.

Lately trying to work on my authentic self while still improving all I can. Trying to embrace being more in the present over caring that everything on my to-do list is done or that everything is perfect. That’s just not going to happen.

(This is going to be a stream of consciousness post fyi! ha). I am super proud of the work I have done so far this summer. I have been drinking a LOT less (in fact just finished a stint of not a single drink for 14 days). I wouldn’t say I was/am an alcoholic but I would say we drink too much. So that has been feeling good. I want to do a 30 day challenge so pretty soon Joe and I are going to try that.

I’ve also been working out a ton. That has been really great. I think I have lost some inches but no real pounds yet. I think it’s due to muscle gain.

Joe is amazing. I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything in my professional work or personal goals without his team player mentality. He has SO helped with JM, housework, etc. He has even been exercising more also. Go Joe for the win!

I know this post is all over the place. I’ll get more into it and make more regular posts as we go on here. At least I hope! Peace out for now!