Saturday, August 19, 2017

On the road again

I am so thankful that we are on the road again. Currently traveling solo with the girls to visit our friend Susan in Michigan... then we will head to Europe to join Frido to spend some time with his family and his friends.

Girls are so much older and I feel that we have been practicing this "life" things together for a quite while that we can put everything we have learned about our values and goals on the test while traveling. Being kind to each other, being polite and respectful to everyone around us (including their Mama!!), using our words to communicate, eating healthy as much as we can and being patient (especially me)... and much more.

It's not perfect and we are not perfect but I am thankful that we can travel together and experience the world in a new way.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Taking downtime seriously

I can't remember exactly when we started doing this but our family takes downtime pretty seriously. 

It has been our way for all of us to take a break from... well... all of us when we have a full day together. Usually, after lunch or after coming home from a day of outing, I call a household wide downtime. First Satchi was weary of the idea but after incorporating it almost every day throughout the very busy summer schedule, it has really become a part of our rhythm. 

It happens sometime between 1-4pm depending on the day's schedule. Usually, Satchi goes to kid's room and listens to her favorite audio stories for about 30 minutes on her bunk bed then she sets a timer for another 30 minutes to either just continue resting on her bunk bed (but no audio story) or do an activity that fills her soul. Sometimes she writes a letter at her desk, reads her Tintin books or chooses to take her shower. I ask her whatever she chooses to do... do something that is for her heart and make sure that it is an activity that she can do on her own. The mood was harder to navigate afterward when she was just listening to the audio story during her downtime. When the stories ended after 30 minutes, she would act more clingy and whiny... (kind of the opposite of what I had hoped for) So we established a clear rule that she needs to do something that is away from her audio story with her choice. 

Coco sometimes listens to the audio story with her sister. But I am noticing more and more that she enjoys tinkering with her drawings or making a collage with whatever I curate on my analog table. She loves the process so much that I have given up to be protective of my special goodies... and I just let her use it without being too precious. She loves all the little analogue trinkets I have collected over time. Stamps, stickers, special papers... all of it. As long as she doesn't need a major hands-on support from me during the time, I try to be open to what she chooses to do.

What do I do during MY downtime while girls do their own things? Sometimes I literally shut down. Since I get up early to work when the house is quiet, I can easily use my power nap around 2pm... Even though I might not feel tired, I try to lay down and close my eyes and feel surprised by how much I need the 10 minutes of centering. Sometimes I read books and that has been inspiring and productive. Whatever I do, I try to give myself some space from everyone. 

Afterward, we all come out of our own downtime from different corners of our house... excited and ready for the 2nd part of the afternoon. 

Do you take regular downtime? 

Mail Box LOVE

Do you have families and friends near and far?

Our families are kind of all over the place. Frido's parents live in Germany. My parents go back and forth between Orange County (south of LA) and Japan... and we have my sister in San Francisco and auntie Susan in Michigan. Just to name a few. Then there are friends whom Satchi and Coco LOVE sending their love letters to.

We are so lucky to receive so many beautiful packages from Omi in Germany. She has great eyes for white dresses and little things that brighten Satchi and Coco's day. I have been encouraging them to respond by writing but somehow the distance between LA and Germany was a bit of disconnect.

So last month, we did an experiment of having a "mail box" dedicated to Omi and Opi in our dining room. Having the visual reminder that we could connect to Omi and Opi in a tangible way felt more concrete to Satchi and Coco. It was a shipping box that was big enough to put drawings and 3-dimensional objects yet small enough to sit in the corner of our dining room without feeling overwhelming. It was a sweet process to let inside of the box come together organically. Writing letters or making a special package to our friends and families are sure "feel-good" activities for our family. We never come out feeling cranky after finishing making a letter, right?

It took about a month but slowly box filled up and I shipped it off last week.

Afterward, I asked them whose mailbox we want to open next and there was a list... so I am sure there will be more "mailbox" coming out of our dining room!


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