Friday, September 21, 2012

Better Planning For Our Pauses

Fall is my favorite season.  Waking up to crisp mornings that mellow into warmed sunshine afternoons, the golden light that illuminates the world in a sort of hazy glow as it eases toward sunset.

My inclination this time of year is to prepare the house for nesting over the winter.

It is a bit like a squirrel lining its den, I suppose, but I have this urge to straighten and tidy and fortify the pantry with delicious snacking and baking staples in case of a snow day somewhere in the distant future.

Do we have puzzles and games aplenty, all currently stored at the ready?  Including a vast supply of legos just waiting to be built into something awesome?  Check.  And check.

Is there plenty of popcorn and assorted tidbits that The Peanut finds deliciously munchable?  Check.

Can we make some snickerdoodles at the drop of a hat?  Yeppers!

One of the things I do is to make sure I've stashed away some activities -- new coloring books, a craft project or two, something to paint or assemble, a fresh drawing pad, a new-ish movie or two picked up from the $5 or less bin, you name it -- so that when the inevitable snow day strikes, we have a new and exciting something-or-other to do.

I have done this since The Peanut was small.

It has saved my sanity during lengthy periods of sickness (such as last year's unexpected bout with chicken pox-esque ick), when mandated home time stretched out far, far too long for the wee girlie.   We always have construction paper and coloring materials aplenty in our craft closet, but sometimes a brand spanking new idea is called for when all the other usual suspects in the fun and crafty world have been attempted.

The other day, it occurred to me that I should start doing the same for myself on occasion, too.

For me, one of the most fun things is to work a new puzzle.  Or to pull an older puzzle out that I haven't done in quite a while and work it through all over again, the length of time between the last attempt making it feel fresh.

Yesterday, while buying some presents for various and sundry birthday recipients in our acquaintance, I found a puzzle just for me -- a lovely scene with several birds that I like to watch out our sunroom window on the feeder, painted realistically and colorfully, on a puzzle grid that looked challenging.

I've tucked it away now for some future date where diversion for me will be really welcome.

As I get older, this nesting feeling seems to grow.  The house is more cozy for all of us these days, mostly because we have been running around like crazy people far too much of late so the time we get to quietly enjoy each other and our own little internal routines is more valuable.   Between school, my teaching, dance classes, piano lessons, things to do with friends and...well, you get the picture because you are or have most likely lived it, too.

My goal is to find ways to enhance that, to nurture our individual and collective pauses because we need these pauses to rejuvenate -- individually and also collectively as a family.

Previously, it's been sort of spontaneous.

But lately?  I'm feeling the need for a little more structure in our lives, better time management to maximize the benefits of whatever down time we manage to carve out.  And being even more conscious of working more pauses into the mix, even if it is just a few minutes of meditative music and a quiet talk about our day in the big rocking chair.

The Peanut could definitely benefit from some breathing space here and there, and heaven knows that I could as well.

Are there ways that you do this with your own family that have worked well for you?  If so, please share.  I'm trying to thoughtfully plan in some of this without micromanaging every second of the day for all of us -- it's a balancing test for the most part, and one that I look forward to embracing without being rigid about it.  Any success stories or advice you could share would be greatly appreciated.

(Gorgeous shot via seyed mostafa zamani. This just feels like fall, and the drift of the seeds in the wind is just a perfect visual representation of how I'm feeling at the moment. Beautiful image.)

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