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Toddler Travel--Road Trip Edition

      So happy to be writing from Southern California after our road trip out from Colorado. It has been so nice to see family and enjoy cooler weather and time at the beach. This was far and away the longest Avi has ever been in the car, and it was definitely less relaxing to drive long distances with a toddler, but it actually went better than I thought it would.      I love road trips, so I'm happy that this is something we can look forward to lots more of as a family.  In case anyone else is planning to travel with their little one(s), I thought I would share a few things we did that helped, and a few things I wished we did differently. Tips:  *Bring various activities that can be easily done from a car seat. I brought some of Avi's favorite toys including: a toy she could buckle and unbuckle, a chunky beads and thread kit, and a paint with water set from Melissa and Doug's . I also brought bubbles which were a big hit although we left them in the hotel, so we didn'
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June Goals

            I love summertime, and it's been awesome to have time with Avi at home. I love my job and working with students, but especially after this school year with so many changes, it's nice to slow down and focus on my own little one. My coworker had really good advice of picking sort of a theme for each day and while I haven't quite gotten that specific, I definitely have taken the idea of having one particular activity or outing (library, splash pad, lake, errands, friend's house, etc.) planned for each day and a loose structure of meals, time playing at the park and downtime at home.       That said, the lovely part of summer break is that the plans are flexible. If Avi is playing independently or absorbed in finger painting, we can stay home. It just helps me mentally to have a sense of what the day will bring instead of just having a twelve hour block of winging it.      Big Events this Month:     *Joel's first trip away since Avi was born. He gets back to

May in Review

            One of my favorite features of my planner is that it has a month in review section for each month. I like having the prompt to take a look back on the month and remember some of the highlights and big events as well as favorites (anything ranging from books, tv shows, games, music, and food).      May was a very full month. It was Joel's birthday, we had family visiting for a bit, and it was the end of the school year. I definitely felt spread thin for parts of the month, but overall, I'm really proud of how I ended the year at work. There were lots of fun end-of-year projects like Wonder Week, a memory book, and our beach day! Hopefully these projects felt like a good way for students to look back on the year and celebrate how far they've come.  I feel lucky to have had such a wonderful group of students in such a strange school year that ranged from virtual to fully in-person and everything in between.      Other highlights of May included Joel's birthday!

Summer Rhythms

      There's only one week of school until summer break, and I'm starting to think ahead to a summer routine for me and Avi. I'm so excited to have lots of time with her, and I've been inspired by a few podcast episodes to design your summer. I tend to do well with routine and structure, and so I want to make sure that I have a bit of a predictable rhythm with Avi to give shape to the days.     The biggest event this summer is that we are driving to California for about a month. This will be longest I've spent in my home state since I graduated from college about ten years ago, but with Covid in the past year, we've seen family less than usual this year. Joel is also able to work from home for part of the summer, so it seemed like a good opportunity to spend lots of time with family and enjoy some beach time.       Both while we are away and the weeks we are at home, I'm trying to get a sense of ways I can have a shape to the days while still embracing the

Dig Deep and Find Joy

      This particular season in life has a lot of care-taking and a lot of deadlines. Between parenting an active 22-month-old learning to use the toilet and wrapping up a school year, this is a full season in life. To be clear, I love being a mom and a teacher. But the end of the school year is full of the combination of special events, administrative tasks, and grading. Plus this year, with Covid, we have some intermittent returns to hybrid teaching and the end of the year looks different than it typically does.      I'm finding it easy to focus on how much energy this requires and miss all the joy that is a part of this moment too. Lately, I keep coming back to this phrase: dig deep, and find joy. When I come home and focus on what funny thing Avi is doing or being really silly with her, I feel more joy and connection with her. When I focus on planning fun end-of-the-year projects that feel meaningful for my students and connecting with them, all the administrative tasks feel mo

May Focus: Gratitude

            This month I'm experimenting with gratitude. May is the last month of the school year in Colorado, so it can get busy with all the special events for end-of-year special events, final grades, etc. We're having a few visitors this month, and it's also Joel's birthday this week.       My hope is that having gratitude as part of my daily routine will help me to slow down and appreciate all the little moments this month that might be lost in the shuffle. So far, I've tried a few approaches to make this routine work. Originally I envisioned adding a section to my daily planner for gratitude, but I found I used my planner most heavily at work and wouldn't always remember to complete it in the morning or evening when it felt most natural to gratitude journal. I decided to add it to my morning journal routine. Stacking a new habit onto an existing habit that feels rock-solid made the whole thing feel a lot more effortless.     Since I've decided where an

Mountain Getaway

   The view from our Airbnb        It was Spring Break last month, and we decided to get an Airbnb in the mountains for a change of scene. It was a lot of fun! I feel like our expectations were a lot more reasonable about what a vacation with a toddler during a pandemic would be like, and we ended up having a great time. Some highlights:   *Going to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. It was a super snowy day, but it was still an awesome experience. Avi LOVED feeding the baby giraffe lettuce and was obsessed with watching the river otters. I think she would have stayed there all day had the otters not gone to the indoor part of their exhibit, and she she still talks about the "awthers." This is also one of the first memories I've noticed she's held onto. She will make signs for giraffes eating and talk about lions sleeping and mention the otter in the bath.  *Going on a hike and seeing the river and canyon near Canon City and driving to the highest suspensi