This last week I had to take a trip back to Phoenix due to some previous commitments. I think it was good timing for me, because I needed a hit of warm weather, and also it allowed me to compare my life in Phoenix to my life in Oregon. I made one other trip back home prior to this, but I didn't feel a true comparison could be made at that point. I will say I was heavily favoring Phoenix for the win. I was really looking forward to the heat, and being familiar with everything.
I won't lie, the warmer weather was definitely a plus. However, I was "on the go" all week, mostly because I needed to schedule all my appointments while I was back. Being busy would have been normal anyways, but I found myself exhausted. I like being busy, but I felt like I was on a treadmill at high speed. Suffice to say, I was a little surprised that Phoenix wasn't a clear cut winner. Interestingly, I've since been told that that is a phrase not used here in Portland..."on the go". It's taking longer than I expected to slow down, to accept a quieter pace of life. I find myself thinking back on what we used to do versus what we are trying to do now.
Our days take on a similar structure, but without many of the time constraints. We wake up without alarms, which is usually around 7:30, although with the time change recently, it's been throwing me off. We have breakfast, and then get right into school. I plan for the kids to spend about 45 minutes per each subject, but it varies. My daughter seems to be able to focus and get her work done quickly, whereas my son is having a harder time concentrating. Generally, we spend an average of 3 hours a day on school. We break it up with trips to the park (recess), and P.E. (jumping jacks and stretching in the living room). By noon, we are wrapping it up and having lunch. Our afternoons are open, and depending on my husband, we sometimes go out to lunch, take little drives, or go do something cool here in the Portland area like go to the Steamboat Museum. I dislike my kids being on electronics too much, so I've been making them read in the afternoons....I'm so mean! In terms of extracurricular activities, currently Thursday afternoons are gymnastics and Ninja Zone for the kids. Fridays are funner days, with horseback riding lessons. En route we learn Spanish in the car. Our evenings are home, although occasionally we go out to dinner. We enjoy reading by the fire, or watching movies together. It's really nice. I love calm evenings.
I know that we all function a little better if we have at least some structure to our day and week, even if it's not verbalized. Routines are very important. I am still the one that has to get the kids rolling or they will lounge around all day, but we are starting to get into a natural rhythm. Layering our routine on top of that is making it easier, because I get less resistance from the kids. As time goes on, I'm allowing myself to reassess our life style choices. I think that's the point of this year. It takes time to create and accept new habits and routines, to redefine what will be our new normal.