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Making lists and making memories


A simple list (what else) of unofficial guidelines for keeping a meaningful to do list...


Fall break seems to have come and gone about as fast as the season itself this year. One day we're out on the back patio taking family pictures, selfie-style, not even missing our jackets. The next, we're all huddled around the kitchen table watching snow flurries out the window. Not that we’re complaining. Snow is a favorite at this house. (Although the snow hasn't been back since, but we're always hoping.)

Fall break, however, came with mixed feelings.

Funny how just one extra child in the mix brings so many extra dishes and extra drama to the day. But an extra child (especially one so adored by a certain little sister) also undoubtedly brings extra giggles and extra fun.

Only a few days into Fall break and we'd already made slime, a fort, and zucchini muffins (ordered by importance, of course). The list-maker in me thinks preparation is key to a well-lived week home together. So day by day we made our way down the activity list, the baking list, and the cleaning list—since my big strong helper was home. Not to mention, the supply list...

  • For the slime: glue, baking soda and contact solution, of all things
  • For the fort: clothespins, sheets, and our well-loved star lights
  • For the muffins: Flour, salt, egg, a painstakingly shredded zucchini (Shadyn thought his arm might fall off), and the other baking essentials

What I’ve decided: making a list is a bit like embarking on a road trip.

You can plop yourself in the seat and enjoy the ride, detours and windshield chips included. Or you can spend the whole trip with eyes fixed on the map, dreading how far you still need to travel, and miserably muttering Are we there yet? every five minutes.

I’m the first to admit that plenty of Are we there yet's have escaped my lips, including this Fall break. It might have sounded a little like I need to finish my stuff… please just go play! or Hurry, we need to get this done before Dad gets home.

No matter how fast you clean, how much you multitask or how many naps you skip, a to do list is never complete.

But I've also savored enough meaningful moments to know I'd much prefer taking in the scenery. Which means that the lists of to do’s, however intentional they may be, must occasionally take a back seat. Otherwise pressure replaces patience, and I always regret it.

And so a simple list (what else) of unofficial guidelines for the to do list...

  • The bigger the list, the bigger the overwhelm. Deleting, not doing, is often the best way to trim it down.
  • A list built around dreams and goals is different than a list built around busywork. The first one is far more rewarding.
  • The most impactful list you can make is the one that’s most focused. My one best thing to do today is...
  • Happy items do in fact belong on a to do list. (Write, rest, laugh with the kids, read, and an episode of Star Trek are basically cemented in mine.)
  • Whether you purposefully leave room for them or not, detours often lead to the best adventures. The more smiles and chatter, the better.


And since I will forever be a list-maker, a revised supply list for Thanksgiving break, which is literally around the corner! I suspect these wouldn't be bad things to bring along on a road trip as well...

  • Low expectations, high engagement
  • A few soundtracks to power a dance session (our favorites: Moana, Frozen, and The Greatest Showman)
  • A sense of humor and plenty of go-with-the-flow
  • A decent mess
  • A solid dose (or two) of patience
  • Plenty of smiles and chatter to go around


Here’s to making lists… and slime, forts and muffins.
Here’s to making memories.

Sending sunshine, and maybe snow, your way,
Anne

PS: Thank you for everyone who supported me by purchasing my newest book, Something to Savor. It means more to me than you know!

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