Family Time | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

Although my husband’s work schedule and my daughter’s school schedule and homework can be very hectic, we always make time for some quiet family time before she goes to bed. Usually I will read with her for a while, and then my husband will come up to her room to talk with her and tuck her in. I love hearing her giggles from these conversations; they really crack each other up! They have a wonderful relationship and I treasure these times we have together as a family.

I know Melisa’s family has a very busy schedule too, but they also make time for each other. She how they spend their family time here.


Homework | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

My daughter’s school is, unfortunately, somewhat notorious for its homework. Most days we get through it just fine, but some days it can be a challenge. The good news is, she is learning a lot this year. One thing I have enjoyed watching her learn is Mandarin. It’s so interesting to see her writing in Mandarin and speaking some Mandarin. Also, the Mandarin homework is generally pretty mild, and that’s a bonus!

March has snuck up on me! Soon it will be Spring Break, and that means a week without homework! Yay!

See what Melisa’s kids’ homework looks like here.

The Unknown

When my daughter was a toddler, she would say “I can’t know they names” instead of “I don’t know their names”. “I can’t know” has become one of our family phrases now. I’m sure all families who have had young children in their home have these quotes from children that become part of the family lexicon.

This phrase has become more than just a funny memory to us though. Often a situation will come up and my husband or I will say “We can’t know”. There is so much we can’t know in life. We can’t know if the decisions we are making are the right ones. We can’t know what kind of year we are going to have. We can’t know how things are going to go. I’ve started thinking about all the things we can’t know, and how there is nothing we can do about the things we can’t know. All we can do is live through it, try to make the right choices, hope for the best, and have faith that the universe will take care of us. If you’re a planner like me, it’s hard not to worry about things that are out of our control. Living a mindful life takes constant practice.

My daughter is starting at her new school today. I would be lying if I told you that I was not at all nervous about this. The truth is, I have a lot of anxiety about it. She was doing well and really happy at her school in Phoenix; it is a wonderful school. How will things go today and this year? What will happen next year? We can’t know. She might be at this school a year, she might be there less than a year. She might be there three years, she might be there until she graduates from high school.

But, we can be optimistic and hope for the best. We can (and have) tried to prepare for her first day by getting together with other families who will have children at this school, putting her in summer camp for a week at the school,  and  attending orientation and meet-the-teacher night. I’m trying to teach her to have an open mind, to live a life of gratitude, and to have a positive attitude. Change is hard, but  I know that I am making the very best choice for her education that I can right now, with the information that I have. I can send her off to third grade confident that she will have a fun and successful year. I can put my trust in her and in her school.

I can have faith.

So, that’s what I am going to do.

And I’m going to miss her.

Final Summer Days

Summer is quickly winding down and with it, so are my lazy mornings and afternoons alone with my daughter.  For the first time in her life, my daughter is sleeping in. I swear she is still on Arizona time, as she is running consistently two hours behind what she has been running for the past several years both in the morning (which is kind of nice) and at bedtime (not as nice). It’s going to be a difficult transition next Monday!

She has had a long summer. Arizona schools start summer break earlier and Texas schools start school later. Therefore, she has had almost a full month of summer longer than her peers. Of course it’s been busy with moving, but we have also found plenty of time for fun and exploring.

One thing I’ve been focusing on these past few weeks is some quieter time together in the afternoon. We have been doing a lot of coloring and drawing.  Although I am not a talented artist by any means, I do enjoy drawing, doodling and coloring with her. It gives us a chance to talk or just be together quietly. It can be almost meditative.


(One of her favorite things to do is write stories. I’m sure there is a moral in this one somewhere.)August 10, 2017-ECC_7658EileenCritchley1

August 10, 2017-ECC_7668EileenCritchley1


Our other favorite quiet activity right now is playing games. Her favorites are Clue and Scrabble. She can’t get enough Scrabble. As I write this, in fact, I just promised her another game this afternoon. I look forward to playing the “grown up” version with her one day soon.

August 08, 2017-ECC_7607-EditEileenCritchley1

This days are precious to me, although I know there is a time and a season for everything. It’s definitely time to head back to school for her, but it’s going to be an adjustment for both of us.


An In Between Space

Leading up to our recent move, we were living a weird sort of limbo for months. Waiting, waiting, waiting for something to happen. And once it did, it happened fast. Packers and movers came, school ended, we left Arizona, we moved into our new house all within a matter of about 2 weeks, start to finish.

Then, my husband worked mostly part-time (in-processing) for the month of June. So we still had plenty of time for family adventures and getting settled into our new city.

dad_and_daughter_green_trees_summer_hotel_framed_by_doorway_greune_texas| daddy's girl_by Eileen Critchley

He started his job full-time in July. BUT my mom came out to visit for a week. We lost my dad earlier this year, and I really wanted to spend some time with my mom this summer. My daughter adores her. They played and drew and colored. Also, Grandma (my daughter calls her “Goma”) is hilarious.

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And now, my daughter and I find ourselves held in abeyance. One of my priorities is finding ways to keep her busy and get her around other kids as much as I can. We go to the gym and pool a lot, and she makes friends instantly, but these playdates (or whatever you would call them) are short-lived. And I feel like I’m striking out in other ways, right and left. We tried gymnastics because she enjoyed tumbling in Phoenix. She didn’t like gymnastics at all so that lasted all of two classes. We tried a Spanish tutor because she really wants to learn Spanish, but realized that wasn’t going to work out either, as having a Spanish tutor a few times a week wasn’t going to be practical in the long term and her new school teaches Mandarin rather than Spanish (don’t get me started on THAT!).

It’s challenging because my daughter really derives her energy from being around other people. While I am perfectly content to spend my afternoon reading or watching a movie, her heart and soul lies in being surrounded by others. So we have to find balance.

But, I’m a little stuck on how to do this. When she was younger we had MOMS Club and MOPS and other such sources of companionship. Now she’s at an in-between age– too old for playdates like that, too young for many camps and other activities.

So last night I decided to stop trying. One month of summer remains before she heads to her new school (a topic for a different day). The rest of summer for us is going to be movies and ice cream, the library and the pool, the children’s museum and the zoo, the park and backyard exploring.

July 06, 2017-ECC_7208big_oak_tree_by Eileen Critchley

Lots and lots of mommy-daughter time.

This year is going to be a  year of waiting and surviving, pushing through it to see what happens next.

The story of our life in limbo.