Rocks, Pebbles, Water

Just like me, my son struggles with organization.

Last Friday I urged him to clean out his backpack.

He refused.

“There’s nothing in there that shouldn’t be,” he said.

I pushed.

He pushed back.

When I promised to put all the binders and folders back in for him, he finally agreed.

Nothing in there?

Just several inches, an entire can’s worth, of crushed sour cream and onion Pringles.

“Oh yeah,” he said.

And just as I was about to ring his disorganized neck,

Susan Kruger showed up in our lives.

Well, her book did anyway.

And it’s a game changer.

It’s called SOAR (Set Goals, Organize, Ask Questions, Record Your Progress) and it’s full of simple tips and tricks that support student’s success in and out of school (and in this case, their mama’s, too!)

My favorite tool is the time management one Kruger uses for establishing priorities.

The approach is so brilliant in its simplicity.

Imagine you have a big empty glass jar.

That jar represents the 24 hours in your day.

Now fill that jar with rocks.

Those rocks represent all the things you have to get done in your day; the “must-dos.”

For Tuck, it’s his math homework, studying for his French test, and talking to his teacher about a report.  For me, it’s meal prep, laundry, bills, responding to correspondences, writing and exercise that comprise my rocks.

So now you have a jar full of rocks, but is the jar full?


There are empty spaces in between all those rocks that can be filled with pebbles.

Tuck’s pebbles are soccer practice, working on his mountain bike trails and hanging out with friends.  Mine are tennis, yoga and coffee with a friend.

But believe it or not, there is still room in the jar.  Pour in water and it fills in the spaces between the rocks and pebbles.

That’s the time left for Tucker to watch tv or play games on his Kindle or Wii.  For me, it’s a 20 minute nap, sitting down with a book or watching my favorite t.v. program.

And what Tuck and I have both realized, is that if we fill the jar with our pebbles and water first, there ‘aint no way to fit in those rocks.

Essentially I’m still doing exactly what I’ve already been doing everyday, but the real difference is that I’ve categorized and prioritized everything.

Here’s what I mean…

Old Way – Empty 1/2 the dishwasher… answer email…take Meg for a walk… answer phone…empty other 1/2 dishwasher…check Facebook…put breakfast dishes in  dishwasher…put a load of laundry in washer…answer the phone…check email…jot writing idea down on slip of paper (later lose)…and on and on I go until I look up at the clock and it’s 2:45 and I’m late picking up the kids.

New Rocks, Pebbles, Water System – In the morning I draw several circles on a piece of paper (my rocks) and begin filling them in.  1 hour household (clean up kitchen, plan dinner, laundry, bills etc).  When that hour is up, I’m done. The rest can wait until tomorrow’s hour or I can pass on a couple of things to the kids as after-school chores. 1 hour communication, i.e. sit down at my desk and go though my email, Facebook and twitter, replying to whomever I need to.  I also use this time for phone calls.  Another hour is for writing. Another for exercise.  You get the picture.

Basically I’ve finally stopped flitting through my days and focus solely on the current task at hand. So by the time the kids get home from school, I feel like I’ve accomplished so much and can be wholly present to them, ready to kick around a soccer ball, play a board game or just hang out.  Once their rocks are complete, that is!

RocksSquareWhat about you? Do you or your child struggle with organization? Do you have favorite tricks or tools to share?

That for Which I am Willing to Shout from the Rooftops…

Here are a few of the things I’ve been really digging lately:

1.) My new iPad cover. I do most of my writing old school – pencil, paper, composition notebook. When I found this cover I was beyond excited – Old meets new!

2.) This Youtube video.  An Open Letter To Moms from Kid President  I can’t get enough of this kid!  But my kids are a bit worried about the “dance in the grocery store recommendation,” because, well, I already do!

3.)  My milk frother.  Last summer I discovered a love of lattes, but it turns out I just really love frothy milk. So every morning I whip up a bit of milk and pour it right on top of my regularly brewed cup.  Andie also loves it with her mint tea.  I couldn’t find a link, but I bought it at Target for 20 bucks.

4.)  This Tedtalk blew me away.  Amanda Palmer: The art of asking. Brilliant.

5.)  My two new favorite TV shows.  Touch and Nashville.  (Thanks Mom for turning me on to Nashville!)

6.)  Enneagram.  Enneawhat?  Enneagram is a system of personality types that I am finding wildly fascinating.  Now that I’ve determined my numerical type and that of my kids, I totally “get” myself and them on a whole new level.  A good place to check out the descriptions of each type is here – Introduction to the 9 Enneagram Types

7.)  This utterly fabulous workbook on study skills. Not only is it helping my kids get organized, but me, too!  I cannot recommend this book enough!

More to follow in a future post!

8.)  Coconut Water Mango Smoothies.  Tucker loves them and I sneak more healthy stuff in there then he’d ever imagine.  Not much in the way of a recipe.  I just throw a bunch of frozen mango in a blender (sometimes pineapple, and if I’m drinking alone, a handful of spinach!) and fill just above the fruit with coconut water, which is full of electrolytes and lots of other good stuff.  I throw in a splash of o.j. and milk (makes it taste like a creamsicle), protein powder, flax oil, acidophilus and the calcium pills Tuck won’t take.

9.)  My perspective on aging.  After hearing Laura Linney’s on this Fresh Air interview I welcomed my crow’s feet.  “As I’ve been aging, and parents are dying and I’ve unfortunately lost friends who were way too young to go — you realize what a privilege it is to age.  And that’s not a message we hear a lot in the United States.”  You can check out the entire interview here – Linney Mines ‘The Big C’ For Serious Laughs

10.)  Hanging out with other Preemie Parents at the March of Dimes March for Babies, which I’ll be doing again this coming weekend, Sunday, May 19th at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, NH.  Once again, proceeds from all book sales will go to the March of Dimes!

(By the way, nobody’s paying me to do this rooftop shouting.)

So what’s got you shouting these days?

What Does it Mean to Mother?

I just left the Medieval Games at my children’s Waldorf School where I watched my strong, athletic, capable and highly competitive 6th grade daughter compete her heart out.

I stopped in at our local cafe to escape the heat, sip a lemonade and possibly write a bit.

As I sat, ready to begin writing, I opened my computer to find a notification informing me that my dear friend/editor/writing coach/book midwife, Suzanne Kingsbury had just posted a Mother’s Day essay on her wonderful blog where she posts “entries from my grandma Maggie’s (rather famous) late 1930s diary and fiery truth and wild musings from my writer’s life in Brattleboro Vermont in the 21st century.”

The cafe is busy and bustling on this warm Friday afternoon, and I am trying without much success, to contain my tears that refuse to stop.  I am stunned and honored.

I’m also amazed at the timing, for all day I’ve been thinking about all the “mothers” (including my own) who’ve shown up in my life to love, nurture and guide me along my journey.

Please read the post from Suzanne Kingsbury here –

And to read a piece that I wrote about my mom a couple of Mother’s Days ago, click here –

Mom Memories

And to every woman out there, whether you’ve had children in the traditional sense or you have “mothered” in whatever way you’ve been called, I send you love, gratitude and many blessings.

It is sure to be an incredible Mother’s Day weekend here, as I will spend tomorrow, Saturday, May 11th at The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire, side by side with many other preemie moms (and dads) participating in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies. I’ll be there signing my books  and donating all proceeds from the book sales back to the March of Dimes. If you’re in the area, I sure would love to see you there!

WIth much love,


Happy Spring!


I hope wherever you may be, you’re finding moments to get outside and enjoy the glorious return and renewal of spring.

With Blessings,

Kasey and Miss Meg


For spring break, I took the kids down to Florida to visit my parents.

Once again I was reminded of the healing power of one of my favorite meditations – simply sitting on the beach watching my kids play in the sand and water.  What a gift.