It is so quiet that I actually can hear the hum of a refrigerator in the kitchen!

After a VERY relaxing end of the year vacation, the life has started with FULL force right on 1/3. Didn’t miss a beat, nope. Then Kenny went on a long business trip. With me at home with one 5 1/2 and almost 3 yr old. With full time business we run together. Oh, did I mention the trip included an entire weekend? Also both kids go to school now, meaning the crazy mornings? And bedtime routines? and homework? and housework?

Don’t forget to throw in iPhone robbery. (yeah, some douchebag snatched it RIGHT OUT of my hands on the subway platform).

Days of non-stop, grueling schedule had got me hot and coughy with sinus infection with dash of exhaustion.

On January 15th, I’m having my very first peace and quiet moment.

Of course you want to be organized no matter what. But when your life is running on multiple faucets (business, family, personal) at full speed at all times, YOU MUST BE SUPER DUPER ORGANIZED.

I confess I’m not the most organized person in the world but I’m learning to be.

If you want to focus on the real things, stream line the daily routine in the most efficient way to help you plan and spend time wiser.

(1) designated spaces for children’s homework, outdoor stuff, messaging area! With so many things happening all the time that affects everyone’s schedule, sometimes google calendar isn’t enough.

(2) Finish everything before you go to sleep.
I’ve lied to myself so many times around 11:30pm.. “I’m sooo tired, I can’t handle.. I’ll just wake up early and finish the rest..”
And you wake up and you are in mad dash to get everything in order, dropping everyone at school and trying to be at work. It’s never ever a pleasant feeling.

So unless I’m crawling on the stairs, I prepare for the morning. So only thing I need to do is come down and press the button for coffee. (though I could learn to program the auto brew!) Kids clothes are all laid out at night, so they can dress themselves in the morning.
When things go smoothly and we all actually can enjoy the breakfast in peace, my day is so much better throughout.

That being said, I’m going through huge 2011 Organizational Update throughout the house. I’ll share some more tips as I continue..

I’ve watched this video when it was first published. Really inspiring.

Read more about her: (via ted.com)

As a young designer, Emily Pilloton was frustrated by the design world’s scarcity of meaningful work. Even environmentally conscious design was not enough. “At graduate school, people were starting to talk more about sustainability, but I felt it lacked a human factor,” she said. “Can we really call $5,000 bamboo coffee tables sustainable?” Convinced of the power of design to change the world, at age 26 Pilloton founded Project H to help develop effective design solutions for people who need it most.

Her book Design Revolution features products like the Hippo Water Roller, a rolling barrel with handle that eases water transport; AdSpecs, adjustable liquid-filled eyeglasses; and Learning Landscapes, low-cost playgrounds that mesh math skills and physical activity.

In February 2009, Pilloton and her Project H partner Matthew Miller began working in Bertie County, North Carolina, the poorest and most rural county in the state, to develop a design-build curriculum for high-school kids, called Studio H. In August 2010 they began teaching their first class of 13 students. Read about their experiences in Design Mind.

“… the work means something, and every day we feel that something positive is happening, whether or not we can put our finger on it. ”

Emily Pilloton in Design Mind

I’m currently in the process of looking for a new school for my 5 year old.

At the end of the day, it’s really hard to measure the performance of the school based on the ratings you read or the feel you get from visiting.

When we were looking for school, we’ve ruled out private institutions. I was not against the idea itself, but the price tag of almost 30K seems not right for so many reasons. We are talking Kindergarten here.

I initially didn’t want to ride the wave of whole Gifted and Talented testing. But we’ve decided to let Jinu take the test at the last minute. After all, how do you measure the “talent” with multiple choice questions? But I wanted more options for public schools.

At the end, he didn’t make the cut, which left me feeling strange at first. I knew better to take it personally but It made me question the whole selection process as children at this age develop at different speed.

After months of trying this and that, it came to a school zoned for the district we are in. Rating of the school is high with the note that the principal focuses on academic performances and how the big school was. But after visiting a school, it all seemed manageable as Jinu is sociable child.

Several months fast forward, I’m now in intense search for the right school for Jinu. (applying to greenhillschool.org!)

After reading Waiting for Superman(need to watch the movie!), watching Race to Nowhere, and witnessing what really goes on in the classroom, I’m feeling just mad.
Since the second week, 5yr old has been getting homework everyday, the teacher/parent conference was all about how he needs to be on what levels by February because the department of education have decided that it’s time to make it more challenging. I asked her about the homework, but the teacher seemed to follow along with what the main office dictates. After all, it’s hard to be brave in a big school system. (of course, I appreciate the hard work she puts in education the child. but I’m just wishing for more creative and enriching environment. and I don’t think it’s a want, but a must for ANY children.)

All this while he gets no recess time, once a week gym/art/music!
One of the most hurtful thing I’ve discovered recently was that Gifted program kids DO get recess.

So what can be done? What can you do? What can I do?

I really like this work by Ashley Garrod.

We are in our second year of running our company together.
We’ve learned many lessons;we are still learning to balance life, family, and business. Obviously there is no quick fix and there are always unexpected. So I’ve come to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches with BIG smile.

There are, however, a few things you just need to be mindful to make it easier for yourself.

I, obviously, have read all sorts of books, blogs, and articles on being “couple entrepreneurs”. There are a few things that come up again and again. One of them is “work-free time/zone”.

It is exactly what it means: create time and space for you and your partner NOT to talk about business.

Kenny and I have talked about that, but at the end, it was so easy to consume ourselves with business 24/7. Literally even in our dreams!
Last a few months have been quite a bit of rollercoaster and this past weekend, we’ve decided it was time to take everything up a notch or two. So we did what all these people have recommended.

We didn’t mention a word about our business for 4 whole hours. Those four hours, we took the kids for dinner at our usual favorite spot;stuffing ourselves with yummies and spent many dollar bills on photobooth, enjoying the beautiful night view of the brooklyn bridge.

After putting kids to bed, Kenny and I looked at each other and knew all these people were right.

It was amazing how much peace you gain from giving yourself those time without thinking about deals, projects, and such.
How simple yet how powerful.

Once you become parents, the words like education and enrichment become part of your daily vocabulary.

As I’m preparing some case study for work, I’ve learning a lot about innovative educators in the field right now, trying very hard to make a real impact.

I’ve come across this video while ago. I’ll soon share a new blog focusing on education and technology for children. Meanwhile, I’ll be sharing some of the materials I find inspiring here.

Education scientist Sugata Mitra tackles one of the greatest problems of education — the best teachers and schools don’t exist where they’re needed most. In a series of real-life experiments from New Delhi to South Africa to Italy, he gave kids self-supervised access to the web and saw results that could revolutionize how we think about teaching. (Recorded at TEDGlobal 2010, July 2010 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 17:14)

(from ted.com)

It’s a rare night I’m completely geeking out organizing all my blogging files.

After started with one domain, my life as a personal blogger has been a little nutty as I domain-hopped. What can I say, my fingers get weak at some fun names. (woo.. now, THAT will make a PERFECT domain for me!)

Now that I’m a responsible adult, I’ve decided to tame the untamed files all over the place.

I can’t say this has been the most pleasant two hours dealing with moving things about, but it’s nice to put all my thoughts throughout many years into one place for me to read about it.

Some from as I struggled to become a mother for the first time was hilarious. Oh the things I know now.

And god, I’ve been on internet too long.  I didn’t realize I’ve been blogging or twitting as long as I did.

I just remembered my first web class at Boston University, making HTML with for Mozilla browser! Is that 1996?

Anyway..  blogging end of year cleaning is almost done.

cheers to me!

Every year, we dabbled here and there.
As Jinu is more aware of his bi-cultural background, we’ve made a commitment to bringing the
traditional holidays into our home in Brooklyn.
With so many wonderful holidays, this is one of our favorites.
Beautiful sayings.. something about watching candles melting away in peace..

Happy Hanukkah..

Once upon a time, there lived a princess. She loved all things pink and liked to sing and dance. Most of all, she loved her brother. (Other than mom and dad)

When that princess was given a magical pink tutu, she decided that she would never ever take it off.

The princess lived happily ever after.

The end.