Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Me Update - learning lessons

I didn't feel so great about writing my entry yesterday. When it comes to this illness, I feel like there's just nothing good to write, and all I'm doing is complaining. But I do want to document everything, because it might be useful one day. I've actually looked back at my previous entries during pregnancy to gage how I was doing at different stages.

So while I'll still write now and then about how the earth constantly feels like it's spinning, I also want to include this entry - what this illness has taught me.

This idea occurred to me while reading a great article the other day called "Waiting upon the Lord: Thy Will Be Done." I love to mark up things that I read, and this article is scribbled upon like no other. This is the thought that jumped out at me:

"Why such terrible tribulations? To what end? For what purpose? As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences."

The question that immediately came to mind was "what is this teaching me? How is this illness helping me grow? What have I learned?" I quickly realized that while I had been enduring this trial, I had not actively been seeking what I might learn from it. (And, to be completely honest, there was a part of me that hoped if I could show I'd learned the lesson, maybe the trial would be lifted!)

Two lessons immediately came to mind.

1) Because of my illness, I now have a deeper passion to wait upon others in their illness, understanding the loneliness and isolation of prolonged sickness. People have taken time to help in many ways, and many of the ways are ones that easily come to mind - helping with the kids, bringing meals, performing tasks. But beyond that, some have served in just being company for me: phoning, emailing and dropping in for visits. Being homebound for 9 months means almost a complete removal from life, friends, events, and social things. I have learned that a simple visit and keeping in touch can be invaluable to someone with long-term illness.

2) Because there is a definite time to my illness (in other words, I cannot hurry the recovery or expect it to come before the nine months is up) I have a greater capacity for daily patience, waiting, and not rushing. For the longest time I just wanted these days to go as fast as possible so that I could get to 16 weeks and start feeling better. Now, I must endure it the entire 9 months. Which means a realignment of my mindset. I cannot do many things. There are things I must do very slowly. There are other things I must do that take every ounce of strength in me to get through while feeling so terrible. But this patience isn't about now. It's a lesson learned for when I am better. It's for when I want to rush through these crazy days as a young mom. It's for when my kids slow me down and I start to feel frustrated. It's to help me in my quest to slow down and simplify.

So that's the positive "me update." I imagine this will be as much (or more) use to me in the future as I reflect back on this time of trial and tribulation.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Me update

Ugh, I feel like these are such downers. I keep waiting until I can do the post that says "I'm finally feeling better" but I don't think that's coming until the baby does.

I had my final appointment with my family doctor, before I move to my obstetrician. She's been so helpful and sympathetic, and yet always very realistic (which I need.) She confirmed that by this point (now almost 24 weeks) if I'm not feeling better, I'm not going to feel better. Expect this until the end. Ugh.

My veins have all collapsed which means I'm not getting a continuous dose of the Zofran. Last time I waited a week and then was able to get another IV site in for a week. This week I'm off again, with the hope that next week I can get it. I have gravol as a backup, but I have to be really careful when I take it. Apparently "may cause drowsiness" for me actually means "will knock you out so hard you can't keep your eyes open, stand up, or even respond to someone asking you a question, even though you can hear the person asking." Yeah, it's that strong.

The worst part right now is being stuck at home. Once or twice a week James encourages me to get out of the house. I usually oblige, agreeing with him that my mental health is as important to look after as my physical health. You see, it's must be a trade off for me. If I expend the energy going out to a friend's house, or to church, or to a family gathering, it renders me so sick for the next two days I can't even sit up in bed.

My doctor also made an offhand comment that got me really thinking. In trying to comfort me, she said "well, at least you only have 18 weeks to go." Then I replied with "well, hopefully only 16, because I usually deliver around 38 weeks instead of 40." Her response: "I think I'd just be happy to get you to 37 weeks."

She didn't elaborate, but my mind started going. Did she mean perhaps an early C-section? I've never had one before, but my labour and deliveries are pretty long, hard, painful and downright awful. Pain medications do very little. Epidurals don't work at all. The act of pushing alone usually takes 2-3 hours. I really do not want a c-section, knowing that I have birthed three babies on my own already. But then I realized how weak I am right now. I cannot walk more than 50 feet before I collapse in exhaustion. I cannot stand in one place at all. I cannot go out for more than two hours, and even when I do that, I'm usually really sick for the next two days. Knowing full well the strength I will need to delivery a baby, I seriously question if I have it.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Early learning

So there are a million products out there to make your baby smart. I'm not sure where the drive for smart babies is coming from. Maybe parents are worried that if their children aren't ahead of the curve from day one, they'll never catch up. (In Japan, parents are signing up in droves for "kindergarten prep" - a school to help your toddler be academically ready for kindergarten!) Maybe it stems from every parent's desire to have the best baby on the block. (Of course, "best" is subjective.)

At any rate the whole craze got me thinking about my own educational philosophies for my kids. I mean, I do believe in parenting with a purpose - the task is then for me to define my own purpose. I was able to break it down into 3 areas, and surprisingly (or not so much, for me) none of them have anything specific to do with "academics":

I want my kids to have wild imaginations. I want them to love story telling and thinking outside of reality.

I want my kids to be inquisitive and ask a million questions. I want them to ask "why" about everything. I want them to be aware of the world around them and in which they live and want to know everything about it.

Critical Thinking
I want my kids to apply what they learn and know to life. I want them to question facts. I want them to see things from different angles.

Really, each of these three areas work in harmony together. Imagination breeds curiosity, and curiosity with imagination encourages critical thinking. And I truly believe that these three skills are what will lead my kids to success in this life. There will be 30 other kids in their grade school classes, and likely 300 other kids in their university classes, who can memorize facts their teachers spew out in lessons and lectures. But if my child can take that information and do something unexpected and different with it, that's what will set them apart.

And so, during these early years, I am trying to fill our house with opportunities and toys and experiences that will encourage these skills to develop. I didn't worry about whether or not my 3 year old knew how to write letters when he entered kindergarten, or if he knew all his colours by age two, or how high he could count as a toddler, or if he learns to read before grade one. Because I can pretty much guarantee you that all these "skills" will be in place sooner or later. My teenager will be able to recognize the colour red, count to 20, write his name, and be able to read. But there are lots of children out there who don't know how to make up a story, or ask thought-provoking questions, or apply a math skill in every day life, and lots of these kids grow up never really knowing how to apply all the things they spent their school years learning.

If any of this makes sense to you, and you were worried about whether or not your child will be academically prepared for kindergarten, hopefully you've been able to take a breath. Childhood is about being a child. Our kids will spend enough of their lives having to work. And the great thing is, imagination, curiosity and critical thinking actually all come very naturally to young children. In order to help them develop in these areas, the best thing we can do is just let our kids be kids!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Family Day

We celebrated Family Day yesterday. It's so nice to have a holiday in the middle of February, smack dab in the middle of winter, as a little pick me up on the way to spring.

After my ultrasound at the hospital on Saturday, I ran into my clinic nurse, who very graciously offered to try once again to get an IV line in - with success! So this week I'm back on the Zofran, which enabled to me take part in the celebrations yesterday.

We started with a pancake breakfast at church. Colin at one pancake and then was not seen again while he played with his friends around the building. I think they had a good game of floor hockey going, and then the mini hockey sticks turned into guns (of course) or phasers and they ran around engrossed in some sort of imagination game, likely about Star Wars. Caleb played the whole time with Colin, but would appear every half hour or so and eat yet another plate of pancakes. There were times I would turn around and see him sitting alone at a table gobbling up another plate. Benjamin loved the free rein he was given to just run around. Everyone at church thinks he is adorable, and they all watched out for him, since James was elbow deep in cooking and cleaning and dishes the whole time, and I had to camp out in one place.

It was almost 3 hours before we left. 3 other good friends had straggled with their kids, while our husbands did all the clean up. Our husbands are all good friends as well, and I may have heard more laughing and chatting in the kitchen than if we women had been in there!

Later in the afternoon we headed over to James' parents house for dinner. The older two boys love to play with their uncles, and Benjamin just glows in the attention of his grandma and grandpa. There was a treasure hunt for Colin and Caleb, and new cars to play with for Benjamin. The boys' cousins are one year old, and were just happy to be taking in all the busyness.

Two outings in one day was definitely too much, and I'm paying for it today (confined to the couch - but luckily with a full dose of Zofran in me first!) but James assured me that sometimes physical health needs to be sacrificed for mental health. It sure was lovely to see so many friends I haven't seen since Hallowe'en, and may not see much more of until June.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Well, we knew it wouldn't last forever.

Benjamin is still in his crib, mostly because we haven't needed to transition him to a toddler bed because of an arriving baby yet. The other boys were both out of the crib before 18 months. But Benjamin seemed happy as a clam, and showed no signs of trying to make the great escape (although I have kept a couple of fluffy pillow on the floor beside the crib, just in case he tried something and landed with a thud on the hardwood floor.)

Yesterday, I was trapped in bed utterly nauseous and sick. I heard a commotion downstairs, followed by James marching Benjamin upstairs to his crib in punishment for hurting the other boys. I listened to James' footsteps back down the stairs, and realized they had a soft echo. That echo turned out to be Benjamin's pitter patter of feet across his bedroom floor and into my room. Next thing I knew a teary face appeared at my bedside as he whimpered "cuddle Mommy" and climbed into bed with me. At first I wondered why James would have put Benjamin in his room without putting him in the crib, until I realized he must have escaped.

Funny thing is, there was no experimenting at all. There was no waiting to see if James was coming back. There was no rattle of the crib rails. There was no thudding against the wall. There was no awkward drop onto the floor. He has never even attempted a climb out before; it was like the whole thing came completely second nature to him!

Later after nap he climbed out again, and then proudly showed my mother-in-law how he'd done it when he was asked.

Then of course came bedtime, with that long, drawn-out game of "I'm not going to stay in my bed." I wanted to be more severe, but it was just too funny. I'd hear his steps across the floor and the bedroom door open. He'd look in at me and smile and say "all done." Then I'd put him back into his crib and tell him to go to sleep. Sometimes he was out again before I'd reached the door. One time I was already downstairs, and we heard him yell from the top of the stairs "Whatcha doin' down there? Whatcha doin' down there?"

Eventually I just sat in the glider in his room, and every time his feet touched the floor I lifted him back into bed. Each time I let him get all the way out, hoping that he would tire from the effort. Soon we came to a standoff, where he started yelling at me to get out. I told him I would leave the room if he went to sleep. So he did.

Thankfully Caleb slept like a log through the whole thing. That kid falls asleep the moment his head hits the pillow - literally. For a brief time James and I thought we might have to disassemble the crib and put up the toddler bed last night, but we didn't want to wake Caleb. I don't think we had anything to worry about. But it will definitely be done today.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Organized Simplicity

"Align your habits and your lifestyle with your purpose in life so that you're running at a comfortable pace and gliding along with time, rather than wishing it would slow down."

On the other side of this quote, you could equally align your habits and your lifestyle so that you are not wishing life would be faster and more exciting. Either way, I love the idea that we can control the pace of life we lead. Activities and time-fillers that we might think are indispensable just might not be, when we examine our daily lives under the microscope.

As someone who is married, this is a conversation I would have to have with my husband. If I found the pace of our life not to my liking, then we would examine our schedules together. But I am convicted here, just a little. How quick would I be to point the finger at one of my husband's activities and suggest he cut that out, so that we had more time? If I asked him to cut something, would I be just as willing to cut something of mine? More to the point, would it even occur to me? That's what really got me thinking here. I am afraid I might be too quick to point out the "mote" in someone else's eye that I couldn't see the "beam" in my own. I think it's a common human trait to believe that I've got things managed just the way they should be, and everyone else should be aligning themselves with me.

Food for thought. (And actually not related to anything specific going on in my life. But sometimes preemptive ideas help avoid problems from cropping up rather than having to go into damage control after the fact!)

Thursday, 16 February 2012


Benjamin and I were looking at a picture book the other day. When we came to a page of wild animals, I pointed to the panda, which is his favourite picture.

Ben: Panda! What's this? (pointing to an elephant)
Mom: That's an elephant.
Ben: No, panda.
Mom: No, elephant.
Ben: No, it's a PANDA!
Mom: No, it's an elephant.
Mom: Elephant.
Mom: Okay, it's a panda.
Ben: No it's not. It's an elephant. That's the panda. (pointing to the panda)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Deliberate decisions

I've had some great thoughts stirring around in my head these past weeks, all about the deliberate decisions we make in our lives.

Truly, our life is what we make of it. Yes, there will be times when there are extenuating circumstances (like a pregnancy that takes you out of the game for nine months!), but for the most part our lives are a direct result of the decisions we make on how to live it. Bottom line: if there is something in your life that you don't like, then do something about it. You put it there of your own volition.

This relates to time: we all have the same 24 hours in a day. If we feel too busy, it's because we've put too many things in our lives.

This relates to our homes: if we feel smothered under a clutter, it's because we filled our home with too much stuff.

This relates to ourselves: if we feel overstretched and stressed, it's because we haven't created the proper balance in our lives.

At first this sounds harsh. But then it is surprisingly freeing! It clarifies the fact that we have much more control over our lives than we often think we have. The key to remember, however, is that our decisions have consequences. For example, if I may not like taxiing my kids around every day after school to various activities. But if I make a deliberate decision that these activities are something I really want my kids to be part of, that they are important, skill building, life experiences, then I agree to the consequence of lots of driving and scheduling. Not all our deliberate decisions will bring only rosy consequences, but if I keep my mind focused on why I made that choice in the first place, then perhaps I can be more at peace with all that car-pooling.

Once all this has settled in my mind, then I can start looking at all the areas in my life and making those deliberate decisions. What are my priorities? Where do I want to focus? What have I added to my life that isn't really fulfilling my goals? What stresses are results of things I want, and what stresses can be released?

If I had a word that I want to focus on this year, it would be


That doesn't necessarily mean lazy, idle, or empty schedules. But it does mean that I will choose to eliminate the excess from my life that is not part of the serenity I crave. The idea that we all start with the same 24 hours is a concept that will not soon leave my mind. I love the simple truth contained in it. I can choose how to use those hours.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Valentines Day

Since we really celebrated all week last week, Valentines wasn't a big deal here. We signed store-bought valentines with the boys for their classmates, with promises of something with a treat in it next year.

(The boys are so understanding with the way things are right now, and I'm so appreciative of it. I know this upheaval of things could have resulted in a lot of reactive negative behaviour. Instead, Colin has really taken the lead on pointing out when something has to be that way because Mommy is so sick, and Caleb follows Colin's lead.)

James brought home a rose for the kitchen table, because he couldn't bring himself to get me nothing, even at my insistence. (he's a real romantic that way) Even more romantic was his gesture in going to great lengths to buy me a sweet treat that didn't have chocolate in it. Do you know how hard that is at Valentines? Unfortunately, my babies never agree with chocolate of any sort, so I must give it up completely during pregnancy (SO HARD!)

But the best Valentines gift of all was seeing the love of my life playing around on the living room floor with the three little loves of my life, all in fits of laughter and giggles. Now that is what love is all about.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Feeding the herds breakfast

I'm a huge cold cereal lover. Always have been. My mom used to have to limit me to three small bowls at breakfast. Even then, I would usually be back for a snack of cereal later on. In university, cereal, soup and green apples were my staples. So it's not much of a surprise that I rely on this super easy breakfast food for my kids now.

Of course I know that there is a lot more hype these days about how it isn't really the best of the healthy options for breakfast. Plus it doesn't really stick to you for long, so you're usually hungry within an hour or two. Plus there's the fact that the prices of cereal boxes keep creeping up, as the box sizes get smaller.

But I always just figured it was easier and cheaper than trying to make "big breakfasts" every day, trying to organize stratas or muffins or fruit salads or fresh baked produce. That just wasn't going to happen. Then I started reading the Heavenly Homemakers blog. This woman has four sons, ranging in age from 7-13. Over the past 5 years or so, she has completely transformed the way she cooks and serves food, favouring a whole food diet. She isn't about low fat or low carb or raw food - she's simply about serving real, whole foods to her family that aren't processed. And because she and her husband are small time entrepreneurs, with their major career goal being that they are at home as much as they can be, they need to do it all on a budget.

So reading her blog is a bit like looking into a mirror of the future. And the other day she wrote something that really got me thinking: she said that the main reason she doesn't feed her boys cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch is that it's too darn expensive! When she considers how much her boys eat, it would be at least one box of cereal a day, plus something more since it's not heavy enough to stick for a whole meal, and for sandwiches it could be two loaves of bread, half a block of cheese, all that deli meat - yeah, it really adds up! Making muffins or serving chili for lunch is actually both cheaper and healthier.

Cut to the lovely breakfasts we enjoyed on our vacation last week at the Harbour House. And I started thinking - that might actually make breakfast easier, healthier, heartier and cheaper for me, especially as the boys grow. How simple would it be to lay out a big bowl of fruit salad (cut up once on Monday, and then put out every morning), pull out frozen muffins or scones or banana bread (baked in large batches and frozen), add a couple of yogurts, and have some homemade granola available? I could even throw together a casserole (French toast or casserole) the night before that bakes up in 20 minutes that morning, and is good for at least two days. Put it all out on the table as a free for all and let the boys go.

(File away into my idea box for once the baby comes and I'm back in the swing of things.)

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Next challenge

My veins seem to be all shot from so many IV pokes. The last time the clinic nurse tried four times and couldn't get anything, so she sent me to the ER. The experienced ER nurse poked another 8 times before she finally resorted to a very painful spot in my wrist. (But I wasn't leaving without an IV, given that our vacation depending on me being able to administer my own meds!)

That IV spot shot itself this morning, which meant I had to pull it out. And so I now face trying to make it through the days without the Zofran. I'm not sure where this might go. I had days that were manageable, and days that were not so good, even on the medication. Now I have to face it all without anything more than Gravol.

19 more weeks to the due date, which hopefully means only about 17 until the baby actually comes (my babies are usually early.) At least the weather should pick up soon enough, which will help the days go faster. Benjamin is discovering the outdoors and loving it. For now I just sit at the kitchen window and watch him romp in the snow, but when spring comes I'll break out my lounge chair and backyard swing and soak up the fresh air and sun.

Saturday, 11 February 2012


This past week James and I got away for four nights of vacation. It was lovely.

We jaunted down to Niagara-on-the-Lake, a beautiful little town that is packed with tourists from April to November, and absolutely empty in the winter. The locals kept asking us if we were bored with nothing to do, and we kept replying that with three young boys at home, "nothing" is exactly what we were looking for.

We stayed at the Harbour House, a luxurious yet cozy inn rated among the top places to stay in the province. During the summer, rooms go for almost $400. We scored it for $100 a night.

Because the inn was all but empty, they upgraded us to their best room. Very spacious, which we appreciated since we knew most of our time was going to be spent in the room, just relaxing. A toasty fireplace and jacuzzi tub, with a little Juliet balcony overlooking the harbour and lake.

Every morning they served a European breakfast - cereals, homemade granola, French toast casseroles, ham and cheese stratas, fresh baked bread, home made jams, petit pains au chocolat, scones, rolls, meats, fresh fruit was such a spread that we were filled enough to skip lunch and go right to dinner. We always sat at that little table right by the french doors, with the sun streaming in and the blue sky blanketing overhead.

We pampered ourselves with two spa treatments on two different days - massages and pedicures. I've never had a pedicure before. I will now be getting more of them. We don't usually indulge in luxuries like these at home, and it felt so "upper class."

Every evening we escaped the inn to the various fine dining restaurants around town. With only four days, we only visited four restaurants of the many, many that are around. But each was lovely and unique in its own way. And because we are early diners (at home, we usually eat around 5pm) the first two night we had the restaurants completely to ourselves!

The Charles Inn:

Zees Grill:

It was a little funny to be hauling in my IV pole, pump and two boxes of medication and supplies, but the hotel staff didn't blink an eye. I wasn't feeling at my best all week, but luckily there wasn't much on the docket. One day we walked the main street and popped into the stores, two different days we visited the spa, and one day we took a drive down Niagara Parkway, a gorgeous stretch of road along the Niagara river with houses that will take your breath away.

We caught up on sleep, watched movies, played games, conversed, and read to our heart's content. We both agree that it was the perfect little getaway for us, and we even preferred this time that there wasn't the stress of airports and taxis and buses getting us to our location. A short, pretty two hour drive and we had arrived in our own little Canadian paradise.

Friday, 10 February 2012

New callings

Do you believe that your life can shift in major ways at any point in your life?

As I'm heading into my thirties, this is starting to be a concept that is fading further and further away. I am still tied to a generation (my parents) that was often educated and then worked in one job/field their whole lives. Marriage and children often came early, and then a settling into a very happy contented life that remained much the same year in and year out. My mom did go back to university in her thirties to become a teacher, but it was something that was always on her radar, a very natural step after a decade of raising her kids and volunteering in classrooms. To me as a ten-year-old girl, I still felt very little disruption in my life.

And so, now, as we find ourselves settling into a life pattern, I'm finding it more difficult to think that God could have major plans for me that don't in any way resemble what I'm doing now. Sure, there is a good chance that James grows our business, and perhaps does more writing as the business requires less of his hands on attention, but I find it hard to glance in our future and imagine something too different from what we are doing now.

And I think it could be a dangerous mind-set. Because I could be ignoring some important preparation now, or, worse, I could ignore and miss a fantastic opportunity for change and excitement in the future. Because it is possible that the road I could be led down is something that I would never fathom. Something I would never imagine myself doing. It is one thing to plan and dream your own ideas (and I sure do have many of those!) but even my own widest dreams could be minuscule compared to what God might have planned.

Maybe not. Maybe I will inspire in a quiet way from this beautiful little home and life I have right now. But I never want to miss a possibility because I'm too caught up in comfort.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

If this is a girl...

Bought this too cute winter outfit while on vacation this week. (The reds actually match.) It was too adorable to pass up, even though I don't know if this little baby is a girl. If not, I will have one beautifully dressed little niece!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Simple Living

The more I ruminate on what I have read in the book Organized Simplicity over the past couple of days, the more excited I am about my purging project. I am a little bummed that I'm this excited right now, when I'm not in tip top shape healthwise, and when it's the middle of winter and the completely wrong time for a garage sale. All this comes down to the fact that I will likely have to wait until April or May to really tackle this project.

But I'm not sure I will end up waiting that long. I know how important it can be to act on desire like this, because in a couple of months who knows if I'll have the same drive. So if I can convince my wonder, amazing husband to clear me some room in the garage where I can gather yard sale items, I might get moving sooner rather than later.

The most important concept I've gathered from my reading is about purpose. I need to define (in writing, for me, since that' most effective) what vision I have for my home, and then more specifically, for each room. For example:

Main floor: an area where the kids can run around in freely and safely, a friendly atmosphere that let's guests know they can kick up their feet and relax here
Living room: a gathering place for our adult friends, a place to sit and read, our entertainment hub
Kitchen: a place to cook healthy foods from scratch as much as I can
Entryway: effective storage for daily outdoor clothing/shoes, but hidden away as much as possible

With this vision, I can now enter each room and evaluate it against these pictures. An item should be either useful or beautiful, or it doesn't need to be there. If the item is not helping to fulfill my vision of the room, get it out!

I am making a goal to track my room by room progress here on my blog, as a measure of accountability. It will likely be a drawn out process, not something I tackle in a myriad of days in a row. But hopefully, if I get my act together, I can post my ideas and photos of each room, record the items I've held onto for forever but am now tossing, and sharing the joy/agony of the process. Maybe you'll be inspired to embark on your own "organized simplicity" journey, too. If so, be sure to share!

Saturday, 4 February 2012


One of my many favourite things about my marriage is that James and I can sit and talk with each other for hours. The other night we both found ourselves in the living room around 8pm, with the kids tucked into bed and the nightly clean up finished. Usually at this point we would decide to play a game or watch a movie or work on a project together. We actually spend a lot of time together in the evenings, usually only heading out solo once or twice a week.

Anyway, there we were lounging on the couches and we got into a conversation. We explored the topic in depth, which then evolved into another and another and another, and before long it was past 11pm, which, these days, is well past time to be in bed for us.

I don't know about you, but for me, conversation gets my mind juices flowing and my energy bursting. But for James, it slowly winds him down. So at 11pm, James fell into bed and was asleep in minutes, whereas I found myself sitting in bed wide awake, knowing I had to be up in six hours and in no way about to fall asleep! This happens often for us - we get a really good debate going, parrying and lunging and hitting blows back and forth, and then James falls asleep and I'm pumped up.

But that's the way it goes. It's still one of my favourite parts of ours days.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Organized Simplicity

I've gathered a few of my favourite excerpts from the book Organized Simplicity. I'd love to share a few, and add some of my own thoughts swirling around in my head.

"You are making a choice to own and keep every item you have in your home. The important thing to ask yourself is: Is the choice to have the thing in your home worth missing the opportunity to not have it? Do you value owning the item more than you value the liquidity and open space you have without the item It you value the item more, buy it or continue to keep it in your home. If you value the money and the space more, don't buy the item, or sell it if you already own it."

"You're not a victim. You allow each item in your home to be there. Do you love it all? Do you find it useful or beautiful? The surprising effect of getting rid of the things that you don't love is that you grow deeper in love with the things you choose to keep. Your kids love every toy they own. You'd gladly wear every pair of jeans in your closet. You like all the music in your CD collection. Simplifying is not parting with love. It's gaining it."

Stuff, stuff, stuff. This is a HUGE obstacle to being able to organize my home. I'm not a hoarder per se, but I do hold onto things that quite possibly have a future use. I hold onto things related to sentimental memories (different than something that actually has a sentimental memory in itself.) I hold onto items that are worth a lot, even if I don't use them much.

No more. "I am not a victim." I love that phrase in the book. If I don't like the clutter around the house, then I can get rid of it. Nothing is saying I have to hold onto it all. As I was reading the book, things kept flashing into my mind, things that I never would have previously gotten rid of, but suddenly seemed superfluous and annoyingly in the way.

I have a nice set of dishes we got for our wedding (not super expensive) but they can't go in the dishwasher so I never use them. These are not practical and so they will go.

I have a lovely decorative shelf with glass shelves, but it's hidden in our basement because it is impractical to have around with little boys and a house full of people. While I love the shelf and it's very beautiful, my priority in the house is to have a home where the boys can play freely and safely and this piece just doesn't fit. It must go.

CDs and DVDs. Too many we never listen to or watch. I will be much more ruthless in cutting down our collection.

Knick knacks. I've never been a big knick knack person, but they have started to pile up over the years. When I read about the difference between an item that reminds you of a great memory (like a souvenir of a trip) and an item that is a memory (like a childhood teddy bear) I was suddenly able to look around the house and tick off a bunch of things sitting on shelves and mantles that just don't need to take up the space anymore.

Toys. Toys, toys, toys. The bane of my existence. We have too many. We have too many the boys have never played with. Toys are hard, because 90% of them were gifts, and I feel really bad about selling/donating gifts. But we're bursting. What I want out of the toy room is a place to be creative, make music, do puzzles, and play together. Right now it's just a place to gather the toys, with no room to actually play in (which means the toys migrate around the rest of the main floor, which I can't stand!) At least half of the toys need to go.

Clothes. I'm pretty good with keeping the clothes under control. One bin per size. One extra bin per adult for the off-season. One bin of extra shoes. But I know there are several pieces of clothing I could still cull from our closet.

And so I will finally bend to the boys' pleas and have a yard sale in the Spring. There are still many things we have to hold onto until our expected baby grows a little older, but that's just time and season. I want more organized simplicity in my home and this spring I'm finally going to get it!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tidbits on me

It's naptime, but I'm on the couch, so I likely won't nap. Which means I'm just sitting here, basking in the silence. It's really nice. I can't decide which is a better way to spend my lovely 2 hours of naptime - sleeping or being alone. It's a toss-up. I gave the bed to my wonderful amazing husband (home for the day due to Caleb's sleep dentistry appointment) who really could use the extra 2 hours of sleep. Plus the phone guy is coming sometime this afternoon, so I offered to stay up in case he comes during the precious hours that are naptime.

Anyway, I'm enjoying the quiet.

I made dinner last night, first time in a really long time. It was an easy casserole, chicken, mixed veggies, can of soup and topped with stuffing. It was yummy, but Benjamin didn't like it at all. We rarely eat salt on anything, and those canned soups taste really salty when you're not used to it.

I'm now administering my own IV meds from home. Someone at some head office decided that I was capable enough to do my own, and didn't need to be taking up the hospital clinic time every day. Turns out it's perfect timing, because I was wondering how it would work having to take Benjamin with me every day. So I have a little hospital corner set up in my living room with the machine and supplies. Honestly, after watching the nurses do it for three months, I can pretty much do it in my sleep.

I'm reading a book called "Organized Simplicity" and I'm loving the ideas in it. (Thanks to Jen who let me know when Amazon was offering it for free!) I'll post some excerpts in the next couple of days. But the main idea I'm coming to understand is that everyone is allotted 24 hours in a day. People who seem to accomplish more, people who say they are too busy, people who balance well - we all have the same "time" opportunity. It's all about the choices we make on how to use the time.

In reading this book, I've also realized that I actually am doing really well in managing my time in a way that lines up with my idea of how I want life to feel. I like a 50/50 balance between scheduled activities and lazy days or last-minute plans. While I want to simplify in my house a little more, my schedule is actually doing pretty good.

I've been feeling the baby move for the past week and a half. I first felt in on Sunday, January 22 (18 weeks along). I think that's the earliest I've ever pinpointed my baby moving. Lots of twirls and rolls inside.

A great reminder in today's women's bible study that we can expect joy in our lives from God. And even if the actual circumstances of our life are not joyous (like feeling sick and in pain 24/7 for 9 months), we can still feel joy. I've got to let that settle in me a little more.

Groundhog predicted an early spring. Well, winter never really came. Unfortunately, groundhogs are only right about 37% of the time. Even if winter comes, there won't be much more than two months of it, which I think I can handle.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


You know how "they" say that babies love skin-to-skin contact? I remember those first few weeks when you cuddle up to a swaddled newborn and let their warm skin melt right into your chest. It never lasted much past those early weeks, though.

Until now. Benjamin has suddenly rediscovered a love of skin-to-skin time. Out of nowhere, when he is really tired, or being rocked before bedtime/naptime, or when he just wakes up, he will squirm down in my arms, pull down the neck of my shirt and cuddle his face into my chest. Even if my shirt is not so pull-down friendly, he'll work really hard and squishing it down so he can find a warm spot of skin to lie against. So sweet.