Friday, 30 May 2014

My Broken Window List

Gretchen Rubin of "The Happiness Project" asks: What are your broken windows?

Broken windows are "the particular signs of disorder that make [you] feel out of control and overwhelmed." Here's my list:

  • Staying in my pyjamas all day, even dressing in rough clothes makes me much more productive.
  • Putting off a needed shower, even for much needed extra minutes of sleep, leaves me in the land of unproductivity.
  • An unemptied (clean) dishwasher, leading to piled up dirty dishes on the counter.
  • Not having clothes left out for the morning (for myself or James) can really hold me back. My brain does not function terribly well first thing, but thinking out my clothing options the night before comes much easier,
  • Not having handbag/baby bag/car/picnic packed/prepared the night before an early start keeps us late and makes me/us harried in the getting out-the-door rush. It also means things are forgotten at home.
  • Not having a menu plan for the week leads to seven straight days of tea-time torture.
  • Procrastinating about little jobs makes them much bigger as I carry them around in my head until they are finally done. E.g. making a hospital appointment as soon as the letter arrives gets the job done and dusted and saves my precious brain cells for other matters.
  • Not writing out the tasks a large project involves ensures I underestimate the work and the time-frame needed to complete it.
  • Not considering the activities of the days ahead as I think over a time-sensitive project also clouds my vision of how much time I actually have to do the work and leads to last-minute-madness.
  • Leaving things until the last-minute leads to stress for me (and usually bad behaviour from me too, sorry for all the grumpies Hubs) and for the rest of the family, as well as taking me away from other activities and from family times so I can get things done in time. 
  • Not making my bed can also stall my productivity (if it's tidying in our bedroom) and it also niggles at me, as an undone job every time I pass it throughout the day. Even the fact that I often nap doesn't prevent the necessity of this job (twice) everyday.
I think I can sum up most of my broken windows as procrastination and failing to plan and writing this list brings clarity to things I knew but wasn't always willing to accept about myself.

What are your broken windows?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

New Year's Resolutions (32)

As I (literally) enter a new year of life...

1. Act the way I want to feel.
2. A place for everything and everything in its place.
3. Ask questions.
4. Be beautiful.
5. Be prepared.
6. Breathe.
7. Celebrate. Plan celebrations.
8. Consistency.
9. Cut portion sizes, cut junk. Eat real, eat enough.
10. Do it now. Do the next thing. Do something.
11. Everything in moderation.
12. Finish.
13. Good enough is good enough. Done is better than perfect.
14. Go to bed. Get up. Make it.
15. Learn and grow.
16. Let it go.
17. Look after me.
18. Make plans.
19. Move. Move more. Move faster. Keep dancing.
20. Plan to be efficient.
21. Pray as an unceasing ACT of JOY and planning.
22. Put God first.
23. Regard others as better than myself.
24. Read everyday for body, mind and soul (educate myself, challenge myself, learn of God).
25. Share.
26. Sing, listen to music, play and worship.
27. Speak clearly, kindly, politely and quietly.
28. Stay in touch.
29. Stop being so afraid of failure. Stop being afraid.
30. Stop obsessing, stop obsessing, stop obsessing.
31. Unplug and stay connected. Be present.
32. Write lists, while standing... and go.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Project Barn - Day Three-ish

"Project Barn" was abandoned with my big sis' arrival from Oz but in getting back to the grind my aim is that today and only one more will see me finished up with the must-be-done elements of the challenge.

Hubby and my Dad moved the (hastily emptied) craft cupboard from our house into the barn and Hubs also gave the desk-base a good clean. I'll be giving it a second going over today before positioning it, as well as figuring out where the trellis "walls" will go and completing a couple of loads of laundry.

Mostly though I'll be shifting boxes from barn to house today (weather permitting) and hopefully I'll have all our "stuff" moved back into the house by the end of the day and all the craft stuff moved out.

I'll need to brush up the floor around my laundry area and then once the craft cupboard/desk combo and trellis are in place I've only to attach the "curtains" to the back of the glass doors and refill the cupboard with my craft supplies.

So comfy clothes on and off I go.

P.S. Did I mention I've already fallen completely behind on my habits - drat - and another leaf is turned over...

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Five Favourites - Randomness

Top of my head "Five Favourites:"

1. Remembering my childhood view from atop the "secret garden" wall, looking at the ploughed fields and dreaming...

2. The feel of my baby boy's cute little bum, nestled in my hand as a brand-new person in those first few minutes of life, almost two-and-a-half years ago.

3. Laughing out loud...the first time I watched Dave Gorman's "Googlewhack," a good stand-up comedy routine, listening to my baby's chuckles as his Daddy teases or tickles him, a funny movie like "Accepted" and hearty giggles with my sisters and Mama over afternoon tea at a posh hotel...

4. The gentle breathing of my semi-conscious hubby and babe abed beside me.

5. Insightful articles with interesting perspectives, "a-ha" moments, thought-provoking, questioning views, writers that make you think and authors that make you question the whys and wherefores and positively inform your "practice."

Head over to Hallie @ Moxie Wife for more "Five Favourites."


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Birthday Weekend: Sister Edition

Sunday, is my little sister's 30th so celebrations kick off tonight, with a surprise party which I'll be helping to set up, continue on Sunday, with a family dinner, concluding on Monday, with a girls only afternoon tea. The whole thing is made that much more special as my BIL kicked it off on Thursday with an overnight for little sis in a posh city hotel - only not an overnight with him! He arranged with our older sister (who lives in Australia) for her to be here and she and little sis shared a sleepover Thursday night before our Aussie sis surprised the rest of us on Friday.

We had a double celebration since we got to meet our new niece yesterday evening - she's so little and so cute! And James said "pretty" when asked what he thought of her - awww bless. Her big sis is very impressed with her too. She's in an incubator as her breathing and temperature regulation are a bit off but otherwise she and her mama are doing well. Can't wait for my first cuddle!

"Project Barn" continued yesterday though it'll be taking a break whilst we party and then whilst we spend time with Aussie sis before she jets back home next weekend. So thankful I've gotten a good start on it so I can set it to one side guilt-free.

So plans for today, Sunday and Monday are easily written - enjoy the celebrations and tidy as I go. See you on the flip side, or you know Tuesday...

Friday, 9 May 2014

7QT - The Project Barn Edition

1. "Project Barn" is not taking as long as I first feared thought, it seems when you try to keep "everything" in a big storage space instead of: a) binning it; b) recycling it; c) donating it or; d) finding it an appropriate home, it is actually relatively simply to clear most of the "everything" using those four categories. Multiple trips to the grey bin (rubbish), blue bin (recycling) as well as the four boxes ready to load into the car (donations) can attest to the former statement. The piles gathered in my had-just-been-cleared-dining-room demonstrate that the finding-appropriate-homes category is by far the most difficult!

2. Many of the items in the dining room are frames and artworks, yes MORE frames and artwork! Bless my husband, I think he visibly paled when he saw the new piles of pictures to replace last week's piles of pictures that we had JUST finished hanging. A couple of treasures unearthed include a brass rubbing of Madonna and child (that I did age nine and won a prize for), which fitted perfectly in an old (if sightly battered) A3 frame and has found an albeit temporary home atop our second fridge in 'the barn,' and a late eighteen-eighties (yes 1880s) somewhat damaged A3-sized print that I cut up(!), to fit the bit I liked of it, into a 6x4 inch frame. We still have MANY boxes and books to find homes for but all, except those frames in need of painting, are now in our house and out of 'the barn.'

3. Ripping up empty cardboard boxes is good therapy and clears a lot of floor space.

4. Dust plus dust mask equals a happy and productive mama. Sweeping out a very dusty space without a dust mask and with allergy issues equals a crabby, sniffy, sinus-y, much less productive mama. Just saying!

5. James is going through a bit of a cranky-testing-boundaries-irrational-behaviour period (aren't we all most days), so working on this very physical project has helped me get out a lot of the arrrggghhh. Just a half-hour last night of shifting boxes and tidying up was very therapeutic after about five hours of constant griping. Thank you hubs for allowing me to hand-off dinner time. The grousing included that classic toddler thing of asking for something (his trousers) and then screaming ("no") when given it (them); ah the delights.

6. On the note of tantrums, Mama had a very calm one, yesterday and cancelled plans for free play, at the gymnastics club, this morning. Gymnastics is the epitome of fun to James and our fortnightly outing is cancelled until behaviour improves - harsh but necessary I think. Instead a morning emptying the "top house," to unearth a desk base for my craft cupboard, lies ahead of us as "Project Barn" continues. Once the craft cupboard's in place, my part of the challenge will be (almost) at its end and I might finally have a laundry "room" to call my own.

7. On two completely unrelated notes, Wednesday saw me receive an email that my copy of "Something Other Than God" has a delivery estimate of 12-14th rather than the original 27-29th - yay AND we got a new niece/cousin yesterday, "Zo" is not quite seven pounds of cute and we can't wait to meet her - double yay!

Now jump back to Jen @ Conversion Diary for some more #SOTG news and giggles.


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Project Barn: Day Two-ish

Here is yesterday, short and sweet:
Russ began the day with an early morning run when James requested nunkies (a breastfeed) at half past six;
we delivered my BIL's belated birthday gift and a forgotten iPad (my nephews had left in our car - oopsie);
we talked a lot;
had a lovely visit with my Granda;
ate an inside picnic;
James managed a solid hour of napping while we had an impromptu drive through Belfast;
Mummy had a fairly quiet nosey round most of Ikea while Daddy and James enjoyed a dander to nearby Decathlon (and a look at canoes and tents);
we ate meatballs;
shopped (zip-lock-type food bags, MORE FRAMES and trofast toy boxes for the mini nursery makeover - i.e. the removal of the old school cabinet and all my craft supplies and stationary etc.);
drove home;
enjoyed a pleasant chat with my folks before putting the boy to bed;
surprisingly did not collapse into two puddles on the sofa;
went back to work on "Project Barn;"
wrote this and;
headed to bed.

Today James and I will head to the optician's and keep plugging away at 'the barn,' as we work through the day-to-day laundry, habit-building, food prep and finding homes for all the randomness that has needed to return to our house from the barn clearance.

*Must remember to wear my dust-mask today as my allergies have not appreciated the dust one iota - sniff-sniff*

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Visiting Great-Granda

My Russ was a very dedicated grandson and visited his much-cherished grandmother at least weekly, until her passing in late 2009, I'm very grateful for his encouragement to visit my grandfather regularly (and his company on visits). Since James' arrival we've enjoyed seeing the interaction between the two, although it has been against the backdrop of seeing Granda become increasingly frail.

My grandfather was a bachelor of around fifty when he married my Nanny, a widow with four grown children and two grandchildren. Robert had been in the army and by then had been a faithful employee of Royal Mail for many years. He was always Granda to us and took great interest in all the eventually ten grandchildren he acquired through marriage. He now is a very proud great-grandad to (currently) seventeen great-grandkids though I think he prefers photographs to visits at times as he's now quite nervous of sudden movements or excessive noise. I have a fabulous memory of bouncing a twirling stick off the top of Granda's head as a youngster, it must have absolutely hurt like the dickens but I don't ever remember his being cross. Despite having lived through a world war and working to defend King/Queen and country he is a very gentle (if fairly grumpy) old man.

Granda wanted to live out his days in the home he shared with my Nanny (his grief over her loss is still fresh after seventeen years) but as his self-care deteriorated he was left weakened and unfortunately/fortunately he moved into a nursing home shortly before Christmas 2013. He has gradually become brighter and stronger since the transition, which is amazing to see as we did not think he would see last Christmas. The other positive note regarding the move is that he is ever so slightly closer to us, though he is still about an hour away. As James grows ever more lively and with respect to Granda's energy levels our visits must be short and sweet (under an hour at most). With petrol prices being what they are we combine visits to Granda with visits to other family in the area or with shopping trips to the nearby 'outlet' or as with today to Ikea for a couple of items and dinner (very handy as it's along our route home).

Last night we prepared a picnic lunch (with a note of what to take out of the fridge) and laid out clothes. This morning we'll set off just after breakfast (Russ is hoping to fit in an early morning training run), enjoy a talkative and scenic drive with plenty of child friendly songs and then visit with Great-Granda. James will enjoy his mid-morning lunch (ham, multi-seeded bread, cheese, celery, dates and a boiled egg) while we visit and a couple of exploratory walks about the nursing home with Daddy to give Great-Granda breaks from rambunctious (or any naughty) behaviour and also allow time for grandfather-grandaughter bonding. After a quick breastfeed/storytime in the car, we'll drive slowly to Ikea with lullabies (possibly "Chant") to send a certain someone off to the land of nod.

James will only have time for a short nap as we drive, though Russ will remain with him at the car if he stays asleep once we're parked. If the weather's agreeable they might be able to enjoy some Daddy-son bonding time at the outdoor park but otherwise the play stations throughout the store are very entertaining as are all the people to watch (and planes landing/taxiing/taking off next door).

I keep an ongoing Ikea shopping list on my phone as I really love their products and we'll return an extra storage box before working our way through onky the little bits and bobs on the current list (incuding the ubiquitous meatballs). Mid- or post-shop we'll enjoy a meatballs and mash dinner in the restaurant before heading home for jammies, teeth, stories, milkies and bed. Perhaps bed for all three of us as yesterday was exhausting for me and Russ will have begun today with a run and then driven the length and breadth of the country.

I'm really looking forward to this visit as we haven't been down since February! Alas every opportunity to visit has found one or other of us with a cough or cold which you just can't be bringing into a nursing home. Hopefully James' vastly increased vocabulary since then will make up for our absence.

Tomorrow will be day two of "Project Barn" after a trip to the optician's to see about the next size of glasses for James.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Project Barn: Day One

So today is day one of "Project Barn" and I hope to check off at least the first three items on the following list (not to mention do some laundry):
  • Dust windowsill, clear and brush floor area on the backside of trellis at the freezers.
  • Organise and declutter the top of our second fridge.
  • Organise and declutter the handyman open shelves.
  • Organise and declutter dresser shelves, three drawer unit and clear and brush floor area.
  • Clear and brush thoroughfare to laundry area.
  • Have Dad attach the tool organiser to the wall at the thoroughfare; this will gather together mops and brushes neatly.
  • Clear away carpet from laundry area, for positioning in the sofa area.

I also need to:
  • keep up with my daily habit building - drinking two litres of water, reading my Bible, praying constantly, moisturising and beginning the day with worship music;
  • play catch-up with household tidying - the dining table has been unearthed from under all the frames (three more hung up and three more marked out), but there's a pile of clean laundry to be put away as well as new purchases which need to find homes;
  • play catch-up with my personal grooming - those eyebrows won't shape themselves, I need to get my hair cut and book an appointment for a up-do for my best friend's wedding and;
  • stay on top of Mama duties - keep working on the transition to proper drinking cups, nap/night dryness, consistent calm disciplining and booking an appointment to get new glasses to replace his almost outgrown current (and spare) pair.

So here goes nothing...

Project Barn: Overview (Removing)

We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this special announcement - the space known as 'the barn' will be required for a fundraising coffee morning on Saturday, June, 14. Therefore the accumulation of household detritus, dirt, dust, randomness, homeless items, possible charity donations, excess furniture etc. all needs cleared, chucked, recycled, rehomed or donated. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

So, with a very good cause in mind, it's time to roll up my sleeves and dig in. There is an ulterior motive I must admit to though; this is also good motivation to get my handyman Dad to wall off my laundry area (finally). Okay not exactly with walls since it'll be with trellis and loom state fabric but it'll still grant me an actual space that I don't need to dismantle for coffee mornings et al. I can't wait!

So here's the goals for this project:

  • Dust windowsill, clear and brush floor area on the backside of trellis at the freezers.
  • Organise and declutter the top of our second fridge.
  • Organise and declutter the handyman open shelves.
  • Organise and declutter dresser shelves, three drawer unit and clear and brush floor area.
  • Clear and brush thoroughfare to laundry area.
  • Have Dad attach the tool organiser to the wall at the thoroughfare; this will gather together mops and brushes neatly.
  • Clear away carpet from laundry area, for positioning in the sofa area.
  • Organise (use orange/blue baskets) and layout laundry area, brush floor, declutter Dad's detritus from shelves. Set up former lounge rug in the laundry area for James.
  • Remove outside toys to the playhouse and gather inside toys in the laundry area.
  • Go through possible donations (from RHS main area and sofa area too) and load up the car. (This project should help me reach my yearlong goal to declutter 2,014 items from our home, the count is currently at 537.)
  • Stow homemade firelighters for winter.
  • Remove black MDF desk from 'top house,' clean thoroughly and set in place.
  • Empty my craft cupboard and relocate to above the desk, have Dad brace desk and cupboard together.
  • Clear space for Dad to set-up trellis "walls."
  • Pile up (already relocated) craft boxes for refilling cupboard/desk in the laundry area.
  • Remove "future sandbox" to under the nursery bed.
  • Relocate all frames/artworks to our dining room except the one to be hung up in 'the barn,' have Dad hammer in a nail for it (I have no skill with hammers AT ALL).
  • Remove and flatten (and potentially recycle) all empty boxes. Any to be kept should be stowed behind the trellis at the freezers.
  • Remove "baby items" to our attic (wrapped in bin bags).
  • Declutter, organise and clear other belongings/furniture in the main space (RHS).
  • Declutter, organise and clear sofa area.
  • Declutter, organise and clear behind the trellis at the boiler/wardobes.
  • Gather our "excess" at the boiler area.
  • Dust remaining windowsills.
  • Replace craft boxes inside the craft cupboard/desk combo.
  • Set up a play/reading space in the laundry for James.
  • Stow remaining indoor/barn/excess toys under the dresser shelves or in our attic.

The remainder of brushing, clearing and empyting duties will fall to my Dad. this is because items such as the old car, lawnmowers and tools are all very much his and he's probably the only one of us strong enough to move the orange sofa.

My beloved will be dealing with his busiest time of year at work, not to mention training for the local half-marathon (just two weeks after the coffee morning), so he will be in charge of cleaning the bathroom (and perhaps a few windows) in preparation for the big day.

My Mama of course is in charge, she's management not staff!

This project will have to become my main focus (aside from James of course) as the time available before the coffee morning is very limited (about 17 days) and I am a very inefficient worker. This plan will help a lot I suspect

Wish me monsters, well defeated dust bunnies anyway...

Monday, 5 May 2014

Removing - Catching-up

The past weekend has left me more than a little behind on my goals so here's the summary:

On Friday, having received the gift of a nursery photograph of my niece La, I was once again reminded of all the frames we had yet to hang up around our house and promptly piled our dining table high. We had frames ready to hang, unfilled frames, ones that need painted or need mounting as well as pictures needing frames.

So Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, all saw my Hubby desperately trying to soothe his much nettled (hormonal much?) wife as we found homes for many frames. We added our niece, a postcard of a relative's artwork and a photograph of the penguins at Phillip Island to our kitchen. An art-card of Florence Court (a National Trust house) went up in our dining room. The hallway saw the most additions with a wood splice flower picture (from my Granda's house, see below), an art-card of Bath, a cork splice seascape, my son's framed handprints, an Egyptian papyrus work (from our honeymoon), a collage of James' baptism and a line drawing of Mount Stewart (another NT property) all finding spots.

There are pencil markings for a peacock and a funny photo of us (also in the hall) as well as for a photograph my Hubs took of Benone Beach (in our bedroom). Once we have the peacock and an art-card of the Australian masterpiece "The Pioneers" mounted and framed (thank you FIL), they'll be hung up by the ever patient Russ (thank you sweetheart). I also want to add to the nursery: I need to get a cheap frame for a cute little kookaburra card I bought in Oz; I want to whitewash the frames of two Winnie-the-Pooh pencil drawings; and fill the cute little frames that we have on the windowsill with family photos.

There are four photos needed for already hung frames in the kitchen. The living room will see the addition of a three/four multi-frame and a single frame, both in a beachy style and both of which need filled. Additionally there are two more multi-frames that need to find spots on the (getting very full) walls; one I hope to fill with a picture from each of our siblings' weddings. There's also an artwork to hang in our barn space, a charcoal drawing to find a home for and many others I know I'm forgetting about (at least two large frames and one piece of poster-art). Phew!

Saturday, I spent much of the day sorting through boxes, with my Mama, from my Granda's home (he recently went into a nursing home). We unearthed some treasures (a couple of cute mini-carved-wooden animals, the flower artwork mentioned above), horrors (school photos of me as a child), surprises (the original series of "V" on DVD and a copy of the "Chant" CD which was on my Amazon music wishlist and which we're thoroughly enjoying) and memorabilia (lots of millitaria). The above sentences should read - on Saturday I didn't clear any clutter from my house, in fact I added to it - oops.

Sunday was definitely a down day for me, not that any of the weekend had been particularly up, and although I began on my eyebrows (much more to do), I didn't get to my hair at all. Monday (today) brings a new start though and as the leaf turns I'll set about my grooming and decluttering and putting away the frames that I'm not ready to hang and generally restoring order. Alongside my daily habit building and a shopping errand (returns and finding a tie for Hubs for next week's wedding) all this catching-up will keep me plenty busy.

Today I will catch-up, tidy up and continue to build new habits.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Removing - Grooming

Following the *big* task to let go of the electronic distractions throughout the day and the visual distractions of clutter, today is a slightly more frivolous, if painful chore.

Today I will be removing and grooming my hair (a trim) and eyebrows - a painful and unending task that I have largely ignored since before James came along. There were very good reasons for the neglect, initially, as carpal tunnel during the last six weeks of pregnancy and first three months of James' life left me with numbness in my hands and pain and therefore an inability to operate tweezers.

Since that time to now I have had sporadic bouts of pain in my wrists and hands, many days there is no issue but there can be weeks when I have limited use of my hands/wrists or pained use only. The worst so far was my literally crying in agony as I wrote my Mama's mother's day card this year (the UK Mothering Sunday falls in March). I have yet to bite the bullet and return to the doctor about this issue as I'm sure it will prove as fruitless as my last visit (an incorrect and lazy diagnosis of continuing carpal tunnel with no real advice or help as to managing pain or improving my situation). I suspect my issue is arthritis but that the treatment is not suitable while breastfeeding or whilst still being in the years of potential pregnancy (we have chosen God family planning, i.e. no birth control, NFP or intervention with our fertility). My excess weight is certainly not helpful in this scenario either.

So frivolous or not, as continued preparation for Mimi's wedding, my eyebrows are up for the chop (figuratively) and my hair too (literally).

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Removing - Aesthetics

Yesterday I removed the visual and mental distractions of electronics, helping make my days more productive and keep my focus on my vocations of parenting and homemakinng and off of screens.

Today I will attempt to improve the aesthetics of our space (home) by removing the clutter build-up in our bedroom (already partly tackled earlier in the week), the nursery (a veritable disaster) and bathroom (clothing, shoes, bath toys and toiletries - not quite put away).

By removing the visual "noise," our private rooms should be more relaxing for us, aiding sleep and promoting rest (something this insomniac most certainly needs). Not to make mention of the fact that such decluttering will put a great big smile on my beloved's face!

Friday, 2 May 2014

7QT - The Genres List

I love to read, it's just that sometimes I forget to make time for reading, beyond blogs and emails that is. This year I want to revisit this passion, without the obsessive nature of my personality burying me in books, while the house, my family and the feeding and clothing of said family fall apart around me. So without further ado here are my genres to explore through the power of the written word:

1. Blogs - they definitely count as their own subset as I learn about everything from K-dramas (not a fan), to organising (my bliss), to different denominations (Messianic to Roman Catholic), to homeschooling (hoping to), to every craft imaginable. You can browse my "blog roll" and go through the rabbit hole links on my sidebar, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

2. Dystopia - Utopia (from the Greek meaning "no place" as in imaginary) sets out the ideal scenario for life and living while dystopia is "an imaginary society in which social or technological trends have culminated in a greatly diminished quality of life or degradation of values" (thank you Webster's College Dictionary 2010). Think Hunger Games (excellent), Brave New World (sanitised), 1984 (monitored), the terrifying duo "The Planner" and "The Chosen" by Swann (must reads about a seemingly all too realistic America of the near future/present day, read these and any political apathy you may feel will instantly melt away). I'm currently reading the Colony Z series set in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse.

3. Classic children's/teenage/young adult literature - my preferred genre, Enid Blyton (Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers), Susan Coolidge (Katy Did books), Louisa May Alcott (Little Women) etcetera. I've been indulging in this genre again since Christmas (Malory Towers) and taking my two year old son along for the ride, What Katy Did is next on the list.

4. Self-improvement - everything from time management to decluttering to menu planning and from "how to paint a wall" to "painting a nursery mural," from weight-loss to beating insomnia, and from "attachment parenting" to disciplining or discipling your child. Mayim Bialik's parenting book has made the list as well the 100 LB Loser by Jessica Heights.

5. Autobiographies - Katie Davis' book about the founding of Amazima (which I bought upon its release and which has accumulated a good layer of dust since) and the epic conversion story of *some woman* named Jennifer Fulwiler which I've been awaiting since she first made mention of it on her *little known* blog Conversion Diary. Buy Something Other Than God here, after all I want that banana suit... well actually the money (even in dollars) would probably be more useful, especially as my Hubby is the ultimate leprechaun!
[#SOTG link is to the Kindle edition on the UK Amazon site as although I pre-ordered the hardback it's no longer available direct from Amazon (boo) but instead shipped from the States! Alas in picking the hardback I'll have to wait until the end of May for my copy to arrive. What about a prize for the longest shipping time Jen? though I suspect I'd be beaten.]

6. Christian - yes obviously #SOTG could have been listed here but frankly Katie's book would've been lonely in the last take and this genre has plenty of "to read" options including Shepherding a Child's Heart (which also fits self-improvement) and many many faith based novels including the excellent (so far) Aggie's Inheritance series by Chautona Havig. Last but definitely not least...

7. Bible - I think the ultimate library needs its own genre as I seek to study more of my Father, His heart for me and how He would love to see me live for Him. I only pray as I make baby steps toward a bright new future that I might always remember to keep God at the centre of it.

Head on back to Jen's house for more quick takes about bananas and Something Other Than God.


Removing - Electronics

With my thirst being continuously quenched I shall now look at all those things I need to remove from my life, one by one. The bad habits, bad attitudes, excess hair (eyebrows!), clutter, distractions etc.

Today I will begin by removing the electronics from most of my day: the distractions of iPad, email, the phone that is ever-present and the TV. Nope I don't intend to quit all these time-wasters wondeful tools but to make me mistress of them and not the other way around!

The Electronic Ground Rules
  • Music can be played first thing (no video viewing though).
  • Emails, games, internet, kindle, iplayer are all off limits until James is enjoying his breakfast. 
  • If Russ is on breakfast Daddy-duty then Mama has until the end of breakfast for electronics but only once dressed (unless I'm sleeping of course).
  • If Mama's on breakfasts then we (James and I) can watch ten minutes of TV but only at the tail-end of breakfast, after prayers/clearing up/any dinner prep/dishwasher-emptying or filling has been done.
  • No electronics until James is settled for nap then aside from texts to Russ.
  • Post-nap another ten minutes of TV is allowed before dinner preparations get underway.
  • No more electronics use (except texting) is allowed (for Mama) before storytime (if Russ is reading), or James' bedtime if Mama's handling it.
  • Electronics must be set aside by twelve for at least an hour to allow for sleep.
  • Exceptions made for sickness, necessity or James-free hours only, NOT tiredness.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Book List - May 2014

I don't know what it is about sunshine that makes me want to read dystopian works but hopefully I've chosen a good balance of down, up and reality for this month.

  • Colony Z: The Albion Tribe (Book 2/4, e-book, Luke Shephard)
Depending on the length of this volume (and how engrossed I become in it) I may just continue through the rest of the series, we shall see. Zombie outbreak aftermath here we come.

  • Daughter of Joy (Brides of Culdee Creek, Book One, free e-book, Kathleen Morgan)
A story of firm faith in the face of tribulations, grief and a haunting past set against the backdrop of an isolated ranch way out West (America) in days of yore. A good read but I've yet to really get stuck in and I've been picking it up and putting it down again for many months, time to finish it already.

  • The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning (PB, Kathleen Higgins and Linda Ziedrich)
This MUST be read by the fourteenth so I can return it to my La Leche League group as I've borrowed it for entirely too long; not to mention that we will begin gentle weaning on the twenty-first as James reaches thirty months (two-and-a-half).

  • Mothering Your Nursing Toddler (PB, Norma Jane Bumgarner)
Same deadline as the previous title and as with it I will only be reading some sections, mostly due to James' current age.

Speaking of James, he and I will continue our way through this first title below (the final book of the "Malory Towers" series) before moving on to the second (the first of the "Katy Did" books):

  • Goodbye Malory Towers (Book Twelve of Malory Towers Boxset, PB, Pamela Cox)
I shall be sad to finish this series with J as his enthusiasm for it has been so astounding. This will be one final term of building character, overcoming adversity, working and playing hard and jolly good fun.

  • What Katy Did (Book One of Five, free e-book, Susan Coolidge)
The beginning of our foray into the classic adventures of Katy and her family, beginning as I recall with a rather exasperating Katy, who leads her siblings astray and misbehaves for her aunt.

If I have time for further titles my next priorities are:

  • For Keeps: Aggie's Inheritance Series (Book 2/3, e-book, Chautona Havig) and
Following the story of young twenty-something Aggie and her inherited nieces and nephews (all seven of them), set against a backdrop of faith and reliance on God.

  • Something Other Than God (HB, Jennifer Fulwiler)
This should arrive around the 27th and is much anticipated as I've been reading the author's blog for many years and have followed the story of her epic conversion memoir from its inception. I've been trying to gather up a couple of others to join me in reading it so we can have a "book club" discussion of it.

Thirst - Completion

I never finish anythi ;)

In the spirit of quashing that terrible flaw I will seek to complete all my daily habits in their entirety - drinking two litres of water, reading in Ephesians, moisturising (face, neck and hands), listening to worship music first thing and praying constantly.

Completing this theme of thirst and completing each individual element is important not just for today but tomorrow and everyday thereafter. Completing that which I have started and remembering that most chores are not 'once and done' but daily repetition, building the habit and never breaking from it.

Today I will finish all my daily tasks, to do them again to completion tomorrow...