Monday, December 16, 2013

10 Days & Stuff

The mister is visiting his little sister in Hawaii right now as she graduates from university this week. In his absence we've likely overbooked ourselves with fun (busy) activities to keep everyone from missing him too badly. Of course since it is the Christmas season, most of our activities have been christmas parties, but yesterday we celebrated an early solstice with the girls' (waldorf inspired) daycare.

This year, as I've been slowly decluttering our (relatively small) home, to make space for one more (albeit still tiny) human, I've almost been dreading Christmas and all the stuff it typically entails. Little M is not yet quite at the point of totally grasping the concepts of limited space, of too many toys, or of the impact of clutter. She's slowly getting used to how we are trying to stick to the concept of one in, one out, and she has gone through her toys and chosen some to give away to make room for new toys to come at Christmas. But she is still young, and still has a hard time parting with things, and understanding that there is a limit.

The baby on the other hand is quite easy going about my efforts to reduce the size of her wardrobe and the number of baby toys she owns. She still has more than enough baby toys, but we were able to pare down quite a bit, which was really great. In fact I have 3 boxes of kid clothes and toys to give away, if I ever get around to bringing them into town to donate!

As most people do, I get attached to things, but after several long distant moves, and many short moves, I don't have a lot of things compared to many people. Something about moving out west in your truck with your dog and another person, and having basically all your worldly possessions in the truck does that to a person! I don't like clutter, and all the time drain that having lots of possessions means, so I've tried to be pretty selective about what I bring into the house. As are most things though, it is a constant work in process, and I'm still adapting to the new level of complication that having 2 kiddos brings to the de-cluttering & simplification process!

Anyway, all of this is to say that at the (early) solstice celebration, I was really in love with the simplicity and connectedness of the celebration. Celebrating the shortest day of the year with friends and light rings much more true to my non-religious background than all of the consumerism and focus on stuff that American Christmas seems to entail. Especially for our family, with 3 sets of grandparents, and 2 in-state Christmases to attend besides our own family of fours' Christmas, it just seems that we focus too much on gifts and stuff, and there is less emphasis placed on the importance of spending time with these special people that we see so rarely.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Planning to plan, dreaming to dream

I've been doing a lot of thinking about plans for this coming year. We've started the initial brainstorming of what our financial goals will be, and that has meant a lot of thinking about future projects and ideas to be implementing. My problem always is overloading my plate with too many good ideas, and I'm definitley feeling that right now in this process, as we look at a huge list of potential things, and try and narrow the pool down and prioritize it!

Some of these goals are family goals, but the more personal ones, or ones with the kids that I'm taking the lead on, are fairly overwhelming me at the moment. Since I often use this blog as a sort of settling ground for my ideas to help me decide which I want to take further, I thought a brain dump was in order to help me sift through all these great ideas and prioritize them. I suspect when I redo my winter darkness goals into my 2014 priorities/goals I will use these as a guide.

For the Kids
Finances/Allowance - Little M is a good age to start learning about money (saving/giving/spending)
Chores - with some being paid and some being unpaid
Speech Therapy - Little M has a hard time with her initial consonants, and we're getting extra help
Bottle Feeding - Baby E is having a hard time learning to use the bottle, which complicates daycare
Ontario Grandparents - keeping in touch with them (skype, emails, photos) since we rarely see them
Weekly Rhythm - redoing it to better work with our schedule, especially as it changes come January

For the Farm
Expanding the garden - doing it in a manageable manner, choosing crops wisely, cover crops
Seed Selection - need some new seeds & varieties this year - irish eyes/seed savers/west coast seeds?
Fences - both for garden & yard space for the dogs as well as the orchard - plan, length, cost, poles
Chicks - having a broody hen raise our own fertile eggs vs. ordering new chicks (of what breed?)
Pigs - fitting them back into the budget, number (brothers again? friends?), source/breed question
Fruit trees - pruning the ones we have, new ones for the side chicken area if the fence goes up?

For Mama
Essential Oils - learning how to use the ones I have, reading up on ones to get in the future
Reading - for pleasure & bookclub, augmented by our weekly library trips, fit in during naps/bedtime
Simplifying - purging stuff, one in - one out, creating a handmade home, living more intentionally
Friends - keeping in touch with local & distant friends, via skype, phone calls, play dates, dinner
Crafting/sewing - meeting my creative needs, also inspiring Little M to create too
Finance/work balance - meeting our financial needs through paid work while still meeting family/house/cleaning needs around the home, also dictates daycare balance, and also wrapped up in here is meeting the little family checklist goals we have/will set for the next year

Back Burner things for some year in the future:
soap making
fixing the house up!
a 100 dollar startup (something sewing/crafty, etsy? still very much in the dream phase)
more animals - fish/lizard/snake/bunny for the kids inside, cow/sheep/barn! for the farm
all those saved bookmarks! (move to pinterest??)
a new (thrifted obviously) wardrobe to replace the failing remnants of my (thrifted) grad school garb!

Do you keep a list of back burner type ideas? Those things that you want to do some day, but know you can't fit them in right now? How do you keep those future dreams in check to focus on the dreams for today?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Catching up

So the kiddos are finally getting over the cold that had one or the other (or both) of them down and out for the past 3 weeks. So I was slowly getting caught up on all of the things that fell through the cracks while they were needy, sleepless little monkeys. And then today one of the kiddos at daycare was sick so I unexpectedly had Little M, so decided to stay home and get a couple hours of work in while they napped in the afternoon. Well, let me say, I needed this day off! We did all sorts of fun mama-daughter things, but also got caught up even further, and perhaps even got ahead on our christmas list.

Big exhale coming from this mama today. Relaxation time is so important, but always one of the first things to be ignored, especially when there are sick kiddos needing their mama.

But today, oh today, was a thing of beauty. Baby E is sitting up on her own for longer and longer periods before falling (thump) over, and Little M is loving on her little sister so nicely these days. Having two girls just makes me so content and happy. And having basketfuls of clean laundry? And a relatively clean kitchen? And having time to do a sewing project with Little M? And finishing up christmas gifts early? All so satisfying!

However, its a good thing I'm finding these inside, at home things satisfying, as we've been experiencing some cold temperatures here, down into the single digits, dipping to zero. Not a lot of wind, thankfully, but gosh that is cold! And with barely any snow to speak of, the ground is freezing solid and deep. I'm wondering about my newly transplanted herb and bulb bed, and hoping that those plants are hardy enough. Because, well, if they aren't, this will be the year that proves it!

We've been enjoying the cold and dark days though, we got our tree right after American Thanksgiving, and thus had it set up on December first this year, it isn't totally decorated yet, but the lights are on it, and having them on, plus the ones around the fireplace and kitchen window, just make the house so warm and cozy! We've definitely been huddling in more than ever this year, doing crafts, getting out the sewing machine more in the past 2 weeks than all past years combined, baking homemade goodness, and the mister and I have been playing board games once Little M is down to bed in the evenings too.

Anyway, just wanted to stop by here and chat for a bit, it has been longer than normal between posts all fall, and again its been a while since I last posted. Not to worry though, things are just fine here, just busy and full of life with two littles! Hope your winter season has enjoyable so far and you are happily preparing for Solstice and Christmas and New Years!

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