listening / watching / reading

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There’s nothing quite like the start of Spring to bring about feelings of freshness, new beginnings, energy… I absolutely love the Winter but it always drags on about a month too long here in Melbourne. All of you Melbournians know what I’m talking about!

Over a month into Spring now it finally feels like the sunshine has arrived. KB is on long service leave for another two and a half weeks and we have just got back from a lovely holiday on the south coast of NSW – a magical and inspiring coastline if you ever do get the chance to visit.

On the way home we heard a song by Nick Mulvey on ABC radio which was a treat, and I have been listening to his album every day since we got home! I’m sure I’ll be told to turn it off soon but in the meantime I’m dancing around in bare feet to it on a daily basis.

In our usual pursuit of slow and calm I also bought this book and devoured it in 48 hours. I’m now well into the process of #konmari – ing our house. I’m up to papers. I have such a problem with papers. We have no system with bills or anything and it’s just so boring that we are always finding ourselves getting into trouble with late notices and so on. Who has time for this stuff? We can’t work out a system that works so I’m loving Marie Kondo’s paperly advice: to throw it all away. Duly noted and obediently doing just that. What a relief to see all those old bills, receipts, notices, blah blah blah going into my throw out pile. KB will most likely have a minor freak out when he sees my pile but shhhh let’s keep it our secret for now.

While I was pregnant I succumbed to netflix and promised myself it would just be for the free month. Five months later we still have netflix. Yesterday I watched Cowspiracy, and I have to say it has had such an effect on me that I am dragging out all my old vegetarian recipes and taking a good hard look at our diet… again. When I began eating meat again after a period of time as a vegetarian, I was so careful with my choices and seriously limited our meat intake. As the years have gone by and more children have been born, meal times have become a last minute panic, throwing together whatever I can during the last dash before bedtime. I hate eating this way as I love cooking and planning and preparing and being thoughtful about what we eat and when we eat it, and while we have a number of good habits it has been difficult lately to be mindful about it. Cowspiracy has given me that motivation again. Tonight we’re having eat your greens pesto pasta (with brown rice instead of pasta because I don’t have any in my pantry). My sister gave me the recipe a while ago; you basically just cook up some garlic and leek or onion and any other vegetables you like that you have on hand, mix through some pesto and serve. You can be as creative as you like with this dish and it will always taste good. You can make your own pesto but I usually let myself off the hook and just buy a jar because this is meant to be an easy and cheap meal, after all.

In other news Pearly pops is already rolling over, and yesterday at the dreaded Maternal Child Health Nurse appointment she said it’s time to put her in the cot (!) and start thinking about giving her food (!) and all sorts of other dreadful things like that. I nodded my head like the good mother and threw the papers in the bin when I got home.

Well, it feels good to be here today. The sun is shining and I’m about to make myself a coffee. Birdie is at kinder, the Pixie is with her Daddy out for the morning and Pearl is demanding that I turn the computer off. Right. Now. So… goodbye and have a lovely day.

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some things i am trying to do

Number one thing: reduce iphone contact time

Number two thing: follow a daily rhythm (and invent one first)

I have read a few books and other things lately, and a couple have stood out more than others.

One book that has left its mark is by Sara Avant Stover called The Way of the Happy Woman: Living the Best Year of Your Life. It sounds a bit self-helpy, but it really truly isn’t. Reading it has given me a great sense of clarity in my life. I borrowed it from the library, devoured it, yelled at the computer when it told me I couldn’t renew it and as such will soon be purchasing my very own copy.

One thing that was impressed on me by reading this book was, despite the keen awareness I have of my childrens’ daily rhythm, I actually have no sense of order or rhythm myself, to guide me through my mornings, my days, my evenings. As a result I often wake at different times, start my day in a variety of scattered and rushed and harebrained ways, and similarly seem to enter bed on the same note: a cacophony of washing, television, dishes, toy tidying, procrastinating and an overuse of my computer and iphone.

Which consequently leads me to my next realisation… or should I say, acceptance: I am addicted to my iphone. I love the damned thing and hate it all at the same time. But having any sense of rhythm just can’t happen with my iphone by my side. They completely counteract one another. I have realised that at night when I get into bed I think I’ll just check instagram before I read my book. More often than not I end up trawling the apps on my phone for over an hour before being too exhausted to read and too wired from my phone to sleep. I used to read so many books, and thanks to my iphone, it’s taking me months to get through one novel, if I ever make it to the end at all.

The first big change I have made to achieve the number one thing I want to do: turn my iphone off in the evenings and leave it in the kitchen until the next morning. YAY! I admitted to my mum the other day that I was doing this – and subsequently finding it really, really hard. That is when I realised that I was truly hooked to the stupid thing, when I was finding it tough to go to bed without it. It’s embarrassing to admit this, but it’s true. While you’re all sleeping lovingly with your partners, I’m spooning my electronic device. Mmmm cosy…

The other thing I watched that spurred me on to make this change was the video you can find here. While I don’t text and drive, I have a terrible habit of checking my phone at the [red] lights, constantly. When I watched the video, I felt such a sadness, that this is what we are doing to ourselves, and I realised I was only one step away from the people on the screen. There is nothing that can’t wait until you get home.

Aside from leaving my phone in the kitchen overnight, the other things I’m trying to do or have done are: leave my phone on silent, put it in the boot while driving, turn it off every now and then during the day, wait until I have my hands free before checking messages, let it go to voicemail if it rings and it’s not a good time, leave it on the corner bench of my kitchen, so it’s not sitting right there while I’m having meals with my family, playing with my girls… just generally trying to keep it further away from me than it usually is. I have also disconnected my email from my phone, which was just another thing to check all the time. Now I have to make a conscious effort to check my email from my computer, at a time that suits me.

As a result of keeping my phone [further away than] at arms length I am beginning to feel freer, believe it or not. It sounds stupid but it’s true. I am letting go of potential “photo opportunities” for instagram or other, I am finding I am less distracted and more able to live in the moment.

It also frees up SO MUCH mind space… wow, there is actually a mind in here behind my iphone. I don’t have to google to find a thought or an answer. Amazing revelations here today people!

Number two thing: a rhythm to my existence. With the iphone out of the way it brings me to my second thing. I’ve been really sick over the last few weeks, as a result of being a bit run down. I’ve stayed at home a lot more than normal, and although I’ve had a bit of cabin fever, I have also had the opportunity to create a bit more flow to my day. I’ve created a morning routine which works around the kids and includes a hot cup of tea and a relaxed breakfast without having to rush off anywhere first thing. I have also started to build some structure to my evenings now that the Pixie is sleeping a little more reliably at the moment.

It’s amazing what a difference just a few adjustments in the morning and evening have made to my life. The washing has been done, the house has been tidy and as a result I have been calmer and felt more in control. Apart from the other day, but we’ll just let that one slide… I’m looking forward to creating more rhythm for myself over the coming weeks. I’m a creature of habit, boring but true.

What are you trying to do less or more of in your life? What are you doing to make the change? Discuss!

 

a case of the jitters

Oh Lordy Lord. Maybe it’s because I have drunk a whole pot of [black] coffee just now (remind me not to do that again). Maybe it’s the moon or the season. All I know is I have been SUPER jittery today. I even forgot to have lunch which is absurd considering I spend a ridiculous amount of time either thinking about or preparing food.

Should I clean? Should I crochet? Should I cut up felted wool?

Should I bath kids? Should I cook? Should I play Snow White and the Hunstman?

Should I laugh? Should I dance? Should I invite someone over?

So… I cleaned a table, crocheted eight stitches, folded some washing, danced in the paddling pool, dipped the Pixie’s feet in the paddling pool, read three sentences about introducing food, cut up some felted wool, read two little girls a book, laughed, pretended to be the Wicked Witch, Cinderella, the Hunstman, Snow White and a teacher, fed some imaginary bears some honey, made some left over rolled oat pudding (not to be underestimated!), rocked a doll to sleep, put the Pixie to sleep, served dinner, got the Pixie up again, bathed the girls, wiped up dinner, kissed my husband, handed over a grumpy Pixie and sat down here. Then I got up again and put some rice on for Dinner Round Two. Then I sat down again.

Yikes. I can’t keep up with myself.

This is exactly why I need this, to get my daily rhythm back in control. I can’t wait to get started!

Will I be able to sleep tonight?

Do you have days like this?

my year of re-organising, de-cluttering, go-crazying

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Sigh. It’s almost March and my enthusiasm for our great year of de-cluttering and Getting Organised has already landed in a muddle. I am looking around the room at the moment, almost every surface has something on it – something that shouldn’t be there. The pile of papers that I was so dedicated to eradicating in January is soaring to new heights.

Being organised is tiring, right? But I know that it feels so great when I know where things go, I know there things are and I know just what needs to happen each day.

Today, I’m just not feeling it. Prince Charming accidentally took both toddler car seats to work so after lots of emergency calls (to the in-laws), rushing around this morning to make it to an appointment for Pixie and collecting my aunty’s car seat on the way back, I ended up with two screaming girls in the car, finally ready to take Birdie to childcare. One screaming for milk and the other screaming that she didn’t want to go today. I paused, sitting with my hands on the steering wheel and foot on the brake…

By this time it was almost lunch time. I made an executive decision, got back out of the car, got the baby, got the girl. Birdie moped back up the steps, “I’m unhappy,” she said. Oh dear.

We ate lunch, milked the baby and I made another executive decision and put them both to bed after many bed time books and cuddles with Birdie – she very rarely has a day sleep anymore but I think today is the day. It’s very quiet in there, fingers crossed she has a nap and we can turn the afternoon around.

So here I sit, looking around at the clutter and knowing I should be doing something about it, especially in the rare moments when I am actually alone. Problem is all I want to do is curl up in bed and go to sleep. I spend such a huge portion of my time cleaning and tidying, only for it to be in the same disorderly state two hours later… when is there time to de-clutter as well? It’s a full time project, but I know, I just know I need to persist!

I always thought when I was a grown up I would have a grown up house and it would be full of neat grown up things and kept in a respectable grown up manner. I thought I would live in a house that looked like Heather’s house over at beauty that moves. I always read her blog and stare for ages at the photos of her house. I. Am. In. Love. If you came to our house while we were out you might not be able to help wondering if it were two teenagers who lived here with the kids given the dishes in the sink, the unmade beds and the junk on every surface. All we are missing is posters of that channing guy on the walls… or is it one generation or one something or other…?

Please tell me you are grown up too but your house isn’t always kept in a respectable grown up manner? Are you de-cluttering this year? Are you following some sort of process like a book or a blog or just doing it your own way? Where did you start?

Just heard a little “Muuuuumm” from the bedroom. Guess the de-cluttering is on hold for another day!