Six Years and One Day

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

I always forget my blog’s anniversary. Every year when April rolls around, I think maybe I’ll do a giveaway or write a special post but every year the end of the month comes and I realize I completely forgot.

This year, I managed to only forget by one day. Yesterday, April 16th, was the sixth anniversary of this blog. I cannot even comprehend this. The post you are now reading is the 1,522nd published post on this site.

So, in 6 years:

  • I’ve had one child and 3 jobs.
  • This was my first ever post. (My photos and my sewing were pretty terrible back then).
  • I’ve taken a total of 25 trips, including overnights and a weekend here and there.
  • I’ve posted 237 recipes.
  • I’ve made 40 quilts (and quilted things like table runners).
  • I’ve read 1,467 books. Mostly picture books, and there are a few more from this year’s tally that I’ve neglected to enter in yet.

Plus too many other things to list here. Six years is a lot of life to collect in one place. Here’s hoping for at least another six!

I’m Thankful for All the Things

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

2013ballooninflationI’m thankful for my amazing husband and daughter, who love me enough to do things like come with me to the Macy’s parade balloon inflation yesterday. In the rain, then in the freezing rain, just to help honor my favorite tradition.

I’m thankful that even though I lost my job this year I seem to be finding my way.


I’m Attempting to Organize My Life

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

My first New Year’s Resolution this year was to get organized. I needed to try and find some routine, some system, that would help me juggle the everyday tasks that take up so much of my time in my working life and home life. I feel like I’m horribly inefficient when it comes to the day-to-day stuff, devoting far too little or too much time to them and throwing the rest of my life out of balance a little as a result. I’m also a terrible delegator and kind of a control freak; I can never point Adam at the tasks that would be the most helpful, and some of my systems are so obtuse that it’s impossible for him to figure them out. I’m getting better about that, though. I’m learning to care less about how things are done and just be excited that someone else is doing them.

But, everyone has chores. And let’s face it, when you get home 3 or sometimes 4 hours before your significant other you’re just going to have more of the chores to do. And there are certain tasks I dislike but do a better job of (like ironing and sorting mail, I hate dealing with the mail), so I let them snowball until they become so giant they cannot be avoided for one more minute. And then I dedicate hours or even days to getting them back on track, which puts me behind with everything else I need to do that week, and it just keeps repeating the cycle.  Once I’ve gotten to the bottom of The Dreaded Task, I cannot bear to look at it again for a while. Which, of course, leads to another marathon session of Dealing With It.

So anyway, I started looking around on Pinterest in January for ideas and strategies to help get me focused and juggle the small stuff so I could free up time to focus on the things I actually get excited about: more playtime with the baby, my hobbies, fun work projects. I stumbled across this whole subculture of (largely) Christian, homeschooling, stay-at-homes who run their households with military precision. A system for everything, a clean and tidy home, and an arsenal of creative activities with their kids. I even found a Salon article about this after I started my research. It’s a thing. Now, I happen to be the exact opposite of a Christian, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, so obviously not everything was going to work for me. But I just needed some direction, and that’s how I found Clean Mama.

I can’t say I’ve become a regular reader; the level of devotion to cleaning and organizing is more than I can handle every day. But, her post “How To Make a Homekeeping Binder” spoke to the list lover in me. She has some great printables and kits on Etsy to use, and I did buy a couple for organizing holidays and my blog. For the rest, I took some inspiration and created my own templates personalized to suit my family’s needs. There is nothing more motivating and focusing for me than being able to cross an item off a list, so she kind of had me at “hello.” I also made one for work and another one for my blogging and crafty life, but the latter hasn’t had much action yet. One thing at a time. It’s been a full month of using this new system, and while I’m still getting used to the routine and still have setbacks and things I avoid, I have to say it’s making the day-to-day of life much more manageable.

I made a monthly calendar of To Dos for my home and work binders, just like in Clean Mama’s binder. But I didn’t use her template because a lot of it was irrelevant to me. I designed a similar looking calendar with my own household needs.

For each day of the week I’ve designated One Main Task in red. The blue tasks repeat more frequently, some every day or every other day. This helps me just have a set schedule for doing laundry, sorting the mail, and etc. I’ve also noted the once-a-month visit from our cleaning service and the prep day for that.

My work binder has the exact same principal, but a little more detailed. Big weekly tasks are in orange, everyday tasks in dark blue. But for work I’ve added light blue tasks that include meetings, self-imposed deadlines for things like changing bulletin boards and submitting orders. All of this is to try and give me a routine for running the library so I can easily keep up with the daily management of it all in addition to my class load. This work calendar has been kind of a lifesaver. I also included sections for work projects and a running list of book requests so I can easily log books I need to order.

For my home system, I didn’t want to assign days to complete certain monthly tasks, so I also made this checklist. Most of these repeat every other month or so, but this is to try and help me stay on top of the less frequent chores that I can forget about indefinitely. I still haven’t cleaned the oven, though. I’m still growing into this.

This is where I got extra nerdy. I made customized shopping lists for regular groceries and for Costco. The latter is so Adam and I can stop looking at each other on weekends and asking, “Do we need anything from Costco?” The former is just to have a list of things we actually buy. I’ve been using these great shopping list pads for years, but they’re missing some of the everyday things we buy and are full of stuff we never use. So I thought customized would be better. I even made customized menu pages so I can keep it all in one place.

So far I like this system, and I am using it. And it’s nice to be able to point Adam to a list of things to be done that day so he can help. I am not yet at the magical point where I’ve gotten time back for the rest of my life, but it’s been a tiring winter. I wasn’t expecting to achieve this goal in a month, but I am moving along with it.




2013 New Year’s Resolutions (It’s Going to be a Good One)

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

So these are a day late, but I wanted to spend my last day of winter break actually working on some of these goals. But here are my official 2013 New Year’s Resolutions. I’m feeling really good about this list.

  • Organize, organize, organize! This is The Year of Getting Myself Together. I want to develop a home managementand a work management plan to help juggle this insane roller coaster of a role that is Working Mom. I’m tired of ironing piling up, my desk piling up, my To Do list piling up, forgetting about dinner until the last minute. Adam is an amazing help, but only if I can tell him what I need help with. Mommy Brain prevents this. And last fall I was so exhausted after work that I squandered the precious time I had to get things done because I couldn’t focus enough to decide what needed doing. So my first goal is a fool-proof plan for keeping all our family ducks in a row. Just a little life management overhaul, nothing TOO ambitious.
  • Time management. This is really an extension of my first goal, but in addition to actually keeping life organized I need to plan my time better to keep it that way. I’m working on a plan that will help me with both of these: getting me organized andhelping me manage my time better.
  • Redesign this blog! My fifth blogging anniversary is coming up in April, and in honor of that I want to really take a look at what I’ve loved about blogging for the past 5 years. I also want to look at what needs improvement.
  • Work my side hustle. I finished my first commissioned quilt just before Christmas, and I loved the whole process. This year I want to explore how to build my Orange Room Empire *insert evil laugh here* while balancing my librarian career. This may take a backseat until summer, but if my Big Life Plan helps get me on track I may tackle this one sooner. And I’m going to need to call on my friends (I’m looking at YOU, Kathy!).
  • Be a more present friend and relative. Remember birthdays, send cards, spend more time. Hannah is getting old enough now that I don’t feel guilty being away from her for a few hours, so I need to try and get some of my own identity back. I think I’ve actually been pretty good about not falling into the Void of Motherhood, where my own self completely disappears. But I could be better.
  • Ask for help!! I really want to see if I can find a mother’s helper in my neighborhood, for starters. And the next time I want to head into the city with friends for the afternoon (or even just to get a haircut), I think I’ll be giving Nana a call for some grandbaby time. Obviously Adam is fine hanging out with the baby, but he kind of needs his solo Dad time, too.

I’m So Sad to See 2012 Go!

Monday, December 31st, 2012

I’ve had big-time end-of-the-year blues this week. Hannah’s first Christmas was so amazing, such a perfect end to a wonderful holiday season. And then almost immediately I was left with this sadness that the most momentous year of our lives was coming to an end. I haven’t been able to get excited about any of my usual listmaking, organizing, new year projects that always pepper my winter breaks. I’ve just been cuddling and smooching the baby nonstop. And recovering from a cold and, of all things, a case of pinkeye that set in on Christmas Eve!!

We just put the baby to bed a little while ago, for the last time during the year she was born. And I burst into tears! Just feeling so sentimental, so sad to close the door on the most gratifying year of my life so far. Adam’s been reminding me of all the amazing things 2013 had to offer, and I get it. I really do. But I just needed a little cry, a little emotional outpouring, a little mourning for the year that we did this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this. I still have to post pictures of our visit to Santa, but that, too!! Such a year of memories, and I feel like we’re running out of all these firsts.

But I know that’s ridiculous, because there are so many great things ahead of us. So many more adventures to have and memories to make. And Hannah just gets more and more fun as the days go on! And once it was out of my system, I was finally able to look forward to 2013 and start wrapping up my year. Tomorrow, there will be resolutions. But for now, a look back.

My 2012 New Year’s Resolutions, let’s see how I did:

  • On January 1, 2012 I’m happy. Really, truly happy. And I have lots of reasons to stay that way for the foreseeable future, so don’t forget them. I think I did pretty well with this, and now that I’m getting over my holiday blues I’ll do this again in 2013.
  • Remember to be grateful. So grateful! So many great people who love our baby, and our family, and have been there for us this year. :)
  • Be as domestic as humanly possible (cooking, quilting, crafting) on the limited amount of sleep I’ll be getting. I kind of can’t believe everything I managed to do, check out the list below.
  • Try to break my 2011 Books Read record of 202, but don’t go crazy if I can’t. In no universe did this happen. I read a total of 120 books this year, my worst record ever!
  • Decide what kind of mom I want to be. I will always be doing this.
  • Show Hannah everything. Hannah was my buddy this year, she came with me everywhere and had quite a few adventures this year!

2012 in Craftiness! Here are all the things I’ve made this year, whew!


Other Things I’ve Sewn

Other Craftiness

Favorite Recipes