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Happening lately

So, so much has been happening lately – a huge whirlwind. Earlier this month, a new baby – our third child – was placed in our home. We are over-the-moon excited as a family. Our older boys are obsessed with Baby C – they love feeding him, holding him, singing to him, and just generally gazing at him and sportscasting everything he does. (“Mooooom! He’s smiling!”)

I am home on adoption leave with Baby C for the next few weeks, and it has been simply amazing taking care of an infant again. I love the mindfulness and presence and rhythm of life with an infant. I am especially obsessed with the intoxicating smell of the top of his head and with wearing him in the baby carrier. Jonas started walking at 9 months old, so it’s been over two years since I’ve “worn” a baby and I absolutely love it.

I feel a mix of anxiety and contentment at the moment – anxiety related to the adoption process, which won’t be finalized for at least six months; and contentment related to all the joy of settling in as a family of five. Luckily, the contentment is a much stronger presence than the anxiety.

There is so much swirling through my head at the moment – so many different thoughts about adoption, being a mom, having three kids. Today is my first time alone in the house since Baby C came home. I’ve started five drafts of different posts. When will they be finished? No way to tell. Adjusting to life with three kids under six is definitely going to take time and energy, and I imagine that my alone/writing time will take a hit. That will be completely okay; I am more grateful than any words can say for this beautiful baby, for my family, and for the endless joys of this everyday life.

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Entertaining Littles During Social Distancing

For the past few days, I’ve been having a lot of fun exploring activity ideas for my days with the boys.

Once you start looking around for ideas to teach or entertain your toddler and preschooler, it is an endless rabbit hole. There are so many amazing parent bloggers out there, with great ideas for activities. It’s incredibly helpful. I am a fun and silly parent, but ideas for crafts or sensory activities don’t come to me automatically. And I definitely benefit from the pro tips these bloggers provide. Many of them are current or former teachers, and have pro tips about how to set up these activities so that your kids are engaged and your house doesn’t get destroyed – both good things.

These are some of the activities we’ve tried out so far:

My favorite website so far has been Busy Toddler – such a great resource with so many fun ideas, and really easy to read and follow.

It’s been challenging, not being able to go out and about with the kids. They are pretty easy-going and have been fairly content, but I can tell there are times when they’re bored or feeling uninspired by the same old toys and activities. For them and for me, it’s been fun to break out a new and unexpected activity; they try out new things, they experiment, they figure out new and creative ways to play. It’s been really fun to find creative ideas for experiments and sensory play. Hoping to add to this list throughout the spring and summer.

art artistic arts and crafts background
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Wrapping Up February 2020 (Kind. Healthy. Creative. Present.)

This happiness project is a BUST so far! I’m mostly laughing about it.

My plan for 2020 has been to pick a theme for each month, and make a few small resolutions every month that are aligned with that theme. But it just hasn’t worked out. Life gets busy and crazy, and I have trouble even remembering what my resolutions are, let alone actually keeping them!

Looking ahead to March 2020, my main priority is diet and exercise. I have made some progress in this area, but I still struggle to refrain from candy and junk food, especially when I’m feeling stressed.

My second goal is to prioritize creative writing. And my third is MEETINGS. I’m abandoning meditation for the moment. I love to meditate, and I do think that prioritizing that habit would be beneficial, but having too many goals and priorities means that I accomplish none.

I don’t know how I’ll structure these posts about my goals and priorities moving forward, but for today, I’m just trying to stay in the moment and keep these words in my mind: Kind. Healthy. Creative. 

Kind. Healthy. Creative. Let’s do this.

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adulting · cleaning for beginners · habits · Uncategorized

Cleaning For Beginners

There is one new habit that we’ve been able to form since moving to our new home, and I have been amazed at how much happiness is brought me.

Let me start by explaining – we didn’t really clean at our old house. That probably sounds ridiculous to people who keep a clean and tidy household, but we really did the bare minimum. We’d wash our dishes – by hand, no dishwasher – eventually. When the floor started to drive Tamara crazy, she’d sweep it. When we knew we were having visitors, we’d deep clean the bathroom. But there was no regular cleaning schedule.

You’d think I’d be too embarrassed to admit this publicly, but I’m not. I have never been a neat and tidy person, and I have a pretty high tolerance for dirt, mud, and general disarray. Plus, at our last house, we were living on a farm, in an extremely old farmhouse that never gleamed no matter how much you cleaned. Keeping the house clean felt impossible. There was new mud and dirt coming in every day, and we had little time to do all the things we wanted and needed to do. I often sacrificed cleaning time for writing time, and I felt good about that.

Now that we’re in a new house and changing up our lifestyle, I feel a little differently about keeping things clean. First and foremost, I want to teach my kids good cleaning habits, and the best way is to teach them is to show them the different tasks that have to be done to keep a household clean and tidy. Secondly, I think I’ve been experiencing a level of low-grade stress due to having a cluttered and disorganized house. I really want to live a Marie Kondo-esque kind of life; I want to know exactly where everything is, because everything has a specific home in the house, and I don’t want to have or store a whole bunch of crap I don’t need. And I think it’s way easier to clean when the clutter is under control.

That said – it’s been hard, and we don’t have a system for cleaning yet. We’re still pretty busy, so I’ve just been quickly spot cleaning things like the bathroom sink or the toilet when I think of it. Things will slow down next month, and we’ll be able to get into a better routine then.

But for the moment, the habit that we have been maintaining successfully is cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. And it had made me SO happy.

It’s so simple. One of us cooks dinner – usually Tamara – and the other parent plays with the boys while that’s happening. We eat together as a family. Then, after dinner, one of us plays with the boys and the other parent cleans the kitchen. Sometimes we get the boys to ‘help’; Edgar does a decent job of wiping down the table and bringing dishes to the sink. Jonas likes to pretend he’s mopping. And when we’re done, there are dishes in the dishwasher, a clean kitchen table, clean floors, and leftovers put away.

I love it. The situation never gets so overwhelming that we’re going to have to spend an hour getting things clean, and I can enjoy my evenings and my mornings without staring at things in the kitchen thinking, I should really go clean that up.

ARE ALL OF THE HOUSEHOLD CHORES GOING TO BE AS SIMPLE AS THIS? I really, really hope so. I want to continue to prioritize writing, reading, and self-care, and I know cleaning and household maintenance take time. I’m okay with that.

JUST NOT TOO MUCH TIME. I’ve got stuff to do.

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Life In Boxes

We’re in! Our life is in boxes, and we still have a ton to get done at the old house. But we are living in our new home and loving it.

My blogging routine is still going to be a little off this week. I’m currently typing this on my phone, because we don’t have internet set up yet. And it still seems difficult to write about the topics that are most relevant to me at the moment: habits, routines, rituals, and my work toward living a minimalist lifestyle. We are slowly unpacking, and we need to buy a ton of things: towel racks, shower curtains, baby gates, furniture. Our family to do list is long, and the time we have available to tackle different tasks is limited.

So, I’m going to do my best to stick to my regular blogging schedule – posts on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Hopefully the posts will get more substantial as my internet access and mental energy improve.

selective focus photography of dried leaves
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