Saturday, July 11, 2015

Life-Changing Magic of the Fringe Hours

"It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it."
-Oscar Wilde

Although I like to read, often I would rather work on creative projects than spend an afternoon curled up with a book. But there are so many books out there that I want to read and learn from; I often have hard time picking out the next great title (I don't want to waste my precious reading minutes!)

Am I the only one out there who suffers from this book paralysis? 

Lately I've been going for non-fiction because is easier to predict than fiction. It also fits better into my small chunks of time in the morning as I get ready for work (my fringe hours!!) because I can't get totally wrapped up in a story.

Here's what I've read lately!

The Fringe Hours by Jessica N. Turner
One thing that I realized from reading this book is that I'm already good at "fringe hours." My mama is good at fringe hours (as I'm sure her mom was before her), and she taught my sister and I to make the most of these small chunks of time. She modeled for us that craft projects/sewing/family time/etc. fuel the soul... dishes/laundry/dusting/cooking can wait.

I'm amazed that the author does as much as she does... work full-time, scrapbook, blog, plan parties, hang out with her kids and husband, wake up early, write a book, etc., etc. But, when I look at my own life from an outsider's perspective, it probably looks just as full. I think that Jessica and I would be good friends in real life.

Jessica, too, has an infant son (in addition to two other kids), and on several podcasts recently, I have heard her explain that her fringe hours look different during babyhood. That... I completely understand! Although I know that a normalcy will return again at some point, I wish I could sit down with her to talk about how to make fringe hours work best during this season of life.

A few inspiring Fringe Hours quotes that I highlighted as I read:
  • "A friend once said to me, "If it isn't a heck yes, then it's a no."
  • "And by taking care of ourselves and using our talents, we are a blessing."
  • "The goal of using your fringe hours well is to take time to do something that rejuvenates your soul."
  • "Muller writes in Sabbath: 'Without rest, we respond from a survival mode, where everything we meet assumes a terrifying prominence... Sabbath time may be a Sabbath afternoon, a Sabbath hour, a Sabbath walk - indeed, anything that preserves a visceral experience of life-giving nourishment and rest.'"
  • "I prioritize [sleep] over all other tasks - chores, hobbies, everything. It is nonnegotiable, because when I get enough sleep, everything about life is better."
  • "I love this Marianne Williams quote: 'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.'"

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
It seems every blogger and Instragrammer I follow has been celebrating the life-changing magic of this little book. As I watched them document bag after bag of stuff headed to Goodwill, I, too, wanted in on this decluttering action.

I was very inspired by the KonMari method and am now repeating the question, "Does this bring you joy?" to anyone who will listen. Like most things, I will never be a 100% convert, but I do see a shift in my perspective already. I've made progress on my clothes and tackled my kitchen appliances/utensils/etc., but I haven't yet found the time or energy to tackle the next category... or even to decide what the next category should be! And, although he, too, is making an attempt, I really wish that I could get Rob on board with a major overhaul. That would really help bolster my momentum!

A few inspiring Life-Changing Magic quotes that I highlighted as I read:
  • “The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
  • "Tidy by category, not by place."
  • "We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of."
  •  "To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose."
  • “Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong."

So now that I've finished those two books... what's next on my list?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Five months with Silas...

"You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel."
-Pau (Pablo) Casals

A few highlights from the month (both positive and negative!):

Our amazing daycare that I loved so much closed at the end of June. We had only three weeks' notice, and it was a surprise to everyone. As soon as I got the email, I dropped everything trying to find a new place... hoping to land on something before the market was flooded with the other babies who now needed a spot. We did secure a place for him at a center that is even a little closer to home, and Silas started there last week. Baby is doing great! Mama is having a harder time with the transition.

Silas met his Aunt Stephanie and his biggest cousins when they came to visit for the weekend. The older boys had a blast taking care of the baby, and Silas didn't mind all of the kisses from Aunt Stephanie. We went swimming a few times and made a few trips to Target, but otherwise stayed pretty low key.

What's Silas up to?
His head and neck control has gotten much better this month. He loves to sit or stand (with help of course). He thinks it's a much better perspective of the world... until he finds his feet and topples over. Hooray for toes!

And, he is rolling all over the place. Once I set him down on the carpet in the living room and watched from the kitchen as he completely rolled across the room, moving off of the rug and bumping into the entertainment center. I just know that this trick is soon to become the new normal.

Silas always has his hands in his mouth. The record that we've seen so far is eight fingers. Even his new teachers noticed that once he finds his thumb, sleep is not far behind. He'll also put your fingers in his mouth, or a toy, or your shoulder, or your chin... whatever is closest!!

Silas makes the sweetest little noises especially when riding in the car or trying to fall asleep. I often turn off the car radio just to listen to his little coos. Speaking of noises, Silas loves for us to make loud noises. Off-key singing, clucking noises with our tongues, and big clapping bring the biggest smiles. I'm glad there's no camera around to capture the crazy things we do for a giggle.

Our "wonderful little sleeper" has been waking up several times in the night lately. Darn four-month sleep regression! I can handle one wake-up in the night (and kind of expect it), but these two-fers are kicking my butt! When trying to put himself back to sleep in the middle of the night, Silas turns his head back and forth like he's trying to find a comfortable spot. In the middle of the night it's often difficult to distinguish between "I'm so hungry I could eat a whole elephant," "I missed you, can we cuddle?," or "Hold on, I'll fall back asleep on my own." Luckily, he hasn't had a night where he wouldn't go back to sleep after nursing.

From Mama's perspective...
The daycare fiasco kind of threw me for a loop this month. Leaving the little guy all day is hard enough, and much more so when he's not at your first choice facility. But I also enjoy time to be productive during the day and often remind myself that I would be going crazy if I was home with him 24/7.

This month I also got a little distracted professionally. I spent the first half of the month putting together a rad portfolio for curriculum/instructional design (with dreams of working part-time/remotely from home), but then found myself in a whirlwind applying for a director position (with added travel and stress) where I currently work. When they passed over me, I was both disappointed and relieved at the same time. Now I have me fingers crossed that more doors (the right doors!) will open in the near future.

Rob and I had a chance for a date night this month when my friend Jane offered to babysit. I had this crazy "OMG... I am a real adult. And, I have a baby." epiphany as we drove home to meet the babysitter. Speaking of date nights, Rob and I are also in a really good place right now. Granted, most of our interactions are related to the baby, but to be honest, most everything in my life is baby-related right now.

Most exciting for our family... Rob started a new job this month. Besides it being an amazing experience in a field that really interests him, the best part is that the new location is a mere five minutes from our house. This feels like such a luxury, considering he's never had a commute shorter than 45 minutes. He's now around in the mornings and home earlier in the evenings. He has graciously volunteered to take on more responsibilities, but I have to admit I'm having a hard time relinquishing control. As hard as it can be to juggle it "all," I really want to be the juggler, and I really want it done my way :) 

A few of Silas' favorites...

  1. Britax Back Seat Mirror Silas is a good little car rider. He stares in our backseat mirror without blinking for most of every trip. When I look back in the rearview mirror as I drive, it seems like he's looking straight at me, but I'm guessing he's more entertained by his own reflection.
  2. Oball Grip and Teethe Keys Silas loves this set of keys. The thin ring and the holes in the keys make them really easy for him to grasp. Just watch out... they may come flying at your head if he swings them too fast. 
  3. Ergobaby Performance Carrier Now that Silas is a little bigger, the Ergo is our number one choice for carrying Silas around a store. Rob and I can quickly adjust it to fit both of our sizes, and Silas usually falls asleep as he bounces around the store. 
  4. Circo Mini Monkey As much as I hated that Aunt Stephanie spent more money on Silas during her visit (that's a loooong story!!), this gift has quickly become his favorite toy. Once again, the skinny arms, legs, and tail make it easy for Silas to hold on to, and he loves to chew on Monkey's hands.
  5. Baby Spring Float Sun Canopy We took Silas swimming a few times this month, and this float makes a trip to the pool much easier. Silas can chill in the water while protected from the sun by the canopy. Silly baby also loves to suck the pool water out of the cloth covering.
  6. Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada The first time we read Silas this book by Jimmy Fallon he giggled and giggled. Apparently the word "dada" is very fun to hear. Time will tell if it is his first word.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Silas meets his cousins... a photoessay

"I may argue with my brother, but I fight beside my brother against my cousin, and with my cousin against a stranger."
-Old Arab adage

"Photoessay" may or may not be an excuse to avoid writing a boring "this is how we spent the weekend" post about a not-so-boring weekend.

Silas met his Aunt Stephanie and cousins when they came to visit last weekend. He loved playing with Chase and T.J., even if we were all exhausted and needed a break by the time they headed home on Sunday afternoon.

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