Sunday, 3 November 2013

An extra hour

I always roll my eyes when people talk about the extra hour of sleep they're going to get when the clocks fall back in autumn.  As if any one with young children gets the opportunity to sleep in... the kids never sleep an extra hour. 

Although, I must confess it is getting easier.  Now that the girls are able to get up on their own, turn on the tv to their favourite shows, and even manage to get some cereal to stave off their hunger, we have been lucky enough to actually sleep in a little bit on the weekends.

(Actually, this new-found weekend routine has taken me by surprise. I was very proud of myself when I registered the girls for a 9 o'clock gymnastics class on Saturday mornings this fall.  Thinking that the girls and I would be awake early enough anyways, it was a good opportunity to get up and out of the house, leaving more time for other things the rest of the day. Of course, it's been in the last few weeks that the kids have settled into a weekend routine of heading down to the tv and leaving us alone to sleep for a while longer.  There has been more than one Saturday morning when I've awakened in a panic later than 8 am, frantically organising breakfast, leotards and ponytails before rushing out the door!)

But, an extra hour in a weekend - so many things I could do with it!  I've written in the past about my internal debate of whether or not to sacrifice weekend time for a nap.   But now that even the younger of my kids are less likely to voluntarily settle down for a weekend snooze, I'm finding my choice to nap is being affected too.  Oh, I still love a nap.  It's just that there are so many other things to fill the time.

Take today, a incredibly rare 25 hour day.  Even today, I didn't nap.  A choice I may now be regretting.  But what did I do instead?  How did I spend my extra hour?

I began my day with a reorganisation of my spice rack and pantry, interspersed with cut-and-paste assistance. 

After making pancakes, I took the girls to church, followed by a quality lunch of Chef-Boy-R-Dee ravioli and veggies with dip.

Then, instead of napping, I ran almost 10 kilometres.  This is a recent trend which really makes me wonder what is happening to me... choosing to run instead of nap... what on earth is going on?

After my own lunch, and a small sit down to watch a fashion design competition by my girls, I headed to the grocery store with my youngest to pick up dog food, paper towels and baking powder.  Things I've missed from my past three or four grocery trips.

Yard work followed by dinner preparation interruption by kids squabbling over costumes and dress-up.

Vacuuming (first time in weeks!), bedtime routine, laundry folding, making for tomorrow, clothes away-putting, and finally some blogging (first time in months!)...

How did you spend your extra hour today?

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Too early for Christmas

I usually don't give much thought to Christmas preparations until about the middle of October.  I set myself a Thanksgiving deadline for providing my parents and in-laws with the wish-lists they have requested for the kids.  Even then, it's incredibly difficult to get the children to focus and choose and limit their requests to something that they might still possibly want two and a half months later.  And trickier still to organize who is being told who wants what.

However, I'm feeling pretty ingenious right now.  

After Madeleine's recent birthday, when I was trying to keep track of who was getting which of the three hundred and seven Beanie Boos and Monster High dolls that she had requested and we still ended up with a couple of duplicates and a last minute switch-out, I decided on a system which I hope will help save my sanity by limiting the need for me to personally remember who has been told by whom what they want and what has already been bought by whom.

Google Drive.  I've created a Christmas Lists spreadsheet as a shared document on Google Drive.

A wish-list for each child, along with a column to enter if it has been purchased, and by whom.   We can even add new items that have been purchased but that weren't on the original wish-list.  And a listing of all the 35 Beanie Boos that we already own.  (I swear, they're like Tribbles.)

Like a registry.  But with no particular store affiliation or requirement.   This could be the perfect solution.

I'm sure that my parents and in-laws will need a tutorial or two, and heck, I may even be updating it myself on their behalf, but at least I have a system.

Here's hoping it helps.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

It takes a sick day

Let me begin by clarifying that I really am sick: congested, coughing, phlegmy, sneezing, tired, head-achy, sick.  And I was napping, but a jackhammer outside my window rudely woke me up, and I'm afraid  to lie down again until I know for sure that he's finished.  A jackhammer and a congested, aching, tired head are not good company.

So, in addition to responding to a handful of emails for work, totally ignoring the mess of toys in my basement and dirty dishes in the kitchen, and watching some daytime talk shows for the first times in years (Maury is still on the air - really?), I thought maybe I could pay some attention to my ignored-for-far-too-long-blog.

I used to hate it when people gave the excuse of being 'so busy' for not calling or keeping in touch.  Or that there's 'never enough time' for getting something done.  Isn't there some expression about making the time to do the things that are really important to you?  

But now I'm making the same excuses.  Cliche?  Yes.  But seemingly true.

Even on some kids-free vacation days last week, I wasn't able to get around to some of the projects I had hoped to.  My list of things to do was just too long, and everything always takes longer than I think it should.  Even without kids in tow.

I started a Never-Gets-Done List a while back.  But I haven't even been able to keep it up-to-date.  Amazingly, after 2 years, I am starting to make progress on some of the items on the list.  But there are also many more things I could add as things I can never seem to find time for.   

Like taking the kids for bike rides more often so my eldest can get more comfortable riding without her training wheels.   

Making more trips to the beach, which is just a twenty minute walk away, and yet, we only made one trip this summer. 

Weeding and pruning my untended garden, something that I actually enjoy doing.

Getting out for some runs and exercise.  Note to self: start my up-early in the morning routine again as soon as I am healthy.

Visiting more of the beautiful places and campgrounds in our province.  When driving home from our one camping trip this summer, I was inspired by the pictures and descriptions of other park grounds in the Ontario Parks brochure and started to think about how we could manage to travel to more of our province and country in the years to come.

Taking my kids to the library, and just spending more time encouraging and practicing their reading.

As I'm reading over this list now, I am noting how different these activities are from the to-do items from before.  Much more about taking time for myself and spending time with my family, instead of getting things done.

Is this progress on my part?  I hope so.  Maybe I'm finally learning to let the to-do items slide and focus more on the things that are truly important to me.  I guess the next step is make the time to do them.