Category Archives: Not Knitting

One

So, around this time last year, there was a little baby born.

Baby Lollypop

He had a rough start, with feeding and allergy issues, but we’ve found workarounds for those issues and he’s thriving.

20160630_101540(1)
20160613_123920-1
lollypop

His birthday, this past Sunday, came and went without too much fanfare. We had plans to visit family and we took some brownies to celebrate with, but the real party is next week.Baby Rawr Hat

I’ve so enjoyed watching him grow up this last year, but it does come with a touch of sadness. He’s our last baby, so his life will be the last of the firsts. This is the last first birthday. He’s had the last first tooth, the last first step, and so on. There aren’t as many photos of his every milestone, like there was with Jellybean, but so it goes with second babies.

lollypop in leaves

First time discovering leaves aren’t very tasty.

He’s at a stage right now where he’s into everything, learning and exploring, and while it is absolutely exhausting, it is so much fun to watch. He can say “Uh Oh”, “Ow”, and just recently learned “No.”

He has a word for “this” and “Daisy” and he makes his barking sound when we get home and get out of the car, as he’s looking around for Daisy. When he gets done eating, he calls for her to come clean up the food on the floor, too!

He adores his big brother and they play together more and more frequently these days.

Lollypop and Jellybean

One day, we’ll have coordinating furniture that isn’t cat-clawed. Maybe in about 20 years.

He loves his mama, almost to the point of being clingy, but can’t quite resist a little adventure. He’s timid around strangers, much more so than his brother was at this age. I’m ok with that.

He’s a happy child, but not without his little moments, of course. He’s fun, funny, smart and mischievous. He’s my baby boy.

Mama and Lollypop

Working at the garden. (if you can count eating dirt as working!)

Happy birthday, Lollypop.

3 Comments

Filed under Family, Not Knitting

Planner Crazy

So here’s a little update on my journey to get myself organized.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I was feeling overwhelmed with everything that needed doing. I spent some time to get myself organized. I’m so glad I did because it’s working.

I spent several evenings searching for printable pages for a planner. I found some that I thought would work for me from Scattered Squirrel. I wanted a full-page planner because I can read my writing better when I don’t have to write tiny. I bought a 1/2″ binder to put my planner in as well as some pocket dividers and tabbed dividers.

Most of the printables I found weren’t really right for me. I don’t have that many appointments on a daily basis, even when things are busy at work. At most, I have three places to be at any certain time, and most days I have zero appointments. Having half the page taken up with appointment schedules was a waste for me. What I really needed was a prioritized to-do list.

I considered doing a weekly list, because most of the things I need to do aren’t critically time-sensitive, but I went with a daily format to keep myself focused. I’ve been using the Daily To-Do and Monthly pages quite successfully so far. They’re bright and colorful, if you choose to print them in color, but the Cobalt color prints well in black & white. I like the “Top Three” idea for things that MUST get done that day/month. I don’t always have three things that are super duper important, but that helps me keep focused. I use the “Daily Focus” block to write what we’re having for dinner that night, and that helps me with the meal planning. (I do think it’s hilarious that dinner is my daily focus.)

Planner Daily Page

Daily To Do Page

For the weekends, I’ve enjoyed using the Sunday Checklist from Emily Lea. I love the style of these printables; they’re so simple and clean. I also used the Brain Dump Checklist for just listing things as I think of them, the Month of Gratitude for a positivity journal, Party Planning Page to plan birthday parties and the Blog Planner to help me organize my ideas for this blog. I’ve found the Meeting Notes page to be super helpful in meetings at work.

On the monthly pages, I’m keeping up with birthdays, large tasks, meetings and Dr. appointments. I punch the right hand side of the daily pages so they can lay flat next to the monthly page and I can quickly see big projects and daily tasks to work on.

For overall planning, I’ve made a weekly Master To-Do list. There are things I need to do each week, some that I want to do every other week and some that I need to do monthly. This page helps me keep up with things I need to do and remember to put them on my daily pages.

Master ToDo List

Master ToDo List

I printed out a week at a time on Sunday evening and got myself ready for the coming week. Using those pages still tends to leave a lot of wasted space for me. I don’t make a lot of calls, I don’t usually have 24 things to get done in a day and if I have something to do on a different day, I write it on that day’s sheet. Most of the right hand side of those daily sheets go unused on a regular basis. I tried playing around with a format that would have two days to a page, but have each day in a separate column so it could be folded in the binder, but that didn’t really work well for me, either. (And its time consuming to customize all these planner pages.)

I started finding more and more posts about Bullet Journals. There’s tons of information on pinterest about it. I saw some ideas and thought it might be a useful addition to my planner.

I bought a notebook. At first, it was really just a book of lists. My lists get indexed on the front pages and categorized using washi tape. The washi tape is really fun and brings some color to the pages. I’ve printed out different little coloring pages to tape into my journal for when I need a break from all the craziness.

bullet journal
bullet journal washi coded categories
buller journal index
buller journal coloring page and garden plan

Then I decided to try out a daily planner format in my journal for a week.¬†With a bullet journal, you hand-draw your “spreads” as you need them. Some of them can be pretty elaborate, and I think it would be very easy to spend so much time drawing the layout that you don’t have time (or inclination) to actually do the planning. My daily spread is pretty simple.

bullet journal daily and weekend planner pages

Daily and Weekend Planner pages in my bullet journal

 

I have a place for the dinner plan, my top three for the day and two columns of task lists for home and work. This format is actually working *really* well for me. Since I did the daily spreads for one week, I found I was using my bullet journal every day while my planner notebook sat untouched in my laptop bag. I went ahead and made my daily spreads for the entire month of March. I even rewrote my Monthly Master Todo List and my important dates (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) in my little journal.

It was at about this point in the process that I found this blog post. It was an eye opener. Suddenly, not being able to draw elaborate spreads every week was ok. The bullet journal is intended to be a minimalist system. Use the parts of it that you need, don’t worry about the other parts, and don’t make it harder than it needs to be. If you find yourself having to search for ideas to fill up your bullet journal, you’re probably overthinking it.

I do like a few ideas I’ve seen around, though. Such as this Recipe Bank and Master Grocery List. Many times, as we’re planning meals for the week, my husband and I look at each other and ask, “What do we eat?” Thanks to the three- four-year-old getting picky, and us not wanting to make two meals every night, we try to plan for things he will eat and that’s limited our choices and put us into a bit of a rut. Having the recipe bank would put all our favorite meals in front of me and have ideas for new things to try.

It’s taken some time for me to get my planning and organizing right, and I am still tweaking things as I go along. I like the idea of using a three-ring binder because I know I’ll want to move things around and I can use full-size pages without fussing with cutting special sizes. The binder is large, though, so I can’t carry it in my purse and it’s stiff, so it takes up more space than I really want it to in my laptop bag. I also had a separate binder at home for household stuff, such as home improvement project plans, our address book, insurance information, etc. Yes, I had a separate binder for this so I wouldn’t have all that stuff taking up space in my 1/2″ binder. Crazy!

I like the bullet journal idea because I can use a smaller notebook that will fit in my purse and the notebook I have is flexible so it seems to fit better. I am using a 5 x 8.5 inch journal right now, so that may not be ideal for some purses, but the purse I’m currently carrying is ridiculously huge (and I love it!) I have everything I need in my bullet journal. For example, when Jellybean and I started seeds for the garden, I wrote the list of planted in my journal. While shopping at a garden center, I saw marjoram plants, but couldn’t remember if I had planted marjoram seeds. I pulled out my bujo, flipped to the appropriate page and had hard evidence that I had NOT planted marjoram seeds and could go ahead and buy the plant. That moment really cemented it for me.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off the deep end a little bit with the planning. It does take some time to get things organized and if you’re starting from scratch, that process can seem overwhelming. I do admire the people who can keep up with things they need to do and not get bogged down with needing to plan everything (ahem, I’m looking at you, dear husband.) I am just not able to keep everything in my head and when I get inspired with new ideas, I’ve found that they (and everything else) are quickly lost if I don’t put them somewhere. Plus, there are things that just have to get done. Somebody’s got to remember to scrub a toilet every now and then and if I have it written in a schedule, it’s more likely to get done. I get more satisfaction by checking that item off my list than I feel dread about doing the job.

Now that I’ve settled on the bujo, I can do my planning in a few minutes each week. I am keeping up with the household tasks, while still working full time. I know that if I look at my day and just can’t get everything done, I know which tasks are critical, which I need to ask for help with and which can be put off to another day. I’m still very busy, but now I also feel productive, which makes the busy-ness not so bad.

And on that note, I should really go scrub a toilet. Have a great week, my friends!

3 Comments

Filed under Not Knitting

Happy Baby Throw

I’ve had lots of big projects on the needles (or hook, as the case may be) lately. I recently finished a baby blanket for my sweet friend Alicja.

Alicja is a friend I met in a Friday night knitting group I attended religiously before Jellybean was born. The group changed and shifted as time went on, but the core people became some of my closest friends. When Alicja started visiting, she fit right in and became a pillar of the group.

When she told me she was pregnant, I was thrilled for her. Her due date ended up being the same as Jellybean’s – how fun! So I decided to make a bright blanket for her new little guy.

Happy Baby Throw Crocheted Blanket

Happy Throw for Alicja

The pattern is Happy Throw by Mamachee designs. I wanted it to be easy-care and be used, so I crocheted it with Knit Picks Mighty Stitch yarn. I know that Alicja can appreciate and care for a handmade item, but I also know from experience that if baby things are washable, they’re more likely to get used. The yarn is a wool and acrylic blend, so it’s machine washable and machine dryable. The yarn is a little slippery, so I tied all those ends in as securely as I possibly could. I want this blanket to take all manner of little baby messes and keep him warm for years.

Congratulations, Alicja!

2 Comments

Filed under Crochet, Not Knitting

40

My dad is somewhat of a jokester. I won’t say how many years ago, when my mom turned 40, he and a mischievous buddy of his spray painted a billboard on the highway to announce her birthday. Only they said she was 50, instead of 40. That billboard stayed that way for as long as I can remember, and I don’t even remember when it was painted over or taken down. (I think dad’s partner in crime owned the land or the billboard or something like that, I never really knew if they were actually committing a crime, but there are photos of them in the act.).

Redacted to protect the (not so) innocent. Ha!

Mom went through a whole range of emotions about that billboard, but it is definitely something that our family will never forget.

I remember thinking 40 was old and 50 was grandparent material. If you made it past 60, then you were just ancient.

This past weekend was my own 40th birthday. I didn’t get a billboard announcement. (Thank goodness!) I also don’t feel as old as I thought I would, or should.

I started having kids a decade later than my mom. Sometimes, I wish I had had my kids at a younger age so I could have more energy to play with them and my joints would hold up to the rough housing. But I know I wouldn’t have been the same parent 10 years ago. I lose my shit way more than I’d like to admit (it’s really hard to parent a 3-year-old and stay sane), but overall, I feel like I’m more patient than I was at a younger age.

I’ve had these 10 years to learn some much needed life lessons. Lessons about love, money, compassion, empathy, time management, and judgement. Having my kids when I did enabled me to find a wonderful, supportive group of mama friends, who I still keep in touch with daily, even though I moved away from them.

Being at the point I am, with two small kids at 40 years old, I realize how much age is just a number. I may not have the energy to keep up with my kids for as long as they want me to, but they definitely keep me active and strong.

I turned 40 without much fanfare, and that’s OK. I’m beginning to think that the less excitement you have in your life, the longer you get to live it. So bring on the quiet birthdays, may they keep coming year after year.

P.S. This post is a week belated, as many of my plans that weekend were waylaid by a stomach virus. We were all sick, all at once, and it was awful. Thankfully it was short-lived and we’re all better now and I’m catching back up.

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Not Knitting