November 25, 2009

Last night I attended a Holistic Moms Network meeting. The topic of the night had piqued my interest: Voluntary Simplicity and Anti-Consumerism. Lately I’ve experienced a [very] slow trend towards more simplicity and less consumerism. It started when I realized that having ‘things’ and having a perfect home were never going to give me happiness. I visualized what my life would look like if my house was perfect, if I had fun stuff, etc. and I realized that none of this would bring satisfaction. This sounds so obvious, doesn’t it? Often I find that intellectually we know this, but emotionally and practically we don’t live it. That’s what I have been [slowly] trying to change.

I think there were more questions than answers at last night’s meeting. We discussed licensed characters (it’s been easy for me to totally avoid these – so far), giving kids the latest toys, how many Christmas presents, how to handle birthday parties, types of toys (noisemakers vs. more traditional toys), how to avoid letting our kids become the weirdos of a consumerist culture. I shared how my mom had me brainwashed at a young age about certain things being bad (McDonald’s) and how I rarely had non-family birthday parties (she didn’t want people to feel obligated to buy gifts). As I shared some of these thoughts, I realized that I have already have the huge benefit of having experienced a lot of the elements of simplicity as a child.

Simple living is really the inspiration for this blog. I am NOT an expert at it, but I want to strive towards more simplicity in my life. I want to chronicle this journey and to share ideas with others.


appreciating a good routine

November 22, 2009

I am trying to learn the right balance of routine. If I completely disregard any routine, then I find that my day lacks structure (no surprise there). However if I try to implement too much routine, then I find that I try to do too much and my day lacks any spontaneity or joy.

A few weeks ago I established some basic routine guidelines for myself, thanks to some help from the Passionate Homemaking blog. These little routines have been wildly successful for me. They’re pretty simple but they have really given me a much-needed structure to difficult times of the day. For now these don’t really affect anyone else in the household – David has his own routine and I don’t bother it. Someday Calvin will become more involved, but for now he is an onlooker.

Morning routine:

  • The first thing I usually do is nurse Calvin
  • Then I get myself up and dressed, brush teeth, fix hair, etc. (when you stay at home all day it can be easy to not get dressed until noon – I try to avoid that)
  • Get Calvin dressed
  • Make the bed and pick up any clutter upstairs
  • We then eat breakfast and that concludes our morning routine

Nighttime routine:

  • Put Calvin to bed around 8
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Prepare coffee pot for the next morning

Now that I have a very basic routine established, I am working on a few more ways to expand it to include some other important aspects of my life.

Books – 2009

November 22, 2009

Back in the beginning of the year, I decided to participate in a “50 Books in a Year” group. I’ve been a bad participant though – haven’t updated the group and have barely even kept track of the books I have read. Here are the ones that I remember, in no particular order:

  1. Quiverfull (just finished this the other day, so it’s still on my mind)
  2. Find Your Strongest Life (eh)
  3. Making the Terrible Twos Terrific (pretty good)
  4. Becoming Orthodox (basic overview of Orthodoxy)
  5. Eastern Orthodox Christianity (excellent!)
  6. Thirsting for God in a Land of Shallow Wells (also excellent)
  7. Mere Christianity (some parts great, others dull)
  8. The Duggars: 20 and Counting (entertaining at times)
  9. Food Matters (very eye-opening and challenging)
  10. Skinny Bitch (terrible)
  11. Unconditional Parenting (rocked my socks off. Highly, highly recommend)
  12. Mitten Strings for God (really good book for mothers – will definitely re-read)
  13. Our Babies, Ourselves (amazing. will challenge your views on how we raise our babies)
  14. Raising Cain (liked it a lot)
  15. Feast of Faith (basic overview of Divine Liturgy)
  16. Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems (yes, a self-identified AP mother reading Ferber…he did give me some good ideas on things such as sleep associations, etc.)
  17. No-Cry Sleep Solution (pretty good ideas here)
  18. No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers
  19. Bringing Up Boys (terrible, do not recommend)
  20. The Continuum Concept (this books gets lots of praise in AP circles, but I found it hard to follow)
  21. Dead Man Walking (really challenged me)
  22. The Wet Nurse’s Tale (fun, beach-read type novel)

Still in progress:

  1. The Feminine Mystique

I’m not sure if there are any more. Twenty-two books really doesn’t seem like much, but keep in mind that this is what I’ve manage to read while mothering a young child and working part-time.

the allure of the blog

November 20, 2009

I’m not the greatest blogger, but I feel the call to blog nonetheless.

I’ve been trying to write more lately and I’ve found the results terribly disappointing. What happened to the younger version of me who could crank out essays with such ease? Maybe I have mommy brain, or maybe it’s the fact that in my professional life I rely more heavily on the use of numbers rather than letters.

I’ve been tempted to give up, but I want so badly to write that I am persevering.