Morning Chores

Morning Chores

Fiona does chores, feeds chickens and collects eggs

It was 10 minutes before I had to be out the door for work. The baby had been up several times throughout the night (teething) and I was tired. Husband had made me a cup of tea and a breakfast sandwich to go. Since I was ready early (solely because I didn’t have enough time to shower), I thought I might indulge in eating at home instead of on the run.

“Why don’t you take Fiona out to feed this morning?” Husband prodded.

(I used to do all the feedings of our animals. But when I was pregnant, I had severe nausea and fatigue and struggled to make it into work each day, so Husband took over. His work day is more flexible than mine anyway. When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I was the one juggling Fiona’s drop-off each morning, so while I hurried out the door with more bags than I could count (laptop bag, purse, lunch, bottle bag with empty bottles for me, bottle bag with full bottles for her, diaper bag, etc.), Husband continued to feed.)

When he suggested I feed this morning, my first thought was “you’ve got to be kidding me”. Read more

Gray and Orange Nursery

Gray and Orange Nursery

I have so enjoyed putting together a nursery for this little one, and those who will follow. Knowing I wanted this room to be gender neutral, both because we didn’t know the sex of the baby and because I want to be able to put multiple kids in one room, potentially of differing genders, I selected gray and orange as my colors. My “theme” if you will is woodland animals like foxes and owls — but truth be told, I don’t like any room to look too theme-y. So you’ll find I included a lot of geometric shapes and a variety of textures (I am such a texture person!).

My inspiration board helped me figure out what I liked and what I wanted to strive for as I pieced things together. It actually helped me identify what it is that I like — as opposed to just grabbing every “cute” baby item I could find (which, yeah, as a pregnant woman is sooo easy to do).

So here goes!

nursery Read more

Rhythms

Rhythms

Rhythms

I crave rhythms. Thrive on rhythms. And when Fiona was born, it completely changed our rhythms. In fact, for the first few months, there was only the remotest semblance of rhythm. I was just figuring it out when I had to start back to work and that threw us for a loop.

Fiona is almost 5 months old (already!) and I am determined to start developing some new rhythms for our life. And our life is full, very full. Husband and I both work full time, I have two hours of commuting every day, I drop off and pick up Fiona from her nanny’s every day, washing bottles and diapers, feeding Fiona and putting her to sleep; washing, drying, folding laundry; farmer’s market Saturdays; camping weekends; and it goes on and on.

It’s a lot.

But I know we can do it.

I want to do it.

I want to collect eggs from the chicken coop and carve out the time to ride my pony. I want to sit and read and drink a cup of tea. I want activity to be a regular part of my life — long walks, bike rides, canoeing, kayaking, hiking etc. I want to be fully present with Fiona. I want to attend church and dive into small group regularly.

Little things are helping me develop the rhythms I need to make it work. A few things that I think will work for me:

  • Throw a load in the wash at night, dryer in the morning, folding in the evening. (And asking Husband to put away his own clothes!)
  • Baby laundry once a week, might need a few more outfits.
  • Diaper laundry twice a week, might need a few more diapers. (Also, hanging a clothes line in the backyard so I’m not hanging covers all around my pantry/laundry room.)
  • Baking: Once a week maybe? Mondays?
  • Getting up early. I am so NOT a morning person, but if I can manage to get up at 5am, I’ll have time for a cup of tea and breakfast before I hit the road.
  • Robotic vacuum. I so, so want one. Having a Roomba would help keep up with the dog hair situation (not to mention dirt from the garden, flyaway flour from making pizzas, and the errant leaves that always come in on the produce we pick).
  • Keeping the sink clear of dirty dishes. Everything must go directly into the dishwasher (this especially helps when it’s time to bathe the babe, because we do sink baths!)

I’m sure I will come up with a few more, but these will hopefully make a good start to our new rhythm!

Pre-Baby Projects

Pre-Baby Projects

I’m trying to enjoy this season of pregnancy (as much as I can with the incessant nausea still sticking around at 19 weeks…). But one way to view our wonderful January 22 due date is as a deadline of sorts.

There are the obvious pre-baby projects like setting up the nursery that need to happen, and there are those projects that I think will be helpful for our new rhythm and routine of life when it changes forever in 2016.

A few things on the list:

  • Pay off my truck
  • Purchase a second baby-friendly vehicle (this might not happen until after baby, but we can start looking once the truck is paid off)
  • Get a new roof (before hurricane season!)
  • Wood floors installed throughout the house
  • Remove sliding glass door in dining room, install french doors
  • Paint sun room, nursery closets, front porch, nursery closet doors
  • Paint shutters, front door, trim
  • Install shelves in the pantry, study and garage to enable us to organize
  • Organize study, books and sewing/craft stuff, purge anything unnecessary, cull 1/4 (roughly 300) books!
  • Organize clothes and purge (both Husband and me)
  • Organize pantry/laundry items, store breakables on high shelves
  • Organize, purge, put away breakables in dining room
  • Start some new habits: one full load of laundry from hamper to drawers each day, 15 minute cleanup at the end of each day
  • Set up and decorate the nursery, organize baby items
  • Turn the study into a study/guest room
  • Make some freezer meals!
  • Clean up/organize the barn before baby and winter
  • Install dog door and fenced area for Ginger
  • Prepare for winter: buy firewood, purchase/set up electric buckets/stock tank heaters, enclose barn entry, install sliding stall door, fix fireplace damper
  • Go on a REAL vacation!! (Our 5th anniversary is coming up and we’re combining that celebration with a final pre-baby trip, heading up to Vermont to view the fall foliage.)

The goal is to get all of these things done before November. Then November, December and January can be spent keeping up with work (the busiest time of year), enjoying the holidays with family, and resting at home before Baby arrives. I have visions of spending the fall/winter curled up on the couch with a good book, a roaring fire and a warm blanket. (Maybe not the reality of the last few months of pregnancy, but a girl can dream!)

Belly and a book

Simple

Textures

Simplifying life seems to be a continuous project for me. It goes in fits and spurts, but it’s always going.

I’ve been reading some inspiration lately, and one post challenged me to write down my goals:

Check your mindset:

1. Write down your goals. What do you want from this change? Where do you feel the greatest need to slow down and simplify? What do you stand to gain?
2. Write down your strengths. What are you already good at? Gardening? Organising? Planning? Cooking healthy, cheap meals?
3. Write down your weaknesses. What challenges will you face? What circumstances will make change harder for you?
4. Check your answers. You need to be in this for the right reasons. You need to understand that you come to simple living from a unique place. Your journey won’t look like anyone else’s. And that’s fine. Great, even. Perfect.
5. Get to it. Committing goals to paper helps you achieve them.

Homemade bread

So here goes.

Goals:

  • Slow. Feel slower, simpler, less frazzled, less behind. I want to stop constantly feeling like I’m behind on just about everything.
  • Enjoy. I want to get to enjoy our lovely home (even if it isn’t perfect), my horse, our land. They’re not burdens, they’re blessings.
  • Invest. I want to invest in the things God has given us to steward. Our time, our home, our land, our animals, our friendships, our family, our life.
  • Explore. I want to have adventures. Get out. Get going. See someplace new. Leave behind the crazy. Refresh. Restore. Make room for wonderful experiences.
  • Ryhthm. I love having rhythm to life, not necessarily patterns or habits or set schedules, but rhythms to live by.
  • Get rid of excess clutter, especially in the garage!! Also books, DVDs, desk supplies, craft supplies, clothes and shoes. (I’ve been doing a lot better on the books/DVDs/clothes/shoes, but there is always more progress to make!)
  • Organize necessary stored supplies, especially in the study, garage, barn and garden shed. (Shelving, shelving, shelving! Thinking about asking for this for my birthday.)
  • Quiet, calm atmosphere. Not too much stuff, not too much furniture.
  • Preparedness. Extra toiletries, paper towels, flour, laundry detergent. Because the stress of running out is far more energy-consuming than being prepared ahead of time.
  • Slowing weekends. Yes, Saturdays are for productivity. But if I clean/do laundry more during the week, Saturdays are simpler, especially now that I have to share that time and space with Husband. Also, Sundays. Sundays are not for errands. Sundays are for rest. Remember that. Do errands before Sunday!
  • Simplify finances. Don’t use credit card. Open work account for Husband. Open business account for business. Separating, simplifying. So much less stressful.
  • Strengths:

  • I’m generally consistent. I’m a rule follower, when I make a plan, create a rule, I stick to it.
  • I love organizing (I just need some supplies, like shelves!)
  • Keeping our calendar realistic and making regular do-to lists. I was in a rhythm, I’ve gotten out of it. I need my rhythm back.
  • Weaknesses:

  • Filing. I hate filing paperwork. But I love a clean desk…
  • Weeding. Gardens are great, upkeep is not.
  • Our schedule. Both working full time, and each commuting an hour each way, makes for a full day before we even get home.
  • Getting up early. Getting up a little earlier would make mornings better, more productive, easier, simpler. I’m just bad at it. Luckily, summer is arriving and with it the sun. It’s so much easier to get up in time to throw in a load of laundry and make sure the dishwasher is loaded when the sun is up early too.
  • Farm fresh eggs

    Barred Rock Rooster

    Barred Rock Rooster

    So we’ve had this Barred Rock rooster for about a year now, and he’s remained unnamed the entire time we’ve had him.

    He’s been overshadowed most of this time, by a white rooster (we think a Leghorn), that was louder and prouder than this guy. But two roosters with six hens is NOT a good ratio, so we had to choose one to go. We re-homed our other rooster and he has his own flock of hens to protect now. Reports indicate he is loving his new home.

    Barred Rock Rooster

    This guy, he’s gorgeous. A little quieter, and a little gentler. He is also larger — a dark, almost imposing figure in the coop.

    So it was finally time to name this guy, and I think I selected a good one: Rochester.

    Named for the hero of a favorite Gothic novel, Jane Eyre.

    Now, is it time to name the hens?

    {Moments of Inspiration}

    {Moments of Inspiration}

    “Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them;
    for those experiences have left an indelible impression,
    and we are ever and anon reminded of them.”
    ~ Henry David Thoreau

    Our farmhouse table, made from reclaimed wood

    The farmhouse table came to nearly 10 feet long, made from old pine beams that were once rafters in a church built long ago here in Virginia. Now to find enough chairs to go around it…

    Yarn Along – Marshmallow Fluff Cowl

    Yarn Along – Marshmallow Fluff Cowl

    What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

    Yarn Along Dauntless and a Cowl

    I’m preparing to start a new cowl with this Marshmallow Fluff pattern, probably my last of the season as Spring has officially sprung and it’s time to move on to outdoor projects. But one last knit is always a good idea. Also, I’m reading Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman. This is my first book from this author and I’m still not quite sure what I think of it, check back soon for a review!

    Joining Ginny at Small Things.

    Yarn Along – Seed Stitch Cowl

    Yarn Along – Seed Stitch Cowl

    What I’m knitting, and what I’m reading

    Seed stitch cowl

    I really enjoyed this easy pattern as I joined my family in a backwoods Kentucky cabin for a weekend. Easy to knit and chat, set down and pick up amid other goings-on. And I do love the look of the seed stitch, as easy as it is to create. I find that it makes to a tightly woven cowl, especially compared to some of the drop-stitch cowls that I’m used to wearing. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. And, more than anything, I now have a lovely cowl to wear with so many of my black work clothes to keep me warm in my frigid office.

    Seed stitch

    And I’m still reading Persuasion, because I like to savor the reading of any Jane Austen and because I can hardly keep my eyes open to read at night these days.

    Joining Ginny at Small Things.