Monday, 19 November 2012

Combating the Drearies

After returning to standard time, I'm finding myself feeling rather dreary. It happens every year and tends to carry on for a couple of months. Given my history of depression, I wouldn't at all be surprised if I have some form of seasonal affective disorder. I say this not as an excuse, but to recongnize it as something to overcome.

In the spirit of overcoming my dreariness and the berating voice in my head, I'm taking note of all that I have accomplished so far today.
  • I got out of bed on time and had a bath. 
  • The girls made it to the bus stop with time to spare, full bellies and looking decent. 
  • I took the clean clothes upstairs and set them on their owner's respective beds to be put away.
  • I changed the crib sheets.
  • Little Guy had a bath. (That's never fun because he hates being wet.) 
  • I snuggled with Little Guy after his bath. 
  • I cleaned the bathtub.
  • Little Guy and I went outside for a walk and stayed out for half an hour. 
  • We had lunch. 
  • I've cut the paper for a card order that's to be delivered on Wednesday. 
  • I vacuumed downstairs. 
  • I've changed the cat box.
I have an hour and a half until the girls get off the school bus and Little Guy is still sleeping. I plan too:
  • Wash the dishes.
  • Cut vegetables.
  • Put away all the food stuff I bought at the bulk store yesterday.
  • Cut up and freeze the half pork loin in the fridge.
  • Start dinner.

So, the kids are all tucked into bed. I did manage to complete my list. I still have to clean up from dinner and work on the card order, but there is no other clean up because I did it all earlier before I vacuumed.

Want to know what I've realized? The more I manage to get done, the more I want to get done.

It's often a struggle to work up the gumption to do anything. It's so much easier to doze on the couch or sit at the computer looking at pinterest. But when I start doing something that makes a noticeable difference, like clearing a flat surface and putting all the junk away, it makes me want to do more. Over the past two months I've really been working at improving the way our house looks - getting rid of all the stuff we never use that just takes up space and setting routines that have me doing chores like dusting, sweeping and vacuuming every week rather than waiting until it looks horrendous. I do a load of laundry every day so it doesn't pile up on my and the kids aren't asking for clothes.

Hallway Shelves

I've also been making good use of the newly found space that is staying clean. I put up some shelves in a hallway that usually becomes an overflow of clutter. This accomplished a couple of things: the items I needed near the kitchen but didn't have room (or was forever moving around in the kitchen because I needed that space) now have a home off the floor. The floor stays clear because the shelves are there. The shelves are organized by dollar store baskets and containers so it's less tempting to stuff as much as I can on a shelf. We now have a school work basket. There is a pencil box with pencils, crayons, colored pencils and a sharpener in it. All homework and papers that need to be signed go in the box right after school. This has helped tremendously! No more asking me where their homework is, can I have a pencil, will you sharpen this, etc.. Our fresh fruit basket no longer has to sit on the kitchen table in the way; it has a spot on a shelf. Same for the bread, cookies and granola bars. Having all of those things off my kitchen table makes meal time easier and helps me keep the kitchen table neat.

Clean Floor

A couple of weeks ago I went through the kids' rooms and basically overhauled them. Little Guy's room had become a storage place because all he does is sleep in there. The girls had become so overwhelmed by all the stuff in their room that they couldn't find a starting place to clean or organize their room. The dresser and a shelf still need to be dealt with, but they now have a clear floor to play on and shelves for their toys. They spend a lot more time now playing in their room. It's so much nicer that having them wander around downstairs saying, "I'm bored; what can I do?"

Toy Shelves

When the drearies hit, I'm hoping that I'll have enough sense to look around my house and see the progress I've made by doing a little each day, and that I'll get off my backside and get to work. And the days where that's not quite enough to get me going? I'll list the things I have accomplished, however small they may seem. You see, I finally realize it's those little things that make the biggest difference in our family's lives.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Time Flies

This year is just flying by. I can't believe we're nearly half way through November already. It seems like just yesterday Kiddlet was in kindergarten and Little Guy was brand new. Now Strong-Willed One is 9 years old, Kiddlet is in 2nd grade and Little Guy is 2.

Summer flew by this year; it was a busy one for us. The girls were in day camp at our church for all of July and they did 3 different vacation bible schools in August. They loved every minute of it. I also ventured into the world of home canning this year. I started with nectarines. Then it was peaches. Oh, the peaches! I had bought a bushel of peaches to can and learned that the girls both love fresh peaches. They were eating 5 and 6 peaches a day, each. I happen to live around the corner from a wonderful Mennonite market where I was able to get a half bushel of peaches for about $12 while they were in season. I must have bought 3 or 4 bushels of peaches. I canned 12L of peaches and then started making peach butter. I made a lot of peach butter, mostly because the peaches would ripen so quickly they were good for little else. Turns out, I love peach butter. It is so much nicer than jam and contains considerably less sugar than jam.

After peaches were no longer in season, I went to a farmer's market with one of my sisters-in-law and picked up a bushel of tomatoes, half a bushel of assorted peppers and a few other things. I made tomato sauce and more salsa than I thought we would eat in a year. (Turns out, Strong-Willed One loves the salsa and we've already gone through half of it.) The tomato sauce tastes so rich; I never knew it could be so good! I contemplated buying more tomatoes and making enough sauce to carry us through winter, but realised that my family needed me more than we needed homemade tomato sauce, so I let that idea pass. Although, I also did applesauce last month.  I definitely want to do a bigger garden next year and more canning.

Strong-Willed One and Kiddlet were very happy to go back to school and see all their friends again. They both like their teachers and are doing well. Little Guy spent the first week or two the girls were back in school wandering around looking for them. Boy did he miss them at first! He's adjusted well, but still is very excited when the school bus stops in front of the house and lets them off.

Husband is still travelling for work, although he did work locally for most of October. We really enjoyed that. Now that I am done canning for the year, I'm working on de-cluttering and organising the house. The more I manage to do, the more I want to get done. There is something so satisfying in watching unused items leave the house and seeing clear spaces where there was nothing but piles before.

I'll leave you with a few images of the kids. The first is a video of Little Guy playing with one of his birthday presents.

Little Guy doing "what's going on" and getting rice all over his head.

Here are 2 pictures from Halloween. Kiddlet was a koala bear and we didn't know what to call Strong-Willed One. Little Guy was a monkey, but he refused to wear the hood that has the face on it.