Organization, Efficiency, and Motherhood

Ever since Oscar was born, I've become extra efficient and even more organized than I was before. I had time management down pat - or so I thought. Now? I feel like my time management skills have been thrown into overdrive. 

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How so? Well, everything kind of has to be planned, in a way. Going out involves ensuring we have a packed diaper bag. Getting ready for work includes packing my pump bag, lunch, and Oscar's bottles. There's a lot to get done, and not a lot of time to do it in (especially if I want to get in play time with my cheery buddy before bed!). 

There's a few things I do to make sure my days and nights run efficiently. Most of them are common sense and work for any working person. Some of it's assisted by my bullet journal, and I have a whole post in the works about how the journal has been helping me be better and keep track of pretty much my whole life in a way my day planner didn't.

  1. Outfits for work get planned out for the week. This just makes it easier for me in the morning. I just grab one of my pre-set outfits and throw it on. For some of those sleepless nights, this gives me a little more time to sleep. Or more play and cuddle time with Oscar before we have to get ready to go.
  2. I shower at bedtime. With a pixie cut, it does mean some rewetting and combing of the hair in the morning, but it saves me 15 minutes every morning. Which is time I'd rather spend cuddling the baby, talking with Allen, and eating breakfast. 
  3. We tag-team mornings. Since we're nursing, I feed Oscar while Allen gets ready for the day. Once he is ready, Allen takes over and gets Oscar dressed and downstairs while I get dressed, do my hair and makeup and brush my teeth. We trade off daycare drop off and pick up each day.
  4. I keep up with meal planning, and cook at least once per week using our crockpot. Planned meals keep me from having to think about what is for dinner tonight, or tomorrow. 
  5. I also plan lunches. My lunch is basically the same every day: sandwich, fruit, yogurt. If it's not a sandwich, it's leftovers and fruit. Snacks are trail mix, fruits, or granola bars. Breakfast? Cereal and almond milk, Van's brand frozen power waffles (protein!) and almond butter or peanut butter, or homemade cinnamon bread. 
  6. Speaking of lunches, they get packed up the night before so all I have to do in the morning is put it into my lunchbox with a couple ice packs. Easy peasy. And I can pack lunch while dinner cooks - making use of that 15 minute cook time!
  7. I have mastered the fifteen minute tidy, but I don't stress the small stuff. My goal is to keep the house tidy. I do a deep clean every week or two. I've KonMari'd my clothes and I don't stress if everything doesn't get done every day. As long as lunches are packed, Oscar has milk bottles, and everyone is happy, life is good.

How about you - what do you do to stay organized?


Three Months of Motherhood

Oh heyyyy!

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So this little man is now 3 months old. Time is FLYING!

I'm more and more starting to feel like I'm getting the hang of this mom thing. Or just being a mom. I know how Oscar cries when he is hungry and when he is tired. I know what he does when he is bored and when he just wants to be held and to snuggle. 

In the three months since I became a mom I've also learned a lot about myself. Motherhood has made me incredibly efficient. I don't spend a lot of time dilly-dallying anymore because I really can't. I have to be efficient with my free time, even more since I went back to work last month. 

Now, I thought I was efficient before. But nope. Now I combine as many tasks as I can into one block of time to get it all done. Cooking dinner? I'll prep Oscar's bottles and get lunches made for tomorrow while I cook. Clothes get picked out the night before (most of the time). I've started showering in the evening, which sometimes means I have crazy hair in the morning, but that's nothing a little water and a comb can't fix, right?

Really, all of my "chore" time is spent so that my free time - while Oscar is awake - can be spent enjoying time with him. When he goes to bed I catch up on my reading, my bullet journaling, and get things ready for the day ahead. 

There are days when it's overwhelming. It's new! But I'm trying to figure it all out. I still haven't entirely figured out how to get a good workout in, but that will come soon enough, right? For now I'm working on trying to walk, lift free weights I have access to, and enjoy what my body still can do. 

I'm still absolutely loving being a mom. It is, for me, one of the most wonderful things I've done. 


The word for 2016: Open

So in 2015, my word of the year was grow. I wanted to grow as a person and grow in other ways. I wanted to approach a multitude of things in life with an attitude of growth. 

That being said, 2015 was a year of growth. In 2015, I grew as a person. I stopped caring about what other people thought of me (for reals, it only took me 29 years, y'all). I grew in my beliefs and morals and values. I didn't grow this blog - I ended up deciding to take time away from it when I realized I just wasn't enjoying what I was writing, in an attempt to find my voice and grow as a writer. That worked, and I'll be writing more on that later.

2015 is also the year we decided that it was time for our family to grow, too. A few days after our second wedding anniversary we learned we were pregnant with Oscar, and we were thrilled. I grew in many ways during my pregnancy - and not all of them had to do with growing a baby. I had to determine what kind of parent I wanted to be to the little one I was carrying. Note: I'm still figuring that out and he's been on the outside for 10 weeks now. Small steps, right?

In December I started bullet journaling - another topic I hope to write more about it. I love it. It's a great way for me to keep track of my day to day without feeling overwhelmed, and while I fell down on it during Oscar's first month of life, I have been pretty intently keeping it up ever since. It was an exercise in growth and practice for me, the girl who has kept multiple day planners since high school. 

Which brings me to my word for 2016, only very nearly three full months late (though it's been at the forefront of my every day since the first of the year): Open. 

I'm not very spontaneous. I am open-minded, but I am a planner. So this year I wanted to shake things up a lot, and decided that my word would be open. Why?

Well, because I want to be open to possibilities. More open-minded. Open to new things and new plans. To being spontaneous. The one thing everyone tells you about when you have a baby is you need to be open to rapid plan changes. Sleepless nights. Open to more love than you may have ever known possible. I've found for  me, all of the above has been true. I know that this isn't true for everyone, but it has been for me.

I'm also trying to be more open to whatever may come this year. So far, it's shaping up to be a wild one: I never thought I'd be a mother of a near-term preterm infant (I had to be open to plan changes very early on this year!), and I can't wait to see what else comes from 2016. 


Two Months of Motherhood

It's been a while. 

I know. You see, one of my plans for the New Year was to get back into blogging regularly. I chose my verb for 2016 (which I plan to blog about soon!), and was all set to start posting regularly, starting the second Monday in January. 

And then? My water broke. Four weeks early. On January 8th, we welcomed Oscar William into the world. He was six pounds, one ounce and nineteen inches of adorable perfection. 

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Now it's been two months since that day. Ten weeks. Ten AMAZING weeks. As I type this he's sleeping, and I am chowing down on some Ben and Jerry's dairy free ice cream (delicious, y'all). I knew motherhood would be amazing, but I didn't realize I would find it this amazing. I mean, I kind of really like being a mom. Like LOVE it. It's pretty awesome. 

In these ten weeks, I've gotten to enjoy seeing my itty bitty newborn grow into a little baby. A baby who grins and coos and cries and snuggles. He loves his playmat and watching the toys swing and jingle, and I love seeing how he interacts with Allen. 

There have been things I didn't expect about being a mom. I didn't expect that I'd learn how to fall asleep basically as soon as my head hit the pillow within forty-eight hours of his birth. However, the day he was born I was basically up for thirty-six straight hours (I labored overnight), and the only way to catch up on sleep was to fall asleep as soon as he was down. In the early days sleep when the baby sleeps was a mainstay in our house.

I also didn't expect that nursing would make me SO hungry. Like, I could eat all day some days and not be satisfied. Ditto the thirst. I feel like I'm always drinking water, juice, or almondmilk. 

And? When people used to tell me this time flies? I didn't believe them. At the same time, I tried hard to keep that in mind when he was itty bitty. I try to keep it in mind now. It seems to me like it was just yesterday that we were checking into the hospital to have our baby, and there are times I cannot believe that it's been ten weeks since that day. Ten weeks ago this week that I was pregnant and tired and hours later holding a squawking, adorable, light-haired, serious-faced little guy in my arms. 

Now that serious-faced little guy is still little, but has already doubled his birthweight? And he's added big, adorable grins to his facial expressions.

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It's love


Prepping for December Daily

December Daily Kit 2015

I am having just a little trouble wrapping my head around the fact that we are pretty much one week from December. Where did this year go?

It's flown, is really the only answer. I'm now very nearly into single-digit weeks away from having a baby, and we're celebrating Christmas in Cincinnati this year (I won't be able to travel). So I'm trying to get ready to do all the things December (or as much as I possibly can, all things considered). 

Which means I'm prepping for my 2015 December Daily album. I did a December Daily Album at the end of last year and had a lot of fun with it, so I'll be revisiting that effort for 2015, only this year? I have different plans for how I want the final album to feel. 

Prepping for 2015's album started with how I wanted it to feel, and is coming up on December with a good foundation. This year, I'm using  Ali Edwards' December Daily Main Kit and a red chipboard album as my base, and I'll use stuff from my stash to fill in my pages as the month goes on. 

And while I do plan each day to have its own story, I'm not putting together foundation pages, beyond the opening page (pictures to come!), and the first day. I don't want to be tied to any one specific thing I liked now, when it may not fit the story of my day when it comes down to it. I will be using Ali Edwards free intentions printable, along with a free Stitch in Time calendar printable as just some of my filler.

One thing I'm working on this year is better capturing the essence of December, and how that feels to me. I love my 2014 December Daily album, but at times it just feels like a long, scrapped journal. I want my 2015 album to better represent how this season felt when I'm looking back at it in the years to come. Is there snow? Sparkle? Glee? It's the last Christmas we'll celebrate as just the two of us, and I want to capture the essence of the holiday as it is now. I also want the book to feel more cohesive down the line, instead of just a random collection, which means every page will tell a story. 

I'm already looking for inspiration for the book - Ali Edwards website, Stitch in Time, and many others are all providing a wealth of ways to capture the essence of this season, and I'm working on paring down what will work for me, what I want to do, and what techniques I'm hoping to try as we get ready to celebrate December, Christmas, and all that comes with it. I cannot wait to get started on my December Daily, and see just what fun it brings for me as we celebrate the last month of 2014.