Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Life in a Nutshell: Minutiae

My mind for 5 minutes this morning:

“Please finish eating, N, it’s almost time to go!” Don’t forget to put fruit snacks in K’s backpack. “Please give this t-shirt to your teacher so you have it when it’s time to dye for your pow wow.” Must start the dishwasher so we have plates for lunch. Is it nap time for the baby yet? He’s getting fussy. “OK, baby, don’t cry! I’ll get you out of that high chair!” More spilled milk? That is the second day in a row K has done that! “Please get a wiper and clean that up. Be more careful next time or we’ll have to go back to sippy cups."” Don’t forget to re-wipe that when she’s done. Put lunch in N’s backpack. And sign her day planner. Is M awake yet? Does he have any long pants in his dresser? Did I put away the kid laundry or is it still in the basement? I don’t remember. “N, let me brush your hair. There. Now get ready to go. I can’t walk with you today but I’ll wave out the front window. You can scooter. Your gloves are in your helmet. Have a great day… love you!” There’s M… he found some pants. “Your breakfast is on the table, bud.” Wave out the window. “Please get the broom and clean that cereal up before someone steps on it and the mess is bigger.”Shoot! I forgot to give N her asthma meds before she left. But I can still dose M. “M! Come here, guy! Drink that. Now the nose stuff. Now do your puffs.” I suppose now would be a good time to dole out some vitamins. Is everyone done eating? Now run the dishwasher before you forget. Oooh, and switch those rugs into the dryer. I wonder if the toothpaste came out. Grab that bin while you’re in the basement so you don’t have to run down again. What are you going to cook for dinner? Fussy baby. “M, can you please give the baby a toy? Thanks, guy!” Better sweep before that cereal migrates to the carpet. But he did a pretty good job this time, didn’t he? Oh, it’s gooey! That’s right, the milk. Where’s that dish rag? What is this paper on the floor? Someone’s homework? Better ask before you toss it. I better make some breakfast for myself soon. Don’t forget to call Cindy. Check the calendar for next week first…

As I ponder my life as it is and why I generally feel overwhelmed at this particular time, I am coming to the realization that it isn’t over-commitment that is causing this feeling like my brain will explode. It’s just that I have an endless train of minutiae chugging through my head, and it doesn’t need to stop to refuel. I have some ideas about how to combat this necessary aspect of mothering multiple youngsters, and I’ll share as I figure it out. But right now I had better go deal with some more tiny tasks before they cause a problem…

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Product Review: Ott Lite Daylight CFL Bulb

My mom has been talking about Ott Lites for a while now. All I knew, until very recently, was that they were supposed to be great for seeing true color… generally marketed to quilters trying to match colors. But they are soooo expensive! The lamps sell anywhere from $50 to $300, depending on the model. The bulbs, specific to that brand, were also very expensive. I had never seriously considered buying one for myself.

But I just happened to be at the fabric store when they just happened to be having a major sale (surprised?), and all the Ott Lite merchandise was 50% off. When I walked by, I noticed the bulbs. They actually had ones that worked in a standard socket. I could get a 100W incandescent replacement CFL for $7.50. That’s still expensive in my book, but for my basement work room, I wanted to try it out and see if it was worth the hype. I bought 3, just in case, and planned to return them if I wasn’t $7.50 thrilled with them.

When I got home, I removed the CFL that was in my cutting table pendent lamp and put in the Ott Lite. I flipped the switch and it was a glorious moment where a skylight opened into my basement and poured forth heaven’s rays on my work surface (cue the angel choirs).

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OK… it wasn’t quite The Rapture I make it out to be, but it was still pretty flippin’ AMAZING. It really did feel like natural light. My doctor had suggested a sunlamp to aid with seasonal depression and vitamin D deficiency in our cold wintry northern clime, and I think these will help make me happier chugging away at projects in my subterranean studio this winter, if only because it reduces the feeling that I’m in a basement. Ott Lite doesn't make any claims to better health other than that their light reduces eye strain, so I’m guessing that studies haven’t proven any anti-depressant qualities. But I’ll keep you posted about that. In addition to better light, these bulbs have the same benefits of ordinary CFLs… much cheaper, less energy waste as heat, longer life span. Ott Lites also have a 1 year manufacturers warranty against defects. I am so satisfied with my new light source that I can honestly say it was worth every penny, and would have been at full price too. But I might go back and snatch up a few more while they’re still half off :)

*Update: I haven’t even posted this yet, but it was waiting for publication when I heard this from OttLite after a Facebook discussion where a friend mentioned that she was hoping OttLite bulbs would help with seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.): “...Believe it or not, Dr. Ott worked with Johns Hopkins using our lighting for S.A.D. patient treatment so although we can't legally make medical claims, I think OttLite might really help you…” Cool! Not a claim, but it might. Which is better than not, eh?*

Monday, October 17, 2011

Off the Shelf: Organizing for your Brain Type

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So, I just checked out the  book Organizing for your Brain Type from our local library. After reading the back cover, I didn’t bother reading the intro or taking the quiz to determine my brain type… I knew immediately which I was. I read ‘brain type’ as ‘temperament’ (as I discussed here), and it was really helpful and edifying to finally understand why sanguine people like me function the way I do (though it feels like I don’t function right now!). Sanguine types, the “innovating style” of brain type, are energized by new projects but struggle to fully complete them, frequently have stacks of stuff all over the place, have trouble remembering appointments, lose things, etc. Perhaps I’m generally a high functioning sanguine, but it’s all a rouse… deep down I’m a mess!

This is the first book that I've seen that actually acknowledged that some people simply cannot stick to a classic routine. It offered practical tips to make life less stressful and create systems that will actually work towards a more organized life. I crave flexibility, and right now I’m trapped in a non-negotiably rigid schedule with the school kids and baby naps, so I feel a bit like I’m suffocating. Since my husband is also a sanguine personality type (we do have a lot of fun together!), it was extra helpful for me to see ways to make our life and home better for him too. I'm desperate for a working system for our house and schedule since I'm drowning in commitments, papers and “stuff”, and this book was really encouraging. Thank you, public library.

I can’t speak for the usefulness of the advice for other “brain types”, but if you are a creative type, I'd highly recommend Organizing for your Brain Type as an essential read. A+

Friday, October 7, 2011

Get Crafty: Waldorf Doll

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My girls have always always been interested in animals. Nary was a baby doll to be coddled in our house. Until recently, that is. My 7 year old adopted a baby boy doll from her 4 year old brother about the time our new baby was born in April. This doll was named Triceratops despite being fully human and having zero horns on his face, and he has become a favorite plaything. I was thrilled to see her exhibit compassion to a human thing (you know, sometimes you wonder). After this, they girls began talking about me possibly making a cousin for Triceratops for my 5 year old. Certainly!! I want to encourage play mothering so they will be good babysitters when they are old enough, so I began researching Waldorf dolls.

Then I ordered supplies here. I used their tutorial for creating the head. I embroidered the eyes and mouth, and Mary Kay provided the sweet pink cheeks. I used this pattern for making the body (scroll all the way down to find the link to the pattern). I eyeballed a knit onesie and made a basic hat to keep her warm until I obtained brown yarn.

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I read this post before adding the hair, a lovely multitonal auburn wool I found on clearance at a local yarn shop. And then I found a vintage doll slip via thrift shop to keep her decent until I sew some dresses and other outfits (that is the fun of having a doll, right?). I plan to help my daughters sew some clothes too as an educational experience, since they always sees me sewing and are very interested.

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Yep. I think she’s a keeper.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Life in a Nutshell: Newborn No More

My beautiful baby boy is 6 months old! How did that happen?
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(He’s posing on my Disappearing 9 Patch quilt… blogged here and here).
Hope you have a nose-wrinklingly wonderful day!