Amy Beth

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pictures of Motherhood

mothers

From The Forgotten Photos of Mothers – Mashable

I loved this collection of photos of mothers around the world. Taken over 50 years ago, they show a piece of shared human experience that can be so easy to forget. Motherhood can feel like an island at times, but then images like this remind me that there are so many others, both now and who have gone before, that actually know just what I’m going through. It also reminds me that what I’m going through is mostly snuggles.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

An Intro to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Are you read for some extreme tidying? No wait, wrong question. Are you ready to CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Yeah, I don’t know if I am either, but had to start this whole endeavor off with a bang. Let’s get excited! About decluttering!

If you’re lost, let me back up. This past summer I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Even then I was a little late to the game. EVERYONE was talking about it. I was skeptical that it could really be life changing, but I was intrigued at what made this book such a hit. And I was also sick of all the clutter in my house.

So I read it. For a book about decluttering, it’s a pretty enjoyable read. The author has just enough quirkiness to keep things amusing, while still doling out some practical advice. Now, I’ve read many a blog post and magazine article about how to clear the clutter, organize your house in 15 minutes a day, and become a minimalist in 100 easy steps. I was surprised to find that the KonMari method (the name given to the method outlined in the book) actually has some unique specifications and tips. If you’re really serious about decluttering, then I suggest you read the book, but here’s a quick recap of those things that make this book a bit different than what you may have read before.

  1. It’s better to declutter all at once than just a little bit at a time. So many other decluttering gurus say to break it down in to manageable chunks and do a little each day. Marie Kondo says to just go for it. All the way. She says that when you make it a BIG EVENT you get to enjoy the benefits much sooner. This gives you more motivation to stay decluttered. Forever.
  2. Declutter by category, not location. This makes a lot of sense. You can’t accurately get a handle on all your stuff if some of it is hidden away. For example, you can’t tell how many writing utensils you have if you have pens scattered between the bedroom, kitchen, office, your purse, and at the bottom of the junk drawer. You have to gather them all together before you can decide what to keep and what to discard. in a similar vein…
  3. Store things according to category rather than frequency of use. For example, I have a small collection of cords in my desk drawer. My husband has other cords in a box in his closet. Some cords are kept in camera or laptop bags. However, any time I need a cord I can never remember where I keep that particular cord and I end up looking in several different places. But if I kept all the cords together I would know there was only one place to look. Every time.
  4. Keep only those items that “spark joy.” This is really the central rule to her whole system. You are supposed to physically handle every item you own during the decluttering process and sort it into “keep” or “discard” based on how it makes you feel. She claims that you will be happier if you are only surrounded by things that give you joy. It’s a rule that sounds lovely, but probably the one I have the most trouble implementing. It feels a little impractical to me.

This book also has it’s quirks though. There were a few things while reading it that I thought were either a little strange or just unhelpful.

  1. Along with the whole “spark joy” rule, Marie Kondo is a little out there about the things in our homes. She talks a lot of “waking up” your belongings so you can see them more clearly. She encourages thanking the things you decide to discard so you can release them to the world without guilt. She talks of a certain way to fold socks so they are “at rest” in your drawer. It can be a little odd.
  2. This book is written from the perspective of a single woman living alone in a small Japanese apartment. She doesn’t really address some of the big issues that many American families have like garages full of stuff, or baby gear that you feel like you should keep for future children. I guess she would say that you should still ask “Does this spark joy?” But I kind of wish she had spent more time addressing things like the craft closet rather than cosmetic samples and spare buttons.

Despite it’s oddities, I still found the book to be pretty inspiring and motivating. I also feel like it gave me some very clear steps to follow. So, although it took me about 6 months to get going, I’ve officially started Tidying My Home. Updates forthcoming.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The last days of pregnancy

The last days of pregnancy — sometimes stretching to agonizing weeks — are a distinct place, time, event, stage. It is a time of in between. Neither here nor there. Your old self and your new self, balanced on the edge of a pregnancy. One foot in your old world, one foot in a new world.

From The Last Days of Pregnancy: a place of in-between

This is a lovely article describing the last days of pregnancy, and really, I think a good descriptor for the whole experience of waiting on your baby to arrive. A state of not-yet-a-mother but not not-a-mother. It’s a life changing event on a personal and emotional level even more so than a physical one, even though the physical is what our culture seems to be most preoccupied with. It’s nice to see such understanding and patient words put to the experience.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Poppy turns One!

You guys. My poor Poppy is already suffering from 2nd child syndrome.

happy

Well maybe not suffering.

Anyway, her birthday is the week before Christmas. This year it also happened to be a couple of days before we left on a two week trip. While each year I’ve planned a small but fun themed party for Charlie (one, two, three), Poppy’s first birthday was decidedly less involved.

crown

But there was a pipe cleaner crown.

pie

A banana cream pie.

presents

And a few presents that Charlie had a hard time leaving alone.

And of course, lots of adorable smiles.

mama

dada

poppy

Happy Birthday my sweet Penelope!


Linking up with Tina and many others at Tuesday Talk!

Friday, January 22, 2016

These Days // 22

Hello friends! (Acquaintances? Complete strangers?) It’s been a few weeks. Or months. The holidays were FULL and we are just now starting to settle back down and find some space, literally and figuratively.

family

Here are some highlights:

Celebrating: All the things! Poppy turned one. (ONE!!) Chris also got a year older. There were also multiple celebrations of Christmas with various combinations of family members. Is it a blessing or a curse that about 3/4 of the gift giving I have to do in a year happens in the span of 3 weeks?

birthday

Traveling: a lot! This Christmas took us on the longest trip we’ve taken as a family of four. Or maybe ever. Two solid weeks of visiting family. Long, but worth it. My extended family all live quite a ways away, so we got to see many of them for the first time in years.

family
With my grandparents.

Clearing: out the Christmas decor. I love decorating for Christmas and the added cheer our Christmas tree brings to the living room. But I also love how much more spacious our house feels once it’s gone.

christmas lights

Building: some new habits. We’ve started off the new year trying to get some more solid routines down for our family. We are building them up slowly, but the changes we’ve made so far have been good. My favorites? Making sure I’m dressed and ready before breakfast and a toy cleanup time before dinner. Little things, but they are making certain parts of our day a lot less harried.

playing

Recovering: from a cold that hit all of us toward the end of our trip. It made some more miserable than others, but we all seem to be mostly back to normal now. I think I need to look into some immune boosting supplements. Right now, if one person in the family gets sick, it feels like a two week process for it to pass through the whole family and make its way out the door. It would be nice to nip it in the bud a lot faster than that. Any suggestions?

I’m hopeful that the new year will bring a bit more time for blogging. I already have several post drafts in the works and even more post thoughts in my head. We shall see!

Until then!