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Friday, October 30, 2015

hand made baby gifts

Life with Baby T has reminded how blessed and loved our family is.  People have been so thoughtful and have gone out of their way to show us how loved Theo is.  Perfect examples of this are all the handmade gifts he's received.  Handmade gifts just feel like getting wrapped up in love.  These are the booties, bibs, blankets, and sweaters Theo has been lucky enough to receive over the past few months.  

Booties from Grandma.  The ones on the left fit him for about a week and will get to live on his bookshelf as a testament to his short lived newborn size.  The ones on the right were made after we found out how big Baby T was.  When he wears them they look like little elf shoes.    

Bibs from a friend's mom.  Baby T just started eating some cereal (pediatrician recommended it for mouth motor skills), and so he got to wear these for the first time.  They are absolutely adorable, they cover up his whole body so food doesn't get on his clothing as easily, and they're machine washable!  They're also durable so I'm thinking we can use them again if we have any more kids.  

A beautiful quilt from my aunt.  I cried when I opened up the package the quilt arrived in.  My aunt is so talented, and to think that she spent so much time on a gift for our little baby - one that he'll hopefully hold on to for a very long time - is so special to me.  

A knitted blanket from Grandma.  My mom sent me a picture of this a few months before Theo was born, and it made his arrival seem much more imminent and real.  She also correctly predicted his sex and added blue to the blanket.  We use this blanket almost daily, and with any luck Theo will use it as his blankie in coming months and years.  

A knitted sweater from a family friend.  I also cried when receiving this at one of my showers.  I may have been a slightly emotional pregnant lady.  

And one last knitted sweater from Grandma.  My mom was finishing this present up during the week she stayed with us after Theo was born.  The stitches are absolutely beautiful, and I wish I hadn't miscalculated Theo's size and missed the window of opportunity for him wearing it.  Crossing my fingers for baby #2 having more time in it.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

maybe next year porch garden

And I'm back from a long blogging break!  The last time this happened I was experiencing really bad morning sickness.  Not so this time.  I just spilt curry on our computer keyboard, and we had to send it off for repairs.  <face-palm> 

Today in an effort to be better about sharing all stages of projects I begin, I'm posting about the end of my porch garden season.  It doesn't look nearly as nice as I would have liked, but I think there was some joy to be found in it even in its imperfection.  

I started the season off with gusto, but with having Theo in mid June, the garden really didn't stand a chance this summer.  Between spending my extra energy on my baby and making half hearted attempts to clean our apartment, I severely neglected the garden.  Pedro and Diego tried to make up for my lack of effort, but their gardening attempts usually involve eating lots of dirt and green tomatoes.  Even in these dire circumstances, some of my nasturtiums bloomed, the oregano survived a couple of weeks of no watering (oops), I harvested a cucumber, and the wildflower mix gave me a couple of flowers.    

Pedro, the gardening beagle.  Notice the lack of lettuce growing in the bed behind him.  That's what happens when beagles try to garden.  Eating dirt > letting lettuce grow.  

Maybe next year we'll do better porch garden.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

finding joy in tidying (final check in)

While enjoying delicious curry a couple weeks ago, I dumped a bunch of sauce on our computer keyboard.  And then half the keys stopped working.  <groan>  While the computer is being repaired, I recycled an old photo.  Thanks for understanding my necessary awkward blogger move. 
It's been a little over a month since I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and began to organize our apartment.  I didn't finish everything within my allotted month (didn't really expect to), but I made really great progress.  Our apartment feels lighter, it stays cleaner, and I enjoy spending time in it even more.  My mind feels less cluttered in our house.  

I've been continuing to clean stuff out, but I lost a lot of my momentum when I got to the tougher things.  Papers were exhausting to go through, I realized I have a big emotional attachment to lots of my old mixed cds, and things just stopped feeling straight forward to clean out.  But I found this list of stuff to get rid of and that has been helpful for making a game plan for the rest of the apartment.  

Here's the final list of things I cleaned out/organized during my month of cleaning: 

- All my clothes (in closets, dresser drawers, and storage under my bed)
- My accessories, jewelry, shoes, jackets
- Our pens 
- Our towels and linens
- All of our books (including cookbooks)
- Some papers (including all my financial, student loan, and medical papers)
- Front closet 
- Pantry
- Tea
- Movies
- Art supplies (what a task!)
- Night stand 
- Dishes and serving stuff 

Marie Kondo says that you should clean stuff out in a specific order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, photos/memorabilia.  I learned in this challenge that "miscellaneous" is way too big of a category, and if you don't have a list of things to go through in a specific order it's really easy to get stuck and give up.  She has some things in her miscellaneous category, just not enough for me.  Because as this challenge taught me, I have waaaaay too much stuff!!  

A few other thoughts about tidying up since my last update: 

- Embarrassingly I noticed that I have duplicates of some things because I bought things I already had at home.  I just didn't remember I had them because I have too much!  How unnecessary.  I'm hoping that keeping things organized will help me remember what I have so I don't buy and consume unnecessarily.  

- I realized I had a similar problem with grocery shopping.  I would buy things we already had, then waste one thing or sometimes even both because I didn't have a plan for using them.  This challenge has surprisingly lead to less food waste, more effective grocery shopping, a better meal plan, and using stuff from our pantry.   

- One challenge of getting rid of stuff is actually getting it out the door.  I had gone through some stuff before Theo was born, and it's still sitting in a box in our basement waiting to be donated.  With this month's challenge, I've been more intentional about following through on tasks liking dropping clothes off at the shelter.  If I hadn't, boxes of donations would probably be gathering dust for another year until they just ended up in the garbage - or just as bad - coming with us to our next apartment. 

- Our house is staying cleaner (other than the donation boxes hanging out in random places).  My clothes are staying organized, and my bedroom and bathroom are actually less cluttered because i don't let my dirty clothes pile up.  Our mail also doesn't pile up as badly.  Overall our apartment just feels more awesome. 

 If these posts have inspired you to clean up your own space, yippee!  My recommendation is to have a game plan and to tackle your stuff in a specific order.  Set aside an average of thirty minutes a day for at least several weeks.  This helped me tremendously.  I don't think I would have made as much progress as I did, and I don't think my changes would have stuck if I had just done a little here and there.  Committing to it as a project was a big part of my success.  And finally, don't be afraid to just jump in.  The work I've put in as paid off ten fold in the level of enjoyment I experience in our house.  

Good luck!  And thanks for reading!

More reading: Finding joy in tidying up (first post), Tidying check in #1

Monday, October 5, 2015

oscar romero painting

Life's little coincidences and serendipities can be very special.  One such seredipity happened recently with the painting above. 

I created the painting about eight years ago for a mentor at my college.  The painting depicts Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered in 1980 by the Salvadoran government while saying mass.  I had painted it as a thank you for helping with my Jesuit martyrs painting project, but unfortunately I forgot to take a picture.  My mentor moved to Central America, we lost contact, and I thought that was it - never seeing that painting again. 

And then a couple weeks ago someone from my college mentioned seeing a painting I had done of Oscar Romero.  I tried correcting them saying the only painting I had ever done of Romero was a gift, and there was little to no chance it was the same painting.  But amazingly it was the same painting.  My mentor had come back to the college for a visit and gifted the painting to campus ministry.  And eight years later, I have a picture of my Oscar Romero portrait.  I'm hoping to get an official picture taken so I can make prints; we'll see how that goes.  

It feels appropriate that this painting would come back to me (in a way) while I'm working at a center named after the Archbishop.  Life is funny sometimes.  

For more information about Archbishop Oscar Romero and his recent beatification, click here