Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 2

This is part 2 of my series on my quest to tidiness.  You can find part 1 here.

But you see, lately, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as zen in an untidy environment as I used to.  I’m feeling myself being slowly but surely pulled towards needing my immediate environment to be tidy in order to function better.

So now, the question is: how should I go about becoming tidy knowing that it has to be:

  1. easy (well, relatively easy)
  2. quick
  3. sustainable

I realized that the best way to keep my house tidy and easy to clean was to have less stuff.  If I have less stuff, then it’s simpler to find a spot for everything (so it’s easier to put things away where they go).  If I have less stuff, then it’s easier to dust/clean/vacuum because there are less things to move around.  If I (and the kids) have less clothing, then I’m less likely to be stuck with ridiculously large amounts of clothing to wash because I won’t be able to wait as long between loads of laundry.

I realized that the best way to keep my house tidy and easy to clean was to embrace minimalism.

So I started researching ways to gain control over all of the stuff in my house.  Now, there are a plethora of books, blogs, articles, documentaries that address the issue of minimalism.  After a fair amount of research, I found one book that had a method I found really interesting.

The book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  It’s author, Marie Kondo presents what she has dubbed the “KonMari method”.  It’s basically a two-step process:

  1. Declutter
  2. Organize

I know, I know, you guys are probably saying :”well, duh, didn’t you know that already?”.  But the important bit is that you have to declutter everything before reorganizing your stuff.  One of my problems, being a perfectionist, is that I try to do everything at once.  But that has never worked out for me because it’s just too much to handle at once.

The other major point is how she approaches the act of decluttering.  You see, instead of tackling this task room by room, she had found that going category by category is a much more logical approach.

Following her method, I will be tackling my decluttering in the following order:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (misc. like DVDs, electronic devices, hobby stuff, cleaning supplies…)
  5. Sentiment

She works from what she has found to be the easiest to let go of to what is hardest to let go of.  Since each category is divided into sub-categories, it means that it’s something that very doable even with a baby, a toddler and a 4 year old running around the house.

I’m going to start working on clothing this week, sub-category by sub-category until I’ve reached the end of the list.  Then, I’ll tackle my kids’ clothing.  After that, I’ll be able to move on to the next category.

Guys, I’m ridiculously excited!

Look out for part 3 where I’ll go through the process of decluttering with more detail and talking about the “rule of thumb” to help decide what to keep and what to let go of.

Are you a minimalist?  How did you go about it?  How did you proceed?

 

Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 1

For those of you who don’t know me very well yet, let me tell you a bit about myself.  I can appear to be full of contradictions.

I am, for instance:

  • Untidy but organized;
  • Calm yet intense;
  • An avid procrastinator and and equally big perfectionist

When I was a child (and a teen…and a young adult still living at my parents’ house), the state of my room would drive my mom nuts.  Like seriously nuts.  I still remember one instance in which my room was so untidy that even my dad came downstairs to help me regain control over it.  Eventually, my mom decided that in order to save her own sanity, she’d ask me to keep the door to my room closed.

But you know what?  I could find anything in my room.  It was an organized mess.  My mom once told me that she had trouble organizing her thoughts if the physical things around her weren’t in order.  In my case, I had to organize what ever was going on in my head to be able to organize the things around me.  Since I can be kind of intense and get into a whole bunch of projects at once, it would take quite a bit of time before my head was organized enough to be able to tackle my room.

I’ve never had trouble living in an untidy environment.  If you were to come into my house without previously announcing your visit, you’d probably wonder how I can find anything (or walk around without stepping on any toys, or sit on the couch without sitting on any clothes, or, or, or…).

I’ve always been able to totally chill even if there were some dirty dishes (or clean ones that had to be put away).  I’ve never had a problem with seeing loads of clean laundry sitting in the hamper, waiting to be folded and put away.  Floors needed to be swept (or vacuumed, or mopped)?  Bah!  It can wait.  Table needed to be wiped down?  Meh, I’ll take care of it later.  Bed not made?  Who cares, I’m going to sleep in it tonight anyways!  Clothes littering the floor (right beside the hamper, I might add)?  Not a problem, I mean, I’m going to pile them on the floor on Saturday to wash them anyways.

You get the picture, right?

But you see, lately, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as zen in an untidy environment as I used to.  I’m feeling myself being slowly but surely pulled towards needing my immediate environment to be tidy in order to function better.  I realized that this change has kind of creeped up on me since having my first child.  I mean, it’s not just me that I have to organize now, I need to organize my days with the kids as well.

But, you know, I think I’ve found a solution and I’m going to share it with you…in part 2.

Are you a tidy person or do you live in an organized mess?  Have you always been that way?

Posted in Blogging, Write for me Wednesday

Write For Me Wednesday: Couple Time: Squeezing In Some Stolen Moments

Today, I’ve got another great post for all of you and it’s all thanks to Ghezzi.  Ghezzi is a contributor at Pregg.net.  She is a work at home mom doing freelance writing and graphic designing. She has a daughter who is 5 years old and doing pretty well in preschool. Her hobbies are arts and crafts, collecting scarfs and surfing Pinterest.

Couple Time: Squeezing In Some Stolen Moments

Taking care of the kids, going to the office, preparing meals, visiting the doctor, doing the laundry, are just few of the things that keep us busy. Where could we squeeze in some quality time with our partner? Well, here are some ideas to help you out:

  1. Drop the kids off to their grannies. At least once or twice a month bring your children to their grandparents so they can spend quality time too. I’m sure kids will enjoy staying there while you and your husband are out because most grannies are spoil-ers. If your parents are miles away and they get the chance to visit you or vice versa, then grab the opportunity.
  2. Make every time together a quality time. If your husband drives you to work, or when you watch TV at night after a long day, or when you go to the grocery store, you can turn those ordinary days to special moments with him. Add something that can make it extra ordinary like playing your favorite music while in the car, having coffee together before going to the grocery or serve a special wine while watching TV.
  3. Take a shower together. Should I elaborate more?
  4. Hold hands while walking. Sounds cheesy, huh.
  5. Work on a project together like remodeling your living room, or deciding where to go for the next family vacation.

These are just few things to help you get an extra special time with your partner despite the busy schedules. Having these “extra special” moments will not just make you have fun together as a couple but the main point here is to keep the fire burning in your relationship.

Do you have other ideas in mind you want to share?

 

Ghezzi

Momblogger@

http://www.pregg.net

 

Thank you so much Ghezzi for this wonderful post!  It’s so true, finding quality time with your partner once you have kids can seem daunting, but there are indeed some simple things you can do.

Posted in Parenting

Love takes time…or does it? Bonding with your baby.

A mother that has trouble bonding with her newborn is a delicate subject, but an important one. Rachel over at mummy flying solo has bravely come out and made a point to talk about it. He view: trouble bonding does not mean trouble loving. She is looking for other mamas who, like her, have had trouble bonding with their baby. If you feel up to sharing, please contact her, she is looking for guest posters who are willing to recount their story (under the cover of anonymity). Please reblog/share her post, I think that the more people this reaches, the better.

mummy flying solo

I have wanted to write this post for so long but I have really struggled with the content. I know there is something important here to talk about but I have been frightened to put it all down.  I’m mostly frightened because I don’t want for my son to one day read this and think that for one moment in his beautiful little life that I didn’t love him because that is not true at all. 

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Posted in Parenting

Waaaay Past Annoyed

First off, I apologize in advance because I am about to launch into a rant.

Those of you who have been following this blog for the past month, will probably have an idea of the issue I am about to address.

I just got back from the pediatrician’s office.  We went back in two weeks after his previous visit because Charles has had more allergic reactions to food.  My goal was to at least get a script for an epipen in case his next reaction turned into something worse than hives.  I also wanted a RAST test (which requires blood to be drawn) to be prescribed so that I could know exactly what he is allergic to right now.  That way, I can be more certain of which foods (besides dairy) to avoid.

Here are the salient points from our appointment…

1.  The pediatrician won’t prescribe an epipen because he’s too young.  To further argue her cause, she cites that he has “only” had hives so far.   “Just don’t give him the foods he’s reacted to (duh!), keep some benadryl with you at all times (double duh!) and bring him to the ER if his reaction is more severe (triple duh!)”.  So if my 7 month old stops breathing on me after eating something then I have to drive 20 min. to the nearest hospital.  Excellent.

2.  We’re also not getting a blood test done.  I can’t really cite the reasons; by that time, I had decided to learn from her and ignore what she was saying.

3.  When she asked me to repeat which foods he’d had a reaction to, I recited them again.  Mentioning that I was certain about an allergy to dairy, tomato and cantaloupe and was still unsure about wheat, eggs, fish and blueberries.  She nods her head and asks me how old he is (what, you mean you didn’t take a few minutes to read his file before calling us in?!?).  7 months.  And then she goes on to scold me because supposedly he’s too young to be having fish, eggs and dairy.  WTF?  Since when?  It’s not like I gave him nuts.  And it’s not like I had any idea that he’d have a reaction in the first place because neither my partner or I have any food allergies.  Besides, I didn’t know when I started solids that his eczema was most likely a sign that he was reacting to something that was in my milk (more on that in the next point).  In her opinion, my son should be on cereal, fruits and veggies.  Good thing she doesn’t know we’re not doing purées!  Also, the introduction of solids, much like every other aspect of parenting, has many many many schools of thought.

4.  I told her that I’d read that his eczema might be a result of an allergic reaction to the lactose he gets through my breastmilk because I eat dairy.  I went on to add that I was meeting with a dietician tomorrow so that she can help me with an allergy elimination diet starting with the removal of all milk products from my meals.  The pediatrician tells me that I should definitely be removing not only dairy but anything else that my son has reacted to so far as though it was the most obvious thing in the world (let me remind you here that the last time I went – two weeks ago – she had asked me if I’d had to remove anything from my diet since giving birth and when I said ‘no’ she didn’t suggest that dairy was one of the things that was probably causing my son’s bad eczema).

5. As seems to be the case with our recent appointments, she kept focusing on his eczema.  So, I ended up getting a prescription for a moisturizing cream, another prescription for a cortisone cream for his body, another one to control his itchiness and a reminder that the cortisone cream we already have at home is for his face…

Basically, we’re going to be treating the symptoms instead of the cause until our appointment with the pediatric allergist comes up in October and hoping that his hives stay “just” hives to avoid a trip to the ER.

I’m really hating our health care system right now.  I know that the grass only looks greener on the other side of the fence and that no matter where I’d go, I’d have to face different challenges, but the grass is looking pretty yellowish to my eye on my side of the fence right now…

OK, rant over.

Posted in Parenting

Nursing A Teething Baby

A couple of weeks ago, I encountered on of the many bumps that come along with breastfeeding: nursing my teething son.  Now, you see, I’d already gone down the road of having a teething baby at the breast, the difference is that last time around, my son hadn’t already cut teeth.  This means that while he was nursing (for comfort or for hunger) and gumming down quite hard, it didn’t really hurt.  This time around, though.  Oh.  My.  God.  Ouchies!  He would be happily nursing when all of a sudden…pain.  Two little daggers digging into my tender skin (and I had the teeth marks to prove it!).

I would break the seal forcing my son to unlatch and say “no, don’t bite mommy”.  Then, I would wait until my son realized what was going on (meaning, I would wait the few seconds it took him to get frustrated because he wasn’t attached to my breast anymore) and then let him latch on again.  I did this every time he bit me for three days.

To be honest, at the end of the three days, I was sore, afraid to nurse and pretty much ready to give up on breastfeeding because it didn’t seem like the message was getting through to my son.  Remembering, however, reading about someone else’s woes regarding her breastfeeding situation where someone suggested that it was never a good idea to decide to quit when you were feeling annoyed, I decided to see if there was something else I could do to help things along.  I figured that I would make up my mind when I felt rested and relaxed and could really think through the pros and cons.

I therefore turned to the wonderful ladies in the breastfeeding support group of Baby Center.  They offered many suggestions which I would like to share with you!

1.  Once you say “no” and latch your baby off, give him something to chew on for a couple of minutes.

2. Give her something to chew on 10-20 min before nursing.

3. Don’t act like you’re in pain because some babies find that funny.

4. Put him in his crib or on the floor when you gt him to unlatch and walk out of the room for 30 sec or so that way he doesn’t associate biting with getting extra attention and a fun reaction from mommy.

5. Be consistent with what you say and do when she bites, chances are she doesn’t even realize that she’s biting the first times.

6. Instead of breaking the seal yourself, bring his face close to your breast so that he unlatches himself.

I suspect that what works depends on your baby’s age and personality.

Ironically, since posting that thread, my son has stopped biting (and his top teeth have finally cut today!).

How did you handle nursing a teething baby?

Posted in Parenting

The Waiting Game

This morning, I dialed the number that my son’s pediatrician had jotted down on the post-it she stuck to the allergist referral she gave me yesterday.  I did not hold for a very long time on the line before hearing the receptionist’s greeting.  After a brief exchange of formalities, I explained why I was calling.  She then proceeded to ask me quite a few questions to open up a file on my son for the hospital.  Among the questions, she asked what my son had had a reaction to.  I told her, specifying that Little Dude had only been on solids for three weeks.  The lady, then gave me some instructions to follow.

For our appointment, I need to bring all of the fruits and vegetables my son has had an allergic reaction to in separate ziploc bags, taking care that there is no cross-contamination.  This means that I am really going to have to give my son just one food item at a time for a given meal.  The rest of the food, they have at the hospital.  I was also instructed to make sure that my son is not given any anti-histamines for a whole week prior to the appointment.  This includes benadryl and means that I will only be feeding my son food that I know he won’t react to for that whole week (no introduction of new foods in that period of time).

Then, she gave me the date of the appointment.  It’s going to be on the 30th…

…of October!

Yeah…that means I get to play detective for the next five months or so.

Good thing I have my blog to keep track of everything he ate and everything that happened.  I also decided to start a spreadsheet so that I could log my son’s reactions to different foods.  I have a tab per month and have a column for each date.  I programmed it so that if I write an “o” (as in OK) the cell will turn green and if I write a “n” (as in No) the cell will turn red.  This will help me greatly in discovering the offending foods and will allow me to see a pattern emerge (if any).

I’m actually hoping that by the time the appointment comes around, there will be no allergies to be seen and the allergist will chalk it up to me being over-worried.  But I’m not holding my breath…

Posted in Infant, Parenting

How To Stump A Pediatrician

For those of you not following my blog on BLW, here’s a small recap of what has gone on so far.

We started BLW when my son turned 6 months old – nearly 3 weeks ago.  Seeing as neither my partner or I have any food allergies, we dove right in and avoided only foods that had a high risk of triggering an allergic reaction like nuts.  Things were going really well until I noticed one day that my son had a pretty gnarly rash on his lower face and forearms.  At first, I brushed it off as being an eczema flare-up, a decent assumption given that I only noticed the redness the following day after an overnight change of temperature from cold to hot.

The thing is, though, the next time I gave my son some yogurt, I wiped him down, sat him on his playmat and, when I turned around to start cleaning the table, he started screaming.  I looked at him and immediately noticed this his lower face, cheeks and the inside of his arms were bright red with little white bumps all over.  Enter Benadryl…  Eventually, I put two and two together and realized that my son was reacting to dairy, or, at the very least, yogurt.  Reading up on it, I found that it wasn’t uncommon for babies to have trouble processing lactose and that this reaction could just be the result of his system not being mature enough to handle it.  ‘No matter’, I thought, we’ll just wait a few months before reintroducing dairy.

Then, he had a reaction to tomato – the second time he ate it only.  I thought that it might be because the second time around it had been in contact with an acidic dressing, but I still decided to err on the side of caution.  Henceforth, I would only introduce one new food at a time.  I made some fishcakes.  New ingredient: panko bread crumbs.  I did not want to use the other breadcrumbs because I read in the ingredients that it had been produced in a plant where they also use milk ingredients (yeah, you can say that I was overcautious…).  The first time he ate some, he was fine.  The second time he ate some, he was fine.  The third time…the third time he had an allergic reaction.  His lower face was bright red again and some bright red patches with little white bumps had crept on his back as well.

Damn.

So…where did that leave me?  I had (read: have) no idea what my son can eat.  I mean, seriously, why is he fine one day and not the next?  So, I rang up my pediatrician’s office this morning to see if I could get an appointment and perhaps a referral to an allergist.  Her office was very accommodating and found a spot for me today!

Well, after spending about a quarter hour in her office, she was stumped.  At first, she thought I might be mistaking an allergic reaction with eczema.  I suppose, however, that after asking me the same question about five different ways and getting the same answer from me, she realized that I actually was able to distinguish the two (don’t fault her for asking in so many ways though, she was being thorough!).  What also confused her was that I hadn’t changed my diet since giving birth.  She told me that, according to what she knew, my son shouldn’t be reacting to food because he hadn’t had any reactions to the proteins that were in my milk.

Eventually, she took out her prescription booklet and a post it and told me that she would be referring us to an allergist at a children’s hospital.  I’m calling tomorrow to get an appointment.

In the mean time, we are going to continue solids and I will be jotting everything down.  That way, I will have a mine of information by the time we are able to see the specialist.

Posted in Parenting

Note To Self

1.  You are not perfect, but you are perfectly capable of taking care of your son.

2.  Parenting life is like a bouncy ball: what goes up, must come down…and back up again!

3.  You are allowed to cry.  In fact, you will cry.  Embrace the tears when they come instead of holding them back.

4.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength.

5.  Life would be boring if your son was happy 24/7 😛

6.  If you’re tired, TAKE A NAP if your son is napping.  Screw the chores!

7.  Parenting can be the most thankless job in the world.  Thankfully, it can also be the best job in the world.

8.  Get out of the house.

9.  Just because you can’t see the sun on a rainy day, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

10.  By all means read up on parenting, but keep listening to your heart.

11.  You love your son, unconditionally and he loves you in the same way.  That’s all that matters.

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