Monday, January 27, 2014

story in pictures: chicken house remodel

Sorry its been a bit quiet here recently. Our In Real Life has been unquiet and therefore keeping me away from here. Here is just a small taste of what we've up to as we move into a new season for this family: kids in school! (More on that once I get a chance to sit with it.) So on with the story in pictures! 

Last Spring, the paint job!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New year, New rhythms

It seems that every January, once we rest off the holidays, we end up embracing the same ideal rhythm. This rhythm usually dies by summer and while we think about instigating it again when "school" starts in the autumn, it takes us until January to get back here. I say "usually", but as you all know we've moved twice, had a couple babies, added pets and changed jobs since coming out this way. These things have a way of demanding and creating their own rhythms. What I'm thinking about specifically is my personal, ideal schedule. My waking routine with yoga, pet and garden care done before the kids wake, healthy eating habits, energy left after the kids go to bed, real life face time with my partner, handcrafting and all the other things that go into feeding my soul. How do these disappear first and so quickly when our rhythms adjust to meet the newest change?

I'm sure some of you keep different schedules to coincide with the longer daylight hours and on holidays, but my question for you is, how do you create daily rhythms for your family when every day is different?

We have a stable bedtime routine. It's as consistent as the sunset: it happens but at a different hour every day. My ideal morning practices are wonderful, but some days we have to take dad to work before dawn, others 2 hours after dawn. Some days we rush off to our morning activity after dropping off dad, others we take a nap before heading out. Some days start with letting the chickens out, others with the baby waking first. I try to squeeze in 10-15 minutes of yoga before lunch and aim to get the kitchen clean right after dinner. (I am not keen on sharing my house with unwanted insects.) 

Emagene is a rock star helper with small chores like dusting, picking up to vacuum, emptying the dishwasher and loading the washing machine. Aoife, however, is not quite there yet. I wear her during our busy home keeping days so she can be a part of things. Sadly, squatting to empty the washer with a baby on is wearing on my back. So instead I find myself rushing around like a maniac during the baby's morning nap just to get things done, often with big sis watching Disney junior videos when she's not able to help with the pressing chore of the day. I am starting to feel like Mama Bear from the Bearenstain Bears Trouble with Chores.

So, how do you do it? Are you able to balance the needs of the house with the joys of childhood? Squeeze in a little reading for yourself? Remembering to make self-care and relational maintenance a daily priority? Do you have a secret you can share with those who visit this page?
I have to remind myself everyday to be flexible. The dishes can wait a half hour while I play princesses with my preschooler. The TV will stay off when the paints are out. Dusting can be done by the Dusting Fairies, while having a dance party (momma hates dusting. least favorite chore.)
The Dusting Fairies can be a little mischievous and actually create more work in the long run, but that is the way of the Faery Folk.
Mopping is part of playing Cinderella, complimented by dress-up ball gown. Food prep will be messier with little people helping, but it will be more fun and the dog picks up most of the droppings.

If not helping mince mushrooms, at least those tiny princess toys are rubbery and don't mind being stepped on
And while I don't always enjoy being a climbing gym while stretching, I do enjoy my kids embracing yoga as a fun daily activity. The quiet meditation or soul-food reading must wait for the quiet miracle of reasonable bedtimes and daddy working late.
I do long for the stability of a grown-up job schedule which would grant me a couple hours a week to do my own solitary thing, but we just aren't there yet. Date night is an even more distant dream. I'm grateful that this family is in the habit of making each others dreams come true. Knowing that, reminds me that we'll get there. Everyone will have a chance to do what they need. At the moment I get 1 guaranteed night every 4-6 weeks to feed my soul with other like-minded friends (typically with kids in tow). Any other soulfood moments are a pleasant treat and thoroughly appreciated.

Feel free to share experience in the comments below or on Facebook.