Friday, November 19, 2010

Perfection Project - spread the word

Is it time to get realSingle Dad Laughing's message really hit home for me (and for so many others).
  • Can I acknowledge the bad as well as the good in ourselves and others?
  • Can I ask a friend how she is and listen to more than "Fine"?
  • Can I be honest, in public or private, about my struggles and fears as well as my successes?
  • Can I stop comparing my inside to other people's outside?
I'll start being honest and say, "I don't know if I can."  There are so many things that seem too painful to share.
I bet it takes a lot of practice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Climbing disposable mountain...

Now that both Alex and Nadia are out of nappies, I've cleared the various caches and shelves and made a collection.  Look at that!

I feel a bit sick actually.  Like being caught sneaking ham onto my plate when I've been a vegan for 15 years.

That's almost 60 nappies and pull-ups - a huge shopping bag brimming over.

Obviously these are the last from packets we bought but didn't use.  Behind (haha) that substantial pile lingers a much higher ghost pile of the other packets and their contents that went used into the landfills.
We really did use mostly cloth, but over years even one or two a day really piles up.   And as far as I know, the groundbreaking nappy composting technology isn't in our neighbourhood yet.
We can't change (wow, the puns are everywhere) the past, but we can look at our choices today that seem small but add up over time.

For example, I do buy some individual serving products for the kids' lunchboxes.  Not a huge number, but it wouldn't be that hard to buy the full size snack packages and use packaging I already have to keep them fresh. On one hand, as with the disposables, I've been excusing myself since it isn't a large part of our lifestyle and our overall waste stream is quite low.  On the other, I bet I could do the same embarrassing photo shoot for waste packaging if I tried...

Is there one small change you could make in your purchasing this week that better represents your hopes for our environment?  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When it's crucial and you know it, ACT like it!

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa...guilty guilty guilty! 

Ultimate sin
Wanting something, telling people you want it, perhaps even writing about wanting it...but never doing enough to make it happen.

My biggest desired improvement is in my fitness.  But I haven't been acting that way, and my fitness has gotten even worse.

Walking the talk with priorities
Prioritising is a crucial skill for a successful life.

I therefore pledge to make fitness my highest priority.
I will do my exercise first and other things afterward.
My fitness is more important than:
  • the housework
  • relaxing and reading a good book or the internet
  • emails
  • La Leche League (sorry, gals!)
  • this blog (yah, already did my workout first)
  • routine family duties
After this morning I have another addition - if I come back from exercise and the house is  messier because DH is handling everything on his own, that is worth it too.
Family and other emergencies
OK, that last one is a toughie - we all know there are things that we can't and don't want to avoid.  But most things are simply a distraction, and other things can be worked around with some imagination.

For example, it is lovely that my kids want to join me on my precious morning walks, but Miss 2 almost 3 can't keep up the pace I need and all my exercise time is taken up in a frustrating stroll.  (Mr almost 6 can outrun me without breaking into a sweat.  He's welcome to come along to set the pace.)

So this week when she wanted to come with me, I popped her into my Ergo pack and did one hill with her as a free weight - that was a great workout and she loved it!

What about other responsibilities?
The exciting truth - I have more energy to do things after I've exercised.

How about you? Are your important things getting the attention they deserve?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nappy free babies

No more nappies
With a slightly odd feeling, I just unsubscribed from BabyOnline's email list for specials.  With not much fanfare, Nadia has toilet-trained - night and day.  Thereby adding weight to the old saying that girls are easier than boys.  Alex still gets woken up for a late evening pee stop and is still known to have an accident every once in a while.
In fact, there wasn't much training involved.  She's preferred to use the toilet for more than a year now, and on her own she has simply stopped peeing while asleep.
Fantastic - I am super pleased!  But after almost 6 years of nappy changing it is funny to be done with it all.  Now I just need to think who needs a few nappies and pull-up pants.

Warning - the dangers of co-sleeping!
I've been a fan of co-sleeping since before Alex was born - most health professionals exaggerate the dangers, ignore the benefits, and prefer blanket bans (pun intended) instead of sensible safe co-sleeping advice.  Nadia still sleeps with me and I love the time I have with her. 
But it's time for the does have its dangers.
I have a very sore and bleeding hole in my lip from a head-on collision in the dead of night.  I never even saw her coming, officer.

She's so cute, she's bound to get off with just a warning.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back to basics - decluttering!

I feel much happier when I have a decluttering project on the go.  Will I end up in a house full only of echoes from empty rooms?  I can only imagine!

With storage - less is more!
Aha - an awful clutter corner in my boy's room.  Here's the before shot. (Look in the centre, between bunks)

It's an awkward narrow space between the end of the bunkbed and the wall.  I'd made it even worse with tall set of 5 coloured baskets and a small wooden bookshelf with the reading lamp.

The baskets held mostly clutter, dust, and some book overflow.  Did I mention we have too many books?  Baskets seem to be clutter magnets and they are hard to find things in!  
We need storage for stuff, but storage can also encourage clutter - you spread items around more, toss things in when you are short of time, and the storage itself is taking up space.
I knew this was the problem here - bye bye baskets!

More flattering angle, but the baskets are gone...
It wasn't quite as simple as that but it was astonishing how few keepers were taking up so much space.

Those books are some of their favourites (Dr. Seuss and Lynley Dodd) and now anybody, no matter how short, can get one.

As so often happens, it looks better now and will keep on looking better because I can keep it clean!  I can get into the corner, vacuum, reach under that end of the bed - sweet success.

Very glad to be back in the decluttering saddle...hmmm, what next?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Five ways to maximise your holidays!

The stores already have their Christmas (pardon me, holiday) displays out, and the Santa Parade flags festoon Tamaki Drive as you cruise the waterfront.  I bet we're not the only ones.

So it's not too early to prepare for the festivities - the stores know what they're doing and your holiday success depends on this too.

My earlier post discussed the commercialism of the holidays, and how you can choose celebration in a different style.

1.  Focus on people, not stuff
Your gift shopping doesn't have to be the biggest part of your journey.  Spend some time (not money) thinking about what your most important people would enjoy the most from you.  Odds are, you won't be able to buy it at the mall.

Kids love to see, anticipate, and unwrap presents - I don't suggest denying them that!  But the more presents, the less memorable each one is.  And quite young children get simply overwhelmed once their nose disappears under a sea of wrapping paper.

2.  Plan for healthy holiday food (I'm drooling already).
If you think that holiday feasts must mean compromising your healthy, earth-friendly, budget-conscious goals, click that link up there.
  • If you like vegetarian food, or always secretly liked the stuffing better than anything else, you're in luck!
  • If you eat meat, there are better choices out there.  Make no mistake, cheap meat means cheap and nasty.  Buy quality instead of quantity.

A traditional Christmas meal doesn't have to be a heartstopper.  And if (like me) you have a summer Christmas, what about changing the tradition and sharing a seasonal light but lavish banquet with lots of fruits and salads instead of roasting yourself with ovens and boiling pots?

Everyone will feel better for your efforts once the holidays are over!

3.  Enjoy your decorations - but maybe don't deck the halls?
Holiday decorations add a lot to the feeling of celebration.  Keep this in perspective, though!  If decorating with everything you've got has become a chore, have a think about using only your favourites in special spots like entryways and family rooms.  With the first festive impression, your visitors won't notice that every corner isn't full of holly.

4.  It really is the thought that counts
Nobody wins when present-giving goes bad.  Having a dollar value placed on the love you feel is a dangerous step.  Most of us can't afford to exchange expensive gifts, even when we care deeply about another person.  If you feel pressure to spend more than you can manage because you expect to receive a costly gift, perhaps now is the time to open a discussion with the person involved.

The discussion might be a bit awkward if you have to suggest a big change to your habits, but less so than a post-holiday credit hangover or hurt feelings when expectations are not met.

5.  Remember the truly needy
For a real holiday buzz, do a lot of giving to people who really need more.  You know which charities you wish you'd donated to during the year - they could use your help a lot more than anybody on your list needs more stuff.  And some people on your list would enjoy choosing their favourite charity for you.

If you have time, spend that time volunteering for those organisations!