37.

Black Friday has taken our family by storm. We were at Toys ‘R Us this morning and picked up a Diaper Genie and a baby gate, both 50% off. We then ended up at Home Outfitters and got a 60-piece dinnerware set for 66% off. When we got home, the shopping continued with CMFR’s 30% sale. After mulling it over all morning, I got a 1-year subscription to Darling magazine. You can get 25% off with the discount code blackfriday15! Parental Christmas presents will likely be purchased today also. I think we have shopped enough for the rest of the year…

  
As for Andy, he continues to strengthen his legs this week. He can now stand unassisted for quite a long time, and he is learning also to slowly lower himself down from standing instead of just releasing and falling. I sometimes find him testing himself, letting his hands go a little from whatever he’s holding on to. 

  
He also gives (really wet) kisses liberally. And sometimes leaves his mouth open for long periods at a time. It’s funny but also kind of strange. 

A cool thing from last weekend – we went to the Fat Goose Craft Fair and we picked up the sweet print below from local company Ironclad Graphics. I had bid on it during a silent auction but was unsuccessful so I was thrilled that I actually was able to get one! We also got this absolutely delicious mix from Janie & Pamalamalas to add to cream cheese for dip. I can’t stop eating it. 

  
It’s going to be a busy weekend, and then we are into December next week! How time flies!

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Podcasts I love

I had never been one for podcasts or audiobooks, or AM radio. Perhaps it had something to do with my affinity for visual stimulation over auditory input. Friends kept raving about Serial and This American Life, but nothing really compelled me to give it podcasts a try.

However, that all changed when I stumbled upon Limetown earlier this year. I listened to the first episode and I was hooked.

From there, my love for podcasts has ballooned into something ridiculous. I share what I’ve been listening to constantly (probably to the dismay of many of my friends…) and every spare moment I get, I listen. The tedium of household chores – of folding laundry, cleaning the bathrooms, and washing dishes – becomes that much more bearable when I’ve got something interesting that I’m focusing on instead. I have podcasts playing whenever I’m in the car, and Andy and I have been going on some longer drives so that we can both enjoy more of the activities that we love (podcasts for me and nap time for him).

I’m still exploring the podcast world, but here are a few that I’ve been listening to regularly:

Limetown
The podcast that started it all. Something mysterious happened in Tennessee that involved the disappearance of a few hundred people. This podcast follows Lia Haddock as she uncovers the story of what happened.

The Lively Show
My favourite podcast. Jess Lively hosts this show which is all about “adding a little extra intention to your everyday”. She brings guests on to talk about values, life, business, and pretty much everything I love. I actually didn’t enjoy this show when I first started, but Jess has won me over! Plus I emailed her a little while ago and she is such a sweet person to correspond with.

On Being
For the intellectually and spiritually curious. I’ve had On Being on my RSS feed for a while but never listened to their podcasts until recently. Hosted by Krista Tippett, this is a podcast that looks at Big Picture topics and makes me think a little more about what life does and should look like.

TEDTalks (audio)
Ideas worth sharing. Because who doesn’t love TEDTalks? I like these shorter segments that range wildly in topic and that keep me current.

Timothy Keller Sermons Podcast
Continually challenging me to live a more gospel-centered life. We have had nothing but good experiences reading Tim Keller’s books and we make it a point to attend service at Redeemer whenever our visits to NYC fall on a Sunday.

The Simple Show
A glimpse into what life is like for some really awesome people. Most of these people are people I’ve never heard of, but I love the content and the spirit behind what it is Tsh is doing in her show.

Stuff Mom Never Told You
For women navigating the world. This is a hilarious but also informative podcast that dives into a plethora of things to do with living, loving, and learning as a woman. They touch on so many topics that resonate with me, with (not so) occasional tangents.

I also haven’t finished Serial yet, so I’m in the process of doing that.

I’m always looking for new podcasts that might be interesting, and I’m trying to broaden my horizons and learn about fields that I normally wouldn’t engage with much, so would love some recommendations!

36.

New fascinations this week: the cloth laundry hamper, and the spring doorstop behind all the doors (and I mean all the doors). 

  

The week started off pretty exhausting, but it has ended on a high note. We had some rough nights, and finally decided last night that it’s okay for us to just turn off the monitor (on our end) when we go to sleep. The development milestones continue to pile on, the pinnacle of which was when Andy stood unassisted for the first time yesterday! On the food front, he had mangos and yogurt for the first time this week. 

With colder weather imminent, I am on the lookout for options of things to do with Andy to replace some of our outdoor walks. We have every intention of bundling him up on some days, but on other days, we just need somewhere else to go. This will likely include going to various library branches (different board book selection!). Also, we took Andy to try out baby gymnastics this morning and it was a lot of fun! He was the smallest kid by far, and he wasn’t able to do a lot of the jumping/running activities, but he had fun nonetheless. Considering getting a multi-visit pass for him. 

  

Last night, I started reading how not to calm  a child on a plane by Johanna Stein, and I must say that I am really liking it. It’s a bit on the crass side, but I guess that can sometimes come with being candid and relatable. I literally laughed out loud during a number of chapters, and I am hoping that if I hunker down for another reading session tonight, that I’ll be able to finish it. 

Believe it or not, Christmas is just over a month away, so preparations are beginning for that time of year. I should peruse minted in search of desirable layouts for our annual virtual Christmas update. I should start planning the itinerary for our trip to Toronto. And then there is the whole thing about presents. We really want to get Andy a teepee for Christmas. I’ve been looking all over online and though we found some good options, I’m also entertaining the idea of making my own? We shall see…

My planner

I love tech. I am all for integrating it into the classroom, and I love what the cloud has been able to do for remote access. That being said, there is something about a pen and paper agenda that just trumps everything.

I’ve been using paper agendas all my life. In grade school, I was given a new one each year by my teacher (you know, the ones with the clear “today” ruler/bookmark and the holographic covers), and when I got to university, I stuck with the same day-at-a-glance agenda that I bought each August. When I graduated, I moved to using moleskine’s weekly planner. 

Then, shortly after Kelvin and I got married, we started using magneto cal to coordinate our schedules. It is no longer available, which makes me sad, because I might have actually stuck to it had that been an option. We moved over to a shared google calendar after that, but I was not thrilled with all the notifications and emails amongst other things. Yes I could have turned those off, but I just found myself disregarding most everything I put into it. 

When I knew I was going to be going on mat leave, I decided to bring the paper agenda back. I looked online for inspiration about how best to organize it, and after playing around with different options, blending a number of journal styles (like passion planner and bullet journal), and testing for the last few months, I’ve come up with what works best for me.  

  
I am still a huge fan of the moleskine weekly planner, and have already purchased my 2016 planner already. You’ll notice that this particular one is red – in an attempt to organize my agendas I will be using a red hard cover one for every year that is a multiple of 5 (e.g. 2015). 

On the left side is a weekly view starting on Monday. At the very top of the page I have room for my top 3 priorities. Now that I’m not working I don’t really have a lot of super pressing priorities, but I usually have one or two each week.

I divide the space allotted for each day in two. On the left I write down appointments and on the right I put day-specific notes and tasks. The weekend is usually not as nicely delineated because I have less space, but it’s fine. 

On the right, I have four main sections:

  1. MEMORIZE: when I come across verses in scripture that I want to commit to memory, I write it in the next available week so that I have a new verse each week. Then, every time I open my agenda that week I practice memorizing that verse.
  2. TO DO: I keep a running list of tasks that I need to do that week which are not day-specific, with a checkbox beside it. One strike through the middle means a task is in progress, a full my stricken box means I’ve completed the task, and an arrow means I’m referring to next week. 
  3. NOTES: This is a catch all section for things I come across or need to remember. Mostly these are bullet points, but I also have an icon code specifically for notes related to websites, blogs, eating, priority, ideas and books. 
  4. TRACKING: I keep track of whether or not I’ve done my daily devotions and also how many times I go to the gym. Sadly I only went once on this particular week.

There are other nuances to how I record daily life via my planner, but these are the essentials. 

35.

It’s been a weird week. Andy has been really inconsistent with his eating and sleeping tendencies, which makes for lots of unpredictability and more nighttime wake ups than I would expect. That leads to grumpiness on my part and just a general lack of unattentiveness. I had a mini meltdown yesterday where I started to silent cry while feeding him his lunch, most of which ended up on the floor. He was crying too. It wasn’t pretty. 

Despite these moments of weakness, Andy  continues to bring joy and smiles. And he continues to pull himself up on anything. 

   
Yesterday, we decided to go on a family walk around our neighbourhood. Andy fell asleep in the carrier before we even left the house. (Tangent – I wore him on my back yesterday in the carrier and it made vacuuming SO much easier)

 One of the interesting things about living in a still-expanding subdivision is that there are model homes to visit. Both homes were new to us and one in particular really amazed us! There is something to be said about smart layouts. Having a big home with lots of wasted space definitely is not better than a smaller home where everything is well-used. Speaking of homes, Kelvin introduced me to House Tweaking earlier this week. Their home is probably my dream home. 

Another thing he showed me – all the beautiful swaddles at modern burlap, which we would more likely use as a wall hanging because we don’t swaddle Andy anymore. Such truth in these quotes! 

On the reading front, I’ve got a few books on the go. Just finished Shani Mootoo’s Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab and will be starting Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. A friend ordered Teach Us to Want by Jen Michel Pollock for me and I am enjoying the author’s candidness so far in this. Also reading Rick Richardson’s Reimagining Evangelism, which is giving me a fresh perspective on what it means to share my faith with those around me. Highly recommended! 

34.

The number of changes happening with Andy are unreal. He is pulling himself up to stand whenever possible, and when he’s leaning on something he can just hang out there unassisted for a short time. He is, however, starting to develop a bit of an attachment. If he sees me, he’ll crawl over and ask to be supported to stand.

Andy has also been getting into his bookshelf, so we’ve had to shift a few things around so the things he plays with often are at the bottom. This morning, however, he started pulling things from the top shelf, so it’s possible all this moving is in vain. If he wants something, he will likely do whatever it takes to get it.


Other favourites – Andy absolutely loves it when you play with him with blankets. Flapping them in front of his face, swiping them over his head…any proximity to moving fabric brings him great joy. This elicits the best giggles ever.

Lots happening over the next few days. We had a friend stay with us from Thursday until this morning and after having some university kiddos over for lunch today, we are looking forward to hosting more friends tonight! Whee!

Last but not least, we decided to get Andy a tray. He wants to touch his food all the time and the end of our harvest table that  he sits is at the brink of what it can take without lasting damage. We are trying not to give him mum-mums too often, but it is just so cute watching him feed himself!

Alright, off to put sheets in the dryer.