Highs & Lows – Week of February 13

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The week just flew by. It seems that as soon as Monday rolls around life is on fast forward as we cruise through the week to Friday right? We’re pretty much on a fixed schedule around these parts when it comes to day to day life which although kinda boring helps keep me stay organized and top of Margs’ needs and all the household stuff that needs doing. Mer has been up earlier than usual these days (thank you winter snowpocalyse) to head to work and is usually arriving very late into the evening thanks to traffic and snow mayhem so I’ve been sorta parenting solo all week.

On that note, I found it really helpful to talk about my highs & lows last week so I decided that I’d make this a recurring series on This Tiny Blue House. I really enjoyed sharing both my ups and downs with you fine folks but more importantly I loved reading yours.

So here we go – installment two!

Highs

[1] Valentine’s day was literally amazing. I woke up at 7am to find baby missing from her cot. I stomped down the stairs (my hips and feet are still messed up from bed rest) to find Mer and Margs sleeping on the couch. I promptly woke him up and told him he was going to be late for work (Mer is a sleepy sleepy guy – not a morning person at all) when he kindly informed me that he took the day off to be home with me and baby for the fine consumer holiday we call Valentine’s day.  So, not only did I get to sleep in but I got to take a nap late afternoon and lounge around with my 2 favorite people. It’s all about simple pleasures folks!

[2] Sleep training is working (most nights) and by consequence my sleep habits are improving too! Margs  usually only wakes up one time per night (a bottle of water and a back rub usually helps her fall back asleep promptly) but spends the entire night in her cot. This is such a game changer for us. Not only do we get to sleep in the same bed again but we’re both getting far better sleep. We’re just crossing our fingers that she doesn’t revert back to wanting to co-sleep.

[3] Mer surprised me with a Valentine’s day gift this year. At first I sorta looked at him strangely when he appeared with this red bag with hearts shmeared all over it. When I opened it I found this Weekly Planner and the coolest oversized mug. So, although we never buy gifts he decided to break the rules and buy me an agenda so I could have a place to keep track of all my blog post ideas (I suppose he was fed up of finding scraps of paper everywhere). The mug is precious and he bought it to replace my giant mug that we had to retire recently after our cat nose bumped it right off the counter.

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* I love love love this Weekly Planner. First, it’s huge which means there is tons of space to brainstorm, doodle and jot down ideas. Second, it’s super cheap as far as planners go – Mer told me that he had looked at a few at Walmart and Staples and that they were all in the price range of 20-30$. At roughly 8$ this is totally worth the money especially if you combine it with another item or two to score free shipping.

Lows

[1] Snow. Folks, it has snowed so so much over the last week. On Monday we got 30 cm of snow – the wet heavy kind that makes shoveling really hard. Then, on Wednesday we got another 20 or so centimeters making the grand total somewhere in the ballpark of 50 cm. It’s enough now, my body seriously cannot handle shoveling any more snow. We’re also stuck putting it on our property because this suburb doesn’t pick up snow – there’s honestly no room left on our front lawn. If you come driving down our street you cannot even see our front door – that’s how much snow has accumulated. We’re starting to get a little nervous about the spring thaw – flooding is a huge concern for us right now because this much snow is going to create a ton of water.

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[2] Locking myself out of my fucking house, not one but TWICE this week. So this house has a fancy key pad on the front door which means that I don’t have to worry about forgetting my keys (one of my recurring bad habits). Well, wouldn’t you know that the key pad refuses to work in -10 degree weather or colder. The first time we thought it was the batteries so we swapped them out – then it happened again. Needless to say I’m going to make it a point to bring my keys with me from now on. Thankfully, Mer was on his way home both times so Margs and I weren’t stuck outside in the cold for too too long.

[3] Dirty laundry. We’ve been dealing with blow outs pretty much all week. The extra bottle of water at night time means that Margs’ diapers are extra wet in the morning. I’ve been washing sheets, blankets and her cot mattress protector basically every single day this week. I’ll take it though – if it means she’ll sleep through the night in her cot and not in our bed, I’ll just deal. Eventually we’re hoping she wont need the extra bottle which will reduce her output at night time. There’s no way I’m waking my baby to change her in the middle of the night and risking having to put her back to sleep.

What are your highs and lows for this fine week of February 13th?

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How we’re dealing with social pressures and keeping things simple this Christmas

Christmas is 11 days away and for many, the pressure is on. Whether it be holiday shopping, baking or social engagements – the holiday season can get insanely stressful for a lot of people (us included). I wrote a post about our holiday traditions a few weeks back that dealt with how we deal with gift giving and traditions within our own home but I didn’t really discuss how we deal with social obligations around this time of year.

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Mer and I both have large extended families who graciously invite us over to celebrate and enjoy the holidays with them. Prior to Margs being born we’d often shuttle from one relative to another to celebrate Christmas and New Years. It was exhausting and stressful because we always felt pressured and couldn’t really enjoy our time at any one place because we knew we had to get up and get going shortly after we arrived.

Now, we’ve learnt to just say no. As grateful as we are for the invites, we simply have to decline. We much prefer to spend our holidays in one place and enjoy our time that way. We’re now able to truly enjoy our time with the people we are visiting and we love it that way.

We make or buy consumables as gifts. Shopping can be stressful and is very expensive. Often times, I’d be standing in a store looking to buy a present and would have absolutely no idea what to buy. Now, we usually gift consumables to our friends and families. I love to bake around this time of year and usually make four or five times the quantity of each baked good so that I can prepare small trays of goodies to bring to our favourite people. My go to cookie recipes include: lemon drops, pizzelle and zeppole. They are incredibly easy to make and are really quite delicious. I freeze each cookie as I make them and then just pop the quantity I need out of the freezer a few hours before they are needed – they are as good as freshly baked. Coffees, teas, chocolates and bath products are also favorites in cases where cookies or baked goods are not appropriate (We have a few friends with food intolerances).

We schedule and enjoy quiet time at home. There’s nothing worse than zipping through the holidays without any time to relax and just be. Mer is fortunate and gets quite a few days off around this time of year and many times he remarks that he got absolutely no time to relax and enjoy his time away from work. Now, we dedicate certain days during the holiday period as “inside days” – we stay in our pyjamas and do absolutely nothing (no cleaning, cooking or daily chores) but spend time together and enjoy these limited days when we can choose to avoid obligations like work.  This year, we schedule Boxing Day as a pyjama day – our plan is to order Indian Food and spend time together as a small family.

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The holidays don’t necessarily have to be stressful. We’ve fallen victim to social obligations so many years that we’ve finally decided to take back our holidays and choose to do exactly what feels right for our small family. This year that looks like Christmas Eve with aunts and uncles, Christmas Day at home and New Years Eve with friends. We no longer feel pressured to completely bust our budget by buying gifts or attending so many family gatherings that we spend more time driving than enjoying the people who are important to us.

The holidays are about both enjoying and relaxing and we feel we’ve found a good balance between the two.

How do you manage holiday chaos?