Friday, March 05, 2021

Be It Resolved: March 2021 Goals

I'm a little hesitant to write this post because I posted goals for March of 2020 and then the world as we knew it changed and goals were the last thing on my mind. I feel like I'm heading into a month of a little PTSD as I remember where we were a year ago. Are things better now? Maybe. At least we know (somewhat) what to expect. So with that caveat, here is my February goals recap and a few goals I'm setting for March.

1) Pick out January pictures for the calendars.

I did this in early February. I still love this photo of Rachel and I :)

2) Respond to blog comments within 24 hours.

I think I was doing okay with this and then I'm not sure what happened. I'm still trying to get better at this, but please know I really do love each and every comment you all leave for me.

3) Get my personal email under control. Right now I have 72 unread emails and over 300 emails sitting in my inbox. It's time to respond to them or file them as necessary.

This goal was awesome because it's a measurable goal. I filed a lot of emails, read a bunch more, and now I have no unread emails and only 73 emails in my inbox in total. I use my inbox as my "to do" so I still have a lot of things to get done but at least it feels somewhat manageable now :)

4) Get out for a winter hike each weekend.

We got out for hikes on two of the three weekends we could. (We didn't plan to hike the first weekend of February because of the readathon.) On the third weekend we were quarantined at home waiting for a Covid test result :( Our family is just so much happier when we can get out for a forest walk.

5) Organize the basement and the playroom.

I'm so excited that both of these areas got done! And done really well too!!! We cleaned parts of the basement which we likely hadn't touched in the eight years we've lived here. I know, that's gross but true :) We still have a few shelves to get to in the basement but I'm not stopping myself from saying that we rocked this goal!!!

Before:

 
After:
Don't they look so much better now? And some of the bigger stuff in the basement, we will put out on the curb when the weather gets a bit nicer and I'm sure people will take it.

6) Read non-library books off my physical TBR.

I did not read a single non-library book this month. I am going to put this back on the list for April. Why April?, you ask. Well, our province has moved our school break to April so I will have a week off work and hopefully, some extra time to read.

7) Do a better job of tracking my water intake.

I also didn't do a great job of this. HOWEVER, I am getting so much better at drinking water this year which is actually what I'm wanting to improve. So I'm going to count this goal as achieved, if that makes any sense.

8) Deal with loads of laundry within 24 hours.

I'm not sure I got them dealt with within 24 hours, but they definitely haven't been sitting around for days like they were before. There is still room for improvement but I feel like I've finally started to climb the laundry mountain :)

9) Deal with some ironing and my mending pile.

I finished my mending in about twenty minutes on February 3. It's really pathetic that it took up so much of my mental space for so long and then didn't take at that long to complete. And the ironing I finished on February 10.

And now for some March goals:

1) Pick out February pictures for the yearly calendars.

I'm sure you guys will get sick of seeing this goal every month but, until it becomes a habit, it will be staying on the list :)

I think this picture celebrating the kids being back at school will definitely make the cut!

2) Floss every day.

I'm so bad at oral hygiene. I haven't made making a dentist appointment a priority and I need to, but until then I can at least make flossing a priority.

3) Clean out our bedroom closet.

Our bedroom closet has become a bit of a catchall. There is an empty box in there for goodness sakes. It's from Dave's work computer, but does it really need to live in our closet? It's time for a thorough going through.

4) Clean out hall closet.

I guess March will be the month of closets. But you guys -- it's seriously time.

5) Go through "the box" of books.

Our friends gave us a box of books from their parent moving back in October. It sat in our playroom for months and now it's been moved down to the basement. I really just need to go through it and determine if we want to keep any and get rid of the rest. If I don't add it to a monthly goal, it won't get done.

6) File our taxes.

The sooner we file our taxes, the sooner we get a refund. The big block to this is always getting all our papers together. Ugh. I hate that part.

7) Go through Rachel's clothes.

As a part of cleaning out the basement, we found a few boxes of hand-me-downs which Rachel is ready for but now her clothes don't all fit in her drawers. She has a small-ish dresser but it's time to get rid of some. 

8) Figure out Sam's birthday party (and present).

Last year Sam's birthday was two weeks after everything got shut down due to Covid. I'm hoping things will be open enough, or the weather will be nice enough, that Sam can celebrate with a few friends in person this year. I really don't want him to have to have TWO Covid birthdays. Also, do you have any great suggestions for a 12th birthday present? I am stuck... (PS. I asked Sam what he wanted and he doesn't know either.)

Sam, last year, shortly before his birthday. 

I'm keeping my March goals simple, mostly because I know I will be working all this month and it's going to be a lot just to stay on top of all the life things happening -- Sam's birthday, Rachel has some extra dance happening, and we have to keep pushing through another five weeks of school without a break. Let's do this!

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Currently: March 2021

As has become my new tradition on the first Wednesday of the month, I'm participating in "Currently" with Anne at in residence. You can find her blog here. This month we're talking about what we're choosing, imagining, making, recommending, and wearing.

[choosing]

I never imagined that we would become puzzle people but we have discovered them since Covid hit and they are a nice way to spend some time. Almost every weekend since Christmas, we choose a puzzle to do. We've bought them all from a local small business and I keep wanting to get more. The 500-piece MudPuppy puzzles are our favourite.

[imagining]

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e7/cc/15/e7cc154585087863d304c68ed74f60dc.jpg

Lately Dave and I have been imagining travel when these aren't our only options! I'm sure you've seen this one before but I just loved it. Also, a few different people have sent this to me and I can't find an original source.

[making]

The other day I made banana muffins with chocolate chips. I'm also making a lot of pots of tea right now! Other than that, we've been "making" progress in getting our house more organized and getting rid of things we're no longer using :)

[recommending]

I'm recommending that everyone buy some tulips to remind us all that spring is coming. In our part of the world, it isn't here yet, but it's getting closer... Clearly everyone has been taking me up on this recommendation because our grocery store has been sold out of tulips for the past few weeks! Hahaha!

[wearing]


Well a few times last week, I was able to finally wear my spring jacket. And I also left the house wearing just my running shoes!!! Whooo hooo!!! We're back to colder temperatures this week however (boo) but I'm keeping my spring jacket at the ready. Supposedly on Monday, our high will be 8C (46F) which is glorious!!!

(Clearly, I'm also still wearing my owl pajama pants whenever I'm at home! This was a staged photo since I didn't have a good one of me in my jacket and running shoes.)

And this is what is up with me "currently." What are you currently up to?

Tuesday, March 02, 2021

One Sentence A Day: February 2021

Well, February started with our province in a strict lock down, the kids entering their fifth week of online schooling (and being pretty much over it), and me working part-time from the school and part-time from home. We were just trying to make it through winter and this slog of Covid craziness. How did it end? Read on to find out :) As usual I'm linking up with Rebecca Jo and friends.

1 - Monday -- It was a busy work day and I followed it up with a family walk to the library, a last minute supper of take out pizza, and another walk to pick up our local eggs which get delivered to the school parking lot. (Second sentence: Then I went to bed!)

2 - Tuesday -- I worked from home and helped Rachel celebrate "World Tutu Day."

3 - Wednesday -- THE KIDS ARE GOING BACK TO SCHOOL NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4 - Thursday -- I had to do a really boring training at work this day and our supper (Indian takeout) was too spicy :(

5 - Friday -- I documented a "Day In The Life" this day as it was the last day of working from home and online learning for awhile. (Second sentence: You can read it here if you're really interested!)

6 - Saturday -- It was the first day of the #24in48 readathon and I woke up at 5:30am and read for fourteen hours this day.

Rachel joined me for some reading in the morning.

7 - Sunday -- I finished the readathon at about 9:15pm, exhausted but happy.

8 - Monday -- THE KIDS WENT BACK TO SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!

9 - Tuesday -- I did a workout video and Dave and Rachel went to Costco and picked up photos for the last time ever :(

10 - Wednesday -- I am learning all sorts of new things at work this week but I am also really tired.

I also documented much of this day in a "10 On The 10th" post which you can read here.

11 - Thursday -- We had a family walk to the library and were all grumpy by the end of it. (Second sentence: The province announced our Spring Break has been pushed back a month. Ugh.)

12 - Friday -- I read two whole books in the evening and it was the perfect way to kick off the long weekend.

13 - Saturday -- We went for a walk and went through everything in the playroom and it was a really good day.

14 - Sunday -- We went for a long walk on a trail and had our typical Valentines Day McDonald's supper.

Dave and I had a "date" at the grocery store! So romantic.

15 - Monday -- I baked buns, made soup, and Rachel baked a chocolate cake to take to a neighbourhood family who is struggling.

And we got a surprise pie from the man at our church. Yum!

16 - Tuesday -- It was a "weather impacted learning day," I shoveled a lot of snow, and discovered that my current position (which I've been in since December 10) is ending at the end of this week.

17 - Wednesday -- I was so EXHAUSTED this day I couldn't even manage the short walk to the school to pick up eggs.

18 - Thursday -- I did a workout this day for the first time in awhile and caught up on laundry.

19 - Friday -- It was my last day working at the school where I'd been for two and a half months and the sentiments of the staff upon learning I was leaving were so kind. (Second sentence: I didn't think I'd made that much of an impact.)

20 - Saturday -- This was a weird day of lots of shoveling, some basement organizing, some puzzle doing, some napping, and me basically being slightly grumpy all day without a really good reason as to why.

21 - Sunday -- We participated in church after a long break, Rachel baked a chocolate cake for friends, and we went on a 8.9 kilometre (5.5 mile) forest walk.

I asked a stranger to take our picture because I'm tired of family selfies.

22 - Monday -- The kids had a "weather impacted learning day" (basically "sort of online school, sort of snow day"), I shoveled A LOT, and I read an entire book.

23 - Tuesday -- I didn't pick up a job this day but I cleaned two rooms, went for a long walk with one of the pastors from our church, and Dave and I had a day date where we picked up sandwiches to go and had a chance to talk.

Also, Rachel was so happy I was home in the morning this day so I could French braid her hair and she baked cookies by herself in the evening.

24 - Wednesday -- I worked a partial day at a school I could walk to (which I loved), walked to the library and picked up coffee, and enjoyed the first amazing Spring-like day of the year.

25 - Thursday -- I got called back to work at the school where I'd been for the previous two months which was really fun!

26 - Friday -- One of our family members had to get a Covid test which meant we all had to stay home and I had to cancel my highlights and massage appointments. (Second sentence: It was NOT a good day.)

We also did a puzzle. And by "we" I mean "mostly me with some assistance from Rachel."

27 - Saturday -- An enforced day at home meant we got some more cleaning done in the basement, I did a few workout videos, and Dave and I were both slightly grumpy.

28 - Sunday -- The Covid test came back negative (WHOOOO HOOO!!!) and I had a really good phone call with a friend.

And BASEBALL IS BACK!!! I was so happy to see the Blue Jays lineup card show up on my phone. And the Jays won their first game so that was exciting!

Monday, March 01, 2021

February 2021 Books

I was going to share my March goals post today but I didn't get it done and this one was practically finished (I just had to add in the final book which I finished last night) so here you go -- books I read in February.

It's another book post! Yay!!!! You already had a chance to read about the nine books I read during the #24in48 readathon here. So today I'm writing about the other twelve books I read in February. This is the most books I've read in a month since the pandemic started so I feel like I might finally be finding my reading stride again. Whooo hooo!!!

Book, Line and Sinker (Library Lover's Mystery, #3) Read It and Weep (Library Lover's Mystery, #4)  Death in the Stacks (Library Lover's Mystery, #8)

As you know, I've been enjoying Jenn McKinlay's mysteries. Given how much I love libraries and books, you would think that her Library Lover's Mysteries would be my favourite series of hers. However, the characters haven't grabbed me in the way the characters in her cupcake mystery series have. I do like that these books are easy to read though, and have a little more meat to them than my favourite In Death series by JD Robb.

Well Played (Well Met, #2)

I kicked off our February long weekend by reading two full books and staying up way too late! True confessions: It was the perfect start to a long weekend :) The first book I read was Jen DeLuca's second one, Well Played. These books are great love stories, I was crying by the end (although that might have been because I was tired), and I now want to work at a Renaissance Faire! I think I could be a tavern wench -- hahaha!!!

One to Watch

I didn't mean to stay up way too late reading another book but One To Watch completely sucked me in. I don't watch The Bachelor/Bachelorette but I do know enough about the show that I found this book really interesting and fun/heartbreaking. Also, I've been trying to diversify my reading and I realized this book challenged some of my body stereotypes. I recognized that I need to not only diversify my reading in terms of anti-racism but also in terms of different sizes of bodies. Roxane Gay's book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body started me down this road but I still have a long way to go. I don't know -- does this even make any sense? It just hit me out of left field that this was such a blind spot for me.

One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (One Thousand White Women, #1)

This was the book we chose for book club this month. It is fiction but written as journal entries. It feels very much like non-fiction. One thing I didn't like is that the author used derogatory words for Blacks and for First Nations people which was true to the time of the novel's setting (1875) but I wondered if he could have conveyed the racism in a different way. (And maybe this is my comfort with "less obvious racism" coming through.) While the book was engaging when I finally got into it (I read it in a day), there is a second book in the series that I don't know if I'll pick up.

His Only Wife

I read this book on our snow day in the morning. It sucked me in. It's an interesting novel which talks about what line do you walk when you need to honour your family but also honour yourself? How do you use what power you have in a situation where you don't have much at all? And who do you end up trusting?

Parkland: Birth of a Movement

The subtitle of this book is Birth of a Movement and this book focuses on the growth of the March For Our Lives student group and their activism. It was such a story of hope and students using their voices and power in such positive ways. Another theme of the book was how teens literally have the tools for this work in the palm of their hands through social media and their networks. One thing I found depressing is how ideas that seem to make so much sense still aren't implemented. Again, this was another book I read in a day because I just couldn't put it down.

The Heir Affair (Royal We, #2)

It's not often I enjoy a sequel more than I enjoy the original but this may have been one of those books. I feel like this second book got into meatier topics and felt more "real." I loved the various interpretations of the title and the ways those interpretations played out in the book. Of course, it's been awhile since I've read the first book so I could be misremembering the power of it but I liked this one. A lot. And it had baseball in it (the Cubs' 2016 majestic run to the World Series) so you know I loved that!

Our Darkest Night

I tend to really like Jennifer Robson's books and this one was no exception. Our school board has now decided that any time the buses are cancelled, the whole board is closed and students have a "Weather Impacted Distance Learning Day." Yep, no more snow days for our kids this year, which is a major bummer. However, we don't expect the kids to do a full day of schoolwork because none of the parents are happy about this decision. Thankfully, Sam and Rachel's teachers tend to assign a lot of "go outside and help shovel/build something in the snow and write about it/ spend time reading/etc" kind of work so that's good. Anyways, all that is to say that when I woke up to our second "not a snow day- snow day" within seven days, I decided to read. I started this book about 6:30am and didn't really move (except to get more coffee-hot chocolate) until I'd finished it. This story about Italians hiding Jews and resisting the Germans and strangers falling in love really sucked me in. I highly recommend this book. I also haven't read many books about Italy during World War II so I appreciated that piece of it as well.

 The Truths We Hold: An American Journey

I really enjoyed The Truths We Hold. Truthfully, I didn't know much about Vice-President Harris before I started this book and, after reading it, I am just so excited that she is the VP. I line up with her politically on a lot of things and found myself nodding along. Plus, it was just so interesting to see how her childhood and things which happened, shaped her life in positive ways. It makes me wonder, how will my kids see my parenting? And how is it shaping them into the people they will become?

The Roommate

I don't know what I expected from this book, but this wasn't it. While I enjoyed Clara's story of discovering herself and breaking out of the way she'd grown up, this book didn't grab me. I can't tell if I'm biased against the industry it focused on, or if I'm just against casual sex. (I'm hoping I'm just against casual sex but I really don't know.) This book is definitely rated "R" and I just didn't love it.

So there are my February reviews. I have five books half-finished so I think my first March goal should be to finish them! Hahaha! What was the best book you read in February? I think for me it was either Felix Ever After or One To Watch because of the ways they challenged me.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

I Spy Photos: Week 8

Welcome to the latest crop of I Spy Photos for the challenge hosted by Lysha over at A Camera and A Cookbook.

Let's Play iSpy 2021

{weather}

We have a lot of snow but the sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures are beginning to melt it. You can see dry pavement in this picture which is amazing because it means the ice is gone!!!

{key}

Yes, it's true -- my key chain has more "extra stuff" than it has useful keys :)

{house}

Here is the front of our house with lots of snow and ice, February 2021. Hopefully by the next picture we take of the fronts of our houses, the snow will be gone and the ornaments will be off the trees. There might even be pansies in the window boxes :)

{corner}

When we walked into our house to view it, this corner was one of the first things we saw. The built in shelves, the natural wood, the details of the ceiling molding -- I fell instantly in love and just "knew" this was going to be our house.

{photographer’s choice}

Tomorrow is the first Blue Jays Spring Training game of 2021 so obviously this had to be my photographer's choice! Baseball is (almost) back and I am here for it!!!