what’s up in january twenty sixteen

Lucy asked this week if she was adopted. I may have laughed out loud.

This month in my life I am up to the following:

Writing – still working on the rewrite of my first draft. I’m about halfway through, and I’ve just worked through a seriously aggravating section. I have a new beta reader, bringing my team up to three. I feel pretty good about it. I’ve also started an unrelated secret writing project, and I’ll talk more about that later. Also, blogging! I’m going to try again. But don’t expect anything less than sporadic posts, as usual.

Parenting – it’s tough right now, not gonna lie. After six and a half years of this gig, I’m getting antsy to move on. But of course I’m a mom forever, so it’s not like applying for a new position. It’s just the diapers and snowsuits and tantrums and throwing  food stage that I’ve done three times and I’m getting fed up with. Probably related: I don’t have babysitter day this year. I’m going to bring that back, and hopefully it will restore my parenting joy. I love my kids to pieces and they’re absolutely the best; I’m just not the  best at day-in-day-out parenting. It’s taken me a long time to start admitting that. I’m still committed to my course, so I need to find ways to make it work so I don’t go postal and end up on the news.

Knitting – Happier things, hooray! I knit daily for Lent last year and I’ve pretty much never stopped. I don’t think I took two days off knitting in a row last year. I’ve currently got socks, a cabled cardigan, and a lightweight sweater on the needles. Stay tuned for a master post of everything I knit last year! I’m on a yarn diet for now, because my queue is massive and I have all the yarn I need for it. Of course, as soon as I said that, I bought two skeins from someone else’s destash, but it goes against all my principles to pass up $5 skeins of quality sock yarn.

Working out – I almost gave up running in the fall. I took a break when my knee started yelling, and then it was harrrrrd work to claw my way back. But I’ve started from scratch three times in five years, and I am NOT giving it up now. Running keeps the voices in my head to a dull roar. I’m trying to bring yoga back in with a 30-day challenge, after doing a bunch of research on how I felt about the yoga-as-cultural-appropriation debate. This article, and also this one, helped a lot. Unravelling issues of cultural appropriation are complex, but crucial. Also, I finally got a new yoga mat that isn’t shredding and is extra long, and that helps too. It’s ridiculous how many things are impacted when you’re a woman over six feet tall – yoga mats and running tights are but two of the issues.

Reading – I read twenty-eight books in 2015 and I think that’s pretty awesome. Also, it doesn’t include books read out loud to Lucy. Thus far (I know), my 2016 favourites have been Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’m not exactly cutting edge, but I don’t care. Also, when I finished both of those, well past my bedtime, I had that beautiful terrible feeling of not knowing what to do with myself. That’s the marker of a good book. I hope with all my heart that I can evoke that feeling in my eventual mass market readers.

So there it is. My current interests and goings on. My goal for 2016 is to be honest with myself about who I am and what I can do, what I need and what is needed of me. I’d rather be perfectly self-sacrificing or perfectly selfish, but neither are right, or healthy. I think that if I can burrow right into honesty, 2016 will be a good year for my whole family.

resolutions update

So it’s mid-February now and I should update you (or possibly myself) on how I stand with regards to my resolutions.

Obvious goal: keep the kids alive and happy. Winning! They are still alive and generally happy, unless I am not fast enough with the dinner or I put Rowan to bed or I push the elevator button before I realize that Lucy absolutely must push it for her life to have meaning. This winter is really challenging, which I expected, and hopefully the weather gets a little more lenient soon. That, or I get my act together and plan more outings. I have severely underachieved at outings in 2013. So mini-goal in this category: weekly outings for sanity and joy.

Physical goal: I cannot yet do a handstand. And I don’t do yoga quite every day anymore, but it’s still most days. I am able to get into crow pose and hold it for 5-10 seconds, and that’s my first arm balance. I’m trying to step it up a notch without hurting myself. I also really want to get back into running, so I’ve signed up for the Color Run in July. Expect further bellyaching about running in future.

Professional goal: finish my doula certification. This one gets a bit of a frowny face. In January I got my website up and running (it’s smallisfabulous.com and it is definitely fabulous), and next month I have another client, but I don’t have any others yet and although I’m trying to get my courses lined up, it’s a little bit more frustrating than I expected. I can always buy an extension if I need to, but I want to get it done. I’m trying to figure out how to use word-of-mouth marketing (which is often the only way doulas get clients) without being a pest. But this is the perfect opportunity for me to say, again, if you need a doula, let me know! Tell your pregnant friends!

Marriage goal: We’re going on a date for my birthday. I’m excited.

Financial goal: Buy a house. People need to sell more fabulous houses. Thus far, nothing is up to par. It is highly frustrating.

Personal goal: Write more. I’ve been posting more on the blog, even if it is mostly pictures. And I’ve been journalling. So another pat on the back for me!

Can you tell that Rowan woke up as I was finishing this post? I’ll check in again in March.


merry christmas, mrs scrooge

This year, Christmas isn’t lighting my tree as it has in the past. Rowan mostly just tries to eat the lights on the tree and Lucy is convinced that Jesus is coming to celebrate Santa’s birthday (sort of – her interpretation changes every day). Sam is as low-key as ever. And despite our decorations, I keep forgetting that it’s one week till Christmas.

We had our annual party last week and it felt a bit flat to me. A lot of energy goes into hosting a party like that and I didn’t get much energy out of it at the end of the day – another anomaly. We’ve been in church for every Sunday of advent, but church with two kids isn’t a time of spiritual reflection, it’s a scramble of spilled Cheerios and whispered books during prayers and feeding offering envelopes to the baby in hopes that we can all get through the service. It’s a normal phase of life but it’s not a lot of fun.

Is this sounding whiny? I’m not particularly upset. I believe in seasons – the seasons of the calendar and liturgical years, obviously, and the seasons of the heart as well. Sometimes those seasons can change over the course of a day, and sometimes they change slowly over years. This might be part of my transition to being a card-carrying adult, or it might just be a blip in my usual modus operandi. It’s not worth it to fight how I feel and make Christmas into a giant deal. I’m doing yoga daily and I adore it. I’m playing Christmas music and I printed off a fun little nativity for Lucy to play with. It’s just not a big deal around here this year, and it’s nice to just rest in the calm.

In a few years it will be more difficult to keep things low-key, as with every passing moment my children are more heavily influenced by forces outside the will of their parents. So I’m enjoying spending this season on my yoga mat, and to be honest it feels more advent-ful than previous years, for me. We’ll see if this has any bearing on the annual January doldrums that I dread with every fibre of my being.