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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

And miles to go...

Many people find it amazing (in a good way and otherwise) that I became a SAHM, "for" my kids, but I find sometimes find that even if I am technically "at home", I still have so much more I want to do where the kids (and me in a connected way) are concerned! Here are just some of them:

1. Teach D (and eventually S) to cycle - this one has been on my mind a lot lately. To me, cycling is a "must have" skill and though we bought a cycle for D when she was less than 5, somehow her attitude(scared!) and my putting it off haven't helped this enterprise :(. Finally I have resolved on taking off those damned training wheels and giving it one last try, and if that doesn't work this activity is definitely getting palmed off to hubby dearest ;).

2. Less laptop time when the kids/hubby are around - I tend to push the little work that I am doing from home to the last minute and the end of the day is when I'm diligently working at my deliverables :(. Need to plan it better so that I finish most of what I need to do within the first part of the day (which is also when I end up sitting and writing my own blog of course ;)).

3. Accept that I cannot nap any more - Or at least for the next zillion years until both kids start coming back at 3:45 or so. I am a person who needs a LOT of sleep, and needing to wake up early in the morning does not make me happy. I optimistically (that I always am) keep the alarm for 5 am, snooze it about 5 times to finally wake up by 5:45, that too with half closed eyes! Of course no nap means no late nights --> which is basically my big problem.

4. Become super mom - ok ok I just had to add that to the list. This means I actually get around to sending the bestest and most nutritious food (and never chapathi and jam, or curd rice and french fries :O), manage to coach D and S as and when they'll start needing it with school activities, along with still managing to do all my own stuff(gardening, baking, reading) - those are needed for my sanity ;).

Phew! Asking for much?

And let me end by finishing that title phrase from Robert Frost ".. before I sleep" :).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fastest Holiday Plan Ever!

So this is how it usually works.. I decide(ok with "some" consultation) where we should go a few months in advance of the holidays, research research research... and make the bookings whether on Club Mahindra and driving down as we usually do, or else go to a place like SOTC and make bookings through them with a clear idea of what we want to see and do. That is what we opted for, when it was our first overseas trip with the kids and I didn't want to take chances with making too many arrangements online on my own.

This summer holiday planning started the same way.. a few months back I decided that we could try to make it to UK/London/Scotland.. unfortunately only started checking out stuff properly a couple of weeks back, to find that it's pretty much too late to make any bookings in London through RCI which is what we wanted to do. So that put London plans on hold(hopefully for 2014) and started looking around for other ideas. To my horror, a lot of the Club M locations also were filling up soon. But thanks to their new and clear interface I could see easily exactly what was available where.

We have been putting off a trip to the north wondering if the kids can take the longer distances involved, but within a few hours of checking out the resorts(we have visited most of their options in the south) - I made an impulsive decision that since S is going to be FIVE by this summer, it's high time we try it out! So with a short stopover at Delhi, we are going to be super adventurous and check out locations like Corbett and Binsar, and the great outdoors this April. Booked a hotel in Delhi solely based on tripadvisor reviews (not to mention their great responsiveness on their FB page - which is also a first for me. Not only that, we decided it's time the kids experienced a long train journey, so we are going by the Rajdhani!! Phew!

And this also always happens, that as I'm planning one vacation (where I may have missed the ball a bit with the planning in advance :( ), I start thinking about all the forthcoming vacations in the next couple of years and where all we might want to go. In that context, if someone has experience with planning through RCI, do leave me a message.

Monday, January 21, 2013

ME time!

Whatever your style of parenting, all of us need a recharge now and again. Popularly known nowadays as ME time :). Here's how I go about it:

Set expectations early: From the time they were very young, my kids know that Amma sometimes needs her own time either with a book, or her laptop :P, and it's better to not disturb her at those times as you won't get a straight answer anyway. I think it helps to establish boundaries and not be at the beck and call of your darlings or they might grow to expect that behaviour as they grow up too ;).

Leave the familiar areas: Sometimes the only way to be alone with myself is to actually leave home and find something else to do - whether reading a book or going for a walk in the park, or visiting the neighbourhood beauty salon - a couple of hours of doing what you want or just pampering yourself does wonders! My Yoga class counts as ME time too ;).

Meet friends: I went through the usual route in FB - you come across someone you used to know well, you say hiiii we musssst meet, and then of course it never happens. With new friends and old, I think I've met a lot more in 2012 than in the previous few years. The best way is to have no expectations, just try to spontaneously set something up :). It helps that I have willing babysitters in my parents, so my coffees and lunches can be my own space.

Give time to what you love: For me it's usually gardening, for you it might be something else - makes me feel so at peace to be among my plants, it's like a complete recharge even if I've had a physically or mentally trying day. And especially with my plants, I don't even have to be alone - my kids come along sometimes to help water - it still qualifies as ME time just for the joy it gives me.

Some other attempts such as leaving the kids with their grandparents in Chennai for a couple of weeks don't seem to meet my purpose completely as I spend too much time thinking/wondering about them for it to qualify completely as ME time :O!

So what do you do for that much needed ME time? Do share your thoughts and tips too!

Posted for Week 4 theme post of the Marathon Bloggers 52 week challenge in 2013.

Want Vs. Need?

Ever since the hope to get de-cluttered and organized wormed its way into my head (sigh I was happier when this stuff didn't bother me at all!), the feeling of owning too much "stuff" makes me feel guilty quite often. So last year started with a resolution of not buying any new clothes (lasted until September and Dastkar!) and didn't end on quite that note. So this year I wanted to be a bit more realistic and approach each day as it comes.

So the last couple of times we have been shopping (Note: We don't tend to window shop much, usually focused on a particular shop or two, but when that shop is a Shoppers Stop or a Decathlon one place can be bad enough), when hubby asked me if I wanted anything I have come up with the witty answer - Want, yes but Need? No. Possibly not original, I haven't really checked, but I think this saying will carry me through this year and some more :).

I also knew the message is filtering down well when D said at a toy shop recently - "I like this one, but my cupboard is too full of toys, so I won't ask for it :)". We do some periodic purges of the toys in the cupboard to give or throw away, and only when there's space freed up we look for something new. Of course the occasion gifts still do flow in from birthdays and so on, so we mostly do not need to buy much.

It also helps to give away clothes especially the kids' ones quite often as and when they outgrow them, so I can always have an idea of when they need new stuff. With my clothes, I still have a long way to go to establish a system. For now, I am getting all those "I will stitch these when I lose my tummy" materials stitched up and seeing how badly overflowing it actually is.

Now if I could only bring myself to attack the cupboards and all those "Out of sight, out of mind" things that I have stowed away, but who wants to be perfect? ;)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Garden news - Seed planning

For week 3, a friend reminded me of the fact that I haven't done a garden update for a while. It gets a bit excessive if I post photos on FB as well as write about it on the blog, which is why I try to strike a balance (or I hope so at least :P)

But on thinking about it, I also realized that it would be useful for me to keep a track on the blog on my new year resolution of sprouting at least one batch of seeds every month. I am on the verge of doing it for this month, and here's the plan of the ones I'm going to try. And it's chilly time - Bhut Jholakia, Jalapeno, Red Fresno, Cherry Chilly, Kerala sambhar chilly (no clue what the actual variety name might be - looks light green like a bajji chilly but smaller and different shaped)

A few others like 2-3 tomato varieties, and a couple of gourds are also in the works. I will try sprouting 4-5 of each type, and I only intend to keep one (max) of each variety and give away the rest most probably at an event - Oota from your Thota that's happening in February :).

And of course I can't end with just a list of seeds ;), so here is a pic of today's harvest of lovely yellow cherry tomatoes :

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's on my mind?

When I signed up for Project 52, I thought it would be a breeze after having tried the daily blogathon in December. But no, not really as it seemed I was very badly stuck right in the 2nd week of challenge !!

So I thought the simplest way to break the block is to write about what has been on my mind lately ;).. and that is the last book of the iconic Wheel of Time (WOT) series, entitled "A Memory of Light".

In my usual unobservant style I pre-ordered the Kindle version of the book, only to realize rather late that the ebook version comes out 3 months later than the hardbound. So I made my apologies to the trees and took up a generous offer from Preethi, who had ordered an extra copy by mistake. She was so prompt at sending it to me and the book reached me the next day!

My first impression - Wow it's huge! This being an effect of predominantly using the Kindle except for the occasional paperback. It's been a while since I read a hardbound with nearly a 1000 pages in it. Doesn't deter me though and I'm making steady progress - there used to be a time when I could have finished a book like this in a couple of days but that is close to impossible now. Not even blaming the kids for it, as they know better than to disturb amma when she's reading ;). Just that I don't have the luxury of late nights or all-nighters anymore, and am probably doing a better job of actually reading the book, compared to the speed reading I used to do earlier in my enthusiasm.

With only about a quarter of the book done, I am liking it very much. Brandon Sanderson has written the last 3 books of the series after the author Robert Jordan passed away with the last few unwritten but with a lot of notes written up. In my opinion, he has kept to the essence of the series, while giving it his own style (which is pretty awesome!).

If anyone is interested in the fantasy genre, I would definitely recommend this series, and any other book by Brandon Sanderson (Try Mistborn for a beginning).

Here's to finishing the book before next week's blog ;).

Friday, January 04, 2013

Resolution Time?

The start of a new year.. that always signals resolutions of some sort to me. This year,  I tried avoiding the topic for 3 days but it keeps going around in my head so I thought I might as well write it down. Talking of resolutions,  I loved this post by Jane, wish that would work for me ;). The ones below may be repetitive with my bucket list here and there.. seem to be setting myself a lot of work in 2013!!

1. I will sow something new every month, give away seedlings if I don't have space for them :). This is necessary for me to figure out how many of those zillions of stored up seeds are viable at least!

2. I will bake one batch of something every week, this is due to about to be spending a lot of money on an appliance that I need to justify, you'll understand as you read further down ;).

3. I will wake up half an hour earlier every morning, in the hope of getting stuff ready for D to take to school without needing to go into a panic once or twice a week as I've got up too late for preparing what I wanted to!

4. I will plan at least one complete self-pampering activity every week - may be going for a Hair Spa or even just soaking my feet. Yes, I need to PLAN it or it never happens!!

5. I have recently started "No Laptop" time on request from my kids. This is usually the half hour or so after dinner during which time S and D read to me (how clever of me is that :)?). Definitely have to continue!!

6. Mindful buying - lots and lots of thinking before buying anything new. My cupboards and home are overflowing and I will only buy things that I NEED. Of course this might include a KitchenAid, some of you know how long I've been thinking over that one.

7. I will spend 15 minutes every day cleaning - just cleaning up, just 15 minutes. Flylady says this should slowly bring my home to order, it's time I stopped just reading those mails from the site and actually implemented something :).

We are now done with the marathon blogging in December, and have embarked on Project52 - at least one post a week in 2013, so this is my entry for Week 1.

Happy New Year Everyone!