March Goals

I just got this great idea from the Planning Queen.  While I have a to-do list with a timeline on it, it’s very specific.  I think publishing the broader things I’m hoping to achieve in March will help remind me as well.

  1. Make some one-on-one time with the big girl. The little girl gets some now because of preschool, but the big girl is missing out.  And they both get Daddy time with things like sport, but I need to make some time for just the two of us.
  2. Keep commenting on other blogs. I admit it, I’m a terrible lurker.  But I know what a thrill I get when other people comment, so I’m trying hard to engage and comment thoughtfully.  Part of this is to answer emails and reply to people who comment for me – I try to reply on the blog, but I think I need to start emailing people as well.
  3. Get the Science@home redesign done. I have a tendency to get something 90% there then slack off.  I’ve done a lot of work on the new site design, now I need to finish off the last bits and get it up there.  (BTW I have one free advertising slot still available if you want to contact me.)
  4. Plan my posts further in advance. I think I can keep up with everything, but at the moment I’m planning week by week.  A schedule will let me organise it a bit better and get ahead.
  5. Sort the clothes. The house is slowly coming under control, next on the list is the clothes – what we’ve outgrown, what needs to be stored, passed on or binned.  Finding places to put them all!

I think that’s more than enough to keep me busy and establish some new habits.  What are you going to concentrate on in March?  Add your goals and next month we can review them and see how we did.

13 Me’s

Yes it should be Mes, but that looks really weird and would confuse you as a title.

  1. Mum to two
  2. Science teacher
  3. Evolutionary human biologist
  4. Resident of a remote town (3500 people, 5 hours from the nearest town)
  5. Yeller (and sometimes thrower) when frustrated
  6. Wannabe sewer (that’s with a sewing machine!)
  7. Newbie machine embroiderer
  8. Military sci-fi reader
  9. Lover
  10. Not-so-closet writer
  11. Dreaming of a PhD (or DEd, or DTeach, I’m not fussy.  The snob in me would love a DPhil.)
  12. Extended breastfeeder
  13. Supporter and sounding board

Who are you?

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Wordless Wednesday – Negative

I’m used to thinking my daughters look very different.  Then someone came back to playgroup who hadn’t seen us in a couple of years, and her comment was – The little one looks just like the big one used to but with the opposite colouring!  And looking at this photo, I can see it.

I don’t want my kids to be nice

or good.  Definitely not.  You see ‘nice’ and ‘good’ are not actually nice and good things to be.  They’re about oppression, and definitely a feminist issue seeing most pressure to be nice is on, and comes from, women.

How can I say this?

‘Nice’ is the woman who is working herself into the ground because she can’t say no to another job.

‘Good’ is the little girl at the back of the class who’s being pinched, but won’t say anything because she’s been told to be quiet and taught not to make a fuss.

‘Nice’ is biting your lip while people say things that are rude or nasty.

‘Good’ is allowing other people to judge my behaviour, not myself.  It is living in a constant guessing game and being scared to do anything in case I get it wrong.

‘Nice’ is not standing up for yourself, and putting everyone else’s needs ahead of your own.

No.  I definitely don’t want my kids, and especially my daughters, to be nice.  And unfortunately they, and I, will almost certainly cop criticism for it.  But I’d rather be criticised than bully my own children.

There are other things far more important (in no particular order).

  1. Polite – especially when you are going to disagree with someone, it’s still important to be polite and give them the same rights you expect.
  2. Kind – being kind is completely different to ‘nice.’  Kind is telling someone (politely) when they’re hurting other people, ‘nice’ is letting them get away with it so you don’t upset them.  Of course it includes all the other types of kindness, being helpful but with limits.
  3. Assertive – very different to aggressive, but it seems to be so rare they get confused.  But we all need to be able to stand up for ourselves.  How can the world change if we allow injustice to continue?
  4. Assertive for others – I wasn’t sure what to label this, but sometimes we need to stand up for others too.
  5. Compassionate – An important one, but hard.  I can be compassionate and sympathetic, which means supporting someone and feeling for their situation.  But it also includes being kind and calling them on it if necessary, not letting them get away with things.  As an extreme example, we all know about the cycle of abuse.  A child who is abused definitely needs our compassion.  But if they grow up and abuse others, are they no longer worthy?  To me, it’s not compassion if it comes with limits.  It doesn’t change, they are still deserving of our support and our understanding, and still need us to call them out on what they are doing wrong.
  6. Questioning – I don’t want them to accept something purely because it comes from authority.  Of course, knowing when to question is the trick!
  7. Curious – This is a source of so much joy, and I want them to have a joyful life.  Discovering, investigating, noticing what is around them.
  8. Reflective – Know thyself!  So much of what we dislike in others is a reflection of ourselves, I want them to be constantly thinking about what they have done, and thought, and said, and how it impacts on others.  Be open to criticism and willing to change, if they think the criticism is right.
  9. Generous – How can we live together as a society if we don’t help each other?
  10. Persistent – Don’t give up, keep trying.  Whether it is to understand something, or finish, or find a new friend, or understand why on earth people do that.  And don’t retreat into your comfort zone.
  11. Independent – Be able to stand on your own.  It doesn’t mean you have to, but if you do you’ll be OK.
  12. Confident – This is about self-worth.  About knowing that your opinion and experiences are as valuable as other peoples’.
  13. Gracious – Pick your battles.  In spite of being confident and independent and assertive and reflective, you don’t have to have the last word.  There are times you will never convince others, even if it is hurting them or someone else.  So have the grace to withdraw and allow them to continue.

Of course, I would absolutely love them to have wisdom, which is how you know if you’re doing all the rest!  But I think that one will take a lot of time and experience to develop.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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Wordless Wednesday – Shape Collage

This will actually have quite a few words.  I’ve found a fantastic free programme called Shape Collage that does exactly that – you put your photos in and it gives you a collage in any shape you want.  It has some pre-programmed, but you can also create any silhouette you like and off you go.  I can see it will be fantastic for presents and fun!  I’ve been playing around with it, this is one I’ve made.

13 ways in which I am priveleged

Thursday 13

  1. White
  2. Well-educated
  3. Middle – upper middle class
  4. Heterosexual
  5. Able
  6. Never been abused
  7. Cis (not transgender)
  8. Financially independent
  9. Accessible communications technology
  10. Married
  11. English speaker
  12. Healthy
  13. My immediate family are healthy

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others’ comments. It’s easy, and fun!

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View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

Wordless Wednesday – Snow

Our little desert girls have never seen snow.

Putting things away when you finish

I love the theory – I mean it’s so simple.  When you finish playing with something you put it away before you get the next thing out.  I’ve tried to enforce this since the beginning, first me then the girls when they could get the concept.  But 4 years on, my house is covered in half-done jigsaws, textas with or without lids, pull along toys and lots of little bits and pieces.  My kitchen floor is a graveyard of soft toys, fridge magnets, wipe cloths and little plastic containers.

Some of this is ‘good mess’ – the soft toys are there because the little girl knows she has to let go of whatever she has when she climbs or she’ll fall off, the wipe cloths are because both girls are really good at cleaning up spills and can’t get into the laundry to put them in the wash afterwards.  Some of it is the house – the plastics cupboard doesn’t close and is very high traffic, so all the little bits fall out then get kicked around.  Some is just the result of little kids – they love playing with the fridge magnets but of course that involves taking them off and they never seem to all go back on.  There are always clothes on the bathroom floor because they toilet independently, but can’t (or don’t bother to) get their undies and bottoms back on afterwards and I don’t know until later.

It seems that we generally start a new activity inspired by the last one, and stopping to put things away would ruin the flow.  Or if I’m really honest, I don’t think of it until later and then I don’t want to interrupt them when they’re concentrating/being creative/playing beautifully together.  And it’s causing fights with the big girl – every time she asks to get something out the answer is “As soon as you’ve cleaned the last one up” and she DOES NOT WANT TO.  She’s not going to get away with that, but I’d rather avoid the fights because it’s not a pleasant way to spend the morning.  (I went to play floor dominoes with the girls this morning and they were in their bedroom.  I asked why they were in there not the living room and the answer was “We don’t want to clean up there before we’re allowed to play.”)

Five minute clean ups at the end of the day work the best so far, but then I still spend the day stepping on small things with lots of corners, the girls skid on paper and hurt themselves, textas are left without lids, and vital pieces mysteriously vanish.  We’re reasonable and getting better at having homes for everything – there’s a box or a shelf they are supposed to be on, but not everything makes it back and as the day goes on we progressively drown.  Then it’s such a hassle getting the girls to bed that I just flake out and seeing napping is a bit disastrous/non-existent it’s my first break of the day and I want to get some of my stuff done, so every day starts a bit further behind.  My darling husband on weekends keeps the house ticking over.

I think after 4 years it’s time to admit the truth – I’m not going to remember to pack things away as soon as they’re done with.  It would be nice, it would be efficient, it would be easier.  But it hasn’t happened so far and I can’t see that changing.

So what do other people do?  Do you have really good memories?  Do you have extreme limits on toys?  (We don’t have limits as such, but a lot are packed away where they don’t remember them and we rotate.) Do you let it go then clean it all up afterwards?  I really need a system, I’m completely open to suggestions.

TV – Postpone and magnify

I’m happy with the way we use TV, so this post isn’t to get into that whole debate.  But I’ve noticed something in the last few weeks and it’s getting beyond coincidence.

We don’t watch much TV.  The big girl used to have a DVD while her sister was ‘napping,’ it was on, she’d have another activity as well.  Now she’s at preschool at that time, but DH often puts on a MacGuyver DVD before or after dinner (does that date us?).  So we’re only talking an hour or two a day, which makes her behaviour really noticeable.  TV doesn’t relax her or calm her down, except temporarily.  It postpones and magnifies.  So if she is tired and I pop on a movie on Friday afternoon, she happily watches and then she’s exhausted.  If she’s upset when something goes on she’ll calm down and watch, but when it finishes she’s beside herself.

I think it would be waaaaay too simplistic to blame TV itself – there are all sorts of other dynamics going on.  I mean if she’s tired and stays up an extra hour to watch something, of course she’ll be exhausted.  And if she’s upset and I really really need to cook dinner rather than being with her, of course she’ll be more upset later.  And if she’s happy before something goes on there’s really no problem.

It’s more an interesting thing I’ve noticed that I’m throwing out there as food for thought.  For us, it’s meant that I’m now very careful when to use TV.  If I think she’s overtired, I’ll do something quiet with them instead.  If she’s upset, the same.  I haven’t come up with a solution for getting dinner done, looks like I need to produce more leftovers for use in emergencies!  Or I suppose I could be organised?

The journey to find my waistline (part 2)

Bah! That kilo I lost? Well I found it 😦  Turns out it lives in the bottom of a box of chocolates.

I didn’t expect to go well this week. I hadn’t been keeping track of what I had eaten and I hadn’t done much in the yard, which seems to be the best place for me to get incidental exercise, so really it was to be expected.

My bad result though was completely overshadowed by some other results I received yesterday though….I have had my first scan after my last operation for cancer and it came back clear! I have beaten it, I knew I would but the relief was more than I could believe- I started to cry as soon as I heard the news, so no matter the outcome of Weight Watchers, it was always going to be a great day!

At the meeting we talked about how losing weight can have such a huge impact on your health, and as our fearless leader stated- Health means everything. And as she said it I just had a grin from ear to ear. I realise now that I do have my health- not just my positive thinking but a clear scan to show me I am healthy, so this morning I got up, turned my computer on and logged straight into my weight tracking site. I might have been set back a step by that kilo but my clear scan has put me back in the lead.

Here’s to good health! Cheers! 😀