March 29, 2024

5 Good things on Good Friday

Light.  This is my favourite amount of daytime. Light mornings (5:30am) and dark by 7:30pm. Our time change is next week, so it will be light from 6:30am to 8:30pm.  I like that less.  And light at 10:30pm in the middle of summer? totally unnecessary.  But for today and tomorrow, I am glad we have the perfect amount of daylight.

Hot Cross Buns.  

I love these.  Last year I didn't feel I got enough of these.  I'm not some heathen who eats them in February or after Easter, but they are a definite Easter treat.  I plan to eat one or two a day all weekend.  

Grocery Delivery.  This is such a pandemic discovery and I still love it.  Our store does 4 hour slots for £2 and 1 hour slots for £4.  Normally I do the £2 slots but today that didn't work.  I thought about doing a collection instead (which would be free or £2) but then decided there was no 45 minute chunk of my day I wanted to spend getting groceries. And that I would rather pay £2 more to *not* drive out for my groceries.  At 7am we have groceries coming.  

School Holidays Our Easter holidays are 2 weeks long here, and I'm actually enjoying it and looking forward to next week.  Nursery is open during school holidays so I've had some time with just Isaac and the twins.  Andy is taking a week off work next week so he will be around with Isaac, and on one day Isaac is going to his childminder for a day while Andy and I have just the twins together.  Such a change from how I felt over the Christmas holidays.  

Saying Goodbye to Baby Clothes It's great being so done having babies.  I have been selling on Vinted (I made £60! I also spent way more than £60 on kids stuff, but I have made £60 back).  I have sometimes been including extra clothes when people buy from me.  I have 4 bags of baby clothes to go to the charity shop. I have a few pieces for a friend who just had a boy.  Baby clothes are so expensive when you need them and hard to get rid of once you have them.  I only wish I knew someone having their first baby soon because the stuff we are trying to get rid of now is so much nicer than the things we were donated when we had Isaac and didn't know anyone with babies.  

Bonus good thing - getting the kids clothing rotation sorted.  This week I took some time to go through the big kids clothes and make boxes for their current sizes.  Isaac has a 5-6 box which he is growing out of and a 6-7 box which he is growing into.  Lilah has a 3-4 which she is growing out of and a 4-5 which she is growing into.  This does mean 4 boxes of clothes to rotate into and out of, but it's working.  It also means I can quickly chuck clothes into boxes if we have anything donated to us.  I have unpacked all baby clothes through 12 months now (they are currently in 6-9).  More is definitely going out than coming in. Plus I have founds some cute things for Lilah in the boxes which saves us buying new clothes.  Win win win.

March 28, 2024

Thursday thoughts on time

I have been tracking my time since February and it's been an interesting exercise at this point in my life.  Here are some of my thoughts so far.

I am more aware of the free time I have.  Sure, I don't have a lot of free time.  I have four kids age 5 and under.  But I don't have *no* free time.  I have some free time.  Sometimes I use that time for hobbies and interests.  Sometimes I use that time to putter around the house.  Sometimes I write a blog or read.  I don't do a lot of this, but I definitely do some of this.

I am aware that in order to use my free time towards anything of value, I need to start planning this before the free time starts.  If babies go down for a nap and I think "what would be the best use of my time now?" I've already missed the opportunity.  For instance, if I want to exercise more, I need to decide early that when the babies go down for a nap I will do exercise.  If I wait for babies to go to sleep and then consider doing exercise I will waste too much time considering

I don't always need to use free time for things of value.  Today my time log includes 2.5 hours of "misc life putter house admin ?? Andy ??" time.  I don't really have much to show for that time, but I'm aware I had it.  I didn't have a day with no time for exercise or reading or cooking, I had a day where I chose not to do exercise or read or cook in the 2.5 hours available to me.

I am not as tired as I think.  I get on average 7.5 hours of sleep per 24 hour period.  This is fine.  Sure, I wake up once or twice or sometimes three times a night for baby stuff, but I am in bed early (usually by 8) and have been waking up between 5 and 6.  I'm not currently doing Rachel Mornings... but when my sleep average increases I'll start those again. Or maybe, someday, I'll leave the house after kid bedtime!

Our family works on a schedule, and right now Andy and I set the tone.  Because we go to bed early the kids also go to bed early.  Today Isaac and Lilah were asleep by 6:15.  Babies were asleep by 6:45.  Sure, everyone will be up at 6am, but when kids are tired we go to sleep.  We always eat dinner at 5:30.  If we get invited somewhere in the evening we don't go.  For us, this pattern is working for now.  In the future, we will have more spontaneity again.

My time feels so different on days when there is actually no down time, like when I am watching the twins and the three year old.  I don't know how moms do twins and small children without childcare.  I am not suited for it.  I adore all my kids, but I adore them more when I have some down time in a day. 

A smart phone can suck 15 minutes of my time as often as I let it.  It's very easy to create a "when/then" pairing with a smart phone.  "When the babies feed, then I scroll" is a hard habit to break.  Remembering that I have to write "play with phone" on my time log helps me do less of it, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Really, the time log reinforces that I have enough time for almost anything I want to do, but I don't have time for everything I want to do.  So I need to keep thinking of what I really want with my time and focusing on that.  Sometimes, it is a day of puttering around the house.  Sometimes it's more. 

How I use our time is an indication of what I value. Time tracking helps me realign if I'm starting to drift away from my values.

Have you ever done time tracking?  Far more information, and far better written info, can be found at

March 25, 2024

Adventurous seasons of life - Spring is here

I have decided it is soon the season of adventure.

This weekend we took the twins and the big kids on their first CAR then PRAM outing.  

We went to a National Trust site. The sun came out.  The kids ran around. We found some easter themed activities.  It was a good adventure.

I managed to feed two babies while out and about.  At one point I had Audrey laying on my jacket post feed, and Nora feeding.  Audrey needed a burp.  Nora baby needed a feed.  Andy had taken the bigger kids somewhere else.

At just the right time a former colleague of mine walked up towards us and said hi! So I said "hi, can you please pick up that baby and hold her for a few minutes?" which she of course did.  My plan B was to just ask anyone to hold the baby.  There was a family with two older kids which I probably would have asked next.

I figure people will either hold the baby or say no.  Twins, as far as I can tell, is actually impossible alone.  

While acknowledging twins are impossible, I can also acknowledge we are entering a summer of adventure.  Twins are not moving yet.  They sleep on the go. They can't walk and their opinions are "Tired, Hungry, Bored, Poopy, Overstimulated".  Nothing else. So this summer we need to get out for local adventures.  Next summer we will be on nap schedule again, and we will be splitting our day into morning and afternoon again.  Right now, we are not! 

Sure, we are tired.  Twins are waking a bit more at night.  It's not adventure weather.  This is not inspiring:
If I want for the right season, the one where we had enough sleep, the one where we are all healthy, the one where the house is clean and the fridge is stocked, the weather is nice and it's not going to rain... we will never have adventure.

Daria is about to travel internationally with two small children.  Amazing.  I have no desire to travel international right now, but I am inspired by the effort and mentality.  

In this spring season I'm excited for gardens, easter egg hunts, and castles.  That's the adventure for the season we are in.  There will be other adventures another day.  

What's on your spring adventure list?

March 20, 2024

Wednesday thoughts, some photos, and brownies.

I am currently writing this at 8:05pm.  Yes, PM! I have stayed awake longer than the babies, who have been asleep for 45 minutes now.  In that time I completed my time log, quickly tidied downstairs, and made these Zucchini Brownies
The recipe says to cool completely on a wire rack but I want to eat them right now.  I think brownies are best slightly warm but not super hot.  I am having crazy insane chocolate and cake cravings still, so I'm hoping giving in with some brownie will help. 

So far this week I have been doing two things in one day and that is too many things.  But they are good things! On Tuesday I went out to brunch and then went for a walk with a friend and with the babies.  Today I went for a walk with a different friend and the babies and then met another friend for lunch.  However I am really craving some down time at home, which I should get tomorrow.  Things are starting to feel fast.

Here are the babies, chilling at the coffee shop:
I was very excited on Tuesday because my podcast selection was super on point.  I have enjoyed all these episodes.  
I wish I spent more time taking notes on episodes.  Even Cal Newports episode on taking notes.  

It's become obvious why the Brits invented Pathetic Fallacy because it has been grey and drizzly since November here (slight overstatement) and everyone is in a grey and drizzly mood.  HOWEVER we did get 5 minutes of sun on Monday and I managed to get the littlest 3 to the park
I am SOO ready for spring.  I need sun!  Also, the time change in the UK hasn't happened yet so I am living with a bit of dread as I am very anti-time changes.  I think we should stay on summer time year round.  I think people should get up earlier when the sun is up earlier.  In fact, I think that hours should change length in winter and summer such that dark is 12 hours and light is 12 hours and we just divide each into 12.  I know there are huge downsides to this plan, but it seems more seasonally appropriate right?  So what that a summer hour is 100 minutes and a winter hour is 40 minutes? We can deal with that right?

Enough ranting from me - let's go check on those brownies.

Do you prefer brownies or cookies? Do you dread or love time changes? Does anyone love time changes? Why do we still have them??

March 17, 2024

Weekend Update with RachelinWales

It's been a weekend!

Lilah and I took a bus! We walked/rode to our local library (15 minute walk) then took the bus home after.  We arrived at the bus 20 minutes early (or 10 minutes late, depending on how you quantify arrival times for an every 30 minute bus) so bought a chelsea bun from the bakery and ate it on a bench.  It was very wholesome.
The bus driver gave Lilah a ticket.  He didn't even charge us for the ride because apparently a three year old taking a dolly on the bus for her first bus ride is too cute to charge.  It was all so wholesome.

On Saturday we went out for a long adventure to visit friends who live an hour away.  It was our longest trip out with babies and they did great and enjoyed their big adventure.  The kids enjoyed as well, we went and saw a very angry goose
Also, Lilah and Isaac saw a squished Frog and were fascinated. Lilah said it wasn't a real frog, which I thought was an interesting way of understanding a squished frog.  It was a former frog. Not a Real frog.

Today (Sunday) the kids made robot costumes, which is also ridiculously wholesome:

Besides lots of kid stuff, Andy and I each got an adventure morning.  Andy had Saturday from 8-10am for a bike ride, and I had Sunday from 8:30-10am for my own adventure.  I did Couch to 5K week 3 and then added a bit more jogging just for fun.  

It's hard to be both aware that we are in the super adorable wholesome stage right now AND that things will get both easier and harder.  

When I think of days like today, I think of this quote from Ann Patchett's Tom Lake:

There is no explaining this simple truth about life: you will forget much of it. The painful things you were certain you’d never be able to let go? Now you’re not entirely sure when they happened, while the thrilling parts, the heart-stopping joys, splintered and scattered and became something else. Memories are then replaced by different joys and larger sorrows, and unbelievably, those things get knocked aside as well, until one morning you’re picking cherries with your three grown daughters and your husband goes by on the Gator and you are positive that this is all you’ve ever wanted in the world.

Did you have a good weekend?  Did you do anything wholesome?

March 14, 2024

A Morning in the Life

Engie commented on my recent Routines post that she's interested in the logistics of big families and how things get done.  I know I posted a rather dire "night in the life" post when the babies were 6 weeks old, but I thought perhaps I would do a "Morning in the life" post today since it's 12:10 and I have up to 20 minutes before the babies wake up!

5:40 Hear five year old in bathroom, sneak out of bedroom and sit on stairs waiting for him to finish

5:45 Five year old gives me a hug in between doing his morning business and washing his hands.  Parenting is lovely.  Check that 3 and 5 year old are back in bed ok

5:50 come downstairs and do my time log, my daily plan/to-dos, my line a day journal, and some blogging.  Watch babies through monitor. Enjoy quiet time.

6:30 kids are up and building a new home playing with brio. Tell them to come downstairs to avoid waking the babies. Put croissants in the oven because we are having fancy breakfast (croissants, yogurt, fruit, eggs)

6:45 babies awake - feed babies.

7:00 come downstairs and eat croissant and coffee.  Leave babies playing upstairs because the non-rolling and non-moving phase is great

7:15 get babies dressed

7:30 get kids dressed

7:45 Start Laundry

7:50 get myself dressed in running clothes

8:00 Walk Isaac to school.  Run home to change into waterproof jacket as it's started to rain

8:50 finish run. Dry off, drink water, eat a handful of nuts

9:00 Start 20 minute core workout video. Do 15 minutes before.... 

9:20 Babies awake.  Andy watches them while I take a quick shower

9:45 Feed babies

10:00 watch babies while eating breakfast of leftover macaroni and cheese, then crackers and hummus.

10:50 put babies to sleep

11:00 Put laundry outside, make homemade hummus, make courgette fritters, chop veg for dinner. Eat a slice of cake and a decaf coffee

11:45 Finish thank you cards for midwives and drop off at neighbours house to take to the hospital.

11:50 clean up cooking mess. Start dishwasher.

12:00 start blog post

12:10 Answer call from Nursery saying Lilah has a low grade fever and seems sad.  Ask grandma to pick her up.

12:15 Call friend to cancel lunch plans

12:20 Babies are awake

12:30 Feed babies

12:50 Lilah is home, read her stories and settle her in bed

1:00 Stress eat a cupcake that is probably too old but it's been in the fridge so that's fine right?

1:05 keep writing blog post

1:25 Finish blog post.

Dinner prep, meals, the value of time and the value of food.

I started a line a day journal in 2021 (actually my first post was December 31st 2020, because I am sometimes a rebel).  It's interesting for noticing trends.  For instance - it appears that I don't like March 13th.  in 2021 I complained about Lilah's bad sleep (it was terrible!!) and then 2022 Lilah didn't have a second nap for the first time and in 2023 I wasn't sure about work and in 2024... well it was fine.  It was cold, it was rainy, I spent basically all day making dinner and watching two babies and doing 2 loads of laundry.

I'm still keeping my time log but sometimes I feel I am writing "baby, feed baby, laundry, tidy, dinner prep, sleep" on repeat.  I know I should probably aspire to more than tidying and dinner prep... but here we are.  

What I realised about dinner prep is that I value cooking and eating good food.  I haven't been cooking recently because we have been in twin survival mode.  At the same time, I haven't been feeling great about what we do eat.  On Tuesday I made a try of fish fingers, fishcakes, broccoli and carrot then stuck it in the oven and served it with steamed rice.  We've had this a lot recently, mostly without the broccoli and carrots.  That type of food is fine and serves a need, but I am tired of eating it.  I want food made from real food.  Not machine food.

It takes time to make real food. I'm not cooking fancy, but vegetables take time to prepare.  Yesterday I made burrito bowls for dinner (because kids hate eating anything mixed together, so this was an assemble at the table dinner).  Over the course of the day I made pinto beans, roast sweet potato, quinoa, corn, cheese, avocado.

Chopping sweet potatoes took 15 minutes.  Chopping veg for slow cooker pinto beans took another 15 minutes.  Making Quinoa was super easy but I still had to look up a recipe and measure the quinoa and water.  Grating cheese takes time. Chopping avocado takes a minute. Defrosting corn and putting it in a bowl was another minute.  Setting the table, putting out enough serving spoons, making sure the kids have water cups.  Nothing takes no time at all... and then I have to set the table too.  I probably spent upwards of 1 hour on food prep throughout the day.  Split across 4 naps.  

The dinner was good, although I ate it cold because the babies woke up for their dinner at exactly dinner time.

[6:18am Interlude - I can hear my kiddos coughing in bed upstairs.  How come little kids don't realise they will cough way less if the just BLOW THEIR NOSES!]

I do love the philosophy of "don't spend all day cooking and meal prepping and tidying" but I am also aware that our recent meals have not been in accordance with my values. I value good home made food for me and my family.  Unfortunately food/cooking time comes from other time... and I don't have a lot of leisure time.  So if I'm going to value nutritious home-made food, I'm going to value it enough to use my valuable time cooking it.

March 12, 2024

A Tuesday and some podcast thinks

It has been a Tuesday!  I did't feel particularly settled into today, but maybe that's because of the relentless rain.  Last Wednesday the sun came out and I felt ALIVE! Today it rained all day and I feel... alive. 

Anyways, I did get the house tidied for the cleaner this morning and she cleaned the bedrooms today and the house looks great and I feel much better for having a clean house.  

Also, sarah does super cute things like this on Lilah's bed.  Straight up cute:

I listened to a lot of podcasts today.  On an episode of Organize365 Lisa Woodruff was talking about burnout and how when people have burnout they're told to take a step back and focus on themselves and change the overwhelm.  And that raising kids is hard and then when your kids are in their teens or older and you feel like you can breathe again and you change things and take a step back and focu on yourself then it's called a midlife crisis.  I thought that was really interesting. I think parenting burnout is real.  

At least I know I'll be back in work in a year.  I am so amazed at moms who can do babies and then continue to do only babies and toddlers and kids.  That's impressive.

Second podcast thought was About Progress - Monica Packer was interviewing... someone. I forgot.  It was about planning and then planning a day as a mom and finding activities to fit into the small bits of life.  So instead of a daily time block (which is how I work best, but which is not possible) make weekly goals and then seperate by the time needed to do said goals.  For instance, "naptime goals" or "morning goals" or "out of the house goals".  I don't think I need that but it might be good for me to consider my daily goals in this way to make sure I'm not banking too much on naps.  

Speaking of banking too much on naps, one is awake from a nap now.  My day of 45 minute increments continues.  Happy tuesday!

March 11, 2024

Monday Thoughts - What does success look like?

Mondays are my hardest day - I have the twins and Lilah at home.  It's made easier by having my mom here, as she's taken Lilah this morning so it's just me and the twins.  Hence the blog! But still, I've been slightly fearing the trickyness of Mondays all weekend, and I've been trying to conserve my own energy for Monday.  This was all going well... untill Lilah woke me up at 10:30pm because her blankets weren't straight (??) and then she needed water and a cuddle and her blankets again.  Back to sleep at 11pm, then the babies were up at 12:30 and very angry... and somewhat hungry.  So an early feed and back to bed, before another wake up at 5am.  Which makes sense and is developmentally appropriate and I was still rather tired and annoyed.

Luckily Andy did the big kids this morning so I slept until 8 and let the babies sleep until.  I don't know what this means for the rest of the days naps/feeds but I decided I needed it.  The schedule the babies are in now is totally working for me and totally temporary, which is a tricky place to be! Soon their naps and feeds will shift and then I'll have to shift again.  My major consideration is whether I can shift their schedules around enough to make the £13 pilates class at 9:30am rather than the £20 pilates class at 10:30.  We will see!

I've been a big grumpy this morning but as I filled out my time log for last week I realised I actually have had enough sleep.  I'm averaging 8.2 hours of sleep per 24 hour period.
And suddenly I was less tired.  So I decided to do a quick blog post.  Then I'll tackle laundry (currently a load in the drier and 2 loads in the baby room), and I need to get dressed, text our cleaner, and then maybe read my book (authors note - this is why I am still on page 22 of my book)?  

I got out for a Mothers Day run yesterday and did a 15 minute core workout so I'm not feeling keen to exercise again this morning.  I also am coming around to the apple watch and finally figured out how to add strava!  So, my first recorded run:

So many PRs!  It's week 2 of Couch to 5k... and I feel I'm taking it adequately slow enough for recovery.  It feels weird but I am super excited for someday being in the woods for a 10k again.  Being on the streets for a 4k is good for now.

All this to say - what will make today a success?
  • Staying calm with Lilah (3 year olds can be a lot)
  • Having the house in OK shape for the cleaner tomorrow
  • Putting away the laundry
  • Taking the twins and Lilah to a friend's house for a cup of tea
  • Finishing Time Log and Line a Day journal
  • Writing a blog post
  • Going to bed early so I can wake up early for Rachel time
  • Eating one of these delicious cupcakes (old photo - there are only 3 left)
That all seems achievable to me.  And tomorrow it's my weekend!

March 9, 2024

Weekend Vibes - Mothers Day and kid adventures

It's the weekend.  Which means - hard work! Lots of noise! 

It's a very family weekend this weekend.  Today I took my mom to the garden center to get some plants for her garden.  She bought some daffodils.  I bough a random plant.  Someday I will think about how to have a pretty garden, but for now I like buying cheap plants, sticking them in the ground, and seeing what happens.

After the garden center we took the kids to the aquarium! And by "aquarium" I mean fish shop.  Cardiff doesn't have an aquarium, but the fish shop is basically the same right?

Heres two kids looking at some fish.

This afternoon Andy's parents are coming over for lunch.  Isaac is having a sleepover at Grandmas and ANdy has made a giant pasta bake for dinner.

Tomorrow we're hosting a Mothers day afternoon tea for my mom and a mom friend who often watches Lilah.  Mothers day in the US and Australia and Canada is in May... Mothers day in the UK is in March. I don't know why.  Moms like wet cold weather?

In the morning I'll hopefully get out on the bike for my own mothers day adventure.  On my first Mothers Day with Isaac I wanted to pretend I wasn't a mom and have a whole day for me.  This is my fifth mothers day and I've set my expectations lower - I'm going to be a mom who gets to go out for an hours bike ride.  And eat some delicious cupcakes.  

I think I'll end this mothers day more satisfied than with the first.  I'll definitely be eating better cake.

And then it will be Monday! The hard day! I will be using sticker book bribery on Monday, which she will get for her amazing potty training, but also because I need her to have something to do on Monday.  

Here's wishing you a happy weekend and a happy Mothering Sunday!

March 8, 2024

5 Food Things on a Friday

Here is a list of things I am loving.  I started this list before realising it's all food or food related.  Oops!

Dating Tupperware in the fridge.  I started using a chalkboard pen to label leftovers when they go in the fridge.  This is mostly because I instantly forget how old something is and I hate food waste.  Our family wastes almost no food (except kid half finished food, which I hated at first had to let go).  I consider it a personal failing if something goes off in the fridge - why didn't someone eat it first? We have so many meal times every week to eat leftovers. Nothing should go bad.

This also explains my penchant for dinner at breakfast.  4 day old chili is my breakfast buddy.  I would rather eat carbonara in the morning than have it go bad.  I also don't *really* like freezing food that is near its expiry because then I have to be careful to eat it quickly on unfreezing.  I am also probably laxer than most on how long I will let things sit before I eat them... so it's probably good I have some standards.  Andy's general rule seems to be a week, I am "before a week" which I know google will say is too long.

Decaf Coffee. I recently realised i like the taste of coffee.  I was sad because I was trying to stick to one coffee a day (there are no conclusive studies associating coffee with awakeness in breastfeed babies, but I didn't want to risk it.  The Emily Oster in my mind was telling me off for this sentiment).  But then I remembered - decaf coffee!  Same great taste, no caffeine.  Yum!  I have been enjoying a decaf (or sometimes half-caf) second coffee. 

This apple magic thing.  Slicing apples is boring.  This makes it easy!  How do I like them apples? I like them a lot.

Scooping spoon.  I eat a lot of peanut butter, especially now that I chop apples often.  Apple is a great vessel for peanut butter.  But as per the above, I detest wasting food.  Enter this scooping spoon! It gets into all the peanut butter jar crevices to give me more tasty peanut butter and waste less tasty peanut butter.
Really good cake.  Andy's mum used to bring us cake every Monday, which we would eat throughout the week.  She is an amazing cake baker. This was a great set up.  I did not realise how attached I had become to Monday cake delivery.  She hasn't been able to come lately and I am going through serious cake withdrawal.  

This weekend we are getting cupcakes for Mothers day, I am hoping that fixes my cake needs. I'm also wondering whether I need to just spend a week eating cake and see if that cures me? Whatever it is, no chocolates or biscuits are good enough to fill this cake void I currently have

March 7, 2024

March - goals and other misc thoughts

It's currently March!  On March 1st it hailed.  A lot.  

Yesterday the sun was out all day!  

Yesterday I got out on my bike and rode in the hills for almost an hour.

I walked with my friend for an hour in the sun as well.  at 2:30 pm it seemed a good time for a beer in a beer garden but unfortunately the pub didn't open until 5pm.  I'm not sure if I can make the argument that pubs need to open earlier so that mothers on maternity leave can get a midday drink... it's probably not a great idea.  But also, it would have been nice.

Today is Thursday, which means my Rachel weekend is soon over.  This weekend-weekend involves a lot of family.  We are having an afternoon tea for Mothers Day and I've ordered fancy cupcakes which I am very excited about.  

I've had some trouble getting into books this month.  I started Building a Second Brain by Tiago Forte and abandoned it quickly.  

I am hesitant to put more anything into my phone at the moment, and I also don't feel like I have a fully functioning first brain.  The book had some interesting concepts, but like Build The Life You Want I needed to spend a bit more time focusing on it and not just listening while puttering around the house.  I decided to DNF after 2 of 7 hours.

I finally started reading Birnam Wood and I am getting into it but I think it's long... sometimes it's hard to tell how long something is on Kindle but this feels long.  

I should keep reading The Hungry Empire because I bet I will like it but I just don't sit down with a real book often.  I could be sitting with a real book now... but I'm blogging instead.

I completed my March page in my Ashley Shelley Planner:

In summary, I'm hoping March is more of the good things from Feb.
  • More decluttering
  • More writing
  • More exercise
  • More being outside
  • More Vegetables.
My main "goals" are 
  • Buy a Fire Extinguisher - done and under the sink already!  And I threw away some old mats we don't used from under the sink, so that's decluttering as well!
  • Consolidate Digital Photos - I can already tell I don't want to do this and probably wont.
  • Continue Photo Albums - Because I do this all the time I should probably take it off the list
  • Move the babies to their own room for Naps - I am scared of this one.  But it has to be done. I haven't so far because their room is my laundry staging area, but that needs to get fixed too.
I like how Ashley Shelley planners ask what I will say "no" to - and I wrote "doing 2 things in 1 day".  On Tuesday I tried to do 2 things in 1 day and I was an hour late to one because I forgot.  I will continue to try and schedule 1 thing a day.

March 6, 2024

Laundry thoughts

I currently do a lot of laundry.  I also currently think a lot about laundry. And it's been almost a year since my last post on laundry!  Time for another!

I’ve recently been considering how I can have the kids be more involved in their laundry situation. I don’t feel it’s my forever responsibility to fold their clothes or put laundry away in their drawers, although I know the three-year-old isn’t really capable of folding, nor is the five-year-old. 

Part of getting them to put their laundry away will be lowering my standards of how their laundry should be put away.  I use a bunch of SKUBB baskets from IKEA to sort their clothes in their drawers. Isaac has enough T-shirts that they need to be folded to fit into the space, but pyjamas just get chucked into the bottom drawer. I know he can chuck his own pyjamas into a drawer.

Growing up, there was a clean laundry basket in my parents bedroom, and my parents would always ask us to put our laundry away. we generally resisted this because if we were looking for something, it was usually in the clean laundry basket. In hindsight, I think my parents didn’t want us to use their room as excess clothing storage. 

I asked Andy how his parents did laundry. He said his mom washed, folded, and ironed his laundry, and then gave him a pile of laundry to put away. 

FYI, I do not iron, and I’ve never ironed Andy‘s clothes and barely ever iron my own. I certainly wouldn’t iron my kids clothing.

I’m considering getting the kids, a clean clothing basket, but my fear is this will just become another basket and also they might mix clean and dirty clothing. Maybe a clean clothing drawer??  I could leave it In a pile outside the room however, it would probably stay there until I got annoyed.

If you have kids, do your kids put away their laundry? What age did they start putting away their own clothes?

 Did your parents do your laundry when you were a kid?

March 5, 2024

Rhythms and Routines

The other week a delivery driver sighed and said "Mondays!" when he dropped off a parcel at our house.  "Oh it's definitely a Monday!" I said... and he said "yeah those weekends just go to fast".  But then I realised... no, I was lamenting that it was a Monday because Mondays are hard.  Mondays are me and the twins and the three year old.  Weekends are also hard, because although I add a husband I also add the 5 year old and the 3 year old.   I wasn't looking back wistfully the the weekend... I was just commenting on it being a Monday.

I've had some grumpy Saturdays recently, but I think this may be more of a mental framing issue.  I've mostly lived in a world where we make it to Saturday and then... we breathe.  Or at least the day changes.  If we work a 9 to 5 on Saturday we subtract work and add kids.  Or we subtract work and add hobbies.  For me... I just add.  On Maternity leave my 9-5 is babies, and on the weekend those babies are still there... plus the others.  It's a lot.  And on Monday I subtract the other adult and keep one of the kids.  It's more.

I decided I need to change my mental approach to my week.  My "weekends" will be Tuesday-Thursday, when it's just me and the babies.  The 3 year old is in nursery, the 5 year old is in School.  Yesterday I told the husband to go into the office today so I could be at home alone (+babies).  Everyone was out the door at 8am and the babies were asleep and I was so excited.

I spent the first hour tidying before the cleaner came.  Then a friend came and we went to a pilates class (top tip - if you have twins find someone who doesn't work during the week to help you take babies to baby classes!). Then we went to a cafe for lunch.  Then home, where my clean house greeted me! And I put the babies down for a nap, swapped out the laundry, made some more food, and started writing this blog.

Tomorrow a friend is coming over to help me take the babies for a walk in the woods.  (Top tip for twins - find someone who doesn't work in the week who wants to carry a baby in a baby carrier so you can go for a walk!)

Anyways, the reason this is all possible is that these two gremlins are now 4 months old, and they are starting to reliably nap! 
Not every nap is reliable, but nap 1 is.  Which means I have one time a day when I know I will get some me time.  It turns out, all I need is one tiny bit of reliability to feel so much better about life. In addition to the morning nap, every night I reliably get a bit of TV with Andy while we put the babies to bed.

A lot of life is still hard work.  Dinner is hard. Post school pre bed is hard. Waking up once a night feels easy, but is hard.

But my Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday is not hard.  So when Saturday is hard I'll try and remember I'm only 2 days away from Tuesday.

March 1, 2024

5 on a Friday - sports, toilets, goals, books, TV

Sports - I finally used my turbo trainer! Turbo trainers are awful.  In case you don't know, it's a thing where you turn your bike into a stationary bike by putting the back wheel on a resistance thing.  It's loud and unpleasant and hard.  I did about 20 minutes of 50% with two intervals of 30 seconds at 90% because aforementioned HARD and also because my goal was to just do 20 minutes.  It would probably be better if I had a plan of what to *do* on the turbo.  But at least I got some cardio in rather than endless short interval rehab and light strength training.

My Favourite Toilet Stall - Do you have a favourite toilet stall?  At a museum in South Wales the ladies room has this stall:
In case you don't live with small children, one of lifes major small child dilemmas is "my child needs a wee but it will take forever and so much convincing but I need a wee and I can be quick but I might derail my childs wee by going first".  THIS STALL SOLVES EVERYTHING! Everyone can wee!  I want to submit it to some sort of Toilet Award show.  Does that exist?

Yearly Goals - I have the goal to buy a fire extinguisher for the house this year.  I know this is more of a To Do.  Where you keep a fire extinguisher? I don't want the kids to play with it of course.  Should I try and mount it in the bathroom? Is there a teeny tiny one? The kitchen seems the obvious place but our kitchen is so tiny and so full.  Also, I know a few of my goals are "buy a thing" but "buy a thing" can be a goal! I have to do research! And order it! And collect it! and find a place for it!  This is all work.

Books - I have started reading an actual book and it's so much more unweildy than the kindle.  I need to carve out some actual reading time.  Andy has a reading light on a clip but the brightness and the rustle of turning pages seems like a lot of sound and noise.  Perhaps kindle is the way forward when two mini people are sleeping in ones room.

TV - Andy and I started watching a rubbish show called The Traitors and we are loving it.  We used to enjoy watching survivor and this is somewhat similar.  It's also fun to watch shows together.  

Someday we will put babies down and leave the room (not watch TV and have me fall asleep), but today is not that day.  I did think it would be March, but now I'm thinking we go straight to babies own room in April.  Plus my 8pm bedtime is the only thing that makes this 5:30am Rachel Time possible and I love Rachel Time.