And I was doing so well! Twenty days in a row is the longest into November I’ve gone for National Blog Posting Month so I’d say I didn’t do too terribly. I shold have scheduled some posts for the week of Thanksgiving. We were so beat by the time we got to Memphis on Wednesday night that I completely forgot about a post for the day. After that it was just easy to give up for the week and visit with Daniel’s family.
On Thanksgiving Day I got up early with my little cooking schedule and cooked Thanksgiving dinner with the help of Daniel’s Aunt Jan (not to mention her brother who sent up TWO trays of homemade dressing). We planned to eat at noon and the ten of us were digging in at 12:25. Success!
Daniel climbed up in the attic and pulled down the toy box that his grandad made for him when he was little. It needs a little bit of love to fix a few things and I had to spend some quality time with it and a bottle of Goo Gone to peel off a sticker, but we are so thrilled to be able to have such a meaningful piece in the baby’s room!
Daniel’s childhood toy box. Ready to come home to our nursery.
Goo Gone vs a 25 year old sticker
Scrub Scrub Scrub
I give up. Time to resort to the fingernails.
Success! The leftover rectangle is even kind of a sweet reminder of Tiny Daniel.
What better toy for a kid than the best dog on the planet?
Now we just need to find someone to fix the joints and the bottom. The toy box isn’t put together with nails, it has something like tongue and groove joints on the edges holding it together, which it neat, but a few are pulling apart. There is a missing brace on the bottom as well so it doesn’t sit evenly right now, but once we get those fixed it is going to be the perfect addition to the nursery. The room is still the guest bedroom full of junk right now but that will be changing next week in Week 2 of our Simplicity Experiment. Can’t wait!
Tonight we met with our Simplicity Experimental Collective to share our decisions on what excesses we will be eliminating from our lives over the next 4 weeks. Some are cutting back on excess stuff. Some are cutting back on stress by getting more sleep or carving out more open time during the day. Some are pointing their aim at food. It was clear that a lot of thought went into everyone’s decision making process over the last week. I am enjoying this chance to get to know friends on new levels and to begin to get to know new friends through this experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Experimental Collectives are the way to go for me. This format reaches me in a way that church small groups never have.
Our homework between now and next Tuesday is to work up written plans on how we will execute our experiments For some it will be a simple (not easy, just simple) plan: don’t go on Facebook or drink coffee. For others it will require a lot of research and planning ahead; choosing how to radically pair down foods in a healthy and impactful way and planning menus in advance. For Daniel and me it means deciding how we want to go about getting rid of our extra stuff. Will we go by genre of stuff? One room each week? Number of items per day? Will we sell things on Craigslist? Donate to thrift stores? Hold items back to possibly use in a Vintage Fellowship sale or thrift store booth to raise money for a cause? What measures will we use to decide if we are being successful along the way? I do know that we are both extremely motivated to make this move. We will have some hard decisions to make in the next several weeks and I wouldn’t be surprised if some tears were shed. This is a tiny house and the two of use have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years living on our own. I’m sure we will probably be learning a lot about which attachments to objects are healthy and which need to be broken. It’s a lofty goal and Daniel doesn’t think it’s possible, but I want to get this house feeling empty before we start adding lots of baby furniture and items. That may not happen in the next six weeks. It may take a few rounds of purging before we get there, but I’m determined. It might mean some sacrifices, some of them painful, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.
Wish us luck and stay tuned!
I had a great start to my Monday this morning.
After I got around and completed my morning ritual of hanging over the toilet for a few minutes (I feel like all I ever talk about on here is barfing or trying not to barf) I checked my email and found that I had won a copy of Rachel Held Evans’ new book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood!” I have been dying to read this book and waiting anxiously for it to come out!
Rachel Held Evans is kind of a superstar in my eyes, in big part because she often stands up to Mark Driscoll and his insane and offensive macho drivel. Which I sort of totally love. I nearly peed all over myself one day when she commented on my friend’s Facebook wall. Because he knows her. I haven’t met many famous people so the fact that my friend is friends with a famous person who I admire sends me into dizzy spells.
I won the book from a blog giveaway at Kurt Willems’ blog The Pangea Blog over at Patheos. So a big fat Thank You to Kurt for feeding my book addiction and decided girl crush on Rachel Held Evans. I seriously can’t type just part of her name. I have to type the whole thing.
I can’t wait to read it! I’ll be back with a review sometime later. I’m not sure how long it will take to get the book plus I have to finish up Fundamorphosis first. :)
Suddenly the Holiday Season has begun. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. I think I have more work events scheduled already than I will have personal social ones. Seriously. We had one potluck for Thanksgiving and are planning another one sometime after Christmas. Between now and Christmas we will also have a cookie exchange, an Ugly sweater contest day, a Dirty Santa gift exchange, a blood drive (not that I’m participating in THAT one) and an after-hours Christmas party.
In just a few days it will be Thanksgiving and I’ll be cooking lots of food for Daniel’s family (yay!) I love cooking for people. Especially when that gets to be my plans for the day instead of fitting it in with all the other stuff I usually have to do. So we are preparing for that meal and making lists for stuff for us to buy and stuff for Daniel’s dad to pick up and what to take with us for when we’re just hanging out. I will probably spend too much time looking through my knitting books and yarn stash and deciding if I should knit some Christmas presents or baby stuff. Then I will bring way too many projects with me because I KNOW I will get tired of or frustrated with a project if I only bring one or two. I need options!
We’ll also need to get the house company-ready for our Simplicity Experimental Collective meeting Tuesday night. I love having groups meet at our house SO MUCH! It’s so much less stressful for me, I get to welcome people into our home and I don’t have to hurry and figure out what to do for dinner plus it is the best motivation for keeping the place cleaned up! This week we will be discussing what we chose for our “Eliminating Excess” experiment. Our homework for the week of Thanksgiving is to make a plan. Some will require more of this than others. Robb (Who wrote a book, by the way) was excited that we aren’t starting to execute our experiments until next week because he was thinking of simplifying to only a few foods (7) to eat for the three weeks we’ll be experimenting and he refused to start during the Thanksgiving Feast. I don’t blame him. I’ve seen Vanessa’s Thanksgiving Dinner Photos. Daniel and I have decided to choose “Stuff” as our item of excess to eliminate. We have got to simplify, first of all because we don’t have room for what we have now, let alone a baby. Secondly I just want to bring the baby home to a simpler way of living than we have now. But I hope to get into that in a post on Tuesday. I’m excited and nervous. It’s going to be a wonderful experience, though, I know it.
Today we took dinner to our dear friends Sara and Jamal who brought home their sweet boy, Eli, this week. This little dude is partly responsible for our little munchkin’s timing because Jamal was ever so slightly relentless in telling us to hurry up already so our kids would be in the same grade and we could be clueless first time parents together. And they will and we will! Eli is a little stinker and flipped himself breech so his mama had to have a C-section earlier in the week to retrieve him. Oh, and he was 10 pounds and 21 inches long. O_O
I’m going to be perfectly honest here and admit that I was nervous to go see him because I was afraid his giant baby-ness would scare the crap out of me. And he did. Yup, just a little. He’s such a little sweetie but he is almost as big as I was when I was 6 months old! Daniel was apparently an enormous baby and quite barrel chested. I do not approve. Neither do my lady bits. Since the moment I got the text with Eli’s stats on the day he was born I have been telling our baby that it better take after its mom. Lots of the women in my April 2013 pregnancy group on The Bump have already been feeling their babies flutter around for a while so I have decided to convince myself that I haven’t felt anything yet because our baby is tiny and is going to stay that way! Everyone just laughs at me. Hey, denial is a nice place to be when your friend just had a 10 pound baby.
PREGNANCY PERK OF THE DAY
When people are about to spray toxic chemicals in your office to Scotch Guard the new furniture everyone unanimously agrees, without you even bringing it up, that you should leave work early so you don’t breath any of the fumes.
I’m so impressed with my productivity this evening!
Tonight I made Luna some dog treats using pumpkin puree that I made myself last week and froze several bags of the puree for later use. I got the recipe HERE. Except I didn’t have rice flour so I used whole wheat flour. I did have to use a lot more flour than the 2.5 cups called for. So far she hasn’t refused them. We’ll see if she gets excited about them i the next few days.
I don’t have a bone cookie cutter so ours are just rectangles.
THEN, I made a new batch of laundry soap. We have been out for a few days and the laundry was piling up so I really had to get some soap made. I use the powder because the liquid takes up a lot more storage space. This was my second batch. I really loved the first batch I made and thought it did a great job at cleaning our clothes. I used a free Purex gel tablet the other day since I was out of my soap day and I thought the smell of the clean laundry was overpowering. I had gotten so used to our laundry just smelling nice and clean. This time I used THIS recipe and added a 1/2 cup of OxyClean for a stain fighter. It only made enough to fill one mason jar so I’ll need to make some more sooner than last time as I guess I doubled the batch then and ended up with two jars.
This is the recipe I used this time
I’m taking it as a good sign that I had enough energy to do TWO projects after work today! I was really congested from allergies today but the nausea was notably lower. Hopefully my energy levels will be returning soon and I’ll be able to dig in and get a lot of stuff done!
Tonight we welcomed some old and some new friends from Vintage Fellowship into our home to begin our Simplicity Experimental Collective. We will be focusing on getting rid of excess for the next 6 weeks. Our inspiration for this topic was the book “7: An experimental mutiny against excess” by Jen Hatmaker. Jen took 7 areas and focused on them each for a month at a time over 7 months. As we will only be focusing on action for 4 weeks we will each pick one area to concentrate on. We aren’t confining ourselves to her topics, but many of us will likely choose from the following areas: clothes, shopping, wast, stress, media, possessions or food. One goal of our experiment will be to find what resources we gain by eliminating the excess in one area of our life. Then we will hopefully find a way to use that resource to help others or ourselves.
I really am not sure which area will end up with my focus. Definitely not food. There is no way I’m putting unnecessary dietary restrictions on myself at this point. Clothes is a good one in that I could definitely pare down to 7 items of clothing for 4 weeks. Especially as I continue to grow out of my current clothing. I might do this one anyway but it won’t really challenge me to limit my wardrobe. I’m not much of a clothes horse and you won’t find a bunch of items of clothing in my closet with the tags still on. Shoot, most of them didn’t have tags when I bought them because I got them at Goodwill or a resale shop. I’m no fashionista, that’s for sure.
Waste is one area I want to do better with, but we discussed not doing our experiments out of guilt and that’s definitely why I would be going hard-core on the recycling. I’m leaning toward media at the moment because it does seem to take up so much of my time. We watch something on Hulu or Netflix almost every day after work and it really eats up the evenings. We have our dinner in front of tv shows instead of facing one-another and having conversations. Even if I don’t have the energy after work to clean or organize or work on projects, it would probably be good for me to relax and read and get to bed early instead of staying up late to watch tv and then write a blog post and getting to bed much later than I planned.
Our homework for the week is to skim Jen’s book “7″ and maybe do a little journaling to identify the area that we would like to concentrate on. So I have some pondering to do this week.
I am excited to see what this Collective will bring and so thrilled to be concentrating on Simplicity as we enter into this Holiday season that definitely the opposite of simple in our American culture today. It’s going to be a challenging and wonderful 6 weeks!
I am so ready to be unconscious in my bed right now. I’m not even the one who drove us all the way to Missouri on Saturday and all the way back today. *My husband is awesome* We got home this evening, picked up a very missed puppy, I ran over to my friend Vanessa’s for a quick Experimental Collective meeting and ran home again to help clean the house up for that same meeting that will be meeting here tomorrow night.
I love volunteering our house for groups. Mostly because it forces us to clean at least once a week because people are going to be here. It’s also just so much simpler to come home and eat right before group than to have to plan to get home from work early enough to get something to eat for dinner with Daniel in time to go somewhere else for a meeting. My evenings are still pretty tough at this point (I start feeling really sick about 4:30 or 5 at work) so it makes me feel better to get to come straight home.
I’m extra excited about this group because it’s all about simplifying and getting rid of excess during the least simple, most excessive season of the year. I was so moved by how impactful and perfect the Authenticity through Creativity Experimental Collective was over the past 7 weeks that I just can’t wait to try another. I never want to go to another Small Group again! I feel like the Experimental Collective model fits Vintage so well. I don’t want to speak for everyone else, but I felt after our first meeting that this format suits me much more than the Small Group format. I need homework. Real homework that is meant to change me.
I’m so excited!