Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

24-Hour Boot Camp

Last week, Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project suggested that you can conquer a nagging task by dedicating a 24-hour period to getting it done.  She called it the 24-Hour Boot Camp.

This came at the perfect time for me.  I like buying presents.  I really dislike wrapping and mailing presents.    The result was a guest bedroom full of presents that needed to be wrapped and about half of them needed to be packaged to be mailed.

I decided that my 24-hour present wrapping and packaging boot camp would start at nap time on Wednesday.  I cleared off the dining room table and brought out all the presents and wrapping supplies.  I turned on some Christmas music and went to work.  It took me longer than I expected and I thought about stopping a couple of times, but I was determined to finish.  Finally, I had everything wrapped and packed.

I had some child-free time on Thursday morning, so I finished my boot camp then by taking my packages to the post office.  By a terrific stroke of luck, there was no line at the post office and I had a lovely chat with the post office employees.

The 24-hour boot camp worked really well for me.  Every day I dreaded dealing with the wrapping.  Now, I am completely done.  Of course, there are a couple of straggling presents, but I can handle those.  I'll definitely use the 24-hour boot camp in the future.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

11 Things

Day 11:  11 Things.  What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011?  How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

Wow.  11 Things.  That sounds like a lot.  Here goes:

1.  More stuff.  Making my life simpler is going to be a goal for 2011.

2.  Stress eating.  If I find an effective solution, I'll let you know.

3.  Valuing other people's opinions more than my own.  This is just a conscious decision that I have to make.

4.  Yelling.  I'm not a big yeller, but when I reach my breaking point, my anger flashes out.  This is not an effective coping technique.  I need to release some of the tension before I lose control.

5.  Perfectionism.  I am slowly working on this.  I have been trying to abide by the rule that a little is better than nothing at all.  Spending just 5 minutes decluttering toys might not completely clean up the living room, but it is better than not decluttering at all.

6.  Laundry piles.  Why can't I just fold the clean clothes and put them away?

7.  That list of books that I think I should read, but don't have any interest in reading.  I think I should read Moby Dick, but I really don't want to.  The same goes for Ulysses and everything by William Faulkner.  I accept that I may be missing some amazing pieces of literature that I would love if I actually read them.  Maybe I will read them at some time in the future.  What I resolve is that I will stop feeling guilty for reading my favorite historical-mystery-romance novel instead.

8.  Grey hair.  Something has to be done.  I'm not that old.

9.  Waiting.  Too often I put things off because it doesn't seem like the right time.  I keep waiting for the perfect time.  The best time is now.

10.  Sarcasm.  It is my default response when I am upset or angry and it rarely helps the situation.  

11.  Late nights.  I love the idea of staying up late and enjoying the relative silence, but I am grumpy and irritable the next day.  It just isn't worth it.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A ladybug at Christmastime

A ladybug at Christmastime, originally uploaded by celabbe.
This is my first attempt at using the bokeh technique thanks to Darcy of life with my 3 boybarians.  Bokeh is the effect of the blurry lights of the Christmas tree.  Check out Darcy's site to see a lot of great bokeh photos for her Holiday Bokeh Party.

Katherine was wearing the components to her Halloween costume.  Who says you can't be a ladybug at Christmastime?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beautifully Different

Day 8:  Beautifully Different:  Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up.  Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.  - Karen Walrond

In a way, it is very easy for me to think about the ways in which I am different as I feel different from most people most of the time.  However, I generally consider those differences a bad thing, not something that makes me beautiful.

Beautiful is defined as "having qualities that give great pelasure or satisfaction to see, hear think about, etc; delighting the sense or mind."

What makes me different?

I say no more often than I say yes.  Now, that doesn't mean that I actually say no to requests, because I very rarely do that.  However, I am very careful not to overcommit myself.  Hopefully that results in a happier family because we are not over scheduled and also allows me to have some flexibility in my life.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Day 7:  Community.  Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010?  What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?  - Cali Harris

Community is difficult for me.  I really, really want to be part of a community, but my personality does not make it easy for me to fully commit to people.

That wasn't always true.  As a young child, there wasn't a person I didn't want to talk to or activity that I didn't want to try.  That began to change in junior high.  Junior high was three years of hell.  I was outspoken, smart, and overweight.  That is not a good combination.  It wasn't as bad in high school, but the damage had already been done.

College was a revelation for me.  I found great friends and had a wonderful community.  Unfortunately, one of the friends I made turned out to be a bad choice.  That one mistake has made me much less likely to want to make friends.  It is the easier thing to do.

However, it is possible that it is not the best rule of life.  Perhaps that should be something I work on in 2011.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Day 6:  Make.  What was the last thing you made?  What materials did you use?  Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?  - Gretchen Rubin

I have a confession - I love to make things.  Turn me lose in Michaels or Joann Fabrics, and not only am I in heaven, but, chances are, I will spend quite a bit of money before I'm done.

This past weekend, I made quite a few items including a gingerbread house, a paper wreath for the front door, an embossed thank-you note card, and 2 pairs of leggings for my daughter.  None of these items were made entirely from scratch.  The gingerbread house was pre-baked and assembled (thank you Wilton!); the paper wreath was assembled from a kit I bought at Paper Source, the note card required only a stamp and one of my new toys--the embossing machine; and the leggings are merely women's over-the-knee socks with the feet cut off and a hem sewn on.

I find making things with my hands to be invigorating.  Although I will admit that I don't remember the last time I swore as much as I did when I was trying to put my mother's old sewing machine together.  What I wouldn't give for the user's manual!

There are so many things I want to try to make.  I want to become a really good knitter.  I love knitting, but I need instruction and patience to get better.  I would love to be able to sew, too.  Right now, I have a small, very cheap, crafting sewing machine.  If I can ever figure out how to use my mother's old machine, I would love to take a sewing class.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Let Go

December 5th - Let Go

"Let Go.  What (or whom) did you let go of this year?  Why"  - Alice Bradley

This year, I let go of the embarrassment.  I have always been unusually concerned about what other people thought of my choices.  I think it comes from my misguided belief that I should be someone other than who I am.

In her book The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin establishes 12 Personal Commandments and the first one is to Be Gretchen.  This was a revelation for me.  For the first time, I started considering whether my choices were true to myself rather than conforming to how I think I should be behaving.

I'm still trying to figure out everything that Being Claire means, but I do know:

I love reading historical mysteries, preferably ones that have a great romance.

I love writing letters.

I love making things with my hands.

I love being a stay-at-home mom.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


December 4th - Wonder

"How did you cultivate a sense of wonder if your life this year?"  -- Jeffrey Davis

I see the world through my daughter's eyes.

A bus ride isn't just a bus ride when it is your first bus ride.

This post was written in response to the daily prompt at #reverb10, allowing you to reflect on 2010 and manifest what's next.