Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: March 28, 2013

round button chicken

All dressed up for the Feast of the Annunciation
CensingMore censing
Learning to smileLearning to laugh

This evening I had my birthday celebration and got to take seven ladies out to dinner and a free showing of Pride and Prejudice in a theatre.  It was truly lovely!  (But I forgot to take pictures.)

Funniest kalimavki I've ever seen...
Warning: do not stand between Lucia and her food.
We need some sort of theme music for these dramatic eyebrows!
Reading Winnie-the-Pooh
Learning to get dressed
New glasses and only patching four hours a day instead of all day long.
We are hoping to avoid surgery. St. Lucia of Syracuse, pray for us!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On Marriage

Yesterday on F*cebook, many of my friends posted some variation of an equals sign on a red background as their profile picture, in support of gay marriage.

As I understand it, the Supreme Court is supposed to be considering the Defense of Marriage Act. This reminds me of the legislature in Indiana entertaining a bill which would define π as 3.2. Or the quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln: "How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

I do think unmarried persons should be allowed to designate someone as a certain next-of-kin who would be allowed to care for them in place of a spouse in terms of hospitals (scary places, especially alone) and inheritance. But that has little to do with marriage or sexuality and much to do with laws and how people should be considered persons.

I hadn't considered posting anything until my husband read to me this beautiful (in my humble opinion) message from a young man whom we had hosted in our home in Florida.
Dear Friends,
I don't usually mention my sexual orientation, because I have no wish to be defined by it; I am a person, not a label.
Today, though, I want to say openly and truthfully that I am gay, and that I hope and pray that the Supreme Court does the right thing and upholds Prop 8 and DOMA.
I unequivocally affirm marriage, the free, total, faithful, and fruitful union of man and woman, the building block of human society, and I deplore and renounce the attempt to redefine it to suit the self-esteem of people like me.
To all of you posting "equals" signs: I respect your decision to do so. Maybe you have a genuine concern for what you believe is a violation of human rights; maybe you want to make a gesture to show that you love the people in your life who have same-sex attraction; or maybe you did it to spite people you don't like. You may have posted that symbol lightly or after much consideration. I don't know.
I tell you with great regard, you do not speak for me. I admire your intentions; I regret your action.
I'm well aware of the silliness of reducing arguments to bumper stickers. However, I respond today with a plus sign, symbolizing the union of man + woman, and the new life that comes from that union.
This symbol also has another significance, one especially meaningful this week: of suffering borne patiently that yields to immense joy and peace. This is the source of my hope.
When I had accepted my first date, but before the day of it, my father surprised me with a question: "What is the purpose of dating?" I had no answer, because I had never considered it. It was just something that everyone else did, and it seemed to be just to hang out and have fun, not something with a Purpose. So he explained his thinking to me, that the purpose of dating was to find someone you wanted to marry.

When I was dating my husband, therefore, we mentioned marriage early. How would that work, since I was Catholic and he was Orthodox? If we had children in the future, what would happen to them? We decided that we would have to be the same, whichever way that happened to be. After being confronted with Truth and Beauty in the Orthodox Church, it was a no-brainer which, nonetheless, took me some time to accept.

So then I wrestled with the question: would I still remain Orthodox if we broke up? I could not, in conscience, as someone called it, make a "cute boy conversion." Since my then-boyfriend kept mentioning how he had considered being a monk (and not entirely in past tense) and how one of his favorite saints, John of Kronstadt, was married but lived celibately, I had definite reasons to pursue this more logically than I was used to making life decisions.

Once I was relatively convinced that I should be an Orthodox Christian regardless of whether or not we stayed together, I asked to be received into the Orthodox Church. Then the question changed: how should I best be an Orthodox Christian? Unsurprisingly, the best answer seemed to me to follow the one who introduced me to the Church in the first place, someone who prayed daily on his own, prayed daily an akathist as his mother had asked, who rearranged his schedule to participate in the services of the Church, and who diligently researched any theological questions I asked him, as well as living what he believed, fasting in the dining hall and treating everyone with respect and consideration.

I considered it "hitching my wagon to a star," but I got married for my salvation.

I still had a somewhat worldly view about marriage, created in part by fairy tales (not all of them Disney, but, looking back, that was quite an influence). I have to laugh, because soon after we were married, he told me about marital fasting. (To be fair, he may have mentioned it beforehand, but in my memory it came after. In any case, I hadn't thought of it applying to me any more than the practice of praying half an hour a day, regularly, on one's own.)

Later, I came across the word "matrimony" with its etymology, and realized that it means "mother-making." This also brought to mind "women will be saved through childbearing" (2 Timothy 15). With several other things about the Orthodox Church which (still) confuse me, those ideas were mulled around and popped up now and again over several years.

Then I became a mother, and everything changed. During labor, there was no giving up. (I know; I asked.) It —labor, and then life—was not about me any more.

Although I still fight it, I am supposed to be an adult. I am supposed to be mature. My mother used to have me copy out a definition of maturity (which I can't remember now, but am sure she has the original on her fridge) which talked about how it was other-focused. In addition to being "supposed" to be mature, I am "purposed" to be mature, that is, that is my purpose. I am made to be other-focused. Even if I'm still not really good at it at all.

But what about this so-called "gay marriage"? The arguments here seem focused on rights and wants, not responsibilities or duties, and on passions rather than salvation. Maybe it's my experience as a Latin major and recently reading the writings of some of the Church Fathers, but American culture seems stranger and stranger to me.

I used to hang out with a group in college called "The Family," most of whom were struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation; even if they had figured it out for themselves, it was still a struggle. I certainly do not condemn them for their sexuality, but I cannot agree with them that falling prey to the passions is something which should be welcomed rather than struggled against.

Others have better-expressed thoughts on this matter, some of which have formed mine, specifically Fr. Johannes Jacobse and Dr. Philip Mamalakis, two men whom I respect and whose theology I trust.

[Updated to add: Fr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou]

What is the purpose of marriage? Salvation. And no one is saved alone.

Pray for me, a sinner.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: Happy Birthday to Me!

round button chicken



(He's wearing Teddy's personalized onesie.)

Midnight snack

Teddy enjoys... watching pizza cook.

A new trash can was one of the things I wanted for my birthday. We tried having a small trash can under the kitchen sink, but it's a click-top lid, so one has to open the cabinet, then the lid, put the trash in, and then battle the trash can to get the lid to close, then close the cabinet. Ain't nobody got time for that.

As a Lenten exercise, I have been taking a picture of each child each day and putting them in a F*cebook album entitled "For the Godparents."  We live rather far from all of the godparents now, and I know the older children miss their godparents specifically.  (Timmo just cries for lack of nouna, I'm convinced.)  So I thought this would be a nice way to let me take time to look at my children (and clean their faces at least once a day) and realize that they don't really belong to me.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real: March 14, 2013

round button chicken
I've finally realized that one of the problems with this phfr is that I find it exceptionally difficult to separate "funny" from "real" for the most part.


Lucia tackled Teddy around the waist, and they started spinning around and around in giggles, with Teddy growling, "I love you."


Came back from the doctor in Iowa City, and Lucia's patching is working. She'll be getting glasses, and we'll still patch the good eye (to strengthen the weaker), but she might not need surgery!

Behind the couch.
Two socks, a card, a hammer and nail, a book and collection of bracelets. It may not be poetry, but it scans well.
"Real" in the past week has encompassed getting my ear drops spilled onto the bed by a certain someone, requiring a change of sheets and calling in a refill. My mother's flight home was delayed by two hours, so rather than get to her airport at midnight (her house is still about an hour's drive away), we invited her to stay the night. She came downstairs in the wee hours with poor, smelly Lucia who was the first of us to get a stomach bug.

So here's a couple of pictures from Timmo's baptism on March 2. You can't get more real than a sacrament, after all.
Prepared for illumination...
The newly illumined with priests, parents (all of them, now), and siblings!


Thursday, March 07, 2013

First 101 Things update

Finally.  I've been looking forward to the three-month mark, even though my initial sprint has slackened.

For each section, there's a count of the number of items in that section, then a breakdown of what is finished, what is in progress, and what hasn't been started yet.  The numbers of finished items are in bold, those of items in progress are italicized.  Notes are added because I'm chatty like that... so this may get too long.

Health and Fitness (9:1/4/4)
001. Take a walk every day for a week (of at least a mile)
-----It's snowy outside, and I'm not coordinated enough to either figure out a time when my husband can be with the kids while it's still light out but not during school hours (because my planned walk is at the track at the nearby elementary school and I don't want to freak anyone out at some random adult circling the school) or to dig out the double stroller and wrap the baby on and ... yeah, that sounds like something my husband would need to be around for just in case. Maybe I should just invite him on a walk and we'll all go.
002. Floss teeth daily for a month
-----The dentist (#7) gave me a filling for a cavity, so I have new incentive.
003. Go to the gym 15 times, working for at least half an hour [0/15]
-----Not ready yet to figure out the leaving-the-baby in the free childcare at the Y yet.
004. Do midwife-approved strengthening exercises after giving birth
-----This has changed to a more specific item: Do 20 reps of headlifts twice daily for 30 days.  This is a little tricky, because I don't want to lie on the floor, and the only place firm enough is the couch, and I have to move things, etc.  I am trying to repair my diastasis recti before I get into anything more strenuous, so I'm using a post-partum band while I do these exercises, so I have to remember where I put it last, but there is discernible progress.  I've also added 10 daily neck stretches.  I'm using my two minutes of toothbrushing time (the best part of an electric toothbrush, IMHO) for wall sits and calf raises.  The wall sits are not so bad if I'm reading a book at the same time.  I'm not really keeping track of the leg exercises, though.
005. Get a massage (two times) [1/2]
-----I was in town before our official parish assignment started, without my husband, so I thought it would be better to attend another Orthodox church that Sunday.  The parishioners at St. George's were so welcoming.  One sweet lady even gave me her card in case I needed anything... and she happened to be a licensed massage therapist.  Then I lost her card in my desk kerfluffle, and recently found it again and called her before the baby's baptism and out of town guests and my mother coming for a week and a baby shower.  And she came to my house.  I am looking forward to calling her again.
006. Visit an eye doctor and check my prescription/glasses/contacts
-----Going to wait at least six months after giving birth, but I really want to go, as my eyes have started to bother me.  I did ask about LASIK, but, first, it's elective surgery, and second, AUGH! LASERS and MY EYES! So that's slightly off-putting, even though my sister had LASIK and she didn't die or go blind.  I am not very brave where my eyes are concerned.
007. Go to the dentist yearly (three times) [1/3]
-----Asked parishioners for their recommendations, and took the one which didn't have music on their website and found The Best Dentist we've ever been to.  Unfortunately, I had a cavity, but Teddy is already reminding us that we go to the dentist again in August.
008. Set a bedtime and stick to it for 30 consecutive days
-----Yeah, this is going to be hard.  I can do the first part...
009. Take a multivitamin for 30 consecutive days
-----I've managed to make this a habit, and include vitamin D as well.  I guess my sister was right, and I do feel more even-keeled in terms of mood.

Learning (12:4/4/4)
010. Read the New Testament [1/27]
-----It took well into January (the 17th), but I managed to finish it.  I read somewhere that one should read Scripture out loud (in the back of the Orthodox Study Bible?), so that's what I did.  I feel quite relieved and feel like I better understand St. Paul.
011. Read the Old Testament [0/49]
-----I still want to read this out loud, but have so far only read the first nine chapters of Genesis.  Oh, and I'm not sure where I got 51 books; there are 49.
012. Read a month's worth of Church Fathers [31/31]
-----Kinda glad I only had a month's worth of readings to go, because I've fallen off the wagon here, leaving off in Against Heresies, Book 2 (about January 19).  It went pretty slowly because I found out that if you sign up as a member of CCEL, you can proofread the pages for typos.  So, of course, I did.
013. Learn something in Romanian
-----I've decided what I should learn, at least: the Trisagion prayers and Nicene Creed. I haven't gone so far as to get a written copy yet, but I have been trying to follow along with my husband's Lord's prayer when he does that at the Liturgy, since I had started trying to learn that a while ago.
014. Learn the countries of each continent ( quizzes, first time success in a day) [6/6]
-----This was surprisingly easy, and I managed this on December 10.  I go back occasionally and get most; the few I miss are usually because it's just one random country I've forgotten whether or not I've named.
015. Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
-----Not started, but I'm sure I can get this at the library.  I've started it twice in the past, and hope to take notes while reading.
016. Memorize the first five kathismata (Psalms 1-37) [1/37]
-----I used to have a notebook for copying the verses, but that's still in a box somewhere.  Haven't gotten very far, therefore.  And it should be 37 psalms, not 36.
017. Learn apolytikia for all family saints (Peter, Mary Magdalene, Theodore the Studite, Gregory Palamas, Lucia, Catherine, and two more to be decided in January...) in English [0/8]
-----Two more were decided in December: Timothy the Apostle and Moses the Strong/Black/Ethiopian/of Skete.  I've found all of these at the Divine Liturgies Music Project, and a few more at eMatins, even getting St. Timothy's directly from the redoubtable and beloved Fr. Seraphim.  I've gone over a few of these a few times, but Lucia keeps trying to make off with them, so that's tricky.  I need to come up with a more rigorous plan for this, and get some recordings to listen to in addition to working with the piano.
018. Memorize the books of the Bible in order
-----It took a tiny bit of hunting, but I did find a sporcle quiz to help with this one, too, using the Orthodox canon.  I managed to do this a few days in a row, getting it right a few days in a row, but this will be something to keep brushed up.  It's much easier to look things up in the Bible when you know at least roughly where the books are, especially with all those minor prophets.
019. Learn the 8 resurrectional apolytikia in English [0/8]
-----I haven't even decided on the translation yet.  Our parish uses the Kevin Lawrence books, but I'm definitely in the Fr. Seraphim Dedes camp.  Obviously, something gets practiced/exposure twice a week (vespers and Liturgy).
020. Learn the 12 great festal hymns: apolytikia and kontakia in English [0/24]
-----Again with the too-many-translations problem.  Haven't gone any further with this either.
021. Learn to make a prayer rope
-----Thanks to pinterest, I found a nice tutorial.  No further progress yet.  The next step is to buy material.

Social Ties (7:0/2/5)
022. Have a dinner party
-----We had a Superbowl party, which was also in celebration of having three main areas (kitchen, living room, bathroom) somewhat presentable, but that's not really what I had in mind for "dinner party."
023. Invite others on a ladies' night out
-----Not yet.  Maybe after Lent would be a better time.
024. Invite Matthew to visit our family
025. Make a birthday list and send out birthday cards to at least five friends (namedays also count) [2/5]
-----Got two out, to friends with birthdays at the end of January and start of February.
026. Set up five playdates [0/5]
-----Hoping for more progress with better weather.  Would meet-ups at the library count for this?  I have plans to contact another mother to go to storytime together next week.
027. Send out annual letter (twice) [0/2]
-----This year's (okay, really two years' worth... plus) text was drafted, and I started putting pictures together... but then my husband's father died and lots of things just kept us busy (baptism, etc.), so I haven't gotten back to that.  Maybe we'll aim for a St. Patrick's Day letter.  I remember seeing a little archive of one family's St. Patrick's Day letter in our family photo albums, and that was pretty cute.  If done annually, thought, I'd probably still want to focus on getting it out by Christmas so that it would get out by March.  *sigh*
028. Host a Lego party
-----I was going to do this at home, but then I saw a Facebook post about the Matter Building Lab, so now I want a birthday party there.  (For me, of course.)

Better World (7:0/0/7)
029. Volunteer at the library
030. Donate blood
031. Donate to Matt and Tara in Niger
032. Put together and send kits to IOCC; put together some "blessing bags" to keep in the car
033. Volunteer at the soup kitchen with Philoptochos
034. Visit a nursing home with the children
035. Buy a cow/goat/bees from the Heifer Project
-----I'm going to call "new baby" on this whole category.

Homestead (20:0/2/18)
036. See about southeast corner landscaping/drainage
037. Get gutters cleaned (install gutter guard?)
-----I bought a Groupon to get the gutters cleaned, but I'm not going to call anyone out here to do that with as much snow as we have.
038. Put up outdoor Christmas decorations (wreath, lights)
-----Didn't happen this year.
039. Get chimney/fireplace inspected and put in working order
040. Replace bathtub drain (main floor)
041. Secure the threshold for the walk-in door to the garage
042. Properly mount the safety reverse on the garage door (eyes)
043. Figure out what all electrical switches go to
044. Replace light in street lamp
045. Add light to upstairs closet
046. Install a programmable thermostat
-----I want a Nest, and have decided to get one using the prizes from Swagbucks (please use referral link if you sign up), so I should be able to afford it before the end of the year.  Of course, we haven't yet checked the wires to see whether it would work in our house yet...
047. Fix main floor bathroom sink flow issue (clean aerator?)
048. Replace shower heads
049. Fix upstairs bath handle leaks
050. Stick with bi-weekly cleaning day (laundry, cleaning bathrooms, dishes) for four instances [0/4]
051. Plant Lucia's Christmas tree
052. Introduce ourselves to each of the neighbors on our street/block [0/14]
-----My husband and son met up with next door's husband and son, but all I found out were a couple of names and that they're expecting another child.  Again with the weather.
053. Get a free energy check-up for the house
054. Sort through and organize ALL clothes (his, mine, and the children's) for what fits, what needs repair, and by season (store, donate, repair as needed)
-----The unorganized children's clothing is getting a bit of attention thanks to my mother and her hostess going into the basement and improving on my sister's organization.  I've put away most of the maternity clothes; unfortunately, I'm still in maternity pants because I have a limit to how large a size I'm going to purchase in pants.  Must exercise more!  I did buy new church shoes because the others were falling apart, and have set aside some clothes for donation (which, irritatingly, do not leap up and vacate my house on their own).
055. Unpack everything from the move ... and put it away
-----This is getting slightly better, I hope.  I worry that I'm just rearranging boxes of junk that I will never throw away.  My sister helped me organize the boxes (mostly books) in the basement into categories, so at least I can look at the basement without wanting to retch.  If I don't stay down there too long.  We need to get a dresser and bookcases, though, before this item gets finished.

Computer (7:1/1/5)
056. Organize desktop icons
-----I'd say going from 170 desktop icons to 10 is as finished as it's going to get.
057. Organize files
-----I have most things in folders, but I might have too many subfolders and need to archive long-finished projects.
058. Make wedding photos more accessible (i.e., find them)
-----I found some on flickr, but I should find a previous computer backup and see whether there are any more to keep accessible on this computer and, heck, maybe even get one print from our wedding.
059. Upload photos from computer to online albums
-----I've done this spottily, but not in an organized fashion.  I may need to remove some photos from online albums, because I don't want to pay for lots of storage.
060. Select and order photos from online albums for physical albums
-----Hahaha.  No.  This will wait until the current prints are in physical photo albums, I think.  I have at least two boxes of my childhood photos to organize.
061. Update physical photo albums
062. Completely clear out gmail inbox
-----Started with 103 important-and-unread, 172 unread, and 3900 total in my inbox.  As of this post, I have 80 important-and-unread, 151 unread, and 1770 total in my inbox.  I had gotten into the high 1600s for total in inbox, but it can be hard to keep up with, as I'm finding out.

Car (3:0/1/2)
063. Clean out car, including vacuuming and car wash [0/3]
-----Well, I brought in all the stuff from my husband's road trip from Florida to Iowa, but then there was snow and a baby and more snow, so I'm not going out there for extended periods of time, nor planning on vacuuming with snow on the ground.
064. Clean out minivan, including vacuuming and car wash [0/3]
065. Transfer minivan title to Iowa
-----Not sure that I need to do this, since I still have access to the MN address.  At least I have the title now.

Crafty (6:0/2/4)
066. Finish knitting (Teddy's) toddler pants
-----New goal: 2T pants so that Timmo can wear them.  Ugh.
067. Make epitrachelion
068. Make a dollhouse church
069. Write a children's story about a family saint
070. Make (liturgical) seasonal notebooks (New Year to Nativity Fast, Nativity Fast to Triodion, Triodion and Lent, Pascha to Pentecost, Apostles' Fast to end of liturgical year) [0/5]
-----I started an online outline for the Triodion and Lent notebook and put a few reminders in there about crafts that I want to do and menu planning and shopping and whatnot, so that's at least a first step.
071. Replace the elastic in all the white diapers (legs) and all diapers (backs) [0/8; 0/24]
-----I'm adding leg elastic to the green diapers, too.  Two kids in diapers makes them wear out much, much faster.  I may need to give up on this just because the fabric itself is getting holes in it.  Evidently, according to Mothers on the Internet, you're doing well to get cloth pocket diapers to last through one kid.  Since we're on kids two and three, I guess I'm winning.  Still, I'm glad for the three new diapers my sister sent us.  Those get used at night when we really don't want any leakage, since they are more reliable.  As far as fixing the first iteration of diapers, it's going slowly and I haven't really kept track of which ones are done.  I may need to write numbers on the tags... but, again, everything, including my permanent markers, seems to be in a box in the basement.
----Somehow I thought this category had seven items.

Food (5:0/1/4)
072. Make a fasting menu plan for a week
073. Make a non-fasting menu plan for a week
074. Eat salad four times a week for four consecutive weeks
-----Almost having gestational diabetes gave me enough incentive to work on this one, but I never made enough for the consecutive part.
075. Make a meal with the crockpot
076. Work on Auntie Leila's "Happy Home: Food Organization" list every day (even a little bit) for a week

Activities (7:0/0/7)
077. Find an Irish dancing school near Cedar Rapids
-----The nearest credentialled teacher may be in Dubuque.  March is probably not the best time to reach an Irish dance teacher, though.
078. Play the flute for half an hour every day for a week
079. Play the fiddle for half an hour every day for a week
080. Find a piano teacher and something to practice on
081. Go to see live theater with my husband and no children
082. Go to see live theater with the whole family (children's performance)
083. Attend a retreat or icon workshop (no children)

Travel (6:0/1/5)
084. Visit a monastery with the family
085. Visit three different museums [0/3]
086. Go to the zoo
087. Go to the park with the children 20 times [1/20]
-----We lasted seven minutes in the cold and wet, but we went, by gum.  Lucia was not happy to leave, but Teddy has no body fat and was shivering.
088. Ride a train with the children
089. Go to the St. Emmelia Homeschooling Conference
-----Not going to happen this year, due to other necessary travel plans (vacation days are limited as well as finances).

Miscellaneous (12:1/2/9)
090. Have a baby (this one is definitely already started)
-----Unqualified success!  Timothy Moses was born in the wee hours of Christmas morning.  I like how we've done the past two births: put children to bed, go into labor, call midwife, midwife and assistant come, baby is born, there's a shower and a meal, and we go to bed.
091. Make a passwords book
-----I found a blank journal to use for this purpose and then it got buried on my desk, but now I see it so maybe there will be some progress soon.
092. Get children a tape player and record three books on tape [0/3]
-----I'm going to change this to a digital recording so that we can play it back on a kindle.
093. Make a will
094. Have a written funeral plan (find out about laws for green burial, transport across state lines, burial at monastery)
095. Make to-do list for Romanian paperwork for children's citizenship
096. Read (or re-read, to be in order) all the Newbery Medal books (assuming there will be three more as this 1001 days goes; ordered holds on the first three to be picked up at my local library) [9/94]
-----Now that I've finished the first book, this is one of the easiest items on here.  Which reminds me that I need to order the next round of three from the library. ... Okay, that's done.
097. Complete a monthly photo challenge (already started, and I'm counting doubles and skipping one so far) [0/31]
-----I'm thinking I'll need to write my own photo challenge, and I had the thought that it would be specifically of our children and with an audience of their godparents and grandmother.
098. Get new Iowa credit union account(s)
-----Our current credit union has decided to behave decently for now, so this might not be necessary.
099. Participate in {phfr} on "Like Mother, Like Daughter" for four weeks in a row [0/4]
101. Make/find/buy a homeschooling curriculum
101. Sort through and cull the filing cabinet
-----Still working on filing things into the filing cabinet, so I haven't started this yet.  Currently have six "in-box" piles on and around my desk, and uncounted boxes of things which need to be filed, perhaps at least a box from each move.

So what's the score?
Completed: 7
In progress: 20
Unstarted: 74

I'm a little worried that I tackled just the easy ones first, that I've run out of steam, that I'll abandon this whole thing, that I'll have less time for these goals with three kids, etc.  So part of accomplishing this project is saying no to worry, and just buckling down and finding one thing on the list to work on and doing that.  One thing that has helped is our happy little friend, the spreadsheet.

I've tried lists, handwritten and online, and while those can work well for one-off things, I have things that I need to do with some regularity (some daily, some biweekly), and I don't want to rewrite an entire daily routine or struggle to get some software program to refresh my daily routine tasks as well as keep track of how I've done.  There's something about that crossing-off action, and something about looking back to see how much progress one has made that makes the to-do list a success.

So I'd been keeping track of my progress with this project, with the items in one column, and each date getting a column to the right, adding a column with each day.  It's a bit unwieldy, but it works.  Once I realized it was working, I tried that for my daily routine, and got a bit excited with keeping track of my progress with a binary percentage system. (If I've done it, it gets a one; if not, a zero; then I can do a sum and an average and sort of grade myself.)  Each month gets a new sheet.  It's easier to see what I need to work on, whether I'm being consistent, and how I'm doing overall.  January was a 54%, February 48%, and I'm really bad about making beds (something I am trying to do consistently for the first time in my life).  I'm also pretty good about doing the first things on the list, while the rest of it just gets done as it can throughout the day.  It's also a good reminder to start the baby laundry; with two in diapers, forgetting to do the laundry is not something that would be fun in the morning.

This was long but fun.  Back to the regular mayhem.

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