I left the Buying Of The School Footwear very late again this year, Little Man got his just a few days before term started. At age nine he is now the same shoe size as me which is ever so slightly horrifying. Little Lady was desperate for school boots this year as opposed to shoes, and the price of them was ever so slightly horrifying too. But she is super pleased with them, and to be fair they are a practical choice given the canal side walking we do to get to school in all weathers. More practical than open topped mary-jane style shoes I guess, but still o-u-c-h at the £50 price tag.
So yes, shiny new footwear and a shiny new school year. Back to Routine. The Little People did seem relatively pleased to be back to school last week and we've all settled back into the swing of things pretty well I'd say. That's one advantage of having a Little B shaped alarm clock, our early rising makes for a leisurely start to the school day. We have some casual time to sit around in our jammies getting used to the day before we need to start pulling ourselves together. I've grown to like it that way. By the way, Little B is currently working to a 6am wake up schedule, so I think the super-early 4/5am starts that were a part of the summer months have ended now. Pheww.
My days last week picked up pretty much where they left off in July. Little B and I have an enjoyable weekly routine of being out and about every morning :: music group, toddler playgroup, cafe's, knit and natter morning, play-dates etc. We generally come home for lunch and then it's an easy few hours at home until we leave for school again at 3pm. Little B uses this after lunch time to sleep, and I use this after lunch time for Happy Things. No jobs allowed. Maybe a bit of hooky time, or a bit of time at my desk catching up in Blogland, I love this sweet, peaceful part of my day.
I often bake in this time too, I'm attempting to keep us supplied in homemade cookies so that I don't have to buy any from the supermarket, but it takes some doing. The demand for these from all members of the family is high. I love to eat one warm from the oven with a hot cuppa tea, a favourite magazine and the sound of silence. Domestic bliss.
Of course my domestic day isn't all about loafing around flicking through magazines and chomping cookies. There are jobs to be done! The flowers still need talking to of course. My geraniums are continuing to flower very sweetly outside despite the rather dire weather we've had all week. It's been cold and stormy and wet here in North Yorkshire, but the dull light seems to make the flowers glow with such a brilliance, they look am-aaaaa-zing-zing.
I'm making the most of still being able to dry the laundry outside as and when the weather allows. There aren't many housework type things I enjoy to be honest, but pegging out laundry is up there pretty much at the top of my list. Yesterday it was warm and blustery so I stripped all the bedding off our bed and out it went to be infused with fresh air.
This week I've been experiencing my predictable, annual obsession with housework and routines. It's most definitely a September thing for me, I know this cos my blogging habit tells me so. It's like every September I get overwhelmed by a powerful desire to Nest. It's a response to the change in seasons I suspect, a base instinct of some sorts. So I've been thinking a lot in the past few weeks about domestic routines, about my general attitude to keeping house (which is utterly dreadful) and how I might be able to make some improvements. As you know, I absolutely adore my home, I love love love my role as a stay at home Mum and Wife. I've come to realise that this love manifests itself Creatively. In cooking, baking, decorating and prettifying. And for some obscure reason this love does not extend to the realms of cleaning and tidying.
Why doesn't it?????????
Why why why can't I learn to LOVE cleaning and tidying?????????
I was reading a beautifully inspiring post a few weeks ago about The Vocation of Being A Homemaker. Tina writes so passionately about her feelings on this subject, I was truly moved by her words and sentiments. But at the same time I was overcome by a sudden waaaaahhhhhh of jealousy. Why can't I feel the same? Why can't I make my house tidy and clean and orderly, what's wrong with me??! True, we are at different stages in life, Tina and I. She doesn't have three small children to contend with at home. But still, I felt desperate to experience the same contentment and satisfaction and peace that she feels. I feel love and excitement and joy in my house, but not often peace :: tis too hectic and chaotic and messy for peace to descend!
So........pouting and foot stamping aside, I've given myself a wee talking to.
I. CAN. DO. IT. I can I can I can. If I want it badly enough, I can do it!!!!
I decided Routine was the key. A Daily Routine. No big shakes. All I need to do is a Little Bit Each Day. Starting with some much-needed decluttering.
I'm starting in the kitchen, that's it above look. It's a very small, cramped room, not particularly nice to be honest, but nevertheless I do spend a lot of time in here, and as it is so small there's not really a great deal of space to accommodate clutter. But oh-my, the clutter was there!! In huge great heaping piles!!!
This is the top of my microwave. The clean and tidy top of my microwave. Two days ago I decluttered it. These were the objects that had to be slung/relocated elsewhere....
half a broken hair brush :: colouring pen :: F&B tester paint pot :: kinder egg container :: lipstick :: AA battery x 3 :: port cork :: screwed up ball of tin foil :: 9V battery :: nerf gun dart x 5 :: bolt x 5 :: badge :: painted clay tealight holder (glittery) :: mobile phone battery x 1 :: Barbie top :: pink sunglasses :: pritt stick glue :: £1 coin holder :: spanner :: small screw :: broken beaded bracelet :: another broken beaded bracelet :: shopping receipt :: bit of cardboard packaging :: library card :: dvd :: pack of playing cards x 2 :: glass bead :: pen lid :: co-op £5 voucher :: vintage kitchen timer :: back of old mobile phone :: expired national trust membership cards :: plastic bag of misc bits n bobs (no one knows) :: beaded bracelet (not broken) :: sylvanian families bag of flour (from bakery) :: written note x2 :: spray can of Vanish power foam :: large reel of duck tape :: small reel of duck tape :: plastic Postman Pat figure :: small pot nappy cream :: allen key :: ribbon :: plastic tiara :: golf ball :: pocket fold up frisbee :: gloriously straight gloss hair serum :: long length of finger crochet :: plastic beaker :: drill bit :: cocktail stick :: spinning top
66 items in total, I kid you not. SIXTY SIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I then went on to sort out my herbs and spices. Miraculously there were no out of date ones (I cook with these regularly), but it feels good to see it looking all clean and orderly.
The sink area came next, first one side, then the other. Removing things that shouldn't be there, rearranging the things that should be there and having a bit of a scrub round.
Feeling good. Still got a long way to go (top of the kitchen cupboards next, gulp), but in the words of The Fly Lady, I'm taking "baby steps".
In between all that hardcore domesticated stuff, I've been searching for some light relief. I spent a little bit of time yesterday going through the pile of summer magazines on my desk, photographing the bits that made my heart do a skip. Oh I did have fun!
I'm putting together a collection of the bestest and most vibrant bits from my summer mags, a visual celebration of Summer Inspiration to share with you. Can't wait!!
Summer does indeed seem to be slipping away from us here in the UK. We've been issued with a severe weather warning as the tail end of Hurricane Katia looks set to hit us this week. I took the above photo of the moon rise last night at 8.30pm...it seems such a shame (especially for the outdoorsy Little Peeps) that our days are shortening so quickly. They're forced by descending darkness to come indoors earlier and earlier each night, kicking their heels with frustration cos it's too dark to carry on playing out.
I'm surprising myself by rather liking the earlier homey routine brought on by the darkening evenings, it's not so bad really. I've started lighting up my evening candles which always makes me happy, and I'm looking forward to the first Lighting Of The Fire this year too. I looked in my archives just now and noted that it was September 19th last year, so not far off.
We are definitely doing more snuggling during these early September days too, which in my opinion is nothing but Good. The blankets are in full swing, and as usual it makes me sooooooo happy to see my brood all cuddled up beneath my colourful hooky handiwork. There'll be a new blanket on the hook soon, something divine and cashmereish is being planned. I think blanket making is an amazing thing, the joy they bring to my little family is immeasurable. Truthfully I learnt to crochet purely so I could Make Blankets. I was incredibly inspired by this and this and I wanted in. So in I jumped and I have never looked back, I can honestly say that learning to crochet blankets has really changed my life. I can highly recommend it.
Speaking of crochet blankets, my beloved BB continues to delight me each and every evening as I go about my bedtime routine. I tend to head to bed around 9.30pm at this time of year, and with Little B waking at 6am I am getting a fabulous 8+hours solid, deep, blissful sleep each night. I never, ever take this for granted, I LOVE my sleep and appreciate my ability to enter The Land Of Nod within a few minutes of head hitting pillow.
Sometimes I can't believe how very much I look forward to my bedtime! It's one of the most comforting parts of my day. Snuggling under crisp, white cotton and colourful, woolly crochet, knowing my family is safe and sound close by, it's a feeling of true peace and contentment.
Wishing you sweet dreams tonight my lovelies, enjoy your head-on-pillow time!