Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Musing on Lenten traditions

What do you like to do for Lent? Or, rather, what feels meaningful?

I've never gotten as much "into" Lent as I have Advent. I wonder why that is? Maybe because there is a measure of sorrow mixed in with the ultimate joy?

I stocked up on some new picture books last summer, as well as a devotional resource I'll mention below. As a visual person, it's the decorative elements that appeal to me more than the readings or other observances. But I still haven't really established any traditions. It's hard to find the time to get out all the materials and build a good supply that can be used annually.

It's a little bit confusing this year because the eastern and western Resurrection Sundays are a week apart. I keep forgetting which is which. I guess western is April 1 and eastern is April 8? When we had pancake week here, I was confused over whether Lent had started yet. Of course, I already knew that Valentine's Day coincided with Ash Wednesday, so that helped me figure it out.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, I decided to leave up Valentine's decorations until Easter. It seems like a good theme for the interim period-constantly thinking about love! I saw that there were a few articles about balancing Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday and I wasn't quite sure what the big deal was...not eating chocolate? At any rate, that day of course ended tragically for American high-schoolers. :(

Monday, February 19, 2018

January challenge conclusions

As I wrote about last month, for January I focused on changing family sleep habits. Specifically, mine and Sophia's were problematic. Of course Andrei is also sleep-deprived on a regular basis, so he also benefits from Sophia sleeping better. But he controls his own sleep habits. ;)

Ironically, we flew to the U.S. on January 30, resetting our internal clocks. But I guess you could say it was the perfect final "exam"! :)

Surprisingly, both kids slept well while we were in the U.S. Sophia did not have her usual "happy hour" in the middle of the night. However, this meant that she was waking very early the first few mornings and I got to experience what so many parents of early-bird toddlers complain about. I went to sleep early, but still found it hard to get up early. Even when we started sleeping a little later, I found myself prone to morning melt-downs. I'm definitely not a morning person! And I also wondered, is there something wrong with ME or is it just a matter of whether the crankiness happens in the morning or afternoon?

Now that we've been back in Russia for a week, Sophia is starting to sleep better. However, this is thanks partly to my meticulously planning and limiting her naps. It is counter-intuitive for me to do this, but it has gotten her sleeping at night again. While she had fought her second nap for several months, I finally learned that is it actually the MORNING nap that should be dropped, making more awake time in the first half of the day rather than the second half. I also read that there should be about 4 hours of awake time between the last nap and bedtime. We'd been doing it the opposite, napping earlier and then crashing an hour or two before bedtime. I think we're on the right track now!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Continuing winter

Grateful for a somewhat normal day (so far).

Sophia finally slept! She woke up like 4-5 times last night but was back asleep within 5-10 minutes, which is basically "sleeping through the night" in our family.

Yesterday we went outside and enjoyed a beautiful sunny snowy day. It was so nice out that I didn't want to cut it short for Sophia's nap. She ended up getting overtired and throwing a fit. It was worth it though because she was so tired she had a good night.

Last night we got more snow. When I woke up the air was still thick with clouds blocking the sun and I couldn't bear the thought of going outside in that. However, the sun is peeking out a bit, so maybe after lunch we will give it a try.

1 week ago we were getting ready to fly back from visiting my parents. I think I read somewhere that jet-lag takes one day per time zone to get over, so we should be almost done!

My mind is spinning from various news stories: a Russian plane crash, Russians in Syria killed by U.S. forces (?), school shootings in the U.S. (!), ensuing political debates, sexual harassment cases, and various sensational headlines. I wish I could watch the Olympics,  but it isn't very interesting on a computer screen and by myself! Maybe when the kids get a little older they will be interested.

I have some thoughts/updates about continuing goals for the year. But in the meantime it's off to finish baking Valentine's cookies (ahem) and read some ideas for Lent (which begins next Wednesday for us).

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

January survey/selfie

What I've been...

Reading: Interpreter of Maladies (Jhumpa Lahiri), Yellow Star (Jennifer Roy), Winter Blues (about SAD -Norman E. Rosenthal), Love Thy Body...(Nancy Pearcey), Habit Stacking (S.J. Scott)

Watching: Started some movie with Jack Black as a Polka entertainer on Netflix. David discovered a new show called "Earth to Luna" on Netflix, very entertaining and educational.

Cooking/Eating: Pancakes with hidden fruits and veggies, various concoctions with our new waffle/sandwich maker. Zebra cake for a baby shower for church.

Listening to: Raffi.

Striving towards: Not even sure, so many goals and plans all mixed together!

Looking forward to: Getting the packing/flight over with so we can enjoy some time visiting my parents.

What David is up to: Learning to read (in Russian), climbing on the furniture, mixing stuff together in the kitchen.

What Sophia is up to: Not sleeping well (but a little better), having a growth spurt, climbing on the furniture, opening/closing doors when she can reach the handle.

Your turn!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Things open in my browser, Volume 2

Thought I would switch it up with a fun survey post. Do you keep lots of browser tabs open with different projects you're working on?

Here are my latest:

-Chicken curry recipe
-"India" baby shower cake
-"prune waffle" recipe
-Carseat safety article

Nothing too scandalous this time around.

In my recent history:

-Ingavirin (antiviral treatment drug info)
-Braces and splints for hypermobility syndrome
-More cake decorating ideas
-Curtain options for Soviet-period kitchen windows

Your turn!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fourth week of January

Another Monday, another blog post...

I guess my blog might be boring this year if I'm posting a lot about self-improvement goals, but progress is always interesting to track, right?

Have you ever done a sleep challenge? How did it go? I know some people work on getting up earlier in order to exercise or whatever.

You can read here about why I'm doing sleep in January.

So, here are a few of the latest experiments.

Action: Go to bed at the same time as David.
Result: I tried it a few times! The first night, I was really tired and fell asleep earlier. I was probably in bed a good 10 hours! But as a result I couldn't fall asleep the next night. Went to bed early, but stayed up late reading and was exhausted in the morning.
Conclusion: This could work if I set my alarm in the morning so as not to ruin my sleep for the next night. However, I think I would prefer to have a little alone time in the evening before bed.

Action: Don't go to bed at the same time as David.
Result: I feel so much more content when I can hang out a little after the kids go to bed, when the house is quiet. Each day should have a clear beginning and end, and I need that time for closure. Often, Andrei takes care of Sophia at night and I don't really need to be with her again for several hours. But of course when she's sleeping poorly, I'm always on edge wondering whether I'll be summoned again, and how Andrei is faring. So although our kids go to bed later (not by 8:30 like experts recommend), it helps me psychologically to have some time to wind down even if it means I get less sleep.
Conclusion: I seem to need about 2 hours to wind down once the house is quiet. Ideally at least 1 hour by myself. I noticed that when David is in bed at 11 pm (usually the case), I stay up until 1 am. Getting him to sleep by 10 pm would help me get to bed by midnight. Maybe a good goal.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Mid-month goal status-January

So how is everyone doing with their New Year's resolutions? I've seen a lot of interesting recipes being posted on Instagram. I conveniently scheduled my diet goals for after Valentine's Day, lol.

So, I mentioned before that I'm doing a "sleep challenge" for January. Meaning, that is my focus area and I'm giving myself permission not to stress about other areas of life for now.

I'm sooo tired.

First of all, small victories:

-During the first week of January, we conquered the New Year's Eve jet-lag, going from waking at noon to waking more like 10 o' clock. And we got David back to his pre-holiday bedtime. Progress!
-I managed to discipline myself to set my alarm to wake up earlier even when it seemed like it was going to be a bad night. (I wouldn't do this if I had a newborn or an illness but sometimes the timing is right.)
-I was able to avoid certain late-night vices, some of the time.
-I started taking my vitamins again regularly which was a secondary goal for this month.
-I started easing back into exercise which will hopefully lead to better sleep as well.

Continuing challenges:

-Sophia's continuing sleep regression makes it virtually impossible to go to bed earlier.
-Nobody is getting more sleep or feeling more rested.

Other notes: