life, office, Uncategorized

The Office

A few days ago, I moved into my office.

YAY!

This has been the culmination of weeks of thinking, and shuffling things around, as well as gathering the essential supplies and doing a little bit of a makeover. Being that I homeschool my three kids, and they are a lovely combination of ADHD/aspie/just-plain-weird-like-their-parents, you can imagine that sometimes the inside of my house is very loud. Like, really loud. Sometimes it’s mostly populated by small things that look like children but are actually animals (complete with conversations held in meows, woofs, and getting your face occasionally licked).

photogrid_1477889251055Sometimes, I just need a place where I can go and hide out. A quiet place, filled with quiet, peaceful things. Sometimes, this quiet place is actually loud so I can listen to music without using headphones and can sing at the top of my lungs without being yelled at. But it’s my space and I’ll damn well do with it what I please. Mostly it’s quiet. There is a lock on the door. This is important.

Some lovely friends came and helped me paint a couple of weeks ago, and it’s the purple of childhood dreams. I think this was a subconscious thing on my part, a nourishment, a recollection of simpler days. A reclamation of innocence stolen. Whatever, it’s calming. And I do really like purple. The ceiling is ugly, and instead of patching it up and painting I found some pretty wool lace online and ordered enough to drape. It’s like being in a purple cave decorated by a massive spider web. I like it. I have curtains to go in still, but they aren’t 100% necessary for my use of the space so I’ll get around to it eventually.

photogrid_1477951571993Between having houseguests for most of a week, and every else being down with a tummy bug for the weekend, it took me until Tuesday to move my desk in. This was a big step. Not only would I have to leave the house to use my desk (my office is the small, second room in the sleepout), but I’d have no regular, easy place to work inside.

And you know what? It’s awesome. It’s no longer easy to turn on my laptop and spend endless hours trawling the internet. If I really need to check stuff I can do that on my phone anyway. It’s been less than a week and I am already forming some good habits. I go to my office to work. I GO to work. That’s a huge mindset shift in itself! This morning, sick of juggling an armload of items, I packed my bag instead and called to the kids “I’m just going to work in the office for a half hour!” and off I went.

photogrid_1478209511779To be clear, the office is not far. I can still hear them if anything goes amiss. They are free to come out, but normally prefer to stand on the deck and call me instead. A lot of the time they’ll jump on the trampoline outside my office window, sometimes they will come and work on projects in the big room of the sleepout. If they want to jump on the trampoline and I am not working they ask, “can you go and do some work?” and off we go. How cool is that?

And WOW does that ever feel good after what has felt like months of spinning my wheels. I know that logically that was all important. Settling in takes a long time, and I am only just now at the point where I feel like we really truly live here and that’s good. I still miss a lot from back home, but this is home now too.

Home, and an office.

It’s not complete. There are still things I need, but I’m determined to only put stuff in it I love. I want to surround myself with reminders that my needs and wants are valuable, and that I am worthy of an abundance of awesome. Because I am. And, hey, so are you! In the months to come, I’ll have some really cool stuff to share with you. I kind of feel like I’m starting a new phase of my life, and I’m super excited about it all.

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Busy time

I think this year is going to be dubbed ‘the year of slack blogging’ because that is how I feel I’ve been. There have been so many things I thought about posting, and then never got around to completing, but then I guess that’s just the way of it sometimes.

This year has been a busy one so far, and it doesn’t look set to change any time soon. I can’t believe we’re over halfway through September already (eek!) and the next few months are filling up fast with both social events and deadlines for various things.

Despite all the business of being busy though, this term has been one of limbo. There is change in process, but we’re not quite there yet. For instance, we’re finishing up our Playcentre journey next week, which will be super sad (we’ll miss all our friends!) but also, really exciting as it marks our departure from a smaller kid focus, to a bigger kid focus. You see, my middle child turns 5 next month. How on earth is she almost five??? She’s long been ready to leave behind Playcentre and get stuck into ‘school’, so now is the time.

Aside from this we’re at that awkward, difficult and quite painful stage where our littlest is dropping her day naps. Oh lord. This stage kills me. It’s never clean. Never tidy. One day there will be no nap, and the next a 2 hour one, and then maybe a 45 minute, and then five days with no naps but by the fifth day she’s crashing out at 5pm, or worse, 4pm, and then she’s up and down all night because she’s overtired. Third child and I am yet to have one that just drops them with ease – although they are hell bent that they ARE ready to.

Anyway, it’s all good. This will pass, like it did the other times, and I am very much looking forward to having a nap free household and finding out new routines and better ‘school’ structure. And in the meantime the weather is getting warmer, the days longer, and there is plenty of this to look forward to:

sand angels

 

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April begins

The last time I blogged was an entire month ago. I don’t think I’ve ever let the blog go silent for that long, but to be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to say anything at all.

It’s been…an interesting month, I guess you would say. I started back at University and the reading workload was huge. I mean, I was swamped. I’ve finally managed to catch up, but I still don’t feel like I know enough yet. My first assignment is due in 16 days, and I am still gathering information, and wondering if I will ever get to the point where I feel caught up.

March’s main goal was to read Sun-Touched and make a revision plan for it. I read the novel! And I didn’t even cringe too much. It’s a good story but it needs plenty of work. World building is where I fall down, again, so I am doing a lot of thinking about how I can do that – not only for Sun-Touched, but also for my novella. I am planning a second in the same setting, so I really need to bring the town to life.

Between my study brain, and being faced with yet more revision, I felt a bit swamped. I didn’t write the short story that I had hoped to. I got about 1k in and canned it. Aside from that attempt I wrote nothing in March. I did play a lot of Guild Wars 2 though. I’m deep in love with it again, though am well aware that it’s escapism for me. It really helps to switch my brain off from the study stuff which seems to overtake every waking thought if I let it.

Which I guess means I am back to a place of needing to find balance. I’ve been reminded yet again that I need breaks between revision and revision (even revisions of different stories). I am sure there is a sweet spot, but I haven’t found it just yet, and the reality is that there is always going to be more revision to do than first drafting, because every story needs more than one revision. I”ll continue to mull on it anyway – maybe I need a grand story that is written just for me, and I give myself a week of free writing on it between rounds of revision? That could work. I might give it a try.

Anyway, the beginning of April sees me in a better head space. The supplements I am taking seem to be giving me the boost I needed to get out of a depressive state, and I am actually getting stuff done again which feels really good (even if none of it is writing related! lol).

I sat down this morning and said to myself – “time to quit stalling, write something”. So I am now partway through a children’s story. Totally weird that is what’s coming up, but whatever, right. Words are words! I will take them and run with the idea.

Let’s hope April is a tad more productive for me than March was! Hope you all had a lovely easter 🙂

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Just another Monday

Well, we’re about to set out into week two of our home schooling thing. I’m feeling… less pleased than last week, I think? It’s a complicated thing. Without doubt I am happy with this decision and I know it’s absolutely the right call. I know because Ivy is happy 95% of the time, and because Lauren and Natalie’s behaviour has changed in ways I could never have predicted.

By around 430pm most days Lauren would be upset easily and want lots of cuddles and crash out by 6pm. There would be a lot of screaming involved in general, and she was barely eating dinner because she just wanted cuddles with me and bed. I put it down to tiredness. By the time Simon got home just after 5pm Natalie wouldn’t want anyone but me, she wouldn’t so much as give him a hug and she would be tearful and screamy unless I was carrying her around (and most mothers will know how difficult it is to cook with 1 or 2 kids clinging to you). She’d perk up after Ivy was in bed and then go to sleep fairly easily. Daddy couldn’t do a thing. Not hug, or distract, or change a nappy, or help with PJs.

And now? We have smiles and happy screams and hugs for Daddy. I can cook dinner without a child on my hip, and we sometimes get to 645 before Lauren is ready for bed. Very few tears involved, and a lot less stress for everyone.

I could never have predicted these changes. I put it down to tiredness… but apparently it was all tied up in the package deal of having one very unhappy person in the family. Goes to show what a huge impact mental health plays on the family unit, not just the person struggling.

Anyways, all of this to show that YES this is definitely right. But I missed a couple of my pills and I’m feeling blue and last night I realized that on my bad days I can’t be one kid down. I can’t pack her off to school and distract the littles with whatever in order to get some headspace. I just have to suck it up and carry on. And I will, I will. But I guess today I am mourning the loss of school, just a little, because it did provide me with some time where there was just one child to think about (when Natalie napped).

Anyway, in other news I am about a third of the way through my rewrite/revise for Burn. Which is on track for where I wanted to be. This is almost a miracle, because we’re very much still settling in and I’ve been feeling pretty tired. I’m hoping to get through another 1/3rd this week, and I think this is the section that needs the most smoothing/padding. I know I can do this, and the deadline feels like it’s getting very close now.

And I got a good grade for my last assignment, which is also great. It was a group assignment and I was really worried about it. Always hard when you have to rely on others for your grade. I’ve got a few more chapters to read, and 6 weeks until the final essay is due – crazy to think my first year as a post-grad student is almost over.

At this rate it’s going to be Christmas before we know it 😉

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Routines

I will be the first to admit that my routines have been terrible. TERRIBLE. I’ve tried to just ‘go with the flow’ and fit everything into a regular day without getting too stressed about progress, but quite frankly that has resulted in me wasting a lot of time and then rushing to finish things at the last moment.

I am sick of being one of those people. I work very well under pressure though, so it’s a hard habit to change.

Anyway… while we wait for Ivy’s exemption to come through, I figured it was a good time to start pinning down some kind of routine (for me). I have many things to juggle, and I’m not willing to downsize any more of my life. After mulling it over for awhile, a very simple plan seemed to evolve.

If I can do my reading and study stuff during the day, while the kids are reading, or doing their own thing, I can then schedule an hour of writing time in the evenings. One hour a day, without also being aware of the kids, or being called away every 5 seconds, is actually AMAZING. But it hasn’t been until recently that this was possible. Finally, our kids are all going to bed at a reasonable hour, and there is enough time in my evening not only for me to hang out with Hubby, but to take some time for myself as well.

That’s pretty wonderful. I’m really excited by this new plan. I mean, it’s still very flexible, but it’s way more structured than it’s been until now. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Do you have a dedicated writing time? How do you balance your commitments?

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Spring is coming!!

I can tell because I really want to clean my windows. It’s my internal signal that the season  is changing. That and wanting to throw stuff away.

I can’t put into words just how much I am looking forward to Spring. It’s a time of growth and change and that is perfect for me. You see, I feel like I’ve been experiencing limbo lately, and it’s been very hard to make any progress. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting. Treading water.

Or at least I have been. This weekend has marked some change for me, and I’m hoping that will help spur me on.

Yesterday I had my final meeting with SpecFicNZ as the secretary. Once I get the minutes written up, I’ll be done with my duties and revert back to a regular member (aside from helping the new Secretary find her feet).

I’ve been part of the committee since the very beginning, and I still remember when Ripley posted a thread on the Kiwiwriters forums asking if anyone would be interested. I immediately sent her a message and that was it for me. I’ve been dedicated to the organization ever since and have been so thrilled with how it’s grown and developed. I’m really proud of what we’ve done in these last few years and I know that the new committee has lots of fresh blood that will make it another great year.

Earlier this year I also stepped down from 5 years on the staff at Kiwiwriters, so in a lot of ways this year has been about change. I bowed out of training for Lifeline even though I have been wanting to do that for years now. I finished up at my copy editing job. I’ve been slowly stepping away from my other commitments to make room for… well, I thought it was for writing, and for study, but maybe somewhere in the back of my subconscious I was actually freeing myself up for home schooling. Or at least finding a way to help Ivy.

In any event. We are still waiting on that exemption certificate, and we’ll just have to keep waiting until it comes. I can’t let everything else stagnate while that happens though. Now that I have finished up a couple of other commitments it’s time to get back into Burn.

I read the novella a week ago and have made copious notes about the changes that need to be made. In general I’m left feeling pretty good about the whole thing though. It’s a decent novella and I am going to do my best to make it shine 🙂 Revision begins TODAY. And that’s probably me for the next month.

What are you up to at the moment?

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and then I realized…

I spent all of the second to last weekend of July writing out the home schooling exemption forms for Ivy. There is a lot to put in them, and it came out to be five pages of single spaced information. Five pages!! I had no idea going into it, that it would be that long. And hopefully it’s enough. I’ve learned that it’s very common, in fact expected, that the Ministry of Education get back to you asking for more information, so we will just have to wait and see.

But that’s not what this post was meant to be about… It was meant to be about the fact that it took me an entire week to realize what this massive change meant for me.

And I’m not talking about the fact that I will have my three beautiful children home will me full time, or about the fact that I will be primarily responsible for my daughters education, or the extra work that will involve. I love all of those things. I am excited by each of them and I just know that Ivy is going to really thrive in the nurturing, supportive environment we have at home.

No, I’m talking about the fact that this means I will not be looking for a job in three years time when Natalie begins school. Because, she may not go to school. Lauren may not either, and though we’ll look at traditionally schooling again when Ivy hits intermediate age, there is every chance that all of our children will be home schooled for the foreseeable future.

I’m no longer on the path to a day job. Not in my immediate future (and yes sometimes 3yrs does feel like the immediate future). And that never even came into consideration when we made this decision.

And that’s not a bad thing.

I’ve always had it in my head that in order to not go back to full time work when Natalie started school, I needed to have a novel published or in the process of being published. So there was this self-imposed deadline on my writing career (not that I would ever stop writing, but that this was the time I had to really work at it, before I had to insert an evil-day-job into the mix), which has now been removed. And wow, that feels good!

I am still working towards publication, of course, but not having that deadline looming over me is really freeing. Which is funny, because I didn’t even realize it had been weighing me down to begin with. Now that it’s gone though… Yeah I can feel the difference.

In regards to my own studies, I am still going to finish my Post Grad Diploma. I was going to be doing that over three years anyway, and that’s still the plan. But it does probably mean I won’t be launching into my Master’s straight after. Which is okay, it means I have heaps of time to explore all my options and I’m really happy about that. I feel that we’re on the right track now, and that outweighs any concerns that might be hovering around.

When it comes down to it, this simply means that I don’t have to go and get a job just for money. I don’t want that. I want to be a writer, or a counsellor, preferably both. And I can do that now. There doesn’t have to be some intermediary job happening somewhere in between kids going to school and me being qualified. And that, my friends, is bloody marvelous!

I’m still laughing at myself that this wasn’t something that factored into my decision to home-school. But then, I guess that’s part of being a mother, right? You take your families needs into consideration ahead of your own – it’s just a bonus that in this case, it works out better for me too 😉

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I’m still alive!

Hey folks. I know it’s been awhile since I really updated, my last post (other than the interview, which thankfully, I had scheduled!) was about me having been sick for a week. Well, my kids DID get sick, the very day after I posted that.

My littlest was even sick for her birthday 😦 she didn’t eat any of the cake, though she was so delighted by the look of it that nothing else mattered. Big thanks to my mother who baked and decorated the cake after talking to me on the phone and deducting that there was no way I could do it with a sick baby clinging to me. I asked for a ladybug, or as Natalie calls them ‘buggy-bugs’, and it was truly awesome. That might not look like ‘delight’ to you, but she was still pretty miserable at that point, and the fact she was off me for even a few minutes was testament to the draw of the cake 😉

Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! She’s two now, and I find that so hard to believe. It went by so quickly!

Anyway, the day that photo was taken, I was beginning to feel like I might be almost over it, and then the next day I was really sick again. I think carrying Natalie around for an entire week, day and night, and dealing with my sick middle child as well, drained my resources and meant I backslid. Either way, I was sicker than originally, and pretty miserable this week. My sinuses are still blocked up and giving me killer headaches, but I am on the mend. I can feel it.

So last night, I wrote. My intention had been to finish the first draft of Burn in June, but that didn’t happen. Now that I am on the mend, it’s time to push on. I have just one scene left to write, and there is no reason I can’t get that finished off today.

SO CLOSE.

Anyway, I just thought I would post something, because it’s been ages. I’m not dead yet, though some days I was sure my brain might explode.

How are you all?

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A Weekend Off

I’ve not really written in a few days now, and I was pondering why I didn’t feel guilty about it. I mean, I really want to finish this draft by the end of the month, so how is taking a few days off helping me achieve that goal?

The truth is that I am/was exhausted. All the stress and emotions surrounding what’s going on with Ivy (see the passworded post), combined with a couple of kids who are still getting the hang of that whole ‘sleeping through the night’ thing, and the knowledge that every single day there is going to be some drama or difficulty to deal with, it simply wears one out.

Thursday after school Simon and Ivy headed off to his parents place for a few days and peace settled over my house. I couldn’t bring myself to write, or review, or critique, or even study. The little girls played really nicely, and for possibly the first time ever they ASKED me if they could go to bed. Earlier than normal. Colour me stunned. I had a relaxing evening, with a quiet house, catching up on a few TV shows and then reading.

I did a lot of reading these last few days. I spent a lot of time playing on the trampoline with my babies. I enjoyed the tidy house and the lack of drama. I nurtured my soul with no pressure and time spent outside. I basked in the glow of conflict free time, and relished the fact that my vocabulary got to use more yes, sure and of course’s than no, I’ve already said no, please listen to me and other such phrases.

I love all my kids dearly, I will always love them no matter what, and I will always do everything in my power to give them the things they need to thrive. But I am human, and I have to confess that right now what I needed more than anything else was a weekend off from the near constant conflict. Which also meant a weekend off from anything else. Who knows when I might get another weekend off, I had to make the most of it.

And I feel better for it. I don’t feel on edge any more, I’m not waiting for the next round, or constantly trying to calculate what scenario, which foods, which word choices are going to get the best response.

And best of all? I miss Ivy. We spoke for a good twenty minutes on the phone last night and I enjoyed hearing about her day, telling her what we’d been up to. She misses me too, and I think that she probably needed a weekend off too. She is staying with her Nana until Tuesday and I know that my mother in law will take the best care of her, nurturing her soul, being there for her every need and giving her some precious one on one time.

Simon came home last night, and so I’m pleased that he will be getting a couple of days off as well. We all need it. We all need to have some room to breathe so that we can be effective moving forward. Sometimes the best thing one can do, is have a weekend off.

The writing will be there when I’m ready. The story will zoom towards the end and by the beginning of May I WILL have a finished first draft. But for now, the sun is shining, I have kids to play with, books to read and a husband to hang out with, and I’m going to make the most of the time off while I have it.

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She has magical feet

A few months ago, I posted that my laptop was having some major issues. It was torturing me with it’s behavior and I was pretty convinced it was going to die.

Miraculously, it made a recovery.

And in doing so, I discovered what made it go wrong in the first place.

These big ass feet:

I went to make a coffee, and returned to the lounge to find her STANDING on my closed laptop. Of course, I didn’t stop to take a photo then, because I was more concerned about getting her OFF.

The perspective exaggerates the size of her feet a little, but she does have big ones. They were the very first thing I noticed about her when she came into the world, and a constant pressure in my ribs for the last half of my pregnancy.

And now, they are the magical breakers and fixers of computers. I was stunned when I booted it up and it worked perfectly. It’s amazing. I never would have thought her having a stomp on my laptop would make it better.

These magical feet are going to be problematic, I think. Currently they take her to the sink on a daily basis. Seriously, they seem to give her super speed and I will often see her in the lounge, and then all of a sudden, here:

Lucky I’m not one of those mothers who freaks out about those kinds of things.

Lucky she’s so cute 😉