I had high hopes for February. We started off with a bang – Eli launching into his first year of school and Hudson slotting into Kinder like he had been born for it. We developed strategies for drop offs and pick ups and worked to establish new habits and routines that served us well. I joined an extra Instagram challenge (#PlanWithMeChallenge) to prompt me on my Year of Discovery intention to explore the concept of ‘planning’ better this month.
And then sickness hit. Nothing too serious, but one of those bugs that just seem to hang on. and on. and on. Cooking dinner, getting kids in and out of the car, keeping up with washing and managing bedtimes was enough to make me feel as if I had just completed a marathon. Planning began to feel like a noose rather than a helpful framework and I ended up abandoning the daily post challenge (besides, taking photos of the pages of my bullet journal quickly became a little uninspiring). My writing suffered a lot this month as my brain just felt a little too foggy to capture anything of value.
There is something about getting over the 30 week mark that turns it from a ‘keeping track’ to a ‘counting down’ and that slight shift in perspective has been difficult for the obsessive part of me to reign in. Car seats, clothes, hospital bags, increased appointments, bassinet, baby bath, room configurations – suddenly all these tasks that seemed to loom in front of me and I found it hard to distinguish between real urgency and fake urgency – you know, the feeling that something is crucial and time critical just because it happened to catch your attention.
It wasn’t all bad, though. The #365Mumtastic instagram challenge helped me to see through the fog and capture the better moments in the day. All the firsts were so exciting to share in with the boys, and it feels like we are in a good, solid rhythm for the year now.
What I’m Reading
Turns out that being sick can have a hidden advantage – it is great for getting through books!
Rising Strong (Brene Brown)
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Having read Brene’s other books, I initially wasn’t sure whether this would be more of the same, but I was mistaken. Elizabeth Gilbert’s story of how this book was created in Big Magic piqued my curiosity and there is no question about it – this one is Brene’s best work. The storytelling is vivid, the concepts and insights are exceptional and I had so many inspired moments while buried in the pages. It gives such a helpful framework of how to filter the stories that we tell ourselves and a much better way of engaging in conflict resolution. Will be on my repeated reading list for sure.
Three Wishes (Liane Moriarty)
My first Moriarty book and I loved it. The characters of the triplets were so well crafted and the story drew me in right away. I found myself laughing, crying, empathising and getting frustrated at the decisions of the characters and felt very connected to the outcome. The way that Moriarty wove in external observations of the triplets was great as well. Very enjoyable read.
The Forgetting Time (Sharon Guskin)
I stumbled upon Anne Bogel’s Unputdownable post about books she completed in 24 hours or less and immediately began searching for the titles in my BorrowBox app. This book explores the idea of children inexplicably being able to recall significant details of another life through the characters of 4 year old Noah and his mother Janie. I found the random excerpts from ‘Life Before Life‘ a little annoying and eventually just skipped them, but Guskin is great at creating a compelling story while exploring issues of motherhood, life and death and belonging.
You Will Know Me (Megan Abbott)
Another one from Anne’s list, I couldn’t put this one down either. The story centers around Devon Knox, an incredibly talented gymnast and her complicated family, as the gymnast community begins to fall apart following a mysterious hit and run. The premise that you really don’t know the people that you live with was so well explored and Abbott has a masterful writing style that makes you feel as if she is writing your stream of consciousness as you are witnessing the events. Compelling read.
Dark Matter (Blake Crouch)
I love the premise of this book and have caught myself describing the plot to a few people now. I don’t want to give too much away, but it explores the concept of what would happen if you could live out an existence that you gave up by choosing the alternative. There is mind-bending physics, fast-paced action and a love story to tie it all together. This would be an incredible movie and I really hope that it ends up being produced soon. I finished this one in less than 24 hours as well (as Anne predicted!).
What I’m Watching
To Kill a Mockingbird
What a trip down memory lane. Despite the long time ago that it was created, this film is a classic and raises such interesting themes about the mob, racism, childhood, justice, ‘the other’ and misconceptions based upon ignorance. Ever since I heard that Atticus Finch was the quintessential ‘Type 1’ figure of the Enneagram, I was fascinated to rediscover his character. Dave happens to be teaching this text in English this year so it worked out well for both of us to watch it.
The Great Gatsby
Another English text for Dave this year, I have fond memories of studying this book in high school. I remember watching the Robert Redford version of this film and the Baz Luhrmann directed film was one of the few movies we actually went to see at the cinema when it came out. Leonardo di Caprio is such an exceptional choice for the character of Jay Gatsby, and I feel like Luhrmann’s creativity in crafting the scenes is key to the experience of the film as a vivid spectacle. A great exploration of desire, identity, class, friendship and prestige, though just a little depressing.
The Good Place
We aren’t normally big comedy watchers, but the philosophy element of this show caught our interest. Some of the humour falls a bit flat, but the overall concept is entertaining enough and it is nice if you just want a quick show to wind down to.
Manchester By the Sea
This film was captivating in an unexpected way. The shifting nature of the narrative as it jumped back and forth between present and past was well done and the story of loss was so devastating. When it finished I felt as if we got a window into the reality of the family’s life for a short time and that their lives would just continue on afterwards. The insertion of humour throughout the film made it easier to handle the darkness. Definitely worth watching.
What I’m Listening To
The Road Back To You
Only listened to one episode this month – Mihee Kim-Kort’s take on being a Type 7.
The Simple Show
This would still have to be my current favourite. Despite the warm weather here, I enjoyed delving deeper into the concept of ‘Hygge’, imagining exploring and travelling in ‘The World’s Most/Best Cities’ and contemplating history, martyrdom and the Enneagram in ‘Silence and The Road Back to You’.
Technically I was only half listening to Alain de Botton’s ‘The True Hard Work of Love and Relationships’ because I was hard at work beating Dave at chess at the time… but from what I did hear, there were a lot of great insights in this podcast about the true nature of love and how we can make something beautiful and unique with the other person if we are willing to work hard at it.
We are spending February focusing on creativity at Open House, so the podcast on this topic was part of our monthly listening list. Interesting take on the science of creativity and how it can look different for everyone.
There seems to be an invisible line that you cross when you send your kid off to school. Suddenly Eli is almost like a different person – more confident, a little more aloof, capable and independent. He has taken to his first year with no issues at all, relishing every moment he gets to spend with his friends and demonstrating his learning to us at every opportunity. His current thing is writing letters to everyone saying how much he loves us. Eli suddenly lost his first tooth on the second day of school and we had to scramble to come up with our Tooth Fairy game at short notice. He has discovered tennis and cricket with a passion and pleads with Dave to take him out to practice whenever there is a free moment.
I can’t believe how much Hudson is growing up right now. While Eli has been away at school, Hudson has relished being the older brother, coming up with imaginative games for he and Ivy to play and spending a lot of time dancing with her on repeated request. After pretty much counting down the minutes to Kinder, he has launched himself into his classroom, calling out a passionate “Hello, Kinder” every time we pass by on the road (at least twice a day usually). Skills that we were concerned about him developing are starting to come out naturally as he is spending a lot of time voluntarily practising using scissors, drawing and colouring in. He underwent an Oximetry test this month to see if he has Sleep Apnea which has the potential to explain a lot of the delays and energy issues that we have noticed. We find out the results next week.
If there was ever a concern about whether Ivy would manage being the only girl among three boys, it has well and truly dissipated now. This one has the fire of a rocket if anyone crosses her, and she has taken to saying ‘Eee-yew’ (accompanied with a scornful look) any time she doesn’t like something. Thankfully there are ways to get her out of the fiery zone, asking her ‘Ivy, are you being rude?’ generally results in an immediately softened ‘Yes… sorry, [insert victim’s name here]’. She still loves costumes with a passion, makes up songs at any opportunity and is very proud of herself at any achievement or milestone. Watching her and Hudson’s relationship develop has been really sweet, and I have enjoyed having special Mother-Daughter time with her while Hudson is at Kinder.
In comparison to the adventures of January, February was very light on. We have been relishing the slower pace of the weekends compared to the routine of getting out the door for school and work every day, and have preferred the divide and conquer approach over big family excursions.
We celebrated Eli’s first day at School:
Send a very excited Hudson off to Kinder:
Celebrated our brother in law’s birthday at Lysterfield Lake:
Dave and I travelled to Ballarat for a wedding and night away:
Dave took the boys to the Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Center:
We enjoyed a delicious banquet feast cooked by a friend’s parents visiting from America:
Went to a Mexican restaurant for a fun night out with the family:
As for the rest of the month, there was plenty of swimming and tennis, crazy hour dinners, visits with family and local outings.
February, you have been important but a little underwhelming… here’s hoping for a more compelling March.