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:

-Gmail
-Chicken curry recipe
-"India" baby shower cake
-Facebook
-Amazon
-"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:

Saturday, January 13, 2018

First Week of January in the Russian Federation


We made it! We had a busy start to the year and I barely had time to breathe all during "vacation" week.

So, just what were we up to? In short, the first week of January is a week of "saying yes" to all social opportunities-usually, going to one another's house to visit and sit around the table with lots of food.

When else would we see our friends? Everyone works during the week, in the evenings we put kids to bed, and on weekends we have workshops and church.

It's intense, though! At one point all the dishes really piled up and I wasn't having time to wash them between guests. Or take a shower (sorry) or do laundry or check email.

Some of the cool things we did:

-met up with some American friends who just moved here and are expecting a baby
-had a visit from some church friends and discussed life and church stuff together
-had a late New Year's AND Christmas celebration with my in-laws since we had taken turns being sick on the actual holidays...
-visited the house that friends are building with their own hands. Inspiring! They are so grateful to have their own space, just on the outskirts of town, that is not an overpriced apartment.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Best-laid plans of 2018


Only ran around for 40 minutes with this blank page open while I restarted the router and fought with the VPN to get David watching BeatBugs so I could do some blogging! That is just to say that plans must always be rather flexible.

Welcome, New Year!
In 2018 I decided to have a focus area for each month. People talk about having a year of saying "yes" or "no" and mine could be described as a year of making myself wait until it's time for that focus area, so that I can give attention to just 1 or 2 goals at a time.

Some of the focus areas are more abstract and some are projects that will get completed.

My focus area for January 2018 is sleep. 

I know it sounds better to start off with a new Bible reading plan or something, but I am desperate to have more energy to do things again and I am just trusting that it will happen in time.

In the past I have tried many times to go to bed earlier and at this point I will be setting an alarm clock to work on the morning end of things as well. I don't sleep well, but my kids get up late enough that getting up with an alarm clock won't hurt.

We don't have a newborn or early morning commitments, so it's a good time to try to tweak our sleep schedule when we're not completely sleep-deprived, just not quite getting enough.


A few notes so far as of January 4th:

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Holiday aftermath (Dec. 26th)


We had a lovely (Gregorian calendar) Christmas this year, which I'll describe a little bit in a minute. Just yesterday I was still feeling great about the way things were going, despite some hardships. However, it feels like today we hit a wall and everything is going downhill. Sophia was awake from about 12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m. or so. Pulling an all-nighter for some fun or productive reason is one thing, but it's another thing to be held prisoner by a tiny, laughing creature. Yep, she was laughing and head-butting me. I threw in the towel and summoned Andrei, who needed to be up at 6:30 for work...ugh.

Amidst multiple messes this morning, I was counting down the minutes until Sophia's naptime so I could take a hot shower and wash away all the frustrations of the holiday prep that had never really been dealt with. Alas, there is no hot water. So I'm blogging instead and finally having my first cup of tea!

I remember another year when Christmas went really well and I thought we were pros, only to have New Year's be kind of a stress-fest. What went wrong? I guess I just don't have enough stamina for that many holidays right in a row. Maybe I will figure it out eventually.

Dear Future Self, if you're reading this, it's normal (or typical for you, at least) to feel cranky and tired after the Christmas euphoria/adrenaline wears off. Be gentle with yourself and your loved ones. Everyone's stretched thin this time of year. Maybe you've been holding on to some feelings and not surrendering them to the Lord? Maybe it's time for some quiet.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Halfway there


Yesterday we were halfway through Advent! And we're nearing the shortest day of the year, which is always a bit of a relief once we're past it.

I've been encouraged by how we've been able to observe Advent this year. David (almost 5 1/2) is able to participate more and take initiative, and his enthusiasm somehow soothes the usual loneliness and dreariness this time of year.

Part of why I didn't write this post earlier is that I wanted to include a few visuals. You may recognize some of our same old decorations from other years, but there are always some changes.

I enjoyed Callie's post about enjoying Christmas as an adult, and I have to say that many of the same principles apply for me, so here is our version.

-Starting early:

Going to all that work to get out/sort decorations (if they're mingled like ours) and arrange them, only to enjoy it for a few weeks? Nope, we have to be able to enjoy them for at least a month, in my mind! I also realized that Christmas decorations and "hygge" go hand in hand, and the lights and candles help bring some comfort in the winter darkness. So...the earlier, the better! This year I got everything out right away heading into the first weekend of Advent. It's not a strict tradition or organizational thing, but rather a way to survive and thrive.


Not Christmas morning yet, but tea parties are underway.