Posted by: geekycrochetmom | August 4, 2015

Exercise and Mommy-hood

Since three weeks ago when I started my personalized, super-slow-but-sure-exercise program (courtesy of hubby), I have begun to wake up earlier than what my body clock usually dictates. I am an owl; always have been. I  am most alert and most inspired at night when everyone else is sleeping. But hectic days filled to the brim with various obligations have enlightened me and I realized that I will be able to use my time more wisely if I start early and retire early.

This “wake up call” has been the source of wondrous fruits:

I am able to finish my exercise for the day before the texts/calls/patients’ lab results come in, making rising up feel more relaxed and refreshed. No worries (yet), just hours of potential that lay ahead of me, ready to be filled. What a gift it is to wake up every day and be given hours that can be filled with anything our heart desires!

I get to see the three sleepyheads as they prepare for school. Feeding the little one at the breakfast table as she dozed off in between spoonfuls of food. Putting mosquito repellant on their arms and legs. Fixing the girls’ hair. Reassuring the boy about some of his preteen concerns (more on that next time =p). Cleaning their ears and checking nails (not everyday). Putting small towels on their backs. Wishing them luck on quizzes and stuff. I am not always as patient as I’d like to be and often times, I would have to raise my voice to make sure they finish in time for the school service. But hearing the little girl say, “thanks, Mom” as I placed baby powder on her back or just seeing the look of relief on the big girl’s face after I placed wax on this rough spot on her braces, “thank you! I have been suffering from that for three days!” is more than enough to set my day off on a good start. Though I whine and complain to hubby about how stressful it is sometimes to be attending to the kids’ demands, and school needs, reply slips, and homework all by myself, it really and truly is an honor and privilege to be a mother to these three. There is no greater gift.

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | June 2, 2015

Thank You, Lord

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Today, I thank You, my God, for saving me and my family from the snares of the evil one. I cringe at the thought of what could have been, the what-ifs. But more importantly, I rejoice at the saving power of Jesus. His timing is always perfect.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | January 14, 2015

Morning = Blessing

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Yesterday was long and tiring. Today is a fresh start.

The Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness are new every morning; great and abundant is His stability and faithfulness – Lam 3:22-23

Praise be to God!

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | January 6, 2015

My Planner & Journal Set-up for 2015

Hi! Happy new year! I’d like to write about my planner/journal/calendar set up for the year. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time watching youtube videos, hovering over productivity blogs, and looking for #bulletjournal ideas on instagram until I couldn’t take it anymore, ha!

I have always been a paper and pen person. When I had my first smart phone, I switched back and forth between paper and electronic calendars and reminders. Electronic calendars – with its bells, whistles, and reminders – have saved my neck dozens of times from potentially embarrassing memory lapses. But the drawback was that I found it difficult to do forward planning. It was much easier to get the bigger picture, a sort of bird’s eye view of the coming week/s or month/s when everything is laid out in writing. With purely automatic calendars, I felt like everything just came to me like a speeding train and I am forced to respond by doing or dodging. Not the best strategy if one wants to accomplish things.

I have also dabbled in some GTD few years back in my pre-private practice days. I found it too complicated that I spent more tme organizing my system than actually organizing my life. It was completely abandoned.

The holidays left me time to scout for planner and productivity ideas, and scout I DID! I stumbled upon a lot of great things such as this brilliant write up by Lisa of Organize 365 about the important difference between one’s calendar and planner. Such simple yet wise information. To quote her, “Calendars hold information. Planners hold action and accountability”. Life-changing, if you ask me. =p

And then I stumbled on the idea of rapid logging called Bullet Journal. I know, I am so late in the game but am just so grateful for “discovering” the system so beautifully explained here. And I borrowed some ideas from this beautiful, beautiful video on Adapted Bullet Journal by Miriam Twinklewit.

I just looove her video! Leather cover, her voice, toddler, cat, and all.❤

So, here’s what I’ve finally decided to use:

These are my daily tools: My cheapo pencil case filled with different colored pens and markers, my A5 journal, and my handy planner.

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The small 2015 planner on the right was something I bought on a whim late last year from National Bookstore. It measures 5 x 7 inches and is very handy it fits into the smallest purse that I’ve been using lately since I’ve had problems with my hips and back. It has a one-week layout on the left side, which I find is perfect for my week-in-a-glance. The right side is blank, a generous amount of space provided for note-taking.

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I split the left side further into two columns because I tend to write and read vertical-wise (if that makes sense) and end up not using a lot of space on the right side on pages that are too wide. I use the leftmost column for appointments and events, time-dependent stuff such as a lecture, my church service, clinic, kids’ dentist appointment… things that are nailed fixed. I put an empty circle in front of each of these events and color them in when they are done.

I also write important tasks, or the MITs (most important things, in productivity linggo) that had to be accomplished on that specific day. The rightmost column I use mostly for bits of notes and information — one-liner entries for things that happened that day, eg:

  • Bought our new Epson L355 printer for (insert amount) — (which by the way hubby and I are crazy about. Such an intelligent and practical piece of equipment, with wifi and remote printing and scanning… hoohah!)
  • Attended first Friday Mass with the whole family
  • Bad migraine today, ugh

You get the idea. Just random bits of information that I can always get back to for reference, just in case.

Now, the blank space on the right serves as my “ubiquitous capture tool” (another GTD/productivity buzzword). I write down everything that comes into mind. If the task is time-sensitive, I write it on the blank page on the specific week where I most need to see it. I draw tickboxes before each task, and write a date (for a deadline), or an asterisk (for very important task), as needed. I also attach a post-it when I feel like I need to schedule my day hour-by-hour. This, I do in particular for long, packed, busy days so that I do not feel overwhelmed. It gives me a semblance of “control” over my schedule.

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My planner has no backpocket. I stuck some flags and post-its for future use. And I clipped a few pieces of blank paper held by a paper clip. Here, I have a sort of running grocery list so that when I have a few hours to spare, I can just grab the list off of my planner and would no longer need to check on my phone for reference as I push the grocery cart.

That’s it for my planner. Now, let me tell you about this beautiful journal, the so-called “SBC Dream Journal” from Seattles’ Best Coffee. Oh boy, I had to drag my whole family and sort of “harrass” them  into ordering things just so I can complete my stickers and have this. “I told you, you have to choose from the 4 yuletide drinks!”. Hahaha. They have been very supportive of their wife/mom’s planner obsession. Love them.

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A gazillion calories later, I got my very own. It is size A5 and came with a lot of freebies — a mousepad; CD of several laid-back, cafe-type songs; coffee cup-shaped paper clips; stick-ons; stickers; free or discounted drink coupons for the month; and, free wifi coupons, 24 hours total! But the thing I love the most about this journal is that it is in a ring binder form, the refillable kind.

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I love that it has the potential to be refilled and used for years to come. I also like that I can move pages around if I want to and not feel paralyzed about making mistakes and not be able to rearrange stuff as needed (I feel this kind of “notebook paralysis” when I use bound notebooks.

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It has a month-per-page foldable spread which I forgot to take a photo of. Once again, I split each page into two columns and wrote down ideas and collections of tasks that are not time-sensitive but which I feel are too precious to just store in my brain, only to be forgotten forever. I have a monthly general task list.

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And I have written page numbers on the bottom corner, and inserted a sort of index to make things easier to find.

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So, as you can see up there, I have lists… a collection of all sorts of ideas and to-dos that have titles such as #Paper files — how I intend to organize and file my paper clutter one step at a time, or “Home organization ideas — move yarns to one place, or organize bookshelf in master bedroom, etc. #hobbies to explore — succulents, hand-quilting, maybe… things that I do not have the time for right now, but maybe in the near-future, who knows?

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I also printed out this year-in-a page sheet from this wonderful site called phILOFAXY. They have wonderful diary inserts in pdf form for diaries of all sizes and they are all for free! Do check it out. I use mine to track daily habits such as flossing the kids (and myself), vitamins/iron supplement, walking, prayer and scripture time, etc.

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Finally, I have been gifted this pretty, personalized desk-calendar by my thoughtful sister-in-law. I am planning to use this for my daily MITs and am still trying to decide whether I should need to limit myself to 3 MITs per day (measly?) or 5 (too ambitious?). Will see about that.

So there. This has been quite a long post. I think the key to making this system a success is to take time every night to update my list, and to carefully plan each day as it comes. To have the discipline to move tasks from my monthly task list and actually schedule them in into my daily planner. I want to plan one day at a time so as not to overwhelm myself. 2015 is looking up! Good luck to me and to all our dreams and goals and lofty plans for 2015!

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | December 30, 2014

Hooray for the small stuff!

I feel quite good about myself tonight. Saw my patients early (before breakfast) so that I can “feel” the holiday despite work. Now I’m not sure where the rest of the hours went but my “accomplishments” make me feel like I could pat myself on the back.

: prepared lunch (mostly leftovers) and cleaned up
: decluttered the refrigerator (almost there!
: chatted on FB with a dear friend
: booked a hotel room for two nights in time for the visit of Pope Francis to Manila . We want to be there when he celebrates mass at Rizal Park!
: read more about bullet-journaling and felt pretty excited about setting up my planner for 2015
: brought two of the 3 kids to the dentist for a long overdue checkup/OP/flouride/extraction — this is an answered prayer; we found a pedia dentist who is kind and gentle and very accessible to our place
: did the groceries
: ended up having dinner with the kids at the supermarket because they were starving
: updated hubby on the phone re need for orthodontics next month (he’s in his hometown for high school reunion)
: walked & fed the dogs (with help from) the girls

Now I was preparing to make myself some coffee and relax when I realized I still have to pack up the groceries and clean the house a little. We can’t welcome the new year with an untidy home, right?

After this, I will sit and spend some geeky time on setting up my planner and continue writing goals for the coming year. Maybe read and knit or crochet a little, too if I still have the energy. And catch up on Scripture-reading and prayer time as I have been way behind with the hectic holidays 😞🙏📖

Other tasks – lecture, work-related paperwork, can wait.

Feeling tired but happy. Spent but grateful. 😊

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | December 29, 2014

Let’s pretend…

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… for a while that I have not been neglecting this blog for more than a year. That I have not been showering my affections on instagram (it’s just so much easier)!

L, our help, has left yesterday for a 9-day vacation which she chooses to take around the time of New Year. I have the snifles and felt warm and tired last night. So this morning, i find that the excitement of being all by ourselves has begun to worn off. Triggered by the youngest who refuses to finish her breakfast (I’m still waiting. It’s been an hour), i have been tsk-tsk-ing, shaking my head at myself for yelling my head off.

To cool myself down, I walked out to get the laundry which I forgot to bring in yesterday. I looked at the blue sky, the wispy clouds, and the bamboo leaves softly rustling with the wind and heard somebody whisper: “Everything will be okay. Focus on the things that matter”. And all anger and annoyance and irritations slipped away, like magic.

She is finally done. Vitamins done. Time to clean up and declutter. It’s going to be a great day!

Wednesdays are long days for me. More like Wednesdaaaaaay. I usually skip lunch and subsequently end up bingeing on high-calorie, chocolatey drinks late afternoon when my blood sugar level begins to drop to precarious levels. Oh but not today. I came to work armed with homemade cheeseburger with lettuce and my usual jug of ice-cold water.

First of, allow me to say that I do not claim to be a great mom or THE best mom. On the contrary, after today’s events, I suddenly feel one with all the mothers out there. Imperfect beings who struggle and juggle, all in the name of love.

Though my usual Wednesday class today has been cancelled (I teach, part-time, to second year medical students) because of the students exam week, I still needed to be in the hospital much earlier than my clinic to give (actually, proctor) the medical residents’ exams. (By some unplanned twist of fate, I have recently ended up being assigned to handle some resident-related stuff in the department).

So, I left home at half past nine in the morning and spent the next three hours giving and then discussing the exams. Then off to clinic and rounds. Thank God all patients were familiar and uncomplicated. A pharma friend dropped by and brought me a burrito and a glass of ice-less iced tea, for which I was very grateful as my cheeseburger remained untouched in my bag. Up until then, I was still running on my breakfast (rice and chicken adobo), and a piece of turon (sweet banana in crunchy/fried lumpia wrapper) so thoughtfully handed to me by one of the residents.

By mid-afternoon, my food remained untouched as I had to rush to my next clinic about twenty minutes away. After seeing a few patients, I spent the next half hour at the laboratory, looking over some patient slides, including one that belonged to a colleague’s father. Made some calls to reassure the said colleague. At 6 pm I relaxed, knowing that my workday is done. Off to run a few errands and get a much-needed haircut.

I didn’t realize that the day is only partly done. Dropped by the vet shop to buy some food, and dewormer for our beloved Peanut (our golden retriever). After my haircut (which I liked, by the way), the calls began pouring in. My 7-year-old called to tell me that tomorrow was so-and-so’s birthday (a classmate) and that I HAD to buy a gift for her. A Barbie doll.

Passed by the bakeshop to buy a chocolate cake for some relatives who will be dropping by to get some stuff tonight. The second call came, this time from the 8-year-old, to tell me that she needed tomato seeds and radish seeds for their edible garden tomorrow. (My thoughts: radishes have seeds?!). This stopped me at my tracks and I had to think long and hard about where I could get them.

Off to the supermarket where I was blessed with a parking spot. Then came the text message’ “Mom, I need a container for the seeds, too. And a shovel and a thing that looks like a small rake and a watering can”. Okaaay. I grabbed a basket and whizzed through  the supermarket, grabbing seeds, some veggies, bread, detergent, dishwashing liquid (as requested by our nanny), and some foil and plastic cups for the 9-year-old, who told me yesterday that he needed to bring sand in a cup covered with foil tomorrow. Good thinking.

Oops, no gardening tools. Walked down to the bookstore-slash-hardware and bought pots, a small shovel, and the little thing that looked like a rake. (No watering cans. I thought the plastic cups would do). Then came another call from the little one reminding me about the Barbie. After going through lengths to explain to her that I had no access to a Barbie, and that it is way too expensive, she agreed on a small, cutesy token. (I was planning to pilfer one of her left-over lootbags from her party last month).

In the meantime, my burger and burrito were still sitting all by their lonesome self in the car seat. I sipped my warm iceless tea and felt relieved about finally going home. As I was unloading the stuff from the car, (it was already 8 pm by then) the relatives came. So hubby and I scrambled about, slicing cake and preparing coffee and entertaining them. When things have settled down, I chucked the burrito and burger into the fridge and sat down to eat my late dinner as we exchanged stories with our folks.

At past 9, company left and it was a mad scramble to prepare things for school tomorrow. The 9-year-old suddenly realized he missed out on one tiny detail – he needed to bring not only the sand in the cup covered with foil but it also had to contain at least three earthworms. What? How are we supposed to look for earthworms this late at night?! The nanny promised to hunt for worms early tomorrow morning. God bless her.

More chaos. The other girl needed shampoo and soap for swimming class tomorrow (check). The littlest one’s project got picked by the teacher and so had to be “rewritten” (and improved, I guess) for what was probably a slightly bigger project.

I ran through the other to-do’s and looming deadlines: we had to make colored paper buntings – 12 pieces for submission by the end of the week, a scrapbook about “myself” for the little one (which reminded me I had to drop by the photo shop soon to have some pictures printed out… which reminded me about the littlest one’s party from a month ago… I haven’t picked out the 70 photos needed for the picture book for the printer… the upcoming shifting exams. Etcetera, etcetera. Quick hugs and goodnight kisses, finally.

By the time everyone had been coraled to bed (way past bedtime, about a little past ten), I felt worn out and relieved. I thought of an upcoming lecture that I have yet to make powerpoint slides for, and a long-overdue committee meeting that needs to be called, and more exam questions that needed to be written out, etc., etc.

I was too overwhelmed, I just had to sit down and Facebook (yup, I am using it as a verb). For 20 minutes. Mindless surfing.

Was it just this morning when I read this article about what kids really want their parents to do with them? (it feels like ages ago). Things like play, and story-telling, and one-on-one time. For now, I just have to forgive myself and let it go. Tomorrow is another day. By the grace of God, a chance to do better.

If you have come to the end of this post, thank you from the bottom of my heart (Hi, Mom!). And, I beg you not to judge. I know with some diligent time management and A LOT OF HELP I can work things out. I only wish the teachers in school would learn to announce things needed for school way ahead of time (like, the week before, maybe?). Sigh.

Excuse me. I have exam papers to correct. Or maybe I’ll just lay my head down and rest.

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | July 10, 2013

Slump

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Hmmm… what’s this I’m feeling? Wednesday slump? So tired and sleepy. I’ve read Scripture and said my short, heartfelt, albeit whiney, prayer. Now trying to cheer myself up with a cup of decaf and crochet blogs on my feedly before the workday starts. (Wednesdays are busy days for me). Bought ‘The Joy Luck Club’ yesterday… still hoping to make time for sitting still with no kids, no errands, and without nodding my head off to sleep. Haha. I might be in need of a (mini) vacation.

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | July 7, 2013

Note to self: When faced by a daunting task, read this!

The past two weeks saw me pulling off projects/tasks that were, at first, seemingly not doable.

First, was a profession-related assignment placed on my shoulders 6 months ago. After weeks and weeks of lists and worries and planning and sleepless nights… it was a success! I couldn’t believe it.  With the help of people who actually believed in me AND people who actually helped out, it was done.

Second, teaching. The first meeting with my students was quite nerve-wracking. But last week, the young doctors seemed to manage to keep their interest and have left my classroom with smiles on their faces. So much more material to review but… so far, so good.

Lastly Third, our youngest’s 7th birthday party. With some planning and a couple of late nights (one spent preparing lootbags, the other -a few weeks ago – spent worrying), we made it! Today! The little girl and her friends were happy. After the hustle and bustle of party games and fun rides, the grownups looked a bit tired but pleased, too.

I write this down, not because I feel proud of such “accomplishments”. I’ve decided to put this on record to remind myself that, when faced with a new challenge, the wise thing to do is to plan and pray more AND to worry less. God is truly faithful. Despite my stubborn resistance against all things new and difficult (by the way, I’ve learned that most new things ARE difficult), He patiently puts up with my whining. He never loses faith in me. In Holy-Fatherly-fashion, He whispers words of encouragement, comforts me during tough times, and never lets go of my hand. Thank You, Jesus.

More challenges lay ahead of me. Profession-wise: a hospital committee in desperate need of my attention after weeks of being taken for granted; a huge, upcoming lecture (my first ever convention lecture… gulp); more residency-training duties. Personal challenges: helping the kids with schoolwork; finding the time to help them form improved study habits; spending more time with hubby and really listening to him when he speaks of his interests (duathlons, currently) instead of half-listening as my mind wanders off to the next item on my to-do list. Self-challenges: the need to make time for exercise, to make healthy changes in our diet, to lose a little weight, to make time for being with loved ones, and to find time for things that I love to do (books, crochet, movies!).

The list just goes on and on. I realize it’s a blessing really, this list that never ends. On to the next!

Posted by: geekycrochetmom | March 11, 2013

Blankets and Biking

Yesterday was a bit of a milestone for me. For the first time, I gave in to hubby’s prod… I went with him to bike outside of our village. We ended up biking a total of 21.5 km! There was leisurely breakfast & some iced coffee (decaf) in between, plus a considerable break while he changed his flat tire.

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But it was good bonding time for us sans the kids. I ended up with sore legs and fell into a deep, hour-long nap afterwards. It felt good, and though my arse is a wee bit sore up until today, I think we might do it again sometime (he does it regularly as he’s preparing for his duathlon next month; this is the weekend warrior speaking here, hehe).

A few weeks ago, I’ve finally managed to finish some long overdue granny coasters for a dear crochet friend and for a high school classmate. The packages have been sent. I wanted to stuff more into the package but it was now or never (“don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”… forgot where I’ve read that one).

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Anyway, with the coasters out of the way, I suddenly felt “free” to jump into another WIP – my son’s Giant Granny Square Blanket. So out of hibernation it went. I’ve managed to add a handful of rounds  while watching TV.

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I struggled with the dilemma of wanting to end up with a rectangular blanket (silly, I know). Should I add granny stripes on two ends? Or line up some solid granny squares on two sides? How about some semi-large squares? It was getting too complicated so I decided… what the heck, a square it shall remain. I just have to make it considerably larger so he can use it for a long time. And so, I trudge on.

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Another source of excitement recently (yes, excitement) was learning to do the moss stitch. I got the pattern from Baby Love Brand and I was thrilled to finally find a use for my thread.

The thread was a thoughtful gift from a godmother: 6 huge balls of three-ply thread (estambre) – 2 red, 2 green, 2 dark blue. It is actually made up of 2 strands of very thin white polyester thread plus a strand of very thin colored cotton (which gave it its color). [Because the three strands are not actually plied together, it’s a bit splitty and gets caught on my hook or finger sometimes]. I am trying to make a plain rectangular striped “mat” to be used as a cover for our printer.
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Since the thread was too thin, I used Navajo plying. No need to re-wind into balls or to work on two or three balls at once (must be quite a nightmare with three balls jumping about & getting tangled).

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It turned into this sturdy yet stretchy fabric; compact but the details of the stitches come out nicely. It was also a lot of work as I have gotten used to how fast granny squares go. Although slow-going, I’m thinking this would make a very nice baby blanket, given soft yarn. I wonder when my sister or sister-in-law will have their next baby? (Once, my sister called to say she thought she might be pregnant and my first thought was, “Yey! So exciting! Now, what colors should I pick out for the yarn?”). Crocheters are a funny bunch.

That’s it for now. Your taking time to stop by means a lot to me. Have a great week!

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