Monday, January 31, 2011

Cabin Fever Week: Monday

There's this hour in our house that is notoriously hard to get through. It's called The Hour Before Daddy Gets Home, and I have yet to meet a more cabin fever-inducing time. I'm (ideally) trying to get us all fed and the house at least somewhat picked up so we can relax and enjoy the evening together, and Espen is typically trying his hardest to get me stop whatever it is I'm doing and spend time with him. He usually starts getting a little tired around this time, and the more tired he is, the more he needs whatever it is he doesn't have. I'd say it's easily the hardest time of the day, and the only way that I've discovered to combat it is to drop everything and just play with Espen. Which is exactly what I did yesterday.

5 PM rolled around, and having just eaten, Espen was crawling around my feet trying to get my attention. Of course we had yet to do anything fun and different, seeing as we had spent the day on laundry, eating, playing, napping, bathing. So we needed a distraction - quick!

Enter the trusty blanket fort.

This thing is so ghetto I can hardly believe I'm actually posting a picture of it. I used a kitchen chair, Espen's high chair and one end of the kitchen table, along with two blankets and a quilt. It literally took five minutes to build, of which the most time consuming task was to run upstairs and get the quilt from the closet. But it was fun! Espen was enthralled from the very moment I showed up with the quilt, and completely fascinated by the whole process.

Then I got some books and a box of cheddar bunnies and crawled inside the fort. It took Espen a few minutes to really "catch the vision" of what we were doing, but once he did, he was sold. As you can see from the photos, there wasn't a whole lot of light inside our fort, but there was enough for us to read books, eat bunnies and watch old videos of Espen on the camera, which is really his idea of a good time. And it really was fun. I enjoyed building the fort, and even though this cramped little space wasn't the most comfortable for me, I loved seeing Espen experience something completely different with his mama.

And then Nick came home and wanted to play too, which of course, Espen was all about. I think he spent about 90 minutes playing in the fort last night, and because I forgot to take it down, another little while this morning. The fort actually did double duty as a bird watching hideout while I was eating breakfast and Espen was playing on the floor. Some birds showed up on the feeder, and because the fort was built against the window, Espen was able to crawl over and watch them without scaring them.

All in all, two thumbs up for the fort! It was quick to build, absolutely free and provided hours of fun. And that's definitely worth something for an 11-month old.

Cabin Fever Week

Utah really is a beautiful place to live. Endless sunshine in the summer, and lots of crisp, white snow in the winter. The only downside to this is just how much time you end up spending hiding from the elements inside, especially when you have a baby. Too hot, or as the case may be now, too cold temperatures just don't sit well with those little bodies, so inside the house we stay. And stay. And stay.

We've had a lot of warm weather and sunshine lately, and I was starting to feel like winter might eventually end when it snowed. To say I almost cried would be an overstatement, but to say that I literally felt the walls closing in on me would not. Knowing that we have literally months (OK, maybe two) of being cooped up inside was almost more than I could take. So I began devising an action plan:

Every day this week Espen and I are going to find something to do at home that will be fun and enjoyable for both of us. Obviously mostly for Espen, but I also want to try to find the sweet spot where we're both really enjoying ourselves and one of us isn't secretly thinking "my arms hurt, why isn't he getting sick of this yet?" Because, yes, I admit that does happen. The horror!

I'll try to post daily about our activities this week, so check back soon to see how we're doing. Until then, I'd love to hear how you beat the cabin fever at your house, with or without kids in tow!

If you haven't yet, don't forget to enter my giveaway here. I'd love for you to win!

Image borrowed here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

CSN Giveaway time

Well, the good folks at CSN Stores have done it again and ponied up a $40 gift certificate for me to offer one of my lovely readers! I'm sure you can find something in one of their 200+ stores that you'll like, including luggage stores or my personal fave: All Modern.

CSN has allowed me to open up the giveaway to readers in the UK and in Germany this time, as well as in the USA and Canada! The prize amount then converts to £25 or €30. Sorry, everyone else, they unfortunately don't ship outside of these countries.

The rules
1. Leave a comment for one entry per person.
2. I'll draw the winner at random, and announce it here on the blog, one week from today on Friday, February 4th.

That's it! Don't be shy, just get yourself entered. Check back on Monday for a new project, and good luck!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No complaining week: A few thoughts.

I've been thinking a lot about complaining and negativity since my week of no complaining officially ended on Sunday. Of course I didn't make it through the entire week without a complaint, but I did spend an entire week being a lot more aware of the things that come out of my mouth.

First, complaining definitely has its place. That place, for me, is cheap therapy. I've mentioned before that I process the world through my mouth, and need to talk about pretty much everything. So if I'm unhappy about something, I like to talk about it (AKA complain) until it makes more sense. But at the same time, I don't think I necessarily feel much better or happier after complaining, so it seems like there has to be a better way. Right, guys?

My biggest discovery is that I don't seem to be a big complainer around other people. Phew! But the downside to that is that I seem to save up a days' worth of complaints for when Nick gets home from work. And then I proceed to dump every thought I've had in the past 9 hours on him, good or bad. And if I don't have much to complain about from my day, I seem to find them! We got the BYU alumni magazine in the mail last week, and I was casually flipping through it while we were waiting for dinner to finish. In the process I found an article that apparently didn't meet my high literary standards, which I informed Nick of at length. Halfway through haughtily sniffing at a caption, I suddenly clasped my hand over my mouth and gasped "Oh no! I'm complaining!" Nick just kind of smiled and shrugged like "you didn't figure that out 10 minutes ago?" So, I'd really, really like to to try to break the habit of unloading all of my complaining and negativity on the one person I love the most.

The world of blogging tells me that it seems I'm not the only one trying to break the habit. Katy of No Big Dill and Joslyn of Simple Lovely have both written recently about complaining and the need to just put a sock in it and quit whining. And my goodness, couldn't we all benefit from a little less bellyaching in the world? Maybe I should try saying one positive thing for every negative thing that I say?

This is definitely a "back-to-the-drawing-board" project that is going to take a bit more thought, and a lot more practice. Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Come back on Friday for a little giveaway, and if you just can't wait until then for more Tamsin, check out the massive post I wrote for Me Here Mer There.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No complaining week, day two.

36 hours or so into my complaint-free life, and things are going pretty well - can't complain! (Ha.)

Here are the tricky parts:
  1. Espen, who I spent most of my day with, is an endless source of unforeseen circumstances and surfaces that require cleaning. That is just a fact of life, and something I willingly and knowingly signed up for. However, that doesn't mean that I'm above making it known how I feel about pureed mango splattered across my kitchen or crunching yet another Cheerio under my sock. Sigh. It's not the little guy's fault, and I know it. Something to work on!
  2. While I'm doing pretty well at not complaining out loud, it's hard to stop my internal complaining sessions (I know! After an entire day and a half! Sheesh!). Just this afternoon I was looking out at our backyard, which looked just as glorious as any backyard could when the snow melts and uncovers everything that should have been taken care of before its neglectful owners were surprised by the snow in the first place. Anyway, I looked outside and started thinking about all of the cool stuff we had wanted to do to our yard when we moved in, how we still haven't done it yet, and how we're still unlikely to do it this year because we're going to Norway for five weeks (details to come!), and suddenly I was spiraling out of control into Internal Gripefestapalooza 2011. Of course it's the outward complaining and negativity that I especially want to work on, but doesn't it seem like a more positive attitude should start on the inside?
Seeing as I am in a listy mood, let me tell you about a few things that I don't want to complain about today:
  1. Homemade lasagna with salad and bread sticks for dinner. So tasty!
  2. An unexpected visit from a friend.
  3. Espen's sweet dance moves. He did not get those hips from me!
  4. A solo visit to the library.
  5. Seeing how much my parents (my dad, especially) enjoyed watching Espen play via Skype today.
Life is good. You may continue.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Quit yer whining.

When I told Nick this morning that I was going to try to not complain about anything until Sunday, he thought about it for a minute, grinned and then starting poking me in the ribs until I begged for him to stop.

"You're just taking advantage because I can't complain," I complained.

Nick grinned again. This could be a long week.

Truth be told, I can be a bit of a Negative Nelly. I'm critical ("What were they thinking!?!"), I see the downside a lot ("This kitchen just won't stay clean!!!!"), I get overwhelmed and give up. I think it might partly have something to do with the fact that I usually have such high hopes for both myself and the world around me that I often feel like I'm being let down.


So clearly, this kind of malarkey has got to stop. It occurred to me while I was in church yesterday that it's all well and good to make well-intended comments to the teenagers that I work with there about "being the change you want to see" and "taking responsibility for your own happiness", but maybe it would be even better if I tried to take some of my own advice?

Which brings us back to what I was telling Nick this morning: I am not going to complain about anything for an entire week.

Who's with me?

Image borrowed here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

200th Post: Thank you!

Today marks the 200th post here on Project Project. To celebrate this momentous occasion of me rambling and you reading, I decided that I would like to thank each and every one of you personally. Admittedly, once I'd made this decision, I was a little stumped. Because how do you reach (potentially) a couple of hundred people in a way that still feels personal? I'd love to send you all roses and a hand-written thank you note, expressing how much it means to me that me and my blog mean anything at all to you, but I don't have the wherewithal to pay for all of that. I thought about posting a list of people I'd like to thank on my blog with links so you could all find each other and marvel at all the wonderful people who stop in here for a peek, but come on, Tamsin, a list? You can do better than that.

Then I thought, what if I let you choose how I thank you? What if you thought of something that you would really like from me, and then told me about it, and I did it?

It could be pretty much anything (with the notable exception of cash prizes, my husband or my child), if it falls within the realms of reason and possibility, I will do it!

Here are a few of my own ideas, but feel free to come up with anything you like on your own:
  • Since this is a blog, I thought something bloggy might be good. I could write a guest post for you, or if you prefer, you could write a guest post for me here on Project Project.
  • I could make you a playlist with some fabulous tunes that I just know you'd love ('cause we're tight like that, you and me).
  • We could be online shopping buddies for the day.
  • If you really had your eye on that hand-written thank you note, I could send you one.
  • I could write you a fun email every day for a week, because couldn't we all use something fun in our inboxes every once in a while?
  • I could use my severely limited skills to make you a blog header.
  • I could be your personal consultant on any topic of your choice.
  • If you're local, I could bake you a cake! Or buy you an ice cream cone. Or be your buddy for a visit to an art exhibit.
  • If I know you in person, I could babysit while you go out on a hot date! Or you could invite yourself over for dinner. Or I could come and sit on your bed and talk to you while you clean out your closet!

The possibilities are endless!

So, don't be shy: tell me what you'd like. Let me know in a comment here in this post, or email me at Please don't write your mailing address or phone number in the comments, as I can't guarantee that everyone reading is as wonderful as you are.

Thank you!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Me Here, Her There

It is January first, which means that it is finally time to reveal one of my secret, behind-the-scenes projects! This one has been in the works for months, and I'm quite excited to show it to you!

The lovely Madsta of The Madsta Journals and I are embarking on a joint blogging adventure for 2011. It should be fun, so please come and take a look at Me Her Her There! I'd love to know what you think :)

And no tears, I will continue blogging here as usual, although I might be a bit on the sporadic side at first.

Happy New Year!