25 March 2013

Bloglovin'

Well, the news is all over the Blog-o-sphere that Google Reader is closing down. If this is how you follow your favourite blogs (hopefully including mine!) you'll need to make the switch to another type of reader.

Bloglovin' have made it super easy to switch over - which I like very much! There's a simple button to push to import all the blogs you currently read straight from Google Reader into your Bloglovin' account. It only takes a minute to set up your account and the site seems pretty simple - I haven't had much chance to look around yet.

I'd love it if you could take a few moments to switch to following me over on Bloglovin' - I'll even make it super simple for you, just click on this link right here:

Follow Just Ordinary Us with Bloglovin

My friends and followers, you are the ones who make blogging such a rich experience. Please do continue to join me in my crazy journey.

21 March 2013

Renovation Stations!

Ready? Set? Go!

Well, I'm ready, but I'm not quite set, and tomorrow will be all GO! With the upcoming Addition to our family in August, Hayden and I have finally gotten our Renovation Action Plan ready to go. Our house is a great wee house - well-built, warm, perfectly positioned for the sun, low maintenance. In other words, just right for us. Apart from one thing: the bathroom/s layout. If you'll bear with my quickly Paint-sketched drawing, this is our current house plan (minus the rest of the house, like bedroom 3, lounge, kitchen etc):


You see the spread out bathroom, toilet and shower? Then there's the hot water cupboard and the laundry. Our plan is to consolidate/condense the bathroom space a bit, find a new hot water solution and use the newly created space for a (small) bedroom - Baby's room! (One day to become the office.) This is the (to scale and much tidier) plan:



The idea is to plumb a new shower over where the existing bath is (yay for new, shiny tapware!), therefore eliminating the need for a separate shower space. (Space-Saving Method #1.) Next, the hot water cylinder gets moved, either to a different cupboard on the other side of the hallway, the ceiling space or outside (gas Infinity-type style). (Space-Saving Method #2.) The laundry then becomes a bit smaller and encompasses the part of the hallway that goes to the back door, effectively becoming a walk-through space. (Space-Saving Method #3.) You can see in the plan above that these newly-created spaces then become the new bedroom!

It will be on the small side - about 2.2m x 2.3m - but big enough for a cot and a feeding chair, one day a single bed, eventually a office desk/sewing room (can't wait!!) and sometimes a double airbed for our guests. We've done it this way to save on costs. This won't be our 'forever house' - it's too small for 4 teenagers! (A scary thought!) If we were on a bigger section out of town a little we would be totally re-jigging the whole house - it has so much potential! But alas, we are not, so we choose to do a good job on only the things we NEED from our lovely wee home while we are here.

So, work begins tomorrow with the moving of the circuit board - a little frustratingly, it is on a wall the needs to go! Today's job has been clearing my backlog of washing, including soaking the nappies overnight, to clear it out so our poor electrician (a very good friend from church, thankfully) doesn't have to wade through our dirty laundry to do his job! Then the building work begins on Saturday - handy to have an ex-carpenter for a father-in-law!

Do you have any tips for renovations? Bathroom design schemes? Tips for staying sane? (Renovation-related or otherwise.)

19 March 2013

Photos, Then and Now

I've just been clearing some space on our hard drive by going through my folders (and folders and folders) of photos, deleting the blurry ones and ones that aren't good enough to use (or even bother with!).

I wouldn't by any stretch of the imagination call myself a good photographer, but I am thankful that I've picked up a few tips over the years! Going through my 'Elliot 0-1 month' album was atrocious. It doesn't help that we had a ridiculously useless camera, but these photos are all blurry, wrongly timed, badly composed, and badly lit. Usually I am in my pyjamas (that's okay, it was a tough few months!) and you can always see some sort of household detritus in the background - left over lunch, the washing pile, a random novel, or an ugly curtain being my attempt at better light. Oh dear. Want to see? You'll laugh, I promise. (Even if that laughter comes from a place of cringing shame, like mine does.)




Oh dear. It's a bit disappointing really. I was actually going to spend a bit of time putting photos together of all three kids at the same age, but I have hardly any good, clear shots of Elliot, poor child.

Let's compare those photos of Elliot with these photos just over 3 years later, of Tristan:




Still not a professional, but much nicer to look at! I use a camera that pretty much only has automatic settings and no manual zoom (that's on my wishlist!), but if I get the lighting and subject right, it takes some decent photos. Over the years I've picked up some photography tips from all over the place, mostly the internet. Reading blogs and seeing how other people compose their photographs, understanding that natural light is best, trying to keep the background clear or clean and trying to catch a candid moment that produces a much more natural shot.

I know I still have a long way to go and there will always be more to learn, but I am thankful for what I've learned so far. I'm looking forward to meeting our 4th Photography Subject in 20ish weeks. I can see the beautiful bundle of babes together through my lens already!

12 March 2013

Tidbits

* I need to stop eating sugar. More and more I am realising just how much of it I gobble down, and more and more I am realising that it actually makes me feel not good. I want to have a healthy body, fuelled by nourishing things, not empty sugar. Wish me luck!

* I have been wearing pants a few sizes too big - a nice discovery! My shorts had been getting tighter and at first I thought that I was putting on weight - stink! Then I remembered that I'm pregnant. Duh. Of course your pants are getting tight, Jess! At 18.5 weeks pregnant my 'normal' shorts are nearly ready to be put aside for the next few months.



* I'm really tired. Par for the course. Growing a baby is tiring work! It doesn't help that I'm not sleeping well either. I've broken my bad habit of going to bed late (after 11pm, gasp!), but now I can't sleep the whole night through! I either wake up for a toilet stop then can't get back to sleep, or do get back to sleep but wake up before 5am and don't go back to sleep. Yikes! Any tips? Is it just my body getting used to a different sleep rhythm again?

* I now have a nifty little diary in my handbag. After a terrible morning last week where I forgot Elliot had Dress-up Day at Montessori (he was disappointed; I cried), I vowed to combat my intense forgetfulness. With my wee diary now I can open it up and see my whole week at a glance so that I can be prepared for what's coming up. It's not 100% foolproof - as exhibited yesterday when, for our BBQ with friends, I grabbed the salad out the fridge and forgot the sausages. I'm so awesome.



* It's so cool seeing the kids growing and learning. We are loving seeing Elliot's head for numbers become really apparent. (Excuse me while I have a Proud Mummy Moment.)
Here's a conversation from a couple of weeks ago:
E: That truck has 14 wheels!
Me: (counts them) You're right! How did you figure that out Elliot?
E: I counted 7 wheels on this side and 7 plus 7 is 14.
Me: (Gob-smacked silence)

* Feijoa juice is the shizz. Tristan agrees.



* I'm really looking forward to my weekend next month(!!) at the Bloggers Connecting Conference in Christchurch. I'm a bit shy with new people, but I know it will be so great to see all the wonderful ladies (Are there any men coming? I don't think so...) I've 'met' through this wee space. I know I shouldn't be shy - when you've read someone's blog it's like you're friends already! Is anyone else feeling the need to plan their outfits... ;)

* I'm off to play Duplo with my littlest dude. It's nice to have some time with just Tristan two mornings a week when Elliot and Rosie are at Montessori together.

04 March 2013

Give Me More! (Please.)

Grace. I have needed a lot of it lately.



My little snotsangels have been fighting tooth and nail and our house is full of shouting (sadly from the adults as well as the children) and discipline. I'm tired of reminding about rules. I'm tired of sending someone to their room to calm down. I'm tired of all. the. crying. Most of all, I'm tired of feeling angry all the time.

So I've been praying. I know this is just a (hopefully short) phase. I know that with diligent, consistent parenting and a LOT of praying, we will move through this and the grass will be greener on the other side.

The kids are all in bed, resting in preparation for a few hours playing at a friend from church's house. I am going to pull out a few books: the Anger chapter of Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges, and The Heart of Anger, by Lou Priolo. Deal with myself first, then the children.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I am immensely thankful that I do not walk alone. That my great God walks beside and before me. Because I'll fail every time I try this in my own strength.

I'm thankful that
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."

Psalm 103:8-12

And I'm thankful that "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13


What do you do when life is trying out your patience and peace? What helps you?