thank you and a digital sabbatical

dublin sunset

 That’s Dublin at sunset. Excited to see it in person.

I’m taking a break from online activities for a few weeks.

No blog reading, no blogging and no Twitter. Why?

  • Katy is visiting for a week and we’re all going to Dublin for four days. Should be a lot of fun!
  • I have three paid writing assignments due. A good problem to have but I’ve been low on child-free time to get them done.
  • We’re moving. Again. Found a flat similar to the one we are in now but it a) has a freezer, b) has a desk for Chris and c) rent is a bit cheaper. We can also get it for at least a year.
  • I’m trying to finish a big project that I started at the beginning of the year.

What’s the project? The Minimalist Mom’s Guide to Baby’s First Year.

It’s a book for expectant parents on how to avoid clutter and slow down and enjoy those precious early days with an infant. It’s the book I wish I had read when I was pregnant. Something to take the focus off all the gadgets and stuff associated with a new baby and, instead, focus on the elements of simple living. Slowing time down and having less stuff so you can really embrace and enjoy your new baby.

I’ve been fairly obsessed with this topic and the guide is the result. The challenge: getting it into the hands of those that need it. Most of my readers here are already open to the idea of living with less. My hope is to get support from more mainstream writers and bloggers. Those that may have heard about minimalism but think it’s about 20-somethings living out of a backpack.

I have my work cut out for me.

Most of the “mom blogs” I read are chock full of advertising for stuff. I’m unsure if anyone earning income by advertising for baby gadget manufacturers will want to lend support or endorse a book about buying less. I guess I will find out.

Writing this guide wouldn’t be possible without the amazing readers here that have shown their support. The comments section alone has been a goldmine of great strategies to live and parent well with less baby stuff. Many thanks to all of you that have contributed and continue to contribute.

If all goes as planned the guide will be launching in October. Gulp. Lots of work to do!

So while I take a break from online activities I would like to leave this thank you list up. Some are bloggers, some have left comments here, some are people I have met in real life, others I have just met in the virtual world. Some are in the minimalist or life simplifying niche others are not. All of them have been supportive of my endeavors here. I can’t thank you enough!

I invite you to add a comment with a thank you to anyone that has made you laugh, made you cry (in a good way), held your hand, given you a positive push to work harder, or do more, or relax.

See you in a few weeks with an update of my Minimize Yo Butt progress, details about the guide and a few weeks of good old fashioned paring down and de-cluttering for fall.

– Rachel

 

Vicki and Vanessa: amazing women/mothers/people that I met via this blog and then connected with in real life. Thank you for taking the step to contact me. Loved meeting both of you in person. Sad I am no longer in Vancouver to see Vicki and Vanessa, you moved away just as we (and Henry and S!) were getting to know each other. Hope you both had a great summer with your little ones!

Faith: I was so excited when you first replied to an email I sent you. Yeah! I had made my first connection with a mother that was also an aspiring minimalist. Thank you for all of the encouragement and the unending list of resources you send my way.

C from OneFitMom.ca: your resources and well researched posts on pregnancy, nutrition and exercise have blown me away. Oh, and your pregnant abs. Unbelievable! Wishing you the best with your new baby and hoping you continue on with your writing.

Jo from SimplyBeingMum.com: you’ve been a big supporter of me and this blog since the early days. Your early encouragement got me excited to do more and document it here. Can’t wait for our in-real-life meet up!

Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist: Joshua linked to me a while back and brought a huge surge in readership. His blog is a great resource for simple living. If you haven’t already checked it out pop on over.

Francine Jay from Miss Minimalist: I was featured as a on Francine’s blog back in December and readers still arrive from that post. Francine’s book, The Joy of Less, is a beautiful and inspiring read for anyone wanting to simplify. Thank you for your support, Francine!

List of Comment-ers that have rocked it here:

  • Amber – I love Amber’s balanced approach to pretty much everything: parenting, nutrition, work (well, her admitted attempts at balancing work), and decluttering. Thank you for inviting me to my first, and so far only, Tweet Up! I appreciate all your comments here and your support.
  • Erin – Erin and I actually knew each other from selling/buying cloth diapers from each other in Vancouver. She found my blog on a message board and realized we knew each other. Erin wrote a wonderful post about her minimalist journey that started a few years ago. She’s now detailing her efforts on her blog: Dreams You Dare to Dream. Thank you, Erin!
  • abracadabra – haven’t heard much from this commenter lately but she has been a fantastic contributor in the past. Thanks, A!
  • KT – another minimalist minded family living simple and enjoying the benefits. Thank you for all of your comments, KT.
  • Jenny – also a part of my writers group that has been so encouraging. And she’s now debt-free!!
  • Momma Jorje – another downsizer planning to move into an RV. Thanks for the support, Jorje =)
  • Karen (Scotland) – lovely and helpful comments on the laundry!
  • Sharron – another one that gave huge help on the laundry situation here. Also across the water from me so hopefully we will one day meet up in person.
  • Laura/Apple – thank you for all the encouragement, Laura. Much appreciated. Particularly your insightful comments about moving to a new country and homesickness.
  • Mariza – Mariza’s moving her family into an RV so we’ve been on similar paths this year. Thank you for all the encouragement and great comments!
  • Tina – thank you so much for nominating me for Joshua Becker’s blog list! Your support has been fantastic.

And thank you to everyone that reads this blog. Seeing that people care about this lifestyle, that living with less is bringing people more of what they want – time, health and freedom – gives me more confidence and motivation for my own plans. This isn’t always an easy path but it’s always rewarding.

 Photo Credit

Minimize Yo Butt: Week 2

 

Portland Marathon 2007: couldn't pass up the freebee towels.

 

I’m participating in Faith’s Minimize Yo Butt 6 week Fitness Challenge. I’ll be updating my weekly progress here and you can read about my goals here. If you’d like to join in head on over to Faith’s Facebook page and join in.

Yeah for feeling like a runner again! I missed runner me. Not marathoner me as seen above, but the runner that used to get out three times a week, whatever the weather, for whatever the distance, because it felt good.

On Monday I ran loops on the Prom, a 3km stretch of nicely paved boardwalk right on the ocean. Henry was snoozing in the stroller and I had a new playlist on my iPod shuffle. The sun was shining and there was a strong, but manageable, ocean breeze coming at me. I felt good. My legs have kicked into memory mode and running more than 5km doesn’t bring on the burning feeling it did just a few weeks ago.

I’m still tentative about signing up for half marathon in October. It’s looking a bit more complicated for us with travel both the weekend before and after and my mom arriving the following day. I still plan to get ready for it though. For the next 4 weeks I will add 1 km each week to my long run. By September 1st I will be at 14km and have 6 weeks to get up to 18 or 19km before running the half, which is 21 km.

If I have found runner me I am still searching for Crossfit/Body Weight workout me. That’s why I took a stab at a video this week. Did it in my living room on Sunday. Confession: um, it wasn’t that bad. Kind of cheesy but I liked having someone else lead the workout. It was more cardio, less strength, than I would like but hey, I got a workout in.

Workouts

Running:

  1. Monday: 6 x 9 min run/1 min walk
  2. Wednesday: 4 x 9 min run/1 min walk
  3. Friday: 10 km *took 73 minutes but I spent the first 20 minutes running through a windy neighborhood looking for For Rent signs. As always, I was pushing 26 pounds of toddler in the stroller as well.

Body Weight Workouts:

  1. Saturday: 150 squats with Henry on my back in the carrier
  2. Sunday: Jillian Michael Shred video

Nutrition

Um, yeah, I gotta reign it in on the weekend. An afternoon ice cream as we walk on the Prom is fine but adding profiteroles for dessert on the same day is getting me no where!

Read a great post over at Minting Nickels (which is both funny and inspiring – go take a read) about How to Successfully Not Diet. Made me realize a) my problems in the weight fluctuating are are not that unique and b) I need to examine my weak areas.

Weight

Scale says: 0 lost this week, still -2 overall.

Feeling: feeling my fitness come back and it’s exciting. I’ll need to focus on my nutrition more if I’m going to lose weight but right now I am putting my will power towards the exercise.

How was your week? Better yet, how has the summer treated you? Is summer your time for relaxing in the shade and forgetting about exercise programs or are you naturally more active with the better weather?

Like what you read here at The Minimalist Mom? Sign up by RSS or Email to get posts delivered to you. You can also find The Minimalist Mom on Facebook (I’ve deleted my personal account but have a page for this blog). Comments are always read, appreciated and responded to – even if we don’t agree on the subject at hand.

 

 

the benefits of slow transportation

Chris and Henry walking on the Promenade.

Not having a car makes for some interesting discussions when developing new friendships here on the Isle of Man. Because our new friends know the island as car owners they aren’t as aware of the transportation options available. People have offered us rides multiple times when we have been fine to walk. We had some stunned looks the other weekend when we explained that we had walked to an event, a pleasant 40 minute stroll, and that we planned on walking home. A few people have been puzzled by our decision not to buy a car and we have had to, rather self-consciously, explain that it’s not because we can’t afford it. We just enjoy the lifestyle of getting around without a car.

We’ve been here less than two months and have already visited a handful of little towns. All by train, bus or on foot. Sure it takes longer and a bit of planning is required, but we love it.

I’m hesitant to say we’ll be car-free forever. We haven’t experienced a winter here yet and we’re on a short term lease in our current flat. If we move farther away from Chris’s office it might not be as practical to go without a car. But I hope we stick to it. There are so many advantages to going without a car.

  • Health: we walk a lot. Somedays I might walk up to 10 kilometres if the weather is okay and I have errands or playdates on opposite ends of town. For Chris his 15 minute walk to work with a small hill is a great way to start the day and then unwind before arriving home.
  • Conversation: walking together and chatting is a nice way for my husband and I to relax and connect. Since we ditched the iPhones we’re finding our walking time even more enjoyable.
  • See more: in a car the greenery and scenery just whizzes by you. By train or on foot, or even by bus, we’ve been able to really see our new city. We’ve wandered neighborhoods and found parks that we wouldn’t have found or seen in a car. On the train we’re free to enjoy the breathtaking views as the train slowly chugs its way to our destination.

I know going without a car isn’t possible for everyone. Schedules, lack of public transport and city sprawl can all thwart any possibility of being a car-free family. But I urge you to give it a try for an outing a week. Dust off the bikes or look up bus service in your area. Ask around to see if there are any local walking paths into town. Slow down for one day a week. I promise there is more to be enjoyed than just the gas savings.

Like what you read here at The Minimalist Mom? Sign up by RSS or Email to get posts delivered to you. You can also find The Minimalist Mom on Facebook (I’ve deleted my personal account but have a page for this blog). Comments are always read, appreciated and responded to – even if we don’t agree on the subject at hand.

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