Activities · Blogging · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 – Day 30: Nearly November

November is almost upon us and Blogtober is drawing to a close.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging every day, but I’m looking forward to dropping back to once a week next month. I’ve also found a whole bunch of new blogs to read and I’m planning on working my way through the Linky List at 3 Little Buttons to catch up with the people who shared their blogs there. I did start out well, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, but then stuff got busy.

October saw my first TMA (that’s Tutor Marked Assignment, if you don’t speak OU) for the Latin course I’m currently studying. I got my results back on Monday and I scored 94% (I’m still kicking myself at the missed marks on one of the questions because if I’d just read the sentences to translate a little more closely I’d have got them all right).

The end of November brings my next TMA. It’s due right around the time we have family visiting as well, so I’m going to need to have a big push to get it completed and submitted so I can enjoy some family time.

November always used to be my NaNoWriMo time, but since having Laurie, I haven’t taken part. NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and the aim is to write a complete novel in 30 days. I hope to take it back up again in the future (perhaps when I’m not eyeball deep in Latin cases, prepositions and declensions), but for now I’ll be on the sidelines cheering everyone else on.

What I will be continuing with from the time ‘pre-Laurie’ is our Not-Quite-Christmas Film viewing.

The spousal unit and I have amassed a vast collection of Christmas films over the years (it is our favourite time of year) so we used to watch them throughout December in the run up to Christmas. Then we ended up with so many that there weren’t enough days before Christmas to fit them all in, so we sorted out the ones which were Christmassy but didn’t have Christmas as the main point to them, and we watch those in December.

Laurie’s a lot more aware of what’s going on around him now as well, so I’m looking forward to the slow build up to Christmas with him. November will mean lots of organising of Christmas presents, planning things to do as a family, checking out Christmas events going on around us, sorting out Christmas books (I still need another nine to complete our advent countdown, then they need to be wrapped and labelled).

Laurie with shopping basket 2

At some point in the next month we have important things to work out, like what item of furniture do we remove from the living room to make the Christmas tree fit in? and how likely is the toddler to try unwrapping presents we put beneath the tree before Christmas Day?

But of course, first we have to get Halloween out of the way. I hope my little dinosaur has fun.

And then our countdown to the second Christmas as a family can officially begin!

This post is the penultimate one in a series for Blogtober 2019. You can see my full list of prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

Blogging · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober 2019 – Day 3: Organised Chaos

There’s a bit of a running joke at work about me and my planner and my penchant for colour coding (all of the) stuff.

I plan out my day there with a little checklist with neat little squares that I colour in when a task is completed. If a box has an exclamation mark in it, then it’s urgent; if I put an arrow through it then it is to be completed tomorrow (unless the arrow faces to the left, which means it was done the previous day); if it’s got a cross in it, then it’s been cancelled.

I keep track of the emails I’ve sent out that I’m waiting for replies to. I draw out a little chart with columns for the date, who it’s to, what it’s regarding and a check box for the whether I’ve received a reply. At a glance I can see what I’m still waiting for.

I’m a bit of a hot mess without my planner.

What I actually have is the illusion of being organised.

There’s that saying about, I think, swans. How they look graceful on the surface but their legs are going like the clappers underneath the water. That definitely describes me. What I actually cultivate is organised chaos.

I add things to my to do list after I’ve done them, purely so that I can have the satisfaction of checking them off. I break a single task into three or five or ten smaller tasks so that I can check off each one as I go. I put really basic things on there, like have a shower, which I was probably planning on doing at some point anyway but I might need to be reminded about it all the same.

I’m also pretty organised when it comes to the Noodle.

If you follow my Instagram or Facebook page you’ll know that every Sunday night we rearrange Laurie’s toy shelves in the living room. We have a main monthly theme for activities and toys, which then has smaller sub-themes which inspire the toys we get out each week.

Sounds organised, right?

To be honest, it doesn’t take that long to do a full toy rotation. Once you’ve set up the main change at the start of the month, the rest of the time you’re rotating through a small selection of toys tied to that theme. Each week he finds toys or books he wants to bring out to play with, so they get added along the way and often stay out for at least the following week, which reduces my work finding things to get out for him.

I spend down time through the week thinking about upcoming themes and which toys would fit. This week is Orange and Black for Halloween, so I kept a mental list of all his orange toys to organise on the shelf. Come Sunday it was a quick task to gather them up and rearrange them until it ‘worked’.

Laurie reading Charlie Cook

The other reason to switch his toys like this is that it prevents the living room from descending into too much chaos. It’s a lot easier to keep a handful of toys tidy than the whole toy box and half the contents of the Noodle’s bedroom. That’s not to say we don’t still end up with the chaos, but at least it’s mostly well-organised.

And well-organised chaos is the kind I can get behind!

This post is my third in the Blogtober 2019 challenge. You can see a list of my prompts below:

Prompt LIst (1)

If you have children, do you have a system for rotating their toys? How do you stay on top of your to do list? Any hints or tips for staying organised?

Blogging · IVF · Parenting · The Noodle

#Blogtober2019 Day 2: I blog, therefore I am

Welcome to Day 2 of Blogtober 2019.

I’ve touched on my reasoning behind setting up a blog before. In short, I like to talk. While I come across as pretty quiet to a lot of people, it’s probably no surprise to those who know me that once I start talking, there’s no shutting me up.

Laurie and Mum kiss

I guess I kind of have that internal monologue going on a lot of the time. Perhaps it’s because I spent so much time reading books featuring other people’s internal monologues, but sometimes I like to share what I’ve been thinking about.

I’ve kept diaries of one form or another since I was about ten or eleven, and I’ve blogged on various platforms since I was a teenager. When I became a parent I decided to start over with Of Needles & Noodles as a place to document the things I got up with my son.

Before this I’d had a blog where I documented the journey to have our son, right back from when we got the news in 2012 that we’ve need IVF to actually have a child. I shared the whole journey as well as the eventual pregnancy, but there was too much baggage on that blog and it made it hard for me to continue using it for my parenting adventures.

Newborn Laurie

Infertility has the strangest way of infiltrating all areas of your life and you can never truly escape from it. It made my blog feel like it was written by some other Cait, the one from before who couldn’t have children, so writing it once I had him felt a little like wearing a shoe that was a size too small.

What about the name?

My old blog was called Click’s Clan, a combination play on my name and nod to the fact that I lived in Scotland and hoped to have a gaggle of children someday. Part of what held me back was the name; I didn’t feel so much like just Cait anymore, I was Cait the Mummy, and the reality was, there might never be a ‘Clan’ there might just be an ‘only’.

So Of Needles and Noodles was born when the Noodle was about six months old.

Needles because of the needles it took to make him, and the knitting needles I like to use to create toys. Noodles because somehow by the time he was just a few days old, Laurence had earned the nickname Noodle in that funny way that nicknames seem to be acquired (I answer to Caketin at work), but also because noodles was often our dish of choice when we stopped by the Chinese buffet after IVF appointments.

It’s a name which is less about who I am and more about what we do as a family.

And why do I blog?

Quite simply, because I can. Because I like to shout into the ether and occasionally hear a voice back saying that they understand, or like what I’ve said, or can relate to what I’m going through. Because sometimes I feel like I have so many thoughts in my head that they need somewhere to spill out so I can focus on other things instead.

Because my little boy is only going to be little once and I want somewhere to share and remember and document the things we do together and the places we go.

And because I want to offer some kind of hope to that woman who is preparing to do an injection, or have another invasive scan or procedure, or is beginning that agonising wait to find out if her embryo is going to be The One, that you can get through IVF treatment and come out the other side as a parent.

This blog post is part of a series for Blogtober 2019, check out below for a list of prompts:

Prompt LIst (1)

Do you blog or keep a diary? How do you record your memories?


Blogtober 2019 Prompts

I’m a little late with tonight’s blog post, mainly because I pulled the original post I had scheduled and then didn’t get around to rewriting the one I’d intended to post instead. My camera is filling up with photos which need to come off and be edited, so that’s obviously the best time of year to sign up to a month-long blogging challenge, right?

Blogtober is a 31-day blogging challenge which happens in the blogosphere every October, see what they did with the name?

Various different groups of bloggers approach it in different ways and all sorts of bloggers take part, but the general idea is to write a blog post every day of the month. I’ve taken part in challenges like this in the past and they’re a fun way to find new blogs and new visitors to your own blog in return.

Some bloggers follow a list a prompts, others just take each day as it comes.

If you, like me, need a little bit of prompting through the month, see below for some ideas to spark a post or two.

Prompt LIst (1)

  1. Introduce yourself
  2. I blog, therefore I am
  3. Organised chaos
  4. On the shelf
  5. Something to eat
  6. I’m never without…
  7. Dream job
  8. Share a secret
  9. A day in the life
  10. Phobias
  11. Let’s go outside
  12. Today I made…
  13. All dressed up
  14. Earworms
  15. Things we have lost
  16. Five facts
  17. That one app
  18. Grand tour
  19. The best day
  20. Family is…
  21. I have to watch…
  22. Day tripping
  23. Worst weather
  24. Trick or treat?
  25. Counting down
  26. True love
  27. Getaway
  28. Bump in the night
  29. Feeling crafty
  30. Nearly November
  31. Halloween Traditions

Are you taking part in Blogtober? Share a link to your blog below.