January has been a busy month for me. JT went back to work, leaving me on my own with Gem during the week. Trying to keep myself from feeling the post-partum blues, I signed up for various events with other new moms, sometimes up to four or five times a week! Plus, I’m working to get this blog off the ground and post more regularly (I’m aiming for every Monday at the moment, but that will increase as time goes on).
I get the feeling that February will be a bit slower paced. I’ll still be hanging with my new mom friends at twice weekly exercise classes and once weekly parent-baby support classes at the hospital where I gave birth. But now that I’ve got a month of this stay-at-home mom thing under my belt, I’ll be spending a little more time actually at home. I’ve also realized how little I’m actually able to get done other than taking care of a baby during the day, so I’ll be able to set reasonable tasks to accomplish instead of getting overwhelmed with massive lists.
I chose my normal monthly layout, a twist on the original system with separate sections for morning, afternoon, and evening appointments. I like to color code appointments by whose it is; green for me, pink for Gem, blue for JT, and orange for holidays/birthdays. I don’t bother writing down the holiday in the monthly layout, just put a dot on that day so that I know to refer back to my future log.
In January I used half of a page for each daily entry, but I’m realizing that I can’t get quite as much done in a day at home with a baby as I thought. In February, I’m going to try using a third of the page instead; that should help me keep my daily task lists to a reasonable length and will save space in the long run.
I’ll keep my water and food trackers in place because those always get filled in, but I noticed that I wasn’t doing a very good job using my meds/supplements tracker (or taking them for that matter). So instead of that I’m going to try a non-journal approach by setting alarms on my phone and getting a breakfast/lunch/dinner pill case to keep them nearby.
I’m kind of a spend-a-holic, which is a problem since I bring in no income (currently). Hopefully my new expenses tracker will help keep me from spending unnecessarily. I’ll be tracking when and where the money got spent, what it was for (generally), and how much it was. I’ve also got a column for a single letter: W for a want, N for a need, and H for something that was helpful but not necessary. This tracker isn’t for joint bills or anything the JT is spending. This is only for things that I buy when I’m on my own or any monthly payments that I make for various subscriptions that I keep up. At first I imagine there will mostly be W’s filling up the page, but hopefully as time goes by I’ll be able to cut back and fill up the pages slower with mostly N’s or H’s.
I mentioned before that I would post an update on my the materials that I use in my journals. These don’t really change that much, but I have added a few fun new things since the last time.
My journal of choice is the Leuchtturm 1917 (of which I now own 4 because I’m kind of addicted). They have two bookmarks (still not enough), index pages at the beginning, and pre-numbered pages. They come in dot grid, ruled, graph, and plain, so no matter how you journal there is a kind out there for you. Plus they come in a rainbow of colors to get any creative-type excited. Some people are bothered by the ghosting (aka. the amount you can see pen through the very thin pages), but it doesn’t bother me, in fact I like it; I think the ghosting gives the journal pages more depth, plus if I’m copying a daily layout over from a previous page, then I don’t have to re-measure because I can see it through the page!
My journal from last years is their Emerald (which looks more teal to me). I didn’t fill it up completely but wanted to start a new journal with the new year, so I’m using the remaining pages to do test layouts for anything too complicated and for practicing my lettering. This years notebook is the Light Blue (the same color as my high-school cap and gown actually) and after setting up the first few pages of February I’m already on page 47 out of 249. Then I have two new notebooks for different projects which I’m excited to share with you over the next few months: a large A4 size Black one and a typical sized (A5) one in Berry.
I have a large arsenal of pens to choose from, but my go to pen for pretty much everything is a Sakura Micron 03. I prefer felt tip pens and this is the one that I’ve found will last me the longest under constant use; I go through one pen every 2-3 months, but I also use mine for sketching on a regular basis.
As I’ve been working on my handwritting and lettering, I’ve started using fountain pens as well. The easy cheap one that I use is the Pilot Metropolitan which has just been helping me get used to the way that the ink flows out in a completely different way from a felt tip or roller-ball. JT also got me this Daveliou Calligraphy pen set for Christmas, which I’m excited but also terrified to use since I’m not exactly sure how to go about it. If you have tips for using traditional calligraphy pens, feel free to share in the comments below!
For my mood tracker and pops of color, I use Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. I’ve got the 10 pack, but they come in smaller and larger packs. You don’t see me use them that much (because I’m still working on getting my calligraphy up to snuff), but I do really like the Tombow Dual Brush Pens. The grey pack is my favorite!
I can’t do without my I-Clip magnetic bookmarks. I like to keep the two built in bookmarks marking the current day and the next empty page. However I still need to keep track of other pages, like my mood/sleep/exercise trackers , current monthly log, future log, and now spending log. For those I find these woodland animal clips to be very effective not to mention adorable!
I use a small Westcott Ruler that fits in the back pocket of the A5 notebooks for setting up trackers and my monthly, but most of the time I do my lines freehand. I have more trouble now than I used to creating straight lines since I’m often holding a squirmy baby in one arm while working!
How is your February looking? What are your favorite journaling materials?