It's precisely because I know my own tendencies that a family altar is a very good idea (albeit a project). I tend to run with the emotions and energy levels of the moment. If I'm feeling good and energetic, then let's sing/pray Matins/Vespers, if not, well, let's just pretend we'll do it later. The idea of a family altar is a new one for me (as are most historic traditions of the Church), and I appreciate how it satisfies that need for grounding oneself physically. My head and heart are full of baby and husband and the "to do list" and on and on, and they need to be grounded. Stay still. Stay quiet. Rest.
As we live in a small house, it's looking like a small bookcase in our living room is the only space that will work at this point. It will take some rearranging of books, a lamp and our family picture, and the addition of candles (check) and a crucifix or triptych (need). We'll slowly build up with icons and mantel. I'll update with pictures as we get there.
For the time being, I'll try to work toward making prayer and song and family worship habit. I hope that having a family altar will just facilitate that!
I'll end with the prayer of the day (from Treasury of Daily Prayer, First Monday in Lent, pg. 41):
"Lord Jesus, prepare us for that eternal Sabbath when You will rest in us, just as now You work in us. The rest that we shall enjoy will be Yours, just as the work that we now do is Your work done through us. But You, O Lord, are eternally at work and eternally at rest. It is not time that You see or in time that You move or in time that You rest, yet You make what we see in time. You make time itself and the repose which comes when time ceases; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever."Amen.