28 February 2009

...When You're Having Fun

Time sure does fly when you're having fun. And we have been having so much fun in February, I wish is could do it over! Aunt Becky and Uncle Kevin came to visit for a long weekend that seems like the blink of an eye. We visited local sights and celebrated Julien's 7th birthday with them. (I hardly got any photos! I'll have to get some from Aunt Becky to share.)

Then various kinds of fun things pertaining to doctors, dentists, and insurance plans, as well as tax-filing have all been highlights of the last 3 weeks. My "Living Organized" book is still here on my desk, underneath a bunch of dental insurance papers, and my dining room could almost pass for a laundry room because of the many baskets of laundry waiting to be folded. So why am I sitting at my computer right now instead of doing housework? Because dishes and laundry can be tended to when the little people are awake, but time on the computer can really only happen when they're sleeping.

You see, I'm trying to find the best time for me to do some writing, without neglecting my responsibilities as a wife and mother. As I see it, I have only 3 time slots "available." First, early morning, like 5:30-6:30. Second, afternoon nap time, and third, after the kids are in bed. My biggest challenge with mornings is that Rosalind has been an early riser since before she was born. She usually wakes up about 5:30, and is not naturally quiet or sluggish in the mornings. She wants to help make the coffee and then help wake everyone up and get dressed. Some mornings she will sleep later, but it's more consistent that she's awake and in need of my attention. Afternoon nap time is good, when I know what's for dinner and my kitchen is mostly clean. But I tend to be distracted by housework or by reading other blogs or Facebook, and the time slips through my fingers. Sometimes Brendan is also awake and needing me during this time. After the kids are in bed, the same as above applies, as well as the fact that it is the time for Enoch and me to catch up on our days and communicate with one another. Plus, he often needs the computer during that time. So its just been one of those months!

I have a hunch that a few photos of the grandchildren will help us all get beyond it and move on to the month of March. March! It comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, and apparently we are anticipating a winter storm that could bring between 6-14 inches of snow starting Sunday night and into Monday. It will be another good reason to take photos and to update my blog, as long as life allows me to.

below: Dinosaur bones buried in the birthday cake.

above: The birthday boy about to dig into his cake, as soon as he blows out seven candles.
below: Just a wild and wacky photo of one of his most outstanding features (a very loud one.)

above: Tristan after taking an unsupervised shower. He didn't quite rinse off completely.
below: Tristan after eating chocolate birthday cake frosting.

above: Side view of Rosalind's precious braids with ringlet pigtails. She's admiring Daddy's homemade bread on the counter.
below: A pretty girl showing off her twirl.

above: Brendan's reaction to baby food the first time.
below: He enjoys helping bang pots and pans in the kitchen

06 February 2009

Book Review: Living Organized by Sandra Felton

Last night I finished my first book of the new year, Living Organized, by Sandra Felton. Felton is the founder of Messies Anonymous (MA), and has written numerous books about the subject of overcoming clutter in our lives. I had read her book Neat Mom, Messy Kids, from the library (and I would love to own my own copy), and I've heard bits and pieces of her story. This book, Living Organized, deals a lot with the psychological issues that a Messie has to overcome, and has some great questions and exercises at the end of each chapter that would be useful to do with an accountability group or a partner. I'm tempted to join MA myself because I at least know I am a Messie, but I feel that at the moment my plate is too full. (However, this may be something I could start in my neck of the woods as a way to connect with more of my neighbors and moms from my kids' school.)

Reading this book made me realize that I'm not quite ready for this book, yet. Before I can begin to live organized, I need to gut my house and rid myself of a lot of stuff (Felton refers to this as the Mt. Vernon method of dealing with clutter, which I think is explained in the Messies Manuel--another book by Felton that I probably should read first).

Felton is honest, funny, and honest. Yes, I said it twice. It's nice to be able to laugh at our shortcomings, but to look hard at them and tackle them is even better. For example, she writes,
When my house was in a dither, I could hardly figure out where the problem was either. I thought I needed an interior decorator, but I didn't know what I would say to one. Messies' houses are unpleasant, but the problem is not with the decorations. Until the clutter that dams up the house is removed, beauty cannot flow in, no matter how many sofas you replace.
Having said this, there is another side to the story. When I finally began to clear away the clutter in my house and mind, I noticed a remarkable thing--my house really was ugly.
I'm right there. I can see myself in her. For example, my "style." I really don't know what my style is. I like to be practical. Pretty is nice, but froo-froo is not for me. And I have a lot of stuff that was given to me (or discovered on the curb!) that, collectively, does not exactly coordinate well. I could go on about this, but I don't want my readers to think that all I do is sit around and loathe myself all day. Finally, I'll share part of "The Messie Manifesto; A Messie Is a Person of Dignity."
A person of dignity
  • Does not keep a drawer full of hose with runs in them because sifting through them each day is demenaing. In addition, I deserve better.
  • Does not wear undies with loose elastic. Nobody will know, but the person of dignity will. That's why it's important.
  • Doesn't sleep on faded sheets even if they are still good.
  • Doesn't allow straggly hair.
And that's a good place for me to stop. Let's just say that I have a better understanding of myself after reading this book, and I laughed and Hmmm'd a lot while reading it. Perhaps you can relate. And perhaps you should read Living Organized as well.

(I got the book for free through PaperBack Swap. If you read a lot and you haven't heard of it, check it out.) If you have read a book recently, write a review on your blog and leave a comment here for others to read. If you have no blog but wish to share, leave your comment here anyway! Happy reading!

04 February 2009

Snow Day

Last night we got a good four inches of snow and today the kids were off from school because of it. I got up while it was mostly dark and let Enoch get the kids up (he had a two-hour delay), and I had about 45 minutes of shoveling bliss. First, I shoveled a path from our back door up to the top of the driveway. And I shoveled over to the top of the driveway of our neighbor, who would be bringing her daughter over for the day. Then I walked down the alley to the front of our row of homes, and began to push a pathway all the way to the end of our block. I got sidetracked when I stopped to help a neighbor who was digging her van out, and I was glad to get to visit with her a little bit while we pushed around the snow. I continued to the end of the sidewalk at the corner of our street before I returned to our front steps where I cleared my way to the front door. I would have shoveled every inch if I could have. But since the baby was up and needed me, and Enoch was ready for a chance to dig out our van, we switched places.

The next time I got out to shovel, I had the baby bundled in his car seat in the stroller (napping), and the rest of the gang bundled as best as possible out playing in the stuff. This time I cleared off the entire back driveway and my neighbor's driveway. Then we broke for lunch and quiet time.

So I got a couple of snapshots. Now I'm tired and I'm going to bed. A good time was had by all, and I'm looking forward to a normal school day tomorrow.