Friday, May 11, 2018

Putting the Past Behind You....

I'll admit, I'm sentimental and a hoarder.  Put best, I'm a certified sentimental hoarder and my organizational skills have simply elevated me to the level of certified sentimental hoarder.

I love my stuff.

I love my old stuff.

I love the memories it triggers.  I've been journaling since I was about 12.  I love reading about thoughts I had when I was younger.  And I love the smells and sounds of my childhood.  Coupled with touching an item, it's almost as if I'm magically transformed back to that time, a fly on the wall observing my youth.  Everything seems happy, joyful, and full of great potential.

I was on the drill team in middle school, and I have two pendants to show for it, and a bell we put on our Keds shoes when we marched in the Christmas parade.

I'm also a storyteller.  So a lot of times, holding onto these items is like my way of keeping the props I can use to tell my kids these elaborate stories about Mommy's life growing up.

So when I finished Marie Kondo's book, The Magical Art of Tidying Up, it hit me hard.

I am not letting go of my past.  She advises someone with my sort of "background" so to speak, to touch the item, be thankful for the good memories it brought you, and say your farewell.

Farewell is so harsh.  Can't we just say see you later?

But then reality hits.  Do you want to be surrounded with STUFF of the past, or live in the present, creating new memories?

I'm taking pictures, I'm blogging, I'm doing everything I can to preserve the moments I live.  Even when I tell my husband about the day's happenings, I wonder if I should write it down before I forget.  It's not uncommon for older moms to say, they remember being a mother, but they don't remember the details.  They remember it was hard, but they don't remember why particularly.  I don't want to be that mom.  I'm sorry!  I don't!  I want to remember.  I want to hold on!  I want to preserve those keepsakes.

I was anti Marie Kondo a few days after reading her book, trying to digest it all and make sense of how this would apply to my own life.  I resented her.  I hated that everyone loved her ideas and philosophy so much.  It's just a cult, I told myself.  A phase, I told myself.  It's not me, I told myself.

And then I decided to give it a try.  What was the worst that could happen (besides losing all my precious memories, you ask?!)

I started with jewelry.  In the past, I've gone through deciding what to get rid of.  This time, I took her approach and advice and started with what I wanted to keep.  I picked up every single piece of my jewelry, including items from pre 2000s (yikes, hoarder I told you!) and touched it.  Thought of the good times it brought me, laughed, chuckled, sat in silence reminiscing of the good ol' days.  I was so young.  So thin!  So naive.  The whole world ahead of me.  No kids.  No husband.  No job.  No clue.

And then you know what I did?  I put it in a "discard" pile.  I couldn't believe it.  What was I doing?  I was not a Marie Kondo fangirl!  I was probably the antithesis of a minimalist.  But there I was... not really in my body, an out of body experience where I was sort of like a zombie, doing what I knew would bring me joy (eventually).

A few hours later, a huge pile of jewelry later, and a nice display of what I wanted to keep and what I actually use, I stepped back to take a peek.

Well son of a gun.

That Marie was right.


I had a sudden paradigm shift.  I suddenly couldn't wait to tackle the entire house.

What the heck have I gotten myself into?!

Does this mean I have to stop hoarding?

Jewelry done.  Paper work next. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Sometimes I Hate My Job

As a SAHM, I deal with a lot of redundant repetitious reiterations of whining, screaming, illogical demands, and clean up.  This morning, as I was wiping up spilled milk and soggy puffed up Cheerios for what felt like the millionth time while fighting off the 16 month old who wanted to eat what I was cleaning up, all I could think was, man, I really loathe my job right now.  There is nothing positive for me in this moment, no silver linings of how blessed I am, no - instead, there's only frustrated muffled curse words that I can not and should not say.  It's moments like these that bring me to my lowest and most awful state of minds.  It's moments like these that make me wonder how anyone else does it.  It's moments like these that remind me being at home with kids isn't all it's cracked out to be.  Sure I get to sneak in naps here and there, at the risk of my kids dying without my supervision for those few minutes, sure I get to use Netflix or on demand TV to sneak in some peace and quiet or a shower every so few days.  Sure I can eat whatever I want, buy whatever I want, and go wherever I want, as long as I also remember to take care of the little beings in my tend, which means the added time and effort that comes with doing anything or going anywhere with kids.  Sure... it's all great in theory, but in execution, it sometimes ends up being constant conflict resolution and disaster control.  In work, we used to talk about "putting out fires" in a figurative work sense.  At home with the kids, I'm constantly putting out fires.  You might as well put me in a firefighter suit, because that's all I do some days.  But it's not a quiet lethal fire, it's a loud, greater than yelling at a ball game type of screaming with intense volumes and octaves you didn't know existed, coupled with crying, runny noses, littles hand that remove and never put back, and poop.  So much poop.  And pee.  So much pee.  And spills.  And oops.  And I forgot.  And I didn't know.  And I'm sorry.  And I didn't mean to.

And in these moments, nothing really feels better except griping about it.  Complaining about it.  Writing about it.  Remembering that it's not all giggles and kisses and hugs and roses.  That sometimes it does suck.  A lot.

Because sometimes I do hate my job.  But I keep trucking on, cuz that's what you do.  And praying about it.  Cuz tomorrow will be better.  Or maybe even a few minutes later.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Productive Procrastinating...

I've been home with a sick kid for three days now (gross sick - diarrhea, fart pooping, and puke... so much puke, but all in the toilet at least.. so woo hoo!!), and with all the time, we got a pretty good head start on our Spring Cleaning.  The kids were pretty excited to help, from moving the bed mattresses to move all the piled up crap underneath to vacuuming to getting pee stains out of our mattress!  But a day after being super productive, we're now... kinda... well, we're stuck!  We have more window tracks to take care of, but I'm tired.  I'm spent.  I don't want to do it anymore!  Ugh.  How do regularly clean people do it?  I think I need to hire someone.  I'm all about organizing, but cleaning is a whole other beast for me.  Growing up, I vacuumed and did dishes, but that was pretty much the extent of my cleaning responsibilities.  In college, housekeeping took care of our bathrooms, so again, I didn't have to do much.  I traveled for work so much when I had a roommate post college, that I didn't really make a mess, or clean up.  I just kept my own room clean, wiped down my own bathroom, and my super neat freak roommate would always lecture me about clearing the sink.  Oops.  Most of the time, I just ate out... and the other half of the time, I lived with my parents, so we always had cleaning ladies come too.  So... yes, I've been spoiled and really didn't have to deal with cleaning my own space until I got married.

In the time that I should have been wiping down tracks with q-tips and microfiber cloths and moving mud (yes, it's that gross), I have reorganized two spaces, cleared and tidied up two areas, updated our silhouettes, put up photos for a gallery wall, and added photos to empty frames I received for Christmas.  Productive, yes... productive procrastination!

So tomorrow... I guess I'll see if I get around to it.  Especially since I have four kids home now.. Spring Break... oops.  Shoulda woulda coulda.

my feelings in a nutshell

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring Cleaning.. What's That?!

I'm a bit ashamed to admit, I've never truly spring cleaned.  I actually had to google "what is spring cleaning" and do a bit of research.  After extensive reading and pouring over a bunch of different cleaning blogs and sites and advice, I came to this conclusion.  I mean, I've dabbled with cleaning the house during Spring and calling it "spring cleaning," but in terms of actually getting down to the stuff that isn't touched much, I haven't done it.  I have at most, dusted some of the higher up stuff like ceiling fans and curtain rods once.  I have determined that as part of my spring cleaning routine with littles, this is what I hope to achieve.

Spring Cleaning
-Wiping down the top of the fridge (normally, you'd move it out and clean in back also, but our freezer was having some issues, so we already did that not too long ago... so I'm going to take a hard pass on that)
-Wiping down the top of the washer/dryer stackable unit
-Wiping down in back of the stove including removing it (this should be interesting as we have not touched it since we moved in here four years ago....
-Wipe down walls and backsplash (did this with my steam cleaner yesterday on a few parts of the kitchen, it was surprisingly quick and even a little fun...)

In addition to the "Spring cleaning" part included, I'll also do the other stuff I normally do which is sweeping and mopping the floors.

Not Doing
Here are the things I'm opting out of because I just can't....
-Wiping down my cabinets (maybe when we have a nicer kitchen, I am not messing with this now)
-Wiping down the insides of all my cabinet shelves (I sorta do this as I see fit anyway)

Spring Cleaning
-Using homemade solutions (cup of baking soda, cup of salt, pour cup of vinegar down and wait 10 minutes, then pour boiling hot water over it) to clear the sinks
-Attack soap scum on shower doors (used a homemade solution of 1 cup of hot water with 1 cup of vinegar and 3 drops of essential oils)

The bathroom is the only part of our home besides the kitchen that receives weekly attention, so I don't feel the need to really "deep clean" anything in there.  I'll do my normal routine which is cleaning the toilet, wiping the floors, the counters, and the bath tub or shower.

-Dust all curtain rods
-Wipe down all wood blinds
-Clean storm window in between areas (this is disgusting, one quick look at our 1970s storm windows would show you dead bugs, dust pile-up, and overall just gross)
-Dust all ceiling fans (we only have two thank goodness)

We already wipe down our base boards and chair rails every now and then, hint: it's a easy kid responsibility to assign.  But that sure feels like a lot. 

Just thinking about it feels overwhelming.... I'm going to attempt to break it down and do a bit each day.  With a baby and my 3 and 4 year old at home for most of the day, it's a strategic thing to figure out when to do it.  Last night, I had some free time while Andy went to play weekly ball, so after wasting too much time on social media (seriously, our kids are so screwed...) I finished the dishes and busted out my new steamer to wipe down some walls and clean the storm window in betweens in our kitchen.  Then, I got inspired by something I saw on social media (maybe our kids aren't that screwed...) and decided to clean my vents (for the first time in four years also...)  I vacuumed two of the vents, will continue tomorrow with the bedroom vents, and then will run the actual vents in the dishwasher later.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Sounds of Motherhood

I love being a stay at home mom, and I love listening to the sounds that make my day. Here are some I have been thinking of lately... in no particular order...

The crunch of a million pieces of a few cheerios under my fuzzy purple slippers.
The cascade of crumbs dropping to the floor when I unstrap and then stand you up in the booster.
The plea at the top of your lungs wondering where I am.
The pure glee and excitement when you find me on the toilet.
The hushed chuckle of refusal when I ask for some privacy.
The patter of little feet running away to hide in the same spot,
The muffled laughter from behind your same hiding spot.
The huff that comes with a pout.
The slithering pendulum sound of snot blowing high and then low.
The squeal of joy when tickled.
The sigh of content when cuddled.
The scream of frustration when angered.
The yelling of madness when arguing.
The panting for air when running around.
The silly claps of sad attempts to do a jumping jack.
The swirl of your tiny hands grabbing my hair.
The smothering of your lips on my face.
The click of disobedience slapped in my face.
The buzz of anticipation as you wait for lunch.
The moans of meal refusal yet again.
The cheers in celebration and zeal for something yummy to eat.
The sweet chirp of thank you, please, and I love you so much.
The beep of the same question asked again, and again, louder, and louder.
The whispered shrug of not knowing and not caring.
The triumphant stomping of a happy march around home.
The eery lack of sound, the loud silence that rings of trouble.
The barely there twiddling of your toes as they peek out from under the curtain where you think you are completely invisible.
The gasp of breath when you're so upset and crying and fighting for some justice.
The twinkle of the love and adoration in your eyes as you tell me how much you really do love me again.

What have you heard lately?

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Free Printable - He Is Risen for Easter Decor

Slap some butter on me, cuz I have been on an upcycling ROLL lately.  For me, DIY projects are similar to when I have ideas to write, once they come, they just KEEP ON COMING, and I can't really hesitate or I'll get a huge writer's block or in this case, a DIY upcycling drought.  So, I have just RUN with it.  It also doesn't hurt that I have plenty of gold and white spray paint stored nicely in my new Container Store containers that were on sale (pantry sale this month) that makes it super accessible. 

I have some old frames I never could throw away (hoarder remember?!) in the garage, and I pretty much skipped over there, knowing exactly which frame I was going to upcycle.  It was an old 5x7 cherry wood stained frame that held a photo of some golf celebrities with Tiger Woods in the middle (my husband was obsessed).  Not something we need on display at our home, so to the garage it went and stayed for the last four years.  Hoarder win! 

After sanding it, cleaning it, and covering it with about 4-5 coats of white spray paint, I decided to have some fun with painter's tape and gold spray paint.  I've seen a lot of color blocking on home decor lately, usually it's white and neutral, or a lot of mixing textures, wood grains with textile, tough jut rugs with more gentle furniture, straight lines with floral, etc., so I went ahead and decided to do a dipped corner in gold look in opposite ends... and it turned out looking pretty good! 

As for the frame insert, I just took the first free wreath download via google and using King Basil font (a favorite for the last year and a half) made this "He is Risen" printable.  It printed out in the middle of my 8x11 cardstock, but I just cut it after tracing the frame's glass over it, centering the wreath in the very middle. 

Download PDF by clicking here - for personal use only please!

Here's my project's photo timeline:

Monday, March 19, 2018

This Is Organized Hoarding...

This weekend, we moved our two oldest boys downstairs so our fourth could have his own room and cry it out.  We got tired of him waking up in our bedroom, seeing us, and crying for me (he's not yet weaned... help me!).  With the move, came the opportunity to downsize our toy collection dramatically.  At first, I thought I could get rid of one entire toy storage unit, but instead (and after much pushback from my kids and even my husband who said I might be going too far with minimizing...) I decided to limit it to whatever they could fit into our two storage units.  With shelves and tons of fabric containers, we actually had a lot more storage than our Ikea Kallax (4x2) shelving unit and the Trofast that looks like a step L.  I digress.... You would NOT BELIEVE how many toys we have four years living in Salt Lake near a ton of family.  Trust me when I say I was one of those moms who only had one box of toys for my child for the first two years of his life.  We were in Spokane, not near family, and it was easy living in a small rented space, to limit the toys and enjoy the few we did have.  Or so I thought.

Fast forward to moving to Salt Lake where we were near family.  With generous family living nearby, our kids toy collection quickly grew.  You know how they say growth can be organic?  Our organic growth SKY ROCKETED, and with our family growing from one to four children, there was even more reason for everyone wanting to give us more.

This experience has taught me that despite being an organized person, masked under those OCD neat freak tendencies is actually just a basic hoarder.  Because instead of donating stuff on a regular basis, I thought my "boxes inside of boxes" and "organized self" was doing fine, when in reality, I was just accumulating more storage units.  Cute baskets, wire baskets, white baskets, pink baskets, purple baskets.... clear containers, translucent containers, fabric containers, clear boxes, pull drawers, pails, ... I can't believe how long I could go on for!  Basically anything to help my organized hoarding continue to hoard on.  And that's kind of what happened to our toy collection.  They found new homes, organized homes, and .....

I guess along the way, without life changes forcing you to declutter (going away to college, moving out of my parents' house, getting married, moving to another state for new job opportunities with said husband, etc.) it's easy to just keep everything.  For me, I'm also very sentimental.  I still have old movie ticket stubs that I had to finally throw away when the writing rubbed off and it was hard to see what movie and dates were even on there.  I was really sad when I noticed this.  And my parents weren't any better, I just finally threw away a bundle of hair wrapped in tissue paper with Chinese characters describing it as the first hair my parents ever cut off of my head as a baby.  I am 35 years old.  They gave this to me when I was about 22.  I have kept it until now!  Why?!  I dunno, I guess if my parents kept it for that long, it must have been special, so I just continued the tradition.... so when I look at toys and think about how every single one of my children have played with this, or that they got this for this birthday or that Christmas (yeah, I have a weird memory that's only applicable for useless information like this), I hesitate and then.. I just put it off and here I am.... with tons of toys!

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that this experience so far, of decluttering and organizing my home, has basically taught me that I was a hoarder disguised as an organized person.  An organized hoarder.