Saturday, June 15, 2013

Learning to Organize

As I've confessed, I need organizational reform school.  Here's a few things I've learned along my journey.

1.  "A place for everything..." As the saying goes, if your things have a home you are less likely to live with lots of clutter underfoot.
2.  De-clutter.  Decide what is essential and non-essential.  Do you have duplicates of anything?  Get rid of the extras and you'll be surprised how much space you will have.
3.  Give away.  Learn to give to others what you do not need or have outgrown.
4.  Throw away.  Don't give junk that no longer works to someone, or clothing that is beyond repair.  Only give someone what you would be happy to receive yourself.
5.  Label.  I've found that the method I've used for kinders and first graders works wonders for me.  Label your baskets and containers.  It will not only make things easier to find, but you'll be able to direct others to the correct spot to find what they need.
6.  If you don't love it, leave it.  Don't buy stuff at the store just because there is a good sale.  Think about what you really need, and don't impulse buy.
7.  Make shelves.  Storing the labeled containers and bins on shelves not only gets them up off the floor but also gives character to your walls.
8.  Be happy with the season of life you are in.  Sometimes this means there will be kids toys scattered like they were a in a tornado and all underfoot.  These littles won't be little for long, and one can't expect the house to be perfect.  The lived in look is just that--lived in.
9.  Re-purpose or recycle items that are washed and clean.  We use an old ice cream container as our compost bin (no garbage disposal), and an old oatmeal box or tissue box stores plastic bags nicely.  I sort my son's toys into old plastic containers and label them so we don't have too much of a toy mess in his bins.  It corrals the smaller stuff.
10.  Give yourself grace.  If you are not good at organizing (or you happen to live in a small space like I do) look for ideas to add to your mental bank.  I've found a lot of great ideas for small spaces at apartmenttherapy.com. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

In the End, Words, In the End, Life

I read something this week, something about how it was easier to build up a child than to repair an adult. Somehow I think people walk around daily hoping we are doing something of worth as a person.  Carefully writing something that people will remember,  reading books written by thoughtful authors and thinking quiet thoughts, speaking words of love and truth.  But what if, what if? What if I  knew my worth wasn't based on what I do and don't do by in my position as a child of God?  What if I grasped the truth that I am completely and totally accepted minus all my achievements?  Because you know, I'm not sure that anyone remembers the titles or accolades except me.  They are past history. 

People will always compare.  Houses. Websites. Titles.  Jobs. Family. Photos. And on and on and on.  Somewhere in all the comparing I don't want to measure up. I don't want to write anymore if it means I'll be compared to some author; I want to write my own writing, to be my own me.  And I don't need the title, I don't go by the title or author or editor or writer.  The hardest job I've ever taken on is the one that is 24-7 has the title of Mom.  Some days we dance through the day with my hair pulled back in a thick curly bun at the nape of my neck, other days I put on flip flops and he runs through grass while I water the garden.  How is it others may look at my life and be tempted to compare? How is it I am tempted to compare my life to yours?

 Fresh eggs, after all, they say are the best for your family.  And we have hens.  The mailman told my husband that in his next life he was going to marry an Amish woman.  I guess that means he liked my novel diapers hanging in a row on a clothesline.  We live down a dirt road next to a field of wheat.  For the prairie girl at heart I'm sure this area is a dream.  I have allergies, oh the irony,  and most days struggle not to have some form of bloodshot eyes, and have finally found a bit of a remedy for the runny nose.  Sneezes, can't control them.  Better watch out. But this is life.  Allergies, wheat fields, clotheslines, and chickens. 

But when I see his feet run through the grass, and the breeze take his walker tumbling across the front yard, I know this is my life.  This is our life.  We aren't promised tomorrow for a better go at it, or the next day for a do-over.  When my washed hair (to -ahem-remove the outdoor pollen) hits the pillow and I close my eyes at night I hope I've lived the day with a spirit of thankfulness for this life and what I've been given.   When the car gives out at the corner and I have to walk home, I hope I live that life is more than cars and going and personal freedom.  My heart always return to the place I love best, and my feet follow.  Home.

(And according to my Mother-in-law I've made some progress towards becoming a pioneer woman.  I'm just not sure I have wagon to go with the title. I'm pretty sure I have a wok, though.  And a car. It doesn't drive presently so I'll be walking.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sometimes I Curl Up Into A Ball

Lest you think my life is always pretty like the pictures I share, here's a little real-life-dirty-in-the-mess.  Toddles and I had just sat down for our evening story.  Strangely enough, the story was called, Sometimes I Curl Up Into a Ball.  I had no sooner read the first two pages then the sound of rushing water interrupted us.  "One minute, Toddles".  (Insert more than one minute) There was lots of grabbing at levers and valves.  But no bueno.  The water would not turn off.  Mommy runs to the next room, scoops up Toddles, runs upstairs to his crib, and puts him to bed. "Toddles, Mommy loves you, time for bed goodnight," I say.  Toddles peers at me from his crib both surprised and disappointed, and lets out a wail that says, "Why are you distressed?  And what's the end to my story?"  

I climb downstairs and begin trying to salvage things from the water that is gushing from the pipe. Then I realize it.  When I'm standing in an inch of water I see the blessed cord that surely will turn off the water.  I pull, in the midst of frustration, wet legs, frazzled hair, and adrenaline.  The pump lets out a last hurrah and trickles it's last drop. I feel the adrenaline bring me close to tears. And I start.  Carpets come up, the pantry gets emptied out, the box fan gets turned on.  I get the shop vac and take up as much water as I can.  Water and I, we haven't had such a great day today.  From Toddles discovering he can throw blocks in the toilet (in front of Mommy, nonetheless) to this flood, I've cleaned up messes today from dirty diapers to dishes.  And just when I want to be finished for the night, several forced cleanings must happen.  The living room rug is trashed, and I want to turn off the lights and go to bed.  But it happened.  It's real.  And the mess is mine to clean up. 

Yep, Toddles.  Sometimes Mommy curls up into a ball.  She just hopes your in bed dreaming happy dreams of trucks, balls, and dogs when she does. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Get In

We go, I in my faded swimsuit from five years ago, and he in his too-big-for-me hand-me-down trunks.  I'm not sure he'll remember his first time in a pool, but on these hot summer days we've got to find something to do.  The ladies mostly line the wall of the pool watching the kids splash, play, dive, and regather for a game.  Floaty boats near small children line the shallow end, and the deep end has become a place of daredevil bombs.  Sometimes, you have to get in.

I hold him hoping that the water will be warm enough that he won't freak.  After all, it is 90-some degrees outside.  He likes the feel on his toes, and with some trepidation we both enter.  One other Mom is in with her kids.  A boy talks to me about how he loves to splash.  "Most boys do, " I say, "That was a big one!" I exclaim and he grins a toothy grin with a few windows where teeth have vacated.

Baby boy relaxes a bit, and follows his duck with his hands, giggling.  He's beginning to like this moving, this being with Mama in the water.  He watches a girl with yellow swimming goggles, and she watches him.  He claps his hands, and splashes.

Someday son, someday son.  I hope you will have a proper fear (and love of) water.   I know I am not a perfect Mommy, but I want you to know how much I enjoy your delight, and sharing it with you.  That's enough to make this Mommy get up and look at life as adventure, because for you, it still is.   Sometimes you just have to get in.
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