Sunday, November 30, 2008

And a Few Reasons to only do this ONCE a year!

I think it is obvious what went wrong here! I still enjoy this picture;)

I like this one best because I was saying, "If you will all put your faces right here in this area, we will look like we love each other. Just put your faces right here!" They try so hard.

Kaitlin was scared up so high - We never quite got the vision here. This was Charles' idea.

What is that face Charles!!

Here I am waving and Charles is squatting???

I truly get such a chuckle out of these pictures. I hope you can really "get" what families go through! If you understand just laugh at the torture as you scroll down. This is only a few...

A few More...

My baby girl and her crazy mama!

How handsome

Spinning - I nearly got ill!

Just smile a few more times - seriously!

Some New Family Pictures

Here are some of the family pictures that actually worked out. I say next year we just take separate pictures rather than all try to make a pleasant face at the same time! I'll have to post of few of the ones where everyone has a great face but one person or everyone is off! Just so that you can share in the "joy" of trying to get family photos. Most of you are trying to get the same thing - just a picture for Christmas cards. Take my advice and don't try to get pictures on a playground. It is too distracting!! Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!

What is that face Charles is making? And Jonathan clearly thinks we are nuts. It was one of the few times he was looking at the camera.

Getting dark - almost a cute picture

At least you can see how I attempted to make matching attire this year

And I like this one

And this is totally our family!

Gotta love the G__________s

Awe - my honey bunny!

I so had his head photoshopped onto this picture from another picture and then made it all black and white because the colors didn't match. While I was at it I added sun flair!

Me and the honey again:)

My Sister's Response to the Cleaning Blog

Again - all someone else's writing...this is Casie's take on the cleaning situation:)

I was amused. I was just telling William that I am finally getting to the point where I feel like I mostly have it together and now I am about to have another baby and I hope it doesn't all fall apart.

If you want to post this as a comment, feel free. I just didn't comment on your comment page.

If you would like my "housekeeping advice", here is what I am learning as I go.

A place for everything, for sure.
I am not saying things stay in their place. Zelda's favorite game is to take every bin off of her toy shelves and deposit the contents in grocery bags or upon the floor and move them about the house and then she likes to take all her furnishings (kitchen, shelves, etc.) and push them into different rooms. But when it is time to clean, even though it takes time to put stuff back, I know where it all goes. I don't waste all this time being overwhelmed and frustrated by just trying to figure out where to put stuff.

Be realistic about what you will do.
This one might be the most important one. If you know that you will not take your shoes to your room, then don't act like you will and end up with shoes everywhere. Maybe the shoe shelves and baskets by my front door aren't lovely, but they are (or can be) organized. So you have to look at shoes when you walk in, but they aren't in a pile and they aren't lost. William argues with me about this because he doesn't like to look at the shoes but I remind him that there is no way we are going to realistically shlep our shoes upstairs to rooms everytime we come in. We take off the shoes at the door and that is where they stay. I also have come to realize that things will not get cleaned upstairs if I have to bring the cleaning supplies and broom and stuff from downstairs. I have two sets of everything so that when I notice something needs to be done I don't put it off cuz I have to run downstairs to get something. I also know that William will not stack tupperware and baby sippy cups when he puts away the dishes. BUT HEY, HE PUTS AWAY THE DISHES!!! So I bought large bins with wheels on the bottom that fit in my cabinets. He can just toss stuff in the appropriate bin and then we just go said bin when we need something. But when I open the cabinet, there is no avalanche and I don't have to search endlessly for a lid and container. I have also stopped letting guilt about wasting food rock my refrigerated world. Just keeping something in perpetuity even though I know there is no way in H-town that I am every going to eat it is still wasting. I might as well be wastful yet clean. Cleanliness is next to godliness not wastelessness. Not kidding myself about how clean we are makes us much cleaner!!!

Goodwill is our friend.
I am never more satisfied than when I take a bunch of garbage bags of stuff to Goodwill. It feels REAL GOOD.

For those with an upstairs downstairs situation...
Those reusable grocery bags have saved my life. I load them up with stuff from downstairs to take upstairs and then load them up upstairs to take downstairs. I just have a bag going at all times. If I find something that belongs in the other place, I toss it in. When bag is full, it moves to the appropriate floor. One bag of stuff is almost never too much to put away at once. Our laundry is also upstairs so I always have a bag of used washrags and dishtowels going in a semi hidden area that I take up and dump in the washing machine when full. This keeps yucky wet rags out of my hamper and i don't have to sort through and pick them out. Instant load.

Oh how I love thee, babywipes.
How did I live without these suckers before I had a kid? I use them the way many people use clorox wipes, but I am kind of a freak about chemicals in my house and I use only natural or homeade cleaners. I figure if you can use a baby wipe on a BABY, you can safely wipe a counter with one and let your toddler lick away. I also love swiffer dusters. California is excessively dusty and these things make me not want to die and they also make me dust more thoroughly because I can get in and around a lot of stuff easily and I don't have to spray anything on anything.

Just clean the kitchen. There is no way around it.
If I force myself to get counters and table clean and dishes at least rinsed to go into the dishwasher and piled on one side of the sink (so I can still access other side of sink), it makes such a difference. Nothing is worse or more depressing than a kitchen full of crumbs and stinky dishes. It is never better to do it later. Ya just gotta get over it and do it.

**Here is where I fall down and I don't have a clue yet how to get better. But I am trying to figure it out.

I hate mopping. We have pergo everywhere (except tile in one bathroom) and while I will sweep, mopping exhausts me. With a dog and a toddler, this is gross. So I try to do it at least once a week, but there are always little black ugg spots on my floor and forget about around the table.

I don't know the last time my tub saw a scrubbing. Shameful. It mostly only happens when we have company. It is the unfortunate fact that you can shut that lovely shower curtain and try not to think about it that helps. And I also kid myself into believing that soap and hot water hits that floor every day. Tell that to the soap scum.

My house is a wreck all the time, we basically have to go back to one every night and then Zelda destroys it within ten minutes of good "clean" fun. But...we are finally getting to a point where everything has a spot and it is possible to get back to one in a timely fashion.

My nesting self has clearly been thinking about this alot, huh?


Saturday, November 22, 2008

100% Stolen Post!!

Ok, everything in green on this post is STOLEN from Jessica's Blog
I just had to steal it and share it with you, because it was just that useful!!! All the red is me;)

How do you clean your house? I'm an erratic cleaner to say the least. Me too! And it really depends on our schedule. When we are on a routine, it's not so bad, but crazy routines like holiday time makes it really bad! Blah blah I am mostly a SAHM - WHATEVER! That just means I have more time at home with my kids making messes! It bothers me to do the same thing in the same way every time. I cannot stick with anything. Even if its a good thing. That's why I didn't make it as a postal employee. But keeping this house even semi-sanitary requires some organization, and here are a few methods I alternate.

1. Room by room-like Mama taught me. Only, then the work was split among the four of us and I only ended up with one or two rooms. I probably use this way the most, but it has definite drawbacks. For instance if you aren't able to complete the entire house, your left with some spic-and-span rooms and some pig-sty rooms. One pig-sty room ruins the entire house.I love times when I can super clean one room. I try to do "deep cleaning" twice a year. Summer and before Christmas. That is the time when I go crazy and get rid of everything I can spare and dust ceilings and clean base boards and all that stuff that to be honest doesn't get done the whole rest of the year!
2. Daycare clean--the daycare period was by far my shining star for housekeeping. People do not want to leave their children in a messy house, even if their's looks like a tornado went through. You have to keep everything tidy to please your parents and everything must be bleached to please your licensing agent. Following every meal, I swept, immediately cleared and washed dishes, put away food and disinfected tables, chairs and counter tops. Each day after naps, everyone--toddlers and up--put toys away, threw away trash, and followed me from room to room while I vacuumed and dusted. In the evening, I mopped and scrubbed toilets, my own children were not allowed to play inside the house, because they might mess it up before daycare. This method takes discipline and stamina. You must be satisfied with HAVING a clean house, not LIVING in it.
3. 10 Minutes To Clean--The kids and I love this method. We set the timer for 10 minutes and clean like crazy. When the timer stops, we're done with that room and reset the timer and attack the next room. I must resist the urge to continue with the few undone items left. Rules are rules, and if Mom is breaking them, chances are the children will clue in that they are actually working, not playing. The kids are all amazed at how clean the room is after "just 10 minutes." I really ham it up with comments like, "On your mark, get set, clean...." and "Two minutes and counting..." etc. If you use this method occasionally, you will have enthusiastic helpers like I did two Saturday's ago.Ok - this is what this blog inspired. I broke our house, car and yard into room by room sections. We have 10. Our family spent 10 minutes in each area today. That is only one hour and twenty minutes. It made such a huge difference. My whole house is between manageable and clean now! Woo HOo. I think even on crazy Saturdays we could do five minutes an area. I love using a timer. We will keep this one. I can't promise every week or anything like that - because one might call that a true routine. But this was vvvveeerrry nice. Go try it. Do 5 sections today and the other 5 tomorrow or something!
4. Lavern Clean-Named after the master's best friend's mother. Who, according to my sources, upon hearing that guests were expected, would pull out large hampers and begin filling them with clutter and mess. Dirty dishes, dirty clothes and all manner of household items were dumped in the The full hampers went in a closet, and when the door was closed, PRESTO, clean house. I think the drawbacks to this method are obvious, but I've had to use it more times than I care to admit. So if you ever drop by the house on a few minutes notice...don't open any closets. Steer clear of the garage, too. You've been warned.Can anyone else confess to this? Ok, once I had about 20 minutes notice of company. WEEKS later my husband found a dirty pan under a cabinet in the laundry room. I had to use a razor blade on the thing! What can a girl do on such short notice? We have a BIG laundry hamper built in the back of the house. You could fit 3 adults in there - but it has hidden much else in a pinch. Do NOT go look in it next time you are at my house, deal?

I'd love to hear your tricks. Me too.

I don't have much to add here of my own. The thing that makes the biggest difference here is getting the kitchen clean after dinner. What else do I do?.....I put all the socks in a sock basket and then sort them all while I watch tv when people start complaining they need socks. I keep Cl*or*x wipes in the bathroom. Each of my kids have a "homework" basket for "supplies" to do homework/craft stuff and they are responsible for it. It stays in the kitchen. My kids have a "box of little things" where they keep rocks. marbles, little stuff they find or get at birthday parties that would have no other obvious place. I let my kids use a spray bottle with water and a mop on the kitchen floor (it makes a difference and makes them happy).

Ok and here's the one Charles told me that I may just take for granted and I should share....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More pictures

Mandy helped me realize I left some pictures off of the last post:

The T-Rex balloon (the balloon that didn't get away!)

His reaction to the room! Notice the cool boots - the top is lime green. I'll try to get pictures of the awesome new boots both kids got from nana and paw paw this weekend. Kaitlin's are bright pink.

I didn't get a great shot of the room, but I took this right before he went in. It is a start. His room has been "things that go" since he was born.

Here he is digging up dinosaurs in the sand box at his school. That is a little dino pith helmet we bought him.

Here he is working on the dino book I brought for all the kids to make.

Jon's Birthday


The pictures are out of order, but here is a quick overview.
We went to stay at a hotel in Abilene with my parents. There was an indoor pool there so that was the main entertainment. Also, Jonathan got the scooter he has been wanting for so long, so the hotel parking lot made a good practice place for that. I fell off the thing and darn near broke my knee!
We took the kids to a paint your own pottery place. Jonathan painted a big TRex for his new dino room and of course Kait did a frog. We always enjoy that place. Then Mom and I slipped away for some girl time shopping while the Men watched the children swim and swim and swim. Yesterday (his actual birthday)
We had dino day at Pre-K. I read dinosaur stories to his class. Then all the kids got dino tatoos. Then we made our own dinosaur books. Then charles and I buried dinosaurs in the sandbox outside and the little paleontologists dug for dino treasures. Then we had dino cake which Jonathan made.
After school we took him for a blizzard and he got his giant T-Rex balloon. There was another dino balloon, but the wind took it far far away.
Then we took him home to see his new dinosaur room which we did while he was having breakfast at school. The picture above isn't great, but it is lots of fun.
He also got skates that I painted the new "flying J" brand on the back of, drums (which he really loved) and a few dinosaur things. Overall, it was a super dinoriffic birthday!

Time for a Country Song

I have so much to blog. I promise pictures and details of Jonathan's birthday today or tonight. I have lots of pictures and we have had so much fun.
I haven't updated in a while, and I am tempted to write a sad country song right here for you. Charles pointed out that we have all the makings. We found out this week that our van is toast. We got it back for one day and had to take it back only to find out a gasket in the engine blew and it is only good for parts! That is harsh. I love my van. I miss my van. It really stinks! So now we just have to clean it out.
However, the saddest update that I just have not had the heart to give is that our sweet dog Jack was attacked by another dog last Thursday night and past away. I know I will have many people here at the church notice and ask about him, so I'd rather let as many people know this way as I can. We haven't even moved his food bowl yet - so I guess we are just thinking he'll come home soon. Cooper always asks for "woof woof" as soon as he gets here and that was very sad yesterday:( Kaitlin and Charles are taking it the hardest.
Anyway - bad joke here, but have you ever heard what happens when you play country music backwards? The man gets his wife back, his dog back and he stops drinking. Ok, I know that's old, but you needed a joke after that news, right?
Pictures soon.....Jon had a super birthday!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Dinosaur Backpack

Jonathan has been working toward this dinosaur backpack for a long time. He had to earn 20 stickers on his reading chart which he has been working on since the last part of August. He was very excited and proud!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Did I mention that Jonathan is riding a two wheeler now? No training wheels for him:)
Also, I have a new background and header, so go check that out if you read this blog on a feed:)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I did get a few nice pictures

I especially like this one which we took laying on a white table that was flat on the ground

Just not what I wanted for Christmas cards...

Why is It?


Why is it that Christmas pictures cause such stress? I haven't been able to find anyone with the time to take our family picture this year. Who has time for anything right now! So I decided to forget the lovely gray outfits we all had and just try to get shots of the kids before I miss the photo calendar sale. But it was NOT working today!
As you can see - they weren't making pleasant faces at the same time. The red umbrella was such a cute idea:( Can you sense my frustration?