Saturday, April 30, 2011


I'm dusting this thing off to make sure it still works.

Aaaand it looks like it does.

Today I realized that I have no consistent plan in place for the detailed cleaning.

By detailed cleaning I mean: washing doors on the inside and out and scrubbing the little 6 square insert deals, washing baseboards, washing fans and dusting blinds.  For awhile I told myself I could just run a dust rag over the baseboards but there is an entirely different feel when they are scrubbed and washed with hot Pine Sol water.  You know what I'm sayin?

So, my clutter problem last week started with a bag of Cuties.  I placed the oranges on the kitchen counter.  Then I added the big California Navel Oranges.  Then the box of Campari tomatoes.  Then a bunch of bananas and a loaf of bread.  Then the mail, keys, cell phone chargers, things I need to take to UPS, kids toys, dirty dishes, wrappers...I mean the list could go on.

It was ugly.

And it reminded me that clutter always attracts clutter..

That's why today I nipped that puppy in the bud.

You always want to clean a room/house from left to right.  Remembering that will help you get going when you're overwhelmed.

Today I worked and worked and worked on this blasted house.  Buckets and buckets of hot soapy water.  I scrubbed and polished and shined.  Now I can blog again because my little corner of the world is tidy and back in order.

A couple days ago I read in Proverbs 28 that a man of wisdom and understanding maintains order.

I so needed that reminder that order is a good and necessary thing.  Cause I was buried in clutter and overwhelmed and shut down.  When your house gets out of control do you shut down too?  When it's clean and tidy do you shine like a fresh bottle of sparkly Windex?!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hey Girl

Pull up a chair and get comfy because here is the low down on what's going on around my parts.

This morning I woke up and decided not to wash my hair because it looked great.  At around 10:00am it was starting to look a little more not so great.  After some time letting the kids play outside in the humidity it was an official train wreck.  We came in and I put it up in a pony tail, keeping the swoopy bangs free to try to redeem the 'dew.  It is 3:30 and bobby pins have made there way into the 'dew looking very ghetto-ish.  I have a jewelry show tonight and am currently pondering the value of refixing my hair or just embracing the bobby pin within.

Let's talk food.  At around 10ish this morning we all got hungry and I was in the mood to chop and dice veggies.  My mom gave us the prettiest red, orange and yellow peppers from Sam's.  We sauteed finely diced onion and peppers in butter, added eggs and scrambled them and topped the entire creation with freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese, salt and pepper.  We ate the Omelet Scramble (the way you can lovingly refer to this recipe if you make it) with toast and it was the best lunch.

Which leads me to the "I want to be a better Mommy and feed you more vegetables" talk.  My 5 year old was NOT DOWN at all with caring about me being a better Mommy and feeding him more vegetables.  Normally at the table I have an eat or don't eat mentality, but I'm not going to make a big deal about it...just  don't go asking for snacks between meals.

Today, however, we played a game. If he tried 3 bites I'd let him have a snack of my choosing.  He decided to play.  We were hootin' and hollerin' and cheerin' him on.  He earned a banana for snack.  If he decided to play again, which he did, I'd add another snack choice.  It was an apple.  He had the chance to play for the grand finale snack of popcorn for 3 more bites which he won. Then the icing and final chance to play was for 3 more bites for popcorn and Coke.  It was a fun little time.

OK, bad hair, eating more vegetables, oh yes, now let's talk about the laundry.  I think you'll be excited to know that I started laundry yesterday and did not finish.  So, there's still clothes sitting in the washer and dryer today.

I also have not cleaned the kitchen yet today because we played outside and went to the church this morning.

This afternoon instead of finishing my chores I got on Facebook and was having a grand old time until the loud screaming started from the bathroom.  Running toward the scream I could heard a bubbling brook.  Yep.  The toilet was overflowing.  And a 2 year old was scared silly.  Talk about funny, ahem, I mean nasty and unfortunate.

So, that's my day in a nutshell.  Oh that and we have crazy storms comin' our way.  That will be a nice way to end a nice day I think.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Praying for the kids

Our community group has began the most powerful thing.  We are bringing the kids in each week, one by one to pray over them.

The first week, each of the Middle Aged Children came in, one at a time.

Last night, the Youngest kiddos had their turn.

Next time we meet we'll pray over the oldest children.

We asked them what we could pray for.  Any sin areas?  Things you'd like to see changed?  Needs?  Fears?  Joys?

The adults sit in a circle and the child either sits in the middle or in their Daddy or Mommy's lap.  Then, all 6 of us adults take a turn praying prayers over the child out loud.

It is the most powerful, beautiful, humbling thing to be a part of.  Having our friends pray over our children and being able to do the same for theirs has been a gift.  It is power-filled.  Who knows how our prayers on behalf of these children is reshaping the course of their days?  There lives, choices, the legacy they will leave behind on this world.

Prayer is the greatest shield we can provide for our children.

Listen to them throughout the day.  Comments made to you or siblings.  Underlying tone behind comments.  Look for sin or obedience issues that are manifesting themselves.  Then talk to your Heavenly Father about them.  It is surprising how often I overlook prayer in the day to day of life.  Lord, teach us to pray without ceasing.  Make prayer to you be our first response before we open our mouth to teach and train.  Give us wisdom to speak truth into their lives.  Equip us with words of wisdom as we teach and train.  Reveal hidden sin in our homes.

There is a well of faith that runs deep if we'd tap into it.  Last night we had conversations on desperately relying on the Holy Spirit in the day to day of life.  In the making the beds, the buttering the toast, the refilling of sippy cups, the folding of laundry, the thawing of meat for dinner, the washing of the dishes, the taking 10 minutes to listen to a friend on the phone, the reading of the books to the boys, the cleaning the base of the toilet again because of bad aim, the sweeping of the floor, the opening of the WORD to be filled, the opening of the mouth to WORSHIP.

Days fly by and today can count for Eternity.  Is that really true?  Absolutely yes it is.  Whether you are in an office with fluorescent lights overhead, a classroom about to take an exam, a kitchen washing up more dishes, or a car running errands.  It can count.  It can have meaning and purpose.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Cottage Daydreaming

We have an appointment tommorow to go see 2 Cottage/Bungalow style houses that are for sale.  We love our current house, but I am SO EXCITED to check it out.  We've been reading Radical, by David Platt and one thing he suggested is living below your means for a year and use your extra money to bless others.

Living in a suburban neighborhood is nice and we love it.  There is just this huge part of me that wants a picket fence.  Beadboard.  White painted paneling.  Charm.

Of all the Cottage Decorating Styles I'm not sure where I land.  Somewhere between French, English and Swedish and Shabby Chic.  Huh, apparantly I love it all.  Casual, comfortable, homey, floral, stripes, silk, toile, light and simple.  Ivy, well manicured flower beds and lawn, lavender, limelight hydrangea (pictured below).

If you love Cottage style you will have a blast at Cottage Home Decorating's Site.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Our Bedtime Routine is our weakest link.  It's like we hit our wall (Shane and I) and we are tired and done.  The kids go to bed at 8:00pm.  Somewhere between 7:30 and 8:00pm the house gets chaotic.  The tone goes from fun to drill sargent mode.  It is not a peaceful, orderly process.  It feels hurried and the tone is not one filled with grace, joy and peace.

I got to thinking about 4 weeks ago when I sat the boys down on the couch before we went to the Post Office and Grocery Store.  I laid out the expectations very clearly before we even left the house.  We will park by the buggy corral.  The baby will sit in the buggy with me.  Each big boy will hold onto the sides of the buggy while we walk through the parking lot.  No asking for extra things, running or talking loudly.  Before we got out of the car I reminded them very clearly and simply of what I expected.  They knew the expectation and they knew the consequence if they did not obey.  It went really well. It was clear cut and they understood what was expected and what would happen if they chose not to obey.

Back to bedtime.  Part of our breakdown occurs while we are in the room, actually tucking them in.  Their room is not conducive to chatting and talking freely and yet we've been learning bedtime is a time of day when they open up the windows to their little hearts and let you in.  With kids in bunk beds and us not having giraffe necks that can crane up to talk easily we changed things up a little.

Here's how the old way went down. 7:50.  Boys, go pee-pee, brush your teeth, put your pj's on.  7:59 LET'S GO, GET IN BED!!!!  It's time and we are done!!! (the underlying attitude behind our voices)

It was too rushed.  Too hurried.  More times than not I did not like the way our day ended.  It ended with hugs and kisses but it was hurried.

We tweaked it a little.  We are timing how long it takes for them to go potty, get pj's on, brush teeth and get the last ever important drink of water for the day so they don't thirst to death while they sleep (wink wink).  I'm thinking 10 minutes is about what it is taking. 

You have to work backwards on your timing.  This is an art that once you learn it you wish you'd known about it long ago.

8:00pm  Kids in Bed
7:55pm  Prayers with Boys
7:45pm  Meet at Couch in Living Room for Story Reading
7:35pm  Get PJ's on, Brush Teeth, Go Potty, Get Drink

And this schedule clearly shows where the breakdown occurred and chaos stepped in to replace the peace.  We were not allowing enough time to carry out the night time routine in a peaceful manner.  We were trying to cram a 25 minute process into 5 or 10 minutes.  We are also experimenting with having our story/talk time on the couch where we can all be together but it is not a cramped space.  So far this small change has been very, very good.

I am very curious, do you have a well-oiled bedtime routine with your kids and what does it look like?  Any helpful pointers you've discovered you'd like to share?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Living Crowded

This weekend I've been reading a book by Dan Aslett called Weekend Makeover.  It is about decluttering your home/life.

The million dollar question I want to ask today is:

Why do we live crowded?
(by clutter, schedules, habits, people?)

For me, this question is a reflection of a selfish, greedy mentality.  I have to hold on to my stuff because if I let it go I may not have enough stuff when I need (want) it.

When you are cleaning up, and the stuff does not fit, do you ever have the feeling you are trying to fit a quart of milk into a cup? 

We are tossing, tossing, tossing around here.  Tossing to free up space.  Tossing to uncurl our tight crip around things.  Tossing to free up time for important things like relationship.  Tossing to have space for everything.  Simplifying so order and peace will reign in our home.

The never ending process.  We bring stuff in.  We bring it in.  All the time we are bringing stuff from the outside world in.

The vocabulary of excess:

  • piles
  • stacks
  • hoards
  • heaps
  • cram
  • crush
  • overstuffed
  • overcrowded
  • bulging
  • overflowing
  • encumbered
  • loaded
  • laden
  • burdened
  • haul
  • excess baggage
  • rummage
  • unsettle
  • distract
  • disrupt
  • complicate
  • disorganized
  • chaos
  • jumble
  • upset
  • overwhelmed
  • embarrassed
  • worried
  • disarray
(List taken from Weekend Makeover, Dan Aslett)

The results of living crowded and in excess.  Is it really worth it?