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WFMW: Little Helpers

  • Posted on May 16, 2012 at 8:25 am

Last night, I was doing the quasi-single-mom thing while Chad worked a late shift.  I had a million things to do, both for work and around the house.  And i had to balance the kids, and hopefully not ignore them all night while I checked things off my list.

So I took a deep breath, and asked Brianna if she wanted to be my helper for the night.  She was ecstatic!  She put away the clean silverware, helped me wash the dishes (and actually helped wash, not just played around in the water), and helped carry her sheets downstairs and put them in the washer.  Benjamin chipped in a bit as well, but his helping is still more like “just keep him busy” than actually helping me.

Brianna loved helping.  And yes, the tasks took me slightly longer than if I had done them without the kids in the picture at all – but they still took less time than if I had tried to do them with both kids hanging off of me and stopping me every other minute.  Plus, I can count it under quality time with Brianna. And she’s learning that the housework doesn’t do itself, which I’m sure will be helpful at some point in the future!

Having little helpers works for me!

You can find more Works For Me Wednesday post over at We Are THAT Family.

WFMW: Three Things

  • Posted on May 9, 2012 at 10:18 am

Brooke: I want you to want to do the dishes. 
Gary: Why would I want to do dishes?
~ The Break Up

In my ever-continuing quest to get things done around the house, one of the biggest challenge has been getting help from my family.  Now, granted The Littles are well, too little to do much more than “help” (i.e., have a lot of fun but make the job ten times longer) while I do chores – and I let them as often as time/patience allow, because hello? I’d like to foster the idea that housework is fun!  But I can’t keep up with the house at all without help from Chad.  And therein lies my challenge.

It’s not that he doesn’t want to help, or doesn’t think he should help. It took me a long time to figure this out, but it’s honestly that he doesn’t know what needs to be done at any given time, and it’s easier to ignore it than figure it out.  Hmm. I have the same problem.

So, after many arguments about who does what, and whether I should be in charge of it (he thinks yes, I think I’m not the cruise director), and after trying many, many systems (nagging, sulking, chore charts, honey-do lists, etc), we have arrived… at a system that works for now.

Every evening, Chad asks me what three things we need to get done.  This is sometimes routine stuff that I’ve been putting off (folding laundry, dishes, etc), but more often it’s just things that need to get done, period.

I still determine what goes on the list.  But because Chad asks, I feel like he’s involved in the process, and that he wants to help (yes, my brain is weird, just roll with me).  Because there’s only three things, it’s not overwhelming.  And honestly – we don’t always do all three things.  It’s just a starting point.  A direction.

Am I still doing chores after the kids go to bed?  Sure.  But picking three things to do every night allows me and Chad to work off the same list, and to feel like we’re actually making progress on something.  Which, in turn, motivates us to do a little more sometimes. And thus, the house doesn’t fall into chaos quite as often.

Three things, works for me.

You can find more Works For Me Wednesday post over at We Are THAT Family.

Things I Love Thursdays! Downy Unstopables

  • Posted on May 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Apparently, it is laundry week here.  We have to celebrate our wins, I suppose, and laundry is about the only win I can think of at the moment.  So here goes!

I have totally fallen in love with Downy Unstopables. My mother-in-law gave me some at Christmas when she was culling down her coupon stockpile, and neither of us was really sure we needed “extra scent” in our laundry, but i figured I would try it out.

It works amazingly well!  The scent stays in the clothes after you dry them, but it’s not so strong that  it’s over-powering.  I love using it on my towels and sheets, because it makes them smell so fresh!  A bottle lasts a long time, too.

It comes in two scents, Fresh (which is kind of spring smelling) and Was Lush (which is kind of lavender-ish).  I prefer Fresh, but both are good.  Brianna loves putting it it the wash though (we call it “laundry sprinkles”, because that’s just fun – and laundry should be as fun as possible.)

For more Things I Love Thursdays, head over to Be The Difference!

I didn’t get anything for posting this, free products or otherwise. But that is an Amazon affiliate link. 

WFMW: Laundry Soap Hack

  • Posted on May 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

It’s not really a “hack”, I guess, so much as a tip that I found life alteringly profound when I discovered it (seriously, people.  It’s the little things).

So  I discovered this at my cousin’s house over Christmas, watching her do a load of laundry. She pulled the liquid soap off the shelf – and instead of pouring the soap into the lid, and then trying to rinse out the lid in the washer and put it back on the bottle (my method) – she got an extra lid off the shelf, poured the soap in, poured it into the washer – and dropped the extra lid in the washer.  The clean lid went back on the soap, and she got the extra lid out of the washer when she put the clothes in the dryer.  Totally. Genius.  No more stick laundry soap bottles or drippy lids.

I improved on it slightly when I got home by marking the fill line in the extra lid with a sharpie.  Now I know exactly how much soap to put in, and it works every time.  The line hasn’t washed out, either, and it’s been a couple of months.

So that’s my totally genius laundry hack.

Personal Blogging

  • Posted on April 26, 2012 at 1:30 pm

So the personal blogging has been a little… sparse… lately.  I’m trying to balance how much I want to write, and how much I have time to write, and how public I want my writing to be.

To be honest, I’m struggling.  Time is my biggest issue, and balance in just about every area of my life.  I have more work to do than I can get done in the time allotted, and leaving things undone stresses me out.  I’m trying to prioritize things, and streamline the non-negotiable tasks, but it’s hard.  Work is stressful. Trying to keep the house in order and running smoothly is stressful. Parenting is fun, but stressful. Second-guessing every decision a billion times, very stressful.

I have had a few successes – I mean, the laundry is fairly caught up (less than two loads dirty in the house) – Chad’s helped a lot, and there’s often clothes in a basket or on the table to be folded, but no one has had to scrounge for underwear or socks anytime recently.  So that’s a win.

I spent a weekend with Chad in Denver – and no kids.  Also a win, as it’s the first time we’ve been able to do that!  My house was clean enough that I didn’t mind my mother-in-law and father-in-law staying there with the kids, and I worked hard on not stressing over it being perfect (It wasn’t.  They didn’t mind).  In fact, they arrived about 5 hours earlier than I expected them – and I was ok with it, even though I hadn’t finished all the chores I was going to before they arrived.  I didn’t stress about the kids while we were gone, and we had a great time with friends, living it up, staying up late, and sleeping most of the day.Exactly what i needed for a getaway.

But the day to day management of home, work, and kids – now there’s my struggle.  And probably something I’ll hash out more than once here, as I try and figure it out. And as I have time to write.



Maybe tomorrow I’ll start over

  • Posted on March 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

— 1 —

I missed an entire day of work yesterday, because I went in for what was supposed to be a consult to see if I needed a root canal done on a specific tooth… and ended up with an actual root canal.  After which I did not feel like going in to the office and doing work, and instead went home, took a bunch of medicine and went to bed for the afternoon. But at least they let me “watch” a movie while I was being worked on (and also, Nitrous.  I loves it).

— 2 —

I am totally turning 30 in a few days.  Which everyone kind of expects me to freak out about, and I’m all like, meh. 30. I don’t feel old yet.  I feel out of shape, overweight, and tired all the time.  But not hair-buns-and-pencil-skirts-all-the-time old, ha ha.  I don wonder, though, what things I have missed out on learning in the last 20 years.  For instance – I’m pretty sure that most 30-year-olds, do not need instructions from their dental hygienist to figure out how to brush effectively – I apparently do.  I have this perception that most 30-year-old-moms-of-two-kids know how to keep a reasonably clean house, and don’t do things like, say, forget the laundry in the washer for two days.

— 3 —

Chad keeps asking me what I want for my birthday, and I have no idea. I mean… as per the usual, all of my ideas are intangible or unobtainable. Like – I’d like an extra couple hours in the day.  Every day.  Or maybe once a week. I’d like the house to stay clean for more than one minute while the kids are awake. I’d like to be the “fun mom”, if only for a few minutes at a time.  Sadly, Chad is not impressed by this wish list, and would rather I tell him something tangible and within budget to go get. Ha!  I told him we’re taking a trip to Denver in a couple weeks, that’s probably my present. He disagrees.

— 4 —

I have managed to stay caught up on laundry for a record amount of time now.  And it’s amazing how being caught up on laundry transforms something that would have been a crisis – Brianna wetting the bed two nights in a row after staying dry almost two weeks – into a mere inconvenience.  We have clean sheets, the washer is empty, no problem getting the sheets washed and dried before bedtime so we can go to bed with the spares ready – just in case.  Makes for a much nicer mommy in the middle of the night, and much less stress on everyone.  Chad has been an awesome help with the laundry, too, even washing an extra load when he was working from home yesterday.  So yay us!  The house might be a disaster, but we have clean laundry. It’s the little things.

— 5 —

One of our neighbors is having a party for her daughter, C., on Sunday – C. is Brianna’s age, and she is having a cowgirl themed party.  These neighbors throw the most elaborately themed kids parties I’ve been to – for their son’s one year party, the theme was fishing, and they had cupcakes with fishing poles and gummy fish on them, and served goldfish crackers, and sailboat cookies, and gave all the kids homemade toy magnetic fishing pole pets, and it was really cool.  The mom sews the kids an outfit that matches the theme, and the party generally looks like Pinterest exploded with great ideas everywhere.  And she works!  I am sadly almost out of place – my idea of a theme party for Brianna is to let her pick out matching plates and napkins. And maybe match the cake to that. Ha.  Anyway, Brianna is excited about wearing her boots and cowgirl hat, and we’re all looking forward to it.  But the day Brianna asks me if I can throw her as cool a party as C.’s mom does, I’m moving :-) [Edit: I'm not the only one! Look what I got in my mailbox about 2 minutes after I posted this! Kat, you are amazing - and just what I needed today.]

— 6 —

I started running a couple of weeks ago (literally, this is my second week).  I’m doing Couch to 5K, not because I really like running (I kind of hate it a little), but because I NEED to do SOMETHING. Let me tell you, internets, it is totally kicking my butt.  But I’m DOING it. So.  My new goal is to run in the Pear Run in May.  Anyone want to join so I don’t chicken out?

— 7 —

I have so many weekend projects lined up, but no idea when I’m going to be able to fit them into my weekends. For example, I need to strip & re-caulk our shower in the master bathroom, the kids both need haircuts, I need to weed out all the winter clothes from their drawers, I need to finish Brianna’s quiet book I started, and I need to finish my steampunk goggles. Those are just a few, but this weekend is my birthday (more or less), next weekend is Easter, and the weekend after I’ll be in Denver, dancing & hanging out with Manda.  So I have no idea when I’ll tackle these crazy things, but I would like it to be soonish…  This goes back to needing extra hours in my day.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes

  • Posted on March 16, 2012 at 12:26 pm

— 1 —

My children are amazing, and also drive me crazy on a regular basis.  But its the growing up part that getting to me this week – preparing for a yard sale, and going through all the baby things we don’t need anymore with a 19-month-old and a three-year-old.  I cried at the idea of selling the crib bedding, even though we’re set to pack up the crib (for good) here pretty soon.  It’ll be the first time in 3 years with no baby in the house, and that makes me a little sad.

But no sad enough to seek out another :-) This mama knows she has all she can handle at the moment (and sometimes more).

— 2 —

Speaking of growing up, Brianna spent her first diaper-and-pullup-free overnight last night.  And woke up with dry sheets.  I know there will be accidents along the way, but there is light at the end of the diaper tunnel and I can see it! Another year or two and we’ll be done for good! And yes, I might cry a little over that one, too.

— 3 —

I need more sleep. Which might explain the crying, lol.  But no, seriously, the sleep. I think I’ve averaged less than 6 hours a night this week and it’s not working for me.  Only tremendous amounts of caffeine is keeping me upright and functioning. Which is not good for a variety of reasons.

— 4 —

Like my weight.  My caffeine of choice is Mt. Dew. Not diet. I started tracking calories again, and like a third of what I’m taking in is SODA. Which is unacceptable. And probably why I can’t seem to lose this baby weight (is it still baby weight after a year and a half?).

— 5 —

So I’m guessing my goal for next week will be to make getting a good amount of sleep a priority.  Somehow without dropping the ball on housecleaning, spending time with my kids, work, or spending time with my husband. (It seems like I can only maintain 1 or 2 of these things at a time…)  Not sure how I’m oging to manage this, but I guess starting with a firm 10pm bedtime would be a start.

— 6 —

Exercise.  I can’t even begin where to fit this in, and yet I NEED to.  My weight it stupid crazy, and I feel tired and weak and lazy.  The Xbox is down, so no Zumba for me – and I don’t want to pay for it, so no gym.  I need to either fire up my dance workout dvds, start couch25k, or buy a bike (um, more money).  And yet.  The time thing.  I am so frustrated by this – again, I’m not sure what to sacrifice to find this time. Sleep is not an option, per takes 3 and 5, so what else has room to give?

— 7 —

And I supose that is the plight of the modern working mommy. If anyone knows any great ways to sleep and/or workout while cooking dinner or cleaning house, apparently I need them :-)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

WFMW: Laundry

  • Posted on March 14, 2012 at 8:38 am

Works for Me Wednesday!

I am caught up on laundry.  This fact is in and of itself amazing.

See, I tried this thing, a while back, were I did a load of laundry every day.  And it worked! And I was caught up! and it was amazing! And I looked like this:

Doing the Laundry

(image courtesy of Hyperbole and a Half)

 And THEN.  I ran out of laundry. I mean, it was all clean! And there was no “one load” to do! For several days! So after practically spraining my shoulder because I was patting myself on the back so hard…. I promptly stopped doing laundry.  Until we were all out of socks and underwear. And then only washed the bare minimum to get by.

But. In my quest to minimize the STUFF in our house (OMGoodness, the STUFF), I culled down the kids clothes.  Like, a lot. Brianna helped with her clothes (to pick out ones she would wear, because trying to get a 3-year-old to wear something they don’t like is not on my top ten list of things to do every morning), and I culled down to like, just over two weeks worth of clothes each.

Amazingly, this means when they are all clean, all the clothes fit in the drawers.  I KNOW!

And now, I have to do the kid’s laundry once a week or so. Which is fine, it all fits in one load, or I can separate the darks and lights and put it with the grown-up’s laundry.  Total? about two loads a week of clothes.  Which gives me a day to wash towels, a day to wash sheets, and some slacker days (Huzzah!). AND…. I have to fold it and put it away, because people will run out of clothes otherwise. It’s amazing how much gets done when it’s a necessity.

Now I’m culling my clothes, in prep for a yard sale this weekend.

Laundry today or naked tomorrow – it works for me!

(For more Works For Me Wednesdays, visit Kristin at We Are THAT Family)