Thursday, April 28, 2011

I feel great, but there's one thing missing

For the last couple of days I have been doing so great with housework. Throughout the whole week I don't think there was really a time that I would've been embarrassed to have someone come to the house. Of course there's the regular mess of toys and books, but other than just the evidence of children being children, the house has looked pretty nice. I didn't make a plan or strategy, I'm just doing it! It feels great to do some cleaning first thing in the morning. I get all the dishes put away and clean up the clutter on the living room floor, then steam mop the heavy traffic areas of the kitchen and after the girls are up, I vacuum the heavy traffic areas of the living room. It is such an amazing fresh start to the day and just gets me off on the right foot!

I've also done some new things this week. I baked bread for the first time yesterday and am giving it a second go today. It wasn't a complete failure yesterday, but not necessarily a success either. I should have waited to see if it would rise a little more, but I was getting impatient. I have the dough in the pan and am waiting for it to be done rising right now. Although I think even if I did bake it right now, it would be a lot better than yesterday's loaf:).

I did a little search for some simple crafts to do and found things to do with newspaper and magazines. I made a few coasters yesterday using nothing but a pair of scissors and pages of magazines that I folded up and wove together. It was super easy, but fun to do, and I love the way they look:).

Now for the thing that is missing. Exercise! I love working out, really I do! I'm just having trouble finding the time to do it. I normally stick to workout DVDs and hope to start running, just around the neighborhood, but I haven't been getting out to do it lately. Every time the weather gets bad I get out of the habit of running, and Adelaide is at an age where she won't really let me do a workout DVD. At one point I was working out in the morning, but I just love using that time to clean, and don't really want to mess with what I have going with my morning routine. I think I may have to settle for doing basic exercises intermittently throughout my day. I know eventually I want to work out like I used to, but I think right now I'm just going to concentrate on developing these cleaning habits.

Hope everyone else is having a great week! Yay, tomorrow is Friday!

Here are links to the bread recipe I used and a tutorial for the coasters

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dropping the Expectation

This post is going to be about parenting. Dropping the expectation refers to deciding that for a while that one thing that you've been trying to get your kid to do, but they just won't do it, well you're going to stop trying to make them do it. It's not putting up a white flag and giving up, and it's not a permanent situation. In our house there are no white flags, because my children are not my adversaries. Dropping the expectation is about deciding that this problem can wait and be gotten to later. It means that there are other things you'd like to work on and improve first, and this particular thing can wait.

We have dropped an expectation in our house, one that I know brings struggles to nearly every parent at some time or another. We have dropped the expectation of bed time. Over the last couple of weeks bedtime has been very stressful. She never seems ready for bed and when we take her to bed it seems like a back and forth for most of the night and it is stressful for all of us.

Sleep is one of those things that you cannot force another human being to do. Most people can't even force themselves to sleep! And I know that the last thing I want to do when I'm having trouble going to sleep is to lay in bed, something about it makes me feel like I'm just becoming more awake. So I give the same consideration to my daughter.

Throughout a child's development they will go through a lot of changes. What we had been doing for bedtime used to work, in fact it worked for quite a long time. Now McKaleigh has reached a point where her needs have changed, what used to work doesn't work anymore. So instead of just arbitrarily continuing to force that old routine on her, we are taking a break, and as a family we will figure out what she needs in order to make bedtime a peaceful time once again. This week we will take note of when she wakes up and when she starts to seem sleepy, once or twice we will ask her if she would like to go lay down, and that's it. There will be no "It's bed time, let's go" or carrying her to bed crying. Monday and Tuesday both ended in her falling asleep in the living room and that's okay, this is only temporary. I'm hoping that throughout the next week we will be able to figure out what is going to work for her and if it takes longer, so be it.

"Dropping the expectation" is what Ross Greene refers to as Plan C. Here is his video on Plan A, B, and C. Very good information!

And just to leave you with some food for thought, I think Alfie Kohn's book Unconditional Parenting complements Ross Greene's approach very well. Here are the principles of Unconditional Parenting.

1. Be reflective.
2. Reconsider your requests.
3. Keep your eye on your long term goals.
4. Put the relationship first.
5. Change how you see, not just how you act.
6. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
7. Be authentic.
8. Talk less, ask more.
9. Keep their ages in mind.
10. Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
11. Don't stick your no's in unnecessarily.
12. Don't be rigid.
13. Don't be in a hurry.

These two men have really helped to change my views and I think their works are eye-opening. I hope to blog about each of these principles in the future.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disappointing Easter Weekend

The weekend wasn't monumentally disastrous or anything, but definitely less than ideal and very disappointing.

On Saturday we got up earlier than we normally do on a weekend to get ready to go to the Easter Egg hunt on post. We got there 30 minutes early and already the crowds were huge. It was at a sports complex and each age group was on a different baseball diamond. We were all waiting on the outside of the fence with only a medium sized gate to go through as the entrance.

What was supposed to happen: 10-15 minutes before the start of the hunt all the kids were supposed to be placed in a holding area in the outfield and then were supposed to wait for the signal to run out on the field and start collecting eggs.

What actually happened: the first couple of parents who went in were either greedy or stupid and decided to just rush the field as everyone else was funneling through the gate. Including parents, there were easily 250 people there for McKaleigh's age group, probably more than 100 kids. This resulted in the first dozen kids filling their baskets and the other 90% of the kids getting nothing, or maybe one or two eggs if they were lucky. The whole thing was over in about 2 minutes, way before the hunt was even scheduled to begin. McKaleigh didn't get a single egg, it was so disappointing! At least she is still too young to really understand what happened, but I feel really sorry for the 3 and 4 year olds who knew that they were supposed to be getting Easter eggs and ended up with nothing.

You could see everything running smoothly in the other age groups, which made it all the more disappointing. We just left right away so we wouldn't have to deal with traffic, then we made a trip to Savannah to try and salvage the day.

Easter Sunday was equally disappointing for me. I bought dresses for the girls and was looking forward to going to church. To make a long story short, we didn't go, McKaleigh was being much more temperamental than usual and I just dreaded the thought of sitting through a service with her. Adelaide is at an age where she would probably be difficult to handle, too, and Michael can't quite handle both of them for too long, so going on my own wasn't really an option. Instead I just took a really long nap, sleeping is what I do when I'm sad. Next year,the Easter bunny will be stopping by our house while we're at church.

Update on my weekend goals: After I wrote my last post, I went out to the garage and started doing a little work. Moved some boxes into the closet, went through a few other boxes and sorted out what was garbage and what can be kept, sold, or donated. Michael eventually got all of his Army stuff put away. I still have a lot to do out there until it's really satisfactory, but I did get some stuff done.

I'm not mad at myself for not finishing the garage because I was still very productive this weekend. I went through the whole kitchen, had some stuff taken out to the garage that I plan to sell, threw away a lot of stuff, and put a lot of other stuff in a more appropriate place. I used my new steam mop and mopped every inch of floor in there. Want to know a dirty little secret? I hadn't mopped the floor in any way whatsoever since the time we moved in, in November of 2009! The floor surprisingly did not turn the mop pad completely black, it was pretty dark, though. I have been meaning to buy a steam mop for so long but just didn't have the money. I finally had some PayPal money in my account from selling a carrier and used it at and had the mop shipped site to store for free! It's so easy to use! I even used it this morning to mop the heavy traffic areas. I think I'm going to be addicted to having clean floors now.

Tuesdays are my dedicated cleaning days, so I've been getting a lot done today. My reasoning for Tuesday being cleaning day is that it's the first day of my school week. I can spend all day cleaning and not have to worry about my school work because I have 6 more days to get schoolwork done. When I get in the mood to clean later in the week, I usually have to resist because I have schoolwork to do. That's what makes Tuesday my perfect cleaning day. I've done laundry, cleaned up the kitchen some more, tidied up the living room (which is immediately made mess again), and vacuumed! It's been a good day for me. I know some people probably do this stuff all the time, but seriously, for me it's a big accomplishment to get so much done in one day! I'm hoping to clean the main bathroom today, too! Right now I'm taking a little break:).

Hope everyone else had a great Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crawling, falling, and haircuts

Well a lot has been going on around here!

Adelaide is now fully crawling on hands and knees, rather than dragging herself around on her belly. She's getting pretty fast already! Adelaide has also been pulling herself up, a lot! But she still doesn't have very good balance, so she falls over a lot, too. Yesterday she spent a good portion of the day pulled up next to our big bin of dvds, digging through them.

McKaleigh's pretty baby curls are gone:(. She decided she was going to cut her own hair. She attempted a week or two ago, so I found all of the scissors I could and put them up. Well you know those scissor style finger-nail clippers you find in baby first aid kits that you always get at baby showers? She used THOSE to cut off her hair on the front half of her head. This resulted in an amazing mullet. So we took McKaleigh to the salon and in order to make her hair less mullet-y, the curls had to go. She has a cute little bob with layers, and the back is adorable, but she had cut off so much in the front that all we can really do is wait for it to grow out. She has wonderful timing considering that I was going to have family pictures done soon. Guess those will have to wait a month or two.

An update from my goals for the weekend... Big. Fat. Fail. I *did* manage to declutter a bookshelf, which looks pretty nice now. I really have to nag the hubby to help me go through the garage. It's just awful in there and I'm dreading it. Half the mess is his Army stuff that he just needs to put away, and then another big portion of it is stuff that was left in there from someone who had been storing their stuff here. I was supposed to just put it on the corner for the trash man to take away, but anyone who knows me knows that I can't just throw out perfectly good items that could be used by someone else! So now I have to sort through it all to see what is actually trash and what I can donate, because I refuse to send perfectly good items to sit in a landfill.

Hubby has a long weekend, so we should be able to get some stuff done, yay! The garage WILL get cleaned out this weekend! It's like the starting point, so that I have a place to put all of the things that I want to get rid of. Now to decide whether or not I want to have a garage sale...

Friday, April 15, 2011

I sort of feel like super mom

Seriously, I've been doing regular upkeep housework daily and have been keeping a pretty good pace on my school work, too. I'm enjoying this random streak of extra motivation, and have kind of felt like if I stop for too long it will go away. I think that's part of the reason I've been getting so much done. I always have random days where I get a ton of stuff done, and then lots more days where I don't do anything. I think I just need to accept that that's just how I am, instead of getting down on myself on the days that I haven't done much.

I do still intend to purge my house of unnecessary stuff, slowly but surely it will get done. I already started with our clothes, the next step I want to take is cleaning out the garage so I can start putting the items I want to get rid of out there. I already have a bunch of plastic toys out there from when I decided I wanted to limit the number of plastic toys in the house. Just have to get the other stuff in there organized and maybe even moved into the house. I can't wait to go through the closets. We have so much stuff in our closets that we can probably get rid of, but I've just never taken the time to sort through everything!

My goal for this weekend is to clean out the garage and the master bedroom closet:). And if I get those two things done, it would be nice to get started on sorting out the stuff in our guest room. The guest room has become our storage room for all of the random things that we don't know what else to do with!

Wish me luck:). Maybe I'll post before and after pics, haha!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Thought I'd follow up my more serious post, with a fluff post about what's going on in my life:).

With all this work I've been doing for school, my housework has really been falling behind! I decided that every Tuesday would be a cleaning day, where I don't really worry about school work and just get as much cleaning done as I can. I have gotten quite a bit done today. I did all the laundry in the house, which was a lot! I went through my dresser and took out all of my winter clothes to be put away, and then also sorted out some stuff that I want to get rid of. I had my hubby do the same thing, because his dresser is always overstuffed! I went through the girls' clothes too, put away the stuff McKaleigh has outgrown for Adelaide to wear later, and then put all of the clothes Adelaide has grown out of in a bag to be sold or given away. Not even close to being done with sorting out their clothes, and then I have to figure out what I'm going to do with it all!

I also sorted through all of the recycling and organized it, so the kitchen doesn't seem so chaotic. I definitely need a better recycling system, after a week or two the kitchen is just out of control with boxes and papers and glass bottles all over the place!

Most of the messes in my house come from things that don't have a place of their own. My wraps make a huge mess along with blankets, because I just don't have anything to hold them in, so they usually end up on the couch or in a laundry basket. Part of my spring cleaning plan is to figure out what items need a home and go out and find something for it. I also want to *purge* as much as I possibly can! The less stuff we have, the less of a mess there can be! Right?

I would love to be more of a minimalist. I have no idea how we acquired so much crap! And the thing is, we don't have all that much compared to a lot of people. I see some people who have an entire room just packed with toys, we have no where near that much, and I'm still planning on getting rid of a few toys, (mainly those that light up and make noises *gag*.)

So who else is doing a bit of spring cleaning, or maybe some purging? I'd love to hear what sort of things you are doing to control the chaos:).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dread Progress- 3 months

So about a week or so ago I hit the three month mark on letting my hair dread naturally! Here are some pics of the progress:).

I''m really excited about the progress that has been made so far and can't wait to see how it will look when I get to six months!