Friday, October 22, 2010

Walks, Naps and Water

As I may have mentioned, naps had become problematic around here. For a few months, a certain golden-haired toddler just couldn't remember how to fall asleep come afternoon. Which would be fine, if lack of sleep didn't result in mega-meltdowns come dinner time. And over-frequent useage of the word "NO!" before then.

All that has changed.

I am currently celebrating an entire week of easily getting Aurelia to sleep for naps. The key? A long walk after lunch, followed by warm tea with milk, a quiet read and off to bed. As a very pleasant side-effect, Blaise is tired after the stroll in the warm sun as well and he goes to sleep at the same time.

Sometimes we fly to see Grandma and Grandpa during our walk.

 Sometimes we just fly high in the sky like a bird (if we're not too busy chasing butterflies).

While Blaise looks on, enjoying a splash of apple juice in his water bottle.

Then we like to see what marine bounty God has waiting for us at the end of the dock. Will the dolphins be back to play right in front of us today? 

Enough watching, it's time to run! While pushing my baby brother in a stroller!

Here we come!

While Mom and Dad (who fills in for Hilary on Fridays) wait with bated breath.

You have a PRESENT for me?!?

"Honey, don't forget your brother"

Brother safely returned, the promised present handed over.

No caption needed.

 No "Flipper" today, but Mr. Crabs came out for a show.

 Goodbye, Bay. See you tomorrow!

Or later today, as it turns out! Because the water park is closed. Even though it is 85 degrees.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Liveable Laundry Goals

Two of my favorite blogs are talking about laundry this week. As part of "Simplify Your Life" month, Sheila shares some great laundry tips and systems over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum. I'll share one quick tip that I've learned after nine years of marriage: if you want your husband to use the laundry hamper in your bathroom, take the lid off of it. Piles of laundry NEXT to the hamper drove me crazy for years. When we moved to our current house, there was a lidless hamper (not to be confused with the Lidless Eye of Sauron, even if that's how laundry appears in my nightmares on occasion) in the linen closet in the master bathroom. Now if I leave the door open to the linen closet, the hamper actually gets used!!! Wish I'd figured it out on my own, but I'm happy to embrace the serendipity (and results) of this discovery.

In perhaps my favorite post yet in her "31 Days To A Less Messy Nest", the Nester encourages us to lower our expectations. It is a simple change of perspective, but changing my laundry goal from "empty laundry hampers" to "having enough clean clothes available" really frees me from a lot of stress. There may not be a day in my foreseeable future when I don't have to do laundry, but if I simply accept that fact and move on, that's okay.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

15 minutes to a simpler...mantel

Over at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, Sheila issued a challenge to find an area of your home to declutter in 15 minutes. Although I had many options, I chose the mantel/bookcase area on our tv wall in the living room. Mostly because the other areas that popped into my head would require more than the allotted time...haha.

Here's the before:

Yes, the glass vases have been sitting there with paper in them since we moved. In June. A lot of the Wii gear was just scattered around the mantel, and someone has been forgetting to hand already viewed movies back to Aurelia when she picks out a new one. Oops.

And the after:
 I put the less-used Wii gear in a box under the Wii remotes, the movies back in their homes and moved some of the movies down into the cabinets in the white bookshelves. I'm not in love with the flower to the left of the vcr, but something needs to go there to hide the wire clutter. It'll do for now.

Okay, so to make the deadline I cheated a little by simply moving the totes of  toys and books to the laundry room for later sorting. Glancing at my plan for the week, that will happen on Thursday. So I won't let it bug me today.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 1 of Simplification

Many of my favorite blogs are doing a "31 Days to --something better--" thing in October. I am loving the tips so far, on everything from how to take a better photograph to how to live more fully in grace. But the articles that are speaking to me the most right now are the ones focused on simplifying life. Sheila Wray Gregoire is devoting an entire month of blogging to this very topic (check out today's post at To Love, Honor and Vacuum for some wonderful insight as she kicks off the series).

I am very intent on creating a good daily rhythm to live by, and to that end I sat down last night and scheduled my entire week out...not every minute, but in a few reasonable blocks of time for each day. I don't intend to do this forever, but I thought it might be useful to be deliberate with the details for a while just to get the right pace. And I will NOT beat myself up if I don't stick to the plan -- which is good, because with a baby boy who woke up with a cold and another tooth coming in, pretty much nothing went according to schedule this morning.

Anyway, the reason for doing this is that over the past couple of weeks I've felt like I've neither accomplished anything nor spent any time doing little things I enjoy (like blogging). Part of this is because I've been fighting off a cold myself, and laundry and dishes do take up a lot of time...but mostly I've just been too sloppy with planning. I was also a bit depressed over not having the resources to do any real decorating, which killed my motivation to do much beyond tread water. There is no reason, however, that I can't clean and better organize what I already have.

Yesterday I started with the master bedroom. Why pick the room that is usually the last to get attention in a new house? Well, before I could decide what to do with the main living area, I had to figure out what furniture we owned would fit nicely in our bedroom. The room is hardly "done", but I'm really glad that I didn't wait until I had the desk I wanted or could build the bed or buy the curtains or find a good rug or recover the chair.We're already enjoying the new space.

More importantly, I can see the evidence of my work.

Which inspires me to keep this process going. Next up: pretending I actually own storage containers and organizing piles of what I would have in them and where they would be.

Because when my house is in order, I can spend more time doing this: