Monday, February 23, 2009

Confessions of a Night Owl

I love the night. When I was young, and couldn't sleep, I would gaze out my bedroom window at the stars, and Mt. Timpanogas. There's a legend that a maiden laid down there and died, though I could never remember which end was supposed to be feet, and which end was supposed to be hair cascading down the hill. I had a special star that I could see, but I figured that since it was pretty insignificant, that it could be MY star. My wishing star. I'd look for it on nights when I couldn't sleep, but was too tired to read.

Now, I love the night for different reasons. Right now, at 2 am, it is soooooo peaceful. No tv, no lights, no crying, no screaming-begging-pleading- one more drink, I love you's and something to dream about. No NOISE. I feel my ragged soul trying to re-energize itself. Smoothing away the horrendous time at church with a 4 yr old who didn't want to be there and a baby that was missing his nap.

The ruffled feathers of being told I'm supposed to bring an apple crumble to the poorly planned, ad hoc, "Blue and Gold" Banquet that is on the calendar a good YEAR in advance, smoothing... somewhat.

The incredulous feeling I have signing up an entire ward for their own website, when the step-by-step directions have been in the ward program for TWO WEEKS --- A half sheet of icon specific, idiot-proof pictures that I spent a couple of hours preparing for even the most LIMITED intelligence. "I need whaaaaaaaaaaaaa?" Those are starting to melt into acceptance.

It's a delicate balance. I'll pay in one way or another; I'll be tired tomorrow for sure, but in a weird way, more able to handle the desire to throttle a great number of people that so richly deserve it. At least I can point to a time when I wasn't bothered, and annoyed, and severely ticked. Well..., except for the disturbing task of trying to find "still of the night" photos that weren't incredibly... off-putting. Geeeze louise. Can't there be a little something out there that's not getting ruined? Maybe if I can find that star again, and make a wisssshhhhhhhhhzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where Have You Been!?

WARNING: Tidy mom's with a weak constitution should NOT enlarge this photo!!

My Sister asked me why I haven't put up many posts lately. Well, here are some photos to help you understand what I am dealing with. In a mad rush to get things tidy for the day, I swept up the kitchen floor. Then the phone rang. While chit chatting with Amy Jo and exchanging dinner recipes, I got my own dinner started in the crock pot. Then (still chatting about our mutual friend with a possible boyfriend) I switched over the laundry, started the dishwasher, and had to fetch a screaming baby Sam because he took a SHORT morning nap.

While deftly putting random papers into stacks of "to deal with later so I can wipe off the counter NOW", Sam found the swept-but-not-swept-UP pile I had abandoned to grab the phone. He crawled through it to pull out some OREO lids, and started munching away.

SORRY EVERYONE - I KNOW ITS GROSS, BUT IT'S THE TRUTH. Sam then crawled through everything - cheerio dust puree really sticks to those diapers. So now instead of one clean floor I now have another dirty floor AND a dirty baby.

It's just stuff like this. In theory, I'm accomplishing a lot - bills are getting paid, the laundry has been in detergent and clean water, but it's like the Caucus Race in Alice in Wonderland. The folded laundry, though clean, is threatening to implode into undefinable family member piles - which means I'll have to fold it TWICE! ARG! It is my failing as a mother - I secretly wish for someone to take over and make it all their problem.

On the bright side, my kids were out of school for President's Day and they got to see horses (including a new baby), turkeys, a pig, goats, a parrot, llamas, chickens, dogs, possibly cats. I got this one pic of family bliss which I am pasting in their baby book as proof that there were good times.

Create it Forward - A Get-it-Give-it-Away

So my friend Meredith is doing a cute give away on her blog, but the catch is -- you in turn have to have a give away. Like I needed to add more to my "to do" list but I love love love the creative challenge!

The first five people to comment on this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
2. What I create will be just for you.
3. It'll be done this year (hopefully sooner than later.)
4. You will have no clue what it is going to be.
5. I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
I did not make up the rules -- I SWEAR! These are the REAL rules.

I'm not sayin' that I'll make you one of these eyeball pincushions, but I'm not NOT saying that I'll do it either...

The catch? Oh the catch is that you must re-post this on your blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me you did will win a marvelous homemade gift by me!
Let the games begin!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Some of My More Brilliant Ideas....

My mom used to say, "Yeah, that's one of my more brilliant ideas..." when it came to something that she did well. I have been thinking about some of my own, and thought I'd share.

Baby Binder: This has been extremely helpful with Benjamin, who was premature, and the fact that we move all over the place. I think his exit instructions have been copied about nine times. It is also useful when they ask questions that no one would have the capacity to remember, "And when was the last time your child was seen for a Hepatitis A vaccination booster?" Well, let me look in my handy dandy NOTEBOOK, because I don't tend to keep that information in my Randam Access Memory!

Each of my kids has a clear front sleeve 3-ring binder. It's full of clear plastic page protectors, a pencil zipper case (for binders), and a folder for binders. I print off an 8x10 of my kids pictures (or use their school pic), and start filling this binder up with:
- pediatrician notes/mile stones
- SS card, or at least a copy
- foot prints
- Card of Congratulations from the White House
- business cards
- if I see a set of cute or memorable stamps, I buy a full sheet and stick it in the folder. It's my lame way of stamp collecting. The 50 states suckers me in every time.

While at the pediatrician, or dentist, or any specialist my kid has to visit, I grab at least 3 business cards. I tape one to the picture on the cover (I bring my binder to the counter and ask the receptionist for a piece of tape and just do it right there...), and put two in my wallet. One is to give out and the other is for my reference. This is GREAT for when you need to call and tell them you are running late, can't remember EXACTLY where the office is or if you just need to make an appointment between sleep deprivation and laundry.

Christmas rotation: This is an idea I borrow from Nicole Peterson-now-Davis (It's how I remember her name in my rolodex mind...). Simply, you rotate who you have each year. Start with the next sibling down, then rotate the next year to the next sibling down. If everyone does this, you not only have fair rotation of siblings for Christmas, but you also have an entire year to shop for your special relative. It helps to avoid Christmas crunch, and lets you think about that special family for the whole year. This is extremely helpful for kids from large families!

Biz: This one is from Miriam and John Hatten. For biological stains (blood and poo and food), this is THE BEST. You get a cheapie $1.50 walmart mop bucket, and soak stained clothes for about 2-3 days. It comes out. The clothes look fantastic, and you can buy white for children again. Fantastic stuff. Amazing stuff. I buy it so that I have at least 2 boxes on hand. I fear for a time when I can't find it.

Color coding books: This took about an hour, and has saved my sanity. I love books, I want my kids to enjoy books, but I hate PICKING UP books! I bought a 5 color assortment of electrical tape, and organized the kids library so that all of the books fit. Big tall ones on the big and tall shelf, and little ones on the short shelf. Then, just like the library, we cut a couple of inches of tape, and put them on the lower binder of each book. BAM. Now the kids can put their books away by themselves. I even put a piece of tape in the middle of each shelf so the kids know "Oh, that's the blue shelf." Genius.

Cleaning Supplies: It was either Matthew, or the Clean Team who said to have a full bucket on each level of your house, so you're not running around getting supplies from all over. Two floors, two windex, two cleanser, and one day, two vacuums. YES - yes, I hope to be that rich/lazy some day. Let's not make this hard, right?

Crap in = Crap out: I've moved too many times to gather much stuff, but I can tell you that it is a marvelous feeling to be able to handle the backlog of stuff. Let it go. If you don't use it, let it go on to bless the life of somebody else. My mom had been saving huge soda cups for about a decade(refills are cheaper!), but when we took them all out - along with the "very nice" baskets from gifts, plants and sales, it made a mini-village on the kitchen table. We bagged them up, and took them to DI. Now she has a shelf for stuff she had a hard time storing, like her crock pot. Let it go... let it go.

Visiting Teaching: Hold a breakfast with all your ladies. Have everyone bring their calendar, and plan 4-6 months in advance when you'll meet. It saves about 14 hours of phone calls, and lets you get everyone on the same day, mostly right after each other.