Tackling “The List” & Tales of Household Organization

Around here it’s well known that the hubby feels his “Honey-Do” list never ending. Of course, he’d be right about that. The mile-long list of home improvement projects, or let’s call it what it really is; “Crap we have to do to keep the house from falling apart” is something that a lot of households get overwhelmed by. Of course, it’s not just actual house fixes, a lot of it is organization. As you may recall in another life, pre-baby (well, pre-baby 2, post baby 1) I had an organizing business. I’ve said many times, including in this blog, that staying organized is something I still struggle with as it’s a constant work in progress. I certainly know how to get organized and can come up with any number of creative ideas for organized living, but it is definitely work. Things tend to creep up on you when you’re not paying attention.

Take our office for example. Since we don’t really use it much as an office any longer we inadvertently ended up with one of those “catch all” rooms. First, it was shoving in the play kitchen that although little guy still plays with, there are times we’d like it out of the middle of our family room, such as for my recent birthday celebration. Then there are the things we are actually trying to get rid of via eBay; the irony here is that even when de-cluttering you can actually end up with more of a mess while attempting to eliminate stuff! Between all that and several vintage items from our Etsy shop mingled with a few works in project the office was becoming a disaster. And just because I love my readers and am not afraid to “put it all out there” I’m actually showing you a picture of this mess! 
 OfficeB1 OfficeB2
So, we decided to get serious about this and spent last weekend working on it. Here’s what we did; we started with the ol’ pull everything out maneuver (which meant our entire front room was covered in stuff!) and after working all day Saturday, we ended up with one huge bag of trash, several things to eliminate and along the way discovered a surprise solution that solved two dilemmas at once! As readers may recall, we redecorated our home and sold many of our antiques. We successfully sold all the large pieces but one, our French armoire. Once everything was re-decorated and furnished it became the elephant in the room because it no longer fit anywhere. After months of having it block the double doors to the office (there’s another door around the back side of the room) the hubby realized that since we couldn’t seem to sell it and we didn’t want it sitting in the living room any longer that it would be perfect for storage of “projects in process” in the office! He was right, it’s the perfect solution and it’s already outfitted with three shelves. We managed to get it in the office after some partial disassembly and reassembly and its now acting as a very fancy storage solution!
OfficeA1    OfficeA2
Of course, the overall moral of the story here is “never let it pile-up”. Ha! This was definitely an eye-opening lesson in realizing how bad things can get when you let them go vs. how much easier it is to manage to when you have systems in place and do the maintenance to keep things up little by little.

And in closing, I thought I’d share with you this accidentally hilarious photo I took while the hubby was painting.
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The explanation here is that he is painting our new family room wall, a room which was previously used as our dining room that had large iron wall art that held wine bottles. When he removed the iron pieces he set all the empty wine bottles on the table, making it look as though he’d been throwing back a few while on the job!

Conversations with Little Guy: Speech

First of all, I wanted to report that it appears Little Guy is completely caught up with his speech which of course is great news. During his final sessions in speech therapy the therapist tells us she’s now working on things that are past his age just to have things to work on.  One of things she says he’s not yet really expected to be able to do quite yet is correctly produce the “L” sound in words. This was evident in a recent conversation he had as Daddy was getting ready for work.

LG: Daddy, I want to go to work with you!

Daddy: No LG, you can’t come with me, but you get to stay home with Mommy!

LG: I want to go to work with you! I can work, let me come to your work!

Daddy: I’m sorry, but you can’t. We have Labor Laws.

LG: Daddy, what’s “Wabor Waws?”

Being Happy to be Me at 43

This month marks my 43rd birthday. I haven’t been a fan of my birthday past my late teens. I tend to get caught up in the old “another year older and…..?” it’s that “and” that gets me. And what? “What did I accomplish in this last year?” I say to myself. I know I set my expectations entirely too high..it’s the perfectionist in me and something I try to focus on taming a bit.

There are things I would like to accomplish and I know some of those things are at least doable with supreme effort and fierce determination. There are other things that rely heavily on luck; such as being at the right place at the right time, a blog post going viral, a publisher offering me a book deal….things like that. (You know, those “pie in the sky” type of things. The things on my Vision Board that I’m not sure really coincide with realistic thinking.) It’s when I realize that those are things that may not happen (I don’t like to say probably won’t because after all, you have to have a positive attitude, right? I’m thinking of the old “if you build it they will come” philosophy) that I can start to see the need to just go with whatever is happening; whatever is presenting itself and is right in front of me. At this moment, that would be a kitchen that needs cleaning and some laundry that needs folding, but hey, I am a stay-at-home-mom after all and this is part of my life.

In examining that life, there is quite a mixed bag of emotions or as I like to call it; the happy, the crappy and the ridiculous. Time tends to fly by faster the older we get, as I can’t believe it’s already been three years since I wrote the post Warning: Opinions Ahead on the heels of my fortieth birthday. While I can look over forty three years and think there are some things I perhaps wish I’d done differently as well as things I wish had happened differently, I can also look at the flip side of those things and realize that some things do happen for a reason and may end up with positive results later on down the line. Take the kids for example; yes, it’s amusingly ridiculous that I have two sons with a near fourteen year age gap. It’s even more ridiculous to realize that as one starts college the other will start Kindergarten. But while things like not having siblings closer in age to play and go through school at relatively the same time could be looked at as drawbacks, the flip side of that is having an older son who can often be available for babysitting on Date Nights and who’s actually old enough now to pick up his brother from school or daycare should the need arise. And it’s heartwarmingly adorable to see how close those brothers are and how much they share in common despite the age difference. Of course once they’re both grown the age gap won’t matter much. In the meantime, it’s so fun to see Teenager set up an elaborate train track for his little brother and to see both little guy and his big brother enjoy a Disney movie together and laugh at the same things.

Of course there are other things I’m still trying to figure out but as the saying goes, “life isn’t the destination, it’s the journey.” Now while that statement would make a fitting closing line to this post, I can’t stop here. You see, that statement holds a lot of meaning for me. I’ve been a person who in many aspects was more focused on the end result than the process of getting there. There’s part of that I still struggle with to some extent; the old “It’ll be great when…..(fill in the blank)” and then I remind myself that the journey is so important and being fixated on an end result can be counterproductive to the joy of living. Not to throw in too many clich├ęd sayings but I can’t help but think of “Life is what happens while we’re making other plans”. I’ve previously been guilty of not enjoying the journey of life and really try to not fall into that trap. I think it’s a shame to live life for some “end result” and have that be all one is thinking about and working on in life while failing to truly enjoy the here and now. I believe in living and enjoying life now because “now” is what we have. As a disclaimer for those who might think I’m suggesting living life haphazardly, or to toss out another quote; “Eat, Drink & be Merry for tomorrow we may die” that’s not it, it’s a lot closer to “stop and smell the roses”. I think about things like using the good china for more than just holidays, dressing up for more events than just those that require it, and making the effort to spend quality time with friends and family and truly enjoy their company rather than simply going through the motions of obligatory visits and events.

So along with the concept mentioned in my prior post regarding the Gratitude Board , I intend to put my focus on what’s happening in the here and now and continuing to find the joy (& hilarity!) in everyday life. As always, you’re invited along for the ride. I have some more personal posts planned in the upcoming weeks and months and am looking forward to sharing more with my readers.