Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Mini House Makeover

I can't tell you how in love I am with the new minor changes I made last week around the house. Ever since putting away the Christmas decorations, I have been looking around the house and pondering how I can make things more functional. I did not know I was going to end up blogging about this, so I have no before pictures, but I can explain a little of the former clutter :) You excited?!?! haha

This corner was awful before. The tray was laying down, and had all of Owen's vitamins on it along with a ton of other junk. Like a thing of bug spray and tube of sunscreen, random ingredients for my homemade basic moisturizer cream, two spray bottles, a flask, the sugar bowl and creamer pitcher...I'll stop there. Needless to say, it's 1000 times better.

My new work space!! I LOVE it! It's not weird that it's by the laundry room door. I live in my kitchen, truly, I do. I never leave it. And it makes the most sense for my little command center to be here. My calendar is on the side of the fridge, this is where I make appointments, look up recipes, do emails, read blogs, meal plan, shop Amazon....all of it. This corner space used to house the butcher block which held the Kitchenaid mixer, boxed wine and other junk. The vacuum stood here too before, and the little children's coat rack had a mountain of zip up hoodies and coats. The whole thing was an eye sore.

This is on the other side of the fridge and I cleaned this shelving area up too and just moved things around. Put away all the extra cookbooks I don't use anymore because....allergy free diets and all. New home to the boxed wine. I think they like it better here :)

What a novel idea, the butcher block in the middle of the kitchen!! Shocker!! And somehow it makes the kitchen seem bigger, even smack dab in the middle of it. It's fascinating. And we love actually using it! It's the only thing we own from Ikea. We should change that.

This little table had been here before and the kids were having fun moving it all over the house so I put it away. But it's handy when we have dinner company so I put it back.

Welcome to our "playroom". My desk had been where the play kitchen is. I hated it because it was a total catch all zone. It always looked terrible and was covered with books, papers, mail, dvds, scissors, etc, etc. I never wanted to sit there, and if I did, felt like I was just surrounded by chaos. I wanted to kids to have a more designated place, toys mainly in ONE area of the house. Mission accomplished. (The play kitchen had been on the wall where all the toys are now)

Ahh, the living room. Ignore the funny white chord. Luke is trying to do something with a printer connected to the internet and isn't done yet.....anyway, the kids black wire shelving thing that all their toys are on in the picture above, used to be set up under the tv. It was awkward. They were playing too close to the stone fireplace didn't feel like the most inviting space. The table under the tv is a temporary solution, I don't love it, but it works. It is just an end table that used to be in the corner by the couch. I put a tiny tv table there instead and put a box in that corner with all the newspaper for the fireplace. (When the kids get bunkbeds this spring/summer, Luke is going to put legs on the train table and it's going in their room.)

Luke is going to move the book shelf on the wall for me that my desk used to be under, over to the wall above my desk in the kitchen now. He is so good to put up with my rearranging :)

He likes the new butcher block placement too :)

And that's that! I get a lot of enjoyment out of decorating and organizing. A lot. I love organizing things. I just hate filing. Hate it. I think because somehow it stills feels sloppy to me. Putting papers in hanging folders in a drawer, that still end up being hard to find.....I sometimes don't know where to put things, even though I'm the one to label all the files!!!! So I have to wait and ask Luke...I don't know what's ok to throw away's the chore I might dislike the most. But it is the next big thing on my to do list. Maybe if I can come up with a cleaner system I'd love it. Hmmm, time for more brainstorming!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Stranger Kindness

Back at the beginning of the month, we returned from Buffalo, Luke left for the national focus conference SEEK2015 and the kids came down with terrible colds. Runny nose, headache, sore throat, sneezing, coughing...and they fell like dominoes. First Owen, then Casey, then Hailey. With the help of my Homeopathic book for Infants and Toddlers and consulting one of my best friends and her mother-in-law, we decided on a remedy (Belladonna) and I headed off to Wegmans to get it.

I was trying to be quick, and the kids were doing ok, when we got to the checkout line. Hailey and Casey were poking at some displays nearby of toys, and I keep telling them not to touch anything. Then Hailey sees the isle with gift bags and tissue paper. She points and says, (very loudly), "Mommy, we forgot to get baby Jesus a present! We need a present for BABY JESUS!"

I notice the lady in the checkout line next to me obviously heard her, she had been glancing at the kids and did I notice the trace of a smile cross her face?? I couldn't tell....but I calmly answer Hailey and tell her, "that's very sweet of you Hailey, but Jesus' birthday is over...even though we are still celebrating Christmas." She moved on but I thought to myself, that wasn't a very clear answer for a 4 year old, but it was the best I could do right now, in the grocery store.

I turned back and noticed how sad and sick Owen looked sitting in the front of the grocery cart. And he wasn't fussing, but just looked like he wanted to be held. (He had a tiny fever). So I take him out to hold him and he just puts his head on my shoulder and I rub his back.

Then of course it's time for me to start unloading my groceries. I start trying to call the kids over to help, they ignore me, and I was about to put Owen back in the cart and the lady who was in the lane next to me is all of a sudden at my side saying, "you hold him, poor baby looks sick...let me help you." And she starts unloading my things. Hailey and Casey of course then decide helping is fun and they come back over.

Now the lady's cart was still sort of in the check out lane she had been standing in and people are coming up, wanting to go through that check out line and so someone next to us tried to move it, and someone says, "no that's her cart. She's helping that young mom." And someone else says, "oh well here, let me unload her cart."

So she's doing mine and someone else is doing her's. It was so beautiful and awesome. I got choked up for about 10 seconds. Come on, sleep deprivation plus stranger kindness, yep, I'll get teary eyed for sure.

(and just in case anyone was curious, the Belladonna worked beautifully and everyone was on the mend in no time!)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I'm baaaaaack!

Luke and I were out on a date a few nights ago, and while catching up over our delicious Red Lobster meal, he told me that someone he talked to last week at focus conference said they used to read my blog. What?!?! When you have a little blog like mine, you can't help but wonder, "is anyone reading this??" I mostly do it for myself and the kids, but hey, bloggers kinda like readers, and comments too. So, I don't know who you are, but returning to this little ol blog has been on my mind lately and your comment might have just been enough to make it happen! So thanks!

Things are still crazy in the world of allergies and special diets, but I will save that for another day. Sometimes I just can't think about it anymore.

We had such a wonderful Christmas, as well as a fabulous trip to Buffalo, quiet New Years and incredible Seek2015 (the national FOCUS conference). Aaaannd, I have like no pictures.

I do have the pics from our Christmas card though!


Owen is 15 months old, Casey is 3 and Hailey is 4 and a half. Sometimes I still can't believe that I am the mother to three children of these ages. How did this all happen so fast!!?! I remember so vividly when it was just Hailey. And then poof, I feel like I blinked and there were three. I love going back to look through photos and remember all the little moments we had. I look at Casey or Hailey and think, "what were you like at 15 months old?" I almost don't remember! And then I look at pictures and it all comes back. It's hard to explain. The daily experience of them at the current age is always so intense that the past fades, until you really look back at it all captured in pictures. Which is why I should be taking more......

But what I really came on there to say, and I'm almost afraid to say it, but I think the fog of the past 15 months is starting to lift. There have been SO many crosses this past year, and I can't even tell you what a fresh start 2015 feels like. And the crosses are still there, they are just ever so slightly lighter. The boys allergies are already showing signs of improvement, even after the first (of many to come) 10 week session of allergy drops. We start the next session next week.

But this past week, I have:

-bought a membership to Costco and did our first shopping trip, HOLY MOLEY. I have been in one before but shopping for our family (with the kids in tow) was a special sort of experience. The poor dears were hungry as my timing was terrible and we were shopping right during lunch hour. And I might just be going there for chia seeds, quinoa, raw sugar, organic meat and organic fruit and vegetables, and maybe a handful more items, but I think it will be worth it.

-taken down all the Christmas decorations.

- and gone to town on organizing and decluttering the house!! It looks so good and feels so good!!! Seriously, when I am stressed I like to either work out, or clean. I have been glancing around at each room and reworking it in my brain first before I go to work at it. I am simply trying to use the spaces in our house to their utmost function and the way things were set up was NOT the most practical. Granted, the kids grow, toys multiple, needs change, but some of it made no sense. It was another realization of how preoccupied I have been with diets, food prep, baking, cooking and dishes. I typically never let things get so bad.

I'm going to try to post regularly again, but we will see how it goes. I honestly don't know if blogging is that life giving for me. I'm a sanguine choleric extrovert so sitting down at night to muse over things can actually feel draining. I need real human interaction, ha! But I so want to document these precious times in our lives. So we will see how it goes. I can't make you any promises, but I hope you will visit me here all the same.