Thursday, February 25, 2010


i've received one too many e-mails regarding how they wish they had it all together like me... and a few indicating that i'm full of myself! well- lest you believe the picture i have apparently painted for you, i have photographic proof of my failure as a parent & housekeeper.

look closely:
there are small- okay, HUGE- hairballs in the corners of my home every day!
free kitten, anyone?

this is what happens when i'm on the computer too long...

and again:
i ran to check my e-mail & almost overflowed the sink. nice, huh?

she patiently followed me until i finally wiped her face.

okay, this was pre-flylady. but still- the clothes had been there long enough for the cat to get REALLY comfortable. what did i do? well, i couldn't very well disturb his nap!

see anything wrong with this picture?
yup. stepped into the other room for ONE second, and julia got back into the tub.
sorry for the full moon- please don't report me to DCF.

i had to include this because of what it APPEARS is happening:
it does look like he's yelling at her, doesn't it? what a mean daddy! : )
i'm not completely 'flylady'd' yet...
if you need more proof, check out THIS post.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

no and no

just got 2 e-mails that concerned me, so i will address them here and now:

no-i am not saying that i am the perfect housekeeper since finding
i just like it.
a lot.
and i wanted to share.

you can un-friend me if you'd like.

no- i am not going to be her stalker- really.

thank you for asking. have a great day. : )


i got a lot of responses on yesterday's post... not in the comment section, of course. why would you leave a comment when you can call me or
facebook me or e-mail me?? : )

most people were asking about the Flylady program- seems we're all in the same boat on getting overwhelmed with our homes, then going on a cleaning & organizing rampage, and then burning out & starting the cycle again. (if i was a really good blogger, i would have created a cute graphic to represent this cycle. i am not that blogger). we need a little help- a little routine to get us on a good cycle!

that (for me) begins with
no, she doesn't pay me to blog about her.
no, she's not my neighbor, but if she was i would stalk her.
no, her website is not easy to navigate or initially attractive to those
of us starving for order in our lives.
(i'm not dissing flylady- like i said, i would stalk her in a heartbeat)!

YES- she has very simple, appealing solutions to getting our lives in order!

since so many of you have questions (i say that like millions of people follow this blog...)
let me start over- since all 12 of my friends have questions about the Flylady system, i will try to explain how i decided to use her website. i hope this helps- i love the bit of peace & order i have found through following her guidance, and i'd love for you to have it, too!

this is all directly linked to please don't sue me for copyright infringement or whatever the legal term would be! i would be so sad if flylady was mad at me... this is her information & i'm just putting it into practice!
this appeals to the perfectionist in me... hot water, soap, scrubbing, wiping, shining. it's all good stuff!
i began doing this when we put our old house on the market- keeping my kitchen sink & counters clean were a matter of survival during countless surprise house showings, as well as matt's chemotherapy rounds. i just kept doing it because it felt SO great to have my kitchen in order & the dishwasher open for dirty dishes!
YES, i run my dishwasher EVERY night.
i always fill it up completely- even if i have to get the pets' dishes & search our cars for sippy cups & coffee mugs.
think i'm crazy?
do it for 7 days- run your dishwasher every night, empty it 1st thing in the morning, and keep your sink & counters free of dirty dishes. it's incredible- so much peace from such a little thing!

this is all i did for months & months- from june 2009 until january 2010. i never returned to until january because i wanted MORE!

this is the next step i took. i had started the habit of shining my sink & keeping my counters cleared & emptying the dishwasher, but i wanted something to help with the rest of my house.
here is what i learned:
i can do anything for 15 minutes. i set a timer & do what i can until it beeps, and then i stop. okay, sometimes i go a few extra minutes.
the point is not to work until i'm exhausted & never want to clean or organize or cook again!

i began doing this with my evening routines. here is what mine looks like:

Clean up the house before you go to bed. (20 minutes - tops)

Family room: Pick up and put away things:

· toys, mail, dishes, clothes, shoes.

Kitchen: Make coffee & locate breakfast items.

· Clean up, shine sink, lay out clean dishcloths, and run the dishwasher.

Dining room/Foyer: Clear the hot spots.

Mudroom/Desk: cleared of excess paperwork & ‘stuff.’

Think about tomorrow before you go to bed.

  • Check your calendar and/or planner for appointments.
  • Start "To Do" list for tomorrow.
  • What can I do tonight that will make tomorrow morning easier? (Make lunches? Layout kids clothes?)
  • Get purse/diaper bag/backpacks prepped for tomorrow
  • Make sure children have their things gathered up and put away.
  • Start Breakfast: Set table and prep what you are cooking
  • Lay out your clothes for tomorrow

Now, if you are unable to do the entire three part Before Bedtime Routine, that is fine. Start small - just these three items:

Clean kitchen sink.

Lay out clothes/put clothes away.

Brush teeth.

this made the morning routine SO easy! the house was done, so all i had to do was jump into my day- Bible study, run, shower, breakfast, time with family, off to school, etc.

no stack of dishes from dinner that wouldn't fit into the dishwasher...

no mountain of laundry to wash, dry & fold...

no searching for coats, hats, backpacks, keys...

no piles of junkmail on the counter...

you get my point.

by attacking it 15 minutes each evening, the battle in the morning was already won.

so here's my morning routine- yes, i'm training for the half-marathon. normal people don't run at 5:30 when it's 3 degrees out.

5:00- Rise and Shine

· Get dressed for Running

· Feed dog & cat

· Coffee & BSF: 30 minutes

· 5:45- Run

· 7:15- Shower and clean the bathroom while there.

· Make your bed (unless matt is still there).

· Wipe sinks & swish the toilet

· Fix hair and face, get dressed to shoes.

· Leave 2nd floor with a load of laundry in hand and go straight to the washer.


· Empty the dishwasher.

· Start breakfast.

· Feed the family.

Think About Your Day

· Check your calendar.

· Check weekly plan

· Check menu for lunch & dinner.

· Reboot the laundry (put in dryer).

· Hit the hotspots.

If you did your Before Bed Routine there will not be any.

what are hotspots? places where you leave your crap, pardon my language.

our family hotspots:


Dining Room Table

Kitchen Sink & Counter

Breakfast Bar

Family Room/Coffee Table

My Desk


those are the 3 big things i began with from Flylady:

Shine Your Sink

Evening Routine

Morning Routine

yes, i've started doing other things- once i had those things in place, i wanted to do more. i wanted to create what she calls a "Control Journal."

i can't call mine a control journal- i desperately need God to be in control of my life, not ME! i grasp for the reins every chance i get, so i needed my home to be under His control as well.

i created a Home Journal instead.

i have written about it before, but it contains the following:

monthly menu

evening routine

morning routine

daily routine

zone cleaning list

i honestly don't refer to it that often, but you could- you could make it a checklist for your day if you're into that! it's just a reference point for me, and it makes me feel peaceful to know that i have a time & a place set aside for everything.

i also do the 'missions' that come in the e-mails, but i didn't start doing those until a few weeks ago.

have i confused you more than before?

begin here: babysteps

then go here: begin the babysteps

and do one each day until you feel like you want more.

you may not like it- maybe i'm codependent & need flylady to survive! but don't give up before you try... check out her personal testimonial and see if you think her system can help your home.

yes- it's purple.

yes- it's cheesy.

yes- there are acronyms for everything.

yes- she'll call you a 'flybaby.'

get over it.

it's helpful information, and once you get it tweaked to fit your own household, you can decide if you want to return to the website.

i do recommend signing up for the e-mails, at least for a few weeks. you'll get about 15 a day, which is a lot. choose the ones that sound interesting to you- i promise they'll motivate you to do something!
call me or write me if you want more information- i can e-mail you my 'home journal' if you think it would help.

love you, friends... have a great day!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

tuesday thoughts

do you ever have plenty of things you could write about, but not really enough to put together a coherent & interesting blog post?
or several pictures that are really fun, but not related to each other or your writing in any way?

i'm sure this doesn't happen to anyone else... : )

well, it happens to me, and i'm going to do something about it.

i hereby proclaim that thoroughly random & unconnected thoughts are okay on tuesdays...
there. it's settled.
so here are my tuesday thoughts:

matt has a follow-up appointment with his oncologist today. he has already been declared 'cancer free' after his last CT scan, but he will continue to do bloodwork every 3-6 months & CT's annually for several years. i'm not really nervous about today's appointment- it seems highly improbable that his type of cancer (testicular) will return after such aggressive treatment. still... i'm not completely relaxed. cancer and chemo really suck. ALOT.

my children are eating fruit & muffins for breakfast. me? cookies & coffee. double standard, i know.

i'm also training for the STL half-marathon in April. it's going well so far. i run in the mornings before everyone gets up, which is very cold. but it's also peaceful & gives me a headstart on my day, which is nice. days like today, when i don't run because matt leaves home at 6:00, i feel less motivated. more rested, for sure- but less productive.

speaking of productive... i have been following Flylady's program for about 6 weeks now ( if you have never checked it out, i highly recommend it! to be brief, she has simplified my routines & helped me feel like i am caring for my home & family well without cleaning & folding laundry 24-7! (i'm really bad about folding laundry...)
i have established morning & evening routines, a weekly routine, and a manageable meal plan. i love her almost as much as my Swiffer vacuum & my magic eraser... almost!

my new favorite home cleaning tool is my shark steam mop. it's so easy to use & makes mopping a much easier, quicker job! i also like that it doesn't use any chemical or product- just water. my floors get as dirty as ever (2 kids, 1 dog, 1 cat, lots of friends & their kids...), but it's a simple task to clean them again. no buckets, no rinsing, no puddles. love it!

my last staff meeting as nursery director for my church was yesterday... bittersweet, but i'm really excited for our new director & the talent, experience & creativity she brings to this ministry. i'm probably going to write more about this another time... no promises, though! : )

we had our first parent-teacher conference at caroline's school last week. i didn't think much about it, but matt was apparently pretty nervous! he was something of a 'discipline problem' in grade school, so P-T conferences were not happy occasions. caroline is just in preschool, and she has another year of pre-k before she begins kindergarten.
so in the next months, we will be working on a few things with her:
hand strength for holding pencils, crayons, etc.
cutting with scissors
interacting with others in social situations

no huge red flags, but she is pretty uncomfortable in group settings & tends to do her own thing. this could make school more difficult for her, so we want to help her to relax & join in the playtime & engage in conversations. as for the pencils & crayons... well, i am 31 & have the same problem (poor hand grip, not low muscle tone). i hope to help her so she doesn't have a funky grip & bad handwriting all her life! : )

julia will be starting 'parents day out' in the fall, and i'm SO excited! mostly for me- 2 mornings a week with both girls in school!! but also for her- she is so social & loves playing with other kids. i know she'll love being in school! she is kind of the opposite of caroline- more social, more physically coordinated, less verbal, less book-oriented. she's also into EVERYTHING- can't keep her off the tables or out of drawers. she's a child-proofing nightmare, but she's so cute!

we drilled a hole into the drainage pipe for our master bathroom. i don't recommend doing that, by the way. messy.
(no, not on purpose- we were hanging a towel ring).

we also (and by we, i mean matt) added shelves to our pantry, hung a new light fixture upstairs and painted the dining room chandelier. the upstairs fixture caught on fire, but it wasn't matt's fault. and it was not the first time that particular fixture ignited. but i like it- fire is a small problem compared with how cute the light is! i'll add pictures soon. spray painting the dining room chandelier turned out decently well. turns out the moving parts don't stay painted, but it just looks shabby chic.
pictures soon- i promise.

now for the random photos with no stories to go with them:

there you go... those are my tuesday thoughts.
have a good day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

a running post

a list of a few things i dislike about running in the winter:

1. it's cold (brilliant, i know). this requires running with pants & gloves & jacket & hat & face mask (at times). i DESPISE wearing these things. my favorite running outfit is a long sleeved t-shirt & shorts, which is much more suited to early spring & autumn.

2. it's dark. i have to run early in the morning to make sure i get it in- otherwise, my day seems to take over & i skip my run. i actually enjoy morning running (i blame my mother- she's a morning person & apparently donated her genetic deformity to me), but it's dark out at 6:00 in the winter. just one more thing to overcome to get out the door.

3. it's icy. i know most people shovel their sidewalks & driveways (thank you!), but then it freezes overnight & makes a yucky mess for early morning runners.

4. because of the ice, i have to run in the street. then unhappy, non-running people honk & gesture at me because i'm in their way. i'm sorry you have to slow down 2 mph to avoid smashing me... would you prefer that i slipped on the ice & cracked my head open? i might get blood on your car, and then where would you be? carwashes are closed in february.

5. car exhaust. i know we all want our cars to be warm when we get in them to go to work, but the nasty emissions from your car billow into the road & just hang there for me to run through. so maybe think twice before letting your car run for 10 minutes before you leave? wear a hat & gloves- you'll be fine.

hmmm... isn't exercise supposed to make me happy? endorphins & such?

there are also things i like about winter running...

1. everything looks beautiful covered in snow & glittering with ice. running is a nice way to see the loveliness of a winter landscape.

2. i can see tiny bird & bunny tracks in the snow- cute!

3. when it's actually snowing, everything is really still & soft- the snowflakes feel like sweet, gentle kisses. (unless it turns to sleet, which is just cold & wet & sometimes painful). but staying positive... a gentle snowfall is kind of fun.

4. when the wind blows, the snow falls off the trees & lamp posts in clumps- it looks like they're having a snowball fight. : )

5. it feels REALLY good to come back into the house after a winter run, which is not always true of warm weather runs. if i'm all hot & sweaty, i get cold returning to an air-conditioned room. right now, i just look forward to a cup of hot coffee & warming my feet under a blanket!

there... i ended on a positive note! anything you'd like to add?

(most people seem to send me facebook messages or e-mails to 'comment' on my blog... you know you can leave comments here, too, right??)

Monday, February 8, 2010

tea party

no, not THAT tea party...

we had a lovely saturday morning tea party yesterday!

we didn't bother to dress up- pajamas for Julia, tee shirt & undies for caroline.
i'm in my running clothes, which is why i'm not in the pictures!

we served orange juice & goldfish crackers.
we're classy around here!

it was lovely!

we highly recommend pulling out the tea set for your morning snack time...
it makes even the most normal snacks delightful!

plus, we apparently exhausted julia, as she fell asleep on the floor after lunch time!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Foyer: DONE!

well, not DONE done... just painted.
but that's a pretty big job- lots of doors & window trim, plus the staircase & funny little alcove area. i'm either getting faster at painting, or i'm just lowering my standards of what looks good!

we started with this green:
which isn't actually bad. but after construction dirt & plaster patching, it wasn't looking so good. and it was very light absorbing- it made a well-lit area seem dark.

i decided to go with a custom paint color...
i call it: Welcome Home!

i realize that it's a bit boring... it's just cream.
but i love that it's light reflecting & bright!
it opens the room up & makes it feel clean. it actually makes it feel bigger, which is fun. and i have plans for making it less boring with fabric for the windows & the bench, as well as fun stuff on the walls.
so i prefer to call it soothing & inviting, not boring! : )

and i have some of my 'custom' paint leftover...
i'll sell it for $50 a gallon & become rich & famous!

or i'll just paint my upstairs hallway with it...