Today the girls both went to Girl Scouts, led by someone other than me, after which they had a playdate (thank you so very much, Deb!)  It was an afternoon to myself! So what did I do? Cleaned and organized bathrooms, of course.

Bathroom #1

I purchased, at Ross and the thrift store, a shelf that holds 5 candles, 4 stemless wine glasses and a vase.  I turned it into this:

That holds all the hair accessories and combs/brushes.  On the counter are a couple of candle holders with qtips and flossers.

Everything else if neatly put away in drawers or under the counter. 

I even managed to corral the man's bathroom reading.  What is it about men and reading in the bathroom anyway? I gave up fighting it after nearly 20 years and added this:

This is our main bathroom and it is rather small, but it now looks much more spacious with most everything OFF the counter top.

Now, if I had money, I would tear out the cabinet to put in a pedestal sink, get rid of the lovely yellow sink/toilet/tub for boring old white, and redo the lighting.  But for now, this is much better than it was and all done with ~$20 and some hard work.
Bathroom #2

This is the teeny tiny bathroom off our bedroom.  I never go in there and the kids had trashed it.  There were a dozen empty tp rolls if there was one.  A Harry Potter game on the floor.  Some lovely ruffled ribbon lying about (wtf?)  I cleaned up all the flotsam and applied some elbow grease.  Nothing spectacular in there, it's just clean, which is refreshing.

Nail Polish Rack

This got about 5 coats of paint today and as soon as I figure out where to hang it, I'll get a picture of it posted.

Next up? Well, here's the list of things bugging me most:

  1. plastic storage container lids 
    1. move these out of the two drawers they currently occupy.  Considering we have 3 regular drawers, 1 double deep drawer and one 1/2 wide drawer for our entire kitchen, this is HUGE.
    2. decide if these are going to live in containers on a shelf in the pantry, which would move some pantry supplies to racks on the pantry door OR the lids themselves would live on the racks on the pantry door.  I have the racks, they are not yet installed.  So basically, dealing with lids means dealing with the pantry.
    3. this will also involve pairing each lid with a container and doing away with stragglers
  2. top of fridge (potholders, lunch boxes and tea)
    1. potholders are going on hooks on the inside of cabinet doors
    2. lunch boxes and tea need to find a new home or at least be arranged neatly up there
  3. finish the girls' room
    1. I've got the closet done including toys and clothes but I need to finish organizing the stuff that didn't fit in the closet
    2. books - go through their books and weed out the ones we don't need
    3. add pet nets for the thousands of stuffed animals those two own
  4. books
    1. go through all our books and take another load to the used book store for credit.

I need a new calendar

I need a new calendar.  One with ALL the holidays on it.  You know, Groundhog's Day, Valentine's Day, Wailing Child Day.  Yeah, if I knew today was WCD, I totally would have gone out tonight.  Alone, if necessary.  Maybe even preferably.

And I need to find that calendar soon.  Because if Wailing CHILDREN Day is coming up, I've got plans to make.

How to do nothing

Today was a day to do nothing.  Our schedule was blank.  A blessed day of peace in the hectic run-around that is our lives.  For the most part, I did take advantage of the empty hours by NOT attempting to fill them up.

I started by sleeping late.  Well, sleeping late is not exactly true.  Sandis came to our bed last night around 11:30pm because it was windy.  Wind scares her and she can't sleep alone.  She can, however, fall asleep in 3.7 seconds in our bed. Go figure.  She proceeded to toss and turn and edge me out of bed all night long, not to mention somehow getting the bottom blanket off of both of us, wedging it between her and Brian, leaving the top blanket in place on her (and barely on me.)  It was not a restful, or warm, night.  The lovely night was followed by a morning of Stella waking up at 7am because the tooth fairy came.  She also wrote back to Stella which I had to read because it was written in cursive, sans glasses, sans being awake, at 7am.  It was written in pencil on red paper making it virtually impossible to read. Finally, I was able to send her away to the tv.  She came back at some point to tell me something about shooting dirty diapers that she had seen on Malcolm in the Middle (for the record, it's probably not advisable to let your kids watch this show if they are likely to repeat the things they do on there.  Just sayin'.)  Yes, that is EXACTLY something I NEED to be woken up for. Thank you for that helpful trivia, Stella!

Anyway, after all that, I did stay in bed until ~9:30am.  And when I got up, the girls were dressed with hair combed and teeth brushed.  A miracle! It started snowing soon after and they and the dogs went outside to play leaving me 45min or so of time that I completely wasted playing games on my iPod while moderately tolerable sitcoms from Netflix played in the background.  Yeah me!

Finally, the girls/dogs returned to the house and I roused myself to take a shower.  I reminded the girls they wanted to draw some pictures for some friends who had to put their pony down this week.  Then we did something useful and went to the store for a few essentials along with a card for our friends.  Card delivered, we headed to the library and checked out heaps of books.  We also stopped by the thrift store to snag the spice rack I had seen their a few days ago.  (I'm going to mount it in the girls room as a nail polish holder.)  Then it was back home to do nothing for awhile before Sandis & I headed out to History Comes Alive at the library.

Now we're back home, enjoying a quiet evening.  If "quiet" means "listening to girls cackle loudly as they take various Harry Potter quizzes on their computers." There's no fighting so it counts as quiet for me ;)



1. existing as the only one or as the sole example; single; solitary in type or characteristics
2. having no like or equal; unparalleled; incomparable
3. limited in occurrence to a given class, situation, or area
4. limited to a single outcome or result; without alternative possibilities
5. not typical; unusual

Stella has always had her own sense of style, one never before seen.  I present these photos of yesterday's outfit as evidence of her unique fashion sense.  Yes, those are newspaper bags as fingerless, opera length gloves, why do you ask?

Herding Cats

Let me just start by saying patience is a virtue, but not one of mine.  I am not patient at all.  Waiting the extra 15 seconds for the microwave to beep is so excruciating that I'll take the food out and eat it half cold.  So, waiting for my kids to get ready in the morning does not go smoothly.  Especially when I want to leave NOW and they are still trying to visualize what shoes look like.  It generally goes like this:

Me: "I'm going to take a shower and get ready to go.  I will be ready to leave the house in 20 minutes.  I need you to be dressed, have your teeth brushed and hair combed by the time I get out of the shower."
Them: "ok"
...10 minutes passes...
Me: "I'm out of the shower, are you dressed?"
Them: "I found a shirt but it's black and that doesn't go with jeans and then I found a sock that has stripes and I don't want to wear it with the one that matches it but YOU paired them together."
Me: "Did you brush your teeth? Comb your hair?"
Them: "MOMMY! I can't do everything at ONCE!"

So by the time I've gotten ready, they've maybe gotten dressed.  I then start herding them around the house telling them what to do to get ready while they try and get distracted by anything and everything they can.  The TV, the computer, food, a moth that flutters by, you name it, they'll get distracted by it.

Invariably, Stella will be the more distracted of the two.  Then Sandis will be ready and lord it over Stella by jumping on the computer or something else that will make life completely unfair in Stella's eyes.  "Why does sheeeee get to use her computer when we're trying to leave," Stella sneers, while wearing a winter hat and underwear and carrying one shoe, the mate of which hasn't been seen this decade, "and mommy, I'm going to be a pig today so can you find me all pink clothes including shoes and underwear and can we stop at the thrift store on the way to <insert thing that you'll be late for if you don't leave this instant> because I need a different pink coat because my pink coat has white on it.  Oh, and can you sew my felt ears on to this hat, and find a pattern online for ears so I can cut them out of felt?"

Finally, we'll be ready to leave at which time the girls then remember the 47 things that they need to do before we leave.  "I'm hungry," is a favorite, and strangely,  is totally independent of how much food has been consumed that day.  Other stall tactics include needing different shoes, a less itchy shirt, a drink, a specific toy that hasn't been seen in the last 3 years and, on one memorable occasion, the sudden, driving need to sew a toy for a friend's cat RIGHT THAT MINUTE.

Yes, I do start early (or I'd never make it anywhere.) I also pad the time it takes to get somewhere so if we leave late, we can still arrive on time.  I can have them get their clothes ready the night before but 1) Sandis gets all whiny about having to get ready the night before and 2) Stella will decide in the morning that those clothes are all wrong.

And we do have a morning list of things they are supposed to do after waking.  Still, we repeat this ritual at least once a week.  It exhausts and infuriates me.  In an effort to get out of the house a bit smoother, I've made up a new morning list of things to do.  This one is specifically for days when I know we will be going somewhere in the morning.  It goes like this:

As soon as you get up, before cartoons or anything else:
  1. get dressed, including socks (if needed.) Put shoes by door.
  2. brush teeth, comb hair, deodorant
  3. eat breakfast
  4. feed dogs, fish, mouse. Be sure mammals have drinking water.
  5. pack lunch (protein, fruit, etc) and snacks (2 snacks from cupboard plus 1 candy or cookie.) Put in bag, put by door.
  6. get any car stuff you want that day (sewing, books, etc). Put in bag, put by door.
  7. do not start any involved projects that would leave a mess while we are gone (examples: sewing stuff all over, painting on table, etc)
  8. take meds

    We'll see if it helps.  I'm not optimistic, but I have to try something, because, well, my patience is wearing thin(ner)

The Purge Marches On

Yesterday the girls and I went through all of their clothes.  All of them.  There were baskets and baskets and baskets of clothes.  Piles of clothes.  Heaps of clothes.  This was no small undertaking.

The first step was hauling all the clothes upstairs.  Most of them were in the laundry room and it took many trips to get them all to the living room where they were sorted into piles.  Then the purging began.

First to go was anything that didn't fit, that was fairly easy.  There were a few quibbles about something they loved that they either insisted DID fit or that the had to keep because it was "special," but overall that was an easy step.

Next they got rid of anything they didn't love.  This narrowed things down more, but not nearly enough, so the last, and most difficult step, was getting to a reasonable number of clothes.  What's a reasonable number? Well, that differs depending on who you talk to but for us it was:

  • 20 short sleeve shirts
  • 5 sleeveless shirts
  • 5 long sleeve shirts
  • 5 sweatshirt/fleece/sweaters
  • 10 skirts/shorts
  • 10 pants
  • 3 winter/3 summer pjs
  • 7 dresses (Stella only, Sandis won't wear any skirts or dresses)

Originally it was going to be 15 short/no-sleeve shirts but I upped it a bit as we went.  It is a lot because they can feasibly go for 3 weeks in any season without washing shirts.  But, compared to what they had, it's reasonable.

Now to get it all put away.  I've got regular hangers, pants hangers, clips to hold skirts on hangers.  I have sorted the underware and paired the socks and put them into bins (can you believe the girls still had some toddler socks?) Now, I have to clean out the girls closet so that I can actually put clothes in there.  Right now it's full of toys.  Heaps and piles and baskets of toys (does that sound familiar?)  The toys need to be weeded and purged so that the clothes can be put away.  I think I may start that this weekend, depending on my mood.  But in the meantime, I do have 4 kitchen garbage bags full of kids' clothes to give away.  Ah, it feels good :)
The child's age is 10, however, the sighs, the eye rolls, the drama, lead me to believe she's really a teenager.  This morning she cried non-stop for ~45min.  Why? Because her dad yelled, "Sandis!" when she wasn't listening to me tell her to get dressed because she was in a zombie, sleep-fog cloud.  She ran off to throw herself dramatically on my bed in an acting job that included realistic wailing and thrashing.  The wailing continued most of the way to quasi-school when she finally pulled herself together.  Yes, it's like having a 3 year old only she should know better.  Good grief.

She also has this snarky attitude that needs to find a new home.  It's that holier-than-thou routine with her sister, which is just ridiculous seeing as how we hold nothing holy around here.  Except maybe chocolate.  And alcohol.  But certainly not children.  Or deities.  She needs to get over herself.  Unfortunately, it takes many, many years to get over ones self and I'm sure she will no longer be under my roof when she figures it out. 

I guess I'll take comfort in the fact that MOST of the time she isn't like this.  And MOST of the time, she is very nice to be around.  She still likes to sit on my nap and snuggle.  She still comes to my bed on windy nights because she doesn't like to sleep alone when it's stormy. 

Growing up is hard no matter if you are the one doing the growing up or on the receiving end of the growing up.

Sunday, Sunday

What a day.  It started out with the kids and Brian going to climb up to Horsetooth (the verdict from the girls: the way up was a 2/10, the top is a 10, the way down 3 or 7, depending on the girl.)  I took full advantage of their absence to clean out my clothes and bedroom closet.  This weekend I cleaned out the coat closet and my bedroom closet.  That along with the earlier cleaned out linen closet yielded 10 kitchen trash bags full of stuff to be donated, which I did.  Goodwill is now flush with my castoffs. And I was such a good girl, I didn't even shop after I donated.  I did, however buy more trash bags as I used them all in my purge.

I wish I took before and after pictures.  But, the before is so hideous, so embarrassing, I can't do it.  And the after? Well, it doesn't look as good as some people's before pictures.  Still I feel much, much, MUCH better.  I feel lighter and more free.  I love getting rid of stuff!

After the purge and release, I sat down to watch The Game.  Well, The Game sucked.  Big time.  The Packer's season, and therefore my season, is over.  I no longer care about football.  The Superbowl is now meaningless.  If the Packers aren't playing, I don't care.  Bah humbug :P

Anyway, the next stop on the organization train is either kids' clothes or books.  Books would be easier but the aren't nearly as messy as the kids' clothes.  We'll see what I feel like when the next free moment hits me.  I don't think it will be this week as we have 2 Girl Scout meetings, 2 therapy appts (1 in Denver, 1 here), therapy group and the NCHA meeting.  Plus work.  And I told the kids we could hit the museum on Wednesday since we're going to Denver anyway (and we got the museum membership for Xmas from my parents.)

And speaking of my extended family, my brother, who is getting married in June, is going to be a father again in August or September!

And speaking of pregnancy, I need to get rid of my maternity clothes.  It's been over 8 years since I gave birth, almost 3 since I even had a uterus, I think it's time for them to go.  Still, I want them to go to someone who needs them.  Maybe the clothing bank at the Methodist church? I'll figure something out soon as they don't need to be taking up space in my house any longer.

Ok, random train-of-thought blog entry is done for the day.  You're welcome.

Pretend cats

Today Stella became the owner of a large pretend cat rescue. I'm sure this is related to the fact that our newest dog is from the Humane Society.  Still, it was quite an endeavor.  Her sister adopted 16 cats, 8 boys and 8 girls.  I forget the breeds and so forth, but I did hear that 5 of them had to be adopted together.  I adopted one cat.  I said I wanted one that would sit on my lap with me and she had the perfect one, as a black, adult male named Danny.

I posted on Facebook that Stella had pretend cats up for adoption and 4 friends adopted them.  Here are their pictures and bios:

Feel the evil...

...that is the homeschool mother.  Yes, I tricked my kids into learning (more) today by sending them here.  Mwah ha ha!

Starting the organization

I want to get the house organized.  Honestly, I would love to live somewhere 1/2 the size with 1/3 of the stuff we currently have.  Stuff is not what I need.  What do I use when left to my own devices? Electronics, books, knitting, sewing - the rest really needs to go.  And books, well, mostly I read library books.  There are really a few series that I'd like to keep around, and some non-fiction reference, but the rest should go to the used book store.  Old magazines need to go.  Same with homeschooling stuff we haven't used, clothes I haven't worn, etc. 

So, I'm starting along this path, slowly.  Last week I started by cleaning out the huge mess the girls had made of my sewing room as well as tidying up the living room and kitchen.  I straightend up their crazy craft area too.  I bought a used office mailbox sorter like this.  This is where the girls need to put ALL of their paper and completed crafts.  If I find it out of there, I get to throw it away.  If they care so much about the pictures they make, they need to put them away, it's that simple.  I'm tired of papers on the floor and table every day!

Today, I tackled the girl's computer area.  I took every. last. thing. off of that L-shaped desk and sorted, tossed and stored.  Sewing/knitting/needlework is in Stella's stool.  Soccer-wear is in Sandis' stool.  One small basket of their "necessary" stuff and their banks is all that is left, besides the computers, of course.  I've decided that the next step is to to take all our games and put them in underbed storage bins (which we already have) and store them, surprisingly, under our bed.  That will free up 1/2 a linen closet.  Another upcoming step is to clear out the coat closet.  We have bags and bags of shoes and hats and fleeces and more.  We do NOT need that much stuff! One winter coat, one spring coat, two fleeces, that seems reasonable.  Baskets and bags of them are not.  We need to remove this extra junk to free up some space, physical space and my mental space as well :)

The word for the week is...

...sick.  Both kids had a stomach bug that's going around.  Just barely recovered from that and now they've got the chicken pox.  Needless to say, that's occupied most of my time the last several days.  That and the dog's splint.  She got it changed.  She ate it off and got another.  The most recent one fell off and we have to go back tomorrow to get it put on yet again.  Sheesh.  Kids and dogs, dogs and kids, can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em :)

So, with that going on, I am not thinking creatively and therefore today's blog post is a silly survey.  I like them and I don't have to think too hard. 

What do you put on hotdogs? Drag it through the garden
Do you say "anticlimatic" or "anticlimactic"? anticlimatic
Do you check flyers before grocery shopping? occasionally
Blue, black, or some other colour pen ink? black
Do you use your parking brake? yes
Look to your left. How many framed pictures are on the wall? zero, many behind me though
Do you know how to play chess? no, and not really interested either
How often do you clean the interior of your car? way too often because otherwise the layers in the backseat could teach the children archeology 
Do you ever read the last few pages first? no
Ever fallen in the shower? probably, I am fairly clumsy
Do you have a Snuggie? no
Are you allergic to anything? citrus and wheat
Do you have any TV shows on DVD? definitely, and more that I follow on Netflix
How many times do you hit the snooze button before finally getting out of bed? zero, I don't use snooze
What's your favourite freezie colour? ick
Are you a vegetarian? no
Do you have a garbage receptacle beside you? What's on top? no
Do you cross out your mistakes or erase/whiteout them? I backspace, myself ;)
Do you think that things will get better? it's what keeps me going
Do you have an unpopular opinion? What is it? Oh so many - homeschooling, unschooling, selective vax, extended breastfeeding, home birth, co-sleeping, feminism, Unitarian Universalism...of course, I have others with me in my weirdness so it's not lonely here.
What's your favourite quote? That's like picking a favorite book, can't do it.
Did you go to prom? yes, but who cares?
What's the most physically painful thing you've ever experienced? When my jaw was locked shut for a month and they gave me 2 shots of Novocaine and wrenched on it until it opened.  Worse than tearing my ACL and that was worse than childbirth, by far.
Have you ever legitimately saved a person's life? no
What's your favourite book genre? Fantasy
Did you like "Gigli"? Be honest. No idea what that is.
Have you ever walked out of a movie at the theatre? no
Do dogs like you? of course!
Would you say that you project an air of authority? I can
Do people listen when you speak? In general, yes.  My children, not so much ;P
When was the last time you paid for music? I bought the Spamalot soundtrack last month
Are you addicted to technology? Yes, but I can go camping and escape from it all with no regrets.
Do you check your computer's dictionary for the definition of words you'd otherwise feel confident about using during in-person interactions? Just to be sure? No, but I look up words I don't know when I come across them.
How heavily to you rely on spellcheck and autocorrect? Spellcheck I use all the time, autocorrect I don't.  Have you seen
Do you pause movies/TV shows if you have to go to the bathroom or the kitchen, or do you just let them keep playing? Depends
If you use a regular alarm clock, do you have it set to music or that obnoxious beeping? It's actually my iTouch, but it beeps.
Do you pronounce "anti" as ant-eye or ant-ee? ant-eye
Do you pronounce "via" as vee-uh or vie-uh? vie-uh
How often do you forget to close your parentheses? rarely. And I always beat myself up about it when I do, just like grammar and spelling errors. 

Year in Review, well, a start

I started my year in review album for 2011.  I had written up everything of note that we did throughout the year and now I'm adding the pictures and making it pretty! Eventually, I'll get it printed up for family, and saved in an eBook for extended family and friends.  Here are the first 5 7 pages (got two more done tonight, woohoo!)  If you click on them, they will enlarge so you can read the text (if you so choose.)

Harry Potter

The girls and I finished the Harry Potter books last night.  It was bittersweet, because, in Stella's words, "then we won't be able to listen to Harry Potter anymore."

We started listening to the entire series back in July, the first time all the way through for the girls.  Brian had read to them the first 4 books way back when, Sandis re-read those same 4 last summer.  We stopped at book 4 for both books and movies as that is when it gets dark.  Thoughtless killing and torture just aren't pleasant topics, especially when you can't really understand how it relates to the story.  And some of the twists and turns of the story are still lost on them now, how much of it would have flown over their heads then?

Overall, they did very well.  They picked up on some subtle hints and foreshadowing.  Understood the big picture messages.  And, most importantly, thoroughly enjoyed the series.  It is wonderful to share books that you love with your children.  I can't wait to share more and more!

As we finished each book, they were cleared to watch the associated movie.  They liked the movies, and complained, as do I, about how they differ from the book.  It's good for them to see this.  To know that the book is always better than the movie.  Sandis remarked last night, "I wish the people who make these movies would at least read the book first!"  Good girl, Sandis ;)

Next we're going to listen to Percy Jackson, which they have read, Sandis several times.  Not as good as HP, from what I've heard, but the kids aren't quite ready for Lord of the Rings yet.  I'm thinking The Golden Compass series should be next.  Had I thought of that sooner, we would have skipped Percy Jackson! Could try some classics after that.  They enjoyed Alice in Wonderland and Wizard of Oz.  We'll see when the time comes...