A long week

Last week was a rough one. I took a whole week off from work thinking I could get the basement cleaned out and cleaned. I thought that by Friday I would be shampooing the carpets and putting the finishing touches on the family room. It didn't happen. I was pulled away for all sorts of errands and other things that were minor emergencies and needed to be handled. This left the basement actually looking worse than when I started. Now I need to somehow find several hours this week to work down there going through boxes, bags and piles. I can't give up until it's done.

I can't believe I let things get this way. I feel like one of those people you see on one of the Clean(fill in the blank) type shows. I just have accumulated so much stuff and I have no idea why. Of course I'm not in this alone. I have a husband that loves to buy books and cd's and junk in a big way. On a daily basis he comes in the house with some pile of stuff that I'm supposed to find a place for.

So, now I just have to keep plugging away and working at the mountain on a daily basis. The trick is finding time to do that. I'm considering getting up very early each morning to try to get an hour or so in each day before anyone else gets out of bed. Can I truly face clutter at 5am though? We'll see.

I'm not even going to try to post my schedule for this week because I don't really have a good one. I know that tonight my neice is interviewing my father, a former chef, for a school project. Tomorrow night is Scouts and Thursday night is the Green and White Banquet at school for students that made the A or B honor roll all year. Saturday we are celebrating May Birthdays in Kevin's family. We celebrate once a month instead of trying to do them individually. I have no meal plan or chore plan. I'm just going to try to fit in working on the basement whenever I can. Which will probably be at 5am. Oh. My. The more I try to simplify our lives the busier they get. How exactly did that happen?

This past weekend wasn't all bad. Kevin was out of town doing outdoor skills training for Boy Scouts. He really enjoyed it and we have discovered that he is a whiz with a compass. Dylan and I spent Saturday shoe shopping, having a nice dinner and just being together. We actually made it to church on Sunday (first time in months) and then came home and cooked a brunch of pancakes and sausage. We certainly didn't spend Sunday as a day of rest as is my goal. We did get the main part of the house somewhat cleaned up though. I felt so energized after we came home from church that I just couldn't help myself. I went on a cleaning frenzy.

I told Kevin last night that the lightbulb came on and I know what's been wrong with me. I know why I've been depressed and haven't wanted to do anything but sit in the recliner watching tv for the last year. I've let God slip out of my life. Oh, I know He's there, but I've been taking Him for granted and haven't paid a bit of attention to Him. We haven't been going to church. I haven't been reading my bible. I've let myself fall into watching things on tv that are dark and depressing instead of uplifting and positive. It's actually been building for about four years, but this last year it has really hit me hard. I need to make changes from the inside out. I'm so thankful that God doesn't take me for granted like I do Him. I've felt so lonely this last year because I haven't allowed God to be a part of my day to day life. What was I thinking? What was I teaching my son? *This is where I knock myself in the head V8 style*

So, in addition to the time I need to spend working on our house, making family time, cooking family meals and working outside the home, I need to make time for me and God. Anyone have any idea how I can do this still get to sleep each night? How is a mom supposed to do it all? Is a mom supposed to do it all? So many questions, so few answers.

I've made a big mistake

I can't get this basement completely cleaned and organized in a week. It's going to take years. There are boxes of papers that never made it to a filing cabinet. Boxes of baby clothes and toys that I just can't seem to give up. Camping gear, photos, cd's, videos, clothes that no longer fit and stuff. Stuff that I don't ever remember purchasing. Oh. My. Word. How did I let this happen?

That's it. I don't stop until every inch of this house has been decluttered and cleaned. It's going to be a very long spring and summer.

Week 2

Last week went pretty well. There were a few glitches here and there but all in all it went pretty well. This week will be completely different as I have taken the whole week off from work to do some major cleaning and decluttering in the basement. I'm scared that today is already shaping up to be a bad day in which I won't accomplish a lot, but I'm going to do my best. Dylan is staying home from school with a sore throat and will need to make a trip to the doctor and we are short one car at the moment. I really hope I'm able to get a lot done even though everthing is working against me and it's ony 7:25 am.

So here is the plan for this week.

Kevin works 3:00 - 9:15
Dylan is home and will need to go to the doctor.
I plan to work on the basement as much as possible.
Dylan and I will have chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner.

Kevin works 9:00 - 4:00
I'll be back in the basement.
This will be our family night with dinner and games.
Dinner will be pork chops, potatoes and veggies.

Kevin works 8:30 - 3:00
I'll be back in that basement again but will stop early to take Dylan to the orthodontist.
It's curbside recycling day so we have to have our tub to the curb early.
It will be Sloppy Joes for an early dinner.
We will all be at Boy Scouts from 6:00 - 8:00

Kevin works 3:30 - 9:15
Me, I'll be back in that basement again.
Dylan and I will have Chicken & Cheese Quesedillias for dinner.

Kevin is off and will be leaving for Scout training.
I'm hoping to shampoo the basement carpet and then clean up the rest of the house.
Dylan and I will have the night to ourselves and we'll have to find something fun to do.

Kevin will be gone for Scout training.
I really hope that I will be done with the basement so that Dylan and I can have a fun day!

Report Card

Family Dinners - 4
Family Game Night - 1

Not bad for our first week. A few changes were made to the schedule. Yesterday, Dylan had a Scout project that I didn't know about so we had to switch things up a bit. The result was that no work was done on the basement yesterday.

So far today we are completely off schedule because Kevin is working early this morning. So, I didn't cook a big breakfast. He will be home pretty early though so I'm hoping we can have some family time this afternoon.


We were shaken awake at 4:36 this morning by an earthquake. And we don't even live in California. Kevin and I woke up to our bed shaking and the sound of windows rattling. We jumped out of bed and ran for Dylan's room. I yelled for him to get out of bed, he sleeps on the lower level of bunk beds, and he met us in his doorway. We stood there and rode out the rest of the quake. It lasted almost 45 seconds which seems like hours when your house is shaking. The reports say that the epicenter was about 70 miles away and that it was a 5.2 quake.

This was about the sixth earthquake that I can recall feeling. It was Dylan's second one and he has declared it "cool". Oh to be twelve.

In an instant

Yesterday went well. I worked like a mad woman while at the office and feel caught up after being gone to training last week. Dylan and I had eye doctor appointments and now Dylan is the proud owner of a pair of contacts. He's feeling oh so grown up and is thrilled that he won't have to wear glasses any longer. Then I came home and lit into the house while Kevin took Dylan to his music lessons. I found something to cook for dinner. Ok, it was Hamburger Helper, but it was food and can be cooked quickly. Anyway, I put that on the stove, straightened up the house a bit and put away basket after basket of clean laundry. Not long after my guys came home, we sat down to a family dinner. Yay! We chatted about school, about the test Kevin had taken, about upcoming Scout adventures and the fact that I had made a schedule for the week and posted it on the fridge. Dylan takes after me and loves it when we have a schedule. While he was doing his happy dance because I'm grilling steaks on Saturday night, it happened. I realized that I had left something off the schedule. I have to work the ticket table for a music program at the school on Thursday and Friday night. The rest of the PTA officers will be at the state convention and that leaves me, the incoming treasurer to hande everything. (The fact that only about five people do anything for the PTA at my son's Title I school is a whole other post.)

In an instant Kevin went from praising the fact that we had dinner on the table and the house looked decent, to berating me for putting a Family Night on the schedule if I wasn't going to be there, volunteering for too much, and just being an all around incompetent wife. In an instant, I went from feeling like "I can do this" to "Why do I bother?". In an instant I went from being cheerful mom to the wicked witch of southern Indiana. So much for a lovely evening with my family. It ended about midnight with me sitting on the floor at the coffee table paying bills and realizing that our car tags expire on the 15th. That would be today. Which means I'll be speding my lunch hour at the BMV. Great fun.

So, today is a new day and I'm going to try very hard once again. I'm going to be positive and do my best to keep to my schedule. I'm going to work it out so that I only have to be at the school for a short time on Thursday and Friday and I'm going to say a prayer right now and forgive and forget the episode at dinner last night. It's a new day. A clean slate and I'm only going to write good things on it.

Week One

Here it is, the first week of trying to get organized and live simply. I'm afraid that there is so much organizing and cleaning to do that the living simply part isn't going to kick in for a while.

Kevin is off and is taking the post office test. Then he has a doctor's appt.
I work my normal 8-5 schedule with the exception that I'll be taking off early for mine and Dylan's eye doctor appointments.
Dylan has school, eye doctor and music lessons tonight.
Dinner will be whatever we can find and I will put away all clean laundry tonight. I also need to work on the bills. It may be a late night.

Kevin works 9-4.
I work 8-5
Dylan has school.
Kevin and I have a Troop Committee meeting at 6:30 and I think it will be a family dinner at Denny's. At least we'll all be together.
I will update the Troop website before going to bed.

Kevin works 2:30-9
I work 8-5
Dylan has school and will eat dinner with Grandma and Grandpa.
Dylan and I will go to the Troop meeting from 6-8.
I will organize our calendar before going to bed.

Kevin is off
I work 8-5
Dylan has school.
We have no other plans so we will have a family dinner (beef stew) and can play games afterwards.

Kevin works 1-9:15
I work 8-5
Dylan has school.
Dylan and I will go grocery shopping and then have dinner when we get home.

Kevin works 10-7
Dylan and I are off!!!
Dylan and I plan to hit the laundromat and then work in the basement all day long.
We'll have a late family dinner, steaks on the grill. Yum!

Breakfast of pancakes and sausage.
I have no idea what lunch will be.
We will attempt to have a relaxing family day with no chores.

Okay, so that's three family dinners, but one of them is at a restaurant. We'll work on having breakfast together as much as possible too.

I'll check in mid week and we'll see how this is going.

Here we go again!

Let's see, is this my third or fourth attempt at blogging? I've lost count. I start a blog, post about 10 times, decide I hate my writing and give up for six months. This time I've set a goal for myself. I want to blog three times a week for one year. I always set to be an every day blogger and then get disgusted with myself because I can't meet that goal. I'm also giving myself permission to just blog whatever I'm thinking and I won't get upset with myself for not being witty and funny like so many of the blogs I read. So, if you want to tune in three times a week for mediocre writing, this is the place!

The purpose of this blog is to record our lives as we move from this crazy, cluttered life to one that is more peaceful and simple. It's going to take a lot of work, I know that, but I believe that it will be well worth it. Who knows, maybe someone else will be encouraged along the way.

I have just finished reading Living Simply by Joanne Heim a/k/a The Simple Wife. This was exactly the book that I'd been searching for. So many books on living a simple life involved growing my own vegetables, throwing away the television and only shopping at Goodwill. I don't want to become a vegetarian or live on a commune. I want to live in my little house with my family. I want to watch some television and buy pretty new clothes for summer. I want to eat steak for Pete's sakes!

I spent several days this past week in a computer class learning to use report writing software. One thing that the instructor said stuck in my head as something I wanted to do with this blog. I know, I was supposed to be concentrating on balance sheets and profit and loss statements and not blogging but sometimes my mind just works that way. He told us that when we are designing a new report, we should picture the end result first so we know where we want to end up. That's what I want to do here. I want to establish what I want my home life to look like so I know where I am headed.

The House
I start with the house because my surroundings seem to be causing me the most stress at the moment. It's a small house, only about 750 sq ft, with a full basement. Half of the basement is finished and should be a family room. However, it is filled with boxes and stacks of stuff and is currently uninhabitable by humans. The rest of the house isn't horrible, but every nook and cranny is filled with something. The house also needs some updating with paint, carpet, furniture.

I want this house to be clutter free and well organized. The storage area in the basement will be clean and organized with boxes and containers labeled. The laundry room will be clean and there will be system in place for sorting the dirty laundry in bins and clean laundry will not be allowed to pile up. The family room will be clean and free of boxes. Half of the room will be the music area with drums, guitars and keyboard. The other half will be a sitting area with comfy chairs and plenty of books. The rest of the house will be clean and clutter free. Closets will be orgaized and all of the things we don't use or like will be donated or tossed. The redecorating with paint, carpet and furniture will have to wait until funds allow.

Home Life
I truly am longing for more quality time with my family. We tend to all go our separate ways too often. Kevin will be buried in a book while I am watching television and Dylan is on the computer. We don't talk or interact and this just isn't acceptable. I know that we can't have a 'set' schedule with Kevin working retail, so we will need to be flexible. I will have to have a new schedule each week rather than being able to have a consistent routine. I want to sit down each week with our calendar and Kevin's schedule and plan out at least 3 family dinners and one night in which there will be no television or computer. I want it to be a night when we talk, play games, take a walk or ride bikes. This involves me learning to cook better than I do now and pulling together some menus that I can easily prepare. I would really like to set aside a day each month to prepare a few meals that can be frozen so that they are ready to go when we are in a hurry. I also want to do better with our morning routine. We need to sit down to a quiet breakfast together as often as possible and have our things ready from the night before so that we aren't running out the door at the last minute trailing stuff behind us.

Okay, so those are the basics of my picture. This is what I think a simple life should look like. A clean organized home and a family that spends time together. Can we get there? I think we can. It's going to require perseverance and the ability to say no to outside forces that would try to infringe on our family time, but I think I've got just enough fight left in me to do the job.