Friday, August 31, 2012

The family room

I stumbled upon a new clutter/organizational blog last week. I found myself watching this video about guilty clutter. And as I was sitting and listening and watching her describe the guilt over her red sweaters...I felt a pang. Something clicked with me. I was sitting in a room full of guilty clutter.

I looked around and found that the room I spend all day in, the room we call the family room or the fireplace room, was full of things. Things. Books and photos and frames and candles and holders and even shelving that made the room seem full and small and super cluttered. Awhile back, when I was trying to decide what to put above the fireplace, I showed a picture to a friend and she suggested NOT doing anything busy because there was a lot going on in the room already. That was her nice way of saying 'HOLY CRAP you have a lot of junk in there'. She was being nice. I totally didn't see all the stuff. Until I watched that video. I went with a large clock above the mantle, not too busy but nice. However, the rest of the room was still full of junk. The picture below gives a good idea of what a mess it was. The stripes are no longer there, I painted the room yellow a few years ago, but wow, those stripes do NOT help the room at all. So imagine this, with yellow walls.

The baby is about 3 months old there (she's now almost 5y) the other is 5yo (almost 10 now) and obviously this was at Christmas time so there's a little bit extra Christmas decor involved. We've swapped out that blue couch for a red one, and the christmas tree spot holds a yellow chair now. Look at all that stuff. Floating shelves filled with frames, bookshelves full of books and avon steins and candles and clocks and wedding photos. So, when I moved the red and yellow furniture in here (we gave away the blue stuff) and painted the room yellow I took down the blue decor pieces. I still can't get over how much STUFF is in there.

So last weekend after I'd watched the video above, and read the post that went with it, and looked around my rooms, I realized that this room needed a fix-up and that large parts of it were here because of my guilt. I kept the photos because OMG you can't NOT show all your cute babies all the time, and HOW DARE you take down family photos even though you aren't speaking to some of the people in them and there have been new additions to the family since. Keep this stuff passed on from deceased family (I am keeping it, just with a better plan for display) and display it even though it doesn't GO with anything and you know the deceased would rather you were happy and comfortable in your home.

I have taken steps so far to clean it up and declutter and it's so awesome. I've donated a bunch of books to the library and I have a pile of frames and candle holders to donate to Goodwill. I took down the floating shelves and all the photos on them. I didn't throw them out, stop panicking, I am storing them in a plastic bin under my bed. So I can still see them and look at them and love them, but without SEEING them everywhere. I pared down the built-in bookshelves to hold books I acutally like or need to read and one photo of each child, one wedding photo and one family photo. I will swap the photos in those frames probably yearly (except our wedding photo of course, that one stays). Once I read the books I want to, I'll probably donate them also, and just keep books that look nice and that I want to keep (Harry Potter, etc) on the shelves. I'm a big fan of the Kindle now and of reading library books.

The room has transformed. I'm not ready to show you yet, I need to patch the holes from the floating shelves and touch up the paint and get the donations where they belong.  I have loved every minute of all of it. From deciding there isn't really any guilt with taking these things down and with donating things other people can use. I gave away the floating shelves to someone on Craigslist yesterday. I love it. I think my second career calling might have been a professional organizer. I think I might love that.

Next time, I'll have pictures of the room all de-cluttered and fixed up. We still have this big desk in the room that we'd like to scale down, but that might take awhile to work out, so for now we're working around it. The rest of the room however is really coming together.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

5 Things I Didn’t Expect About Parenthood

Today's post over at Mom of 6 is about the unexpected parts of parenthood.'s my list.

5 Things I Didn’t Expect About Parenthood
  1. I didn't expect my entire body to be so in tune to my children. If they wake in the night (even now at ages 4 and 9) I am fully aware of it immediately. My body comes alive with the awareness, which is both amazing and kinda frustrating if they don't actually need me. Then I'm awake for nothing.
  2. I never expected to say "Please do not LICK the Target cart". Watching my daughter (5 then) run her tongue along the top edge of the Target cart from side to side was unbelievable. I couldn't believe she was doing it, I couldn't believe I had to tell her NOT to do it. I was stunned for a bit on that trip.
  3. I never expected to be annoyed with them. I knew I was annoyed with other people's children, but I assumed that was because they weren't my own beautiful offspring. Turns out, kids are just kind of annoying sometimes. You power through. 
  4. I am really really unprepared (and unwilling?) to teach them about things like monthly cycles (we have two girls) and sex and boys and body changes. I am about to prepare myself and inform my daughter about some things (she'll be 10 in November) but I am not looking forward to it.  I'm surprised by how much I do NOT want them to drive, or to date, or to go anywhere ever. I'm also surprised by my distrust of their friends, no matter how nice and friendly they actually are. I'm in overprotective mother bear mode all the time apparently.
  5. I am also surprised that while #4 is true...I am really really looking forward to next year, when the 4yo goes to Kindergarten and I will be home alone all day. I work from home and the concentration it takes to be productive while managing a child or two is exhausting. I look forward to accomplishing much without fetching eleventy billion cups of juice throughout the day.
The other topic could have been 5 Things I would buy for myself right NOW online if I had the money and I really really kind of wanted to do that too, so....
  1. curtains for the girls rooms, to block the heat and light -
  2. a curio cabinet to hold my dad's china..which was my grandma's china
  3. some custom motorcycle seats for the husband and myself and maybe a windshield as well
  4. a tummy tuck? In theory I'd really love one, but in reality its too expensive and risky 
  5. does paying bills count? I'd like to pay off what we owe on the new furniture, the motorcycle and have enough left to get ahead on the house maybe. 
That list of things I'd buy is a little bit lame. I need to work on my want list. I'm a little to practical to make this list I guess.


Summertime is over. School started Thursday (the 16th).

This post is going to have a lot of pictures. We tried to make sure our week off, our vacation at home, our staycation if you will was awesome. We didn't want to spend too much so we decided to stay home, but ended up spending plenty of money anyway at the fair and local shopping and mini golfing and bowling. It was a great week though.We started by trampolining at my brother's house. They're moving and not taking the trampoline with them, so we need to get some jump time in on it before its unavailable.

That's the 4yo jumping with her cousin
Next up, bowling! The 4yo had never been bowling and the 9yo had been with her school. So we took some free coupons we had from their reading program at the library and went and bowled just for the cost of shoe rental. That was pretty sweet.
Daddy helping the 4yo to bowl

The 9yo is clearly a pro

I can do it myself!
After bowling we saw the weather was going to get a bit hot. So we got up a little earlier the next morning and went mini golfing. It was perfect, hot enough we didn't want to be there long, but nice enough we could get through 18 mini holes. We even took a break in the middle to cool off in the a/c and take a potty break. I couldn't decide which photos to I'm posting all the good ones. I did mention this was a photo heavy post, right?

Since it was so hot that day we came home, had some lunch and rested for a bit. Then we headed out to the pool. We're pretty lucky to be able to have a pool and the girls love it. They always find ways to make games and play act things out.

 We took a break for the go go go on Wednesday and then we headed out Thursday to do some horseback riding and visit the Iowa State Fair. The 9yo loved horseback riding and I hung with the 4yo while we waited, which was fun too. So much crazy good food and things to see at the fair and we found some pretty cool products to buy as well. I'd actually like to hunt down the people so I can buy more. I also found and . We spent too much of course, but it was a lot of fun.

making spin art

the finished spin art

ice cream is so good
Friday we took it easy again and then the weekend was sort of full with adult plans. The husband took a long motorcycle ride with some friends (Poopy's Triangle) and then I had a bachelorette party and Sunday the husband golfed and I had a bridal shower. All in all it was an excellent vacation. 

I also thought it'd be easier this summer to exercise, and do things with the kids and do this and do that. I was wrong. Summer break made it harder to get all the things I wanted to do done..I'm too busy playing with my children in all the free time.

Monday, August 20, 2012


I love to read.  The girls love to read.  So every weekend we find our way to the library and get a new stack of books to read for the week. 

This Sunday while at the library we saw this one.  I hope we never need it.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Today we went to Poopy's.  Last night the in laws (they live in town now)  took the girls overnight.  So we got up and went for a motorcycle ride.  It's about 95 miles total and I learned a lot of things along the way.

There are too many small towns.

Iowa has an island town.  Sabula,  look it up.

My butt has a 35 mile limit before needing a break from the bike.

It's strange to be flying along the highway and not hold on to anything.  When I realize that I grab the strap in front of me.

The sissy bar is awesome.

Poopy's is awesome.  Cool place and good food,  outdoor eating and live music.

I bought a tank top and poopys panties.  Get it,  poopy panties,  ha!  Husband got a tshirt.

Poopy's parking lot. Front and back filled with bikes.

Me in my motorcycle gear.

The Hog for lunch

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fourth Grade

I have another post about our vacation in the works with a ton of pictures etc, but I just can't get to it yet. So instead, today is the first day of school for our district. I now have a fourth grader. FOURTH GRADE!

So big and smart and beautiful