Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Calm before the Storm

My kids are all excited. My Oppositional Defiant child even tried to pull a 5 minute melt-down over 20 minutes worth of homework because it was his last night of playing. His more sane emotions quickly kicked into gear, he whizzed through his homework and hurriedly plugged his brain in for it’s last couple of hours of brain zapping before tomorrow’s de-tox. Tonight is the binge before the diet, the calm before the storm, the feast before the famine (wait I already said that), for tomorrow, their little minds have to re-engage and actually think, and heaven forbid, they may even have to interact with other human beings. We of course have let them go overboard this past week on X-box, X-box 360, Play station II, Wii, Nintendo DS, and 3 portable laptops, in addition to two other computers playing different games at the same time.

Why indulge them? Probably, since they are more than willing to go along with our yearly tradition of NO ELECTRONIC ENTERTAINMENT OF ANY KIND FOR A WHOLE MONTH. I think this is our 5th year and, without exception, the month that always gets chosen is February because it's the shortest month of the year. I didn’t feel the need to mention that February has an extra day this year; somehow I don’t think they will notice.

I know, I know your eyes are bugging out with the list of gaming systems I mentioned above. Blame it on my oldest child (husband). No I guess you can blame it on me because I let him talk me into them. See you can stomp a mean DDR on X-box, Rock Band and Guitar Hero I, II and III on the 360, Kingdom Hearts on Play station, and well the most perfect gaming system invented, the Wii, makes you actually use something besides those chubby little fingers. Sure your fingers and maybe a couple of limbs get a good workout but do you notice the lack of tone in the facial expressions. It get's worse with age.

It’s like attack of the Zombies have infected everyone.

And the posture, Oh the Horror!

I can always dream that maybe I’ll talk them into getting rid of all systems except the Wii, but I won’t bring that up until the end of the month. On the last day of last year's month, my O.D.D. child even mentioned that we probably shouldn't even turn the T.V. back on, because he liked how things were with it off. I about had to pick my jaw up off the floor after that one.

I am slowly making headway against the brain sucking devices, last year I talked them into getting rid of our Dish network, that was my sacrifice. I really miss my HGTV! Now the only shows we watch are DVD’s, or some favorite series we bought off I tunes. I love the fact that there are no commercials.

The only exceptions to the rules are that we can use computers for email, to do homework, and sorry T-Rev there is no homework merit to be found at Homestarrunner.

I also got permission from my husband to continue my Blog. I called it therapy and seeing as how I need all the help I can get – he agreed. I can’t however surf, and believe me that will be hard. What else am I going to do with my time? Oh, yeah, I could actually take care of the kids and keep de-cluttering the house. So don’t worry about me.

I predict that the phrase, ‘I’m bored, there’s nothing to do,’ will be said too many times to actually count within the first couple of hours. But if it’s anything like in years past, slowly but surely, I know they will figure something out.

Wish us luck, I’m really going to need it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If You Give A Mom An Illness...

She’s probably going to ask for a day off.
When you give her the day off.
The Kids are Guaranteed to run amok.
And Kids amok means more clutter.

When mom see’s the house is cluttered.

She’ll really want to avoid it.

Then Dad will tell her the appraiser, because you’re refinancing,

is coming in three days.

She’ll decide she’s not that sick.

So she loads the truck with trash,

And when she starts the engine there will be a

funny smell.

Because a rodent (maybe chasing food crumbs left by six kids)
crawled in the vent somewhere and died.

Being as she is already sick, she will send husband to the dump instead.

Then she will decide to take the family tank to the Dr.

And when she starts the vent on the family tank.

It smells kind of engine-smell funny and won’t defrost.

So she drives blindly to the Dr.'s anyway.

And he tells her that she has

walking pneumonia.

So she goes home and get’s hormonal crazy (monthly thing) on her husband because...

Two cars, the entire house, and his head need fixin,

and Because mom is really sick,

And chances are if mom is sick,

She is going to want a day off!!!

P.S. What do you suppose the chances are that it will then snow, and the non-homeschooled kids won't go to school? And suppose they will stay home two whole days, and make an even bigger mess around the house, after having loads of fun in the snow. Chances are... 100%.

What? Even Hope is out to get me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One Among Millions

I’m just one person, but I happen to be one person on this earth who like millions, and millions of others who was influenced for the better by a singular and uniquely wonderful man. Gordon B. Hinckley.

Growing up LDS and in Utah just a couple of hours from Church Headquarters you would think that I would have often had the chance to meet the apostles and prophets of our church. To be honest, I have seen several but I have only shaken hands with one. I remember being very young and going to a special fireside in Logan, Utah with my parents. The guest speakers were the Osmond’s and then - Apostle for our church, Gordon B. Hinckley. To be honest I was understandably more excited to see the Osmond’s. However, before the program began, and before the Osmond’s came out, I braved a short walk to the stage and was able to shake his hand. I’ve always remembered his kind face and smile. He is the only Prophet of our Church that I've personally shaken hands with.

There are always church leaders whose message resonates with your heart and who you feel a special connection to. As a child I loved our prophet Spencer W. Kimball, and it took me a while to gain a personal testimony of some of the men who followed in his footsteps. When Gordon B. Hinckley was sustained as our prophet a little under 13 years ago, I instantly felt that connection again. He had always been one of my favorites.

A year and a half ago, my family and I traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois and visited many wonderful places that have significant value to the history of our church. One of my most memorable moments in Nauvoo came in the final moments of the Nauvoo Temple Pageant. All the pageant noise and lights dimmed down to nothing and up on the hill behind the stage the lights on the Nauvoo Temple slowly lit the temple until it stood as a shining beacon. I felt such a thrill in my heart that I quietly sobbed as the voice of President Gordon B. Hinckley then came across the sound system talking about the importance of temples.

I’m so grateful for his optimism, humor, humbleness, his tireless testimony, and example of service to the world. His love of all God’s Children, regardless of their different religious background, and his love all church members including me, are just some of the wonderful things that I loved and admired about this great man.

So on this night in hearing of his passing, although I will miss him most terribly, I am at peace that our Church is still true and still led by men of God on earth today. I rejoice that he is with the love of his life, Marjorie, and I wish them a happy and joyous reunion with the many faithful who have gone before them. I will never forget the many wonderful things I’ve learned by listening to him, reading his teachings, and following this wonderful man.

God Bless You, Gordon B. Hinckley. And Thank You, from one of millions of people whose hearts that you’ve touched.

Soap Opera With Lightsabers

Here by popular demand is Abner's mini-movie that he made with his friend Candyman way last summer.
Three hours impromptu filming, 24 hours straight editing, 2 minutes, 18 seconds of pure teenage boy campy fun.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Scary Hair

Warning: All the good home improvement pictures you are about to view, actually happened before Fawndear got incapacitated with dreaded sickness known as flu-nasty cold. So if you’re hoping for some more wows pic's, well they just ain’t coming this week. A couple of opp’s, did I do that pictures? But hey, what can you expect from a sickie. Here is my biggest before and after pictures for today. It’s called Miss Scary Hair. Hope has beautiful natural curls. Her grandpa even calls her his Little Shirley Temple. Well first thing in the morning she is little Miss Scary Hair.
So I made it my one goal of the day to wash it, comb it and throw in a fancy barrette, guaranteed to last all of 30 seconds, while I take a picture. She then promptly pulls it out and hands it to me to put in again. We do this routine about 4 or 5 times before I intentionally get distracted and somehow lose the hair bauble so I won’t have to put it in again.

Yes, folks, those curls are all natural. We call it comb and curl. Awfully cute now, but guarenteed to be a big pain to comb as she grows up.

Last weekend before the nasty bug visited us I was able to get another load off to the thrift store. See that wine cups in the center. Had them eight years and the box was still sealed. Never used them. Don't know what I was thinking buying them when I don't even drink wine. Maybe I was thinking of making them dessert cups or something? That just shows I really wasn't thinking, because, give my kids anything made out of glass, and it will be broken within a week.

And as for the future mud room. Here it was last week.

O.K. I know this doesn't look good. But when we moved the washer dryer to the new laundry room we had to open up some walls to re-route some water and electrical lines. Well we just never closed them back up again. That's my next project.

Note to self: Don't attempt home improvement while your head is stuffy and tummy is doing flip flops. It may be too distracting. In trying to remove the old dryer hose attachment, I thought the best way to loosen the blasted vent would be to give it a few little old harmless kicks.

Duh, behind the vent was the wall in our entry way. Nice job, don't you think. Fawndear kicked the vent right through and now we have a nice hole in the wall, in an entirely different room.

But, Ive learned my lesson, I've gone back to the sickness Acceptance stage where I don't care and just want to get better. My flu is done and over with but I've been attacked with the plague of the barking seals and stuffed-up-so-if-feels-like-it's-going-to-explode head. I'm fine if I just don't move. So I'll sit around and maybe work on my brillant idea for my blog title picture. I can't wait until I finish it because I'm so excited that I thought about it. It could be that it's a horrible idea but I'm too stuffed up to know anything. Hopefully I will have it, as well as my new mud room done as soon as this nasty bug has left. Let's just hope that happens soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fashion overhaul needed

Yes, our household is in deperate need of a fashion overhaul. Thanks rkimedes for capturing one of my Prince Erik's (manager mentioned) many endearing sides.

stages of sickness

Denial: The only reason your feeling queasy is because you’ve been cleaning up everyone else’s lost cookies, including the cats. Who wouldn’t feel rotten with those associated smells. Plus you worked out for only 30 minutes but your muscles felt like they had just finished that blasted half-marathon again. You've probably just been working out too long and your body wants a day off.

Acceptance: Can’t deny the fever any longer. You still have to wear three layers of clothes, and the only way you can stay warm is to curl up on the couch, under a blanket, with your feverish two year old. But acceptance isn’t all that bad. You can lay around in your P.J.’s all day long, sip fruit smoothies occasionally, cancel appointments that you really didn’t want to go to in the first place, only pull your self from a prone position to visit the bathroom to lose the smoothies or take a bubble bath. Plus you get to let the house fall apart and be too tired to care, or have guilt about it. Wow, and you can lose a couple of easy lbs without even trying.

Reality: Can also be Called the Sick and Tired phase – with more movement. Yes you still feel like something the cat dragged in from the local garbage dump, but your sense of smell is returning, and your eyesight improves to the point where you see the damage that can be reeked with mom taking a single day off. With that, the guilt comes back. And even if you still don’t feel like eating, the kids still need to eat. How is it that losing a couple of pounds to sickness makes you feel a hundred pounds heavier when you climb the stairs? Oh and I get to add another thing to my list of what brings on my tremors – anything, while sick. The girls still need school but I’ll hit them heavy with Signing Time DVD’s so I don’t have to do anything strenuous or actually use my brain today.

On the mend – O.K. Well I’m not there yet. I’m still in the Sick and Tired phase, but the good news is T-Rev, Princess, and Hope are all feeling a wee bit better. They just sound like barking seals now. Lea, Abner and I are still feeling sick and tired. Evo-man wants to be sick in the worst way but so far has avoided the fever, nausea, cough, and lack of appetite and movement that would make me keep him home from school. He even admitted to me that his cough sounded fake this morning. So far six family members contracted the dreaded flu-like illness. The jury is out on when and if the other two will catch it. As for me I'm going to go back and crawl under a blanket on the couch with Hope. Maybe I'll even try and feebly copy the signs we are learning.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mudder & the Secret Photographer

Princess told me about a movie she watched, while she was home sick from church today. Her favorite part of the movie was where the girl found her mudder.

'Her mudder?' I replied.

'Yep, her mudder,' she said excitedly.

I confirmed that a mudder is a mom. Seems right because being a mom with lot's of little kids means that you are constantly dealing with muddy situations.

Here's Princess sleeping with her best friends (Dr.) Boots and (patient) Chilly. Hopefully they will help her feel better soon.

Before I took the picture of Princess sleeping I grabbed an old memory card because I misplaced the camera card I just loaded onto my computer yesterday. Turns out that the new or old, depending how you look at it, card had about 130 pictures already taken on it. I didn't remember taking any of the pictures. Turns out they were taken by a sneaky, secret, family closet photographer. Considering that I bumped my head on the top bunk of the bunkbed trying to take the above picture of Princess sleeping, I should get some lessons from this pro.

I figure they were taken last summer. Not to bad, if I say so myself. Look the plants are even alive.

The secret photographer even captured our family immortalized in vinyl rub-on stick figures on the back of our tank.

And sister Hope sleeping on the computer keyboard. Hey, around our home you get sleep whenever you can.

AH-HA! The secret photographer left this incriminating clue as to their identity. Turns out it was Lea all along.

Have a happy and healthy new week. We are trying for the happy. Hopefully the healthy won't be too far behind.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

At War with Clutter & the Flu

My husband was dancing with joy because my friend came and mopped floors for me yesterday. However, the euphoria of clean floors didn’t last long, because pretty soon we had two sick kids getting them dirty again. Why is it that I seem to be the only one in our entire family who knows how to properly bow down before the porcelain throne? This is T-Rev’s third day of the flu. Usually we just get the one day stomach virus, and are back again the next day. This is the first time we have ever caught something that lasts this long. Today Princess joined him in the If-it-goes-down then it-must-come-up Club. I don’t really want to go into detail but I have cleaned up you know what, you know where, and then some. If this continues to spread throughout the rest of the family I think it will be a long couple of weeks.
On a cheerier subject, I thought since I was in the Before/After habit I would update you on my personal war with the Clutter Monster. We have almost won the battle in the School Room. I even braved teaching my girls in there to yesterday with great results. It kind of gave me an emotional boost as well. I think we were all tired of school being shuffled from room to car, back to room again. In our library/school room, I must have carted out 3-4 bags of trash, at least 3 bags of recycling, a couple large boxes of books to donate to the thrift store, a small bookshelf, and about 12 now-empty baskets. I’ll have to see if I can use them in organizing some of my other rooms. If not they will go to the thrift store as well. The battle did have its casualties. Princess was helping me shred a huge pile of papers, and thought she would be efficient by trying to shred them all at once. Needless to say, our faithful, but old, General Shredder’s motor couldn’t take all the stress and his little ticker gave up the ghost. Princess was devastated, because she was only trying to help. I need to get another one soon, because I have a garbage pail full of shredables. And the first person I’ll have help me shred is Princess. So, not to make this blog too wordy tonight, I’ll just throw in some pictures.

Caution!!! If messy rooms make you want to join my kids sick club then you might want to log off now. Remember these....

The school room was in drastic need of a Fawndear purge.

Ohhhhhhh, Awwwwwww...

Wow, well it's o.k.

So, I know your thinking, 'What's with the bike and the pink basket and the white droid?' The bike is temporary, until the wheather dries up and my husband can take it off the trainer and put it on the real road. As for the pink basket, it is strategically placed at Hope level, with coloring books and toys so she has something to do when I'm schooling with her older sisters. And the white droid thingie is an air-conditioning unit that I use in the summer. There is just no room in the garage for it right now...

Hey here is something that wasn't on my list, but I did it anyway.

I'll have to work on the brown color scheme, but I think it turned out swell, don't you?

So for my next project. O.K. here is the last little bit of the Library that I haven't finished, mainly because it mostly belongs to Prince Erik. He promised to sit down with me this weekend to work on it.

And, my old laundry room. It is now a shove-all room inbetween the hall and the new laundry room. See how you have to step over stuff just to go between. Pathetic, isn't it.

I want this little Harry Potter room to actually be a nice mud-room where my kiddo's can put their coats and backpacks and all those infernal shoes from the front porch that have taken up temporary residence in the hallway.

Until, my next accountablity post, wish me luck in the infirmary that is now my home. Oh, and I've got a really fawn-inspired idea on my artwork for my title page above. It will take me a bit to get it done. Just wanted you to know that I still do get some ideas every now and then. So keep checking back. Thanks for viewing my posts and the blessed mess I call home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Living A Dream

One Year Anniversary!
The Horrific, Dreaded, Scary Prince Erik and Fawndear BEFORE....

Who are these good-lookin, o.k. I know that's a bit of a stretch, healthy looking folks. US AGAIN.

One year ago yesterday, I got this terrible pain in my thighs, biceps, whatever those non-existent stomach muscles are called, etc. You name it and it hurt. My pain was caused by a personal (torture) trainer named Lexi. Just kidding, she was awesome and didn’t torture me too much. But that was also the day I started living a dream. It wasn’t easy, I actually had to do the very hardest thing possible – put myself first.

Blah, Blah, Blah, Let me condense this ultra long story. Had six kids and packed on approximately 10 extra mommy lbs. per child. Right after I had number six I started shaking in my boots or crocs, whichever you prefer, literally. Nine months after the shaking started, countless specialists and of course the good old process of elimination, they diagnosed me with Essential tremor. Kind of sounds like a pregnancy, nine months of anxiety and finally the blessed arrival has a name. But finally knowing a name is much better than not knowing anything.
Anyway, back to the story. To make matters worse I cut back on my activity because activity seemed to make the tremors worse. Gained 20 more lbs. The bad news was that the tremors still increased, those pesky things. Took up the hip fashion of walking with a cane when my tremors started affecting my head and balance. But hey, at least I had something to thump my kids with if they gave me lip. Also gave up night driving because headlights made me blink like crazy. Made my poor slave children pull me in a rickshaw on family vacation because I couldn’t haul my own overly large carcass around. Took care of six kids and my kid husband on 40% capacity. Felt like an 80 year old lady with a soul of a teenager. Started taking umpteen medicines to control tremors, anxiety and frustration over what I can no longer do. Saw the downward spiral and finally hit ROCK BOTTOM! And you guessed it, finally did something about it. Yes, that was the condensed version. The unabridged version would take all day and then some.

My husband and I finally humbled ourselves to the point where we knew that we could no longer tackle the fat clutter monster that had consumed our bodies. So we turned to the professional’s at Pro Sports Club 20/20 Program. In the United States, of the people who lose weight only 1 to 2 percent of them are successful at keeping their weight off. At the 20/20 program 48% of them succeed. We wanted the odds in our favor. Believe me, they hit you from all angles possible, personal trainers, dietitians, Dr.’s, Psychologists, Group counseling. I estimated in my case I spent 15-17 hours a week traveling to and from, working out, or in meetings with the dietitian, group and counselor. You cannot help but do well because you are accountable to so many other people, every day. By the time the program is over, you are accountable to yourself as well.

It actually worked. Here I am a year later. No meds whatsoever. I keep pinching myself to let myself know this dream is reality. Down 70 plus lbs, with my first ever 5k's (three of them), two sprint-triathlon’s and just last month a half marathon under my belt. Look out Iron man (kidding)! But the biggest wowwie is the miracle that occurred along the way. My tremor’s all but disappeared. Now they only sneak in when I’m extremely tired, anxious, or in super cold weather. Good-bye cane, frustration, low self-esteem, excuses, etc.

It wasn’t just me, either. My husband dropped 80 lbs and is now lighter than when I met him in college. He got over his sleep apnea, constant reoccurring headaches and almost totally eliminated his high blood pressure meds. Our kids couldn’t help but be affected as well. I won’t even begin to recount how many times they accidently dropped their pants because they forgot to wear belts. Help, we are in desperate need of a wardrobe makeover around here.
We even had to come up with a code name for Evo-man to remind him to pull his pants up. All we have to do is say the word ‘Football’. That’s code for, ‘Hike you pants up son, your showing a little too much of your BVD’s and I’m blushing with embarrassment.’ As a family we have lost probably around 180 lbs.

Thank you, Lexi, Dani, Dr. Burner, Dr. Strater, Dr. Upton, Azucena, Peter, Paula, Michelle, my Great Friend Kami who did the program with me so we could swap kids, and everyone else who helped us find ourselves last year. Oh, happy dream!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I'd Hurl for You!

How much do I love my husband? Enough to lose my cookies for him? You bet. But only once a year. Tonight to celebrate his Forty-somethingish Birthday, I agreed to go to Red Lobster for dinner (my first time there, by the way.) Thanks to my family for the gift certificates from Christmas. What you need to understand is, that my husband, is the only person on earth that I’d go to a seafood place with. You see I had a horrific(for me) allergic reaction to fish with my second pregnancy and ever since, the taste, the thought and even the smell of seafood instantly turns my stomach into a rollercoaster ride to a not so happy place. It could be mental, but I have made an honest effort to occasionally try different seafood over the fourteen years since then, but always end up kneeling before that porcelain throne begging for mercy. Tonight was no different and the results were the same, even though I didn’t even eat fish, just chicken but the smell did me in. But by-golly, my Prince Erik loves seafood and I really wanted him to have a nice birthday.

Some of his other birthday highlights included...

The whole family taking him to see the newest Veggie Tale Movie, ’The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.’ Sounds like something any father would enjoy seeing. This is another inside family joke. Quite a few years ago my husband and my boys sang the origional Veggie Tale Pirate Song at a church talent show. We've had the song memorized for years. And each boy can remember their individual parts with a little bit of effort.

But his number one best birthday present happened to come from little Hope. This morning she used the potty like a big girl for the very first time. Input imaginative celestial choir of angels singing the Hallelujah Chorus again, here. You’ve got to understand after having kids in diapers for over 16 ½ years we are finally seeing that light at the end of the smelly tunnel. No, it’s more like a Beaming spotlight. Regardless of the intensity and wattage of the promise of no more bottom wiping, in the not so distant future, it also comes with a twinge of sadness that our kids are growning up way too fast. However, I won't miss the diapers, just the sweet babies that made them.
So, on that note from the smell ridden trenches...Happy Birthday My Love, My Prince, My Husband & Extra Child all rolled into one. I love you!

My two Birthday Kids Prince Erik and Lea! At Red Lobster of course.

Dream On Day

It’s my dream day. I told you I’d update you on my dreams every Friday. I’ll let you know how my wrestle with the dreaded clutter monster went, but, before I regale you with that horrific battle, I thought I’d fill you in on yet another dream. It’s one of my favorites, and I’ve been living the reality of this dream in Technicolor and High Definition Sound for the past 16 years, 10 months, and a few odd days. It’s the dream of being a mom. Thursday, I celebrated my 9-year old daughter Lea’s birthday, and last night we invited some of her friends over for a little party.

Lea is my adventurer. Being the first girl after three boys, I went overboard with the girl stuff. It started the day we found out she was a girl. I was pregnant with her, of course, and decided that after three surprises, all boys, we wanted for the first time to find out the gender of our baby through ultrasound. So we took all three boys (8, 5, and 2) to the Dr. Appointment with us. Don’t ask me what we were thinking, because obviously we weren’t. They were not the least bit interested in seeing moving black, white and gray meaningless images and a super small screen. Now if you could view ultrasounds in none-fuzzy color on a large screen with sub-woofers with the main character dressed in a military uniform, you might be able to hold their attention a bit longer. Anyway they acted like typical-for-our-family little boys and jumped on furniture, talked extremely loudly, and teased and tackled each other constantly. The ultra-sound tech (obviously a little stressed) asked to have them wait in the lobby with dad until the end of the ultra-sound. Out in the lobby they continued their extremely active and noisy behavior, much to my embarrassment. After taking another look at my boys, he looked at me and said, ‘Well, it’s your lucky day… you’re going to have a girl.’ Being fully hormonal I of course, started bawling with joy. I had to buy my first little girl dress on the way home that very day. And wouldn’t you know it; Mickey and Minnie were on it, being the Disney freak that I am.

Miss Lea, however, has turned out to be more of a tomboy than the girly girl I was expecting. Hence the Jedi before Princess Fascination she had at Disneyland. Maybe she got the tomboy gene me, or maybe it was because she followed in the footsteps of three brothers. Whatever the reason, she‘s a tough little cookie. When she was little, there was a constant fear that she would take off and go on one of her own little wandering adventures. Starting at age 15 months, if the door was open, or unlocked, she would be outside, up or down the hill and off into the great unknown. There didn’t seem to be a need, in her mind, for her to stay close to home, too many curious places to discover. This however, led to a very anxious and paranoid mommy me. So we had to keep an extremely close hawk eye on her, install a couple of extra-high locks on the door, activate a very annoying security beep whenever entrances were opened, and get a family dog (Bridget) who could keep her company and alert us if she decided to take off. My paranoia got so bad I had her on one of those kid leashes while on our boat. She was constantly leaning over the edge in order to see if there was anything in the water. And if she couldn’t see anything, she would toss whatever was closest to her in so see if it would float. Good-bye, scuba goggles, watch, tee-shirt, glasses, etc.

Fortunately, she grew out of the run-way, run far away, really fast and chuck things stage and has decided that home isn’t such a boring place to be. Today, Lea is the greatest older sister and little mommy’s helper there is. She takes care of her little sisters with the experience of a girl much older. Someday she will make an awesome babysitter. Yesterday when I was getting ready for her party, she would constantly ask me what she could do to help, and then follow through and ask again. The persistence she had as a toddler has turned into a positive persistence for doing good. Lea has also has inherited my love for arts and crafts, and unlike her three older brothers, she loves to do school work. And let me tell you, that is an amazingly great thing and rare thing in our family. I don’t have to bug her to get anything done. So happy 9th birthday Lea, I love you and admire what a great job your doing as big sister, daughter, and friend. You are a true Princess and make my dream of being a Mom truly joyous.

Now back to my other dreams. I know, I know another too long blog, so just a quickie here. I’m doing o.k. on my ‘finding a place for everything dream.’
I'd show you pictures but my blog editor seems to be under attack at the moment.

So you'll have to take my word (yes, it's still good) for it, but I am making progress on my back room. I’m doing it, and I’ve been working at this whole de-clutter / find a place for everything, all week long. I’ve come to the conclusion, that like the layers of Shrek’s onion, this dream is definitely going to take a lot longer than I thought it would. But I’m here for the long haul, and dang-it I really want this dream. So even though I didn’t finish the room in a week, I was able to tackle and finish some other projects like my dining room and the front porch. They were not on my list of to-do things, but I had to bump them up on account of my daughter’s birthday. You know the CHAOS factor – Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome. Well the Chaos is almost conquered in the front of my house. Yeah.

I promise a much shorter blog next time, and pictures.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Frazzled Fawndear

I’m a bit frazzled at the moment. However, frazzled is normal for me. I was thinking of adopting ‘Frazzled’ as a permanent intro to my name. Doesn’t Frazzled Fawndear have a realistic ring to it?

I bet you were wondering what the cause of my frazzle was this week. And even if you weren’t wondering, I’ll go ahead and tell you. I have two birthdays to get ready for. My Lea turns 9 tomorrow, and my husband turns 40 somethingish years old on Saturday. Picture me either standing around, like a deer frozen in headlights wondering what to do, or running around like a chicken with my head chopped off, trying to do who knows what at the last minute and you’ve got a pretty good mental picture of myself this week. Have you ever found (cheap but nice) presents? By the way, I don’t think they really exist. Usually all I can find is nice but cheaply built, but still attached to a moderate price tag. I’ve heard of people who luck into awesome deals and find remarkable gifts for next to nothing. I think I missed those deals when I skipped the after-Christmas sales in an effort to let our checking account recover.

Today I tackled preparations for Lea’s birthday. We normally don’t let our kids have birthday parties with friends except for big years for them like when they turn 5, 8, 10, 12, and 16, etc. Now before you think we are horrible parents. We still celebrate their birthdays with a family party, but hold off on the big, impress your neighbor’s with your creative theme skills, invite 15 wild and crazy kids(in addition to my own half dozen), have some really expensive themed goody bags, piƱata’s and don’t forget the gi-normous Costco cake with it’s leftover’s for a week. So you would think I was off the hook for some outrageous party for Lea because she is turning 9. Wrong! We decided that since I’ve been homeschooling her this year that she needs all the peer time she can get. So the party is on. We made that decision Sunday morning and I’ve been scrambling ever since.

The trick comes around because we need to keep it healthy. Evo-man is starting phase II of his kid fitness program and parties with their regular food fair are not on the menu. So I’m making enough cupcakes out of a fat-free brownie mix for everyone to have just one. The regular ice cream will be replaced with frozen yogurt. And thanks to the Dollar Tree, I didn’t have to go into hawk for the goody bags.

Lea loves art and so we are having a fairy art party. Being insane, I always have a craft for the kids, so we are making flower fairies. I found all the supplies at the dollar store as well. We will also be playing Pictionary – kind of goes with the art theme. And Dad will pull out some of his magic tricks. However I don’t know how he will incorporate the magic with the theme of art and fairies. I just hope it doesn’t involve wearing tights. The magic tricks were a hit when we had a Harry Potter birthday party and a when we had a Lord of the Rings Birthday party he dressed up as Gandalf and that worked out perfect. We will have to wait and see on that one.

I still want to hit my un-clutter dream of this week of my back room. I’ve been keeping up on the 'more out than in,' rule, and the de-clutter some space everyday. Plus, I've added in some of the great comments made by my blogger friends like find a place for 10 things at the end of the day.

My amazing friend Kami came over yesterday and helped me find my front porch. I took the before picture after we had already removed a cooler, a couple boxes of trash and charity donations. So this is really the half-way there picture. It still looks bad.

However when we were finished I threw out a garbage bag of shoes, and had another bag of good shoes that I could donate. I got rid of the bench by taking it out to the back porch to collect clutter there. That will be a future project. Sooooo the only thing left on the front porch is the rugs and a bag of tulips to plant. Oh and some really pretty hanging planters. In a couple of months I’ll probably plant them full of fake plants because I kill every living plant I’ve ever had. I’m going to try to let nothing else stay on the front porch until I can find a cute little wrought-iron mini table and matching pair of chairs. I thought they would match the planters.
Then I could have something to sit on while sipping lemon flavored water and yelling at my kids to reminding them not to go so blazingly fast, while biking, skateboarding, or running down the hill in front of our home.

I even found time today to unload at the thrift store drop off. Yeah, now I can see out the back window of my tank-mobile again.

Anyway, this frazzled lady needs to get back to cleaning. It would be nice to have a birthday party in a home you won’t lose the kids in.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Out with the Old

So I’ll let you in on one of my Dreams. To have a home where, get this…

There’s A Place for Everything and Everything is in its place.

Sound familiar? I grew up hearing that phase over and over again. Somehow the reality seeing that statement as fact has eluded me. I’ve been a clutter-holic since birth. Messy to the Max. And let me tell you, the clutter isn’t just in dealing with my home; its physical (weight wise, although I’ve almost tackled this clutter beast), it’s financial, mental, nutritional, and so on and so forth. Fawndear has way too much clutter.

I could probably win an award for having too much clutter. You know those evening news stories where police would describe horrible filthy living conditions in someone’s home, well I’ve had days where I could have probably been turned in and made National news. My garage is so full of stuff, forget the tiny pathway to walk through because it’s not there. It’s more like an obstacle/mountain climbing course. And more often than not, I opt not to climb over but to go around to the other side to see if it gets me any closer to my item of interest. Usually, I decide it’s not worth the effort, which sadly enough, tells you how valuable the stuff I keep out there is.

And to think this guy in CA intentionally saved his trash for a year. I’ve unintentionally saved that much and I bet if I tried really hard I could find that much and more in less than a week. I used to be(no time for TV anymore) one of those emotional viewers of daytime talk-shows who would cry buckets of tears when I saw people on Oprah win home-makeovers to remove their clutter. ‘Could someone please nominate me?’ I would always think. My husband has heard on, too many to count, occasion’s that for once I would love to have a perfectly clean home where everything was organized and in it’s place.

How many of you have husbands who beg you to hire someone to help you clean your house? Mine does. Forget the expense. Notice the desperation. ‘Is she coming today,’ he asks excitedly, like a kid waiting for Santa. ‘Well if she did it’s such a mess within two hours of her leaving you would never know that she had come.’ Needless to say he loves a clean home.

Reality is… no one can remove the clutter except for me. No amount of money, cleaning ladies, organizational systems. If I ever did win a makeover, my space would look good for a couple of days. But then the clutter, like a slime monster from an old B movie, would creep back in leaving a trail of paper, broken toys, and old food wrappers strewn about. I think it’s the same principle that applies to money. How many stories have you heard about lottery winners winning major bucks and then filing for bankruptcy? If you don’t know how to handle money – you won’t be able to even when it’s given to you. If I can’t learn how to tackle the clutter monster in my life, then no matter how much stuff I get rid of, I‘ll still have clutter.

So, being that I refuse to set a New Year’s Resolution to tame my clutter beast, how on earth am I going to get this dream? I’ll tell you how. The same way I lost all that weight. I have that clutter free dream going on and I’m going to make a plan, make myself accountable to someone, educate the heck out of my brain about clutter and why is it I hang on to everything, and step-by-little-step I’ll make this dream come true.

Since Christmas my family has made some big changes. My husband and I had cashed in, on one of our Visa’s perks. It wasn’t cash back but we did get some gift cards to Home Depot. We took advantage of some New Year Organizational Sales and bought some Closetmaid systems to redo our kid’s closets. We saved almost 50% of the total cost. Whippie! Now with eight people in a three bedroom home, you do the math, but aside from my room, it comes down to three kids per bedroom, the boys room and the girls room... Having efficient closets should have been on our to-do lists a long time ago. Fast forward to last weekend and with a couple of days of work, Whala. The closets are done. Not only did we get rid of the standard one shelf/one rod monstrosity that is the norm for closets today, but we also eliminated about half of the kid’s clothes. Ones that I was too embaresed to send them out in public in, didn't fit anymore, and even ones that were really nice but they never wore.

But Fawndear, didn’t you just say ‘no organizational product will solve your problems’? Of course not, not by itself, but I’m educating myself, learning efficiency, and I’m on a de-junking, simplifying mission. And when I get something in my head, watch out, because little else can fit in. One track mind here, multi-tasking but still one track. Just ask any of my kids trying to get my attention when I’m involved in something.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the kid’s rooms. They are not done yet, but as for the closets, so far so good. I can now tidy my girl’s room in less than 2 minutes, something that used to take hours. It helps that our littlest sleeps on a trundle bed that I can put away each morning. One less surface to attract clutter.
Since Christmas I’ve also sent one huge, full-size pick-up load to the dump and collected this here beautiful pile to take to the Thrift store.

So here’s part of my simple plan.

1. Everyday, take out more trash than I bring in. Revolutionary, if I say so myself. Notice how this one step can have far reaching, greater overall implications in my anti-clutter crusade. Be it financial, physical, mental etc.

2. Everyday organize one new little space, drawer, closet shelf, or on bad days just two-foot section of floor, etc.

3. Be accountable.

I’m making you, my blog family, my clutter 911 accountability team. I know, I know, just what you’ve always wanted. Let me know if you spot any red flags in my thinking. Feel me in on your organizing expertise. I’ll start by showing you my next cluttered space that I’m going to work on. Sensitive viewers may want to switch to a more pleasant website now! Oh horror of horror’s…

What, your still here. It must be my lucky day. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Consider commenting on my anti-clutter dream an act of charity, a good deed for your day. If you don’t see an organized picture follow within a week – take me to task. Remind me of my dream and how good I’ll feel to have it come true. I’m much better at following through with stuff when I know I’ve got to be accountable to someone besides myself.

My next challenge is the Princess Academy Homeroom. It’s our library or bonus room and it’s also where I started homeschooling my girls. Now, it’s the last room I go into (other than the garage) because it’s so none-functional. The sad thing is, my dear Mother-In-Law helped me clean, and de-junk this room a year ago. I got rid of and gave away a ton of stuff, but then I brought in the school stuff and didn’t really have a set place for anything again. Because I didn’t do it right the first time, it didn’t last long as our school room. So now, I usually teach the girls in whatever room I happen to be in. Today it was the kitchen, but I would love to get back to having it function as our schoolroom. And clean isn’t the answer, it will be organized, immaculate, everything will have a place, and if I’m really lucky not an eyesore either.
I'm realistic about the fact that with six children the chances of everything being in place, even if it has a home, isn't good. They have to be on board my dream as well. And I think they are. They don't know where to put stuff because right now there isn't a set place. But that is all changing. Don't you just love good changes?

From now on Friday’s will be, as my sister Trenadoll says, my ‘Dream On’ Day. You’ll have to tune in to see which dream or nightmare is coming true. Be grateful it’s my dreams, if my husband blogged about his dreams you would be regaled with tales of him as Eddie Murphy in a flying doughnut or how he had a herd of constipated walrus’s in the backyard that needed watering. On, second thought, that might be a more interesting read. Oh, I digress way too often for my own good, never mind about his dreams. It’s all about me. And just think how happy he will be when my dream of an organized home comes true. Sorry about the insufferably long blog today.