Totally About to Go All Marie Kondo Up in Here

Do you ever feel like you are a master imitation of a broken record? I finally realized that’s exactly how I sounded when, for the 1000th time, I remarked to a friend this that it’s been a tough year. Scratch that, a tough four-plus years. After losing Dad last year, we went on to lose both our neighbor and good friend, followed shortly thereafter by my uncle. Considering that I already win the award for “Most Unhealthy Ways to Cope with Grief,” I’m not at all surprised that I’ve been operating on semi-toxic fumes for far too long.

But this last week, we took a long-planned family vacation, which was amazing, exhausting, and magical. When we came back to Louisiana, spring was in the air, with the wisteria in full bloom and the grass already filling in the winter-brown lawn. I know the hellfire summer is just around the corner, but something about coming home to a landscape transformed on the tails of a truly epic vacation gave me the kick in the ass I sorely needed. I spent the past couple of days thinking about what needs to change, and as the title suggests, I’m about to go Marie Kondo both literally and figuratively on myself, and my environment. It’s time for some physical, emotional, and spiritual spring cleaning, and part of that is returning to this space and getting back to the things that spark joy, as cheesy as that sounds.

So before I get back to it, let’s take the 50-cent recap of the past months, shall we?

First, I invested in an amazing smoker and subsequently smoked allllll the things, including all my neighbors’ Thanksgiving turkeys, lots of pork butts, bratwurst, and so on. One day, I want to volunteer with Operation BBQ, and help those suffering from disaster or displacement.

Bean joined the Cub Scouts!

She’s having a blast.

I knit a blanket for a special baby and won second place at the State Fair:

We did a winter garden of cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and carrots. (We also planted strawberries in the fall for a late spring/early summer harvest):

And finally, I finished all of the Knitterati 2018 blocks (though I have yet to assemble the blanket and add the border):

Oh, and one more project. Dad’s wife asked me to make pillows from some of his dress shirts:

So, even if I was not at my best this past year, I can say that I kept making. However, I think it’s time to dust off the cobwebs and realize that maybe there’s a bit more nuance between seemingly normal and truly healthy. If anything, at least my house will be cleaner…maybe. Probably.

Definitely maybe.

Coming Out of The Dark…Or “Smack Me Upside The Head If I Mention Moving Anytime In The Next Decade”

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At the beginning of the year, we set a goal to sell our house and purchase a new home that was better for our family. As much as I loved our house, the layout was impractical for our kids (especially with a soon-to-be teenager), and the utility costs of a poorly insulated, 100 year-old home were threatening to sink us. Within a week of New Year’s, we launched “Operation Sell The House 2014.”

I think moving is kind of like child birth in that you tend to block out how horrible and traumatic it was the last time, because if you didn’t, you would never, ever do it again. As my OCD-ish tendencies demanded, I attacked the selling/buying/moving process with an intensity that my husband frustratingly refers to as my “tunnel vision.” We cleaned, packed, and staged like our lives depended on it. While I will spare you the details, I feel like the last four months have been a marathon of work, stress, upheaval, tears, frustration, and ultimately success. We sold our house quickly, and despite the frustrations of just getting to the closing table, came away happy.

Thus began the frantic marathon of house showings to find a new house, and the debates of budget, neighborhood, and deal-breaker priorities. We finally found a great house in a great neighborhood, successfully executed the move, and have slowly been settling in. That’s the tough part about moving though–life doesn’t stop or give you a vacation to get it done. We still had school projects, business trips, and for me, trying to keep my freelance clients happy. Add cranky-pants Bean into the mix and yeah…just yeah. But we got it done, so everything should be awesome.

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However, months of being surrounding by boxes and chaos have taken their toll on me. Instead of being happy and excited in our new house, I’ve felt overwhelmed and unsettled by all of the work still left to do. I am so ready for everything to be “done” already! When you are already neurotic and high-strung, feeling like everything is in a state of chaos is alternately depressing and paralyzing. First, we had a couple of unexpected surprises, like a dishwasher that requires immediate replacement because it sounds like an F5 tornado and leaves the dishes looking worse than they were before. Unpacking and organizing seems to progress at a snail’s pace, and we still have a lot of organizing ahead of us before we can declare unpacking complete. My dad reminded me that moving is one of the top four most stressful life experiences, and that it will probably take a year before the house feels like home. So, I get why the frustration lingers. After months of being in “project survival mode,” I am still struggling to get back in to “living normally” mode. Our schedules have changed, as has our neighborhood, and we are adjusting to 1000 changes to all those little routines, from grocery shopping to bill paying. Heck, even my email address had to change, so it’s no wonder I’m a little frayed around the edges.

As unsettled as I have been, I’m still grateful we pulled it off and am looking forward to “normal” day.

Ha! Like anything is ever normal in our house:photo 3

Magic Mom Eye

I just got back from an unexpected trip to Mississippi, and after an extended car ride with Bean, I needed a nap and a drink…and maybe some chocolate.

Though my trip was last-minute, I wasn’t too concerned about leaving during the school week, because my husband is always on top of things when it comes to the kids. Half the time, they don’t even realize I’m gone, because Dad gets everything done while also spoiling them rotten.

Even though I wasn’t worried, I still wondered what condition I would find the house in when I returned. Given that I left in the middle of a busy work/school week, I knew that dinner and homework would keep the guys busy enough. I was pleasantly surprised to find the dishes done, clutter put away, beds made, and overall, a relatively clean house.

But, unfortunately for my kids, my “magic mom eye” sees all and knows all. When they got home from school, I asked them, “Did Dad let you eat dinner in the living room?” To which they replied, “How did you KNOW?”

Then I asked, “Was someone eating icing cookies at the computer instead of the table?” G-Man’s sheepish, guilty grin confirmed what I already knew. The Heathens were amazed that I knew their secrets, and I reminded them that my “magic mom eye” is better than Sherlock Holmes or Gil Grissom. They can’t fool me.

In case you were wondering, I’ll be spending my morning cleaning greasy fingerprints off the coffee table and vacuuming smeared icing crumbs off the floor and office chair. The difference between clean and “Mom Clean” is always a dead giveaway.

Hooray for Monday—Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom

I confess that, as a stay-at-home mom, Monday has turned into my favorite day of the week. See this picture of Bean? This is kind of what my house looks like after my husband and boys have been home all weekend. Unexplainably messy and more than a little gross.

Don’t get me wrong, I love having my guys home…I really do. However, after a couple of days of “fun,” our home is overtaken by clutter, sticky floors, and bathrooms that should be declared hazmat zones. I’ve tried keeping up with all the housework on the weekends, but it never works out. I swear I could scrub down my whole kitchen on Saturday morning, walk out for less than thirty seconds, and by the time I return, several dirty dishes will have mysteriously appeared on the counters. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you. Keeping my house reasonably clean on the weekends is an exercise in futility.

Come Monday, I gladly usher my peeps off to school and work, and go about the not so inconsiderable job of cleaning and disinfecting our house. Just relocating all the misplaced shoes, belts, dirty clothes, laundry, homework papers, Legos and batteries takes me nearly an hour. Then I have sheets to wash, floors to clean, dust bunnies to slay, and bathrooms to sanitize. It’s a lot of work, but because it’s Monday, I get to revel in the fact that the things I clean will actually stay clean longer than five minutes at a time.

As you can see, sanity is thin on the ground around here.