Friday, January 27, 2012

Day In and Day Out

Deep breaths.  Sometimes as a family who lives, learns and plays together 24/7 you need to take deep breaths.  I have spent the past few days examining how to better manage my home.  It seems like I am always doing that.  
When my girls were in school, there was no need for this type of reflection.  Each day was the same from 9-3.  It did not matter what phase of life my girls were in, whether they were barely out of their toddler years, losing their first teeth or walking themselves into school, my days looked the same... day in and day out.  
I have tried every home management system I have come across.  My favorite was Fly Lady, but I have not been able to incorporate her system into my life as a homeschooling mom.  It took me about two years to figure out that our home is constantly in flux.  A routine that worked six months ago may not work now due to changing sleep habits, meal frequency and activity load.  I need to re-evaluate and re-adjust.
I am adjusting.  I have asked for help.  I have asked for an increase in responsibility.  However, I also have to look at how my actions and inactions contribute to a chaotic environment.
Wake Time
Being home makes it so very very easy to slip into a life of idleness.  No place to go until noon?  Well then...no need to get dressed until ten!  Or have a rough night’s sleep?  Kid's knees in your back all night?  Sleep in!  However, the later we get up, and the later we get dressed, the less likely we are to get to what is important that day.  I am now waking up at 5:30am.  Greg makes sure I am up before he leaves the house to catch the train.  When I stick to this, I  am able to have coffee and blog in peace.  I can do laundry and focus on certain tasks on my to do list all before the girls’ feet hit the floor.  I can have breakfast made and ready to go when they do wake.  I have been gently waking them at 8:00am and requesting that they come down to breakfast at 8:30 so we can begin our day at 9:00. Usually this is sufficient even if they had a rough night's sleep or are extra tired and need a bit more time.
Help Around the House
I can’t take credit for this idea and I don’t remember whose brilliant words inspired me.  If it was you, please comment!  I don’t want to be a House Elf.  I welcome assistance in cleaning, cooking, yardwork, trash, etc.  But I noticed that my girls need a bit of a reminder what needs to be done to help our home run smoothly.  I hung up Dobby the House Elf signs in key areas of our home.  These are just a gentle reminder, and will come down when we are back on track with simple routines. 
image courtesy of iTunes.com
Do you know Yada Home?  It is an app that allows Greg and I to sync grocery lists (separate lists for each store we shop at! and our to do lists!).  This will be helpful beyond words.  Just last night he helped take one item off our to-do list.  Yeah!!   
Cooking
Greg has been helping by cooking on the weekends, mostly soup.  We freeze some for reheating during the week.  Last week we simmered a whole chicken for hours.  During the week I brought it to a boil, added pasta and had a healthy homemade chicken noodle soup in less than 20 min!  This is so simple but time has to be set aside for meal preparation.
Decluttering
Ahh...this is the bain of my existence.  My house is about 1700sq ft.  It is old.  It has no real linen closet and no foyer closet.  Heck, we don’t have a foyer!  Our bedroom closets are tiny and since Lilah’s room has no closet at all, just the walk up stairs to the attic, we repurposed our hallway closet to be hers.  Despite making several attempts before to declutter, I realized that we still have too much stuff.  Why do we have so much stuff?  Why are blogs devoted to the concept of getting rid of stuff?  Television shows focus on this topic.  Magazine articles are written about it.  What is wrong with us that we have purchasing more items than we need in our life?  No more.  Thanks to Andrea, I have renewed my quest for a zen-like home.  


Before:
After:

Being together as much as we are requires usable, functioning space.  If something is not usable, functioning, loved and needed, it is gone.  I am amazed at how much easier and quicker it is to clean up at the end of the day.  Things now have a home since what was there before is gone.  All my old cookbooks, gone.  Old clothes, gone.  Unused hats, scarves, mittens, all gone.  Unused curriculum, in the basement.  Art supplies will soon have a new place to stay other than in a pile on the floor.  Maybe I will post some before and after pics to motivate myself to tackle my few problem areas like the bookshelf and the curriculum cabinet.......


Before:


Better:


Our Accomplishments
I came across this great site:  www.280daily.com .  It a private journal meant to capture quick thoughts, just 280 characters every day.  You can then print your month or year as a blog book.  I am using it every day to capture what we are learning.  Then when I write my end of the week wrap ups, I have not missed the little things, like what we learned from an episode of Billy the Exterminator, or that Lilah drew an amazing picture and Grace was given the full sheet music to Fur Elise.  Grace is also working on this site as a private journal.  

This is where I am at this moment in my life.  Thank you to my “trainer” who literally drags my butt out of bed at 5:30am despite my protests and pleading.  Thank you to my girls who are willing to meet me halfway on this and chip in to restore peace to our home.  Every little thing you do helps.  Every little thing you do is appreciated.  Every little thing you do helps you to become more independent.  This is all good.  Hard, but good.

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