Advent: Days 12-16 2017

I know I’ve been off my game this year. It’s ok. I’m letting it slide. I want to let you all in on a little secret. I don’t have it all together. I know it can seem that way so many times. We see each other once a week or so, or only through social media, and everything seems perfectly in place. I’m not saying my life always looks like that (in fact, I feel like it seldom does), but that’s often (almost always) how I view other people. It’s this lie that the enemy likes to whisper in our ears, “everybody has it together except for you….you are not enough…you’ll never own up, so just. stop. trying.” It’s super embarrassing to post this for all the world to see, but I had a little meltdown Sunday night. We had a fun, busy weekend, and we came home to a disastrous house. After we got the girls in bed, Blake went down to the basement to finish up some work that he had and I spent the next hour or so cleaning our pit of a house. The whole time I kept asking myself, “How on earth did it get this way?…I try so hard all day long, and this is still what I end up with?…Why can all the other moms out there get this, but I just can’t?…I will never be enough. I can’t do it. This is too hard.” And on and on and on. I cried myself to sleep that night. That almost never happens.

I tell you this, not because I want your sympathy or your pity. I tell you this because I know every other woman out there has felt this way at some point or another. It seems as though we are always in some sort of unspoken competition with each other. I see it in my daughters already and I try to fight those kinds of thoughts out of their sweet little heads. The enemy we face is real, he starts to prey on us while we are young, and he never stops.

Truth be told, I have a lot of good reasons for not being on top of things. We’re homeschooling, which is awesome, but we’re only in 1st grade and I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m 30 weeks pregnant. The aches and pains and limitations are real. And with our history, I’m taking every precaution possible. I refuse to push myself too hard this time. Blake just started his own company a few moths ago with 3 other partners. Everything is new, and exciting, and hard. He works 50-80 hour weeks every. single. week. It’s just a season, it won’t always be like this. But it is the season we are in now. And it’s hard. Raegan had her tonsils out a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. And while she was recovering, she came down with this awful virus that made her recovery 10x worse-and longer-and harder. We had sick kids for basically a whole month. Life. Just. Happens. Things fall through the cracks. Sometimes we can’t keep up. And that’s ok. But it is oh so hard to remember that in the moment.

I was “off” for a couple of days after that. I just felt so defeated. Then Eleanor fell off of our rocking ottoman just before bedtime on Tuesday and I rushed her to the ER so she could get stitches. The waiting room was jam packed and we were there until just after 1am. She got 3 stitches in her tiny little eyebrow that night. When I got home, the other 2 kids had woken up and didn’t go back to sleep until 4am. It was the second night in a row they had done that. Needless to say, this week has been more than exhausting. Then on Thursday morning, Blake paid for me to go get a (very much needed) prenatal massage. We went out to eat that night for my Mother-in-law’s birthday. It was so nice. Just what I needed to turn my week around. I’ve been ok since then. I still have to fight to press down those lies that I get fed all day long. But it’s a battle that I feel like I’m winning right now. The counters in my kitchen aren’t clear from the clutter that’s on them. Our laundry room needs picked up. Our floors could be mopped (even though I’ve done that just about every day this week). But our room is clean, the girls picked up their room, I’ve kept the playroom clean for 10 whole weeks now, and our dishes are washed. I’m counting my wins. Trying to focus on what I’ve accomplished instead of what I’ve not. And tonight, I am going to post what we’ve done for the past few days-it may be late, but I’m doing it, and that’s a win.

SO, all that to say, on Tuesday, we made a gingerbread house. I learned something that day: gingerbread house making is not my strong suit. Next year, I’ll probably buy an already constructed one for us to simply decorate. ūüėÖ¬†You guys, the struggle was real. My mom was actually able to come over for a bit to help us out with the project-so that was really fun!

 

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And 30 minutes later, this is how it ended up:

Wednesday, we went through the drive-thru at Starbucks so momma could get a Chestnut Praline Latte (my absolute fave), and so the girls could each get on of those snowmen cookies they are always begging me to get for them. We had some errands to run, so this was the only picture I got.

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Thursday, I gave the girls some really fun, incredible Christmas activity books from Usborne. Those books kept them occupied for the longest time.

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Friday, we decorated those plastic ball ornaments with the girls. We pulled the glitter out again. It was a HUGE hit. I should have taken some “after” photos, but Blake and I had to rush out before they were done for a Christmas party. My parents helped them finish up, but I never snapped any more photos.¬†IMG_0780IMG_0783IMG_0781IMG_0782IMG_0779

And this morning, Saturday, we had our second annual Ron Swanson themed Christmas party with another family. We were having so much fun, I forgot to take pictures. But we had bacon, and eggs, and ham, and we exchanged gifts. The kids played and we parents got to talk. It was such a good, refreshing morning.

Well that’s it! Thanks for sticking with me! Even though it’s been crazy, I am truly enjoying this holiday season, and I hope you are too.

 

Wonder Wifey Wednesday – Cleaning Rules

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In case you’re wondering, this is not a post about how cleaning is the best thing ever! Also, in case you are wondering, I’m not going to pretend like we have everything figured out (just ask anybody who has ever come over to our house last second). However, we have learned a few things in the past month that have made our home more peaceful (read: less stress) and they’ve helped to keep our house cleaner. Win, win!

Blake and I decided we needed a simple, clear 3 rule system (at least for starters). These three rules involve the whole family and it makes it easy for our girls to know exactly what is expected of them. That means less confusion, less getting overwhelmed, and, as an added bonus, it means that they are forming good habits. ¬†We’ve only been doing this for a few weeks, but I cannot stress enough the difference it has made in our home.

RULE NUMBER ONE

1. All dishes make it to the sink.

When they are older, this one will change to “All dishes make it to the dishwasher”, but for now, this is what our 2 and 4 year old can handle. Blake washes the dishes every morning and every night, and when we all make an effort to put our dirty dishes in the sink, it makes his job a lot easier, plus it makes our house feel less cluttered.

Rule Number Two

2. All toys make it to their home.

This of course meant that I had to clean the playroom in order to make a home for every toy. Now that I’ve done that, it’s much easier for the girls to know where to put their toys instead of just throwing them in the playroom. My next step is to label all of our baskets and bins with pictures so that it’s even easier for the girls (or anybody who comes over to play and then help clean) to know where everything goes.

Rule Number Three

3. Shoes and coats make it to the closet. 

As soon as we walk through the door I ask the girls, “Now what do we do with our shoes and coats?”. Asking instead of telling always works better with my girls. When I ask them, they feel like it’s their choice and they own it. Of course they like to get their shoes out and play with them as the day goes on, so we usually have to do this one more than once.

Now, these rules may not be the best rules for your family, but I think having a consistent set of rules really does make a difference. So feel free to make your own!

A Few Tips On How To Make It Work 

  • Be clear.¬†Don’t clutter your rules. Be upfront and state your expectations from the start.
  • Be simple.¬†We wanted to make the rules easy to remember so the girls didn’t get overwhelmed. We also wanted to make them easily repeatable. If you didn’t notice, all of our rules have¬†something¬†making it¬†somewhere.
  • Be memorable.¬†For us, this meant putting a rhythm to the rules for the girls to remember. We say it with them over and over, and when they remember by themselves, we get super excited with them.
  • Make it a team thing.¬†Let your family know that it only works if everyone follows the rules. If everybody participates, it makes for shorter, easier work.
  • Be consistent.¬†Go over your rules and follow them every single day. It really only takes a few minutes (if even that) to complete them. If you don’t remember, they won’t usually remember. And once you start slacking off, it’s so much harder to get back in the game.
  • Be an example.¬†If you’re not doing it, it’s likely that your kids and/or spouse will also begin to not do it (is that even grammatically correct?). All I know is that when I forget to follow one of the rules, Lane is the first one to point it out to me. Just sayin.

Hopefully these little rules and tips can help to keep your homes cleaner and less chaotic. What rules and habits do you have in your homes?