Recently, on separate occations, I had two of my friends come to me, asking for cleaning and organization tips. If you don't know me that well, I have a *touch* of OCD and firmly believe that "everything has a place." So, you either walk into my house astonished, or annoyed. Haha!
When I replied to her email, I really took my time racking my brain - How do you describe what you do naturally? But because I know my craziness may help someone else, I decided I should post my response on my blog. So, here you go:
First of all, I have the type of personality that I cannot go to bed without fluffing the pillows on the couch. For real. So, it kinda goes without saying that I make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink or toys on the floor before I can really relax. This not only applies to when I head upstairs to bed, but even with both kids are napping - I can't really grab the laptop and relax until the house is tidy. It's a disease, I know, haha. In my head, it would be worse for me to walk downstairs, starting my day to an already messy house. That would cause stress and anxiety in me. So, it makes more sense for everything to be put away before starting over the next day. That way, instead of cleaning first thing, I can start the more important tasks like preparing breakfast, having a quiet time, etc.
That being said, I very rarely take a day to deep clean my house. It's absolutely more of a constant state of cleaning sort of thing. While I'm in the kitchen making breakfast, I wipe up the crumbs off the counter when I'm done. After I brush my teeth in the morning, I wipe down the sink. I keep
wipes in the downstairs bath and use them to dust the living room surfaces and wipe down the kitchen and dining room table. I do this all the time. Not just one day a week or one day a month. To me, it's an easy, FAST way to make the house pretty spotless when someone is on their way over. I don't get out lysol and a bucket, no way. Just grab a few wipes and go. This is obviously easy to do when the surfaces aren't cluttered to begin with...
As far as organization goes, I am a firm believer in "everything has a place." Even junk mail. I used to be so OCD that every toy had a place, but now that I've got two kids to clean up after, toys just have to go away, not necessarily in a certain spot. My greatest investment was the toy bin container we got at Target. It wasn't cheap, so I waited until it went on sale. Then, when Zoe came along and there were even more toys, that just required more baskets. But, I'm also someone who goes through the toys often and puts away stuff that Joel has outgrown, throw away stuff that's broken, etc.
This goes for clothes, too. The smaller the kid, the more often I am organizing clothes. There's a constant sorting: Good Will donation bag, outgrown clothes put in giant tupperware containers in the basement, new clothes moved into other drawers, etc. Basically, because our house isn't huge, I've got to maximize the space that we live in. So, even in the kitchen - if I don't use it often, it gets donated. This only-keeping-things-we-use-on-hand project has helped remove any clutter.
Joel absolutely helps me keep this house clean. I've kind of had a rule since he was a baby that we only get out one thing to play with at a time. So, the house only really looks destroyed, with all the toys out, when other friends come over and I don't instill this main rule. So, before he has to head
upstairs to a nap, everything must be off the floor. Before he can start a new puzzle, the first puzzle has to go away. If he's really into playing with something at night, and doesn't want to fully put it away, I just need/want it off the floor. So, like last night he had built some things with the Legos with Daddy. Instead of tearing them apart, we just sat them on the bench seat...
I also have a rule about only eating at the table, because I don't want to deal with crumbs on the couch. He's a pretty neat eater, but if he did make a mess, that would be something that I cleaned up as soon as he was done. Wipe up the table quickly with a wipe or the kitchen sponge, and if there's a mess on the floor - immediately grab the dust buster to get it up. In my head, if I would leave that, it would just create an even bigger mess at a later time. I'd rather stay "on top of it."
Laundry is the ONLY thing that I do in one day. Cause I hate it. So, instead of doing a load a day - which most of my friends do - I take one day a week and do four loads that day. I try to wash, dry, and put away this laundry in this one day. Cause I hate it, haha.
Because I like change, and because I love organization, I am constantly improving where things go. Making it make the most sense, making it easiest on everyone. I hope this helps!!
So after a romantic dinner with my amazing hubby, we decided to head over to Target and the surrounding stores. Just a few moments into our adventure, I take a look around, notice all the St. Patty's Day and Spring decorations and realize that I haven't decorated Gabriel's gravesite since Christmas. I cannot even describe into words the amount of guilt that came flooding in. Kyle assured me that we would take some time to shop and devote some much needed time to our son...
A few days later I walked back into the store and the delightful trip I had imagined quickly turned into the reality that I was trying to find the perfect objects for my son's GRAVE. I watched other happy people looking and gathering items and just wanted to walk up to them and say, "Oh, what's that for? Probably something a lot less sad than a gravesite." I know. Mature.
I ended up choosing a few things for my Gabey baby and then made the quick decision that I also needed to spruce up my back porch area. This, obviously, was just a way to stop the more difficult task I found myself in. Here's what we ended up creating, something I was very happy with:
Found a cute little Easter rabbit, a flag with a tie-wearing boy bunny, and a precious pastel-colored bell wreath to hang near his flag. There were some St. Patty's beads left from a friend, along with some toys for my little man.
Okay, so back to the shopping trip... I start looking around for decorative items for our back porch area. I'm having a blast (cause it's so much more fun than what I WAS doing) and I'm trying to figure out what kind of "theme" to go with. Oh decisions, decisions. After much thought, and acquiring input from the hubby, I decided that birds would be a precious theme. Decided to get a hanging sign above our bench:
And some pretty garland perfectly placed around the bench, and a handsome perched bird to go on our side table...
And as I started assembling all my decorations, I realized that my chosen theme was PERFECT. The only piece of Gabey I have sitting on my back porch - a white ceramic angel... holding what?? A tiny bird....
Couldn't be happier with my finished product...
I often thought the hardest thing about having two kids would be how to balance taking care of both of them. Well, Zoe's almost halfway to being one, but we've finally got a great routine down! Honestly, I was very structured with Joel's schedule since birth and Zoe's has pretty much fallen into place. And, we've been in a good groove for awhile now, but after having Daddy home for almost two weeks on Christmas break, I was excited to start some new structure with my day. So, here's what we do all day!
7am - Zoe wakes, gets a bottle, back to bed.
8am - Joel wakes, get him dressed and ready for the day. Hear Zoe talking in her crib, so we head into her room. I have Joel help me with her as much as possible, getting me a diaper, etc. Get Zoe dressed for the day. Head downstairs.
8:30am - Breakfast. Fix Joel's meal, then put Zoe in her highchair and make her oatmeal. This way we're all sitting at the table together and Joel and I can chat about our day. Then, I let Joel free play and put Zoe on the floor with some toys while I clean up.
9:30 - Joel watches Seseme Street via Netflix. We don't have cable, so this makes it easy to just watch one episode and then turn it off. He loves to watch for the letter and number of the day, and the "word on the street." I usually hop online to check email, facebook while they he is entertained. Zoe has gone down for her 1st nap of the day.
10:30 - Joel and I have started to do "schoolwork" together! My mom (a Head Start director) bought us a great Pre-School workbook and we've been doing about five pages a day. Joel loves it!! He's impressing me daily with how much he already knows. Then, Joel has free play again until lunch. I usually clean the house or do laundry between these little breaks.
11:15 - Zoe wakes and gets another bottle
12 noon - Lunchtime. Again, I have Joel sit at the table and I try to use this time to talk with him. More free play until naptime.
1pm - Zoe goes down for nap #2, and Joel soon follows. He went on a short napping strike, so I've been allowing him to sleep in Momma and Daddy's bed! Sounds strange, but it's something new and exciting and he's back to napping! I take this time for myself and try not to clean the house. I just showered and (obviously) am now online, enjoying this break in my day!
4pm (ish) - The kids will wake, Zoe will get a bottle and Joel will get an afternoon snack. Once their bellies are full, Joel may watch a movie or play with puzzles, while Zoe hangs out in the swing or (more likely) on Momma's lap.
4:30/5pm - Prepare dinner so that we can eat by 5:30pm. We love to eat early in this household! Especially now that I'm doing the 21 day fast with my church and am only having liquids from sunrise to sunset!! Zoe usually takes her 3rd nap from 5 to 6pm, then gets her evening meal.
6pm - Family time. Daddy and Joel wrestle, Zoe and I watch and laugh. Good times.
7:30 - Head upstairs to prepare for bed. Nighttime routines are a must in this house, although they don't get baths everynight since they both have eczema. Daddy takes care of Joel - brushing teeth, getting into pj's, reading a bible story, singing songs, and praying in bed. Momma's got it easy! I just lotion up my little girl, put on pj's and swaddle her. Then we cuddle while she enjoys her last bottle of the day.
8pm - Kyle and I have started working out consistently in our basement. This has been a great time to catch up about our days, unless I'm blasting Beyonce in my ears, haha!
9pm - Resting on the couch watching Netflix or reading, then I head up to bed by 10pm.
Hope this helps any new mommas out there!! :)
Well, these kids just keep getting bigger and smarter. Enjoy these pics!!
It's official. Joel is now completing 300 piece puzzles. He had been doing 150 piece puzzles for awhile now and Kyle really wanted to know if he could do more, but it wasn't until Joel mastered potty training that we gave him the opportunity to complete GIANT puzzles. The 300 piece puzzles are very easy for him, they just take him longer to do. So amazing. He and Daddy have been working on a 500 piece together in the evenings.
Little Miss tried rice cereal for the first time. She's been eating her fists, and has fallen in love with three fingers in particular. So, one night right after her bottle I thought, she's either teething already or still hungry. Decided to give it a try! She actually did amazingly well!! But as soon as she was done it all came back up! Guess she wasn't hungry!! I think we'll wait a few more weeks before we try again.
And one final advancement - the house is decorated for Christmas!! It was so fun to decorate this year because Joel was very excited and actually helped Kyle and I put the ornaments on the tree. I've had the Christmas music blasting for days now; it puts me in such a great mood! Wishing you and yours a very blessed holiday season! Love, Meg
Yesterday morning, after struggling to get both kids changed and dressed for the day, I tell Joel to go downstairs and wait for me to get him breakfast, and I put Zoe in her boppy on my bed so that I can attempt to go to the bathroom by myself. Ha! So, immediately I hear Joel playing with my Willow Tree people in the hallway and he starts saying things like, "What's wrong with this one? Uh oh! Momma!" So I hurry up and escort him away from the figurines. As I'm retrieving Zoe, I hear Joel saying "Momma! Look! Snakes!" He's found the breast pump and is twirling the little hoses above his head. Lovely.