House Stuff

We have been in our new house for two months now. Just recently I had a burst of energy to put stuff on the walls. After pulling mirrors/pictures/canvases out of boxes and staring at them for (cumulatively) hours, unable to make a single decision about where anything should go, I called and had a friend help me hang some stuff up yesterday. She had opinions and was decisive; two things I needed. Glory! We have the beginnings of a gallery wall above the staircase.

2015/07/img_1188.jpgSo many emotions in one picture

I ask people for their opinions pretty often. Left to my own devices I would still be pulling pots and pans out of boxes in the kitchen because I cannot decide on *the* perfect spot for them to go.

Speaking of kitchens! When we unpacked our kitchen, I had a friend help me. I told her I wanted the kids to be able to unload the dishwasher and set the table, without my help. I also recalled this post, about making the most hated chore somewhat easier. My most hated chore is unloading the dishwasher.
2015/07/img_1187.jpgBesties for life

Now the dishes go in a low drawer immediately next to the dishwasher (easier to unload!) and the kids can access everything they need in the kitchen. Little things like this- where the kids can do more things for themselves AND for the rest of our family- go a long way. (You have heard this from me before).

Let’s see… What other details of my home life can I mesmerize you with?

The previous owners of our house renovated it from top to bottom. I actually think they sanded/pounded/poured/handled every single square foot of this house. Incredible. They added thoughtful details that I am still discovering. One of our kids’ favorite details of the entire house is the cubby under the stairs. This week the cubby got white lights. Behold:

2015/07/img_1185.jpgThe scabby knees of summer.

Happy 4th!

Four Kids in Brain Dump Format

1. When I had two kids or three kids, I intuitively knew where they were at all times. With four kids, I periodically stop and think “Do I know where everyone is? Is everyone accounted for?”. And I have to do a mental roll call and make sure.

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I haven’t lost one yet. Winning!

2. I realized several weeks ago that I had been parenting number three via a “trickle down parenting” methodology. I was assuming that he would fall in line because we had worked so diligently on expectations and obedience with his two older siblings. He’ll catch on by watching and we won’t really need to do all the reinforcements and consequences, all over again. Or he’ll get older and just “get it”.

Ha.

When he was routinely leaving the house to linger on the front porch, visit our neighbors’ front porch/yard, or (once) walk down the sidewalk in his t-shirt and underwear while I nursed the baby, I realized that this method was failing. Apparently he needs- you know- direct, person-to-person parenting.

We have tightened up since then. Now he asks permission before he goes outside, and I consider that a major victory.

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3. There is just a lot of noise, a lot of the time. The only time this is not true is when the baby is napping and the three older kids are in front of a screen. I am making more and more peace with utilizing a dvd as a necessary part of my sanity at this stage. Ideally we would all make daisy chains and finger paint all afternoon, but…no. My three older kids watch some sort of dvd or something on the ipad pretty much every afternoon.

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I offset the bad feelings about this decision by requiring more chores out of them. (The “bad feelings” include guilt that their brains are atrophying for that time every day, and anger that they require this of me because they won’t play calmly for any reliable amount of time. I want to have kids that are capable of being quiet’ish for an hour a day. But ever since old “hell no I don’t respond to trickle down parenting/number three” stopped napping that is not a thing. I mean- he was napping, but then he would be up and wide awake until 10:00 pm and that was not working for us. So we cut the nap out for the most part.)

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Where was I? Chores. They do chores every morning during the week. If they don’t get it done then they do it while the others are watching a show. And noise. Four kids are noisier than three.

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Pictures, in no particular order. The One Who Will Not be Shortchanged of His Legit Parenting Experience… Bike riding master… Cute baby at six months… Tractor Supply at 8:00 am… Last day of school… and me with Bill Clinton.

Happy Friday!

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My Clothes in the New House

*This will only be remotely interesting if you like reading or thinking about organizing/keeping the home/etc. Otherwise- you might want to skip this and just tune in next time. If you keep reading you can see a fuzzy picture of my closet. Wheeeeeee!!!!!!*

As I mentioned before, we just moved into our new house. We don’t anticipate moving anytime soon. On the contrary- we hope to stay for a long, long time.

I love that. It means I can unpack my stuff and buy or not buy furniture and pitch things knowing that this is the space we’re in. Furniture that family members have stored for us can come out of hiding and be put to use (or passed on to someone else). Because there is no “next house” to save furniture for- this is it!

In unpacking my clothes and bedroom stuff I thought about what I did not like from our previous houses, in terms of my clothes storage. So I am changing two things in the new house. The first is: no more storing off-season or maternity clothes in the attic. Getting in and out of the attic is a minor pain and I always seems to have a pile of things that needs to go up there or come down. This time- all my clothes will be in my room, all the time. This is totally helped by the fact that I am no longer storing maternity clothes. For the first time in SEVEN YEARS. Glory.

The second: no more clothes storage under our very-high, very-easy-to-shove-seventeen-boxes-under-it-bed. Every time we move, we talk about keeping the space under the bed clear. It looks so nice that way and let’s talk about how pleasant it would be to actually vacuum under the bed more than once when we move in and again when we move out. Well- you guys- what if we actually did it this time? I mean, what if we didn’t accummulate four years of dust under the bed, hidden by various bins and boxes? It is a wild idea, but I’m ready to try it. Seriously. Watch me.

This means that all of my clothes will go in my closet (no dresser anymore!) and that’s it. And I want to be able to put all of my clothes away easily, even when I am all caught up on laundry. (Sound familiar?) My version of a wardrobe capsule will not be determined by a number, but by the size of my closet.

It helps that I have a nice-sized closet and a row of built-in shelves on the side. And it is mine. All mine. My husband has his own closet.

Observe, via a fuzzy ipad photo:

2015/05/img_1148.jpgIf that is your blue and white scarf on the far left of my hanging stuff, please claim it. I have tried all of my sitters and tons of friends, to no avail. You left it on our coat hooks in the old house and I really like it and want to wear it now, but am too embarrassed to because of obvious reasons. I also don’t want to donate it. It is in scarf purgatory. Save it.

If you are trying to whittle down your clothes so they all fit in the space you have, I highly recommend having a friend come over and help. My friend Lisa came over and unpacked most of my closet stuff and gave me a few supportive nudges to pitch things I was on the fence about. Young Life shirt from 1999? You didn’t make the cut.

We have been here for 6 days and so far I adore my new clothes storage method. I’m positive I will continue with this level of organization, idealism, and thoughtfulness, so count on that fo’ sure. No backsliding here! No way!

More thoughts on moving/unpacking/scarves that aren’t mine to come in future weeks. Lucky for you!!!!!