Friday, March 27, 2015

A Day in the Life

Our last "day in the life" post was back in July, so I thought I'd do a new version. This was our Tuesday, March 24.

One thing is for sure with toddlers, every day is different even when you are doing the same routine.

Mike's job requires that he work on a rotating shift of 2 months with hours of 7-4 and 2 months with hours of 8-5. There are perks and drawbacks to both shifts. But this month he is on the 8-5 shift. The perk of this shift is that we discovered if we get the kids up just a little bit earlier, Mike has time to drop them off at daycare on his way to the train. Total win for this anti-morning mom.

Mike gets up early. Too early for me. About 5:30 (however, this is sleeping in to him compared to his other shift). Once he's had breakfast and gotten ready, he gets Livvie up. He brings her into our room first thing to see me. I'm usually still in bed--awake but pretending it is not morning.

6:10: Liv joins me in bed for a few minutes of snuggles. Check out that hair. I just love it!

Dee is also not a morning person, so Liv's visit also gets her up and moving. She still loves to lick Liv, but Liv can fight back now.

After 5 minutes or so, Mike takes Liv to her room to get dressed while I start getting ready. On his way to Liv's room, Mike opens Ben's bedroom door and turns on his light (a trick I figured out a few months ago that helps Ben transition to wake up much easier). Ben gets up and gets himself dressed, and then comes to find me in the bathroom.

6:20: When I hear Dad and Liv head downstairs, I stop what I'm doing and head down to help Mike, with Ben in toe. Liv is eagerly awaiting us at the bottom of the stairs.

6:30: We get shoes and coats on and gather up their gear, and then Mike heads out with the kids.

I wave goodbye at the door, and then head back in to finish getting myself ready.

6:50: This day I have a donation pickup scheduled, so I drag out my many bags of crap to the driveway. Mike was kind enough to bring out a few bags on his way out, so it cuts my work in half.

7:05: Stuck at a train. Trains are my lot in life. No joke. I'm a magnet for them.

7:15: I pop through the Starbucks drive-thru where the lady knows me and my order. If Starbucks is wrong, I don't want to be right. I order a grande, but today they accidentally make me a venti. That is a lot of mocha for this gal, and I can't finish it.

8:00: Despite the train, I arrive right on time! My day consists of 5 meetings, a quick lunch time errand to the Container Store, and some other work tasks that I won't get into.

Speaking of the Container Store, I get an email from them after signing up for their rewards program when I was checking out. I found this statistic eye-opening and timely, considering my recent playroom purge.

4:45: I leave work and pop into Trader Joe's for a few groceries on my way home. We have nada planned for dinner, so I grab my favorite heat-and-serve enchiladas, some frozen burritos for the next time we have nothing planned (which is likely to be soon), along with some fresh fruit, Mike's favorite sunflower seeds, and other treats.

5:30: I arrive at daycare to get the kids. Ben is in a happy mood. Liv starts off in a happy mood (here she is saying "cheese!" and notice she has already kicked off one shoe).

5:50: Home! Liv is down to 0 shoes and 0 socks now. This is the usual with her.

She loves to climb around in the car for a few minutes before she gets out. I oblige.

Look out, fellow drivers!

6:00: In the house. Liv's mood deteriorates rapidly. I needed to go to the bathroom. I know better than to think I can do so alone. Both kids are in here at some point, but Liv sticks by me like glue the entire time, which is the usual.

Please note that the shirt she is wearing is NOT hers and not what we sent her in. She has a bad habit of dumping her water on herself now that she is transitioning away from a sippy cup at school. So she goes through several shirts each day. In the afternoon she spends the last hour in a different classroom where they don't have her spare clothes, so they put her in whatever random spare they have. So she generally goes home looking like a hobo.

She was mad here because the cabinet  door wouldn't open. She was pulling it from the wrong side.

She keeps me company while looking through all the drawers and cabinets.

6:20: I get the kids set up at the island and start putting together dinner. The enchiladas are still in the oven, and I can tell it is going to be an early night for Liv. She is having a meltdown over just about everything. At this point, she's bawling because Ben got her yogurt tube out the freezer for her, and she wanted to do it herself. I calm her down by letting her get down, open the freezer, pretend to grab a yogurt, and then close it.

6:25: Mike comes home and helps with the kids and dinner prep. Liv is throwing things and acting up, so I put her down on the floor. She has another meltdown.

6:40: She walks to the stairs and asks to go to bed. Poor baby. It's been a long day for her.

Pointing out to Mike where she wants go to. She's a woman of few words, but she gets her point across very well non-verbally.

It's my night to put her to bed, but since she is going up 30 minutes early, Mike comes too so that he can see her for a few more minutes. We brush teeth and have a drink of water (her favorite part).

We get her in her nighttime diaper and jammies. While we're changing her, Mike notices she feels warm.

When he takes her temp, she is 99.8. Mild but this explains the fussy behavior and asking for bed. I give her some ibuprofen, which is a total disaster. She doesn't like taking meds and fights us tooth and nail on it. Most of it goes on the floor.

7:00: Finally, we get her into bed. As is her routine, she gathers up her binkies and holds them up for me to wash. I rinse them in the sink, and then she's happy. She goes right to sleep. For all her drama, she is a great sleeper.

7:10: Meanwhile, Mike's headed back down and is eating with Ben. I join them.

Ben is done with dinner and requests some powdered doughnuts for his treat.

7:30: We work together to clean up the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, and pack up the kids' breakfast for tomorrow.

Then Mike and Ben work on his newest Lego set for a bit while I put my new Rugby bins from the Container Store in the playroom and transfer the toys (weeding out a few more in the process).

8:00: Bed time for Ben. He is very upset to recall that it is Daddy's night to put him to bed. We take turns each night with putting each kid to bed. Yet for some reason, every night that it is Daddy's turn Ben tries to convince us that it is my turn. He is just going through a phase. Tears and drama ensue.

We get him up the stairs to bush teeth and put on jammies. These pictures crack me up. You can see that Ben is still upset, and Mike is losing his patience. (You can also see that I still need to paint this room.)

Ben is a pack rat. His room is always a little messy, no matter how hard I try to keep it clean. I'm trying to give Ben some responsibilities around the house, so it is his job to put his dirty clothes in the hamper, clear his dishes, and pick up after himself. Not a lot to ask of a 5 year old. He still struggles with it though. One night he is happy to do it and points out what a good helper he is; the next night he might cry when I ask him to put his clothes in the hamper. Kids!

8:15: Ben has finally calmed down. He gets his jammies on and asks me why I'm following them around. Dad tells Ben that I'm the paparazzi. Ben asks what paparazzi means.

Notice the mismatched jammies? This is a trend he picked up at Thanksgiving from cousin Lily. But you know what, I like it. Now I don't have to match up his sets when I'm folding laundry. I just fold them all and put them in the drawer and let him pick out what he wants.

They climb into bed with a book of Ben's choosing, and I head off to shower and get ready for bed. Usually, I would not have come up in the first place, but I needed to get photos. (Being paparazzi is hard work.)

8:45: Dee gets her nightly treat for her Kong, and Mike is watching TV.

I unpack the kids' school stuff and hang this shark that Ben made up on the fridge. He was so proud of it!

9:00: I sit down to catch up on my Trivia Crack games and read any new blog posts for the day. I check my Fitbit (a freebie from Mike's company) to see how I did for the day. I never get the recommended 10,000, but I average about 7,000 steps/day. I'm a little short today. :-(

Dee gets comfy in her favorite nightly spot. She's unconcerned with the circulation in my legs.

10:00: Bed time! I expect to be up with Liv once or twice, assuming she's coming down with something due to her mood and slight fever. But she sleeps through the night and wakes up happy and fever free!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Purging Part 1 - The Playroom

I was talking to my mom the other day, and she told me about a book and article she'd read about hoarders. She wondered why my sisters have an easy time keeping things minimal, whereas she and I tend to hoard stuff. At first, I took offense, envisioning people buried in their possessions with rotting food and 50 cats. Hoarder! I'm no hoarder! But after I thought about it for a while, I started to see her point...

While I don't feel like I'm a hoarder, I do tend to buy this and that, thinking it will fix what I don't like about a space in our home, when really it is the wood trim, the brown everything, and too much stuff that I don't like. Problems that a new throw pillow cannot solve. And what happens when I'm over that purchase a few months later? I feel guilty letting it go because I paid xx dollars for it, so I store it, thinking I'll sell it or repurpose it. But that never happens.

With that in mind, I decided to take a close look at our spaces to clear out the clutter and organize what we really use. I realize that the purging process is ongoing. I'm sure I'll have to continually revisit our spaces (especially the kids' areas). I also think that with time I can get more ruthless about what I let go. But we've all got to start somewhere.

The good news is, I love to organize. The bad news is, the first step in organizing is purging. And that is not my favorite part. But it is crucial.

The purge really all started back when I decided to relocate Liv's room. In the process, I had to clear out everything in both bedrooms so that I could paint them and clean the carpets. I told myself that nothing was going back into those two rooms that was not intentional. To me that meant three things: every item belonged in that space, every item was needed for that space, and there was room for that item in the space. This left me with a very large pile of crap in our hallway. (The mattress and borrowed dresser went into the guest room, but pretty much everything else needed to go.)

Slowly but surely, I've dwindled down the pile. I found homes for a few things:  I snagged the cutest little lamp shade at World Market for Liv's room and was able to use it on a lamp base I've had for years; I fixed up that garage sale nightstand. But the rest I donated.

This progress motivated me. Really, most rooms in our house need work, but I started with the worst offender: the playroom. (Well, the basement is the worst offender, but that is a whole different kettle of fish.)

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good "before" picture. But you can see below how we had the Expedit horizontal with the aquarium and lots of crap on top of it. And the grocery store crowded in the corner, making it hard for the kids to get behind it to play. Though that didn't always stop Liv; she's making me an egg here.

For the playroom, I started by relocating Ben's aquarium to his room so that I could move out the Expedit it was sitting on. This made room for their table/chairs (which were taking up space in the office).

Then Ben and I went through all of the toys together. He did a great job of letting go of many toys. We gathered up two big bags full of toys for B&D's baby-to-be, along with several larger baby toys that Liv has outgrown.

Next, I moved all of the stuffed animals and most of their books (and we've got a lot) up to the kids' rooms. This freed up space to bring in their coloring books, art supplies, etc. and create a zone for artwork. I have to store it all up high though, because Little Miss LOVES to get into this stuff.

In an effort to "pretty up" what was left, I invested in five of these Rugby bins for the Expedit. I saw them in this blog post and fell in love (and I'll take that large art print too, please).

Sorry for the glare. We really need better lighting in this room.

I really think that we can pare down even more. I may move some of the toys living on the other Expedit (the one in the corner below) to Ben's room and put the shelf to work somewhere else. But for phase 1 of the purge, I'm feeling pretty good. There is actually ample floor space for playing and everything has an uncluttered home.

I've got a few more plans for this space, like a new coat of paint for the walls (no more brown!) and a ceiling light (which requires an electrician to wire the ceiling), but I'm happy with the progress.

Next up--the office. Stay tuned. :-)