Wednesday, November 30, 2011

From Falling to Flying

I'd like to tell you about my day. But to fully appreciate it, I need to rewind to two days earlier.


The lake
I had decided that I had had enough of moping around in my house and missing my husband. It was time to start exercising again, start taking care of the laundry, and the dishes, and generally, start feeling like a human being again. I had a GREAT day! I went for a walk around the most beautiful lake in my town. It was completely invigorating. But that wasn't enough. I went home, started straightening up. I threw a load of laundry into the machine, and started cleaning up the living room. I decided I really wanted to get these recent 5 pounds back off, so I pulled out an exercise dvd and started to work out. Unfortunately, I have bad knees so the squats were killing me. But I powered through them. The biggest problem, was my sciatica. Mid squat, my sciatica decided to cripple me momentarily, and I collapsed. I decided then that I had probably had enough exercise for the day and I called it quits.

Later in the day, my thighs started to bother me, but that didn't faze me. It should have.


I couldn't move. I cancelled everything I had for the day and stayed in bed. My legs were killing me.


I was still in a lot of pain, but decided that it wasn't quite so bad. I felt that the best thing for my muscles, was to work out again. So I mustered up all the strength I could and went down to the lake. I felt that was the easiest walk as it is all flat. I met a friend down there and we decided to work out together. As our routine was coming to a close, I did the worst thing possible. I fell.

I had scabbed my knee, twisted my ankle, and worst of all, I had pulled my already sore thigh muscles.

I went home. I was in loads of pain. Yet all I could think about was how badly things needed to get done in my house. My daughter had no clean shirts for school. We had no clean dishes, and I had no idea what I was going to serve my kids for dinner.

I took one look at my kitchen and wanted to cry. So instead, I took a picture.

It was completely disgusting. Everything was dirty. How in the world did I let it get so bad? But I knew I couldn't work in the kitchen in the pain I was in. So I took some pain killers and went to rest for a few hours. 

Believe it or not, I began to feel a little bit better. I decided that I needed to use whatever energy I had and clean up my kitchen. I did a little bit at a time. 15 minutes here, 15 minutes there. I put a load of laundry in the washing machine. I loaded and ran the dishwasher. I put up a pot of soup for dinner. And before I knew it, my kitchen looked like this:


Now granted, I didn't take a picture of the other side of my kitchen.... but as they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day". And there's always tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sleep or Sweep?

It happens to all of us. We wake up in the middle of the night, either from a kid, or a dream, or the thunder. And you can't sleep. Do you lie in bed praying that you can fall back into a deep slumber? Or do you get up?
It happened to me last night. I woke up to the sounds of my 3 year old coughing. It was 3 am. I was not finished sleeping. I didn't fall back asleep. I stayed in bed with him until he fell back asleep. Guess what happened next? I was awake. And I was awake for the day.

Whenever something like this happens to me, I always debate whether I should stay in bed and hope beyond all hopes that I'll fall back asleep, or should I get up and clean the kitchen, or throw in a load of laundry. I always count any middle of the night housework I do as bonus work. Because really I should have been sleeping.

So tonight while awake at the weirdest hours of the night, I chose to play on my computer. I checked my email, and surfed the web, and chatted with friends in other time zones.

I guess I know what this means. Its going to be a coffee kind of day.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Thankful for.... the End of the Day

I'm sure that reading blogs everywhere today, people with an American heritage are talking about Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things they are thankful for. People are thankful for their families, friends, homes, jobs or even video games.

But my husband is away. He has been for over two weeks and it will be another two weeks before he comes home. I don't live near any family, and as we're fairly new to the community, I'm not friends with any of my neighbors.

So today, I am thankful that the day is ending. I no longer have to deal with the kid who is really potty trained but still manages to get all his clothing wet. I no longer have to deal with the girl who absolutely does not pay attention to me whenever I ask her to do something. I no longer have to deal with the girl with the lice in her hair. And I no longer have to deal with the guest who came over, stuffed our toilet, and didn't tell me.

My day is over, and THAT is the thing I am most grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuna Dreams and Popcorn Wishes

I've been camping out at home lately. Aside from getting the kids to and from school, I've been avoiding going outside. Not necessarily because I didn't want to go outside, but rather because I wanted to stay inside. The internet kept calling me and I found myself lost in its web. I was glued to the TV and ignoring real life.

My home was beginning to suffer the consequences.

My friend stopped by yesterday for a quick visit. She asked me if I had made tuna fish. I said I had. Though in my mind, I didn't actually remember making tuna that recently. I just chalked it up to being tired that I couldn't remember what I had eaten when.

I made it out of my house this morning. I took care of some groceries, went to the library, and got gas. I finally felt like a human being again. That is, until I walked into my house. The smell of tuna was overwhelming. Until I realized that it wasn't tuna at all. It was burnt popcorn.

Two nights ago, I had movie night with my kids. I made a batch of popcorn. I burnt it. I made a second batch of popcorn. I burnt that too. My house stunk.

The following day, I didn't leave my house. So guess what -- the house still stunk.

By the time this morning rolled around I decided that I couldn't take it anymore. So I started to clean my kitchen. I even had the kids help me- they chose to clean the floor with magic erasers! We scrubbed and scrubbed until the kitchen looked beautiful!

And guess what -- it STILL smells like burnt popcorn!

Oh well.... At least it looks pretty!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Feel Pretty

I bumped into a friend today who seemed so surprised that I looked so nice today. She asked me, "Why do you look so nice today -- your husband isn't even home!"

Let me explain....

I've been avoiding doing housework for the past couple of days. As a matter of fact, I've been avoiding doing any kind of work for the past couple of days. I haven't done dishes, laundry (except for emergency laundry), any housework, or more than a couple hours of my actual job. As a matter of fact, I've done a lot of reading, writing, watching TV and crocheting.

I decided yesterday that I needed to do something productive today, because despite every good intention I had the past couple days, nothing really happened. So, when I woke up this morning, I put my best foot forward, which is always harder when my husband is away for business...

Thanks to flylady, I've learned to get dressed every day in clothing that makes me feel good. It doesn't mean that I never lounge in my pajamas, or throw on a sweatshirt. But it means that I wear clothing that fits, that I like wearing, that isn't covered in holes, and that makes me feel pretty.

So this morning, I got dressed in my normal attire, as if I'm going to work, even though I work from home. But the finishing touch was a very special necklace that I recently received.

A few weeks ago, we had gone away for the weekend and met a couple staying at the same hotel. We started talking. We talked and talked and talked. We really had a wonderful time getting to know them. At the end of the weekend, an amazing thing happened -- she gave me an old necklace of hers. It was special to her. She had gotten it years ago on a trip to Hawaii. Now, she wanted me to have it because of the wonderful impression I had made on her.

My "flying" necklace :-)

I cried when receiving this very special gift. What an incredible gift I received that night -- it was more than just the necklace, it was the sentiment that went with it.

I put on that very necklace this morning.

I feel pretty. I feel inspired. And I feel motivated.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down...

Tonight, as my husband is away on a business trip, I decided to have movie night with my kids. Choosing a movie for them proves to be very tricky as DD7 doesn't like anything scary, and DS3 likes all things Buzz Lightyear and Barney. And of course, as I was planning on watching with them as well, I had to be mildly interested. So I chose Mary Poppins. 

We finished the popcorn as we got to the famous cleaning-of-the-nursery scene, at which point, DS3 decided he had had enough of this, and went to find something to play.

I remember the first time I showed this movie to my now 21 year old niece. When we finally got to this scene, she couldn't contain her laughter, and as laughter is contagious, we were both rolling. 

Since that day, I think this scene has remained my favorite. Whenever I watch it, the memories of that laughter just come flooding back and I can't help but chuckle.

Of course, since starting up with flylady, I always watch that scene a little differently. Two thoughts usually run through my mind: 1- why can't I just snap my fingers and everything gets put away? and 2- "With every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and SNAP! The job's a game!" That statement is as true in the movie as it is in my life.

Fun comes in different varieties. In Mary Poppins, the fun actually was just snapping your fingers. In my life, snapping could be a variety of things. When I'm working by myself, it could be listening to music, or wearing my special apron. With my kids, its setting the timer and making clean-up into a race!

Somehow, the magic of Mary Poppins has really extended into my home this evening. My kids quickly helped me clean up knowing that movie night was the prize and after the excitement of it had died down a bit, and Mary Poppins was singing to the children to go to sleep, DS3 went to lie down as well

Thank you Mary Poppins for inspiring and entertaining us for years! (And for putting our kids to sleep!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Beautiful Toilets

When we were first married, my husband and I struck a deal. He was to clean the toilets, and I would handle everything else.

What a stupid arrangement that was! Besides for the fact that I was left with doing basically everything, I didn't have a clue how to keep house.

For years, I kind of skirted around the issue that I couldn't keep a house in order. Our first apartment, we had very few things -- no one noticed that it was a mess. We then moved, had a kid, got a load of crap and the clutter began.... However, with only one kid, and a baby at that, she didn't really make a mess.

We moved from that place after a year, so I was able to start from scratch again.

Things started getting tricky the following year. We were living in a duplex apartment, with a toddler, higher income, and therefore, even more crap. We started to feel very squished into our two bedroom apartment. But before things got really out of hand, we moved again. This time, we moved into my parents house so my husband could finish school.

We were there for over three years. My bedroom was a disaster. But thankfully, most of our belongings were in storage, so all the clutter, wasn't necessarily my own.

We moved again. This time, far away from both my parents and in laws. And this time, was with two kids. We moved into a tiny two bedroom house. After the truck came with all of our belongings, we realized just how little space we actually had.

The landscape of our house was filled with all the boxes that didn't fit inside!

It was in this very house, that the flylady first waved her magic wand.

Two moves later, and my husband has a job that takes him out of town quite often. He is definitely no longer home to take care of the one job he agreed to all those years ago. So, with a lot of coaching from the flylady, I've decided I can tackle the toilets on my own.

I was terrified.

I had some company over the weekend. Our first real company since our epic (and mostly successful) toilet training. The toilets, and bathrooms in general, needed so much work.

I listened to the flylady's podcast about cleaning toilets. I pumped myself up -- ready to wear a mask if I had to, and tackled those toilets.

I know it sounds so funny, but MY TOILETS ARE SO PRETTY!!!!!

I conquered the impossible! And now, my husband is officially fired from his one job!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dear Diary

A funny thing happened on the way to the....

I feel like that line is my life: I was going to wash the dishes, but got distracted when a funny thing happened. Or, I really need to fold the laundry, but I'll do it soon because some funny thing just happened...

I'm great at procrastinating. Especially when something funny grabs my attention (and it usually does!). This past week was no different.

My sister called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I remembered when her (now 17 year old) daughter first began talking. I sort of ignored her question for a while, because who can remember that far back! The more I thought about, I realized that I might have her answer in one of my old diaries.

During one of my fly lady flings, I came across a stack of diaries. I was stuck. Do I throw them out? Or keep them. I definitely didn't need them, but I really didn't want to get rid of them. I called my born-organized sister for help. She said, if it's something that you love so much that you will always be upset that you got rid of it, then keep it. So I kept my diaries from my childhood.

Now, when I needed to get some information from 15 plus years ago, the diaries, I hoped, would prove to be helpful. I was wrong on two counts. One - I never wrote when my niece started talking so I wasted my time. Two - I was very entertained because so many funny things happened, so I wasted A LOT of time.

As a kid, I loved writing in my diary. I wrote about my friends (and enemies) in school. I wrote about different life events - both significant, and inconsequential. I wrote about dating, and even had some foresight to write pieces of advice to my kids (who surely would read these down the road). I wrote and wrote until one day, soon after I got married, I stopped.

I don't know why I stopped. Was it my perfectionism? Did I think that I was too grown up to keep a diary? Or maybe I was too afraid to write things that people might read down the road? Maybe it was because now I can blog, so diaries must be for kids while blogging is for adults.

An interesting and completely random thing occurred two weeks ago. My mother in law bought me a present: a diary. I couldn't believe it. Maybe this was the world's way of telling me that a diary is something for me -- if I enjoy it, there is no reason I should stop doing it.

People today are always searching for help. Whether it be in therapies, self help books, or even flylady. We turn to friends and family to talk things through. And some people write in their diaries.

I love my blog, and, like my diaries when I was a kid, I wish I wrote more often. But my blog isn't a diary. It's not about my friends, and my family. Its not about my personal thoughts, or dreams. My blog is in some ways a motivation for me -- to help me be the best mom and homemaker I can be. On the other hand, my diary is for me. I don't have to choose my words carefully, or try get the reader's attention. It isn't there for anyone but me. It doesn't have to be perfect. And maybe, when I finish the diary I'm writing in now, I'll buy another one - one with a pretty lock and key. And I'll feel like a kid again.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Year in my Life...

It has been a year since the fateful day that sparked so much change in our lives. Not the day that I first learned about flylady, but rather the day that a visitor insulted our home. If you don't remember how I got started, read all out it here.

My home is far from perfect. As I look around right now, I see mountains of laundry -- both to be washed, and to be folded. I see a sink full of dirty dishes. There is a mountain of crap on the floor in my bedroom, and in various other places in the house.

But, with all that said, my messes (for the most part) don't get out of hand anymore. The closets are more organized, the clutter is contained, and a room is never more than 15 minutes away from company ready.

I know I haven't blogged in a while, but thankfully our lives have been very busy with really good things.

May year two in my adventures be just as productive as my first! And thank you to everyone for following my adventures!