Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Road Not Taken

Have you been wondering where I've been and why I haven't been blogging? Nah - you probably weren't. But I'll tell you why you should have been.

4 weeks ago, a friend challenged me (and a few other bloggers) to a blog-a-thon. 30 days of blogging. We were committing ourselves to blog 6 days a week for 4 weeks. Yes, I know that's not really 30 days. But it was close enough :-)

For the first three weeks of this challenge, I surprised myself by actually sticking to the commitment. I blogged every day. Sometimes about the most random things. But I did it.

Until last week.

We had just returned from vacation, my house was a wreck, and I was starting to get nervous. The reason being, I knew my road test would be coming up soon. (See the story leading up to my road test here).

I was too nervous to blog. I didn't want anyone to know about my upcoming test. And I was avoiding my chores (thus didn't have a thing to blog about!)

On Thursday, I got the call I had been waiting for. My driving instructor told me he had my test scheduled for Sunday morning. He even offered to give me 2 extra lessons right before my test to calm my nerves.

Sunday is today. I already had the lessons. And I already took the test.

Guess what.

I PASSED!!!!!  

Now, instead of it being the "Road Not Taken", I think I'll take it. And any other road that comes along...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Walking Vacation

My vacation has been wonderful. It's been a total break from (most of) the mundane.

No laundry, cooking or cleaning. No carpools or regular bedtimes. And yes, the kids came along, but for me, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now lately, I've been in a bit of a rut with my diet and exercise. I kept telling myself that things would improve when the spring came. Unfortunately, spring came and so did the excuses.

This vacation ended up being the perfect thing for me. I've been eating better, and exercising every day. This is the momentum I needed.

Happy flying!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Yes, you read that right. After a very long week with viruses, chicken pox, and a serious case of the "blahs", we are on vacation!

It's funny, but all I keep thinking right now is, why in the world am I writing a blog post? I'm on vacation!!! But here I am, trying to stick to my commitment.

I'm only a few hours into my vacation, and I have to say, the Flylady got it right again. You know how she always tells us to get dressed to shoes? Well, because I was going on vacation today, I took extra care how I look. I have to say, I've never felt better. And it's funny since I got rid of most of my grungy clothes, but there was an extra skip in my step because I cared today, just a little bit more. And it doesn't mean that I accomplished more in my home today. But it means that instead of collapsing in the hotel room, I managed to walk for hours. And I never wanted to stop.

Anyways, I'm going to leave this post short so I can get back to vacationing. But I'll report back tomorrow!

Happy Flying!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Bushel and a Peck

Recently, I've been thinking quite a lot about my grandmother who passed away almost eight years ago. This grandmother was a "born organized" person. She tried to teach me many tips and tricks. Unfortunately, most didn't stick. But there is plenty that did stay with me - and one thing that stayed with me was the following song that she would always sing to us. This song always makes me smile. Therefore, I decided to share it with all of you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Call me Old Fashioned

As a little girl I made the decision that I wanted to be a stay at home mom. As a teenager, I decided that I wanted to work as an accountant. As a high school graduate, I decided that teaching was the profession for me. As a college student, I decided to train as an artist. When I finally was a woman in the workforce, I decided that all I ever really wanted was to be a stay at home mom.

I grew up with a mom who had gone back to school and had begun working full time. While she was working, there were definite sacrifices that both she and I made. I missed out on the home cooked dinners she made for my older siblings, and she missed out on my school productions. She definitely did her best to make up for all the lost opportunities that we had. And she was and still is a great mom. But because she worked, I truly always wanted to be a stay at home mom.

Being home, however, was not always an option. Sometimes I did have to work outside the home. And I did so for many years while my husband was in school. But the times that I'm truly happy, are when I can work from home and be there for my family.

Now, as you all know, I'm a slob by nature. But there is nothing I like better than taking care of my family in every way I can. Sometimes, it even means cleaning up.

Don't get the wrong idea. I don't like cleaning. I don't think I ever will. But there is something so satisfying about taking care of my family. And sometimes, cleaning is all they need from me. And sometimes, it's staying home with them when they're sick.

As I'm sure you know by know, my three year old has a case of the chicken pox. He is very fortunate that he doesn't feel sick. And while that is great in some respects, it's very difficult in others. He is completely full of energy, wants to go to school, and is going completely stir crazy.

So am I.

I love my kids. And I'll do anything in the world for them. But being cooped up at home for a week, with a sick child, and therefore no way to leave the house, is completely exhausting.

So even though I really love being a stay at home mom, this week, I really miss the outdoors.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Can't Help You - I'm Busy Procrastinating

This chicken pox thing is really taking it's toll on me.

When I first started this blogging challenge, on one hand I was completely nervous. On the other hand, I knew that by signing up, I'd be ensuring that my cleaning would get done. I knew that these 30 days would be the best my home has ever looked.

I was wrong. Chicken Pox has a way of changing things for everybody.

While I'm so happy that the only symptoms my son has are the spots all over his body, it's no fun having a kid completely stuck at home who feels totally fine. He's going a little stir crazy. And he's stirring up a lot of messes with him.

So, I need to watch him like a hawk. He has decided today, to test the laws of gravity. Let's just say that there have been many injuries today.

I have not been able to leave his side. And I am completely wiped out.

If only he would take a nap, I might be able to wash my dishes from the weekend. Or do some laundry. Or even make dinner.

But I can't do any of those things. And by the time he goes to bed, I'm ready to sleep as well.

So instead of pushing myself to get things done, I have decided that the only way to keep my sanity this week, is by procrastinating.

Yes, you read that right. My plan for the next couple of days is to procrastinate.

Life threw me a few curve balls this week. I'm just trying to roll with the punches.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mama Said There'll be Days Like This

This post is dedicated to one of my loyal readers. She's also known as my sister (so she has to be a loyal reader!)

When reading of my troubles with the chicken pox, she quoted this song in her comment. Since then, I have not been able to get the song out of my head. I've decided that if it's going to be stuck in my head, it needs to be stuck in all of yours as well.

Today was one of those days that Mama said we'd have. One kid was stuck home with the chicken pox. I (stupidly?) allowed another kid with the chicken pox to come over and have a play date. On top of it all, I didn't sleep well last night.

So what have I done today? Nothing. Didn't wash a single dish. Didn't make any food. Didn't do any laundry. Didn't clean up any toys.

On second thought, Mama didn't warn me about these days. She prayed they wouldn't happen!

Friday, May 4, 2012

My Calendar, My Life

I've decided to use today to share with you how I organize my life. As much as I've always been a slob, underneath all the mess, I've always been quite organized. Flylady recently partnered with Cozi to make lives so much simpler (including my own!)

Now, in case you're wondering, I was not asked to share this with you, nor am I getting paid to do so. However, I needed something quick to post today, and thought this would be the perfect time to introduce this to you.

Since this video has been made, the site has been improved to include a meal planning system. That new system has actually been a lifesaver for me.

I encourage you to take a look at the video and maybe get inspired to re-organize your lives as well.

To sign up, click here.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Of Parenting and Pox

I was going to write this whole long post today about the benefits of going back to basics. But life has a habit of getting in the way.

Today, life is defined as two kids, one with flu like symptoms, and the other, with something that looks a lot like chicken pox.

I'm pooped.

I started my day with such vigor. I made a batch of bread this morning. I also made a quadruple batch of banana muffins (thanks to a sale on bananas!)

And then kid #1 got sick. I spent all day with her. I was exhausted by the time the kids were ready for bed. Unfortunately, it was while changing kid #2 into pajamas when I noticed the unmistakable spots.

So... I guess we'll get back to basics tomorrow. And I can be thankful for whatever I did manage to accomplish today (even though I left myself with the mountain of all mountains of dishes).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My Born-Organized Sister

For those of us in the Flylady world, the term Born-Organized (or BO for short) stands for all the people that we hate. (And at the the same time, they are the people that we secretly wish to be). We all have one in our lives. It could be a parent, sibling, spouse or friend. For me, it's my sister.

As a little girl, she would drive me completely up the wall. We shared a room until I was seven. And as she is six years older than me, she was always the boss. She completely controlled our room. And I did everything in my power to make the room "my own" (read: mess).

She used to bug me about cleaning my toys, straightening up the closet, and getting rid of extra hangers.

As we got older, her "BO-ness" spilled over into her studies. She was an incredible student, and unfortunately for me, she set the bar way too high.

I grew up in her shadow. And even though I ultimately grew taller than her, I always felt like I could never follow in her footsteps. Guess what - I didn't. I became me instead :-)

The funny thing with Flylady is that it has taught me more about myself - things that I never realized until now. Things that make me unique. And I think I've finally grown into the Mom that I've wanted to be for a while now.

Now I don't want you to think that by writing this now means that it took me this long to realize this. I just am running out of things to write in the month long adventure...

Oy... what was my point again?

Oh yeah. Being born-organized is not something to strive for. We're either born that way or we're not. And if I were born organized, I think I would miss all my eccentricities that come with being me.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Not Today?

So I realize that posting a video is a little bit of a cop-out, but at least I'm posting something, right?

Anyways, enjoy this cute little video. The music kind of annoyed me, but the cartoons were perfect :-)

Monday, April 30, 2012

Day 5: Blogging Challenge

I remember as a young girl when I would be on a really good streak of writing in my diary. I was convinced I had to write every single day and keep it up. Of course, those streaks never lasted long and undoubtedly, I'd have a few entries that looked like this:

Dear Diary,

Nothing much really happened today, but I wanted to say hi.


The need to write in my diary every night was definitely part of the perfectionist in me.

Working with Flylady has definitely helped me to tame my inner perfectionist. I no longer feel the need to write in my blog (or diary) every day. But on the other hand, my friend did challenge me. So I'd like to give you all an update on the cleaning and organizing of my home.

I started out my day like I didn't have a care in the world. That was why at around 9 am, a friend came by and found me in front of my computer in my pajamas. I quickly turned my brain on and asked her to stay. She said yes. So I threw on some clothes, went into my kitchen and had my friend park herself in a chair near me. I figured, as long as she's here, I can motivate myself to move.

It worked! I cleaned my entire kitchen, and folded the laundry! I was so proud of myself that I actually accomplished so much that I rewarded myself by taking my coupons and buying the books that I planned on buying this week.

Overall, it was a good day. I have a lot more to do, but I'll save something to do tomorrow :-)

P.S. This 30 day challenge is really putting a damper on my ability to come up with cute titles. If anyone has a clever title they'd like to see me use, put it in the comments.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bye Bye Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I spent a wonderful day with my family doing nothing. Or at least almost nothing. I had great homemade food, birthday cupcakes (that pathetically, I made for myself), and a new book to read. I decided not to do any dishes, or anything that I didn't really want to do. And I truly had a great day.

But yesterday is over. Today is a new day, with a giant list of things that I need to accomplish.

Company is coming tomorrow. In addition to get the guest room completely ready, I also want my house to look welcoming. The look I've got going on now, with the mountains of dirty dishes and random things on every surface, is really not going to cut it.

Now fortunately for me, I had company over the weekend. Now most people might find that crazy since more company is coming tomorrow. But in fact, it helped me. I was able to motivate myself enough to clean a good chunk on Friday. In addition, I even got my laundry folded and put away.

But I still have mountains to do, and very limited time.

On the plus side, having company is sure to motivate me to write a variety of different blog posts.

I've got to stop procrastinating (yes, writing this blog IS procrastinating) and start going through my list.

Happy Flying!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sleepless in the Sack

As a kid, I always heard the jokes about the worrisome mother. I never really felt like my mom was one of those. She wasn't the mom who made curfews or lots of rules. She never made any issues about where I was, or who I was with. I always figured that my mom simply didn't worry, and therefore, I never really got the joke.

I get it now.

As I'm writing this, it's 4:30 in the morning. I didn't just wake up. I've been awake for many hours. But I don't have trouble sleeping regularly. I go to sleep generally in the 10 PM hour, and I sleep until 6:15 every morning. It's a really good night's sleep and I always feel refreshed in the morning.

But tonight is different. And as a mom, I have gotten somewhat used to this. My seven year old daughter woke me up at around 1 AM and said that she couldn't sleep. So the first thing I did was let her cuddle with us. I assumed that we'd all be back asleep within minutes. (Or at least my husband would be).

While lying in my bed, I felt my daughter's arm next to mine. It was hot. Without even putting a hand to her forehead, I knew she was sick. The thermometer confirmed my suspicions. 102.5 - she was sick, all right!

I got up, got her some meds, a drink, and a bunch of kisses. Then I tucked her back in and she went to bed.

Now everyone is asleep except for me. Why am I still awake?

I have taken care of my daughter so she can fall back asleep. And I can't sleep.

I have checked on her again, in addition to her little brother, and still I can't sleep.

I have checked my email, facebook, and twitter.

I have caught up on all of my outstanding "Draw Something" games.

I have put in a load of laundry.

I have loaded and started the dishwasher.

I made 2 different long distance phone calls.

And I rested in my bed for 3 hours. Still I can't sleep.

I have become the mother that I never knew I would be - the mother that my mother has always been. And I finally understand her coffee addiction :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Lessons from a Toddler

My nephew is three years old. I know I'm a bit biased, but he really is one of the cutest people I know.

The other day, my sister shared a story about him that can motivate any flybaby.

When it was time for him to come out of the bath, the first thing he had to do was clean up his toys. Now, when we have to clean up in our own home, we end up singing the clean up song (made famous by Barney). But my nephew took his cleaning up to a whole new level. He made it into a game.

He took each toy individually and dance it over to the other side of the tub. It was his little way of saying goodbye to each toy.

Remember Mary Poppins' famous words? "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. We find the fun and, SNAP! The job's a game!" (I first blogged about Mary Poppins here).

At only three years old, and probably without ever seeing Mary Poppins, this little boy has so much that he can teach us.

Now I just have to get my butt into gear and turn cleaning my kitchen into a game!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Brace Yourself: I'm Blogging!

A few days ago, a friend of mine challenged me to a duel of sorts. A blogging duel. We have to blog for 30 days. Now, if you have been following my blog, you'll know that I'm not very consistent with my writing. Sometimes, I'll write twice a day, and other times, I can go a month with nothing.

This definitely posed a challenge for me, and stupidly, I agreed to it.

So here we are, day one of the challenge and thankfully, I have a lot to write about. But I'll try to spread it out so I don't use everything up today!

I've decided to use this blog to prepare you with what is going on with our lives right now. We have finished with Passover and all the cleaning that that entailed. However, as I've noticed, with holidays, it doesn't matter if you're neat. It only matters if you're clean. So here we are, post-Passover, and although my home was very clean, I still have a lot more work to do.

Company is coming. For two weeks. And if that wasn't enough, we are moving in two months. So now, I have to get my home ready for company, while simultaneously clearing things that need to be packed, organizing, and painting.

Yeah... this is gonna be fun.

The good thing about this challenge is that it will force me to actually move. (As opposed to what I was doing all morning which was lounging in my pajamas and eating cocoa pebbles).

So wish me luck as I get started on a month long journey of blogging, cleaning, and coping.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lazy Days of.... March?

I'm terrible. I wrote two blog posts this week. The first was to motivate myself to get my butt in gear. The second was to prove to you guys that I actually achieved my goal for the day.

Guess what I've done since then... 

If you guessed nothing, you'd be right. 

Hmmm.... maybe now that I think about it, it wasn't quite that dramatic. I did manage to wash all the dishes on Friday. In addition, I managed to cook a few things that I had in the freezer. I also managed to give my friend a haircut, bake some bread and taught another friend to knit.

Wow. I guess I should blog more often. When I write it all out like that, it makes the moments of vegging out seem well deserved! (Almost!)

So what are my goals for tomorrow? I've got to wash the dishes, start up the laundry, and as a special bonus, I've got to clean my room.

But first things first.... I must get a good night's sleep and then start my day on the right foot.

And then hopefully, I will live up to my name: The Flying Penguin :-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Driving Myself Crazy

I'd like to tell you all a little story. Once upon a time in a galaxy known as New York, my husband and I decided to uproot our family and move to Israel. For the most part, this move was not unlike the zillions of other moves we had done in the past. There were however a few noticeable exceptions. Converting our drivers' license was definitely one of those differences.

This was not the first move we had made that forced us to change our licenses. Our moves from New York to California (and back again) also required us to make the change. 

To fully appreciate this saga, let me take you back to when I was 16 and I first got my driver's license. The standard procedure in New York was to take a written test to acquire a learner's permit, and then a road test to get your license. I was lucky (maybe not that lucky in hindsight) that the DMV was conducting an experiment with a new kind of written exam. There were five questions. All the questions were regarding road signs. I got all the questions right. And I didn't even have to crack open a book! (Imagine that! Of course they ultimately went back to their original way of testing when a class of third graders passed this exam as well!!!)
After having my permit for three months, I passed the road test. 

Let's fast forward to our move to California. I needed to convert my New York license to a California one. The procedure was simple. I just needed to pass the written test and I'd be a California driver. So I went to my local DMV and fortunately for me, it was tiny with almost no foot traffic. I sat down with my exam, took the test, handed it in, and failed. I was so not okay with that. Thankfully because I was the only customer (and maybe because I took the time to make sure my makeup looked good that morning), the clerk allowed me to retake the test that minute.

I passed.

Fast forward another bunch of years and another bunch of moves and we've found ourselves in Israel having to transfer our licenses again. This time, I had to take a road test. My husband passed on his first try. I, unfortunately, was not so lucky. On my first try, the examiner failed all the women that day. On my second try, I consistently drove 10 km an hour too fast.  (My mistake... whoops!)

This is where I got into trouble. After failing the road test two times, I was required to take a written test. (Which is no simple feat). And after living here for one year, I was no longer able to drive using my New York license.

It's two years since I first started taking the written test and for the most part I behaved. I only drove if it was absolutely necessary or if I was staying local for carpools, grocery shopping and doctor visits. But two weeks ago, I got stopped by a cop. He threatened me with a ticket, a court appearance, and taking my car away. Thankfully, being a girl, I was able to turn on the waterworks and I cried my way out of everything. I promised him I wouldn't drive again until I had my license. 

The following day, I went to take the written test again. It was my ninth attempt. I had been studying all weekend. I had completely ignored my children for days. But thankfully, it all paid off and I passed the test. One test down, one more to go.

You've probably been reading this post thinking what in the world this has to do with housekeeping. And even more, what it has to do with the goal I set for myself yesterday. Well, let me explain.

It's two weeks later and I am completely housebound. It's very depressing. I can't take carpool. I can't take kids to their appointments. I can't go to the grocery store. I can't even take big walks with the kids since a cop stopped me for walking (saying he thought it was too dangerous for me to have the kids on the road...) So I've been staying home. I've been staying in pajamas. And I've been staying out of every room that has needed my attention. 

I had decided yesterday that enough was enough and it was time to do something other than stay in my beds with books and movies. I needed to get up in the morning, get dressed and have a regular day - even if I never went outside.

So I did.

Granted, I only managed to get myself dressed at 10 am, but I did get dressed. I did two loads of laundry. I emptied and then reloaded and ran the dishwasher. I washed another pile of dishes. I straightened up the living room. And I made myself a list of everything that needs to happen before Passover comes along.

I've decided that even though I can't yet leave my house, I no longer have to be driving myself crazy knowing I can't leave. If I take a few minutes every day, I'll be able to live in my own home, and enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Missed Me?

So have you missed me? Well, my house sure has. In the past many months, I've barely blogged. I had good reasons not to blog. But I have to say, somehow, the blogging is a direct correlation to the actual cleaning. So.... if I haven't blogged in about three months... Well, let's just say I've got a lot of laundry. (And that's putting it mildly).

I was thinking I should start off with the excuses. I mean, you all, my readers, deserve to know why I've been neglecting my chores. But then I thought better of it. While some excuses are completely ridiculous, the fact of the matter is, that's all they are - Excuses.

So let's get into some of the big stuff here. We've got three big events coming up in the not so distant future.

The first, (and also the soonest): is Passover. It's coming in a little over three week's time and this will be the first time we'll be home for the holiday.

The second: we're having out of town company staying with us for two weeks. (This company tends to be pretty critical of my housekeeping skills).

The third, and most major event: We're moving again.

That's right.... AGAIN.

I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking, "Didn't they just move?" Yeah, we did. This will be our 11th home in 9 years. I know.... I can barely stand it myself.

Yet, while the idea of moving again has me wanting to throw up, the reality of it is scaring me less than it ever has. I have only one reason why. Flylady.

I'm actually in pretty decent shape! Now granted, my kitchen is a disaster zone, I've got a mountain of both clean and dirty laundry (though not in the same place), and I haven't washed my floors in a really long time, but if I actually take the 15 minutes in each room and devote myself to straightening up, my house would be in fantastic shape! And the 15 minutes is generous.

How awesome is that???? 15 minutes to do the dishes, 15 minutes to fold the laundry, 15 minutes to straighten up the living room, and 15 minutes to wash my floors. That's it. One hour and my house looks close to perfect! (I purposely left out the bedrooms and bathrooms...)

That is just unreal to me! I can devote one hour to my home! That's nothing!

Now, I know you're probably wondering, why in the world am I sitting here writing this instead of actually spending the time to do it right now. I have a good reason. It's really late at night and I'm falling asleep. But I WANT to do it. And that is why I'm blogging right now. I want to be held accountable to all of you. Instead of staying in pajamas all day (like I've been doing all week) I want to get up early tomorrow morning, get dressed, put on a smile and start my day. But tomorrow won't be any different if I don't put this out there.

I miss the peace and calm that my home can be when I'm flying. Tomorrow morning, I will dust off my wings and report back to you.