Saturday, March 7, 2015

Redeeming the Time

I I read a blog post recently by Patty over at babynumber10,  entitled "The Little Moments" that just hasn't let me go. Patty is a stay at home mom to 11 kids(!) and baby number 10 has down syndrome.  She chronicles some of their daily life on instagram as well as her blog.  This particular post is nothing earth shattering, she just reminds us there are little moments in our day we can redeem and use to be productive.   It is just practical, and maybe even for some blatantly obvious, but for ADD people (like me), it challenged me to think.  To think about how I spend my time going throughout my morning and to rewire my natural tendency. 
For those who don't understand what it is like to live in an ADD brain let me fill you in somewhat.  We spend a lot of our time feeling overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed by what all there is to do, and feeling like there is no clear direction in which to do it.  This in turn leads to avoiding issues, like getting the mail because you don't want to have to deal with sorting and paying out all the bills from your daughter's birth (by the way don't do this, it leads to a VERY full mail box and a grumpy mail man).  I do little things like this every day, avoiding them because when I think of everything that needs to get done all together and the time it is going to take me to do all of those things I freak out a little in my head.
Now I know all of you rational, sane, organized people are sitting there thinking "if she would just do it when she first thinks about it, she could avoid this problem" to which I would tell you you're absolutely right.  I know this, deep down I really do, and I desire to change which is why I think this post struck a cord with me and hasn't left.  Here is an excerpt from her post.

Keepers of the home have a lot on their collective plates - and if we were to enter that noble profession, Mrs. Smith forewarned us, we should continually be looking for opportunities to seize the "little minutes" of our day.
What are "little minutes", you say ??
Glad you asked.
Little minutes are the moments in between the big minutes ... that make up our days.

If big minutes are the chunks of time we spend each day devoted to the big tasks : washing the dishes, folding the laundry, cooking dinner, mopping floors .... then little minutes are the moments we have in-between these things : straightening a bookshelf as we return a book to its place, grabbing all the pencils in the junk drawer and securing them with a rubber band as we answer a phone call, wiping the spots off the mirror with a paper towel as we brush our teeth - so many little ways to redeem the time.

Mrs. Smith taught us that there were untold little minutes in every day - and if we paid attention and made room for them, they would be one of our greatest keys to success in the art of homemaking.

So now for the past few weeks I will randomly hear my own version of a mantra as I tell myself to "redeem the time" and try to do those little things when I actually see they need doing.  Redeeming the time comes in the tasks of hanging up clothes when I am putting away all other laundry, wiping window seals in the dining room at least once a week while I am wiping the table down, taking items back to the appropriate rooms, etc.  
So often as a homemaker I feel like I am running in place and falling further and further behind.  This job has made me realize I can't do everything, my house may not ever look "pinterest worthy" or the way I would choose for it to, I mean come on, we live here.  However, in the middle of the love, and chaos, the big moments, and skinned knees, there are ways to attempt to stay on top of stuff and make our home an enjoyable place to be for everyone.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Snow Day 2015

Ok one thing should be noted is that I am from north east Texas, and being in the southern part of the United States, we don't see much "real" snow.  In fact there is no guarantee that it will snow even one time a year.  I've actually gone quite a few years without seeing snow in my hometown.  It is just a fact of life, something we southerners are used to I guess. 

As such, when it does snow, everything shuts down and everyone goes outside to play, partly because it is so rare, and partly because no one knows how to drive in the conditions.  A couple of inches is heaven for us, but this particular day no one really saw coming.  We got a whopping 5-6 inches!  I have never seen that much snow where I live in my entire life.  To say it was an epic day would be an understatement.  

We knew there would be some snow accumulation so we decided to stay the night at my parent's house where there is a huge hill that is perfect for sledding, acres to pull sleds behind four wheelers, and family across the pasture to enjoy it all with! This turned out to be a great decision considering the snowfall we got that day.  

We all woke up disappointed that morning though because no snow was on the ground yet, and they had predicted it should start falling around 4 AM.  Of course being in Texas we are used to crazy weather that can change quickly, so I think we all expected it to just not happen at all.  Thankfully at about 7:55 AM it began to fall and just didn't stop!  I am talking HUGE, massive flakes that began to cover the ground in a hurry.  Everyone kept saying how crazy it was that it snowed so hard for so long.  It didn't let up until around 3 that afternoon.  

Mark and I are so blessed to have such wonderful family, that all get along so well.  This particular day we were able to celebrate our snow day with my parents, brother Adam and his wife Abby, my cousin Kyndall, her husband Rory, her daughter Haylyn, my aunt and uncle, Meredith, a friend from small group, and the Bordens.  We had a great time just doing things we don't normally get to do like make snow angels, or legitimate snow men, sledding, and having a snowball fight.  By the way, snow is TIRING, we were all out of breath after walking back up hills and fighting each other.  We had a boys against the girls snowball fight (which we sadly lost), and then spent time just talking to each other outside.  

After a while, the littles couldn't handle to cold and wet anymore so we would take shifts with sitting inside while they warmed up.  I was able to catch up with Kyndall while our kids watched "Frozen" by the fire.  It was such a relaxed, fun day that it quickly went up on everyone's list as one of the best days they had in a long time.  There is just something magical about snow (well snow that is here a couple of days then is gone) and when you have as much as we did, it just adds to the wonder of it all.  

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Beauty Of Simplicity

Today was a fun day, an unexpected day that turned out to be exactly what we needed.  When I woke up this morning it was raining pretty hard outside, and then all the sudden I hear "whooom" and the air conditioner whined down leaving the house quite quiet.  Yep, it happened, the electricity had been knocked off for the first time in the 9 months we have been in our house.

One would think I would have been concerned about what we would do all day, and maybe I should have, but in the 10 minutes I had before I went to release the boys from their room I processed the situation and got oddly excited about a day without power.  I began to think about all the different things we would be able to do because we didn't have access to our "lazy" vices that we so often have used as a crutch this winter.  No television, no internet, no clothes dryer, no lights, nothing.  And strangley (or maybe sadly) it was so liberating.  I felt like  I had the world at my fingers again, my choices were limitless, as if I had been granted so much of my time back.  I became excited to think I may actually sit down and read a book, or even write out a blog post on paper and have it ready to transfer over; I could have taken a candle lit bath, there were endless possibilities.  The sheer excitement at being powerless made me begin to think about what a beauty there is in simplicity and just how much that desire is pulling at my heart.  It is like a dull ache that you don't know is there until someone hits it just the right way.  I desire to live simply, with more management and less distraction.  Granted I am the one who chooses how to spend my time, I know that.  But to be pushed to realize the fact you don't care as much about certain thing was such a good experience.  

It was so good an experience that event though by 10:30 that morning the when the power had come back on,  I never told the boys.  Instead I chose to keep all the lights off and continue on our "no power" day.  And wouldn't you know, we had the best day!  They took a bath by kerosene latern light, we then read about 5 books in a row (We are doing good to read a book every other day.  The teacher in me beats myself up about it constantly), played in the game room , made a little charm bracelet, fought each other with pretend swords, colored, sang, and read some more.  I could tell they were enjoying it to, a day out of the ordinary, so much so they didn't complain once.  This day taught me so much, gave me so many ideas, and stirred something deep inside that I am still trying to process.

I learned that sometimes a messy house means a loving house.  It wasn't my first choice to have the boys color at the dining table, but since the room is basically made of windows, it had the most light.  They were entertained at least 30 minutes while I made their lunch, coloring to their hearts' content and using as much paper as they wanted.  It all still sits there now where we will use it tomorrow.  Owen still has toys in the living room he brought out and never put away.  Laundry is everywhere on the couch, folded, but everywhere.  And despite the appearance of chaos, I know there is love here.  I am trying to lower my expectations of how my house should look or how I wished I had somebody else's view of clean (hello OCD people).  We had fun today and it showed.  

So yes, I was reminded today of how simple isn't bad, simple is actually good.  I was pushed to maybe rethink the way we schedule our days, what we have, and why, and perhaps now I am pushed to change it.  I desire to change it, to take away and trash the things that don't matter.  To overcome my hoarder-ish tendencies, and evaluate why we have each item in our house.  I was challenged today, and it was good, so very very good.