Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My New, New 12 Basics


Previously, I wrote this post, and then forgot about it. Four and a half years later, here's my updated new, new list (living things excluded):
  1. Our king-size bed – so great for a family snuggle
  2. Our Kitchenaide stand mixer – not because I need it, but because it was a wedding gift from my parents
  3. The baby’s changing table – we upgraded our baby changing table to one with drawers which is such a better use of space
  4. Our wall-mounted pot rack – because our kitchen is tiny, and this makes it so much easier to put things away
  5. Our latte mugs – because any cup of coffee is better when it’s bigger
  6. Our washing machine – it’s an LG brand front-loader and I like that’s dependable (five people go through a lot of clothes)
  7. My Adidas Samba shoes – because they’re so comfortable for walking, and they’ve traveled with me from New Mexico to Iceland
  8. My iPhone – because it’s my camera, alarm clock, timer, list-keeper, GPS…
  9. My SPF 55 face sunscreen + my Egg Mellow Cream moisturizer + my Glam Glow Nude Glow illuminator – because I mix all three together and wear them every day
  10. Hair ties
  11. My blanket scarf – so warm, so practical, and travel great on a plane
  12. My Pandora bracelet

What happened to our old stuff? Here's an update on the items in my earlier post:
  1. my bed – upgraded!
  2. my iPhone 5c – upgraded!
  3. our incense burner – we still have this
  4. our pets – we still have our dog and one cat (sadly, one cat passed away)
  5. paper – much less useful to me now that I do more things on my phone
  6. hair ties – no change
  7. the baby necklace – I still have it, but I now wear my Pandora bracelet for a similar purpose
  8. the baby fig tree – it died, sadly
  9. my loveseat – we sold it because it wouldn’t fit in our new, smaller home
  10. my Emu brand boots – they were a bit too big, and also impractical for the weather in my area most of the time, so I donated them
  11. our first decoy duck, and our Korean wedding ducks – we still have these
  12. my blue poppies print from Target – this was donated and I don’t miss it
I guess I am more focused on functionality than ever before. I do think I'm closer to actually being a minimalist now than I've ever been before. I followed the Marie Kondo method and got through the Clothing, Books, and Documents categories. The Miscellaneous (Komono) category has me a bit stymied,though.

Six-Month Rosiebebe Update



Surprises
If I’m being completely honest, I was somewhat apprehensive about having a daughter – I didn’t know what to expect. But, it’s been wonderful – much better than expected. She’s such a joy to be around, and is such a happy baby. She’s willing to smile at everyone and is just the sweetest!

The Best Things
I feel an almost magnetic attraction between Rosiebebe and myself. I just love being around her, and I think it helps that at this point in my life, I’m more confident in my childcare-providing skills.

The Worst Thing
It’s still pumping. Breastfeeding is hard. I have read articles that suggest that breastfeeding isn’t actually any healthier for the baby than formula, and I fear they’re right, and that I’m doing all of this for nothing. But I also remember how much Serious Kiddo threw up / spit up as a baby, and how grumpy he was most of the time, and if there’s any chance that it was due to formula, then I don’t want to risk that for Rosiebebe. I have been travelling both for work and to see family, and pumping makes that much more difficult.

Her Personality
She's a very sweet baby!

Her Size
At her five-month appointment almost a month ago, she weighed 5 lbs. 6 oz. (58th percentile) and was 27 inches tall (97th percentile). She has long legs! Her head circumference was 16 1/2 inches (63rd percentile).

Her Favorite Things
She loves feeling the texture of things, from her wood-paneled bedroom walls, to wicker, to our sofa cushions. She likes listening to the sounds things make when she scratches them with her nails. Her favorite toy is currently her moose teether, but she also likes her jumperoo. She has stopped using pacifiers, although sometimes she'll suck her thumb or even her entire hand.

What’s Different This Time Around
I would say that I’ve become more of an actual minimalist, not just an aspiring one, and as such we have less baby stuff around, from clothes to toys. This time around we also have less money due to some unrelated job matters, so we’ve got to be more careful about how we spend our money. And of course, another big difference this time around is that we’re in a different, smaller house than before.

What’s the Same
It’s mom guilt – no matter what I do or how I do it, I’ll always feel mom guilt that I could or should be doing more. I also feel like people are constantly judging me – am I too hands-off as a parent, or not hands-on enough? Was three kids too many? I don’t think so, but even my own parents think it was.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Bear at Just Over Three Years Old

Always in Motion

Enjoys Playing with his Little Sister

He Likes Taking Photos with my Cell

After a Blue Ring Pop

A. His Schedule – Ted is an active kid – the easiest days are when he gets a lot of stimulation (via sports or interacting with people) followed by a power nap. On the days when he doesn’t get enough activity, whether he naps or not, he is difficult. These days he pretty much gets up when the sun rises, and gets sleepy once the sun has gone down.

B. His Size – Bear is 31 lbs. 2 oz. (38th percentile), and 40 ¾ inches tall (96th percentile).

C. His Personality – Bear is a fun-loving guy. He loves being the center of attention. He’s affectionate with his sister, and his pet dog. He seems to experience higher highs and lower lows, mood-wise, than most people.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: He likes all colors, especially when something is what he calls “rainbow” (which I’d call “multi-colored”) – he seems to like red, green, and yellow best and seems to have high color acuity
  • Shows: His current favorite thing to watch is what he calls “makeup show” on YouTube, which YouTube classifies as DIY shows – he’ll watch cooking, craft, or Play Doh DIYs, but he likes makeup most of all – he also likes what he calls “slime show” which is when makeup and candy are mixing together with slime (these videos are popular, I think because people find them oddly satisfying)
  • Toys: He has a large stuffed dog that he calls “Zoie,” and he is also found of his fireman Halloween costume and his kiddie makeup – he now uses a large tote to haul his most prized possessions around the house with him
  • Time of Day: Any time that he’s outside
  • Bedding: He still loves his white-and-blue fleece moose blanket and his multi-colored throw pillow
  • Foods: He still likes meat, yogurt, fruit (like bananas and strawberries), and cheese, particularly American cheese
  • Activities: These days he enjoys his swimming class, gardening with his dad, and going places – he really likes getting out of the house
  • Animals: He seems to like all animals, but particularly his pet dog
  • Heroes: He likes Spiderman and Batman; he also enjoyed meeting some real firefighters at a recent firefighters open house we went to

E. Things He Does Not Like
  • Chocolate
  • When his older brother doesn’t share a toy with him (to be fair, Bear is pretty good about sharing his own toys with his brother)
  • Being told what to do, even if it’s a reasonable request, like his teacher making him wash his hands
  • Sleeping alone (he prefers to sleep in our bed, but we don’t let him do it every night)

F. What He’s Thinking About
  • He is already looking forward to his birthday, which isn’t until the summertime, and he likes to look at and curate his Amazon Wish List
  • He’s enrolled in karate through his school and he seems to like that – he showed me a board he broke with his foot with great pride
  • He told me a story recently about how his classmates didn’t want to play with him, so he resorted to hitting them – I hope they learn to get along and play together

G. Surprises – The better Bear gets at expressing himself with his words, the better my relationship with him gets, although it’s still a bit of a struggle as he and I don’t have a lot in common as far as our personalities.

H. The Best Things – I’d say the best times with him are either when he’s calm, such as right before bedtime when he’ll perch on my or my husband’s lap, or when he’s trying to be helpful to others – he will always jump up to get something for his baby sister, for example.

I. Family and Friends – He is finally able to remember some of his family members who he doesn’t see often, like his cousin Tyler.

J. What I’m Doing Differently This Time Around – I don’t think I’m doing anything differently with Bear than I did with Serious Kiddo. I will say that Bear is an easier three-year-old than he was a two-year-old.

He is Actually Five?!



My Serious Kiddo is now half of a decade old!

A. His Schedule – On the weekends, he tries to get up before everyone else so that he can watch his YoutTube shows in peace, without us trying to limit his screen time, or his brother trying to dictate which show to watch.  One thing we’ve been trying to do recently, with great success, has been to limit his screen time.  The results are that he’s actually more content (less bickering with his brother) and plays with his toys more.

B. His Size – He seems to be of average size.

C. His Personality – He seems to be an introvert – he likes people but he needs periods of quiet time to recharge (his brother is the opposite – Bear loves attention and being in the middle of a party!).  He is also kind of bossy.  One thing he can’t stand is to lose a game – we need to work on his sportsmanship skills.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: Red, but also sometimes brown or gold
  • Shows: It varies – he’ll watch a movie every now and then but prefers YouTube shows
  • Toys: He just received a Decepticon Transformer that he’s quite happy with; he also likes activities that involve building or creating things, such as Legos
  • Time of Day: Probably nighttime
  • Bedding: He likes sleeping with a green coral fleece blanket; he’s not too picky about where he falls asleep
  • Foods: He loves deserts – chocolate, ice cream, lollipops – you name it
  • Activities: He isn’t that interested in sports with the exception of swimming – he really likes that!  He also really likes it when someone reads him a story, and has even learned how to get Alexa to tell him a bedtime story
  • Animals: Cats and dogs, especially our cat
  • Heroes: Optimus Prime, I think

E. Things He Does Not Like
  • Bedtime
  • Limits on his screen time
  • When his brother won’t leave him alone

F. What He’s Thinking About
  • His friends and his toys; he seems to like his daycare – Mr. Julius draws pictures for him that he seems to really enjoy receiving

G. Surprises – I’m surprised that he has a somewhat adversarial relationship with my husband – their personalities are not very similar, or so it seems to me, and this inherently creates conflict and a lack of mutual understanding – so much for “like father, like son.”

H. The Best Things – For me, I’m happiest when my Serious Kid is doing something that I also like doing, like flipping through the IKEA catalog.

I. Family and Friends – He still remains close with my mom, and less so with my dad. He seems to have made friends at his new daycare, which is a relief to me, and he has maintained his friendships with the kids across the street and with his closest friends from his old daycares.

J. Parenting – One new things I’m trying very hard to do is to institute a seven-minute cleanup time ritual at night – the hardest part (other than keeping the kids on task) is getting my husband and my mom (when she’s at our house) to buy into it – they are so reluctant! But I do think that a tidy house is almost essential for my mental health, and it’s so much easier to accomplish bit by bit each day than doing a marathon cleaning session a few times a year.

As mentioned above, I’m also trying to limit the kids’ screen time.  It’s not that I’m worried that what they’re watching will corrupt them – it’s more so that I think we all need more space and time to actively do things, rather than just passively watching things happen on TV.  I thought it would require more parental attention and engagement from us to make this switch, but it’s honestly not any more work than when the kids were watching a lot more TV.  They do find things to amuse themselves with, and are spending more time talking and connecting with us and each other.

My Completed Cross Stitch Projects this Fall










Tuesday, August 28, 2018

21-Step Challenge: Step 10, My Makeup Area

Step 10 of my 21-Step Organizing Challenge was my makeup area. You may ask, why did I do this one out of order? And the answer is because I got distracted and this was kind of like a side quest to finishing off my yoga and weightlifting area.
An Organized Cosmetics Area

What I did:

  • Organized my products by type, e.g. hair, eyes, cleansers, etc.
  • Labelled everything (I used white masking tape and a black Sharpie)
  • Used clear boxes (thus requiring a trip to The Container Store for the white trays, yellow totes, plastic accessory boxes, and Amac boxes)
  • Put my most frequently used items into the white trays for easy access, and put my least frequently used items higher and further back within the armoire
  • Purged a few items
  • Removed everything from the top of the armoire (not shown in photo)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

21-Step Challenge: Step 2, the Kids' Rooms

Step 2 of my 21-Step Organizing Challenge was children's bedrooms.

Here's the baby's room, and a gratuitous shot of the baby herself.
One tiny baby's room

One tiny baby


What I did:

  • This room was already pretty tidy so I didn't do much aside from move some things that didn't belong out of the room (like a couple of the boys' toys), and clear floor space (hang up the diaper bag)


And here's the boys' shared bedroom.
Everything has a place

No flat sheets = easier bed-making

TBD: Whether I set their play tent back up

Panoramic view


What I did:

  • Got rid of one bag of trash
  • Got two bags' worth of donations
  • Put a few toys into storage as they were no longer age appropriate
  • Removed a seldom played with bulky toy
  • Reconfigured a couple of their clear shoe-box-sized storage boxes
  • Rearranged their storage furniture so that it now frames the window

21-Step Challenge: Step 1, the Attic

Well, I'm doing it, the 21-Step Organizing Challenge.

Here's my attic after its reorganization.

Near side (close to attic entrance)

Far side (further from attic entrance)

Panoramic

Easy access to contents, and clearly labelled


What I did:

  • Had three trunk-loads full of donations
  • Gave four bags of boys' clothes to my coworkers
  • Used clear boxes whenever possible, with white labels, and sometimes created sub-divisions within boxes
  • Grouped boxes together by type: clothing, holiday, and sports

Saturday, July 28, 2018

He's Seriously Almost Five



My oldest is now 4 and ¾ years old.

A. His Schedule – We try to get him to go to sleep at 8 p.m., but he’s a night owl, so he could honestly stay up until 10 p.m. if we let him. In the mornings it’s sometimes hard to wake him up. On the rare occasions when he gets up before us, he knows how to use the remote to turn on a show for himself.

B. His Size – He weighs 38 pounds. He seems to be of average height.

C. His Personality – He reminds me of myself – shy, caring, and cautious. He has a lot of affection for his new baby sister and he’s so good with her. He’s definitely more reserved than his younger brother, and also seems to have a powerful imagination – he’ll have sword fights with imaginary bad guys, whereas his brother will focus his play on things that actually exist in the real world.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: Brown and red
  • Shows: He enjoys watching YouTube a lot – his current favorite show is Dino Charge, which is in Japanese; for a while he was really into YouTube Power Rangers toy reviews (World of Ha was his favorite channel), but then that gave way to reviews of Dino Charge toys that then gave way to him watching the actual show; he also enjoys watching Pok√©mon
  • Toys: He doesn’t have a specific favorite toy, although he particularly likes toys that transform – it’s very difficult for him to play without Bear inserting himself and destroying whatever he is trying to create
  • Time of Day: Probably nighttime, especially if we’re doing a movie night
  • Bedding: He usually sleeps with a green fleece blanket, but he is able to fall asleep without it (unlike his brother, who needs his moose blanket to fall asleep)
  • Foods: His favorite food is probably chocolate, and he has a powerful sweet-tooth – he loves desert; as far as regular foods, he likes mac ‘n cheese, and waffles with maple syrup
  • Activities: He’s not a very energetic kid, and is just as happy sitting on the couch watching a show as he is being outside or going somewhere; one of his favorite things to do is to spend time with my mom, who I think has a similar personality to his; he also likes playing puzzles on my phone, and looking at his Amazon Wish List
  • Animals: Cats and dogs, I think
  • Heroes: The Power Ranges, I think

E. Things He Does Not Like
  • Spicy foods
  • When foods are hot
  • When his brother doesn’t play according to the rules he has set, or when Bear throws his stuffed animals off of their bunk bed
  • Wearing socks that match – he’s been wearing deliberately mismatched socks for at least couple of months now

F. What He’s Thinking About
  • He’s looking forward to his brother’s birthday, in part because we’re giving him a couple of Pokemon figures at the same time as his brother's birthday, but he’s also really looking forward to his own birthday already
  • He says he is going to marry his classmate, Sophia – apparently she has accepted his proposal
  • He took a swimming class this spring and loved it – I think he’d really like it if we signed him up for another swim class

G. Surprises – I’m surprised with how well he’s doing with having a younger sister. I’ve heard of sibling jealousy, but he really doesn’t seem jealous of her. He loves lying next to her on the floor, and I think they’ll become close, lifelong friends.

H. The Best Things – Not every day is easy with Serious Kiddo, although usually he’s easier for me to handle than Bear. I think the best thing is just hearing him talk. It’s not just the way he says certain words, like how he says “fing” instead of “thing.” It’s kind of the whole thing – it’s how he’s really thinking carefully about the things in his world.

I. Family and Friends – He’s still very close with my mom. He seems to prefer having a small, close group of friends rather than a larger social circle. He lavishes a lot of attention on his classmate, Sophia. He’ll say things like “Today, I sat next to Sophia, and I only talked to Sophia. Nobody else.” He also is building a strong friendship with the boy who lives across the street. Despite their frequent fights, he also seems to love spending time with Bear. He has luckily been able to stay friends with Kaidyn, a friend from his old daycare.

J. Parenting – It’s definitely been challenging now that we’re a three-kid household, even though he is getting a lot easier to parent, and even though the baby is a pretty good baby. Because frequently I need to pump milk for the baby, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to play with the kids, or to go to interesting places with them.

The Bear is Turning Three!

It's hard to take a photo of him that's not an action shot.
This is him holding a paper dog puppet he made
and saying "Woof woof."

A. His Schedule – We try to put him to bed at 8 a.m., but he has a lot of energy, and it’s doubly hard to get him to fall asleep when he and his brother are sleeping in the same room, because they keep each other up. The boys now share a bedroom, although one of them will sometimes sleep in our room, which is a treat for them, and also helps ensure that they actually do fall asleep at a decent hour. He usually wakes up on his own around 6:30 a.m. Although he takes an afternoon nap at school, it is quite difficult to get him to take one at home, and sometimes we give up. His favorite thing to do when the days are long and bright (yay summer!) is to go across the street and ask if Nina can come play. She’s around six years old, and we think Bear may have a crush on her. Then again, she’s a nice kid, so maybe that’s why he’s so crazy about spending time with her.

B. His Size – He is an even 30 pounds. He’s still pretty skinny (but not un-healthfully so) but he grew around 5 inches taller this past year. He’s now tall enough to ride things at places like county fairs.

C. His Personality – Bear is easy to love but very hard to handle. He’s cuddly and loving and can be so sweet. He’s got a great sense of humor too. He’ll put on a mask to try and get us to laugh, or try to make a joke, etc. However, he’s also very stubborn, and can get very mad at us if we don’t give him what he wants. When he’s upset, he’ll say things like “I’ll never be your friend again!” He’s a difficult kid to watch because he’s always getting into something – something dangerous, or messy, or destructive, or a combination thereof. He’s not completely fearless, but he’s close.


D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: Red, green, yellow, and pink
  • Shows: He loves watching the movie The Hobbit, especially the part where the dwarves and elves have to fight the spiders – he generally seems to prefer watching movies (like Boss Baby and Lego Batman) to shows
  • Toys: He doesn’t really have a favorite toy although he likes things like swords, his toy broom and mop (which he uses like swords), art stuff (he loves to paint), makeup, Play Doh, and anything that his brother was playing with first
  • Time of Day: Probably the morning
  • Bedding: He still loves his white-and-blue fleece moose blankies, but he also has a multi-colored throw pillow that he exclusively uses as his bed pillow – in the morning, he’ll drag both his blankie and his pillow onto the couch, and he’ll drag them back to bed at nighttime
  • Foods: He claims his favorite food is meat, but he also eats a fair amount of yogurt, be it Danimals yogurt smoothies, or strawberry-flavored yogurt sticks - he also really likes fries and chips
  • Activities: He likes painting, but he also likes roughhousing, playing with his brother, and being outside, such as when he's gardening with his dad – he also still really likes taking a bath – one other thing he’s particularly partial to is sitting in people’s laps, be it mine, my husband’s, or his grandma’s
  • Animals: Dogs and birds – he loves pointing out birds to us, and will literally point and say “Look, a birdie!” outside
  • Heroes: He likes Batman, but he also really looks up to my husband

E. Things He Does Not Like
  • Not getting his own way – I realize this might be true of all kids, but it is powerfully so with Bear
  • When foods are mixed together – he likes things separate and “clean” (for example, he called the meat in Shepherd’s Pie “dirty”)
  • His carseat – he tries to nab a chance to sit in his brother’s instead
  • When we’re in the car and we stop at a red light

F. What He’s Thinking About
  • Currently, he’s really looking forward to his birthday, and he says “My birthday is taking forever”
  • He’s pretty good about being able to express himself in words and sentences
  • He claims that a boy named Nicholas at his school is picking on him – The daycare said they’d keep an eye on it, but given that Bear is sometimes pushy with other kids, I’m not sure if I entirely believe Bear’s side of it, which is that “Nicholas is mean to me, and does this to me,” :: imitates punching himself in the head ::
  • He’s been potty-trained for daytime since February, but he still wears a Pull-Up at night, even though most mornings it’s bone-dry

G. Surprises – I’m somewhat surprised that he’s almost the same size as his older brother, even though they’re 21 months apart. I’m also surprised that there’s so much of my husband in him. The only thing about him that reminds me of myself is that he has pretty good fine motor skills, and has an interest in art.

H. The Best Things – Life with Bear is complicated. Sometimes, he can be so hard to handle, and so indifferent to my feelings or the feelings of others. But other times, he can be phenomenally cute and caring.

I. Family and Friends – Bear had a great time in New England recently playing with his cousins. He also really enjoyed the company of Aunt Denise.

J. What I’m Doing Differently This Time Around – I can’t say that I’m doing anything differently with Bear than I did with his brother, except possibly that I’m putting more effort into allowing both boys’ friendships with other kids to develop. It takes effort to make sure that they’re forming friendships outside of daycare, but it’s worth it.

And Now, A Baby Girl

A New Newborn
This spring, I had a baby girl, Rosiebebe (not her legal name).

Being Pregnant
Unlike my previous pregnancies, I was waddling around for the last couple months of her pregnancy. I thought it was because she’d be heavier than the boys. As it later turned out, she was actually lighter than the boys, although she was the longest. She also was quite forceful with her kicking, which make it difficult for me to sleep. I was very surprised when, at around 22 weeks, we found out that this baby was a girl. I experienced some gender disappointment, although that melted away by the time we left the hospital with her.

Her Birth Story
It went better than I expected it to go. At about 9 p.m., I had my first contraction. I went to bed like usual around 10:30 p.m. but I woke up around 1:30 a.m. with more contractions. I did some freelance writing work while things progressed, and called my mom over around 3:30 a.m. so that she could watch the boys while I’d be at the hospital. At about 5:15 a.m., I put down my computer and decided that it was time to get ready to go to the hospital. A funny thing happened – my husband accidentally parked near the wrong hospital building, so we awkwardly made our way to the correct building while I held my pregnant belly in my arms and lucked out by not having any bad contractions while we scooted over to the right place. At about 6:15 a.m. we checked into the hospital. My contractions were never consistent in terms of duration, severity, or frequency. The nurse asked if I’d like a rocking chair since I was doing natural childbirth, and I found that offer very sweet but also kind of silly. I just couldn’t imagine laboring like that. I noticed that the TV in the room was already on and was playing a rerun of the show The Nanny. I also found that kind of odd, and asked my husband to switch it off so that I could focus. My water broke at the hospital while I was laying down. When the pain of the contractions felt unbearable, I decided it was time to push. At 7:53 a.m., this baby was born. It hurt more than Bear's birth, but at least the labor didn’t last long. For the first few minutes of her life, I was mad at her for causing me so much pain, but by the time we checked out of the hospital two days later, I could not be more smitten with her. It took us more than a day to decide on her name, but in the end, she didn’t look like a “Janet” or an “Ember,” and “Violet” sounded more and more like “violent” to me, and Serious Kiddo preferred the name we actually chose to “Penelope.” Serious Kiddo visited us in the hospital, but Bear had to stay home because he was sick. I like that her name is short and to the point, and sweet but not too sweet. I also like that Serious Kiddo was able to help.

Note the folding hands.
Her Personality
She is what I’d call a “good baby” – she sleeps well throughout the night, she’s very mellow, and very reasonable – she doesn’t cry for no reason, and she’ll generally be patient if she knows you’re trying to fix the problem. She learned how to smile relatively quickly, and she’s more than willing to flash you a cheerful smile. She’s very expressive with her feet – stomping them when she’s upset, or kicking them outward when she’s happy. In new situations, or when people she doesn’t know well are fawning over her, she calmly places her hands together. Her reservedness reminds me of myself.
Smiling at about 10 days old.
Breastfeeding
I’m exclusively pumping. It’s hard. Renting a hospital-grade pump for home-use has been helpful. I do not enjoy pumping. Because pumping is not as efficient as directly breastfeeding, I’m losing a lot of time during my day to pumping. I pump at least five times a day, and for at least 25 minutes each time, though some of my power-pump sessions last up to 1 hour 10 minutes.

My Parents
They both love holding the baby. My mom says that she thinks the baby looks like me, and I don't disagree.

How I’m Feeling
Overall, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m thankful that my body was able to create this wonderful, healthy baby. I’m grateful that we’ve been able to expand our family to three children. I’m relieved that her labor and delivery went so well. Even though pumping is very unpleasant, I’m thankful that my body is able to make milk for her. I worry about her while she’s in daycare – I wish there was a way to watch her every moment of the day.
The Best Thing About Right Now
One of the best things about right now is that I’m surprised with how much I love having a girl. Having had only boys up to this point, I really didn’t know what to expect. Having boys is great, but it’s a relief to know that having a girl is also great.


Thursday, July 26, 2018

21-Step Organizing Challenge!

My previous post on the 21-day organizing challenge was wildly popular.

The tasks and order specified were as follows:
However, to be completely honest, I never finished the challenge last time, so I'm going back into the ring. I'm going to call it 21 steps, not "days," since it's possible that I might choose to do more or less on a specific day.

I needed to  make some substitutions based on my specific life circumstances, which were:
  • Changed "Handbag" -to-> "Beach/pool supplies" because my purse is tiny and thus already organized, but the kids' pool supplies are in constant use and disarray
  • Changed "Under sinks" -to-> "Art waiting to be hung up" because I actually only have one under-sink cabinet in my home, and the art that's been waiting for me to hang it up for more than six months is a higher priority than that one under-sink area
  • Changed "Linen closet" -to-> "Yoga and weightlifting area" because, since our linen closet is tiny, it's already pretty tidy by necessity, whereas I desperately need to create a private space for me to exercise
  • Changed "Backyard" -to-> "Sheds" because there is nothing in our backyard besides two sheds (this change is more like semantics than substance)
  • Changed "Bedroom dressers" -to-> "Digital photos" because we actually only have one bedroom dresser and it belongs to my husband since we keep all of our clothes in our closets and "Bedroom closets" is already on the list, and since I do need to organize my digital files and hopefully can make a photo book at the same time
  • Changed "Attic/basement" -to-> "Attic" because we don't have a basement (again, this change is more like semantics than substance)
  • Changed "Playroom/den" -to-> "Kids' bedrooms" because the kids don't have a playroom and their toys are in their rooms instead
Now, unlike the original challenge, or frankly most organizing lists, I decided to reorder these items into the ones that are most important for improving my personal quality of life (and my particular family's), rather than abiding by the default order. That way, even if I fall off the wagon, I'll have gotten the most important stuff out of the way. I gave the most important items to me a Number 1, and the least important items a Number 5. Here's the order that will work best for my family and I:


Note: The "Revisit all areas" step will be last, after all of the 5's are done.

Obviously, different items and ordering will work for different folks. So that you can fill out your own items and orders, here's a digital download of a blank system: