Exactly 2 weeks after I lost it, and right after I finally blogged about it, I found my 4 seasons ring! It was in the front yard, like I dreamed...how crazy is that? Even crazier, I found it while I was mowing...I heard the sound I was dreading, and when I stopped the mower to look, I'd hit a rock...and there my ring lay, almost buried in the dirt. :)
I'm one blessed, happy, grateful Girl!
I'm not sure WHAT is up with my phone camera...the pics on the last few posts are terrible. Bummer! But here I go again, anyway...
So, I saw a friend Friday for the first time in a while and she gave me a belated Christmas gift. It was in a cute insulated bag, and I had no idea it was for me. What a fun surprise, I thought she just had a cute bag (she's just cool like that).
Anyhooser, I opened up the bag to find great bento stuff! She even got little bento boxes for the knuckleheads...but she realized as Noble was checking it out that her intention of pink for Kayci, green for Noble was out the window--Noble claimed the pink box immediately. :)
I had fun showing it all to my Boy...then finding a spot in our lunch cabinet for it all.
Which required just a bit of moving around, but that's cool--it needed some spiffing up! Cabinets, be forewarned: James and I are coming at you next. We're running out of places to organize...
So now I've got this great bento stuff ready to go...guess I'd better make Kayci a cute lunch today. No pressure!
Last Wednesday I wrote a big ol' post about some heavy stuff. It wasn't a BAD day...just a day of reflection.
And then we went to AWANA. Bubby is in my Cubbies group, which is normally a blessing. Last week, it was a test. As soon as we got going, he started whining and crying because I didn't pick him first for the "Hello Song." You and I both know that I was fresh out of patience but full of intention.
So, I told him--quit whining, or go home. I didn't yell, and I kept my cool.
Poor Daddy had just come in from San Antonio and was looking forward to a bit of rest before we got home, but he came right over and picked up his screaming Bubby, who continued to cry for the next two hours and fell asleep right before we got home. So much for a few minutes of peace and quiet for Daddy.
Since then, things have been going well. I think mostly because I am calmer, quite honestly. I haven't yelled since last Wednesday morning, and behavior around here (including mine, mostly) has been great.
A friend came up to me last night at AWANA and inquired nicely if things were going better (she read my blog last week and saw that Noble got sent home).
Yep. Better days around here. Super, you might say. :)
Thank you, God, for my courageous, hard-working Boy and our two blessings.
James had an overnight business trip. I wasn't too surprised that the kids rolled with it, and we had a GREAT evening. Even bedtime was smooth (like buttah, even). Overnight? Easy as pie--Noble didn't wake up once, which is awesome for him. I even slept through the night, which is unusual for me when my Boy is gone.
This morning started off great...I woke up to my alarm at 5 am, a little surprised to see that I'd fallen asleep on the couch and slept through the night, but feeling good and ready for the day. Apparently my alarm was too loud, because it woke Noble up. He came out to the living room and crawled up onto the couch with me and we cuddled for a while. I thought maybe he'd go back to sleep, but not so much. 5:00 is early, even for our early bird. But, it was what it was, so I let him stay cuddled on the couch and watch TV while I went to do my quiet time and made some banana bread for breakfast. All in all, it was an awesome morning. Kayci woke up in a great mood, things were moving right along. Until...
...it was time to turn off the TV and come to the table for breakfast.
And then it was 20 minutes of screaming and crying and whining and complaining. (That was just me. You should have seen Noble!) Kidding, I'm kidding.
But you should've seen me. I yelled back. I spanked. I even threatened him with standing in a corner, which neither of my children have ever done (and excuse me, threatening? Teacher/Parent 101--never threaten. NEVER threaten.). I lost my temper, and I knew I lost my temper. It wasn't my lowest low point, unfortunately, but it made me stop and think.
So I got down on my knees and I reminded Noble that God wants us to choose to do good things. It was all I could come up with, considering I only had a few neurons firing at that point. He told me in that sobbing, hiccuping way of his, "but....it's....just....sooooo....hard." It is, isn't it? Obviously, kid, it's hard for your Mom, too. Look at us.
Things got better after that. Well, there was me clapping at him (seriously--clapping?) to get him to brush his teeth. And then, raising my voice again when he was whining about his apple...which was in the bag Kayci was holding right. in. front. of. him.
Finally, we got in the car. We weren't even late...but I realized I hadn't even brushed MY teeth. Thank goodness I'm working at home for a while this morning! On the way to Kayci's school, things were going well, and something she said reminded him of his grumpy so he started tuning up again...but I reminded him that we were going to focus on good things, and he was fine. We talked through our days, everyone was happy...both kids went to school hugged and kissed and happy.
It's a short drive home from Noble's school, but I did a LOT of thinking.
Yesterday, one of the staff members at Kayci's school (who also has a son Noble's age) was in the room when Noble and I were working on a project and talking. She said something to the effect of, "I could just listen to y'all all day long." It was a good moment, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that 95% of the time, THAT's what the soundtrack of our life sounds like. But I was honest with her, and I told her that she wouldn't want to listen to me much--I yell. I shared the time last week that James came home and I was YELLING at Noble and he was SCREAMING/because he was SCREAMING like someone was pulling his fingernails out and I'd HAD IT. (I tell my kids that some days--"I've HAD. IT." Like that's gonna fix things.) In trying to explain why I was yelling--"he's screaming because his sticker is tearing but his sticker is tearing because he's getting it wet and he won't stop putting water on it and tearing it more and he won't stop SCREAMING..." I was humbled.
Really? All my training, all of the good things God has stored in my heart and mind and yelling is the best tool I can grab?
I'm too mad at myself to call me Mommygirl. I don't deserve to be a Mommy right now, I don't think.
The amazing thing is, I still get to be a Mommy. I get to be Kayci and Noble's Mommy. And like my Father in Heaven, those kids give me an abundant amount of grace each day.
I screw up.
I yell. Sometimes I open my mouth, and LOUD just comes rushing out.
MEAN might sneak out.
CONDESCENDING...pours out too often, loud or no.
Sometimes, I apologize.
Sometimes, I ask for forgiveness.
But always, always, they offer grace without even realizing it.
And when they screw up--even if I'm mad--I do the same. Our family does grace, even after the fact--we're working on that.
So this morning, I was driving and thinking on this, and thinking about the irony of that conversation yesterday. I remembered another conversation I had last week with a respected friend who has a son Noble's age and a son two years older (the woman exudes confidence and grace and humor and faith, I absolutely love her!). I mentioned my frustration with my yelling (I could sugarcoat it and say raising my voice, but I'm from Texas. I yell. Sometimes I holler. It ain't pretty, either way.). She told me that what works for her is to lower her voice, to whisper, even.
I took it in.
I was reminded of Mrs. Landry, who never raised her voice the entire 3 years I was in her class--she spoke in a quieter voice, and we stopped to listen.
I was reminded of all of my training.
And the trainings I've WRITTEN and PRESENTED...when I offered the same suggestion.
And this morning, it all came together.
I remembered the plaque that was on my wall growing up, "Children Learn What They Live." I am SO FRUSTRATED by Noble's yelling and screaming...but I'm freaking MODELING it in the way I am handling it.
Again, SERIOUSLY, self??
My prayer for myself is that the very next time he starts, I can get down on my knees, at his level, and whisper.
Do you think he'll be shocked enough to quiet down?
I bet so.
Do you think my kids will both learn a lesson from my self-discipline?
I'd bank on that, too.
Children learn what they live. They do as I do--not as I say.
So it's up to me to do the right thing.
If you're the praying type, friend, will you please keep me in your prayers? It's time for me to end this cycle of me yelling and getting angry at my kids being KIDS. They're great kids, but no kid deserves to be yelled at--even the not-so-great ones.
Children Learn What They Live By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy. If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn patience. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect. If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them. If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
*I learned a valuable lesson this weekend...mess around deleting drafts on Blogpress, and you might just delete an entire post--and comment(s). Sigh. So, this is a reprint of sorts...
This project has been on our minds for months. Back at the beginning of June, DaddyBoy and I made a kidless trek to IKEA to measure...and plan...and dream. Our fantasy was to give Kayci her own space for her 8th birthday. The $2500 price tag? Not in our plans, or dreams. So we put it on the back burner, thinking we'd tackle their room when we had more time and money. Ha. Instead, we tackled it last week. It turns out, we just needed to get creative. And, several weeks ago I found coordinating duvet covers at IKEA that I absolutely loved...I couldn't get them out of my mind. It was driving me nuts, which meant I was driving my Boy nuts, which meant he was happy to go along with my crazy plan after Christmas. We live in a 2 bedroom house, it's a fact. We love the house and don't plan on moving anytime soon...but the kids are growing. Fast. And they need their own space. We weren't sure how they would react to two beds--they were both thrilled. Even better for me, when I presented then with comforter/duvet options, they both chose the one I had chosen for them (squeal!) with no coercion or trickery at all. That was probably one of the highlights of the experience for me, honestly. So, I could go on and on about how they didn't figure out what was going on until the day after we went to IKEA and bought *two* twin duvet covers (ah, hello?)...the next day I put them in front of the TV and made quick work of taking apart their big bed. They were SO excited to come in and see the beginnings of Kayci's bed...they were ready for their own spaces, the timing was right. Whew. Noble moved into Kayci's room when he was one. It's almost three years later, and the poor kid was still sleeping in Kayci's room. Other than a dresser drawer and a couple of shelves for his board books, there was nothing in the room that was "his." In fact, even he called it "Kayci's room." As excited as we were to give out growing girl some much-needed space and privacy, we were also happy to *finally* give our Bubby a space to call his own. I'm a little sad to say that after three years of cohabiting, the door still had Kayci's picture on it. You can't tell in the picture, but that's both of them at Kayci's piano recital. :)
Behind the door: we couldn't survive without their hooks--a place for each of them to hang tomorrow's clothes. These save a lot of time every morning! I can't think of a better place to keep Noble's ties and hats, so they'll stay there.
To make our plan work, we needed two shelves to divide the room. Our budget settled on these closet organizers from Target...they're the cubes you see in the pictures. The kids were sharing a dresser...well, he had a drawer in the dresser and the rest of his stuff lived in baskets. Poor, poor second child. The other, most necessary, part of our plan: keep the blue walls and orange curtains and Kayci's dresser (it works well for one kid, just not for two).
Here we go...Noble's bed. :) We had to buy a new mattress and bunkie board, but we had the bed frame, linens and pillows. The stool is Kayci's that's just been hanging out, waiting for a purpose since a) we moved here or b) she outgrew "the sad stool." It's a little crazy, but it fits in the space and it holds his CDs--I'm sold. Oh! We bought him a lamp, too. I'm a liar. He wanted a red one, like Andy ("Toy Story"). Done, $7 on clearance! His folded clothes are in three fabric drawers/bins on the shelf. So far, it seems to work! Noble's Angry Birds poster fit perfectly on the (finished) back of the dresser that faces Kayci's side and makes up part of the divider, so that was a fun treat for him.
The Pixar poster was in their room already, the other frame came out of the office (Daddy switched the print for a hero poster), and I did the canvas. I did one for each knucklehead, using my current favorite pics of them. They're both from December, and Daddy managed to capture each of their personalities right now. (I'm a little biased.)
This is the same sign and saying that's been in Kayci's room for years...I just flipped it over and redid it to match their new space. I'm still shocked that pink didn't make it into the color scheme this go round, as it's Noble's absolute favorite color. Funny: when they went to Lowe's to get a paint sample for patching, Noble was confused and thought Daddy was painting the whole room. He picked out a pink chip and gave it to Daddy...imagine the poor kid's disappointment to get home and see that the paint and the room were still blue. Maybe next time, Bubby...
Here's Kayci's bed. This is a bed frame from Mom & Dad that we've had in storage since the fire. It needed a little TLC, but I'm happy with the end result. All we bought for Bitty's bed was Rustoleum and the duvet cover/new comforter inside.
I just realized you can't really see it in the picture, but Kayci's night stand was an issue. We found one she loved in a thrift store, painted it...then realized it just couldn't work in the space. So, I pulled in a black and white Hoosier chair (from the table I use as a desk) and stacked Nancy Drew books to make a pedestal for her new lamp (rookie mistake--I bought a new lamp instead of buying a shade for her old lamp. Dang it.). Her iHome and bedtime books & water fit, so this may be a keeper. Plus, it's a little silly having a lamp on top of a fun stack of books, and I think she likes that it's so different.
We brought Noble's desk in from the office. We have all been piling stuff in and on their desks for too long, so getting them clean was a bit of a battle. But man, seeing them mostly clutter-free feels good! Kayci's shadow box is actually a Silhouette advent calendar; I'm going to make the boxes for the empty spaces for jewelry storage. Her typewriter has been banished to its case most of the time she's owned it, but I really wanted it to be out for her. Her plastic drawers fit the bill...we just put fun paper in the drawers so Mommy doesn't have to see the clutter. :) And the karaoke machine? Has been a dust catcher for YEARS. Let me know if you want it! (Kidding. Kind of.)
We still have one more project to complete for their walls (hint: the colored canvases above the beds), then we're DoNe. It's funny how much time the kids have spent in here in their own spaces...reading books, listening to music, crafting (Kayci), or just pulling toys off the shelves and piling them in the bed (Noble). It's a simple thing, space, that makes such a big difference. I'm so happy that we jumped in and got this done!
I started a blog post this weekend...then deleted it. I see a theme developing...
Just for fun, I've linked back to a few previous blog posts about organizing, etc. It's been eye-opening! What's old is new again and all...
It wasn't that long ago, it feels, that we redid our office (again) and I shared with my MOPS group about organizing. 2 years later, I don't feel like I've done much organizing since then!
Anyway, here's the deal: we started out planning to split the kids' room into two separate areas, change the beds. Then, we had the opportunity to buy this couch. Awesome...but the organizing and decluttering just keeps snowballing. The couch went where the old one was, BUT we decided to clear out the corners of toys and you know, drums and guitars and stuff. The usual.
You can see speakers and artwork that's in the process of being scrapped (after TWO FULL YEARS of waiting in the tub, a summer out in the dining room, and months being moved between our room and the living room!) in the corner...there are still some things "in progress." We do live here, I have to keep reminding myself! We switched the apple crate to the end of the couch and pulled the mini piano to sit beside the red chair. It's random, I know, but I love it--and it's the perfect height for a cup of coffee to rest! The red chair looks SO different without all of the instruments piled behind it. We also took down the big Texas wall hanging, not for any reason other than I wanted the room to feel wide open for January. :) After Christmas, less is way more around here. Looking through old blog posts today, the exercise balls were stacked behind the red chair before we "organized" and put the instruments there...what was I thinking?!
I put LOTS of pictures and frames in storage for now. My goal is a buffet that I can clean off in a hurry and actually use it for, hmm, a buffet? We'll see how it goes.
Since I cleared off the buffet, I needed a place for fruits and veggies. We'll go back to the cupcake tower in February, after that...we'll see!
It's not Martha-worthy, but I tackled the linen closet for the first time in...too long. A couple of weeks ago, you couldn't even open the door without something falling out!
It became clear very quickly that I wasn't going to get ALL of the books back in the kids room AND be able to give them their own spaces--I didn't want to fill up all of their cubes with books and defeat the purpose of their own space, if that makes sense. This came to me in the middle of the night last week...we had planned to pass this shelf on, but as ugly as it is, it's serving a couple of purposes here in the hall. Maybe I can make it prettier...we'll see. In addition to lots of kids' books, it's holding several antique books that have been in boxes for way too long. It feels good to get them out!
This is the first time we've ever had any furniture on this little wall by the bathroom...not sure I'm crazy about it, but again, the books have to live somewhere. We'll consider the hall in progress, 'k?
The more I cleaned, the more I found that NEEDED to be cleaned. I gave Austin a couple of Noble's baskets from his crib, but I could not find the third one. It was driving me nuts...then I realized, it was in our bathroom cabinet. It was full of baby powder, bathtub crayons, random combs and brushes, an old thermometer, Kayci's lotions and perfumes...lots of random stuff. And you know what happened--once I cleaned out the basket, I had to go on and clean out the entire cabinet. But, it's cool...
...because I made room for our new towels. We haven't had white towels in several years, so I'm really excited. White linens are my FAVORITE. :) And btw, neat freaks, you can't really tell, but we also got a new toilet seat yesterday. Woo hoo!!!!
You're so getting a tour of the little green house today. Sorry if this isn't what you signed up for...quit reading now! Anyway, when we moved Noble out of our room and into Kayci's room, his crib took the place of her armoire. It was full of dress up clothes and toys, so we couldn't get rid of it. Daddy agreed--reluctantly--to move it into our room temporarily.
Not quite three years ago.
In that time I got the thing totally organized, but still...it was an extra, random piece of furniture in our room. So when we moved Noble's desk out of the office and into their room, guess what took its place? Yup.
It's holding coats, scarves, mittens, some hanging tablecloths, and the remains of the dress up clothes and toys. When we decided to move it into the office, it didn't make sense to move it knowing it was half-full of stuff they don't actually play with. So...we cleaned it out. Sigh. But by doing that, we made room for coats to hang, so, score! I left the top pretty much the same...that's the creature of habit in me. I did add a couple of things since the ribbons stayed in our room (makes no sense to put them in the office if I use them in our room, right?).
Moving the armoire magically opened up our room--it was amazing! But you see what happened, right? It exposed my desk corner, where I've been ratholing work and craft stuff. So then I had to clean all that out...but the good news is, I haven't been able to sit at my desk in weeks. Now there's room for me to work, and I've actually been VERY productive today. Take that, clutter!
It's a little random from this view, but it works and that's enough for me. Those plastic drawers are a necessary evil, as are the different sizes (one needs wider drawers [that also pull out for travel] for scrapbook stuff, one needs deeper drawers for craft stuff). To keep the room open from the doorway and James' side of the room, I pulled my white metal drawers out to make a fake "wall" and put the plastic drawers behind them, with the printer on top out of sight. Two laptop bags moved to my office closet, two big bags of scrapbook paper and stuff found a new home, and several binders moved to my office closet. Look, you can see the floor again--for the first time in 3 years.
Are you bored, yet? We *also* cleaned out the shed last week, which was long overdue. I won't go into too much detail on that, but let's just say there were several things in there that were too valuable to be sitting out in the weather--we put them in there when (sigh) we moved in, and then pretty much forgot about them or stacked stuff in front of them...you know our drill. Hence the antique books (cringe) that needed a new home...and we found Mom & Dad's scale. We've always wanted to hang it but haven't really had a good spot--we decided if we wait for the perfect spot, it'll be rusted through by then. So, we hung it in the kitchen doorway over Noble's chair where people don't walk. I filled it with dishrags and potholders, because I have way more kitchen linens than kitchen linen storage. Especially since (dang it) we pulled a whole box of enamelware and linens out of storage. We put them there six years ago while we put stuff away and got organized at the house...and that's where they've been, just waiting. Well, we got tired of the waiting and brought them home. Our M.O. this past few weeks? If we don't use it, it's gone. If we don't want it, it's gone. If we love it, we find a place and make it work. It's been an interesting push-pull of taking things out and bringing things in...but taking out definitely wins. We're on truckload #3, and I'm on Pilot-load #2. It feels good to donate, share, etc. James has even decided to put a few things on eBay!
One of the reasons my bigger enamelware pieces were in storage? No storage. Well, I remedied that. It's not pretty, but it works. It was nice to have access to the big bowl today for Noble's growing starfish, as a matter of fact!
In the picture above, you can see that I hadn't cleaned up the little shelves, yet. We have those shelves in the utility room (ha! room is stretching...) that hold lightbulbs, a few tools we keep in the house, outlet covers, superglue, magic erasers, timers...you know, random stuff that you need in the house. I have straightened these shelves *maybe* once in six years, so this was eye-opening. We had THREE 4-packs of nighlight bulbs, each open with one bulb missing. Two packs of chandelier bulbs (which is crazy, we don't have a chandelier!), same story. So, it was a good thing and this 20 minutes made a BIG difference in the space! I also got motivated to organize all of my dishtowels, etc. and fold them neatly...they've been crammed in different containers and it was getting out of hand. All of the seasons were mixed up, even, heaven forbid! Well, not anymore. Whew. That was close.
What's next? The office, specifically, Daddy's corner. It's gotten pretty packed, just like my desk area. Poor guy just needs some time and space to get it done...no hurry. One of the things we've been noticing over the past few months is that we weren't utilizing Noble's toy bins as much as just filling them with crap, so when Mom asked about buying Bubby this trampoline for Christmas we decided it would take the place of the toy corner. What's crazy is that there are what, 9 bins on a toy organizer--and there were only a couple of boxes worth of stuff to keep? It was all CRAP. Dusty crap, at that. So it was good to see that go. And since it was going, we also filled a bag with cars, etc. that are too young for Noble or that he no longer plays with, and we passed them along, too. The toy situation in the office? Under control, which is pretty amazing after Christmas! I took down those washers today--they were there for Kayci's artwork over her desk at one point...now they just looked silly. The corner looks so much cleaner now!
After we clear out and organize Daddy's desk corner, we're going to tackle the really hard things--memories. We've already begun the hard process of organizing 15+ years of pictures and stuff, but it's time to put them into albums. It'll suck and be messy while we're doing it, but my Boy and I agreed...it's gonna feel GREAT to be on the other side of that!
Thanks for hanging in there. I was thinking about this earlier...I always feel compelled to share when we revamp or reorganize. I don't do this because I think our house is stylish or anything to envy or copy, but because I think it's SO important for every woman to realize that you can't wait to have the life you want until you have the perfect house, the perfect stuff...that's not what's important, first of all, and second of all, if you wait, you'll miss out. Start where you are with what you have, be grateful, and ENJOY your life.
And every once in a while, stop, look around, and get organized again. :)