Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Moved!!!

Well, my blog did.

I would love it if you stopped by to visit or follow me at confessionsofatypeahousewife.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A "Type A" Housewife's Thoughts on Cleaning

Confession: at the moment, my home does not [gasp] qualify as clean… there is a fine layer of dust on the furniture, crumbs and paw prints on the floor, smudges and spit from barking dogs and curious children on the windows, and our bathroom fixtures are far from shiny.

Yep, this confession straight front the mouth of the woman who once posted, on this very blog, an elaborate cleaning schedule…

A post that curiously went missing about a month ago…

For good reason…

There exists a very fine line between taking care of what God has given you, and "worshipping" what God has given you with windex and furniture polish…

I realized I was taking my home too seriously, and that I was spending more time cleaning up after my family than I was spending with them. I was suffering from the delusion that in order to be proud of my home, it had to be perfect. Then I realized "perfect" does not exist. Shocking, I know.

The great thing about realizations like these is that, while they are humbling, they also motivate change… good change.

A Type A Housewife's thoughts on cleaning (believe it or not)

A clean home is…
1. Tidy, but not fussy
2. cared for, but not obsessed over

Because you should never…
1. take better care of your home than you do yourself (or your relationships)
2. spend more time on your knees scrubbing floors than you do praying on them
3. invest more time in picking up toys than you do playing with your children

When in doubt, just remember…
A little dirt never killed anyone… something that I have to remind myself of from time to time ;)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

5 Simple Fixes for Kitchen Clutter

1. Designate a drop spot near the entry you use most so that your mail, keys, purse and wallet don't end up on the kitchen counter or table.

2. Mount hooks for your keys.

3. Your gadgets are likely to end up wherever the chargers are so avoid charging your electronics using kitchen outlets. I have found that one cell phone charging on the counter is HIGLY likely to attract other what-nots like keys and lip balm. We keep our chargers near the computer.

4. Avoid decorative objects on your counters and center pieces on your table. Clutter attracts clutter. If you start with a clean surface, misplaced items are more likely to be noticed and, consequently, put away. Same goes for canisters - try moving them to a cupboard or pantry instead.

And last, but CERTAINLY not least…

5. Resist the urge to create a junk drawer. If you already have one, purge it and find homes (outside the kitchen) for all that "junk."

There you have it - 5 simple fixes for kitchen clutter. Easy peasy, stinky cheesy. ;)

Why Money Can't Buy Happiness

We live in a society driven by consumerism… Work, buy, sleep, repeat. It's an easy trap to fall into. Especially, with the volume of "look at my new ______" posts inundating our news feeds.

I am guilty of it. I covet what others possess, make lists of what I want, and take inventory of what I have because, somewhere along the way, I became convinced there was direct correlation between my worth and my "stuff." Sound familiar?

However, something "clicked" when I hit 31… I don't have anything to prove, and I'm done buying into the lies pedaled by media, malls, and big box stores…

The Lies
1. Cars reflect your status in this life
2. clothes, hair, and make-up make you beautiful
3. Money buys happiness

It may have taken me 31 years to get my head on straight, but now that it is, I want to share what I have learned (mostly the hard way).

The Truth
1. Cars aren't even necessary; they are just a means to an end: Point A to point B. No one cares what you drive… and if they do, the problem lies with them.

2. Trends do not make you beautiful. They makes you someone else's version of beautiful. Truly, the most attractive thing you can wear is a smile.

3. Money cannot buy you happiness. Happiness isn't a thing - it's a perspective.

When I realized the days were slipping by and I was only half-heartedly present in them, I realized the problem was mostly in my own head, and therefore change was within reach…

1. I stopped comparing myself to others. The competition existed only in my mind, and abruptly ceased to exist once I stopped participating.

2. I stopped taking my home too seriously. I take care of what I have, but I don't take better care of my house than I take care of myself or my relationships.

3. When I feel good, I think I look good; So, I dress to feel good.

We live in a society that applauds consumption and pedals products, but even so, we don't have to "buy in." I, for one, am opting out. You?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Small Shoulders

It's hard to believe that Rex's third birthday is fast approaching. I swear, I blinked and he transformed from a tiny (well, not really tiny… 8# 15 ounce) newborn into a walking, talking, opinionated, silly, loving little kid. I am in awe of that little kid.

While I am completely grateful for the great privilege that is watching him grow, learn and become who he is supposed to be, I am simultaneously humbled and overwhelmed by the great responsibility that comes with being his parent. After all, It is my job to nurture his mind, body and spirit so that he CAN become who he is supposed to be.

What I already know is that I cannot protect him from everything and he will not always abide by my rules or heed my warnings.

Those three things are guaranteed. But, out of respect for him, I can…

1) give him a sense of responsibility and
2) instill in him a sense of pride

If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

To that end…

We hung coat hooks at his level and placed a basket below for other outdoor essentials. It is his responsibility to hang up his coat and put away his gear because they are his. It would be a disservice to do something for him that he can do for himself.

And I have started allowing him to slice his own apples (with supervision). I cut the apple in slices, and he then cores them with the slicer. The pride that shines through his toothy grin while enjoying a self-prepared snack makes my heart sing.

After all…

"The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them." Frank A. Clark

Monday, March 24, 2014

Accidentally on Purpose

It's 5:15 AM... The littlest little is sleeping, albeit fitfully, next to me. Her leg is pressed up next to mine. As per the norm, she is making certain that a minimum of one part of her body is touching mine AT.ALL.TIMES. Seriously, I am quite certain that if she could crawl back into my uterus, she would. Most nights she rolls into my chest, tucks her little head under my chin and rests a hand on my face. It's really very sweet. That said, I never thought I would fall into the co-sleeping camp. Why? I don't know. It just wasn't what I pictured in my head. So much of parenting is like that for me. I imagine things one way, and it ends up entirely different.

I make an effort to not make "I will always" and "I will never" statements, but I'm not above admitting that they roll around in my brain from time to time. When Rex was a baby, I attributed his mostly great sleep patterns to my awesome parenting. Then Sydney was born and I realized my successes in the child/sleep department had really very little to do with me and waaaaay more to do with my children. (Sydney's little leg is now draped across my arm as I am typing this on my iPad. She seriously can't get close enough.)

What I have realized in my parenting journey thus far is this: I am whatever kind of parent my child needs me to be. My choices are rarely "first choices," and I oftentimes feel myself compelled to justify or validate them because, let's face it, that's the nature of our overly competitive, there's-a-right-way-to-do-everything society.

Here is a list of my most recent "not first" choices...just to name a few...

1. Co-sleeping
2. Too much screen time
3. Less than stellar food choices
4. Breast feeding beyond the first year

Trust me, I've heard it all. "You've got to get that baby out of your bed!" "You let them eat that? Tsk tsk." "You still breastfeed? Gross."

But this is where I'm at...

Sleep deprivation isn't good for anyone so we became a co-sleeping family. We sleep. That's all that matters.

Coffee is better hot so Rex plays on the iPad for a little bit a lot in the morning. Coffee makes me a decent person. Hot coffee makes me a better person.

Sydeny doesn't have a tremendous appetite and at one point actually met the criteria for failure to thrive. At times we are desperate to get her to eat something anything, and at those times she gets fruit snacks alongside her breakfast. She'll turn out fine.

We were blessed with a fussy baby who refused to take a bottle (ever) and can only be nursed to sleep. 15 months later and, yes, I'm still nursing. Not what I imagined my life would look like more than a year after her birth, but there are worse things.

It wasn't my intention to be "that parent" who allows a sometimes ridiculous amount of screen time or to become a co-sleeping, nursing mother to an almost 15 month old, but that's where I'm at... life requires flexibility, and (even more importantly) adaptability. I am who I am because I make choices given the options placed before me...accidentally on purpose...which [gasp] makes my choices intentional. Sometimes that's a hard pill to swallow.

My point is this: be intentional, and don't apologize for it. There will, inevitably, be people who disagree with you. But be whoever you need to be at THIS moment anyway. Be authentic. It may sound cliche, but it's the simple truth: If you are doing your best, that's all that matters.

We co-sleep. So what. ;)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pom-Pom Trifecta

I have been carefully selecting toys and activities for our newly created play space (read more about our playroom here), and this one was a MAJOR hit. I chose it because it is 1) sensory, 2) educational, and 3) builds fine-motor control.

I call it… drum roll please… "Pom/Tong sorting"

I just took a wooden box with four compartments (any divided tray would work) and gave Rex pom-poms in four colors. His job was to use the tongs to sort the pom-poms by color (I modeled first, of course).

He was immediately hooked! He sat there for the longest time sorting pom-poms. His favorite "game" was to place a pom incorrectly and see if I would notice ;). Too cute!

At one point he decided to hide his sister's paci in the pom-poms and another activity was born: "Guess What's in the Bag!" We filled a small bag with pom-poms, placed a small object inside and one of us would reach in and (without peeking), guess what the object was.

Educational, sensorial, easy, and fun :).