Speaking of Cleaning: Men vs Women

Speaking of cleaning...

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I sat at the dinner table with my sister and her husband who were visiting for Cee's birthday party. As we made future plans, I suddenly realized with horror that Joe's upcoming work travels would take him away for two weeks, right up until the day before Dee's baptism.

"Oh my gosh! I'm going to have so much to do, especially with you gone!", I lamented.

"What's the big deal? It's not like there's hardly anything to do. We just show up at the church, dunk the kid, and eat," was Joe's (serious) response.

"Big deal"?! "Not anything to do"?!?! ARE YOU JOKING?!

I was gratified to look across the table and see the same slack-jawed, gaped-mouth face of dismay and disbelief that was planted on my own face, reflected in my sister's face.

But she's a woman. She gets it.

My husband? He's a man. He obviously does NOT "get it".

Let's see...

There's the spiritual preparations, like having some important heart-to-hearts with Dee to make sure he understands what he's agreeing to in making the choice to be baptized. Etc.

There's the actual baptism to plan. Who's going to say the prayer? Lead the music? Give the talks? Etc, etc.

There's the luncheon after the baptism to plan. How many are we feeding? What are we eating? Now how does that fit in the budget? When can I go shopping with minimal children? Do I need to make alternatives for my food issue kids? How am I going to time everything so that all the food is done at once, but I'm not standing in the kitchen all day? Etc, etc, etc.

And the house. It needs to be cleaned. The basics like vacuuming and bathrooms. But then there are fingerprints all over walls and food smears on chairs. "Booby trapped" cupboards might be opened by unsuspecting victims. I still haven't put back all my decor since taking down Christmas stuff. The laundry cannot be allowed to linger. And what is that rotten smell in the kitchen? Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

Are we having any overnight guests? Did we remember to invite Grandma? What's the weather going to be like for out of state travelers? Is Dee's suit clean? Does he actually have any (still) white underwear? etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, ETC!


A mom's head could explode.

But a dad's...?

Well, he's just there to "dunk the kid".

He would be perfectly happy if we ate chicken nuggets while sitting on the (maybe vacuumed?) floor.

Sure, he may have the priesthood power, but I've got the power of perception and paranoia.

He will help Dee "wash away his sins". And I'll wash everything else.

I'm not complaining. (Well, maybe a little...) I'm definitely not getting all feminist-frenzied. (Oh good gravy! PLEASE let's not go there.) Nor am I belittling my efforts or burdens as a woman. And I'm not trying to disparage all the hard work my husband does to support and nurture our little family.

This is how it works--and by "works" I mean WORKS...mutually, collaboratively, harmoniously. We all play our parts and "with our powers combined" it will be a great day!


Organized Chaos

On New Year's Day I made a subconscious resolution.

I will clean my bathrooms once a week.

Of all my household chores, cleaning the bathroom has to be the worst. It's just so...involved. Stinky chemicals, all that wiping and rewiping, keeping rags separate so as not to mix "toilet germies" with "sink germies",  making sure the kids aren't getting into anything hazardous or wet in the process.

And just when you get done with the sink and toilet, you see that stupid ring around the tub. Ugh.

The way I cleaned bathrooms before was...I just really didn't. At least not that often. At least not unless I knew company was coming. Gross. I know.

So, I decided to be ambitious and make it my goal in life to have a clean bathroom, at least one day out of each week this year.

 I declared Wednesdays to now officially be known as "Watercloset Wednesdays" and so far in the year 2013, I'm 4 for 4! Go me.

(That's probably about as many times as I cleaned my bathroom in 2012. Ha...ha...)

Now that I have relatively clean bathrooms, the rest of the house begs for attention. But Wednesdays are already jam packed with all that bathroom cleaning, so now we also have...

Make-up for the Weekend Monday
Toy Room Tuesday
Watercloset/Wipe Down Switches and Knobs with Clorox Wipes Wednesday
There's Gotta be Something that Needs Cleaned Thursday
Fancy Free Friday

You  might think I'm joking, but my housework has never felt so manageable. I used to try to follow the Fly Lady cleaning methods, but after getting a bajillion emails from her every day (Seriously. A BAJILLION!) I marked her as "Spam". Turns out the only thing I wanted to "fling" was her.


Happy Move to Utah Day!

Two years ago today we showed up in snow-smothered Utah with a packed moving van and a week old baby. While the circumstances were less than ideal, it was one of the best things to happen to our family.

I remember that when my husband told me he had a job opportunity in Utah I was simultaneously thrilled and terrified...

Salt Lake City, Utah! Utah has to be so much better than Elko, Nevada.


Salt Lake City, Utah?! Mormonville: Where all the women are snobby, fake, super crafty, thin, blond, ultra-perfect mothers and wives.

I couldn't have been more wrong. I've mentioned over and over again how blessed we have been to be here, particularly because of the wonderful people we call "neighbors" and "ward members". They are sincere, kind, genuine, and generous people who have welcomed our little family with open arms.

As shocked as I was to realize it...Salt Lake City, Utah is my happy place. I don't know how long we will end up being here. With our track record, I wouldn't be surprised if we uproot ourselves again. But whenever I think about the possibility I get a little teary, knowing how heart wrenching it will be to leave behind "our people".

This is our second anniversary since our floundering move from Nevada and it's a date I love to celebrate! Maybe I'm not the only one. Some kind, mysterious soul left a yummy dinner on our door step today! Chicken enchiladas, chips and salsa, and even some whole wheat cinnamon rolls from Great Harvest! What a touching gesture! I'm feeling so loved today!

Happy Move to Utah Day!

P.S. I was looking back to see what I was blogging about back during our move. This post still brings a tear, albeit a happy tear, to my eye.


Feeling Bad for Feeling Good

Last night I went to sleep with a warm pile of Guilt snuggled up right beside me. It smothered me and crimped my neck. It's bad breath stifled me through the night.

Have I become one of those obnoxious half-glass-full kind of people who is perpetually optimistic about life?

And at some point during the night, I realized, Yep. I have.

And I felt guilty for it.

Feeling bad for feeling good. Makes tons of sense, doesn't it?

I rolled over in bed, turning my back on the guilt, let it roll to it's own side of the bed, settle, and snore quietly through the night.

When I first started blogging, I knew how to tell a good whiny tale with my new favorite maternal outlet.

Motherhood is sooo haaard.
I don't clean my toilets.
I'm always depressed.
My kids make me crazy with messes and whining and stuff.
I hate/love/hate being a mom.

And I would get lots of comments from readers feeding my monstrous whiny-ness.

Evelyn! I love how REAL you are!
Motherhood IS hard!
You thought your day was hard? Get this...
Eat more chocolate.
It gets better.

You know what? It does get better. I'm not sure if it's because we are finishing up the baby stage and my kids are getting a little older and a little more capable. Maybe, after eight plus years, I'm finally easing into motherhood and finding I can do it with grace instead of grudge. Possible it's true that "practice makes perfect". It could even be losing 90 ish pounds has given me a new sense of confidence in myself. There could be something to getting "older and wiser". Maybe I'm actually getting some sleep at night.

Whatever it is, I feel myself changing as a mother and as a person. I no longer feel trapped and like a daily failure. I find incredible, inexpressible joy in being a stay at home mom. It's not that I love my children any more than I did before. It's that I've found huge satisfaction and peace in the work and the way of things. I've learned to let some expectations and habits go. My home is truly where my heart is and I love creating a place of nurturing for my children. My hobbies have adapted to include things like food storage, interior design, and tutoring. I am never happier than when my whole family is home, our home is comfortable (not necessarily sparkling clean, but not cluttered and chaotic), there is good food on the table, good music playing in the background, and good things happening.

This doesn't mean that I don't ever yell at my kids. Or that my home doesn't get "Hoarders"-worthy every now and then. Or that I don't burn dinner. Or that I spring out of bed with a smile every morning. Or that my children are perfectly behaved in public. Or that my husband doesn't find me slightly neurotic. Or that I don't blow the budget. Or that I don't eat chocolate behind the locked bedroom door.

I'm not sure exactly what it means. Maybe when I'm a grandma, then I'll be able to pinpoint for you why life is so good and why it seems to be so much easier to find happiness in the simplest of things these days.

But right now that guilt pokes at me and accuses me of coming across as sappy, cheesy, or fake.  When I write things whether on here or on Facebook, I am trying to be real. I want to record and share these awesome things that are happening in our life. Some days I am trying to be optimistic and see the good in things even when it doesn't feel so good.

For some stupid reason I still care what others think of me and that I possibly annoy them with my blooming satisfaction. I worry that they assume I have a perfect life or that I think I have a perfect life or that I want people to think I have a perfect life.

It bothers me that I have a few friends that only seem to comment or "like" the things I write when I'm complaining about something distressing. Honestly, it makes me wonder if they are happy to see me in my unhappy moments.

It aggravates me that I even waste the emotion on this; that I feel guilty for expressing "too much" joy and then that I feel guilty for feeling guilty. It's all a tad ridiculous, no?

"Men are that they might have joy." (2 Nephi 2:25)

We are here on this earth to be happy and to strive to be perfect like the Savior. If I am working my way towards that then I must be doing something right. And no I didn't just say I was perfect or even perfectly happy. I'm just working on getting there.

I guess what I'm trying to say in my very imperfect and meandering way is that though I'm not ready to kick Guilt out into the cold, it may just have to stay in the guest room in the basement tonight.


We Need More Ice Cream!

Tonight after dinner I let loose a bit and dished up ice cream for all the kids.

(Well, all except Dee. He's allergic to milk. I offered him his usual substitute popsicle but he vetoed it for celery and peanut butter. Celery and peanut butter instead of popsicles?! Where did I go wrong?!?)

We don't usually indulge in ice cream; in fact, I try to keep all treats to a minimum. And let me just stop you cold before you make silly assumptions about me being such a fabulous mom who is working so hard to instill healthy habits in her little ones.

Truth: I WILL EAT ALL OF IT if it is in the house. That's it. There's the reality.

But tonight was a treat. Dad's out of town. It's a Thursday night. The ice cream bucket is almost empty and taking up lots of space in the freezer. Why not? "Live and let lick" I say!

As my four little ones sat and slurped their ice cream--and celery?!--the conversation began to flow. And before three little bowls of ice cream and one bowl of peanut butter were gone, we had covered, and I believe in this order:

*where babies come from
*the Plan of Happiness
*Heavenly Father's omnipotent, yet very real and personal awareness of every single person and thing on this earth. (Jeigh pointed out that he even knows when we are having "attitudes". Dang straight he knows!)
*Free Agency and why God allows people to do bad things
*What exactly "ants on a log" means
*If someone chose to eat Elle she would taste like "little girl" and not "ant"

Who says junk food is all junk? I think I'm adding ice cream on to my weekly grocery list.


I Miss Blogging

And I might even be brazen enough to say blogging misses me.

It was one thing I was semi-good at and something that brought me a lot of joy. So why is it so dang hard to get to these days?

As each of my babies have made their grand entrance into the world, I have had to let go of something that was important to me. The time and effort of taking care of a new little one is nothing menial and something's gotta give. I can hardly resent my children. They, of course, are my number one priority. It's just the way of things.

With my first baby, Dee, it was scrapbooking.
With the second, Jeigh, it was my job as an Emergency Department Tech.
With Elle, it was card making.
And with Cee...blogging.

My hope is one day, some of those things will return to my daily life as my kiddos get a little older and more capable of doing things for themselves. For now, I'll grab my moments where I can get them.

So, I'm not here to make any grandiose promises that "I'm baaaack!". Let's just say, today was a good day because I got a few minutes to myself to indulge again in something I love.

Speaking of my day...It's been a productive one and I just want to record what happened so that on my not-so-productive days I can remember what it is to feel accomplished as a mom of four kids ages 8 and under.

6:45 am: Wakeup with Cee
Change and cuddle with Cee
7:00 am: Make sure kids are up and going
Read scriptures
Eat breakfast
Check email and Facebook
Clean up sugar bowl explosion (Thank you Cee!)
Nag incessantly 
8:00: Take big kids to school
Bathe Cee
Clean bathrooms
Sanitize light switches, door knobs, and other surfaces
Get Elle ready for preschool
9:00: Send Elle off to preschool
Grind wheat and make bread
9:45: Run 4 miles on treadmill while catching up on "The Office"
11:00: Start second batch of bread
Bake first batch
Shower, dress, makeup
Phone call with sister
12:15: Out the door to deliver "thank you" bread and jam to someone who was an answer to a prayer
Pick up Elle from preschool/dance
12:30: Drop off dry cleaning
Share a Cafe Rio Wednesday Special (Chicken Tostadas!) with my little ladies 
Library drop-off and pick-up
1:15: Home again, jiggety, jig
Cee down for nap
Finish second batch of bread
Plan, plan, plan
Change and wash wet crib sheets
Comfort crying Cee
3:00: Pick up kids from school
Snack time
3:30: BLOG!
4:00: Homework
5:00: Make dinner
5:30: Eat dinner
5:45: Clean up dinner
6:15: Jeigh piano practice
6:45: Bath night
7:15: Bed time
Family scripture study
Bedtime for four kiddos! 
8:15: Avoid thinking about No Bake Cookies and other chocolaty transgressions
9:00: Bed
Reading, Emails, Facebook, Mystery Manor

Rinse, repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat...

Life is good!


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