Thursday, September 17, 2009

Neat Freak Central

Call in hormones, nesting instinct, anything you want, but here lately, I have been on an ever-increasing cleaning streak. I've been doing closets, one by one. Tossing. Airing out. Giving away. Wiping down shelving and walls, organizing. Yesterday, I cleaned the car. Wow - what a humbling experience that was. I mean, I vacuum the car out with a bit of regularity, but I usually don't pull up the stow-and-go seating panels or go over all the carpets and upholstery with my upholstery attachment on my vacuum, and wipe down all the plastics with cleanser. Despite about 2 or 3 years worth of crumb accumulation, I managed to get the thing looking pretty good - but paid for it with a stiff back for the rest of the day.

Today I'm cleaning out our bathroom storage cabinetry. Everything from medications, hair stuff, lotions, sunscreen, cottonballs, extra toothbrushes, you name it. And already, I've got three bags of stuff to throw away. Not sure if I'm going to regret this about a year from now, but the way I see it, if I haven't used it in over a year, sometimes 2, 3 or even 5, then I probably won't use it now, right? At least that's my rationale for the moment, and seeing all the nice SPACE I have now, it makes it that much easier. No more fumbling around, knocking down bottles and jars trying to reach a Q-tip.

So without further ado, it's back to the bathroom to finish up this little task this morning.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What Is It About Fall?

I say 'Fall', but I guess really, I mean late summer since it's not QUITE Fall yet. But I'm talking about the way the whole earth seems to start to slow down all the sudden. The sun is lazy, not quite making it up as high in the sky. The animals seem quieter, all except the crickets which seem to chirp all day, rather than just at night. The nights get crisp and cool, and it gets dark so early, and stays dark later and later every day.

I don't know why it is, but I get this crazy desire this time of year to cook and bake. Maybe it's the warmth of the oven and stove, or the good smells from the baking, or the fact that the kids are back in school and making homemade snacks and cookies for lunches and classroom activities is such a joy. But it goes beyond all that, even. I bought a chicken last night, and I can't wait to roast it tomorrow. I haven't thought of that all summer, but bring me one cool night, and I'm off to the market! I made an apple cake yesterday and filled the house with that apple-cinnamony smell. And I'm thinking, tonight might be a good time to do my first batch of overnight crock-pot oatmeal so we can wake up to hot, steaming bowls of oatmeal first thing in the morning - who needs an alarm when the odor of cinnamon and nutmeg waft into the bedroom?

I really love the change of season - we live in an area that sees a lot of change seasonally, so it stands to reason I associate different cooking ideas with different times of year - all summer long it's all about fresh produce - corn and beans and melons, tomatoes, summer squash, salads. Dinners focus on that, with whatever summery thing I can throw on the grill as the main dish - hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages, grilled chicken. But as soon as Fall gets near, I find myself a little tired out with all the shelling and peeling and paring and preparing, and just want to stick a chicken in the over, boil up some potatoes to mash, turn on the kitchen light that hasn't been on all summer, and sit down to a cozy meal. It won't last, I know myself. Usually by around March, I'm dying for some fresh stuff, bright greens and yellows and reds on my table again. And summer brings it's own kind of baking - pies and cobblers and fruit muffins, you name it. But for now, I'm ready to move into Fall. Looking forward to that first apple pie I'll make soon, and the smell of homemade bread wafting through at least once a week!

Call me crazy - but I tend to follow my natural urges. Not sure what it's all about, but as long as I'm pulling the fleeces out of the back of the closet, I'll start pulling out the baking dishes as well, and look forward to the season I love best!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


With the new babe coming in 3 1/2 months (EEK!), we've been doing some rearranging around here. Lately, I've been tearing apart closets, cleaning, tossing, straightening, sorting. So far three are done, and two (or maybe 3) remain. But they are the biggies. Jonathan's closet has a curious mixture of his clothes, Matthew's clothes, the new baby's clothes, OUR clothes, toys, clothes he's grown out of, blankets, old shoes, new shoes....well, you get the picture. Today, I may tackle some of that. Believe it or not, I have sorted bins downstairs with age-appropriate clothing for little boys, and there's a bin in Jonathan's room that needs to be sorted and dealt with. That's my plan for this morning, along with the usual laundry and household chores. If I get past that in a reasonable amount of time, I may start on another section of it.

What's my plan here? Well, by the end of the month, I hope to have Matthew's room re-done, and Jonathan moved in. We've ordered the carpet and a new bed for Matthew, so when they're ready, I'll move everything out of the room, clean it good, paint one wall that needs re-doing, and let the pros do their thing, then put all the new stuff in and have a grand "boys room" re-opening.

Yesterday, I spent a good part of the day getting Matthew's closet ready for all the new stuff - we bought and hung new shelving, bought and BUILT a different type of shelving and last night put together a new IKEA dresser for inside the closet to hold the overflow of clothes we don't think will fit in the one large dresser we've got that will go in the room itself. I think I'm about ready to move stuff into Matthew's closet, which, thank goodness, is huge and a walk-in.

So, without further ado, time to get dressed, feed the little sleepy 3 year old that just emerged from his bedroom, and get started!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not To Be Forgotten

Yesterday, Matthew and I picked up Jonathan from school, and it was a little tough getting them in the car. Matthew was running up and down the hills by the football field, and Jonathan and his little friend Andy were playing tag and chase while I chatted with Andy's dad. Eventually, we got them all reigned in, but then Jonathan and Matthew started picking "flowers", or in this case, tasseled grass. When we finally got to the car and I was buckling everyone in, Jonathan hands me his little tasseled grass and says:

"Here Mommy, this if for you to remind you of the baby that's coming".

Now how sweet is that? Half the time I don't know if he even remembers that he'll have (another) little brother come Christmastime, but obviously, it stays very much on his mind!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Surprised? Not Really....

Well, Jonathan has his first cold of the school year. Big surprise, noting that the weather has been in the upper 40's/low 50's every morning when he leaves, and almost 80 when I pick him up. How in the world am I supposed to dress the kid? But I think it's more than that - last year he did the same thing - went to school one day and picked something up. Rite of passage, I guess. Last year he did well - after the first round, he was healthy for most of the rest of the year, even when we took him to Mexico for a week in February. I expected to come back to raging illness for weeks, but was pleasantly surprised.

So I sent him to school today - just sniffling a little, no fever, no other complaints, plus, he really wanted to go! Now to try and make sure nobody else gets it. Luckily, all 4 of us have a nice 4 day weekend coming up - Jonathan and Mark both have off on Friday and Monday, so we hope to get a lot of stuff done around here - cover the pool for one, and maybe going to pick out carpet for what I'm now calling the "boys" room - Matthew's room will be transformed and Matthew and Jonathan will share for a few years until Baby Boy 3 is big enough to share with Matthew....then Jonathan will get his room back as the oldest, if he wants it. Right now both of them are delighted at the prospect of sharing a room, so we're going with it!

And it seems that Fall is officially here - even though the days are quite sunny and warm, the nights have been very, very cool and the changes in nature are so evident now - trees starting to turn, migrant wildlife moving through. When I sit and realize I don't have THAT much time before Christmas and this baby coming, and all I have to do, I get kind of jittery. So right now, I'm trying to take one day at a time, get as much done as I can when I'm up to it, and not sweating the rest. If there's one thing I've learned in the last 5 years of being a mom, is that the kids come first. That's not something I knew, rather, something I've really had to learn the hard way. And for those who know my standards of housekeeping, or at least attempting to houseclean, you must know that this didn't come easy for me. But it's a process - and one I'd best to get more used too soon!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How Is School Going, You Ask?

Well, let me tell far, so good! Jonathan started last week with 2 half days, and started yesterday with full days. And it looks like all systems are GO!

I had a few pauses - first of all we found out a week before school began that because there were so many kids to be in the kindergarten class, they decided to make two classes - and by some luck of the draw, Jonathan wound up in the class that didn't have the superstar teacher - the one that everyone loves, the one that he met in June, the one with 20+ years of experience and the one who gives out her home phone number so parents can call her anytime, day or night. Bummer. And as an added bonus, MOST of the kids he was in pre-k with were placed with Superstar Teacher! What's with that? But happily, after meeting his teacher, I am delighted to say that she is a true gem as well, and he loves her, and that's what matters. The second day I went to pick him up, he comes marching outside with his class, and he was holding her hand as they all walked toward the pick-up area. And I recall last year, when the solid-as-a-rock pre-k teacher left unexpectedly a week before school started, and the last-minute replacement turned out to be one of the nicest, most patient and kind people I've ever met. So, never judge a book, they say? They're right. Go with the flow, and you might be unexpectedly pleased. Very pleased.

So anyhow, although pick-ups are a bit hectic, and the parking lot is difficult to navigate with 100's of parents doing the same thing at the same time, and standing outside waiting for the kids gives me some fear about "what happens when it's 30 degrees with 40mph gusts" and I have Matthew and an infant, and oh, did I mention it was freezing rain as well? I know it will happen. Well, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, I guess.

For now, I'm relishing my quiet mornings after Jonathan leaves with Daddy, and Matthew isn't awake yet, and I get my morning cup and some computer time (like right now!) or throw a load of laundry or two in, and plan my dinner and my day and don't have to worry about picking him up until 2:40. It's a good feeling, let's hope it lasts! Definitely good enough to get me up and get me moving at 6:30 am EVERY morning.

A few quotes heard recently:

"Mommy, I just LOVE that school!"

"Kindergarten was so GREAT today!"

"Mommy, I'm going to school today!"

Let's just hope THAT lasts!