Thursday, May 31, 2007

Just Wanted to Share

I came upon this quote earlier and wanted to pass it on:

"I think, at a child's birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift would be curiosity." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, May 25, 2007

Time for Confessions...

Isn't the basic purpose of a blog to divulge your deepest and darkest for the world to see, because... because... well, no one really knows why? Seeing as how I am now officially a blogger, I must throw all feelings of self-preservation aside, and confess my shortcomings. So here goes.

I am not a housekeeper.

There are so many amazing talents in the world, but cleaning the house is just not mine. Give me a pack of cub scouts and I'll have them eating out of my hand, ask me to speak in front of a room of people and I'll be fine, but my dirty kitchen? Messy bedrooms? A box-filled basement? YIKES!

It's not that I haven't tried. After all, they say most talents aren't just 'born' they are learned. I've read books, tried routines, made the notecards, yet still, here I am.

I'm actually a wealth of great cleaning information because I HAVE tried so much. As a matter of fact, here are some fabulous tips on making cleaning fun, since for me at least, it just isn't fun.

o Clean in the buff. So you want help cleaning, right? Just kidding, just kidding. But I AM serious about the jaybird thing. How fun is cleaning your shower? NOT. I've ruined a couple favorite shirts thanks to bathtub/shower clean-up. You wait a long time between cleanings and it's a workout and a half to get tidy again. We all like long showers anyway, so take one of those poufy shower things you've got hanging around but never use on yourself, squirt some of your body soap on it (hey, soap is soap), and go to town on the shower. You can do a lot or a little, but it's easy to make a difference. A little every day and it always looks clean!

o Do one thing each day that you won't have to do again for a LONG time. This is a good one when I remember to do it. Why? Because SO MUCH of the blah comes because we are doing the same things over and over and over again. Clean the nasties off your washing machine (how something that cleans things gets so dirty, I will never know), and it will last a good few months before you notice it's looking nasty again. Plus it is so clean it *smiles* at you every time you head for it. I did this a few months back and was shocked for the first week or two every time I went down there, the darn thing was so WHITE. Needs to be done again, I noticed the other day it was frowning at me. But there lies the fun - one thing a day that you won't have to do again tomorrow? Priceless!

o Different methods tell you to reward yourself for the work you do. I, for one, don't have the self-control to wait till I'm done. So I was thinking the other day that I need to hide mommy's special treats in areas that I need to clean. Not the kid trick of actually hiding them through the room to find as they clean, but we all already hide the really good treats from the kids, so let's put more thought into our hiding. Put the Reisen chocolates in your bedroom since you (I) never clean in there, take the Dove Dark Chocolate to the laundry room to 'find' while you're tossing in a load, etc. etc. I have actually not tried this one since I only thought of it a few days ago, but if I had any kind of dark chocolate calling me I would be sure to come, some dirty work behind it or not.

o Point rewards. Another I just thought of, kinda like weight watchers. I am such a competitive person, that regardless of whether or not I was competing again neighbors or online friends and whether there were actual prizes or not, this could definitely be fun. Vacuum the floor, 10 points. Clean behind the toilet, at least 25. You get the picture. Even if you're only competing against yourself to beat your best, I can see this being fun.

o Leave No Trace. I'm a scouter. One of the principles we teach our scouts is that when we're out and about, we Leave No Trace. Leave your area as good as or better than you found it. I used this as a cleaning principle for a while with myself and it was a pretty good game. As soon as breakfast was done I wooshed around the kitchen sweeping and swiping so if someone walked into the house they would wonder to themselves, "Wow, do these people even eat?" And yes, I imagined to myself that they did, and they were always amazed. Therein lies another confession.

O Sometimes the clean house IS the reward. I LOVE sleeping in soft clean wonderful smelling sheets. When I realized this, I wanted to be sure I washed them every Saturday not so they were clean, but to pamper myself. Look around for other ways cleaning your house helps you feel pampered. I would love to hear about them.

Well, I can't share all my super secrets in one message, if for no other reason than my house is calling. But one final thought. I know a few people that can't handle a thing out of place. The kids play with one thing and put it away or it's time out. They pull out the train track, walk back to the bedroom to get their trains, and the track is put away. Is that HOME? Untidy though it may be, my kids can play and bring their friends over, and I'm not going to harp when they have a little too much 'fun.' My wonderful grandmother taught me something I now live by: My house is clean enough to be healthy, dirty enough to be happy. 'Nuff said.

So there's my confession. Don't we all feel better?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Still Swinging...

First off, I guess I ought to explain the name behind all this.

I woke up one day with a super desire to GET THINGS DONE. You know the drill, race like mad to get things tidy after a not-so-tidy few days, involving lots of PBS and DVDs for the kids. I dropped my oldest three kids off to school, and before I could even make it back inside with my 3 year old and 5 month old daughters, the 3 year old was BEGGING and BEGGING to go in the back and swing. This girl has been an expert swinger before she turned 2 and just loves to do it. Thinking of all the things I needed to do inside, I gave in to her persistence, wondering how long I would have to swing with her before I could get back to what I needed to do.

Swinging, swinging for a couple minutes.

"Honey, mommy needs to go wash the dishes."
"Nooooooo! You need to suhwing with me!"
"Okay, okay"

Swinging, swinging.

"Hey look! There are some birds in the tree. Can you count them?"

We started watching the birds fly from tree to tree, counting every time they stopped again.

"Mommy, did you he-uh that? The buhdees wuh singing!" (We say she has a Christopher Robin accent.)

So then it was listening to the birds sing, still counting, still swinging. And she was grinning away. It certainly was a beautiful day. Nice to be outside rather than cleaning.

Suddenly, the wise words of a three year old. "Mom, does this make you happy?"

I kid you not. Did she ask that because I'm a grump? I hope not. I hope she was feeling so much joy, that she wondered if I was too. And my answer?

"YES! This is really fun!"

I threw the question back at her, "Does this make YOU happy?"

"No." And she burst into a fit of giggles, the little snot.

So if you need me and I'm not answering the phone, check the swingset. Or the front yard where I'm playing catch with my boys. Or the couch, where I'm cuddling with my baby girl. A clean house is nice, but playing with the kids is way more fun.