braindribbles

Posts Tagged ‘mess

Well, hello again. I do hope you are all keeping well.

I have to confess, last year was something of a washout for me. Mild depression and major fatigue were significant elements, but I worked through it, felt just fine on plenty of occasions throughout the year, got some proper sleep after Christmas and the world righted itself. Being an optimistic person, these things often do work out fine in the end. Once you have worked out how to crank the handle and put your life back into gear.

Anyhow, I’ve been itching to blog again for a few weeks now. I thought you might like to know where things are at chez Braindribbles.

Oldest one is 9. He’s just at the point where putting everything into mock inverted commas is a major part of his humour. Thinner than a beanpole and hungrier than a mammoth, I am starting to question the laws of physics. Or biology. Either way, it’s a mystery.

The photo below is from our trip to Snowdonia last spring, at a moment when he turned around to find the Easter Bunny right there and offering him a small Easter gift. He was rooted to the spot with embarrassment for a full minute. It was hilarious. For me, anyway…

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Middle child is 7. She is loving finally being at the same school as her brother. It has solved so many issues for us. She’s also been industrious artistically – her recent paintings have merged her two favourite things: Hello Kitty and Star Wars. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

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Smallest one is 2. She’s completely out of nappies, thanks to the most sensible potty training book I have read so far. Her favourite song right now is ‘Three little monkeys’, often sung whilst jumping on my bed, while I’m still in it. Here she is, kidnapping my teaching dolls. Again. (Photo credit to middle child, by the way)

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All of them are providing me with many many delightful cuddles through the day.

Loved one is being lovely as usual. He works so hard that he doesn’t feature much in the blog. Maybe that will change one day. He has something exciting in the pipeline and I may one day be allowed to tell you more about it…

As for me, well, I did qualify and I have a shiny diploma certificate to prove it. Somewhere. Buried in the piles of clutter I am still trying to work my way around. I’m loving my work, still getting used to the extra dynamic it brings but feeling more settled about it after 9 months of regular teaching.

I’m much more involved in my music too…more on that another day, but it’s all good.

As for the house move and settling in, well, we have the loveliest bunch of neighbours you ever met (they don’t read this blog so I’m not just saying that to humour them!), and have been so, so helpful in a challenging year and also become good friends. We intend to let the builders loose on our home in the next month or two, so we hope they will stay good friends in spite of the disruption!

And my general wellbeing has been restored by, would you believe, hypnotherapy…? Yup. I went on a Natal Hypnotherapy study day back in May as part of my ongoing training, and realised the possibilities for both my work and personal life. Of course, I didn’t take any steps to sort this out till Christmastime, but when I did, and did it properly, wow, what a difference. I’ve been using the CDs from Trance Solutions, an Aussie clinic that had the thought to make their work available on iTunes (a heap better than some of the other choices up there) and now I drift to sleep to a soothing antipodean voice and soft unintrusive music. And, after a couple of weeks, I started to feel like a completely new person.

Things are just as busy. I am just as forgetful. Things are just as messy. But they are slowly improving and, most importantly of all, I am feeling the way I ought to feel once more. Life is good.

Next post? Well, don’t hold your breath. But no doubt the itchy fingers will be back to give you a glimpse into my brain dribbles again soon 🙂

It’s quarter past five. I have got the kitchen into a state where I can actually mop the floor. I have also…mopped the floor. And tidied the hall (the smallest, and therefore most manageable room on the ground floor).

That’s it. Well, from the official list, anyway.

Other things I have done:

  • Checked my emails. About five times.
  • Looked on Facebook. More than five times.
  • Played a silly computer game. Well, dipped in and out a few times.
  • Played a different silly computer game.
  • Picked up oldest one from school.
  • Cuddled smallest one when she bumped her head, though I saw her do it and I still can’t quite work out how.
  • Watched young musician of the year on the iPlayer.
  • Which all goes to show that I would rather be doing anything but housework.

    I like the idea of the timer, and I am saddened that I couldn’t sort something out on that front. It does help you to focus, which is why I have been more successful with this before.

    Now, what I want to do now is cook dinner, get the kids to bed and worry about the rest of the housework tomorrow. However, another favourite saying of good old Flylady is ‘You are not behind! Just jump in where you are.’

    She has a point. If I do the rest of this tomorrow, I won’t be able to do tomorrow’s things tomorrow. It’s all about not trying to be perfect. Just doing what you can do. It’s still a heck of a lot better than not doing it at all, which is how I was prior to using Flylady’s methods.

    So, here are a couple of realistic ‘after’ photos. Those of you who know me well will already know that this is quite good for me. Those of you who don’t can feel relief that there is someone out there whose battles with the housework can put any such battles of your own into perspective.

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    Note the dying flowers on the table that I keep forgetting to throw away.

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    See the counters are just as messy (second dishwasher run is due), but the floor is clear!

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    I managed to declutter everything off the hall floor. But it still desperately needs a hoover…

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    And smallest one will have to suffer through another night of mess. Oh well.

    And upon that note, I declare the challenge a partial success. Sort of.

    Damn.

    I meant to complete the morning routine in the morning. And it’s no longer morning.

    Boo.

    Mind you, I did complete it. This is a significant achievement for me. I think since the start of the year I have successfully done this maybe, um, once or twice. Let’s look at the list again:

    Get Dressed to Shoes including Hair/Face, Brush Teeth
    Did that before the school run, you’ll be relieved to know

    Make Bed
    This was quite a challenge because our bedroom is such a mess. Here’s a ‘before’ picture

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    But a quick, focused tidy got it to this state in under ten minutes.

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    So I’m quite pleased about that. (The cats were less so, since they like to snuggle under the heaps of rumpled duvet. See the look of dismay on her face)

    Swish & Swipe
    Right, swish and swipe is a term for ‘swishing’ the toilet into a respectable state, and ‘swiping’ the washbasin. The idea is, you do it every day and then it never gets bad. I have a feeling flylady has never seen what my kids do to the toilet, because if she had, she would allocate more than two minutes per bathroom for this task. As such, I couldn’t bring myself to offer any ‘before’ pics. But here are some nice shiny ‘after’ ones instead.

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    Empty Dishwasher
    In a family of five, we often run the dishwasher twice or three times a day. So not doing this first thing is catastrophic. So I have actually established a habit of always doing this before breakfast. And I generally do eat breakfast eventually. Phew. (oh, I usually refill it too. Otherwise eating your breakfast in last nights scummy leftovers is pretty unpleasant.)

    Reboot Laundry (a Load a Day Keeps CHAOS Away)
    Yes! I have rebooted! The wash I put on yesterday is now all dry, and folded and sorted. And I put a new load on. See? My halo is almost intact.

    Check Your Calendar
    And now my halo is broken again. It’s my nephew’s birthday, and with a rather eventful week his birthday presents are still upstairs un-posted. And with sick children I can’t go out and post them today. Or tomorrow, as loved one is away. So his pressie will be at least 4 days late. Sigh

    Check Your Control Journal
    What’s one of those…? It’s a place to keep your todo lists. Flylady likes to put them in clear plastic wallets and tick stuff off with dry wipe markers. I keep losing the markers. So I stick with the normal to do lists these days. Or without, which makes for more excitement, but not necessarily in a good way. Thankfully, I am sent an email telling me what chores need doing today, so I flick back to that when I need to.

    Anyhow, halo intact or not, the morning routine is done at last. Yay!

    Now for the ‘during the day’ routine. Flylady does all this on her Mondays:

    * What’s For Dinner? (work out what you are going to eat tonight)
    * Drink Your Water (not a bad idea)
    * Declutter for 15 Minutes (in my case, that really needs to be two hours and fifteen)
    * 15 Minutes of Loving Movement (a nice euphemism for exercise)

    Monday is also the day for Weekly Home Blessing Hour. An hour dedicated to mopping floors, hoovering, dusting, changing sheets, cleaning windows and mirrors, emptying bins and getting rid of old magazines and newspapers. I am going to revise that to something more manageable. I will mop floors and hoover. I will empty bins. And I won’t do any more because I need to add my own stuff to the list.

    1 tidy the hall
    2 tidy the lounge
    3 tidy smallest one’s bedroom
    4 tidy the other rooms in the house.

    I’m not expecting to manage the 4th, but if I don’t do the first three I am not going to be able to hoover anywhere at all, so that’s why I need to put them in.

    I will report back soon! And if I don’t, please come and check I haven’t been buried in clutter.

    Part 2 begins at 10.12am. In the last hour I have managed to:

    Refill and run the dishwasher
    Have some tea and toast.

    I can see it’s going to be a long day. So I have also refilled the kettle and checked on the kids. They even got extra toast.

    They are lucky…in this house being ill means curling up and watching cBeebies all day. Good for them to watch so much TV? No. God for me getting on with stuff. Oh yes. Well, maybe.

    One discovery I have made is, if I put the timer on this marvellous iPad contraption on, and then get it to tell me stories while I do the chores, the timer switches itself off. I feel a one star rating coming on. Hello, oven timer. I’ll use you instead.

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    Oh. No. Oven timer has a dud beeper. It will get to zero but no sound will be made.

    Can I cope? Flylady relies on 15 minute bursts of activity. ‘You can do anything in fifteen minutes!’ is a good catchphrase. Though I would prefer you don’t think about it too much, or your mind may take you far from housework. My old timer ran out of batteries a couple of weeks ago.

    Hmm. This morning routine looks suspiciously like it may stray into the afternoon at this rate.

    Time for another cuppa, then, perhaps.

    It’s 9.08 in the morning. I now work some Saturdays and generally slob out Sundays to recharge the batteries. So the house is really disgusting. It is my mission to get the place in order today.

    I want to see how well I do, so I thought I would make notes. What works? What doesn’t work? Do poorly children get any attention? Well, let’s see…

    I am going to be using the good old Flylady approach. That means, morning routine first. It’s worked well in the past. When I have felt less overwhelmed by mess. And had no children at home.

    Here is a cut-and-paste of the morning routine I get emailed everyday:

    -Get Dressed to Shoes including Hair/Face, Brush Teeth (yup)
    – Make Bed (ummm)
    -Swish & Swipe (not yet)
    -Empty Dishwasher (yes!)
    -Reboot Laundry (a Load a Day Keeps CHAOS Away) (only enough that oldest one has dry clothes for today; there is a trail of wet clothes leading from the washing machine to the tumble drier.)
    -Check Your Calendar (no, not yet)
    -Check Your Control Journal (I don’t have one any more. Oops)

    At the time of writing, I have managed two of these. I should have done them all first thing, way before I took oldest one to school. Before breakfast too. (actually, I haven’t had time for breakfast yet…)

    So. Part one of the challenge is to complete the morning routine. I will report back! Feel free to take bets on how long I might manage to do all that. And have breakfast.

    Part two coming soon. How soon? Hmmm….

    Oh! Nearly forgot. Here are some ‘before’ photos.

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    Back soon! Wish me luck…

    Following a week of camping, tales of which I intend to regale you with over the next few weeks, we are back home. The long, hot, and probably rainy month of August has begun. 

    I have imposed summer scrapbooks on the children.  It is of course highly probable that the scrapbook will have a few measly pages filled under duress and I will bin it before mid August. My optimistic side hopes otherwise.

    As such, I thought it would only be fair if I made myself do a summer scrapbook too.  And since I’m a blogaholic, well, here I am with my first scrapbook entry.

    Of picnics, paperback perusal, pants and precipitous pop-ins

    If I possibly can, I try to follow a routine during the holidays. Everyone dresses before breakfast, everyone helps out with the chores immediately after breakfast, everyone cleans teeth, makes beds, tidies rooms. Pocket money is earned this way. Then they get to play, or have a treat.

    Today’s treat was a trip to the park for a picnic.

    Often, days like these are spent in playgrounds, trying to coax the older ones off the equipment to come and eat something, simultaneously trying to rein in smallest one’s ambitions beyond her ability. So it was a welcome change to go to a park with no playground for once. The most exciting thing in this park? Trees.

    Of course, half an hour in – and after letting smallest one toddle around randomly for some time, I notice they haven’t been that hot on poop scooping; thankfully smallest one doesn’t notice/step in/pick up/eat any of them. The older ones played hide and seek.  It was a joy to watch.

    After that, we popped into the library, where middle child had a really good go at reading a Charlie and Lola book out loud.  Oldest one had found an Asterix book, then remained immobile for over an hour as he devoured it from cover to cover.  Smallest one was determined to ignore the books, and instead wake up the sleeping baby nearby.  Upon removal, she was then very keen that the books should really be on the floor. I wasn’t sure which was the less desirable option, though I was relieved when the buggy owner left with baby still snoozling away in spite of smallest one’s efforts.

    A quick spot of snakes and ladders (there’s an enormous one painted on the ground outside the library), a slight incident mid-game involving middle child’s underwear, then we headed back to the car to go home.

    My phone rang just as I’d started the engine. The estate agent. Any chance we could do a viewing on the house in just over an hour and a half’s time?

    Cue the fastest tidy up you’ve ever seen.  Less than 48 hours after our return from camping, the hall and living room is a bomb site.

    I thank my lucky stars we at least implemented the holiday routine and had a relatively tidy kitchen.  I don’t know how I did it. I even had time for a two-minute shower…just as well considering I was a big ball of sweat after the tidying up was completed.  And I got the dinner started before they rang the doorbell.

    Upon bidding them goodbye, the phone rang: loved one – away on business tonight. I told him he was talking to Supermum.  Wisely, he didn’t disagree.

    I almost got the kids to bed on time too.

    But not quite.

    This may sound like a very boring subject.  Fair enough.  But before you dismiss the thought of reading further, let me put it into context.

     

    Image courtesy of Dom Haigh personal training at www.domhaighpersonaltraining.co.uk

    Quaker Oats have loads of amazing recipes both for normal porridge and savoury dishes. I'm going to give the latter a try.

    Porridge is currently a very rare occurrence.  Firstly because much beloved is very particular about cooking it for a minimum of twenty minutes, so we hardly ever have time.  Secondly because I get irritated with the horrendous mess. Especially at the moment.  Having said that, the whole family adores porridge.

    As such, having porridge for breakfast on a schoolday is unheard of.  Much beloved was working from home this morning and had a little time to spare to cook.  The kids, anticipating the thought of delicious porridge, actually bothered to get dressed while it was cooking.

    And then, amazingly, oldest child offers to clean up the mess afterwards. Without being asked.  (Admittedly he was running on negative brownie points and worried he’d not be allowed to go play with a friend after school, but I chose not to let my inner cynic spoil the moment).

    All in all, a good start to the day:  delicious porridge, with much beloved’s slow cooking, spices and vanilla essence; mess cleared up by small one, and children dressed before breakfast.  Wow.

    Of course, we were still late for school…