Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm Doing This

Our home office has been following me with its mocking eyes.  I hear its evil laugh when I close the doors so I don't have to look inside.  I stay away. 

But not today.

Today I have ventured inside to battle the monster mess.  "It" cannot hurt me afterall.  With trashbags in hand, I brave the ordeal.  It is time to begin.

Who has ideas or helpful hints in organizing a home office full of media, photos, magazines, books, letters, craft projects, artwork, school papers, important files?  This is going to take some perseverence...

Day 1-My first day tackling the messy office. 

I had to get really mad and fed up with the clutter taking over, preventing us from really using the room.  My first goal was to throw things away, sort papers, and make big changes that I could see right away.  This was of course just to make me feel like I was accomplishing something amidst such a huge project.

I emptied out the filling drawers in our desk and put our existing hanging folders in there, so that I could get rid of an old, metal filing cabinet that we've had for years.  After putting that in the basement to re-purpose or sell, I also emptied a moving box of random things that has probably been sitting in the office since we moved here.  Ridiculous, I know.  Taking those two large objects out cleared up some floor and wall space.

My current piles are Media, Letters, Crafts/Projects, School, Photos, and Files.

Tonight, when I get home from class, I'm going to continue to sort through the mounds of books and paperwork, and empty out and move our little bookcase to another wall.  Jason has to go through old files and help me set up files for the many categories of our life. 

My ultimate goal is to create a little sitting area/reading nook in the corner by the window and build some shelves to place things up high.  My friend will be coming over once the major project of de-cluttering is over.  She's going to help me set up systems that will help me keep organized so this NEVER happens again. 
This is also going to change how we approach planning schedules, going through mail, and doing our finances.  I intend for this to be my writing space in the future, so it has to be welcoming and distraction-free.  I can already feel the relief that comes with getting rid of STUFF and simplifying my life.

Wouldn't it be amazing if every space in your home felt like a vacation?  A place to get away?

De-cluttering our home is also de-cluttering my mind.  That IS a vacation.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Third Decade

My husband made sure that I had a well-rounded birthday last weekend, even though we had several other obligations.  Having all my friends together from different seasons, near and far away, was gift enough, but then Jason ordered me a cake that could feed 50 people (see picture below).  What's a birthday without cake for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and an afternoon snack, right?  I love him.

Thanks to all my friends for making me feel extra special, too.

I haven't mourned my teens or twenties.  I have this feeling that the next decade will be a bit of a relief for me.  I'm used to being younger than most of my mom friends, so maybe now my driver's license will give me some suburban street cred.  After spending a majority of my life wondering what I would be when I grew up, I am finally finding myself here- grown up.  Here-married with two kids, a house, and a minivan. 

My teens were filled with typical angst, depression, and neediness.
My twenties brought a lot of firsts and a mess of hard-knock lessons.
Now, I've got new dreams and good friends and more to be grateful for than I've ever had before.

Thirties, I'm ready for you.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Learning should be fun

School isn't what it used to be.  What happened to making learning fun?  What happened to Christmas plays and Valentine's Day parties at school?  What happened to nap time? 

"Fun Center's" are permitted if they're a part of the standardized teaching guidelines.  Unregulated fun must take place between the hours of 3:30, when the bus arrives home, and 6:00 when dinner is served.  Oh, but wait, we've got to do a little homework and reading too- in addition to all the mental activities the kids have already been doing at school all day.  Bedtime by 8 and up again at 6:30.  That's a work day.

School begins at 8 and ends at 3. That's 7 hours, including a 30 min. lunch, 30 min. recess (if the weather is good), and one other out-of-classroom activity (music, Spanish, P.E., or Art). The rest of the time, those little kids are trying so hard to pay attention and be still, their noses in AR books and their heads bent down over their desks, furiously working out math problems and writing in their journals. Bella hasn't been eating her lunch, because she's afraid she won't have time to talk to her friends.

Everything's so serious now.  My daughter just informed me that she has to take a "really hard" CRCT test soon.  Who told her it was really hard?  Why are we stressing out 6-year-olds?  Bella is already way more advanced than I was in first grade.  I can't imagine all the cramming that our teachers must do in a day to meet state guidelines.  All that pressure makes for stressed out teachers too.

All I can do is try not to add to my child's workload.  The bummer is that if we want to do anything else, like soccer, tumbling, cheerleading, piano lessons, or whatever, we have to squeeze that in somewhere and make sure we're keeping up with school requirements too.  And so we lead this fast-paced, busy life.

It took Bella almost a full school year to get used to Kindergarten and the long days.  She told me all the time that she missed preschool.  Preschool is what school used to be like.  Somehow we've pushed the fast-forward button.  I can't shake this feeling that they're growing up too fast- that my daughter will miss out on some good old-fashioned fun. 

Anybody up for a game of freeze tag?  Just for fun.  At my house, where it's not against the rules.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

On a sidenote

I'm thinking about homeschooling - not now or even next year.  I'm just asking lots of questions.  If you have an opinion, share it!  For now, here are my thoughts (I may add to them as I think more about it):

  1. Not having to report to the school if we want to go on a spontaneous vacation.
  2. Waking up with the sun, instead of setting the alarm for dark:thirty.
  3. Spending fewer hours sitting in a classroom and more time doing things and seeing the world.
  4. Evenings can be more relaxed for play and family time, instead of doing homework.
  5. A greater focus on creativity and expression.
  1. Paying for our own curriculum.
  2. Pulling the kids out of the norm.
  3. Mommy has to do more work.
  4. Less free time for Mommy (sans kids).

Yes, I think I'm slightly crazy, but does that really surprise anyone?

Long days and pajamas

I feel like a working mom this semester.  I'm regressing to pulling all-nighters like a college student who can make up for it by taking naps the next day.  Ha! Reading hundreds of pages, typing thousands of words, and spending hours away from home in a library or in a classroom...I just want to live in my pajamas and not have that nagging sensation that I'm losing my fashion-sense to comfort and practicality (afterall, I just bought a minivan=practicality).

It's a matter of survival, people.  I need sleep, so every other night I attempt a 7 hour stretch, but a mom's gotta snag those quite moments as they come.  And most of the time, the dark hours are my only chance.

It's only a season, I remind myself!  It's 3 more months of pushing forward and not quitting.  It's knowing the relief that will come when it's over.  It's completing something I started.

So forgive me for my appearance and for my mental inavailability.

On a peppier note, we celebrated my husband's 28th birthday last night.  I bought a way-too-large cookie cake for the party which my daughter had decorated with the words "Happy birthday, Daddy...King of the World!"  We have a lot of leftovers- Come on over and have a slice.