recommend.

SONG

“Blackout” by Breathe Carolina

This song makes me nod my head and throw up my hands … while driving in my car. That’s major endorsement.

MOVIE

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey

I talked about this hour-long doc for 45 minutes after I finished watching it. A great movie about a truly passionate and wonderful man.

BOOK

Anything by Jodi Picoult

I used to make fun of Jodi Picoult and anyone who read her books. Then I actually started reading her books, and jaw dropped at the logic and research behind them. These are no formula Sparks books, as I previously thought. Making my way through her entire bibliography.

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calm.

DAMN. Um, was in the middle of writing this post, mid post, this ranty rant rant, and I had a music video and everything.

It was a good rant too.

And then, phone rings. My Grandma is in the hospital, and it’s SERIOUS, and I just feel like God was like … tap tap. Why are you ranting about the little things? Why do you care what SHE says when you know it’s just lies?

Why do you put such stock in such frustration and anger when there is this? When these things are happening and are so much more serious, so much more important to think about?

And in that moment, that moment of phone ringing and message receiving and my dad raceraceracing to the hospital, the anger went poof. The frustration went gone.

And here I am.

Calm and praying and trying not to feel guilty about the fact that for right now, it is all I can do.

This is one of those lessons that stick.

keep it going.

Now that I’ve been decluttering the house, I’m also trying to find ways to clean it up daily. Husband and I both work full time, and I don’t come home until 6:30. Add to that making dinner and eating it as well as having a catch up chat with Husband, and you’re looking at my free time not technically starting til 7:30 at night, depending on what we had for dinner.

Also, part of my job is the following: cleaning up food messes, cleaning up toys, washing walls, washing down high chairs, chairs, and tables, and mopping. All this (except for the last one) happens several times a day. This is in addition to taking care of babies. So when I get home, do I really feel like vacuuming the floors, doing laundry, and cleaning off the kitchen counters/bathroom?

NO.

I really like to just take my nights and unwind — read, watch Netflix, write, and browse blogs. Or hey, hang out with my husband. But since I’ve been doing so well with my decluttering challenge, I decided to challenge myself again — to push aside the tired and laziness and get some cleaning done during the week. That way I’m not grossed out by the apartment or wasting half a Saturday or Sunday cleaning. Especially since we have weekends like this one, when we won’t be home and I won’t have time to clean!

I did okay so far this week, but I also got off easy. Yesterday I had a Development Day at work (got home at 4:30), and today I worked an earlier shift (got home at 3:30). Both days had me getting home with more energy and more motivation to get stuff done. Yesterday I did two loads of laundry and went grocery shopping. Today I did a load of laundry, a load of dishes, picked up the apartment, and made egg salad.

I’m definitely not going to push myself to do many things every night, because then I’ll just feel overwhelmed and kabosh the whole project. Instead, I’m starting out by picking ONE cleaning to do each night — let’s say, clean the toilet/sink in the bathroom, or vacuum the living room/dining room. I’m making the cleaning small, too, so if I have an overwhelming day at work (believe it or not, my job can get stressful), it’ll be something I can do in fifteen minutes before going to relax.

The reason I’m so hell bent on getting this all together NOW is because I’ve never really been in charge of keeping a house clean before, so it’s all brand new to me and definitely taking some practice. Also, I want to stay at home someday so cleaning will become my full time job and I want to get it done in a way that’s easy and not daunting.

One last thing: my car is crazy cluttered. At one point, it looked like I lived in there. Some of it got moved to the trunk, and it’s so bad we have to put groceries in the backseat because there’s no room in the trunk. I’m adding it to my decluttering resolution because we’re taking it to Canada and I don’t want to have a messy car for that long drive!

block.

A few days ago I said something about a writing update. Then I got sick thanks to Husband.

I’m feeling tired but better today, so I pulled up my writing to get it together.

I read over what I wrote, sat back, and thought ‘Ok … where I am going with this?’

I’ve been working on it for the past hour and I haven’t made any dent without purging some or part of it.

I think I’m going to make some lunch, watch this movie on my queue, and come back to it. Hopefully I can have a fresher viewpoint by that time and can make some progress.

Update later, God wiling.

Uh … yeah.

I got distracted by Netflix, a good book by Jodi Picoult, and Husband in a snuggle mood. And now it’s time for bed. I feel so disappointed in myself, wondering if I’m up for the challenge of being a writer, when I see this quote by ultra-awesome author Sara Zarr:

“I was ready to write in my twenties but definitely not ready to ‘be a writer’ until mid thirties.”

Not excusing myself, but releasing some of the guilt I push on myself to be writing an epic novel or a zillion words every day. I work hard. I have a “house” to maintain and young marriage to tend to. I will write when I can and be proud of what I write.

Let’s see how long that pep talk sticks. Then I’ll start over again. HA.

Resolute: Clutter.

I woke up at six this morning. After a few moments of puttering around, and knowing Husband and I will be going to the Chicago auto show later (free tickets!), I decided to do something I’ve been putting off.

Decluttering the back room.

Don't judge me.

This is only one half of the room. This is the half that belongs to Stepson. The couch is a sofa bed, incase you thought we made him sleep on a couch. The other half is also a disaster but is a dumping ground for Husband’s bike things, so I’m leaving it up to him to clean it up.

ANYWAY. I know I said the next stop on my decluttering tour was the closet, but after Stepson’s birthday party last weekend, there was an extra accumulation of clothes and toys. I barely got everything out of their bags, so was my enthusiasm for the project this week, let alone organize and put everything away. This area has been a sore spot because everyone gets Stepson so much and he’s barely at home to play with it. Like last weekend we had his birthday party and then he and Husband spent the rest of the weekend at Husband’s father’s house. Next weekend when we have him we’re going to be at my parents’ house.

So when I went to tackle this room, I definitely made two things a priority: 1) only saving clothes that fit him (no matter how cute they were!) and 2) narrowing down his toys. Neither goal was that hard, but everytime before that I had gone back there to clean I had more so organized the chaos rather than pare down the selection. So it was good I took some time to do that — I came out with two bags of clothes for Goodwill and a few toys as well. There were also some junky toys that I just pitched — cars with a wheel missing, stuff like that.

45 minutes to a hour later, here’s the result.

oh! it's a room!

When Stepson comes next weekend, we’re going to show him where everything is and talk about keeping the room together, and we’ll help him do that. Part of the mess is because for the past few months he’s been starting to resist cleaning up, and like I said we’ve been on the move almost every weekend we have him so we haven’t really been pushing him to do so. Hopefully how nice it looks will keep me motivated to be on him to keep it clean. And again, less stuff = less stuff to haul around when we move.

All right, three things down, the rest of the apartment to go! I still have to tackle the clothes in the closet, the random assortment of boxes hidden around the apartment, and our stairway closet.

tuesday.

I find it sad how bitter some people are about today. It’s a Tuesday.

Ha.

Anyway, Husband and I are exchanging cards, eating tomato soup and whatever yummy dessert he brought home, and watching Law and Order.

Despite the cards, that is pretty much a regular Tuesday for us.

I’m posting the following link because I think it pinpoints exactly what rubs me the wrong way about Valentine’s Day — the harsh emphasis on how TODAY is the day to tell someone you love them, that TODAY is the day to be intimate, that TODAY is the day to do something nice for the person you love, when in fact, this should be a daily occurrence. The little things make up the romance.

Romance in Marriage

I like Valentine’s Day. I wore red and told everyone Happy Valentine’s Day and ate some cookies brought into work and listened to all the love songs on the radio with a smile and gave a squee over the picture of my niece that my sister sent me.

But neither Husband nor I are bending over backwards being like, “I LOVE YOU DID YOU KNOW THAT I HAVE TO TELL YOU TODAY AND SHOW YOU TODAY BECAUSE TODAY IS THE DAY TO DO THIS TODAY. TODAY.”

Instead, here’s the love: last night Husband went to bed before I did, so I came in later and got under the covers, laid with my back to Husband (who had his back facing me), and went to sleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I found that Husband and I had subconsciously found our way across the empty bed and were now entwined. I felt … so much love in that moment.

Show the love … every day in little ways.