Monday, June 27, 2011

Going Kidless

 So this week, the two adorable, freshly trimmed, boys went on vacation and they stayed with . . .. .

These two people (I seriously need to get a picture of them together) known as their Grandparents :-)

Now, I love my kids but I have to admit that when my parents pulled out of my driveway with my kids, I did do a little happy dance on the sidewalk!!!!  They left on Friday and are coming back tomorrow (Tuesday).  Granted, as soon as they get here I'm leaving to go scrapbooking for the whole day and won't actually see them for real until Wednesday!  We've done these little "vacations" for our kids since Josh was about 9 months old.  Admittedly, when I worked full time, the last thing I really wanted to do was send my kid away for any amount of time - I already didn't get to see him all day but, when he was 9 months old, he stayed overnight with my mother-in-law when my husband took me away for our anniversary . . .it was heaven :-)  Then, not long after that, we left him with my parents for two nights so we could go on a babymoon before Nate arrived . . .it was fabulous!  After Nate was born, well, we have tried to work out a weekend (which has stretched into 3-4 days now) every 6-8 weeks where the boys stay with the grandparents.  It is a huge benefit to everyone!  Don't get me wrong, I love and adore my kids but having the freedom to run out the door in two seconds is fantastic.  I thought I would share my list of things we enjoy when the kids are gone:

1) Eating hot food.  Seriously.  When the kids are home, by the time I get to eat (any meal) my food is cold - I had to cut their food, blow on it for five minutes because it's "hot mama, hot mama" and refill drinks plus get another fork . .. and knife. Tonight, we cooked on the grill - we got to eat our chicken while it was still hot and juicy with lots of flavor!!

2) Eating out without having to clean up the floor.  We are not the parents that leave a mess in a restaurant.  Before we leave, one of us is on the floor picking up all the stuff our kids (and probably the previous kid) dropped.  We went out to dinner on Saturday and . .. I didn't have to clean up .  I could just leave!  (Funny thing is - now, before we leave anywhere, Josh gets down and says "clean up mama" !!)

3) Getting up and leaving for church in less then 1 hour.  On Sunday, we got up 45 minutes before we wanted to leave . . .snuck in the door of a church at the last minute (not nursery needed) and were the first ones out of the parking lot!!! 

4) No bath time.  Sure, it is cute to give my kids baths and fun to watch them run naked through the house but . . .it is so relaxing to only have to bathe myself HA!

5) I can keep the gate open.  It is so much easier to get things done without having to open the gate or to have to fight kids to get through the gate :-)

6) We can both leave!  Usually one of us stays home while the other runs to get a . . .Frappe . . .but when they are gone, we both jump in the car and go where ever we need to go! 

7) No toys . . . yep, the toys all stay picked up and put away! 

8) I can sit down for more than 2 minutes - without having to get up to fill a sippy cup or change a diaper!

9) No changing diapers . . . enough said LOL

10) Well, really, number 10 is simply this - I would recommend to any mom to take a break from  your kids :-)  Even if it is for one night/two days - it will make you a better mom and your kids better kids!  

Please understand, I love my children more than anything.  I don't take for granted every day I have them and am so thankful for the joy they bring.  Yet, I'm also very grateful for grandparents who are willing and able to enjoy days with their grandkids.  What a true gift for all of us! 

Deep Cleaning 101 - Master Bedroom (plus a little more!)

Last week's zone was the Master Bedroom!  I don't know about you, but my master bedroom is anything but a "retreat".  In books I've read, shows I've watched, and people I've talked to, I always hear/see how that one room should be a quiet, relaxing place to go.  That is all fine, if you have the space!  Let me show you a few before pictures.

What do you notice in each of these pictures??  Very simply, my room has to serve multiple purposes!
1) Bedroom (duh!)
2) Workout room
3) "Guest" room (notice the play pen)
4) Candle Storage

My husband and I play a little game that is called "In my next house . .. . "  I'm going to play this little game with you (aren't you so excited!)  In my next house I'll have a room that is my workout/craft room.  That room will be located next to the great room and will have either a window or half door so that when I'm in there, I can still see the kids.  The room will be big enough to house my scrapbooking supplies (set up like all of those inspiration rooms I see, or course), my craft stuff (all neatly organized and pretty) plus, an area where I can set up my treadmill and maybe some other great piece of workout equipment.  Of course, it will have a great TV to watch too!  Doesn't that sound wonderful? LOL  But, for now, my bedroom acts as so many things because that is the best place for them!  There is no other place in our house for the treadmill except for our room.  It is not ideal but, it squeezes in, allows me to watch TV while I walk, and gives me a private space to walk without worrying about little fingers.  Our room is also the ideal place for the munchkin I watch to nap - so the pack-n-play gets set up each morning for him.  Our room (my little closet space) is also where I store my candle cart so it is easy to grab what I want when I need to refill candles. 

With all of that said, our room doesn't get really cleaned very often.  So, when these deep cleaning week comes along, I really make sure to take the time - even if it is on the weekend - to really clean.  Including washing the extra blankets, comforter, mattress cover and getting on the floor and vacuuming under everything possible.  I also make sure our closets and dresser are organized (things tend to get shoved into corners just to get them off the bed) 

Here is a basic look at what I do when I deep clean our bedroom:
1) Dust every surface and remove things that don't below
2) Organize dresser drawers and closet
3) Strip bed completely and wash everything (don't worry, I change the sheets more often than once a month!)  One side note - I do not wash my comforter every month.  I usually wash it 2-3 times a year.  It is technically dry clean only but I have figured out how to wash it at home :-)  The downside is that I do need to hang it out to dry which means I can wash it in the middle of winter !!
4) Clean pictures on the wall and mirror
5) Vacuum - the floors, the baseboards, and ceiling corners. 
6) Maybe once a year, I try to steam clean the carpet.  Due to the crowded space, we can't rearrange so when I do steam clean, it is only the main area that gets done at this point.

Now for the "Plus a little more!"  As I mentioned last week, I usually tag Josh's room onto the bathroom week and Nate's onto the bedroom week.  I saved them both for this week since the boys would be gone, making it easier to clean!.  Here are some pictures!

Now, their rooms really don't get as dirty as others.  There are multiple reasons - one being that I pick stuff up every week when I do their laundry; two, they really only sleep in there; three, they haven't learned to mess them up. HA!

This is my basic list:
1) General pick up - just make sure everything is put back in the right place/room
2) Closets - make sure that everything is hung up and neat; move any out grown clothes out.
3) Dust surfaces
4) Vacuum the floor, baseboards, and corners
5) Bedding/curtains - I wash the curtains and big bedding only once or twice a year.  My disclaimer is that the bedding (bumper and other extra blankets) get washed more often because sometimes, well, they get icky dirty due to sickness :-( 
6) Windows - clean the insides and the blinds

That's all for this week!  You can check out my other deep cleaning posts by clicking HERE.  Next week, we'll talk about the Living room and Dining room!

21 Days of Prayer Challenge - Day 20 - Heart Change

Encouragement from Brooke

The most foundational thing we can ask God for in the lives of our sons is heart change. The Word says that

what's in the heart eventually comes out. Bad stuff in the heart? Bad stuff comes out. Good stuff in the heart?

Good stuff comes out.

I heard an illustration of this concept once from a pastor friend. He held up a Styrofoam cup with a little water

inside and proceeded to ram his hand against the cup so that the water splattered everywhere. Then he asked this


"Why did water come out of the cup?"

So what do you think? Did the water come out of the cup because he rammed his hand up against it? Certainly a

possible answer. But consider this: could it be that the water came out of the cup because there was water IN the


Think about it … if the cup had been empty when he rammed it, nothing would have come out.

And so it is with our hearts. Life has a funny way of ramming up against us. People pull out in front of you when

you're in a hurry. The neighbor's dog won't stop yapping through the night when all you need is a few hours of

sleep. Your children pick the day after your favorite relative dies to be little horrors … somehow sensing that

mom is frazzled.

Stuff happens.

We get hit. Probably every day. But our response to the hits comes from what's in our cup...or hearts. Bad stuff in

the heart? Bad stuff comes out. Good stuff in the heart? Good stuff comes out.

"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure

produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." ~Luke 6:45

Remember to commit to praying the 10 prayers in this chapter today.