Sunday, April 28, 2013


What a busy few weeks we've had!!

We relisted our townhouse for sale, and are sooo excited to have accepted an offer! We're now in the tense, waiting for subjects to be removed period! Subjects come off on May the 7th, and hopefully everything goes smoothly.

We celebrated DH's birthday, and then Ellie's second birthday. She's so amazing, I'm so happy with her progress, and how lovely she is :)

We held a little tea party for her yesterday, with all together too many treats and goodies. I went into sugar overload, and I think I'm taking a long break from eating sweets. My waist line and complexion will thank me, I'm sure!

I didn't take any photos of the party! NOT ONE! All I have are a couple from DH's phone. I was so busy talking with guests, and negoatiating our contract that it compeletely slipped my mind.

I've been meaning to post about evcerything we've been going through, but seriously messed up my right wrist about a week ago, and typing is now a one-handed affair. Not fun.

When DH is off work I will post the few photos we have of the tea party. It was awesome!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dear Ellie

Tonight, one week from your second birthday,  you gave me the rare privilege of rocking you to sleep. Still so small, the weight of you in my arms was no burden at all, and I would gladly rock you through the night. You are sleeping so soundly on my shoulder,  one fist clenched in my hair. I am in heaven.
We have been through so much, you and I, over these two years. There have been too many nights where we were apart,  so many countless nights that we will never get back. I am grateful,  so grateful for how long I've been blessed to have you be little. It seems as though the Universe wanted to make our many separations up to me, by giving me moments like tonight,  where you are still so much my little baby.
I marvel at the progress you've made, but moreover wonder at the amazing personality you have developed. You are, quite simply,  the greatest joy. You are so full of love, you give affection to those who need it, be they strangers or family. You smiled at the glum elderly woman on the other side of the store and waved hello, as every part of her perked up and she beamed at you today. Your giggles, though rare, are truly infectious, and the music of my heart.
You are stubborn and determined,  and that will get you far in life. You know what you want, and you work so, so hard to get it.
You are clever, we can't slip anything by you! The pace at which you learn new skills astounds me. 
You are so compassionate and empathetic, already! You cry when someone is hurt, and you give the biggest tiny-girl hugs. You laugh when others are happy, and you are so in tune with their emotions.
I can't believe you're soon to be two. It can't possibly have been so long since the first moment I laid eyes on your little face. 
If only I had known how much you would inspire me, teach me, impress me, amaze me! I could have saved myself the needless heartache when we were told that you were different. 
You are different. You are incredibly,  perfectly you, and I wouldn't change a single thing about you. 
I love you,

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 11 - Going for Clean

We've decided, once again, to try to sell our townhouse! It is listed on the market today, and I still have to declutter and take photos! Yikes...

I'm in the process of planning shots, so I'm going to be quick tonight :)

Day 11's suggestion is to once a week check the contents of your fridge, empty out what's gone off, and do a quick wipe. I hate cleaning the fridge. If I do it a little at a time, it seems to be less of a chore!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 10 (sort of) - Going for Clean

I fell off the posting bandwagon. Truthfully, I enjoyed a bit of a break. I didn't take a break from cleaning, though! My dryer is drying, the dishwasher has been emptied, the kitchen is clean, Jakob is at school, and Ellie and Phoenix are napping after our walk in the chilly spring air.

My Day 10 (or something, maybe it shouldn't be days, maybe it should be tips?) suggestion is all about maximizing efficiency. There are only 24 hours in a day. No matter how much I wish, somedays, to get a few extra hours, 24 is what we've got.

I've seen plenty of suggestions on Pinterest for sorting bins. They don't really work for me. Much like the failure of our multiple laundry bin attempt (which just resulted in multiple MOUNTAINS of laundry to do), general sorting bins, and mail sorting bins seem to just make more of a problem for me.

Take mail sorting, as an example. They suggest having three bins, one for bills to pay, one for things to keep, one to shred. In our house, the mail comes in, I grab it, recycle the junk and envelopes immediately, put the bills on the laptop to be paid that day, and the shredder lives under my desk and sees frequent action. Our filing cabinet is organized, and it takes no time to put away paid bills, or other important information. Why do I need bins? To me, they just represent a place for work to accumulate!

I've also seen suggestions for placing baskets on the stairs to hold belongings to go upstairs. In the pretty, posed shots on Pinterest, they look appealing. In real life, not so much. I am pretty sure I would be annoyed by the bins sitting there, taking up space on my stair case, especially if they were empty. 

We live on two levels, and I go up and down countless times in a day. I realized that if, before I saunter up to grab something, I look around for something, or some things to bring with me, I can save myself a few trips. It may not seem like a big deal, but a round trip usually takes several minutes, especially if I get distracted, as is so often the case. Over the course of the day, I'm certain I waste a lot of time on trips that could have been consolidated.

When I'm cleaning the kitchen, I put the items that need to be stored in the china cabinet (which is in the living room) to one side. When the kitchen is clean, I put everything on a tray, make one trip to the living room, and back again.

When I'm working in the laundry room, the bathroom, any room for that matter, if there's stuff that doesn't belong, I put it in one place, finish what I'm doing, and before I leave, take the time to put that stuff in its place. If it doesn't have a place, then I question why we have it, if we need it, and you know the rest! It leaves the house if it has no benefit to us!

Maximizing efficiency, as you go through your day, allows you to reclaim a whole lot of time you didn't know you were wasting!

Edited to add:
Ooh, I forgot! There is one place where I like organized bins. My waste/recycling area! Once upon a time, we had a big Rubbermaid bin with a swing top, that took those jumbo black garbage bags. I was never a fan of taking out the garbage, what with the bags weighing a ton, and usually having some sort of disgusting stew brewing at the bottom.

Enter the RETUR bins from Ikea.

We have two, stacked just like that (camera is charging, else I'd show you our actual set up). The bottom we use for recycling of food containers, the top we use for garbage. It fits one bag, one small grocery bag. I empty it every day. I love emptying it every day! It takes barely any space at all, and helps me keep the mess under control. Some bins are good :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day 9 - Going for Clean

Big news in our household this week! Ellie has started taking independent steps!! STEPS!!! She took four in physio the other day, and also crawled across the living room, I'm sure just to show off that she could. She can stand, if she wants to, for maybe 20 seconds without holding on to anything. But the steps, that just gets me so excited. She is going to walk soon... soon!

Her PT is leaving the practice, to start his own practice. We're looking at a couple months of being therapy free, but I'm determined that's not going to stop us. I've been working with her every day to strengthen her little legs, and build up her endurance.

When DH is off work, I'm going to try to set up some sort of video to capture her progress. It's hard when it's just me!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go shopping with my mom (makes it a lot easier to have a second set of hands!) and I bought replacement cushions for our patio set. I'm so happy with them. They're cushy, and soft, and they're supposedly quick-dry, so we'll see how they hold up! It was a LOT less expensive than replacing the whole kit and kaboodle. I bought some solar lights as well, and if only the sun would shine I'd be able to see how they look!
Now, to fix the dog-destroyed lawn...

Today, Day 9's Going for Clean tip is to do one big chore a day. I HATE having to spend a whole family day cleaning. I really, really, really despise it. We only get so many days together as a family, and it seems like such a waste to spent the day chained to the house, cleaning.

So, I propose the addition of one big chore (read vacuuming, cleaning toilets, washing floors, washing windows, washing bathtubs/showers) a day. Yesterday, I vacuumed. Today it's going to be toilets. If you do one big thing a day, you shouldn't be left feeling overwhelmed, and you won't experience the let-down of having the tornado that is having kids and a dog destroy your "it took all day to clean" house in a matter of minutes. Cleaning, as I'm learning, is easier to do if you just do a little at a time, all the time!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 8 - Going for Clean

I've been on this new cleaning streak for a whole week! My biggest test to see if it was really working, was having my lovely mother over. There may have been words spoken about having tamed the Laundry Demons... I can definitely say that the few things I've implemented over the past week are making a difference.  A rather noticeable one!!

Looking around my kitchen at the moment, I can instantly spot the things I need to put away before I pack up for the night; Jakob's new board game, the dishes that didn't fit into the dishwasher that need to be handwashed, Ellie's highchair tray that needs to be rinsed. Other than that, my kitchen is clean, and I can see Ellie's pretty little diaper collection (it's actually pretty) all folded neatly in the laundry room.

I debated tips for today. I'm saving the one I intended to use today for tomorrow. Instead, I'm adding one that should have been at the beginning of my day, after having a shower, and right around breakfast time. Keep a proper calendar and look at it!!!

Had I looked at my calendar this morning, I would have realized that it was indeed Wednesday, and hence the return to preschool for Jakob. I would also have seen that Ellie had a scheduled pediatrician appointment.

Instead, I spent the morning blissfully unaware, going about my new routine like it was any other day. I did my laundry, puttered, vacuumed and walked the dog. It wasn't until my mom came over that she pointed out I'd forgotten entirely about preschool.

So, tomorrow morning I'm adding read the calendar to my morning routine!

See you again tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Day 7 - Going for Clean (and Mini Bathroom Reveal)

Today's Going for Clean tip is a simple one! With everything you touch throughout your home, think to yourself "Do I need this?". If it's not used, if it is worn out, or serves no purpose, either donate it, or throw (or recycle) it away! I do this while folding my clothes, now an easy task at one load a day, while cleaning up the kids' toys, while rearranging the linens in the linen closet.

Try it!

We FINALLY finished our long, drawn-out bathroom renovation. Hurray!!!!!

I didn't think to take a before picture, at least not one that I can easily find this morning, so I'm posting the photo from when we first bought our townhouse.



I am soooooo happy with how it all turned out!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 6 - Going for Clean

My DH is home today! On these days, now especially since I'm not working, I can get a LOT done. Today seemed like a good day to strip all the beds, and wash the linens. I am on to my second load of laundry (one load of clothes, one load of sheets) and the first is folded and waiting to be put away. The kitchen is clean, and I found a few minutes to tidy the front area.

It's amazing how much you can accomplish in five minutes, if you completely dedicate yourself to cleaning for five minutes straight.

Today's addition to Going for Clean is to set the timer, three times a day, for five minutes. Choose a spot that needs some of work, and spend five minutes cleaning, sorting and tidying. Stop when the timer goes off, and go back to your day!

In five minutes, I was able to straighten all the shoes in our front entrance, pile the winter clothes from the closet on the stairs to be stored, hung up the jackets, threw a few coats into a pile for the thrift store, and quickly swept the floor. Five minutes, 300 seconds, really no time at all.

Try it, three times a day, you'll be surprised how effectively you can use your time.