Category: <span>Parenting</span>

 

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Our ever-changing living room

The past few months have been a season of preparation for the past few weeks. Twelve weeks ago my business started growing unlike it has in the past five years. Three weeks ago we welcomed our first foster placement into our home. Today my two sons started preschool and full time daycare. My heart is about as raw as it can be. So many exciting changes and transitions in every area.

Clean+Chaos

Expanding as a small business is exciting and at times all-consuming. It’s very difficult to say “no” while in a boom, so I have frequently felt like I was drowning in both gratitude and work. I now have someone helping bear the load which has been amazing. That has been a lesson in planning, letting go of control and trusting someone else. Hopefully in the coming months I will  have another person trained and cleaning on her or his own!

Because of the increase in business, my children have started full time daycare. I have a very emotional dialogue with myself about it several times a day. I love the flexibility to work as much as I need, but I miss their presence when I come home at lunch. I love being able to accomplish a task uninterrupted (this post!), but I miss their faces and water color messes SO MUCH. I think they are going to love it – the friends, the teachers, the activities. Still, it’s been a time of stretching for me to decide what my goals are, what is good for my children, what is good for my mental state, and what is good for my clients.

Fostering

I picked up our foster son three weeks ago today. It has been an amazing journey so far. At times it is stressful, and other times are unbelievably fun. Overall it’s been a lesson in loving someone who cannot (yet) love back, learning to be flexible in our schedules and expectations, and being patient with our sons as they process the transition in their own way. There are moments when I am overwhelmed with emotion and other times when I feel like I lack the ability to connect to anyone. We have no idea how long he will be with us. But we do not think past today as a foster family. We ride the waves and pray we stay afloat in changing tides.

Blogging

My husband in the process of building me a new customized computer simply because he is awesome . . . and because he’s an engineer and loves computers. But I am excited not only about my cleaning business expanding, but about my blogging increasing. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and until now has been greatly restricted by time. So here’s to happy cleaning and a lot more blogging!

Hallie

 

Cleaning Love Parenting

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetWet wipes. I love wet wipes. Only for certain jobs, but for those jobs they are perfect. I have 3 places around the house that I always keep a tub of sanitizing wipes: the bathrooms, the laundry room, and the kitchen. This makes specific cleanups a cinch.

  • Bathrooms – I wipe down our toilets a couple times a week. 15 seconds  max, and bam! Pristine porcelain. I also wipe the bathroom sinks with them. I can be brushing my teeth, notice the sink is getting  icky, and wipe it down while I brush. It is true, the more you do something, the easier and faster it becomes. I spend under 2 minutes on most jobs around our house.
  • Laundry room – this is a perfect place for wipes. Laundry rooms can get VERY dusty. Dryer lint and detergent-spills build up on top of machines, and floor boards. Toss in a load, swipe the dryer top, hit start and there ya go! Honestly, go look at your baseboards in your laundry room – I promise you they will be dustier than anywhere in your house. You’re welcome.
  • Kitchen – I actually do not like to wipe counters with wet wipes. I prefer a cloth and spray for that. However, I LOVE them for swiping over the floor after my sweet baby eats his jasmine rice and ground beef. It makes cleaning up after a self-feeder a breeze. Wipe floor, wipe seat, dump and wipe tray – 3 times a day.

If there are supplies you use multiple times a day and at different places, create stations. It’ll encourage you to do it more often and it’ll save you time.

Happy cleaning!

Cleaning Efficiency Hacks Parenting Stress Uncategorized

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThis is a post about me, about my family, about this past and coming season of our lives. John is nearing 11 months. The fastest, richest, hardest 11 months of my life. Having 2 babies close together, as many will testify, is hard, good, and hard. The good is really, really good. The hard is really hard. But what a gift to have 2 boys. They are my happiness, my joy. There was a season with Jeff right after he turned two, where for about 2 months our relationship was something like, “One cannot live while the other survives.” It was ridiculous. 2-year-olds are fierce. It was all fighting all the time and I was becoming someone I hated. I got to the point of breaking down in front of so many people that prayers were regularly being sent to heaven. And then it happened . . . one Wednesday morning, Jeff woke up, and he was Jeff. He has been so amazing the past month – creative, helpful, sweet, obedient, he EATS, he shares, he sleeps. He has his moments, but I do too, so no faulting him there.

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 presetHere he is a couple weeks ago right before he went to bed. He saw me unloading the dishwasher, and he came up and started putting all the silverware away. All on his own. Is dishwasher unloading a love language? I felt so loved, so proud. I danced with him after taking this picture.

We put our house on the market. It’s kind of crazy. We have talked about it here and there, but not seriously. We’ve only been in our house for 2 1/2 years and we LOVE our house. Long story short, we were casually looking at houses closer to Ben’s work – he’s been traveling so much that it’d be really nice to be closer to him when he’s in town, not to mention in the school district we will want to be in as Jeff nears preK – and saw one we liked. We decided to put it on the market just as a “if it’s meant to be, great, if not, then we’re happy here” type thing. When you start looking at houses you start having conversations, the conversation. You have to know how many rooms to get. Do we want more children? One day? Are we complete? How does anyone ever answer that question?

For now, I am content. In the past month John has just started sleeping through the night, so with that comes a more normal mommy. Waking every 2 hours for 10 months makes a mommy  . . .  uh, not her best. Ben and I have been having fun! When your babies sleep through the night, it unlocks a freedom on your marriage.  He deserves an accolade here. He has been a champion husband. Unbelievably helpful. Always ready to come home and dive into the craziness. He’s been sweet, romantic, hardworking, forgiving, encouraging, and inspiring. We have gotten so good at teamwork. Maybe a little too good at teamwork, as we’ve also developed a “high five, partner!” mentality. I will confess I have to really work at getting in the romantic mode, but  you can’t be good at all things all the time. I do realize my need for growth, and I am thankful for his friendship, love and steadfastness through all my young mother seasons.

I have been cleaning a lot. The more I work, the happier I am. I love working mornings and being with the boys in the afternoons. The more I work, however, the faster the days seem to pass. Some weeks go in a blur and I just pray my boys know I love them. I also pray it will feel slower to them. Breakfast, work/daycare, naptime, outside, dinner, bath, play, bed . . . over and over every day. I do not feel like time is going to be slowing down anytime soon, but I do feel like our family is entering a new season. One where I feel good. One where I am not afraid to mess up as a mom and forgive myself. One where I can pursue my husband as my babies pursue dreamland. One where I can BLOG. I have lots of blog posts on the queue so subscribe! I  hope they will be helpful!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetHappy cleaning, friends!

Love Parenting Uncategorized

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On Fridays my attitude towards chores and the house is something like: Leave the dishes, let the wet laundry sit until tomorrow, let’s get pizza, and give the boys extra bubbles in their bath, and we should have a Harry Potter marathon (again), and can you bring me a beer and let’s imagine what it would be like to sleep in on a Sat, and and and happy-pleasure-sigh.

On Saturdays my attitude towards chores and the house is something like: Let’s tackle this mildew, and I’ll get the coffee going (6am), I would really like to vacuum these soggy cheerios up off the floor and change the boys’ sheets, and should you or I mow the lawn while the boys nap, and THEN let’s go out and have a family outing, because . . . it is Saturday.

Tonight I was inspired to make a blogging nook in our bedroom, away from legos and toy cars, away from the sounds of the dishwasher and washing machine, away from tempting tasks and distraction. So I rearranged for the 487th time since we moved into this house (Side note: rearranging is my FAVORITE past time, and I am sadly aware that my sons will one day marry their wives with the stipulation that they must NEVER move a single piece of furniture). Sitting down to work on the new cleaning profile schedule, I thought it would be better to let readers know this blog is not intended to say you should be getting more done in your house than you are. It was not made to say: if you have spare time in your day, you need to be cleaning. I simply wanted a project of my own where I could write about what I love and do professionally, so that when readers are ready to have a Saturday mindset, they could be better equipped. There are many times that Friday perspectives should win out. Life  is brief. Life with our babies is even briefer. Balance is the goal. Good stewardship AND good relationships. Efficiency and effectiveness (in anything). Pleasure and productivity. And of course, Harry Potter marathons and bubble baths . . .

Happy Saturday Cleaning 😉

Cleaning Decorating Efficiency Love Parenting Stress

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetIf you are like us, every evening when Ben gets home our conversation goes something like this, “We need to mow the yard, and do laundry, and we have GOT to get your retirement account set up, and we should listen to a sermon together, and I need to clean the bathrooms, and I think we are due for a date night . . .”. And then the only thing we accomplish is getting the boys to bed and getting the kitchen cleaned. We have seriously put off setting up my retirement account for months. We talk about it several times a week. So I came up with a system. I don’t know if this is on Pinterest, but it should be!

How It Works

Basically, we have our days written out and then we have our category pins. We try to plan out the week on Sunday, and choose one category per day. Ben has a master reminder/to-do list that he keeps on his iPhone, and we check his list each night to see what things apply to that category. As the week progresses, if you need to switch, no problem. Ben had the idea of using magnets, but we had clothespins on hand. Being able to move the categories around is fun and faster than writing it out.

Our Categories

  • Groceries
  • Budgeting/Business
  • Home+Garden
  • Repairs
  • Laundry
  • Sermon
  • Movie
  • Family Night
  • Date Night
  • Blogging
  • Organizing

Why It Works

Having a long list of tasks is overwhelming to think of every day. Having large categories allows you to compartmentalize and focus on one area at a time. It’s not stressful. It’s actually a relief. Need to pay bills and do online banking and also need to weed the garden and clean the windows and grocery shop? Tonight’s Monday, so all we need to do is get the groceries. Tomorrow is Tuesday, we will sit down and budget then. Ben and I know that the typical time for us to accomplish the category is when the boys are in bed. We have a set time to do our tasks. If we cannot finish a category, no problem. We can move the pin to another day in the week, or rest in knowing we will get the rest of the budgeting done next Tuesday.

We talk a lot about not having time for things. I understand being in chaos mode. We are hitting the terrific/terrible-two’s, and it’s a roller coaster. But the truth is we do have at least some time each night. Strategically planning a time to do specific categories of tasks helps to knock items off the list quickly. We have a family night and date night on the schedule every week.

PLAN FOR FUN!

Hope you have a productive week, and as always, happy cleaning!

Efficiency Hacks Money Organizing Parenting Stress

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That’s right. No tears. It’s time to turn up the tunes and take charge. If you have kids, give them a Swiffer of their own, a cloth and a spray bottle. There are so many ways to make this fun for all parties. My son chooses to ride the vacuum! It’s just like cooking or mowing the yard – kids love to mimic us doing productive tasks. Get them involved so you don’t feel like you have to choose between kids or cleaning. Get them to sort laundry and identify colors. Turn on the music, sing into the duster, and have fun!

Cleaning Parenting Stress

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Why is it that with young children holidays can be anything but a vacation? Recently, Ben and I were out with the boys for a Saturday brunch and, of course, we are scarfing our food and guzzling our coffee to get home for their critical nap time. While hauling our boys, bags, car seats, etc in the parking lot (queue: Home Alone family running in airport), I heard a college student say to her friend, “Ok, I think I’ll go nap for a while, maybe lay out, and then head over to your house before we go out tonight.”

My jaw dropped. Was my life ever that laid back and free? What in the world did I do with so much time to myself? I spent the tear-filled car ride home day-dreaming about what I would do if I had a full day to myself. So. many. wonderful thoughts. It must be said  that our two boys make this new life far richer and more wonderful than a million personal days. Still, it’s true, I am not in a season of relaxation or personal freedom.

Our Memorial Day weekend was filled with a trip to the grandparents (and all the chaos that goes with packing up and heading out), visiting with family, and having a Monday morning meltdown. It’s 3 pm on this holiday, and it’s the first moment I’ve sat down since 5:55 am this morning. After getting the boys calmed down, fed, and in a happier state, the toddler gently pours out the entire cup of hot coffee onto the white carpet. Fabulous, son. My first thought? “Ben, take a picture for the blog!”

So, here you go, folks. The wonder of Sol-u-mel.

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Cleaning Parenting Stress