Pumpkin Weekend

DJ, Bryce and I had our first “Family Togetherness Activity Outing” this weekend!  Columbia has loads of amazing activities for families to do year round, but we haven’t taken advantage of them yet.  Last year, when Bryce would have spent the whole time sleeping in the stroller, going to carnivals, petting zoos, or children’s shows didn’t seem worth the effort.   This year, he’s ready!

We went to Larriland Farm, about 30 minutes from our house, where they have pick-your-own-fruit orchards, hayrides, a haunted barn, a straw maze, and a pumpkin patch.  We didn’t get to do everything;  we opted for the hayride, and the pumpkin patch.   When Bryce is older, I can totally see making a day out of the activities.   He LOVED seeing a tractor in real life, riding in the wagon, and exploring all the pumpkins.  It was a really fun day, and hopefully the first in many family fun outings!


At the farm entrance.


He had a good time on the hayride, I swear!





No More Chaos, Part 1

I used to be pretty relaxed about cleaning.  If I went to bed with dishes in the sink, whatever.  Piles of laundry, no big.  Every few weeks, DJ and I would take a day to deep clean the house, and all was well.   Once Bryce came along, it became pretty clear that that system wasn’t going to fly.  Where it once took a week or two for our house to look like it needed some lovin’, it now took…… a few hours?

I have a pretty constant stream of todos running through my head (I think that’s part of being a woman), and with a new baby, that went into hyperdrive.  Trying to keep track of everything in work, life, family, and household started fry my brain.  I had a LOT of trouble falling asleep because I was afraid of forgetting something.  I would keep a tablet by my bed in case I thought of something to add to my todo list.  I would jolt awake at 2AM remembering that I needed to switch the laundry to the dryer.  I felt like I was constantly behind on housework, constantly running full speed, but never getting anything done.

Then, I found FlyLady.net.  I immediately resonated with her, as someone who was not Born Organized and can be classified as a SHE (Sidetracked Home Executive).   She uses the acronym CHAOS to mean Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome, and encourages her followers to take babysteps to attack clutter, do a little everyday, and trust her process to take care of things in time.

After two and half months of following FlyLady’s website, I can honestly say that my house has never been so clean and I have never felt so relaxed.  I can welcome unexpected visitors with pride, and not feel like my nanny is secretly judging me.  The website can be pretty overwhelming to look through; SO MANY tips, tricks, routines, and helpful ideas.  But, I recognized the value of the ideas and knew I needed to try and apply some of them to our household.

FlyLady is all about using routines to keep you on autopilot.  With mini cleaning routines built into the day, it keeps tasks manageable.  I talked in an earlier post about my morning personal routine.  Here are the daily cleaning routines I’ve implemented to keep my CHAOS under control.

Morning Cleaning Routine:

Swipe and Swish: (2 minutes) After I’m done with my makeup, I spray down the sink, mirror, and toilet with window cleaner, grab a paper towel from under the sink and wipe everything down.  I do a quick swish around the toilet bowl with the brush, then I’m on my way.  You may say EWWWW! but when you do it every day, the ick factor is almost nonexistent.  “Nothing says “l love you” like a sparkling toilet to puke in when you’re sick.”

Laundry: (5 minutes) “A load a day keeps the Mount Washmore away.”  Every morning I grab my clothes and Bryce’s clothes and take them downstairs.  If there isn’t enough for a load, I just leave it for the next day, but there is usually no shortage of laundry in the house!  If you only have one load, it takes no time at all to switch it from appliance to appliance, and usually less than 5 minutes to sort and put away.

Clean Up from Breakfast (10 minutes)

Daily Cleaning:

15 minutes in the Zone of the Week.   Flylady has the house divided into Zones, usually one or two rooms/areas of the house for each week.  Every day, you set a timer for 15 minutes of cleaning in the designated Zone.  Within 5 weeks of rotating through the Zones, you’ve deep cleaned the house from top to bottom.  It isn’t perfect all at once, but if you stick with the routine, it gets easier and easier each time.

Evening Routine:

“Hot Spot” clean up (5 min)  Set the timer and take care of one of those horizontal surfaces that attracts clutter.

Shine the Sink: 5-15 minutes  Take care of dinner dishes, do a brief wipe down of the counters. This is DJ’s designated chore of the day, and it makes my heart sing.  It feels like Christmas to come down to a clean kitchen in the morning, and it never gets old.  I tell him thank you constantly.

These routines add up to about 45 minutes, usually less, of active cleaning a day.  The tasks can easily be divided between two people, and if you skip a day here or there, it isn’t a big deal as long as it’s the exception rather than the rule.  It takes a while to get into the groove, but the sanity is WORTH IT!!    I’ll definitely be sharing some more about the amazing FlyLady in future posts.


Couple Time

My fantastic parents came down to visit for the long holiday weekend.  They got to dote on their adorable grandson, and the hubs and I got a chance to get things done and actually have a date without having to pay for a sitter.    They kept little B busy with a new farm set, while DJ and I went out to eat and see a movie.  TWICE.  AND they got up with Bryce in the mornings so that I could sleep in till 8:30  BOTH DAYS.  I felt absolutely decadent.  

We saw Gravity and Captain Phillips, both great movies.  In both films, the protagonists go through extremely stressful and dangerous situations and have to hold it together in order to survive.  Once they are out of harms way, they can finally allow themselves to fall apart.  Having Bryce isn’t quite the same as being held hostage by Somali pirates, but taking care of a child takes some portion of your attention ALL the time.  Even when I am asleep, part of me is still on alert.  When Mom and Dad came this weekend, I felt like I was finally able to let myself ‘fall apart,’ take a break from my structured routines and let someone else hold it together for awhile.  It was wonderful.

I feel so blessed to have such giving parents.  Very few people would travel to our house, clean, cook and watch the baby while DJ and I loll in our pajamas and cavort around town, then THANK US for allowing them to come and spend time with the baby.  Love you so much, Mom and Dad!