Thursday, May 16, 2013

Keeping Kids Rooms Clean

Have you ever gone through your facebook picture albums and had fun looking at a bunch of old pictures?  I did that this morning.  I'm not sure why, I just had a whim!  But one of them made me cringe- it was a picture of what the play room used to look like.  I took it as a "before" picture because I was about to tackle the mess and make it better.

Yes.  That was what it looked like all. the. time.

I hated it.

I would summon the determination to put everything in its place, only for it to look like this all over again a few weeks later.  Usually, I would just keep the door closed.

No, I was not good at making them pick up each time OBVIOUSLY.

But then came time for us to rearrange and get ready for another baby.  When I knew we would have two boys and two girls, I realized that the rooms would have to be for both sleep and play.  So I came up with a revolutionary plan to help keep the kids rooms clean.

It's amazing.


You will want to do this.

I can't believe I'm sharing this secret.

Here goes.


That sounds harsh, right?  But I am not kidding.  Over the course of the last year or so, we have donated or sold on a yard sale TONS of kids toys.

I am not horrible...I promise.  Caleb helped me with the boy stuff, and it didn't even bother him.  We have  kept the few things he and Gabriel actually play with, and that is Legos and some Imaginext castles (and the good guys/bad guys that go with it).  Same for Sarah.  We have a doll house for her Barbies, several Barbies, a container of My Little Ponies, and some Lalaloopsy dolls.  That's about it.  We have a few baby toys for Leah, too.

The girls' room - former play room.

The boys' room.

The result is less clutter of course, but I also feel like this helps the kids when it comes to cleaning their rooms.  When I say, "Go pick up!" they know exactly where everything goes, and it doesn't take much time at all.

I know I have friends who are amazing at organizing their kids' toys and can have all the stuff we used to have.  If they can keep their rooms looking nice with tons of stuff, that's great!  I just couldn't, and my kids couldn't.  And frankly, we don't have the room for it.

A friend of mine sent me a text with this picture...

She was reorganizing the kids' toys.

I said she should get rid of it. :)

My current challenge is trying to figure out how to stay free of stuff.  How do you keep a happy balance of allowing gifts for your kids at birthdays and Christmas while not becoming OVERWHELMED with STUFF?

So difficult.

If each of my four children received only ONE gift from each of the  five primary gift givers - that is Parents, Mama & Papa A, Mama & Papa V, Uncle Stevie & Aunt Rebecca, Uncle Chris & Aunt Sonja - for their birthdays...and then only ONE gift from each of those for Christmas...that is  5x4 two times.  That's 40 new things each year in our house.  And Lord knows...ONE gift doesn't happen. 

What do you do when it comes to the toys that accumulate?

How do you/how can I change the amount that comes in, or should we just let it all come in and then donate it away??? 

And how can I write about this without seeming ungrateful for the nice gifts  my children receive?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Real Me. Really.


Have you heard this term?

If not, let me help.  It's sort of self-explanatory, right?  You basically put a bunch of awesome, happy pictures online coupled with awesome, happy status updates.

I've read two (maybe three?) blogs/articles about this recently.  Some funny.  Some down right serious.  And they are basically calling out those who just go through life putting up a fake front...via facebook anyway.

I totally get what they are saying...really, I do.

But here is my problem with this concept.  Who on earth thinks to take a picture (or wants to?) of what they look like first thing in the morning?  Or who thinks to take a picture (or wants to?) of their child throwing a fit or being defiant or puking at 3:00 am?  No pictures?  How about a status update about the time I almost died when my daughter said someone was ugly.  That's not how I've raised her.  Why would she think that?  Or say it?  Why should I go to facebook and type, "My daughter really disappointed me today when she said a woman we know is ugly."


I'm not going to do that.

Having a rough day?  Yeah, I have those.  Lots of them.  I have four kids for God's sake.  And I'm's not always blissful.  And I have family and friends who can, at times, let me down.  I'm sure I let them down, too.  But do people want me to update my status every time I have a fight with my husband?  Or yell at my kids when I should keep my cool?

Is there a balance when it comes to keeping it real?  I'm sure there is.  I mean...I guess there is.  I'm not sure I've found it, though.  I honestly don't think people want to  hear my problems.  They don't want to always know when I've been up all night with one...or two kids.  When I was on the couch all night with a fussy baby only to get up at 5:30 so I could go work out...because I desperately want to lose weight, and sometimes that doesn't always go well.  They don't want to know when the dog puked on the carpet right as I'm trying to leave to take a child to preschool.  I don't think they want to know when I question if I'm being a good mom...or a good wife...or a good friend.

Really.  Truly.  I think people are ok with this...

The Chrissy who pulls herself together each day to tackle the world.  Or maybe not the world.  Maybe it's just tackling what the day will bring in her own little world.  The Chrissy who wakes up each day with the attitude of, "This is another day He's given me.  I will rejoice and be glad in it."  Through all the crap...through all the joy...ALL of it is ok.  Really, it is.  Am I thrilled when something bad happens?  No, of course not.  But keeping it real might have different meanings to different people.

"My life on Facebook is an airbrushed and Instagrammed image of my real life. I edit the suckage because I want people to think I have my [stuff] together. I give everything a hipstacular filter to make the drudgery look interesting. Most of the time, I think I’m a decent mom, and I think I’m giving my kids a pretty good life. But I also think I’d be a better mom if I stopped pretending, and making friends on Facebook feel like they have to pretend as well." -Sarah Emily Tuttle-Singer

The thing is...I am not pretending.  I do not, for one second, expect others to pretend.  And I don't think they are.  What you see on facebook is the real me.  It really is.  And if you think it's not real because I don't share the crap in my day...then I'm not sure what to tell ya! :) 

But I want to know...
Do you think we're all pretending?