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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Conception Story on TLC

I haven't heard any of you talk about this web series on TLC.com called A Conception Story which follows 6 couples on their various journeys to pregnancy.  I'm watching some of it tonight but just wanted to let you know it's out there and you can find it here http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/tv/a-conception-story !

Monday, November 28, 2011

Organizing Your House!

Be honest, how clean and organized is your house?!  What's your philosophy on keeping up on cleaning and organizing?
A) Life is too short to worry about how clean my house is, a little dirt and piles of clothes never hurt anyone!
B) I like a clean house but I haven't sorted through closets and the rest of the house for a couple years.
C) Clutter and dirt drive me nuts!!  I continuously work at keeping my house clean and organized.

Me, I'm C.  It doesn't mean that I've never left the dishes sit overnight, but it happens like twice a month.  If someone came over unexpectedly, the mirrors may not be wiped down or there might be folded laundry in baskets waiting to go up to kids' rooms, but for the most part, I wouldn't be embarrassed to have people in my house. 

I often just tackle a room and purge what I can, donate, trash it, etc.  My bedroom has NO CLUTTER.  It's my little piece of heaven that is calming and mine (and DH's).  My goal by Dylan's first birthday was that anything baby had to be out; changing pad, diaper caddy, diaper pail, bassinet, baby blankets, kid toys, etc.  And I did it and I wish I would have done that sooner. 

But my Mom, my dear sweet Mom, she was slowly becoming a possible candidate for the show Hoarders.  Her bedroom was stacked with so much stuff you could barely move in there.  Her room is on the small side but still, what was all this stuff???  My mom has always been a shopper, and if you remember a few weeks back from this post about AJ's coat, we have very opposite opinions on shopping.  It makes me cringe when I see her SUV packed with bags from shopping or having her call me from a store while she's out shopping.  I want to put my bossy pants on and tell her to knock it off with the shopping!  Enough is enough. And I've tried having talks with her about the "stuff."  So last week I told her that I'd be willing to come over on Saturday and we'd clear her room out.  You could see her anxiety level rise but it just had to be done, had too.  Our plan was I'd come over at 9am and we would be done by noon and then go see the new Twilight movie.  Well 7 hours later, 10 huge black trash bags in the donation pile, and 3 trash bags out to the garbage, we had cleaned her room.  Now just pause for a moment and imagine 13 massive bags coming out of someones room?!? 13...13!  It still boggles my mind.  And I'm amazed my mom didn't have a break down and say that she has a shopping habit, a REALLY bad shopping habit.  These bags cup up to my belly button, they were HUGE, people!

And you guys, it was just stuff!  Cheap crap!  And crafts, OMG, the crafts.  She has 10 rubbermaid containers of just stuff after we purged as much as she would let go.  We are talking thousands of dollars just shoved in bags and boxes in her room. 

And the dust bunnies, they were huge and all over her really nice furniture which was covered in a thick gray coat of dust.  I even said early on, "Mom, can't you just smell the dust. It's really hard to breathe in here and I'm not even sensitive to dust."  Then I said we should crack the window open to air the room out.  That's when I came upon a window seal covered with mold and ice buildup.  And when I asked if she had an all purpose cleaner so I could clean it up, she didn't have all purpose cleaner of any kind.  Huh???  All this crap you buy and you never thought to buy an all purpose cleaner.  I made do with a vinegar cleaning solution I knew how to make. 

In the end we had a decent day and we never made it to the movie, I was exhausted.  My Mom and Dad even said they think I have a calling in life that maybe I never realized.  I tend to agree.  I really enjoy cleaning spaces (as long as I don't find dead animals like the show Hoarders, gag me!) but it is mentally exhausting trying to get someone to  let go of the THINGS, it's just things.  Really it's just crap, but I used the word things and stuff to be nice:)

So what does my mom ask me to do today, go pick up a huge plastic Step 2 play house for the boys for Christmas from her.  Where the heck is she going to put it???  It's so frustrating.  I've learned when she buys the boys gifts, not to feel obligated to keep them forever.  I purge their toys every 4-6 months and donate them even if it's something she just got them but they really didn't enjoy or have outgrown.  Same with clothes, I can't feel guilty and hold on to stuff forever.  It's just stuff.

If you are thinking of organizing a room, my un-novel ideas are this:

1)  Take everything out of the room including emptying all drawers, closets, shelves that hold stuff.  All that should be left is the furniture that is for sure staying.
2) Clean the room from top to bottom.  Dust, clean floors, windows, strip bedding and wash it, clean light fixtures, everything.  You are not going to bring things back in and set them on something dirty.
3) We brought everything out into the living room and from there, we just started grabbing things and making quick trash, donate, keep piles.  We started with clothes and I wouldn't put anything back in the room until you have your entire keep pile of clothes, and those are organized, folded, and separated in to type (sweaters, tank tops, pants, pajamas, work out clothes, t shirts, long sleeve shirts, etc.).
4)  Once you have all your keep stuff, go back in the room and discuss where everything should go in the room and if you need to add shelving or baskets, etc.  If you do, don't bring the stuff back in the room yet, put the shelves in, get baskets, etc. and then bring the items back in.  Buy clear plastic tubs for storing so you can see into them and only use open baskets or canvas boxes for items you use on a daily basis or almost daily basis, otherwise the items should go in stackable tubs and put away.
5) No items get an "I'm not sure yet what to do with this item."  A decision has to be made.  Even if my mom gets rid of more craft items, which I hope she does, they went in a keep pile, then organized into rubbermaid stacking tubs, labeled on the outside and put away.  She's welcome to take all the tubs out and go through them again but stuffing a bag of fabric in the back of the closet just doesn't work.
6)  Do one room at a time, and don't move on until that room is DONE!!  My mom kept walking into my dad's office asking what he was going to do to clear out his space and I kept having to refocus her to just worry about the bedroom.
7)  Crank up the tunes!  It's sort of hard to be in a really bad mood if you are listening to great music in my opinion!  We listened to Christmas music:)

I know none of these ideas are ground breaking ideas, but hopefully just serve as a little nudge to get you organized before the New Year.  My question to my readers- when family is buying you or your family gifts, do you have issues with them buying gifts that are just unnecessary and take up a lot of room or are expensive? (such as big blow up bouncy things, play houses, huge stuffed animals, things that hang on your walls that you don't WANT on your walls).  How do address it tactfully?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You're Not His Dad

"You're not his Dad."  Those few words turned a trip with two little boys and their DAD into a very short trip.

My husband is often very ambitious in his adventures out by himself with the boys.  Where I would just rather stay home than take them to places I deem stressful (Chuck E Cheese's, a department store that doesn't have shopping carts, a restaurant by myself and them) my husband has no problems with it and packs them up in the car and they are off!  On Sunday he decided to take them to McDonald's so they could play in the playland since it's been below zero out for about a week and he needed to do some reading for school.  I know, reading while watching two toddlers at McDonald's playland!  Crazy!

My husband is very nice to strangers and is willing to talk and carry on a conversation.  So it was no surprise that when he was out with the boys a lady that was Native inquired what tribe AJ was from.  They talked a little about that and she shared which tribe she was from.  But then....but then....the lecture and grilling started. 

"Are you feeding him Native foods?  Has he tried seal oil?  Do you feed him lots of berries?  He needs lots of berries?  What about dried fish, I'm sure he loves dried fish?  Does he eat lots of white fish?"  Which is fine, ask away lady even feel free to tell us about something we might not have heard of and where to get it or how to prepare.  And present in a sharing way, not a 'you are taking his culture away from him by not tracking down some seal oil' kind of way.

Then it evolved into, "How are you going to make sure he's proud of his culture and gets to experience his culture?"  WHAT????? We've been grilled on that repeatedly by social workers, lawyers, tribal council members, birth parents, the judge, etc.  We dealt with that for 2 years straight and our answers and actions were deemed acceptable and he officially become OUR SON in June. 

In our state, there are commercials that are asking Native families to step forward to become foster parents because the percentage of Native kids in foster care is extremely high and disproportionate to the percentage of people that are Native in the state.  I understand wanting the kids to be able to experience the culture and honestly, if there had been an available Native home when AJ was placed with us, he would have been moved.  If a tribal member had wanted to adopt him over us, that would have most likely happened.  But there was no one that stepped forward and we wanted him so bad we did everything we could to make sure he didn't go to yet another family.

And then she drops the bomb, "Are you his foster dad?"

Husband : "No, I'm his Dad."

Rude lady: "No you're not."

I know my husband and I know how he sounded on the phone right after he quickly packed up the boys and left.  He was crushed.   After we talked about it I told him it's perfectly okay to tell someone, even a woman, that she was being rude and that the comment was completely inappropriate and left it at that.  I didn't want him to get into a verbal battle but it really is okay to tell people they are being rude. 

I'd say 90% of people that we come in contact with say things like, "Oh, he has dark hair like his dad, and this one has blonde hair like his mom!"  And they leave it at that.  The other 10%  of people dig a little deeper and start asking about their ages, are they brothers, etc.  I feel that I'm pretty good at reading people's intentions so if they are still asking appropriate questions then we will say we were lucky to be able to adopt our oldest this past June. 

I doubt this will be the last time my husband or myself encounter someone who makes inappropriate comments in front of our kids but it is a good reminder that we need to talk more about how to handle those situations and how we are going to start talking to AJ about adoption and where he came from. 

But in better news, AJ turns 3 this week!!  I can't believe it!  I brought that chubby cheeked cutie home as a 5 month old and he's a little boy now that carries on conversations with me!  We are very lucky to have him in our lives.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween Picture Post!

My boys were monsters this year and they loved trick or treating!  It was a blizzard out there that night but they were troopers!  I made sure the costumes I bought this year would work well with jackets, snowpants, hats, and boots:)
Dylan as the green monster

AJ as a blue monster

My cuties:)

I told you, a blizzard out there!

My peeping toms.