To Done

I strongly believe that a person’s worth is not determined by his or her productivity, accomplishments, etc. I am definitely OK with sitting still, rereading a book I love, watching the trees sway in the breeze. That said, accomplishing things is nice.

One of my ongoing frustrations with being a stay-at-home mom is feeling that I don’t get much¬†done. And even when I do, it’s either literally or figuratively consumable. At the end of the day/week/month/year, I feel have little to show for my efforts.

I do have my healthy, happy family. I know I help them. And that’s of incredible worth. For my combination of personality and culture, it’s hard that their continued existence is often the only evidence I have that I’ve lifted a finger.

I want that to be enough, and I’m working on it.

In the interim, on overwhelmed days, I’ve taken to making “To Done” lists.

I list what I’ve done so far that day, and then when I do more, I add those things to the list. The list knows I tidied, even if it’s messy again instantly. The list knows I fed children, even though they’re hungry again (and again). It’s nice. ūüôā

Celebrate Clutter?

Did anyone else read Let’s Celebrate¬†the Art of Clutter in the NY Times this weekend?

Dominique Browning says we should accept that we accumulate stuff, and to stop stressing about it and go ahead and treasure it. She seems to see minimalism as kind of a silly trend, mostly for millennials.

So, I like it when people tell me to stop stressing about something that to some degree does stress me out. And I find a cluttered house somewhat stressful. But I have to say, her article did not resonate with me.

She talks about owning stuff made by artisans, albeit sometimes grabbed at a garage sale for ten bucks. Though that sounds nice, it does not reflect the type¬†of “stuff” that’s currently in my life. She also talks blithely about passing her stuff to her kids though she knows¬†they don’t want it, and furthermore seems to think that it¬†in some way, she is her stuff.¬†Yikes?

She invites us¬†to call her materialistic like it’s¬†a bad thing. It’s OK to like your stuff, Ms. B! But don’t¬†insist¬†that your kids (or anyone else)¬†must¬†feel the same way about it.

Minimalism

I think that with Spring Cleaning, taxes, and needing to figure out how to deal with the garden while holding a baby and fielding a constant stream of chatter from a three-year-old, I’m drawn to simplifying what I can.

I attacked my closet yesterday, inspired by Project 333. The “active” part of the closet is now under control (and under 33!), but I have to admit that I had trouble figuring out what I could cull from¬†the off-season clothes piles – winter, summer, working, camping, etc. Still, it’s a start.

I’m encouraging J to start, too.

I’m eyeing the baby clothes that C has already grown out of (tubs and tubs worth – I’ll tell the tale of the multiplying baby clothes some other time) and thinking that they are not long for this house.

I’m not looking to¬†live¬†out of a backpack or only owning 100 things – for me,¬†lagom has more items than that right now. But what we have now is too much clutter, too much to wash, too much to tidy, and more than any of us actually use.

Weekend in NY: Home Time

We stayed with my parents while we were in New York. I took plenty of pictures of people, but I’m too private to post them here. Here are a few¬†pics of the colors and textures from the weekend.

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DSC00195 DSC00199 DSC00203 close-up chair

We had a good time wishing my sister a happy birthday, watching The Twilight Zone, going out for lunch with my grandma and a couple of her best friends, playing Mexican Train with my grandma, and having my great aunt and uncle over for dinner. There was also some classing staying up till the wee hours gabbing.

We also washed some clothes because¬†we forgot F’s suitcase… parents of the year! At least that was all we forgot.

We baked a cake with wretched-to-spread frosting. Baking Illustrated, this was the first time you failed me! It was also the first time I ever used a hair dryer while frosting a cake.

And J and I even got to go out for pizza with just a sleeping baby while F had grandpa time. It was a very nice, relaxing visit!

 

One final image: a treasure found while beginning to pack up the kitchen for its upcoming renovation!

old Sandwich Bags box

Learning About This Garden

Early spring seems to be here: the snow is melting and the weather is rainy.

It turns out that our yard, particularly the back yard, is a bit of a swamp, at least at this time of year.

Most of the seeds we got specifically can handle part-shade… but most of them specifically call for well-drained soil.

I guess we’ll see what the rest of Spring and Summer hold. Glad we signed up for a CSA this year!

Let’s Talk Dining Room

Sponge paint.

The dining room walls are sponge painted pink and white. Sanding will be required, at minimum, to get rid of the texture of the early ’90s. And the pink isn’t a refined dusky rose. It’s the kind of pink a little¬†girl would pick out for her party dress.

The chandelier broke the second my husband touched it to put in a brighter bulb. We bought the cheapest replacement we could find because we didn’t know what we wanted. Turns out that the open bottom made for blinding glare.¬†We upgraded to a dangling¬†boob light, and it’s fantastic.

It’s a small, kind of dark room. Right now it just has a table and chairs in it. We’d like to find or make some inexpensive corner cabinets for it, but I think that’s all that would comfortably fit.

Color-wise, I’m thinking white/cream. Nothing exciting, just fresh and light.

Our History Here, So Far

We moved in in the last quarter of 2014.

We tried to get the house¬†professionally cleaned the day of settlement, but when the cleaning crew arrived, they said it was too dirty and they’d have to come back another day.

The day¬†after¬†settlement, my husband ripped out the burnt-orange carpet in what would become our older daughter’s bedroom. He discovered well preserved¬†hardwood flooring beneath it.

The cleaners came back as promised, and this time were willing to clean. The refrigerator’s vegetable drawer¬†frame¬†broke the second they touched it.¬†It’s still broken, so the drawers just sit on the bottom, and we hardly notice anymore.

About nine weeks later, I gave birth to our second child.

We regularly stomp around just because we can.

And it’s starting to feel like home.

How We Got Here

Living in a second floor condo wasn’t working out. We were ruining our downstairs neighbor’s life by existing (one time, we were folding¬†laundry at 10pm and our¬†toddler was helping and dropped a laundry basket). Legitimate though I think our locomotion was, knowing that we were driving her nuts was driving me nuts. I didn’t invite people over for a year. Meanwhile,¬†we had to listen to our upstairs neighbors, their dog, and their visiting humans and dogs, while we tiptoed around alone, trying not to drop things.

I wasn’t originally a big fan of this house. I think it was over-staged, and that turned me off. Also, the previous owner and her loud dog were at the showings. It was awkward.

But my husband liked how much downstairs living space there was, and my mom saw lots of potential. And it was in a great neighborhood in the radius we wanted. We decided to go for it, and here we are.