Monday, February 27, 2012

Sorry for the lack of updates

Bronchitis swept through our household again and decimated my plans. I will not be able to finish the Organization Challenge this month because of it :(

However, my plans are to continue until done anyway! After we recover from the usual chaos of extra laundry and mess from being sick, the journey will continue and I will update on our progress here on Operation: Organization.

Friday, February 10, 2012

February Challenge Update 1

Linking to Orgjunkie.

We still have not found a home for the lovely ferrets. I have lots of people wanting them free from CL (which is fine!) but I'm trying to find someone who wants their cage and stuff as well (asking about 1/4 what we paid, and the ferrets are free.. seems cheap to me?) We will give it one more week and then just give them away and set the cage etc at the curb.



Even the bins O.O ZOMG! The chairs, a pile of really high end clothes I'm going to try to sell or consign, and the dresser and things beside it are left. The rest is GONE.

Baby steps, baby steps! I also got some of the garage cleared out. Although not part of this challenge, it made sense to go ahead and set all those things at the curb at the same time as the rest was leaving. That was a good decision.

Here is what's left to go through:

The dresser will be going to the garage, the wrapping paper holder to the attic (DH just forgot to put it away after Christmas) and the pink boxes will be reorganized and rehomed in a cabinet in the garage (fabrics that were discontinued that go with dd2's room.) There is a home waiting for them. The game chairs are staying until we get new seating for this room, and then they will also be hitting the curb. 

Then....painting shall begin to give us a nice fresh blank canvas to work on!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I used to be a Gwyneth *gasp*

If you don't know what that means, please check out the at RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND.

It's totally true, though. Oh, by the way? This might get a little long.

I'm not starting at the very beginning, that would take way too long. Kid #1 was an easy dream; Kid #2 was a surprise less than a year later. Irish twins, they were practically attached at the hip - even now at ages almost 12 and 13, they bunk together on the weekends (each have seperate beds, they just want to be in the same room together).

I WAS uber-mom. It's only looking back that I can truly appreciate all that I did. I still don't know how! My husband got in on the ground level of a new development for Verizon for what is now known as FIOS, and I became a stay at home mom full time (previously, we'd done opposing shifts to avoid daycare). I was bound and determined to be the best stay at home mom that I could be! Plus, we needed to make some extra money, but with DH's new work hours, there wasn't much I could find to work around unscheduled overtime for him.

This was in the day of "Coupon Queen glory". Tom Thumb would triple up to 75 cents on some weekends; later, Albertson's would double up to $2! I still remember the rushes of things like the night I got 80 boxes of baby wipes from Tom Thumb for something like $3.18. And yes, every single box of them got used. I'd get the double deal of papers on Saturday and clip clip clip, then on Sunday I'd go hit all the stores with my lists and coupons all sorted out. I routinely got $200 in groceries for $25 or less. If I saved less than 90%, I was dissappointed. I was hated by some, envied by others, and mentored anyone who asked.

I was "that mom". Every morning makeup, I shaved, my kids were in bed by 6:30 or 7:00pm and then we had adult time till 10 or 11pm and went to bed. I wore clean clothes almost every day. My house was SPOTLESS - and we had routines like cleaning up the kids' rooms every night before bed without wanting to kill anyone or scream about it.

We ate almost entirely home cooked meals (because of the couponing). I'd even mix things up and some nights we'd have tapas or fondue (Stouffer's I hate that you stopped making welsh rarebit!!!), or even pate and gouda with some fresh, nummy Central Market bread. Cooking dinner was just not an issue for me. Making lunches and breakfasts likewise was just part of life.

Once the kids started school, I became SUPERMOM. I volunteered all the time, attended every party (if their parties were at the same time, different classrooms, I popped in and out like a whack a mole to make sure one of them didn't feel left out!). Fresh fruit salad for 40 with one day's advance notice? NO PROBLEM! You need 200 cd's of the class pictures made and the computer's not working? NO PROBLEM!

DH would come home from work and most of the time, dinner was hitting the table, kids were all done with homework and maybe even baths, laundry was done, and nightime was relaxation time.

Fast forward a few years. Our third and final child was born and things started going downhill. The laundry was slipping a bit. Things that I'd always done sometimes didn't get done. Then she got mobile. Then we moved.

And then our middle child was finally diagnosed with Asperger's after a three year fight with the public school district. 2 years after that, our youngest was diagnosed as well.

These days.. I wear the same yoga pants or jeans for maybe an entire week unless something indescribably horrible has happened to them. Febreeze is my best friend. Headbands are awesome to hide that dear-god-I-haven't-had-time-to-shower-in-four-days oil slick on my head. Patchouli smells awful but convinces people I'm just a harmless hippie. (ed note: with bright purple hair, usually).

Homework for a kindergartner who has bouncing-off-the-walls adhd and Aspergers, a 6th grader with Asperger's who starts hers right as her meds wear off, and a gifted thus they pile the work on 8th grader means from 3pm-10pm I juggle karate, homework, dinner, and hygeine routines like a mad cow trying to juggle plates. In other words? Not very well. Totally sucktastically, actually. We've had more McDonald's in the last month than we have Mac n Cheese, and that's saying something. Something BAD.

I have the "luxury" of staying home from 830am-2:30pm in which time I juggle doctor appointments and communications, therapy checkups and appointment, order replacement stuff for broken stuff, try to keep the house in a condition that at least if Home Visit or one of the older's Big Brother or Big Sister comes by that they don't feel the need to call CPS, battle the evil laundry mountain, wonder how in the world *that* got *there* and dear god what is that smell?! And set up the PCS charts for that afternoon, update the almightly Calendar of Doom, keep all the accounts in the green, fight in emails with various teachers about why aren't they doing thing they agreed to do 2 months ago happily and are now snarling about it and my poor kid is confused and that's why they aren't "compliant" in class.. and then there's the grocery shopping, and the shoe shopping, and the clothes shopping.

I miss being Gwyneth, really I do. I don't remember the last kids' party I went to that wasn't a family member. I definitely don't remember the last class party. Fruit salad comes in a can, who knew? The mixed nuts live in my house.

And that is why I've made zero progress on the February challenge so far. Okay, not zero. Maybe 2%. I'm still trying to find a home for the ferrets.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Feb. challenge - Plan

Orgjunkie uses a plan called PROCESS, which I will be trying out for the first time.

The first step is to PLAN my space. I really like using Better Homes and Garden's "Arrange a Room" to plan my spaces. It's free, it's functional.. but it's not perfect. That's okay, because again.. it's FREE. It's also easy to use.

My current plan is something close to this (budget and actual measurements may call for some small changes).

I got it as close to scale as possible, but some things are a bit off. It works to let me see the room in my head though for PLANning purposes. The room needs to have several functions:

1. Seating. We want to extend the existing 11" deep window seat into the room by another 10" or more, angled at the sides, to create an area where seating is actually possible. The window seat will have a cushion, and a row of floor size pillows going across it that the kids can flop on the floor with their friends. For more grown up seating or for family movie nights, we'll add a large "chair and a half" or small loveseat to either side of the window (depending on what I can locate on craigslist)  as well as large ottomans which can be used for a variety of things, including additional seating.

2. Observation/scent. A small pub table and two chairs will give additional seating next to the fireplace bumpout (a strange and hard to use area right at the top of the stairs and the hallway to the master suite and youngest child's room). This is also where I will plug in a Scentsy to alleviate the boy band-playing funk and girls too-much-perfume gatherings. Important - there is an outlet on this wall! Yay!

3. Empty space. We have a Kinect and a Wii, so there needs to be plenty of empty space between the seating areas and the television - a minimum of six feet, but hopefully 8 feet or more.

4. Enclosing the shelves in the corner of the room to provide hidden instead of exposed storage, for larger items that are hard to display (such as the Rockband drums). We will be measuring and hoping that bi-fold doors can be made to fit this space easily. If not, we will probably use a tension rod and some type of curtain to close off this area visually.

5. The existing rug will be kept for now, although it won't match our vision for colors. When we find one we can afford of that size, to replace it, we will. We're looking for something more cushioned for a better sound dampening in this room.

6. A coffee table of some type will go in front of the window seating and between the chairs. We have several hand-me-down possibilities from a relative, but this will be one of the last things we add as we don't know what will fit that space best yet.

7. The entire room needs to be purged and painted (except for the TV wall) before anything else can commence.

8. I do not know what will go along the empty area to the far right side of the room. We have talked about an EXPEDIT unit, bookshelves, a small 8-in-1 game table... we're just really not sure yet what other functions this room should have or will need, so I'm leaving "growing room" for the time being.

February Challenge - Gameroom

Linking up to OrgJunkie's February Challenge.

This is what used to be our beautifully decorated and organized playroom.. about two years ago. It is now the junkroom of epic proportions, as everything that was decluttered from elsewhere upstairs got stuck in this room. There's no seating that's usable except for my limber children. Just mostly junk. And animal cages.

This is the one wall that has been painted, and furniture we got on clearance at The Container Store last year. Note: This is the ONLY slightly finished part of this room, and the only functional part at all.

And it's still surrounded by junk and trash.

Here's more junk:

That's the ferret cage that doesn't really fit in the corner it's squeezed into. And we are not the best ferret parents. We will be giving them up for adoption soon *sniffle*. They need room to roam that we can't do very well with our girls' needs and well, this room of JUNK. Middle is the rat cage, we are keeping the rats as they are my son's and he takes fair care of them.

And a final view:

Yep, more junk. There is seriously a LOT of crap in this room to deal with - but the room is so large that the scale of the "mess" may seem small to you viewing it on your monitor. For reference, that is a 9x13' rug pictured in front of the window. The room itself is about 20x25. It is HUGE. So what looks like a little mess in here, would fill my youngest's 11x13 room completely.

So this is Step One - BEFORE.