Category Archives: spring

A Change Is Coming

These lovely paper snowflakes were made in a flurry (ha!) of excited activity at the start of winter. We made them as a little homeschool project, and they were a huge hit. As much as I love them, I cannot wait to replace them with some springtime art. We need a good dose of sunshine in these parts.

Looking Back at Easter

I’ve been thinking about home and family quite a bit lately.  Homesickness hit me hard this winter and into these early weeks of spring.  I’ve felt that tug more lately than I have since the first days of our southern adventure.  Since Christmas, my family in the north has been experiencing some hard times, and I feel the distance between us more fiercely than ever.  I want to be there with my loved ones, going through the trials with them instead of hearing about this and that over the phone and doing my best to be present through sympathy and prayer.  That’s tough.

I know that here is my home.  This is my family.  But my history is somewhere else, and a huge slice of my heart lingers there.  On some days, the missing piece leaves an awful emptiness.  Yet, spring brings the promise of a summer trip in the near future, and for weeks, we have been anticipating some April company!

We had a lovely Easter visit with my husband’s parents.  How nice to have Grandma and Papa in our home for eight busy days!  Here are some shots from our time together.

dock lake windblown withPapa

eggs eggs2 eggs3

dinner2

dinner

beach beach2 beach3

Wrapping Up

As summer approaches, our lives are slowing down.  Many of our activities are having “last days,” and my younger son is wrapping up his first year of preschool.  He attended a class for 3 year olds, and we chose a 3-days-per-week schedule (as opposed to 5 days).  We loved the program.  The teachers are wonderful.  The school is bright and cheerful and tidy.  Just a great place.  On May 10, the school celebrated with an end of the year program, and J enjoyed showing us around his classroom and pointing out his work in the art show.  He loved showing us the grill in the imaginary play center.  The grill is J’s absolute favorite item in the classroom!

Preschool will continue until the end of the month.  It has been a very positive experience.  Congratulations, little man!

The Sea

The weather, growing steadily warmer, has been calling me to the sea.  Finally, two Sundays ago, we packed up the Jeep and made our way to the Atlantic Ocean.  The water was a piercing blue that day.  I love to look out at the horizon line and catch a tiny glimpse of just how big our universe really is.

Image

Charlotte and I spent most of our time on the blanket.  The last time we were at the beach, Charlotte slept in my arms the whole time–oblivious to the world in a way that only a newborn can be.  This time my girl was crawling all over me, trying to eat sand, pulling off her hat (again and again and again), laughing at gulls, feeling the wind in her hair, and generally  having a joyful time.  Miracles.

Let’s Get Organized!

As I typed the title of this post, I started singing Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical,” and I have a feeling that it is going to be running through my head all day.

I could write a book (well, a really, really long blog post) about my organizational history.  Here’s the quickie version:

I have always been really good at organizing my professional space but not my personal space.  As a kid, my pattern meant a tidy desk and backpack but a semi-messy room.  As a teenager, I had obsessively neat school notes.  I loved color-coding with cool pens (Jessi?  Are you reading this?).  I loved binders and folders and paper clips.  Staples was my retail heaven!  But as my life got busier and my pace got faster, my room got messier.  And messier.  I seemed to be always cleaning it, but it didn’t get better.  I would spend an entire Saturday “cleaning,” but I spent most of my time gazing at old photographs, art work from junior high, and other memorabilia.  The state of my bedroom was always a battleground between me and my mom (in an otherwise wonderful mother-daughter relationship).  College and grad school were about the same.  Organized work and schedule.  Semi-messy room/apartment/house.

Then in 2005, while still studying in grad school and working in various capacities at a university, we added a baby boy to our family.  Suddenly, I could not tolerate our messiness.  I wanted a cozy, clean place to raise our little family.  I tried hard.  I felt like I was cleaning all the time, but the house didn’t get better.  The baby’s room was the single spotless place.  The nursery was super organized and always tidy.  I was frustrated.  Then, in April 2006 when F was 9 months old, my mom and I attended a La Leche League conference.  One of the speakers taught us about home organizing, and for the first time, I learned about the FlyLady.  Now, the FlyLady might not be for everyone, and her methods might seem silly or extreme, but she changed my life!  At least for a little while.

By June, I had my home organized and clean, and I was maintaining the routines that are essential to the FlyLady program.  I felt AWESOME!  On the evening before my baby’s first birthday in August, I was ready for the party.  The house looked good.  The cake was ready.  The food was ready.  That never happens.  On the morning of the party, I was able to attend church, do some final party prep, and just enjoy my birthday boy without the usual frantic race before guests arrived.

My home organization lasted until baby #2 arrived (about two years), and I’ve never returned to that delightful state again.  We live in a state of semi-organization. Thankfully, our summer move left us without much of our old clutter.  I’m great at crisis cleaning.  I can pull together a clean, pretty house without much trouble, but it’s not truly organized.  My closets make no sense at all.  I’m often losing things or frantically hunting for things as we head out the door.  Our second floor has tons of storage near the bathroom and bedrooms, but the drawers and closets are almost empty while our belongs are still in boxes or stacked in corners. Our car is always full of stuff, leaving it unsightly but also unsafe.

On Thursday, I attended a MOPS meeting on the subject of organization, and I’m feeling very motivated.  I also have a sense of community support, and that accountability means a lot to me!

Project: Food Budget has been so helpful, so I decided to do a similar thing with organization.  I will report once per week on my progress in getting organized.  Here is the plan of attack:

Week #1:  (April 16-April 22)  Downstairs closets and begin family paperwork

Week #2: (April 23-April 29)  Master bedroom and upstairs closets

Week #3: (April 30-May 6)  Boys’ room and paperwork

Week #4: (May 7-May 13)  Leftover unpacked boxes, back porch, and paperwork

Week #5: (May 14-May 20)  Home library

Week #6: (May 21-May 27)  Kids’ papers and crafts

Week #7: (May 28-June 3)  Car, kitchen, and finish family paperwork

Notes:  The kitchen is thrown in at the end because it is fairly well organized.  I want to tackle only two spots:  the very junkie junk drawer and the top of the fridge.  Otherwise, I’m happy with the order of my kitchen.  Paperwork is spread out through the seven week project because as I organize each space, I will have more paper to manage.  There are other areas that I could add such as the garage and bathrooms, but those areas are functioning pretty well.  Our bathrooms are basically empty, so no trouble there.  My laundry area is really just a big closet, so I’m including it in Week #1.

Anyone want to join me?

Springtime Shift

The first day of spring was a major cause of celebration in our old northern life.  Spring meant a few warm days might slip in even if a snowfall could still happen.  Spring meant that the little heads of daffodils pushed up through the earth.  Those tiny pops of green and yellow were so welcome, and everyone hoped that a heavy frost or flurry wouldn’t leave them blighted.  Spring meant putting away snow boots, cleaning out gutters, and sweeping away the old leaves from the fall that accumulated along the sidewalks and the front steps.  These little changes were made with great hope, but we all knew that cold weather could still reign in those early spring days.  I can recall many April mornings that began with a beautiful blanket of the white stuff, so the vernal equinox brought no promises!  Even so, I loved to make a big deal of the start of the new season.

Now that we are living in a very different climate, I wasn’t sure what to do about the start of spring.  It’s been rather “springy” in these parts for…well…since it wasn’t blazing hot.  Since November perhaps?  None of the usual activities celebrating the newly blooming flowers seemed appropriate, but I didn’t want to pass by the important shift into springtime.  For the last few years, I have been organizing our children’s books seasonally.  Of course, we have many books that are year-round favorites; however, I love to pack up our books about autumn, Christmas, and winter and pull out the spring, Easter, and summer choices.  The stories feel new again.

Even though we aren’t going to experience spring in the same way, I want this season to be about new life.  I need a fresh start in several areas of my life.  I’m longing for some new recipes, some new additions to my wardrobe, new commitment to prayer and study, and most of all–a new sense of organization.  What are you hoping for this spring?