Freedom in an afternoon.

There are some changes afoot in the S. household! Mr. L has started a new radio gig as part of his business’s marketing plans for this year. As excited as I am for him and hopeful it will have a solid ROI, personally as a SAHM it means I lose my other set of hands every Sunday for a chunk of time.

To be fair, Mr. L and I discussed this in length and we mutually decided on a time slot that would be the least intrusive to family life on Waldie Road. Being cognizant that this Mom needs a bit of a break, we agreed to the following:

 1)   We now have all three kids in the same place at the same time for Saturday morning gymnastics. Being used to participating in the Parent and Tot stuff, I volunteered to take all three each Saturday morning giving him a morning off. (Am I not a great wife thinking of Mr. L as well?)

2)   Each Saturday afternoon/evening (barring family planned events like birthdays and holidays) I get off. He is on for the rest of the day through dinner and bedtime with the bonus if I come home at some point before all three kiddies are asleep he should take it as a lucky day. I am not planning dinner or putting out pyjamas.

3)   We reconvene Sunday morning with family time however that takes shape and he is back for family dinner.

My first Saturday under our new agreed-upon schedule, after a much needed treadmill session at the gym, I met up for coffee with a friend. Pre-third child we used to meet up weekly or biweekly for a coffee and catch-up. Nowadays we are lucky if it’s once every three or four months. Before heading back home to get dressed for a night out at a casual family get-together back in the small town I grew up in with Mr. L and kiss the kids goodnight, I even managed to pick up some much needed spring wear for my brood.

As my friend A. and I caught up, I openly shared with her our new weekend arrangement. She asked what I would do with a whole afternoon and would I not rather be at home catching up on all the stuff there or relaxing?

“Of course I would!” I answered. “But as soon as I walk back through that door they are all surrounding me wanting this or that. They always find me if I try to hide, always! Also, it is hard to relax or write when faced with all the stuff to-do around the house.”

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Explaining to her how I could take the afternoon to go to the gym and not feel rushed trying to put an hour circuit training into forty-five minutes or not worry so much about errands during the week as Saturday afternoon’s were now free to do them. Also it was a few hours I could actually get to those must-do personal appointments. It sounds like heaven to me! Even after all those things were checked off the list, just simply sitting somewhere quiet for dinner with a pint of beer and my laptop tapping away uninterrupted for a few hours would be time well spent as I pursue this writing dream.

Of course, I look at it another way as well. Mr. L gets some one on one time with his kids. He can plan that time however he wants with them. My personal hope is that it nudges him towards starting to take a little more initiative when planning family/kid activities.

How do parents of three or more manage to get things done? I have found over the years simply accepting that errands or items around the house will take me nearly twice as long as anyone else is simply a fact of life right now. It will not always be like this and even now, I can see little nuggets of time freeing up that as my children become a little more independent. The key is to make the most of those nuggets of time, whenever and however they occur. As well, I think being an advocate for yourself within your relationship is paramount. Mr. L was not a huge a fan of my idea of Saturday afternoons free but open discussion on both sides and his support to help keep me a sane person outweighed his own concerns on managing three kids plus a dog on his own for an afternoon each week.

 Would love to hear others “tricks of the trade!” 

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Enter the spring!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” Hal Borland

The first day of spring is here and the snow keeps on falling! Audrey has been very upset the last couple of days as she was determined to make one last snowman before this winter finally wraps up. However the wet snow melts in the warm sunshine every single day thwarting her attempts.

With that in mind, it may be time to dig into our massive children’s library for Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan to read to her later. A delightful book about a little girl who makes a snowman every day until it starts to warm up and she has to save a little bit of her snowman for next year.

sadie and the snowman

On the domestic front, the first of two consultations on window coverings is checked off the list. It  will be interesting what another consultant may suggest as today the very nice lady who came to provide an in-home quote, quite honestly tried to dissuade me from the ideal California shutters for our four bedrooms. As an alternative it was suggested honeycomb shades would fit our windows better.

Still seeking to complete decorating my girls’ suite, they have both expressed interest in having a fairy tent surround them as they sleep so that will aid in finishing their room décor.

Looking at my to-do list this week I shudder and go grab another coffee. It keeps growing!

Last week’s March Break, although fun with a little mini-vacation thrown in, (review on March Break to come another time!)  set back my goals for home organization this month. But I will solider on!

Fortunately, with Passover and Easter right around the corner, addressing those “hot spots” are high on the priority list this week. I have identified at least five “hot spots” within my house, not including the basement which I am leaving until summer to tackle. With family quickly gathering next week, the Dining Room is the first priority.

Dining Room "Hot Spot"

Spring cleaning is also starting to become something I need to deal with. Fortunately, I am going to hire a bit of help this year to do some of the hard scrubbing on key areas like kitchen cupboards and baseboards. I would rather my focus be on de-cluttering and home organization rather than removing many little fingerprints from the wallsToday the dining room table de-cluttered, tomorrow the world!

How do you keep your “hot spots” from becoming out of control and encroaching into the rest of your house?

Decluttering life

Part of trying to maintain a clutter-free semi-organized home for the five of us is keeping my “hot spots” cleared. A “hot spot” is that area where things accumulate that you just do not have time to put away in the moment. Ours is the dining room table. We only utilize the dining room when having a formal family event or dinner party. In vain I have tried to convince Mr. L the uselessness of this room. The room has so much potential but is generally cluttered that I try to clear off at least once a month (or two). Usually corresponding with an event at our house.

In the spirit of home organization month, I am trying to remember to put things away promptly instead of letting the large oval wooden table become a haven of found Christmas decorations or birthday presents to be wrapped. As such, I have spent the last two days driving to Elizabeth’s friends homes to drop off the lingering birthday reminder, beautiful canvas paintings, Jackson Pollock inspired, that her guests painted during her splatter paint party. Today was a successful day with four of the eight paintings delivered to their rightful owners!

Taking a break from a writing deadline on another project and casually checking in online, I noticed a blog written in the same spirit of the de-cluttering I am trying to undertake this month. mommacan is a website dedicated to home management for busy moms. My kind of site! The particular article was on the 100-club. Picking up 100 items a day until you feel clutter-free. Being all in and having the kids home on March Break next week, one of those days will be a perfect day to challenge myself and my family to pick up and put away, give-away or throw-away 100 items!

The last couple of days I have also made some initial calls for our handyman to come and finish some home decorating (end of March) and book consultations for our much-needed black-out bedroom window coverings. Waking up at six am on the weekends needs to be stopped and this Mom of three is determined to find a solution to the early morning sunshine penetrating our bedrooms!

Slow and steady progress towards my organization goals for this month, but progress all the same!

Following the trends – March!

Moving into the first week of March and unfortunately the cold winter weather is lingering. This Mom of three is ready to ditch the soggy mittens and boots and am itching to break out the running shoes and lighter jackets. Thankfully, my bunch do not seem to mind playing in slowly melting snow and ice even through my attempts to dissuade them.

As father winter keeps us in his clutches a bit longer my attention turns towards my goals for this month. Home projects and organization! My mind must be attuned to the media as everywhere I look flashes of stark white titles screaming, “How to De-clutter your home!” or “Organize your entire life!” Picking up the random magazine to spur myself into action a plan slowly forms and I decide to focus on three main goals this month.

The magazine currently reading!

The magazine currently reading!

1)   Finish decorating girls bedroom and living room.

2)   Purge old toys from the downstairs rec room.

3)   Find a proper office space in the house.

In addition to these three main projects I want to dedicate this month to not just reorganizing the home but taking the time to appreciate the elements of my home. The organized and disorganized, the piles of books in my room, the little figurines gathered on the girls’ dresser and piles of clothes to be donated.

We have lived in our current house for just over two years. Making the necessary move just before Jacob was born it has all the elements a family of five, plus dog, can need. One of the criteria when we purchased a home was that it had to be move-in condition. Meaning no painting, no big projects and decor we could live with. Slowly we have started to put our own stamp on the house but with three little ones underfoot things have been done addressing the must-haves versus the want-to-haves.

Finally having my first six months with a little more time since both girls are now at school and Jacob is in nursery school a few hours a week, I have been able to start thinking about next steps. A place we all love for years to come and that will grow with our family.  I am a firm believer in a home as a sanctuary. Part of my personality loves puttering around the house doing random domestic chores, baking cookies or simply sitting at the kitchen table with coffee in one hand and newspaper in the other casually looking into our backyard at the red squirrels practicing their gymnastics on our fence. I am never bored at home.

Is it not time I made a real effort to change our space into a space we love?