Category Archives: homekeeping

The morning after . . .

This is actually my second attempt at a post today.  I accidentally canceled, and thereby deleted, my last post.  Whoops.  It’s OK.  It was no real loss.  I talked about how my kids are cute and my husband is wonderful.

But since a friend told me how my adoring public was desperate to know how last night’s dinner turned out (I added the “adoring” and “desperate”), I figured I’d do a follow-up.  And give further testimony against my nomination for Homemaker of the Decade.

Yesterday afternoon, after wasting time plotting out my agenda, I sat and had a leisurely lunch.  Because no time is better for a leisurely lunch than when one is totally pressed for time with a big agenda to complete.  I did indeed make my voyage to the next town over to procure ingredients for dinner and cake and, somehow, 60 more dollars’ worth of who-knows-what.  Upon returning home, I remembered that my guest water-closet was . . . er . . . how you say . . . in need of freshening up.  So, I added that to my to-do list, along with “Close All the Doors!!” of my second floor so I could bring my parents up to see our newly renovated full-bathroom without their being exposed to the frightening messes that lay behind every other door of the upstairs hallway.

Then I baked a cake.  Let me say that again.  Slowly.  I.  Baked.  A. Cake.  I baked a cake.  I baked a cake.  Lee done baked a cake, I kid you not!  (and they said it couldn’t be done!)  Then I made ganache to top the cake.  Then my parents arrived.  Over an hour later than anticipated, which was just fine by me.  As I was cleaning up the last of the cake-making mess, at 4:20, I said to my dad, “I have all the stuff to make some chicken dish for you for dinner, but pizza is sounding awfully good right about now.”  And he said, “We had chicken for lunch, pizza sounds great.”  And, who am I to argue with the Birthday Boy?

So, pizza it was!  A simple call to Ry and he arrived home from work at 5:10 bearing boxes of pizza.

That, my friends, is how it’s done.  “How what’s done?” you might ask.  How one gets oneself stripped from the list of nominees for Homemaker of the Decade.

And right now I’m attempting to keep myself forever off that list by delaying preparing the chicken dish tonight–like I planned last night–to tomorrow night by coming up with excuses such as, “Isaac has his piano lesson this afternoon, and I have to take him and pick him up during the prime dinner-cooking time slot.”  And, “Doesn’t that salmon defrosted in the refrigerator need to be cooked tonight?  Won’t it go bad?!” (Obviously, Ryan is the only fish-cooker in this house.)  And “Hey!  There is still a whole pizza pie leftover from last night.  Ryan and the kids can have the salmon while I eat the pizza!”

See?  See how it works?  Yes.  No prizes for me, friends.  Unless there’s a Homemaking Slacker of the Decade award out there somewhere . . .

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Filed under homekeeping, Ministry of Reality

Just warming up . . .

So, I’m wondering if I’m the only one who noticed that I said there were 18 months between August 25th, 2010 and January 30th, 2012 . . . good to know I still can’t add . . .

I’d like to write every day, just to get back in the habit, but I can’t make any promises on content.  I’m going quantity over quality at this point, in the hopes to just get some words on . . . screen?!  really?  that’s what we do now?  We get words on screen?  That just doesn’t sound as good as words on paper.  I like paper.

Today’s my father’s birthday and on a whim, this morning I invited him and my mom to my house for dinner and birthday cake, welcoming them to arrive around 3 o’clock, when the kids get home from school.  It all sounded so nice and lovely and kind and fun when I came up with the idea at 11:45 last night.  But at 11:40 by the light of day, it’s sounding a little crazy as I’m looking around at my messy house–I won’t even mention the dirtiness!–and dinnerless, cakeless kitchen.

Hmmm.  I guess this post is going the way of my old Ministry of Reality posts . . .

So.  Here are the things I must prioritize:

1.  It would be awesome if I fit a shower in here somewhere.  I won’t tell you how long it’s been . . .

2.  I promised dinner, therefore I must provide dinner.  To do so, I must
A.  Go procure the ingredients for said dinner.  I’m planning on a little chicken strip/mushroom/garlic/saucy/over rice thing.
B.  Cook the dinner.

3.  I promised cake, therefore I must provide cake.  To do so, I must
A.  Go procure the ingredients for said cake.  Chocolate.  Ganache.  The RyLee Special.  Except the Lee part of RyLee hasn’t baked  a cake in for. ever.  Note to self:  in the future, come up with brilliant plan to have people for birthday cake with enough notice for Ry to make the cake.
B.  Bake the cake.

4.  Dining room table is nearly cleared of crap.  Miracle of Miracles!  Yet I still must clear it of the bitty bits or who-knows-what-kinds-of-documents-on-paper.  I hate paper.*  And must clear off all six of our dining room chairs plus one more, so that everyone can sit down to dinner simultaneously.  Crazy standard, that.

5.  There’s some kind of pile of crumble on the living room floor.  Must vacuum it.  Must shovel clear a path from back door to living room so that my parents don’t trip and fall along the way.  Because it would suck to break my dad’s hip on his 66th birthday.  Probably would take away some of the charm of the whole birthday dinner and cake thing.

6.  Gee I’m hungry, I might like to actually partake of some lunch at some point this afternoon.

7.  And the shower.  Did I mention the shower?  I optimistically listed it as number one, but I really think it belongs here at number 7, which means it probably won’t happen till after the kids go to bed except then I’m going to be too tired to shower and will just want to collapse on the couch with my husband and my friends Mr. Goose and Mr. Mind-Numbing Box, which will mean the shower gets put off until tomorrow’s list of priorities, which could include a visit from you, if you call ahead.  I just recommend that you not sit too close to me.

See how nicely I outlined that?  (weird WordPress format notwithstanding)  And how well I procrastinated the task at hand by spending all sorts of time outlining it?  Yes.  That, my friends, is a demonstration of the mad skillz of the English major there.

 

 

*The irony is not lost on me.

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Filed under blogging, Family Life, homekeeping, Ministry of Reality, SAHM

the longest Saturday . . .

possibly ever.

The problem is, I’m spoiled.

I mean, my husband works every day.  And by every day, I pretty much mean every day.  But it’s all spread out and more flexible than not.  But mostly, I’m spoiled because when he is home, he is home taking good care of me and the other three people we live with.  Yesterday he baked bread for us.  He takes toddlers to the potty, he cooks dinner, breakfast, and lunch–not every meal, but at least as often as I do if we were to get into a contest.  He does laundry, he does pick-up duty, he periodically finds and vacuums the dining room floor.  Other than that last one, he does everything I would do at home.  We share all this stuff, this day-to-day work.  I’m spoiled.  And grateful.

But today . . . today my being spoiled is biting me.  Today he left at 5 AM to drive 3 hours for a training event for chaplains.  And he won’t be home till 6.  And I was already worn out going into today.  And now all I want to do is whine.  Cuz I’m awl awone in the tasks of this day.  Boo-hoo.

While I whine, I realize that most if not all of my friends are thinking, “Welcome to the real world, Sistah!”  Where we moms and wives just do all the kid and house stuff all day every day all the time.  So, today, I feel for you ladies, I do.  You’re much stronger and braver than I.  Because I can’t do it.  At least not today.

And I refuse to blame the snow, so don’t even go there (you know who you are 😉 ) I blame the fact that we moms are not built to do this job in isolation.  We’re just not.  We’re supposed to have extended family, a whole community (don’t worry, I won’t say village, though I will think it), to help us through these days.  To hold the baby when she won’t stop crying and nursing won’t do the trick, to keep the kids while we escape into a much more manageable menial task like using a toothbrush to clean the bathtub, to make sure we eat dinner on the days when the children require constant attention from no one but mama, to keep the kids while mama takes the 3 mile trek to town to buy whatever she can dream up to need to buy (OK.  Here I’m picturing the trek to Walnut Grove.  I can’t help myself).  Whatever.  Whatever it is, a mom is supposed to have other people around her to help her with this monumental, relentless task.  She just is.

So, today I lament the loss of communal homemaking.

Or that’s just my fancy way of saying I miss my husband and I want him to come home so I can flee and have some time in solitude.

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Rambling posts . . .

Day one of writing for the sake of writing and noticing that it’s . . . let’s see here . . . Friday.  Morning.  And February.  I can’t really be held responsible for knowing the actual date, can I?

Friday.  I’m not ready for it to be Friday, I’m really not.  We had a busy week this week.  A doctor’s appointment for Hannah Wednesday afternoon, a sleep study for Ry overnight on Wednesday, a big day out with all five of us on Monday, and my Tuesday of Women’s Bible Study, and a Thursday Evening of Choir for four of us.  (Note the chronological order there!)  Anyway, the point is, it’s Friday and I’m preaching on a difficult passage on Sunday for which I’ve done very little preparation so far, and I still have major Lent thinking to do.  This is not a comfortable position.  Maybe that’s why my head hurts

I think I’m still expecting Super Mom Homemaker performance out of me while I’ve added two big working-like things to my schedule in the last couple of months.  I mean, sure, the reality is I’ve never been Super Mom Homemaker.  My homemaking skills are lacking in big ways, loaded with baggage enough to fill the cargo hold of a 747.  But now I seem to have an excuse for totally losing track of my house.  I’m never going to be That Mom who has it all together, who works all day and has a spotless home.  I don’t really know how she does that.  And now, I’ve taken steps that lead me even further from her standard.

I got a job.  A bona fide job, though I don’t think I’m thinking about it quite that way.  I lead worship in a church every Sunday.  They put my name on the sign outside their building preceded by the word Pastor.  I’m not technically their pastor, not from an ecclesiastical perspective anyway.  I haven’t been ordained.  I only just a couple of weeks ago became a candidate for ministry.  But this church had me as pulpit supply a couple of times and decided to ask me to fill their pulpit every Sunday, and so, that I do.  They’re right down the hill from my house, less than a third of a mile.  And I can lead worship there and still get to the church where my husband is the pastor and where my children go.  It’s ideal.  Really, truly ideal.  And I love it.

But it means that I now intersperse into my day-to-day stay-at-home mom life sermon preparation.  My first month went well.  Not having really set up an overall plan, I’ve just been following the lectionary passages week to week.  During the first four Sundays, why I just whipped out those sermons!  The passages were rather straightforward, their Word screamed out at me.  But then last week came.  And now this week.  Last week was Exodus 34:29-35 and 2Corinthians 3. And things got tricky for me.  Though I think I came out with a faithful understanding and explication–insomuch as anyone can.  And now this week’s passages are Deuteronomy 26:1-11 and Romans 10:8b-13.  Except I just had them put Romans 10 in the bulletin because I don’t think I can extract 8b-13 from the rest of chapter 10.  When I first looked at that passage, I started backing up in the chapter, feeling like I needed a larger context for it; I didn’t like starting with 8b.  So I kept backing up and ultimately concluded I can’t extract chapter 10 from chapters 6 through 10, but I don’t think anyone would appreciate my standing up there and reading four chapters of Romans and lecturing for the next six hours.  I don’t know why, but I don’t think they’d like it.

So.  Now I realize it’s Friday.  And I have all kinds of thoughts to think before Sunday.  So I pray.  I pray and pray and pray for God to yell really loudly and clearly to me so that I, Queen of the Opposite-of-Brevity, will hear the the nugget for this day.  This week.  And that’s the thing, I think, about preaching.  My belief is that Scripture is a living Word.  It’s a dynamic thing.  God doesn’t change, and Scripture is constant in the words on the pages.  But something happens when the Holy Spirit works through Scripture.  God speaks to us.  Today.  Scripture is not a puzzle to be figured out once and for all.  It is a dynamic vehicle through which God continues to communicate with us day by day.  So when I’m preaching, I’m not looking for the definitive, this-is-what-this-passage-means, period. for all time.  I’m looking for What does God have to say to us today? And Scripture is the only way we have of knowing that.  But God is bigger than Scripture and Scripture is bigger than we are.  All of this is the reason why we don’t just read the Bible once and be done with it.  Why pastors don’t just preach on every passage once and be done with it.  If each passage (verse or chapter) of Scripture had only one way to hear it, one way to understand it, one way to apply it to our lives, then there’d be no reason to return again and again to its pages.

Those are my rambling thoughts on Scripture.  Which means, that they are open to argument and correction, that I haven’t looked up anyone else’s thoughts on it in this moment.  Just thinking thoughts.  To get to my bottom line:  as I approach the preaching task every week, my task is not to provide the one, definitive interpretation of that passage.  I don’t have to answer every question, account for every nuance, proclaim the ultimate message that can then be sealed up and locked in a box as IT for all time.  My task is to provide space and opportunity for God to talk to us today. For today. To give us our daily bread. If our faith–anyone’s faith–hinged on my ability to figure out what, precisely, God is saying in a particular passage of Scripture, pack it up, folks.  We’re sunk.  My job is to hold the plate while God provides us bread enough for today.

I tell myself this to take off some of the pressure (although I’m still left scared to death as I’m still working as a serving platter for the King of Kings!)  I also share it with others.  With other preachers who are in need of some humility, who would do well to open themselves up to a God who’s far bigger than they’ve been giving him credit for.  And I share it with people in the pews, to remind them that the ultimate source of life-giving Bread deals directly with them.  The days of priests as mediators, as the sole bearers of God’s Truth have passed.  If what I provided as preacher was the one, definitive interpretation of a passage of Scripture, when you returned to that passage, you would be returning to my thoughts, not God’s Word.

That’s why I only write in pencil in my Bible.  Haven’t you ever had that experience?  When you hear someone explicate a passage of Scripture and you think, “YES!  That’s IT!  That’s what this passage means!  That’s what it’s saying!”  It really is an amazing experience, and you really do hear God talking to you.  So you hurriedly scratch notes down in the margin, and you underline, and you’re bursting with the excitement of revelation.  But then months or years later, you look back on those notes, and suddenly they don’t make as much sense.  They don’t seem to apply to the situation currently at hand.  Suddenly, that glorious epiphany seems distant and no longer applicable.  Maybe it’s only happened to me.  But those experiences have taught me that not every interpretation is universally applicable.  However,the fact that an interpretation no longer applies in a different time and place does not make that interpretation any less true.  It does not discount the earlier revelation.

The fact of the matter is, in Scripture we participate in a great mystery.  A mystery beyond our comprehension.  God himself meets us there.  God.  Meets us.  There.  And speaks to the minutiae of our lives, providing for our daily needs.  So, when you hear someone say something life altering in their explication of Scripture, by all means, write it down, remember it, internalize it, and celebrate it.  But use a pencil.  Because you need to leave room for our living, breathing God to tell you something different next time.

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Sooo . . . What silliness to talk about today?

Because silliness seems to be all I’m capable of today.

Well . . . there’s the fact that my dear husband made coffee again today.  While I was sleeping an extra 45 minutes, making up for the time I spent up with Ruth last night.  He also made hot cereal and straightened the kitchen some.  After thanking him, I said, “So should I blog about this, too?”  “It wouldn’t hurt.”  🙂  So here it is.  He’s the bestest man ever.  Really.  I got it good.

And . . . there’s the fact that as I write this my two girls are locked in the living room–one on the couch, one wandering around aimlessly–eating whole apples and watching Sesame Street.  Yep.  Exactly how I pictured my mornings as a progressive stay-at-home mom back when I had only one wee one to care for.  We used to have snack times.  We used to only eat at the table.  A toddler, especially, would never be out and about, wandering with food at random times.  And eating while watching TV?  Scandalous!  Certainly not!

Well.  There they are.  Munch.  Crunch.  Slurp.  Drip.  And here I sit.  Writing and drinking coffee I didn’t even have to make.  Barefoot, make-up free, dirty dishes scattered about me.  Nice.  I am Super Mom.  Hear me . . . yawn.

Ruth has been wandering around eating all morning.  I’m hoping the fact that it’s all healthy food will make up for the steady stream of calories entering her little body.  She already had breakfast with Ry before I got up.  A banana was involved, I’m not sure what else.  But then she starts helping herself to stuff.  Like we have a freezer-on-the-bottom refrigerator/freezer.  So she just opens that door right up.  Grabbing a bag off the door, she lifts it up, looks at it:  frozen blueberries.  “NnnoooooO.”  Sets it back down.  Next bag:  frozen raspberries.  “Rapbeyies,” as she lifts the bag up to me.  Sure, why not?  I grab the bag, she grabs the bowl.  Today I insist on the table because for the last week and a half she’s been eating her frozen raspberries while sitting on the little stool on the floor.  But we’re civilized people, so I insist on the table.  And she even insists on the spoon.  Nice.  I don’t know how she eats raspberries frozen.  I get brain freeze just looking at her.

Now . . . couple of minutes later . . . Ruth wanders back out to the kitchen.  Opens up the pantry cabinet next to the fridge.  Pulls out the bottom drawer full of cans.  “Hmm.  NoooO.  NoooO.  Oo.  Deans.”  Picks up the can of kidney beans, hands it to me.  I grab the can, she grabs the bowl.  Again I insist on the table.  Again she insists on the spoon.  See?  We are civilized.

Hannah, of course, didn’t partake in all this snacking.  So, when 10:15 rolls around, she is ready for a snack.  She’d like an apple.  Well, then.  Full-of-berries-and-beans Ruth sees the apple.  She too would like an apple.  So there they are:  apples and Elmo.  I didn’t insist on the table.  And you don’t need a spoon for an apple.  And civilization is highly overrated.

Now, back to my coffee.  And my mess.  And tomorrow I’ll be a better mom and homemaker.  For afterall . . . tomorrow is another day.

And for today’s visual:  Ruth in the Living Room of the Perpetual Mess.

For the record, she has lovely silver and pink with bangles dress-up shoes under that blankie dress.

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Filed under being The Mommy, Family Life, homekeeping, Ruth, SAHM, silliness

Another one of those days in the life of a SAHM

Blech. That kind of day. Blech blech blech. One of those days when I feel completely overwhelmed by the task at hand: guiding three people into healthy, productive, Godly adulthood all while making sure we’re not buried in an avalanche of toys and papers-from-who-knows-where and other miscellaneous junk nor dying from some dread disease due to the microorganisms having a field day on my floors and in my bathroom and kitchen, not to mention ensuring that we’re all eating healthy food, and in the meantime maintaining a marriage I’ll still be happy to be a part of when these three other people move out and I’m left staring at this guy, and this guy alone.  *sigh*

The thing is, I feel like I’m doing this in a vacuum.  I’ve said it before, I think.  I feel like I’m just taking shots in the dark, hoping and praying for the best, unable to see how successful (or not) I am for at least another twenty years.  AAAHH!!  Long range planning, you’re not kidding.  And the thing is, if I’m failing, it’s not just a building crumbling down or the end of a corporation–not that these are good things, mind you–it’s three people.  Three human beings living those healthy, Godly, productive lives, or sitting on Death Row with a trail of death and mayhem in their wake.  Ok, so there’s a whole lot in between, but I told you.  It’s one of those days.  And these are the things that fly through my hyper-active brain on days like these.

There’s no immediate feedback.  Sure, my kids love me.  But I’ve seen kids love some monsters of parents.  Toddlers and young elementary school kids are programmed to love their parents.  The tragedy is when they’re knocking themselves out trying to perform well enough for their twisted parents to love them back.  I often worry I’m one of those twisted parents.  That’s when the Death Row image appears.

So.  No immediate feedback.  My husband tells me I’m doing a good job with the whole Mommy business, but he gets paid to tell people nice, encouraging things.  Although he doesn’t lie to his parishioners.  Really.  But he’s an optimist.  And I find those people suspect.

I need to find something to do that has immediate feedback (well, relative to the 20-year plan I’m on now, anyway).  Immediate feedback that I’m doing something well.  I need a hobby.  With instant gratification.  I have a cross-stitch project I started the summer before Isaac was born (um.  so that would be 7 1/2 years ago now, but who’s counting?).  It’s probably an hour from finished.  Maybe if I take that out tonight.  Then I’ll have nice neat little X’s and a complete picture to show me I’m not a complete failure of a person today.

Wow.  This is a whine of epic proportions.  Ok.  Ok.  Think.  Think.  Think.  Get yourself out of this!  If you’ve been reading my stuff since I started in the summer, remember those summer days when I locked myself in my bedroom with the air conditioner set at 67 and, lulled into relaxation by the AC’s white noise, I wrote here, reflected on the good in my life, and came to the end feeling much better for it?  Yeah.  It’s one of those days, but I’m not getting there.  Sure, now my heat is set at 67, so the temperature is the same, but the white noise is Clifford in the background and the buzzing knowledge that Hannah is turning into a vegetable while zoning out on PBSKids.  And my thoughts are just not taking me to that magic land of refreshment.

Ok, little Calvinist.  Here’s your first clue.  When you declare:  “Get yourself out of this!”  That’s when all the sirens and bells and whistles are supposed to go off in your thought-soaked, self-defeating brain.  Ahh.  Yes.  I can’t get myself out of this.  And that’s OK.  Because praise be to God, it’s not all up to me to get myself out of this.  “One of those days” is one of those days to fall prostrate (literally or figuratively) before the One who made me, the One who called me so clearly to this mission, this ministry, the One who promised to be with me always, the One who provides refreshment from a living water to a weary, thirsty soul.

It’s one of those days.  A day for prayer.  A day for Psalms.  A day of surrender.  Tears in my eyes, shoulders heavy and drooping, I proclaim “I cannot do this!!”  Lord, please do it for me.  Lift me up.  Carry me through.  Renew my trust that these three little people are your people, that you’ve placed them in just the home they need to be in order to grow into the people you’d have them be, to do the work you’d have them do.  Your people.  Not my people.  Remind me that you are more than big enough to heal them from my failures.  Remind me that my greatest responsibility is to demonstrate and witness to your love for them.  Return my focus to you; may I seek your approval and affirmation only.  Let that be sufficient.  Let you be sufficient.  Because you are sufficient.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Amen.

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Don’t let me read anymore.

Probably an unexpected title coming so soon after the choirs of angels and mommy pride over Isaac’s reading.  I take it back.  Reading is bad.  Very,  very bad.  It can devastate a life.  Or at least a house.  Specifically, my house.  Man oh man.

There I was.  Really getting a handle on my entire house.  The laundry was under control (remember?), the bathrooms got done with enough regularity that we didn’t have to worry (too much) about disease, dusted once in a while, heck, I even washed the floor now and then.  For the previous year we had someone come in and clean for an hour and a half every other week, mainly to force us to straighten that frequently (no more so) and limit the disease quotient.  But I had reached a point where I had a handle on it.  No more cleaning lady.  Just me.  And my team of little helpers.  Now, it would never pass my mother’s inspection–a completely emptied, hermetically sealed, freshly painted and floored room would not pass my mother’s inspection–but it was a level of mess I was comfortable with.  I had a friend visit back in October and there really was little to none of the usual scurrying beforehand, such was the general condition of our home.

And then.  Then came the month from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Now, some may think it’s because of the hollidays, the extra busyness.  But some’d be wrong.  Good grief.  I did all my shopping in one afternoon, all the wrapping that evening and all my decorating in three hours the day before.  We’re very low-key around here.

No.  It wasn’t the hollidays.  It was those things. Those little piles of processed tree pulp bound together and printed with words.  Words upon words upon words.  Glorious, beautiful words.  Words strung together to form thoughts.  Thoughts and ideas and thinkings galore. . . .

Prior to November I had been on a streak of very limited reading.  I was writing regularly, I had ambitions for writing more formally.  Then my computer betrayed me and stopped working and in its absence I picked up one of those old fashioned devices by name of boooook.  book.  And that was the beginning of the end.  One thing led to another and I could. not. stop.  One chapter for just this couple of minutes turned into two chapters and into entire books in a day and a half.  And I am not a fast reader.  Oh.  I’ll just read for fifteen minutes turned into Oh, I’m sitting down for eight seconds, I can squeeze in a couple of sentences.  Ahhh, the kids won’t really be hurt by three hours of TV, I must. finish. this book!!!  Read read read.  Read while I’m eating, read instead of sleeping, read while I’m nursing, read while I’m watching TV, read while the kids are drawing, read while I’m cooking, read while I’m brushing my teeth.  Read read read. Read read.  Read.

So I read.  Several thousand pages between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And I woke up on Christmas morning opening my eyes to the fact that my house had crumbled down around me.  Toys everywhere.  Paper, markers, crayons, crumbs, dust, junk junk junk.  Everywhere.  And the laundry.  The laundry.  Ohhh the shame.  After my 4000 words on conquering laundry I am too ashamed to describe the state of the laundry at Christmastime.  Apparently I was wrong in thinking I never really did any housekeeping and that’s why my house was never as neat as my mom’s.  No.  Now I’ve seen the result of my doing absolutely no housekeeping and it’s a whole ‘nother realm of mess, the likes of which civilized society has never seen.  In fact, I think we no longer qualify as part of civilized society.

So.  I blame the books.  And now I have stopped reading.  Well.  Kind of.  Mostly.  Um.  Except that I finished a book today.  But I started it several days ago and it was A Swiftly Turning Planet, a kids’ book, so it doesn’t count.  Right?  right?  All these books keep staring at me, taunting me.  And my dear, dear friend sent a Christmas package to my kids and what did she include in the box?  More books for me to read.  Bad.  Very bad.

Still, I have made progress.  I have begun to dig us out again.  The laundry is nearly under control again.  Isaac and Hannah’s room is neat and tidy.  Ruth’s room is a 30-second pick-up away from perfectly neat and tidy.  Both rooms have been dusted and vacuumed/mopped within the last week.  We can all eat at the dining room table at the same time.  The kitchen is almost show-room ready.  Close enough, anyway.  And as of this morning, the living room has returned to looking simply like three small kids live here.  As opposed to looking like you could easily lose three small kids in the piles of junk, or that perhaps there are three small children lost in there somewhere.  Progress. Slow progress.  Now.  If I could just keep those books on the shelves–and maybe even dust them–perhaps . . . perhaps I could invite those Mormons in again.

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