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  • One mom’s quest to simplify life in order to savor living.

A Simple Back to School

My two oldest kids went back to school this week. And while their backpacks were ready to go, their lunches were packed, and their first-day outfits were neatly laid out, there lay the end of the preparation. Husband and I put the kids to bed with kisses and hugs, so-excited squeezes, and “can’t wait to hear all about it”s. Then the two of us relaxed with a favorite show and hit the hay early ourselves.

Weird.

Weird because this year, back to school didn’t involve glue gun projects, printing happy-first-day jokes to pop in lunch boxes, and baking an elaborate first day breakfast. It didn’t involve Pinterest. And it was freeing.

We talked over breakfast, about the excitement of the new year, what their teachers might be like, about how fun it is to have clean new school supplies. And it was chaotic – spilled orange juice, the hustle of brushed teeth, hair, socks, shoes, and out the door… but nothing more.

And when I saw their faces that afternoon as they spilled out of campus, I hope they felt how excited I was. “Please tell me it all.”

I want to hear it all.

 

Why I Threw in the Towel on my Daughter’s Birthday

Birthday parties are big deals in this household.  In the weeks leading up to the party, I am creating photoshop invitations, running to the print shop, cutting, glue gunning, and cursing my way to party readiness.  No water bottle lies naked – all are perfectly wrapped with a coordinating and customized paper.  Food dishes are identified with a neat pop-up tent label.  Goodie bags are stuffed with an arsenol of useless (but coordinating!) crap.  And on party day, I wipe off the sweat, put my game face on, and revel in the ooohs and aaaahs from guests.

My daughter just turned three.  And this year was going to be no different.  I sat down on the computer, pinteresting all things “Frozen Party” related, recording a list of adorable decor and food ideas.  I was about an hour into the hell of invitation design in Photoshop, my daughter tugging at my shirt for attention, when it hit me.

I closed the document without saving, tossed the 20 item list of, and breathed a sigh of realization, relief, and defeat.  I sent a group text to the grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles – “What are you doing the afternoon of July 5th?  Can you come celebrate Hayden with us?? xoxo”  DONE.

We then headed to Target, and with my giddy little girl by my side, we picked out some Frozen paper plates, napkins, and plastic tablecloths.  We even threw a Frozen pinata in the cart.  AND THAT WAS IT.  We drove home, dumped the loot on the ground, and oooohh’d and ahhhh’d over it.  And just like that, the Pinterest-loving part of my soul died a little.

But we played that day, and as the party neared, we played more.  And the morning of the party, I bought some water bottles (naked ones!) and juice boxes.  And I ordered pizza.  And I taped down our plastic table covers and set up the paper plates and napkins.

And I celebrated my three-year-old… not covered in beads of sweat with everything just.so… and not reveling in the compliments of the party decor (because there were none). But I watched her sweet face light up with birthday well wishes, and dancing, and <grocery-store-bought> cake. She was happy. And I was happy.

And I remembered by childhood birthdays – gatherings of my friends in McDonald’s indoor play area, my mom carrying a tray of 39 cent cheeseburgers.  There was such joy. And celebration. And LIVING.6133223434_008f41ee79_o

5 Things Friday

Today I got rid of:

  • An old, ugly lamp
  • The paperwork from Vacation Bible School (after digitizing dates in my phone)
  • A hand towel holder that didn’t hold hand towels well (or often)
  • A large trash truck toy that my son loved at one time, but has recently just been taking up space
  • Many containers of half eaten food from the fridge – some no longer the same color

So I could instead:

  • Lie down for a quick snooze with my four-year-old (which lasted three minutes, but it’s the effort that counts)
  • Teach my eight-year-old how to make mini-figure pillows
  • Book a flight for my husband to escape for a few days to visit my sister and brother-in-law (Weird? Maybe. We don’t care.)
  • Work on the garden – pruning, harvesting, and soaking up some Vitamin D
  • Write a thank you to a friend for a thoughtful gift.photo-1429032021766-c6a53949594f

Thanks for the Effort

Today is the third-to-the-last day of school.

The house looks like a crime scene (“it appeared as if there had been a struggle”).

I just finished putting 10 year old’s homemade Plinko board for “business day” in the car. which involved folding down seats and moving car seats.

I loaded all his plinko prizes, which I had just purchased and sorted into bins the evening before, into the car.

Cut up two dozen brownies for a Student Council celebration.

Gave him some cash to contribute to his class pizza party.

And loaded the other three siblings into the car, two of whom are shoeless and still in pajamas.

And he says, “Oh, mom!  I forgot that today is college day, and we have to wear some sort of college attire!”

And I answer, “Sorry, not going to happen.”

And from his lips to God’s ears, in the most sarcastic tone imaginable, he says, “Thanks for the effort, mom”.

Excuse me while I engage in some deep breathing.

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Habits + Chores = Freedom

Upsplash2My sister once told me, “Cleaning while kids are around is like shoveling snow during a snowstorm.”  And while I am a southern California girl, and have only touched real snow a handful of times in my life, I get the analogy.

Most days, I feel like a hamster on a wheel, out of breath and tapped out, but having made no progress.  I spend my day switching loads, wiping spills, and sorting trinkets from one pile to another.  And still, at the end of the day, the only evidence of my housecleaning marathon is my daughter asking me if I now have time to play Frozen, or that guilt deep in my gut that I haven’t really listened to my son’s chit chat.

It’s not working, and so in my effort to simplify all aspects of my life, I’m changing things up.

I do not want to be a house cleaner – I want to be a mom/wife/woman with a clean house. 

So join me as I experiment with a new way of doing things.