Archive for October, 2009

Flylady and the Mother of the Bride

October 31, 2009

The other day, Leslie (aka MissusSmartyPants) posted about bargain shopping to fill in missing pieces of your wardrobe. She wrote:

Don’t get “creeped out” about second-hand shopping.

It doesn’t have a negative social stigma it once had.

Today, second-hand shopping is considered “cool”, saves you money,
saves the environment & the profits go to fabulous charities!

Well, who would have guessed! I’m “cool,” now. Okay, people who cringe when I tell you I got that groovy Gap sweater that you just complimented me on at Goodwill for $2.95, listen up. I’m “cool”!

So, since I’m “cool,” now, I can confess that I went into Goodwill the other day and came out with…my Mother of the Bride skirt. Yes. I’m that “cool.”

I had purchased a red suit for Clara’s upcoming Big Event a couple of weeks ago when she and I were snowed in at Mom and Dad’s and she, Mom-the-supreme-shopper and I went shopping. I liked the jacket a lot, but I wasn’t very thrilled with the skirt. It was too long and just didn’t feel very comfortable, but I knew that if I couldn’t find anything else, it would definitely work and I wouldn’t have to walk down the aisle in my jeans or something. I had in mind that I would like to pair the jacket with a black skirt, working with Clara’s color scheme.

I decided that I would peruse Goodwill on a regular basis from now until the wedding to be sure that I had ample opportunity to find a skirt. Boy, was I happy when, this week on my first attempt, I walked right up to the skirt section, grabbed a nice black skirt that was the right length, tried it on, decided that it fit perfectly and walked to the register with my $3.49. Victory!

Oh, yeah. I am going to be a very “cool” Mother of the Bride in a couple of months.

(Hmm. Now, I think I’ll start searching for some black boots for the rehearsal dinner. Hey, maybe I’ll check out those online second-hand shopping places that MissusSmartyPants suggested. Do “cool” people talk to themselves…?)

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Bunco Saves the Day

October 30, 2009

Yesterday, Miss PMS, unwelcome, as usual, kept sticking her nose into all of my business. “Aren’t you just sick and tired of trying to eat right?” she whined. “Everyone else gets to eat yummy stuff and what’s the use, anyway, since you don’t even really love the way you look with all of those stretch marks and stuff? And that goes for all that time you have to set aside for exercising, too. Sheesh. No one else exercises almost every day. The only benefit to you is that maybe some day you’ll be a healthy old person. And that’s not guaranteed. Meanwhile, you’re spending an hour a day exercising when you could be doing something FUN.”

“And what about that Flylady junk? Do you really think you can keep doing those routines for the rest of your life? You know that you still hate doing the actual housework, it’s just that Flylady has given you a method for getting those hated jobs done. Flylady routines don’t really make you like to do housework. How can you possibly keep this up for any length of time?” she droned on.

Yep, yesterday, with its gloomy, overcast weather and Miss PMS haranguing me, was “one of those days.” I was doing my best to ignore Miss PMS. I did my Walk the Walk DVD, despite the fact that the VCR had been moved to the basement TV. I did my Weekly Home Blessing Hour. (And the kids were fabulous! They knew just what to do and did it!) I made the kids’ lunch that was on the menu, thanks to Tim’s willingness to go dig some potatoes. I did laundry. The kids did their regular morning routine involving math and writing and piano and strings. We read aloud our biography of Catherine Booth and Anne of Avonlea.

However, I was definitely feeling put-upon and grumpy. I just wanted to eat whatever I felt like eating in whatever amount I desired and have no repercussions. I just wanted to spend the time that I spent exercising, crafting.

But, I knew that Joey and Amelia were praying for me. And God answered their prayers mightily. Because, last night was…

BUNCO!

Marilyn was hosting and we had a costume party, and Miss PMS was not invited. I dressed up as a Christmas tree. Darth Vader was there. Pippi Longstocking came, too. A very cute Bunco die rode to Bunco with Eowyn and me. We played Bunco with a Renaissance gal, a “swamp monster” (maybe?), a cow, a beach bum, Little Red Riding Hood, a clown, a pumpkin and “someone” wearing a shirt that read, “I don’t do costumes.”

By the time we were coming home from Bunco, I was no longer feeling put-upon or grumpy. I think I’ll go exercise right now and then do some of my Flylady routine.

Take THAT, Miss PMS!

Christmas is Coming….

October 29, 2009

Oh, I am so excited to report that, thanks to the Holiday Control Journal, I bought TWO of the kids’ Christmas gifts yesterday! Since neither one of them reads this blog (considering that they are a developmentally delayed nine-year-old and a reading-but-not-quite-computer-savvy four-year-old), I’ll give a quick explanation. (Don’t count on this when it comes to your gifts, bigger kids!)

So…we are working within a rather tight budget for actual gifts this year, but that’s sometimes a rather fun challenge. However, Charlotte (who is 4) announced several weeks ago that she wanted the American Girl doll, Felicity. American Girl dolls are $105 with shipping. That wouldn’t leave much for anyone else’s gifts, but Charlotte had actually prayed that God would give me money for a doll for her for Christmas. So, I couldn’t give up that easily. I went to eBay and found a Felicity doll (no clothes) that would have been over $70 with shipping, but even that was a bit too much. All of the other American Girl doll auctions were very high. (Sometimes I wonder about eBay buyers since they were basically bidding up dolls that you could still buy new for less — and they weren’t anything “collectible” or “pre-Mattel” or anything. But, I digress.)

Then, I started thinking about why Charlotte wanted an American Girl doll. First, she sees her sisters playing with their American Girl dolls and wants to be included. Second, she loves dressing them. In fact, I believe that she chose Felicity because of her dress selection. She doesn’t necessarily want to fix their hair or play with historically accurate accessories. In fact, she’s not really a detail-oriented doll-player. She really just wants to dress them. And dress them, again. And dress them, again.

At lunch that day, I asked her if she still wanted Felicity. She said that she would take any other doll, “but it HAD to be an American Girl doll.” Whew. Okay, let’s see. I knew that Target had 18″ dolls, so I thought that the next time we were at Target, I would have her look at those dolls to see if any of them could possibly hold up to Felicity.

I took her into Target and noticed that, until Saturday this week, the 18″ dolls were on sale. I was really hoping that she could muster some enthusiasm for one of those dolls. And, yes, my hopes came to fruition! Charlotte took one look at those dolls and started analyzing them and choosing which one she liked best. Yea! I had Tim come into the store to retrieve her so I could make the purchase without her seeing me. One down….

My second Christmas gift purchase was for Lydia. Lydia loves beards and mustaches. Seriously loves them. Do you know how difficult it is to buy beards and mustaches on a regular basis? I’ve been doing it for years and it is hard. But, thanks to the Holiday Control Journal, I was thinking ahead and went into the party store where they had a bunch of Halloween costumes and a whole wall display full of facial hair. Let’s just say that this Christmas, the bearded lady will be living at my house.

I’ll say it again, thanks to the Holiday Control Journal, two children’s Christmas gifts down…ten (including Stephen and Levi) to go. This is going to be fun!

When the Flylady Thrill is Gone

October 28, 2009

When I first started following Flylady’s advice, the difference that her routines made in our lives was so great that it was thrilling. How wonderful to have a clean, shiny sink greeting us each morning! How fabulous that the bathrooms were swished and swiped every day! How marvelous that the CHAOS had ended and we could have people over at any time!

Now, almost a year later, I have to admit that the thrill is gone. I expect to have a clean, shiny sink greet me each morning. I am used to swished and swiped bathrooms. I routinely have people over every week.

But, I think, therein lies the beauty of Flylady. I expect. I am used to. It is routine. I don’t NEED the thrill to keep me going. It is habit, now. It would be strange to have a dirty sink, yucky bathrooms or cluttered Hot Spots.

I still love you, Flylady, even though the thrill is gone.

Amelia and the Flylady Timer

October 27, 2009

Speaking of Amelia, she called me twice in the past few weeks to thank me for her Flylady timer. Poor Amelia. She has the perfectionist tendencies of a first-born. Plus, she has inherited her father’s “workaholic” genes. This combination can easily lead to exhaustion. Right, Amelia?

Enter the Flylady timer.

Now, Amelia can set a limit on her cleaning by just punching the timer. Ahhh….

Flylady Routines and Knowing My Limitations

October 26, 2009

One benefit of having my Flylady routines is being able to clearly see when I won’t have the time to take on an “extra” commitment. This fall, I noticed that for me to make time to sew with Margaret and Eleanor on their Make It With Wool entries, it would require a lot of juggling. I mean, I could have worked time into my Flylady routine, but, at first glance, it was pretty obvious that it would take some serious effort.

Because I had noticed early-on that fitting some extra sewing time into our fall routine would be a challenge, I was able to ask Amelia if she could help out. Since I was able to give her ample warning, she was also able to check her Flylady routine and work schedule to see if she could help out. And, her generous answer was, “Yes!”

So, each week, Amelia, Eleanor and Margaret deliberately set times to sew. They got their garments completed without any last minute panicking. No one stayed up late the night before the contest hemming. We had plenty of opportunities to pull together their accessories with any stress.

Flylady’s routines helped me see where I could us some assistance before it became an “emergency.” Flylady’s routines helped Amelia see where she could provide that assistance. And Margaret and Eleanor had reinforcement of the concept that working a little bit at a time on a project results in a stress-free, pleasant experience.

No matter what the contest, everyone wins with Flylady routines!

B-I-N-G-O Spells Family Fun

October 25, 2009

Yesterday, we went in three different directions. Levi and Jacob went to a state 4-H dog obedience/agility/showmanship competition. Joey took Peter, Lydia, Charlotte and Anne to pick a truckload of squash and pumpkins at a friend’s house. And Clara, Tim, Margaret, Eleanor and I went to the district Make It With Wool contest (a little more on that in a future post).

However, that great dad named Joey who lives at my house had planned ahead for some Family Fun when we all reassembled for supper. He had purchased a Bingo set at the hospital auxiliary rummage sale this month and he took the time yesterday to make sure that all of the pieces were in it. So, after supper and Bible reading, we had a rousing game of Bingo!

We had some good laughs, the kids “won” — and ate, of course — some of the coveted Lamme’s taffy that we dole out periodically. I even think that a few of us learned some new numbers along the way. That’s Family Fun at its best.

Holiday Control Journal: It’s a Start

October 24, 2009

The other night, after we had eaten supper and were all still gathered around the table, I brought out the Holiday Control Journal. I asked the kids and Joey to help me fill out the pages on our family’s food, decoration and activity traditions for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was also interested to know if there were anything that anyone would rather not do during this holiday season, since that was a category in the Holiday Control Journal.

It was really great fun to hear everyone calling out the food traditions. And everyone was quite enthusiastic about our activity traditions, too. Clara started a conversation about gift-giving, noting that, with her wedding coming up and everyone’s finances being challenged as of late AND the fact that our family is only continuing to enlarge, we might want to re-think how each person has traditionally gifted every other person in our family. We kind of tossed around the idea of each person writing down a list of specific things that he or she would like to receive as Christmas gifts, including very budget-minded items that others might not think of (for example, Joey said that he would like a new toothbrush, which would, theoretically, be in most everyone’s budget). Margaret mentioned that writing down what she would like makes her feel greedy. But, I also pointed out that when someone desires to give her a gift, it is helpful to that person to know of things she would really like to receive.

All in all, we got a great start on making this Thanksgiving and Christmas season stress-free.

Flylady and Death

October 23, 2009

Yesterday, I learned of the deaths of two people. One was Joey’s 15-year-old student who died in an automobile accident. The other was a fellow Mother of Many Young Siblings, who, though younger than I, had the same number and age-range of children as I have.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear of someone’s death is whether the person knows Jesus and will be spending eternity with Him. (And, I believe, the answer is, “Yes,” for both of these people.) Then, I think of (and pray for) their grieving families.

And after that, I start contemplating life.

What does all of this have to do with Flylady? Well, before Flylady, I, in my contemplation, probably would have reached some conclusion about the futility of spending any time at all on homemaking chores when life on this earth is so short. I would have reminded myself how building relationships is far more important than any laundry or dish-washing or mopping. I would have then plopped down in the middle of CHAOS and gathered my family around me and read a book or played a game or watched a video with them.

But, now that I have been Flywashed, I fully realize that Flylady’s routines truly free me to spend time building relationships. Let’s face it, as long as we are here in this earthly life, there will be laundry to do and dishes to wash and floors to mop. When I complete these tasks in a somewhat methodical, routine fashion, I end up having more time to spend with the kids and Joey building relationships.

Look at the built-in Date Night and Family Fun components of Flylady’s routines! Those are relationship-building times that come around every week. I can participate in them whole-heartedly, guilt-free, without distraction, because the house is NOT in CHAOS. There are no chores “hanging over my head.” And, on a daily basis, I have time in our routine to read books and play games in a tidy, relaxing atmosphere. I do not have to try to ignore the state of the laundry or dishes or floors while I’m reading or playing games. And, last night, Joey and I plopped down in the middle of our tidy living room, gathered our family around us, and held our annual fall viewing of “You’ve Got Mail.”

Life on this earth is short. I’m grateful that I can spend even more time building relationship with those around me, thanks to Flylady’s routines.

Holiday Control Journal

October 22, 2009

I printed off the Holiday Control Journal the other day. This is the first Christmas season that I’ve been on Flylady and I’m so excited about the possibilities. Just reading the introduction is motivating.

And, with the snow coming down the way it is right now, I am doubly motivated to start thinking and planning ahead for Christmas….