April 29, 2012

30 Days of Spring Cleaning–Final Thoughts & May’s Challenge

Purge - April - PNG
There is only one day left in the challenge of Spring Cleaning for April– and in a mad dash to at least say that I had continued my weak attempt at attic cleaning, I spent the entire day going through tubs of children’s clothes.  (minus the nap, and three meals of course)

I ended up in this version of H.E.DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS.  And yes, I cried.  And yes, I moaned and groaned.  And yes, I bargained.  And no, I couldn’t be bothered to change the signs from Girl to Boy – and why didn’t I just make them size signs instead of Girl/Boy signs in the first place?  The other day?  That was Keira’s mess, which I wrapped up this morning.  This afternoon?  Oh my.  Turns out the boy had much more in the way of clothes than the girl.  How is that even possible?!  So this is his “mess”.

The end result of the entire month’s challenge is this:
The attic, it turns out, is much harder to purge/clean/reorganize than going room to room inside the house.  First of all, it’s hot up there.  Second, it’s chaos up there.  Third, anytime you have to sort through 200 cards from your youth…that’s a project better left to the shredder.  Fourth, it’s puts the inside of your garage totally out of commission for said month. Fifth, if you don’t finish…and you won’t….you will consequently beat yourself up each and every time you open the garage and have to jump, jive, and wail your way into the house.  Sixth….it’s hot up there.

Our garage is a hodge podge of trash, donate, yardsale, keepers, and wedon’tknowwhatitissoweignoreit piles.  I’ve just about given up the idea of a yardsale after my buddy Anna’s BLEAK outcome.  Yikes!  Donations are easier and take a half hour, as compared to the hours you will spend pricing, the signage you will need to make, the organization, the haggling…it’s all so NOT my cup of tea.  On the other hand, I do love to GO to a good yardsale.  Decisions, decisions.

We have not been back up in the attic after our first attempt, or brought down any more tubs.  For the record, there are still many up there to be gone through.  So our purging will continue into May.  Ugh.  Too many Saturdays that were just packed in April – so I guess I could have planned that out a little bit better.  Double ugh.

As for the children’s clothes…I made a decision today that was the best I could do.  I’m keeping them.  And I have two things to say about that:  first of all, it’s hundreds (probably thousands) of dollars worth of beautiful clothing.  I had already donated and given away tons of stuff.  This was the best of the best, for the most part.  I had nine tubs, and I got it down to six.  Two tubs for each child ranging from 3 months to 2-3T.  One tub of shoes, bottles, and everything else that you need with a baby.  One tub of keepsakes.  So, the agreement we made was five years.  We keep the five tubs for five years.  After five years, if we have not grown our family, the tubs go to consignment.  The one small tub of keepsakes stay no matter what.  I’m still proud of myself, but choosing a keepsake tub was brutally hard.  I kept adding and then whittling it down.  Ultimately I chose the items that made me cry just to see them.  Keepers.  The rest I decided to love through pictures and not go through them again, unless we add to the family.  Anton was very understanding and when I admitted that I was not ready to let them go just yet, he simply shrugged and said “ok”.  That was that. 

So we still have a haul in the attic to sort and purge.  We still have a garage full of “I don’t know” and “put this back up in the attic”.  We just need the time and energy to sit down and get it done.  I’ll keep ya posted!  The upshot is WE TRIED!  And that’s half the battle.  We made a dent.  That’s the other half.  Sometimes, that’s the best you can do. 

Since Tuesday is May 1st and some of you are wondering about May’s Challenge, I am OH SO HAPPY to introduce you to what will probably be the favored of all my challenges:

May - 30 Days of Nothing Literally

I’m taking a break.  I need a month off and quite frankly, I miss writing about life stuff.  The challenges are great, don’t get me wrong – but I’m still working on the last four.  Especially April.  Not so much January.  (blech)  So you have two options – forge on ahead and create your own challenge for May, or do what I’m about to do…put your feet up and catch up on life before summer hits with a boom and it’s rushing here and there and everywhere and packing as much good stuff into it as you can.  Come to think of it, I can’t decide if I’m going to Challenge through the summer or not.  My gut says “NO”.  But if I don’t, I would probably make up the months starting in Aug or Sept.  Whatever…I’m not sure.  I just know that to complete a year we have FOUR more challenges to go. 

I’ll keep you posted…but for now?  Nothing.  Literally.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Bushel and a Peck writing for a month.  All in favor say “ayeeeeeee”  (like a pirate if you’re feeling sassy)


April 26, 2012

30 Days of Spring Cleaning–Betcha thought I jumped ship!

I think last time we chatted I was lamenting what was in store for me.  But alas…nothing could get me out of the flood of emotions waiting for me within the tubs.  The tubs.  The 9 tubs full of my children’s clothing.  I have an update for you:


That’s right.  I started.  In a whirl of “now or never” energy, I grabbed a tub and yanked the top off.  I dove in and got through two of them.  I’m organizing by gender and size.  I’m also keeping a small stash.  Nothing to be done about that – Christie can’t scale the mountain in one swoop…or Rome wasn’t built in a day…or whatever metaphor you want to use there.  There are some items I just cannot bring myself to part with.  It’s just the way it goes.  Then there are the majority of the contents that I have made peace with. 

My present goal is to finish unloading all nine tubs, and then take them to consignment.  That’s my “goal”.  It could end up being a repackage/restore project.  Again, mountains and Rome and such.  On the one hand, I say “We are done ‘having’ babies!”.  On the other hand I say “But God….”  You feel me?  On the one hand I say “even if we eventually were to add to our family, we will cross that bridge when the time comes”.  On the other hand I say “what a waste!  you have it already and wouldn’t need another item of clothing”.  Not to mention what I can sell them for versus what I paid for them – well, it’s a huge loss.  

On this particular night, here is how I comforted myself – with AB’s cooking.  Now I ask you, who could not feel comforted by this? Have you ever had a grilled avacado?  Oh Lord...get out of here!  Shazzam, baby…. 


So...yeah.  The meal ended and waiting for me was 7 more tubs.  (Not to mention a disaster of a garage - that attic project?  Yeah.  Sucks.  Baby steps.)  I can tell you this: I have been strolling down my own sweet memory lane as I pick up and hold and sort each item.  I ventured into tub number three and was reduced to a puddle of tears – which is precisely where I stopped.  Keira’s clothes that she wore in China.  I mean, the ones I packed and brought for her – but still.   I can look at them and say “she wore this the first day we got her”…and then I cry. Or what about just her everyday outfits that I so remember matching her personality in every way…sniffle (thank you, R).  Like this one:


and I sniffle and say, “how can I possibly let this go?”

Before you vote to have me white-coated and put away…is there NO ONE out there who feels this way?  Even a little?  Does this get better?  Does this get easier?  I can recall my own mother holding gingerly my infant dresses on a quasi recent garage cleanup (say, in the last ten years), and people – I’m pushing 40.  DOES THIS GET BETTER? 

For that matter…how do you know when you’re done?  Now wait…let me say that a different way.  How do you accept when you’re done?  I have asked the Lord to just shout at me  “YOU’RE NOT DONE”, but He’s more in the  business of the “still small voice”.  Cripes.  So of course, my prayer is very much that He would show me what is right for our family.  

But in addition to that, can you please tell me how and when you just knew.  Did you feel it?  Did you have confirmation in your spirit?  Did you feel at total peace about it? 

I feel unsure.  My heart says “there are so many kids to help” and my head says “are you nuts?!?!”  Back and forth, back and forth. 


I rarely ask for comments.  Rarely.  In fact, this is technically a no-comment blog, except for the year of challenges that we’re in.  But I’m asking you mamas out there: how did you know and what did you go through to determine being “done” expanding your family?

Help a sistah out with your thoughts on the subject?

April 17, 2012

Rainy Day Crafts…

This is a cheap and easy craft that your kids will LOVE.  Go to your local craft store with $10.00:

The palettes were $.80 each

Bag of inexpensive brushes for $2.99

Assorted acrylic paints for $.25 each bottle

I found the ceramics on sale for $.09 each.  Yes.  $.09.  We stocked up.  Even at full price, they were a whopping $.39. 

Two of Daddy’s old T-shirts. 


We had a blast and quite literally spent TWO hours at it.

I’m just sayin’… passing it along and all that jazz.











April 15, 2012

30 Days of Spring Cleaning–Another Week

week for me
Image Courtesy Gina Marie Huff
I’m sorry to say that the state of my “purging” is a bit blah.  The thing is, and I’m being completely redundant, I can’t see to open them.  The tubs.  The ones with the baby clothes.  Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I did pop one lid open, spied a small brown cap and matching shoes that Quint wore right around 12 months, and I blubbered up like a fool. 

and….I sound like a lunatic.

Meanwhile, there’s this whole other issue that keeps cropping up.  And I don’t know why it’s so hard.  But frankly, we’re not sure we’re done expanding our family.  Every time I think about getting rid of all these things – stroller, highchair, clothes, etc. – I just get hung up.  What if we’re not done?  What if we start this whole thing over again in a year?  How mad will I be at myself when I’ve gone and dumped it all, only to need to purchase it all again.  That will HACK me off.  And I know you’re probably still thinking “expanding our family”?!?!?! But stay with me.  The thing is…we often discuss whether or not we want more children.  And honestly, we do.  I mean, I think we do.  We both having the desire off and on again.  Does that ever get better?  Do you eventually have to pull the plug and say “we’re done!” and then it hurts but you get over it?  Does that happen all my “been there done that’s”?

There are just so many obstacles ( I know, I know…God is bigger than those obstacles) but I get discouraged that China has basically gone to special needs only (which is fine, only we have crap insurance) and Ethiopia jumped onto the slower than slow track.  Our agency stopped accepting families into the program – that’s pretty darn slow.  Now, am I closed to the idea of another country or stateside?  No.  Not at all.  But we haven’t pursued that and….why am I telling you all this?  Maybe it’s cathartic.  Maybe it’s a good excuse not to be unpacking tubs.  Maybe I’m just trying to justify hauling 9 tubs of the cutest clothes ever back into the attic?  Whatever it is…I feel stuck.  Ugh…  It would be a huge waste to have them sitting in the attic for years where no one can be cute in them…what’s the point of that.  What a selfish waste!

On another note, AB is kicking off his production of Footloose this week and it’s a CRAZY life, people.  Crazy!  Production mode can bring out the best and the worst in us…mostly because of all the stress and pressure.  But good news!  This coming weekend I’m attending a Ladies Retreat wherein, I will be the roommate of me, myself, and I at a luxury hotel.  Yes, that’s right…I’m rewarding myself with a private room.  This is because somehow the sound of silence makes me deliriously happy and I need a fix.  That and the whole “going to the bathroom uninterrupted".  That’s nice too.  Like, really nice.  Not to mention that I get to hang out with some of my favorite people – the ladies from my church.  They are a FUN group of gals and I’m so glad to know them.

On yet another note?  Always late to the party in all ways – hairstyles, movies, weather reports, celeb news, etc.  No exception is my new found guilty musical pleasure, Justin Bieber:

Don’t judge.  (but I would have judged you a week ago - gulp)
 For four years I have wondered what was the big D-E-A-L-I-O with him? (now I get it!)
Watch his movie on Netflix and you’ll have a change of heart.  (watched it sort of by accident, but so glad I did)
The kid is freaking amazing…who knew?  (he plays like 500 instruments…or whatever)
Quint and I have Bieber Fever…can’t be helped! (cannot be helped, I tell you!)

Ok, back to the tubs...at least I'll have Justin on the i-POD to keep me motivated!

April 12, 2012

30 Days of Spring Cleaning–Tubs, Tubs, everywhere tubs…

So my entryway looks like “Attack of the Tubs” and there’s no end in sight, because frankly I can’t bear the thought of purging a single thing from inside any of them.  Baby clothes…x9 tubs.  What?  Is that so wrong? 

I know, I know...you can't take it with you!  But you could give it to a younger sibling.  Ahem.

Moving on!

Have a great post brewing about our boy…and in case you forgot what they look like since I’m so bad at posting…here’s deliciousness…melt my stinkin’ heart already!  Look at those faces – all three of them!


Meanwhile?  Check out these two gals who are Spring Cleaning away this month and taking it one day at a time, just like yours truly.  Hey, this project isn’t for the faint of heart…gotta give it up for anyone crazy enough to do it with us!

If you’re blogging about it, let me know!  I’d love to link over to you so others can follow along!

Is it Friday?

April 9, 2012

30 Days of Spring Cleaning–Easter Weekend

Well, our three day weekend went far too fast, but overall it was a lovely Easter and I’m hoping that yours was too. 

First: a challenge update.  Sooooo, remember when I said we were going to be cleaning out the attic and garage?  Yeah.  Turns out that project is not nearly as rewarding as an afternoon nap.  HOWEVER…that did NOT keep us from tackling it, just the same.  And in a sense, we basically did Zone 1 of the attic.  We pulled down an entire section and then some, and started the painstaking process of going through every. single. box/tub/bag and making decisions for their contents.  It was not easy.  Not gonna lie.  Three to four hours in, I was sitting zombie-like in a chair and Anton was pouring through college papers and old bills.  Yes, old bills.  Don’t even ask.  We didn’t even know it was up there.  This is the whole point of the cleaning.  We threw away two large black garbage bags of papers/junk/etc., started a great “garage sale” pile, and were able to re-pack in a safer and more efficient way only those things that we truly felt our kids might one day like to have.  Despite being tired, overwhelmed, and even pooped on the whole project – we hung in there a good portion of the day, until at last dinner was calling and we decided to call it quits.  Still, it was fun to document our progress to share with all of you:

Make sure you have two cute helpers.  Makes everything easier.


Also helps to have irresistible little boy helpers who insist on full-regalia. 
Especially ones who LLLOOVVEE to go into the attic with Daddy…

IMG_1592    IMG_1610

It started to get a little bit overwhelming by the time the tub stack got taller than me.  Ugh!


It’s especially fun to find clothes you wore in the 80’s.  Go baby, rock it!

And your childhood jump-rope.  Especially when you’re still really good at it…

IMG_1634    IMG_1649

That’s me.  Buried in the rubble.  Do you feel my pain?


It was particularly nostalgic to find cards and crafts from our childhood. 
After approximately 150 cards, we had to draw the line and pick just a few to hold on to.


Sorting old paperwork, college papers, letters, and various forms of nostalgia.
We did get a little bleary eyed after several hours of this had passed.


All said and done, I was really proud of our effort.  Small confession to make: we pulled down roughly 9 tubs of children’s clothing from my kids.  Now people, I am loathe to confess it – but I felt so sad and pitiful.  I cried.  Just the thought of parting with their things…it did me in.  I know this makes me loony, but I cannot seem to help it.  I just boo-hoo’d like a big baby.  So now, all 9 of those tubs are in my entry-way and I am committed to sorting through them and deciding what to do.  No promises, but I’m going to attempt…well, something.  I don’t even know what yet.  Ahem.  No promises.

Meanwhile, HE IS RISEN!  {this is the great part where you say “He is Risen Indeed!”}.  We had a wonderful Easter Sunday  celebrating Christ’s Life, Death, and Resurrection!!  Quint has so many questions, and we are BLESSED to see his interest in faith blossoming.  We are humbled by his innocent curiosity in his Maker.  What a privilege for us to see him growing in this way.

Saturday night we let the kids dye their eggs for the first time evah’.  I’m slow, what can I say?

IMG_1688  IMG_1683  IMG_1692

Sunday morning we made it to the Easter Sunrise Service, followed by an Egg Hunt, breakfast, and then two services (I sing in the choir).  After which I am proud to say that we rushed home, ate some delish egg-salad sammies, and put ourselves promptly to bed for two hours of nap-heaven. 


After which, the kids got their baskets from us! BIG hit. They were so happy with their goodies. 


Oh, wait!  One more hilarious find this weekend that I just have to share with you!  Going through all those childhood papers and schoolwork, etc. we came across a letter Anton had written to his parents in 1980.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that Anton’s political persuasion was set by age nine…

Letter to Parent's - from AB-rvblog

**Translation: “Dear Mom & Dad - Thanks for the Millennium Falcon and also for my other presents. And one more thing, thanks for voting for Regan! And thank you for telling me that I had a pajamaparty friday night. Love, Tony” **

April 4, 2012

30 Days of Spring Cleaning–Week 1

Well, as you know by now, we’re cleaning up our mess this month.  And if you need a re-cap of the Challenge, the rules, and what you need to get accomplished – READ THIS POST.  I’d love to have you join in – as this one is going to leave a lot of us feeling much better about our living space!

Sooooooo, remember when I told you that we were going to tackle the attic/garage combo?  Yeah. 
So I just wanted to take a moment and show you exactly what that means for us:

The garage has a lot of cluttered up spaces.  Case in point:

What is that?  Is that a package of Fed-Ex boxes, a used up container of cooking oil, glow sticks, and bug spray?  Why, yes!  Yes it is. 

So let’s talk attic:  and let’s just be honest shall we?  The attic is basically the exact size as the home beneath it.  And we have taken 8+ years to fill it with all sorts of ridiculous things.  The worst part of this, is that we have never taken any interest in organizing what we put up there.  Not really.  More or less a “just put it up there” kind of game.  So we have long rows of boxes and tubs of (whoknowswhat) and that’s so daunting.  What you see below is just an opening view of the madness.  You can’t even see behind those tubs – but I can tell you now, there are more.  Many, many more.  And see that red tub in the background?  That’s because all along the left side of this picture (which you can’t see) is a whole wall of more madness.  Tubs, boxes, luggage, large trash bags full of stuff, etc.  Oh it’s bad.  So bad.

Oh, and when you get up close and personal in the attic, you can see that all that random stuff is piled like this. 
Let’s see: cat carrier, Karpak Car topper, IRS paperwork, tent.  You know.  With all kinds of rhyme and reason and thought put into it.

I’m really anxious to see what happens when we start the project this weekend.  It’s going to come to pulling sections of the attic items down, sorting through them completely, and re-organizing the whole space.  We have to work quickly as well, because we’re losing a weekend this month to prior commitments.  I would love to see what you’re up against and how you plan to attack it!  Pictures?  Let us all know so we can follow along!