Archives for January 4, 2011

Fighting back

I’m fighting against the chaos, which is funny because when I was a teen, the type of music I listened to and shouted along to, was all about chaos and anarchy amongst other things.  Now I just want peace, harmony, and most importantly good home organization.  And I do have to fight for order, because I seem to be the only one in this family who recognizes the need for it.  I promise I am not uptight, but I’ve got a show to run, you know?  I homeschool with five children in a 1500 square foot house.
People asked if we did anything special on my birthday.  “YES! We rearranged furniture!” was my reply.  More accurately, Jonny rearranged furniture and I told him where to put it.
This is the back wall in our kitchen. There used to be a piano sitting under that rusty saw that we use to hold the kids’ artwork (it’s not usually empty.) I have long wanted a loveseat on that wall so I have a comfortable place to sit while I give lessons or entertain the girls (or nurse a new baby!) while the boys are working at the kitchen table. So the piano made a switch with the loveseat, moving to the next room, and it has really worked out perfectly.
We painted this wall with chalkboard paint a few weeks ago, after talking about doing so for literally years. This wall leads right up our stairs and into Gabe and Keats’ room, and it is always covered in fingerprints, which I just don’t have time to be constantly cleaning or worrying about.  But, the sight of them did bother me. I can for some reason better handle chalk dust, messy drawings and scribblings, and even fingerprints on this chalkboard wall. Of course chalk dust over a red loveseat isn’t the best combination. For now I have banned drawing directly over the couch, and I will probably switch out the cover for a pale beige one we have. That’s an old Ikea loveseat and I have collected several slipcovers over the years.

Bea’s basket of board books is next to the loveseat, and when she is lucky, her siblings “read” to her.  Neither Gabe nor Larkspur knows how to read, but they are both good at making up the words to go with the pictures in books that they have heard read again and again.  (This picture was taken late morning.  Eventually the girls did get dressed and have their hair brushed, but if you show up before noon, this is what you will probably see.)
This little green trunk holds my yarn, and it’s also a good spot to tape a big piece of paper for Beatrix to color on.  I love when I think of something like that and she gets all excited and then she colors for all of thirty seconds!  I am thinking that I will let her play with play dough here too so we won’t always be peeling it off the school books on the kitchen table.  The girls’ play kitchen moved from the living room to this spot as well, and it is fun to see Beatrix “cooking” in her kitchen when I am making meals myself.
My kids got a great new set of blocks for Christmas from one of their Grandaddies, and they have been hanging out in this little area as well.  I wonder at what point boys get tired of blocks?  Probably never.
I spent most of yesterday cleaning out these old file drawers and making new labels for them.  I was in this awful, teary, sleep deprived state and something about bringing some order to those drawers made me feel better.  Order in my house never fails to bring order to my mind.  I can let messes go, I can allow even really big messes to be made, but sometimes I just have to start reining things in a bit for my own sake. I just function better if their is a bit of order in my environment.  It think this is especially true in the winter when we are inside more often.  It becomes that much more difficult to maintain a peaceful household when there are so many of us in such a small space all day long.
(unrelated photo, except for the fact that Jonny took both girls with him on an errand today so I could give math lessons.)
All of this leads to my homeschooling goals for this second half of the school year and this fresh start it feels like we get with the beginning of the new calendar year.  I will save those thoughts for later.  I know that the foundation for achieving my goals was in getting organized though, so I am off to a really good start.
p.s.  Thanks so much for all the advice on the coughing (and nice comments on my tum-tum!)  We do already run humidifiers, and we have taken a break from burning in our wood stove (it is a new efficient model by the way) for the past couple of days, which means I have really cold fingers right now!  I did realize that Beatrix needs breathing treatments at night right now, and you should have seen the screaming fit tonight when we tried to give her one!  This is a lot harder now than it was a year ago.  Hopefully she managed to benefit a least a little.  I also picked up some Vick’s vapor rub to try on the girls feet (instead of the all natural stuff we were using) along with some Manuka honey for their Cold Care P.M. tea.  So while last night was a really bad night, I am hoping that tonight will be better.
Not that I would ever wish any of your kids to be sick, but it is always nice to remind myself that I am not the only one in this situation, and yes, it will pass.