Session 1

Last week, driving home from baseball practice, I was overtaken by a giant wave of freak-out-ness.  It was something about the warm weather, the intense colors of the evening sky, and I don’t quite know what else, but I panicked.  I felt very strongly that I didn’t want it to be warm.  I didn’t want spring to be here.  I wanted it to be nice, cold, and relaxed.  Thinking to myself, “But Ginny, you’ve been dying for spring to arrive”  did not help.  I was going to have my crazy moment, evening, whatever it led to, and I just had to go with it.

The following day I felt okay.  But, I started moving furniture around.  In fact, some furniture got moved OUT.  I rearranged our living room again and again, and finally settled on an arrangement that was identical to the original one, with only a change in couches.  I moved the big, leather, free Craigslist find out, and the small loveseat from the kitchen in.  Next up, I knew I needed to start going through the kids’ clothing.  All of it.  It’s high time for a proper system of bins with labels that are actually accurate and helpful.  Seven kids plus tons of clothes in bins with labels such as “Girls winter 2013″ that actually contain boys’ clothing in sizes 10-12… well obviously that system isn’t working for me.  The trickiest part really, was finding a time to go through all the little girl clothes while they weren’t around.  They can’t stay out of it.  “Oh, Mommy!  Remember this one?  Oh, Mommy!  This one’s sooo pretty!  I think I can still fit it!  Why don’t I just try it on?”  And on, and on and on.

It is now apparent to me that what I am doing is commonly known as Spring Cleaning.  Kind of crazy how it just hit me and left me pretty much defenseless.  I was originally thinking of the major clothing storage overhaul as session 1.  But then the pantry got cleaned out and more furniture was moved.  I think this is  just going to be one looooong, session.  I have no idea if I’ll keep this up.  But, boy do I need to.  And as I just worked three days straight and still have a ways to go, I am realizing that somehow things have gotten really out of hand here.  Well…somehow?  I know how.  It’s seven kids!  Actually, it’s the other grown-up too.  I think I am really the only person in this house that puts things away without being reminded.  I’m outnumbered.  At any rate, I hope this spring cleaning thing lasts me through all the projects I have swimming around in my head!

Must. Keep. Cleaning.

p.s.  So unrelated, but Beatrix has her first loose tooth and she is so excited!

My System

For three days, I’ve been trying to empty and sort two laundry baskets filled with miscellaneous items of clothing.  These baskets truly defy me.  My system for most problems is to try to break them down, to simplify.  It’s like math!  My garden?  It’s divided into individual framed beds so I can tend them one at a time.  Laundry?  The three older boys each handle their own.  Jonny and I combine our laundry with Silas and Job’s.  In theory, the girls are supposed to handle their own, though typically their dirty clothes end up mixed with ours or in corners, under furniture, in the yard, you name it.  They sometimes do manage to fold and put their clean laundry away, but it takes some prodding, and often assistance.  Dirty kitchen towels and rags are collected in a wire basket to be washed on their own.  The same goes for bath towels.

The problem with these two particular baskets of laundry is that they fall outside my system.  They are the product of the cleaning out of vehicles, the gathering of dirty items left on the front porch, or dropped in a hurry inside the front door on a muddy day.  My guess is that there are a lot of items buried in those baskets that belong to the girls, and I’m afraid that the bag of “one socks” might have been tossed in as well.  The task is daunting.  And before I can even begin, I realize that the girls’ closet must be reorganized.   I can’t put anything away there with it in its current condition.  As I begin, I notice that I need to purge some clothing.   But first, I’ll need to clean out the trunk of the car.  I have this bad habit of putting bags of clothing to donate back there and not actually dropping them off for months.  Because of the amount of other things that are hauled in and out of that trunk, my bags end up shredded, items to be donated are strewn about and mixed with items meant to be kept.  The clothing gets brought back in to be sorted, washed, and re-bagged again.  It’s a terrible thing.  I need to do better.

Today, I have one child sick with a stomach virus.  It will truly be a miracle if that number doesn’t rise in the coming days, but I do believe in miracles.  I also have one toddler who doesn’t want to nap.  Did I tell you that he can climb out of his crib now?  I’ve never been a master at the sleep thing with small children and don’t have the luxury of a child-proofed room for the baby so this is tricky, and ultimately, very inconvenient.

We’ve officially entered the season of mud, and the shoes by the door along with muddy dog tracks across the floor are evidence of this.  Jonny and the boys are building a small barn.  They hope to get it under roof tonight, as the forecast is calling for 4 to 8 inches of snow in the next twenty-four hours.

At this point, I’m simply hoping that Job will take a nap.  The trunk of the car is tidied, and items to be donated are neatly bagged and ready (again.)  The girls’ closet is organized (again.)  Those baskets of random laundry will probably have to sit another day.  I’ll try not to let them taunt me.

The truth of the matter is that life mostly falls outside of my system.  I don’t get to have everything broken down into easy little pieces, and it’s best to learn to deal with what I’m handed.