Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dirty Secret Saturday

My best friend, Megan, got together with a couple of other bloggers and decided to put together a link up called “Dirty Secret Saturday”. You can read about it here. It’s just an opportunity to share a hidden something in a place where judgment is checked at the door. The link up came at a perfect time for me. I have something I really need to get off my chest. My own demon of a dirty little secret…

I throw away most of the stuff my kid brings home from school.                                                                                   

There. I said it.

Not all of it. I swear I keep the important stuff. But this kid brings home an INSANE amount of “Busy Work”. Worksheets and graphs and things that I’m sure he’s worked really, really hard on. I feel guilty when I throw it away. You can tell by the fact that I pile things on top of the drawings and math sheets and word puzzles so he won’t find out I threw away his work. I don’t know what else to do with it. There’s no place for it. It takes over my entire house if I don’t throw it away. Packing it away would not fix the problem. The boxes would take over and my house would, honest to God, look like an episode of Hoarders.  

I know I’m not the only one. In fact, a friend of mine just confessed she was guilty of the same thing as she tossed a pile of it in the garbage while our kids played outside. Her pantry door, like my refrigerator door, is covered in various pieces of art created by her 5 year old. I’m sure you’ll find homemade projects in various forms of glue and glitter in her holiday boxes, tucked away so they will be joyfully removed and hung around the house once a year. They will be enjoyed. They will no doubt create nostalgia as she, like myself, looks back at years gone by and remembers the smell of kindergarten. Then, when the hearts are removed or the turkey is eaten or the tree is put away, those beautiful works of art go back in the box and they don’t get looked at again for 12 months.

I’m not a completely horrible mother. I do keep stuff. But, I throw more away.

It might not seem like much of a secret. If I got one mom to confess, I’m sure there are plenty more. It does, however, feel kind of dirty to me.  

Here’s why.

I’m a creator of printed things. I write. I write a lot of stuff that isn’t very good. I keep it anyway. It’s important to me. It’s my work. I honestly don’t believe Logan feels this way about most of the stuff he brings home, but even if he feels a little like that, I’m convinced I’m screwing him up.  

When I throw away Logan’s printed things, I feel like I’m robbing him of something. His creative process. His toil.

Is this insane?


But I tell you what…It sure feels good to let it out!

Cheers to Dirty Secret Saturday. I really do feel so much better.


Friday, February 24, 2012

My brother is HOME! (Snapshot Edition)

Today has been an exciting day. A very, very exciting day. My little brother, Sgt. Austin T. Lewis, returned home safely to his family today after a tour in Afghanistan. We are all SO thrilled and relieved and excited and proud and...

The list goes on forever.

Sometime soon I plan to actually calm down long enough to write a whole post about his homecoming. I just can't do it today. There is so much happening in my head that it would be super long and super mushy.

The bottom line is: He's Home!!!!!  

Here are just a few of the pictures from the day.

These are my boys, waiting patiently. Logan made that sign himself (mostly) and Brodie was super proud of his American Flag. If this picture doesn't scream U.S.A., I don't know what does.

Some friends of the family rode their Harleys to the airport to greet my brother's unit and then escorted them to the base to see us. This is Kasey Burton. Yes, that's an American Flag jacket she's wearing. Yes, she's a total badass. Yes, she cried several times throughtout the day. Her husband, Jack, said "This is the coolest thing I've ever done." They were honored to be escorts and we were honored, too.

This is my brother, Austin and his fiance, Meganne. They did this for several minutes. They did NOT notice me taking this picture. I'm glad. It makes the picture better. They may have missed one another.

 This is me hugging my brother. I think he was excited to see me, too. Not as much as Meganne, duh, but still, he was excited...

Logan and his Unc. They're kinda close. This is a VERY BIG DEAL...for them both.

And Brodie and his Unc. He's been gone awhile. Brodie forgot how cool Unc was. It didn't take him long to remember. By the end of the day, they were shooting guns.

This is the first and only time I've seen my dad get emotional through this whole deployment. It was really, really neat to get to watch.

All of the excitement got to Grandpa Bud, it seems. He climbed in the back of the Government owned 15 passenger van and took a nap. Seriously, Grandpa? Well, his hat does say US Navy, retired. Guess he earned it.
This is, by far, one of my new favorite pictures. How proud am I? How freakin' grown up is he? You know, we call him "The Golden Child"? You wanna know why? 'Cause he totally is! The kid is just amazing. And, I'm not just saying that because he's home safely from war. I'm saying that because it's the truth.

Happy Friday, or as we've been calling it, National Unc Day!!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Washable Wednesday: Gettin' a housekeeper

You’ll have to forgive me for the corny double meaning of this week’s Washable. (and also for the fact that it didn't come out until Thursday. Monday was a holiday. Get over it.)

I’ve been saying I wanted a “Maid” for years. And years. I’m pretty messy. Always have been. I’ve gotten better over the years, but not a whole lot better. I do clean my house. It just doesn’t stay clean for very long. In fact, my sister posted this on my facebook wall the other day.

It actually made me laugh because it’s so true. A good girlfriend of mine commented on the picture saying she was pretty sure she’d actually heard me say those exact words. I’m pretty sure she’s right. I like my house to be clean. I think everyone likes their house to be clean. I actually don’t even mind doing housework. I like the process. It’s kind of therapeutic to me. I like the end result, the sense of accomplishment.

Now, that being said, my house is not always clean. Sure, the dishes get done every day, the trash gets taken out and I even try to vacuum the main living areas two or three times a week. But, just trying to keep the toys picked up is a full time job and my baseboards and bookshelf have been dusted, like, twice since we moved in this house a year ago. We’re a messy family. All of us. And my husband, God love him, isn’t much of a cleaner. (Which isn’t all that bad considering he also never gives me a bad time about the house being messy) The result of us all being messy and me being the only one who cleans, means I make 25 percent of the mess and am expected to clean up 100 percent of it. Sometimes, I don’t get to everything.

Not long ago, I was convinced I should have had the time to do it all. I wasn’t earning a paycheck. I was home all day with Logan. Not only could I not afford a housekeeper, but I really should have been doing a better job cleaning the house myself. Hiring one was out of the question. Then, later, when I did start working again, I worked part-time and at night. I was still home all day with Logan and I would just have to learn to be better at keeping up. That’s what good mothers and wives do, right? They manage to do it all, do it all perfectly and maintain a fantastic house. Thinking I could justify a housekeeper meant admitting that I wasn’t good enough at my job as a wife and a mother. So, I didn’t hire one. I kept spinning my wheels, trying to keep up, convinced that one day I’d be able to do a better job.

I’m sure I didn’t get these ideas from thin air, either. We, as women, are hard on one another. We often believe that a housekeeper is reserved for those women who have nothing better to do with their money, not those of us who live in the real world. They were for those women who live a charmed life and surely not the kind of life I live, filled with worn in furniture and home accents from Wal-mart and Target. Or, as a good friend of mine’s husband likes to say, those women who don’t take enough pride in their own homes to clean them themselves. How many times have I, myself, said, “Yeah, well, of course she can do that. She probably has a freakin’ housekeeper. If I had a housekeeper, I’d probably have time to do that too.”

The truth of the matter is, with a little time management, I probably could keep up. I could have kept up back then. I could spend the time cleaning my own ceiling fans and wiping all the cabinet faces. If I tweaked things just right, I could get to the fingerprints on the back door and the TV in my bedroom more often. The second truth of the matter is…I don’t want to.

There it is. That’s the truth. I. don’t. want. to.

I work 5 days/25-30 hours a week. Add that together with Logan and Brodie and you get well over 40 hours. My husband is at work when the boys and I are home. I work 8 hour shifts on Saturdays and Sundays which, of course, are his days off. When I AM home with Jeremy, I don't want to waste time cleaning. I want to spend it with him. Or, you know, taking advantage of the fact that he's home so I can talk on the phone for an hour. I work through Brodie's naptime. I work through Logan being at school. On the two days a week I AM home for naptime, I want to spend it napping, too. Or reading. Or catching up on my DVR. Or writing this blog.  I DO NOT want to spend it cleaning. But…I still want it to be cleaned. And, I’ve decided there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting someone else to dust so I can spend Tuesday evenings making pizza for dinner with my kids.

When I started thinking about the idea this time, I wanted to find out the low-down on housekeepers. What they actually cost (Way less than I thought) and what they actually do. So, I got in touch with a fellow mommy friend of mine. She is the mother of a pre-schooler and twin one year old girls. She had a housekeeper when she was the mommy of one and worked outside of the home and she still has a housekeeper now that she stays home full-time and is the mother of three.

She actually told me that her housekeeper is the most important person in her life. This statement alone is funny and God love her for saying it. She followed it up by saying that she functions better in a clean environment and that her housekeeper is a sanity saver. That second chunk is significant. I’m sure “The most important” is a bit of an exaggeration, but in order to function correctly and be the wife to one and mother to three that she is, I’d be willing to bet the housekeeper really is in the top 10. She also added that hiring a housekeeper was the nicest thing you could do for yourself.

I’ve decided to take on this attitude. The thought that hiring someone to do the stuff I don’t want to do, don’t make the time to do, is really just a nice thing I’m doing for myself and my family. How is it different than taking my car through a car wash or having my awesome, yet overly talkative, gardener edge my lawn? I get to have clean bathtubs and fingerprint free door jams while my books, DVR and blog (Oh, and children and husband) don’t get neglected either. It’s a win-win.

I don’t expect the housekeeper to be a magical cleaning fairy who picks up Jeremy’s dirty socks or keeps my dirty laundry all in one place. I know I’m still going to have to keep the dishes put up and the floors vacuumed and the toys put away. I can manage that. I mean, realistically manage that. I also get that a housekeeper is a luxury and I can only pay someone to do so much. Trust me, I get it. I also work in an industry where depending on people to indulge in luxuries keeps my power on. People don’t go out to eat, I don’t get paid. The way I see it, I’m really just passing that along, right?

The bottom line is this...I'm hiring a housekeeper! My house will be cleaner. I will be happier. This is good news.

Happy Wednesday (Thursday)!