Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chore Chart Week: Wednesday - and a tour of Espen's room

Yesterday was the day for cleaning the bedrooms, and to be honest, it kind of got the better of me. Besides there just being a lot to do, I couldn't do anything with Espen's room or the guestroom next door while he was napping, without risking waking him up. And with Espen not being one of those babies who naps happily to the sound of the vacuum cleaner, I had to keep that quiet too. It was kind of trickyl!

But, I did what I could: in our room I decluttered the dresser (seriously, we should not be allowed flat surfaces!), I put away clean laundry and did another load, I dusted and generally picked up as much of the room as I could in whatever short bursts I could had.

I was really kind of dragging and feeling unfocused and unmotivated, though. I think having three rooms to do made it so I drifted back and forth between them without really accomplishing much. The guest room should have taken about 20 minutes tops, and I still haven't finished it yet. I did put a few things away and wash the sheets, but they still haven't made it back onto the bed yet. Oh well. At least I managed to vacuum the entire upstairs after Nick came home and could console Espen, who is not a fan of the mighty vacuum cleaner.

I did, however, manage to get Espen's room cleaned, dusted, vacuumed and put away. I can't take all the credit, though, seeing as I had some help with the clean laundry:

Once his room was all nice and tidy, I decided to finally post some photos of Espen's room for you to see. Y'know, like I promised to about 9 months ago. We finally have curtains up now, so it feels a lot more complete and the the room I wanted it to be:

Above is the view from the door. The light isn't all that great because I took these photos in the late afternoon when the sun was streaming in the window. But you get the idea! Nick's mother sewed the curtains, and I am so pleased with how they turned out!

One of my very favourite things in Espen's room is the mural above his crib. We ordered it from Simple Shapes, and I am so happy with how it looks. I'm typically really not a big fan of vinyl decals (sorry!), but we wanted something for the walls above his crib, but needed to make sure it was something Espen couldn't pull into his bed, or that might fall on him. And his tree really is perfect. The blanket was crocheted by a friend. I really love being able to add thoughtful little touches like that to the room.

This is just a detail of the tiny wall between the door and the closet. My mum gave Espen the hooks, and the picture is a print by the Swedish artist Carl Larsson of his son, Esbjörn. Which is incidentally the Swedish form of Espen. You can get a closer look here.

This is the only unfinished space. I want to get a cool print to hang above the small table, but haven't found quite the right thing yet. The blanket hanging over the chair was made by Nick's now-100 year old grandmother. She made it for Nick when he was a baby, but Nick's mom thought it was too nice to use, and so she kept it safe for over 30 years, and now we are lucky enough to have it! I still think it's too nice and too special for Espen to crawl around on, so it's mostly decorative these days.
The giraffe winds up and plays "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" and Espen listens to it whenever it's time to fall asleep. I'm sure you were wondering about the big blue penguin too - it's a humidifier :)

And that's it! That's where our little guy sleeps and lives out his tiny human drama.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chore Chart Week: Tuesday

It struck me today, while taking vaguely artsy photos of my bathroom fixtures (that I don't even like), that blogging makes you do some funny things. Meh, whatever gets the job done, right?

And today, my friends, I got the job done.

I cleaned three bathrooms. Granted, I had cleaned them all last week, which made the job a lot quicker and easier. Which yet again goes on to support my thesis that this project does, in fact, rock my housekeeping world. The first two probably took about 30 minutes total: I cleaned the mirror. I wiped down and disinfected all the fixtures and surfaces. I cleaned the toilet. I put in fresh towels and refilled the soap dispenser. I rinsed and repeated and moved on to the next bathroom.

Then I read books with Espen, who let me know that he was not a huge fan of playing on the carpet outside the bathroom door. And, honestly, neither was I, as bathroom cleaners and babies do not seem like a winning combination. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for a non-toxic bathroom cleaner that actually works on hard water stains. However, we were both fans of story time, and you will be endlessly relieved to know that we did find our monster - its ears are so fluffy!

While Espen napped, I finished up the third bathroom. It only took 20 minutes, and so I was all done by 4:30 PM. And then I relaxed. Nice!

In other news, I just finished my fifth cap for Caps for Good! I'm hoping to make three more by Friday, for a total of eight. And very coolly, the people at sent me a little shout-out on their Facebook page. That made my day :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chore Chart Week: Monday

I bet you have been positively dying to find out how my first day of chore charting went!

Well, the photo shows my nice and clean living room, as well as our new furniture. One of the things I really like about this new set up is that is leaves very few flat surfaces for clutter, which forces us to find homes for things, rather than deposit them on the coffee table, or on our end tables. Because now we don't even have end tables. Ha!

Anyway, back to cleaning: The living room was pretty quick and easy. I picked up the clutter and put things away. I straightened the couch. I picked up the 40,000 toys from Espen's corner of the room. I vacuumed. Done. This was made a lot quicker and easier due to the fact that I had already dusted and cleaned the living room on Friday, which lends credence to my theory that you can get away with doing a little bit often, rather than a whole lot every once in a while. I think the whole thing took me about 20-30 minutes.

The kitchen was a different story. Even though I had mopped and cleaned on Friday, it was suffering deeply from the battle wounds of the weekend, where no one was willing to take responsibility for more than a load of dishes. I was also running out of time before Nick got home (no productive behaviour after 6 PM!), and Espen was awake, which meant that I could only do things in pretty short spurts. I had already set the oven to self-clean, so it had already gloriously cleaned itself for five hours, which meant that all I had to do was wipe out the white ashy stuff. I wish all appliances could clean themselves. Then I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher, wiped down the counters and table and washed all the hand-washable stuff. And that was basically it.

I would have liked to do a much more thorough job, but Espen was not in the mood for sharing. It looked miles better when I was done, though, which was really the point. Then we made dinner, and were almost back to where we started.

Ever get the feeling of constantly pushing a giant boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll down and start all over again?

And today - bathrooms! The thrills! The spills! No wonder you read my blog :)

Chore Chart Week

Thank you, my lovelies, for missing me while I've been absent. You know who you are, and your emails made me so happy! It is a good feeling when someone lets you know that your absence has been felt. :)

I write this to you from the midst of the wreckage that is our home after a glorious weekend was spent in it: On Friday we had some lovely friends over for dinner (the crockpot is still in the sink), Saturday night was spent lounging around on our new couch (pillows and blankets everywhere), we went for a walk on Sunday after church (the stroller is still out) and then spent the evening relaxing at home (my knitting has taken over half the coffee table). This morning I played with Espen (toys everywhere) and put the oven on self-clean (oven racks taking over my kitchen).

The point is, my friends, that in spite of being a stay at home mom/homemaker/housewife/whatever label you'd like to slap on me, I'm just not all that good at it.

OK, let me explain that a bit. First of all, I think I'm a pretty awesome mom, and make very few apologies for my efforts there. And second, it's not that I'm not capable of cooking and cleaning and taking care of our home, it's just that I don't actually do it.


I start each and every day with good intentions for all of the wonderful things I'm going to accomplish, but then things happen and life just sort of gets in the way, and before you know it, I'm standing in my kitchen looking at all of the things that need doing, and I just feel so tired and so overwhelmed and oh, Espen just woke up from his nap and needs me. And then Nick comes home and all I want to do is be with him. And not in the "let's keep each other company while we scrub the bathtub" sort of way.


This week I am going to rectify this situation by making my self a little chore chart where I will assign myself a task or two each day, and that is it. The chart goes a little something like this (and a-one-and-a-two):

Monday: Kitchen and living room
Tuesday: Bathrooms
Wednesday: Bedrooms
Thursday: Choose your own adventure
Friday: Kitchen and living room - again

The kitchen and living room get cleaned twice because they are the rooms we use the most. Thursday will be for whatever is driving me crazy at the moment, or for things I've been intending to do for ages, but never get around to. Like going through the junk drawer in the laundry room. And of course things like laundry and dishes and taking out the trash will be done as needed.

I'll try to keep you guys updated as I go. What is the bane of your housekeeping existence and can you come up with a snappier title than "chore chart week"?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Project Service Project, September: In which Tamsin has a lot to say, and tells y'all about Caps for Good

OK, that was fun! I really enjoyed doing the giveaway - what did you guys think? Do you enjoy a good prize-winning opportunity, or would you rather I just keep on keepin' on with my regular old projects? I kept the competition open for two weeks to make sure that as many of you that wanted to could enter, but that felt like kind a long time to me. How about you - did you find it annoying how I kept harping on about the giveaway?

On to other things.

First up, Nick and I are kind of engrossed in a couple of projects of our own, one of them being Project-New-Living-Room. New furniture will be arriving tomorrow, and so we are frantically trying to sell our beloved couch to make room for a new, bigger and prettier one. With an accompanying ottoman to replace our coffee table. I am very excited.

Or other project is the abolishment of treats on weekdays. Basically, we're trying to get into some good eating habits before Espen grows up and picks up our bad ones. So now we're on our third week of no evening treats, and it's going pretty well. We eat whatever we want to on the weekends, so Mondays have been hard, but by about Wednesday I'm all kinds of virtuous and glowy. Which doesn't mean that I'm not ready to break down on Fridays and declare it the official start of the weekend, but so far, so good. We will see how we go.

Now, onto Project Service Project!

I still need to post photos of the finished results for August, but you are going to immediately forgive me in your heart for that little delinquency ('k, go!). As I was thinking about what to do for September, I found I was still in a making mood, and feeling tender-hearted over babies getting a rough start in life, without the basic essentials. So, when I stumbled across Caps for Good, a campaign fronted by Save The Children, I knew I had to take part. Basically, it's a campaign where you knit or crochet hats for newborn babies in developing countries, and then mail them in.

For little guys and girls like this:

As a mother, I can't imagine trying to take care of a baby in a situation where something as simple as a hat could mean the difference between life and death for my child. And as a mother, I can't imagine not reaching out to someone facing that situation. I'm not sure how many caps I can make this month, but if even just one little baby gets an easier start to life because of something I did, I will consider it a privilege to help.

Guess what?

You can help too! All the information you need to participate can be found here. And again, if you live in my area (Utah Valley) and want to make something, please feel free to give it to me, and I will be happy to mail it in with mine. I will send mine off during the first week or so of October, so please get your caps to me by then.

And please read FAQ section included in the link above before you get your yarn out, so you can be sure to make a cap that can be used.

I look forward to hearing from you! And, if you decide to take part in Caps for Good send things in on your own, please tell me about it! I'd love to share photos of your work here on my blog.

Photo found here, along with a great article about Caps for Good.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

And the winner is....

I am so glad I had to pick for me, because I would have hated to have to play favourites with you! I've really enjoyed reading your comments and stories about service, and really recommend that anyone in need of a boost in their faith in humanity head over and read them right now.

Oh wait... you wanted to know who won? OK, I'll tell you:

It was....


OK, seeing as that means nothing to you, let me tell you that the winner of the $40 gift card to CSN Stores was the lovely Carolyn, who said:

Congratulations, Carolyn! I couldn't have picked a better winner :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Technical difficulties

Fear not, my pretties, I am still among you. However, I do need to tell you that a minor tragedy has struck us. After almost six years of faithful service, my sweet little iBook has finally given up the ghost/shuffled off this mortal coil/popped its tiny clogs.

And I mourn its loss.

While it is kind of amazing that it has lasted this long, and we've known that this day would come for quite some time, I'm still surprised at how lost I am without it. Fortunately, Nick had the foresight to make sure we had external hard drives to back up all of the important stuff, but it's the little things that get me. My settings, not having easy access to my photos or music, having to search out all the websites I frequent again... oh, the list goes on.

Plus, as a stay at home mama, my laptop was in a very real sense my link to the verbally communicating world. And to all of you guys. Oh, how I miss your little shining faces!


Calming down.

All is not lost. Nick has very graciously lent me his (equally geriatric) laptop to use for now, while we try to work out the details of whether or not we should get a replacement (This would be a perfect opportunity for Apple to show their generosity and grassrootsiness by giving me a new one, I think). Of course we want one, but there are so many other things on our shopping list: baby-safe living room furniture, an iPod Touch or two, all of the home improvement projects I've had mentally lined up for the colder months... so, we'll see.

The point is, I will still be blogging, but probably in a somewhat amputated form for a little while. Case in point: I was going to include a photo of me and my laptop in happier times, but that would involve getting out the hard drive and wading through literally thousands of photos. So please take a moment to imagine us together. You just can't get too comfy on someone else's computer, and something tells me Nick might not find it too adorable if I plopped 6,000 images almost as many songs onto his hard drive.

I'll be back on Saturday night to announce the winner of the CSN Stores giveaway, so if you haven't entered yet, now is the time to do it.

Then, following that little escapade, I will try to get caught up on Project Service Project for August, and tell you what I'll be up to for September.

I'll miss you, little lappy. In the immortal words of Andrew Lloyd Webber...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Project Service Project, August: Argh!

As you have likely noticed, it is now September. It is now September, and I still haven't finished sewing the newborn gown. By way of excuses I could tell you that we have family arriving in town this afternoon and life with a teething Espen is just generally unpredictable, but I'm not going to make excuses. I am just going to finish up the newborn kit as soon as I find a few-hour block to do it in.

Until then, may I placate you with this photo of Espen modeling the blanket I sewed? It doesn't really show off the blanket very well (quite possibly not a bad thing), but it does show off Espen,which in my book is a very good thing.

(If you go looking for lint on my carpet, I will disown you forthwith.)

Have a loverly weekend, me pretties, and to all you Americans - enjoy the extra day off!

I am going to keep mentioning the giveaway until each and every last one of you have entered. Especially you. Do you have any idea how much I would love for you to win? Go on, do it for me.