Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Redecorating, Remodeling, Recreating.......

After settling with the fact that our home belongs to our kiddos, at least for now. The hubby and I decided to go ahead and give a little TLC to our bedroom. I have been looking at the same blue walls for 9 years and I don't even like the color blue. I'm not quite sure how the walls came to be that color in the first place and I've been wanting to repaint them for quite awhile but just haven't had the time.

As we've spent the last two weeks painting, redecorating, reorganizing, and creating our bedroom into the peaceful retreat that I want it to be; I've come to realize that's exactly what I've been doing with my life these last few months.  Redecorating and life.

Take Everything Out: Clear the Clutter
When  you redecorate a room, the first thing you  do is take everything out. You take things off the walls, maybe clean out the drawers, move furniture around so you can get to the walls in order to paint. Behind the furniture you find dust, dirt, and things you forgot you had and no longer use. Exactly what needs to be done when you need to clean up or "remodel" your life. When your life is so  full of clutter, so much so that you can't see what's important when it's right in front of you, when life is too crazy and busy for you to even enjoy it, it's time for a remodel.   A few months ago, this is exactly where I was. And so I began the process of "remodeling" my life. My life was  full of color coded calendars, conference calls, various meetings, constant phone calls, too much computer time, overcommitment and it was time to declutter. For every person, I think the process of decluttering is different. For me, it truly did consist of  removing almost everything that was "normal" to me  within my daily schedule. I won't go into all the details but there was some self discovery from all the "dirt" that was left behind from my decluttering. There were things that hadn't been tended to due to my busy schedule and when I say things I don't just mean tangible things.  When our lives become so overfilled with clutter we tend to neglect relationships, values, our homes, and often times our health.

Keep it or Junk It?
One of the most important steps when restructuring a room is  deciding what to keep. Usually after you clear everything out and take everything off the walls, you're actually just left with a bigger mess. It's at this point that you have to choose what's going and what's staying. I think this is the most difficult part because I think it's in our nature to want to keep things that are familiar to us. You have old things that you are accustomed to, things that you have invested in and don't want to get rid of, or maybe items that you want to keep but there's just no room or they don't go with your new decor.

A remodel or change in our lives can simulate this as well.  I wanted to keep everything, well almost everything.... I didn't want to keep the life sucking job. But more often than not we want to keep what is familiar.  It is difficult for people, especially women, to cut things out of their life. This is true even if there is not enough time in our lives to fit everything in. It is as if we have to fit in all the "mommy activities" whether it be helping in a classroom, schooling our own child, or helping with school projects as well as our friendships, our hobbies or "interests" so that we still have something "for ourselves", keeping the husband happy, jobs, house maintenance, church activities and the list goes on.

So how do you decide what to keep? For me, I realized I needed very little. You keep what's most important. You keep things that will be useful in your new "remodel".  It's so simple.....  you keep only what you LOVE. 

Modify What You Have and Make It Beautiful
You've decluttered and decided what to keep but some of the things you're deciding to keep will most likely need to be changed in order to fit into your "new design". Our room looks COMPLETELY different but do you know there are very few things in our room that are new.  We used the same pictures frames but painted them and used them in other ways. We painted all of our furniture and added little touches to things we already had in our bedroom or around our home. We turned a closet door into a headboard and sheets into curtains. Simply put, when you modify your life many times it consists of using what is already there and putting it to better use.

The Vision
Whenever we redecorate a room, I usually have a vision of what I want it to look like at the end. I think it's good to have some sort of idea of where you're going to end up. What do you want it to look like after you've made all these changes? And all throughout redecorating, it is essential to keep the end result in mind.  I believe in having a "vision" of what you want your life to look like, pray on that vision often, and as you make decisions make sure they align with your "end result".  For me, this is ongoing. I am being cautious not to over involve myself or my children. I say no to things if they will overcommit my time or my family's time. It is a careful balance of trying to create a new life that doesn't end up looking just like the old one.

Maintaining the New Look
The most difficult part for me is getting rid of stuff but maintaining the new decor is next in line. You work hard and get the room looking all nice and within two weeks it's a mess. There's laundry on the floor, things in the room that don't belong, dust and mess from lack of time and attention. Isn't this so typical when we try to make big changes in our lives?  We say we're going to do things different, we start the clean up and live that way for awhile and then within a short amount of time we're back to where we started. I don't know maybe it's because we didn't remove everything we should have or maybe we added things during our "remodel" that were unnecessary or our "vision" wasn't clear enough. Whatever the reason, often times we end up with a different looking room but we're in the same messy situation.

I'm still in the process of adding things back in and rechecking decisions against my "vision" and so I don't really know how to maintain the "remodel". My schedule will most likely overfill and at some point in time I will overcommit. However, there is one thing I know for certain and it is that I never want my life to look like it did before "the remodel".  It seems quite appropriate that at this point I am now looking at yellow walls instead of blue.....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Living with Boys

Girls and boys are different. Everyone knows that, right? I don't think I realized just how different until I had my third boy and everyone around me kept having more girls. There are some things that just seem inevitable if you live with boys. This list could go on longer but these are just the ones that came to my mind first. If you have boys, I think you'll be able to relate to the following and if you have girls you may be glad you don't have boys.......

1. The Bathroom

 If you have boys than you know that the bathroom is an ongoing battle. Or maybe your boys just have better aim than mine. I have sat in urine countless times. It doesn't matter that we've tried to teach them to wipe the seat when they miss, which is 95% of the time. And the pee that doesn't end up in the toliet or on the seat, inevitably dribbles onto the floor creating a yellow stain at the bottom of the toliet. By the end of the day the urine smell can permeate the entire bathroom. When I know someone is going to be coming over, I wipe everything down and hope the boys don't use it before the guest needs to. And when people come over unexpectedly and  ask to use the restroom,  I wonder if they can see me cringing inside as I say, " Excuse the mess, you know it's a boys' bathroom." I will never forget the time my mother n law came to stay. She brought me a washcloth and said," Smell this." It had a very distinct smell of urine but yet she had taken it from the drawer of "clean" washcloths. Turns out the 4 year old had been wiping his pee off the toliet seat with the washcloths and then putting them back in the drawer.  That story pretty much sums up what it is like to share your bathroom with boys. And I can tell you I'm not that excited about potty training the 2 year old because it's just one more person whose going to pee on my bathroom floor.

Image Detail
I need this sign for the boys' bathroom!

2. Noise Level: Redefine your definition of loud

They're LOUD. All of the time. Even when they're trying to be quiet.  Boys make noise constantly. They like the TV loud, they listen to their music at a high volume, and whisper is not even in their vocabulary. They can be doing something as simple as eating or playing with a toy car, but while they're doing it they're making noise. Almost every time we're in the car, I wish we had one of those windows (like the kind they have in limosines) that separate the driver from the passengers. Seriously, don't you think that would be a great invention for parents? Then you could actually have a conversation with your spouse in the car. If we try to talk to each other in the car it's like a cue for someone to cry, yell, sing, fight, or take swings at each other with objects even though they they don't sit right next to each other. However, at times, I find myself  immune to the noise. That is until I see other people staring at me. The glare usually means one of three things;
 "Aren't those boys so cute", " Really? You should have better control over your children.", or my favorite which people actually say out loud to me at least once a week, " Wow! You must really have your hands full." Please don't say that to me. Of course I have my hands full, I am the mother of 3 young boys. You don't have to tell me what I already know.

3. Become Inventive with BabyProofing

This may not be true for all parents of boys. But I have personally observed boys to be inquisitive, and mine happen to be extremely inquisitive. If there's a way to climb it, it will be climbed. If there's not a way to climb it, they will find something to use as a stool so they can climb it. And when I say something, I mean anything can be used as a stool. The two year old's current stool is a Sit and Spin.  You know the toy where you spin the top so you can turn in circles.  Not the most sturdy object to be standing on top of. If you think they can't open it, they probably can and if they're not supposed to touch it, they probably will and then they will take it apart and they may even try to put it back together. Two of the three boys required baby proofing such as locks for cabinets and door knob handles so they wouldn't get out. The first one got into stuff in a way that normal boys do when they are exploring their world and entertaining their curiousity. The second child, well he was just content living within his own world so he wasn't that interested in exploring ours. Now the third one is an entirely different breed of boys.  I think we should seriously consider hiring him out to babyproofing companies. One of his favorite things to do is take the baby safety outlet covers out of the outlets. We bought a fridge lock but he just breaks it off. After 3 different refrigerator locks,  now we just tie it closed with his pajama pant bottoms. Honestly, I don't think you can child proof for boys because you never know what they are going to do next......

4. Weapons

Anything can be turned into a weapon. We don't allow our children to have toy guns, besides Nerf Guns, and yet any object is bound to end up as a gun or something that shoots.  We also don't permit them to watch movies, cartoons, or TV shows with violence. But yet they still reenact shooting and fighting with their toys or in their drawings. And if a toy or object is not turned into a gun, then it will most likely be made into a sword. Because if they're not shooting people then they are hitting each other with some sort of object.

5.  The New Clean is ~ Slightly Dirty

They can be dressed and within 10-15 minutes they're dirty again. Either they've gotten toothpaste, food, or snot on their shirt. A boys shirt is a shirt, a napkin, and a tissue all in one. They own very few pairs of pants that don't have holes in the knees. Shoes last about a month and then they usually have holes worn in them. Brushing teeth, well let's just say that could be an entirely separate post. You may not know this but we really do brush their hair every day, well almost every day. But you can't tell by the time they leave the house. "Slightly dirty" as the new clean not only applies to hygiene but to how well they do chores. Remember the bathroom issue. Well the 9 year old is in charge of cleaning the bathroom once a week. Sometimes when he's done cleaning that yellow pee stain is still on the bottom of the floor.  Of course I make him redo it but I swear he thinks it's clean enough.

Despite all of these idiosyncrasies, I love having boys. For some reason, God gave me these three crazy, active little boys. They keep me on my toes and teach me more about the world around me than most grown - ups I know. Therefore, I will embrace the sword fighting, frog catching, and even the pee stained floor over the pretty bows and frilly dresses.