Project Simplify: Update

Well, it’s been a couple of months since I have posted, but life has continued and my efforts have been elsewhere lately.  Summer is in full swing here in Louisiana, so our days are filled with playing outside and going on “adventures” in the area.  I prefer to spend my days playing with my kiddos, so I have been working hard to not work so hard around the house (does that make sense?) I initiated Project Simplify a couple of months ago to help me get my life in order and establish a routine for myself.  This post is to show myself that I HAVE made progress, even when it doesn’t always feel that way.

kitchenFirst off, I have been doing much better with housecleaning and maintenance chores.  I adopted a “morning routine” and “evening routine” that I read about on some blog somewhere.  In the morning, I unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, and prep dinner.  This has been SO incredibly helpful to get my day going and to feel like I have already crossed a ton off my to-do list.  The dinner prep part has been the most helpful, and I seriously encourage ALL stressed mommies to get into this habit.  With dinner either in the crockpot, thawing for the oven, or just prepped and ready to go, I feel like I don’t have to worry about it and don’t have that crazy 4:30 meltdown period in my day anymore.  It has been amazing!

My evening routine is a little more work, but it really works well for our schedule.  Once the kids are in bed (usually by 7:30 or 7:45pm), I get ALL dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down sink and counters, sweep kitchen, and get the playroom back in a state of order.  I can usually be sitting and relaxing by 8:30pm.  I love the feeling of waking up to a clean kitchen, and the kiddos appreciate having a clean space to start their morning play.

preplistAnother big change I have made to simplify my life is to have a big shopping and cooking day.  I have tried it twice since my last post, and I am really loving the time it gives me in the long run.  I will meal plan about 25 meals (includes double batches), shop for almost everything, and then spend a day cooking a TON and freezing meals.  For the rest of the month, I either pull from the freezer or have most ingredients on hand to whip up a quick dinner.  I only have to make a quick grocery run once or twice the rest of the month for fruit or a whole chicken.  (I am hoping to get a deep freezer soon, so I can have room for ALL my meat for the month at once.)

I really feel like I am finally starting to “figure out” this phase of my mommy life.  The kids are in good routines, the flow of our day is lovely, and we have time and energy to really get out and enjoy life.  I know soon enough things will change again, and I will have to get a new plan and adapt once more. But I kind of love that about mommyhood.  It is a constant challenge but with never-ending motivation to be and do the very best!

The above pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow along @angehayden for a glimpse into our happy little life!

Trying to Simplify

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One thing I am good at: getting my kids on a routine.  I don’t think I could bear getting out of bed if I didn’t have an expectation of how my day with two littles would go.  Jonah has had a solid routine for almost two years now, and although it has changed from stage to stage, he knows and expects it.  Let’s just say, you don’t want to be around if he misses a nap.  Penelope already seems like a much more laid-back kid, but even she gets fussy and overtired when our routine is off for the day.

I’m not a drill sergeant.  I will be flexible one day a week.  Sometimes.  :)

It is just really important to keeping my kids and myself happy when we have a flow to our day.  So, here’s where we get to my problem.  I can’t seem to get MYSELF on any sort of routine, and it’s driving me crazy! The house is never cleaned in any order.  The grocery shopping/cooking is random, even when I try to meal plan.  Projects around the house don’t seem to ever get finished.  My hobbies (aka blogging and reading blogs) are inconsistent (ahem, Ipostonceamonth, ahem).  What is WRONG with me?!?! Why is it so easy for me to manage the littles but not myself?

I’m declaring the rest of this month “Simplify and Organize My Life” month.  I want to FINALLY figure out a cleaning/cooking/shopping/planning/project-doing routine for me.  One that works and that is simple enough to actually stick to.  I am a stay-at-home mom for goodness sakes.  The major blessing of that: I HAVE TIME! I need to use my time more wisely and get myself together.  If it’s on the blog, then it has to happen.  Right? :)

I would love any tips or tricks you may have on keeping yourself in a simple, weekly routine.  How do you find the time to get all the chores and personal stuff done without feeling bogged down and crazy? I’m looking forward to posting what I decide to do soon.  First on my list: carve out weekly blogging time.  No, seriously.  I miss this and you all!

Getting Settled

It seems like moving takes twice as long when you have two littles to take care of amidst the chaos.  We’ve been “moved in” since Feb 2nd, yet I still have stuff everywhere. Sheesh!

Boxes are still waiting to be unpacked, but there has definitely been a big improvement in the stuff area.  I have taken a carload to Goodwill, and I am working on another one. We have filled up our big trashcan several times. I have stuck to my promise that nothing comes into the house unless it has a purpose and a place.  That doesn’t mean we still don’t have a ton of “stuff”, but I’m hoping it is far less than where we started on moving day.

house1We absolutely LOVE this house (ok, my love does not refer to the exterior paint colors but definitely everything else)! I know some people still think it is weird that we choose to rent instead of buy, but I love the flexibility we have AND that we have a home we can love.  The space in this house is incredible compared to our last one.  And the backyard…it is my favorite part of this house.  There is a door off the dining room/playroom that opens right to the deck.  Jonah can run in and out as he pleases.  I can be playing with Penny inside or getting dinner ready while Jo plays in my view right out back.  It is such a blessing.

I’m trying to focus on getting one room done at a time, but I have so many ideas and just want it all done at once.  It is overwhelming at times, but as of now we are living and playing and eating and sleeping.  Here is where we are at the moment:

  • Lucky Penelope is the only one with a “finished” room. She has all her furniture in place and art on the walls.
  • Jonah’s room is basically set up, but we want to add some more big boy furniture and fun art.
  • Our room is liveable, but I need something on the walls. I haven’t quite decided what I want to do in there.
  • The living room is in desperate need of furniture! We are couch hunting now and hope to make a decision soon.  We purchased a new tv stand in February, so we are excited to add to that.
  • The kitchen is functional but needs art and some more organization.
  • The playroom is finally coming along after a couple weeks of chaos and toys everywhere. We have a rug, some toy storage, and a fun wall treatment in there already.  I need to work on adding an art area and more storage.  I’m hoping this room will be the next one “finished”.

So, we are getting there.  As hard as it is to sit in unfinished spaces, I have to keep reminding myself that making a house “home” takes time.  I like to live in the space and see what works best.  Of course we can keep changing things as we go, but for the sake of our bank account, I like to try to make long-term decisions.  I’ll post pictures as rooms get more finished because right now, I promise, there isn’t much to see.

ps: Penny turned 7 months old last week.  I think I still may be in denial.  Did I mention she can sit up alone and she has started eating foods?! Where did the time go…

 

Stuff

Well, we did it.  We moved in a weekend after signing our lease just two days prior! It was fast, which is definitely not our usual style.  Now that I am on the other side of the move, I’m grateful we did it all so quickly.  I didn’t have to stress about packing or getting the kids adjusted. It’s done, and everyone is happy.

One thing I must say I don’t like about this situation is the UNpacking.  Things got thrown in bags and boxes and dumped into the garage.  I’m glad I don’t have to look at it every day, but I’m going to have to look THROUGH all of it.  One thing at a time.  It is incredibly overwhelming, but it must be done.

It’s amazing how our tiny, 1100 square feet held so much STUFF. How did all of that junk fit? We were definitely not using it all. What’s funny is most people tease me about giving away all our stuff all the time. In reality, we have 5x the amount of stuff I thought we did.  I just wasn’t seeing it all in a huge pile at once. What if we were living in a house twice the size?  Would we have twice as much stuff? Do we fill the space we are in no matter what?

For this house, my goal is to have empty shelves. I want to be able to breathe. Nothing is coming through that garage door unless it has a purpose and a place. That’s my rule for our new house.  I may also add the rule “if something comes in, something else must go out” for any new purchases we make.  I wonder if that could work. What do you think?

ps- I love this print.  I couldn’t even imagine doing this with our stuff right now.  Maybe if we didn’t have kids. :)   Found here.