Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Getting Kids to Clean

At what age does cleaning stop being fun? Right now it’s pretty sweet having kids who think cleaning is a game. Last night they were fighting over who got to help wash the dishes. So I set them both up at the sink and I just dried and put things away. I can see a future where they are doing the dishes by themselves while I’m having a drink on the porch (wouldn’t that be nice?). But by that age they will probably be uninterested in helping and they will be moaning the whole time.
Until then, I’m going to take advantage of their desire to help with cleaning.

I also have to put my perfectionism aside and let them help the best way they can. They don’t always get things as clean as I’d like, but really I get most annoyed when they don’t do things exactly the way I do it. I find myself thinking it would be easier to just do it myself. But that doesn’t help them learn. I can teach them the alphabet, but if I don’t teach them life skills they aren’t going to be functioning adults. So, if I want their help I need to resist criticizing and just add some gentle guidance.

I can also try to make it as fun as possible. I don’t love to clean – in fact I usually try to avoid it. But if I can make it fun for the kids, it is also more fun for me. Last week we tried washing the floor with socks on our feet and playing slip-n-slide. They had so much fun that they have been asking me everyday to do it again.
Yes, we will be doing this again!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Managing the Heat

Sometimes I feel that one of my major jobs is managing the heat in the house. In the winter I’m trying to keep the heat in; plugging up holes where cold air is creeping in, stuffing towels in the windows that gap, opening blinds when the sun is trying to shine, closing off entire rooms that have electric heaters (expensive to run!), but often it comes down to moving a space heater around with me from room to room.

Now we are trying to keep the heat out of an old house without central air. We open every window during the night and have window fans bringing in the cool air. Then in the morning I have to run around closing them all and closing all the blinds so no sun can heat up the rooms. Last week there were several nice days that I was able to leave the windows open all day to get a nice breeze and it wasn’t too hot. That was heavenly!
But the last few days have been HOT, so we have come to the point in the summer that we really need to haul the window air conditioning unit from the basement up to our bedroom. I say we, but I really mean my husband. It is really heavy and usually results in banged knuckles and profanity mumbled under his breath.

Some of us deal with heat a little differently. The littlest one just ran inside nude – she was playing in a tub of water in the backyard after breakfast and got her pjs wet so they had to come off. Sometimes I wish I was 3.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why do I read?

I’m just a few pages away from finishing the book I’m reading. But now the kids are waking up from naps and the quiet afternoon spent wrapped in blankets is about to come to a close. There are snowflakes coming down; probably one of the last snowfalls of the year. It is a day to stay inside with an excuse to read, and the gray skies are a fitting backdrop for the book I’m reading about the Holocaust. (The Lost Wife, by Alyson Richman). What a nice luxury to spend several hours reading! I’m learning about a different time, but mostly I read to be "entertained" by being immersed in the emotions and details of another life that comes with storytelling.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Photos After a Fire

My brother-in-law came to visit during Christmas. We both are interested in photography, so we took the opportunity to go to Black Forest and shoot photos in the fire area. Even though my husband has been there often for work, this was my first visit since the fire in June. We even had some friends stay at our house while they were evacuated. Their house was fine, but I've never had time to venture into the burn area. My heart goes out to all the people who lost their homes. This was so amazingly tragic.

However, for me it was also a good time to get away from the ordinary, be creative and collaborate. Here are few of my photos.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Playing with my little girl

Mia: "You are a monster. I will kill you."
After being hacked to pieces by her sword, and some moaning dying sounds from me...there is a moment of silence.
Mia: "You aren't a monster anymore. You are a giraffe.
But you are nice."
She turns around and flounces out of the room in her Tinkerbell costume.

I'm left stunned. I just went through a whole range of monster/animal makeovers and suffered a hideous death. Now I'm nice?? It's so confusing.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


The microwave was disgusting. For a long time. I finally got around to cleaning it after a bowl of chili exploded. It was so bad I couldn’t ignore it any longer. I know, I know…I’m supposed to have a system of cleaning that helps me stay on top of things. And over all I think I’m better at keeping my house clean than I used to be. *scary* But there are still some things that I just don’t do well.
This morning I got a piece of bread stuck in the toaster. As I moved it, I saw the huge mess under, around, and in the toaster. Umm, I guess I should move it out a little more often.
My dresser is a dumping ground for many things without a home or in-transit. But somehow they get stuck there and stay for months on end until I get motivated to clean it off and find homes, or the trash, for those things. And it usually only takes a few minutes. Why don’t I just take care of it sooner? *sigh*
I think part of the problem is that I get dirty-spot blindness. Once an item has been set where it doesn’t belong, and it stays there for 24 hours, I no longer see it. It melts into the d├ęcor and I don’t notice it anymore. Until I deliberately stop to take stock and see how awful everything has become. But I’m not beating myself up about it; that is just the way I roll.

My husband and I joke that it’s a good thing when we have guests come over because it requires us to clean up. So if you get invited to our house, it might be for my selfish need to clean.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Emotional Wrecks

The kids were very emotional yesterday. I’m not sure why. I *think* it was because of a busy weekend. But we often have busy weekends. And on Sunday night we made sure to get them home and to bed on-time and with a normal routine. Yet yesterday, they were very sensitive. It might have just been a case of being a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. Who knows.
One minute they would be playing nicely, then…tears and blood-curdling screams. Because “he won’t use the right color marker”, or “she is playing with her babydoll and I don’t want her to”. Seriously. There was no blood, everyone had their appendages. Just two kids who were feeling strong emotions and didn’t know what to do with them.
To see a funny blog about kids crying: Reasons My Son is Crying

A friend of mine gave me a book about the emotional life of a toddler, but I haven’t read it yet. Mostly I just roll my eyes (when they can’t see me) and let them work it out. That usually results in hitting, possible blood-shed, time outs, and more tears. Sigh. Maybe I should read that book.