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I can’t be ready for these life posts, they have to just be written as they flow out of my brain.

When I write about me and what I’m feeling I have to pretend you are not there or I will feel self-conscious and just stop! I’m banking on the fact that most of you feel the same way as me. That’s at least what I’m telling myself so I keep typing.

Our houses are not perfect. Laundry and dishes list a LONG way down the “To Do’s” of daily life – somewhere way below Sew, Craft and  Quilt!

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” ~ Victor Kiam

I have been thinking about this post for 2 months now. March was 6-months since the “Be Intentional” post I wrote last September when both of my kids started back to school full-time. Jody commented that I should re-visit the post and do an update. I thought that was a great idea and I put it in my calendar. Problem was, when March came around I wasn’t ready to write it yet.

“What screws us up most in life is the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be.” ~ Unknown

Truth is, I’m not sure if I want to write it. Part of me wants to hold back and pretend to be amazing. Have you believe that the carefully set-up photo-shoots are my real life. That sounds nice and safe… but I’m sure (or I hope so anyhow!) you know that reality is NOT the case.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” ~ J.K. Rowling

I’ve realized lately that being “safe” is not my goal, I want to share my mistakes more often. (Though I will not likely show many messy photos. They’re just not pretty!) I’m not sure I’ve come very far since my “Be Intentional” pep talk. Though, it’s possible I’ve come farther than I think.

Here are a few things that have changed and my goal to work on for the next 6 months.

Change #1: I spent a month deep-tidying almost every corner and closet in our house.Result: It’s easier to find things, and put them away. Helps us to be cleaner, faster, and helps me stay sane.

We got rid of so many things (literally our SUV full + lots more to the curb) and I find it is freeing to know where something goes when I need to put it away. I can tidy our main floor in 15 minutes – without a random box of things going “out to the garage” or “hiding in the laundry room” before company arrives like it did before! #reallife Amazingly, we have tons of storage space – I just needed to get rid of about half of our stored things to find it!

Change #2: I try to remember to “Be Us” when  planning something. ~ Result: A reality-based beginning to a plan gives us a fighting chance when we try to carry them out!

Instead of (unfairly) comparing us to my impression of everything good I think we should be, I try to remember to plan our life around how we really are. Here is a list of some practical things we have done to help.  (As I read through the list I realize we sound super lazy and petty – but, honestly, these things have really made a difference.)

  • We are really not morning people – so we have put all of the kid dishes and breakfast things in a lower cupboard and taught them to get ready by themselves. Once they are both ready, they watch TV while they eat. Usually only about 15-20 minutes before school. Now they are ready before we wake up! #incentives are everything.
  • We hate doing the dishes, so we have “paper plate night” once a week. I know it’s not environmentally sound, but it helps us to deal with doing them the other 6 days. (We do try to buy the biodegradable plates.)
  • We don’t like opening doors around our house to put things away, so large piles sit by said doors for weeks. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! Now that we’ve removed the “offending”basement and laundry room doors, things get tidied up a lot faster. I’m working on making the front hall closet tidy so I can do it next.
  • We didn’t put our food away in the cold cellar because there were 3 doors in the way. (Again, being honest!) So I moved all of our food storage into another cupboard – newly found space from Change #1! It’s still in the basement, but there aren’t any doors in the way.
  • The kitchen cupboards were really messy and things were constantly lost and unorganized. I took everything out and re-worked all of the cupboards. In the process I realized that we had 2 large boxes of things in there that we didn’t need. And to save more space we now store more of our pantry items in our new “not through a door” super easy-access basement cupboard area.

Change #3: I’ve taken extra time to intentionally teach my kids to clean up. ~ Result: Less work for me and my husband, and less arguing plus a nicer space for them!

It’s been a work in progress, but 3 months later I’m excited that they are getting pretty good at it. And “good” is definitly not perfect, but I do get comments like “Ok, fine – lets get it over with” instead of 15 minutes of arguing and complaining. I also found out that they like it when their space is clean. And that they are learning how to clean, instead of standing in the middle of a messy space looking frustrated. Now we “put similar things together in piles”, then put each pile away where it goes.

Change #4: When my kids come home from school I stop working. ~ Result: Happier kids and a less frustrated me.

This was (and still is) not always the case. But I’m getting better! I really want to be intentional about spending time with them. Once I decided that was the goal and the plan for each weeknight it became much easier to actually make it happen each day. Of course there are many, many days when I invite them up to our (very full, tiny) office to draw or craft something while I finish a project. And there is at least one night a week we call “Screen Night” where the kids are allowed to have whatever screen they’d like (tv, computer, tablet) until dinner. Thankfully they don’t watch too much on other nights, so I don’t feel so bad about it!

Change #5: I’m trying to get more sleep. ~ Hopeful Result: Happier, more realistic, less stressed home.

This change is really in progress. I LOVE staying up late, and I’m having a very had time quitting when I know I should sleep.  I still find myself running up to deadlines with very late nights, but those days are becoming less. Now when I stay up late I am generally not working, instead I’m taking time to play – read a book or watch TV with my husband.

“Do something today that your future self will thank you for.” ~ Unknown  

The GOAL! Being realistic, and implementing my “Be Us” policy – I’ve only given myself one goal for the next 6 (to 9) months before the next update. It sounds crazy-difficult to me and I’m going to have to work super hard to find ways to work on it.

Goal #1: Be less frustrated and demote stressful things. I have realized that a lot of my frustration is due to my not knowing a good way to deal with stress. I put whatever is stressing me way up on my priority list – it needs to be demoted (perhaps fired?), if I can continue the analogy. Too many times I get unfairly angry at a family member because I’m frustrated with myself. And I want to loosen the hold on my need to be in control of everything. I think some of the changes are helping, but I’ve got a long way to go.

Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?” Alice: “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” ~ Tim Burton, Alice in Wonderland

Love that quote! Reminds me that I’m not sure how to conclude this post since there is no ending to this journey – we just continue this craziness and try to get better as we go along. I’ll see you at the next update!

I’d love to know are you doing? I’d love to know what you think – and any helpful things you’ve done to keep your home happier and less stressful!

P.S. Just in case you didn’t know, I’ve dyed my hair purple – feeling a bit crazy walking around like this helped me to finally write this post! Check it out on Instagram.

Photos are random from last year’s summer vacation so you can take mini breaks from all the text!