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I am more likely to be crunchy than to not be crunchy.

Last Build Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2018 17:24:46 +0000


Endings and Beginnings

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 13:14:00 +0000

After two wonderful years here at Blogger, the day has arrived for me to stretch out and move forward. As of today, February 11th, you can now get your SortaCrunchy fix at my new address. See ya there!

Notes on The Big Bloggy Move

Sat, 09 Feb 2008 03:29:00 +0000

Well, I am in my final days here at Blogger!

I'm fast at work arranging the furniture in my new digs, but I wanted to take a quick second to remind everyone that this coming Monday, February 11th, is the day for our Big Bloggy Move. You can read the original post at Christy's, and I wanted to reiterate that you do not have to be leaving Blogger to play along! We would love to have your participation if

a) You started your blog no earlier than December 2007
b) You moved to a new blogging platform or started self-hosting no earlier than December 2007
c) You completely redesigned your blog no earlier than December 2007

Christy and I are doing giveaways, but you do not have to do a giveaway to participate. The Mr. Linky link-a-roo will be over at Christy's on Monday.

So exciting!

Another Way Wednesday - a different way to do Valentine's Day

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 20:44:00 +0000

There was a whole 'nother post planned for today. And then there was a doctor's visit (just well-child, no one's sick . . . for now) in which each sweet thing got a mean shot. And my hands have been busy ever since.

This morning, however, I came across this great post from Crunchy Chicken on how to Have a Green Valentine's Day. I actually sorta don't like Valentine's Day (issues), but if you are going to celebrate it, I wonder if you could find another way to do it this year?

(sorta) Wordless Wednesday - Birthday and Beyond

Wed, 06 Feb 2008 05:01:00 +0000





Thank you again, Keara, for this shot!




Sunny days . . . sweepin' the clouds away . . .





ROLL CALL! (pretty please?!)

Tue, 05 Feb 2008 20:23:00 +0000

Hello my dear, sweet, lovely friends and readers! Have I mentioned how gorgeous you look today? I haven't? Well, let me tell you - from where I sit, you look gorgeous, darlings. That color really brings out the brown/blue/green in your eyes. You should totally wear it more often.

Do feel as if you are being buttered up? Good call. You are.

I need a favor!

As I mentioned yesterday, we have less than a week until The Big Bloggy Move. This feels like a good time for me to stop and think on my readership. For some sorta crazy reason, traffic through this crunchy spot has grown dramatically since last summer. (And by dramatically, I mean that I can be pretty sure I have more than six readers now.) Although SortaCrunchy is my lil' home on the virtual range to share that which is important to me, my readers are never far from my mind. I would love to get a snapshot of who is reading these days.

Plus, as you regulars know, I've been known to toss out a random giveaway now and again (and if you like giveaways, you will DEFINITELY want to be around next Monday on Moving Day!) and it would be tremendously helpful to know what you guys are "into." (As far as giveaways go, I mean. I am sure there are other things you are "into" but you most assuredly do not have to share those things with me. Unless you want to. I'm always up for some inspiring ideas!)

Anyway, could you guys indulge me in a roll call? If you stop by here fairly regularly, I would love to know two things - if you have children (how many?) and whether you consider yourself not at all crunchy, totally crunchy, or sorta crunchy (like me). Those two pieces o' information would be supremely helpful. If you just want to share other things (where you live, how you found me, just whatever), then you go right ahead and do that, too.

Many, many, many thanks, friends!


Mon, 04 Feb 2008 20:48:00 +0000

Got five minutes?

Watch this.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

We survived Project Birthday Party, but Operation Clean-Up has yet to be stamped Mission Accomplished. I'm off to finish that and if I get a chance, I'll get some pictures up later.

BY THE WAY, don't forget The Big Bloggy Move happens one week from today. So exciting!

Ducking out for a bit . . .

Thu, 31 Jan 2008 19:34:00 +0000

Loved the discussion from yesterday's Another Way Wednesday. Looking forward to more of that!

Princesa D is having her birthday on Saturday morning, and this Queen Mum has about ninety-seven things to do between now and then, so it's gonna be quiet around here for a bit. I'll be back early next week and will (hopefully) have pics to share.

Be gentle to yourselves and others!

Another Way Wednesday

Wed, 30 Jan 2008 20:27:00 +0000

(First of all, thank you all so much for your feedback on my Negative post. I debated on whether or not to post it, mostly because it reveals that as much as I struggle against it, I still wrestle with fear. Sharing that goes against my natural tendency to package myself up a lot more neatly than that, but my ever-growing desire to be real and unpackaged won out. For those who have asked, I may test again, but it could really all just be me misreading my body's signs.)So, going back to my problem with Stuff. And how God is dealing with me about Stuff. And how I want to be free from my bondage to Stuff.As my dear friend Shaila would ask, What does that look like? Freedom from stuff? And how can I connect that to my desire to leave behind a more gentle impact on this planet?Most of the time, I'm all about big ideas and little follow-through. I find big change to be more manageable in small steps. So I wanna break this down into something that is real and lasting. Each week, let's talk about some ways we can live Another Way. A way that is outside the consumerist paradigm. A way that speaks of financial integrity and resource responsibility. A way that make us, yes, a little uncomfortable, but perhaps also encouraged that if a lot of us make some little changes, something bigger than ourselves might take place.My first Another Way Wednesday challenge to myself - *deep breath* Buying mostly (if not all?) gently used children's clothing.This is huge for me, girls. Huge. Oh gosh, this is about to get ugly. You might wanna hide your eyes. But there is this awful, vain, shallow voice somewhere in my mind that has been known to say disdainfully, "But your girls deserve better than that!" Yuck. There is just no way to package that. It's as ugly as it is true.To be given gently used clothes? Sure, I'll take 'em! (Seriously, if you're reading Ali, I'll take anything you clean out from your girls' closets!) But to intentionally buy used clothes? My pride . . . it wants to stand up and say NO!But watching the Story of Stuff movie challenged me on that. I have shopped at Once Upon a Child and The Children's Orchard and there is really cute, nice, unstained and untattered clothing to be found. There really is no reason I have to keep feeding into this broken consumerist system by buying brand new clothing for the girls when I can buy clothing someone else's little girl has already broken in. And you know, this is the time to begin training my girls in a different way of looking at clothes shopping, one that might help to ward off future self-esteem problems caused by materialism. And maybe discourage any training I might unintentionally but inevitably be doing to cause them to have their own problems with Stuff.The timing is right for me to take on this first challenge to myself because D really does need clothes as she woke up one morning having outgrown her 3Ts. The grandparents were generous with birthday money and mama needs to go shopping. Just not *gulp* at The Children's Place.So, how about you? Anyone wanna start down Another Way path? If changing your clothes shopping ways isn't where you want to start, maybe you could check out this article my sweet reader Elizabeth emailed me about Green Grocery Shopping. Or check out Jen's list of her goals.Whatever small steps you are taking, I want to hear about it! Share in the comments or link me to your own Another Way post(s).[...]


Tue, 29 Jan 2008 21:34:00 +0000

I took a pregnancy test yesterday.

We've been practicing natural family planning since D arrived (and by "we" I mean me, I suppose, because I've not once seen The Coach charting temperatures or measuring cervical mucus in the past three years . . .). I thought I had gotten to know the usual signs pretty well, but evidently not as well as I thought.

According to my calculations, a certain long-lost visitor should have shown up last weekend. When she was a no-show, I decided I'd better toss a test in the cart next to the birthday candles and the rice cereal and the Diet Coke. It's funny, really, how many times both the grocery checker and the grocery bagger will ask a mama (with one baby strapped on her in a Mei Tai and another koala joey riding shotgun in the cart) who has just purchased a home pregnancy test, "are you sure you don't need help out to the car with these?" Seriously, it's funny. I laughed.

So anyway, the test was negative. I was relieved.

And disappointed.

And as The Coach and I talked about it last night, I became aware of something else . . . how fearful I was feeling. Not the fear you would think. Not the fears that speak of "how can we afford it? where would we put another? how will the girls respond?"

No, instead, this Fear traces its finger over the now smooth scar at the base of my belly and whispers in my ear of two uneventful pregnancies, two sets of chubby cheeks and bright eyes, two times that two slender pink lines yielded two wardrobes fat with pink.

Then Fear lifts my eyes to that shoe. That shoe that swings recklessly over my head.

When will it drop?

Happy Three to D!

Mon, 28 Jan 2008 20:32:00 +0000

It occurs to me I have never told how my Miss D joined us in this world . . .By January 27, 2005, I was hugely pregnant, hugely miserable, and cursing the notion of a “due date.” As soon as I had a positive pregnancy test in hand, I looked up an online due date calendar and cemented January 18 in my mind. Our earliest ultrasound at ten weeks estimated a January 21st arrival, so I mentally allowed a few extra days for Sweet Baby’s arrival; but a first time mama at ten weeks, when each day seems to fly off the calendar, can’t really know how those last, tortuous days of being fully full-term and “past due.”Here I am at the beginning of December 2004 - almost nine months pregnant.And here I am on Christmas morning. It's the last known picture of me pregnant with D. Behold the belly. And you know what? It would be over a MONTH before Dacey would finally be born!So anyway . . .My beloved OB practice errs on the side of caution and is slow to schedule inductions, but at last my doctor had mercy on me and scheduled me to come in early on the morning of the 27th. “Call first,” she said, “and make sure we have room for you on the floor.” I be-bopped out of the office that day, never once dreaming that so many babies would insist on arriving on January 27th. At 6:00 am, I called the L&D floor and the only thing delivered to me that day was the spirit-crushing news that there were, in fact, too many mamas on the floor that day for there to be room for me and my great-with-child self.Devastating.But the Lord, He ministered to me with the words of one of my favorite Psalms, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (27:14) Wait we did, and not too long after that, my OB called and said she wanted to see me at 1:00 for a non-stress test and ultrasound.Discouraged and weary, The Coach and I followed orders and went in for the testing. At L&D, we had the non-stress test and discovered everything looked fine for the baby, but my doctor could also see right away how disappointed I was. She offered to strip my membranes to see if that would get some action going. Downstairs in the ultrasound room, the ultrasound tech asked, “Has anyone given you a guess on how much this baby weighs?” I told her the last guesstimate from the doctor had been “no more than eight and a half pounds . . .” and the tech replied that what she was seeing looked closer to nine. I didn’t really linger too long on that part because I was starting to feel so crampy and uncomfortable.We left the hospital under instructions to call if contractions started. In all the (non)excitement of the day, we had somehow forgotten to eat, so we pulled through the Whataburger drive-through on the way home. By this time (close to 3:00), I was having a hard time concentrating. The Coach ordered me a Whataburger and we went home to eat, but I think I ate about three bites before I discovered I had no appetite.“I don’t feel right. I don’t feel good. I think I might be in labor,” I told him. The next few hours are kind of blurry now. I remember getting one of The Coach’s stopwatches and timing the “cramping.” At one point, the pain became so bad that I didn’t want to talk anymore, so I went up to our bedroom to watch "Friends" and continue timing. I called my sister-in-law around 7:30 to ask her (mother of four at the time, five now) if it sounded to her like I was in labor. When I had to stop mid-sentence of my explanation of what I was feeling, she told me, “Yeah, I think this is it, girl.”As Donald Trump’s big head filled the screen announcing the beginning of "The Apprentice", I called L&D to tell my OB (who was thankfully still on-call) that the contractions were lasting about a minute and coming every five minutes. She told me to come on up and bri[...]

He Speaks to me . . . about STUFF

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 19:40:00 +0000

Let it not ever be said that the voice of God is always hard to hear. Sometimes, I gotta get still and quiet to hear Him. And sometimes, He pulls up a chair next to mine, turns my eyes to meet His, and says, "Listen to Me."

In the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with subtle hints that He wants me to deal with my love of stuff. It started out simply enough with my sweet friend Jen (from The Things you Didn't Do) encouraging us to watch The Story of Stuff. She created a poweful and challenging list of ways she is responding to the message of the Story of Stuff movie, and I kept thinking, "Okay, okay . . . I know I have a problem with stuff. I can stop anytime though. Really."

The truth is I didn't wanna talk about my problem with stuff. Because I, um, love stuff. I can package it however I want . . .

(but AJ needs these new cloth diapers! just doin' my part to save the earth! D needs this sweet stuffed puppy dog! she's still suffering from displacement angst! I need new boots since my feet have expanded a whole size in the past three years and my beloved black dress boots have proven to be unwearable and what's a girl to do without a trusty pair of darling black boots?! 'Cause I get all dressed up to go to the library a lot these days!)

. . . but at the heart of it all is the fact that I just love stuff.

And I read Jeana's (Days to Come) But I WANT That, and I knew He wasn't going to leave me alone about this.

And then AJ woke up at 5:30 this morning and after she agreed with me that 5:30 is far too early to start the day and drifted back to sleep, I found myself wide awake and hankering for a good devotional. So I looked up one of my favorites - My Utmost for His Highest.

This would be when God pulled up a chair next to me.

"A warning which needs to be repeated is that 'the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches,' and the lust for other things, will choke out the life of God in us (Matthew 13:22)."

Oh, and it gets better from there. Go read it yourself, if you're feeling brave. And if devotionals aren't your thing, take twenty minutes from your day to go watch The Story of Stuff. I did. It's very much worth the investment of your time.

So get ready 'cause Mama's been convicted, so you've not heard the last of my battle with stuff. Oh no, gentle readers - it's just beginning!

But first, I have to say that at this moment, precisely three years ago on this lovely January day, I went into labor with my sweet D. And you know I'm gonna have to write about that.


Fri, 25 Jan 2008 20:07:00 +0000

Laurie Berkner duets with Tom Chapin in a song called "The Happiest Song I Know," and this fun ditty is on the Most Requested list from DJ Jazzy Dacey. The lyrics are an ode to all things happy ("happy as a newborn pup," for example) and one phrase caught my ear as we drove home and I hummed along . . .

The way you shout when school is out

. . . and for a second I thought back to the school days of my childhood, waiting and watching and sighing as the second hand ticked off those last minutes of captivity. I remember that sweet anticipation of the freedom to be relished on the other side of that school bell's ring. I remember the day I counted off the years ahead of me on my fingers and discovered it was to be 1995 when at last I would be relinquished from the bondage of my school years.

My college years flew by in a blur of classes and papers and meetings and tests and dates and functions, and yet always I was looking ahead, X'ing off the days on the calendar in my mind as I hurtled toward graduation. For surely after I was finally, finally done with school, surely that was when I would really be free, right?

And then I turned around and I was married and teaching and once again counting down the days until the school year ended, this time from the other side of the teacher's desk. I was teaching so The Coach could finish his Masters work, and after that? Freedom from teaching! Freedom to start a family.

And then I had a babe in arms and found myself a far cry from free. Convinced that successful parenting was built on solid scheduling, I found it difficult to leave the house for fear of upsetting the delicate equilibrium of naps and nursing. When opportunities knocked, I would sigh and say, "I can't . . . I have a baby" as I wistfully closed the door.

And that's where I find myself again. Times two. As we prepare for D's Big Three and as AJ inches ever closer to five months, my frustration levels rise in the face of so very little freedom. Jealousy wells up in me as I drive past co-eds jogging up and down the hills of our town. I used to jog . . . before I had babies. I thumb through old Bible study workbooks and look longingly on the notes I scribbled on the pages when I had nothing but time to share with the Lord.

And even as I write this, I realize it all smacks of undeniable selfishness.

And I gaze down into AJ's smiling face and I crack up at D's antics and I know I am deeply, unspeakably blessed. So why I am not content? How can I create freedom for myself when there appears to be none? When will I luxuriate in the freedom that is most certainly mine? And if I do discover newfound pockets of freedom, what then? Will I spend it on myself or do something that might just have an impact on eternity?

These are things I think about as I drive and think and whisper Laurie Berkner lyrics to myself on the way home.

Obama Insight

Thu, 24 Jan 2008 20:51:00 +0000

It's been quiet here, but only because things are not quiet offline. We've been weathering tummy bugs and teething woes and those two things have been more than enough to keep my hands too busy to type.

I did come across something at Christianity Today I wanted to share. I hear there are some emails flying around (again) about Barak Obama practicing Islam. If you have received such an email, or even if you haven't, I encourage you to check out this article for a Q&A with Senator Obama. It's a quick read and highly informative!

Christianity Today Q&A with Barak Obama


Mon, 21 Jan 2008 19:56:00 +0000

TO-DO, Monday:

Weekly Home Blessing
launder bed linens
balance checkbook
menu plan and grocery list
target (maybe)

Noticeably Absent From My List, but Priority Number One On Aliza Joy's List:

Wake up for a party in the middle of the night
Invited guests - Mom and me
Party for an hour
When it looks like Mom is sufficiently partied out, fall contentedly back to sleep

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Although it's not my idea of fun, there is something sorta magical about being up in the middle of the night. It's so deeply, darkly quiet. The humming of baby monitor static is the only accompaniment to the lyrical thoughts that get shoved to the side during the day.

At about 3 am this morning, I was in the dark, quiet living room bouncing AJ in my arms and indulging in a stolen moment with the Lord. How long had it been since we were able to talk with no interruptions? I asked Him how on earth I was going to be able to function the next day, what with this unscheduled appointment nearly guaranteeing a slow-down to the day's master plan?

These words gently filled my mind . . .

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9 (NIV)

Sometimes it seems as if there is no rest for the weary. How it ministers to me to know I don't have to do this thing by my(weak)self.

Bit O' Crunchy, January 18th: CLOTH DIAPERING

Fri, 18 Jan 2008 21:23:00 +0000

So, raise your hand if you read Time magazine. Really? Wow, more than I would have thought. As you may have guessed, I don't get a chance to read it much. (If there's a magazine in my hands, it's either Texas Monthly or Better Homes.) But a friend pointed out a recent Time article on cloth diapering that I thought I would share here. It's a quick read if ya have a minute. Most of you know I use cloth diapers - sorta. I started cloth diapering back when D was about eight months old or so. I was pretty religious about it with her until I got pregnant with AJ, and then my passion for most everything fizzled out as I focused on just surviving the first trimester with a toddler underfoot. By the time I recovered from those days of glory, D had outgrown most of her stash and I just knew potty learning was around the corner, so we went back to disposables for the remainder of her diaper days (which was, by the way, so much longer than I had anticipated). Fast forward to sweet AJ's arrival and I was so excited to use those teeny, tiny, precious cloth diapers. For now, we use cloth at home and "sposies" out of the house. Because we were out of the house so much over the holidays, I used sposies exclusively on AJ for several weeks. Can I be honest? I was quite enjoying the tossability of it all. But then one day I looked at the bulging garbage bag of dirty diapers waiting to make it's way to the dump where it would spend who knows how many years not decomposing and some crunchy guilt started to creep over me. So I have AJ back in cloth at home and am feeling much less guilt in that area of life. Oh, I still have plenty guilt leftover for other areas, but at least in the diapering department, I am feeling okay about things. All of this is to say I am always available to talk cloth diapers. I have tried just about any and every kind being made today. If you click the "cloth diapering" label in my sidebar, you can read more . . . ad nauseum. Wanna see what's covering wee one's buns these days? Here's a peek at the stash: Top drawer: prefolds - lots of them. Indians, Chinese, and my faves - the yellow edges from Green Mountain Diaper. I pin ours to go under wool or trifold to lay in covers. None of that snappi business for us, but I know it works great for others. Middle drawer, left to right: tons of fleece topped hemp doublers (thanks, Amanda!); front center, sustainable babyish flats; back center, standard cotton birdseye flats (folded in origami fold); right, various and sundry fittedsBottom drawer: all kinds of pockets and a few all-in-two's (again, thank you Amanda!) And since it's winter, here are my current faves for wool longies: left - Harper pea pod recycled wool (but these are about to go up for sale! AJ's tummy is tooooooo round for these now), right - LOVE these custom wool interlock from JuJuBean Boutique at Hyena Cart! Finally, my most prized possession in our stash - our knitted longies. I won these in a charity raffle back in the fall of 2006 and they are just heavenly. Look at the artistry! Just stunning and soooooooooooooo cute on, too. So that's that. Again, I always love to talk cloth. Share questions or comments with me or email me anytime![...]

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Master Bedroom

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 19:45:00 +0000

This is it! The last room in my challenge to myself. Oh, how wonderful it feels.I feel a need to write something by way of preface before I reveal our Inner Sanctum to you all, friends and strangers alike. My vision for our bedroom is to have a child-free area of respite and retreat for The Coach and I. Long about this time last year, I had finally accomplished that. I had moved all things D out of our room and every night I would buzz through there, a whirlwind picking up sippy cups and dolls and dinosaurs and books and tiny socks and diapers . . . you get the picture. We did a wonderful job of keeping our room ours . . . until September 7th when we brought home a sweet new roomie. As I explained in my post about the girls' rooms, AJ pretty much lives in our room, so it's extra challenging to keep our master bedroom from morphing into a gigantic nursery.Also, our bedroom furniture is funny. Very early married chic, if you don't mind the fact that we're coming up on our ten year anniversary. It's mis-matched and handed-down, but it works.BEFOREUpon entering the chaosYou gotta watch out for those water bottles, girls. They will procreate behind your back when you aren't watching. And yes, that would be a Playstation next to the TV. But it doubles as our DVD player, so it's okay. (And what on earth is that between those water bottles? *blush blush* Good thing my mother isn't reading!)My "reading nook." Calm and peaceful, right?The baby cornerI know, I know. I'm supposed to make my bed every morning as soon as I get up, right? Rarely happens. The bed serves as a nursing station/changing table so mostly I don't bother. AFTERSomehow, I didn't get pictures of the entire room or of the entire made bed, but hopefully these will give you a glimpse of our tidied up boudoirAnd here's a bonus for ya'll! The Coach and I - our engagement picture. Almost ten years ago. Where has the time gone? *sigh** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *All in all, what a week it has been!! When my house is in order, I am reminded again of why the FLY in FLY Lady stands for "Finally Loving Yourself." When my house is manageable - not perfect, just workable - then I find I feel so good about myself and the work I am doing at home. I don't mope around, depressed about how bad things have gotten and how paralyzed I seem to be to do anything to change it. Seven days. Seven days of focus, discipline, and work. Thank you all, each one of you, for cheering me on. You have no idea how encouraging you have been to me! In my life offline, I struggle with transparency and vulnerability, preferring to keep my messes behind closed doors. Why is it so much easier to be real at my keyboard than it is to be real face-to-face?Something for me to ponder on later. Right now, I have some picking up to do!(And hopefully very soon, I will get to go watch The Story of Stuff, based on Jen's recommendation. Looks good!)[...]

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Dining/"Office" area

Wed, 16 Jan 2008 15:40:00 +0000

First of all - thank you all so much for your reassurances about the state of chaos in D's room. I guess what bothered me the most is not that it had gotten so out of control in there - it's that I let it go for so long. I mean, weeks like that!

I am now officially DONE with my Seven Days challenge! I cannot express to you have liberating it is to have things back in order. I love order. I want to make it a priority to maintain order. I am finding inspiration and guidance in Rachel Anne's The Secret to Successful Home Management - "Minimum Maintenance" (you can find Rachel Anne over at Home Sanctuary. Rachel Anne - you're my hero!).

Anyway, here we go with the second-to-last area - our "dining room/office" or more aptly "it's what most of you would call a 'breakfast nook' and it has our computer desk in it, too" area:
And, oh yeah. It's Hot Zone Central.

This is where the magic happens, people.




Done and done!




Okay, one last room to show off, and the Seven Days challenge is mision cumpleta!

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The home stretch

Tue, 15 Jan 2008 14:23:00 +0000

Running short on time and energy . . .

reminded of every mama's constant dilemma and how my house got to be this way in the first place . . .

when we were little, my mother was given this on a cross-stitch that hung in nearly every home we lived in . . .

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow,
For babies grow up, we've learned to our sorrow,
So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby, and babies don't keep.

Back later (tonight? tomorrow?) with the last of it.

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Girls' Rooms

Mon, 14 Jan 2008 04:28:00 +0000

I'm not sure where to begin. I can only preface this all by saying I hope that even after reading and seeing all of this, you'll still want to be my friend.Today, I tackled the girls' rooms. Let me sorta explain how our rooms are set up around here. We have three bedrooms - a master bedroom, a very large second bedroom, and a tiny third bedroom. As of right now, we call the second bedroom "Dacey's room" because her toys and furniture and Big Girl Bed are in that room. Big Girl Dacey, however, does not sleep in that room. She is actually still Crib Dweller Dacey. The tiny room is what we call "the nursery" because it has the crib and all of Aliza Joy's clothes in it. But that is not where Aliza Joy sleeps. She sleeps in various locations for naps (the crib, the sling, the swing, the Moses basket . . .) and at night, she starts out in a bassinet by our bed, but lands in bed with mom and dad around 2 am when she wakes up to nurse.Are we all clear on the sleeping arrangements?Okay, so . . . Dacey's room needs a makeover in the worst possible way. Her Big Girl Bed used to be our guest bed, and we haven't changed the bedding yet to be more Big-Girl-Friendly. We also have way, way, way too many toys and way, way, way too little cute storage. We want to get new bedroom furniture for that room - at the minimum, a new dresser and bookshelves and some sort of toy storage thingie - but just have not been able to find what we are looking for. As I've mentioned before, we're renting, so painting the walls is out of the question, but I sure would like to do some cute wall art. Anyway, the room needs a makeover.And the nursery needs a makeover, too. We have cute new bedding and wall art for when D finally graduates out of the crib (and when will that be? Your guess is as good as mine.) but I want to wait until AJ moves into that room permanently to fix it up for her.Now we've come to the part where I am hoping you can still be my friend. Dacey's room was by far the worst in the house. It sorta started around Christmas when I started slipping on getting her room picked up each night at bedtime. Then after Christmas there were, of course, more toys to add to the piles and I started getting really overwhelmed. And as we all know, the overwhelm can lead to the underperform. It just got worse and worse and worse. It finally got to the point where I was having to remind her Dad to be careful not to step om anything pointy and perhaps lethal as he carried her to her bed after her bath each night.As I snapped the "before" pictures today, I was so sad and mad at myself for letting her room get this way. I feel deeply ashamed. I half-expected Oprah's film crew to show up to film a segment for one of her "You won't be able to believe that people live! like! this!" shows. I really felt like one of the people on those shows.I don't know how this happened. I knew it was bad, I just didn't realize how bad it was until I saw it on film . . .So, anyway, here we go. Brace yourself. (and there's a lot of pictures, too, girls. Forgive me!)The nursery wasn't too awful. Mostly just clothes that had gotten lost on their way home and toys that had spilled out of D's room:So two trashbags, one bag of toys to Freecycle, and many hours later, here it is. Still needs a visit from a design team, but at least it's organized!I don't know why, but the child feels compelled to be at least half-naked at all times.The dolls, they must be naked, too. That one in the carrier is only dressed because I snuck some clothes on her while I cleaned.The Dora big wheel really belongs in the garage, [...]

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Living Room

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 14:59:00 +0000

Yep, got the living room and entryway done yesterday! It was actually the easiest room to undertake because I try to pick it up a little every night. I had fallen a bit behind though, as you can see . . .


I do love me some little baby clutter though!

I remember sometime back that Rachel Anne at Home Sanctuary talked about the importance of the entryway to your home - how it demonstrates your welcome to your guests. That's why I feel so awful when our entryway looks like this:


"Welcome to our home, but please understand I can't be bothered to keep the front porch swept for you . . ."


Oh, so much better! NOW, welcome to our home:




Lo hicimos! We did it!


Now, some gratuitous D and AJ snaps:



See? I'm not the only one . . .

Sat, 12 Jan 2008 15:23:00 +0000

who wants you to check the box!

We have a whirlwind of activities today, but I am aiming to get the living room done. May not get pics up until tomorrow. Thanks so much for your encouragement! It's what I'm running on at this point . . .

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Bathrooms

Sat, 12 Jan 2008 02:33:00 +0000

I am exhausted. It's been a non-stop, "Mommy, Mommy, I NEED YOU, Mommy!" day since D opened her eyes at 6:30 this morning. And it wasn't just Big. Little was in on the "Please oh please oh PLEASE don't put me down, Mommy!" act today, too. I did manage to tackle the two rooms on the list for today - the bathrooms.We have two bathrooms in this house. The master bathroom is ridiculously small by comparison to the luxurious and spacious master suites of new construction. We decided upon moving in that The Coach would take the master bathroom as his and leave the slightly bigger hall bath for us girls to share. Because, you know, guys have less bathroom stuff and all.But, oh wait. Not my husband! Something that probably a lot of you don't know about my man is that he is an avid and passionate advocate of wet shaving. You know, the old-fashioned kind of shaving with big, fluffy shave brushes and bowls of delicious smelling, foamy, hand-whipped shave cream or soap. He shaves with a vintage safety razors and has an extensive collection of all things wet shave. Because of this hobby of his, he actually does have a lot of bathroom stuff.Behold the addiction collection (and this is only about half of it):His bathroom is his quiet retreat for pondering thoughts on all manner of things. I don't mess around much in there and I certainly don't declutter (lesson learned the hard way). Since I just cleaned up in there, I didn't feel the need to share pictures. Before I show you the work of the day, I have to show you something funny. As I've mentioned before, we don't own this house. (We're renters.) I have to think that if we owned this house, remodeling project numero uno would be doing something about the lovely wallpaper that has been chosen for the bathrooms here:Or maybe we would leave it. Because I mean really, if you had the chance to surround yourself with brown and blue trees and birds and butterflies while you are in the loo, why wouldn't you? It's all very "nature calls."Anyway, tacky wallpaper notwithstanding, here's the sad state of affairs before: It was cluttery, yes. But also just dirty. Like eeeeeeeeeeew, dirty. Like, please, God, don't send any angels in disguise my way who might stop by to test my hospitality because there is no way I am letting anyone in that bathroom, no matter how badly they need to go dirty.But now! Ah yes, I've always dreamed of the day when the message sent by my hallway/guest bath would be "potty learners welcome here!" [...]

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Kitchen

Thu, 10 Jan 2008 21:55:00 +0000

Wow! Day o' distractions, friends. My goodness.Today started with a wonderful visit at my friend Kim's house where D got to try on her first ever princess dress. Magic! I was kicking myself for leaving the camera at home.But then I had to bust booty when I got home to meet my deadline for today. And again, it was an afternoon just full of distractions and diversions - phone calls, fussy baby, hubby home for the day . . . it was very hard to stay on task.Can I just tell you I am sincerely overwhelmed and surprised by the response to my Seven Rooms mission? I was thinking this would be total Yawnsville for everyone (and heck, by the end of this, most of you might very well be zonked out), but ya'll have been so gracious and supportive with your feedback. Thank you for that! It was actually very motivating to me today as I undertook the most lived-in, trafficked through, perpetually cluttery room in the house - my kitchen.So yes, if you were to pop by the house on any given day in the past two or three weeks months, a glance in the kitchen would reveal an assortment of water bottles, dirty dishes, open boxes of cookies, and who knows what else . . . The kitchen also hosts one of the hottest of Hot Spots. As usual, it was completely ablaze today. Let's see, I spy with my tired eye some cold lozenges and nasal spray that have been there since the week before Christmas (because where else would one store cold remedies?). There's the sinus rinse (fun), Dacey's "bunny scout brownies" over there at the left, and - can I be honest? - a whole bunch of The Coach's stuff. So in between making and returning phone calls and bouncing cranky AJ and chit-chatting with the hubby, I managed to get this much done . . . TA-DAAAAAAAAAH! And here it is, almost nine in the evening, and it still looks almost as good as in the picture. Oh, there's some stuff yet to be done. I have a junk drawer that is scary with a capital S. But that's what zone work is for, right?[...]

Seven Rooms, Seven Days - The Laundry Room

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 20:44:00 +0000

Let the excitement begin!So, I decided to tackle the laundry room first. Although it is the smallest room in the house, it is also the most neglected. I figured I'd start fast and easy to really boost my motivation. Easy? Yes. Fast? Not so much. When I sketched out my Seven Days plan, I forgot to factor in the ninety-seven kajillion interuptions that have landed me here in the first place.It took me the better part of the morning to do this one small room. Oy vey. Let me tell you - I have adjusted my expectations for the remaining rooms. This will not be a total declutter, but rather a surface declutter. That which is on countertops, tabletops, bedside tables, and bedroom floors - look out! That which lurks in drawers, under beds, and in the cracks of the couches - hang tight. I'll get to you later.So here we go. Prepare to be amazed at the junky state of affairs of my home!Not entirely awful here. I mean, doesn't everyone keep their wedding china in a big green plastic storage bin on the top shelf of the laundry room? And by the way, evidently when houses were being built in the late seventies/early eighties, people must have eaten less. Or maybe there used to be a legitimate pantry around here and I haven't found it yet. Either way, most of our dry goods get stored in the laundry room, because nothing says I Love You like Downy-scented rice.AFTER: Not hugely different . . .This is where things get ugly:AFTER: So much better!I'm embarrassedAFTER: Much TIDE-ier! Get it? You know you were going to say it if I didn't!This side of the room, the one with all the cleaning supplies? Yeah, it doesn't get much attention.AFTER: Bettah.Have I ever mentioned I hate ironing? Because oh yes I do.AFTER: Wondering where The Coach's pants went? I IRONED THEM.If anyone is looking for me, I'll be drinking tea on the floor of my laundry room - enjoying the neatness and trying to gear up for tomorrow's work - the kitchen.[...]

Seven Rooms, Seven Days Challenge!

Wed, 09 Jan 2008 17:08:00 +0000

The packing, the unpacking, the travel, the being at home with no schedule . . . it's all taken it's toll on my SortaCrunchy home.  

Plus, there's something about the start of the new year that makes me want to mend broken relationships.  I've been thinking about it for a while now, and I think I'm ready.  I want to get back together with Fly Lady.

Fly Lady and I have had a sometimes happy, sometimes rocky, on-and-off again relationship for about six years now.  When it's good, it's very, very good.  When it's bad . . . well, it's ugly.  I broke up with her sometime around September 1st and we haven't been on speaking terms since then.  The thing is, I really need someone to tell me what to do on a daily basis so my home is the warm, welcoming, organized, happy nest that I so desire for it to be.  But, I also have these complex authority issues, and when I feel like Fly Lady gets a little bossy, I turn into a five year old with her fingers in her ears chanting, "You're not the boss of me!  You can't tell me what to do!"

And that's when things around here get bad.  It's shameful, really.

Now, I know Fly Lady well enough to know what she's going to want me to do to get back together with her.  Baby Steps.  But she doesn't know the depths of clutter and junk that have joined forces to overthrow this house.  So I am doing my own little kick-start challenge before I go crawling back to seek her good graces and helpful (but bossy) guidance.

I am giving myself SEVEN DAYS to tackle the SEVEN ROOMS of my house.  And if I learned nothing else from NaBloPoMo, I learned that there's something about public accountability to motivate me to follow through on an idea.  Now, I know this is all going to be terribly exciting, dangerously fascinating stuff.  Reading and watching a woman declutter her house - I mean, really, it's why you started reading blogs in the first place, right?

Just bear with me.  Stay after me.  Pray for me.  

I start today.