Thursday, October 08, 2009

The End of the Laundry Pile

"Hey, Mama, you might be a smart Mama," Piggy said to me this morning.

"Really? I might be smart? Why?" I asked.

"Cause, you know where my underwear are," he replied.
(10/01/09 journal entry)

Yes, in recent days I have been a master of the impossible - finding unmentionables in the laundry pile. Piggy's underwear, Lamby's underwear...come to think of it, everyone's underwear. Why is it that underwear is so difficult to find in piles of laundry and why am I the sole human being in this family capable of finding the needle in the haystack or so to speak?

Oh, the laundry pile! I grew up with the pile. I remember pile well, swore I'd never have the pile and here I am a professional of the pile. I have my shining moments of pilelessness and then I have a baby or two or three...or four and five. And, the pile returns.

Well, after a bit of research (oh, yes, research, my friend) and coming to terms with the fact that B and I really do have a big family ("Five kids is considered 'big'? Really? Really, really?"), I think I may have my answer to the age old laundry pile issue. Okay, so I have "the answer" for this week. We'll see how it goes and post another boring laundry post in a few weeks.

The plan is simple. I'm changing how I sort the dirty clothing prior to the ol' wash and fold. In the past - um, day before yesterday - I sorted by color. Darks including reds and jeans, lights - mostly baby clothes, whites, B's work clothes that should be burned (another post for another day), towels, kitchen towels, bedding and cloth diapers. I am a freak and just cannot lump all the laundry together to wash. I mean, white shirts with red socks? Please, that is just wrong people!

So, the amazing change that will end all laundry pile pilfering - I'm sorting by bedrooms. Simple you say? Exactly. I have a basket for each bedroom set up in the basement where the machine of all machines resides - our clothes washer with the beloved, always faithful sidekick, our dryer. I plop those baskets down and the basement, not to be taken for pretend play and transformed into a battleship, spaceship, car or train. These baskets are not drums, portions of a "really cool clubhouse" or props in the home version of "Wipeout". These baskets stay in the basement. Repeat after me...they stay in the basement.

To keep mini-laundry-piles-in-waiting from forming in various rooms of the house I have two collection baskets. One upstairs in the hallway, easy for even the youngest among us to use with ease, which is why I fully expect to have several toys in my dirty laundry each week. My little Frog helps when he can. These days his helping hands love the laundry basket in the hallway and the kitchen trash can. I have another laundry basket hung on the back of my basement door to collect any laundry on the main level of the house, like kitchen towels, burp rags, stray socks or whatever. As we go through our day, the dirty clothing is tossed in one of the two laundry baskets in the house. Mini-piles-in-waiting are no longer an issue. Thank you, Lord!

After bedtime stories and the twenty-fourth drink of water is given out, I can simply grab the upstairs basket and bring it down to the basement for sorting. Remember the baskets that are to never leave the basement? They are the sorting baskets! Grab the hanging collection basket as well I using the word "basket" too often? Basket, basket, basket -has the word lost all meaning yet?

Anyway, let's get to the sorting! Two collection baskets (the one from the upstairs hallway and the one hanging on the basement door) are ready for sorting. I have one sorting basket for the boys, one for the girls, one for B and I, and one for B's smelly work clothes. I have another for bedding, then for kitchen towels/washcloths and bath towels/washcloths. Finally, there is one "whites" basket that serves as the catch-all for all white socks, undershirts and the like. How does this crazy sorting baskets-staying-in-the-basement thing work to eliminate my laundry pile? Simple!

After a sorting basket becomes full, I wash/dry the load and easily put the pre-sorted clothing away. I don't have to sort clean laundry at all - the hated laundry pile never forms on my bed! The boys' clothing is easily taken to their rooms and put away, the girls' clothing is just as easy, towels go straight to the bathroom, and so on. Even if I get distracted or run out of time to get the clothing put away, the clothes are still in the right room simply waiting to be folded and put away. All the clean clothes are semi-organized straight out the the dryer. Okay, so the white clothes require a little sorting, but very minimal. My point, the pile just never forms on my bed. Never, ever, ever again. Ever.

Sidenote: Cloth diapers are whole 'nother deal in my mind. I dry bag them throughout the day, soak at night and wash when I have a full load.

So, yes, Piggy, your Mama is smart. She really does know where your underwear are at all times. Unless, of course, your little brother finds your underwear and with a helpful, happy two year old heart tosses them in the kitchen trash can. Then, we will never find them again. Never, ever, ever again. Ever.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Blog on Pause

Hi all. I'm going back and forth about keeping this blog up and running. I haven't been on in forever - life's been busy and very full. I can't bring myself to delete this thing but I'm not sure if I want to continue throwing my heart out to just anyone who happens by. I'll make up my mind one day. Until then, enjoy the archives!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Facebook Distraction

I haven't really been posting since last November. November!!! Can't believe it has been that long - but time slips by rather quickly with four kids, a new pregnancy, the Holidays and a bunch of birthdays crammed together. And, I must say, signing on to Facebook has distracted me from good ol' fashion blogging as well. It has been great to connect with old friends and stay a little more current with existing friendships. It is funny how I remember everyone to be as they were in high school or college or without a bunch of kids in New Jersey. There are new babies and new marriages aaaand new people I don't even know friend-requesting me. Some are friends of friends and some are people I know that I know I don't know. You know? I miss blogging and keeping up on all the little things that happen around here - the happenings that are meaningless to most readers but are priceless to me as my brain doesn't remember any details it seems. Like Frog's first smiles or quotes from Spikes from a few years back...the things that make any mother smile.

Anyway, I say all that to say, I'll be blogging more and Facebooking less in the coming days. Woo.

Quotes from the Week

On Wednesday afternoon, as I announced "Naptime!" Spikes jumped up from the playroom floor and exclaimed, "Noooo! I want Lamby to stay up!" and he gave Lamby an extended bear hug. Piggy, who is often the third wheel these days also jumped up from the floor and exclaimed, "And, I want ME to stay up!!!" Then, with a big smile he wrapped his short, three-year-old arms around Spikes and Lamby's bear hug oblivious that he had once again been left out of the loop.

Also this week, Spikes rediscovered his stopwatch when B emptied out the kitchen junk drawer. He's been timing everything - trips up the stairs, bathroom breaks, how quickly Piggy can climb in and out of his crib...everything. He loves the watch - even wore it in bath tub last night, but not before timing Piggy's bath first, "Let's time ya', Filthy...". Piggy didn't mind being named "Filthy", though usually he will only substitute his name for "Johnny" while playing or just being silly. Piggy also names other children "Johnny" if he can't remember their real name. Lamby was always "Sarah" during playtimes until recently when she decided the name "Vanilla" was a better choice. (Perhaps, B's new found love of Wheel of Fortune swayed her?) This week Lamby morphed her chosen name in to "Vanillapea" and decided this new name should also be the name of our new baby girl. As I was about to explain why Vanillapea may not be the baby's name, B told Lamby she could call the baby whatever name she chooses. So, if you all get a baby announcement that makes you laugh and at the same time reminds you of Vanna White - you'll know where it came from.

Gems in the Garbage

The poem below was in a book I found tucked in one of the many bags of garbage a neighbor left on my porch as "good hand-me-downs". I decided to toss the thread-bare bras with the non-stretchy elastic showing through the torn holes. (I don't keep underwear as hand-me-downs even if they are in good condition - a girl has got to have standards!) Oh, and all the broken toys went in the trash, too, as well as the toys that had been chewed on by their dog. "Gee, thanks."

Two gems I found were a copy of the book quoted in the next post, Meditations for the Expectant Mother by Helen Good Brenneman (1998) and a copy of The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth N. Taylor (1956), a book no longer in print and worth a pretty penny. The books somehow made up for the trash heap left on my front porch.

And, with that said, I want to say a special thank you to anyone and everyone who has generously given us their non-chewed on, in-good-condition hand-me-downs. Our children aren't running around naked because of you. Just kidding. My kids love running around naked. Got ya' again. The kids are hyper-modest, really. They most definitely get their extreme modesty from me. If they were like B...well, that's another blog post...

Song for a Fifth Child

"Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

Oh, cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust, go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby. Babies don't keep."

By: Ruth Hulbert Hamilton
Printed in Meditations for the Expectant Mother by Helen Good Brenneman (1998).

Friday, November 07, 2008

First Fire Movie Night

We are having a movie night tonight after wrapping up a week of B being home on strike. I will miss him so much come Monday! One day we will figure out a way for B to be home more and have less stress on his body from work. One. Day.

So, the living, dining, and toy rooms were cleared of clutter (read: toys, hats, mittens, and children's jackets), B started the traditional "first fire" of the year as it is finally cold enough, and after scarfing down a quick dinner we started the movies.

Piggy was on the verge of tears as Nemo was taken away from his daddy. He had seen the movie several times at Mom's - but I guess it was his first time of "really" watching Finding Nemo. Spikes and Lamby were patiently putting up with Piggy's outbursts and dramatic exclaimations. They were not so patient about the popcorn. We popped on the stovetop with a bit of corn oil and yellow popcorn over medium-high heat. B added salt, butter and a touch of sugar - perfect. Each kid had a cup of popcorn and a drink to enjoy and to keep out of Frog's reach.

Frog moved kitchen chairs all over the lower level of the house as the other three watched their movie. Occasionally he came over to the computer to push a random button then continued on his way, which included a quick walk through the living room to bite any toes hanging over the edge of the couch - usually the toes belonged to Piggy. Piggy is easy prey tonight as he won't take his eyes off the tv, even to save his toes from one-year-old brother nibbles.

It was a quiet, toasty warm evening. I love First Fires.

What tradition(s) have you started in your family?

Monday, October 27, 2008

House Projects

We've been finishing all our lingering house projects lately after B gave a very moving (and short) speech to me last week. "Let's work hard and get these projects done over the next month..." I think he was trying to convince himself (and his lovely wife) that he wants to get these projects done. Really, he does. Really.

His little pep talk to himself evidently worked as we are flying though projects that have been on our to-do list for months. I LOVE finishing projects. Especially the projects that have been on going for weeks. Ah, completion. So nice.

How do you handle house projects? Do you work like dogs and get them done? Or, do you break the job at hand into smaller portions and spread the project out?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sweeping with Frog's help

As I was sweeping the floor on the main level, sucking up the dirt piles with the dust vacuum, I felt a slight sense of "Ah, that looks so much better..." when I heard a crunching/munching sound at my heals. It was Frog with a cracker in each hand. He had faithfully followed me around as I swept the floors eating his crackers happily as he observed my cleaning frenzy. I wonder how much of those crackers actually ended up in the little guy's mouth. Based on the trail he left all over the floor, not much.

Ever feel like you're fighting a loosing battle?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hairless Guinea Pigs - They Exist!!!

B and Piggy have allergies. This fact has prevented me from my life-long dream of having a guinea pig farm. I've joked with B that we could buy a hairless guinea pig never knowing the rodents existed...until now!

They are called skinny guinea pigs, or skinny pigs. Amazing, huh?

Here are a few fighting over a carrot...

And, no, a guinea pig farm is not my life-long dream. But, with this new found knowledge of the skinny pig it just may become a dream of mine. Juuust maybe.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

If I can't have one at least I can watch them on youtube...

The kids loved these by the way.