Archive for February, 2016

I checked out The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up from the library a couple of weeks ago, curious to find out for myself what all the buzz was about.  I’d heard stories about people completely overhauling their homes after heeding the author’s call to declutter, and though I like to think I run a relatively tight ship around here, I’m always open to ideas about how to live more simply.  The main premise of the book is this:  if you don’t love it, if it doesn’t bring you joy, LET IT GO.  Pretty revolutionary in this day and age of excess, isn’t it?  But I’m nothing if not revolutionary (says the woman who breaks out in hives at the mere thought of change!), so I’ve decided to see what kinds of un-loved things are lurking in the recesses of our closets and cabinets.  One of the primary guidelines for purging is to evaluate your belongings by category rather than location – rather than going through your home room by room, gather all your books or clothes or mementos in one place and go through the pile at one time, so that you get a truer sense of how much you own.  I’ve broken down our stuff into the following categories and hope to tackle one or two bunches a week, with the ultimate goal of handling every single item in our house by the time summer rolls around.

  • books
  • eating/drinking/cooking wares
  • linens and towels
  • toiletries
  • toys
  • art supplies
  • papers
  • decor items
  • mementos/keepsakes
  • clothes
  • random crap

According to the book, you’re actually supposed to start with clothes, but given the number of things in my closet that I know I’m doomed to part with, I’m not ready to go there.  Books it is, then!  Shane and I aren’t major book collectors, so this should be easy, right?  Right?!

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I grabbed every last book in our house and piled them all on the kitchen island today.  I was a little taken aback to see these all stacked up together – I thought I did a solid bookshelf purge a couple of years ago?  I was even more taken aback when I started sifting through the stacks and realized how many novels I’ve been hanging on to that I have no intention of reading again.  In about 45 minutes, I’d weeded out a good third of our collection – what remains are my favorite art and architecture books, about 30 memoirs and novels I love, and a small pile for Jules.  I actually did a second culling as I was putting these away and came up with another 20 titles I was ready to ditch.

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Coming soon to Goodwill on Dearborn!

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Seven paper bags of books now sit in our downstairs hall, ready to leave our house and never return again.  Our bookshelves are looking wonderfully sparse.  “Life-changing magic” might be a stretch, but this felt good.

I think we’ve officially moved past celebrating each of Juliette’s monthly milestones – when someone asks how old she is, I respond in years now, as I began to lose track of months once we hit the high twenties.  That said, there still seems to be plenty of fodder in my photo library for Jules-themed blog posts, so here’s the latest and greatest!

Her moods and her personality traits seem to become more prominent with time, for better and for worse.  When she’s sweet, good Lord, she’s sweet, like when she wraps her arms around my neck and exclaims, “I love you verrrrrrry much, Mama!”  She and Shane have put Coldplay’s latest album on repeat during their morning and evening commute to daycare, and as they belted out their ooooohhhhhhh oh ooooooohhhhhhh’s to “Amazing Day” last week and Shane reached back at a stoplight to hold Juliette’s hand, she said, “Daddy?  I’m happy.”  She’ll turn you to mush with just two words, that one!

But when she’s feeling defiant and stubborn?  Lord. Have. Mercy.  I just ordered Parenting Without Power Struggles from Amazon, as it seems that she and I are in a perpetual tug-of-war over who’s the boss.  If I hear the phrase “I wanna do it!!!” one more time…  And don’t even think about trying to get an apology out of that kid.  From mush to madness – this is motherhood!

She’s still silly and a little bit rowdy and chock-full of energy, running in circles until she literally jumps into the reading chair for bedtime books (every night, pre-jump:  “Watch me be a wild one, Mama!”).  I do love that spunk!  Sometimes.

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We’ve been creeping into big kid territory with equal measures of excitement and trepidation.  I went out to run some errands a couple of weeks ago and came home to find that Shane and Jules had been busy taking the front off her crib and converting it to a toddler bed.  I was wary, thinking we should keep our wild one contained for as long as possible, but she made the transition with very little fuss – didn’t even wake up that first night when she rolled onto the floor!

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Potty training has been slightly less successful – she’ll often sit on the toilet before bathtime, but despite the fanfare that follows even the smallest tinkle (see video below), she has yet to be proactive about it.  We’ll keep trying.

I’ve held onto a few of my most cherished childhood toys and I pulled them out last month in a desperate attempt to pass a rainy afternoon without watching seven back-to-back episodes of Daniel Tiger.  Juliette immediately latched on to my decades-old Betsy Wetsy doll, happy to have a new playmate.  When I told her that doll was my special baby when I was a little girl, Juliette officially christened it Mama’s Special Baby – “I wanna sleep with Mama’s Special Baby!  Shhhh…Mama’s Special Baby is crying.  Mama’s Special Baby got a big poo-poo out!”  Eh, I never loved the name Betsy, anyway.

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Mama’s Special Baby often joins us for tea parties (holding the engraved sterling silver cup that was gifted to me as when I was born!).

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Indoor tea parties are cool and all, but Juliette still digs a trip to the bakery and the neighborhood playground above all else.

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I look at these pictures and can’t believe what a little giant she’s become.  When did she stop saying, ” ‘Old you??” and start saying, “Mama, can you please hold me?”  How much longer will I be able to wrap her in a towel after bathtime and carry her up the stairs in my arms, singing “Rock-A-Bye, Baby?”  When did her hair get so long, her legs lose their chub?

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Dang, I miss my baby.  But I really love this kid.

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I love a good winter walk through the Mercer Slough…

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And did I mention those reddish-browns?

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