Monday, February 21, 2011

10 Ways to Support a Military Spouse (During Deployments)

This morning I saw one of those videos that people make up now that has two cartoon-type characters chatting in robotic voices. Usually, one of the people is ignorant (meaning "uneducated" vs. "stupid") about the issue being discussed and the other person is rather caustic in getting the point across. Sometimes, these are very funny... I love the one where the two women are talking about having lots of children.

The one I saw today was about a military wife answering stupid questions. The writer said in her comments that she would never actually answer people's questions that way and that some people were offended by her caustic tone; many military wives found a laugh in it and a bit of "letting off steam," if you will. From that, it occurred to me to write a post about how to best support military families (more specifically, spouses with children) during deployments. I write these in no particular order, because the reality is that what one spouse finds helpful, another spouse simply may not need. I've tried to include things that many spouses would find helpful.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Motivation on a "Blah" Day

This morning I actually woke up and had to really think about what needed to be done that day. Yesterday the whole house was vacuumed and dusted, kitchen cleaned, bathrooms cleaned... now we're getting down to the "little" stuff. The decluttering, the deep cleaning, the "extras" that don't get hit as often.

So I made my way downstairs... and I tanked.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cleaning Up MY Act

Jeff's tidy little bedside table

When it comes to housekeeping, I have long been more of a "stasher" than one who puts. every. thing. in. its. place. A terrible habit and one I have so far (thankfully!) not passed on to my children irreparably. The past two weeks I have been very interested in following blogs that have cleaning schedules, ideas for organization, ideas for keeping areas straight, etc. On top of that, I am in a semi-annual phase of getting-rid and so am determined to declutter as much as I can while the mood lasts.

I would chalk more of this up to "nesting" and the whole pregnancy thing, being that I'm in my 29th or 30th week, but I really do go through this phase is truly something I go through at least a couple of times a year, regardless of whether or not I'm pregnant. On top of that, each time, a little more sticks and the house is getting easier and easier to keep clean with minimal efforts. Eventually I'll even hit the point where I can get into the deep-cleaning of the curtains, etc. and keeping dust off of everything!

Well... One step at a time, there, Tillie!

So about a week ago, I landed all over Smeagol and Bruiser for their room. It was a wreck - things stashed in the wrong drawers so they wouldn't even close, broken toys everywhere, papers in drawers instead of in school folders, a desk that was largely unused other than to... what else? ... stash things. SO they spent the morning "cleaning" it on their own; needless to say, they didn't get very far, otherwise I would not have had the idea for this post. I went up and helped them finish going through every toy drawer/cubby, their desk, desk drawers... all but their clothing drawers and their bookshelves, which we'll get to later. So far, they have kept it fairly well clean.

This got me to thinking... how come I can't crack that same whip on myself to get my desk straight and kept tidy, keep my "clutter areas" of my room clean, etc.? Here's what has happened in the last two weeks to that end:

  • I started on the kitchen. It is now at a place where I don't struggle to keep it up and where I get the dishes done (hand-washed!), counter clean before 9:30 every night - a HUGE accomplishment for Midnight Mel.
  • We get at least one load of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away each day as part of our bedtime routine.
  • The dining room gets picked up and cleaned up after each meal and several times during our school day so it remains fairly tidy.
  • The living room is similarly kept up, with toys being regularly policed and put away, broom being taken to problem areas for a quick sweep, etc.
My goal for each area is to be able to "fix" it in ten minutes or fewer, thereby making it easy to do housework and then get to let the kids go free, try new recipes, read a book or just relax and play games with the kids for a while.

So today I am tackling my second-biggest "problem" room: my own bedroom. (The biggest is the storage room. I am having to do some internal talking to get worked up to that one!) The pictures you see in this post are largely the "before" shots of problem areas in my bedroom - with one shot of my dear, sweet, fairly tidy Jeff's area beside the bed. He is more of a "natural-neatnik" than I am.

We have been good for one another that way - he is less sticky about everything being exactly in place, and I am less of a stasher. As suggested on several of the other blogs I mentioned earlier (Clean Mama, Angel Navy Wife, A Heart Like Water) I have made it a "rule" to finish each area of a room entirely before moving on to clean the next. Sort of a FlyLady thing I guess but I can't keep up with all of the stuff she does just yet!

Tally for the Day

So for today, I got half my bedroom done, but my dining room, living room, kitchen, bathrooms and den are largely in order before Maestro has a friend over to spend the night. Oh yeah - and I broke the "rule": I did take time out to organize the boys' bookshelf. I got in there to put a couple of books away... and couldn't figure out where they were supposed to go so I had to fix it.

Right then.

I'm happy with the day and ready to make pizza crust for dinner tonight while Buttercup takes a (unfortunately) late nap.

My newly-tidied bedside table

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And Something to Think About

In today's economy, it is no doubt that we all either know - or are - someone in need: of a job, love, human friendship and company, food, clothes, shelter, warmth... Not all of these needs must be financially-based or job related. Sometimes just having someone come out and shake your hand and offer friendship and caring can help us continue to forge ahead even in the toughest of circumstances otherwise. I have said a few times that we are working on two major goals this year: becoming debt free and getting rid of the excess stuff that we have in sitting unused in our home.


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