Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hoarding, Spring Cleaning & Memory Lane

Our guest room currently looks like this:
I woke up Saturday with a bee in my bonnet about dealing with some of our seriously deferred organization. This is not going to be one of those posts that ends with a gorgeously clean room. Nor is it going to be a post about how we figured out how to better store our possessions.We're still very much stuck in the "it gets worse before it gets better" phase of this project.
The mess in our guest room is not an issue of not having the right bins or boxes.

It is an issue of too much stuff.

As evidence of this fact, I present Exhibit A:
 And, as further evidence, I present Exhibit B:
The chronic condition of too much stuff stems from several causes.

1. Laziness.
2. Misguided assumption that something will be useful in the future.
2. Sentimentality.
3. A desire to be good to earth and not waste truly usable items.

Most of the technology stored in the recesses of closet under the stairs (accessible from within the guest room) is the result of laziness. In theory we could clear the data from our cell phones and donate them to charity as soon as we buy a new one. Yet, at least once a year one of us gets a new phone and we stuff the old one in a drawer.

The floppy discs are an example of the misguided assumption that something will be useful in the future. Other items in this category include text books, coats we never wear and gift bags.

Sentimentality ... oh boy, this one really gets us. Our attachment is often to clothing. I also get caught by an attachment to mail (invitations, birthday cards, etc.) And of course, photos. We could fill a whole closet with the albums, photographs, negatives and old cameras.

The desire to not toss usable items is another tough one for us. Among the piles are no fewer than four dresses with broken zippers, six sets of sheets and several pairs of pants intended to be cut up for their fabric.
At this point I've managed to make piles for the keep, toss and donate/sell. I've also got a ton of stuff in a maybe pile. We're rapidly running low on weekend hours, so this is likely going to be a long-game project.

The good news is that this falls into the category of "things about our house that make me cringe." Hat tip new year's resolution.

Here's to tackling the overwhelming.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Neighborhood Scenes

The girls have been just crazy about looking out the window lately. Earlier this week Kyle and Rosie had tons of fun watching the neighbors try to catch a rooster. He managed to evade his captors for most of the day but they finally got him at sunset with a large posse and a leaf rake.
We also had a gorgeous rainbow over the neighborhood a few days ago. I'm not sure the girls noticed it, but Kyle and I really enjoyed it.
Here's to the wonder of spending the day watching the world go by.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Garden Update

How is it April? Our March garden update photos are already more than two weeks old. I try to keep up, but between work and the little ones, I don't find myself in front of the computer much. Kyle has managed to log a few hours in the garden though.
 In the west beds we've got new strawberries, peas and lettuce.
In the east beds we've mostly just got asparagus so far, but the blueberries and raspberries are doing great.
Kyle's been tilling and cutting more sod out on the easement, but I'm not sure anything is growing out there except the hops.

Here's to another year in the garden.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recent Favorites

Kyle and I spent Saturday in Seattle.

Without the girls.

I had to go to Seattle overnight for work and we were debating whether they'd come with me or if I'd go by myself. After a trying weekend last weekend, it suddenly occurred to me that we could go sans kiddos. Kyle was quick to jump on board and his mom obliged an overnight stay.

This was the second time we've both left Rosie overnight, the first being our two-night hospital stay when Ellen arrived, and the first time we've both left Ellen. Kyle enjoyed his night off and the girls had a great time with Grandma.

We didn't take any photos, but when we got home we all had a walk around the yard and garden and I captured a few of the recent blooms.
The peach trees are showing gorgeous pink blooms which are hopefully indictative of lots of fruit this summer (or at least more than one). The plum tree is also blazing with white flowers. So pretty!

Here's to a different kind of weekend.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Things that steal books in the night

Rosie had her second book-related nightmare last night. She woke up wailing that she wanted a book. Thankfully she accepted the first book I offered and went back to sleep pretty quickly.

A few weeks ago she woke up screaming and reported to Kyle that Ellen had stolen two of her books. Kyle, half asleep, proceeded to try to prove Ellen had not in fact taken any books by showing Rosie a slew of books one by one. Eventually she was reassured that Ellen had not crawled into the room, scaled the shelf and boldly robbed her of any books.
There you have it. Our child's worst nightmare is that someone will come into her room while she is sleeping and steal her books. Does this count as a parenting win?

Here's to fostering a serious love of reading.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

That One Day In February

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to admit that I find the show Portlandia completely insufferable. I just can't watch it. Therefore, I'm not sure if they've ever done an episode on "that one day in February," but if not they should. Here's how it usually goes: "The weather here is horrible in rains 3,000 days a year and it just won't stop. It's so gray. I'm so depressed ... but there's always that one day in February ..."

Cut to a sunny day and a montage of happy people running, biking, smiling and generally finding awesomeness in the world.

We came precariously close to missing "that one day in February this year," but it pulled through at the very last minute. I spent my day behind my desk in a blur of productivity, which was pretty awesome in itself, but Kyle and the girls got to enjoy the sun. It's hard to believe this was the same yard we saw covered in snow just three weeks ago.
Here's to the first warm day of the year.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sewing for a Cause

I recently logged some serious hours at the sewing machine for a good cause.

One of my employees is involved with a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of melanoma -- particularly the importance of prevention and early detection. The Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope is named for a young woman who passed away following a battle with melanoma.

In a moment when my heart got bigger than my brain, I volunteered to sew a gift basket of hand-made baby items for the GKFH auction. This project took up most of my free time for a full month. It was worth it, but I wish I'd thought to offer sooner (thus get started sooner).

The project would have been much easier if I hadn't seen a million images on Pinterest of this "easy" baby blanket. It took me three tries to get this one right. There is nothing "easy" about sewing with minky fabric. I got very comfortable with my seam ripper there for a while.

On the third try I used nearly every straight pin I own and on the advice of my sister-in-law (thanks Callie!) I used the zig-zag stitch for the interior seam. I also slowed my machine down as slow as it would go. It was tedious, but it worked!
Once the blanket was finished the project got much easier. I busted out some staples with these adorable bibs and dino-tag toy.
I also sewed five burp cloths. I wanted to do more, but this used up most of the fabric and I was running out of time. Two of the burp cloths are half terry-cloth and half flannel. Depending on whether or not you're forced to start using the word "reflux" on a regular basis, terrycloth might be overkill or it might be a lifesaver.

And of course I made a hooded towel with a matching wash cloth. The zig-zag fabric is flannel. In the past I've used cotton quilting fabric for my towels, which has always been lovely, but I might be a convert to flannel for this project. It is so soft! I seriously wanted to curl up and take a nap with this towel.
This was Ellen's first stint as towel model. She wasn't a fan. Whoever wins this basket at the auction will be the proud owner of a slightly chewed-upon tag toy, which I used as bait to get her to sit still long enough for the photo.
Unfortunately the auction, which was supposed to be a few weeks ago, had to be postponed due to weather, so I won't know until next month what impact my contribution has on the fundraising for GKFH.

In addition to this small auction contribution, I'd like to do my part for this cause by reminding everyone to stay away from tanning beds and don't forget the sunscreen!

I haven't had to sew much since and am looking forward to my next project.

Here's to saving lives.