Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So Many Frogs and Two Lizards


Many of you may remember my Frog Blog from a few weeks ago entitled "Panic at the Front Door" where I wrote about being attacked by a frog and I had to remain silent. I would love to tell you that that incident was the end of this little froggy chapter of my life. But I can not tell you that.

The frogs... they have continued.

Last weekend we drove to New Orleans to visit Grant's family and about 20 minutes into the drive, I noticed this little guy on the rearview mirror outside my window.

That little guy hung on for dear life for over 3 hours. It wasn't until we stopped in Lafayette at Chick-fil-a that he finally found a new home in Louisiana in some grass. Chick-fil-a isn't a bad place to start a new life, buddy.

But it doesn't stop there.

Yesterday I went to the grocery store and on the drive there a little lizard poked his head up from the engine area of my car and climbed up my windshield. He walked around frantically and then flew off and I felt kind of bad for him.

But it doesn't stop there.

So I was walking out of the grocery store with this little rockstar:

(Apparently the rain boots were non-negotiable. Sister had some opinions yesterday.)

As I opened the hatch to unload my groceries into the trunk, a frog fell from the trunk door onto my bumper. After I did a little yelp, I looked at the frog and said "STOP!! STOP FOLLOWING ME! JUST STOP IT!!" and Ellie laughed.

But it doesn't stop there.

And this one might be the worst of all.

I was loading clothes into the washing machine last night and I something caught my eye. The vacuum cleaner... the canister is clear and I can see everything that we suck up and I was realizing it was kinda full and I needed to empty it.



After I gagged and heaved a bit, I started yelling for Grant.


He took the canister outside and released our persistent little friend into the front yard.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Getting My Act Together

Agh! I didn't blog all week! Sometimes things just start to get out of hand. And sometimes all your television shows return to you and Fall premieres lure you in and you're so glad to have all your fictional characters back in your life. And sometimes as a result I start slipping back into laziness. But then I have a really great, rejuvenating weekend that snaps me back into place.

We just got back from a lovely weekend in Louisiana. We visited with family and Ellie played and played and played and we met a sweet new dog named Atticus and ATE SO MUCH WONDERFUL FOOD. Grant's mom is a jewel and sent us home with chicken and sausage gumbo. This was perfect as we got home to see we have no groceries in the house. So I whipped up some rice and we are now watching football while eating gumbo and I'm planning my week. It's the best kind of night. Ellie never napped today so she is incredibly unconscious in her bed and I don't expect to hear from her till about 9am tomorrow.

I have a lot on the agenda this week and I'm trying to eat healthier (boo) so I'm going to start a grocery list and some meal planning and day planning and all that fun adult stuff. I do feel that I would be even more motivated to get my act together if the weather was a bit cooler. My sweet sister-in-law gave me a darling scarf this weekend and I am pretty sure I'm going to wear it this week no matter what the weather. But it would sure make more sense if it were below 85 degrees, ya know what I mean?

I will be welcoming Fall this week regardless of the temperature. My Fall decor will slowly make an appearance and the CrockPot will be back in full swing along with my Fall candles. Sometimes Summer overstays his welcome. SUMMER: MOVE THE HECK ON.

I bought some cute sweaters that I want to wear.

And boots. Oh, boots. I have missed you.

Monday, September 22, 2014

You Know You're Jealous of My Weekend

First of all, let me just say that I am positively giddy right now about 2 things:

1. COOLER WEATHER IS COMING. I am going to wear long sleeves and boots and scarves in the foreseeable future and for this I praise the Lord. 

2. GRANT FIXED THE INTERNETS. Y'all, we have lived in this house for almost 5 years. WiFi is great in the front part of the house, but no matter what we do, no matter what provider we have, no matter how much money we pay, we can not get a strong WiFi signal in the master bedroom or the living room or the kitchen. And you know where I live? The master bedroom, the living room, and the kitchen. Apparently there's some kind of fire blocking in our walls that interfere with the signal. WELL. That ended TONIGHT. Grant finally had enough of it all, so he used the skills he learned when working for his family's home security business to remedy the issue. He got himself up in the attic and rewired some things and drilled some holes in some walls and dropped some wires and cables and things like that (I have no idea what I am talking about) down through walls and HE FIXED IT. You know how in Cast Away when Tom Hanks rubs the sticks together to make fire? The feeling of accomplishment he felt? That was me tonight. "You made the internet, babe! YOU DID IT! YOU MADE INTERNET HAPPEN IN THE LIVING ROOM!" He was so proud of himself. It's going to be a whole new world!

So, now that there is lightning fast speed happening, I am feeling motivated to write and post something to the lightning fast internet. Let's review a bit from this weekend, shall we?

Saturday night I got to go to a Hibachi Grill to celebrate my Granddaddy's 81st birthday.

Hibachi was fun (I haven't had it in a very long time) but Ellie did not have much fun. She spent the vast majority of the meal with her head in my lap or burying her face in her daddy's chest. When the flames would get big, she would cling to me and say "In the car, Mommy! Go home! Let's get in the car!" 

Also, on Saturday my child pretty much refused to eat anything. At. all. Even when I offered her her very most favorite foods, she was not interested. French fries. Blueberries. Not having it. She never once asked me for a snack the whole day (this has not happened since 2013) and I put her to bed knowing that she had to be starving but I couldn't make her eat. So, naturally, at 1am, she called for me and frantically told me that she needed a banana. 

We sat up eating a banana, some blueberries, and some Cheddar Bunnies at 1am till 1:30am and we watched Curious George since Mommy needed to sleep while all of this was taking place. When Curious George was over, she handed me her bowl and said "All done, Mommy! I go night-night."


The other major that I did this weekend was this:

I'm somewhat of a history nerd and this is a particular topic that I haven't really visited since high school and college. I am ashamed to admit that I had totally forgotten about FDR's election to 4 terms. I found the whole series to be really interesting and it taught me a lot about WWII and what the country looked like in that era. If you're into this kind of documentary, I highly recommend you watch it. I think PBS is continuing to air it (there are 7 episodes total) and I think I read somewhere that it is on iTunes. As you can tell, being 30 is full of wild parties and crazy weekends full of tomfoolery and shenanigans. 

I'm going to go unload the dishwasher now because the American history documentary on PBS was not enough excitement for me. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Perhaps it Shall Be Our Family Creed

When it comes to the food we eat, our household has changed our ways a lot over the years.  We shop at Whole Foods probably twice a month. Less bread and pasta (the agony!) and more veggies and fruits. We make wise choices when we cook... less fried, more fresh. I use coconut oil and organic substitutes for many of my favorite things.

I really have gotten better about my diet and about the food I cook for our family.

However, I also have never been an "all or nothing" kind of person and I believe in variety and moderation and I believe that a little Blue Bell Ice Cream is good for your soul. While I used to have 3-4 Diet Cokes PER DAY, I am now down to 3-4 a week. But I think I will always enjoy a Diet Coke from time to time. I'm just gonna own up to it and say I am making smarter choices, but not all of my choices are smart. Some of them are just wonderful.

I was sharing all this with Grant the other day... and a phrase came out of my mouth that I believe I needs to be framed on the wall of our home. So I created something and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What Ellie's Been Up To

One thing I love about this blog is the ability to go back and read old posts and see what life was like in certain seasons. And right now, we are in the season of a very busy 2 year old who would very much like to rule this roost. She is so much fun and she is HILARIOUS. So, for your entertainment and my documentation, I thought I'd give you a little Ellie update.

Ellie Paige

Age: 2 years, 2 months.

Weight: About 21 lbs.

Favorite Foods: 
"Green crunchies" (a veggie chip from Whole Foods)
French Fries
"Big Mana" (Mana is a banana, Big Mana is a banana that I do not cut into small pieces, but give to her whole)
"Vitamin-nins" (She loves to take her vitamins and wants to eat them like a snack. She gets upset with me that she only gets 2 per day!)
"Circle" (Circle is Yogurt. She calls it circle because the container the yogurt comes in is the shape of a circle)

Favorite Activities:
"Makin' gwapes" (playing with play-doh. We "make grapes" with the purple play-doh)
Playing with her heart bangle bracelets
Playing in her kitchen
Putting things in and out of her toy shopping cart
Reading books
Taking care of her baby dolls, putting them to bed

Favorite Shows:
Bubble Guppies (duh)
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Curious George (she calls it "Cush George")
Zack & Quack
Super Why!

We are just now introducing her to some movies. She LOVES the "Despicable Me" Minions and she will sit and watch that while CRACKING UP. (I also am highly entertained by the Minions, so I'm glad that she and I share that sense of humor.) She also really likes "A Bug's Life". Last night I introduced her to "Cinderella" for the first time and she was pretty mesmerized.  (Little tip.... if you have a DVR, scroll over in your guide to see what Disney Channel, Disney Jr, or ABC Family are airing on the weekends. Sometimes they will show a Disney movie (or several!) and I like to record those for Ellie to watch later. Last weekend I recorded Tangled, Brave, Cinderella, and Alice in Wonderland to save for a rainy day!)

Favorite Songs:
"Shake-ih Opp" (Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off")
"Rainbow Song" - Hillsong Kids
"Mah-Gozzo-Big" (My God is so Big!)

Other little things she is saying and doing:

1. She eats a "popsi-sicle" with her Daddy pretty much every day and it melts me. 
2. She loves to stay in her bed for awhile in the mornings. She calls me in there and gives me a hug and a kiss, but then she wants to just lay there for awhile. She'll say "No, Mommy, I stay in bed."
3. She LOVES music and dancing. It's her very most favorite thing. She does a little move I call "The Elbow Dance" because there is a lot of elbow movement.
4. She goes to school 2 days a week and is doing well. She has a lot to tell me about it after I pick her up. She does not nap at school, but they tell me that she lays there very quietly and rests, she just doesn't go to sleep.
5. She has some pink rain boots she likes to wear all the time, no matter the season or temperature or weather.
6. She uses poop as a manipulation tool. "Mommy! I poop! Change-a-dahper!" she says in her crib. I will go in and quickly determine that she did not poop. Then she'll say "Hi Mommy!"
7. She gives compliments. "Oooh, I like yo dress!" (She said this when I was wearing a really, really large oversized t-shirt to bed one night.) Or a few nights ago, we had a sweet babysitter come over wearing a colorful headband. Ellie saw her headband and said "Oooh, I like yo rainbow!"

Little phrases:
"Show me"
"Lemme See!"
"No. That's Ellie's!"
"Ohhhhhh, he's cuuute!"
"Oh, Crackers!" (She says this when something goes wrong.)
"Where'd it go? I dunno!"
"Hello _______, my name Ellie!" (this is usually said to non-living things, such as rain and tables)
"Foyyow me!" (Follow me!)

Any door or cabinet is called an "Open Close". Our front door is called the "Open Close" and kitchen cabinets are also called "Open Close".

She can identify a few letters of the alphabet (thanks Super Why!), specifically B, W, I, T and P. 

She can count up to 13, but she will still always skip the number 4. 

One thing she has been doing lately that makes me laugh is singing songs but making up her own lyrics. She keeps the tune of the song, but changes the words. For instance, she'll sing "Happy Birthday to you..." but she'll focus on what she's eating at the moment. So, if she's got a plate full of grapes: "Happy Gwapes, gwapes, my GWAPES!!! Happy Gwapes, gwapes, gwapes, GWAPES! I love gwapes, i love GWAPES! Happy gwapes to you!"

Okay, I'm rambling now and I'm sure there are more things I can think of, but I'll save those for another blog. 

Have a very happy Wednesday!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How To Remove a Spoiler From a Car For No Good Reason Whatsoever

You know how some people say that they live life with no regrets? I do. I live life with regrets. Some decisions are stupid and embarrassing. And now I'm going to share with you a story about one of those decisions.

I was in middle school and my sister Jaclyn was in high school. Her first car was a cute little purple Saturn. It wasn't a purple-y purple, but more of a plum. It was so perfect for her and I loved riding with her. We would listen to Broadway soundtracks and Lisa Loeb ("You say... I only hear what I want to...) (SUCH A GOOD ALBUM) and she would give me a ride to my various friends and activities so it was a happy little life we lived in that little purple Saturn.

One day, after school, I needed her to give me a ride up to church. For what, I do not know. But she did. She drove me to church and we entered the property using a driveway that wasn't used very often. We didn't go through the main driveway. Instead, we chose to use the driveway that lead to the "Youth House". The Youth House was a small house on the side of the church property that was where the middle schoolers and high schoolers congregated on Sunday mornings and throughout the week. The driveway into the Youth House was a dirt driveway, and at the time they would rope off that dirt driveway with a rusty old chain.

And you know what? Sometimes that rusty old chain was very hard to see when sitting low against the dirt driveway. LET'S JUST KEEP THAT IN MIND, SHALL WE??

So Jaclyn drove me to church and I have created some visual aids to help y'all understand the chain of events here.  Prepare to be super impressed with the quality of these images and the attention to detail.

Fig. 1

So there we were, happily chatting and singing along to some wonderful song.

And then we turned left into the driveway.


The rusty chain (that we could not see before turning) slammed on top of the hood of the little purple Saturn.

Fig. 2

We screamed. The chain hitting the car was LOUD. And then we kind of panicked. Especially Jaclyn. "What do I do?!? WHAT DO I DO?!?!"

I'd like to take a moment and discuss how my sisters and I, especially in our younger years, did not function well in a moment of crisis. We would kinda freeze up and just become frantic. For example, one time our security alarm started going off in our home for no reason and Shannon went up to the keypad and hit the panic button which caused a lot more things to happen. When she was asked why she chose to hit the panic button she said "I was panicking."

Anyways, Jaclyn was freaking out because there was a chain on the hood of her car and she didn't know what to do. She didn't feel like she could go into reverse because there were many cars passing behind us on a busy street and we couldn't back up into the busy traffic.

So she kept saying "what should we do?"

So then, Jenny, the 13-14 year old unlicensed driver in the passenger seat, came up with an idea.

"Just keep going forward" I said.





This is the moment I regret. Those words. This is one of those times I look back on as a really, really low point of my life. This doesn't speak well for my intelligence.

So she pressed on the gas and slowly eased forward.

The chain scraped up the hood. It scraped up the windshield. It scraped across the roof of the car. It scraped down the back windshield. It scraped across the trunk, and then....



Fig. 3

I am not sure exactly what we thought was going to happen here, but I guarantee you that we never came close to considering that we would rip the spoiler off the back.

The entire car needed a paint job.

The windshield needed repairing.

The spoiler had to be fixed and reattached.


To call him and explain to him what had happened.... I'm pretty sure he walked us through several different options we had other than "drive forward" but, you know... what was done was done.

And I'm pretty sure the church put some reflectors onto that old rusty chain. Because it was totally the chain's fault.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Panic at the Front Door

I need to tell you about something that happened to me yesterday morning. It's been over 24 hours now so I'm feeling a little better and I think I can talk about it without breaking out in a sweat. It all started around 6:00am. Really, nothing good happens at that hour and this story is further proof that I should just stay in bed. 

I feel like I need to clarify something. I am not getting up and running at 6am because I am a super athlete or because I find it invigorating. No. That is not the case. I would rather run at a later time. Honestly, I wouldn't like to run at all but I'm doing a half-marathon in January because I'm crazy.  

Reasons I feel like 6am is the only time I can run:
1. Grant is home so he can stay with Ellie.
2. It's the coolest part of the day in terms of temperature and I don't feel like I'm going to die.

On days that Ellie is at "school," I run the (indoor) track at a gym and this is a much better situation. When the weather cools down some I will probably start running in the evenings when Grant is finished working. I just wanted to make it crystal clear that I am not doing this because I enjoy it.


Okay, moving on. 

When I am getting ready for my run at this ridiculous hour, my most important task is to remain silent. Just because I'm up at 5:45am doesn't mean my family should have to be up as well. So that means I have to do all I can can to keep the dog, the husband and the child asleep. It's a skill I have mastered. 

(Side note: Grant has to silently get ready and leave the house every once in awhile for work or golf or hunting or whatever... and a few weeks ago he opened the front door around 5am without disarming the security alarm and it was FULL SIRENS and he was sprinting trying to turn it off and then he came into the bedroom and whispered "I'm sorry" as Ellie started to stir and I said "You're going to die.")

(Can you feel the love tonight?)

So, I was in my running clothes, I had my headphones in and I was holding my iPhone trying to pick a song from my "Run" Playlist to start running to, and I silently and carefully opened the front door.

My headphones are in. I'm looking down at my phone. 




A frog descended from the heavens and landed on my chest.

And I was looking down at my phone.

So, out of nowhere, this frog (who I'm assuming was on the top of our front door frame) just landed on my chest, facing me. We were looking at one another. 

Once again,  I will remind you that I need to be really quiet. Everything in me told me to scream. But I did not scream.

I made a sound that can best be described as a very deep moan. 

And then I did something that can best be described as this:

Except maybe with more arm movements.

So after I flailed around a bit with my RiverDancing, the frog jumped off of me and landed in my entry way. 

However, now I needed to get him out the front door. I couldn't leave him in my entry way and then come back home and wonder where he was and was he attacking my baby and I just couldn't allow that. I AM A GOOD MOTHER.

So I started whispering "Shoo!" to him as a I waved him out the door, as if he would see my hand gesturing and fully understand that I was asking him to please leave my home.

I gently touched him with my foot to encourage him to leave and he jumped on my shoe.

And then I did the groan again and then I kicked very violently and he flew off of my shoe into the bushes outside of my front door.

And then I walked outside while clutching my chest and breathing heavily and this is the end of that story cause I'm starting to have flashbacks and I have to shut this down. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Nightly List

Remember a few days ago when I posted about cleaning my house? Well, since so many of you seemed to relate to that, let me ask you this:

Are your mornings filled with panic and anxiety?
Are you always running late?
Do you forget things?
Do you sometimes think to yourself "I didn't think this through?"

Well, we are are kindred spirits, my friend.

As I have been practicing being an adult in the last few months (hooray!) I have also tried to come up with a new way to be more efficient and prepared. I have always been a procrastinator and I struggle in the mornings, especially when I have somewhere to be. I always forget to pack something or start the process too late. Frazzled doesn't even begin to explain it. Frazzled, sweaty, ticked off and cranky is more like it.

But, once again, I had to ask myself: "You complain all the time about this area of your life... BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO CHANGE IT?!"

So, I've started a new little ritual called THE NIGHTLY LIST. It's a very creative title and I'm sure no one has ever ever come up with this concept ever before. I AM AN INNOVATOR.

Look, it's really pretty dang simple. I downloaded an app called Evernote (you could just as easily use pen and paper but that is easier to lose and I can access this list from my iPhone, iPad or computer) and every single night before I go to bed, I create a list for the next day.

As an example, this was the list I made last night as I was preparing for Ellie going to school today:

It's pretty self-explanatory, but the general idea is to literally write out everything you need to do/accomplish/pack before you leave the house the next day so there are no surprises. I even decide when I need to wake up since I now know I have a bit to do before I leave the house. This has been helpful in the past especially when it comes to deciding what you're going to make for dinner. If you're making a crock pot meal, make a note about what time you need to turn the crock pot on. That way, you won't be standing in your kitchen at 6pm looking at a crock pot recipe that says you needed to turn the crock pot on high for 7 hours. Not that this has ever happened to me. This is all hypothetical and I totally didn't order Chinese food when that happened.

Again, for those of you that can do this in your mind without having to write it out, I applaud you. But, you are not my people. My people are the ones that are trying to frantically pack a lunch 5 minutes before it's time to leave and you realize you are out of fruit and the school doesn't allow peanut butter so you throw a granola bar and 6 Ritz crackers into a ziploc bag along with a packet of graham crackers shaped like the Minions from Despicable Me.

Again, this is a total hypothetical situation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sadness, Red Lips, and Anthropologie Options

First of all, thank you for all the love and "me too!' posts from my last blog about keeping my house (somewhat) clean. So many of you commented on Facebook, emailed me, texted me, or whatever... and you made me feel very much like I am not alone. I'm not going to lie, as I clicked "Publish" on that last post I was kind of holding my breath. There's something very liberating yet horrifying about putting all your junk out there, so thanks for making me not regret my decision to post about my progress in this whole being-an-adult journey I'm currently walking through.

In other news, today is a Monday. Mondays can be a bummer. Especially when they are SO. VERY. HOT. Mondays can also be a bummer when it is hot and you are making healthier choices when it comes to food so you are also sad.

Let me tell you why I'm sad right now. I'm hungry and I need to eat lunch. I just went to the store this morning and I intentionally only purchased items that would go along with this whole "make wise food choices" thing I'm trying to do. The thing is, I wanted something quick and I didn't want to cook. So I'm eating a bowl of cereal, which I actually don't mind.

The problem is that this cereal is called Nature's Path Optimum Slim Low Fat Vanilla.





Look, it's not that it's all that bad. It doesn't taste disgusting or anything. It really just doesn't taste like anything.

You know what it doesn't taste like?


You know what else is in my pantry? Macaroni and cheese. Oh, how I wish....

But you know what I did on Saturday night? I met up with my dear, darling friend Tiffany and we celebrated our 30th birthdays together by going makeup shopping and then eating at Jus'Mac. It was so, so good. IT WAS SO GOOD.

Also, me and Tiff (who is also a red head) got all brave in Mac and decided to purchase bright red lipstick. We'll be sporting a bold lip this Fall, y'all.

MAC Russian Red

This is sooooo not my usual shade but I'm willing to give it a shot.

Lastly, I was given an Anthropologie gift card for my birthday and I have been doing lots of online browsing to choose what I'm going to get. I've narrowed it down to a few things:

Jacaranda Top

Honestly, I am pretty sure this is going to be the winner, but I need to try it on in the store to check for sizing. It looks soooo soft.

Tuxedo Ruffle Tee

I can't decide if I like this better in the "Wine" or the "Holly" (burgundy or green) but I really, really like it.

Can't wait till I have an hour to myself in Anthro to try things on and walk around and look at pretty things while smelling the amazing candles.

I did look at the purses online because I've been needing a new messenger bag that looks for Fall than Summer but the first bag on the page was $648.00 so I clicked out of there real fast.

I'll just find one at Target, thank you very much. And I'll eat Target popcorn while picking one out. Cause that's how I roll.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How I Finally Have Kept a Somewhat Clean House for an Extended Period of Time

I feel really silly writing this post. Let me make one thing crystal clear: I am not claiming to have it figured out or have it all together. I AM A MESS. Always have been. Probably always will be. However, something has happened in the last 3-4 months... call it growing up, turning 30, or even just getting sick and tired of living that way... I don't know, but something happened and I'm going to write about it. And maybe, somewhere out there, there's a girl who is a little bit like me that could see that even us lazy, messy people can rise above our tendencies and make a little bit of progress. 

A few very important disclaimers:

1. I am well aware that the vast majority of you will read this and will be like "Hey... Jenny... I'm not exactly sure why you are writing this... this is normal, adult behavior and this is what everyone does in their everyday lives." Well, let me just say that I have not been living like this for most of my life and so I am just going to let you know that some of us are not naturally inclined to pick up after ourselves. There, I said it. This is for those of us that need someone to help us. :)

2. I should also say that twice a month a lovely woman comes to my house and cleans. She cleans toilets, showers, floors, kitchen, dusts, etc. Just wanted to make sure you all knew that I acknowledge that I do, indeed have help. 

3. My husband is actually very helpful around the house, especially when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. He's awesome like that. 

Okay, with all of that being said.... here we go.

Over the years, I've had a few cleaning sprees where I kinda go nuts and get stuff cleaned and accomplished, but after a few days it would dwindle again. I'd leave dirty dishes in the sink, there would be a mountain of laundry that seemed insurmountable.... there was just STUFF everywhere. I've never kept a dirty home (filth, dirt, stinky-ness) but there definitely have been seasons where things just don't get put away. 

So, as previously stated, something clicked with me a few months ago (3 or 4 months, maybe?) and I just  figured it out somehow. Most of you are saying "Kudos, Jenny... I figured this out at age 20." WELL GOOD FOR YOU. 

Let's Start at the Very Beginning: WAKE. UP. EARLIER. 

God has blessed me abundantly and lavishly poured His love upon me by giving me a child that loves to sleep. THANK YOU JESUS AND MAY THIS NEVER CHANGE. However, since she is an angel baby that likes sleeping, I also really like to sleep so I just sleep as late as she does, most of the time. At least I used to. However, I realized that I can get sooooo much done in the hours that she is sleeping. So, I am waking up earlier. Like... 6ish. I know. I KNOW. But I'm telling you, it has changed my life. I wake up, run (most mornings) and then come home, do my Bible study, drink coffee while planning my day and unload the dishwasher. This is good because by the time Ellie wakes up, I am fully ready to greet her. This is very different from her waking me up with "Mommmmmyyyyyy!!!!" and I slowly dragged myself into her room with my groggy eyes. Now that I'm waking up earlier, I'm READY for her and ready for my day. 

Let's Talk About the Kitchen

The kitchen has always been a problem area for me. Why do we have to use it all day everyday?! WHY. WHY. WHY. I am cooking more than ever and I have a child that requires 3 meals a day (GOSH) and the plates and the cups and the bowls are endless. So, I run the dishwasher AT LEAST once a day. I wipe down the countertops at the end of everyday. After we eat dinner, I don't do anything else until the kitchen is picked up and cleaned. (I can't tell you how many times I would fall asleep on the couch at 10:00pm and then wake up at 12:30am and drag myself to bed without realizing or caring that I had a messy, messy kitchen. And then I'd wake up the next morning and walk out to see this mess and I'd be totally overwhelmed and it would start my day off horribly. This doesn't happen anymore. 

The Bedrooms

Make the bed every. single. day.  Just do it. It's just better.

Toys and Such

Our living room is Ellie's playroom. She makes big time messes. Every. day. I used to think "well, why pick this up, she's just going to do it again tomorrow." And this is true. She is. But, due to creative storage solutions, every toy now has a home and it is much easier to put everything away in its place every single night. Now, when she goes to bed, I can sit in my living room and it is clean and pretty and a place for grown-ups and I am not stepping on puzzle pieces or little plastic tea cups. Just put the toys away every day. Just do it. You'll feel better. 

Pick a Project

Once or twice a week, I pick something in my house that needs to be "conquered" as I call it. "I need to conquer the guest closet." Or, maybe "I need to conquer the bathroom counter and cabinets". That was me this week. The bathroom was becoming increasingly overwhelming to me, so it needed to be stopped. So, Tuesday, while Ellie was at school, I went in there with a trash bag. I threw away things that are never used, I put things in drawers, I reorganized the cabinets. It probably took 45 minutes and I feel sooooo much better. Or, one day, I took 20 minutes and reorganized our shoe area in the closet. We have shoe racks but over time these racks were more like "shoe pile holders." Just piles of shoes. It had to be done, so I did it. And I've kept it like that ever since. 

Clear Your Countertops

Your home will feel cleaner if there's less stuff everywhere. There should just be less stuff. THROW. STUFF. AWAY. EVERY. DAY. Or put it in a cabinet or in a drawer or just get it out of your line of vision. 

The Laundry is No Longer the Boss of Me

Do a load every day. And then put it all away every day. It's quicker when you're not doing 7 loads at once. Imagine that!

Unpacking from a Trip

 We take lots of little weekend trips to see family, etc. I have a bad habit of walking in the house, dropping my suitcase, and then it just lives there for a few weeks. I pull stuff out of it as I need it, but it's just like the suitcases have found a new home on our bedroom floor. However, the "New Jenny" comes home, and immediately NO MATTER HOW TIRED I AM, I unpack it all. And the suitcase goes to its rightful home in the closet. The clothes are put away or in the hamper and the toiletries are back in their rightful places as well. Don't become a victim to the suitcase. YOU ARE IN CONTROL OF THE SUITCASE. GET. RID. OF. IT. 

(Seriously.... how many of you are dying right now with the sheer ridiculousness of what I'm saying? Does it sound like a  12 year old girl is writing this who has just learned of adult responsibilites? I'm sorry. I'm a late bloomer.)

Watch Hoarders

Dude. Watch Hoarders on A&E. It will a) make you realize you aren't that bad and b) give you a glimpse of what you can become if you don't get your crap together. And then you'll watch 2 episodes and start to panic and immediately start walking around your house and throwing things away. 

Light a Candle

Okay, this is going to make me sound really weird... but I never light candles in a messy space. It just throws off the whole vibe. You can't light a pretty, peaceful candle in a messy room. I just can't do it. So, I'm using some weird little psychology on myself and have been lighting a candle every night. Which means my house needs to be clean every night. Weird? Certainly. Does it work for me? Yes. 

Let's Get Real

I have a long way to go. My drawers are RIDICULOUS right now (next project on my list) (I just throw stuff in my dresser drawers, nothing is folded.) (NOTHING). My car is pretty messy right now and I need to clean out my fridge. Like, it's bad. Also, let's make it really clear that much of this life change has happened while all of my television shows are on Summer hiatus. There has been nothing to watch for months. Maybe I've been cleaning because I'm finally doing something productive with my life and not watching Scandal and Criminal Minds?  I guess we shall find out soon enough as the Fall television will soon return to me. 

I just wanted to share with you the progress that I've made and how I have made it, in case some of you were struggling like I have always struggled. There is hope, people. You, too, can make your bed! I promise! It actually only takes like 22 seconds! HOORAY!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ellie's First Day of School

Last year, Ellie went to Mother's Day Out one day a week. She loved it, she played, had fun, had lunch, had a nap, and came home. Easy Peazy. This year, I've enrolled her in 2 days a week, and we are just in a whole different ballgame. 

First of all, she's moved upstairs with the rest of the big kids, which is more than I can even handle. She's just a tiny infant baby girl, right?! She can't be upstairs with the big kids! Secondly, this new class is much more like preschool. She is learning letters, numbers, she has music class and Spanish class.... they gave me a take home folder for everyday that tells me how she did that day and what they worked on... and on the calendar they handed out, it appears there will be a Thanksgiving presentation and Christmas parties and such. This all made me laugh very hard... especially since the "Art & Literacy" part of the class schedule was also paired with "Change Diapers".

Honestly, I'm thrilled for her and I know she will have a great year. Her teachers seem awesome! Plus, last year she changed so much from September to May... I can only imagine what her little personality will be like at the end of this school year.

Here's the traditional "First Day of School" pictures!

When did she get so big?! Seriously.

Also, just for a fun comparison, this is my preschool picture... we look a little bit alike :)

She seemed to have a good day... she was a little clingy at drop off but they said she quickly calmed down after I left. They also said she did not nap, but did lay there calmly and quietly the whole time so they felt like she rested. I brought her home and she slept for 2 hours and I had to wake her up! She was exhausted. Sometimes I think she just gets too excited.

So what did I do yesterday? I went to the gym and ran the track, I came home and showered and got ready and took my dear sweet time doing that, I cleaned up my bathroom counters and reorganized the drawers and cabinets, I did some writing and drank some coffee and caught up with a few friends and sisters that I've needed to catch up with... and then I went and picked up my girl! It was a great day. Super productive and I am a fan of that.

Side note: Her outfit is Matilda Jane Clothing. Did y'all know my sister is a trunk keeper? Here's a link to her Facebook page.. this new release (just released yesterday) may quite possibly be my favorite one yet. I want all of it. Even the adult pieces! Click over and take a look... that little fox sweater is just darling.

Happy School Year to you and yours!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hello, September!

It's September the 1st, y'all! I am thrilled about this. Fall is coming which means cooler temperatures are coming which means better clothes and routines. Ellie starts "school" tomorrow, 2 days a week, so I have lots of projects that are going to get done and I'm thrilled about that :)

We had a great Labor Day today! We spent the morning together as a family and then Grant used his day off to golf and dove hunt (it's opening day of Dove Season... this is big news around here!) while Ellie and I went out to Cypress to see the grandparents. My grandmother, Mamaw, was there as well. Jaclyn and the kids stopped by to say hello and brought a special gift: Cousin Grace's old dress up clothes.

I'd like to thank my sister for saving me hundreds of dollars as we are now in possession of Rapunzel, Ariel, Cinderella, and Snow White dresses. While Ellie isn't into dress up just yet, I know it is only a matter of time. And now I have all these fancy dresses. We put the Rapunzel one on her today and it was a big hit.

I'm not gonna lie... seeing her in this made me a little bit giddy.

Mamaw brought the kids some recorders. Ellie and Dean had a blast. And our ears were hurting. Ellie was adamant that Dean continue to play at all times. "Dean! Play your flute!"

In other news, my dog is special. I found him like this tonight... his dog bed had been temporarily moved so the floors could be swept... and he was pretty determined to get in his bed at all costs. Butt in the air. Whatever. Moxie doesn't mind. He just wanted his bed.

He's such a weirdo.

Anyways, now we're watching the finals of American Ninja Warrior and I'm working on my calendar for the week and all the planning and such. Organization is my game plan for the week :)

Happy September, y'all!