August Blues. {Again.}

summer

I’m posting this a day early because I know tomorrow will be a busy day.

Just as well.  Hopefully it will keep me from noticing the day on the calendar.

Last year, we made it to August 1 before Goob noticed that summer was half over and school was just looming its ugly head with its beady little eyes around the corner.

This year, we made it to about July 5.

I really don’t think he remembers his comments about August and school and all that from last year, so I really had to laugh that these feelings seem to be integrated into his little fibers.

It’s a part of me he got that I wish he didn’t.  This inability to just focus and l.i.v.e. in the present without always thinking ahead and of what’s to come.

But I get you, little dude.  I stand by what I wrote last year that July is so full of potential and August feels like a rush to get everything that you still haven’t done…done.

I love, I mean lurve, having my little dude with me {practically} all the time.  I start to get a little nauseated when I think of him being away.

Okay, the schoolwork and uniform and getting up before 7 in the morning is the part that nauseated me.

But I do get sad.

I love how life is moving.  I love watching him grow and learn and become this awesome little human that I always knew he would be.

But sometimes, pretty much every August, I wish for a little bit it would slow down.  That July would stretch just a bit further.

For whatever reason, there’s just something about August that reminds me in just a few short weeks he’ll be another grade older, then another year older, and soon enough he’ll be one-foot-out-the-door-older.

So, yeah.  Sorry, August 1.  You’re not loved around these parts.

And we got the blues.

*Picture via {Pinterest}.

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Lessons from the eye doctor.

Today was Goob’s annual eye exam.  And here’s a quickie post on some reflections I had in the span of time his eyes were being examined:

1. You know how people will urge you to be grateful for the little things.  A well-meaning thought that, I believe, often goes unpracticed.  At least in my case.

I could have been grateful that we have insurance that pays for such visits.  I could have marveled at the technology that allows the ins and outs of our eyes to be studied in a way that still blows my mind.  I could have been thankful for good health, even a well-behaved child that’s okay with a light being beamed directly toward his eyes and he doesn’t flinch.

Yes, I am thankful for those things.  Those are, to me, obvious things to appreciate.  But you know what I sat there thinking about while Goob’s eyes were checked?

That he could read the letters off the mirror.

I thought about so many families I know that only dream of their children one day being able to speak to them.  There’s a multitude of different reasons why, but it doesn’t matter.  There are parents who long to hear wordsphrasesanything to come out.

My child can read the letters the technician asked him to.  And, for some reason, it made me want to cry.

Little things, people.  Be grateful for the beauty that often goes unnoticed.

2. Both hubby and I needed glasses by age 8, so we held our breaths last year at Goob’s check up.  And now another year has gone by where we somehow pro-created a child with beyond 20/20 vision.  I think he could read letters printed 8 doors down.

3. And for your benefit, because it’s clearly not for my own, I tried hard to find a picture with the most awful pair of glasses known to man from when I was 8.  Thankfully, I managed to avoid direct contact with cameras from that time period and while the focus isn’t so much on the glasses…let’s all take a moment to reflect on what the [insert whatever word you choose here] my mother was thinking when she put this outfit on me.

It was my birthday.

It’s like “Happy Birthday, honey!  Here’s a lump of knitted wool with a face on it–and LOOK, he’s playing pee-a-boo with you!–and some money to cover the first six months of your therapy bills when you turn 30.”

Also, total photobomb by the blond kid about 25 years before the word would be a “thing”.  Nice.

IMG_1143(2){Y’all are just going to have to click to enlarge this.  For the benefit of the interwebz, I just couldn’t put it at full-size on the main page.  Hide yo’ wife.  Hide yo’ kids.}

Grateful for vision, Goob’s awesome eyesight, and knitted sweaters and skirts,

Lis. ❤

How to Organize Your T-Shirts in a Drawer

Let me start off this post by saying I believe I should write it as tee shirts, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.  Actually, a quick internet search just told me t-shirts is the way to go.  Phew.  Crisis averted.

Second, let me also address the fact that I could probably make this post two sentences and get the point across.  But I’m wordy, so that’s not going to happen.  We’re going to drag this baby out for all it’s worth.

Let’s begin!

Pinterest has been one of my best friends since its inception and you needed to have an invite code and wait weeks–weeks I tell ‘ya–to be accepted into that popular clique.

I have to say though I use it more as a visual and don’t actually click on any of the links I “re-pin” 98% of the time.  I’ll see something and store it in my internal memory bank and pull it out when the need arises.

Which is what happened when it was time to do our bi-annual clothing switch.  {Which is also the opportunity to evaluate how the spaces in our bedroom are working for my husband and me, move things around, and, of course, purge.}  It’s the time of the year I take everything out of our drawers and start fresh.  Nothing like neat drawers to maker me happy!

So I remembered seeing this idea on Pinterest and thinking, “Hey! I should try that.” Again, I never clicked on the link and went by memory.

So let me start of by saying that I only actually clicked through the link to the attached blog post because I sat down to write this post and thought I should see how I compared.  As I suspected, I’m not doing it the same way as in the various posts linked to in this “pin,” but I like my method and I’ll explain why later.

Okay, before I show pictures I’ll throw out the question–Why organize your t-shirts a certain way in a drawer?

I have found t-shirt drawers to be the ones that get disorganized the fastest.  Why?  Because you go looking for a particular shirt and have to comb through a whole stack to find the one you want.  It’s usually at the bottom of the pile and what do you do?  Pull it out causing the rest of the pile to kind of topple over.  Do this a couple of times and before you know it, your once neatly-ordered stacks are a big jumble of cotton mountain.

On the flip side, if you’re lazy a time saver like me, you’ll just grab whatever shirt is on top and never even touch the ones on the bottom.  Once laundry is done, you put the same shirts right back on top and they’ll remain your go-to shirts for everything.

It made so much sense to line the shirts back to back of one another instead of in piles (or as the blogs I linked to state, folding in horizontal rows as opposed to vertical ones).  The point is to be able to see the details of the front of the shirt, so let’s say you’re on your way to a NKOTB concert–you’ll be able to spot your Joey McIntyre shirt immediately.  Ahem.

Okay, on to pictures!

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I used this cute shirt we gave my hubby one Father’s Day as a sample.

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I put the design face down and fold in the shirt in half.

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I fold just the sleeves in and then bring each half in to meet in the middle.

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Then I use a rolling technique to complete the process starting from the bottom up…

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and bam, that bad boy is ready to be plopped down into the drawer.

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So here’s where the my technique deferred from the “pin” I posted, and the pros and cons of that.  The blogs that posted about this idea do a different folding technique which leaves the t-shirt completely flat and more square like.  You for sure will get more space this way, if that’s what’s needed, but I’m wondering how their rows hold  up once you pull some shirts out?  With my shirts being more “round” they hold up in their place even as we remove shirts and they remain pliable enough for me to keep “flattening” them if I need to fit in more shirts.  {But, hello, if your shirts are overflowing from your drawers, perhaps you have too many.}

Even with my rolling technique, I garnered a whole lot of extra space!  There’s only so much room vertically the drawer has, but horizontally you can really squeeze the shirts in and get more space than you would think you have.  If we add to the t-shirt collection, I’ll definitely try the more “flat” approach.  For now, I’m happy with how this turned out.  It’s making it super easy for hubby to take out shirts and for me to put them back in when laundry is done.

Finally, for the sake of honesty, I asked my hubby how he liked this system.  He did mention the shirts get a little more wrinkly (but not terribly) this way when he unrolls them as opposed to when I just use to fold and stack them.  Whoops.  In the winter the shirts go under another shirt; in the summer he can toss it in the dryer for a quick few seconds so problem solved.  This would be another point for perhaps doing the flat method, which I’ll give some serious thought to later this year when we do the clothing switch.

I’m also thinking I could just fold the shirt in that last step instead of rolling and see how that works.  I’ll try that when I have a chance and keep you updated.  Ah, well, organizing will always be hit or miss, but that’s the beauty of it.  It’s a learning process and you can accommodate what works and what doesn’t as you go!

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I also go the extra step and color coordinate the shirts.  But that’s because I have issues.

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So there you have it!  How I keep our t-shirts organized and their corresponding drawers in control.

On another note, I made–made–my husband purge some t-shirts when I did the clothing switch.  It was a little ridiculous the amount of shirts he has.  I insisted that at least any with holes or stains had to depart from my presence.  Most made their way into the attic, but that’s a start.

Do you find it hard to part with t-shirts for sentimental reasons?

Have you ever tried this method of folding t-shirts before or keep your t-shirts organized another way?  Do share!

Oh, and to show proof in the pudding…

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always know where this shirt is. 😉

Until next time!,

Lis 🙂

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Vacation mode + a fun day.

Why does vacation time go so fast?

That’s a question my husband and I had to answer many times last week during our family’s annual summer trip.

Our 9-year-old is quickly figuring out that life flies by at a pace you’d rather it not.  I’m with him on feeling like my days–especially those lazy hazy crazy days of summer–are whizzing by.

We went away on our annual family vacation a couple of weeks ago now.  I found myself dwelling often during that week how I wished I could capture the essence of the vacation throughout the year.  I know it’s not possible to carry every single part of vacation out during regular life–I mean, who wouldn’t want someone to make their bed for them everyday and be able to eat out for every meal?  I get it; life doesn’t work that way.

The essence I’m referring to is the relaxed atmosphere and the ability to just.breathe.

It was nice to take my time in the shower and not rush through my normal two-minute shower like when I’m home.  Sure no one’s forcing me to take a 120 second shower but there’s a thousand other things I could be doing with that time and so, at home, I jump in and out.

And do you know I worked out every single day in the hotel’s gym?  Yup, without a mountain of laundry or a sink full of dishes to tend to, every morning after breakfast and every night upon returning from whatever activity I spent a decent chunk of time on the elliptical and treadmill.  {Mind you I did this to balance out all the food out we were eating.  I knew it wasn’t to lose weight, but–fingers crossed–not to gain any…and I didn’t!}

Everything just seems…chill.  And as we embarked on our way home, I started thinking–I mean, really thinking–how can I capture some of those good feelings you feel when you’re away from home into normal every day life.  The truth is it takes sacrifice and it takes prioritizing.  It’s good that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want dishes in the sink, but you know what?  Sometimes there will just need to be if it means I can take a bath or read a chapter in a book for my own sanity.

I feel so much better when I get that chance to step away, collect myself, and just relax.  I guess that’s what makes vacations special and why life cannot be a lifelong one, but man does it feel good.

DSC06076Favorite pic from vacation 2013

***

I started writing this post this last Tuesday, but started in the wee hours of the night (so technically it was Wednesday) and couldn’t bring myself to finish.

I had wanted to share about the fun day Goob and I had on Tuesday and it seems silly to share about it so many days later, but I’m still going to go ahead and do it.  My dashboard is filled with half-finished drafts, and I don’t want my memories to become that.  Just half-finished.

A friend gave me a free adult ticket to The Cloisters exhibit that expired that Tuesday and since Tuesday is a day off for me and a day to do something fun with the boy, I figured why not?

There was a parade in the city featuring the starting players for the All-Star game that day as well, so it seemed like a fun activity to add to the day.

We departed early enough as we were taking the subway in.  I was proud of my non-city-girl-at-all-self looking up train schedules and maps to figure our way around.  We hopped onto our first train and arrived at Grand Central Terminal as Goob wanted to buy a few more trains from the MTA store for his collection.

The parade was making its way outside GCT, so it was the perfect place to set up to wait.  Goob wasn’t having the wait at all.  We got to see some cool players; we were right up on the security barrier so I was waiting for that up-close awesome shot of David Wright, but after an hour of standing little man couldn’t take it anymore.  We left and ate some lunch and continued our journey.

Now anyone who knows little man knows that trains are one of Goob’s many passions.  In fact, train conductor is still on his list of possible career paths.  So he was stoked to ride so many different ones that day.

Unfortunately, we got on a wrong train.  Again, the non-city-girl-at-all in me did not realize that other lettered trains could be traveling on a track of a different named train.  Refusing to exit and have to pay to get back in again to go down one stop, I convinced myself we could proceed moving forward using transfers to get to our ultimate destination.

Now this was one of those disgusting heatwave days that NYC had been experiencing so under ground waiting for trains was horrendous.  Sweat was just dripping down our bodies.  Looking at a subway map, I deduced that a particular train was close enough to the original train we were supposed to take and we went on our merry way.  Only when we got off the train, our hot disgusting and sweaty walk left us wandering Washington Heights with our destination no where in sight.  Not having a smartphone, I had no choice but to call the hubby and ask for help.

*Edited to come back and add that it was fun to meander through the streets of the Heights.  I told Goob it was like being in his daddy’s country for a little bit, hehe.  Music blared from every building; a hydrant was open on every corner.  Neighbors were out in full force and the food carts were amazing.  {Though I had no cash on me, boo!}  It was a fun experience to walk around and see life being lived in ways we are not used to in our quiet suburban-ish town.

Yup, we were no where near where we were supposed to be and too close to the close time of the museum to make it.  I had also anticipated exploring the amazing park that gets rave reviews online that The Cloisters sits in, but at that point we just needed to get home.

And so we did.  Made the long, hot trek home.

Even though the day didn’t go exactly as planned, I was happy that we tried to be adventurous and that I didn’t pick the easy way of going somewhere local.  Goob got some gifts and enjoyed himself on the 500 6? trains we took.  We sure got a lot of exercise and at least some good laughs.  Most importantly, we were together and that’s all I want our summers to be about–quality time that so often escapes us in the busyness of the school year.

***

Since coming home from vacation I’ve kinda-sorta tried to rest more into what it means to be on “vacation”.  {Not that a wife and momma can ever be.}  Laundry piled up; dishes stayed in the sink a couple of extra days and you know what?  No one died.  Including me.

What I need to do better at though is remembering that my rest doesn’t come from skipping some chores or laying around outside while my boys play ball.  It comes from resting in Christ.  I’ve slacked in reading my Word and when I really think about it, that is probably what causes all the frenzied feelings.  When I give Him my time, all of a sudden I have more of it.  Prioritizing becomes easier as does simply…living.

It’s good to go on vacations and be reminded of what’s it’s like to just rest.  But that enjoyment means nothing if my ultimate fulfillment isn’t found in the One I serve.

So here’s to capturing the essence of vacation even if it’s just once in a while.  But more than anything here’s to always finding my rest in Christ alone.

Keeping a Summer Schedule for Your Child

I get asked a lot how I keep little man busy during the summer.  Especially as an only child, people expect that I have to constantly keep him entertained.

Now let me start off by saying, a LOT {like seriously, LOT} of how Goob is is simply how God designed his little personality.  I don’t know why I have the type of child I do–one who can self-entertain easily and is content to be by himself–but I’m sure it has very little to do with anything his daddy or I did correctly.  He’s a quiet child who still happily builds train tracks and races cars around his room.  So it’s not even that he sits on a game system all day to keep himself busy {I’d never allow that}.  He’s imaginative and I’m grateful!

Of course, Goob is not perfect and has convinced himself that summer vacation means having to do absolutely no type of work.  Much to his dismay, his mother expects him to read and do math worksheets and this summer–horror of all horrors–to actually pitch in around the house.

Goob is 9 now, and while we’ve been lax in giving him chores or regulating his time during the school year or even in summers past, I really felt the need this year to give us some sort of parameters.

Enter our–very loose–schedule:

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Creating a schedule is good for so many reasons:

  • First, by writing out the schedule, it created a visual for Goob.  The first few days we used the schedule I was able to simply tell little man to go read what the expectations of him were.  After getting used to it, Goob could simply go to the board on his own to pick something he needed to do and I was free to not be on top of him about it.  And even when we went a period of time not following the schedule, i.e. when we were on vacation, it was easy to direct him back to the board to remind himself what his responsibilities are.

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  • Another way a written schedule is helpful is it easily shows my son when mommy is available to be with him.  The thing about summer is that just because your child is off from school does not mean that the chores you need to do stop.  Laundry still needs to be done, windows washed, and carpets vacuumed.  It’s hard for little minds to understand that.  Of course, not every single moment of every single day is accounted for in this schedule, but you’ll notice that next to Monday I included a little note letting my son know that Monday mornings belong to Mommy and the benefit of this is I’ve schedule in time where he can do what he wants.  When you give children this little bit of freedom and the chance to make their own choices, they are more apt to be compliant during structured times.  It also reminds me to better manage my time because other than Monday mornings, I need to remember that spending quality time with my son is more important than chores that needs to be done.  It forces me to prioritize and evaluate what I need to get done and when I need to do it over the week.
  • A schedule helps guide a child and gives healthy boundaries.  It truly teaches a child the old adage of there being a time to work and a time to play.  For a child like mine who isn’t in camp during the summer, it can be easy for time to escape and days to go by without doing anything of value.  This schedule helps little man to know what’s expected of him to be a well-rounded person.  With that said, we’re not big on a certain bed time during the summer and so his devotional time with daddy at night really fizzles out.  I had to make sure that being the parent who is most with Goob that I was taking on the responsibility of making sure we stayed in the Word daily.  I calculated that if we read two Psalms a day starting on the first day of summer {June 21} that we would finish by Labor Day.  How cool is that!
  • As I mentioned above, our schedule is pretty loose.  What this means is you’ll notice there’s no “time frame” associated with any task; Goob knows he has all day to complete them and as long as the task(s) get done, it doesn’t matter when he does them.  So if he’s smart enough, he’ll get them done quickly and know he has the rest of the day to himself or to play with mom or dad.

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  • The schedule helps to give YOU, the parent, time to yourself.  Whether you build it into the schedule like I did with Monday mornings or use the time your child is doing a chore to get something personal done, a schedule will be your friend in knowing when you get a chance to yourself.  It’s kind of like a bright light in a day that can feel very overwhelming when you’re just going on a whim.  Now because Good can choose whatever time to do a chore, I have to be flexible in letting him lead and taking advantage of whatever minutes I have when they become available.  Also, you can be a little selfish–the reason I included “exercise” as part of Goob’s daily routine is because I am the one who really needs to exercise.  This keeps me accountable, but also I have no excuse to not get it done.  Doing a physical activity with my son is not only fun but it motivates me!  Win-win.
  • Going back to the schedule being “loose”, it’s also loose in the since of knowing that I cannot be rigid and there has to be days when we just kind of go with the flow.  Sometimes we’ll be out all day; sometimes someone in the home just may not feel well and it’s important to remember that sometimes structure has to go out the window.

We are not tied down to this schedule by any means and there is no guilt if something or not one thing gets done.  Again, this has helped create healthy parameters for a young child who is home the majority of the time and for his momma to make sure I’m being proactive in keeping his little mind sharp and also guiding him to being a contributing family member to our household.

It was important that I gave Goob tasks that were reasonable and would not take him hours.  Personally I think I gave him things that are pretty fun and manageable.

One last final tip is to include your child in the making of the schedule.  Before I wrote it out on a random dry erase board we had around the house, I discussed with him things I wanted him to do.  We discussed what could easily be handled daily, weekly, etc.   It’s also imperative to discuss the why behind the schedule.  I’m not a mean mom who just wants to give him work to do; I’m a mom who cares about keeping his mind sharp and becoming a young man one day who could live on his own and know how to take care of a home.  It’s hard for him to understand that now, but I’m convinced he’ll look back one day, remember these days, and be appreciative.  By discussing the schedule, there were no surprises.  For example, Goob knows he will help me “as needed” with laundry–he knows not to complain if I ask him to come help me sort clothes because that is an expectation we discussed and is clear for him to see on his board.  I can’t tie myself to a particular day/time I can commit to do the laundry, so he knows he needs to be compliant and helpful when that job is ready to get done.

I’m sure I missed some things I wanted to write and will probably come back and edit this post to include other benefits to keeping a schedule with your child during summer months.

But tell me, what kind of schedule do you keep with your child(ren) during the summer?  Are you like me the last few summers where we just did whatever whenever?  Or have you found that keeping a pre-planned schedule has allowed you to keep your sanity? 🙂

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Hope you’re having an amazing summer!

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