Most of the first day of Spring Break 2010 was spent cleaning at The 4 B's ranch. Which brings up all kinds of issues... Like the fact that when you have kids, no matter how diligent you are (and I'm actually not), no matter how hard you try (I've given up trying as much), no matter what, your house is never-ever truly clean. In fact, most of what I do gets undone before I even finish doing it. But that's okay - I'm learning to roll with the punches when it comes to how things "look."
I used to be a neat freak of the worst kind. In fact, when Brady and I bought our first house together, I remember my parents came down for a visit shortly after, and my dad, who is notorious for the way he checks everything out, looked in my cupboards to find all my canned foods lined up perfectly, and he said, "Yep! This is Bo's house! I can tell by the way she has her cans." Little did I know, those days were numbered, because before I knew it, Brailey Shaye was born, and there went my clean house. The next thing I knew, we had a playpen in the living room, baby paraphernalia scattered everywhere, and the sweetest baby you ever met in your life running the show.
I remember before I was a mother I would go to people's houses who had kids, and I would say to myself, "When I have kids, I will never let my house look this messy!" I would see their tubs filled with Barbies and rubber ducks and toys scattered all over the house and yard. Nope, that would never be me... And it wasn't, for a long time, because the good Lord took His sweet time before blessing me with motherhood. Ha! So much for those words - talk about having to eat crow!
I have been blessed with the absolute messiest boy on the entire planet, I swear on a stack of bibles. And no matter how much I have tried to teach him to be nice and tidy, he just doesn't have it in him. My mother-in-law says it is wonderful, because he actually enjoys every single toy he owns, and he plays with every single one of them. This is true, I have to agree. The problem is that he brings them out into the living room, and no matter how many times I have told him to put the toy he is playing with away before getting something else out, he can't seem to do it. Anger doesn't work with him, nor does threatening to take everything he leaves out to Goodwill. I learned my lesson with that right away - I'll be damned if I am going to create more work for myself by boxing everything up and taking it out to the shop when I have no intention of actually taking it to Goodwill, especially when I know how much everything cost in the first place. However, I have to admit that since Britt turned 6, he has been making more of an effort to keep his room clean. I thank God for this, because it has really helped my sanity issues.
He's not the only messy person in this household, either. Brady and Brailey Shaye are right up there. I told you about Brailey Shaye's room - how it looks clean on the outside, but is a disaster on the inside... And I won't even get started on telling you about my loving-but-messy husband and how every morning I come into a dirty kitchen that was spotless before I went to bed... Yes, I find evidence of his late night snacking all over my counters. But let's not go there! The simple fact of the matter is three of the 4 B's are just not neat freaks.
And quite frankly, I have stopped being such a fanatic about everything being spotless all the time, myself. Not necessarily by choice, but because I would be even more of a raging maniac than I already am if I tried to keep up with this place! It just isn't as important to me, anymore. Although I will admit that I don't find fingerprints on my windows to be "angel kisses" like some people do - those really do bug me. But it is only because I know how much time it takes to clean, and I'd rather be spending it on something else far more enjoyable. Like playing with the angels who made the kisses in the first place.
My mother-in-law said something to me last spring that made me realize I put too much stock in what other people think about our place. We were talking about our deck, which Brady and I were working on. Our patio ended up being too small, and so we added on a wooden deck around it, and I said to her, "I'm sure some people will probably think this looks really weird." And she said, "Who cares what anyone else thinks if you like it?" And I realized she is exactly right - why do I care what anyone else thinks, as long as we are happy with it? And we are thrilled with our new deck! It is very unique.
I've learned over the years to let some things slide... I try to keep on top of them as much as possible, but sometimes I just don't have the energy. Which is why the laundry sits in the dining room rocking chair for days at a time waiting to be folded, or already folded, ends up sitting on the table waiting to be put away. And why the stalls don't get cleaned every single day, or the shop can be messy for months at a time before I get to it. See? I'm getting better! I'm learning to worry about the things that really matter, letting the small stuff go... What can I say? Some days are better than others! But overall? I think I am a reformed clean freak. I'll settle for tidy.
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