Thursday, March 7, 2013

A simple life

There's been something brewing in the back of my mind for a while now. A gnawing theme of thoughts that's grown into a real interest. This interest is yet to progress to action. It's teetering on that dangerous pivotal point where I either act or it resumes it's place on the back burner of my mind, eventually slipping into the black hole that is my memory. Though this interest will most likely fall under the latter category, I'm consumed non-the-less.

This reoccurring theme and interest revolves around the word "simple". An adjective defined as "easily understood or done; presenting no difficulty." A beautiful term horribly undervalued by it's synonyms "plain; homely; unsophisticated; naive; artless." So, disregard those often associated words and focus on the definition. Namely, the "presenting no difficulty" part. No sounds so beautiful to me.

Take a minute to think of all the difficult things you have going on in your life (stay with me...I will eventually make a point:). A few of your challenges may include: a problem at your job/work; a new baby who keeps you sleep deprived; a challenging child; financial struggles; depression; a failing relationship; a sick parent...and on and on. The above difficulties are often beyond your control. Life is hard, right? 

Well, let's consider some more things that present difficulty in your life. Allow me to share some of my own current difficulties. 

-I do not have a dishwasher and my dishes are constantly piled up in disgusting stacks of crusty plates and countless utensils.

-My laundry is never, and I do mean NEVER done. There's always a mountain of laundry to wash and another mountain to fold.

-Toys litter the floors of my home and I'm constantly stepping on hot wheels, blocks, and miniature dinosaurs.

-After I've stepped on the above kid paraphernalia, I stumble over a pair of shoes.

-After I stumble over the shoes, I fall into my desk chair and face the pile of "to be filed" documents that seems to reproduce faster than any Mormon family (Yeah, I know...that statement wasn't P.C., but I'm it's allowed).

-Everywhere I look, there is a mess, a chore to be done, a task I never get to, a closet to be organized.

I run myself ragged shuttling my kids to piano, dance, and church activities. I squeeze in frequent trips to the grocery store to buy healthy snacks for the kids that never get eaten and fresh produce that spoils in the fridge. I then fret over wasting so much and the nutrition I imagine my kids to be missing. I feel ever deprived of yummy treats because I'm always trying to eat less and workout more. Which, by the way, makes my muscles ache and my mood brooding. My refrigerator rarely gets cleaned out and my windows never get washed. And don't even get me started on the state of my car's interior. Let's wrap up this never ending list of challenges with the fact that I rarely have time with my husband (med school's a beast) and when I could spend time with him, I'm trying to tackle the above list.

(At this point, you may think I'm a giant rambling whiner, and you'd be right, but I promise there will be a point).

This chaotic state of affairs has been going on for, well, ever and it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and like I'm missing something that other people understand. Other people have clean houses, right? Other people aren't late for everything and eat all their produce.

On a day that I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and loserish ('s a word...look it's in the dictionary...the urban one), I word spewed to my husband, "I wish things weren't so difficult. That life was more simple." 

Those words echoed in my head for the rest of the day and my heart started craving days that presented no difficulty. Days that weren't overwhelming. Days that were simple. 

For over a month now, I've been thinking of my difficulties in a new light. I'll look at my enormous pile of nasty dishes and think to myself, "How amazing would it be if I only had six plates, six forks, six bowls? Then, I would have fewer dishes to wash." As I move a giant pile of clean, unfolded towels off my bed at night, I have a great desire for ONE shelf of neatly folded white towels. When I pick up the clothes littering my kid's bedroom floor, my thoughts remain along the same lines. "What if my kids had less clothing? Then I would do less laundry!" Then I get carried away in day dreams of less shoes, less paper work, less toys, less clutter, less pillows and linens. Less fast food wrappers littering the floor of my car which means fewer trips to restaurants leading to better health, more money, and less guilt. My mind can't stop spinning around thoughts of how much time and energy I would save cleaning, folding, fretting, and washing if I simplified my life. 

Here's the point (you've earned it): Life presents enough difficulties and I don't need to create even more by living excessively, ineffectively, and wastefully. I need to live a more simple life.
American culture is one of excess. Our biggest problems revolve around too much food, too much house to clean, too many cars to maintain, too many toys to pick up and dishes too wash. Internet, cable, and cell phone bills to pay. Video games, internet social media, and celebrities to distract us. How sad for us. We've really got it bad, haven't we?

Zero Waste Home Blog
I feel so blessed that my biggest problems revolve around too much instead of having a life of too little. A life that so many in this world lead with no opportunity, no freedoms, no food, no shelter, no hope. 

I feel like I've been missing the magnitude of a simple lesson. Less is more. More is less. There are no rules that say I have to have a million dishes, towels, and toys. There are no rules that say I have to fill my closet with trendy clothing that I rarely wear. There are no rules that say my kids need ten pairs of pants and shoes. There is no need for a top sheet, a comforter, a duvet, ten throw pillows and matching curtains. I can have less!

I truly hope that my obsession with living simply totters into action. It's unlikely, but not impossible. And, for now, I'm hopeful.

If you have an interest in a simple life, here's a blog of an amazing woman who has truly simplified her life to the bare bones. She is mad crazy simple. And though I could never, and would never want to, live as starkly as she's inspiring. Check it out. Zero Waste Home Blog 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Puke Fest 2013

Prepare yourself. I'm going to talk about Puke. If this bothers you, don't worry...I've created a simple desensitization exercise to prepare you for the barrage of icky words I'm about to spew out. Simply read the following short paragraph.


So, now you are thoroughly prepared for a report on Puke Fest 2013 (OR you feel the need to puke OR you are currently hitting the X to close this window thus exiting my blog).

For those of you still reading, what the heck is going on with this crazy stomach virus taking the entire nation by storm?! It is B-A-N-A-N-A-S and I just can't take it any more! It's a complete puke fest and I have friends and family all over the country barfing their guts out.

I've puked, I've been puked on, stepped in puke, scrubbed it out of the carpet, washed it out of ten loads of laundry, remade a crib mattress countless times, sanitized every surface, washed my hands until they crack and bleed, been in and out of the doctor's office holding a screaming child, and watched waaaaaay to much reality TV.

BUT...You learn a thing or two when you experience the above. You live the bare bones version of life and when you are merely surviving, you see what really matters most and what matters very little. Bills are paid late, the dishes don't get done, you miss a social event or two, your kids miss piano lessons and dance class, and you don't stress over returning every text.

You can even have some very special, beautiful experiences if you open your eyes to them. When my sweet two year old laid weakly in my arms, we stared into each other's eyes for minutes at a time. My loving eight year old daughter got tears in her eyes when she found out her little brother was so sick. She would sit with him and hold his hand and sing to him. My six year old son scoured YouTube for the perfect videos to occupy the little patient. And as my husband and I took turns vomiting in the toilet, well, we were together...we were side by side just like we are through every challenge in life. That's comforting and I'm so thankful.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Mini Carwash

Jonas has finally taken enough interest in TV to be occupied for a good chunk of time (free babysitting ...holla!). This is awesome but I get freaked out that his toddler brain is going to rot and ooze out his ears. So I've made him my assistant when I do certain tasks.

Today I really needed to do some dishes. We don't have a dishwasher and it's horrible (1st world country problems. I've got it rough:). So the dishes take FOR-EVER and Jonas had already had his face in the tube for toooo long.

So, he "assisted" me with chores. We made a deal. He washed the toy cars and I washed the dishes (I think I got the short end of the stick).

I was amazed! He seriously stayed occupied for 40 minutes! We got a little wet but he had fun, I got the dishes done, and I saved him some brain cells.

It's experiences like this that make me question why I don't do more hands on things with Jojo. I think I'll hire him permanently on a part-time basis and pay him in suckers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bipartisan Pinterest

Regardless of your political ideals, I think it's safe to say that our government is greatly divided and everyone needs a lesson in playing nicely together. A lesson in compromise and cooperation. A little bipartisanship, if you will.

What? You say there is no common ground? I beg to differ. People of all races, genders, and religions come together beautifully in matters of Pinterest. So, come. Let us reach across the isle to one another in mutual interest of Pinterest.

Am I the only one who needs a break from politics for a moment? Trust me, all the issues of our great country matter deeply to me, but let's just take a breath and delve into some frivolous matters, shall we?

Every once in a while I actually try some of the activities, recipes, and tips on Pinterest. Today, I'll share a little bit of what I've learned this week. What gets my stamp of approval or my veto. In fact...I declare Wednesday to be official Pinterest Day on Jody's Home (Writing your own blog is great. You can make up official days whenever you like).

Anyway, DON'T STOP READING because there is one stamp of approval that will amaze you ( maybe it won't amaze you. I think it's amazing...but I'm admittedly easily amazed. Either way, you'll think it's awesome or at least pretty cool or interesting. And if you think it's lame...well, then you are a negative Nelly:).

Let's start with make up. Oh how I love cosmetics. There's something about buying beauty care items and office products...and People magazine (don't judge me) that really makes me happy. You'll find all kinds of make-up tips and recommendations on Pinterest. Here are a few things that I've liked lately.

This video for party make up is great. There are things on here you already know, but pay close attention to how she applies the liquid liner by winging it upward at the outer corner. I also love her tips for applying foundation (she has another video specifically for foundation) and how she does a simple lip stain. This look is great...not too over the top.

I purchased two of the products mentioned in this video which I absolutely LOVE! 1) Rimmel 25 hour lasting finish foundation and 2) Rimmel Eastend Snob lip liner. Seriously! They are great and cheap.
As a bonus, this gal is not annoying to watch/listen to. Check it out.

Moving on...

Wet n' Wild mega last matte lip color in Bare It All. Let's just say, when applied, it looks less like the above picture and more like your grandma's Avon lipstick from 20 years ago. It  is more brown than in the picture. Granted I do not have nice big pouty lips and I find most lipsticks look poopy on me. Bottom line: It gets my veto. Try the Rimmel lip liner mentioned above.

Here's my "amazing" find from Pinterest. I'm sure many of you have actually seen this. It's a natural form of skincare called the Oil Cleansing Method.

Basically, you combine a certain ratio of castor oil with extra virgin olive oil, rub it into your skin, and use a steamy clean wash cloth to wipe it off. That is the EXTREMELY SHORT version. Read this gals blog (click on the picture above) for details. 

I've always had horrible skin (mostly in the T-zone). But, over the summer my skin freaked out and I started getting patches of acne on my cheeks and even a little down my neck. I'd never had it there before. I've been trying this method for four days now and have seen a great improvement in my acne. Personally, I'm using 70% castor oil and 30% EVOO. If you want to try it, read the details from the above blog carefully. It's simple, cheap, and is great for removing make up. Consider me your guinea pig. I'll keep you posted on how this is working for me.

Lastly, here are three quick Pinterest reviews:

NASTY!! More like Skinny Monkey Dookie

Skinny Monkey Cookies

YUMMY chicken salad!
(especially after overnight refrigeration)
Kneaders (A Utah bakery) chicken salad

Spraying PAM on wet nails to get them to dry faster...

Let me know how you like or dislike the above. That's the great thing about our country...we are free to voice our opinions;). 

Monday, November 5, 2012

There are no bowls

"Mom! There are no bowls." That is the phrase I woke up to this morning along with a firm shaking motion applied to my shoulder by my darling daughter (She is a brave girl). I squinted up at her and croaked, "What are you talking about?" "There are no clean bowls so I can't get my cereal," she stated in her best annoyed-8-year-old-girl voice. I threw my head back against the pillow with a neanderthalish (I reserve the right to make up words on my blog) grunt.

But she was right. There were/are no clean bowls. In fact, there isn't much of anything that is clean in my house. I will now scan my immediate surroundings (I'm at my desk in the kitchen) and share what I see. 

Jonas before he got sopping wet
and muddy trick-or-treating.
Jonas's muddy lion Halloween costume is draped over a kitchen chair. Another chair is occupied by his crusty, sticky booster seat and all chairs have a front row seat (pun originally unintended, but now intended) to the horrific table setting of the remnants of last night's dinner. There are shoes strewn across the floor competing for space with socks, toys, and a tube of toothpaste (Don't ask....).

Upon my desk top I have a hodge-podge pile of bills, recipes, and the kiddos' cute school pictures to the left. To the right I have another tube of toothpaste (What?! More toothpaste?! Kids are weird), an old water bottle, and a diet coke (which I am currently striving to wean myself off of). The kitchen sink is behind my left shoulder and is overflowing with dirty dishes.

Which brings me full circle to the phrase that started my day, "Mom, there are no bowls." And why are there no bowls? You may ask. And why is my house such a disaster? Well, because I'm at the end of a vicious cycle. The cycle of starting with a clean house and then life getting in the way leading to a quick decline in the state of my home. 

My house was clean at some point last week and then Campbell got sick. The disgusting, puke all over, up on and off all night kind of sick. The disinfect, wash every bit of bedding in sight kind of sick. And then Jonas got sick. A cold that makes him hack constantly and wake up frequently. The kind that makes a toddler cranky and needy. 

The above is definitely sufficient to excuse my messy home, but I confess, the past two days I could have done much more to clean up, but I haven't. In stead of tackling the mess one bit at a time, I just stare at it. I stand up to get started on the dishes, look at it for a few seconds, then turn away. I contemplate picking up the shoes and toys and quickly change my mind. It's as if the sheer magnitude of it all paralyzes me. 

So, why do I do this? Why do I let it get this point? I don't know. I just do. I inevitably go through the same cycle. 1) Clean my house from top to bottom 2) Have hopes I will stay on top of it all 3) Life throws me a curve ball. 4) Cleaning gets put on the back burner. 5) The cleaning overwhelms me and I ignore it 6) My daughter wakes me up saying, "Mom, there are no bowls." 7) I clean the whole house again. Rinse and repeat. 

It's completely absurd that I let it get to this point, but absurd is my middle name and here I am again. But, today's the day...I can feel it. I will clean my house, workout like a maniac, and cook a great home made dinner for my family. I'll feel on top of the world. I'll put my hands on my hips, look around at my clean home and think, "Yup, this time I'm going to keep it clean."

Then again, maybe I should go buy some disposable bowls just in case...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

f.h.e fail!

For those of you who don't know, FHE is an acronym for Family Home Evening. It's something my family did all growing up, as do most LDS (Latter Day Saint a.k.a Mormon...I'm using acronyms all over the place. It's an acronym party. LOL....see, I did it again:) families.

Family home evening is basically what it sounds like. It's an evening every week (usually Monday nights) that your family spends quality time together. It often includes games, activities, snacks, planning for the week, prayer, etc. The ideal FHE would be a pleasant evening of bonding where everyone gets along perfectly and a warm fuzzy feeling abounds. Occasionally (like, 1 out of 10 times) that happens and it looks something like this...

Yesterday, our FHE, looked more like this (Yes, I drew this just for you...Don't be jealous of my mad art skills:)...

The kids were all hopped up on, well...I don't know, but they were CRA-ZY! The hubs was trying to teach a lesson about being nice to each other, but Campbell kept doing handstands and saying, "Look what I can do!" while Jonas bounced on the couch shouting, "MICKEY MOUSH CLUB HOUSH!" (don't ask me why and, yes, he has a funny speech impediment going on right now). Maribelle was so annoyed that she just sat there covering her ears and grumbling under her breath, "Why can't I have a sister?!" 

This fiasco came at the end of a very rough day and I was literally twitching with annoyance. Finally, I lost it and yelled, "BE QUIET!!! (In case you haven't guessed, I'm the floating head/demonic creature in the corner of the above picture) Everyone sit still and be happy while daddy talks about being nice (I'm a pro at hypocrisy)!!!!!!!!!!!" The hubs mumbled through the rest of the story he was telling (Jonas still jumping up and down) and we finished FHE with the opposite of fuzzy happy feelings. 

Frankly, I feel like the past few days have been complete fails in general. I've been staring at my bio-hazard of a messy house (There is some funky smell coming from somewhere...) for days now and we've had Ramen for dinner two nights in a row (I did mix some corn in with it for a little punch of wholesome goodness). Instead of working out or doing anything productive during Jonas's naps, I've napped too. My kids have watched waaaay too much TV and I've spent entirely too much time on Pinterest looking at food I will never make, workouts I will never do, and stocking stuffer ideas (get excited family, you may be the lucky ones getting some kind of wonky crochet pot holder from yours're welcome!). 

All of the above being said, I'm going to attempt to follow my own advice and try to find the perfection in this oh so imperfect week. Here goes...

1) Because I have not washed dishes, I've been using paper plates, which means quick meal time clean up.
2) Letting my kids stay in their pajamas all day equals less laundry to do.
3) Not taking a shower for a couple days in a row not only saves time for naps, but makes me seem like a beauty queen to the hubs when I actually do bathe.
4) I have a super awesome candle that covers up that mystery smell in a pinch (Thanks for the warmer Jen!).
5) My kids actually think I'm cool for letting them watch TV and eat Ramen. And FYI, before you judge me too harshly, they did have quality time on the computer, ipad, and DS too (Who's getting mother of the year award? This girl...that's who). 
6) My bedroom may be a disaster, but the kids made it that way by practicing their flips on my bed. They are going to be the best flipping kids ever (get it? flipping...)!

And finally, though our FHE was mostly a fail, the prayer said at it's close was anything but. Maribelle's sweet little voice expressed gratitude for her family, for her warm home, and for food when so many little children don't have any. No one wiggled, talked, laughed, or coughed during the prayer because we were all feeling that warm fuzzing feeling. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Aunt Irma

Yesterday started off like any normal day, but by late afternoon, a change took place. I suddenly wanted to yell at everyone. I cheerfully picked up the kids from school. We chatted on the way home about their day and the beautiful weather.  Upon entering the house, the kids tossed their jackets and bags (and what seemed like every possession humanly possible) haphazardly on the floor.

Before I knew it I was harshly spewing out the words, "Why did you just throw your stuff ALL over the house? Pick it up and put it away. Am I the only one who cleans up around here?" They moved cautiously towards their belongings in a backward motion with a deer in the head lights kind of look. It's as if they were thinking, "Move very slowly so as not to excite the killer bear."

Soon after, Hubs came in and tickled me to which he did not get a playful response. I yanked away from him and said, "Stop it! That's so annoying." He laughed and said, "That's my job. To annoy you." To which I replied, "No it's not! It's not your job to annoy me! I already have plenty of things to annoy me!" He too slowly backed away so as not to ignite my wrath any further.

I looked at my little family and said, "Oh no. Sorry guys. I didn't mean to yell at you. It just comes out before I know it (Like fire from a dragon's mouth)." They calmly said, "It's okay (Their eyes gave them away though. They were scared...very scared)."

You see, my family's experienced this craziness before (I'd say about once a month). Get my drift? Not fun.

Watch the following two video clips for further explanation of these crazy symptoms (Trust's worth 4 minutes of your time.)

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B: