Monday, August 27, 2012

8 Weeks to a Less Cluttered Home, Week 6

Chug, chug, chug, chug...

Challenge #26: Bathroom #2 - Today I decided to tackle the dreaded junk cabinet in the bathroom.  This thing is a) HUGE and b) full of stuff that I always say "but I might want to use that some day!" about.  As Ben said, "it had become a real hoarder zone."  So here's the list (most of which will go STRAIGHT in the trash): travel case, old pain meds, pedometer from AARP, eye mask/socks from airline, two old nail polishes, two eyebrow pencil sharpeners (I don't even own an eyebrow pencil anymore), alcohol prep pads, hair combs, tiny lotions... many of them... bronzing pads, Colgate Wisps, ear plugs, hair bands, foot scrubs, mouth wash samples, eye glasses case, sharpie, ace bandage, travel tooth brush, wrist brace, two little containers for holding crap, skin crystals, nail files, razor blades for a razor I don't own, two lip glosses I've hated for years, a scrubbing bubbles shower cleaner, 3 airwick air fresheners, several small jewelry cases, a container of orchid food from 2007... Yeah... this pile is disgusting.  I'm so proud of myself today.  I didn't attack the jewelry pile.  I'll tackle that another day...

Challenge #27- Entry, hall or mudroom closet - red full sized sheets (they started staining everything else in the wash after YEARS of being fine), an old canvas tote bag I don't need, 2+ bags of old tshirts that we're never gonna wear that I was keeping for "an art project" that I will never actually finish, a picture frame, 15 plastic hangers... extras 'just in case,' 2 curtain rods from 3 apartments back, a container of soap making materials... another art project I'll never actually do..., and a box of packing paper from when we got our dishes, 2 wall maps, a fleece jacket, a fleece vest, and a moose hat

Challenge #28 SHOES! - black flip flops (worn out), tennis shoes (I don't think I've worn these for more than 3 years!), and black keens (a hand me down that I never really used).  I confess, I kept my tan TOMS that I got married in.  They're old.  They're worn out.  But I got MARRIED IN THEM.  I can't throw them out, can I???

Challenge #29/30- Basement- Day 1&2. If you don't have a basement, this could be your garage, attic, a storage closet, etc.  Ben and I chose to tackle storage spaces in an order that made sense for us-- we have a couple of them-- basement and "the toolshed," aka, Ben's storage space for work stuff and beer stuff.  Since the toolshed is lived out of more, he tackled it first.  I was STUNNED at the pile of stuff he was able to get rid of.  It included WAY more than 10 items, especially in the category of "work stuff."  I'll be honest that there's no way I can name each of the items, so I'm not going to try.  I wanted to let the pictures speak for themselves.  But now I can only find the picture of the beer stuff, not the work stuff.  I don't know where the other pic went.  But the other pile was HUGE.  I. Mean. HUGE.  I am so proud of my husband.  All those items are now in the trash, recycle bin, or good will.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

4 months old

I can't believe how fast she's growing these days.  Time really has started to feel like it's slipping away. I'm both excited by the changes and sad that I can't get these days back.  I'm trying to move slowly and enjoy every single giggle.  

That's right, I said giggle.  Baby O is officially giggling and doing it frequently.  She does it MOST often when daddy is being silly.  He can make her smile and giggle so much easier than I can!  As we take walks through town, she looks at everything, both near and far.  She loves to look up at tree leaves from the stroller or across the room at the fish when I'm sitting on the couch with her.  The way she looks at strangers is definitely different than when she looks at familiar faces... but not for long, almost everyone earns a smile eventually.

Her fine motor movement is making slow, steady gains as well.  She sees things that are out of reach and really strains to get them.  She's so happy and proud of herself once she's got it in hand.  If you tickle the back of her hand with a toy, she'll open up and grab with it.  Still using both left and right pretty equally, but I'm on the look out for a preference!  

The gross motor movement is growing much more rapidly.  During this 4th month of live, Baby O has really shown us what rolling over can be all about.  She rolls over multiple times a day at this point-- back to front and front to back.  She isn't scared when she flips over onto her tummy... she loves it.  She grasps her hands together and just looks around like she's thinking, "okay, World, whatcha got for me now?!?!?"  Only in the last couple days is she able to hold her head and trunk up well enough on one hand to use the other hand to reach for something... and her aim while on her belly isn't great.  But it's a step in the right direction!  The day care teachers think she's going to crawl any day now.  When on her belly, if you give her something to push off against, she'll scoot across the whole floor!

We finally got over the cold that started around the 3 month mark.  First the all day coughing turned to meal time coughing only.  Then it was night time nursing coughing only... I was really beginning to think something was wrong with Baby O... and when you tell a Feeding Therapist mother that her coughing after breast feeding is "fine and normal" when she's sleep deprived, you should see how loud we yell!!!  Poor Ben got an ear full a few nights in a row.  But about a month after the illness started, the night coughing has finally subsided.  We're all sleeping much better, thank-you-very-much!

Okay, let's see if I can get pics and a video in this time...

Love from Boston!

p.s., at the 4 month visit, which occurred a few days later, Ms. O was clocked in at 14 lbs - 12 oz and 25 inches long!  That puts her in the 70th and 90th percentiles respectively.  :-)

Friday, August 24, 2012

8 Weeks to a Decluttered Home, week 5

I'm picking up speed here... trying to complete the entire 8 week challenge while it still counts as "summer" (aka, before Labor Day, I guess).  I wouldn't be able to do it without the help of Hubby.  He takes all my piles to Good Will when I don't have the energy to try to sell them or give them away to someone more specific.  I really only worry about the breakable stuff... I've seen what the back of our Goodwill looks like.  And I'm not convinced anything breakable actually makes it out of there.

Here's the next 5 challenges (technically):

Challenge #21- Clothing- Kids closet(s)- Day 1 - See #19 about why I get today off!  Woohoo!

Challenge #22- Clothing- Kids closet(s)- Day 2 - See #19 about why I get today off!  Woohoo!

Challenge #23- Clothing- Master bedroom closet - I cheated a bit with this one... I actually did most of this work a few weeks back when I was weeding through maternity clothes.  Some got re-sold, some got given back to the person from whom I borrowed them, and some are in a box for the next "maybe baby."  I definitely pitched 10 items or more from the closet at that time.  But this time around, I pitch out a few button down shirts with stained pits, a few scarves that I'll never wear (not the warm ones, the decorative ones), and a couple dressier tank tops.  On Ben's side, we pitched out several button downs that don't fit well.  Forgot to take a picture of the pile before Ben took it down the street to the Clothing drop box.  Ah well.

Challenge #24- Clothing- Master bedroom dresser(s) - again, maternity clean out happened a few weeks back.  But many of the items in the drawers stayed, actually.  I'm still wearing maternity tshirts, especially on lazy days/days off.  But this time around, I had a couple pairs of undies that should be tossed (don't worry, I won't show you any pics of my holey old underwear).  And Ben's drawers dropped several pairs of boxers (replaced with new) and a couple pairs of shorts.

Challenge #25- Bathroom #1. - a turquoise towel set that I owned YEARS ago (2 bath towels, a hand towel, a washcloth), 2 green towels that were hand-me-downs from somewhere, a pink bath towel, a striped beach towel, 3 christmas hand towels, a stack of 10 little tea-towel things that we got when we got married and have decided not to use, a bottle of gel from 2006 (probably not gonna use that any more).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

8 Weeks to a Less Cluttered Home, Week 4

I guess that just reading my lists of crud I'm throwing out is probably getting boring for some of you.  But I hope that it can be an inspiration, instead, about being minimalist.  Remember, if I expect to keep Baby O's life minimal, consisting only of the few things I think she needs, then I need to model that for her.  In addition, as she begins to be more mobile, I'll really appreciate knowing that the only things I have in the house are things that I really intentionally kept.  That way when I grouse about not being totally baby-proofed, it's my own darn fault... and my recent fault too!

Here's the next 5 challenges:

Challenge #16: Magazines and newspapers - This is another area where Ben and I don't really need decluttering too much.  We do get a few magazine subscriptions, but I tend to read and then recycle within the week that it arrives at the house.  We don't get any newspapers.  We do get a TON (at least in my opinion) of other media mail items like catalogs.  But similar to the magazines, we don't keep a huge stack of them... we tend to read/review, save one if necessary, but pitch most within the week.

Challenge #17: Decorative items in living areas - Ben says "if anything, we're too sparsely decorated."  I'd agree on our walls.  We painted last year and then didn't ever really decorate much outside of the kitchen.  But I did find 3 things to get rid of... two little boxes that were sitting on my dresser that I don't need any more.  And a framed photo from our bathroom that I'm bored with.  Three is better than nothing, right?

Challenge #18- Furniture - This is PERFECT timing for us!  We've been talking (and this project encouraged a bit more conversation) and are making several furniture changes.  When I saw "furniture" on the challenge list, I never thought I'd have a lot.  But I do!  They include:
- We have 2 full sized box springs to throw out... mattress will be close behind. (This will be the subject of a future post, once done)
- Ben fixed the broken kitchen chair.  
- We're looking for a new, smaller kitchen table.  But won't throw our current one until we replace it.  But we're close!!!
- I have an extra exersaucer type furniture item that I JUST posted on craigslist and I think a woman is gonna come get it from me later this week! 
- We're officially getting rid of the crib!  We've been cosleeping and love it.  We have a small bassinet that we use occasionally.  And when Baby O outgrows the bassinet as a part time sleeping space, Ben agrees with me that we can do a Montessori nursery!!!  (That means crib mattress directly on the floor.  This will be the subject of a future post, once we have it done)
- We trashed the icky metal rack that's been in the Bathroom since we moved in and we both hate.

Challenge #19- Clothing- Kids dresser(s)- Day 1 - Due to how fast Baby O is growing right now, this is actually a near constant project for me these days.  I always keep a brown paper grocery bag in her room which has clothes that she's grown out of.  Once the bag is full, I post it on craigslist and another local JP site to try to sell it.  I currently have a full bag of about 30 items that are in the 3 month size that I'm trying to get rid of.  But I don't think anyone is doing online shopping a ton right now, 'cause it's August and everyone's on vacation.  I promised Ben that if I can't sell this bag's worth by 9/15, I'll donate it somewhere instead.

Challenge #20- Clothing- Kids dresser(s)- Day 2 OR organize/clean your freezer - I used this as freezer time.  Mostly I needed to organize how I'm storing my breast milk in the long-term storage freezer.  I have it all in a bag, but over time it's gotten a little sloppy.  So it was nice to spend a few minutes straightening up.  I also keep a list on my fridge in the kitchen about what is stored in the deep freeze, so that I know what I've got when I'm trying to decide what to eat for dinner.  So I updated that.

Monday, August 20, 2012

8 weeks to a less cluttered home, week 3

Here we go again!!!

Challenge #11: Children's books- Day 2. - See my comment in the last post about why I'm not doing kids books decluttering right now. But the originator of this challenge suggested that if I don't need to do kids books, I use this day to clean out your purse or diaper bag. - a heart key chain, 4 cloth nursing pads, and several business cards and receipts. I don't really count those paper items as stuff gotten rid of... and this is no where near 10 items. But hey, every little bit counts, right?

Challenge #12: Adult Books, day 1 - 4 motherhood books, 3 coffee table books, 2 other random books, and 7 text books from my days as a pediatric SLP which are far too outdated to do anything with.

Challenge #13: Adult Books day 2 OR Fridge cleaning or organization - I used this time to focus on my fridge, threw out a few bad veggies and double checked the expiration dates on all of my fridge door items like dressing and sauces. Not exciting. Nothing worth taking a picture of...

Challenge #14: Medicine Cabinet - oy! This has been on my to-do list for quite some time. My sweep included: 3 colognes, 2 containers of mini hair spray, a couple of pony tail holders, a couple of free sample tubes of random stuff we don't use, a lip gloss, some expired no-doze (where did we get that?!?!?), 2 tweezers, and a roll of skin tape.

Challenge #15: Children's art work, certificates, special notes or cards, etc - woohoo!  Day off!  Not applicable for me yet!!!  But it does remind me that I need to start working on my Baby O scrap book.  Maybe I'll make that the next project after I finish this declutter...

Okay... some my piles for this week are depressingly small.  But as I walked past my desk area (see week 2) while doing Adult books, I found a set of decorative shelves that I bought with wedding money and never put anywhere.  Guess I didn't really want them after all. :-)

Which brings the grand total for week three to be::::::: -->

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bumbo Schmumbo

**NOTE: I'm not a lawyer.  I'm not a doctor.  I'm not a safety specialist.  This post is my opinion as a mom and there are probably many flaws with it.  I don't doubt that at all.  Debate is welcome, but only if polite. :-)

So for any of you who aren't moms, you might not even know what a bumbo is.  Let me show you:

I picked the blue one for my picture because that's what we have... a hand-me-down blue one that I think originally belonged to my friend, K.B. and her 3 little ones.  It got passed off to K.A. and her baby and now it lives at our house!

Anyway, tt's this round, plastic-y foam chair that is intended for wee ones.  It's about the right size to put your 3-6 month old child in.  It's perfect for the age range where the kid has some head control, but not yet trunk control.  Thus, they can "sit upright" because the chair wedges them into the right position and gives awesome trunk and leg support.  It's actually quite a tight squeeze-- I know many kids that "grow out of it" before they get awesome head control because their chubby little thighs just won't squish down into those tight leg holes.

You can buy a little tray to go on top of it, which I was stoked to do with some of my baby shower money.  The tray, in my opinion (see note above) sorta locks the kiddo in even further than the tightness of the chair.  And it provides a great surface for toys and beginning finger foods if you're kiddo is small enough to fit inside when she's eating finger foods.

I recommended this chair a lot when I was working in an outpatient feeding therapy program at a hospital for children.  It's a great tool for families!

However, this month, a "recall" has come out for the bumbo.  Recall, you ask?  Why is it recalled?  Is there lead in the paint?  Does it spontaneously combust?  What could be so wrong with this chair that they put out a recall on the 4 million units sold in the USA?  As it turns out, kids fall out of it.


But yes, if you read the recall, it turns out that "at least 50" kids have somehow extracted themselves from a Bumbo chair... while being used on a raised surface (e.g., likely kitchen table).  An additional 34 evidently squirmed out of the chair while on the floor.  So Bumbo is now giving away millions of little seat belts for free so that they're no longer legally responsible for our collective American stupidity.

Now I applaud Bumbo for doing something about the complaints.  I mean, that shows good business.  But more than likely, millions of little seat belts are probably cheaper than the few law suits that they might have to tackle.  So maybe it's just good C-Y-Aing rather than good business.

But I took a look at my bumbo... which remind you, is at least 3 years old, might be 8 years old dependent on when K.B. purchased it... while I was writing this post.  And it has a big warning label on the back side that says "never use on a raised surface.  never use as a car seat or bath seat.  designed for floor level use only.  never leave your baby unattended as the seat is not designed to be totally restrictive and may not prevent release of your baby in the event of vigorous movement."  

And don't get me wrong, if my baby cracked her skull open, I'd be looking for some other skulls to crack open too.  But seriously, people?  You put your 4 month old upright in a chair without a seat belt and then probably thought that you could walk away without keeping a hand on them?  You probably put that chair on a raised surface and didn't superglue it down?  And then you blamed the COMPANY for making an unsafe chair?  I'm sorry, I don't think the bumbo is defective.  I think you might be.

and p.s., the recall says there are 4 million units sold... and 50+34 complaints.  Someone do the math on that!  Sheesh.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

8 Weeks to a Less Cluttered Home, week 2

So... needless to say, you probably noticed the delay in posting "week two" of this activity.  I actually only JUST FINALLY got the goods from week one to the goodwill drop off earlier this week!  I guess the return to work significantly slowed me down.  But I'm finally back on track and continuing on with week 2 now.  If you need the link to the original idea, you can find it here: 8 Weeks to a Less Cluttered Home. 

I'll also say, before I start my list and add my picture, that just about 12 months ago Ben and I did a significant overhaul on our living room.  We were very unhappy with it for the first year that he/we lived here.  So we decided if we were resigning our lease, we were going to spend the time and money to make the livingroom a place we wanted to be.  At that time, we literally emptied the entire contents of the living room into our spare bedroom (now nursery).  We repainted and only put things back into the living room that we actually wanted.  So I'm unsure how successful I'll be at coming up with the recommended 10 items on each day.

Challenge #6: Kitchen other (anything left untouched in the kitchen) - crock pot cook book, 3 pink vases, a red vase, a purple vase, a clear square vase, 2 round lightbulbs, a pack of ping pong balls, a wall outlet cover.
Challenge #7: Kitchen cook books and recipes - hm... I did cook books the day prior when I was doing "other."  So I used this day to clean out the cabinets under our fish tank.  It's technically in the livingroom, but all of the items stored there are extensions of our kitchen supplies.  Turns out I was hoarding WAY more vases than I realized.  I got rid of: 2 square vases, a round vase, 4 taller clear vases, a mismatched plate, a wicker basket, a silver flower pot, a set of 4 glass coasters, and a tall clear jar with holly print on it.
Challenge #8: Videos, DVDs, and CDs - We paired down a lot of this stuff about a year ago, so I was surpised that I could still get rid of: 16 writable CDs, a Nooma dvd, a fake fireplace dvd, a small CD/DVD case and a large handful of CDs that I won't list separately because it's embarrassing to realize what I used to listen to!!!
Challenge #9: Desk or work area - This area has truly gotten out of control over the last 12 months.  We never really "finished" the organization last summer.  So it's always a bit of a mess.  One of those "organized messes" that only we know where to find things?  I got rid of: a wooden box, a pack of markers, some stickers, a check book cover, a scientific calculator, a container of tiny erasers, two containers of hand sanitizer, an old phone, some tiny locks with keys, a couple of random keys that we don't know what they go to, a huge sharpie, and a key chain light from NU.
Challenge #10: Children's books (Day 1) - eh.  I'm not really willing to touch these right now.  The ones I have are either a) from my own childhood and have already been paired down to my favorites or b) new/hand me down gifts for Olivia.  As the daughter and granddaughter of a librarian, i'm impressed that I have less than 3 feet of bookshelf space with kids books on it.  And I'll call that "decluttered enough" thankyouverymuch!

So all in all, my week 2 loot looks like this: