Tag Archives: Cleaning

almost locked in the dungeon

7 Jun

Thinking of my conversation with the nice plumber man a couple of days ago,  I still find myself hoping he will not delay too long.  Might he come today?  If not, I sure hope he comes tomorrow! When I brought him into the cellar to get a good look at the pipes, I was a bit ashamed!  Cleaning the basement was on my to do list, but still undone.  So, today was the day.  By the time I had finished hanging the laundry, the kids had the space completely emptied!

Overhearing the children’s conversations from the clothes line, it became evident that things were not running smoothly.  My little five year old princess was crying in search of someone who would sympathize with her.  Apparently she was under threat of being locked into the inner dark pit of the dungeon by a particular older (but still young) brother.

It didn’t take us much time to bring the  small space back to order.  Half of the things that had piled up over the last year just needed to be thrown out, the other – reorganized.     It was the landscape area right outside the door that really took some tough work.  As we began to prune back the abundant growth, we found evidence of a garden that had once been.  The vines had become so thick, nothing else was visible.  The voracious root system was dense throughout the soil, overpowering any other plants that may have thrived. It’s not that the vines are bad, in fact I love how abundant they are, but they sure are prone to take over everything they have access to.

While digging and pulling out roots from the vines, I thought about all of the things that creep in and can easily overtake our lives.  Many of the worst culprits can truly be good or look beautiful as do my vines, yet they become too strong and begin to strangle what is most important.

I thought about my little young man, so ready to exert his authority and be treated as one of the “older” kids.  At this point in his life, the authority is usually exercised on his younger siblings and not always in appropriate ways.  Gently, prayerfully, and deliberately my job (our job as parents) is to mold his growing independence – helping him to gain a wisdom that is from a pure heart; becoming considerate, submissive, full of mercy, productive, and sincere.  As he grows in these traits, he will be well on his way to becoming a well respected man wisely using his authority.

I am thankful to my husband for his desire for me to be a stay at home mom.  As a result, I have the pleasure of tackling projects with our kids –

from cleaning the dungeon to molding the character of the young knights and princesses – together we work to keep those overpowering roots at bay.

btw: Dear plumber man, the basement is clean; come back soon!


the good, the bad, and the ugly

11 Jan

The target area I chose for my positive “molding experiment“, was the children’s bedrooms.  Yesterday I told you we had instant success, and that is true, but you would think I was crazy if you actually walked into their rooms.  The bedrooms were ten times worse than before we started!!!  I tried not to laugh as I looked for something to complement them on. They were so excited!

I had given them each 5 focus points on their chart.   So, each evening they have the potential of filling all 5 squares.  The challenge is for 21 days, but to keep them motivated, I broke it up into 7 day sections.  Whoever has the most points after the first 7 days gets to make a dessert of their choice.

1. Beds

2. Clothes

3. Toys

4. Closets

5. Bathrooms

I assumed they would try to conquer all 5 areas right away to receive 5 points.  Instead, they simply made their bed look great! Then… started emptying closets.  Today the little girls were so excited to show me their clean closet.  Beautiful! They had done a super job, but boy oh boy, the floor was a disaster! The boy’s room was very similar; they also were digging deeply. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give them a point for a job half done.  I made sure to notice the nicely made beds and let them know I was confident they would achieve a full closet point tomorrow after they put away all the things they pulled out of the closet! In a house with a bundle of kiddos, a bit of competition also comes into play.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and is motivating me as well!

Hats off to all of you that have picked up the challenge!

finding order in the midst of chaos

12 May

Do you ever have dreams that seem to haunt you over and over? For years after I graduated from school, I would occasionally, but regularly wake in a panic unable to remember my locker combination or schedule of classes.  Through the years, these visions have diminished only to be replaced with reoccurring “chaos dreams.”

“Chaos dreams” tend to play out something like this:  Ten in the morning – I’m still in my pajamas, not showered, can’t figure out what to wear, the bed is not made, laundry is piled sky high, and stuff is everywhere. In the next scene, company arrives – usually  lots of company, expecting to be served brunch. I am not prepared.

I am quite sure this would bring a laugh to anyone who really knows me.  I love to get up early, the laundry is done everyday – so it doesn’t pile sky high, I make my bed when I get up, and we all enjoy serving guests brunch! Even so, disorder has a way of sneaking in.  If I start having “chaos dreams,” I know it is time to get in gear and regain order!

So the question is:  How do I maintain order?

In a house with many people, it requires teamwork.  There is no way I would be able to accomplish it by myself.  Even if I could, it wouldn’t be good for me or the family. With each place we have lived, a “morning job” list has been designed to fit the needs of that home.

These are a few goals that I look for when setting up the morning jobs:

✓ Every child should be included. ( for example: I put the baby in the front pack to watch, while I cleaned. A two year old can be given a moist cloth to dust. That age also enjoys the process of cleaning the tub, especially if given the opportunity to climb in and scrub, keeping them busy while I cleaned the toilet.)

✓ The child’s morning job shouldn’t require a large amount of time.  Fifteen quality minutes, required to be done before breakfast in our home everyday, goes a long way in maintaining a clean house.

✓ Watch for problem areas in each room and try to accommodate for them on a daily, weekly, or monthly routine. For instance, something I overlooked on our current morning job chart are the light fixtures.  Presently our kitchen light and fan is covered with dust! Yuck!  Had I put it on the schedule, it may have been overlooked occasionally, but it never would have become so bad.

✓ The morning job charts are posted where the kids can easily see them and covered with plastic slip covers.  At least to begin with, the children check off the chore when it has been completed.  After it becomes a habit, they seldom refer to the chart, but it continues to be helpful to me in holding them accountable.

✓ Walk through their personal chore with them the first few times, making sure they have a clear understanding of what is expected and how to accomplish it.

✓ Even if one lives alone, breaking the housekeeping into bite size chunks that can easily be accomplished increases productivity.

✓ Follow the schedule! It works!

If you are interested in seeing my Prevention Plan, I attached some links. Feel free to download and reformat to fit your own needs.

May all your dreams be sweet and filled with order!

• Clean the Office and Living room Doc.Download

• Taking out the Trash Doc.Download

• Clean Bedroom and Bathroom Doc.Download

• Clean the Dining room Doc.Download

• Clean the Kitchen Doc.Download

– all without being told?

4 May

One of the benefits of spending a little time away is the fresh perspective gained upon arriving home.  The kids all looked happy and healthy, the yard was lush with new growth, and the house looked beautiful!  I love coming home!

As usual, the children had been conscientious  in achieving order before we arrived.  Yet, within minutes, the order began to dwindle.  A sweater draped over a chair, water glasses with the remains of muddy hands left in various places, tennis rackets, balls,  crayons, papers, shoes… Things were taken out, yet nothing put away.  Disorder emerged so quickly!

I suddenly realized how lackadaisical I had become in this area. Letting my expectations drop, little by little, poor habits settled in.

So, what are my expectations?

I expect –

– the children to put their things away when they are done.

– beds made in the morning and a tidy room in the evening.

– them to take responsibility completing their daily chores.

– a respectful answer when spoken to.

– all without being told [this is a high standard but worth working towards] :)

Should children be held accountable when these expectations are not met? Yes, if they are based on a prior mutual understanding and agreement! First, I need to ask myself, “What kind of an example am I setting? How am I following through?” As the children grow,  self-discipline will be required, so while still a child, it is my passion as a parent to prepare them well.  Instilling in them the joy of industriously pursuing excellence comes through working together, supporting, and challenging each other.  Trying, failing, and trying again.

Throughout a child’s life, what is expected of him will grow and change. A few key concepts to help this transition go as smoothly as possible are taken from a previous post: A Room Full of Life and Adventure.

1) Give the child a clear understanding of what is expected.

2) Walk through the process with him ahead of time. (practice, practice, practice)

3) Have a clear understanding with the child of appropriate, meaningful consequences.

4) Calmly follow through with the plan and be consistent!

Taking the risk of being an irritant, once again, I am pulling in the reigns.  The standard is being raised.  There is no need to repeat myself, or become a nag, I am determined to simply follow through and be consistent.