Friday, May 26, 2017

Week 19: That One Closet

So, I mentioned in a previous post how our house has no closets.

Sorry, I must retract that and rephrase.

When we moved into this house it had no closets (besides the ones in the bedrooms). There was no place for towels in the bathroom, extra sheets for beds, board games, and all those various things you put in closets.

But, when 75% of our house was destroyed by water and everything was down to the studs, we had the contractor build a closet into a small spot that was not functional before.

Hence, our small closet for some of those various things.

Several of the shelves hold board games and those things have a tendency to get cluttered up pretty quick.

So, I emptied out all the shelves, determined what games were actually played (keep) and what was just taking up space (donate), and put the closet back in order.

It wasn't a horrendously difficult job, but once done, I found the kids playing with more board games. Amazing how a little organization can make things easy to access and more likely to be used...

 The Before. The top two shelves stay pretty organized as the kids really can't reach them. Swim towels and swim suits go there. But now that summer break is here.....I am figuring on this one getting a little more messed up, It helps that all the swim suits are kept in a bag so it keeps them all together. Swim shoes go in a container and towels share a shelf with a bag that holds the sunscreen bottles and goggles.

 Before on Left, after on Right. Puzzles are contained in the basket. Some games were donated, the rest stacked. I'm guessing there will be another purge yet this year with these shelves...

 Two after shots. The shelves are deep and I think it will be tough to now lose things in the back. I tried to stack in a way that all the games can be seen and easily pulled out without having to pull everything out at once.

 My box of pictures....that will have to be a purge someday. But I know that will be an all day thing so finding a day like that.....we'll see.

For now I moved the box of pictures to my office so they are in plain sight and more likely to be taken care of. Staying is my working record player and collection of records plus a Chinese Checker board.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

April Lookback

We stayed in more hotels in April than I think we have in the entire last year.

It felt a little odd to do that much traveling, but some great memories were made along the way.

April 2017 was definitely one for the memory books.

The biggest memory maker of all in the month: Paul running the Boston Marathon. If you followed along on Facebook or Instagram, some of these pictures will look familiar. I tried my best to post a daily update to help catalogue the trip.

 As a birthday gift to me, my sister-in-law took me out to see Beauty in the Beast in the theater. I go to the movies about once every 5 years, and going as just the two of us to see my favorite Princess story was icing on the cake.  We may have been dancing in our seats and sitting with wide grins on our faces.....the whole time.

 Thanks to my job, we got a two day paid trip to a State Park lodge. Swimming, hiking, swimming, reading, and swimming were all part of the agenda.

The weather wasn't the greatest, but we still got a decent hike in regardless.

 On the other end of Spring Break we met up with my family at a hotel and celebrated my parents 40th Wedding Anniversary.  More swimming was on the agenda for that one, too.

 The Steffen clan headed to dinner.

 Just a little evening baseball lesson.

 Day 1 of the East Coast road trip. 12 hours of driving to New Haven, CT

 Day 2 was a little time with extended family, checking into our 10th floor hotel room in Boston, and touring a bit of the North End. Owen finally got to see the Old North Church and we took a picture by Cheers (can't really see the sign in this picture...)

 Picking up the race packet!!!

 Day 3 was Easter Sunday. We listened to our home congregation's service online then headed into the  throngs to pick up the race packet, see a bit more of Boston, and carbo-load on pasta.

 Day 4 - RACE DAY!! Paul got up super early, walked about 3/4 of a mile to his shuttle that took him out to the starting line in Hopkinton, MA.
 We watched the start of the race (10 AM) in the hotel room, then headed out to find a spot to watch. Divine intervention led us to the perfect spot where we set up camp for about 2.5 hours, plus we were able to see Paul run by! That evening there was a celebration party at Fenway Park for the runners and their families.  We road the subway there and it was an experience for all of us to say the least...

 Paul finished the race in 3 hours and 40 minutes. Of the 10 marathons he has run - this one was the toughest!

 Subway ride to Fenway...there were a few nervous passengers...

 Panoramic shot of the field. We got to walk around the whole perimeter, touch the Green Monster, sit in the dugouts, and take pictures with the World Series Trophies.

 Day 5: 14 hours home. We had blue skies the whole way....

Friday, May 5, 2017

March Lookback

 Well, somewhere in the midst of life I neglected to post my March Lookback.

Not that any of you care too much whether they get posted or not, but I'm pretty good at putting unnecessary obligations upon myself, so it needs to get done.

Plus, it was fun to look back at March and remember. It wasn't that long ago but things can quickly be forgotten. I'm so glad I take pictures to jog my memory.

March had a gentle roll to it. There were things on the calendar, but there were empty spots, too.

Praise and Worship Night, Field Trips, a conference where I learned how to better gear by Business toward Missions (spoke to my heart!), a 3AM wake-up call from the Tornado Siren, Boston Training, an early birthday celebration, and the start of Spring Break.
 The Time Change meant the sun came through the windows at an hour when I was still home and able to see it.

 I was thrilled to see that after spending a whole winter in the darkness of our garage, the fig tree was showing signs of life.

An evening with Owen's basketball team, and their parents. A great group if I do say so myself.
Hannah's class took a field trip to Safety Village to learn fire safety and how to escape from a burning building. These were nervous smiles as we were about to escape down a dark, smoky staircase and through a downstairs that was 'on fire.'

Paul's graciously allowed the girls to 'do' his hair.  I think this is a sign that it needs trimmed.....

While Paul trained for the Boston Marathon, we did our own form of "Boston Training." Walking at least a mile a day, getting ready for our big 5+ mile walk through the city.

These two pictures were taken 1 week apart. We got around 2 inches of snow along with freezing rain and sleet. One week later I attempted to run in 80+degree weather and just about lost it.

Due to being gone on my actual birthday, we celebrated a few days early. The kids were good with that as they could hardly wait to give me all their handmade gifts.

 We finished out the month heading out on our Spring Break. Not the warmest beach, but it was a getaway and it was our party of 5 and I am OK with that.

Week 18: All the places to hide

OK. I admit. I am losing a bit of steam. I would love to have more time to devote to this purging thing, but time keeps marching on and I'm finding I don't have those large chunks of time that I need to tackle a space. I'm sure most people reading this paragraph can relate.

So, I'm going a bit smaller.

Like WAY smaller.

I took care of a dresser.

I love our house for the open living, kitchen, dining area it has.

What I'm sort of bummed about is that there are really no closets (besides the bedrooms).

I say sort of, because, really, it's a blessing in disguise.

No closets = no spots to hide everything.

But, that also means I have no spots to hide everything....

Enter, the Dresser.  This dresser has become the spot where things go to hide, and it was time to clean out.

I was so intent on cleaning it out that I didn't take pictures (that's why there are more pictures of the flowers on top of the dresser than the dresser itself!), but here is a list of things that were removed and are on their way to the Thrift Store or where they actually belong:

- 25 CD's (I kept about half. The ones I still listen to and ones where I like all the songs on the tract. If I only liked one song or two, I passed on it. I figure I can always find it online if I have a burning deisre to listen to it.
- 5 tennis balls (?)
- paper trash (children.....)
- 3 large sticks (?) children, again.....
- 5 'freebie bags" You know, those bags with the strings that can be made into a book bag? Yeah, there are only 5 of us....we don't need 2 a piece.
- About half my stash of sheets. Rarely do we have 15 people sleeping at our house at once. I didn't need that many hanging around.

At the end I was able to close the drawers without force and I could see everything with one look. I didn't have to dig. I feel like is the goal for any drawer in my house. If I am able to open and close without force, or having to tuck things down and in to make it close, and if I'm able to see everything with one look and without having to root around, then mission accomplished.

The dresser is now the designated spot for:
1: sheet music, CD's, and Owen's recorder
2: bags
3: empty! woot! woot!
4: sheets for overnight guests
5: Hannah's crafts

Now, to keep it that way.

Week 17: Taking it outside

Catching up, this was actually last week. Posting this today is a bit ironic as it feels like it has rained daily since these pictures were taken.

Which makes me thankful I worked outside when I did.

Generally Saturdays are when we clean the house but this day was too gorgeous to stay inside so we tackled all of the flower beds and the front porch.

I feel like I have a decent eye for laying out my home in a way that is pleasing to the eye and makes me feel calm and comfortable.

However, it ends at the front door.

I am really at a loss when it comes to making the outside of our house looking anything but, well, drab.

It may be because things that are needed to make it look better cost way more than what I've got to put into it.

As you can see, our concrete porch only covers about 2/3 of the actual porch area. Our stone drive is in dire need of resurfacing.  And I don't have a clue what to do with plants to make them look like they were naturally planted, but organized at the same time.

But, for now, I work with what I got. And for decluttering the outside, that means cleaning up dead leaves, cutting down old plants from last Fall, picking up bits of trash that blow in, and trying to figure out where to go with all the various sticks and creations my kids come up with that clutter up our patio table and bench.

It took several hours, but looked so much better once we were done!

And, if anyone has some helpful, fairly inexpensive tips for how I can make the outside look better....I welcome anything you got!