I opened the closet in my sewing room Saturday morning and was greeted by the sight of a storage container avalanche. A jumble of small plastic tubs and caved-in cardboard boxes. Would you like that in paper or plastic? ‘Cause I had sacks of both persuasions falling over, dripping down the mountains of stuff like they were Dali’s clocks. In that moment, I completely forgot whatever it was I had gone looking for. In that moment… I transformed into my alter ego Purge-n-Organize Girl! Ok, that’s a terrible super hero name. But if you could have seen the blaze of outraged perfectionist fury chucking things out of that closet into the (not so ) vast expanse of my sewing room… you would have been awed by my powers. No longer would I stand for having painting supplies in three different places! No more would I have crochet hooks scattered about in some kind of haystackian needle hide and seek! But, it’s always darkest before the dawn and it’s always messiest before any discernible progress is made. The above photos document the mid-point of the process; you should have seen it when I started! Too bad I couldn’t find my camera then… As of this writing, I’m about 75% done and it’s already feeling better in there. All paintbrushes and paints are happily homed together; fabric bins are stacked together rather than on opposite sides of the room.
So why am I telling you all about my cleaning binge? Because there was no time for creating whilst I was destroying.
Rana’s last day of first grade was on the 12th. It always changes the dynamic around the house when she is home all day. She is a forceful little personality with lots of creative energy. If we don’t deliberately channel it in positive directions things quickly dissolve into chaos and my blood pressure shoots through the roof. I learned early on that I have to be proactive about it. The year before last, I had a theme for each day of the week during the summer. I went with a similar idea this summer, but because of Mr. Gren’s rotating schedule I decided to make up a little calendar to help the kids know what to expect.
One package of craft felt later and I had a week’s calendar with little medallions to represent the different activities. The felt sticks to itself like those old Sunday school flannelgraphs, so no fastening necessary. I can move them around to different days and the kids will know at a glance what’s on the docket for that day. Well, more or less.
The cross: Pretty much is always going to be on Sunday to represent church.
Portrait of Papa: Mr. Gren’s day off, so we’ll do something together as a family like go to the park or the zoo.
Bowl with a spoon: Each child will get to help me in the kitchen for one meal. Konik will help with breakfast; Granota with lunch and Rana with dinner. I’m hoping that by each kid having an assigned meal, the other two will stay out of the kitchen and let us work!
Broom: Chore day! We’ll all work together to get the house cleaned up.
Music notes: Music day. It might be learning a new song together, making instruments, or maybe even a music video (Granota is getting pretty good at “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”)
Castle: Build a fort! The kids always love sitting in a fort and I figured it would reduce my stress level if we just had a specific day set aside for it.
Question mark: Mystery day! It will only be a mystery for the kids. It’s kind of my “uncategorized” activities. Maybe a craft or play-doh or a walk in the woods. That kind of thing. It gives them something to anticipate.
My summer ingeniousness didn’t stop there! Granota is a little movie fiend. She starts pestering me from the instant she has finished breakfast to let her watch a movie. (I don’t let my kids watch TV, but we do have videotapes that they can watch). And once she starts, it’s hard to get her focused on something else. I didn’t want to have the same conversation 500 times everyday for the rest of the summer, so I came up with a plan. I made the kids movie tickets that they can cash in whenever they want to watch a movie. Three for “short” movies and two for “long” movies, plus an extra “long” one that they can earn by being helpful around the house.
They are pretty excited about using them. As of Sunday evening they have already used one of each ticket. I figured that would happen. But hopefully they’ll learn to ration them and they’ll realize it’s more fun to have one movie each day rather than five all at once and then nothing for the rest of the week. I’m curious to see how long it takes for them to catch on.
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Also, in other fun news, I made a fancy little button that will link you straight to my new blog “There’s A Lot Goin’ On.” See it up there on the right? I mentioned this last week, but in case anyone missed it, this blog focuses on setting straight some common misconceptions about Axl Rose. Why Axl? You’ll have to read to find out. hee hee