Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm here... really!

Last week was busier than I thought it would be, and... well... real life has to take precedence over blogging. I wanted to get to the computer so many times last week, but was unable to do so.

So here I am -- finally -- in front of the computer long after everyone else in my family fell asleep, and I'm wondering... what on earth do I blog about? Perhaps this is an opportunity to try Jen's 7 Quick Takes idea!

1. Does everyone struggle with clutter (especially children's stuff), or is it just me? My deep desire is for order, and a place for everything, and a home like you would find in magazines. That is just NOT going to happen around here. I am not slovenly, but I find the task of keeping up (and keeping after) the mess-makers around here more than just a bit daunting and discouraging. I take clutter personally. Towels folded improperly make my eyes twitch. Clothes wadded up in drawers (or thrown on the floor of the closet) have brought me to tears on numerous occasions. My kids run for cover when Mom gets... the bag. I grab an industrial-sized garbage bag and just go to town, grabbing everything in sight and throwing it away. You would think after many such runs (a) my children would know that I mean it when I tell them to clean up and (b) we wouldn't have so much stuff laying around, but you'd be wrong on both accounts.

Does this fall under the "cross" category, or am I just bad at my vocation?

2. The cold weather has, unfortunately, brought my archenemies back. Jen has scorpions (God love her... I'd completely freak), I have roaches to deal with. Every now and then one of those huge "palmetto bugs" (to use a nicer term) makes its way into my home. As I was getting ready to go to bed last night, I was walking around the house, checking on the kids and having (what I thought was) a rather nice conversation with the Lord. It ended with...

"Thank You so much for the gift of these children... thank You for the way You provide for us every day... please help me to follow You every single day and DEAR JESUS THAT IS A ROACH!!!"

I stepped on it repeatedly, telling the Lord that I thought they were the most disgusting creatures He ever created and I really would appreciate it if He would just let the thing DIE NOW. I scooped it up, shuddering with revulsion, and flushed it down the toilet.... only to walk out into the hallway and find ANOTHER one on its back. (at least they were dying when I found them... and they weren't ON me....)

3. My dog is insisting on being let outside. This makes me sad, because then I will have to deal with the cat, who will try to get in while the door is open. I will feel guilty because it IS cold outside, but the cat is obnoxious at 2:00 am, so out he goes.

4. Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka is awfully good.

5. On a much more serious note, I have been thinking quite a bit about Amy's recent post (over at Epiphany Springs) about suffering. Not that I want suffering -- on the contrary, I tend to run away from even the thought of it. I found the idea of suffering increasing our love for God, however, to be humbling. If nothing else, it has enabled me to thank Him for the minor inconveniences of the day.

6. KMart will be having their "double coupon" deal going on this weekend, starting November 30th. They will double coupons up to $2!

7. There is no #7. It's after 1 am and I need to get to bed.


Therese said...

Hi Ouiz.

Nice blog you have here. I came here from a comment you left on Jessica's blog. We have 7 children too. The picture up the top of your blog is cute. My daughters were all standing around trying to work out age order of your children.

I laughed when I read your comment about the big garbage bag. My children shake too when I get one out and I am just as brutal. I have been thinking that toys really are very overrated and our children don't play with them as much as they claim too.

I enjoyed your quick 7.


Abigail said...

I just heard this inspiring talk by a Catholic homeschooling mother of 3 who used to work as a professional business organizer! Even more important she's an immigrant from a large family, so she has much a healthier take on the "stuff problem' than us native Americans.

Abby S.'s take is that we shouldn't focus so much on "decluttering" as much as fostering the virtue of "holy detachment." We want to be constantly focused on Heaven, that means having everything orderly so it doesn't distract Mom from her duties, and also means that kids don't have to much "stuff." When we help our kids learn order and detachment, these are serious holy virtues that will serve them their whole lives. It's so much more than getting them to "keep their room clean."

This mother has a website: There are instructions on how to get a free copy of her notebook online. I found her notebook so helpful because it's not just "tips." There are beautiful passages from the Saints and reflections of the Holy Family. Hearing that I should "declutter" twice a year is one thing. Really focusing on the fact that the Holy Family turned down a Palace (proposed by the Wise Men) to live in a 3 room house, is totally different!

The best part is that she has a free 1-800 number for "emergency house cleaning help." I can't stress enough how kind and helpful she is at her job. She calls what she does for mothers an "Elizabeth Ministry". You should just call her and pour out your heart. If you can't find her number on the website, email me.

Amy said...

We are kindred spirits, Ouiz! I often wonder aloud the last line of your #1 - is this just something to bear (a cross), or am I just bad at being a wife/mother/homemaker?? :-P

And watch out if you decide to take God up on the whole "I'll accept the suffering if You increase your Love in me" thing - it's like praying for patience. God will give you many opportunities to use it! BUT, if you increase in love, it's all that much easier to bear the next time (i.e. the next time the children leave 1,564 toy pieces on their bedroom floor) :-)

Jennifer F. said...

I'm so excited that you participated! And roaches...ugh.

Duffy said...

Clutter is the bane of my existence. Like you I have employed "the bag". Lately it seems to work better when I tell them they need not worry about cleaning up. Any toys they leave out will assume to be disposable. This is usually very effective. Either that or offer them some strong re-enforcer that they cannot have until toys are cleaned up. YMMV.

CP said...

I fight the clutter monster myself and take it personally as well. As mothers/wives we spend a lot of time cleaning things up so that everyone around us is comfortable and for them to not pull their weight or to just toss the clean clothes on the floor or into a closet hurts our feelings. Fighting clutter, at least in my opinion, is just something that comes with a family of any size and being attacked by the clutter monster doesn't make you a bad mother or wife by any means. A pristine house would mean you spent every waking moment cleaning, and not nearly enough time with your kids living life. Although at 2am stepping on a lego or matchbox car sometimes makes me want to clean till it's all perfect myself.

2.Roaches ICK. With the cold snap the past week or so we've found one or two always makes me feel like my house is dirty when I find one and I end up scrubbing the tar out of whatever area it showed it's nasty head in. A few weeks ago, when that first really cold weather hit SC my son saw one in the kitchen (ICK) and my husband tried to kill it but it ran under something and he couldn't get it. The next day they were working on the water main so the water was off most of the day and by dinner time when the water was back on I had dishes in the sink just staring me down. I started to do the dishes when one of those "palmetto bugs" ran across my hand. I was screaming and hitting at it with the pot that was in my hand and I'm sure more than a few ugly words passed my mouth. ICK I dispise those things.

3. Our cats are indoor cats and generally are asleep at 2am, usually on my feet or my back or where it is the most uncomfortable for them to take up napping.

4. I haven't tried that yet but I've heard from a friend that the firefly sweet tea vodka tastes just like sweet tea and to be careful. You must be in S.C if you know about firefly I haven't seen it anywhere else yet.

5. I lost my Grandmother last year, she adopted me when I was twelve and had pretty much raised me my whole life up to that point as well. She was like my mother in every sense of the word because my own mother wasn't up to the job. Losing her, as painful as it was, was an experience that brought me closer to God. I had little to no faith when she died, and even though not active in any church for as long as I could remember one of her last conversations was about dying and how "I've confessed all my sins to God and what I forgot he already knows" It was terrible and beautiful at the same time. That suffering is the only reason I've found faith again. That is the kind of suffering that could have been wasted on self pity for her being gone but I let it turn into something good.

6.Thanks for the tip on Kmart, I'll have to make sure they're doing that here. I have a few more things to get for the kids.

7.I'm usually right there with you wandering the house at 1am feeling like I've forgotten to do a million things that need to be done before morning.

Sorry for the novel, a lot to comment on. :)

Ouiz said...

Wow! Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond to this post!!

Therese, my children (in the picture, from left to right) are: Kathryn (8), Sean (11), Grace (1), Christopher (6), Thomas (5), Marie (3), and Reilly (9). How close were your girls' guesses?

Abigail, as I mentioned on your blog, thank you for the link you provided! I will check it out!!

Amy, I can't say I'm ready to ask God to increase my love for Him in that way... but I have made a more concerted effort to see the minor inconveniences of the day as a "practice session"; that is, stepping outside the emotions of the moment and seeing it as an opportunity to grow... like, for example, the fact that Grace is waking up right now and cutting into the only "me" time I've had today.... or the rather comical fact that my kids have somehow programmed a travel alarm clock to go off, and I can't for the life of me figure out how to turn it off, and so I keep having to mess with it!

I will comment more later, if I get the opportunity!

Therese said...

Okay. My girls thought this was their order:

1. Reilly.
2. Sean
3. Kathryn
4. Christopher
5. Thomas
6. Marie
7. Grace.

So they were right except for Reilly and Sean.

BTW we have a Thomas and Christopher too and our Thomas is number 5 in the family.

Malia said...

You had to go and blog about item number two, didn't you? Guess what was in our bathroom this morning? Yes, my friend, one of those large critters that we euphemistically call a Palmetto Bug here in the south, but is really a big ol' honkin' American COCKROACH!!! Eww.

He moved so incredibly fast we couldn't kill him. Now I have to worry about him all day, wondering where he's lurking. You can pray that we find and eliminate him before I go to bed tonight, unable to sleep for fear and loathing of the thing. Is there a patron saint for people dealing with disgusting bugs in their homes?

I have a confession to make. Danger aside, and taking into consideration only the monstrous disgust factor and ease of dispatch... I much prefer scorpions. At least they don't come in pairs.

Kimberly Macmurphy said...

Thanks for your blog. My husband ran across it b/c his email flagged it b/c you mentioned Firefly. We actual make the Sweet Tea and are thrilled you posted about it on you Catholic homeschooling blog. We appreciate your support. We too are Catholic homeschoolers but we live in Charleston, SC- we know ALL about Palmetto bugs- YUCK! You have 3 more monkeys than us. ;) We have 2 girls who are 7 and 5 and 2 boys who are 3 and 1. If you are ever in the area please swing by the vineyard and distillery for a tour. I always arrange a fieldtrip for our group and we let them make homemade muscadine jelly. My husband's name is Jay and the vineyard number is (843) 559-6867. Take care and may God bless you, your family, and your homeschooling.
Kimberly Macmurphy

Ouiz said...

Kimberly, THANK YOU so much for your comment! My husband is already making plans for a Charleston trip!