Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sad Princess - by Eva

Eva's pastel from a few months ago sums up our morning. Perhaps tomorrow will be a better day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sledding - Freewrite by Eva

Clara and I went sledding today! After we went sledding, we stoped at the Playground. Then after we played Mom came to take Pictures!  That was when Clara said, WHY NOT I CARRY YOU IN THE SLED? Mom took pictures, but I was heavy. I was lyeing down in the sled. So I sliped off!

Snow Day - by Clara

Heavy boots crunch through the powdery snow
Tongue sticks out to catch a few flakes
And fooling around like baby polar bears, on the frozen lake

Monday, February 16, 2015

Pantry Closet Update

Not my before photo, but my "in process" photo

Improved look with two new baskets on
bottom shelf and new labels

When Claudio asked me where we should go for a post Valentine's Day outing on Sunday, I said, "Staples, of course".  So we grabbed a hamburger and later swung by my favorite office supply store for brass fasteners and cream card stock for my new pantry labels. 

I got the whole project idea from a very generous blogger who posted her templates for anyone to download. The link is here. Necessary supplies: a functioning printer, cardstock, a hole punch, brass fasteners, a nice permanent marker, scissors, and packing tape. 

She suggests laminating the labels, but I really didn't want to make a second trip to Staples, and there was the instant gratification factor as well. I just printed out the templates on the card stock and stretched packing tape over either side of the label. Then I cut it out, hole punched either side, inserted the brass fasteners, looped them through the baskets and bent their tails back on the other side. Voila!  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What a Professional Coach Can Do for You

Kitchen Pantry - in progress
  community service sheet hanging on right 

"Do your services include home organization?  I'm swimming in a mess here."

"Bring it on!"

(E-mail exchange from January 29th, 2015, between me and my younger sister, Irina.)

Funny thing is, I thought I was doing her a favor.  A couple of weeks ago on the phone she mentioned that she needed to rein in a few more training hours with volunteer clients for her "professional coach" certification; I said I'd be happy to help out, as a last resort.  

And then the treadmill feeling came back.  The throat closing in. I guess if I were an alcoholic and did the 12 step program, you'd call it hitting rock bottom.  Like you know you need help and you can't do it on your own, and you're making everyone who lives with you miserable because you're miserable, unable to pull yourself out of the deep hole that is clutter and unclear expectations and sticky counters and permanent crumbs on the kitchen tablecloth, with more crumbs on top of the placemats that are supposed to protect the tablecloth.  

Over the course of two hour-long phone consultations my sister helped me do some self-analysis and then get on to accomplishing my goals.  Some of it seemed a bit "new age", like the part about "accessing the light", but actually, you know, that light, which I interpret as feeling unencumbered, light on my feet, as well as warm, and embraced on a beach, say, in the Caribbean, well, this is happiness, isn't it? And if we're not in touch with the source of our happiness, then failure is sure to follow.

I'm working on it.  You can't change bad habits overnight.  You've got to retrain.  I started with a few manageable personal goals in line with "accessing the light within":  No screen time after 7 pm. Breathing exercises (ironically, a recent homework assignment from my health practitioner).  Quiet time in the morning for prayer. Partnering with my husband (no problems there, he is 120% on board).  

Then we moved on to the following practical goals: 

1) Convert the playroom/"movie theater" (aka storage room) in to a "woman cave"/guest bedroom, with the girls' full participation. 

2)  Reconfigure kitchen pantry with a view towards replacing wire shelving with laminated boards, repainting interior, and adding lighting. 

3) Reorganize front entrance shelf, in particular, shoe shelf and kids' shelves. 

4) Reorganize linen closet.  

5) Last, but more important than the above: partner with family members on daily chores. Make expectations clear, but fun as well.  Claudio took the initiative and printed out "community service" time sheets for each child and posted them on the inside of the pantry door. He wants 20 hours by March - "community" meaning our family as well people in our community.  

I know people love "before" and "after" photos, but this is a work in progress. Claudio, the other professional coach in my life, told me the other day to savor the process - those date books from the 1990's I've saved as a sort of "life journal", the 25 plus reusable cloth shopping bags, the 17 food stuff jars in stainless steel, tinted green, and fluted glass that I just discovered in the cupboards above the fridge - I am (selectively!) purging all of these items that have a hold on me, and it feels good, yes, it feels good.

All of this positive energy (think, accessing the light!) couldn't have happened without my sister, who is  is an executive consultant and coach for a large healthcare organization. She also serves private coaching clients. And although her experience is largely in the corporate context, because she "addresses the whole person", she was more than happy to address a more domestic topic with me.

Woo hoo! Cause she's GOOD.  Anyone who can turn around an entire household in a week has got to be GOOD.  Please let me know if you'd like to work with her, whatever your needs may be; I'd be happy to connect you!

Check out the below photos, which, incidentally, aren't even proper "before" photos because I got started before I remembered to take them. Consider them retouched "before" photos before you say to yourself that they look pretty tame.

play room/movie room
Opposite wall, play room/movie room
some of the contents of the play room in the hallway,
 waiting to be distributed to the trash and rummage store
some of the contents of the pantry closet
Contents of bathroom cupboard - I especially like the sharpies.
I am aware that the bathroom cupboard was not on my
original list, but life isn't always linear, is it?