Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Finally Mastering the Art of Less Clutter

This past week I have come to realize what a huge difference and change that has happened in me as far as housework goes within the last year.  It used to be that we had so much stuff I felt I cleaned alllll day.  If someone was to come over then I actually dreaded it because it meant I had to clean the whole house.  Trust me, it was a lot.  We just had TOO much stuff and the kids would scatter it everywhere.  Daily.  If we knew someone was coming over that night then we would start cleaning early morning to get it all done in time.  I know.  Sooooo sad.  I finally just got fed up with the stuff and started dumping it all.  Needless to say, I have learned to not get attached to junk.  That's all it really is in the light of eternity and what really matters.  Proudly, the kids have learned this over the years and they do their own decluttering now. They hate clutter!  Haha.  I'm so happy.  The past few times we were gonna have people over I started to realize that we only had to pick up and clean in under an hour's time.  What a difference!!!  I used to dread someone coming over because it meant I had to freak out and clean like a mad woman for a day or sometimes even a day and a half.  My sis finally told me it was time to just get rid most of it. I really didn't know how till she taught me how to do the red carpet treatment.  Just bringing out everything from one room (except big furniture) and into the living room.  Put back what you what and donate the rest. It'll make you sweat but it works.  I was tired of my life revolving around clutter.  (I'll post a how to below)

My husband's been telling me I need to relax more.  I had even stopped blogging less and wanted to stay on top of things more.  Charles told me that I don't need to keep cleaning the same stuff over and over throughout the day.  It's okay if toys are out and things get a bit messy from play.  Just have fun with the kids, take time to blog or read a book, and enjoy life more!  We can all day basic chores throughout the day and get our work done, but we don't have to go in circles doing it.  I love my husband!  We all do our chores at noon where we are thorough but we do another big pickup just before he gets home so daddy can walk into a neat house.  :)  Since it only takes 1 hour to get our work done at noon, it's a pretty quick pickup by the end of the day. Man, decluttering like a mad lady was soooo worth it. When I do laundry I keep a donated bag nearby.  As I fold I can see what should be donated and put right into that bag.  It doesn't make it back into the kids' closet to decide later.  Right now I have a huuuuge donation bag just from doing this the last week of washing. 

Although I can be hard on myself, I'm glad I am. I'm happy I'm not okay with living in a life of clutter and feeling trapped.  It took me awhile to see how much our cleaning has changed and how much easier it's gotten.  I just realized it a couple days ago. I looked around, looked at my son and said, "Kyle, have to realized how easy our chores have gotten?"  He said, "No.  Just kidding, mom!  Yes, it's much faster to clean now!"  :D Ahhhhhh..... The constant learning, relearning, getting mad at the clutter and doing the work was worth it.  I'm now working on a full laundry system to make it more organized.  My sis gave me a great idea so we've been implementing it!

How to Do a Red Carpet Treatment
I say the "Red Carpet Treatment" because when we empty out a room, we put
it all onto the red carpet in our living room.  That way we aren't tripping over
stuff.  Yes, it got piled pretty high onto the rug and couch.  :)
1. Empty out one room completely as if you are moving except for major furniture you know is staying.  I moved everything into the living room.  

2. Get a bag or box labeled "Giveaway" and "Throwaway".  Then I put back what was obvious of what was going back into the room and I would put it back immediately.  As I was filling up the room with my favorites and for sure staying, I knew quickly when to stop because I loved how nice it looked.  I didn't want to reclutter it because the room looked so beautiful without all that stuff!  It made it sooo easy to throw all the rest out.

3.  At the end of the day take a break and go donate the stuff.  If you want to do a yard sale make sure to take the stuff OUT of the house completely.  I put everything onto our back patio.  

4.  Each day I did one room and I did not stop for 8 days.  I made sure each room was completely and totally done with all the messes cleaned up from it before starting the next room.  We ate very, very simple that week because I didn't need to be making bigger messes that would make me feel discouraged.  

5.  If you blog, blog your successes!  After my whole house was finished, since I didn't want to do a yard sale but my friend did, she came and picked up all the stuff off my patio.  Get rid of it fast!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Dry-Me Bedwetting Alarm Review

The Bed Wetting Store sent me the Dry-Me Bedwetting Alarm for one of my kids to try.  My son is older than seven and still has an issue with bed wetting.  He is SUCH a deep sleeper and has no clue when he does this till he wakes up in the morning.  It's very embarrassing for him and a lot of work for us. 

I was sent the alarm along with the book Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness

You'll learn:
  • The myths of bedwetting: what causes it and what doesn't
  • Which treatment options are available and which one is best for your child
  • How to choose–and effectively use–a bedwetting alarm
  • How to know when it's time to start treatment
  • How to get your child on board
  • When to stop treatment and pronounce your child "cured"
My son was a little unsure about using the alarm but figured it out pretty quick.  Being that he's so used to sleeping hard straight through the night, he thought it was pretty cool having the alarm to wake him.  EVEN THOUGH it was when he wet his pj's.  It still is getting him into a habit to wake up when he needs to go.  He never minded the wake up in the middle of the night.  I quickly began to see an improvement in his ability to sleep at least a bit lighter to know when he needs to potty. I mean, this kid could sleep through an earthquake so I was happy to see this working.  At first his big brothers would wake him up to the alarm when he peed and then he began to wake up on his own within just a few days.  Also, you can have it do random alarms sounds so they don't get used to one sound and sleep through it. 

It's awesome and definitely a product worth giving a try!  I've tried everything you can think to help my son and this is the one that worked. They have other options of alarms at the store so make sure to take a peak! 

Here's more about how the alarm works:

The alarm is small and lightweight and features a plastic clip molded directly on the back of the alarm unit, which clips comfortably at the shoulder area or collar of the child’s pajamas. The alarm’s small moisture sensor is threaded under your child’s shirt and is clipped to the outside of close fitting underwear where wetness would first occur. This bedwetting alarm is well made and designed to go off at the first sign of moisture.

The Dry-Me alarm has three customizable alert settings that allow you to pick between sound & vibration, sound only, or vibration only. When sounds are used, the alarm will play 8 random sounds so that your child does not tune out one specific sound. Each sound is delivered at high volume to effectively rouse your child from sleep. When vibration is used, the alarm delivers a continuous strong pulse. Most children respond best to sound and vibration simultaneously, so the alarm is set to do both when you receive it. In addition to these alert features, the alarm also lights up when urine is detected, making it easy to locate in the dark. Comes in unisex red color.

If you are an Amazon shopper like me and you like to get things through Prime then here is a link straight to it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Family Fun: Old Rules Out the Window

I've needed to paint sooooo bad but because I am so bad at picking out colors I haven't done it. I dread it because 90% of the times I painted, I disliked the results. Today I went out and bought some paint for my scuffed up hallway and I'm not feeling too confident about the color. Sigh.  I have to paint though because in my house we made it super kid friendly. We laid down all tile which means roller skating and scootering (making up a word there) is allowed. That means the hallway gets lots of marks. ;) Rough housing on the couch is allowed which means we have gone through couches faster than probably other families.  That's okay.  It's a fun house!

Recently I took Ivy to a waterpark for her birthday and it was really scary. No joke. They have added some scary slides at that place. I screamed on every slide and closed my eyes on about half of them. By closing time I was so relieved it was over and collapsed in bed once I made it home. Eek!  Unfortunately, my boys are now asking for that experience for their birthday. I'm thinking about hiring a friend to go in my place. I know. Super wimpy of me. Big complaint here of something that really bothers me. These places can be so unfriendly to families because of all the teensy, weensy, itty-bitty bikinis. I wish so bad they had just one family day that had a one piece dress code. I won't even let my 8 year old wear a bikini. A 5 year old? Maybe. I basically put a halt on it when Ivy started kindergarten. One time I had a 10 or 11 year old girl at my house and she ran out to jump on our trampoline in a tiny bikini. I chased her back inside and asked her to get some clothes on. I have boys in my house. ;)  Gotta protect my boys.

In just a few days I have a teenager. Aaaaaaagh!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Picking My Priorities: The Delicate Balance of Motherhood

I've been trying extra, extra hard to stay on top of my house work and get ahead before the new homeschool year starts. The hard part is staying balanced and not letting it overtake the time with my kids. I did make a schedule for myself that worked incredibly well a few years back but at times I kicked against it. I know that sounds odd but that's the little kid in me. When I follow the schedule, the house stays looking great. Well, I finally decided to woman up and try it again and the house is looking amazing. Even laundry piles shrinking. Boy, taking care of a big family is a lot of work but soooo worth it. I'm determined to not do any cleaning except for dinner cleanup after 5pm.  Mama has to have her breaks too. Sometimes I'm tempted to work on something but my grandmother (mother of nine) reminds me to not burn myself out. She's so right. I just need to enjoy my evenings. :D

I thought tonight I'd be helping out someone who's daughter got lice from a play center. (Totally keeping this anonymous.)  She called me up and asked for help, offered to pay, hearing that I knew how to get rid of it fast. I said no to the pay and just wanted to pay it forward. Awhile back my kids had gotten lice from other kids and I had poured money into trying to get rid of it. An angel lady just came to my rescue who gets rid of them for a living. She would accept no pay and totally wiped out the problem. Believe me, these places charge a lot. I learned from her and have had some opportunities to pay it forward and help others. What a blessing she was!  Turns out they can't come till tomorrow so I missed my session at the gym with my trainer. Well, Charles took 8 kids with him and I had the house alone for 3 hours. While he was GETTING HIS BUTT KICKED (haha) I didn't even know what to do with all the quiet! We were supposed to train together at the gym but since I wasn't there, he was the focus. Basically he came back and just collapsed in a chair. Haha!  He said, "Baby, she kicked my butt. She's your kind of trainer." I can't wait to get back to the gym for sure. ;)

P.S. If you see all my pics at the bottom of my posts that means I blogged from my phone rather than on computer. Blogger app needs to fix it and make options. ;)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bunks for the Boys

For awhile we have been trying to be patient for the boys to get a bunk bed. Finally, finally we found the perfect, matching set. This time it's wood and sturdy. They had decided to take the smallest room about a year ago in exchange for having a big game room. We figured it be a good idea because it meant the bedroom is for sleeping only. No distractions. Works well! The big boys get the top and little ones on the bottom. Each one has their own bed, new mattress. I know in a big family especially they need to have their own space.

Another problem I was having is my dishwasher getting clogged.  I tried and tried to teach the kids to rinse their dishes first but dishwasher still got clogged. I went out and got one with a garbage disposal built in. Problem solved!  :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Perfection is for Guest Visits Only - Not Everyday

Recently someone contacted me about possible being in a TV show and wondered if I was interested.  They were looking for families that feel like they don't have enough time together and would like to work on being closer together.  I thought about that and realized we don't qualify at all.  I constantly have thought about this and tend to evaluate where my relationship is with my husband and kids often.  I don't feel that I have any regrets in the area of spending time with my kids or husband.  No, I don't revolve everything around my kids but we do try and stay really connected.  I know, I know, I know that the key to being close with my kids when they are older starts when they are young.  I'm not going to wait to build a close relationship till they are adults.  I realize that now some of their concerns or small talk may be silly but it's important to listen because it'll gradually mature. I want them to know that if I'll listen now, I'll listen then.  I get sad when I hear people blow off their little one because the concern little Johnny is having seems silly.  It's important and really big to them. 

Most of my days consist of spending time with my kids and training them.  Often I won't blog or do anything else until I feel like I've met the needs as much as possible.  Ahem.  Hence the reason I tend to not blog AS often as I used to.  Sometimes at night when I'm thinking about getting on the computer, there has been several times that a kid needed to talk to me about something personal to them.  As much as I wanted my free time, I knew they really meant it.  I have a teenager in less than a month and another one in a year.  It's snowballing on me since I had three kids in three years when first starting a family. Their talks are getting more serious about issues of the heart.  I'm SOOO glad they feel they can open up. 

One of my three sons come up to me recently and told me they are experiencing thoughts in their head that are not good.  He said he fights them but they come back sometimes.  I asked in general what I thought it might be.  He looked embarrassed to tell me but did.  I said, "Well, I figured out the problem.  You are turning into a man.  You aren't there yet but what you are experiencing is temptation.  It's not a sin to be tempted.  Only when you let your thoughts dwell on them or you act on it."  He looked relieved and gave me a hug.  See?  It's stuff like that! I'm so glad they know they can trust me.  That they can openly talk to me.  Some day they will be grown up and out of the house.  I will make the time to be available because some day they won't be here and I can have all the time to do whatever I want.

My days can be sooooooooo hard at times and there are days I fall back in bed at night and just fall asleep almost before my head hits the pillow. It's a good kind of exhausted.  The kind that no matter how hard a large family can be, it is worth every minute of it.  My laundry piles rival the mountains and the dishes never, ever, ever end.  As soon as we clean it starts to fall apart but I'd rather just be happy for our two chore times a day than yell at them all day to quit messing up the house.  Yeah, it can get frustrating to have it look like it does at times but I realized that I was always going in circles after them to pick up, pick up, pick up.  I started to sound like a mean ol' broken record.  I finally settled on the fact that two chore times a day to pick up are sufficient and we can always do a perfect, to the T clean, if we have visitors.  So, if you walk in and my house looks perfect, you are the only reason why.  Perfection just isn't my cup of tea and couldn't be even if I wanted it.  Unless I want to go nuts.  Ha.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Dangers of Roblox - Updated

Updated in red:

I have carefully, or so I thought, allowed some gaming back into the house but not till after certain rules are followed. No gaming before noon and only after we've had bible study.
With Roblox being a fun building game I figured it was all about that and safe for kids. However, the other day I saw my 12 year old pacing in the living room and very upset. I asked him what was wrong and he was afraid to tell me. I asked him to tell me and I wouldn't be mad. He then hesitantly told me that he went into another person's world that someone created and saw full pornography. I guess on Roblox people can upload their own photos.  Bad idea on Roblox's part for sure.  I had to ban them from a creative game they love as a result.
As much as I try to protect them with filters on the computers, everywhere I turn there seems to be this kind of garbage. 
I don't care what anyone says. Pornography is a sin and it destroys families and is never satisfied. Satan knows that if he can plant a seed in a young mind he can possibly hook them for life. Sin is progressive and is never satisfying. Pornography IS adultery. Hollywood may try to shrug it off as harmless but remember that Hollywood has frogged many a generations. Hollywood mocks clean young men and woman by making movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin. Like its unheard of and weird. They make marriage look cold and uninviting. They make fornication and adultery look exciting. Hollywood mocks Jesus and the Bible. So remember, just because Hollywood says pornography is normal, remember what it's doing to young men and families. Basically, live your life opposite of Hollywood.  Your life is not over if you decide you want to get married, live clean, have children. Or even if you want to wait and not have set before marriage!
As of now Roblox is banned on our computers. A good alternative so far I believe is Minecraft and family friendly. ;)
Update: I've had some discussions on Instagram when this was posted.  If you would like to read, my screen name is MeetVirginias7 and you can look for the Roblox picture I posted above.  Several Roblox players were trying to tell me it's not Roblox's fault that people do this and I should allow my kids to play anyway.  That they'd be missing a great opportunity.  They are completely missing my point.  It's good that Roblox looks for people misusing the game and bans them but my son still saw the bad picture.  You can't erase in his mind what he saw.  He is only 12 and I don't know how quickly he'll forget that image.  Even if there is only a 5% chance he could run into another bad picture, that is not a risk I want to take.  :P  Anyway, can read more of the discussion on Instagram.  :D

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Rare Invites for Large Families

Oh, how I love to blog but I have gotten so used to not being on the Internet that it's hard to get myself to sit down at it. An Internet fast clears the mind and forces you to focus more on other important things. I love to read and learn. I love the Internet because of that very reason. However, I could read forever so I had to take that long break. Now, I'm having a hard time even wanting to sit down at it. ;P

It's no joke the daily care of big families. To me it's like rocket science and the organizing seems so hard. But ohhhh, how I love my job! I wish I was that amazing mama that can do it all but I can't.

Lately I've been focusing on just getting closer to each of my kids. I mean really, really getting to know them.  It's been awesome! I have one kid turning 13 next month and another next year. Chaz having aspergers isn't as far along as Ryan mature wise. In a different twist, it's like my 2nd born is actually entering his teens. He's experiencing temptation, peer pressure even from Christian kids, and has questions about how the body works. Sigh. Can I pleeeease rewind time and have my baby boys back? I keep counting down till they are 18 because I dread it so much!  I am like "Oh no, Chaz will be 18 in five years and one month. Let's go do something fun today with him."  I'm serious. I need to stop worrying and just be grateful all the time I've had. Man, 13 years just flew by. Sigh.


Sigh... Sigh... Sigh...


Moving on. I have met a wonderful person a few months back. God only knows I badly needed it. I needed a Christian mom friend that would be a great influence on my life and my kids. Someone who would challenge and push me along. I found her. Well, she was always there I just hadn't gotten over my shyness to say hi at church. One day I did and thank God!  So grateful! I fell in love with her little family AND their extended family. DO you know how often large families get invited anywhere? Not often. I don't blame why people would be scared. Most envision the worst thinking a bunch of kids are gonna come and break everything. Must clarify here.

Kids are not robots.
In my house they are allowed to express their thoughts. Respectfully.
Kids are a blessing in my eyes.
Even if they are your kids.
I don't expect them to sit down, shut up, and look forward with glassy eyes with no input.
I love the energy and joy them comes from kids. 
Kids can be seen and heard.
Jesus loved all the little children.
So do I.
Now you see why I have seven kids.

If you hate all those things then it'll be hard for you to enjoy having a large family over. Much less any family with kids. Don't get me wrong. I do expect my kids to respect the house. I also expect them to help clean up even if they didn't make the mess. I don't blame you if you are scared from one experience you had having kids over that break everything and yell all over the house. That would eek me a bit too. There is a difference between unruly and active. I just get sad when I see an adult jump on a kid for trying to talk with them.

I said all that to say I am so grateful to be invited to someone's house with my family! Wow!  I'm even more grateful to have met a new friend in a time where it's been hard to trust for me. A broken heart should not rob me of future friends. The same way I feel about people who swear they'll never go to another church because of a bad experience. You can't live like that! 

Thank God for friendship. Especially godly friendship.