Friday, September 6, 2013

Wash Day

I get asked questions a LOT. 

I guess I should specify that I am talking about questions from adults as I am sure you aren't interested in the 17.423 BILLION questions I get from my kiddos each day!  

Of course the all-time NUMBER ONE question I get asked is:
Are ALL these kids yours?!?!?   ***"Ummm...yes?"***
Followed closely (by the rude ones) with:
"Same dad?"   ***"YES!!!"***
The SECOND most-asked question is:
"How in the world do you manage with 8 kids?"
Oh!  That's an EASY one (pick me, PICK ME!!!)
"One word:  GOD.  The end."
Since both of those questions (assuming you wouldn't be one of the rudies to ask about my baby daddy), are now both answered & settled, then I guess this post can be over. 
Nah...that's too easy!
After the nosy questions, come the more practical ones like the one I am actually blogging about today:
How do you manage all of that laundry???
Whew!  That one is so much easier to stomach, although not one I can easily answer in a casual conversation in the aisle of Wal-Mart.  Especially since,  I don't have the pictures with me to make it more interesting!
So, now you know the topic of this blog for's decision time...
Do I want to keep reading & wonder if my life will be permanently  altered?
Do I just not care how all of those kids stay looking & smelling clean?
For those of you who would like to be enlightened, here we go.... (for the others...see you next time).
This is the meager wall of d├ęcor in my room of toil.  It is meant to cheer the place up, but let's face it, laundry isn't cheery.  Although, I do confess...I really do not mind doing laundry!  For reals!!
Dusting...well....I enjoy drawing pictures in dust...but not cleaning it up.  Don't judge.
I have a method for my madness:  a schedule.  For those of you who know me well, stop rolling your eyes.  For the rest of you, go ahead, be impressed...the others are just rude.
Here it is:
Mondays:  Towels & Linens & such
Tuesdays: Mine & hubby's (and most of the little girl's) laundry from the basket in my bathroom.
Wednesday: Kiddos #3-#8's laundry
Thursday: Iron & have them put away
Friday: Uniforms
Saturday: NOPE
Sunday: NEVER on a Sunday.
OH, and rarely in the evening, although I have been known to throw something in overnight.
If you are wondering about girlies number 1 & 2, well, I do believe that 17 & 19 year old young women can take care of their own laundry.  We are fortunate to have an older set of washer & dryer at our guest/game house so they go there unless they can sneak under my laundry radar & put a load in & push GO before I yank their ears. (Their clothing tends to the machines....)  Before we got a new set & moved the old ones next door, the girls had assigned days to do their clothing, usually the weekend.
First Things First:  Sorting
I would like to say, the following system works like a charm.  Goes off with out a hitch.  Floats like a butterfly (?)
It really isn't flawless considering the users, but it is a HUGE help to me, to say the least.
Here it is, in all it's brilliance:

Laundry baskets!!!
I know, RIGHT??? 
Take a moment to compose yourself, I'll wait.
Seriously, there is a method here that may not be instantly obvious to the casual observer.  Here's what we know that you don't:
1.  The basket in the foreground is for JEANS ONLY.  Not random denim.  Not blue jean skirts.  Not a denim shirt.  Jeans.  Just.  Jeans.  With three rapidly growing boys who like to do all manner of disgustingly boyish stuff, it was a great idea to relegate one whole basket for this purpose.  They get nasty.  I don't want to sort nasty.  The end.
2. The next basket is relegated to DARK CLOTHES. This is a fuzzy area for the smallish & uneducated bunch, but they get it right more often than not.  Really.  When I first set these baskets up, I tied bits of ribbon, fabric or embroidery floss in the colors that I wanted to see in these baskets.  This went a long way towards the success of this program.  It was also educational...and, hey, that scores one for me in the amazing mom category, right?  Anyway, dark clothes can also be heavier stuff like jackets in the winter.  I may or may not do a further sort depending on how much is in there on Wednesdays.

3.  Next comes the BRIGHT CLOTHES basket.  See above for how I let them know what I wanted to see in here.  Then keep reading as to the success of said plan. 
4.  Now we come to the LIGHT CLOTHES basket.  Surprisingly, this is the one they make the least mistakes with.  I guess brights & darks are a bit random for the elementary crowd to differentiate.  Anyway, until this week, this is where the undies, jammies, socks & the like have found their resting spot.  Now, we have a new plan for the undies & socks & the basket is for all other light colored clothing that don't fall in the sock/undie category.
5.  The very last basket by the refrigerator is for TOWELS, CLEANING RAGS, & APRONS.  I believe that list is pretty self-explanatory.
And THAT, in a nutshell, is how our laundry is sorted by the little people in our home.  I do have to make some adjustments as I wash &, when I see a consistent faux pas, I call them all in the laundry room & point out the discrepancy & how to avoid it next time.  That's all it takes!!  I mean, after the 4th or 5th time, that is.
Problem:  Socks & Underwear.  'Nuff said, right?
In our house, the middle crowd's unmentionables are crazy hard to tell what belongs to who & sizes & such.  To me, THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT AREA NOT TO GET CONFUSED ON!!!!
Two words:  shared.  underwear.
Excuse me while I run to throw up!
Ok, I'm good.
Anyway, it was a rather troubling situation & one that I could not always count on the proper owners to step up & correct. 
To sort socks. 
The end.
I got a heavenly inspiration one day (or it could have been inspired by Pinterest, but, seriously, what IS the difference?)
Here it is:

Be amazed.
Grab a tissue.
Go ahead & be moved.
*sigh* A thing of true beauty. 
All I do is take these babies off the hook, zip 'em up, toss 'em in &, when dry, hand the bag to the kiddo to put away.  I did myself proud this time.  I won't even try to be humble about it.  I have amazed me.
Here is the breakdown of this beauteous idea:
1.  A magnetic curtain rod (I found this at Big Lots).
2.  The side of something metal (I used a refrigerator)
3.  Mesh laundry bags (Dollar Store)
4.  Embroidery floss (or ribbon)
5. Shower curtain hooks (cheap...don't remember where)
Each child already has a color that they associate with things that are theirs (drinking cups...). So, I just used those colors.  I wove (weaved?)  it through the holes & the zipper pull.

I explained to the kiddos that, when they take off their undies/socks, rather than put them in the laundry basket, they will put them in their own personalized laundry bag.  I told them what my role was in this plan & what I expected from them when my turn was over.  We all shook hands & agreed it was an amazing plan & moved forward. 
It has worked like a charm!!!  HIGH FIVE ME!!!!
This may be where I lose more of you.  I do understand that the washing & drying of laundry is necessary, otherwise we would all walk around in our birthday suits....ewwwwwww!!!!
However, some of you (you know who you are) find the next area negotiable...iffy, even.  Hey, you might even see drying your clothes as optional.  I know who you are...I see you a miiiile away.
Anyway, I cannot STAND laundry that is not completed.  Maybe it's the sheer massiveness of the piles 'round here.  Maybe it's my OCD to just get a job finished. 
DISCLAIMER: Just because I say all of this DOES NOT in any way mean that I always do this.  However, this is my blog, so I can lead you to believe I am perfect, if I wanna.
So, in a perfect world (or even a decent week), here's what I do:
As I pull the clothing from the dryer, I immediately hang or fold them.  This much is 100% true.  I do this every time.
As I hang the clothing, I separate the ones that need ironing...all the while wondering: How in the world did this make it into our closets????  This, I do about 90% of the time.
's where the percentages drop drastically)...I iron them & have the owner put them away.  I am somewhere in the 75 percentile on this one.  I do, however, rarely go more than 2 weeks without completing this process or breaking down and paying a teenager-type person to do it for me.  It's a win-win situation. 
I really don't mind ironing.  I like the instant gratification of it all. 
Be Gone! 
Ironing is made even better when you own this baby:
Oh, invention ever!
Notice my little iron cubby...cute, isn't it?  That part comes with the unit.  However, the nifty little button at the top is my amazing husband's input.  See, whenever the door comes open, the switch is activated & the plug is turned on, which means the iron is turned on (and vice versa when the door is closed!) ANNNNND, when the door opens, the light automatically comes on, too.  Oh, my!  SWOON!!!!
I will put in an unpaid ad here: save the coins you find in the pockets while doing laundry & buy yourself a Rowenta iron.  It's worth every single penny!!
As for the stuff that I fold, I put them in piles....miles & miles of piles on my dining room table.  At their spot.
They may not eat until the clothing is properly put away.  Score one for mom!
That may be all...I think it is.
In case you are wondering, no, I don't have a large laundry room.  Here are some photos from different angles showing off the set-up.  It's not Pinterest-worthy, but it is a very hard working room in our home.
The view from our back door into the laundry room.  The door on the left leads to the kitchen.  The door at the end leads to the hallway leading to the kiddo's rooms.

This is the view from the hallway towards the back door.

One other thing.  My washer & dryer are a Whirlpool Duet.  It's my second set.  Yes, they are expensive.  Yes, they are worth it.  I got my first set (now the older one next door) 11 years ago, and I still haven't worn them totally out!  When I went to get a newer model....I stayed with what worked for me.  I highly recommend the front-loading machines (plus, they can be stacked....saving room).  No, I did not receive any compensation for this advertisement.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.
This is a total Pinterest hack that has been one of the bestest things ever!  I use this shoe hanger for all sorts of stuff!

Here is my view whilst folding laundry at the dryer....right out at the pond.  Makes the job just a bit more pleasant, I think.

Ok, I believe that is enough about the Young's dirty laundry.


Monday, July 1, 2013

A Leap of Faith....

Have you ever wanted to reach a goal, a very HIGH goal, and you KNEW you could do it with diligence on your part, but you were too afraid of the results IF you achieved the goal?
Sounds rather convoluted, I know, but that sentence pretty much describes what I've been going through for the past 6 months, and much more intensely for the last week.
I normally keep this blog pretty light & even humorous, but today, I have a lot of rather deep things on my mind. 
Goals, dreams, destinations...they are exciting & new.  Some of them, we know exactly what to expect when we arrive.  Some have promise, but no definite outline.
For instance, at the end of 4 years of high school, you graduate.  A wonderful, exciting goal.  Also, a scary, confusing time. 
What comes next? 
What do you want to be when you "grow up"?
A wonderful time of accomplishment can also be rife with fear & uncertainty.
On the other hand, planning a trip to Disney World, is a pretty sure bet of good things to come!  No fears, no worries (except how to pay for it). 
These are both lofty goals & great achievements, if reached, but the emotions involved can be very different.
I guess, I should stop beating around the bush & just come out & say what's on my heart....
God, Jesus, the Church....have all been in my heart & a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember.  I have loved the Lord for as long as I can remember.  I don't ever remember a time where I didn't WANT to have Him in my life. 
However, a walk with God requires taking steps.
So, I've done the baby steps....I gave up the biggies that displeased Him.  I quit murdering, drinking, carousing, smoking dope....hey, those were no problem. :)
I have reached a place where things that bothered me as a younger person, no longer even phase me.  That's growth, too.
I feel that God has been asking more of me.  He wants MORE of my heart, MORE of me.  I have known this for a while now.
But, I'm scared.
Yeah, probably sounds crazy, but I'm being honest here.
Will He take care of me?
Will He catch me?
Will He make serving Him comfortable? (prolly not!)
Yesterday, we said goodbye to a wonderful friend.  I don't believe in making saints out of people after they pass, but this man was truly good.  He had many qualities in his life that I envy (whoops, one of the big 10....).
He never complained-even when in extreme pain.
He always made God his first choice, even when it would have been easier to stay home in bed.
He gave his all. Always.
He was selfless.
Um....I miiiiiigggght pull one or two of those out of the hat a couple of times a year, but not consistently by any means.
Sigh.  And therein lies my problem.
See...I don't like to suffer.  True story.  I like ease.  I like things my way.
Then I read about Job.  Sigh again.  I really don't think sackcloth and ashes are for me.  Boils???  Noooope.  Losing my stuff....well, I could deal with that.  Losing my kids?  There's the kicker.  THAT'S what I'm afraid of (I may be just a teensie bit MORE afraid of getting them back doubly!!).
Seriously, I know that serving God is a very rewarding life.  I also know that I cannot live in such a way that I benefit from the blessings, but never share in the burdens.  I hate to cry.  I have cried more in the last few years than in all the rest combined.  God created us to be emotional beings, but I just don't enjoy hurt.
Here's the bare bones of my dilemma:
Go on farther with a mighty God, knowing that trials, sufferings & heartaches may (most likely will) be interspersed (liberally) throughout my blessings, but that
the quality of the blessings will outweigh the trials.
Sit right here on my white picket fence with one leg on each side leaning more to the side that feels most comfy for the moment. 
I have never thought of myself as a "fence-sitter" Christian.  And maybe I haven't always been.  There have been moments of total devotion. 
But somewhere along the road, as it has become more bumpy, the storms more fierce, the sorrows more painful, I found me a nice smooth section of fence & climbed right up there & made myself at home.
Deep in my soul, I know which side I will climb down on, but the jump from where I'm sitting to where I need to be is pretty steep & I'm afraid.  Fear is NOT of the Lord. 
This, I know. 
However, from where I's pretty scary.
Will You catch me???
I hear a whisper in my soul......

Friday, June 21, 2013

WWK (Walmart With Kids)

Worst.  Decision.  Ever.

My question to my older daughter & her resulting answer was the beginning of the ruin of my day.

"I must go grocery shopping today,
do you want to go or stay home?"
Her answer:
"No problem, we'll all go", I said.
"It will be great", I said.
"I got this", I said.
Oh, and I have to get this done in one hour because I have to meet someone at 11:15 (I got this, remember?).  I have my handy-dandy list which I made according to the pre-created menu for all meals in June .  Very tidy.  In & out.
Problemo numero uno:
The grocery list which I have created based on the WalMart closest to my house & the route I ALWAYS take while in the store (OCD much?), is completely null and void at a different WalMart.
I chose to go to a different location because of the meeting that was taking place at 11:15....
Problemo numero dos:
I took kids.
So, in order to make you feel better about your life, here's how my trip went:
Unload kids.  Assign a portion to the elder sister (the easier ones, I kept the problematic ones).
Enter store.  Tell elder sister to take a portion of the list & meet me by the milk when she's done.
I rush through my area before heading to the meeting place.  Leaving kids standing where they were (touching merchandise I SPECIFICALLY told them NOT to touch), because I will ONLY say, "Come on" once, then they have to hunt for me.
Then, my phone rings (I don't like to take calls while shopping, I don't shop & solve world problems at the same time very efficiently, so I have to stop what I'm doing & listen....), it's eldest daughter.  The cat is shooting diarrhea all over her room like a water sprinkler, and she is beyond frustrated.  So, I navigate clothing racks, help elder son choose new swim trunks & swim shirt from the "Cheap" rack, give him dirty looks as he looks at the "privileged folks" racks, point vehemently at the cheap rack & motion decapitation if he doesn't comply, while talking calmly to the particularly emotional person on the phone & trying to figure out the digestive tract issues of a kitten.
Problem solved, cheap swim clothes chosen....on to the dairy dept.
Tell elder son to get 2 gallons of 2% milk.  He gets one.  Really????
Tell lil guy I can make 15 gallons of Jell-O for the price of the pre-packaged ones, and NO I do not care that those are more fun.
When did cheese go up??  $3 for Parmesan.  Guess I don't need it.
No, we are not close to the bakery.  No, we cannot buy a free cookie.
Yes, honey, I would be very embarrassed if my kid screamed like that in the store.
PLEASE, stop practicing to scream....I WILL spank you...even though that kid got away with it.
You stay here with the basket, I'll walk over here & get what I need.  HEY!  WHERE ARE YOU GOING????
Hey you, Run back 2 aisles & get a container of salt.  Not gourmet.  Just plain ole salt. 
Where will I be? I'm turning left from this aisle.  ( I turn right.  Hee hee hee.  Took him 5 minutes to find me.)
What time is it?  OH!  We have 20 min to finish up & load up & I'm nearly done!  Yay!
No, I don't know what that mystery package of stuff is on the ethnic food aisle.
Oops, forgot the pancake back please...I'll be in produce.  For reals.
No, they don't have cuties.  Yes, we can get belly button oranges instead. 
Stop smelling every single package of strawberries.  They ALL smell good. 
Am I worth a $3 carton of blueberries?  Ewww...they have mold on them.
I need 8 ripe that too much to ask???  These could be stones!!
Ok....we are the registers.
I am very picky with the bagging process.  She does it wrong.  She is slow.
No, you can't have any gum.
No, you cant have the cute package of Kleenex.
No, you can't have beef jerky.
Yes, please get the van pulled up, that would be great.
OOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!! I ram my arm on the empty DVD display by the register.  My arm goes numb.  My fingers begin to tingle.
I am NOW officially in a bad mood. 
It took me longer this time.  Is that progress?
Now my neck hurts from my arm injury.
I yell at kids in WalMart.  I feel like I fit in.
We load up the groceries in the recesses of the van, because I need the back for the 11:15 meeting.
All in!  Let's go! 
Why are the interior lights on? 
Son, close the back hatch. it, & reclose.  STOP BANGING ON THE DOOR!!!
Fine, I'll do it.  Done.
I am now soaked with sweat, mad, hurting, $200 poorer, hungry & just plain exhausted.
But, we make the meeting.  I am now the proud owner of 2 old, wood-framed windows ripe for some adorable craft/decorating project & I scored them for a mere $6 each!  Boo-ya.
Now, I am home, the cat is loudly protesting his confinement to the carpet-less room, the groceries are put away, the boys are gagging me with the smell of the sardines I let them talk me in to buying.  DISGUSTING.
I have cooled off...some.  My arm hurts.  I'm still hungry.
Thanks for reading, I feel a bit better for having written it down.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hello, Again

I have missed this blog. 

I feel like I have been unfaithful.  LOL

So many of you have told me you enjoy reading my silly words & thoughts, and I enjoy writing down my craziness for all of the world to read.  Why then do I slack off and fail to write?

If I knew the answer to that....then it wouldn't happen.

Most people would assume the following:

"Well, good grief, you have 8 don't have TIME to blog"
....and, in fact, I could hide behind that reason with no problem. 
It's not true.
See, I have plenty of time.  I run a very tight ship (READ: the kids DO leave me alone for more than 5 minutes at a time) & I do have an eensy weensy teeny weeny bit of time to myself.  It's just....well, ya see.....I usually spend that time sewing. 
Seriously, I do love to write here, so, I will try to keep it up.
Another reason I haven't written, is because I have somehow gotten into the mode of thinking whatever I write should have some deep moral or be of value to someone. 
I may not have much to say, and what I say may not have any value of any sort. 
Hey....we eat Cheetos....they have no leads me to believe that, sometimes, people do stuff-----JUST 'CAUSE!
Update on us:
The kids are growing, and doing the things that growing entails: costing me more money in clothes, taking YEARS of my time sorting out their outgrown clothes, deciding what needs to be packed away for the next one down, what needs to be kept for a keepsake (almost NEVER- who has room for THAT mess???), what is only worthy of the Goodwill bin, and what to sell (I do sell most of my kiddos church stuff, cause....well, I have to buy them MORE clothes).
SO....I just realized: I LIED!!!!! 
Here is the reason, I don't write this more often....THEY DO NOT LEAVE ME ALONE!!!! 
Forget the fact that I am COMPLETELY ignoring them, or that I look VERY BUSY, or  that I REFUSE TO LOOK AT THEM, they just keep right on talking. 
In the time it took me to type the 2 sentences above, 4 kids interrupted me...some more than once.
The moral of this story:
I can't blog because I am too old to pick up my train of thought again after listening about how we should make a birthday cake, cause it's someone's birthday....somewhere. 
How Anna (or was it Ella??) was shaking her booty as she jumped on the Hullabaloo pads.
How ......uh.....someone hit that little boy that lives here with a bobby pin...
How that kid will just DIE without some crackers.....before an hour.
I'll be back as soon as I can.