Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Well, My Love is gone.
While he is not gone for a long time in Navy terms...he's still gonna be gone for about 2 months.
And that is at least 120 baths, 60+ goodnights, countless hugs, thousands of laughs, and some tears.

He'll miss String Bean's birthday, and the first day of school.

He already missed Jumping Bean's first tooth falling out. 
Which she pulled out BY HERSELF, in the car, on the way to swim lessons. 
And then it was dropped and lost forever in the crevices of the Swagger Wagon. 
Her biggest concern?
"I'll still get my dollar, right?!"

And String Bean starting braces. (Last picture before treatment began!)

He missed a visit from the tooth fairy....she only comes when you're awake for the first tooth. 
Sporting wings and dress up clothing and giving dental hygiene advice. 

So I've been pulling double duty. (Triple, if you count the always-2-days-late-tooth-fairy)
Which means Mommy goodnight kisses (soft and gentle), followed by "Daddy kisses" (noisy and silly). It means extra hugs. Dance parties. Story time about what Daddy does and how a Navy Ship works. There have been moments of extreme frustration (every day) from Boy Bean about this mama's pathetic ball-throwing skills. 

But Daddy being gone also means surprise hugs and kisses from my Beans. It means 4 kids conspiring to sneak down to make me breakfast one morning. Children helping with chores - happily - because Mama can't do it all. It means quiet pensive moments. It means we pray a lot.

Being separated is not my very favorite thing. 
But it isn't the end of the world, either.  
It is just a thing. 
He does his job. We do our jobs. 
And we learn to treasure these people we get to call family.

Anchors Aweigh.

~Whitney Copyright 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zone 4 - The Laundry Room (Post 2)

Yesterday I posted about my Laundry Room.  (Wildly exciting stuff, I know.) I showed pictures of the layout change and hinted at the organization change.

Now (If you think you can handle the thrill) today is all about the organization. Fun times!

First, I brought IN this cabinet. It has been sitting in the garage since the girl room was overhauled...almost 6 months.  But I couldn't get rid of it. We have used that cabinet as a pantry in 2 houses, and in each child's nursery (4 different houses!)! I knew it was much too versatile and useful to just pass on. So it collected dust and cobwebs in the garage while I tried to figure out its perfect spot. 

Next, I went through every item in the laundry room and decided if that was where it should be located....or just where it was dumped. I was shocked to find only a few items did NOT need to stay. 

(Most of those were just relocated to the garage....i.e. The Final Dumping Ground. That is Zone 6.)  :)

Here's the breakdown of the metal bins in the cabinet:

Top bin - SUN BLOCK, bug spray, and bubbles. Basically, stuff I don't want the kids getting into - but I need on a daily basis. 

Middle bin - Laundry supplies. Bounce sheets, detergent cups (I throw mine in the load to get it clean - so I need a bunch!), and tennis balls for when we wash comforters and large blankets.

Bottom bin - Flashlight and hanging supplies. (PICTURE and CURTAIN hanging; not Friar Tuck.)

The shelves behind the door hold paper towels (we go through them quite slowly - so I don't buy them in bulk), and our shredder. The small box to the right of the shredder holds all papers in need of shredding....when the box gets full, we plug it in and go to town. 
(By "we," I mean My Love. I always forget to do that! And file stuff. My word I hate filing.)

Onward we go....four bins fit on the shelf above the washer and dryer with a perfect amount of space for my detergent. I was entirely too thrilled about that. Have I mentioned how much I love these bins???? They are fantastic! And they were the EXACT sizes I needed. On sale. I'm sure that excitement will wear off eventually....but not today. :)

So, I broke each bin down to a purpose - Light bulbs and other soft/light items....

Rarely used cleaning supplies and large refill containers. (Don't judge me about not using my towel mop often. I have a swiffer mop and I LOVE it. My floors get somewhat clean fairly often.)

This is my most used bin  - my cleaning supplies! I carry that around with me when cleaning, so it has everything I need. I don't store cleaners under the sink because... 1. I have the space to keep it elsewhere, and 2. My kids would totally break into them and I would have called poison control quite a few times if I kept them in reachable locations. I also don't keep tons of different cleaners - I've found exactly what I like and what works for me...and I only keep those items.

Finally - the LARGE Laundry supplies bin. OxiClean (always comes through and is THE BEST stain remover EVER.), bleach, the next detergent, a delicates bag (I have never used this...I think it is a holdover from camp or some deployment or something), and my tissue box with extra bags in it!

The spare paper bags and potty fit perfectly under the sink. Soon (hopefully) that potty will be retired from this house. I am sooooo excited. Although, I hate potty that part is not exciting. But the end result? No more Diapers? I might just have to throw a party.

The sole piece of decorating in the room (at the moment) is this Ikea curtain which I hung by myself. Thankyouverymuch. First time ever! It really made a huge difference in the room feeling pulled together.

On to the other side of the room!

That island/cupboard was actually wedding gift. It has been used in every house we've lived in - 9 and a half years and still going strong! This may be the ONLY thing we registered for that was practical and useful. I was 21 when filling out our had a LOT of picture frames and pillows and vases and frou frou extras. Pots and pans? Notsomuch. (I think I did eventually end up registering for pots and pans at the wise prodding of people who knew better. Like our Mothers.)

This cabinet holds all of our beach towels and reusable bags. 

The drawer is still full of various odds and ends - measuring tape, batteries, head lamp....the normal stuff.

Finally, a bucket sold to hold drinks (bought on clearance last year) stores all the swimsuits for the kids on top of the island.

And the very BEST thing in the whole room???? 
This organizer! 
It was a Pinterest project I had pinned months ago, and it turned out great. (Thanks to My Love and a good friend!) I took a pegboard, covered it with a .50 thrifted sheet (which I've made 1 dress, 3 skirts, and 4 bean bags from already), and then asked the men to frame it. Which they did. 
Not the way I wanted. 
At all. 
It turned out great and I like it better than my original plan. 
So all's well that ends well - right? :)
Eventually, that big open space in the middle will have a wire basket in it with dusting spray, dusting cloths, and windex so I can grab it for a quick touch up. 

Whew. There you go. More than anyone ever should want to know about my laundry space. 

If you've powered through to this point, you are either desperately trying to organize YOUR life....or bored out of your mind and need a life.
 Either way, thanks for reading. 

~Whitney Copyright 2013

Zone 4 - The Laundry Room

So, I've mentioned a time or two that I must organize, clean, or create something tangible when I feel completely out of control. Something about toys being put away or counters being clean or fresh vacuum marks in the carpet just helps me calm right down.

(Which does not translate to a spotless house, surprisingly enough. It just translates to an orderly spot with less stuff in it....while the rest of the house is being demolished. If you don't understand, please scroll to the right and inspect my beans.)

And, I decided I would use 2013 to finally get some order in my life instead of just treading water. I am shocked at how much easier EVERYTHING is without a newborn/pregnancy/child under two. My youngest is 2 and a half - since we started this whole kid-thing, I have always had a new babe-in-arms at this point. In fact, the widest age gap between beans is 25 months.  So this moment in time feels CRAZY. 

This year of organizing has led me to My Kitchen (Zone 1), My Living Room (Zone 2), and the Girl Room (Zone 3.) Moving through each of these spaces has been wonderful. I'm getting rid of all sorts of things we don't use or need, and I'm finally putting items in the best spot for them...instead of just in the room they should belong. 

Which brings me to this month's project....

The Laundry Room. 

First, I always thought it was kind of dumb to make your laundry room all pretty. I mean, it is about as utilitarian a space as it comes, right? It seemed like a complete waste of time. If you could see your washer and dryer and soap and dryer sheets and maybe some Oxiclean and your laundry baskets, you should be good. 

I do a LOT of laundry.  I am in there all. the. time. And I don't even fold it in the laundry room! All I'm in there for is to sort, load, flip, and empty. So I completely thought making the space look pretty in its organization would be just a waste of my time and money. 

Well, world. I was wrong. Again.

Organizing my laundry room hasn't made laundry more fun or exciting....but it has made it easier. Like, LOADS easier. (That is funny. You should be chuckling. Or it is just late and I think I'm extra funny.) Here is what I had to start with....

What you see when you walk in the door....
a bit of a mess. 
I mean, it worked, if you didn't mind moving something every time you needed to do anything.  

 I was really starting to mind moving stuff. The space is plenty big enough to hold all the junk in that room - and then some! So why wasn't it making sense and working smoothly?
Because it was a dumping ground. 

Stuff was just thrown and shoved and precariously perched. 
Not a very good system for efficiency!

(The white cabinet wasn't always right there...I had just brought it in from the garage, when I remembered to take pictures!)

We had tried to get organized in the past - we even bought the cool sunburst hook thingy to hold brooms and mops and stuff....but it didn't work for most of them because the poke-out-parts were too short. 

And behind the door? Unused space. How very, very sad.

However, that sad feeling has gone far away. :) Because after going through every item in the Laundry Room and being sure I needed it, wanted it, and needed it in the space - it looks about 10 million times better!

(I tried to put the same order of camera angles for comparison with the pictures at the top)
Note the super-awesome-curtain. I hung that. By. Myself. :)

Yes, there is a MASSIVE space between the dryer and the wall. Apparently, I'm supposed to have HE machines. But I don't. So, the vent has to go behind the dryer, instead of below it. Minor cosmetic issue. My machines work great - so I don't care!

New bins to corral all gear....thank you Wal-Mart for being awesome.
And having a great sale.
These are exactly what I wanted - but didn't think we could get because of how expensive they were everywhere else. Wal-Mart came through in the clutch!

Below is a picture of the non-laundry stuff in the laundry room. :) The blue bucket holds all dry swimsuits for children, and the cabinet has all of our beach towels in it.

The great PINTEREST project that actually turned out right! woohoo!! (There is going to be a wire basket with some cleaning supplies on the bare double hook....but I haven't been able to find the basket.)

So there is the overall tour of the new, improved, and CLEAN laundry room! (For the record, these pictures were taken on a 4-load laundry day. It just works that much better!)

More on the actual organizing in the space....soon.

Until next time - roll with the TIDE, and keep a BOUNCE in your step!

Stay clean.

~Whitney Copyright 2013

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

mini catch up....

So, the lack of posting is partly due to excessive amounts of fun being had this summer... (i.e. minor catch up post is below) I know no one cares about all this. But I want to write it down for myself to, feel free to skip to browsing yahoo.

A family trip to DC over the 4th of July...which was a good time overall, but an epic fail the first day. 

ALTHOUGH - on the drive up we found a FANTASTIC BBQ place! Carter's Pig Pen BBQ, in Mechanicsville, VA.  It was AH-Ma-zing. All of the kids ate like lumberjacks, My Love and I ate our fill, we had fresh made Lemonade (the real deal) and sweet tea (also the real deal)....all for $20.00. People, if you are hungry en route to DC - this is where you need to eat. 

Boy Bean's meltdown in the Museum of Natural History perfectly captures how most of us felt that first day. Between missing breakfast...starting the day with a mile walk to the Metro...choosing lunch at a place that had guacamole on everything (which the Boy made me allergic to) ...

having insane NEEDS for bathrooms immediately (which had long lines, broken a/c, and minimal toilet paper)...dressing incorrectly for the heat (blasted weather forecast!)...and closing out the day with an EXTRA half-mile walk because our gate was closed....we learned quite a few lessons that improved the vacation for Day 2. ;)

 Day 2 - the actual Fourth - was about 10 million times better. We watched the parade downtown - fully decked out in our "Go America!" gear. (As Jumping Bean dubbed the bandanas.) 

The parade was great. The kids loved it - but we didn't stay for the whole thing because it was almost 2 hours long! Instead, we slipped out about half-way (while the happy window was still open) and grabbed lunch before the crowds. Good call all around.

We followed the parade and al fresco lunch with a fun street show by a group of break dancers. Then we let the kids cool off in a fountain. Fantastic urban experience had by all. :)

That evening, we set up camp on this hill, and waited for the fireworks. It was a really great time and some fantastic memories were made. Like Bitty Bean completely ruining her shirt and needing to be clothed with a bandana. We went full redneck.  :)
(This picture was from two nights earlier  - the night of the fourth was very clear)

 The lack of posting has also been due to things going a wee haywire in my corner of the world. My Love is heading out again for a bit, and that always makes me desire control. Which means organizing and clearing out has been happening again. It is my own weird neurosis that helps me feel solid...but more on that later.

~Whitney Copyright 2013