Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HELP US BRING BEAMER HOME (31 Days Project on hold)

On Friday night, 1/21/12, we had a pretty big wind and rain storm. Sometime during the night, the dog fence in the backyard blew over. This dog fence prevented our dogs from getting to the backyard gate where the PG&E people go to see the meter. During this storm the main backyard gate blew open. The only way that is could do this is if it wasn't locked. Since we ALWAYS lock this gate we did some investigation only to find that there is a new PG&E Smart Meter in the backyard. Putting two and two together, the PG&E people didn't lock our gate.

Beamer went out sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning.  All of our energy has been focused on finding our dog. We spent about 5 hours in the rain and crappy weather searching for Beamer on Saturday. We also contacted all the vet clinics and the Alameda and Contra Costa County shelters. Sunday we did the same thing and made flyers and put out the bulletin on Craiglist, the paper and anyplace else that people recommended. Monday was mostly rainy and so we hit the vets in the morning, checked in with the shelters and about 3:30, we went on another 1-1/2 search for Beamer.

There's no sign of him yet but we haven't given up. Cede is pretty miserable without him. She loves being a house dog but she is now beginning to howl in her sleep. She's moping around the house and you can just tell that she's blue. :-(
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 13: 01/19/2012 - The Daily Grind

It might not seem like the cleaning that the average person is doing around the house but for me it's part of the 31 Days to an Organized Home

In my iCal program I added a new calendar to the schedule - this one is all about the upcoming surgery.  Since I'm having a hysterectomy and some other fun reconstruction in "that" area, I realized that I have to have something in place in order to survive the first two weeks.

The surgery is on the 31st of Jan and I will be in the hospital for 1-2 days. I have my mom coming and staying with us so she can help take care of the kids, the house, her favorite daughter and of course, her favorite son-in-law.  (Personally, I think she's just coming to hang out with him - she loves him more anyway!)  ;-) 

According to the doctors and the other people who have given their input on Hyster-Sister.com, I will need two weeks of peace and quiet and lying down as much as possible. What the heck? I'm having a hard time even thinking I have to stay still. Ick!  Anyway, I will need as much help as possible the 2nd week of February so I've called the National Guard and got them all taking my girls to school, pick up Lauren at noon and the other two after school, then take my son to school 3 days a week and pick him up, then watch him on the two days that he's not off school.  Heck, the entire week is so packed with Mommy work that I have to put it all in a calendar of organization otherwise I'll go bonkers!

I spent my morning calling around, scheduling appointments, activities, pick-ups and drop-offs so that I could come up with a schedule to post on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror in our room, my  parent's computer, the front door and if I have to, I might as well give it to all the teachers at school so they know what to expect when the SuperMom is out of commission.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 12: 01/18/12 - The Activity Center

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Trying to get that bi-weekly laundry done leaves just a little time for the 31 Day Project - but darn it, I'm sticking with it.  Today I thought it would be good to set up an Activity Center.  I want a place to organize the chores for the month, add messages, keep babysitter information, include grocery lists and other details that we might need to remind ourselves about.

We have a dry-erase board that I used for keeping track of the kids chores. Unfortunately that was used for a few weeks and then it became useless. Adding a few lines here and putting important information in permanent pen, we ended up with our new Activity Center.

The bottom of the "Center" was the hardest - creating the chores. I needed to be able to create the chores that everyone can help with - especially since I have a hysterectomy coming up and will need to have all the family help as much as possible.

I cut out pictures of a trash bag, doing dishes, laundry basket, dishwasher, dog food, bed, broom, dirty room, toys and vacuum. I put the pictures on the center and put the names of the kids under each one. There are only 2 weeks listed so far but each week we alternate to the next kid on the list (in birth order). There are 4 weeks on the calendar and this will make it easy to see who needs to do what and on which date.

At the top of the "Center" I included our names and birthdates - just in case of an emergency.  Each of our doctors are listed, along with their phone numbers. I also included the non-emergency Police Department number.

The middle area is for Groceries and things from Target/Costco.  Next to that are any things to do or messages that we have for each other.

Just need to get more dry erase pens and we will be set.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 11: 01/17/12 - The Stove-Top Oven

Today is by far the easiest day of cleaning.  It's time to clean the stove top oven.  We have a gas powered appliance so the stove top is pretty easy to clean. We just have to take the porcelain coated steel grates off the stove-top and I use a Lysol-to-water mixture to clean most all my appliances and surfaces.  With the rough side of the sponge, I scrub any caked on crap that my DH leaves behind and once all the scraps are cleaned up, the Lysol mixture is sprayed everywhere to give it a shine and to disinfect the surface too.  Making sure that the top of the oven ledge, the keypad display, front of the stove, front window, under the microwave hood and especially the knobs and underneath the knobs.

With that out of the way, the hardest stuff is already done.  There's a 30-40 minute deep cleaning and a sparkle to show for it.  But wait.... there's still the oven.  Oh yeah, the CLEAN button on the oven will take care of that.  I just set the oven to clean, select the heavy (medium or light won't be enough for this oven) and the doors automatically lock and will open in 4 hours.  From there, I will just need "dust" out the crumbs and voila!  A clean oven once again!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 10: 01/16/12 - The Garage

I guess I really should be taking those before pictures so you can see what we are up against in most of these projects. However, I think I'm more embarrassed to even give the after pictures because you'll still see the rest of the disaster area. haha

The week after Christmas was when I took down all the Christmas decorations. Of course that happened to be a day that the football game was on or DH was at work so I did it all by myself - as usual. The only thing I asked was if he would please take all the boxes and put them in the rafters so that I wouldn't hurt my back.  Silly me! Football is on during the weekend. Not just one game, many games! Why on earth would I even imagine that help from DH would be on it's way?

Today I tackled that garage in full spirt. I put on my crappiest clothes and headed out to put it all away. I took the heaviest things first and put them up above. I creatively made stacks so that I wouldn't have to bend down on a ladder to get the boxes lifted. With my bad back, I'm an absolute idiot to attempt this stuff - especially the way I did it.  First the Christmas tree went up.  That one was the toughest and I prepped myself with getting that as high as I could first. Within 10 minutes I had it up there and situated nicely so the rest of the decor could go up.  The lights and outdoor decoration boxes went up, the Christmas plates, kitchenware, stocking and table runners went up next. Then the wreaths and faux fir tree railing decor and all the boxes we plan to reuse. The last thing was the wrapping paper station and a few coolers that were taken down the last time we were up there.  With all this extra room, I have a big area to use now.

I created the gap at the end of the garage so that I could put some of the bikes and play toys inside the garage. Since Santa was able to get scooters, bikes and things that rust, bringing them indoors this winter will make me a lot happier - especially when I realized how horrible the rust stains are on their old stuff.

The garage is neat and tidy, I can get around the car, the boxes and the dog area just fine. Just a few loads of laundry and the garage is semi-presentable to my friends who actually don't care that it still looks like crap - just neat crap. :-)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Day 6, 7, 8 and 9: AWOL UPDATE

Sorry for not updating and getting everyone up-to-date on my cleaning fanatics. We have had a very challenging household this past week.  

Just after my last blog on the 7th,  our entire family came down with the bug. Actually, Brady had the bug on Friday and Saturday and was throwing up every 15 minutes throughout the night. Come Sunday at 6:30, the rest of us started feeling queazy and within the hour all 5 of us were throwing up.  It really hit fast and it hit hard. We can laugh about it now but at one point in the evening, we were tag-teaming the toilet. One person would throw up, then the next, then the next....  Needless to say, our house smelled so wonderful! 

Bella had it the worst. Obviously nobody went to work or school that Monday, but Bella was out on Tuesday and Wednesday too. The aching in the stomach and the sore throat from the violent vomiting took it's toll on all of us. Lexie was the most resilient and was ready for school on Tuesday morning. Lauren went to school but she didn't look well when I picked her up so we kept her in bed the rest of the day.  Come Thursday, we were back to a regular family - and a very messy one at that.  

Laundry was the worst. With the younger kids, making it to the bathroom or even to the bowl in front of them is a challenge. Lots of towels and sheets and comforters to wash. Yuck! The clothing was next and then the shampooing of the carpets and lastly was the bathrooms. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Lexie's birthday was on the 5th and we celebrated on Saturday with 28 of Lexie's friends. We rented a mongo-jumphouse and the kids played their hearts out. It was very low key as the kids spent the entire time in the jump house and then eating cupcakes. Not much work needed on the party, just on cleaning the house from top to bottom.

I am now the owner of a fully cleaned house - all bedrooms are neat and tidy and hopefully they will stay that way.  I still have to keep up with the once a day laundry that should keep that part of me in check.  The kids are making their beds everyday and hopefully this will become a habit for them as well.  There still is loads of stuff to do so I think that tomorrow is the start of cleaning once again and I'll be hitting that garage first.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

DAY 5: 01/08/12 - The Bar

This is just an area that is a major "bachelor pad."  I don't drink the hard stuff and it's just a huge mess. Going through the cabinets, I see mixers that we purchased on our honeymoon - that was in 2000. The 1/2 empty bottle of Mudslide was brought over around my bachelorette party and so that couldn't be good.  The Bloody Mary bottle that has sediment has now changed to a darkish brown color is just saying "TRASH."  The glasses and shelves need a major cleaning too.

Time to clean the booze out first. Toss anything that has lost the nice color that it usually had. Toss anything that is 1/2 used since we haven't any mixers since the summertime. Combine the 3 bottles of the same alcohol - same brand of course. Give any bottles that we know we will NEVER open to the neighbor. At least someone can benefit from it. Toss out all the paper gift packaging that is ripped, torn or just plain ugly.  Now I can start to organize from the basics.

All the brandies, rums, vodkas, tequilas, whiskeys and scotches can go in one area. Sorting them by the type of liquor, everything will have it's own place.  Mixers can go back in the same type of arrangement. The margarita fixings on one side, the rest on the other. Last cabinet can have the other liquors that don't have a specific place.

Now for the shelves and the glasses. After a few broken glasses that I accidentally dropped (and that were really ugly), I soaped up and cleaned all the shelves. When putting the glasses back, I chose to put the glasses that were used the least at top. The large margarita glasses and carafe, the brandy glasses and the mimosa glasses. The bottom shelves are for the champagne, red wine, and white wine glasses. The large beer steins can also go up there.  On the side wall we put the hard drink glasses and shot glasses. The fancy shot glasses from our honeymoon line the back ledge on the wall. Lastly, the small beer glasses can sit in their serving tray on the countertop.  
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The last thing is the shakers, the blender, the wine chillers and the books. There is a large enough ledge on top of the counter to put each one of these in a nice and orderly fashion. It's not the ideal bar, but hey, it was a closet  for the bedroom that was downstairs and turning it into a bar was a fantastic way to utilize the empty space.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 4: 01/07/12 - Children's Library Area

Today is the big Girl Scout meeting and since there is a possibility of all 24 girls showing up, I need to do some extra big cleaning.  This morning was full of cleaning the bathrooms, toy area, under the couches and entertainment area, mopping the floors, dusting everything, vacuuming the carpets and cleaning the big sliding glass doors.  

After all that looked spic and span, I headed over to the kid's library shelving. When I tell the kids to put their books back on the shelves, they don't put them standing up, they throw them on top of other books, toss them on top of the shelf, even shove them inside of each other. What a disaster! Here comes the inner Librarian in me ......

I took all the books off the shelf and decided there was a place for each book.  There are age levels to the books. Lauren and Brayden read the pre-school/Kindergarten books. The phonics are more at the 1st and 2nd grade levels. The rest are in Level 3 or Level 4 and chapter books. Oh, and don't forget the coloring books, the Educational workbooks, the dictionaries & thesaurus and writing tablets.  There are only 9 cubicles to the shelf so I have to be tricky.  


The bottom will get the Educational books, the coloring books and the Pre-School/Kindergarten level books. The kids that read those will be eye level as they sit on the ground.  The next thing was to sort the books by sizes. Yup, here's the OCD in me coming out again.  The majority of the middle row of books was  an all-around fun level to read. The kids that can't read the text can look at the pictures to read instead. The larger books that are full of multiple stories will also go on the middle row.  The top row is full of the books that are on the 3rd and 4th grade levels. The chapter books are a big thing with Lexie and Bella and so I tried to organize them in their series (such as the "Fudge" books, the "Ramona" books, the "My Sister is a Vampire" books and the "Judy Moody" books.)  The older girls are responsible enough to take care of these books since they usually only read one at a time.  The last level (the top of the book shelf) I had to create for the older books. The books that are more on the "mommy" level or the ones that are just too advanced for the younger kids.

Ta Da!  A neat and tidy Children's Library Area. I think I'm going to invite the librarian over for coffee now!  :-)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 3: 01/06/12 - DVD Shelf

Although we use our Apple TV to watch all our movies, we have tons of DVD's. I wanted to keep the Disney DVD's and fun movies that we watch all the time. I also wanted to have the advantage of taking them in the car to watch on trips or just to keep busy children occupied in the car.  Our DVD shelf is cluttered with little bottles of lotion, a remote control helicopter, more unknown batteries, kids books, homework folders and DS games and rechargers for all the DS's in the house. Just another mass of clutter that needs to be dealt with.

This is where my OCD kicked in.  I got rid of all the clutter and then looked at how disorganized the dang shelf still looked. So what do I do? I put all the DVD's in alphabetical order.  I've done it before but it just felt good to get them all in their right places so we know exactly where to go for a particular movie. With 200-300 movies, this type of organization is completely required.

Hence, the new DVD collection on our shelf:
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