Boo-yeah

So I don’t really like to brag – really.   But I must say I feel a bit like this lady this year.

Not only am I done with Christmas shopping (a whole 15 days early), I am back on the coupon wagon.  And every time I get a good deal, I say “BOOM!” in my head a little and imagine myself looking like that lady…I think I even have that sweater.

I was off the coupon wagon for a bit because it is time consuming and once you’re off, it’s hard to get back on and get organized again.  It doesn’t help that I keep forgetting to get a Sunday paper.  But now, me and coupons are tight again.

I was also assisted by my sister.  She sent me a link for a $4 off coupon for a sweater at Target…the sweaters were on sale already for $8.99 – you guys!  That’s a sweater (and a nice one) for $4.99!  So I got two.  Plus she sent me this link to a $10 gift card when you purchase $50 worth of stuff, which ain’t hard to do at Target.  So I added a few necessities to my sweaters, like Aveno lotion for the kids (cause they both have exzema and it’s now winter) – which I also had store and manufacturer coupons for, thank you very much.  It was a super sweet deal.  And even though I’ve already said “BOOM!” in my head, I still feel the need to tell everyone who compliments me on my sweater that it was only $4!  It blurts right out of my mouth.  I can’t control it.

THEN, I got diapers at Babies ‘R Us with $5 off coupons AND got a $25 gift card.  I’ve totally been buying our Christmas presents with the gift cards I’ve accumulated by watching the deals.  OOOOO – I love it.

I had cut back on our eating out, but on Friday after my good deals at Target and Babies ‘R Us, we splurged and went to Chick-fil-a because I had accumulated 2 free chicken sandwich and 2 free chicken strips coupons….and also packed the kids drinks and sides…so maybe we didn’t actually splurge all that much.  But we FELT like we did, so that’s nice.

This saving money, couponing, deal seeking stuff is a huge rush and completely addictive.  And also completely necessary since we went WAY over budget in November – the sheer amount we spent on food last month is unspeakable.  But that’s what happens when you fall completely off the coupon wagon and also eat out way more than we should because who can make dinner when there is a toddler hanging on your leg for all the hours of the day, especially when you’re in the kitchen and he senses that food is eminent.

But now I’m planning ahead for meals and planning to get to know my crock pot very well.  I feel so very domestic.  Saturday night (because we know how to party), we all straightened up the house and folded the laundry.  Then after the kids went to bed, Russ and I made deviled eggs for a church lunch on Sunday and made a whole pot of chili soup to freeze (5 meals worth), AND I sewed the strap back on Taylor’s $.99 Christmas apron.  Cleaning, cooking, and sewing…what is this? 1950?  But I don’t care – I LOVED every minute of it – feeling productive, taking care of my family, and doing it all with the best partner in crime.

BOOM!

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fresh

I think I started a new tradition this year.  It is December 7, and the Christmas cards went in the mail yesterday; the house is decorated and clean(ish); and we have all but three gifts wrapped and under the tree.

Did I mention it is only December 7?  It is a pretty incredible feeling to look into the horizon of the second week of Advent and Christmas with a weight lifted.  This is all because I took the week of Thanksgiving off.  I didn’t go anywhere the first half of the week and didn’t go far the rest of the weekend, so I got a lot of stuff done.

And Monday of that week, I got NOTHING done.  It was fabulous.  I got up and got the kids ready for school*, then after Russ drove off with them, I got back in bed and did not get up again until lunchtime.  At lunchtime, I heated up some pizza and got back in bed to eat it.  I did not get up again until it was time to pick the kids up at 3:00.    I had been fighting a sinus infection and working doubletime the week before (because my boss was on vacation), so this day of nothing was the best. day.

The rest of the week was very productive because I was fully (well, almost) refreshed.  I got back my go-get-him and my giddy-up.  So by the evening of Sunday, the house was really clean and decorated and most of the shopping was done (plus I got to spend some quality time with my mom and Taylor on Girls’ Day).

I highly recommend a staycation with no agenda, no plans…the chance to just be and to get as much done as you feel like getting done….and watching as much trashy TV as you want without anyone judging you.  It’s a good thing.  So I think from now on, I will take this week off and plan to go no where in order to find some order before charging full steam ahead into Advent and Christmas.

I really think I will enjoy this year more without the stress of shopping on Christmas Eve.  The Advent season is supposed to be about waiting and preparing for Christ’s coming, but with all the hustle and bustle, you lose the chance to wait and prepare – the pace is fast and furious.  I’m hoping that this year, I will really be able to celebrate Advent with some patience, some stillness, some silence, and a lot of joy and anticipation…hoping that my four year-old will rub off on me a bit.

*1) So, yes, I know that for Caleb especially it is more daycare than school, but I just don’t like the term daycare, and it’s my blog.  2) I used to think that if I wasn’t going into work, I had to keep the kids home (mom guilt).  HA!  Then I got a bit of sanity and perspective and learned that a little time off with the kids at school allowed me to be more rested and productive so that the time spent with them was that of a much higher quality.  So I cut myself a break.  Plus they both dig school a lot, so that helps.

overdrive

Maternity leave is a slightly OCD person’s dream and nightmare all at once.  I love being home with Baby B, but at this point he still sleeps a lot.  And while I sit and hold the sweet sleeping baby and look around the room or walk into the kitchen to get a drink or into the laundry room for the 85th time that day to wash yet more clothes and burp cloths, I have extra time to notice how dirty things are, and it drives me NUTSO.

So I’ve made a list (because I LOVE lists) of things that need to be cleaned that I don’t have time to clean during my regular working life.  It’s actually a bit frightening when I think about how long it’s been since some things have been cleaned.  I started thinking about how it’s crazy that we’ve been in this house for over four years now, and then I started thinking about how I’m pretty sure since we’ve been in this house, I have not thoroughly cleaned the oven, refrigerator, or laundry room YUCK! (I have wiped up spills and such so they weren’t completely disgusting).    So over the past two weeks, I have been a cleaning fool.  I have de-linted the  laundry room, deep-cleaned the kitchen (seriously – oven, microwave, toaster oven, coffee pot, sink, cabinets, and refrigerator), vacuumed out my car, cleaned off the deck, organized Piglet and Baby B’s drawers and closets and book shelves, and reorganized my coupon notebook…among the day to day picking up after everyone and 85 loads of laundry.

The OCD in me secretly enjoys the cleaning, well, not so much the actual cleaning but the feeling of accomplishment afterward.  I seriously will open the refrigerator or go into the laundry room at random times just to look at how clean it is.  It makes me happy.  It’s pathetic, I know.  But when you’re stuck at home with a little person who eats every 2-3 hours, the little things are a big deal.  Don’t judge me.

There are still many things on my list (fun things like cleaning the trash cans), but it’s mostly regular house cleaning things…I am determined to go back to work with a super clean house because I know that there won’t be much time for cleaning once the craziness begins (my first official day back is Rally Day, so it’s really going to start off with a bang of crazy).

And since R-Day is only twoish weeks away, I should get off the computer and back to business…time to put some stuff in the attic.

Nesting

I have already started nesting.  Cleaning. Organizing. Purging.  It’s bad news, especially for Russ because his to-do list is growing (he doesn’t know it yet).  Pray for his sanity over the next six months (and probably for a while after that).

But don’t you think I expect him to do everything.  I took Tuesday off because I had worked just about every day in January.  My goal was to do some serious couch sitting and stupid TV watching.  But the more I sat, the more I noticed the dust and dirt and clutter.  So I HAD to get up and dust and vacuum and organize.   I just couldn’t stand it.

Then on Friday, I was up in the attic (probably not the best idea when you are 15 weeks pregnant and home by yourself, but I was compelled, I could not not go in the attic and purge) pulling down stuff we haven’t seen in 3.5 years and took it to goodwill.  I also took some stuff that we have seen but was driving me crazy when I see it.  I will probably regret this purging at some point later in life when I think, “Gee, I really wish I had that oval basket”  but maybe not.  Hopefully not.

I am just amazed at how much stuff we have accumulated in our 6.5 years of marriage (OMG SIX AND A HALF YEARS), especially in the last 3.5 years since we moved into our house.  We had two practically empty rooms when we first moved in.  And now everything is full and we are supposed to fit a whole ‘nother person and his/her stuff!   There is no room.  Therefore I purge. And when I’m done, I purge some more.

It feels great to purge!  It’s freeing, liberating.  And I finally feel like I’m doing something to prepare for the baby.  It’s so strange the second time around when my every thought is not about “how to grow a baby”.  I figure my body knows what to do since it’s done it before.   So I just take my prenatal vitamins and nest.  and then I nest some more because I just can’t help myself.  I think I need a support group.

domestic diva

I often wonder what we did with our time before.  I always remember being busy, but I can’t remember how we spent our weekends.  We traveled a lot Pre-Piglet (not fancy travel but traveling to see family and friends – which is sometimes better), we worked more weekends, we studied some in seminary (but not much), but that still doesn’t seem like it fills the time like things we do now.

Today:

I got up with Piglet at 6:30, and we did our morning routine of change diaper, play, eat first breakfast, play, wake up daddy.  Then I went out to shop at the Children’s Orchard sale.  Bought Easter dress.  Went to the bank.  Went to the grocery store to buy a few things I forgot yesterday.  Came home.  Played.  Did laundry forever and forever amen.  Put a Boston butt in the crock pot with beer, chooped onion, and sauer kraut.  Went to lunch with Papa and Mimi.  Shopped downtown a little.  Went to Apple Store.  Lusted after iPhone and MacBook.  Came Home.  Made chili soup.  Froze 16 servings of chili soup for future hectic days.  Played.  Ate dinner.  It was surprisingly yummy even though I don’t usually like sauer kraut.  Adored Piglet and all her cuteness.  Wondered how life was any good before she came along.  Went out for ice cream.  More laundry.  Got Piglet ready for bed.  Taught Russ how to scan pictures.  Sat down.  Blogged. 

Dinner

My mom cooked dinner almost every night when I was growing up.  I never really appreciated how much time that took.  Now I do.  She was amazing.

Today, I made a menu for the week, made a grocery list, gathered coupons, went to the grocery store, bought eggplant and cottage cheese for the first time, saved $24, spent $150, and cooked a healthy homemade dinner with lots of leftovers for nthe weekend (technically Russ did most of the cooking while I occupied Piglet who wanted to climb the oven and watch everything that was happening). 

It was fun, and I feel good about saving money and eating healthier, but man it takes a lot of time.  Especially since Russ is uber-picky about dinner foods.  We can’t have “regulars” – he always wants to try new things (that have cheese in them), but that takes more time.  I guess it’s good to try new things, but I like comfort foods – all those foods I remember eating growing up.  But those foods have no cheese since my dad is allergic, and as mentioned before Russ have to have cheese in all dishes.

And for tomorrow’s task – making a big batch of chili soup to freeze for fast dinners later and using the crock pot to cook a Boston butt. 

Watch out Martha, Paula, and Rachel.