Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Give it away, give it away, give it away, give it away now...

...Give it away, give it away, give it away, give it away now
Give it away, give it away, give it away, give it away now
Can't tell if I'm a king pin or a pauper
-Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Give it Away"

I'm on a mission. I am determined to cut down on the clutter in my house. The stuff is out of control, and for a number of reasons, I need to cut down on stuff.

1. I don't know what I have.
2. I don't have room for what I have.
3. The constant clutter makes me lose the stuff I do know have. I spend 15 mins looking for my keys and or cell phone most every day.
4. The constant clutter in my environment stresses me out.

Perhaps you remember this post about the disaster that is my multi-pile system of sorting clothing. (This is where I discovered the word "floordrobe, which is still the funniest, and most descriptive, term in my lexicon.) Or perhaps you remember this one about my paper clutter problem. I know where my clutter issues lie, and I understand the problems that come from my lack of organization.

I just can't seem to do anything about it.

I've tried! I really have made valiant attempts to get organized. The problem is staying in that organized state. That's the thing - you can't just line everything up, slap labels on it, and call it a day. You have to actually put in work, ON A DAILY BASIS, to keep the clutter monster from taking over again. And you must stop bringing additional stuff into your home. This is not news to anyone. Yet this is not something that wants to stick in my brain.

Want to see my latest efforts? Linen closet - with all of our towels, sheets, extra blankets, and kid snuggle blankets in one place.

Look at all that extra space! (Don't get too excited. I need to save room for all the towels that are currently still lounging on the pool table.) But more importantly, I decided to follow the advice of my fave simple living blog, Unclutterer, and group like things together. Duh. I know. This isn't earth-shattering stuff. But now this closet has linens, all the linens, and nothing but linens. Out of season kid clothes are (gasp!) in the kids' rooms.

Now, for my favorite closet makeover:

Yep. That's my gift wrapping station. Look at all those pretty bags arranged by size in the clear box! I got rid of a bunch of gift bags that I decided I wouldn't be proud to give another gift in. And above those shelves, there are a bunch more shelves that are full of all the gifts I've bought with the intent of giving to someone, someday, for some gift-giving occasion. I'm not sharing a picture of that - you might just see your Christmas gift! But trust me - it's organized, labeled, and makes me happy.

I was on a roll. So, how did I make all this extra space? I got rid of a whole bunch of stuff.
The comforter and assorted blankets that I was holding *just in case*? They found a new home at The Green Chair Project, a great organization that helps provide furnishings for people transitioning out of homelessness. The extra gift bags haven't found a home yet, but I've found there's nothing that can't be unloaded for free via craigslist. The stuff that was broken went into the trash. (See! I can throw stuff away, too!) Our desktop computer parts found a new home via craigslist with a guy who is starting a home business. I'm working on it.

Now, check back in 6 months and see if I'm still willing to put up photos of the insides of my closets...

Monday, September 19, 2011

On the beach, you'll find them there... the sun and salty air
the girls on the beach.
-The Beach Boys, "Girls on the Beach"

Okay, so I'm a little out of order in my posts lately. But I must document for the blogosphere the wonderful weekend I recently spent with some of my chosen sisters at the beach. This was our fourth (mostly) annual fall getaway.

Another year, another beautiful day at the beach.

We always pretend we're going to scrapbook, and some of us usually do at least a little paper crafting. We do bring an awful lot of craft supplies, just in case the crafty urge strikes. I made a whole handful of cute baby cards, so if any of y'all want to invite me to a baby shower, I am SO ready. Well, as long as you're having a boy, anyway. I ran out of pink paper.

(We blinged out our phones! See, we were a little crafty-licious.)

But the truth is that the trip is about sisterhood, not paper and ink and stamps. It's about reconnecting with fellow travelers on this journey. We've had hard times together, and held each others' hand on the tough days. Collectively we've lost parents and unborn children and marriages and jobs. We've struggled to care for strong-willed children, ailing parents, and injured spouses. We don't talk every day. But when times are tough, these are people who would drop what they are doing and drive 8+ hours (stopping every 30 minutes for someone's potty break) to hug me. And to do my laundry. Them's some good friends right there.

But the thing that most defines our beach trips is our hysterical laughter. We stay up half the night until we are completely punchy, telling hilarious stories about ... well, you know I just can't really describe it. But it sure seems funny as hell at the time.

And really, any day at the beach is good. A day at the beach laughing with your girls is great. All that while still wearing our PJ's at 7 p.m.? That's good times.

(Don't we look so stair-steppy? If the other 3 of us had been
there, we'd have been much more even! Next time, TOJ , MS, and CM.
You don't get out of my pics for long.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If I were President...

...I'd make you understand
No more questions, no more lies
I will tell you the truth looking in your eyes
If I were President.
-Cross Canadian Ragweed, "President Song"

There are loads of great things about working on a college campus. I am incredibly lucky to work with some of the brightest and most talented kids at NC State - y'all keep me young. But yesterday I had an opportunity that doesn't come along every day, even on a campus that brings some big name speakers. I got to see the President of the United States. At good ol' NC State. How cool is that?!

(right above the Bojangle's ad - appropriate, right?)

Now, I realize that I have readers at both ends of the political spectrum, and that some of you aren't particularly fond of Mr. Obama. That's fine - being able to voice your opinion about our leaders and their decisions is what makes this a free country. Just know that I am not going political here, and I hope you'll show respect for my views as well. And remember that I have the power to delete any comments that I don't want in what is the equivalent of my kids' baby book. Let's focus on the fact that it really was a pretty awesome thing to have a sitting Commander in Chief at NC State and be excited about that, okay?

It was worth waiting in line well over an hour to snag tickets.

And it was well worth waiting in the security line to get into Reynolds Coliseum.
(The most popular guy of the day - the volunteer from Obama For America
passing out bottled water to those of us waiting in the hot sun!)

It was worth the wait just to have the chance to be part of NC State history.

And it was even worth being a basketball court away. I was there - I heard him speak!

His speech really showed why he was so successful on the campaign trail - the man can work a crowd. The best moment was when someone shouted "I love you Barack!" and without even missing a step he responded "I love you too!" The crowd roared. The energy in there was just amazing - it was an overwhelmingly supportive crowd, but he knew how to relate to students and how to connect with such a large group. He made me want to act - to call my representatives in Washington and tell them how I feel on important issues.

My friend Amy joked that I was trying to see all the celebrities whose names start with O this year. Remember when I froze my arse off in Chicago to visit the Celebrity Who Will Not Be Named? Well, I sweated my fanny off this time, but at least I got to bring my camera in to document the occasion. I swore up and down that I wouldn't get teary when I saw Chicago-O walk into the studio. And okay, I admit the eyes got a little wet. This time, I didn't even pretend. I welled up when The Prez walked on stage, just like I knew I would. I'm rarely at a loss for words, and I really can't describe it - I was in awe.

I was so preoccupied taking pictures (with my new point & shoot camera!) that for a little while I couldn't even take it all in. Finally, I had to put the camera away and just soak it up. I'm here. In the same room as the most powerful man in the free world. On my campus, in my hometown. Pretty amazing stuff - definitely a memory I'm going to hang on to for a long time to come.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Broke into the old apartment...

This is where we used to live
Broken glass, broke and hungry,
Broken hearts and broken bones
This is where we used to live
-Barenaked Ladies, "The Old Apartment"

Three weeks since my last update?  Wish I had an excuse.  Life just intervenes with good intentions, I guess.  That or I was waiting for something interesting to talk about.  (Not that this promises to be all that interesting, but it's more interesting than "Woke up.  Fed kids.  Worked.  Fed kids again.  Wrestled kids into bed.  Repeat daily.")

For those who don't know, we spent the 2004-05 year in Ft. Collins, CO while Derek completed his large animal internship and I worked in Admissions at Colorado State.  (Why YES I do still measure my life in academic years, thankyouverymuch.  Side effect of a career in higher ed, I guess.)  We were surrounded by good people there, though I've never been so homesick as I was that year.  Derek would move back in a heartbeat.  But anyway ... last week the boys and I tagged along to visit old friends while the hubs went to Denver for a meeting.

The flight was far less entertaining than our last trip.  (Seriously, read it.  And this one, too.  Our in-flight adventures are pretty hilarious if they aren't happening to you.)  We ended up on separate flights this trip because we were trying to save a few pennies.  And I definitely drew the good end of that stick, taking Jay on my flight.  Entertaining a kid on an airplane is much easier when they have movies to distract and he's got his own seat in which to be entertained.  Oh, and Dear Derek's record is still perfect ... changing a poopy diaper on EVERY flight he's taken with kids.  I don't call him super dad for nuthin'.

We got there, found each other, and discovered our rental car upgrade - rockin' the minivan.  I mean, I don't want to drive one every day, but in a few short days I did come to love the sweet, sweet sound of automatic doors that open at the push of that adorable little remote.

So, what did we do?  We saw old friends and tried to catch up between two rugrats who were throwing crayons across the table.  We met new friends who are still probably talking about the fact that my kid needed four (count 'em FOUR!) trips to the potty during a one hour lunch.

We spent a day with Aunt Jamie checking out the dinosaur footprints at Dinosaur Ridge.  (Sidenote, this was REALLY cool, and even the grownups were pretty stoked!)

You could touch 'em.  
(Sidenote - I am definitely getting the Perry hands here - anyone else see my mom's fingers instead of mine?!)

 You could climb up the hill to walk on 'em, and then slide back down the hill.

 You could dig for 'em.  (They are digging up dino poo at this moment.  Boys and their amusement with poop...)

And you could hunt for fossils including REAL (okay, please don't be the one to break it to my kid that they aren't real!) shark's teeth.  Good times!

The next day we went to see my bestest Colorado bud who is expecting a beautiful girl on THURSDAY!  It's exciting times, but it's also scary times as she's having some medical issues that are complicating life for her and for baby E.  If you're in the praying mood, please lift up one for her.  And if you want to follow her journey, check out her little slice of the blogosphere.  It wasn't the completely quiet catch up time I'd hoped for, thanks to 2 failed naps and 2 rowdy little ones, but it was good to be together if only for a little while.

The funniest part of the trip was that I got to see the world's largest grasshopper collection which was residing in her front yard.  I made the mistake of hitting that sweet minivan sliding door button, and got a van full of grasshoppers and flies.  'Tis life in the country, I'm told.   Anyway, as I drove off, I turned around to check on the boys, and Luke had one garden variety housefly on each eyebrow and a grasshopper on the top of his head.  No I  am not making this up.  I screamed like a girl, pulled over, and swatted those things right out the window.  He just giggled.  Boys and bugs.  I will never understand.

And then when the hubs finally finished up his work, we got to spend a day just the 4 of us exploring our old stompin' ground in Ft. Collins.

We really did check out our old apartment, along with my old office, the old animal hospital, and our very favorite old restaurant.  Oh, Consuelo's.  How I have missed thee.  Luke, who had never before experienced the joy of good New Mexican food, was enthralled.  Everything soft and cheesy and full of beans?  Oh yeah.  Happy baby.  I should have gotten a picture.  He was all over it.

It was a fun trip down memory lane, a fun hike around Horsetooth Park, and a really fun day to spend with my 3 fave fellas.  And while I remembered the things I loved about living there, I must admit that I'm glad to be back in the heat and humidity of good ol' North Carolina.