Thursday, December 29, 2011

Attention Organizing Junkies

If you or someone you know is addicted to organizing (or the idea of organizing)...this post is for you!!

As an organizing junkie, I get very giddy for the New Year for several reasons:

1. Organizing supplies are usually on sale! 

2. Everyone has de-cluttering on the brain, which means that people are busy sharing great tips, tricks and ideas.

3. It's the one time of year I can talk about my love of organizing without people rolling their eyes. Ha!

I think it's kind of funny that I love to organize so much, considering my house (and life) are in total chaos most of the time. I can NEVER find my car keys, there is almost always a basket of laundry on the floor of my bedroom, my SUV looks like someone is living out of it and you literally can't open my tupperware cabinet without everything falling out. 

I am not organized, but damn it I WANT TO BE!!!

I really want to have my house and life in such perfect order that I know exactly where something is the minute I need it. I would love to never have to hear, "MOM, where's my...........?" or "JEN, have you seen my........". Although, no matter how organized my house is, I am sure I would still hear both these questions on a regular basis because 90% of the time, the things people are looking for in this house are right in front of them. Just sayin...

But really...I would love to have a place for everything, and everything in its place. But to get to that point, I really need to work on one thing in particular.

Decluttering.

That is my BIGGEST problem. I do have many things organized in my house, but I still have too much stuff. Stuff I know I don't need. But I am still a bit of a hoarder deep down. I have sentimental attachments to way too many things, and I have this problem of always thinking, "What if I can use or wear that again?" I have the perfect example.

I have been holding on to this really pretty red cami/tank top that I bought at Banana Republic when I was in college 10 FREAKING YEARS AGO. I've probably gone through my clothes 600 times since then, but I always keep this cami because it is a pretty color and I am convinced that I will find the perfect sweater to wear it with. So the opportunity finally came up this Christmas. I found this really pretty cream sweater and I thought "YES!!! That little red cami will be perfect!!!" So I tried it on and oh my lord...

It was hideous.

Too tight, too short and the lace around the top of it actually exposed my mom bra. I just started laughing (not because of how disgusting I looked in it) but because I have seriously kept this cami around for 10 years and the whole time it looked like this on me??? I realized then and there that my first mission is to actually try on every single piece of clothing I own. I have a feeling another blog sale may be in the works :-)

So is anyone else struggling with clutter? Do you hold on to things in the hopes of using/wearing it again? Do you keep things because you think your kids may want certain items when they are older? How do you know when to keep and when to toss? This is really what I need help with, so I thought I would share some of the great websites I have found.

My first and FAVORITE organizing website is OrganizedHome.com. I have posted about them before, but really...I love this site. All of their tips, tricks and lists are free and you can download them right to your computer. They always have great articles, like this week's Post Christmas Clean-Up: Clutter Cutting Ideas for Year's End, and the editor has even published a great book called Houseworks. This is also a great website to use when starting a Home Management binder.

Another fun site I stumbled across through Pinterest is Unclutterer.com. In addition to having a lot of great organizing and de-cluttering tips, the author of this blog has a great sense of humor about so many things. Just read the post on Elf on a Shelf. Hilarious :-)

And finally, another great site I found through Pinterest is MySimplerLife.com. She has put together this fabulous 2012 Declutter & Organize Calendar that you can download for free. If you are someone like me who can only work productively with a solid plan...this calendar is for you :-)

So..enough talking about decluttering...it's time to get to work!!

But before I go, I just want to give some decluttering advice of my own...

Start a Home Management binder. 

SERIOUSLY friends. This has been such a great thing for me. Organizing important paperwork is something that a lot of people struggle with. I was constantly losing calendars, permission forms, invitations, school papers, etc. and once I put together this binder (and have now used it for a couple of months) I can honestly say that it has made a HUGE difference. Even Eric knows to look in the binder now for certain things and that alone is huge. 

In case you missed it a few months back, here is my How-To post on creating a Home Management binder, along with links to a bunch of free printables, including the ones I made :-)


Do yourself a favor friends and start by decluttering your desk or kitchen counter. All that mess looks a lot prettier in a cute binder :-)

Happy Decluttering

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It's Good to be the Birthday Boy

I'm pretty sure that Blake went to bed dreaming of Mickey "Oh Toodles" pancakes last night...


Or maybe he went to bed dreaming of the pie and ice cream that Mima and Papa Steve gave him last night when we celebrated his and Uncle Kevin's birthdays...


Either way...my birthday boy woke up happy...


And hungry!!!


Last year, my Mom and Dad and I took Blake out to breakfast for his birthday and we decided that it should be a new tradition :-)

Addie was so excited to be out, you'd think it was her birthday too.


This little guy hammed it up for the whole restaurant. I thought it was adorable, but the table of old ladies next to us didn't seem too excited about his monster noises. Haha!


After a yummy breakfast, we headed to Barnes and Noble...one of Blake's favorite places. He loves looking at new books...


And playing with their train table...


But the real highlight of our trip today was getting a free birthday cupcake from the cafe! 


After scrambled eggs, pancakes and a MASSIVE cupcake...the birthday boy was full of energy when we got home. We ended up giving him one of his birthday gifts (he will get his tricycle on Sunday for his party) and he spent the rest of the morning "grilling out" on this bad boy :-)


Then for supper, I made B one of his favorite meals...mac & cheese with Cheddarwurst. I even tried a delicious new mac & cheese recipe tonight so that I could bake them in my little crocs. Aren't they so cute? And doesn't that mac & cheese look YUMMY?!!!


Afterwards, we brought out Blake's little cake. I was looking for a cookie monster cake, but Oscar the Grouch worked just as well :-)


He was so cute blowing out his own candles! We had to light it 3 more times. Bless his heart :-)


He was so proud of himself...


This picture makes me laugh so hard. You can just tell that he is losing all self control.


MUST. EAT. CAKE. NOOOOOOW.


I realize that I have given my son an obscene amount of sugar today. Please don't judge. I love sugar. He loves sugar. And we can always detox tomorrow :-)


I mean really...could you resist this face? 

I think it's safe to say that my little man had a great birthday today. We are having his birthday party on Sunday and I am really excited about it! Although, I have to admit that I feel like I really dropped the ball on this party with all the craziness and sickness of the holidays. I mean have a lot of cute decorations and ideas, but I am running low on time for the execution. Oh well...I know no matter what...Blake is going to have a great time. It's the perfect way to ring in the new year :-)

Thanks for all the sweet birthday wishes everyone!! I'll make sure Blake reads all of them tomorrow :-)

Happy 2nd Birthday Blake!!!

The Christmas I was pregnant with Blake is still one of the best holidays of my life. It all just went so fast. One minute I was pregnant...


And the next minute I was holding him in my arms...


I swear that boy came out smiling.


He was the easiest, HAPPIEST baby I had ever known.


No matter where he was or what he was doing...that boy was giggling about something.


He was laid back and content and I appreciated that SO much. His sister was enough drama for the both of them.


But one thing I noticed about Blake during his first year is that he is a man who likes to do things on his own time. I didn't think he would ever learn to crawl and then bam...he was up and moving overnight. It's like he wanted to tell me in this picture, "See mom...if you would just chill out a bit...you'd see that I know what I'm doing!"


I also learned that first year that my boy LOVES to be outside. That's where most of his smiles happened.


I never had trouble getting a good picture of my little guy. He was always ready with a grin on his face. I couldn't get enough of him.


I spent so much time bragging about Blake's happy demeanour his first year...I never stopped to think about what he'd be like as a toddler. But then his first birthday arrived and I didn't have to think anymore. He was a toddler...


And boy was he emotional about it!


I'm not a fan of birthdays anymore either, so I understand his frustration. Getting older sucks!


But it wasn't just birthdays. It was haircuts...


And trips to see Santa or the Easter Bunny...


Hell...even lunch time was too much for this guy some days.


And if he wasn't crying, he was just plain annoyed at times.


Where was my happy, easy baby? Who was this boy and what did he do with my Blake?

I still remember taking him to his 15 month check-up. This is a picture of him that day...happy as can be. Of course he was...I was about to ask the doctor why my son was so whiney all the time and he walks in acting like the happiest toddler on the block. He knew what he was doing.


And that's the thing with Blake. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing.

And if you just let Blake be Blake...he is still the happiest boy I know. He just needs to do things on his own time and in his own way.

For example, I've learned that he likes to mow the lawn alone and think...


He likes to run free and make his own fun...


He likes to be a big boy and do things on his OWN... 


He likes to observe and take things in...


He likes to get his hands dirty and work on projects...


He loves to be in the kitchen and play with food...


I've also learned that if you just give Blake his space and not pressure him or force him into a situation...he will ALWAYS surprise you. He will make friends with a total stranger...


And hug someone when they least expect it...


He will plop down in your lap and cuddle with you at just the right moment...


And even when he's got his hand up and is about to tell you, "NO NO NO"...


He may just be kidding. He could turn right around and flash you that adorable smile that I love so very much...


And the boy does still love to smile. 

And eat...


And eat...


And eat...


And eat :-)


He loves to act like a goofball and make you laugh.


He loves his "Robot"...


He loves his tractors...


He loves his big sister...


He loves his Daddy and helping out with "man chores"...


And of course, he looooooves his Mama :-)


Blake may be a handful at times, but he is FULL of love. He is sensitive and funny and I know that as hard as this stage can be at times...I will miss it someday.


I want to do my best to remember him at this age, just the way he is. My little 26 pound, blue-eyed, blond haired, Stage 5 Clinger :-)

I love you with all my heart Blake! No matter how many years go by, you will always be my baby boy :-) Daddy and I are so blessed to have you as our son. 

Happy 2nd Birthday Big Boy!! Let's go eat some waffles :-)