Wednesday, January 2, 2019

just enough...or why i am thankful i married an army boy.

let me preface this by saying by no means do i think i have my life together. there are many days that i struggle with depression, my kids are monsters, my house is trashed, i am throwing scraps for lunch, and overall feeling like i can barely keep my head above water. i do however feel like i have learned a few tricks over the years to make my life as a stay at home mama easier, and i was compelled to share.

james and i grew up very differently. he is the oldest, i am the youngest. his mom had to work, mine stayed home. he had many responsibilities, mine didn't come until i left the house. (i remember him teaching me how to do laundry at my dorm. dude even knew to hang up bras!) he joined the army and i lived on my own, but still had to call my parents for the occasional loan for rent.

then we got married, and moved to georgia. i happily took on the housewife role, but i was still learning. did you know there are proper ways to fold t-shirts? and garbage can lids need to always be clean? that you must wipe down surfaces that are above your head? no, really...his years with his mom, and then in the army, made him a bit particular about certain things. then here i was, this organized chaos lover. over the years i feel like we have balanced each other well. he relaxed where he needed to, and i tightened up in the important things. kids will help that happen too!

kids, man, they can change your world and fill it with junk. some necessary, but some just to make your life a little easier, but not required. when we registered for our first baby i knew i wanted to keep that in mind. no diaper genie or wipes warmer on our list. just the basics. we have adopted the "just enough" attitude in many ways, and i really feel it has kept me sane.

we don't have a cabinet full of tupperware with missing lids. just a few glass storage containers. ball jars for the rest.

we used the same 3 glass bottles for all 3 kids. granted, i breastfed so bottles were rare, but we never did the bottle search. one kind and if they didn't like it, well, i guess they'd eat when they were hungry, or i came home and could nurse.

same with sippy cups, oh how i hated sippy cups. we kept it simple with just a handful, and they were used on multiple kids. no lost cups in the car if we only used one a day. the day we recycled our last kid dishes was a very happy one. now everyone drinks out of ball jars and they get corelle bowls and plates.

ditto on pacis, ours didn't use them often, but we never bought more.

the big one i have learned after an abundance of girl clothes is to simplify. i am doing enough laundry as it is. they don't need 20 outfits. (even though they are so cute!) if we pack for a week away, there is not much left in anyone's drawers. if we leave for two, we better have access to a washer and dryer.

same with socks and underwear, i don't know if i just got lucky, but i honestly do not understand the whole missing sock thing. feel free to punch me for that. ha!

shoes, baby shoes are adorable, but unnecessary. our kids have a pair of boots, church shoes (for the girls) sneakers, sandals and one pair of flip flops. i choose quality over quanity. buy bigger, and they can wear for two years.

minimal character toys...because they will just move on to the next and we'd be left with junk they don't care about. actually minimal toys too, because we've found ours just love a stack of paper and something to write with.

we bought each kid a kite for one of their first easters. a nice nylon one from target. after each flight we wrap it up and put it back in the sleeve. our oldest's kite is going on 8 years.

speaking of easter, we've also used the same grass and eggs every year for 10 years now!

i am also super crazy about keeping the fridge clean. the thought of mold makes me sick, so things get tossed out regularly and it usually looks like a bachelor's fridge when it's time to grocery shop again.

holiday decorations are reserved to just a few totes. we keep it simple all around. i would love to have a fancy house all decked out, but i also enjoy pulling out the same few decorations that we had our first Christmas together.

now all this said, i myself still struggle with certain things. mostly memory keeping. i have piles and piles of cards, and newspapers, and kid art. my hope chest is stuffed with photographs, journals, notebooks, letters, certificates. i am definitely a hoarder in that respect. the thing that has helped is moving often. first in the army, and now as a pastors wife, that is always a reality. with each move i realize more and more what i can toss and what i feel is worth holding on to.

after a few conversations, and a good post Christmas house clean, on top of the new year, i thought i would share a few of our minimalist ideas. something that works for us, in this season of our life. it is freeing and peaceful at the end of the day to have just a bit of cleaning to do. and if i ever need to keep myself in check i just think to myself...what would laura ingalls wilder have. it's a good rule!

enjoying the simple life, with 3 kids i need all the peace i can find!

now anyone have an extra hope chest or two?

p.s. we are now the proud owners of a litter genie. had to laugh that we survived 3 kids, but not 1 cat without a system like that!

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