Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cleaning Schedule

I've been wanting to start a cleaning schedule for a while now & I feel like I'm finally coming up for air after having Manning. I felt like I recovered quickly from Manning's birth, but there is just no "bouncing back" from a baby. Now that I'm inching my way out of survival mode I decided to gather the chores that I need to get done throughout the week and put them on paper (and in a cute little binder.) My mother-in-law gave me this idea a while back and I've loved it ever since.

If you're anything like me, then you want a cute, organized binder for your cleaning schedule. I dowloaded a clean, simple font (similar here) that made me happy & typed it all up on Word. I purchased a 1/2" binder, sheet protectors and some expo markers in fun colors for this little project. I put my lists in sheet protectors so I could make them off as I went.

Without further ado - the cleaning schedule.

DAILY CHORES (morning)

  • make bed
  • unload/load dishwasher
  • clean up breakfast
  • start a load of laundry
  • tidy up bathroom counter
- These are the chores that I need to do to stay sane. If I do these few things every day then the bigger chores seem less daunting. If these are done my day starts off smoothly. I've noticed that if my bed is made - I feel like I've already accomplished so much for the day. I try to unload the dishwasher while Kess eats breakfast & I sip my protein shake. And I clean up my bathroom counter after I'm done doing my hair and makeup for the day, mostly because no matter how clean m bathroom is if my stuff is scattered all over the counter it just looks terrible and cluttered. Some days I don't get everything done first thing in the morning though, but I try to have it done before nap time. 

DAILY CHORES (evening)
  • clean up dinner/shine sink
  • sweep kitchen/dining room
  • start dishwasher
  • tidy living room
  • plan breakfast

- These are the chores that I want done before I climb into bed for the night. It makes my morning so much easier. I load the dishwasher with dirty dishes all day long and start it right before I got to bed. Then in the morning I unload it all & start all over again. If I have my kitchen and living room clean before bed then I get to wake up to a clean house & feel one step ahead for the day instead of ten steps behind. Matt does the majority of this section of chores for me. While I'm bathing the kids he tackles the dinner dishes and gets them loaded in the dishwasher. Then we finish up the rest of the chores quick before we climb into bed or watch a show.


- I do these set of chores every week on a particular day of the week. 

  • clean out fridge
  • menu plan for the week
- I try to keep my Sundays simple because it's meant to be a day of rest - even though church with two small kids is just plain exhausting. I clean out my fridge and menu plan for the week.

  • grocery shop 
  • fold laundry 
  • wipe down fridge 
  • clean toilets
- Monday's are for grocery shopping! I have always liked to grocery shop on Monday's so I can have my whole weeks worth of meals planned out. Hence why I menu plan on Sunday after I clean out my fridge. I typically try to fold a load (or 7) of laundry, but this chore usually gets dispersed throughout the week. I wipe down my fridge with a Norwex-like cloth because it's stainless steel and always has tiny little fingerprints and smudges all over it. I clean my toilets quick whenever I have a spare minute during the day. I'll explain why I don't clean my entire bathroom all in one day later on...

  • clean office desk
  • dust all wood surfaces
  • clean bathroom sinks
  • clean mirrors
- I tidy up our office desk quick and then start dusting. Every other week I dust & polish (if you've recently watched my Insta-stories then you know that I loathe dusting.) I hate taking stuff off my shelves, dusting and then putting it all back - I don't know why it bugs me so much, but it does.  I recently grabbed a swiffer duster (Wal-Mart brand) for the in between week - it's super quick and gets the job done. I clean the bathroom sinks and faucets, then clean the bathroom mirrors. I find that if I break up the bathroom chores then it seems less overwhelming. 

  • empty all trash cans
  • sweep floors
  • mop - every other week
  • clean out car
- Our trash day is on Thursday and it's dumped before 7am. Seriously. We have our trash can out Wednesday night, so we empty all the trash cans before we take the trash to the street. We have laminate wood floors throughout our entire house (except the carpeted bedrooms & tiled bathrooms) so I feel like I should sweep 184 times a day. If I keep up on my nightly chores it's easier to do this chore. I mop all of our floors every other week. I recently bought a swiffer wet mop (Wal-Mart brand) for quick after dinner jobs if I made a mess making dinner or we made a mess eating dinner. I am terrible at keeping my car clean. I can blame it on Kess now, but I really had no excuse before kids. One of my new goals is to keep it cleaner. I've always have a toy bin for Kess, but it's also covered in goldfish crackers & whatever else she decides to snack on - it kind of drives Matt crazy when my car is trashed & I always feel better when my car is clean and shiny. Now with that being said - this chore is the last on my list for a reason... sometimes it just doesn't get done & I don't stress about it. I just make sure I get to it the next week.

  • vacuum 
  • deep clean oven - every other week
  • deep clean stove top
- I like to vacuum after I sweep because sometimes I sweep my bathroom onto my carpet in the bedroom ( please tell me I'm not the only lazy bum to do this haha.) Also, Thursdays are the days that we try to get out of the house so I keep this day pretty simple. We only have carpet in our 3 bedrooms so it's pretty quick to do, plus it gives me a chance to tidy the kids' bedrooms quick before I get to vacuuming. Cleaning my oven is not my favorite chore, so I try to keep these oven liners in the bottom of my oven. It makes it much easier to stay on top off, but it's not fool proof so I like to give my oven a once over every other week. We have a glass top stove that could probably use a good, solid scrubbing daily, but a quick wipe with a wet wash cloth with just have to do until I can get around to deep cleaning it. I like to use soft scrub and a dishwashing brush. (I just have cheapies from the grocery store, but these IKEA brushes look amazing. Totally just added them to my amazon cart.) Also, I use one brush for scrubbing off food and gunk and another brush for cleaning. Because I'm a germaphobe. I also scrub my stove top and shine/disinfect my sink with the dirty one. 

  • iron clothes
  • change sheets - every other week
  • wipe down appliances
  • clean windows
- I try to get Matt's clothes ironed for the new week. Lately I've been pretty far behind and have about an hour of ironing to do. I'm hoping to get on track and eventually have a few pieces to iron per week.  I'm trying to get into a better habit of washing our sheets every other week. I've been doing it about once a month lately. I wipe down all of our appliances with a Norwex-like cloth. That way they are rid of finger prints and meal-splatter for the weekend. I typically clean the windows that get touched the most (the windows by the front door & the sliding back door.) but I would like to wipe all of our windows down at least once a month.

  • clean office desk
- Yay for keeping Saturdays simple. We are usually on the go or relaxing as a family on Saturdays so I wanted to keep chores to a minimum. Our desk collects bills, extra papers and my relief society binders & papers so I try to tidy it up quick again. One of these days I will have a super cute command center and won't have to keep my stuff at the office desk, but for now - while we are renting... Matt's office desk will be the catch-all. I'm pretty sure he loves that. ;)

Phew, that's it. That's the whole schedule. I really wanted to implement this schedule so I didn't feel so overwhelmed. I hated that once I got Kess down for quiet time & Manning down for nap time that I felt like I needed to scarf lunch and get to work. While I still scarf my lunch and get to work - it's so much easier. I have a small handful of chores to get done and if i have my stuff together then I can do those chores while Kess is playing and Manning is chillin' in his swing or on his play mat. Sometimes my kids conspire against me and I don't get everything done that I intended to & that's totally ok. If I don't get a chore done I tack it onto my to-do list for the next day - if it doesn't get done again then I just put it off until the next week. I try to not skip things two weeks in a row, but ya know what - I've got two young kids and about 10% of the energy that they do sooo it is what it is. 

This system has helped me take more time for myself, too. Because I try to do things while the kids are chill - that means that I have time to read a quick chapter of my book or take a shower. Bonus.

What do you do to help keep your house a house of order? Along with trying to keep my house Christ-centered, I've also been trying to keep my house a house of order. It makes for a happier me, which makes for a happier Matt and happier kids. Isn't it amazing what a clean house can do for the soul?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Postpartum Depression Journey

I've been writing this post in my head for a while now. I feel like I wrote it perfectly in my head & now that I've sat down to type it my thoughts feel all jumbled. 

Let me preface this post by saying that I have been anxiety prone for most of my life. I was always told that I was a "worrier" or that I "worried too much." I truly didn't get why people would tell me that because it wasn't something I could control. Decisions didn't come easily to me; even simple decisions. I had a really hard time letting go of things & had a tendency to "obsess" over little things.

I started taking a small dose of anti-anxiety meds late high school - early college. They helped, but when I got pregnant with Kess I decided they weren't needed anymore. I wasn't depressed. I was perfectly happy. I had a good life, my husband was amazing & now we were about to start our family. What's not to love about that?

I felt anxious during pregnancy, but figured that was normal. I mean, my whole life was about to change. What pregnant woman wasn't anxious? Then when Kess was born the anxiety shot to a whole new level. I was truly nervous all.the.time. Everyone would look as us and say, "It's a special kind of love isn't it?" I remember smiling and thinking, "I love her, of course, but I'm mostly tired, afraid, clueless and did I say tired? Will I ever sleep again?" Time went on and I bonded with Kess and was truly in love. A few things got easier and they became our new normal, but I still felt mostly terrified.

At this point I was terrified I would lose her. I was so freaked out by how fragile she was & how easily I could hurt her. I was terrified that I would hurt her. Whether is be on accident or on purpose... I was truly scared. Then I thought how awful I must be if I was thinking about how easy it would be to hurt my own baby. Who thinks that? Moms with postpartum anxiety do. Then I was so scared that I would die or she would die. She would never know me, or know how how much I loved her. All of these thoughts were very intrusive. I felt like I couldn't stop them - which lead to even more anxiety which lead to depression. Something had to give. I started taking a an anti-depressant. Something that I wasn't thrilled about, but knew it would help. I needed the help. I needed to be a happy mom. I needed to feel normal, to feel sane. I slowly began to feel like myself again. After a few weeks I felt the nervousness lift and I felt like I could breathe again. Eventually I dropped to a lower dose and just felt like me. I was happy. Life is normal, regular and perfect. I eventually switched to some holistic methods and continued to feel great. 

When I got pregnant with Manning I started to feel some anxiousness come back. I'm sure this is all very normal, but I didn't ever want to feel that bad again, so I asked my doctor if I could go back on and stay on during my pregnancy. It was perfectly safe for Manning, so I decided to go for it. I felt really great during the pregnancy, no "prepartum anxiety"... until we started the process of applying for Matt's new job. Then I felt like my world was spinning. After dealing with anxiety for the last 20 some odd years I decided to take action; to not let this "happen" to me. I upped my dose and stayed there until about 4 weeks before Manning was due. My new doctor here in McCall was 100% supportive and so understanding when I told her my feelings and the route I wanted to take. We decided to wean off of the medication because it was better for Manning. I had heard that babies tend to be more fussy from withdrawals, when they weren't weaned before birth. I don't know if this is fact, but I wasn't about to mess with that. I had no issues. I felt great. Manning's labor and delivery was flawless. He was healthy, happy and just about the sweetest baby ever.

I bonded with Manning instantly, but about 5 days after Manning was born I could feel that cloud over my head again. I could feel all of those thoughts coming back. I was starting to feel that weight on my shoulders, to feel like I couldn't breathe. I was again so worried about something happening to him. He was so fragile, so defenseless, so tiny... I couldn't handle anything happening to him. Again with the intrusive, scary thoughts. When I took Manning in for on of his check ups I talked to my doctor (in McCall they have family doctors, so my OB is also Manning's and Kess' pediatrician) and she was beyond amazing. I told her that I felt like this was beyond "baby blues." I told her about my history with anxiety after Kess and what worked. I told her that I was nervous about just taking meds as a "blanket solution" and she was absolutely amazing. She praised me for even talking about it. She was so great and promised that this was normal. She said that taking medication isn't a "blanket solution", it comes with the territory of having a baby. I instantly felt better. It was a huge relief to feel understood and to know that I was going to get help that I needed. After talking it out I decided to give it another week to see if my hormones would level out. I didn't feel any better so my doctor called in a prescription and told me it would be ready for me. It was such a wonderful experience. 

Manning is now 4 months old and I can feel myself relaxing. I can feel my mind sorting things out. I use essential oils daily, which I believe help significantly. I have changed my diet a bit. We are striving to eat more whole foods, which I think is making a difference. Don't get me wrong, we have treats and soda from time to time, but overall we have shifted our diets for the better. I believe that experience has made this time around much easier. I know that things eventually get better, I know that I have control over my mental health and I know that I'm not totally nuts. 

I am starting to think about weaning off of the medication and doing all that I can to naturally take care of my mental health, but I wouldn't have started that way. I truly believe that my body needed that medication. When I was younger I hated the fact that my body/mind needed anti-anxiety/depression medication. Now I realize that I would rather be a happy wife/mom/woman that is "on" something, than be completely miserable without it. I believe that our Heavenly Father has provided so many options for us to take care of our bodies and our minds and we need to reap the benefits of that. 

In case anyone is struggling with the things that I was these are a few things that helped me...

This has always been one of my favorite conference talks and it rang even more true during this time of my life.

After having Manning I started "googling" which isn't always the best option but it was an answered prayer when I came across this article. It touched my heart, mind and soul. It provided so much relief. I truly love my babies beyond measure & this helped me see that I wasn't going crazy. My nervousness and thoughts were a symptom. Just a symptom. 

I also 100% recommend reaching out to your OB. It's the best choice that you can make. And if they don't help you in every way that you need - find a new OB. 

There is a big stigma when it comes to mental health. It makes me really sad to know that people aren't getting the help they need. Mental health issues are so very common, much more common that I had ever understood. I know that this little post won't make much of a difference when it comes to changing that stigma, but if any of my friend are struggling with it I hope that through this they know that they aren't alone. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. It takes a lot for me to put my heart and soul on the internet, but for some reason I feel like I should. Thank you for your continues support and love. It doesn't go unnoticed. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Family Pictures + Mom Thoughts

We attempted to take Manning's newborn pictures ourselves. We threw in a few family pictures as well. We bribed Kess with (lots) of skittles. Matt and I were both sweating and tired by the end of it all. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. We have pretty amateur editing skills, but we didn't need anything fancy. We simply wanted to document Manning as a bitty baby & what our family looked like at the time.

Manning will be 4 months old in about a week and a half & it seems to crazy to me that he has grown so much in such a little amount of time. Heck, even Kess has changed a ton. We have changed so much as a family, too. Kess is such a good big sister, Matt is loving having both boy & a girl (he's ready for Manning to be walking so they can go on adventures like he does with Kess) & I feel like I'm falling into a groove with both kids.

I was talking to Matt the other day about accomplishments. Mostly about how proud I am of him. And then I started feeling a little sorry for myself and eluded to the fact that "I'm just a mom." I love being a mom, but sometimes I'm wondering if I'm doing enough. I see these moms who go back to school, or work stellar jobs, pay the bills with blogging  or whatever else they can dream up AND be a mom and wife. Is it ok that I'm not chasing my dreams? Is it ok that I'm just a mom and wife?

Matt said, "But those kids bring you a lot of joy." Holy crap. There it is. He is so right. The day in and the day out isn't easy. I know I've said this kind of stuff before, but I truly feel blessed to be home with my babies all day. I can honestly say that I have cried a grateful tears as I've thanked my Heavenly Father that I get to be the one to be with my kids all day. I can also honestly say that it's flat out exhausting. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. But they bring me so much joy. I mean, like gushing over them to Matt, scrolling through my camera roll late at night, sending pictures to Matt, sending pictures to the kids' grandparents daily and feeling truly, truly proud of my children.

Joy! I get so wrapped up in the mundane parts of motherhood that I completely forgot that they bring me joy! How could I do that to them?  I wish I could always find that balance of motherhood. Yet, I find myself on the highest high or the lowest low. I've been working on finding some balance, organization amongst the chaos & a good schedule for my little family of 4. It's definitely not easy. It's been an unorganized, hectic and tiring almost four months as a family of four. I am praying that I find some motivation to stay on top of all of the things I need to balance as a person, a woman, a wife and a mom. 

How do you guys keep balance and organization within your life?