Mother’s Little Helpers

Though I do make an effort not to over complicate or over schedule our lives, life can still be pretty hectic sometimes.  There’s just a lot to remember and a lot to do to manage a household, parent, work, make it all work.  I’m certainly not the most organized, or the most motivated. Example: yesterday I ate some Oreo Thins and took a nap instead of prepping meals for the week and organizing the toy room (a task that desperately needs to be done – we’re drowning in Matchbox cars and Duplo blocks!).  But I have found some tools and things that help me get stuff done, so I thought I’d share them.

 

Stuff that makes my life easier/more fun/less complicated…

I’ll start with the most obvious: my husband.  He’s amazing.  I’m also very lucky to have supportive family nearby and a kind and moderately flexible employer.  I am so grateful for all of these.

 

A shared calendar: My husband and I use a shared Google calendar.  We use an app called Tiny Calendar on our phones to access it there, too.  I could just use Google Calendar, but it didn’t work on our phones when we needed it 4 years ago, so we ended up with Tiny Calendar.  So I stuck with it.  I like it.  Admission: our calendar is color-coded, but only a little bit.

tc

A housekeeper:  For the cost of dinner out for 2 (with an adult beverage or two), I can get my house cleaned beautifully.  We hem and haw over this luxury.  Because it IS a luxury.  And it is not something we do all of the time. But it makes a huge difference in my stress level.  I love having my entire house clean at one time.  Someone once told me that when it comes to house upkeep and maintenance, you can pay with your time or you can pay with your money.  At this point in my life, though I am certainly capable and willing to clean my house (and I do!), my time is precious.  I’d rather spend three hours on Sunday with my children picking strawberries, or playing at the park.  So we occasionally pay to have the house cleaned by a professional.  I never feel like it is money wasted.

16989150

Grocery list app:  There are several out there, but we use AnyList.  Mostly we use it for groceries (duh), since we share the shopping and cooking duties but you can make all sorts of lists.  Each week, my husband and I add items to the list from our phones and when one of us shops, we can use the list and cross things off with a touch.  We have a list of favorites that are easy to add to the weekly list, and updates are pretty much made in real time. Often I’m adding things to the list while he’s on the way to the store.  Very handy.  We also share a more general “to do” list using this app.  Very helpful when things get busy, or when we’ve got to pack to go away.

alist

Shutterfly app: This is a little glitch-y and imperfect in my experience but for the most part is a good way to make sure that the photos I take with my phone actually end up somewhere other than just on my phone.  The app is on my phone and my husband’s, and photos get uploaded to one account, so everything is in the same place.

sfly

Chatbooks: I really love this app.  It links to my Instagram account.  Once I’ve reached 60 new photos, Chatbooks prints them into lovely 6×6 inch books ($8 and free shipping!). My favorite part is that you can set up subscriptions – so the lovely little books ship out automatically to grandparents and special people in your life. There is NO extra work on my behalf.   Win!  I also love that the books are customizable – the photo of my kids painting the walls of the shower au naturale isn’t really Instagram-appropriate, but it IS adorable, and I can add it to my Chatbook before my book goes to print.  I order the slightly more expensive hard cover edition as a keepsake for myself, and let my kids enjoy the soft cover ones.  Use my code to get your first book free: CYKKMXVK.

cbooks

Amazon Subscribe & Save: This is useful with small kids and saves on trips to Target (which always cost at least $75 more than planned).  I set up to send diapers and wipes on a monthly basis and there are some other household goods we get less frequently.  It is a time saver for me.  Prices typically end up being comparable to my local Sam’s Club.  I suspect I’d love the Dash Button too, but I’m reluctant to commit. Plus, I’m a little concerned that my kids would find the buttons and we’d end up with 45 packages of paper towels.

subs

 

Stuff I’m working on…

Who has advice on the best way to deal with all of their iPhone videos?  I do back up to the Cloud, my computer and an external drive, but I’d love to put them in a format for my family to enjoy. Advice?

I’m going to try to devise a way to keep in better touch with people who are important to me beyond Facebook.  I’ll let you know how I do!

 

PS – No affiliate links, they are just provided for your convenience.

Advertisements

Just a Regular Life

One spring evening, cuddled up together under my down comforter, I asked Pickle what he wanted to be when he grew up, what kind of life he wanted to have.

“Just a regular life,” he replied, as if my question was a little silly.

Just a regular life.

I smiled.

“You mean like the life we have now?” I asked.  He nodded.

***

Several years ago I asked my husband what kind of bird he would be if he could be any bird at all.

“A robin,” he answered, without hesitation, “or a blue jay.  Just a regular bird.”

I didn’t believe him. I couldn’t believe him.

“A robin?  Just like a regular, run-of-the-mill robin?  You wouldn’t want to be a hawk, or an eagle, or something interesting like a penguin or an ostrich? A heron?”

“No,” he shook his head, “just a robin.”

***

1981

We met in nursery school.  Though I can’t honestly say that I remember him.  I remember the swing set and missing a step and rolling my ankle.  And I have vague, watercolor memories of making art projects, perhaps Easter bonnets, in a bright sun-filled room.

We went to high school together.  I sat behind him in Ms. Zaffer’s 9th grade science class.  He teased me, and wore bright striped shirts that were too big for him. In college he called me, very much out of the blue, and perhaps under the influence of some adult beverages.   We dated.  Then we didn’t.  But he still agreed to come to my 5th college reunion with me.

And when we ducked into the parking garage by the grad school to escape a torrential downpour I looked at him and I knew.  I knew that I would marry him.

And I did, a few years later in the same church that housed our preschool.

wedding

***

Of course he wanted to be a robin.  He is a robin.

I had dated hawks, dodos, kiwis.  I had lusted after eagles and peacocks. But I married a robin. My robin.

My robin who is humble and kind.  My robin who is responsible and loving.  My robin whose goal has never been fame, or attention, or fortune, but instead just to lead a good and regular life.  Spending time with his family, loving his kids, mowing the lawn, going to work, going to church, paying bills, cooking dinner, playing catch, changing diapers, reading magazines.  Learning, laughing, doing.

Playing

***

A few weeks ago, at an event, a childhood acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in at least a decade complimented me on my handsome (baby-holding) husband, much the way someone would compliment me on a new sports car or a trophy wife.  I laughed, a bit uncomfortably, but agreed.  “He is tall and handsome,” I conceded. But, I thought to myself, he is so much more.

***

“Just a regular life,” I repeated to Pickle. He smiled, his nose with new spring freckles crinkled.

He is five.  I had expected him to tell me that he wanted to be a Superhero or a Transformer, or to lead some sort of fantastical life.

But he is his father’s son.  A little robin who is content to live a life of kindness, loving other people, being a normal kid, doing normal kid things, and snuggling with his mom on a spring night.

“Do you know what kind of job you want?” I asked him, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

He thought.  “A cowboy,” he said, “and a dad.”

I kissed his forehead.

“That sounds like a very good plan to me,” I said. “And I think you’ll be a really great dad.”

Edits-0085

Honey DO!

First, it must be said that I am married to a great man.  He is the kindest person I know. And I know a lot of people.  He is a true partner and friend, and I consider myself lucky every day.  That said… he does drive me crazy sometimes.  Or rather, some of his habits drive me crazy.  In no particular order…

1. Stepping over objects.  For days.  I feel like I’m doing some pointless anthropological study on the habits of the North American male when I leave objects on the floor for days to see if and when my husband will pick them up. The study is pointless because he won’t. Ever.  Broccoli steamer in the middle of the hallway he walks down 34 times a day?  It’s been there for weeks gathering dust in the middle of the floor.  Baffling.  Truly.

2. Deciding that only the inside of pots need to be washed.  The outside covered in drips?  Nope – clean.  The pot top lined with spaghetti sauce splatter?  Nope – clean.

3. The Classic Mom/Wife Complaint: put the clothes in the hamper, not next to it. This is an epidemic in this country, clearly.  They should focus studies on the male brain on this.

4. Size matters?  One small dinner roll gets placed in one large plastic container and placed in the fridge.  One cup of soup left?  Keep it in the gigantic crock pot insert and put the whole thing in the fridge, filling the fridge up completely.  I’m not sure why appropriate-sized food containers is such a challenge.  But clearly, it is.

I am no angel.  Don’t ask my husband about the constant pile of clothes in our bedroom.  Or my dish washing habits.  Or… well, there are a lot of things.

Honey, if you’re reading this, I love you!