The (almost) last frontier
The last room in the battle against clutter has been conquered. A couple of weeks ago, after I’d finished the laundry room makeover, we had an unfortunate event that required a plumber to need access to the main drain hole in the basement. It just so happens that the main drain hole is in the floor of the tucked-away corner of the basement where old things go to die. It was full to overflowing with all kinds of things – baby stuff we don’t need anymore but wanted to keep for ccap and her boy, a toilet that we thought we’d eventually use if we turned that room into a bathroom, scrap pieces of wood, our christmas tree, the guitar Marcel dreams of learning to use, etc., etc.

It’s taken me about 2 weeks, but I finally finished sorting through it all this weekend. Now there’s only one small, neatly piled, stack of stuff I can’t bear to part with (I can’t ENTIRELY let go of all things sentimental, so I saved one box of old letters, playbills from some of the plays I’ve been involved in, etc. After all, some day I might be famous, and they’ll need SOMETHING to dig through to write my memoirs), one stack of things that ccap and her boy don’t have room to store at their house, the christmas tree, the guitar (maybe when he’s finished school, Marcel will have time to learn :-), and a bit of sporting equipment.

Now there are only a few more areas of my house that require attention: the hall closet, the drawers in the armoire in the living room, the drawers of my night stand, the top shelves of Julie and Maddie’s closets, the bookshelf beside the computer, and a few places that need a bit of a second go-round – wow the list is getting pretty short! By Christmas time, I’ll be able to celebrate a renewed house! My GOSH, I had no idea how good this would feel!

­­No more toys
Perhaps because she’s been watching me get rid of so much stuff, Maddie decided to join the parade. On Saturday she pointed to her toy box and said “Mom, I’m THREE years old now. I don’t NEED toys anymore.” She was quite determined I haul them out of the house, but I put her off for awhile because I wasn’t sure she’d feel the same by Sunday. Sure enough, on Sunday, she was back in the toy box, playing with her toys.

Room of many colours
I’ve been promising to paint Nikki’s room for quite some time now. She has a vision of walls of 4 different colours – lime green, blue, yellow, and orange. Some people would think I’m crazy, but I’m quite willing to go for it – once I can find the time. I’ve always liked a bit of colour, and I like to encourage creativity in my kids. I was worried about finding the right shades that would work together. I was quite excited this weekend, though, when I found the duvet covers I’d made when her and Julie lived in the sky blue room with hot air balloons on the wall (that’s now Maddie’s) – all four of the colours she wants are in the stripes of these duvet covers. Yay! They’ve still got plenty of use in them, and I think I still have enough leftover fabric to make a curtain and possibly a cushion cover. Ooohhh… I’m getting that old familiar “decorate the house” vibe that shows up every six months or so!

And they’re not even teenagers yet!
This weekend seemed to be the weekend for heartache. Not mine, but my two oldest daughters. First it was Julie – crying herself to sleep because she HATES being the middle child. She gets picked on by her older sister, she gets hand-me-down clothes, she gets overlooked by her parents, she gets less attention than her little sister, etc. Sadly, I have to admit that she’s not all wrong. She’s a fast learner, so we don’t have to spend as much time with her, and she doesn’t require as much emotional energy as either of her sisters do. She’s the one who craves the most attention, so because I need a little more space than she provides me, I often push her away. Yeah, sometimes she gets a bum rap. In an effort to make her feel special, I baked cookies with her on Sunday – she LOVES to bake, and almost always ends up being the only one in the kitchen when there’s baking going on.

Then it was Nikki’s turn. She was having trouble with her multiplication homework and it makes her feel stupid, so the tears started to flow. She was particularly troubled because Julie finds schoolwork so easy. It’s tough being the oldest child when your younger sister can whiz through school work (and piano) with barely an effort. She gets tired of hearing Julie brag that she’s read ALL of the Harry Potter books, and hearing people proclaim how impressed they are. So I sat through the second set of tears, trying to think of the right words to ensure my daughters they are special, talented, and loved.

Sunday lunch
We had friends over for lunch on Sunday, and I made some very yummy soup (if I do say so myself) – corn and bean chowder, and peanut tomato vegetable. Yum, yum, yum. We’ve done this a few times now – made a couple of pots of soup on Saturday night, and then invited friends for lunch after church. I think we’ll do it more often. It reminds me of growing up – we almost always had people over for lunch when we were growing up. We went to a small country church, and there were often visiting speakers (we went for years without a pastor). Since my dad was primary leader (deacon) it usually fell to him and mom to entertain.

The best way to do Christmas shopping
I have successfully convinced my daughters that the BEST STORE IN THE WORLD is Ten Thousand Villages, an international fair trade store that sells interesting stuff from all over the world. It’s not far from our house, so it’s a favourite Saturday afternoon destination. Last year, they each got to pick an international Christmas ornament from there, and now they’ve convinced me it’s a “tradition”. So we went there Saturday, and, in addition to picking their ornaments, they pointed out what they wanted for Christmas. Yay! I think I can do ALL of my Christmas shopping in one store – and it’s a funky fair trade store to boot! (Marcel – hope you don’t mind getting a bag of fair trade coffee for Christmas 🙂 I have to say – it’s kinda fun shopping with the girls and having interesting conversations about why it’s better to buy stuff THERE than at Wal-mart!

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