Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This guy.

To the newest doctor...

...the best daddy a little girl could ask for...

...the one with the exciting new dream job ahead...

..who lets me come along for this wonderful ride called life...

...and continues to sweep me off my feet...

Congratulations on your PhD.  I love you.  We all do.

- Emily & your girls.

I don't devote enough time (in person or on the blog) to recognizing how awesome Justin is, all the craziness he puts up with (primarily from me) and how he's made all of my dreams come true (see, every other post on this blog).  All of the festivities this weekend were a big reminder of how proud I am to be his wife, and it was so fun to celebrate him with all of our family in town.

The moment when the President officially made him a doctor.  I cried.  This moment was 6 years coming!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Restoring order

I recently discovered that there are few things as relaxing (big disclaimer - FOR ME!) than folding laundry.  This came as much as a surprise to me as it might be to all of you who are now wondering if I'm serious and/or sane.  I've always pretty much enjoyed doing laundry (as in, loading the machine - pretty hands-free compared to lots of other homemaking chores).  But for most of my laundry-doing life, I would take everything out of the dryer or off the line and pile up 4 or 5 clean loads in the baskets, which would then sit upstairs for several days until I got really sick of Justin asking me every morning if I had seen the X colored polo shirt.

A few months ago, I realized that I could improve the process by imposing on myself a rule that I must fold things directly out of the dryer.  I am therefore incentivized to fold it because I have natural incentive to empty the laundry machine in order to start the next load (which therefore reduces the dirty pile on the floor).

And somewhere in adopting this practice, I've fallen in love with the folding.  I noticed one evening, as I made neat little stacks of dish towels and cloth napkins (my favorite things to fold are those of which we have many consistently sized things) and a lot of my stress seemed to melt away.  As soon as I noticed, I started analyzing and wondering why such a repetitive task was relaxing.  It's not a particularly rushed (or rush-able) process.  And it restores order.  You start with a smelly, wet pile of dish rags and towels, and a run through two machines and you're making neat little stacks that are clean and fresh-smelling.

It's probably just me who feels a sense of relaxation looking at a nice stack of freshly-laundered t-shirts.
(and teeny-tiny toddler training pants!)

I was also recently struck with the realization that my daily routine (organize/clean something, organize/clean whatever Anna got into while I was organizing the first thing, repeat) fits pretty well with this whole "finding former glory" thing.  But I haven't been treating it that way.  I view "cleaning" as a fairly negative chore that I theoretically want done but don't practically enjoy.  But we all know that I LOVE taking something messy/broken/ugly and making it better.  So I've just stopped calling it "cleaning."  For the past few days, I've gone about my day thinking about my job as "restoring order to our home."  I'm making our rooms beautiful again when I clear away the clutter and the dirt.

Maybe if you're not me (aka, an overly analytical person who spends the majority of her day with someone still learning to speak in multiple word phrases) this just seems like silly semantics, but it has made a big difference to me.  "Restoring order" feels like a less rushed process, and it seems like something that is a more noble goal than focusing on "cleaning."  I can easily connect wanting to have an ordered home with our family goals, but just chasing cleanliness somehow feels more frivolous or worldly.  I'm struggling to find the words to explain the difference, and it probably just has to do with the definitions I conjure up for each of those phrases.  Either way, the point is that calling my work something that is in line with my goals and wishes for our family is a lot more effective in inspiring me to do it, to do it well, and to find the joy in the process.

I've also realized that I (surprisingly) enjoy spending an hour or two picking up and cleaning up - and restoring order - in the evening after Anna goes to bed.  I used to think of this time as my "off time" when I deserved to be doing something relaxing, but I'm often too tired to do the sewing or reading I think I want to do, and instead find myself frustrated at the time I'm spending online.  Somehow, within the last week, an evening of leisurely (light) housework has become my preferred way of spending an evening, and having taken some downtime in the afternoon instead, I'm up for the work (although still not for a more thinking-heavy activity like sewing).  Perhaps its the feeling of having the house back to a (mostly) ordered state when we come downstairs in the morning, but more likely it's the freedom of doing the tasks at a moderate pace, without the knowledge that other work is being created in the meantime.

Example 1: Why laundry is more relaxing at night.
Since we only use the downstairs shower when we have guests, it is a bit of a storage closet otherwise.
Someone found (and discovered how to open) the Easter bin that was stashed there earlier this week.

We can probably chalk this post up to late-night ramblings of an over-thinker, but perhaps there's someone else up there who needs the nudge to know it's OK to redefine your work, to think of it in other terms or in ways that are motivating and inspiring, and to give yourself the freedom to redefine what you consider the "norms" of when and how to do things.  Or maybe you just want to call me crazy for admitting to the Internet how much I like stacks of folded shirts.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Pictures galore

Life is...well, busy.  At the moment, I find it mostly exciting, although I will be honest in saying there have been plenty of days when all of the logistics and planning for the move (not to mention the emotional roller coaster associated with leaving our home) have left me, shall we say, just a bit stressed.

There's plenty of things I've thought about posting, but I obviously haven't gotten there!  I have, however, been taking lots of pictures (and continue to be SO thankful that Justin Claus brought a new camera!)

So since pictures are worth a thousand words, here's the big update of the past few weeks.  We've had plenty of celebration mixed in with the planning and stressing - and we're gearing up for the biggest celebration of all, Justin's PhD graduation this weekend!

Easter Sunday (my favorite part was our hats!)

Pretty excited about hunting for eggs...

Sharing "the farm" (one of Daddy's favorite places on Earth) with Anna

My beautiful sister graduated summa cum laude from nursing school!  
(This was right after her pinning ceremony)

Mother's Day 
(In Anna's mind, Mumsie is obviously preferred over Mom!)

If you thought the whale dress was cool, check out this bunny dress that my mom made (!!)
If I had remembered it was in the "too big" bin earlier, I would have had her wear it for Easter Sunday, although since it's still Easter, it was still appropriate :)  (Aren't you proud, Meg?!)  Anna was pretty pumped about having "dunnies" going "op op op" on her neck.

You can't post just one when it's a little girl in a smocked dress!

This started out as a "What I Wore Sunday" / bump update post...
20 weeks!


It's a SISTER!