Thursday, September 1, 2011


My house was a disaster this morning. I walked out of my room to a giant mountain of dirty laundry. (one child is assigned task of taking that downstairs each day.. clearly that didn't happen for two days). I stepped on toys and miscellanous garbage, Anna's flip flops, and a library book on my way past. (after pausing to turn off the bathroom light, the bathroom fan, the hallways light). I walked down the hall and saw that the boys had no less than 3,000 pokemon cards strewn about. I turned out two additional bedroom lights. And 3 fans.

I used half steps to get down the stairs, where bathing suits and towels were no longer hanging on the banisters but fallen in a war path down the stairs. Hair accessories, more library books, one of Charlie's running shoes, keys, and half finished drawings also littered the stairs.

I looked into the livingroom and for the first time in I don't even know how long, the floor was invisible. There was lego, cars, car accessories, little people, race tracks, and, of course, more library books littering every available space of carpet. I walked into the kitchen. and then I walked back out. When I went back in, I saw that cream of wheat was gobbed all over the table, at least 2 children had not come to the table to eat yet. The dishrack was coated in crumbs and the dishes were piled everywhere. The floor was littered with crumbs, food bits, markers, crayons, pictures, magnetic letters, sticky filth. Charlie's other shoe was back there. I turned out the kitchen lights, the dining room light, the downstairs bathroom light...

The hall way had 3400 flyers in it (not an exaggeration) so I chose to ignore that since they would be delivered later in the day and disappear.

My dining room is littered with flyer paraphenalia and a mess, but i have the perfect 13 year old for the job (she is responsible for it's shambles). The art desk area looked "okay" until I discovered that miscellaneous art supplies had been dumped between the table and the wall. I decided I needed to leave my main floor.

I tripped back up the stairs and decided to just add to the mess. I called Cole into my bathroom. And I cut his hair.

Then I called Thomas in.. cut his hair.

Called Arthur in - trimmed his hair (it's long, and I like how it is now a lot better than the overgrowth/long he had before).

Then Charlie decided he was okay with a hair cut. And I successfully trimmed back his summer blond wisps to give him a little more sight without taking away all of his shaggy blond.

So now that my bathroom had 4 boys mop heads coating it, I was thoroughly satisfied that my house was as messy as I think I'd seen it *ever* (I should point out that other than the pokemon cards, all the bedrooms in our house were clean - thank goodness!).

Instead of getting to work, (I wasn't ready yet) - I spent several hours going over our upcoming school schedules and new karate schedule. New dance schedule. gymnastics. work. Fitting it all in for a family of 8 so that our evenings aren't too hectic, everyone has some downtime in a day, but everything gets DONE and everyone gets where they are supposed to be (4 schools, daycare, and work!).. it had to happen. I now have a very cool excel file to print and laminate.

And then, after allowing my 3 year old to snack away on healthy things in my already disasterous livingroom instead of feeding him a sit down lunch (where would he sit?), I took him upstairs and lay down with him on my bed until he passed out. (to say he was tired would be an understatement. The chaos of my house was a symptom of his tiredness, he gets extremely hyper and impulsive when tired .. which means a lot of throwing of toys).

In 60 minutes, me and my remaining team of children tidied up the house. I don't even think it was 60 minutes. The radio went on. The dishes got washed, dishwasher unloaded and loaded, floor swept, toys away, stair clutter and hanging towels and dirty beach bathingsuits, away. The basement playroom, I refused to look at, but I did send a child down and he emerged claiming victory 20 minutes later.

It astonishes me on how successful and efficient and QUICK my small 4 bedroom townhome can go from disaster to presentable.

Usually we just keep it at a presentable level, which is always confusing to visitors because we have 6 children. But my children each do a chore everyday and are held to the responsibility of cleaning up their own messes. Which means, in theory and often in practice, the house remains clean. My job is to wash kitchen floor, vacuum, cooking, keep bathrooms wiped down and clean, and get laundry washed and dried on the weekend. It's not *that* much for a house our size. And so I continue to be happy with 8 people living in a 1500sq foot town home (plus basement).

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laundry Party!

If you come to our house on a Sunday evening, you may witness something pretty bizarre. Except, if you were visiting us, we probably wouldn't do this since.. well, you'd be visiting.

What you would see if you were at our house and .. invisible? ... is David and I round up our children, shouting "Laundry Party! Woooo! Let's go!!! Everybody in our bedroom, yayyyy I'm soooo excited!"

Our children roll their eyes.

And trudge into our bedroom.

Beholden to them, is a mountain of laundry on our bed. It is an entire weeks worth of clean laundry. It's often so big, *I* can't see over the top of the pile.

They groan at how big the pile is.

I mention that if they spilled less food on their clothes and sat in less mud, maybe there would be less to wash.

They assemble themselves standing around the bed, each with a laundry basket. And they pull out everything that is theirs and put it in their basket. They toss over what belongs to others.

All socks get tossed into one bin and set aside as we go. I fold and put away Charlie's laundry, David's and my dresser-stuff, and toss over the hang up stuff to David who hangs it up. Oh, David also plays bouncer to Charlie - who - as much as we'd LIKE to include him, wreaks absolute havoc on the process.

Never invite a 2 year old to your laundry party. It's like feeding gremlins after midnight. DO NOT DO IT!!

What is positively brilliant about this procedure is that what would take me at LEAST 4 hours spaced out throughout the week takes 30-35 minutes.

After the laundry is sorted, the socks get dumped out. Everybody grabs their's and pairs them. Previously odd socks get brought out and matched in, and socks that don't find their sole mate go back away.

The older children groan (much like you should be at my jokes) as they drag their giant baskets full of laundry towards their rooms to hang it up.

I hang up Anna's and some of Cole's (his closet rod is out of his reach still, but it won't be for long, muah ha ha!).

I don't care for any of my older children doing their own laundry .. not yet, anyways. If they did their own laundry, their dirty laundry piled up somehwere would drive me at least slightly bonkers. That, and, I want to be able to use my machine when I want to use it, darn it!

But Laundry Party!TM saves me from folding 70 of the 112 socks we use in a week (I still do Charlie's, David's and Mine). As I am madly putting away the things my children are throwing my direction, they do the majority of the sorting of the Mountain. It contains at LEAST 70 shirts, 50 pairs of pants, 56 pairs of underwear, 29 pairs of pjs in a given week. And what I do sort, I dont' have to reach for because there are miniature Laundry Technicians stationed at all points of the holding platform.

I guess I felt like getting technical, there.

So that is what OUR family does at some point Sunday afternoon or evening. I hope you enjoyed.

The children may groan about it now, but I *know* they will look back fondly on it in 20 ... or.. maybe 30 years :)