I'm sure that it's my decision to simplify. I mean, surely. Surely the Universe sensed the desire for my life to take a deep breath and in the middle of my cleansing inhale, it threw chaos into my open mouth and left me choking on my good intentions.
It's the only reasonable, sensible explanation.
See, I started by organizing some closets. And our desk/computer space. Good, good, Katie's on a roll, yay. Then ... we got sick. And I mean, it was the kind of sick that just lingered. It started as a stomach bug for all of us. Five sick, pukey people is enough to drive anyone to the edge of insanity. After the puking subsided, I never seemed to recover and ended up at Urgent Care with a doctor wagging her finger in my face, telling me I was "severely dehydrated" after a 103 fever left me not eating or drinking for close to a week. Fantastic! Throw in the fact that this is all happening in the midst of a "polar vortex" that turned my back patio into a skating rink, and you've got a nice big pile of STRESS.
Oh, wait, did I mention we also added this little lovely to our family?
Meet Sophie. We love her.
Between illness, a new puppy, a grass fire in our front yard (did I leave that out?), freezing temperatures, and good intentions, I finally threw in the towel. I waved the white flag and my hubby and I loaded up the kids, dropped Sophie off for a sleepover at the vet, drove to Arkansas, spent a day and evening with my parents, and headed out for a date alone.
We needed a little "Come to Jesus" meeting with each other.
Through chapped lips I told my hubby that I was kind of horrible at keeping my cool amidst the deluge of insanity that had befallen our home. So, we put our heads together and came up with a list. A list of ways we can encourage each other and encourage the existence of simplicity once again in our home. Because, let's face it--life is full of variables that we cannot control. What we CAN control, however, is the environment in which they occur and our responses to them.
The first item? CUT THE NOISE.
Our lives are noisy. Plenty noisy. We have three kids, four chickens, a cat, and, now, a puppy. And those are all good noises. They are the soundtrack to our life. So, we decided to cut the unnecessary noise. In this case, we mean all things media.
Now when my husband walks through the door from work in the evening, we power down. No TV, phones, iPad, laptop, nothing--until the kids are in bed. I limit TV throughout the day, but it's easy when my hubby comes home to turn the TV on, or check our phones incessantly, things like that. Now, it's quiet (well, we still have Pandora going, so ... there's that). The kids help me set the table. We take longer at dinner now, waiting until everyone has finished before we're excused, making sure we're all talking to each other and engaging our kids. Then, the kids help me clean up. And then ... well, then there's lots of wrestling, tickling, reading, etc. until bedtime. It's tricky because the POLAR VORTEX has kept us from spending a lot of time outside, so we have to figure out how to stay entertained inside until bedtime. My hubby reads the next chapter in whatever book he and the kids are currently reading (right now it's "Farmer Boy" from The Little House on the Prairie series--my favorite!), and then we do bedtime.
And then? Then my hubby and I try to play a game or do something that doesn't immediately involve turning on the TV and zoning out. We just try to do something that can at least present the opportunity for conversation, whether or not the need for a discussion on any particular topic is there. We're typically exhausted and end up laughing at our terrible game-playing or conversational skills because our brains are numb by the end of the day, but shoot. We try.
I have to say, it's been great. We're focused on the kids and they're focused on us. And it's still plenty chaotic, it's just ... the good kind of chaos.
So, there you have it. The not-so-pretty journey towards simplicity in our home. Hopefully, there will be more steps to come!
Have a lovely day.