All better!

Addie’s newest phrase to say is “Allllll betta!”

I got her out of her crib this morning and received an “Alllll betta!”

Gave her her breakfast. “Alllll betta!”

Got her sidewalk chalk so we could color pictures. “Alllll betta!”

There is a glimmer in her blue eyes and a little proud smile to accompany her phrase. 

I have told her “All better” a thousand or a million times to let her know I took care of the problem, changed the diaper, kissed the boo-boo, helped make her wish come true. And now she shares “All better” with me — I am so, so lucky. 

She says “Dank oo” for every good deed done to her and done by her and even started this thing where she does a fake sneeze and says her version of “excuse me” while covering up her mouth. She waits… and you better deliver a “Bless you” or she will for you. Then she says her “Dank oo” and the cycle continues. 

 

I think my post with the letter from the kids the other day confused and worried some of you. I intended it to come across with a message of I am doing pretty well and I see that. Sometimes it just helps me to write things that have been bothering me or things I know my other Mommy friends will “get” and I don’t always stop to make sure my writing is doing my goal justice. 

So, as Addie would say, that post made everything, “Alllllll betta…”

 

We are enjoying Spring temperatures and sunny skies. We have family get-togethers to look forward to next week and a super-special wedding to celebrate; we have dirt to get under our fingernails and sunshine to land on our faces; there is a certain polite little girl’s second birthday party to plan and a thousand memories to make in between. Our world is very, very good. 

From a year ago (can you believe a year ago we started words like distrust and separation and ultimatums and even worse ones?!), it’s:

ALL BETTER. 

 

Addie loves to transfer things from one container to another. She has a little bowl of goldfish that have, in just the last ten minutes, gone into a toy coffee pot from her play kitchen to a toy plate, back into the little bowl, and now in a little yellow pail. Zack is at school, where he was greeted by high-fives and “HI Zacky” exclamations and teachers that love him and help us. We’ll pick him up soon and, like I do three times every week, I will watch those two faces in the backseat of my car and that white Jeep will be filled with happiness, joy, contentment, blessings. I do not take for granted what I’ve gained and learned; I do not wish it to fly by and leave me with independent kiddos too cool and busy for their mom and fake sneezes. 

 

I love our crazy, busy, confusing, hectic, messy, non-stop, interesting journey. 

It makes me feel “Allllll betta….” 

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Have a great weekend!

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Adventures in Housewifery — Homemade Laundry Detergent

My friend Nicole is amazed that I am becoming a master of housewifery (yes, it’s a word and yes, it does sound like sorcery) and said I should start sharing some of my adventures, good and bad, as I experiment with new routines and rituals, ways to cut corners and ingredients to save money on basic supplies.

 

My first true foray into being one of THOSE moms — you know, the pseudo-hippie, cost-efficient, wise-and-beautiful-simultaneously mommas — was making my own homemade laundry detergent.

It started with a panicked moment after Addie (brace yourselves, ye of weak stomachs) smeared poop from her diaper across the bars on her crib, the wall behind the crib, in her hair, among all of her stuffed animals and oh yes, across every square inch of sheet and blanket.

The best part? We didn’t have a drop of laundry detergent in the house.

So I did what any freaked-out Mom would do — I Googled.

Page after page, blog after blog displayed many of the same similar ingredients and a super-easy process.

For my test run, I simply used:

ONE bar of ZOTE soap (found in the laundry aisle of most large grocery stores/Wal-Mart)

THREE cups of Arm&Hammer Washing Soda (Do NOT confuse this with Baking Soda!)

 

I shredded and grinded up the soap until it formed very tiny little strips (I used a food processor; you can also use a grater, etc)

I then mixed in the washing soda powder, put it in a labeled bucket with a lid and handle for easy transport. (Aren’t my labels cute?)

 

(Sorry about the photos — I wasn’t expecting much to happen with this and just snapped a few quick shots with my phone — I’ll do better)ImageImage

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Now, you can use Borax with these two ingredients, too, to add a little stain-fighting power, but I didn’t have it my first time around and, quite honestly, I thought my colors stayed bright and my stains came out great (even dirty bottom-of-toddler-socks marks!). It’s got a fresh scent to it, but the clothes don’t have much of a scent to it when they’re all done. (Some people swear against Borax and some swear you can’t do homemade detergent without it, so decide for yourself).

I’ve also ordered some essential oils (lemon, orange, lavender) to add a drop or two in every load for added grease removing powers (as suggested by several Mommy Bloggers) and for a little smell.

My next batch will be much larger (probably doubled or tripled) and I may try the Borax and definitely the essential oil.

 

To use, I let just less than 1/8 cup of the mixture dissolve in warm-hot water for a few seconds before I change it to cold water and add my clothes.

I then do my load of laundry as normal — fabric softener, etc.
ALTHOUGH… I have a recipe for fabric softener I’ll be trying shortly, too!

 

We do a LOT of laundry in our house. Between kids’ clothes, Scott’s work clothes and regular clothes, workout clothes and the occasional poop-a-polypse in cribs destroying half of a Bubble Guppies stuffed village, it’s not unusual for us to do five to eight loads a WEEK. Detergent is bought at LEAST once a month.

These are not EXACT prices, but on average, our detergent costs about $13-14 for a bottle that’s supposed to do at least 60 loads of laundry (doubtful, but sure). That works out to almost $.25/load.

With the Washing Soda ($3-4/box of 50-plus ounces) and Zote soap (about $2-$2.50/bar), and not needing to use as much as normal detergent for a load, I believe it costs us about… wait for it… $.03/load.

21 cents difference over five loads a week for four weeks a month = $4-5/savings a month, just for the low end of our laundry. I’m OK with saving $60-plus a year (probably closer to $100 for us). For us, it’s more about dropping that $14 -$28 purchase every month on our grocery trip and only needing $6 in soap and $3 in washing soda.

Now, the essential oils (about $3 each, but will last FOREVER) and Borax (still not sure if I’m even going to use this) will add to our per-load cost, of course, but still a good deal.

 

 

Upcoming homemade adventures:

Fabric softener

Coffee creamers

Febreze

Swiffer Wet sheets

Dryer sheets/balls

Various cleaners (all-purpose, furniture polish, etc)

Got any suggestions or ideas for me?

 

 

 

Dear Momma (A letter from the kids)

Dear Momma,

Zack and Addie here. We thought you might need us to remind you that you’re doing a great job.

We’re pretty young but we definitely know a few things.

We know you’re too hard on yourself. We know there are a hundred moments every day where you wonder if you’re just doing alright. We know sometimes you crave a moment by yourself, with a good song and sunshine on your face. And there are other moments you feel like you’re the only adult in the world; the loneliness sneaks up on you and digs firm roots in your heart like the viney weed in the dirt.

Momma, you’re doing more than just alright.

We certainly don’t make it easy on you.

There’s no telling when we will take advantage of you standing over the dinner on the stove to dump the cat food bowls onto the floor. Or when your bladder needs to be relieved in the worst of ways and we choose those 90 seconds to grab a cell phone, checkbook, wireless mouse and remote control off of the desk, but not before we enter some Japanese food store into the search bar of the Internet.

We see the hand smack on the face when you’ve just put clean cushions on the couch and we crunch a slobbery goldfish on it, all while holding up our now empty bowl asking for more crackers as crumbs crash on the floor.

We see the way you come up the stairs for bedtime some nights, moving so slowly, holding your back from bending over weeds during nap time and carrying four clean loads of laundry upstairs after our impromptu dance party in the living room. You still pick us up and sing to us and squeeze us as tightly as you can, but we bet you go downstairs and fight back tears from the pain.

You think sometimes you can’t handle two kids alone — how the simplest tasks like groceries or mailing a package become insane. How one of us is running up the hill on the driveway while the other one screams in their carseat, kicking wires out of the DVD player as you glance at the clock because, again, we are running late. But then some days, Mom, you watch us and our bestie Aubrey and you’re a pro. We all feel equally loved.

We know this is still a transition for you. You’ve gone from business suits and time clocks to jeans and diarrhea diapers. You don’t know if you’re even appreciated some days, or if every one of your friends even remembers your phone number anymore.  There are no bonuses or holiday presents for your new job.

Speaking of jobs. Your kicking some butt balancing Mary Kay and your photography business in all of that free time we give you. You know, the 20 minutes we aren’t fighting or crying or asking for more freakin’ CRACKERS.

Or at nap time when all you really want to do is put up your feet and watch a Hepburn movie. Sometimes from your phone in bed while Da-da is snoring and you can barely keep your eyes open.

You quit your anti-depressant a month ago. You held us both in your arms that afternoon and said you were scared of the lows but wanted to feel the joy we brought you stronger than ever before. You hated the numbness, missed the way that excitement and laughter could fill up your belly, fly up your throat and come out in happy tears and silly giggles. You wanted to feel, you told us. You prayed for you and prayed for us and we petted  your hair which made you so happy.

We saw you the other day. The way you appreciated us listening and behaving so that we could all spend hour after hour of uninterrupted bliss outside in the sunshine on a beautiful Spring day. You stopped as Zack held a leaf and ran it along the edge of a wall telling a story with words like “people” and “go” and “walk” and “outside” and Addie colored a chalk picture on the sidewalk, looking up at you with pink smeared across her cheek and a spot of blue on her hand. “Everything has come alive,” you said softly. You wiped away a tear and the dirt from your gardening glove smeared by your eye and we laughed. “You’re both so smart, so happy, so big, so full of life,” you added, talking more to the ivy on the sidewalk than anything else. We saw you that day, Momma.

 

You’re doing a great job, Momma. But here’s a few requests:

– Stop sweeping the floor so much. Wait until we’re asleep. Or we’ve moved out. Either option is safer and less frustrating.

– Way to go with the homemade laundry detergent and other housewife adventures you’re trying. And remember, you haven’t burnt down the house yet and we’ve had three meals every day.

– Don’t be so hard on yourself. About us or about yourself. You’re a good mom and you’re a great person.

– Pick your battles. Addie loves “washing hands” in the bathroom. It’s annoying but she can’t drown. Good hygiene is a nice habit to get into, too. So what if her sleeves get wet. Pick your battles.

– Keep taking risks. Create spontaneous memories for yourself. You’ll create beautiful memories for us, too.

 

By the way, we know you’re hiding the cinnamon jellybeans somewhere. We will find them.

Oh, and we’d like more crackers, please.

 

Seriously, you’re a pretty great Momma.

We love you.

Zack & Addie

 

 

 

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