What we got rid of in June

The minimalism continues!  In the month of June… We only took one trunk load of toys and household supplies to Goodwill: 2014-06-29 11.03.24 That included this nice, ivory Ikea rug that we bought when we lived in an apartment in San Francisco and needed a rug in our bedroom. (God, I loved all those hardwood floors!)  But it’s been 5 years since we’ve moved back down to San Jose and we still haven’t found a good place for it.  It lived in our Family Room for about 6 months until we purchased a rug more suitable for the size of the room.  The kids had fun rolling up like Bugs in a Rug before I loaded it in the trunk:   2014-06-07 08.18.54 2014-06-07 08.19.06 I also sold my first item on eBay!  I have a pile of items to try to sell, but I thought I’d try it out on this one first.  I purchased this postpartum corset from Amazon, but it was too small.  I purchased the next size, but then thought I would keep this in case I would fit into it someday!  Well, that never happened!  So I sold it for almost full price (to a man?) on eBay.  Nice doing business with you.

sold on ebay!

sold on ebay!

And most of the month I spent collecting papers from all over the house and dealing with them.  My hope is to go as paperless as possible!  Right now all our filing is in one 4-drawer filing cabinet, which includes our tax history, our manuals and warranties, craft paper and envelopes, and all the paperwork we deemed worth keeping over the last few years.  That’s pretty good already, if I do say so myself! The work I’ve done the last few weeks was to get the craft paper in there – which took some organization with file folders and tabs and the like – as well as the manuals and warranties.  We were holding onto some of those for products we haven’t had for years!  Having all these in the same place will really help to find them and to not go crazy when I find them in random places all over the house.  Previously I had tried organizing them in a fancy binder (Pinterest-inspired), but that was too much work and intimidated me everytime I had something new to add or old to remove.  Having them in a file folder is SUPER-easy.   These two tasks cleared out two shelves on our bookshelf, hiding the paperwork away from view. And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, our filing system.  The top two drawers include our important documents and in the back-right, the warranties and manuals. 2014-07-18 15.05.34 The bottom-left drawer contains craft paper and other paper supplies, like photo paper and envelopes.  The bottom-right drawer contains Tax Histories and Home Sales records.  Eventually those might go in a box in the attic if we need the space.  Basically we know we need to keep these records, but not necessarily out in the open with easy access. 2014-07-18 15.05.14 My dream is to get a Fujitsu Scan Snap and take all that paperwork in the top two drawers into our computer/online filing system.  But that will take some time and I want to move onto minimalism of bigger items in the house first! And part of the paper-minimalism has been to go through the kids’ artwork.  I wish I had a photo of the 10-inch high stack of artwork that I threw away!  They were beautiful compilations of torn stickers coming loose, three scribbles on a page, ripped jellyfish made out of paper plates, and other items I’m sure you have all over your kitchen counters any weeknight after school 🙂   I created two boxes that we will keep in the office closet – one for P and one for L – with a hanging folder for each year in school.  The art and any birthday cards and school photos will go into each folder.  And as it gets packed full, we’ll have to go through and remove some more. This way, each of them has a box of momentos from their childhood, BUT ONLY ONE BOX! 2014-07-18 15.06.00 “What about all those beautiful drawings your little Picasso’s are creating each and every day?” you ask… Well, there will be some gems that we will keep (in the ONE box).  There will be some that we will want to remember, but not necessarily keep – those will be scanned or photographed.  Maybe one day those will go in a book!  But I would say at least 50% go Bye-Bye, and that’s ok with me!  I won’t even remember in 20 years 🙂 Check out this beauty little P brought home last week.  He tells me it’s a soccer field full of soccer players (you know, World Cup fever), but for some reason it makes me thing of something else… 2014-07-18 15.08.09 And here is a baseball field: 2014-07-18 15.08.16 Some others saved so far… 2014-06-10 20.40.29 2014-06-10 20.39.51 2014-06-10 20.39.34 And next month… minimalism comes to the China Cabinet, Living Room, Kitchen, and more of the office.

This made my Sunday 10x easier

Saturday we had 2 birthday parties.

PJ and his buddies

PJ and his buddies

As a result we also had:

  • One Jamba Juice and one Krispy Kreme donut (on our way to Toys R Us to buy gifts)
  • Pizza
  • Cupcakes
  • Juice
  • Not much else
  • No nap
treats with Mom

treats with Mom

After we got home, Dad left to go take care of some errands, so I had a wonderful afternoon with the kids. Do you sense the sarcasm?  It was torture. PJ has learned the phrase “I need Mommy Time”.  So every time I tried to get something done, he would whine and say that. How do you resist?

In the backyard I was sitting on a blanket with LJ.  PJ wanted me to come play with him on the lounge chairs. He likes to pretend it’s a pirate ship.  I said I would stay on blanket as my ship.  He got really mad and said “That’s not EVEN a ship!  That’s a blanket!”  He said it over and over.  Incredulous that I would even say that!  Anyway.  After an afternoon of both kids whining and crying at the same time, I couldn’t wait till Dad got home.

Fast forward to Sunday – I had planned for Dad to go golfing. I would stay home with the kids and get some things done.  Wanting to avoid a meltdown, I sat down with PJ and we did this:

Sunday List

Sunday List

It was like he was a different kid!  I don’t know if it made it easier on me, on him, or on both of us.  But since we came up with the plan together and both committed to it, it worked!  We missed a few things on the list, but we agreed on it and had some fun instead.

Reminds me of the idea to use Agile for Families – I’ve always thought that would make things so much easier! Maybe when they’re older 🙂

happiness

The quest for happiness is different for everyone.  It matters where they are coming from – their emotional history and where they are at that moment.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
Thomas Merton

This hits the nail on the head for me personally.  I am not an “intense” person… anyone who knows me can tell you that it’s rare when I show extreme passion over any topic (but when I do….watch out!)  So intensely pursuing something in the name of happiness is not in my DNA. Balance, order, rhythm, and harmony are!

Balance: Balance of work and family.  Balance of wake and sleep.  Balance of nice and firm.  Balance of flavors.  Balance in yoga poses. Balance of emotions.

Order: Order in our daily routine.  Order in our home.  Order in our jobs. Order in our brains.  Order in our closets.

Rhythm: Rhythm of music. Rhythm of stories. Rhythm of human interaction. Rhythm of running feet. Rhythm of typing fingers. Rhythm of travelling.

Harmony: Harmony of music. Harmony in our family.  Harmony with others. Harmony of friendship.  Harmony with your creator or all-powerful being. Harmony in the eyes and smile of your child.  Harmony with nature.  Harmony in design. Harmony in style.  Harmony of ingredients in a recipe.

My dear reader, I hope you enjoy this blog. It is my quest to understand what happiness is for me. You might find recipes, book reviews, travel blogs, family moments, and many other yet unforeseen randomness. All of it encompassing happiness – or the understanding of happiness – for me.