Thursday, January 27, 2011

The opposite of living Greene = living with CHAOS

As someone with a planner personality, there are many things I can't be comfortable with. One of those things is unannounced visitors. Tonight, my neighbor rang our doorbell about 15 minutes after we got home from a day out of the house (grocery shopping and the like). When Mark answered the door, I was instantly mortified. You see, our house suffers from CHAOS (can't-have-anyone-over-syndrome) more often than not. I first read about this affliction on, a fun little website to help you be more organized in the home. We chatted a bit, then he walked back next door to his lovely wife Sherry, who keeps a spotless home.

My house isn't It is just cluttered so badly with things. Things everywhere. For example, a quick scan of my living room from the couch where I am sitting reveals the following things:

  • A bag of randomness that came out of the Jeep this morning (some metallic tissue paper that I *think* I need for a sewing project, monster trucks, 2 jackets, a blanket, and an empty sippy cup)
  • Zane's Moses basket, full of toys that Kevin put in there "for him to play with"
  • 2 empty cups and an empty box of Goldfish from our pre-dinner snack (we skipped lunch today)
  • 3 separate piles of clothes to be washed (still catching up from the washer/dryer failure)
  • An empty Build-A-Bear box
  • 2 gym bags
  • house shoes, flip flops, and 2 pair of tennis shoes (that have a home about 15 ft from where they lay now)
  • Zane's carseat, taking up space on one of our big chairs
  • A mass amount of random toys/books/crayons/ziploc baggies/whatever else Kevin decided he needed to play with in the 3 hours we were here today

When our friendly neighbor left, Mark said..."Holy cow this house is trashed...I hate that he came in here." Meee too Baby Doll...mee too. And that's when I remembered the CHAOS acronym from Flylady. This can't be anymore. I can't deal with it properly. I've never been the best at keeping house, but the house does not stay dirty...I clean my floors, my dishes, the bathrooms, take out the trash, etc. etc. But since we have been blessed with Zane in our lives, I have somehow lost total control of the things inside of my home. It is beyond critical that we get back into the swing of order and much less CHAOS around here.

So what's my plan? I like the ideas on, but not all of them are for me. First of all, I have limited bouts of time (15-20 minutes each) where Zane and Kevin are both happy campers and I can clean/organize my things. So...I can't spare one of those times to be shining my sink. I also hate wearing shoes in general, so I do not "get dressed to lace up shoes" every morning. Kev and I both change out of our jammies and brush our teeth, and then we are ready to face the day. But only shoes if we are leaving.

My first solution is to create a list in Excel, with responsibilities in rows and days of the week in columns across the top. There will be three groupings of the rows: daily items, weekly items, and meals. I feel like this visual list will be critical to my house remaining intact in the coming weeks, as my dear husband gets an honest feel for what it's like to care for a 2 year and a 2 month old for hours on end, all while trying to accomplish a few things around the house. I will post this list here if anyone thinks it may help them too.

My second solution is to get rid of many of our things. We are both collectors, and some things do have some use for us. I feel like I really NEED that metallic tissue paper left over from a gift at a baby shower for a project I have in my head. And I don't want to lose it, so it would normally go into a bin of craft things that I keep stacked in our dining area. Mark feels like he really NEEDS to collect pieces for his projects and keep them handy at all times (on the hutch in the corner of our dining area) just in case he decided he needs to work on them in the next 3-4 months. But in reality, there are many many things that we are just holding onto for those "in case I need it" moments which more than likely will never come. Yard Sale anyone?

I don't like living in CHAOS because I can't think in a cluttered house. I can't relax, I am constantly gauging how much time organizing/cleaning a certain area will take. Maybe you are saying, "just get started and work at it little by little when you can." Initially, this seems like the perfect solution. However, let me come to your house, dump out your junk drawer on the kitchen table, say I'll be back in 30 minutes to start sorting, then let my two-year old linger in your kitchen while I run to the bathroom/feed my infant/put away a load of clothes. Exactly...

Now, it is 11 pm and I am typing this posting from my couch, with my fat cat napping by my side. The hubs, the toddler, and the infant are all asleep. So wouldn't this be the perfect time to get some work done? Sure, but I forgot to mention that one foot is on a bouncy seat, pumping up and down, keeping that infant asleep. Once it stops bouncing, it's over for sleepy time. And this is my biggest obstacle, my adorable, chunky ball of love whose only wish is for mommy to hold him. And after having one chunky ball of love grow overnight into a spicy handful of toddler attitude, I happily grant his little request.

And you know, I'm working towards regaining control of this house and eliminating the CHAOS. But one thing that I know for sure...years from now, I will not recall the dryer that is sitting right in the middle of the living room, waiting for someone to come collect it. I hope, rather, to remember the little dimpled hands of my Zanie, clinging to my fingers, giving me a huge crazy baby grin in his sleep. Even for the planner/organizer personality that I am, going crazy in the middle of all this stuff, looking into those big baby eyes fills me instantly with peace and happiness. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What it means to "Live Greene"

This being my first posting on this blog, I feel like it’s only fitting for it to be introductory in nature. Let me begin by explaining the title. Upon first glance, you may think this is going to be another resource for “going green” and jumping on the lifestyle-change train. While I may touch on this topic from time to time, that’s not going to be my focus here. No, no. Living Greene is about a more general idea of protecting what’s good in life.

Living Greene is about cherishing the moments in everyday life that some people take for granted. It’s about finding peace for yourself and those around you. It’s about recognizing the simplicity of happiness, and spreading it to others. It’s about faith…not just religious, but faith in people as well. It’s about extending a welcome to anyone who needs it, and being pleasant in spite of the temptation to be nasty. It’s about getting the most out of life while you still can.

It should come as no surprise that the inspiration for this online journal comes from my lifelong observation of someone who lived her life in this manner, and my hardened promise to myself to pick up where she left off, sadly, on October 29, 2007. My grandmother taught me so much while she was here, and I want to spread her legacy through the way I live my life. I'm not perfect, but I plan to use this blog as accountability, forcing me to affirm that things I say/do are in reflection of what I'd like to be. 

Now you know why I want to share my experiences with the world, but what will I write about? Well, anything that brings me joy and/or teaches me a lesson that I think needs to be shared. Expect to see posts about my children, saving money, my sewing projects, cooking healthy foods, life in rural Tennessee, and any number of things that make me go “hmmm…”

I believe I will have a wonderful time crafting these postings, and I hope that everyone reading will get something valuable from my shared thoughts. Whether it be the tips for living a little healthier (FYI…Morningstar Farms products are only $.99 this week at Publix!!) or the hilarious remarks that come with raising a toddler (he told me last night he wants to grow milk in our garden this year), I hope you will continue to join me here for a little reminder of what makes life so truly wonderful.