Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Queen has spoken

Meet the Queen Vee:

Victoria Carlson, October 1995

Victoria Carlson and I have been friends since I was a 13-year-old wayward teen (is there a worse age in your entire existence than 13?) Hers is one of the few friendships that have endured into my adulthood. Her wisdom and example have always been an inspiration to me and her wacky sense of humor has always been right up my alley. I lived with Victoria and her husband Ken when I met Dan, and she was my escort when I received my endowment in the Washington D.C. Temple.

Over the years, The Queen has given me lots of sage advice. I wanted to share something powerful she taught me when we spoke just a couple of weeks ago. You know how I've always struggled with keeping my house clean? It has started to be a point of contention between Dan and I and it has long been a source of shame for me. I have read several things about getting organized and I've tried to implement the principles taught by The FlyLady a few different times. But every time I start to get on a roll with housekeeping, I burn out and fall back into my old, overwhelmed ways.

I was talking to Victoria about it and she said, "What it boils down to is taking pride in your work. Early on I had to decide that keeping house was my job. Ken went out and made the money and I stayed home. That was my job and I decided that I was going to do it to the best of my ability. It's a lot of work, it's still a lot of work even now that my kids are grown, but I do it everyday and I take pride in making my home beautiful."

For some reason, that really struck me. I have been spending a lot of emotional energy feeling like it's too much for one person to handle, that there are too many distractions with little kids to be able to keep up with the messes. I've been self-indulgent in taking too much "me" time, convincing myself I "deserve" a break. Well, after talking to Victoria, I started working harder everyday to get the house in order and keep it that way. I told myself that there were no breaks allowed until at least the beds were made, the dishes were done, and the laundry was started. I've been sticking to that everyday and also working on something additional each day, like sweeping and mopping or straightening the girls' room or going through outgrown clothes to put in storage.

Something has finally clicked for me. It doesn't matter what "system" you use to keep your house neat. You just have to decide it's important and take pride in a job well done. I was telling Lori about my conversation with the Queen and she asked, "So, is your house going to be clean all the time now?" Probably not all the time, but I've been able to sustain a level of housework to where I'm at least not embarrassed if someone stops by.

I am happier, Dan is happier, and amazingly, Lily has started making a little more of an effort to keep things picked up. It's time I finally set the example.

It's been nearly 5 years since I've seen the Queen.

Victoria Carlson, me, Samantha Carlson Lee (aka The Dragonfly) Leesburg, VA Dec. 2004

Tomorrow I will get to see Victoria, Ken, and all of their children as they celebrate the life of Victoria's brother Kirk Nelson who recently died from Mantle Cell Lymphoma. I am so excited to see them all, especially to meet their oldest daughter Melissa. The Carlsons are family and I can't wait to grab them all up in a huge bear hug.

Thank you, Queen Vee, for once again steering me in the right direction. I'll see you and all your beautiful buggies tomorrow!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I miss you

"Where have you been?" you may ask. I have really fallen behind in my blogging since the middle of summer. I miss it. I love the opportunity to write and reflect, to review and edit my favorite pictures, and mostly, to read comments from everyone I love (including those I've never met.)

I have been spending most of my time trying to keep up with housework, helping with Lily's homework, cooking, trying to play with my kids each day, and trying to make sure Dan doesn't go looking for a part-timer. It leaves little time for other things, but I am hoping to get back on track soon.

I just wanted to say that I miss you and I should be turning a corner soon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

They all agree...

Carrots from your own garden are the best!

Can you believe the size of that sucker?

Most of the carrots are smaller, just right for little hands.

No teeth yet, but sure fun to gnaw on!

"I love me some dirty carrots!"

Friday, September 11, 2009


I hesitate to post such an unflattering picture of myself, but it shows two of Mack's favorite things really well.

The first is not that unusual: He loves to pull my hair (I blame Biggie for this, since she's been putting her hair in his face ever since he could grab onto anything). The second, not so common: He loves to suck and gnaw on my chin. Not just anyone's chin. My chin. Weird.

I'll tell you one thing, that boy is strong!