There has been just a shade of stress around here this week. It started with my little sister (full-bellied with my nephew) being admitted to ICU while visiting the top of the world. Okay, it was Minnesota, but when you’re from Texas, that IS the top of the world. I think I still carry around a little residual PTSD from my last pregnancy/illness/hospitalization, but as I was in unlimited text contact with her, I thought, it’s going to be ok. Not ideal, but ok. On top of that, I only found out last Friday that my oldest was out of school for the first three days of the week due to teacher in-service. (My sweet husband was thoughtful enough to point out that I most likely “just” found out because I have a nasty habit of deleting the weekly district newsletter sight unseen in an attempt to assert some control over my email inbox). It was about that time that I decided that the house had to be overhauled. Now. What started as simply tidying up the game room turned into multiple room redecoration, extensive purging from every single cabinet, basket, and drawer, and then the use of two and a half Costco 3 packs of disinfecting wipes. (No, not two and a half OF the three. Two and a half PACKS of 3. That would be four and a half canisters, for my fellow non-math-ians). (Edit: Argh! It's so fortunate that I majored in English. I meant ONE and a half packs of three. I got so excited by the sheer volume, that I didn't get the original problem right, even if the correct answer. This was always the note from teachers on my report card as well. Right next to: "Very bright, but doesn't read directions." Thanks, Miriel, for being the smarter not-math-ian!Also, the near empty, two car garage became unnavigable due to all of the things I decided had to be donated in the name of tidy minimalism. I’m fairly certain that our local Goodwill is going to name their store after me. There is talk of a plaque on the corner stone, at very least.

While fastidiously clean, I’m not exactly renowned for my tidy ways. This non-stop, frenzy to have an ordered house was met with delight, awe, and perhaps a gentle fear by my husband. On the plus side, it kept me from hopping the next plane to the Great White North with an unweaned 9 month old on my hip, or curling up in a ball of overwhelm while trying to come up with things to keep the girls amused during this unexpected “vacation”. Unfortunately, houses are finitely large and contain such a limited amount of arrangeable stuff (especially after you dump a quarter of it in the garage). So round about Wednesday, I ran out of things to clean. I even put the girls in the living room with meticulously ordered toys, intending to give them free rein and thereby give myself something more to do, but I was so full of nervous energy that I basically sat with them on the floor and replaced things as quickly as they lost interest in them. I then turned my attention to my car. There are two child-filled car seats occupying the middle and two filthy dogs occupying the back in regular rotation, with Cheerios and dog fur waging constant battle to decide which will claim the interior as its domain. Even with my slightly neurotic impetus, an awesome vacuum cleaner, a sparkling new hand vac on its maiden voyage, and (in a fit of exasperation) a large lint roller, I barely made a dent in that dog fur. The frustration was too much. I abandoned my quest for Pinterest levels of tidiness in favor of a pint of Blue Bell Cookies and Cream. In the end, it was far more effective. Plus, my sister was finally released and able to take her return flight, the baby healthy and little mama on the mend. I like to think that all of my (slightly manic) hard work really played a role in that outcome!

Aside: It occurs to me that I should probably take pictures since my house won’t stave off entropy long, and there isn’t the slightest chance that we will have this much floor visible again until the day that we move out.

The days seem full to brimming with babies lately. Adding to my sister, my sister-in-law, and several friends expecting, my best friend (since 6th grade, y’all!) and his wife welcomed their first child, a sweet little boy, into the world this week. Because he made his arrival two months early, I’m simply thrilled and thankful that mama and baby are healthy, and I’m looking forward to meeting the little man today! I really can’t help but smile with each and every new update from the mamas-to-be or new-mamas. Life is beautiful!

In the throes of anxiety this week (somewhere betwixt the quest for the holy grail of orderliness and the taking up of that Southern bliss in a carton), I hit a complete low point, and that very evening a gift arrived from a friend’s mama. A book of knitting patterns for littlies. She and I had a lovely chat about our knitting/crocheting obsessions during a party at her daughter's house a few months back, and based on that, she sent along the book. I was truly so touched by such a kind and thoughtful gesture from someone I have only met a handful of times, it shook me out of my doldrums. I dashed off a thank you note then and there. I wonder if we realize how big an impact that little kindnesses can make in someone’s day. I'm going to try harder not to overlook such "just because" opportunities to brighten people's days. And of course, this particular book is even more topical than I think she realized! I will be getting lovely amounts of use out of it this year. Get ready to be born into a world that has been completely and lovingly yarn bombed, little nephews!

So, in case it snuck up on you like it did me, Ash Wednesday is in a mere five days. Lent is about to begin. This calls for some serious preparation, people! I mean do you know how stinkin’ long it takes to make King Cake from scratch, y’all?? I have less than a week to make and devour them. Eek! My only sadness is that my sister will not be here to help me. Baking with her really makes everything take on a next level deliciousness that I can never quite attain on my own. I still hold on to the hope that she will one day put this silly career she has going as a medical doctor aside so we can finally start up our bakery.

And finally, I stumbled across this little gem of wisdom from the Dowager Countess herself, immortalized on fine cotton:
My gift to you on this Friday... for all the hipster mamas to wear ironically.

Don't forget to head over to Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!
Noon-time Update
Clearly, I should have taken those "after" pictures before Li'l Bear decided to redecorate using the "before" theme. 


02/08/2013 08:09

Sounds like your week was similar to mine in anxiety levels. Praying it all smoothes out soon.

And that shirt is a Must-Buy. Awesome.

02/08/2013 08:09

I'm glad to hear that everyone is now doing better! What a stressful week. I'm impressed with your cleaning coping mechanism...I don't think I will ever run out of things to clean haha. And the ice cream does sound much better than cleaning. I'm trying to make King Cake for the first time this year! I hope it turns out okay. Of course, I love the shirt and the Dowager Countess even though I fully appreciate the existence of the weekend :)

02/08/2013 09:15

It's a little bizarre, because cleaning has rarely been a go-to pressure valve release for me. I joked to my husband that I must be nesting by proxy because of all the pregnant women around me. ;) Good luck with the king cake. It's a job of work (I'm so terribly impatient while waiting for the dough to rise), but so worth it!

02/08/2013 14:20

Okay. I am not a math whiz either (just ask John), but...isn't two and a half packs of three...seven and a half? TELL ME I AM NOT INSANE.

02/08/2013 15:24

Bahaha!!! Oh, man. Thanks, Miriel! I actually came up with the correct answer (she said with the same self-assurance with which she made the original pronouncement), but started with the wrong premise. I'd say that my brain is just toasted after this crazy week, but really it's just because I'm the queen of discalculia. I have number intolerance.

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