Project 333, Summer Edition

333I converted my wardrobe over from Winter (what we had of it) to Summer. I am still doing the whole 333 thing. I only have 33 things in my closet. So my closet has 30 hangers in it and then I have 3 pairs of shoes.

In the picture, you can see most of my wardrobe. There are a few empty hangers which would normally contain the clothes I’m wearing and a few things that are in the laundry.

So here is my wardrobe list (pictured, from left):

1 black lined windbreaker jacket
3 zip front hoodies (fuschia, teal and mint green)
1 black Casting Crowns hooded sweatshirt
1 pair black skinny jeans
1 pair black leggings (laundry)
1 pair red and black plaid leggings (laundry)
6 skirts (red and brown print, orange, white sequined, coral and green print, black and white floral – not shown, black lace panels – not shown)
1 long multicolored sweater
1 Shirt dress – teal, white and grey color block
7 T shirts (orange, sea green, green paisley, oatmeal, white – laundry, black – not shown, Jason Gray concert tee)
2 long t shirts (black, grey)
4 long tank tops (green palm trees, pink tie dye, rainbow tie dye, orange batik)
1 dressy blouse – black with red, tan and white print
3 pairs of shoes (black ballet flats, black mary jane flats, red and black plaid Airwalks)

I have to say, I am really enjoying the whole dressing 333 thing. It’s awesome to just not think about clothes on a daily basis, but then to have kind of this fun puzzle every few months to rearrange and fit my clothing needs into just 33 pieces. It is a simple, pared-down wardrobe that never overwhelms me with choice. Plus, I know exactly how every piece of clothing in my closet is going to feel on any given day, because I wear them almost every week. That is a big bonus for my Sensory Processing Systems.

Another cool thing is that my closet is half empty. Now that my other family moved out, I will have a sewing room downstairs again. So I will move my sewing machine down there. I don’t really know what to do with the other half of my empty closet. Storage is always good. It’s an odd feeling to not know what to put in a space in my house. I am usually one of those with way too much stuff for the space I have.

What can you put in one half of a standard double wide bedroom closet? Maybe a bench and some hooks to hang clothes that are not ready for the laundry yet?  I have been looking for a valet type thing. Hmmm….Time for some planning. And maybe some Pinteresting! =D

16DaysLater

 

Just kidding.

3HoursLaterHuh. If you go on Pinterest (or anywhere on the Internet) and look for closet remodel ideas, you will get, almost exclusively, ideas about how to use your closet space more wisely, pack more things in there, make more storage. There are hardly any ideas about how to use up a lot of closet space very inefficiently. Go figure.

There Can Be Only One

I started on this rabbit raising journey about 2 years ago. We got two rabbits, a black and white female Lop and a brown male of some sort. The first thing they did was make babies. Like in the car, on the way home. A few weeks later, they were born. We weren’t really prepared so only two of them lived. When those kits got old enough, we slaughtered and ate them and they were very tasty.  We bred the older bunnies again and it worked, but the mama bunny miscarried this litter. By that time, it was winter, so we decided to wait till spring to try to breed them again. But, one morning, I woke up to find the male rabbit dead in his cage.

So I purchased a breeding trio (a buck and two unrelated does) of Velveteen New Zealands from a rabbitry. They were about 3 months old at the time, so I wanted to wait till they were about 6 months old before I tried breeding them. That would put us in Spring. But, one morning, before we had a chance to breed them, I got up to find one of the does dead. Okay. We still had the other doe, so we went ahead and attempted to breed her with the buck. Twice. Nothing. Blurgh.

At this time we were keeping the rabbits in wire cages, 30 or 24 inches square and 18 inches tall. The boy always seemed a bit crazy, so I started thinking it might be the little cage. Plus, they were on our back deck and that was getting a bit hard to keep up with cleaning. So back in March, I decided that we should build a big cage and keep the three remaining bunnies all together in a big colony. The morning of the day we were going to build the new cage, I found the remaining New Zealand doe dead in her cage. *sigh*

Okay, so that leaves me with the New Zealand buck and my original black and white Lop. So we build new house, put rabbits in, both are happy. Last month, I found a rabbit for sale on Craigslist near us and so we went and picked up another doe. That was April 10. So last Wednesday, May 6, I go out in the front yard and the new bunny and the New Zealand buck are both dead.

Oreo.ForageBinI can’t figure out what’s going on. Five bunnies,over two years. Different breeds, different ages, different living conditions. All healthy and fine in the evening; dead in the morning. But how? Is it disease? Improper diet? Parasite infection? And why isn’t whatever it is taking the Lop? Should we change her name to Connor MacLeod, The Hollander? Well, the dead rabbits still had their heads, so probably not.

I have to admit, I considered just giving up. I mean, is it really worth all this pain in the neck to have rabbit meat? Maintaining cages and feeding them. Then taking care of the babies once they are born, slaughtering them. But at the end of the day, I like taking care of the bunnies. I like animals. And now that I’m getting treatment for my allergies, I can be outside more. I mean, I’m not getting allergy shots just so I can lay around on the couch and breath, right? If I’m going to fill my body with chemicals and spray salt water up my nose, I am darn well going to do the gardening I’ve always dreamed of and never been able to tolerate. So the rabbits should be healthier with food fresh from our garden and yard.

I started thinking about what I want to do. The big parts of my life are easy. I know that God wants me in BSF leadership. I know we need to stay in this house, raise these kids. I know who I am and I know the big things that God wants me to do. But then there are the things that seem to be more…up to me, I guess.What hobbies should I devote my time to? Do I want to be a “gardener,” even on a casual basis? How far do I want to go with that? Small patch? Get the back yard in order and grow stuff back there, too? Just a big patch in the front? How big do I want our rabbit operation to get? Do I really want to build a rabbit house under the porch and give them run of half the backyard? That would house dozens of rabbits. It’s possible, but do I even want that?  I don’t know.

I love the idea of a sort of homestead kind of lifestyle. At one point, my ex was looking at getting a job in a very rural town on the coast and the idea of having a little plot out in the country was very appealing. I’ve always wanted a garden. Before I was saved, I was a kitchen witch, making my own candles and dreaming of the herbs I would grow, if only I could handle being outside or around plants. Maybe it’s true that farming is in the blood. I don’t know.

On the other hand, I feel some disdain for people like that. Urban homesteaders, off-gridders, hobby farmers. People with bumper stickers that say things like “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” and “Live simply, so that others may simply live”. On one hand, it’s very personal. The idea of that lifestyle reminds me of who I was before I found Jesus. I don’t like the idea of courting that life again.  On the other hand, it’s more social. There are so many people around me, in this hippy paradise, who obviously worship their simple lifestyles and their farms and livestock. And that was me. Before.

There are things about the old person that definitely need to be removed. Pride, lust, reliance on my own ability and competence. But, maybe there are things that I can take from my old self and redeem for my new life. And maybe, I can make my yearning to tend things and take care of them and make them grow into a reality now. Maybe God’s strength can do what I could never do on my own.

Well, not maybe. Definitely. I know he can, let’s see if he will.

The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.
-Genesis 2:8-9

Summer Plans

So I have two more class meetings of BSF and then I have, basically, 16 weeks of summer break. Last year, I wanted to get a bunch of stuff done, but just having extra people in our house was so stressful to me that I only managed to do, well, nothing, really. So I think I want to have a goal in each of the three major roles of my life: Christian, wife/mother, person.

I think the best thing we can do to improve our walk with Christ is studying God’s word to know him better. I am not saying that’s the only thing that helps but I like to get right to the foundation of a thing and start from there. And, though there are other things you can do, studying God’s word is never a mistake. So I have two goals in this area: read the Bible and pray for an hour each day and get through a certain number of online Bible study classes over the three months. I don’t know how many yet. I have to figure that out in the next couple weeks before the break starts.

In the area of being a wife and mother, I want to get a routine down for my housework. I already have a routine down for the basics (dishes, laundry and – many days – dinner). I think I can do what I do now and add a household task to it everyday. Or figure out some routine with my BSF where I can get more housework done than I did this year. I think I’m going to treat my online study and Bible reading like BSF over the summer and use that to figure out how to work a housework routine around my BSF schedule.

Finally, as a person, I think my major goal is to get some writing done. I really enjoyed doing NaBloPoMo last fall. So I think I’m going to do that again except for the whole summer. Olga’s Blog Posting Summer. OlBloPoSum.

awesome-possum
Possum?

I am going to post every day for the whole BSF break. A post a day. More than that, I’m going to write every day. (Edit: I am going to write/work on my blog every day. I’m going to post as often as possible, or is expedient.)

I have a new keyboard to help me with my writing and my house has only the people in it that I am comfortable being in my house. I have two weeks to get prepared and sort of make plans while I finish up the end of BSF. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

In Autism: Routine Conquers All

Well, maybe not all, but perhaps it can conquer my executive function disorder. Or executive dysfunction, as I like to call it, since that is what it feels like. I have always felt like I don’t really need a routine or anything. I don’t like schedules. I hate time. When I try to do anything at a specific time, I inevitably miss it. I am usually late for everything. (I have that Time Agnosia thing. I simply can’t deal with time. I don’t feel it passing. I don’t know how long it takes to do things unless I actually time it with a clock. When I am doing something, I don’t know if I’ve been doing it for five hours or five minutes without a clock.  I’ve been a mom for 18 years and a person for almost 41 and I still seem to be almost completely incapable of getting us anywhere on time, no matter how much I focus on it or how much effort I put into it. Anyway, that’s not really what this is about…)

5bec4e877ef949b9bbcd39c1e4cb932eI am coming to the conclusion that I need “routine” more than I ever thought. The days when I sleep in, it becomes a chore to do the smallest thing, even if I want to do it. The monkey wrench in our lives that our house guests entail continues to throw off any sense of familiarity and routine that I had. Last week, our basement leaked and wet much of the downstairs and between the extra stress of having to worry about whether it was drying out and so many extra smells (outside water plus candles burned to cover the smell of outside water), I was pretty low on spoons all week. By the time Friday came around, I made it through my early BSF meeting but I spent the rest of the day on the couch watching Numb3rs like I had the flu. Which is kind of what I felt like.

I’m starting to realize that this is not laziness on my part. If I’m overstimulated or stressed to what feels like the point of exhaustion, it’s not just me talking myself into exhaustion so that I can get out of doing things. I’m not lazy and I don’t hate housework. Truth be told, it’s a little embarrassing to admit, I rather like housework. I like to do mindless tasks that leave my mind free to think and ponder big ideas. I like to intersperse times of problem solving with times of menial labor that allows my mind to process everything that has gone into it. For those who have never tried it, this is a pretty good description of being a housewife. So why am I so bad at it? That’s not false humility, I really am. I mean, I keep everything functioning and we usually never have things growing anywhere (barring a leaky basement growing fungus or mold), but, that’s a pretty low bar. Basically, if I get the dishes done every day and all the necessary laundry done every week, that’s really all that I can reasonably expect from myself. Wanting anything beyond that is just going to result in me beating myself up and feeling like a totally useless waste. I don’t clean bathrooms unless they’re gross and the fancy takes me. I don’t vacuum unless someone is coming over even though I have pretty noticeable dust allergies. I just can’t get started. 973ff9da48c742f0bd5d9450d260eac2

But I think one of the things that I like about doing dishes and laundry is that I have a routine for those things. When I am doing them, I feel like I am where I am supposed to be and then my mind even likes to take it to all the generations of women who have done this very thing before me. It’s like the most beautiful cross-generational rut ever. So, maybe if I get a routine going for cleaning the bathrooms and the upholstery and other things that carry dust – which would probably really help my quality of life and not just be an aesthetic thing – maybe I could get that done. If I could get some kind of routine down for grocery shopping and menu planning and did it so that everyone would eat but our diet 3808f5ac9d4a47dd8ca17ee03f2998b3could still be mostly wheat-free – another thing that would really improve my quality of life by cutting out more allergens and reducing the strain on my system – maybe I could get that done. I think I just need to put my mind to it, get a system in place and then work the system till it becomes automatic. Alternating times of problem solving with times of menial labor. You know, like playing to my own strengths to give myself the best chance of succeeding? Hm. Novel idea.

I think rather than a schedule, I need to make a routine for each day and put each thing into that routine. The first thing I do every day after taking my husband to the bus and getting breakfast for Joseph, if necessary, is put in a load of laundry and do the dishes. Well, those are the first things I do every *good* day. =) It is ridiculous what an amazing sense of accomplishment I get just from doing what I plan to do. Then after I do the dishes and put in a second load of laundry, I do whatever BSF I have to do. Then after that…well, it kind of falls apart. I think I need to add more to the routine I already have. But I can’t make it time dependent, otherwise, I just fall apart if I get late or something keeps me from getting things done on time. And, apparently, I need visual reminders. At least, that’s what all the tips for overcoming executive dysfunction suggest. I have to admit, I do usually do better when things are right out in the open. Which is why it would probably be a good idea to have fewer things. =) But that’s a post for another day…

Some Days Are Coal

Some days are coal

Most days, I really like being a homemaker, a mother, a wife. But, some days, it just comes right up in my face how bad I am at it. I mean, I am terrible at housework. I am not organized. I don’t like to cook. I am a terrible money manager with very poor discipline. I have a real deficit when it comes to executing hygiene and maintenance tasks and now my life is almost entirely made up of that. God has an awesome sense of humor and an amazing way of sanctifying us through whatever we encounter.

Yesterday, I went shopping with the kids. I went to Fred Meyer to get gift cards. I didn’t get any rewards points for most of them. Which is a little disappointing, since that was the whole reason for buying them. I went to Target and one of the gift cards that I got from past deals didn’t work. Then I went to Cash n Carry. I couldn’t find my chicken and I picked up the wrong box of hot dogs. Oh, and I returned on Sunday after deciding that the money would be better spent somewhere else and that hasn’t credited to my bank account yet. It just feels like, even when I make good plans (which I’m not that good at, either), they seem to fall through. I know it’s not always, but sometimes. And when it does, it’s just very discouraging.

I know it’s not any kind of indication that I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing. I know this is where God wants me. The fact that I am feeling attacked at this point only confirms it. I just came off two really hard weeks. We had some things come up with our oldest daughter. Then with our middle kid. Which I may write about later. Or not. The emotional wringer and conviction of that whole thing left me just wanting to lay around and stare at the wall or the tv. But I had to teach Bible lesson two weeks in a row to make up for when I stayed home after taking Joseph to get teeth pulled. Which was also fairly stressful. All on top of the continued stress of having my brother-in-law and his kids living with us. So I get through my two hard BSF weeks, and I come out on the other side with some good insights about how I write lessons and how I can arrange my schedule a bit better. And then, I get new discouragement about my vocation at home.

I know that work at home is important. I know that many Biblical women never did anything but raise children and God blessed them and we still honor them. Heck, many people downright idolize Mary. I know in my heart that God values mothers and the work that they do. I know that taking care of my son is important and that this is the only way he does as well as he is doing. But, some days, I think it might be nice to have something else to do. It might be nice to have somewhere to go each morning. To know that the things I do make a difference in the world beyond these walls.

I know I made my world small and usually it is just the right size for me. Other days, cozy, comfortable and familiar get to be claustrophobic.

Hmm. I guess sometimes my blogging is about deep theological thoughts. Sometimes it’s about interesting journeys through changing my environment. Sometimes it’s just free therapy. =) See y’all tomorrow.

Update: The payment on the things I returned on Sunday just cleared today. That doesn’t make me feel better about all the deals that didn’t go through on Tuesday, but it will help get us to next payday. The Lord does provide in all circumstances.

Meanwhile, Back in The Bedroom

This is not going to be nearly as racy as that title makes it sound. And that is saying a lot.

I took a mental health day today. I didn’t do nothing but I did try not to think too hard all day. It mostly worked. The kids are at their bio-dad’s house, so we went to the orchard and picked about 90 lbs. of apples. Then we got 5 Guys for lunch and went grocery shopping. I did pretty good couponing, saved about 40% and got gift cards for fast food that earned gas reward points. Yum. =) Then I came home and worked on my bedroom. My plan is to declutter each room starting with my bedroom. Then, as the rooms are decluttered, I will get a cleaning routine going in each one, building up in baby steps until I have a whole house routine going. We’ll see how it goes and if it sticks. =D

So in my bedroom I started with my wardrobe. I have to say I love, love, love my pared down closet. It is so nice to wake up and look in a half full closet. I had no idea! And now I’m moving clockwise around to what I call the “front wall” because it is in front of me when I am sitting on my bed. Also, it’s our main accent wall, so it’s the front.

Anyway, this is what the front wall of my bedroom used to look like:

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I got rid of the dresser the same day I was doing my Project 333 declutter. Later, I went through and got rid of the laundry basket and the various other things. Today, I bagged up some blankets and did a very thorough dust mopping and sweeping. And now it looks like this:

2014-11-08 18.16.52

It’s kind of dark and blurry, but I think you get the point. Nice, clean, nowhere to pile junk. Yay. I keep getting more and more excited about this whole decluttering/simplifying thing. I’m not pressuring myself to do some every day, I just get to it when I feel like it and I have done some probably 4 or 5 out of the last 7 days. Not a lot, but at least one small task. I’m learning that things can done in small increments, as well as large, so that is good. Also, if I just do it when I feel like it and don’t beat myself up for the times when I don’t, I actually feel like it quite a lot of the time.