Naturally, cleaning is on our minds this time of year.  The sun is finally shining through the windows which suddenly highlights all the gook that’s been hiding in the corners (and streaking the windows and dangling from the ceilings and gracing our floors).  Spring Cleaning schedules are shared all over the place online and each time I open Pinterest every other “Recommended for You” pin is related to cleaning and organizing.  Which I actually love!  And I appreciate all the smart tips and tricks and reminders of what to clean that I’ve received in those places.  But I want to share with you my best cleaning tip.

Here it is.

Get really excited about the new cleaning products you’ve purchased and guaranteed, your children will be begging to use them.  Okay… maybe not guaranteed, but it worked like a charm in my house.

I was at the store replenishing my supply of replacement Swiffer duster heads and saw the Swiffer duster with the extending arm.  It was on sale and since I already LOVE how will the Swiffer I own dusts, I thought this one would surely amaze, too.

My boys were of course with me in the store and I excitedly told them of how the arm extends on this thing so I’ll be able to reach the tops of the doors and window trim and Walt (our elk head shown above) … I was genuinely excited, but I know how their little minds work!  My excitement was contagious and soon all three were asking, “Can I try it first??”  and “Can I carry it?” and saying “I’ll do upstairs and you guys and split down stairs … or you can do downstairs and you can do the basement!”

In the grocery store, the Swiffer Extender immediately turned into a sword, but once we got it home and out of the packaging, I actually had to compromise with them over who got to use it first.  Glorious.

And with my boys, when a challenge is part of the cleaning or a little bit of competition, the task gets done quicker, which is just what happened here!

I’m not (obviously) endorsed by Swiffer, but these things are legit in actually grabbing dust and in my wood-burning-furnace-sitting-on-a-gravel-driveway-house there is a lot of dust to grab.  Most dusters I’ve used just push the dust around … this one really does grab it and not let go until you shake it profusely.  I am a fan for sure.

My boys generally don’t mind working, but they’ll actually get excited about it when I’m excited about it.  You should have seen their excitement for the new cordless hand-vac that I got after learning there is such a thing.  Cooper practically vacuumed my entire car because he thought the pivoting head was so cool. ;)

I can’t wait to see their enthusiasm for washing the windows when I finally (after nearly 10 years of living here) invest in a long handled squidgy/brush thing!  Since it will resemble a gigantic light-saber, I don’t think I’ll have to ask these boys twice to scrub some windows for me. :D

Happy weekend! <3 

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  • Carol - What a great way to get the kids involved! Your future daughters-in-law are going to be very thankful that their mother-in-law got her sons to clean!!! :-)ReplyCancel

Have you seen the show on Animal Planet about unlikely animal friends?  I feel like Charlie is on his way there with our chicks.  Er, his chicks.  He loves them.  He’s always so interested in what they are doing and loves to lick under their wings.  I can see that he desperately wants to play in his Charlie way with them, but so far has held himself back. ;)  I can tell by just looking at this image that he wants to scoop the chickie up onto his nose and toss it in the air, but thank goodness he has some self-restraint.  Not enough self-restraint for us to trust him alone with them, yet, but we’re getting there. :)

He has to take a break from the chicks so he can go crazy a bit … I think he wants to play with the chicks like he plays with his tail …

Then, he can settle down to love on them some more.   To be honest, we do have to throw out a stern, “Charlie, you leave it…” when we see him looking at the chickie with his ears perked and his head tilted to the side and his tail wagging just a little too much.

I’ve been thinking that it is a good thing that mama chickens don’t seem too attached to their babies or else they’d be mighty sad about how quickly these guys grow up.  Remember this little chipmunk chick?


Look at her now!

I no longer think it is crazy that Kaden grew 2 inches in one year since this chickie grew about 5 in 2 weeks. ;)

I hope your Wednesday is great … the week’s half way over!  <3 


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  • Mom - Oh, Charlie Barlie…what a wonderful pup! I smiled seeing Doot in the background trying to help the chick fly! :) What fun for all!!
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

Life is noisy.  From the literal noise of 3 little boys with me 24-7 to the noise of social media and the turbulent push and pull of the world we live in, the noise can consume me.  “Noise” for me comes in many forms beyond just sound and messages.  It comes in the form of disorder, the unexpected, the busyness, and messes.  Maybe some people thrive off of the energy and buzz of life whirling around them, but not me.  As a ‘sensitive parent’ I’ve had to recognize my quirk and figure out ways to not let it consume me.  Or my boys.  Because it would be easy to think that being this way means I’m uptight and I’d have to restrict my boys from being boys in order to maintain my sanity.  Thankfully, that’s not so.  ;)  And here are some ways that I help the noise in my brain calm down, while not pushing my heightened sensitivity onto others in my family.

1)  I limit social media…  I’m on my own Facebook Business Page, my blog, and Clickin Moms.  I don’t post to my personal page of Facebook anymore other than tagging myself in my ‘Business’ posts and I have a shortcut key on my toolbar that takes me directly to my own FB homepage so I avoid the news-feed.  I will browse the news-feed occasionally but if I go there first, 15 minutes goes by in about 10 seconds and soon I’ve forgotten my own post and my head starts spinning a bit.

Also regarding FB, I have unfollowed many ‘friends’.  I’m so sorry to say that!  During the initial flare of FB’s popularity, I’d accept friend requests and friend those suggested right and left.  Well, now … eek … I hate to say it, but I limited those I see in my news-feed to just those who I interact with or who have interacted with me.

Organizing how I follow my blogs has helped, too.  I’ve limited the blogs I follow to those that encourage, instruct, and support … and then read through them daily with Feedly.  I’ve heard that blogs are a dying social media outlet, but boy do I appreciate blogs!  Facebook goes too fast for me since I just check in a few times a week and the posts there are choppy and random.  Blogs though … the ones I follow … feel like I’m hanging out with friends whom I admire, relate to and aspire to be more like.  I appreciate a dose of that daily.  And I love that with Feedly, the posts just sit there and wait patiently until I have time to soak them in.

2)  I get up early…  Well, earlier than my boys.  I LOVED this post by Kat Lee over on The Art of Simple and how she says she wakes up FOR her life not TO her life.  I can SO relate to her message!  It sums up how getting up early is such a blessing to me, too.  I need to get up before “life” is actually happening.  Before the boys are running around the house and asking me for breakfast.  Or fighting.  Or making up games.  Or wrestling the dogs.  Truly, beginning with NO noise (other than the pounding of my heart and panting of my breath while I work out) has made ALL the difference in the world for keeping a sense of quiet throughout my day. 

3) I use a timer… This helps quiet the noise of my voice … nagging and reminding the boys, and myself, that it is time to move on with our tasks.  If I’m giving us a 15 minute warning before it is time to start school, I set the kitchen timer.  If I’m giving us 20 minutes after we finish lunch before getting back to school, I set a timer.  If we need to get moving out the door in a half-hour to run errands, I set a timer.  So that I am not the one hollering when the time is UP.  The boys, and I, hear my voice enough in the day and they just respond to the timer telling them time is up better than me telling them.  And that produces efficiency in the day, and that in turn produces less noise in the day.  Voila.

5)  I garden…  Ahh …. just saying that makes me feel like I can take in a deep breath and experience the calm.  Getting outside and digging in the dirt is definitely one of my Spring/Summer/Fall ways of blocking out the world’s noise and turn down that of my own life.  The boys can be whizzing past me on their bikes or running in circles with Charlie on the lawn next to me and I’m still immersed in my own little world of foliage and pulling weeds.  I love it.  Most of the time, though, when it is gardening time, the boys sense the calm, too, and build their forts, swing on their swings, or climb trees.  All ways that they bring a bit of calm into their own lives, too.

6)  Sometimes, I actually just block out the noise … brace yourself for thinking I’m weird, but sometimes I’ll go into my bathroom and turn on my hairdryer just to listen to the hum and feel the warm air blow on my hands and it soothes me.  This is how I sometimes block out the actual noise in my day.  My active boys can get me a little on edge from time to time, and for whatever reason this helps bring me back.  Turning on my space heater helps, too … it actually helps me think while I’m writing (it is right now!) and it helps the boys while they are concentrating on schoolwork.  It starts at infancy, but white noise is the real-deal when it comes to focus and calming one down.

7)  I communicate my need for the noise to mellow … I don’t always understand or predict what will make me feel frazzled or overwhelmed during the day, so I can’t always do something to prevent it from happening.  If I start to feel a little twitchy or heavy chested (I literally will feel short of breath) from being overwhelmed, I tell the boys that Mama needs a minute of quiet.  They TOTALLY get it.  Thank the Lord they are sensitive to how I’m doing and they’ll calm down or give me a few minutes of quiet just so I can regain my composure.  If they don’t, I’ll resort to number 6. ;)  They also love to be outside so instead of rushing outside with them, I’ll just let them know that I’m going to hang out inside for a minute before I join them.

8)  I spend time in the Word…. reading my Bible is one of my best ways to calm the noise of the world.  If I focus on the creator of the world, rather than this fallen creation, it helps.  If I read the struggles and determination of the disciples, it helps.  If I read of Jesus’ humility and love, it helps.  It brings everything into perspective, from my children to my parenting to the chaos that abounds.

9)  I don’t watch the news … rarely, if ever do I turn on the news.  I think I’ve talked about this before, but my goodness.  I know of the pain and suffering and brokenness that fills our world.  When I watch it on TV it goes from being something I know to something that I feel internally and maybe this makes me sound incredibly shallow but I just can’t do it.  I fester on the problems I see, they consume me, I have nightmares about them, and it negatively impacts how I function.  The fallen world is always on my prayer list, but something about SEEING it on the news is extremely hard for me, as a “sensitive person” to move on from.

10) I limit our runnin’ around … This was a decision Matt and I made long before I recognized all of this about my personality, but limiting our comings and goings has been vital.  How often we go to town in the week is minimal, we haven’t involved our boys in organized sports yet, and we don’t pack our week nights and weekends with activities away from home.  One of our goals for our children’s young lives has been that their childhoods would be family-home centered and working towards that has definitely limited the noise that crazy schedules can create.  I often wonder if it also fuel’s our inability to function well when life does occasionally get busy, so it’s a balance.  Thankfully, all 5 of us are on the same page though, that chillin’ out here at home, doing life as we do it, is what’s best for us right now.

I know these options aren’t for everyone, which is why I don’t present them as advice. ;)  Simply as sharing.  <3  One other thing … I tell myself, in my head, that “it is okay” a lot.  If the boys are building another fort in the living room I just cleaned or if they left out the moon sand all over the table again or stuffed their dirty outside clothes into their jammie shelf (again), I just tell myself “It is okay.”  Three magic little words, along with a few deep breaths, bring things in my overly sensitive mind back into perspective.  Because my goodness …. really.  It IS okay.

Ooh, I should add a Number 11 … shooting Macro definitely helps calm the noise.  It’s not referred to ‘Macro Therapy’ for nothing. ;)

Enjoy your Monday, friends!  I hope your week is off to a great start. :) 

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  • Mom - Oh, you know yourself so well! You are so blessed to have such support from Matt and understanding from GCK. I love, love, love the macro shots.
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Carol - I love to find the quiet in my garden too. Love that your boys can be sensitive to their mom’s needs. I have a macro lens so I will have to use it more to get some of that macro therapy!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - Awesome post. I enjoyed reading it. I have one daughter and even with just her the noise can be a little much. More than once I have used earplugs to dull the noise while she screams at me so I can make dinner. Glad to know I’m not the only one that sometimes just needs the noise to mellow.ReplyCancel

  • Candy - This post is beautiful- the words and the macros, and just as beautiful is your mom’s comment… what a blessing!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - I love this post. Thank you for sharing. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Aly - Thank you for sharing. I’ve added a couple things to my list of things to implement because I’ve discovered I’m a “sensitive” parent too. Love your blog!ReplyCancel

Back and forth, back and forth my family has gone for the past 3 weeks.  Three weeks ago we drove up to Seattle (3.5 hours), then they all came down here, then this past weekend we went back up.  This time for one of my cousin’s wedding receptions … which, I don’t have any photos of.  I left my camera at my parents’ thinking, “Eh, 6pm party … the light will be awful (and a number of other reasons).”  Wrong.  Between the empty Tacoma sidewalks, windy but beautiful weather, huge windows in the reception hall … AH!  It would have been a fabulous time to have my camera with me, but I’m trying not to beat myself up over it. ;)

Anyway… here are some from our trip …

Gage’s view …

Mama’s view …

My brother’s family’s new pup.  She is a keeper.

And my brother’s boys … they are keepers too.

Every time I visit my parents’, waking up in my old bedroom is still such a treat. ;)  Even with the bright yellow walls that my mom somehow let me paint way back when.

It’s always a favorite activity for my boys to look through my dad’s display case.  It hold so many treasures that he has made and several that he has collected over the years.



My dad … I learned that a friend of mine’s father passed away the day before and I immediately felt the need to photograph my dad.  Even if he was just chopping onions.  Actually, him chopping onions, being in the kitchen was perfect.  This is SO very much my dad.

Always with a coffee mug nearby.

Also very much my dad?  Finding things that are SUPER special and fun for my boys to do.  Like teach Gage how to drive the riding lawn-mower and letting him give the littler guys rides.

He and Cooper took turns doing laps around the yard, while the littles played under the camper.  Logically, that’s where they’d play. 

And while all that was going on, Matt was studying.  While the little frog statues looked on.

And while that was going on, my dad was busy frying chicken.  My boys’ favorite Papa-food.

And while he fried, they moved from the mower to the other sets of wheels.

After lunch (no photos of that … who wants to watch us eat fried chicken?) back onto the bikes and eating jelly beans … a favorite Papa-treat.

We lingered as long as we could on this Sunday afternoon before making our drive south.  Homeward.  I know that this … our house in Oregon … is my home.  But this home, where I grew up, it is still so very much my home too, that it always hurts to leave.  But that hurt is good because it just means we’ll be all the more excited when it comes time to go back.  Back up i-5, to Grammie and Papa’s we’ll go.  <3

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  • Mom - What a fun, family-filled weekend. I love being able to re-live it as many times as I want to by visiting your blog. Wonderful photos and a lovely tribute to your dad!
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

My mornings typically go like this:  wake up, surprised I slept through my husband getting ready and leaving for work.  Convince myself that working out will start my day off right and even though sleeping is so much more desirable, I roll out of bed and get my work-out on.

Onto coffee …

It used to be that I could get my coffee, read my Bible, even blog and work on CM for a bit before the house would stir.  But lately, as soon as my coffee starts to brew a little blondie emerges from his room and thunders down the stairs.

I admit … I used to be a little disappointed.  Starting the day off with that quiet time was always so good for me.

But, of course, it wasn’t the only good way my morning could start.

And certainly, spending time alone with this little man and letting him know that I would joyfully start my morning with him is way more powerful than having alone time and insisting he stay in bed for longer.

Eventually, our time is no longer just ours …

… and sometimes my ‘no electronics’ before school rule is broken.

I’m so glad when God shifts my hard-headed, sometimes stubborn self to see a new perspective on something I thought was the end-all-be-all for what’s ideal in my life.  Yes, I’m grateful for the mornings when everyone sleeps in and the day starts a little more gradually, but how silly would I be to be anything but welcoming of a chance to start my day cuddling with one of my boys?  I’d be crazy.  ;)


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  • Mom - Wonderful, heartfelt post. And beautiful photos. You look a lot better than I feel in the mornings when the three of them jump into bed with me to watch Wild Kratts and Curious George when they are at Papa and Grammie’s house. :) Yes, Cooper is a cuddly guy!ReplyCancel