This Bird Does It

Librarian ramblings

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Just to share a bit…

In my attempt to remember all the things I think I want to write about, maybe I’ll just share some of the things that have inspired me this week. There have been several smart blog posts by cool women I don’t actually know, but some are friends of friends. You should read them, too.

Why I am the perfect mother, by Emily Willingham. Because we moms are ridiculously hard on ourselves, even when we’re not, and then we’re even harder on other moms.

So Sorry, by Koz. Because I’m sick of the non-apology, too.

Worst End of Year Mom Ever, by Jen Hatmaker.  Okay, this one is from last spring, but I rolled so much reading it that I had to reread it this week. It’s good to remind me where we’re headed. But for now, it’s fall and I’m still a rock star.


There were some news articles I was going to share, but we’ve got such a nice theme going here, I think I’ll leave it at that. Really, you should read these. Very cool, and very entertaining.



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Fall Cleaning!

Who needs spring cleaning? Fall makes much more sense to me! This is the week my kids really hate. School starts next Wednesday for them, but this last full week of vacation is the one with the  most whining. This week I will make everyone deep clean their rooms, with my oversight and assistance, and readjust everyone’s sleep schedule. The only thing they hate more than cleaning their rooms is when Mom “helps” and makes them do it right. And beyond that, the only thing they hate more is a reasonable bedtime.

I tend to be very lax about bedtime in the summer. When I see everyone getting crazy overtired and whiny again, I back it up to 8:00 again, but for the most part, the big kids are allowed to stay up as late as they like, but only if they’re reading in bed by 9:00. It works out well for all of us. We have to watch the Girlie Bird, though. She’s been known to still be reading at midnight. Middle Bird almost always has the light out by 10:00, but a solid hour of reading each night, for a boy as dedicated as he is to his video games is a good thing!

20130812_091158 (1)The rooms are a mess. They look okay when you first step in, there are plenty of areas to walk, and I regularly yell at them about dirty clothes, since I still do everyone’s laundry. It’s the desks that are a primary issue. Talking about fourth grade with several other moms in the neighborhood who have been through it, I’ve learned that it’s the heaviest load of homework. Since my girl can already take 20 minutes of homework and turn it into three hours, we have got to have a strategy! Step one is to turn that desk into an actual work zone. Won’t hurt to tackle the big boy’s desk, either. Might as well get a better handle on his homework habits, too.

Okay, so looking at Girlie’s, it’s not too bad. It’s not homework ready, either. I’ve promised to buy a desk calendar, and Grandma is on board to buy some kind of pencil cup and paper stacker. Making it feel like a real work space is the goal. So there’s that.

20130812_091316The boy’s desk is just full. Having a real book shelf over it has made it more difficult. The books are now spilling off and onto the work surface. Cleaning that out and making it a work surface is the goal. He’s much less impressed with office supplies, so we should be able to just clean it up and make him work there. Fingers crossed. Last year I often found him working on his knees at his old train table, now used mostly for LEGO play. It’s better than lying on his back on the bed, but still not ideal.

Then it’s on to bathroom cleaning. All the bathrooms are filthy. I wipe down the toilets with Clorox wipes regularly, but the amount of hair on the floor in the master bathroom is astonishing. My dear husband managed to make an offer I can’t refuse (and to do it in a totally non-offensive accusatory you-should-have-done-it-already manner, I might add). I will get the counters and toilets cleaned, and he’ll do the floors. Deal. This may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Now, if you follow me on Facebook you already know, but we spent a good portion of the week working on the family room. Before pictures didn’t really come out well, but the walls are painted paneling. The color was just dirty white. I think they were going for a sort of beige, but it just came out dirty and flat. There was a large spot, five feet tall by maybe two feet wide, on one wall that had never been painted after the paneling was primered. They just hadn’t moved the bookshelf with the TV on it when they painted. UGH! Of course, we’d lived here for over four years and never fixed it, so double UGH! I chose a pale French blue and started on Monday. I’m a pretty good painter, I must say, so I move along fairly quickly. I don’t bother with taping, so I knocked out the walls between dinner and bedtime. That just left the brick monstrosity of the far wall.

20130806_173044Posting this picture on Facebook and announcing my plans to paint the whole thing white, I was shocked that so many people tried to stop me. I guess it just doesn’t translate well to pictures so you’re all going to have to just take my word for it. This wall sucks. Being a room that’s so lacking in natural light, it needs lightening up anyway, but the dark blob at the end of the room, stretching from end to end, really gives the illusion of making the room shorter. When you walk in there, it feels like the ceiling is coming down on your head! The bricks themselves are not attractive. In discussions with a master mason who did some repair work on the outside of our house, we determined that the most likely source for these recycled bricks was a building in German Village. In the late 60s, as that area underwent a lot of revitalization, some buildings were torn down, and the bricks just left in piles. Builders were sometimes invited to take what they liked. This house was built in 1971. The bricks weren’t fit for structural building, but as decorative bricks they were fine. Today, though, they are crumbling. I’m not thrilled about the 70s vibe that the shape of the fireplace gives off anyway, so by giving them a clean, white paint job, I will drag this room into the 21st century. There are still curtains to make and pictures to hang, but I’m thrilled with the results. Between primer coats and actual painting, it took a full four days to get it done, but at last it is done!


In another week or two, I’ll be able to put things on that tiny mantle. The room feels much better, though it may smell like Killz fumes for months!

We also got the basement cleaned out yesterday, making my husband a happy bird. He stresses about that sort of thing. I’ll spare you the pictures, but it is better. Back to school mode in full swing around here!


One Busy Summer

So many things happened this summer that I wanted to talk about and it all just got away from me. I was so crazy busy there was never time to write about any of them. I had visceral reactions to many of the news stories of the summer and I wanted to take the time to flesh it out here, but I didn’t dare stop and take the time. I barely kept my head above water for the month of June, and July wasn’t much better. I wish I’d taken the time to just jot down some notes about the high points, but eh, it’s over.

Having taken just the one class in the spring, trying to ease back into the whole academic life, I figured I would up it to two classes and try to take at least two at a time until I finish. Somehow I failed to properly plan for the fact that summer classes are generally accelerated a bit. Normally 12 week classes are condensed to fit a shorter schedule. Yeah. I took one class condensed to FIVE weeks, and another to EIGHT weeks. They started on the same day, just 10 days after the kids got out of school. I must have been momentarily insane when I signed up for that. I don’t actually know what I was thinking. It hadn’t been THAT tough taking the one class. I got the work done, everyone lived. But there had been at least a few hours a week of quiet around here. Not so much when school is out. These kids, oh, dear Lord, these kids are loud. Together, apart, when sleeping, they are just loud. Naturally, brilliantly, annoyingly, maddeningly LOUD. You can give it prettier words like boisterous, or exuberant, but it all boils down to loud.

Now, those of you who know me in real life better just wipe that smug grin off your face. Yes, I know I am not a meek or quiet person. I am fully aware of all the people I’ve driven mad with my noisy ways over the years. I know that these children get these tendencies honestly and all of that. But really? Please? Just a few minutes a day of slightly lowered noise level? Please?

And don’t forget that both big kids played ball in June, and Annie’s season ran into July. Multiple games and practices each week, plus all the usual life stuff that mom has to do to keep everyone clean, fed, clothed, and not tripping over piles of our own crap. I had help from my parents, who took kids together and separately at various times all summer, but still! All I’m saying is that this summer has been a bitch!

See? We got to see the 2013 Butter Cow at the Ohio State Fair!

See? We got to see the Butter Cow at the Ohio State Fair!

Here’s the good news, though. I did it. We all survived. And I think I even got As in both classes, but one just ended yesterday, so grades aren’t in, yet. I’ll know for sure by the end of Tuesday. Both kids had wonderful ball seasons. We made it to the State Fair. We had a lovely Fourth of July. We even made it to church a few times. Once, I took all three of them to the pool for the afternoon, and I liked it. Now I’m on the other side and looking back. There’s really nothing like being at the finish line (even if it’s just a sort of sub-finish line) and looking back with amazement. I’m feeling good about the accomplishment and I’m thinking that fall is going to be wonderful.

I love fall.  I mean, I REALLY love fall. I always have. The smells, the colors, the clothes, the weather, school starting, the beginning of the push to the holidays, all of it. Maybe it’s because my birthday is in October? I don’t know, but I love it. So now that I finished summer classes, I am looking forward to a couple weeks off, with the kids still out of school, but I can’t wait to get back at it with the fall. The kids go back on the 20th, I start up on the 26th. Naturally I have a long list of projects I’d like to tackle around the house before going back, things to paint, or clean out, or whatever, but when I’m being realistic I know I’d be happy to just get all the bathrooms cleaned at the same time and the laundry caught up.

And I wanted to write about hipsters tonight.  The topic has come up in a couple different contexts lately. I’ve had a few separate conversations about it and I was going to share my thoughts. Eh, I’m tired. Maybe tomorrow.