Before and After

Look at these pictures of our bedroom. Can you tell which are the before and which are the after?

Today I slaved away the whole dang day cleaning our bedroom from top to bottom. We've been so busy lately that unfortunately our bedroom became the holding place of random Junk To Be Dealt With. Our bedroom was a total total mess. I'm going to bare all here and admit that it almost looked as bad as some of those Hoarders on that show, Hoarders. Most of the time we had to step carefully to make it to the bed. I just want you to understand the magnitude of my undertaking today. Because not only did I clean it all up, I CLEANED it all up. No temporary putting places. No piles to be dealt with later. No hidden closet disaster mess. No shove things in another room and clean that room another day. I cleaned the bedroom, I cleaned and organized the closet, and I put things away properly. Everything. It was a masterpiece. It was wonderful. It was perfect.

Have you guessed yet that those nice lovely pictures you see are the BEFORE pictures?

Murray came home late tonight, which gave me the time I needed to have everything in order for the Big Reveal. He was appropriately grateful and impressed. And then as I settled down into the bed, ready to relax for the evening, I told him the bad news.

In dusting our bed headboard (which is essentially a bookshelf), the remote for our ceiling fan/light fell behind the headboard and got stuck. We need this remote. We rely on this remote. And without the remote, the light/fan is stuck on its current settings. In this case, lights off.

I had tried myself to get it unstuck. A hanger wouldn't reach. Neither would the rod that opens and closes our blinds. A broom stick could reach it but didn't solve the problem and in fact may have gotten it more stuck. (Actually, in this process, the lights turned on.)

So Murray and I got to work together, trying to solve the problem of the stuck remote. I'll spare you ALL the details but suffice it to say that nothing could be done but to actually take our mattress off the bed, empty the under bed storage of all its books (our bed is essentially a library), pull the bed frame out from the headboard, and then rock the headboard until the remote finally got unstuck and fell out the bottom. (The fan had turned itself off during the unwedging attempts, so we were doing all of this in the dark and with no fan.)

Our neighbors, I'm sure, thought we were having an extremely fun evening.

On the bright side, I had been saving "clean under the bed" for a later chore, but we did that tonight too.

So, two hours after starting to retrieve the remote, our bedroom looks like the before pictures again. Phew. There was no way I was going to go to sleep without reachieving my peaceful wonderful bedroom sanctuary. And we are relaxing under a great fan with a nice working light. Yay for us! The whole house is thisclose to being perfect!!

-- Posted from my iPhone, with apologies for any typos.

More on Sleeping

Murray and I have worked out a work schedule where I go to our studio MWF and he goes TTh. That way, we both get to have full days with Gulliver and we both get to work. It's really great, and I think it also helps you to make the most of your days as a full-time parent, too.

Today Gulliver and I had a great day. There really wasn't anything out of the ordinary or super special about today, but it was just a really great day. I love spending time with Gulliver. He is such a sweet boy. (He does have a temper, by the way, which my mother pointed out, not that I wasn't aware of it... but his tantrums are very short-lived.) He is very affectionate. He gives kisses and hugs and is basically the best boy in the whole world.

Tonight I let Gulliver stay up a little extra late. (Which might actually mean he gets up earlier in the morning... I hate that.) And then the craziest thing happened. Before I tell you, I'll at least let you know that the going to bed has been consistently good. Most nights he doesn't cry more than two syllables. We warm up a bottle for him, take him upstairs, change him, rock him, give him the bottle, tell him stories, let him hold Grover, and generally get him very very sleepy. And then we can put him in the crib sitting up, and he's usually okay.

Tonight was a new breakthrough. I warmed up his bottle and he clearly understood what was going on, and immediately turned away from the kitchen and headed towards the stairs. (This in stark contrast to a week or so ago when Murray was trying to grab him for bedtime, and he kept running away and hiding behind me, clutching my legs, with his wee nose between my bum cheeks---also clearly aware of exactly what was going on.) Gulliver went up the stairs and I followed. He went to his bedroom. I changed his diaper with no complaint from him, I got him into his pajamas, and then I rocked with him and talked with him. I told him all about our day today and all the fun things we did, and when I said that we went to the studio to see Dada, he repeated Dada several times, and he talked to me about as much as I was talking to him, all in the sweetest baby whisper voice you have ever heard. Ever.

And then I put him in his crib with Grover and his other friends, and there was absolutely NO complaint from Gulliver.

So. That's the breakthrough. Gulliver basically initiated his own bedtime routine instead of trying to run away from it. This is a big deal for me!

Gulliver Loves

Well it's high time for a Gulliver Loves post. Don't think that we've been too busy to enjoy good quality time with Gulliver! We are loving every day with our little man and say to ourselves all the time how lucky we are to be his parents and how much we love parenthood. So here's the latest. Oh, and by the way, he is now 17 months.

Gulliver loves stacking and nesting toys. I just bought him some stacking/nesting cups from IKEA for $2.50 and it has been money well spent.

Gulliver loves outside. We need to make sure he gets lots of play time outside. He loves balls and says "ball!" every time he sees one, which includes driving past the UVU electronic sign on university parkway, which flashes the image of a basketball, and pulling into my brother's driveway, since there are balls and play things in the yard. In fact, Gulliver has started saying "ball" when we get off the freeway, on our way to my brother's house. Because Gulliver is a genius baby.

Gulliver loves strawberries and bananas.

Gulliver loves giving kisses and hugs, which he will do by request.

Gulliver doesn't love getting in trouble. He is a very sensitive soul and if he realizes that he's hurt you, he will cry. His little quivering chin, which is reserved only for guilt-induced crying, is pretty much the most adorable thing I have ever seen.

Gulliver still loves my unlockable baking cupboard.

Gulliver loves going up and down stairs like a big boy, which means that he'll go up or down normally, but holding my hand. Otherwise, he goes backwards and is very very good on the stairs. In fact, for the most part, we have stopped using the baby gate. I love it when he sees a step that he's going to want to get down, and starts moving backwards for several feet in anticipation of the step.

Gulliver loves his cousins. We are very happy to live near his cousins on both sides. They love to see him and he loves to see and play with them!

Gulliver loves some of the applications I put on my iPad for him. However, he pretty much hates my favorite one. It is a matching game with fun music, great graphics, and terrifying animal noises. He backs away from me any time I open up that app. As soon as I change it, he comes near again and plays.

Gulliver loves chocolate chips. He bounces and shuffles and makes excited noises any time I take them out. (see also, Gulliver loves baking cupboard)

Gulliver loves praying, which is also pretty much the most adorable thing ever. Usually he clasps his baby hands but tonight, he was folding his arms, bowing his head, closing his eyes, and peeking while speaking gibberish.

Gulliver loves talking. Most of it is gibberish, but there sure is a steady stream of it.

Gulliver loves his belly button. And I love him showing it to me, so I ask to see it several times a day. The other day, he stole my small stepping stool, put it in front of the full length mirror, climbed on top, and pulled up his shirt so that he could stare at his own belly button.

Gulliver says...

SHOE whenever we get his shoes on or off.

CHEESE whenever I offer him cheese.

CRACKER, which still means milk, or cracker.

COOKIE, but only in reference to Cookie Monster.

DADA, especially when we are walking into the master bedroom to wake dada up.

BUPA for his Grandpa. He even says this when we pull up in front of their house.

WHAT? I've decided that I'd like to claim this as my name, since he says it all the time, but never calls me mama. Gulliver says what whenever the phone rings, and randomly throughout the day. He doesn't say "Do what?" as often anymore, but it's almost as if the "what" has really become more of a question and more urgent.

OOOOO? Whenever he's pretending to be on the phone. The other day, he found a jump drive and pretended that was a phone.

TICKLE, which he pronounces CACOL and makes a tickling motion on his body. This comes from reading books with his grandma.

NOH, which actually means NOSE. He rounds his mouth very exaggeratedly when doing this.

BALL, although he can't say the LLs, so it is pronounced with a slight W sound at the end.

We adore every precious minute of having him in our lives!!

-- Post From My iPad, with apologies for the typos and for the self righteousness of admitting I have an iPad.


I know, I know. I've been an inactive blogger. Recently, Murray and I acquired a studio and that is now where we go to work. I work on MWF and Murray works on TTh. It's wonderful and very productive to get away from the house to work. But, I also feel that while I'm at the studio, I'm there to work, not blog. I'm so busy with work (which is a good thing! it's a good thing!) that I don't have time to write in my own blog or look at the blogs of others! (Sorry everyone!) And to help keep us from working at home, we've even pared down our home computers to just one laptop. (And two iPads and two iPhones... shhh!) It really helps with work! Because now, if it's 10:00pm and I have a project that I want to do work on, I really have to figure out whether it is something that I actually need to go into the studio to do, or if it's something that can wait till the next morning or the next work day. We've been working really really hard at creating boundaries between work and home.

And also? Our house is a wreck, but is slowly becoming unwrecked. Like today for example. I can spend a few hours catching you all up, OR I can keep washing and folding laundry. I won't even tell you how many huge IKEA bags we have full of clothes. I won't do it. Okay, I will. Seven. Seven IKEA bags full of laundry. (The good news is, about 4 of them are full of cleaned and folded clothes. Woot!) In other news, we will also be doing a major purging wherein we take a good look at all of those clothes and decide which ones we actually wear and want to keep.

Rooms in our home that are pretty clean on a regular basis:

Kitchen (although I'm getting the itch to do a pantry purge and I'm not going to lie---I'm really excited about it)

Gulliver's room

The Guest Room (which used to be the office)

The guest bathroom (which is my primary bathroom even though I'm not a guest... it gets cleaned because that gives me something to do while Gulliver takes his bath)

Rooms in our home that are moderately clean, but get cluttery sometimes:

Kitchen also fits into this category, actually.

Living room: Most everything in the living room has a home. But not everything. And the bookshelves could use a good purging where we clean them out of everything that should be at the studio. And our media could be better organized.

The laundry room. I should put this in the next category (rooms that I've given up for lost) except that I just barely cleaned it this morning and it looks a bazillion times better. It is amazing how happy a clean laundry room makes me.

Rooms that I've given up for lost:

Under the stairs closet. Yes, I'm counting it as a room. It seems like as much as I purge and organize this sucker, it never stays organized or functional.

The master bedroom. Ohhhh how I yearn for the day when it is clean. The problem is that the closet is currently unfunctional, which means that we actually don't have a good way to put away our clean clothes right now, which means that unless we tackle that closet tonight (hint hint, Murray) none of the laundry that I've been doing will make any impact on the cleanliness of our home. We need to PURGE PURGE PURGE of all the random stuff we've allowed ourselves to collect.

The master bathroom. Although the truth is that I believe given a large garbage sack and a good 45 minutes, I could have that puppy feng shui-ed out the wazoo. In fact, I'd love to do this tonight after Gulliver goes to bed and I'm home from a class I'm teaching. (Can you tell I'm in the mood to clean right now?)

The back yard. Also not technically a room (but about as large as one). The grass is dead. The paper wasps have invaded, infested, and asserted themselves as the main tenants. I just bought a yellow jacket trap that I was so sure was the answer to all our problems that I even dreamt about its effectiveness last night. But this morning, when I set it up, I read what the difference between a yellow jacket and a paper wasp is, and oh by the way although they look almost identical, this trap does NOT work on paper wasps, and we only tell you that on the inner packaging that you can only read once you have opened our product and disassembled the whole thing to be able to get the insert.

So. That is the status of our cleanliness life right now. Business is good. Our weight is bad. But now that we feel we've got a great system for work, we can start to focus on weight (I've lost three pounds this past week) and the house (I actually feel like we're getting there). I will have to update on adorable, hysterical, and brilliant Gulliver later. Perhaps Saturday?

I also wanted to mention, though, that I was trying to use my ward online directory the other day. This requires me to sign in to, except that my username and password are saved on my at-work computer. So I tried and tried and for the life of me couldn't remember the right username and password combo. So I walked away from the computer, only to come back and find this:

Bwahahahahaha! Couldn't they have come up with different wording? Here is my alternate version: