We love The Cozy Book around here. I love how the book evokes feelings of being safe and secure. It's the kind of book that makes you want to curl up on a comfy couch under a warm blanket with a cup of cocoa and a good book after you read it. That feeling of cozy safety is one of the goals I have for how my family perceives our home... a safe and comfortable place to be.
I find that homemaking is a balancing act. There always seems to be a fine line between cleanliness and order and an inviting amount of chaos so that one doesn't feel as though one is living in a museum. For instance, at this moment my front hall is still taken over by a large cardboard boat, but with the addition of long paper murals with riverside scenes and waterfalls drawn on in colored pencils wrapping themselves around three of the walls. There are always piles of books everywhere. (At least it feels as though it's everywhere.) A large portion of my bedroom is taken up with an embarrassingly large pile of children's outgrown clothes. (I had no idea they owned so many clothes, but then we are dealing with the outgrown clothes of 7 children.) And the kitchen is rarely completely cleaned up due to the amount of cooking done in it.
But I know these circumstances (well, maybe not the kitchen) are temporary and order will be restored eventually. On some level this goes against my natural temperament. I tend toward being an all-or-nothing type and if I make a big mess I want to compulsively keep working at it until it is completely dealt with. But having children has helped curb this tendency (a bit), and I'm aware that some jobs need to be done over time because the small people in my life need my attention more than the stuff in my life. I also want my children to feel comfortable in their own home. I want them to feel as though they can do interesting and creative things without unduly worrying about messing things up.
So I find that there is a constant tension. I want my children to grow up with a sense of order and organization. A home needs to be a place to where you can welcome others and where you can provide hospitality. A home need to be organized enough so that the work of the home can be accomplished. But the organization should be a tool for living and not an end in itself. For instance, my younger children decided they wanted to make yarn octopuses (octopi?) yesterday afternoon. It was simple to begin the project because they knew the bin of yarn is in the craft porch and that the instructions could be found in our craft and activity binder. (Though it was much simpler in the long run to wait for M. to get home and just have her show them how to do it.) I expect that the yarn bin will be out for a little while yet while the possibilities of yarn animals and people are explored.
It's very much like my grandmother's (and mother-in-law's) theory about china: It was made to be used. This is just like our homes... they were made to be lived in. And actual living with actual people. You know the kind where people make messes, not the magazine kind where everything is always clean and clutter-free and monochromatic. At first those photographs always look appealing, but on closer inspection I realize they are lifeless and cold. Not really somewhere I would want to spend very much time. (Well, except on those days where chaos has broken free and sitting in a pristine room with no one else does sound rather peaceful.) But on the whole I'll take real people in real homes any day.
In bloggy housekeeping news, I've added some pages to my blog. They're right there between the header and the body of the blog. Really. Squint. Harder. Having reached the apex of my technological abilities just putting them there, I cannot go farther and make them actually visible to eyes older than 20. Maybe some day I'll figure out how to do it. But there are three pages: About, Adoption, and Links. The About page is pretty self-explanatory. The Adoption page has a compilation of all the posts, in order, from each of our boy's adoptions. The Links page I did mainly for myself. When my laptop was infected with a virus last week, I suddenly realized that if I lost my bookmarks, I would never find them all again. So I've put the blogs I read on the most regular basis on that page.