This whole working mom with three jobs, three kids, four dogs, five cats, and a husband who lives in another state thing just doesn't work well for me -- especially in the kitchen where all things are made worse by a broken dishwasher and my children's continual need to eat.
The good news is the girls have all learned, largely out of necessity, to feed themselves. Emily is actually an extremely accomplished chef (think strawberry crepes, coconut cake with cream cheese icing, chicken tempura, biscuits and gravy, coffee cake -- that's just the highlights from this week). The bad news is that it is not uncommon for every last plate, bowl, knife, fork, spoon, glass, pot, pan, utensil, and cookie sheet to be dirty and stacked on the kitchen counters. (Yes, I know, the girls should help. Take that issue up with them because I've decided to quit wasting my breath.)
I've been chipping away at it and have finally conquered the kitchen! Three hours yesterday got me within sight of clean. The silly thing is that I woke up this morning and thought "if I go do the last few dishes that accumulated last night, I can have ALL the dishes done and have a totally clean kitchen!" (at least until the eaters wake up) and I was actually EXCITED enough about it to get out of bed before 6:00 a.m. and head to the kitchen. The silly things that make me happy!
Here is the "before" (as usual, sorry for my crappy photography!):
And here is the "after":
Granted, the "after" photo contains (on the left side) the back half of a cat and a pile of painting supplies headed to the garage (in addition to the last of that coconut cake -- hmmm... lunch!), but still it's clean enough to make me want to be in the kitchen again. I'm ridiculously easy to please.
And there are side benefits as well! I have figured out all the tricks and mastered the art of handwashing dishes (did you know a broken dishwasher is a really big drying rack with a very convenient, concealing door?). And yesterday, with clean in sight and admonishments aplenty lingering in the air, the girls were coming up to me to report with pride that they had washed and put away their own dishes. Pure bliss!