Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Long Weekend

I had last Friday off and after Amelia's O/T we met some friends at Lookout Ridge!


We played for about three hours again!  The kids have so much fun and burn off so much energy there - it's great!

Saturday, Amelia went to a cat show with my mom and sister in the cities.  Jason, the boys and I went shopping for a few groceries/ingredients for soup and chili.  After that little excursion we stayed in the entire weekend - it's too cold to want to leave the house!  We pretty much watched movies all weekend :)

Sunday night movie (Ice Age) in a tent!

A little Jackson for good measure :)

We had a scheduled day off school yesterday and today was cancelled because of the cold weather so Amelia is also enjoying a long weekend!

Temperature on my way into work this morning!

Joe seems to be suffering from fifths disease aka "slapped cheek syndrome."  

It just kind of showed up yesterday.  He is a bit congested but no fever or other symptoms.  My googling only turned up fifths disease so we are just watching him for now since it is viral and requires no medical treatment.  We are going in Friday for Jackson's well-baby visit and I plan to ask her about it, especially if it hasn't cleared up by then!

Well, I have a crying Jackson and a messy room to help the big kids clean up!  Stay warm!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Not Allowed for Boys...

Amelia is very adamant that the top bunk is "not allowed for boys."

The stars must have aligned just right last night because this happened...

She invited him up!

And they had fun!  

It was awesome and just what this mommy needed!

Minimizing and Simplifying

We have been hard at work the past six months or so clearing out unused/outgrown items from our apartment!  It has been a lot of work, and we still have a ways to go, but the results have been great so far!

I suffer from anxiety and, for me, clutter is a huge trigger.  There is nothing worse than feeling claustrophobic in your own residence!  Since having kids the amount of stuff that we have has grown exponentially.  The clothes, the toys, the gear etc.  So much stuff!  

Since last fall I have been putting in some extra effort to de-clutter unused/outgrown items.  Each and every diaper/wipe box that enters our home leaves full of donation items or items to store at my mom's house for a multi-family garage sale in the spring.  You'd be surprised how quickly a diaper box can fill up!

Late last November I decided to join a Facebook garage sale group to make a little money off of items that would otherwise be donated.  To date, we have made $321 selling clothing, toys and household items!  It takes a little effort and time but so far it's been worth it! 

I struggled with whether or not to involve the kids, specifically Amelia, in our de-cluttering.  In the end I decided it was best to include her and we began slowly.  I asked her if there were any toys in her room that she didn't play with anymore.  She found a couple and I asked her if we could pass them on to someone else.  She declined and I let it be.  Over time she saw me filling up diaper boxes and eventually came to me one day and said, "Mom, I have some toys I don't use anymore that I want to pass on.  Can you help me?"  Success.

Why are we doing all this?  To create a "manageable mess" as Rachel put it!  

In the not so distant past there were times when our kids made messes that were so insane and overwhelming that we would be left wondering where they even found all that stuff to take out.  We'd get frustrated at them and it created such a negative environment for us all.  Something had to change!

How are we doing this?  I'm trying my best to follow the "one in, one out" rule, especially with toys!  I am also trying very hard to be intentional in my purchases.  I work at Target and it is easy to get caught up in the "deals" that we run into as we re-do aisle after aisle of the store.  That's my job, clearing out the old to make way for the new.  I see a lot of "deals" every day!  I'm learning to just say NO!

As far as deciding what stays and what goes - I just try to look at an item objectively.  Is it being used?  Is it something we love?  Will we use it in the future?  If the answers are "no" then it's time to pass that item on to someone who can get use out of it.  It's not doing anyone any good sitting in our closet!  I'm not against saving things but everything does not need to be saved!  

Now for a visual, this mess...

...is a manageable mess!  Yes, everything is out but it all goes in either the purple bin or the closet!  By simplifying their toys we were also able to simplify the play-with-every-day toys' storage which makes picking up much easier for them!  They are learning that there is a place for everything and when we pick up everything goes in it's place!

Bottom line:  Less stuff = less mess = less stress!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Really, 2014?

A week and a half in and I already need a do-over on this new year.  It's just been a rough first full week of 2014.  

It all started with comments made to me (by leadership) regarding my pumping at work.  Apparently there were some individuals who were unaware of the federal laws in place that protect nursing mothers when they return to work...  All is well, now, but it made for a really long week full of stress and anxiety.  

I found a great website, here, that really broke down what the law means. 

This week was also the week of no afternoon naps for Jackson.  It just never happened.  Amelia and Joey are so cooped up right now that they are like wild animals.  They run all over, they scream/shriek, they fight and then, occasionally, they get along like best friends.  In the midst of all the chaos that is our house right now poor little man just can't stay asleep.  As a result - he cries.  Babywearing has helped a ton but there are also times when I just can't have him strapped to me like, for instance, when giving bath to the older two.  Just not a great idea I'm thinking. 

Add in -30* actual temperatures, -50* wind chills, no laundry getting done (I usually do a load as soon as a basket  can be filled) and so much more - yeah, this week has got me down. 

I have lost my temper a lot this week.  I don't like it.  The kids don't like it.  It's making me a grump.

So here's to a fresh start...again.  

I have three little ones who don't need such a crabby mommy :)

Happy New Year...again!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Arctic Vortex

Well, it's arrived - the "arctic vortex."  With temperatures this week getting as low as -30* and wind chills of -50/60* expected we decided that +16* yesterday was acceptable to get out and play in! 

Climbing up to the football field!

Jackson came out too - he handled the cold like a true Wisconsinite!

He eventually just fell asleep all toasty in his snowsuit :)

Amelia being a penguin

Eventually Joey got cold and tired so we headed in for a late lunch and naps for the boys.  It felt good to get outside one last time before we are stuck in the house for the week! 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

December Highlights

December flew by!  Here are some photos from last month:

Monster Jam!

Coconut oil baths at Nana's house for cradle cap

Our favorite house to drive by in December!

Amelia's 4K Christmas program

*Video here of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas!"

Visiting Santa!

Fun at the mall after seeing Santa

Colored bath and foam!?!?!  FUN!

Jackson's first Christmas :)

Christmas morning

Campouts in their new sleeping bags/tents!

They have solved an infinite number of "problems" as superheroes in their custom capes!

December was a fun month and now we are looking forward to making new memories in 2014!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Our final photo of 2013

We didn't do anything too exciting - just ate frozen appetizers (in waves) and had sparkling grape juice with the kids!  I went to bed at 7:30 since Jason was off of work, ha!  

Welcome, 2014 :)