Friday, April 9, 2021

Mini Closet Makeover for the Boys


The results photo is above. I decided to move things around one afternoon using only items I already had. Changes made: moved little girl clothes to Rosie's closet, swapped in a larger drawer unit (on right, from laundry room), moved pet bunny's hay to under the bed, removed the wire pull-out drawer, hung jeans from the lower shelf, allowed more height for hanging clothing (e.g. bathrobes), and moved pajamas into one of the re-used / smaller drawer units. On the top-most drawer is still clothing that is one size too large or excess / overflow clothing, what organizers might call "back stock." There is one "back stock" bin per child. There is actually room to grow in this closet - the wicker basket is empty, as is the bottom-most drawer of the re-used / smaller drawer unit.


Not a bad "before" for two kids and a pet bunny

The basket drawer was always sliding out because nothing is ever level in our home

Seeing how low I could hang the lower shelf with the larger drawer unit

Staging area, a big mess during the process

Trying things out

Putting all socks and underwear in the lowest drawer, divided in baskets by child

Almost the final version... still has large hay box


Links (from top):

#closetorganization #boybedroom #kidsbedroom #sharedcloset

Myself, Pre-40

No, I'm not going to post exactly how old I am or when my birthday is, but let's say that I'm running out of time to post about who thirties "Me" is. So, consider this an out of the ordinary post recapping myself for once.

A. My Schedule – On a work day, I wake up at about 7 a.m., but on the weekends, I prefer to sleep in until 8 a.m., when the kids wake me. I'd prefer to take a 2-hour early afternoon nap and then go to sleep at about 11 p.m. on the weekends.

B. My Size – I think I'm currently rocking a size 8 at three months postpartum.

C. My Personality – I don't know... I used to consider myself an optimist and generally a person who has far more happy days than sad days.

D. My Favorite Things
  • Colors: Aqua blue. White. Off-black. Fuchsia.
  • Shows and Movies: I've been watching a lot YouTube - some of my favorites are: Screen Junkies Honest Trailers, and Alexandra Gater. I also secretly love watching old episodes of The Golden Girls.
  • Books: I tend to read non-fiction books. I really enjoyed reading Marie Kondo's The Magic of Tidying Up and Leo Babauta's The Power of Less.
  • Toys and Play (Recreation): I feel like all I do in my spare time is clean. That being said, I like jogging and going for low-key hikes. I used to like doing cross stitch and painting but I haven't done either regularly in a very long time.
  • Art: When I do art these days it's drawing or calligraphy. Every now and then I daydream about turning into a handmade cards kind of person, but then don't.
  • Activities: My favorite thing to do these days is sing songs with Rosie - she loves singing!
  • Time of Day: Afternoons.
  • Bedding: I have a white comforter, a pillow I love from IKEA that is the perfect amount of puffy, and a genuine Pendleton National Park blanket.
  • Clothing: I'm a jeans shorts and neon sandals kind of person. With a brimmed hat.
  • Foods: My favorite food is probably crème brulee doughnuts from a local restaurant.
  • Animals: I really likes horses, but I also really enjoy cats, and other cuddly animals.
  • Heroes/Characters: I always liked Rogue from the XMen TV show because of her super strength.
E. Things I Do Not Like – Waking up. I like hitting "snooze."

F. What I'm Thinking About – I feel like I'm on the cusp of some big life changes. Like I'm in the "making preparations" (saving money) phase. And that the next chapter hasn't been written or even decided yet.

G. Surprises – I really thought I'd be a homeowner by now. Someday I will be again.

H. Best & Worst Things –
  • The best thing(s): I'm fairly healthy, and am thankful to have the love and support of my family.
  • The worst thing(s): That there aren't more hours in the day.

I. Family and Friends – I've missed seeing friends during Covid.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – Honestly, everything I'm going through right now with regard to parenting is new territory. I'm an only child who is raising a large family (four kids!). I wish I had enough money to outsource the things that I'd rather not spend my time on (e.g. food preparation) and to buy more space for us to stretch out. Living in a small home is cozy but also limiting at times. And thus that I'd get to spend more time with my kids, ideally relaxing in a massive living room watching movies or spread out around a fire pit in a secluded, secure, inviting backyard.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Last Son, at Age 0.25

We had our fourth and final child recently. This post is titled "The Last Son" but could've easily been titled "The Last Baby" or "Our Last Child."

A. His Schedule – He wakes up at round 7 a.m., and goes to bed for the night at about 10 p.m. Between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. he's rather fussy.

B. His Size – He's wearing size 6-9 month clothing at age 4 months.

C. His Personality – He seems good-natured and patient. He has mastered the silent smile. I joke that "he keeps a low profile," lest he get smothered by his older sister's attention.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: It is way too soon to tell, but he looks good in aqua.
  • Shows and Movies: He loves TV, no matter what's on.
  • Books: It's hard to hold him and read a book to the other kids.
  • Toys and Play: He likes holding on to burp cloths and mouthing them.
  • Art: It's too soon to know.
  • Activities: He seems to like just about everything, especially being held and being outside. I think he likes feeing the breeze on his skin.
  • Time of Day: Uncertain.
  • Bedding: He has a couple of mint-colored blankets but honestly doesn't use them. He seems to "run hot" and thus he sleeps in nothing but his footie pajamas.
  • Clothing: He has spent every day of his life in footie pajamas except holidays when he dressed up.
  • Foods: He's never had anything but milk.
  • Animals: Too soon to tell.
  • Heroes/Characters: Too soon to tell.
E. Things He Does Not Like – Tummy aches.

F. What He’s Thinking About – He tends to look deep into my eyes. I don't know what he's thinking about though.

G. Surprises – It's worked out really well to have his crib in his sister's room. They keep each other amused when they're in there together.

H. Best & Worst Things –
  • The best thing(s): He's a strong, healthy baby.
  • The worst thing(s): That I can't spend more time with him due to work commitments.

I. Family and Friends – Who wouldn't want to hold him? He's so sweet! He hasn't seen/met much of his family yet due to Covid, unfortunately.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – I'm planning to stop breastfeeding much sooner than I had for The Bear and Rosie. Why? It's just too much on top of everything else. I want to focus on what's most important, and that's spending time with him, not giving him 0.001% superior-to-formula milk.

Rosie, at Age 2.5

A. Her Schedule
 – She wakes up at about 7 a.m., takes a nap at about 1:30 p.m., and goes to bed at between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m.

B. Her Size – She's wearing size 3T clothes and size 9 shoes.

C. Her Personality – She's a very sweet, friendly, good-natured child. She loves people, especially babies. She also loves singing and has memorized so many songs!

D. Her Favorite Things
  • Colors: Red, pink, and aqua.
  • Shows and Movies: She likes Yo Gabba Gabba, Peppa Pig, and Mickey Mouse.
  • Books: She likes Dr. Seuss.
  • Toys and Play: She really likes dollhouse-style play (setting up a "house," putting "furniture" in it, and then putting "characters" in it). She also loves bath-time play, from bath bombs to playing with kitchen toys in there.
  • Art: She loves drawing with markers and creating with Play Doh.
  • Activities: She loves being outside. She likes the slides at the playground the best, but is also happy just walking around or playing in her "sandy box" (sandbox).
  • Time of Day: Any time that she's not being put to bed.
  • Bedding: She has a couple of pink fleece blankets.
  • Clothing: She likes "girlie" clothing best, from dresses to items with lace, ruffles, or floral designs.
  • Foods: She likes Danimals, McDonald's, Goldfish crackers ("goldie fish"), juice, and milk.
  • Animals: She is far more fascinated by babies than by animals. She is even afraid of our dog and rabbit, despite that they are fat, gentle creatures.
  • Heroes/Characters: She doesn't really seem to care about superheroes. I guess her favorite character might be Peppa Pig.

E. Things She Does Not Like – Bedtime.

F. What She’s Thinking About – How to reliably get Alexa to sing her songs. She can easily get Alexa to play "Baby Shark" but something like "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is much harder.

G. Surprises – Possibly how into babies she is. I'm also surprised that she seems to know all of her ABC's, something that "The Bear" didn't learn until halfway through Kindergarten.

H. Best & Worst Things –
  • The best thing(s): When she says "thank you" or cuddles.
  • The worst thing(s): That she takes all of the toys out all of the time. It makes it impossible to stay on top of the mess.

I. Family and Friends – She's a bit of a social butterfly so Covid has been harder for her than my oldest child. She seems to glob on to any kids she sees.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – She has never been at a daycare center, and honestly, I think that's a good thing. Daycare centers have a lot of noise and activity, and I think that can be overwhelming and draining for most kids. And that's before factoring in that my older kids, who both went to large centers, got sick a lot during that time.

The Bear, at 5.5 Years Old

A. His Schedule
 – He is a bit of a late sleeper and  night owl. He never wants to go to bed - he'd rather stay up partying. He wakes up at about 8:30 a.m. which is right when school starts! If we let him, he'll readily stay up past 10 p.m. His school day starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at about 3:15 p.m. He has in-person school two days a week, and virtual school two and a half days a week.

B. His Size – He's wearing size 6 clothes and size 13 shoes.

C. His Personality – He craves fun, and finds it wherever he can. He's always involved in something. He's an adventurous, energetic guy who picks up on things quickly and has good comedic timing.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: "Rainbow" and red.
  • Shows and Movies: He likes YouTube shows about video games. He also likes superhero movies, from The Hobbit to Avengers movies.
  • Books: He'll listen to Dr. Seuss sometimes, and also likes nature books.
  • Toys and Play: He hasn't played much with toys since he got his laptop. He plays Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite on his laptop. He also has some Xbox games.
  • Art: He seems to really enjoy art, whether it's painting, creating things with clay, or using glitter.
  • Activities: He spends a fair amount of time fighting with his older brother and finding fault with his younger sister. Aside from that, he likes to wrestle and have Nerf gun battles.
  • Time of Day: Probably nighttime, especially if we have set up the fire pit.
  • Bedding: He has a rainbow-colored pillow and various fleece blankets. He has the top bunk in his room.
  • Clothing: He is willing to wear pretty much anything, although his favorite clothes are "his gardening pants" (cargo pants), a blue shirt with multi-colored stripes, his Ninja Turtles pajamas, and "his fancy clothes" (a Tang suit).
  • Foods: He is not an adventurous eater, but his favorites are meat, raspberries, and potato chips.
  • Animals: He likes animals, particularly our dog.
  • Heroes: Thor is his favorite but he also really likes Hulk.
E. Things He Does Not Like – Bedtime.

F. What He’s Thinking About – Adding things to his Wish List, particularly Nerf items. He has so many toy weapons on his list!

G. Surprises – Probably how hot or cold he runs. When he's sweet, he's so sweet. But when he's mad, he's so mad.

H. Best & Worst Things –
  • The best thing(s): He's still cuddly.
  • The worst thing(s): He does create quite a bit of noise and messes. Luckily, he is willing to try to clean up those messes.

I. Family and Friends – It's been a year since Covid broke out. We've seen far fewer friends than usual and he's gone far fewer places than usual. I think it's been hard for him because he's a social and inquisitive guy.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – Since Covid, we've not done any organized activities, so that is one thing that's been different.

Serious Kiddo Update, age 7

A. His Schedule – He wakes up at about 7 a.m. ready to watch YouTube videos, and goes to bed at about 9 p.m. His school day starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. He has in-person school two days a week, and virtual school two and a half days a week.

B. His Size – He's wearing size 7 clothes and size 1.5 shoes. His feet are unfortunately wide so he has a hard time finding comfortable shoes. He uses Crocs on most days.

C. His Personality – He's somewhat of a difficult kid to parent. He likes very few things... He doesn't like going for walks, playing soccer or other physical activities. He doesn't like most art projects. He doesn't like most foods, including all meat except bacon, all vegetables except carrots, etc.

D. His Favorite Things
  • Colors: Blue.
  • Shows and Movies: He likes YouTube shows about video games like Minecraft and Roblox. He also likes Japanese animated shoes like Pokemon and Guku.
  • Books: Books about the Loch Ness monster and Norse mythology.
  • Toys and Play: He hasn't played much with toys since he got his laptop. He plays Minecraft on both his laptop and the Xbox.
  • Art: He will create with beads, but most art projects including drawing just make him frustrated.
  • Activities: He is sort of a couch potato. He is willing to try to help entertain his younger siblings, a plus.
  • Time of Day: He's not a night owl. I'd say his favorite time of day is probably the mornings, or any time of day when candy is involved.
  • Bedding: He has a dark blue fleece blanket with stars on it that he likes. Unfortunately, his pet rabbit tends to chew holes in his stuff!
  • Foods: He eats a grilled cheese sandwich on raisin bread almost every day, sometimes twice a day.
  • Animals: He likes animals, particularly our pets. He used to like sharks too.
  • Heroes: Perhaps Batman.
E. Things He Does Not Like – When he needs quiet time but doesn't get it.

F. What He’s Thinking About – He seems to spend a lot of time thinking about superpowers.

G. Surprises – I'm surprised that even things he used to like, he seems to no longer like. From cherry tomatoes to creating art.

H. Best & Worst Things –
  • The best things(s): He still seems to care what my spouse and I think, a plus.
  • The worst thing(s): When he "freaks out," like about school assignments, or us wanting to go on a family walk, or us wanting him to wear clothing that is appropriate for the cold weather, or me asking him to pick up after himself.

I. Family and Friends – It's been a year since Covid broke out. We've seen far fewer friends than usual. Honestly, I don't think he's minded. He's kind of a shy kid. Even when his brother is playing with children in our neighborhood, he usually doesn't want to join in.

J. Parenting or What I’m Doing Differently – He's my first kid so I'd say my parenting of him is sort of a mess of trial by error. I honestly don't know what to do other than to listen to him and to try to do things fairly.