Thursday, December 8, 2011

The winner is...

Thanks to, the winner of the sock monkey longies ornament is comment #6!

Thank you so much for participating in the giveaway!  I hope to have a few more going soon, so keep your eyes out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm crafty (and you can win)!

Thanks to Pinterest and various Facebook boards, I'm never at a loss for a craft that I want to do or do with the kids.  We took a cold, snowy day this weekend to make a few things.

I figure it's a rite of passage to make a snowman with cotton balls.  I think the kids may have done this in preschool, but I had a package of cotton balls, and thought it would occupy some time.  As expected, Small Fry ended up with glue on the table and on his hands...which meant cotton ball stuck to his fingers too.

Monkey and Small Fry were super proud of their creations.  It had been long enough that Small Fry needed to run around, and Split Pea (who was snacking during the snowman making) went with him to play.

I thought we'd try to cut out some coffee filter snowflakes next.  I actually ironed the filters so they were nice and flat, folded them up and cut away.  Small Fry is not so much into the cutting precisely thing, but Monkey was willing to try.  It wasn't so easy, but he was proud of himself.  (We are constantly working on making it okay to not be perfect your first time out of the gate.  He struggles with trying new things if he can't do them right the first time.  I've apologized to him for bestowing that trait upon him).

Monkey was done after one snowflake, but I got a little carried away.  I could have made dozens.

It was time for dinner and a tv show, so I pulled out some knitting.  Thanks to a friend posting her adorable creations and a super cute pattern from Ravelry, I made this:

And I'm knitting more (a hint to future giveaways...).  They're longies ornaments.  5" long and full of adorableness.  In the spirit of the season, I'm giving the sock monkey longies ornament away.

So leave a comment telling me how you are crafty for your chance to win.  Don't forget to leave your email in the comment so I can contact you if you win!  I'll pick a winner (via on Thursday, December 8th at 10 pm MST.

Earn an additional entry for following me on Twitter!  (Just leave a separate comment with your twitter user name).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Family Closet

We have a big master closet.  7'x10'.  And we don't have many clothes.  After living in our house for 6 years, I never liked the closet.  It was a catch-all, and I ended up living out of the laundry basket.  Laundry.  That was another problem.  We have the laundry on the 3rd floor, right near the bedrooms.  It's amazing, but when I was doing laundry for 5 people, plus linens and cloth towels/rags/napkins, it never got properly sorted or put away. 

I was having to put stuff away in the Monkey/Small Fry's room, Split Pea's room, our room, and the linens (linen closet and kitchen).  It just never got done.  And I hated the huge piles everywhere. 

One day in October I was bit by the "purge" bug.  You know, the one that causes you to get so sick of an annoying mess that you just decide to throw everything away?  I ended up cleaning our hated-master closet and moving boxes that had sat untouched for 5 years. 

Then I had a lightbulb moment.  Our closet was big enough to house EVERYONE'S clothes.  One place to put ALL the clothes?  Could it be done?  Thank goodness for a new IKEA that had recently opened just 20 minutes from my house.  I brainstormed some ideas, headed to IKEA and built a "child-size" version of their closet spaces. 

Over the course of about a week, I bought and built some furniture, rearranged the closet, moved the boys' clothes out of their closets, did LOTS of laundry and tested out some new set-ups.  

View from the door, closet in progress.

We already had built in racks about 5' high that went around two of the walls.  Along one 10' wall, I set up two drawer systems and placed a wire-rack with a hanging-clothes bar.  Small Fry has a section to hang his clothes, and a set of 4-drawers.  The Monkey has the same set up.  Split Pea has a section on the taller rack (because he's just too little to pick out his clothes), and a set of plastic drawers that hold his pj's, pants and socks. 
Mounted one rack to the wall on the left
I used existing wire shelving unit for my lounge clothes, pj's, socks.  I built a wooden set of drawers I had randomly purchased from IKEA one day, and used that for Hubby's t-shirts, pj pants and boxers.  I bought square open boxes for the boys and hubby to hold socks and underwear.  
About 95% finished.  Just need to add my clothes and finish cleaning up. 

 After just over a month, the closet is working better than I'd imagined.  I still feel motivated to fold and put away laundry all at once.  It's easy since I only have to go one place, fill up a basket with the linens for the boys to fold before dinner, and we're done.  

The current state of the closet.  Looking to the right from the doorway. (My clothes on the upper right, Split Pea's on the upper left)
The boys *really* love picking out their own clothes and they are very respectful of the space.  They put their dirty clothes in the basket, and know where each of their items is located.  I love being able to ask them to get dressed, "and don't forget socks and a hoodie" and they do it.  The independence has been great.  
Looking to the left from the doorway.  Small Fry's clothes on the bottom left.
Hubby's wooden drawers and hanging clothes (behind the door is a shoe rack and mirror)
Since they also bathe in our large master garden tub, it's easy for them to get pj's on in the closet and entertain Split Pea while he goes through his nightly routine of meds and shots.  
Split Pea's folded clothes, and shoes just to the right of the doorway.

From a useless catch-all mess that I dreaded dealing with, to a completely functional family closet that solved problems of laundry getting put away, kids wearing the wrong size underwear and clothes in just a week.  I am happy we made the is making life a little more sane with three kiddos 5 and under. 

Poor Blog :(

Poor neglected blog.  I am full of good intentions, but short on time.  Can't believe it's been 10 months since the last blog post.  Oh well, trying again for a good start.  A few things I want to share, but feel badly for overwhelming everyone's feed on Facebook.  So we're restarting again. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No More Guilt

One of my biggest flaws.  I feel guilty about everything.  It's time consuming for me and I'm quite sure annoying for others.  But I obsess over what others think of me and when I can't live up to (real or imagined) expectations of those I have deemed morally and socially superior, I feel guilty. 

About 2 weeks ago (or just last week, I honestly can't remember), I thought giving Split Pea some solids might help fill him up, make him less cranky and maybe, just maybe, help him sleep through the night.  Night one was just some oatmeal cereal, then I added some pears.  He's now had apples, pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and avocado.  And I didn't make one single bit of it (well, I cut up the avocado). 

I struggle not to feel guilty or less-worthy because I didn't make his food.  I made nearly all of the Monkey's food.  I made most of Small Fry's food.  And who knows if I'll make any of Split Pea's food.  I joke that I barely have time to pee in any given day, let alone make a bunch of baby food.  I am picky about what I buy for them, but I'm working hard to be okay that I purchased Split Pea's first foods instead of steaming, mashing, pureeing them.  Or even waiting until 6 months, then letting him figure it out and not spoon-feeding him. 

No one is making me feel badly, but the circles I spend time in focus on waiting until 6 months, baby-led weaning, etc.  About 3:30 am the other night, I suddenly realized that it was okay to do it MY way.  I'm a good mom and I've done this before.  I can make my own decision on when and how to feed my son. 

So the guilt is gone (for the feeding issue...we're working on other things too).  I'm not letting the food stocked on the third shelf of the pantry make me feel like a bad mom.  I stocked up on some fantastic baby food at Whole Foods, Split Pea ate the butternut squash from Sprout Baby Food last night and it was super good.  Everyone had a little taste and loved it. 

And guess what?  We're on night three of sleeping through the night (well, Split Pea is.  I'm still staying up way too late), and as a result, I've been able to pump and start building a freezer stash of milk so I can actually go out and away from the kiddos for a little while (i.e. ski for the day on our upcoming ski trip). 

Phew.  I feel better getting that out there.  Now I'm off to feed the family dinner...including something from a pouch or jar for little Split Pea :)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Closing out January.

I can't believe January is almost over.  This is a long, probably boring post, that I wanted to write so that I would know what happened this month.  I forget where my car keys are on an hourly basis, there's no way I'd remember what my kids were doing in one month!

This month has been busy.  Things are changing a lot around here, and although I'm not quite sure what direction we're all headed in, I'm starting to see more of the picture and feeling a little more together.  Some days though, I still feel like I'm completely lost in unmapped territory.  

I started selling cloth diapers in my Etsy shop this month.  I love the diapers, and those that have bought them seem to like them too.  I'm starting to stress about it though...I need to just love what I do and not do it for other reasons, and sometimes that's hard.  I'm hoping to keep selling them, but I'll see how they do for the next few months. 

On Monday, Small Fry turns three years old.  He's definitely the troublemaker of the bunch.  He knows it too.  But he has the biggest heart, and when he stops for a second (and it's only a second), he'll give you the biggest kiss or hug and tell you that he loves you.  Then he's off again, like a hummingbird stopping to sip nectar, Small Fry never stops flapping his wings. 

We took the Light Rail downtown on MLK day to see hubby at his restaurant.  I was a little nervous to travel the entire length of the Light Rail with just me and the three kids, but they did surprisingly well.  (Small Fry was VERY excited, and even sat the whole time).  I wore Split Pea in the Ergo, and even nursed him on the way there.  The Monkey played with my camera (which was nerve wracking), and took this picture of me wearing Split Pea:

Split Pea is growing well (finally).  He outgrew the weight of our kitchen scale, so I know he's more than 11 lbs, just not sure how much more.  At his 4 month check-up (on January 7th), he weighed 10 lbs. 13 oz.  Tiny, but at least he'd grown.  And both the endocrinologist and pediatrician were very pleased with his progress.  We've upped his growth hormone dose, and kept his hydrocortisone dose the same.  We'll recheck his levels in March, right before we see the endocrinologist again.  For now, his thyroid is high (in a good range, not too high!), and he may even be producing a little of his own testosterone. 

He loves being on his tummy, can roll from tummy to back, but not the other way.  He has started grabbing toys, and loves to chew on his hands.  Not a big fan of the binky, but uses it to fall asleep.  Spends lots of time in the jumparoo watching the craziness around him.  We started him on solids (sort of) a few days ago, and it was successful in that he ate it.  I'm in no big hurry though, so he's had some oatmeal and a little bit of pears and a little bit of sweet potatoes.  

The one thing Split Pea is NOT good at is sleeping.  He's slept in 3-hour spurts (at the most) every night since he was born.  He likes to eat, and wakes up ravenous.  We had slowly started to move him out of our room, or at least just out of our bed, hoping to improve his sleeping habits.  He slept okay in the bassinet in our room, but still did better with complete silence.  So a few days ago, I started having him nap in the crib.  He did well with that, and so I started having him sleep in his own crib.  The first night was a bust, he woke up every three hours, then wouldn't go back to sleep.  But last night, something happened and he slept from 9pm to 5:30 am!!!  He even stayed asleep when I slipped in (way late) to give him his midnight meds. 

We'll see how tonight goes.  I'm hoping for more of the same, but I say it's a fluke until it happens three times in a row. 

As for the Monkey, he's started to grow quite an attitude.  He is so smart, kind, loving and thoughtful, but boy oh boy, he has one big sense of entitlement.  Part of it I feel incredibly guilty for, as I have a horrible shopping habit, and I'm afraid my excitement over new stuff has really rubbed off on him.  But I'm working hard to change it in both of us and learn to appreciate what we have so I can teach that value to him.

We found out last week that he's been accepted into our district magnet school for kindergarten next year.  This is what we had absolutely hoped for and all of us are really excited.  I know it means I'm going to have to be really involved in school, and that scares me a lot.  I get really intimidated being around other parents who aren't my friends, but classmates of the boys.  I just feel small and not worthy, and afraid I'll embarrass myself around people I don't know.  But that's my own issue (a big one I've carried around for years), and going to a school where parent involvement is a big deal will definitely challenge my social phobias, hopefully resulting in a positive change. 

That's about it here in our house.  I tried to get a picture of the boys wearing their new superhero shirts (Small Fry picked them out for everyone...the Monkey's is also a Batman shirt), but this was as good as it got.  Three kids under 5 are hard to photograph.  Now I get why you pay a professional. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Felt Projects

Happy 2011!  I'm ready for this year.  It will be the first year since 2005 that I won't be pregnant or having a baby, and I plan to make the most of it.  December's goal of interacting more one-on-one with the kids was mostly successful.  I'll write more about it soon, but in the meantime, I had to share some of the felt projects I made recently.

I LOVE felt toys.  Last Christmas, I made a slew of play food for the boys, which they loved.  And I had fun making it.  I think there are some great patterns on Etsy, and I've bought nearly every one of my patterns from BuggaBugs and Gulf Coast Cottage.

The older boys are really into taking care of Split Pea (they want to watch me give his growth hormone shot and test his blood sugar every night), so when I saw this pattern I knew I had to make it.  A doctor's kit!

It was really easy to make, great instructions and everything went together really fast.  And the boys knew just what to do with it when they opened it on Christmas morning:

While I don't have a girl (yet), I still drool over all the cute things intended for girls.  I saw this dollhouse on BuggaBugs' Etsy site a while back, and while my boys have liked playing with dolls in the past, right now everything is about comic book heroes, Star Wars, Batman, and so on.  Soo, I decided to make the dollhouse for my niece's 3rd birthday.  It would make a cute gift and satisfy my desire to make it.

BuggaBugs has GREAT patterns.  There are color pictures for nearly every step, lots of detailed instructions and full size pattern pieces.  I think I have at least 10 patterns from her shop.  The dollhouse was lots of work, but I think it seemed like more because I crammed it into only a week (on top of making things for my own Etsy shop!).  But it turned out really great, and I can't wait for my niece to open it for her birthday (this weekend). 

Here's how the dollhouse turned out:

It was nice to make some stuff as gifts for a change.  I've satisfied my need to do hand sewing and make felt stuff and today dove back into working on diapers.  I'm excited to get them all finished and photographed this week so I can finally get them up for sale.

I've sat for too long, the older two are downstairs plotting mischievous activities, Split Pea needs a diaper change, and the dinner hour is fast approaching.  I'm almost off the mommy clock and can soon head back to my studio!