Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Secrets of a Lazy Mom

 I'm fairly laid-back when it comes to being a parent. Messes, chaos, noise, my kids climbing things or going outside without shoes on...all barely register on my radar.   So if the below projects make me appear super uptight and rigid, then they wholeheartedly paint the wrong picture of me and my parenting style :)

My house is not crazy clean or overly organized...I'm far from a neat freak (no offense to my husband who could possibly be categorized as such;).  But I AM a huge fan of processes and routine for pivotal points in our day.  So I've implemented some ways to make things run more smoothly around here.  Because, ultimately, I'm always looking for ways to make my life easier.  Which actually makes me kinda lazy, if you think about it.
"How can I streamline things so I can do the least amount of work possible?" 
These are the thoughts I have.  It's kind of embarrassing to admit loving the path of least resistance.

 However, my goals are simplicity and balance for me AND my guys.  
So instead of instead of "lazy", maybe I'll just say I'm "judicious with where I spend my energy". 
So little!  Circa 2013 when we first started implementing some changes.
I give my kids responsibility and independence from a pretty young age.  Having a growing (verging on large) family I need all my ducklings to know what is expected of them at crucial points in the day...ie. getting out of the house in the morning. Or getting your booty in bed when it's TIME FOR BED, for the love of all that is good and holy.  I don't want to debate the color of your shirt at 7am OR whether or not you think you need to brush your teeth on this particular night.  I'm over those conversations.  So, I just point to the chart or their daily drawers.  

I love you too much to argue, my darlings.  You know the drill.

The absence, or at least neutralizing of these conflicts gives me more energy for the important stuff...big questions, long answers and patience when things inevitably go wrong with some other aspect of our our day.

Here are a few things that help my kiddos feel empowered and let me be a little lazy ;) 

-Tooth brushes/water cups/wash cloths -- all readily accessible-

 Even Fletch knows what to do when I say just two words - "go brush".  And he yells "momma!" when it's my turn to brush them, b/c I don't trust him to do a stellar job quite yet ;)
 I went ahead and added a 4th cup since sooner or later this new baby WILL have teeth.  And as I have learned x3...the days you think are so far away are staring you in face at the blink of an eye.

-Shoe Boxes + Hooks-
Right now these just hold shoes, but this winter their hats/gloves, etc will go in here too.  This has saved us from trying to find missing shoes when its time to roll.  Let alone having shoes just lying around the house.  They're 100% in charge of their own foot wear and I like it that way.
 Similarly, this is where we keep school bags, lunch boxes, jackets, etc.
Perfect height for them to hang everything up themselves.

Ready to go, mom!
-Snack Boxes-
The most common request I used to get from my kids throughout the day was "can I have a snack?"  I thankfully hear that a lot less when I have their snack boxes filled.  This is all the "snack" they get for the day.  Eat it whenever you want - help yourself.  They quickly learned to ration what was in them.  We've done this for two years now and it's saved me *SOME* of the"but I'm hungry!" whining.
We just recently made room for Fletch to have his own now that he's tall enough to reach :)
-Goodnight Charts-
 Another thing we've done for a couple years now is their "goodnight charts"  They speed through these things and they still get a lot of satisfaction from closing each task.
Fletch just recently joined in too...although he still needs a lot of assistance obviously :)
-Daily Drawers-
We fill these on Sunday nights.  Now that Max wears a uniform, its even easier.  Sometimes Sullivan wants to pick out his own clothes for the drawers, sometimes he doesn't care.  Either way, there's no digging around in the dresser every morning trying to find underware or matching clothes.  It's all done and I don't even have to supervise. Bonus: they learn the days of the week!
All of these things make me just a bit more sane and give me a little extra capacity for all the other parenting "stuff" that we all face on a daily basis...including the fun stuff!

 And there you have it...my lazy-mom "get it/do it yourself, kid" secrets ;)

Here's the post where I first talked about how/why we started:

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Final Countdown + the Nursery

We're in the homestretch.  
I'm about a week from my due date and if we're not ready now, we never will be.

My last "to-do list" box to check was packing for the hospital. 
Packing my hospital bag is one of those things that makes me the most happy toward the end.  It's so satisfying, or even therapeutic, after 9+ months of appointments and preparing.  Like putting the finishing touch on a project you've worked so hard on.

I had this plan to pack my bag and the baby's things in peace.  A brief moment of Momma alone time.  HOWEVER, I get lots of help around here.  And by help, I actually mean...the opposite of help.  Unsolicited assistance around every corner  - all day, every day ;)

I had everything laid out/folded and then my mini micro-managers popped in. 
These boys have the biggest hearts and best intentions.Their little spirits are bursting with anticipation too and I want to share the excitement with them.  So the whole fam crashed the nursery just to un-do all that I had already done :) 
Oh well,there are worse things than refolding tiny adorable baby clothes.
{Can you spot Max behind me?...}
And, just for fun, here's what I'm bringing...
1) The comfiest strapless maxi dress ever and an oversized scarf - my hospital go-to outfit each time.  Easiest way to nurse at the hospital but still look halfway presentable when visitors pop in.  No snaps or straps...just super comfy.
2) XL Kimono Robe - along the same lines as above - comfort and easy access for nursing. 
3) Music, charger + camera 
4) Rosary - will hopefully give me something to focus my mind on and bring me some peace when things get real. 
5) The daily routine basics. 
6) A few tiny outfits for baby.  Gender neutral and so, so soft.  (I might throw in a bow or pink socks just in case this baby happens to be the girl kind :)  
7) My favorite muslin swaddle blanket.  
8) Not pictured: granola bars and slippers.  Max insisted that I add some granola bars to my bag (not for me...but in case he needs a snack when he comes to visit, lol) and Sully pointed out that I had nothing to wear on my feet, so he grabbed my slippers.  I guess I needed their help after all :) 
And now for the nursery.  It's finished! (minus adorable baby to go in it ;)  

Normally I'm pretty bold with color, but for some reason I was craving monochrome for this nursery.  Something about the simplicity of it gives me a feeling of peace. It's the perfect serene spot to cuddle a baby
In this room time seems to stand still.  I daydream about our new baby from the rocking chair and the boys draw pictures for their little sibling.  We all like spending time in this space.
Nearly everything in this room was repurposed from another area of our house, found at a thrift store, garage sale or Craigslist.  I think the only things I bought new are the rug (75% off from rugsusa.com!), bedding (Target + the crib "skirt" is actually just a piece of fabric) and curtains (Ikea).  I love a challenge and I think by the time I sold off my old rug and accessories from Fletcher's nursery I almost broke even.  My big splurge was the wallpaper behind the crib.
We repainted this table/chairs from Fletcher's nursery.  Billy thought it was ridiculous b/c the table was originally white...but I HAD to have it mint green for Fletcher's nursery. Two years later we're painting it back to it's original color.  I convinced him that the gold-dipped legs made all the difference.
One final pic of the bump - 38 weeks and 4 days - but measuring WAY ahead of that.  I won't get specific, but I don't think its possible to be pregnant for the amount of weeks my belly is measuring.  Like, people can't believe I'm not having twins.
And now we wait...

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Memories + Milestones

Early one August morning, five years ago, baby Max and I were sitting on our front porch when we heard bagpipes playing nearby.  I walked him up the street to see what the occasion was and we saw uniformed kids filing into Visitation.  It was the first day of school.  

We sat outside and watched the kids getting pictures taken and giving their parents one last hug.  I was nowhere near being a part of that "club" yet.  My baby was just 6 months old.  Max and I walked back home and I tucked that memory away.  Until yesterday morning.  

As we walked him into that same building, the image of me holding my chubby little guy was suddenly brought to the forefront of my mind as the bagpipes played in the background.  The swiftness of time rushed in at that moment and made me catch my breath.
That day was here already.
Dad, Max and the bagpiper.
So proud and ready to take on the universe :)
I look soooo comfortable, don't I? Everything hurts.
Dad giving one last pep talk.
All of that being said, it's not like I was totally unprepared for this day to come :)   I've been thinking about it all summer and I wanted to be thoughtful about the way we geared up for this big transition.  Plus I just really, REALLY enjoy doing these fun surprises for the kiddos...
I went ahead and included the other boys in the festivities even though they still have 3 weeks until their school starts.  I'm sure to be in the "newborn fog" by then.
The boys were so excited about our "Goal Setting" dinner and my Dollar Store surprises :)  We all wrote down the things we wanted to focus on this school year...including Billy and me.  
Sullivan's goals were - follow directions, be a good friend and learn bigger math :)  Fletcher's was to just not cry at drop off since it'll be the first time he's ever been to "school".
I also gave them each a notebook to be used as a "daily journal" so they have a place to draw something about their day while I'm finishing up making dinner each evening.  Hopefully this will keep them out of the kitchen and seated at the table during those final dinner prep minutes.  This is just a theory...we'll see how it goes ;)  So far so good, though for the past couple nights.
I let Max pick the dinner menu - BLTs, corn on the cob and grapes.
We also put together a simple little B2S gift for Mrs. Noonan...
Clip art, a color printer and 5 minutes is all it took for these little labels.
Addressing it to his teacher and signing his name.
This past Saturday we gave the boys a couple things they each needed for school.
Fletcher's face as he see's his new fox lunch box cracks me up.
I let Max graduate from the "preschool" lunch box/back pack he used for the past 4 years.  However I refused to have "Max" monogrammed on it as he requested.  Not with 2+ other boys who will be into superhero lunch boxes in the future!
Fletch got his very first lunch box and Sully got a few little things (pencil bag with new markers, Spiderman kleenex, undies and a book ) since there wasn't any new gear he really needed.

So I think back to school was a success.   Max was thrilled with how his day went.  He was on cloud 9 when I picked him up, which made me the happiest momma ever.  Since he got out at noon the first day we celebrated with lunch at Andre's...a little cafe down the street from his school...
I had been worried that there was a possibility I'd miss the first day of school since I'm so close to my due date, but baby is just hanging out waiting for the right to time grace us.  I'm breathing a sigh of relief today knowing that this big event is behind us and now all I have to do is relax and wait for the next big thing!

Check out B2S 2014
And B2S 2013