Monday, September 30, 2013

Boys Paradise!

This weird thing happens to me each time we find out we're expecting: I go into panic mode for the ones outside the womb.  I worry about them adjusting to a new sibling, I worry about those first few exhausting weeks that won't leave me with much energy left for Thomas adventures or Batman vs. GI Joe battles.
So instead of planning an elaborate nursery, I usually use these months to make a special place for my oldest ones.
Before Silas was born we lived in a rental, so Eli's special room prep consisted of hanging some pictures on the walls, a little toy organization, and some bright green bedsheets. :)
This time around I had more energy, more space, and we officially had a place of our own.  Renting for several years gave me a lot of time to plan what I would do when I was able to make a permanent mark on a wall.  Thousands of "pins" later, I decided to scratch everything I'd seen anyone else do and do something "Jordi".

I wanted something bright and modern, and NOTHING based on a cartoon. (Been there, done that!)

I've always loved the energy of pop art, and Roy Lichtenstein has some really fun images.  Clean, direct lines, limited color... he's an interesting artist who made work during the 60's along with Andy Warhol,  Jasper Johns & others.  I loved the idea of putting a piece of history on the kid's walls in hopes that as they get older it will initiate conversation and spark interest in something that I love (yep, there's a selfish element to all of this!)  It COULD backfire and start an interest in aviation, but luckily they have an ex-helicoptor mechanic for a dad, so I figure all our bases are covered :)

I kept the rest of the room very simple.  We're blessed with LARGE closets in this home, so Ben installed an organizational system that divides it into a section for Eli & one for Silas.  2 bars for each kid-one for tops, one for bottoms- with a series of cubbies in the center that hold bins for pajamas and socks & underwear.  I realize a photo would be helpful, but I'm so comfortable in this chair right now...
This eliminated the need for a dresser- my dream come true, as there is nothing I hate more than folding clothing.  I'd much rather stick it on a hanger!

We purchased 2 twin beds & duvets from IKEA, and Ben built some new, kid friendly bookshelves to match the unfinished pine.  They are flat and nicely fill that unused space behind the door.  Other than a cd player (this entire family needs white noise!) and some stuffed animals- those are the contents of their bedroom.  Art, Beds and Books.  All the toys are stored in the playroom.  I love it that they have a clean, restful space to read and relax in.  They seem to appreciate it too :)

Over time I'm sure we'll accumulate finger paintings and crumpled photographs of Grammie & Grampa & Nana & Pop pop... for now we're enjoying the fresh space and simplicity. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fall Family Campout

We wanted to do one big, special thing with the monkeys BEFORE we added a third nut to the mix, and we settled on a big friend/family camping trip.

It was pretty low-key- we drove a couple hours to Shenandoah National Park and tented with 3 other families and 7 kids (8 if you include the one that's 27 wks old!).  We stayed Thursday through Saturday with clear 60 degree days and 45 degree nights.  It was really perfect camping weather- what's worse than trying to fall asleep in a sticky, humid tent?  With extra blankets and footie pajamas (Ben & I skipped those) everyone slept pretty comfortably.  
Pretty comfortably for the 3rd trimester of pregnancy :)

Do you have any idea how many diabolical plans can be hatched with nothing more than a rope? :)

 Eli has been asking to see his DC friends again for months... I think this photo best explains why.  Little girls who aren't afraid to get dirty are the best kind!

Little man enjoyed the total freedom of having every Matchbox car to himself-with no sharing.

We spent the late morning and early Friday afternoon hours on a short hike and doing some sightseeing.

Our one group shot- minus 2 key players.  So not really :)

This photo gives me a little glimpse into my future moody teenager- oh joy!

The kids were real troopers- they played so well together, and by the time 7:30 rolled around they all crashed.  Fresh air makes all the difference in the world.

Driving home we asked ourselves... "Who else could we coerce into a camping trip?"... Any takers? :)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fall Photo Dump

A concentrated dose of cuteness...

We keep having random 80 degree days... so we've been able to get in a few more beach evenings.

Poor duck didn't stand a chance!

Have a cool, breezy, beautiful weekend!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September Schedules.

The BIG EVENT of the summer for us has been the great anticipation of another truly monstrous thunderstorm.
We've had several this season and we kicked off the first with an impromptu play date in the water.  
It was the most fun I've ( I mean the kids?) ever had.

SO... we've made it a habit that when a storm rolls in we drop everything and play!  
This was our last warm storm day... and Silas' first participating in the fun.  

One thing I really wanted to do differently this year was have a daily schedule for the kids to follow.  More than just specified meal/nap/bedtimes... I wanted them to have plans for their day that incorporated more than what you see below- which is what unscheduled, mom-feels-extra-pregnant days become:

I think free play is super important so I scheduled times during the day for me to get a few household chores done and for them to wreak havoc on the luxurious orange beast along with Woody, Buzz, and the 72 piece set of army men (*sigh).
The general timeline is based on 1 hour increments.  We have a wake up/breakfast time, AM chores, and then head outside for an hour for outdoor time.  If it's a nice day I always extend this... I like fresh air first thing in the morning.  There's nothing like it.  
Silas takes a morning nap after this, while Elijah & I do "seatwork"... which is truthfully me forcing him to sit down at the table with a good attitude and work on something that he might not necessarily feel like working on... Little Buddy has difficulty with transitioning quickly from one task to the next so  in my head, this is my way of prepping him for full days of kindergarten next year.  The first 15 minutes are spent on handwriting- one of his greater challenges- and the last 15-20 are spent on a craft or painting-either seasonally based, or based on a book or story we've recently read.

Below is a photo of us working on his VERY FIRST HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT which was weirdly thrilling for me :)

Si gets up after about an hour, we have a small snack and then go downstairs for "FREE PLAY!"... which is less exciting for Mom, in that it means "LAUNDRY!"  Truthfully it's nice to have an hour sort of to myself:)  It's not quite as productive as it once was, now that Number 2 needs a little bit more adult supervision with the walking and the frequent staircase acrobatics.

After this we have lunch, Eli heads to school, Silas lays down for his long nap, and I 
a. Do the responsible thing and work ahead on housework.
b. Do the responsible thing and finish one or two lingering home improvement projects.
C. Nap.
It's been "C" for me, lately.  Making babies is exhausting!

Once Eli gets home and Si wakes up (about 3 hours later) we have another round of outdoor time, followed by PM chores, dinnertime, and then either a "family outing" (a short hike, a trip to the mall, ice cream cones, etc) or we do a nighttime round of "Free Play"-otherwise known as WRESTLEMANIA!!! for any of you out there who also have multiple male children :)  I am currently out of commission for this event, but Dad really doesn't  need me on this one so I definitely check out:) I think the boys are rooting for a baby brother they can include in this action... I know in my heart that if we end up with our first girl, she'll absolutely insist on joining in anyways.  It'll be a win-win for them!

Bath/Story/Bedtime follows all of this.
It's not quite as regimented as it all sounds typed out-Thursdays are library days, Saturday are pretty much devoted to family activities, and Sundays we take it easy. And sometimes you just have to run errands.  But since having some sort of plan to follow each day, we've all been a lot happier- and we seem to get a lot more accomplished.

How awesome is fall weather?  It's my all time favorite season. Packing in every ounce of nature we can before the the snow comes!  Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School!!

We headed back to school last Wednesday.  Poor little guy so was bored with summer vacation he was ASKING to take naps during the day.  

Preschool runs from 12:30 to 3:15, M-F.  This first day was a gray and wet one, perfect for meeting new friends indoors!

Ben was able to come with us to wait for his new teachers to come lead him to class.

I don't have any pictures of him walking down the hallway; it was a little emotional! :)  But after that first "scary" day, I don't even get a hug goodbye anymore.  He's loving his new friends, new routine, and the break from Crazy Man (see picture below).

It's too much to think that in a few years he'll be here in this same hallway wreaking havoc on the teachers.

Happy September!!!