Category Archives: around the house

It’s 3 days after Christmas and I have 1,000 toys in my living room

Ok, obviously, there’s not exactly 1,000 toys in my living room, but sometimes, it sure does feel like it. Brad and I are pretty good at *hiding* toys at 8pm when Zoe goes to bed, I still have my aversion to all things toddler after she goes down for the night. But, during the day, I wade through a sea of primary colors, dancing monkeys, baby dolls, and cardboard books from sun-up til sun-down. When I’m on top of my game, we do a “30 second pick-up” that really takes about 15 minutes right before Brad gets home. To be honest, that’s the only time I clean up the toys during the day. I don’t even clean them up when company is coming over. Sorry. But that’s the truth.

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So, what do we do with the slew of toys that came along with Christmas? So glad you asked. The first thing we did, about a week before we knew all the new toys were coming is throw out about 1/2 of the old ones. I use the term “throw out” loosely. They’re in a bag, in our garage, waiting patiently for child #2 to come along and play with them. I believe 150% in hand-me-downs. We did this mini purge when Zoe was asleep. I recommend not trying to throw out toys with a toddler who wants to play with everything they see {for at least 30 seconds until they get bored and move on to the next toy}. We did not purge anything that Zoe plays with every day, nor did we throw out anything that we know she loves. The toys mostly came from the bottom of the toy chest, or they were baby toys that made the cut during the last purge, and now are ignored in favor of toys that light up! and talk! and can be pushed from one end of the hall to the other! You know, cooler toys.

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Truth be told, my daughter is super easy when it comes to toys. She, like most toddlers, has very little demands. Sure, the toy is way more awesome if it lights up and talks to her, but she’s also perfectly content with homemade toys too. Also, we have to be very careful which toys we let her keep out and about as our lovely dogs like to eat her toys… particularly wooden blocks, puzzle pieces, stuffed animals, and Little People farm animals.

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After the purge was complete, we simply waited for the influx of new toys. They came almost every day. A super cool vacuum cleaner, baby dolls, teddy bears, half a {large} living room full of toys from my side of the family’s Christmas, a box full of Elmo stuff from Indiana {including a pop up tent that Zoe has already discovered is a GREAT place to hide with a book}, a coloring table, two drum sets {one had a full marching band contained inside and the other lights up and plays music. Both are incredibly cool, and I’d be lying if I said Brad and I don’t play with them when Zoe’s not even around.}, a dancing monkey, a dancing dog, a box from Virginia that has Abigail the interactive bunny rabbit and a book. The list goes on…. Seriously, I don’t even have an estimate for you yet. I can’t keep track of all the new toys she got. I mean, we came home from my family with an entire car full of toys. A car full. I just know that they’re everywhere. And, I know we’re not talking about clothes, but I think she got about 20 outfits from Brad’s mom. 20. Can you imagine how awesome it would be to get 20 new outfits in one day? I digress.

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So far, we’ve let her play with everything. Most toys are opened immediately and then she can have them for several days. This is new, at her birthday we just immediately put 1/2 of the toys away, unopened. But, this go around, we’ll start sorting through the toys by the end of the week. Once I get a good grip on how many toys she got, I’ll go through them one by one and hide about 1/2 to 2/3 of the toys. What I really care about is having at least 7 toys hidden away. This isn’t going to be a problem {at all!}.

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Then, once {or twice} a month, Zoe gets a new toy! How awesome is that!?!?!?! I do this for two reasons, 1) So that Zoe doesn’t get overwhelmed by the amount of toys that she has, and only plays with her favorite few. 2) So that we always have something “new” for Zoe to play with. Oh, and 3) So that I don’t have 1,000 toys in my living room. The only problem is that now I need to find a place in my house that Zoe doesn’t have access to. Back in July, she never went into the guest bedroom, and even when she did she never found the toys, so they were safe. But, now, she knows where everything in the house is. And, I promise you, if she sees them one time she will try to get them, every.single.day.

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There are certain exceptions to this rule, for instance, my parents bought Zoe a Weebles Musical Treehouse. I had every intention of not even taking this one out of the box for a few months. I was thinking maybe March. The box waited on a table in our hallway to be put up with the other toys. But, a few days after the Tate Christmas Zoe walked down the hall, stopped in front of the treehouse, and started patting it. Then, when that didn’t work, she came and got me, walked me down the hall, and started patting it again. I asked her if she wanted it right now. She said “yes”. So we sat down and opened the box, Zoe standing over my shoulder. {I’m not making this up}. She inspected every move that I made putting it together, and then when it was completed, she acted like she’d just been given Barbies Dream Playhouse! That girl loves her treehouse. She plays with it every day, several times a day. She carries her little Weeble people around in her shopping cart. Toys like that, where she specifically asks to open them and play with them… she always gets those toys immediately.

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Zoe actually lucks out majorly in this scenario. Not only does she get “new” toy to play with every month, her birthday also falls in the {mostly} dead center of the year. So in 7 months there’s a new influx, then 5 months later it starts all over again. That girl is one spoiled little girl!

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Happy Wednesday Ya’ll!

So, how do you manage kid toys at your house?

PS. One slight twist that me might try this round, to see how it works, is to have certain toys for the upstairs guest bedroom, so that she’s entertained if Brad or I are up there watching a show. It doesn’t happen often, but when we do, it works better for her to have tons of toys and books up there with her.

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It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year

Friday night, after an intense {and incredibly fun} time at Toys R Us, where my mother and I sauntered through the aisles, dragging my father along with the cart, we checked out {WAY} over budget {but Zoe just had to have that beautiful Christmas dress} and as we were leaving the store I said to the bouncer… {that’s legit. There was actually a bouncer outside the door to Toys R Us…but when you think about the mass quantities of crazy moms outside, you would understand}. Anyways, I said to the bouncer, “Merry Christmas!” and he laughed and said it right back to me.

And my spirit raced with excitement.

It was officially Christmastime!!!!

For that split second, I could look past the fact that it was still in the 80’s here, and that on Thanksgiving and for the whole Thanksgiving weekend, I was wearing short sleeves, capris, and flip flops. I can look past the fact that some trees here still haven’t turned to fall colors because it’s just not cold enough. I can forget about the fact that, once again, I will not see snow at Christmas. That’s all OK….

Because it’s Christmastime.

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It’s a month of twinkling Christmas lights, curling up on the couch with a good book and Christmas music in the background, grabbing some hot apple cider and driving around the Riverside area with Brad looking at AMAZING decorations, Salvation Army people jingling their bells outside of Publix, Christmas decorations at the shopping malls with Christmas music, coming home to a house filled with decorations, parties, cookies, white elephant gift exchanges, baking….

Christmas.

I love every second of it. I always have.

When I was in the 8th grade my older sister gave me a book called Winter Dreams Christmas Love, it’s a classic “coming of age” story that follows a girl from the first day of her freshman year to her junior year of high school…and, of course, the guy that she falls in love with that first day of school. Their big events happen at Christmastime every year… and it’s what the book revolves around. For over a decade I read that book every single year the day after Thanksgiving. Cover to cover. Truth? I started a snow globe collection because the main character in that book has a snow globe collection. That book instilled a love of Christmas in me that I hope I never shake.

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When I was 19 years old and living in my very first apartment away from home, I went all out buying my own decorations. Ten years and numerous moves later, I still have almost everything I bought that year. Except my snowman, Michigan… Hemmingway ate him last year. I cried. I remember sitting on the couch in that living room, the whole house decked out in Christmas lights, Delilah was on the radio playing Christmas music and I was curled up under a blanket reading a book… there was a stillness in the room, and a magic that can’t be explained. I fell even more in love with Christmas.

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Then I moved to Michigan, and instead of adding to my snow globe collection, I got to live in one. The day after Thanksgiving I was shopping with my friend and it started snowing. I called my mom back home in Florida and when she said “hello” I started singing “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” at the top of my lungs, bursting with excitement over the snow. She let me sing a full verse before she told me that I was on speakerphone… and she was in the middle of the mall. That year when she came up to Michigan for Christmas, she brought with her a singing teddy bear dressed up in a red velvet coat with a top hat. He sings…you guessed it…”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. I woke up to my first White Christmas that year, and I was ruined forever. Florida’s palm trees will never hold a candle to a true winter wonderland.

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Today, Zoe and I got bundled up because for the next couple days it’s going to be in the 60’s {hallelujah}, and we went off to the Town Center to buy some Christmas stockings. On the way there we turned up the Christmas music real loud and jammed out to “Sleigh Ride”. When we got there we enjoyed strolling around outside, stopping every 10 feet so we could dance. Once inside Target, Zoe got to pick out her very own Christmas stocking. Her choice? Hot pink with sequins. She chose that over the zebra strips with pink fur and the dancing snowman…. go figure. But, my point? I’m getting to experience this through the eyes of a 1 1/2 year old. Sure, she doesn’t understand the anticipation of Christmas, the reason behind it or anything other thing that we’re doing over the next month. But, her eyes light up when we plug the tree in. And today, she went from decoration to decoration inspecting all the new things in the house. Her favorite is the contraption that I rigged up to our chandelier, just a bunch of red ornaments on ribbon…but they shimmer, and they sway, and they’re wonderful to look at while she’s sitting in her high chair. Then, to top off all the “new” things in her world, her Gammy {Brad’s mom} came by with a few Christmas books and a singing teddy bear! Does it get any better than this?!?!?!?!

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I can’t even contain my excitement for this Christmas. I can’t wait to take Zoe to the local man-made because we’re still mostly hanging out in the 80’s Winter Wonderlands. I can’t wait to let her taste some hot chocolate, and then laugh as she begs {and gets} more. I loved watching her examine the tree this morning, and sit in her armchair right by it, content to just stare at the lights. I’m excited to “help” Zoe “make” presents for her family. I’m just excited…. period.

Merry Christmas Ya’ll!

What are some of your very favorite Christmas traditions? What’s your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?