Tag Archives: daily life

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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Week of Thanksgiving: Day 1

If you read Thursday and Friday’s posts last week, you know that our week sucked big time wasn’t exactly that fun. One of the things that got me through the week, and that has helped tremendously this year, is repeating to myself over and over and over again a list of what I’m thankful for. In fact, Friday night when I couldn’t sleep and it felt like everything in the world was piling on my shoulders, I reached over to hold Brad’s hand and we started brainstorming every single thing we could think of to be thankful for. He was thankful that I didn’t have to work that day, and that I’d come to surprise him for lunch…. he said that thought alone carried him through the day. That I was safe. That I with him when it happened. That we were close to home. I wish you could’ve heard the gratitude and the absolute faith in the tone of his voice as we were laying there in bed. I said I was thankful that there was money in the bank, we have a roof over our heads, we can pay the bills, Zoe is healthy, Jess and Ryan came by to visit…. the list goes on.

And then, over the weekend, I started thinking that I wanted to do a week of giving thanks. I know that it’s pretty popular on Facebook right now to do the “31 days of Thanksgiving”. I think I did it for like 3 days or something. But, when I think back over this year… or the last 15 months…. gratitude is one of the predominate themes.

This past Saturday my parents showed up at our house “to help”. By the time they were done “helping” Brad was completely speechless, and I was just about there myself. But, that’s what this year has been like…. Brad and I get to a place where we don’t think that we can walk another step, and then our village steps in, and they say {in countless ways} “I’ve got your back.” “We believe in you.” “We love you.” “We believe in what you’re doing, keep going.” And that humbles me in ways I can’t even put to words.

Just as I was writing that last paragraph I had a flashback to our wedding. Brad and I wrote our own vows, and in my vows to him I said, “I’ll be your biggest fan and your loudest cheerleader”. And, that’s what our village has been to us through this season. Honestly, I don’t even know if I have words in my vocabulary to say how incredibly thankful I am for that. I’ve leaned on their support more than I even realize. The times where love and encouragement helped smooth a transition with Zoe. Or when we get that night off just to go be a married couple. {Just this past Saturday my parents sent us to the store while they stayed home with Zoe…. we were like kids! That was one of the best shopping trips that I can remember, just enjoying each others company… laughing and flirting all through Publix.} I’m just grateful for it. The times where we’ve been given an unexpected gift card to a restaurant nicer than Five Guys, or when we’ve stood in front of our cupboard and tried to figure out where the money was going to come from for groceries…and then the next day they’re full to overflowing because one of our parents just “stopped by to give us a little something”. It’s humbling. It’s faith building.

I could go on and on with examples from the past 15 months of love, support, encouragement, and unexpected provision {like in the thousands of dollars, unexpected provision} from this past year. But, instead, I just want to say thanks.

To Our Village,

Thank you for every time you’ve come beside us and held our hands on this journey. Thank you for every ounce of support you’ve given. Thank you for listening to me as I freaked out about becoming a mom. Thank you for laughing at me those times I’ve gone a little bit crazy. Thank you for helping me laugh this year. Thank you for filling our cupboards, our gas tanks and our hearts. Thank you for writing checks and for sitting on our couches and sharing your life with us. Thank you for distracting us from whatever problem we need distracting from, and for analyzing situations until we figure out the problem and then helping us come up with solutions. Thank you for sending us out on date nights. Thank you for thinking that my child is the most amazing child on the face of the planet, or at least for acting like you do. Thank you for spoiling my daughter like crazy, she is so lucky to have a village like you. Thank you for encouraging me to write. Thank you… for everything. We are so incredibly blessed to have a village like you.

With all the love in our hearts,

Brad, Rebecca and Zoe