Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Lesson in Giving

Last night I took the boys to the basement with their tote we use as a toybox. I dumped it out along with all the other toys downstairs. A few side notes: toys that a parent had to pickup went in a garbage bag and was relegated to life in the basement. Also, prior to our descent, I had thrown away all broken toys and sorted out a good share that were long gone and donated to St Vincent's Thrift Shop. The remaining toys were to be sorted in 3 totes of equal size.
1) Toy box for everyday play
2) Donation
3) Storage/Rotation/Sentimental Toys

Box number 1 was quickly filled, the other two remained barren. I dumped the toy box again and delivered a pep talk. I would take care of toys for the girls. Each boyo would pick 10 toys per basket. Then we would repeat the sequence in groups of 5 items.

Oh the tears shed of forced discarded favorites. How an item not meritting a rank in the top 20 still qualified as "one of my favorites" and "so special to me" astounds me. Items one child donated were plucked out by the other and traded for items in another tote. More tears, more gut-wrenching decisions. It was painful all the way around. Reminders that sets counted as one item, whether as a keeper or a donation. My oldest is clearly more attached and sentimental. With cries of "How could you want to donate that?! It was a Christmas present!" After a few rounds I deemed the rest would be donated. More sobbing and wailing. Another Oscar-worthy speech about children in the world with no toys to their name and witnessing children with 2 totes full crying about parting with toys they had forgotten existed.

Honestly it wasn't the warm fuzzy life lesson I was hoping for. Hearts weren't filled with the joy of giving.  wasn't a patient parent carefully imparting and passing down wisdom to my offspring. After taking their box of treasures back upstairs, my son's Catholic guilt reared its head and he decided he should have given more and been more generous. I wouldn't describe him having a relieved face when I said we could always give more and sort through toys again on another day.

This morning though I deemed the mission a success. Bear alone has been a carpenter, doctor, batman, and princess before my cup of coffee was cold. The boys have been more interested in playing in their room than begging for more television time. The amount of toys are more manageable and easier to keep picked up and apparently more fun. Win-win-win.

For a better lesson of giving, I am considering taking the big 3 shopping to pick out a toy or two to donate. And putting together a shopping list for groceries to take to the Community Cupboard. Experienced parents, please share how have you taught your children to be generous and giving?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Basement Schemes

House projects are on my mind again. In the next month, as soon as the weather warms up we are finally going to work on the basement. Of course by we, I mean we are hiring someone. Family was offering to help us do it ourselves, but my husband didn't think he had the time to take it on.

The floor will be jack-hammered out and removed. Then we will do plumbing work ourselves. 2 egress windows will be cut. Some keep-water-out-measures will be made before the floor repoured. Finish work will be done with the previously volunteered help.

I have been organizing and packing up the basement. We will have to demo a bedroom the cinderblock shower and remove the furnace and hot water heater. Then temporarily move out until the work is done. Likely living in my in-laws basement, which has me a bit nervous. I don't like feeling like I am in the way.

I am mostly excited. This will double our liveable square footage and the boys will have a room to share between them. A bathroom I am excited to design, our upstairs remodel turned out so great. An extra bedroom for guests, or if our dream of moving to the farm is further away than we would like Bear will move into it.

The other for sure plan is a storage room. We are debating about an office/adult workspace.

The rest of the space will be open for the kids to run and play. My old counter-height table will be setup for jigsaw puzzles, lego building, boardgames, etc. I would like to put a sectional and chair or two with an entertainment center and lots of builtin bookshelves.

1140 sq ft extra. We will end up with a 4 bedroom 2 1/2 bathroom home. Upstairs parents and girls room. Downstairs boys room and guest room. Plenty of room for kids to be kids.

Other projects on the to-do-list:
-take up carpet in livingroom and kids' room and refinish hardwood floors underneath
-remove kitchen wall next to basement stairs and build half-wall
-put up shiplap walls in the kitchen and paint
-attempt to convince husband to trim windows and doors...and consider crown  molding in bedrooms and livingroom.
-paver stone patio in the backyard
-till area in backyard for a vegetable garden
-replace siding and roof again from last summer's hailstorm

Sunday, March 12, 2017

On my mind, or out of it

Big D was puking last night, he only made it to the bathroom 2 out of 4 times. I am again firmly decided that we need to rip up our old carpet and refinish the hardwood floors. Or just rip up the carpet, the wood floors actually look pretty good.

This carpet has gone through 3 potty training children, horrific accidents and spills, grease, mud, and manure from the corral tracked over it. 6 1/2 years of stomach flu and exploding diapers. I am over the carpet shampoo-er and what to do with 5 kids and a damp carpet in winter.

In my mind, looking over our fence at the greener grass that is noncarpeted floors cleanup seems easier. What mom, strike that, person isn't 110% for easier cleanup?

At least one member of our household has been sick: either coughing, snifflely, achy, pukey, feverish, sneezing, Hershey squirts afflicted, plagued of some sort since the last week of January.

I blame the carpet. I can't sanitize the carpet. The carpet that our slobbery kissing germ sharing cuddly children crawl and roll across daily. Also the boys seem to have forgotten how hygeine works. The days of obsessive handwashing are over.

I am drinking coffee, hoping the kids will nap, and having hateful thoughts about carpet.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Nora's Nine Month Milestones

Nora has had an eventful March. On the 1st she took her first wobbly steps. On the 5th I heard something clinking when she took my glass of water, and then discovered her 1st tooth.

Today is the 10th, and she has 4 teeth and 2 more she is working on. Which really explains all the fussiness and biting this week.

9 months old and growing up fast. She says Mom, Dad, Up and gibberish. If you ask her big brothers she says all sorts of things, usually things they want.