Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cohen: 2 Years, 3 months

Cohen is funny to listen to. Not only does he use new and bigger words, but he uses overly-dramatic voices and expressions too. If you ask if he wants more milk, he'll use a a big deep voice and make his mouth really tall and answer slowly "I want WOTS of milk". If you ask him what pajamas he wants to wear, he'll say in a tiny high squeaky voice "You fine my wacoon shirt in da washing machine?"

Here are a few more of his memorable phrases (and the way he pronounces words).

  • After seeing us drink coffee: "Dat coffee? Oh, dat not foh kids. Dat jus for go-mups."
  • Putting on Batman pjs: "Wook at me! I'm a supah-pow-wow!"
  • Looking for monkey, the one stuffed animal that is actually his, not Ryan's: "He's wooooooooost!"
  • What he says to anyone he meets: "Her name baby A-ben-wee"
  • When climbing on anything: "I'm on top of the world!"
  • Every morning when he wakes up: "I have bek-fest? I want geen yogurt" (he loves key lime Yoplait)
  • When I ask him how daycare was: "My turn to pick the movie at Danielle's house. I pick Lilo and Stitch".  (not always true, apparently sometimes he picks Pirate Tinkerbell, but he only gets to watch a little of it before he has to go down for a nap anyway).
  • Anytime we try to help him with something, "NO! I do it mySELF"
  • Whenever he can't find something right away: "It's playing hide and seek!"

Cohen is a bit of a runner when it comes to outdoor play. He has little sense of boundaries. We are glad we have fences on 2 sides of our backyard, but he will not hesitate to take off around the front and head right up the street. His favorite things to do outside are to push himself around on the plasma car, draw with chalk, play tee-ball, and go for stroller rides. He REALLy doesn't like coming back inside after playing outside.

Inside, he likes to run around with Ryan, play in the bathtub, color, play in the sink and wash his hands, wrestle with Ryan and Adam,and talk to Avonlea.  He usually wants one of us to lay down with him to go to sleep and he always picks "Go Fish" (Splash) as the CD if it's his choice. He's getting strangely picky about what shirts and socks to wear, but never cares about his pants (or whether they match). He hates getting his hair combed in the morning and his face washed (both always necessary). He's used the potty a few times and told us when he needed to go, but nothing consistent yet.

I love Cohen's giggle and we can get it to come out when we tickle him or play hide and seek games. It's fun to see him grow and change and find his own likes and dislikes.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kids' Keepsake File Storage Boxes

With the oldest of my three kids about to enter Kindergarten, I knew I needed to find a good system for keeping all their documents, projects, papers, and keepsakes organized.

The goal in all this is to be able to find what we need when we need it, but also to limit the amount of paper "keepsakes" to what will fit in one large file box that can be handed to a the child when they graduate.

The original idea came from a Pinterest pin for "Baby Boxes" here and I made two sets for my younger sister as a baby gift. You can see my original post about her boxes here. (It's been pinned almost 4k times on Pinterest!) Of course it took me a while to make some for my own kids, but I finally got it finished. After a couple requests from friends for details, I thought I'd write out the details for anyone interested in making one for themselves or to give as a baby gift.

  1. Plastic File Box. I picked up a Sterilite Large Nesting Show-off at Walmart in the storage solutions section for about $6. (They only sell as a 6-pack online at Walmart or Amazon).  I like the clip-on lid and handle and will work for several years. Eventually I feel like I'll need to replace it with the Legal/Letter File Box but I don't have room to store that for now. 
  2. Hanging File Folders. For my project, a box of 25 is enough. Since I was at Walmart, I just got boxes of the red/blue/yellow/green and used them along with some I had at home to designate  one color for each child. They have much prettier colors available online at Walmart or Amazon if you want to pay more. I got the jewel-toned files when I did some for my nieces. 
  3. File Labels. You can certainly hand-write on the file labels that come with your folders, but I created mine on the computer, then printed them on cardstock, cut them out, and used them in the clear file tabs. 
 I used a table in Microsoft Word with each row 0.6" high and each column 2" wide and typed in the file name. I also added a shape on the left side and put a symbol on it to correspond with each label. I created a blue (shown below), red, and gray version and I am happy to share the file with you! The PDF is ready to print. If you feel like messing with the fonts or colors, I have made the Word version available too. It's a little tricky working with the text boxes on top of the symbols, but feel free to mess if you want.
      1. Download the PDF version. (Simply print page 1 and/or 2)
      2. Download the Word version.
(Sample of the blue version)
Here's a list of the files and my plans for each one:
  • Baby Info: footprints and bassinet label from the hospital, birth announcements, etc.
  • Medical: immunization records, check-up records
  • Certificates: copy of birth certificate, awards they earn when they are older
  • Church: baptism certificate, projects they complete in church
  • Cards/Letters: a copy of our Christmas card/letter each year and any special cards/letters they receive that they want to keep
  • Pictures: professional photos/school pictures. Just a few from each year to use for graduation display, etc.
  • Sports: certificates, ribbons, articles as they get older
  • Interview: I want to do an "All About Me" interview on their birthday, so I printed 18 of this version so they are all ready to be filled out each year.
  • Age 0-3: artwork, projects from the early years, notes of funny things they said or did
  • Age 4-5: preschool report card, special art projects, CD of pictures
  • Kindergarten-Grade 12: report card, special projects or papers, etc. The goal is to limit it to only what FITS in the file.
  • Blank: I added one extra file just for anything else that might pop up as a category according to their interests, like Music, 4-H, etc.
Now, it's just time to put all the files in the box, add all the folder labels, and fill them! I did my boxes from right to left, one space apart so I could see the symbols.

I did my sister's left to right 2 spaces apart so you could read the whole label. 

If you're feeling really crafty, you can add a cute label to the front. For my sister's I picked a cute blog header from "The Cutest Blog on the Block" and just added their names in Word. I sprayed adhesive on the back of these and stuck them to the box, but they did not stick very well. Other ideas are to cut out vinyl if you have a Cricut or use paint-pen markers to just write on the front.

That's it! For less than $20 and in just an hour or two, you can be ready to keep your kids organized for the next 18 years! This is also a much-appreciated baby gift!

It's definitely worth putting together while your kids are young and you can modify it to fit your lifestyle. You can keep the files in a filing cabinet, add files as needed, purge things at the end of the year to keep only the most important things, etc. It's just a system to get you started.

If you have more ideas for staying organized, please leave a comment!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Ryan's Books

Ryan is now 5 years, 5 months. I haven't done consistent monthly updates because he rarely wants his picture taken and the changes don't seem as dramatic month-to-month now that he's 5. Lately, he's been very into calendars--we have a calendar where he marks down letters/symbols for what is happening each day (preschool, daycare, Grandma day, Mommy/Daddy day, church, special events). He marks off the days and is starting to understand weeks/months/seasons, etc. He is getting very anxious for Spring and warmer weather.

I have noticed that he is into similar things that my niece (also a first born) were into at about the same age. He wants to write/draw elaborate stories, put on performances with scenery and puppets, and comes up with ideas to throw a "fun-time party", makes invitations, and starts inviting other kids to it. (Sound familiar, Megan?)

I thought it would be fun to publish some of his "books" so he/we can look back later and see his progression. These books are usually created independently by him--stapling or taping pages together, then drawing all the pictures, and finally dictating exactly what we need to write on each page. It is fun to see him start drawing imaginary scenes and storylines instead of the standard house/flowers/people.

Ryan's Super Adventure

(He's holding a flashlight)

(this is my favorite page)

My Favorite Book 

(drawn shortly after Avonlea was born--she is the purple stick person lying down)

(we have a purple case on our ipad)

(This is chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and a cherry on top. He told me he doesn't actually like cherries on his ice cream, but he thought it needed one.)

(I like how all these colors are accurate)

Ant Farm

Navy Knights

Ryan created the scenery for a play, then helped pick out "color page" images from the computer that we could print. He colored them and put them on pencils, then performed an original play for us.

Watch the video of his play.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

School Shower

The teachers at Adam's school put on a little shower for the teachers who had babies in the last few months. I went and picked up the kids and brought them to school for some cake. Thanks for the gift and the cake, teachers!

One of the 8th grade teachers and a friend of ours.

I went back to work after the shower, but later that night we tried little missy in the Bumbo for the first time. She looks so big sitting up!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Birthday, Collyns!

We were all excited to celebrate my niece, Collyn's 1st birthday. It's especially fun because there were 8 kids there age 5 and under (my 2 weren't excited about the picture and Avonlea didn't make it in). The kids loved their party hats and curly straws.

Avonlea with the Birthday girl
Cohen's hat and straw

 The various ways Avonlea wore her party hat: (Hey, with that many chins, it's hard to decide).

Love Grandma's lap..looking like a gnome!
Happy Birthday, sweet Collyns!
Collyn's loving her cupcake

Monday, February 16, 2015

Momma Chop

Well, I did what many moms of 3-month-olds do (according to my hairdresser) and that is...chopping off your hair. I had much shorter hair when the boys were babies and tend to have a 2-3 year cycle of growing out my hair long and then chopping it off. It was definitely time. Although lately I'd enjoys experimenting with a few "up-dos", I was generally sick of my long, scraggly, static-filled hair and the amount of time it took to wash, dry and curl or pin up every morning.

Here's my before picture:

And here's after having 8" cut off:

I'll be donating to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. I am enjoying the new cut (lots of layers, not a true reverse-bob so it will need less maintenance and blended in some long bangs with the broken-off hair I had framing my face--due to pregnancy and/or teasing my hair).

This cut has truly given me at least 15 minutes of time back every morning and I usually just need to dry with a round brush, run a straightening iron through a few pieces and tease a little up top. I'd like to experiment with curling it and pinning pieces back, but I keep reminding myself that I did this to gain some time back, so I try not to fuss with it too much.

I am super-happy with the if only those gray hairs wouldn't show up so well!