Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Our Visit with John Black Lee

The Teaze House
John Black Lee
After finding an art teaching job in New Canaan, the "mecca of mid-century modern homes", we soon realized homes there were far out of our budget. We eventually saw an ad for a MCM home .2 miles from the New Canaan border in West Norwalk. We saw it, fell in love and snatched it up. After doing some research, we realized our home was being built at the same time 'the Harvard Five' and a handful of other architects were busy erecting their modern case studies, homes for themselves, as well as for new clients. Our entire neighborhood consists of approximately 29 homes that were build beginning in  1952 by architect P. William Nathan. Josh and I started to compile any information we could find on the development, Nathan, and any original owners, in hopes to one day document it's rich history in full. Josh has started to compile our research on a Pinterest board titled "Norwalk Modern" as a placeholder for a future website or blog:

We met with Janet Lindstrom, director of the New Canaan Historical Society, and gave her our home's history. She was sure the network of New Canaan architects were aware of our neighborhood and may have even visited the site as it was being built. She recommended we meet with a contemporary of the Harvard Five architects, John Black Lee. She wondered if we had ever heard of him. Um…yeah. He was one of the last surviving architects of that era. We immediately knew of his work. In fact his homes were some our favorites in New Canaan, above and beyond the more well know gang from Harvard. Luckily, he was still living in New Canaan and agreed to meet with us to discuss our home and it's significance in the area.

What started out as a fortunate opportunity to speak with one of the founding fathers of mid century modern architecture turned into a lovely visit with a soft spoken, brilliant man. He designed his first home in New Canaan for his family Lee House 1, and then Lee House 2 when they outgrew the first one. Later in 1961, he collaborated with architect Harrison DeSilver to build the System House which was built on a 6' module system whose plans were eventually sold in Better Homes & Gardens for $15. He went on to design and built many more homes in New Canaan, many are featured in the New Canaan Historical Society's Modern Home Survey.

Lee House 1
Lee House 2
(my personal favorite)

The System House
During a snow storm one Saturday afternoon this December, we drove over to John Back Lee's home to pick him up. His Volkswagen Beetle in the driveway was covered in snow. He no longer drives it. He told us under his breath that at ninety years old, "the authorities no longer feel I am fit for the roads". From the street, the tiny A-framed structure looked more like a cool fort than a home. He invited us in and showed us around. That 'fort' was just street level foyer that led you down into the home below. He explained how while he was designing it, his beloved wife had become ill. He rushed to finish it in time for her to live in for the last years of her life. It was a unique structure with a concrete core, surrounded with glass walls overlooking the Silvermine River in New Canaan. It was one of the coolest homes I have ever been inside of.

Lee's current residence from roadside…

…& from across the river

Back at our house, he took a look around and then sat down in front of the fire to have some tea and coffee cake and talk shop. He made sure to say we had a "very lovely home". He went page by page through The Harvard Five book which you can buy here, discussing design features of his homes and the other architect's homes. We asked handfuls of questions about our home and material choices that were made during the 50's. He was soft-spoken and took him time to answer thoroughly. We got the sense he was very much enjoying reminiscing with us and valued our appreciation for his work and our passion for the architecture of that era. It was such a special experience, one we will remember for a long time. 

John Black Lee in our home
December 14, 2013

After saying goodnight to John, 
the least Josh could do is shovel his front steps.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Kid's Table

Growing up, we spent many holidays at our grandparent's house. When it came time for the big meal, the dining room typically maxed out with adults and like many households, there was the separate kid's table. I remember being ok with sitting at it. It was actually the coffee table in the living room, we sat on the floor and felt special since we were away from the grown-ups and had our own space to be ourselves. 
This past Thanksgiving, we were entertaining 6 little cousins ranging in age from 4-9 yrs. The table was right next to the adult table, but I wanted it to feel a bit special and fun. I chose not to dress the table with a table cloth in case of spills, but kept the table decor clean white so the colorful glasses & napkins popped as well as the turquoise stools. 

I wanted for each kid to have a take away gift and made it part of the table decor. Petra helped me adhere the monogram of each cousin onto a votive that held a flameless candle from Michael's. Petra still lights hers each night on her bedside table- they last forever. 

I had thought about arranging a small activity like a coloring sheet and crayons to keep the kids at the table a bit longer. Then I remembered we never had entertainment at the table. WE were the entertainment! We made each other laugh, acted silly in between spoonfuls of mashed potatoes, and got yelled at to clean our plates. It was a family celebration and we were there to spend time together and share a meal. I can see adding some extra goodies and activities if it were a longer meal such as a wedding or adult function. The tablescapes below are great examples of inviting kid's to come together & sit & eat & have fun:
photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of www.project

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Clothes Shopping with Petra

We have reached a major bump in the road with Petra and her stubborn fashion choices. She has had a pretty amazing array of clothing passed down to her by my sweet friends which I have mixed into articles I have purchased. Up until recently, she had no problem with the selection. However, in the last few months, she has declared that she does not like any of her clothes and has gone on strike even when given the chance to select her own outfits.

I have entertained the idea of having her choose a week's worth of outfits on a Sunday night. I dream of how lovely they would look hanging in her closet- all set for Monday, no fussing, no fighting:

I will be using this method soon.  I even have the organizer, from Ikea. I am waiting until Petra shops for some new clothes. I want her to have the ability to choose her wardrobe (not all, but a few new pieces) she can then mix into what she already owns. Nothing revolutionary. She needs to take some ownership. I am just scared. The last time I went shopping with her was to Michael's for her birthday craft project supplies. We had a list. A very clear list. But as soon as she saw the rows & rows of various art supplies, all hell broke loose. I get it. It's hard to focus, especially around art supplies, and especially for a 5 year old. 

Here's my plan: I will make a visual list of the items she can buy. Hopefully this will help her see what is available to her. As far as budget goes, I will be taking her to Old Navy and H&M. I think everything there is priced very reasonably. I will avoid the Crewcuts and Ralph Lauren store in town for now. Here is her list:

Here are the items I will not allow her to buy (this time around). I know I seem like a dud for eliminating these choices, but to make her outfits pair together for her easier, this will help:

sorry, Petra. 

In case you are wondering what my consequence is if we have another episode like the Michael's incident…I will explain, prior to this trip, that if any tantrums or fighting erupt, we will put everything back and leave with nothing. Zero. I will stick to it. Once the dusts settles, I figured I could go online and select all the possible clothing choices in her size. I will put them in the shopping cart, or many have wish lists. She can then look in that cart and select her set amount of clothes. Am I a control freak? Yes and no. It will buy me some time until she is a bit older & can handle the overwhelming in-store experience and narrow her choices. Here is a 'wish list' I started on the H&M site:
My hopes are high, as I imagined going shopping for clothes with my daughter should be a delightful experience where everyone goes home happy & satisfied. (I know I'm dreaming). As a teen, I remember shopping with my mom. I may not have always gotten everything I wanted, but the memories of laughing our butts off in the dressing rooms stands out as some of my favorite times with her. We may have even been asked to leave some stores. I can dream. I'll let you know how it goes. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Snap Happy

Between Josh and I, we take hundreds of photos on our regular digital camera. By December each year, I try to order the year's worth of photo books through Shutterfly. They are pretty standard, black cover, 8 1/2 X 11. They are stacked neatly on my shelves in hopes that one day someone may want to look through them. (Thanks, Denise for being the first person to do so, unprompted.) 

But what about all of those photos I snap on my iPhone every day? Hundreds of them pile up and at some point, I can no longer take any. So here's what I've started doing. This is no big breakthrough idea and I'm sure most of you do this already, but I wanted to share anyway. Since photos from my phone now upload to iPhoto through photo stream, I throw them in an Apple photo book. I chunk the books according to when my phone is busting and cannot take one more shot. 

Does it bother me that they are different from the black annual photo books? Yes. Do I want to take the time to merge the photos together and try to chronologically organize the two collections- hell no. I'm still agonizing over years worth of home movies not bring edited and burned into a lovely DVD collection that can sit neatly stacked next to the photo books. (Damn those Angelos).

So I will have two piles of photo books no one looks at but me. One black, one white. The black ones will be the family photos, vacations and events, all neatly organized by date. The white ones will be a collection of iPhone snaps that I can't part with, or deal with. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Modern Heat

Introducing my new favorite household update:

Josh and I can disagree on many things. Many, many things. Since our 1952 home has absolutely no insulation- I repeat- no insulation, heating it has become a major issue. We're working on it. Our first winter in the house was extremely mild. No biggie we thought...

Well, fast forward to one cold-ass winter and we're bleeding oil and cash out of our noses trying to heat this place which is comprised of approximately 70% single paned glass. About 1/2 of those enormous single paned windows are jalousies. If you are not familiar with those gems, they are usually installed in summer cottages, in warm climates, to let the breeze blow in. We have stormers for these during the winter months, but the breeze just blows right through. Here is a great example of where to use jalousies effectively- in a seasonal sun room or seasonal enclosed porch. I repeat- seasonal:
It's going to be ok. I assure myself. It will be ok. We have recently made a master "to do" list for the house. Replacing the single paned windows is top priority. Having more efficient stormers made for the jalousies is part of that project. We don't want to get rid of them They are AWESOME. In the summer, they provide for amazing cross ventilation and we have screens for every single one. We are budgeting for that project to happen in the very near future. Until then, we figured replacing the crusty thermostat in the main living area could help. Enter, the Nest:

The nest thermostat was developed by some key folks who originated at Apple. So, hearing all the great things this unit offered, Josh installed one on Saturday morning in no joke- less than 5 minutes. I was then assigned the tech part (as usual). It immediately found our wifi, prompted me through a handful of questions and then asked me to set the room temperature. For about a week, it will learn how we turn our heat up and down and begin to do so automatically for us. Best part is the mobile app. From anywhere I can see the temperature at home and adjust accordingly. Today, for instance, I could see it was a bit colder and before I drove home, I turned the heat up. I know digital thermostats have timers, but the ability to change the room temperature based on the changing temperature outside is pretty cool. 

I'll keep you posted to let you know how it works over the next few weeks and if in fact it can learn our heating habits. Until then, I'll be here, wrapped in my wool cardigan dreaming of a better insulated house. It will happen soon...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Belated Valentines

This year on Valentines Day our schools were closed due to snow. Both Petra and Beckett had their Valentines all addressed and ready to be delivered. Beckett's teacher has decided to have a make-up V-Day when they return from winter break. Petra's school, on the other hand, let it slip by. 

News flash: Petra will be delivering her Valentines anyway when she returns from break. She worked her bum off making each card by hand. 17 in fact! I had given her the choice of buying cards at the store such as these:

                                                                   ...or make her own. 
                 Here is how she carefully crafted each one with paint, glitter, stickers and lots of love:

Petra: "You can't cancel Valentines Day! 
My name is Petra Valentine".
Duh. (I added that)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Playground Parties

To wrap up my Kid's Birthday Parties series, I combined four of Beckett's parties into one extended post. Thanks for reading & hanging in there. I am very grateful to my sisters and close friends who contributed great ideas and suggestions to help make kids parties the best they can be. And now for the finale…

Living in NYC: I saw first hand how competitive and outrageous birthday parties for kids can be. When it came time to throw a party on our end, I had to figure out ways to make it fun and affordable for us. While Beckett was young, I tried to stay clear of parties at established venues thinking I would save us loads of money. So for the first 5 birthday parties, we celebrated in local playgrounds and parks. 

But no matter what: What I realized later after doing parties both ways, is that there are pros and cons to both and the results are generally the same: 
1. your kid is thrilled to death to be the center of attention amongst all his/her friends
2. you always end up spending way more than you budgeted
3. you end up exhausted no matter what: you are still responsible for children other than your own, whether you are cutting the cake or the hired Bozo the Clown.

Thrown for: Beckett
Ages: 2, 3,4 & 5
Location: Various playgrounds in NYC
Number of guests: Average 8
Beckett turns 2
Bulldozer theme
Beckett turns 3
Carnival theme
Beckett turns 4
Cars Theme
Beckett turns 5
Star Wars Theme

The basics: We started by throwing park or playground parties for Beckett when we lived in NYC. They were simple at first. You arrive to park or playground when it first opens to snag the picnic tables. Claiming them yours is key to the party's success and this is a very stressful moment. I usually sent Josh with the table cloths. Guests meet you at designated playground and since at that age, they were usually accompanied by a parent or nanny, they then played on the jungle gym, gathered for pizza delivered by the local pizzeria and ate cake you either made or purchased. Easy- right? Well, for some reason, it always seemed like a logistic nightmare.

Some issues: 
  • The cake, the goodie bags, any activities, a cooler full of juice boxes, snacks, and of course your own children have to be transported to the playground. Cab? Sure. Hold onto that cake and don't forget the matches or the candles or the knife to cut the cake. See below for delivery suggestions.
  • Safety is a big concern at these locations. Since these were not drop off parties, luckily each child had a caregiver to help keep an eye on them. The gated playground was also helpful, Either Josh or I tried to stay close to the exit while chatting with the parents. If it is an open area, it can be much harder to keep track of the kiddos.

Suggestions from the hostess: Keep planned activities to a minimum. This means less to shlep- besides the playground equipment itself is enough for a good 1/2 hour of running around. Take advantage of having food delivered. Pizza from your local pizza joint as well as veggie and fruit platters plus juice boxes from the local grocery store can be delivered to the gate of the playground. I'm sure they would even bring the cake as well. Another fun treat is to give the guests "coupons" for the ice cream cart. Just ask the guy at the cart to tally it up and give him a sweet tip. One thing to remember is if you are in an open area with no gates, be sure to mention to parents as they arrive to try and keep eyes peeled. Can't hurt. Other than that weather is the only thing that would hinder this event, so be sure to state a rain date on your invite.
Please leave any further suggestions or comments 
to help make our kids birthday parties as memorable as possible.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Art Party

Thrown for: Petra
Age: 5
Location: home
Number of guests: 9
The basics: Petra is a passionate artist, so no wonder she chose this theme for her 5th birthday. We brainstormed ideas together by looking through Pinterest. We then made our materials list for the couple of craft projects and hit Michaels. She invited a few neighbors, a few friends from school and of course, her big bro Beckett.

Activities included: 
  • Birdhouse Decorating: Each guest painted and bedazzled a wooden birdhouse.
  • Tote Bag Decorating: After choosing the color tote bag, each guest was handed foam letters to spell out their names across the bag. They then used puffy paint & more foam stickers to complete.
  • Freeze Dance: The kids gathered downstairs to burn off some energy.

What I loved about this party: Petra wanted to fully participate in the entire process. The night before, Petra helped me set up the projects, hang the tissue paper flowers and rainbow we made during one of our many snow days, and of course, she set up the cake table. The craft projects were a hit- you could hear a pin drop as the girls decorated with paint, glitter glue and stickers. They were fully engrossed.

Suggestions from the hostess: As my invite stated, drop off was optional. At this age, you never know how parents feel, especially since many of them I had never met before, so it's good to give them a choice in that case. Also- clearly stated on the invite was "please wear play clothes as we will be painting". This relieved some stress on my part as the glitter and glue flowed. I also encourage a good music mix. I stayed up the night before and downloaded all of Petra's current favorites from Lorde, One Direction, Katy Perry, Beyonce and Rihanna. Thank goodness, since the girls were so eerily quiet while crafting. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Super Hero Party

Thrown for: Maxwell
Age: 3
Location: home
Number of guests: 15
The basics: 
This was another amazing at-home party thrown by my extremely creative gal pal, Denise. Her son was turning 3 and what better theme than a super hero for a little boy? Denise put in every effort to ensure the invites, activities and food coordinated perfectly with all things super hero. 

Activities included: 
1. Super hero cape decorating: Denise ordered the capes from Sew Plain Jane. She prepared the initials ahead of time by cutting them out of 8 1/2 X 11 adhesive-backed felt sheets. 
2. Super hero mask decorating: Denise cut out each mask ahead of time from felt sheets. 
3. Batman Bean Bag Toss: Denise painted Batman onto a sheet of plywood. Holes were then cut for the bean bags.
4. Super hero ring search

What I loved about this party: I love how the cape and mask decorating took place early on in the party and the kids wore them throughout. Kids this age are very much into dress-up and role play. These complete costumes made each kid feel special as they enjoyed the various party activities. 

Suggestions from the hostess: The most popular of the planned events were the cape and mask decorating, however, once they were finished, she wished she had planned a few more activities to round out the time frame. As far as goodie bags, the cape and mask were all the guests needed to walk away satisfied party-goers. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Mystical Fairy Party

Thrown for: Miss E
Age: 6
Location: Mystical Fairies, Hampstead, UK
Number of guests: 10

The basics:
This party was thrown by my very close friend, Rachael. She wrote about it in more detail on her hot new blog: New York Mum in London. Known for throwing some killer parities back in NYC for both kids and adults alike, Rachael chose this unique location for her daughter's first party since moving to London this fall. There were many themes to choose from and as you can see, the guests were quite entertained in this magical space.

Activities Included: After the guest of honor chose the theme of Barbie and the Three Musketeers, each guest chose the outfit they would wear, faces were painted and dancing ensued. 

What I loved about this party: This place looks like every little girl's fantasy. Right down to the glitter covered toadstools, they have this thing nailed. I also love how Rachael let go a bit (which I know is very hard to do) and allowed the venue to take care of small details like the goodie bags, food and activities, and focused her energies on creating the most fabulous 100% homemade cake. She listened to what Miss E dreamed up and executed a cake to match the fabulous-ness of the party itself. 

Suggestions from the hostess: Encouraging drop off at this age allows the birthday girl full attention rather than the adults needing tending to. Less adults also allows room for movement at smaller venues giving the children space to spread out and fully enjoy themselves. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Farm Party

Thrown for: Aubrey
Age: 9
Location: Arrowhead Farm, Martha's Vineyard
Number of Guests: 6
The basics:
My sister, Theresa threw this party for my niece this past fall. Aubrey is a passionate equestrian and loves horseback riding more than any other activity. It made total sense for her to host her party at the farm where she takes riding lessons. They lucked out with beautiful weather. 

Activities included: 
Each of Aubrey's closest friends took turns riding her favorite horse, Shawnee, who is part Clydesdale, part draft horse. Her favorite instructor, Lillian was there to assist the girls and to serve the cake, which of course was decorated with Shawnee. They then splashed around and cooled off in the stream. 

What I loved about this party: 
If Aubrey could have dreamed up a perfect party, it would have been this. It gave her a chance to share this special aspect of her personal life with friends who only get to hear about it at school. It was also such a unique setting, I don't think any of her friends will throw a party quite like this one anytime soon. It was also outside and involved getting close to nature, eating cake with you closest friends, with your toes dipped in a cool stream- what could be better?

Suggestions from the hostess:
Having the barn arrange the afternoon, not just the instructor, but the food, the cake and clean up was well worth the cost. It relieved a lost of stress. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Space-Tacular Party

Thrown for: brothers Jack & Maxwell
Ages: 7 & 4
Location: Home
Number of Guests: 28
The basics:
This party was thrown by one of my dearest friends, Denise. When she decides to do something- she goes all out. She is crafty, creative, and fun-loving with a dash of OCD. This party is evidence of that. Combining her boy's birthday parties would kill two bird with one stone- right? Well, Denise had her work cut out for her. 

Activities included: 
Stomp Rockets- in the driveway that was decorated with black hole targets & planets
Crater Toss- bean bag toss into giant foil covered target with cut-out holes
Planet Walk- cake walk game with candy prizes
Rocket Races- a balloon is attached to lanyard by straw then released. Kids had decorated own rocket ship cover (this was the favorite activity for sure!)

What I loved about this party:
I loved so many aspects of this party. The fact that the brothers were able to agree on a combined theme and share the spotlight- that takes some loving bros. The activities were based around classic games and simply structured, but Denise put her own twist on them and fit them into the space theme perfectly. Other faves of mine are the Denise-designed invitations and goodie bag labels. So pro! 

Suggestions from the hostess:
With so many guests, the activities had to be run simultaneously. Denise suggests to sign on a handful of good friends to lend a hand and help run the activities. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Lego Party

Thrown for: Harrison
Age: 6
Location: Home
Number of Guests: 6
The basics: 
This fun Lego Party was thrown by my sister for her son a few weeks ago. Her philosophy for guests list - keep the number of guests limited to the age the child is turning. This of course, she added, will have to change once sleep-overs are in demand. She made the cakes to look like giant Lego pieces, and came up with simple, and fun Lego-themed games. The primary colored goodie bags included a few small toys and Lego candies- plus a special coupon for ice cream at the local parlor.

What I loved about this party:
It is so Harrison. He loves Legos. It was such an age appropriate, child-centered theme and yet it wasn't over the top stressful for my sister to put together. There are many more Lego party ideas on the Internet. Just remember to keep it realistic as far as your budget and preparation time allows. This is your home, be ready to let loose a little and let them have fun!

Suggestions from the hostess:
1. Remember to keep it to a 2 hour max. 
2. Let them have some free, unstructured time, dance music, etc. They seemed to have the most fun then.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Kid's Birthday Parties

I am starting to stress. Once again, Petra's birthday is creeping up on me. I have no plan, no theme, so date or time set. All I know is she wants a picture of Scout and her on the cake. Easy- right? I have no idea why we make such an elaborate stink over our kid's birthday parties. Yes I do. We love those critters to death and want them to experience the joy of having one special day that they are celebrated, gifts are showered upon them and family & friends surround them. Sounds perfect to me.

Looking back at how my childhood birthdays were celebrated reminds me that simple is sometimes better. All the fuss and details often go unnoticed by kids at such a young age. I remember celebrating at home with a few girlfriends from school. My two sisters, of course completed the limited guest list.

 As you can see in the photo above, seated next to my sister Theresa, I must have been turning 4. (That's me in the white shirt and killer pixie cut). I was all smiles with my Raggedy Ann table cloth and forget the cake- I wanted doughnuts! What? Chocolate frosted doughnuts. I was thrilled. The other guests included a few neighborhood kids. Notice the plain white plates and plain white paper cups. No fuss. Happy girl. 
I remember how thrilled I was to be able to throw my birthday party at the local McDonalds. I know for my parents, money was tight, so I appreciated this special treat. I invited my BFF Jen Haas from my class. I was turning 7 and my big gift was to get my ears pierced. I was becoming a real woman. I have to note the trending turtlenecks and stylish brown cardboard party hats. I think this was before the Happy Meal was invented, so I recall being served an individual cheeseburger & fries. No box, no fuss. Fountain soda and cake with Ronald on it rounded out the menu. 'Nough said. Happy girl. 

As I got older, the event was still humble and simple. The cake made from scratch. (Thank you very much Betty Crocker). I believe this was a slumber party, so in order to avoid an all night rager, my guests were limited to 3. Throw in my rowdy sister Michelle, seen here splayed across the table in her Strawberry Shortcake PJs, and my pretending-to-be-uninterested older sister, Theresa, and we had the perfect bunch of girls. Pizza eaten, cake devoured. I think we even broke in our new VCR that night and rented The Breakfast Club. Perfect party. Happy girl. 

Each day this week I will posting a different kid's birthday party thrown by one of my dear friends. These parties will highlight the variety of ideas out there: some home-made and some at established venues with the common goal of making the birthday child feel like a rock star. 

Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Slim Aarons

I have been obsessed with the American photographer Slim Aarons for many years now. His saturated photos of what he called "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" have been published in glossy magazines I remember looking at as a little girl & dreaming of fancy people. Magazines like Life, Town & Country, & Holiday featured his work as an example of the finer things in life.
Here is the piece I want to hang:
I have been researching the purchase and enlargement of one of his photos from a while and now I just have to pull the trigger and get it done. I imagine it spreading the huge blank wall in the living room. Maybe it could be 5' X 5'? Josh did a mock-up in Photoshop for me & here's what it would look like in our living room:
Love it- right?

Here are some others that make the choice very difficult:
 Poolside Gossip
Palm Springs circa 1970

Here is a fabulous baby nursery with a Poolside Gossip mural. It's amazing:

Although I would be happy with any one of these:

His work has been published in a handful of large coffee table books and they are to die for! They'll transport you:
  • A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life (1974)
  • Slim Aarons: Once Upon a Time (2003)
  • Slim Aarons: A Place In the Sun (2005)
  • Poolside with Slim Aarons (2007)
  • Slim Aarons: La Dolce Vita (2012)

Slim Aarons

Monday, January 27, 2014

What Toys Will They Remember?

Nothing feels better to me than cleaning out my kid's closets, or editing their shelves, bagging up unwanted & unused toys to pass along to the next kiddo. Most of the time, they don't notice but more often these days, they tell me they would like to pass certain toys and can realize they are finished with something and the love for the object is gone. There are, however the few toys that we all agree will stay for the long haul and be passed on to their children someday. 

We have established that the Match Box cars Beckett has been collecting since he was two will stay. He still takes them out and plays with them. Josh and I sit back, watch him roll around on the floor with them and listen to the crazy sound effects and story lines he mumbles. Brings us right back! 

Another keeper are the Legos. Both kids love them. We have combined all sets into one huge hog-pile. I have been tempted to sort them by color or shape as some O.C.D. peeps I know have done (the Angelos & the Trexlers). Congrats. You win. I will not be doing that, tempted as I may be. For now, dig away kids. Dig deep.

For now, the other big heirloom toy will be the wooden blocks. We have now combined blocks from Josh's childhood and my mother's playroom with new ones we bought when Beckett was first born. Both Petra & Beckett will still build for hours. They will drag out the animals and build them a zoo, the Army men and set up a war zone, or the Lego figures and build them a fancy hotel with these:

From my childhood, I can't say I have any saved toys, but rather what we kept them in. I don't know the history of this toy cart, who bought it for us or where it came from. All I know is we had it when Michelle was small enough to fit in it and be wheeled around. It housed all of our toys growing up and then in my mom's playroom at her house. It is now in our home and I am happy to have snagged it. 

For some of their smaller items that I can't quite let go of, I have set aside 2 boxes for each of them. I may find I need to transfer to larger ones at some point, but for now, these are holding onto a few things from Petra & Beckett's baby years:

Beckett's baby box.
His favorite rattles, books, blanket, and even a ball
& sweater that was passed down from Josh's childhood.
Petra's baby box.
Contains the sweetest Chinese pajama set from Aunt Theresa,
her brush & comb set, rattles and favorite books, sweater, and blanket.