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.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Modern Day Thank You

My love for stationary goes way back. I have saved many handwritten letters from my Grandmother and her sisters, my mother and my own sisters from various occasions and reasons. I have often bought boxes of notes and letter press cards because they are so beautiful, but have only sent a few. I also have boxes of gorgeous Thank You notes that have been collecting dust. 
It's not that I am ungrateful for things I have received, or a stay at some one's summer house, or a great night hosted at some one's home. It's just that with today's means of communication being instant and easy with e-vites and e-cards, I am much more likely to bang out one of those instantly and press send directly into your email box. There is just as much thought and gratitude behind it. Promise.

This year, as my children and I have received many Christmas gifts from relatives, I wrestle with the idea of the handwritten thank you card. I want to say I will sit down with both of my kids after school this week and have them hand write thanks-yous for all the gifts they received. Things is- fat chance of that happening. By the time it is written, I dig up a stamp, sits on my kitchen counter for a few days, then on my car dashboard for a few more, and my postman takes it along it's diesel-fueled journey to your home, it will be weeks before you open it. Then I know exactly what you will do with it. You will savor the sweet package in your hand, carefully tear open the seal and read the 2 sentence note of gratitude from my child. You will then toss it. Hopefully you will recycle it. But you basically toss it. It's ok. I do it too. 

So this year, I thought I would try to be a modern mom and use technology to best suit my busy life. This year I am having my kids send digital thank yous. They will pose with the gift they received, write a quick note and press send. I feel ok about it. It's better than no card at all, you get a recent photo of my adorable kids and I'm saving paper- right? Take a look a these 2 samples:

There are so many photo editing apps out there to manipulate the photos, 
add text, stickers and frames, but my two favorites which I used on the photos above are:

Let me know your thoughts. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dimmer Done!

After reading my post on LED Christmas lights, you may now understand my sensitivity to light. I have slowly been changing out our light switches to dimmers and up until now, it was fairly easy. Until I met my match in the dining room. Here it is before I lost my mind:
The expression "opening up a can of worms" totally applied to this job. This photo is actually 1/2 way through the job- it looks pretty organized at this point. What you can't see is a few spare wires I have shoved into the box. Hope that's not a problem later. (just kidding)
The scariest part of course, is the thought of being electrocuted all alone, no one to administer CPR, so I wait for Josh to be home. Our fuse box is a mess as you can see. From 1952 on, there have been changes made, chicken scratches and arrows that indicate nothing correctly. It was a total guess which switch shut off the outlet I was working on. Well- the light went out. That's good enough- right?
In the end, I managed to rig 2 separate dimmers that work the dining room and a spot light in the living room. It is so relaxing to lower the lights, sit back and enjoy the fact that I am a skilled electrician on the side.

Dimmer in action.