Spring School Photos

Connor just had spring photos done at school. When the form came home for it, I sort of rolled my eyes. But Connor, he was all sorts of excited. The thing is, when picture day came, all Connor wanted to wear was his school sweatshirt. The same sweatshirt he wears EVERY SINGLE DAY. But, given that I didn't really care about the pictures, I didn't think it was worth a fight and let it go. Then, the pictures got sent home...those school picture companies know what they are doing, sending the overpriced pictures home with kids begging for their parents to buy them. Anyway, in the words of Connor, "Don't I look adorable?" And I can't help but smile a bit and think of how he loves that sweatshirt. And between the pictures coming home and Connor begging, I am guessing we are going to end up buying at least one sheet of said adorable picture. I wonder how the whole school picture thing fits in with the minimalism I just talked about yesterday...

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The Battle Between Minimalism and Wanting All the Things

My friend was over the other day and we were talking about cool things we have seen for sale lately. You see, when you are a person like "us", you are always on the hunt. You go to thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, facebook buy/sale pages, etc and are always looking. It's fun for people like us. We get a thrill when we find something really cool for really cheap. But here's the thing, a few years ago, an internal battle started inside of me.

The battle between minimalism and wanting all the things.

And through this battle, I have learned a few things. Now, I must preface by saying this is a battle that always needs to be fought. There are small victories, but the war between myself (or really anyone) and consumerism is never truly over. Here are some of the things I have learned so far.

1. I can enjoy and appreciate something's beauty and not have it in my home. This is a big one for me. Especially going places where I know I will see one of a kind things. If I don't buy it, someone may snatch it up right behind me. But, I have learned to slow down a bit. To picture where I would put it in my home. What I would do with it. If it would add value. To actually think before I buy. And, I've learned that I can just point out to someone the really cool thing I see without needing to buy it.

2. Be practical with how much I keep or save of the kids stuff. Kids have a lot of crap. Like a lot. Way more than adults...well, at least in our house. And the thing is, they are attached to pretty much all of it. Including the garbage. Like actual garbage at times. The struggle is real folks. It's my job to help them pair down when needed. Which usually giving them a certain number of items to get rid of works. But then there is me. I have to figure out how much I should be keeping for younger siblings. Which toys should be saved, which ones should be given away. The thing I try to remind myself all the time is all of them will have birthdays and Christmas and every other reason kids get given toys and I have to make sure to compensate for that. But there's also clothes and baby and kid gadgets and all that stuff. I'm learning to get rid of stuff because I am pretty good at being scrappy and can pick something back up on the cheap if I really needed.

3. Why keep it if you won't use it? A couple years ago I was given my great grandma's fancy wine glasses. I immediately made the decision that we would use them and not just store them. They wouldn't be appreciated if they were just stored in a cupboard. I would much rather one get broken while them being enjoyed then them never get any use. If I keep something, even for sentimental reasons, it has to be used or on display or I really see no reason in keeping it. Well, except for the old letters Ian and I used to write back and forth. I really do just keep those for sentimental reasons because every time I see the box, it makes me smile.

4. What if? I don't think I should even admit how many things I keep because "what if". I like the idea that if it hasn't been used/worn/looked at for a year, then it's time for it to go. I'm really good at always going through my clothes and keeping what I own to the minimum. In fact, I have way less clothes than Ian. I know he works and I don't, but still! The same can be said for kitchen gadgets. I have slowly over the past couple years gotten rid of some of the obscure kitchen gadgets that we just never used and were just hogging space.

I have been working hard over the past few years to fight against consumerism. To fight for contentment. To remind myself that what I have is enough and that I don't actually need (insert any and everything here). It's helped a lot. And it saves a lot of money. Not just when we are home, but also on trips. We aren't huge buyers of random crap when we travel.

That's it for me. But, I would love to hear how you curb your inner hoarder and deal with stuff in your life. Or perhaps share a funny story of someone giving you something horrid as a gift, but you being stuck with it because they give huge guilt trips if you return it/give it away...because, yeah, that never happens to me. 

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Family Time

Going back to last weekend, one of the nicest things about our extended weekend was having Ian's undivided attention for three whole days. Tax season is long people. And it doesn't just suck for the accountant that has to work it, it sucks for their family too. #firstworldproblems I know. All I'm saying is the end is finally coming into view and for that I can breathe a little lighter. Sorry for that accounting rant...

But back to our three days. We drove down to LA on Friday after Connor got done with baseball. The nice thing with LA, is having lived there for a few years, we know where things are and generally know what we want to do. On Saturday, we took the kids to a bookstore. After that, we picked up lunch and headed to a park for a while. Then we went home (well, to my parents home) to regroup for a bit. Then we headed to Ikea. I wanted to check out their indoor plant selection and I knew the kids would be up for it because they seriously love Ikea childcare. I was right and it was a win for all of us...well, except for Callum. He needed a nap, but he was a trooper. Then we headed back to my parents, made dinner and had an early night in anticipation of Disneyland the next day.

On Monday, the kids and I had a lazy morning, while Ian went and picked up a few hundred pounds of green coffee beans. Wait, you don't fill up the back of your car with green coffee beans every time you go to LA?! And to think I thought that was normal. We hit the road about lunch time, stopping for bagels on our way out of town. The way to my heart really is through a really good tasting lox bagel sandwich. On our way home, we met my parents at a Starbucks for a bit and said hi because ironically my dad had been doing a conference in northern California while we were at their house in southern California.

Ian and I got plenty of car time to catch up on all the things we needed to talk about...or all the things I wanted to go on and on and on about ;) Aww, family time. Just a few more weeks and we will have our weekends back. Woohoo!!!

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We took a quick trip to Disneyland over the weekend. Because a quick trip with an accountant during busy season is all I am going to get! Though I have to admit, having Ian off for three days in a row felt pretty dang decadent. I love that man so much and enjoy having him around. Exploring with our crew is just the cherry on top. 

So Disneyland. Yeah, it's sure not for the faint of heart with three kids in tow. But we managed pretty dang well...though there may have been an incident with a lady not liking Isla's bubble wand and Isla calling the lady a "silly goose" then proceeding to stick the bubble wand right in front of the lady's face. We got there not long after the park opened. Not long in, we stumbled upon jedi training, only to find out it was already full for the day. We got the kids on the alternate list and managed to get them in on the first show we tried. Which, Connor loved...and apparently the sight of Darth Vader makes Isla curl up in a ball on the ground. 

Connor got to experience all sorts of "big kid" rides and loved them, which make me so incredibly happy. Kids getting older and getting to enjoy things I remember as being so much fun as a kid are one of my favorites, so yay for Connor loving space mountain! Isla got all done up at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I'm pretty sure the makeup was her favorite part. She wanted to pose with her eyes shut after so the eye make up would be seen. 

We were going to watch the electric parade, but tight quarters and Isla's bubble wand (remember the incident above?!) weren't proving super fun. So I instead told Isla we would find a big open space for Isla to dance around with her bubble wand and she was perfectly happy. We ended up leaving about 9pm, getting back to the car right as the fireworks were going off. And given that we were parked on the roof of the parking garage, we had the perfect view. 

It was a really good and full day. One that I promise Callum was with us for, though he didn't really make it into pictures and spent most of the time in the stroller or carrier. And now, here's one million pictures for you to look at...or scroll to the bottom to see a little video of our day. 

^^ Connor driving on autopia. He kept saying "steady she does it" which was cracking me up. I don't know where he learned that line from. 

^^ Using the force from a safe distance back

^^ Oh hey Mickey! I'm not sure you were worth the incredibly long line to see you, but we all survived.

^^ He wanted a pretzel so bad, and we finally found a stand with one! 

^^ Isla's fairy godmother in training walking her to the salon. I have to admit, I was blown away with how well the lady interacted with Isla the whole time, always asking questions and never breaking character. 

^^ Connor rebuilt and redesigned his lightsaber a couple times before deciding on the one.

Anyone still there? If you actually made it all the way to the bottom, well done. You deserve an award.

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Multitasking Parent

I read an article that said that being a good multitasker isn't something to brag about because basically with multitasking instead of doing one thing well, you are doing a few things not so well. But, any parent will tell you, the key to parenting is multitasking. I mean, I don't know what multitasking is if it isn't trying to keep a baby's hands out of the toilet while you are pulling up your pants! I digress.

Here's one you don't see every day, a multitasking dad; roasting coffee and taking care of his baby. It was a scene I stumbled upon that sort of made my day. I love that this guy is not only passionate about his coffee, but he also is passionate about his kids and helping out. So, here's to all the multitasking dads out there. You rock!

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Isla Said What?! {five}

I wish I did a better job keeping track of the things that my kids say, because they crack me up on a daily basis with what comes out of their mouths...even if half of it is inappropriate and may never be repeated! 

Mom, it looks like we may have a problem. Mom, now we officially have a problem!

I'm newin pooin. You know what that means mom? Almost everything I'm wearing is new.

I'm going to close my eyes. I don't want to see you guys slobbery kiss.

My hair's been a bit floppy today (i.e. keeps going in her face).

The leaves are dancing (i.e. blowing in the wind).

The boss of my mom is my dad.
When I heard her telling someone this, I was seriously like "Uh, WHAT?!"

Upon discovering Isla didn't flush the toilet:
I did that for you mom. Aren't you going to say thank you?

Mom you're so funny because you have a crazy brain. 
I'll just take that as a compliment! 

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IT WORKS FOR ME: laundry

I always like hearing from other people about how things work in their house and why they work the way they do. Yet, I also feel like everyone these days acts as if they know all about every subject they write about and can't say "this works for us, if it doesn't work for you, that's ok." Because of this, I decided to start a new little series called it works for me. I plan on covering all sorts of topics, mostly to give a glimpse into the day to day of our lives, but also to show why these things work well for us.

Now for a "hot" topic for moms:


Well all have it. Probably more of it than we even want. And how we all stay on top of it, or ignore it, varies from house to house. I know people that do all the laundry in the hampers every evening in their house. I know people that go weeks until there are no clothes left (we really don't have enough clothes in our house to go more than a week). I land somewhere in the middle.

It works for me.

I tend to do at least one load of laundry a day, usually during the day. I throw things like dirty bibs and Callum's clothes after dinner right into the washer and they sit there, then get washed with whatever is getting washed next. Then, I wash everyone's clothes when their hampers get full. Connor and Isla share a hamper, so their's usually fills up the fastest. Towels and sheets get washed whenever I feel like it, I really don't have a rhyme or reason to when I do it.

The real key to my madness is, I put away the loads of laundry after it comes out of the dryer. It takes all of 5 minutes. But, if I let the clean clothes pile up, it seems to become such a chore to put them away. So, I really work to not let them pile up...plus, like I said, we don't have a ton of clothes, so they need to go back into the drawers to be used again.

So there you have it. My exciting (sense the sarcasm) laundry routine. Even if this bored you to sleep, which, if it did, you're welcome for the cat nap, at least you get to see a picture of a cute baby who loves watching the washer and dryer go round and round.

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Callum Feeds Himself

^^ This may be my favorite picture ever! He isn't angry here, but actually holding up his bowl, screaming in pure joy.

The other day, I put Callum in his high chair to feed him and he literally went crazy. He was screaming and kicking and throwing himself around. Yeah, that toddler will has come roaring to the surface of my adorable babe. I had a feeling the real problem was that he wanted to feed himself. I tried handing him the spoon with some oatmeal on it, but he wanted the bowl too. So, I pulled him out, stripped him down, then put him back in his chair again and let him go to town.

Though he attempted to use his spoon a few times, he mostly just used his hand to scoop up the oatmeal and put it in his mouth. Then he would lick his fingers and start all over again. It was actually quite comical to watch. Aww, the messy stage of learning to feed yourself. It's fun when you have time to clean, but doing a deep cleaning of the house and a babe after every meal can get a little tiring. It comes with the territory though.

And if you want to see Callum in action, here is a short video clip of him eating his oatmeal.

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