Day 11: The New Play Porch

One of the things I love about our house is the awesome enclosed porch we have.  It’s really like an additional room.  In the old days (when the kids were younger) we would have it set up as a play room from about March to early November.  We put their play kitchen and toys out there.  It kept them out of our living area and they loved playing out there on sunshiny days with all the windows…it’s almost like you are outside – but cleaner!

Now the kids have different toys.  Toys with a lot of pieces…that are small and have to have a way to be organized.  The kids also like to have access to craft supplies, a place to read and then there’s the fact that I have a huge range of toys…since we have a 2 year old, 6 year old, 8 year old and a 10 year old.  The porch has been stacked with stuff that we wanted to get rid of…school stuff…extra furniture.  It’s just basically been a huge mess for like a year.  We cleared a lot of stuff off this Spring when we did the Mom to Mom sale…but it still needed to be cleaned and organized and things needed to be gotten rid of.  I should have taken a picture of what it looked like before I started working on it this week…but I didn’t think of that till today.

So here’s what we have…

This is looking toward the south end of the porch (right side of the house).  Jasmin has a little area where her toys are stored in the Dora toy organizer that our neighbor gave us.  Her toys aren’t really organized because she has a lot of little things she likes to play with…so we just keep them in the bins and when she wants a toy she knows where her stuff is.  The chair is a super comfy chair that is broken…the foot does go out when you recline, but it’s been sat on and is bent…and today with a lot of effort, I jammed it back in so you can actually get in and out of it with out killing yourself!  And the side table matches one in our living room.  We’d like to replace these…we’ve had them for a long time…but since we are still using one, we are making use of this one on the porch.  The easel is one I had bought for my classroom, it’s a little messed up, but Jasmin loves to draw on it.

As I was cleaning and sorting this week, my goal was to get all the LEGOs out of the boys’ room.  We accomplished that yesterday in the four hours that we I spent cleaning their room.  If they had actually helped, it probably would have gone a lot faster…and there was a lunch and a diaper change in that four hours!  Anyway, we removed every single LEGO piece from that room and ended up with 4 containers plus (all the stuff they had built that they didn’t want to take apart yet).  We do have many LEGOs downstairs in the play room, but in the summer, the playroom of choice is the porch (now that it is clean).  So I decided we had to have a way to organize the LEGOs…and we drove to Big Lots to see what we could find. We found this 7 drawer plastic storage bin for 17.00. We decided it would be great with the different size drawers.  Then I had found as I was cleaning two containers from IKEA that had never been used that were perfect for all the tiny pieces.  The boys are very excited to have all their LEGOs organized…Now if we can just get them to put them away and keep them organized…we might have a lot less sore feet around here!

The other half of our porch still has some things we are storing…I have about 4 boxes of school stuff that I will take back with me in the fall.  And there is a project I started and haven’t finished and some extra chairs…but for the most part it’s pretty much cleaned off.  We have a table and a dresser filled with books and art materials.  I have also set up the top for easy access to paper, markers, stencils, crayons, etc. for the kids when they want to do something crafty.I feel great that I got this accomplished today, though there is so much more to do around here.  But we are all excited about having this extra room to play this summer.

Raising Kids of Integrity

Parenting is hard.  It’s complicated.  It’s unpredictable.  I have been challenged in the past 2 weeks.  We anticipate summer vacation, but once it’s here…we have a lot of adjusting to do.  Our kids spend about 4 hours on school nights with us.  On weekends we often go do something together, but it’s very laid back, usually.  When we are done with school…it’s a whole different thing.  Now I am spending 12-14 hours a day with them (most days).  I’m primarily the one who maintains the home, disciplines the kids, motivates them to do chores, school work, exercise, encourages them to get along, sets the boundaries, feeds them, plans activities, etc.  All of this is an adjustment for them…but it’s an adjustment for me, too.  Not to mention the fact that our kids went from spending about 4 hours together a day to 14 hours!  They are getting used to each other again too.

This week has been a difficult one.  I have wanted to give up.  I feel totally inadequate.  Some days are better than others of course, but there are days when I just wonder what I am I doing wrong.  I can’t believe my kids could be so selfish, so unforgiving, so impatient, so inconsiderate…I could go on.

Today, I stumbled across a link on a blog I visit regularly.  It’s Kids of Integrity. There are 16 different lessons. I am very excited about the quality of the lessons and the great ideas to teach my kids these character traits.  This is really lacking in our family.  I mean, I think we kind of just expect our kids to learn these things at church…but we aren’t really “teaching” them.  So I am going to make the effort to begin these lessons with our kids this summer.  We are going to start with generosity.