Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Organizing Toys and a Very Special Tractor Cake

This weekend was busy with crossing things off the "baby coming soon" list.

The first project (although on my list for a while now) kind of fell in my lap this weekend.

This (found at Goodwill for the whopping price of $30) has been sitting in my garage since May next to a can of white paint that matches the rest of my furniture and trim:
I sanded it and covered it with a coat of primer, but lost energy to go out and take it any further (what can I say- my morning sickness lasted 22 weeks). While we were gone on our trip? My father-in-law graciously painted it the rest of the way for me.

I had a specific vision for this piece when I spotted it covered in dust and random objects in Goodwill. You see, I do not have a playroom. I have a smallish house, and a lot of the living (and playing) goes on right in the living room- right by the front door. I had a shelf next to the front door for collecting and organizing all the toys, papers, and "stuff" that was constantly spread around our living room, but the shelf wasn't big enough to truly do the organizing I needed it to do, so everything was everywhere most of the time- spread by two toddlers who could easily lift and dump each basket.

So...with a newly painted shelf, and a last minute bike ride for the children with grandparents, Aunt Kenly, and Daddy (I declined on the 10 mile bike ride at this point in my pregnancy...call me crazy)- Saturday was my day to finish this project. I wanted to get this done before baby to have a better system in place for all the toys, stuff the kids seemed to acquire, and random papers that were swallowing me whole before our indoor time increased because of winter AND we before we were back in the newborn phase once again.

So Saturday. First I went running around town to find bins to fit these spaces because all my old boxes and baskets were too small. You know what's amazing? Being able to go into FIVE STORES within an hour because you're not schlepping two children with you. I found my bins, had a nice lunch out with a friend (bonus!), and then arrived home to put my new system to work before the children came back home.
I still need to better organize the toys within the toy categories, but I have it all roughly set up for now, and that is an amazing place to start. (also, I'm considering placing some labels....I feel like I am channeling someone else right now. My sister perhaps?)
The bottom baskets are laundry hampers from Walmart that have removable and washable liners. I was the most worried about filling that space effectively without spending a fortune on super tall baskets. When I walked away with $11 a piece for the hampers, I was pretty pleased, and I don't feel like I sacrificed in looks at all with the cheaper product.

The best part is that the toy hampers are big and fit in at an angle, so the kids haven't taken to their usual "dump out all the toys" and then go play with Mommy's kitchen utensils routine. They can put toys BACK in the top, but can't physically take out the whole basket on their own. SCORE. (All their books are in a different bookcase...which maybe I can share in a different post.)

To this nesting, pregnant mama overwhelmed with life right now? This project has had quite the calming effect. So nice to have this system set up right next to our front door to help hold life together just a little bit for us as the next few months threaten to unravel it.

The second thing on our "do before baby arrives" list for the weekend?

Celebrate a certain little boy's 2nd birthday.
We had Aaron's parents over to help us celebrate yesterday, and I had planned to make just a simple chocolate cheesecake. But thennnn......I don't even know what happened, really. Somehow my husband and I ended up staying up late slaving over this:
My husband stayed up to supervise because he is quite tractor obsessed himself, and he wanted to make sure that all the details were as AUTHENTIC AS POSSIBLE (caps my own.) I stayed up because those ten million dots of green took forever to finish and we didn't start until late at night because of our last minute change in plans. Exhausting night...but completely worth it. (-:

Two chocolate loaf cakes, six donuts, and some knife work did the trick.
We were so excited to see how Carter would respond because the boy seriously talks about tractors nonstop. I hid it from him on the counter behind some cereal boxes all morning, and we counted down to our late lunch celebration where it would be revealed. Of course...Carter developed a fever an hour ahead of time and sat listlessly through the entire celebration.

He did perk up a bit and kept saying "tractor cake. tractor cake. tractor cake" while pointing to it. (And he woke up this morning feeling much better and requested "tractor cake" for breakfast.)

Here we have 3 generations of tractor lovers admiring the cake.
(Addison just busied herself stealing bits of frosting and just generally creating mischief while everyone was distracted.)
I think this guy's enthusiasm over the cake more than made up for Carter's response due to not feeling well.
So yeah. We have a 2 year old. Love that boy. Hard to believe how grown up he is becoming seemingly overnight. 

Two big things checked off the list. I think I'll celebrate that with a nap.

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