Friday, April 26, 2013

Organizing small spaces

It's no secret that we live in tiny apartment. It was too small for us before we had a kid. Now we have two.

Photo by Natalie Chiles
We haven't moved because we love how close we live to the beach and love the semi-urban beach town we live in. (It doesn't hurt that the landlords haven't raised the rent since we starting renting in 2005!) 

Because we have limited space we've had to get creative on how we use it. Imagine shelves, lots of shelves. Recently we turned the downstairs walk-in shower into our junk closet in order to utilize the kids' closet for their things.

The closet in the kids' room use to be the dumping ground for all kinds of things. Jeff's tools, extra diapers, the vacuum, light bulbs, a tent, board games...just to name a few. We even took off the door, that opened into the closet, to add more shelving to fit all of our stuff.

Here's what the closet looked like before I cleaned it out and organizing it.

Forgot to mention that this photo was taken after Jeff removed all the non-kid related stuff. There was an additional shelving unit on the other wall.  Packed full!
I took EVERYTHING that was left in the closet, pulled it out, and sorted it into piles: Carson, Leila (no-access), Leila (able to access), kid related stuff that I use, and stuff that didn't belong in the kids' closet.

I decided I wanted this closet to be a functioning space, not just one to hold our stuff, so I moved the shelving to the other wall. This allows us to actually walk into our walk-in closet (which is surprisingly bigger than I originally thought!)

We are using a baby gate to limit access to the closet instead of putting the door back on to give us more space.
  1. As you can see, the back of the closet has a built in ledge that holds some of Leila's toy bins perfectly.
  2. Once the shelf was moved I was able to hang some of Leila's clothes on the actual rod that was made to hold clothes. 
  3. Carson's few outfits are hung on a shower rod that we added across the top of the closet (where Leila's clothes use to be hung. His extra diapers and next sized clothing (washed and ready to wear) are on the top shelf.
  4. This shelf is still out of Leila's reach so I put the portable booster seat, humidifier, bottle parts, and extra empty baskets on this shelf.
  5. We have some toys that are not quite age appropriate for Leila or Carson yet. I don't really care if Leila discovers these, so they are on a lower shelf. Who knows, she may be ready to play Candy Land or do a floor puzzle with my help/
  6. On the bottom shelf I am storing larger toys that Leila doesn't need access to daily. I will be using these future toy rotations. (Read about our toy rotation here and here.)
  7. The built in shelves at the top of the closet (not pictured) hold large baby items, like the pack and play,   that I don't want in the attic (just in case we have an animal or insect family make a home up there).
It makes me smile every time I see this newly organized space! Have you done any Spring cleaning or organizing lately? Come link up with Mama Dish for their Spring Clean Fling or visit the link up to get some ideas for your own Spring cleaning.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Six weeks later {Postpartum life}

If you could see the half-folded laundry on the couch or the dishes in the sink, this would be the perfect photo describing our life the past six weeks. 

Toddler meltdown. Smiling baby.
Someone is always crying, fussing, or whining (this includes the adults). Toys and baby gear are scattered about. Chores are half finished. The television is on the Disney Jr. channel. Someone is eating. Always.

It's crazy. At times the crazy drives me crazy. Other times I can go with the flow and not stress out. Wine helps. Getting out of the house helps. Knowing that "this too shall pass" helps.

I am excited to go back to work and to begin an exercise routine. I have my 6 week postpartum check-up tomorrow and my maternity leave is officially over on Tuesday. I am ready to slowly get my body back, wear regular clothes, do my hair and make-up, and spend time fueling my passion for teaching. 

I'll be training for a 5K, using the well-known Couch to 5K program, for a fun run this July. I know it will take time to lose the last 15 pounds (yikes!), especially when I plan to be nursing Carson as long as I possibly can. 

I also plan to BE KIND to myself and not hate on my body during this process. This is it. No more kids. No rush to get back into shape before the next baby. My plan is to go back to my healthy and active lifestyle, whatever that may look like with all the new changes in my life.

You bet I am still wearing maternity pant! My pooch is way worse without the panel sucking me in.

Six weeks later...
  • I am still sweating at night.
  • My deodorant is no longer doing it's job during the day either, but Jeff''s is.
  • I am starving but having trouble finding time to eat, grocery shop, and prepare meals.
  • My hair is always in a pony-tail.
  • I've had one pedicure.
  • I am not nearly as tired as I thought I would be (despite the tired look on my face in the picture).
  • And the laundry still doesn't do itself.
  • Carson has only peed on me once but in his own face twice.
  • We leave the house daily.
  • I love rocking my baby to sleep.
  • I STILL need a new blog name.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Great List {4.22.13}

I feel like I totally rocked this who cares that this post is a day late. Gratitude should be a daily thing anyways!

1. I made it out of the house every morning with both kiddos...and twice before 9:30. It's getting easier everyday and even though I am tired, it's nothing coffee can't fix.

2. Our impromptu water day at the bay was the highlight of the week for both me and Leila. For me, it was stressful getting her cleaned up with limited supplies (towel!) and a baby strapped to me.  I didn't panic and asked for help when I needed it which is a big step for me.

3. I started purging our clutter and it feels amazing. Gotta have some control in this chaotic time, right? I love having photographs in frames lying around the house but our place is too cramped with baby accessories and toddler toys to have more than a few on the shelves. I also convinced Jeff to part with an outdated globe and an end table (although it made it out the door but that's about it).

4. I LOVE when people make us food. If you are wondering, it is not too late to send dinners our way. I mentioned before that we aren't eating until really late these days when I cook so the quiche Lauren made us allowed us to eat dinner (and lunch the next day) at a decent time.

I've got another busy week ahead. Looking forward to my last week off before I go back to work!   

Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

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Friday, April 19, 2013

My gut

(Not the flabby one.) 

My instinct. 

Often times when I get or give advice it's, follow your instinct or go with your gut. Great advice. It is usually right. 

Except...what if your gut isn't telling you anything? What if your motherly instinct is temporarily clouded? (Not because of the wine.) Then what...?

Ask Twitter and Facebook of course! 

I've been wondering if I should still be waking Carson every 2.5 - 3 hours during the day to nurse. He's been gaining weight like he should be and is waking twice on his own at night to eat. Seems like what I am doing is working. So why mess with it? 

I'm curious.

There are two opposing viewpoints and I don't believe in either wholeheartedly. Never wake a sleeping baby vs. nurse every 2.5-3 hours. Twitter told me to never wake a sleeping baby and Facebook told me to wake to eat during the day.

I'm curious to find out which one works for us. Although it seems like what we are doing is working, could it work better? Could I have a workout, a shower, and time for my to-do list during Leila's three hour nap if I allow Carson to sleep that long too? Sounds ideal. 

I think my gut just told me something.

He's enjoying a nap and I am enjoying some me time. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Leila goes to school!

Leila's first day of preschool was three weeks ago. She's been going one day a week for three hours, but asks to go almost daily. 

I have left Leila at a friend's house before, if I had to run an errand or go to the doctor, but this is different. We're calling this school and rightfully so since that's how it treated by Kari (her teacher).

I seriously found the best at-home preschool just blocks away from our home. Look at these personalized notes complete with a little story about her day on the back! I have saved them all so far. (Please tell me not to save them all.)

Leila and two of her friends get to hang out and play all morning. What could be better than that? Kari provides a great balance of activities for the girls. They do it all...from free choice, both indoors and out, to more structured activities ranging from pretend play to art activities. I am so impressed. I would sent her more often if it was in our budget.

Bold move letting three 2.5 year olds finger paint in the middle of your living room!
I am using this time to get stuff done around the house. Once Carson is older we'll be able to hang out one-on-one, but for now he spends most of his time nursing and sleeping. It's funny how quickly the three hours fly by.

These early experiences are so important to Leila's social, cognitive, and emotional development. Any other moms out there send your toddler to school or do you call it daycare? Leila still a toddler or is she a preschooler now?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Carson's first month

It's been one month since Carson came into our life. He sure has shaken things up a bit! 

For the first two weeks of his life my parents, aunt, and uncle were staying nearby at a beach rental. They helped me ease into being a mom of two kids. They spent a lot of time with Leila, helped with dinners, did the laundry, and supported me in general. It was awesome.

After they left, it took me a few days to venture out with both kids alone. Once we did, I felt confident going out daily. Success! Carson has been to the park a few times, to his best friend Kai's house, an indoor play place, the grocery store, the bank, his Aunt Val's work, and for walks along the bay.

At one month Carson sleeps and eats most of the day and night. Luckily he loves sleeping in the Ergo (not that he would have a choice) because it allows Leila and me to go out during the day. At night he's sleeping in the Rock 'n Play for 4-5 hour stretches. I love this sleep (and am fully aware that it might not last).

Carson gained a bunch of weight this past week after what seemed like a 24 hour nursing session. At one month old he weighs 8 lbs 4 oz. That’s an 11 ounce gain in one week! He’s still a little guy though. He is wearing newborn diapers and newborn sized clothing. Not for long...if he keeps stretching out like this he's going to need bigger sleepers.

I swear this boy makes more messes at one month old than I thought possible. Am I stereotyping him? It's true. He spits up or poops on just about every outfit he wears. Laundry has doubled this past month.

Hey…I’m one month old!

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Great List {04.15.13}

This week has already started off as a crazy one. Imagine lots of kids, rain, and being stuck indoors all morning. I guess crazy is the new normal around here. I swear I hardly remember what happened this past week. But...I DO remember the wonderful weekend we all had, so I'm going to focus on that.

1. Leila had a sleepover at her Aunt Val and Uncle Stefan's place on Saturday. Val came to get her by 9 am on Saturday and brought her home happy (and tired) just after noon on Sunday. Leila was in heaven. She ate chocolate cereal for breakfast, slept in a big bed with Aunt Val, had hours of pretend play, got a mani/pedi, went out to eat and to the park. Phew. Needless to say our apartment was very quiet with Leila gone. Fun weekend.

2. Jeff and I were able to get a lot done. I finally finished organizing the kids' closet. Huge improvement already! I just need to get some hooks and hang a shelf...well, Jeff does. Our apartment is so tiny I feel I have to constantly work on keeping it organized. It's easy to feel overwhelmed with all the stuff we have in this small space so finding time to organize is important.

3. A friend brought us lasagna for dinner Friday night. It was nice not having to cook dinner. Some nights when I cook we end up eating at 7:00 pm which doesn't work well with Leila's bedtime. There was even enough for leftovers! That made two nights this weekend that I didn't make dinner. It's the little things!

Hope you have a great week! 

Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

D.I.Y. Custom Name Art

I first saw this custom name art on Etsy when I was pregnant with Leila.  I wanted to purchase the decorated letters to hang on the wall above the changing table, but just couldn't justify paying someone to do something so simple.
Deciding to do it myself turned out to be easier than I expected!  My sister and I finished these letters for Leila just four days before my due date
With Carson's arrival, I figured I should make his name art a priority on my to-do list.  With the help of my mom and Aunt Carrie we finished the letters in just two days.

Custom name art {for your baby's nursery}

What you'll need:

  • Wooden letters to spell your child's name (I picked these up from Michael's.  They had a few sizes and colors to choose from.)
  • Acrylic paint for the sides (gray for Carson, brown for Leila)
  • Mod Podge (I liked the matte finish)
  • Paint brush
  • Sponge brush
  • Coordinating scrapbook paper- one for each letter
  • Cardboard or newspaper if you are messy like me
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

Do-it-yourself directions:

1. Paint all edges of the letters with your acrylic paint. Make sure you do a sloppy job so that a little bit of the front of the letters get some paint too. (Just in case you cut the paper too small or misplace it on the letter slightly.)

2. Trace the letter on the back (or front) of the scrapbook paper and cut it out with scissors. With some of the prints I chose it was easier to line up the pattern by tracing the letter onto the pattern itself instead of the back. This ensures it will be straight if it needs to be.

3.  Paint the Mod Podge on the front of the wooden letter. Be sure to get all the way to the edge. Adhere the paper letter to the wooden letter and smooth out the wrinkles with a clean cloth. (pictured above)

4. Leave the letters out to dry overnight. 

Ta da! It's easy and perfect for your child's bedroom.

Linking up this week with Mama Dish for their{Moonlight & Mason Jars} Monday Night Link Up Party. Go check it out!

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Great List {4.08.13}

You might think it's strange that I love Mondays, but it's true. Jeff is usually off work and our beach town has settled down from the weekend. Time for a fresh start with lofty goals to conquer everything on my to-do list. It has been a great week and I am really proud of myself (and Jeff) for hanging in there and not going too crazy.

Photo by Natalie Chiles {San Diego Newborn and Family Photography}

 1. This guy doesn't like to be put down during the day, but I'm not complaining. Jeff and I each do our share of holding him while the other is playing with Leila or maintaining our home. I don't feel tied down like I did as a first time mom, not knowing what to expect. I realize soon enough he'll playing and exploring on his own.

2. I made it out of the house by MYSELF and the TWO KIDS. Three times! I feel like a rock star. We started slow with a short walk on the bay. I ended the week at the park for two whole hours. Now, if I cared how I looked (or smelled) I may not be as proud. Details, details.

3. Amy and I have encouraged ourselves to get into some sort of routine to help calm the toddlers. I am planning to cook more with Leila, create things and get crafty, and plan activities to get us out of the house even if it is for just a few hours. Time to hit Pinterest and waste some time on the internet. Fun!

I couldn't help but throw this other photo in of Carson from his newborn shoot back when he was one week old. Love! 
Photo by Natalie Chiles {San Diego Newborn and Family Photography}
Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

The Great List {4.01.13}

It's Great List time! 

Well, we made it through another week with a newborn and a toddler. I certainly couldn't have done it without help! 

Jeff and our kids...every time we say kids it blows us away that we have TWO!

1. I have been lucky to have so much help during this adjustment period. Jeff, of course, steps up and makes sure Leila has everything she needs while I am busy with Carson. My parents, aunt, and uncle have been watching Leila a lot in the mornings. My mom has been coming to get Leila out of bed at 7:30 so I can start my day smoothly, without being pulled in too many directions. My friend Lauren took Leila to play with her daughter on Friday while Carson and I went to a doctor appointment. My aunt has been making us dinner and it's being delivered to us (and a bunch they froze for us too). My mom has been doing our laundry. The list goes on and on...

2. After a stressful few days, Carson has finally made it past his birth weight. We are nursing as often as possible during the day and I'm taking Fenugreek pills to help increase my supply. The doctor was pleased with his 4 oz weight gain in less than two days so she is officially not worried anymore. Phew!

3. I made it to the beach this weekend! We live so close and do not take advantage of it like we should. My dad and uncle stayed home with Carson and just us girls spent some time with our toes in the sand. It was so relaxing.

4. I have to say good-bye to my mom, dad, Aunt Carrie, and Uncle Pat today after THREE wonderful months of them living less than a mile away at "The Beach House". A lot has happened since they arrived, and although it will be tough to say good-bye, I am so grateful they were here. Next year they are staying even longer...hooray!

I hope you take time this week to step back and reflect on what's GREAT in your life!
Come back each week for my newest list and don't forget to check out Betsy's list each week too.  Warning...positive thinking is addicting!

Want to write your own list?  

Just grab the button, add it to your post, and come back to tell us about it.

Share some joy...


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