The Great Toy Rotation

If you didn't know, Germany doesn't know sunshine.
They are NOT friends.

It has a lot to do with the fact that NOTONEPLACE in this country has central AC. This is not an exaggeration. So in the 3 months that Germany decides to give the sun a chance, it's miserably hot with no escape.
 😂😂😂😂

But in the other 9 months of the year it's likely to be a foggy, rainy 40-60 degrees (or colder). You can imagine how fun this is with #allthetoddlers.

When rightfully b*tching (making the "i" an asterisk makes this G-rated still, right?) about this 18 months ago on my Facebook, a friend suggested Toy Rotations to keep them more occupied when stuck in the house on super miserable weather days. After Pinteresting my life away, we are now dedicated Toy Rotators & will never look back.

I separated the toys into 3 different piles. Putting a little bit of everything in each one. Some kitchen stuff, some cars, some babydolls, some peppa... you get it.

I labeled them "Rotation 1," "Rotation 2," and "Rotation 3."
Every 4 months we pack up our current toys, and pull out the next rotation. It's like Christmas freakin' morning on the rotation day, and today just happened to be that day.

Come January, we will rotate again and have yet another "Best Day of my Life." hahaha 

IMG_3235.JPG

Positive things I've noticed as a result of toy rotating:
+ Less begging at the store for toys.
I comment, "we can get new toys when the new box comes out" and everyone shuts up willingly.

+ More playing with the toys we actually have out.
Before, when ALL of these Godforsaken toys were in the playroom, bins were dumped, toddlers fought, mom + dad screamed, and no one played. Now we get SOLID HOURS of REAL PLAY and it's freakin' GLORIOUS.

+ Clean-up is SO MUCH EASIER.
Due to the major OCD I have inherited, I cannot go to bed without completely cleaning the downstairs of the house. That used to be legit HOURS of me in their playroom organizing the entire thing, and now it's my CHILDREN putting away their toys in bins before bath time, and 15 mins of me going behind them to reorganize because #cantletitgo

+ SEE YA LATER CLUTTER
I actually enjoy the rooms in my house more now that they aren't floor to ceiling devoted to toy storage. #praisejesushallelujah

+CLEAN OUT THE CRAP.
I've recently read one too many tragic articles or news stories about kids choking on broken pieces of toys. Rotating gives me a good chance to go through EVERYTHING, throw out the broken, donate the things they didn't enjoy anymore, and enjoy the piece of mind that purging brings. 🙌🏻🙌🏻

IMG_3236.JPG

Some people do smaller, more often toy rotations--like weekly or monthly. In this household, #aintnobodygottimefothat so, that's why we chose every 4 months. I also have WAY more kids to play with the larger quantity that comes with only rotating 3 times a year.

Other notes:
+We always keep out educational toys
+We always keep out books
+We always keep out puzzles

Right now, I don't involve the kids in the process because I enjoy my sanity. But, as they get older I'll likely involve them in the process and let them choose what they want in each box. 

IMG_3234.JPG

Tonight I get to sit down with Netflix, a big cardboard box, an Olivia Pope sized wine glass and bowl of popcorn, and a black trash bag. I'll go through our latest rotation and clear the crap from our lives.
The feeling of freedom it brings is unlike any other.

Also, typing that last sentence out has made me realize just how deep into this #momlife I've plunged.

HAPPY SUNDAY, Y'ALL!

 

blog signature new.jpg

Watermelon Minis

On a last minute whim I saw that one of our favorite photographers here, Ashley Borck from Ashley Borck Photography, was hosting some watermelon mini sessions to commemorate the summer and I had to get them.

I was 36 weeks pregnant and we were on the verge of becoming a family of 7 and the number of good photos I have of all my babies together before there are 5 were slim. 

Y'all. 

I ordered WAY too many of these photos. I'm obsessed.
Mini sessions are now also my favorite.
Less expensive, Less stressful, Less time consuming, and just as amazing. 

 

Watermelon-34.jpg

Thank you Ashley for these priceless moments!! 
❤️🍉

to the Mothers

I was vacuuming the living room and moved a chair.
Stella found a cookie + proceeded to eat it standing on the carpet I was actively vacuuming. #motherhood #literallycanneverkeepup
 
😂😂😂😂
 
Happy Mother's Day!
There are literally DOZENS of women in my life who have been incredible role models as perfectly imperfect Mothers. People are constantly commenting to me that when they're having a rough day, they think "Shannon has to do this x3 (or x4 or x5) and I feel so much better."
At first I took that as slightly rude.
When you have a bad day, you think of how bad MY life is and then you feel better? GREAT. 
And then I realized, it's the biggest compliment of them all. and the ONLY way I'm able to get through everyday with this brood of children is because of the incredible examples I've been given throughout my life. I think back to every single mom who has been a pseudo mom to me, my Mom -- who is literally the unicorn of Mothers, I seriously have no idea how she accomplished what she did when we were growing up now that I'm attempting to do it, my Mother in Law who has come to our rescue too many times to count, and every single friend I watch being the most patient and kind and exemplary mom to their sweet babes. I think of my sister who walked me patiently through #allofthebabythings while I was on bedrest with the triplets and did every bit of research to come up with the highest functioning nursery for three there ever was. I think of my Sister in law who raised two kids in another country while my Brother was constantly deploying to war.
I've literally been given the most amazing examples of Motherhood that could ever exist. If someone wants to think of me in their time of trouble or need or panic or worry or anger or frustration-- I'm fine with that. I'm fine with them using me as the example. Because the Mothers I've used as examples are freaking Saints. 
There are just a few things I want every Mom who watches me on social media, or in real life, to remember: + Everyone posts the glimmers of beauty because it's easier for them to get through the day-to-day. Nothing you see on Instagram or Facebook is ever exactly how it seems. + We all have our meltdowns. I've spanked kids and cried about it afterwards with regret. I've screamed too loud. I've given up endless times. + We all have to find what works for us. Some moms shower every day, some moms thrive on dry shampoo and a prayer. You figure out what works with your life, and you run with it. + I go to bed every day thinking I could have definitely been a better mom. #youwinsomeyoulosesome

The most helpful advice I've ever been given as a Mother is to always give yourself some grace. Nothing is perfect, and Motherhood is far from it. <3Happy Mothers Day!

My big three are 3!

Happiest of birthdays to the three coolest brand-new-three year olds I know.You made a splash from the beginning and we've been attempting to keep our heads above water ever since. 😉😂 I can't imagine not having you as "the babies" but you're turning into such big kids!

-

Jack- you and Stella have some weird language and just get each other. Your favorite color is yellow and you can point out a tractor and a bus from MILES away. If your sisters want to watch Peppa pig, you want to watch Doc McStuffins, and you're a master at taking everything that is theirs just to watch them flip out. You're a head taller than the girls but thin as a rail. You literally never stop falling. I don't know if it's because your head is a watermelon? But damn, kid. Learn to fall on your butt and not your head soon, k? You've been fully potty trained from the first day we started and will ALWAYS give mamma kisses when requested. you also go through toddler PMS and have a week every month where you're the crabbiest kid ever. But we love you so. 💛

-

Clara Jane. Clarita. Cookie. Beara. - you're the only kid I know who comes up with the weirdest nicknames and refuses to accept her name is anything else. You're obsessed with all things pink, you'll always take your clothes off if acceptable, and you take pride in being able to swindle your dad into ANYTHING. You'll pretend to be "sick" if it means you get special alone time, but most of the time you're always the one who is sick. You request your pink princess dress every morning during playtime and love playing mama to Stella. YOU ARE SO LOUD. You have no concept of whispering. You also stomp every where you go but are the lightest of all three. Your memory is shocking. You let nothing slip by us. When you pick favorites, they're favorites for life. You're definitely our sweet princess, baby girl. 💗

-

Olivia. (Cupcake, Liv, sissy-- all names given to you by Clara) - you are a mystery. Will you be sweet? Will you be a mess? We never know, but when you decide to be a mess you take us all down with you. You are the sole child who determines if getting ready in the morning will be a joyful 15 mins or 3 miserable hours. You must have all the purple things. Your favorite activity is to cuddle with daddy and you're always the little spoon. If you sleep in mammas bed one night you're pretty sure you'll sleep there the rest of your life. You're SO FUNKY about how clothes fit. I have to "fix" the toes of your socks every day, pants cannot come up to your belly button, and LORD HELP US if we zip something that you wanted to zip. The intentional-ness of your actions is fairly shocking for your age. You've finally decided that you MAY like your siblings and have been the sweetest for a few weeks now, so let's continue that, ok? Daddy always tells me that we clash sometimes because you're my clone. I have to say, you're a pretty freakin adorable clone. 💜

-

I can't wait to spend tomorrow celebrating the big 3 for my big 3! 💝 my heart is so full!!! When I was pregnant I bought a book for each kid call "20 questions." It's 20 questions to ask your kids on their birthday every year. It starts when they're THREE!!!! I can FINALLY use one of my FAVORITE THINGS I bought when on hospital bedrest! I'll update y'all with the results 😉

Happy Birthday!!! 🎈🎈🎈

Mishka Moushka + other weird things motherhood teaches

I knew I wanted to be a Mom based on three things (before I was a mom, obviously)

1. I love kids 2. The concept of pregnancy was absolutely amazing to me 3. I thrive in the midst of chaos

img_6596

I wish someone had prepared me more. But, apparently that's not how it works. They just throw you in the trenches to learn on your own because you LITERALLY wouldn't believe them if they told you the truth. I'm almost three years into it (#rookie, I know), but a LOT of my friends are just starting. So, this one's for you.

garaymat-35

+ It didn't matter if I liked wine (or even alcohol...), I wouldn't get through some days without it.

+ mom powers are real. when the last thing you hear is your baby's heart rate in the 50s, you move your body from a bed to an OR table with a fully functioning non-mobile epidural. and you have no idea how.

+ Target laps are crucial in the first year (especially when you're HORRIBLY isolated with high order multiples). Pack up two feeds worth of milk, put two in the stroller, one in a carrier, get that buckies, and just start walking--with absolutely no purpose, but to just see other humans and the light of day outside that nursery that has trapped you. #momtherapy #avoideyecontact #callyourmom

+ You've never known stress or swamp ass until you're trapped in a bathroom stall without a stroller or a carrier or a place to put your baby with three toddlers who arent listening and touching #ALLTHETHINGS and you have to figure out where to put the baby so you can hold each toddler one-at-a-time over the toilet while they're all YELLING about how much they have to pee. so, you put the baby in the sink. #notaproudmoment

+ kids gain smarts WAY faster than you expect them to.

+ even as a nurse, you'll be scared shitless the first time your kid falls down the steps and ends with the biggest lump ever, and you WILL go to the ER.

+ Moms and Dads have fairgame to potty candy. but remember what's stated above--kids get real smart, real fast. watch out for that 2-year-old calling you out to SEE THAT PEE-PEE after you stick your hand in that jar. #eatinsecret

+ On that note, you'll learn to never actually SHOW your kids that you're eating. or you won't be soon enough.

+ I wouldn't care AT ALL that I spend more money on tiny little clothes than I do on a 401k.

+ continually throughout EVERY SINGLE DAY you would have impulse urges to shake, kiss, run away from, scream at, hug, cuddle with, and laugh at your children --all within MINUTES of each other. and no matter how terrible the day was, when they're sleeping you have even STRONGER urges to just go up and scoop them up to cuddle because SOMEHOW you miss them.

+ you'd have to tell them CONSTANTLY to stop touching their own and each other's genitals.

+ no matter your parenting philosophy, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse would save your life one day. YOU JUST WAIT. #toldyouso #mishkamoushka (WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?!)

+ It's completely unavoidable to have dried waffles smashed in your car floor boards. no matter HOW MUCH you used to clean your car before kids, no matter HOW MUCH you clean it now, it happens.

+ that sudden urge to run far away is IMMEDIATELY challenged by the sudden urge to procreate. #allthebabies

+ You've never relied so heavily on drive-thrus and full tanks of gas before in your LIFE than you have when you have three babies asleep for what you KNOW will be their only nap that day.

+Bandaids are a toddler's version of your caffeine. they fix EVERYTHING. (and if you don't drink caffeine I don't trust you one. single. bit.)

View More: http://tiffanyhudsonphotography.pass.us/shannonmorning

these children test my limits and motherhood is NOTHING and EVERYTHING I thought it would be.

img_7004.jpeg