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 

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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. 🙌🏻🙌🏻

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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. 

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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!

 

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EJG | lucky seven

As most people know, we welcomed sweet baby Ellis James to the world 08 August 2017.

We are so blessed by this chunky little bundle ❤️
and you could say that Stella is fairly thrilled (to put it lightly)

He lovingly goes by "Alice," "Baby Alice,"  "Elvis," "Squish," "Bubs, + "Ells bells"

Happy Two Weeks Ells!!

You fulfill the #fifthbabe role magnificently 

 

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Solly Baby Wrap | how to

After posting a photo of me wearing Ellis in my Solly Baby Wrap with the kids, so many people messaged me asking how I get him so snug and secure!
So, here's my video tutorial! and Baby Ellis James' video debut. 😂😂

and don't hate on my one-week-postpartum soft, mushy #mombod 😉

I LOVE my Solly!!
This is the Heather Grey that I bought before Stella (so it's held up REALLY well considering), and I've got my eye on the Natural and Grey Stripe... Might need to take the leap!
Even when they're older babes, it's still the cuddliest around!
ALSO, they have the "solly dolly" for your kids to carry their baby dolls. 
😍😭😍😭😍😭
DEAD. just kill me now, it's so damn cute.

Of course Brandon said some smart-ass thing and made me laugh which then hurt because #csection... hahaha
Riding that struggle bus 🚌 must. protect. the abdomen.

Hope this is helpful for the masses who think they're doing it wrong!
It's probably not wrong, just too loose.
You've got this 👊🏻

 

 

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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. 

 

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Thank you Ashley for these priceless moments!! 
❤️🍉

The truth about motherhood

Motherhood is isolating. Yep. Who would have thought? Surrounded by humans all day and just in the last 3.5 years there have been times where I've never felt so alone. I spent YEARS praying for kids. I still look at my life and can't believe I'm living in this dream. #allthebabies #allthetime - but, that doesn't change the fact that sometimes it totally sucks.

Sometimes I wonder why the heck I wanted this so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm literally overflowing with love for my family. I just finished walking through my kids rooms kissing them all for the 5th time since they fell asleep tonight and putting blankets back on and I want to vomit I love them so much.

But, WHERE DID ALL THE PEOPLE GO? I'm friends with 3,074 people on Facebook and interact on 5 different social media platforms and the only people I physically spoke to today have peed the bed in the last week and threw their mac and cheese on the floor at dinner.

"But she's the full time working mom with ALL the kids. She probably doesn't even WANT to come."

Guess what... I do! We do!! All of us moms with "so many kids" who might seem like they've got too much going on? We are really freaking lonely. And a text once every 14 days doesn't fill us to the brim with that social time we are literally DYING to have.

You never know! Us "moms of too many" might be sitting inside on a Sunday in July in 60* weather alone with four kids wondering what the heck to do because it's Sunday in Germany!

Hey fellow moms- that mom with all the kids over there? The one who looks like she's got it all together on Facebook and Instagram? Really She just wants invites to library time and play dates and impromptu dinners. You might get more "No's" than "yes'" - but she really needs that invite. Her overworked, over emotional, over thinking-it self NEEDS that invite.

This is just one of those seasons. One of those times when things don't seem to fit right. Our family isn't in the right place at the right time to feel whole. And this season will pass. And we will all be better people for it, eventually. But until then you'll find me over here reading articles like "11 ways to cope with lonliness as a new mom." ✌🏻

And hey? Moms feeling the same way- don't be afraid to vent to your husband about all this. It's conversations like these that pull you closer as a family. ❤️

Also, you're not alone, you're not crazy, you can cry about it, and this won't last for forever. Tomorrow's a new day to take 75 Snapchat selfies with your toddler.