Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Little Tour of Lyla & Archer's Rooms

The older Lyla and Archer have gotten, the more stuff they have accumulated.  So their rooms look a little more lived in than they did when I first showed off their rooms.  I thought we'd take a little tour of their current sleeping and playing situations.

The biggest addition to Lyla's room is the kitchen Adam and I got the babies for their first birthday.  They love to open and close all the doors and put the play food into the pots and pans.  It's been nice to have another area where we can play besides the living room.  Whenever they start getting crabby, usually if we just go to a different room in the house, they're more content. 

I also made a few other small tweaks.  I rehung her artwork.  Even as I was hanging it when we first split up the babies, I knew I didn't like where I was hanging it.  But I was just trying to get it done before someone had a meltdown so I just went with it.  So I rehung it gallery wall style instead of sprinkled throughout the room. 

Lyla loves her room.  She adores digging through her big bin of books.  She'll pull out her favorites and stare intently at them for good chunks of time.  She also loves her crib.  She's happy to just roll around in it with her blanket even if she's not tired.  And when she wakes up, I'll hear her happily chatting to herself before I come get her.  She also enjoys gnawing on the top side rail of the crib.  There are some pretty hefty teeth marks.  Good thing Adam made us get the cribs with non-toxic finishes! 

We still have the changing table in Lyla's room.  I can count on one hand how many times we've actually used it to change diapers.  But it still works as good storage.  We keep all of the babies' extra sheets and blankets stored in there, along with extra wipes, diaper cream, etc.  We'll probably replace it with bookshelves one day, but it works for now. 

Another change was moving Archer's clothes to his room.  I kept all the clothes in one closet, which made it easier to put away laundry.  But thanks to generous hand-me-downs from my cousin (Thanks, Becky!) and friends (Thanks, Emily & Libby!), Lyla needed more space for her cute clothes.  Poor thing, she doesn't have anything to wear. 

I keep a garment bag (that white bag on the top right shelf) in each baby's closet to put sentimental clothing and accessories in as they outgrow them.  I've also turned that round laundry bin on the floor into the "too small bin."  As soon as they outgrow an outfit, I just throw it in there and then when it gets full, I transfer them to bins in the basement.  

Archer's closet is certainly less full, but he will by no means go naked.  Since we don't have a dresser in the closet like we do in Lyla's room, I put some hanging organizers in there to keep track of things like pants, jammies, socks, and shoes.  I definitely keep the closet doors closed so I don't have any "help" taking all the clothes out of the hanging organizers like Lyla's doing below.  

I also rehung the artwork in Archer's room.  I think I've learned my lesson to not just slap something together.  In the future, I'll wait until I have the time to do it right the first time so I don't end up doing things more than once!    

We added some bookshelves to Archer's room to house some books and toys.  We also keep the baby monitor and his sound machine on top of it.  These bookshelves hold a special place in my heart.  My dad actually made them for me and were in my childhood room when I was growing up.  I love that they're now a part of Archer's room.  I found some round bins on clearance at Hobby Lobby and stuck those on the shelves to help corral some of the books and toys.  I don't have much of an organization system going on (as you can tell by the photo below), but can definitely implement a system when the kids get older.  

For the babies' first birthday, we also got them this fun rug and some cars from IKEA.  They haven't quite grasped that the streets on the rug are roads for the cars to follow, but they do enjoy flopping around on the rug.  I think they'll have more fun with it as they get older.  

Archer likes to hang out in his room, too.  He likes to pull all the toys and books off the shelves and run around in circles.  He also likes to pull his loveys and pacifiers through the crib slats.  I tend to keep his blankets and pacifiers in his room, so he's all about any chance he gets to hang onto them.  

It's been fun to watch the babies' rooms grow with them.  I'm sure Archer and Lyla's rooms will have many different reincarnations as they continue to grow up.  I like the challenge of creating spaces that are fun for Archer and Lyla, functional for housing all their stuff, and cute enough for me to want to spend time in too. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

An Easy Fall Wreath

It's been a little while since I've had the time to do any crafts, so I thought I would remedy that by making a wreath for our front door.  It took me the time span of a few naps, but overall it went pretty quickly.  I wanted to make a wreath that didn't scream fall, unlike this one that I adore, but like to put out closer to Halloween.  So I decided to use cozy textures to give a subtle nod to the season.

I had a small foam wreath I bought at an estate sale a long time ago, and decided to use it for this project.  I wanted to wrap it in some yarn, which seems very cozy and fall-like to me.  So Lyla, Archer and I ventured out to a craft store to get some yarn.  I picked a dark gray color.  By the time we made it to the check-out counter, it was rather soggy from Lyla chewing on it.  But she also didn't scream once during the trip, so who cares about some soggy yarn?  

Once Lyla and Archer were down for their nap, I started to wrap the yarn around the wreath.  I tied the end of the yarn around a straight pin and stuck in the foam wreath to anchor down the starting point.  Then I just wrapped and wrapped and wrapped the yarn around.  This part took a bit longer than I bargained for, but was able to get it all wrapped up in two naps.  When I got back to the starting point, I simply tied the end of the yarn around the straight pin that held the starting point of the yarn.  (If you to make a wreath of your own and don't want to bother with all the yarn wrapping, you could also just get a grapevine wreath.)   

Next came the fun part!  While we were at the craft store, I also picked up some felt which I would turn into flowers.  I picked out some purples, light pink, goldenrod, cream and teals.  I just held up different felt sheets until I had a group of colors that looked good together.  

Once the wreath was wrapped in yarn, I cut the felt sheets into smaller square-ish shapes.  I didn't measure anything or worry about cutting too neatly.  The more imperfect, the better the flowers turn out.  After I cut out the squares, I rounded off the corners.  Then I cut a each rounded square into a spiral, like the photo below shows.  

After that, I started with the outer part of the spiral and just rolled it up until there was nothing left to roll.  I was left with a pretty flower.  I repeated this process using different sized squares in different colors.  I ended up using 10 flowers on my wreath.  (You can use as many or a few flowers as you want.  I just laid out the flowers on the wreath until I had an arrangement I was happy with.)

When I had all my flowers rolled up, I plugged in my hot glue gun.  I put some hot glue on the bottom of the flower and stuck the end over the hot glue, like so.  

From there I cut out some leaves and hot glued those to the backs of the flowers. 

Once I had a good group of flowers with leaves all glued together, I started to play around with the placement on the wreath.  I ended up using 10 flowers, in 2 clumps of 5.  As soon as I was happy with the arrangement, I hot glued the flowers onto the wreath.  

The final step was to attach some twine to the back so I could hang it up on our front door.   I just tied some twine around another straight pin and stuck it into the back of the wreath.  Then I tied the ends into a little bow.  

I love how it turned out!  All the cozy textures reminds me of fall.  And the flowers seem so welcoming and cheery, which is exactly how I want all my guests to feel when they come to our home.  

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Kindness of Strangers

I have always been a big believer in kindness.  I think it's important to be kind.  I want to teach Archer and Lyla to show kindness to others.  Seeing examples of kindness restores my faith in humanity.

Living in the Midwest, I see that kindness is a value that most people around here share.  I find most people hold open doors for each other and return my smiles.  But ever since becoming a mom of twins, I have been baffled by the amount of kindness strangers offer up to me on a daily basis.  I can't tell you how many times people have held doors open for me when I'm trying to get the double stroller through a doorway.  I also drop an amazing amount of items (baby socks, pacifiers, burp rags, toys, baby shoes...) and I can always count of some kind stranger to pick it up for me when I don't notice.  People help me carry high chairs to tables in restaurants when they see me struggling to hold both a baby and a high chair.  People are just kind and it just warms my heart every time kindness is shared with me.

Some people go above and beyond to help me out.  And I don't even have to ask for help.  They just offer it up.  I'm sure I generally look a bit frazzled and maybe that's why people are so quick to offer a helping hand.

Take a trip to the splash park, for example.  My fellow mom friend (Hey, Emily!) and I decided to meet up at a local splash park.  I had taken the babies to a splash park with the help of my mom before, but I had never gone on my own.  After giving myself a pep talk and taking a ridiculous amount of time putting on swim diapers and swim suits and sunscreen, we arrived at the park.  I decided to put Lyla in the Ergobaby carrier and wear her while just holding Archer on my hip to make it from the car to the splash park.  Once we got to the splash park, I took Lyla out of the carrier and set her down by a little water fountain and let Archer walk around.  I tried my best to keep Lyla from crawling on the concrete so she didn't scrape up her knees and keep Archer from falling down so he wouldn't crack his head open.  It was a workout, let me tell you!  Archer kept wanting to wander off on his own, so I would try to follow him.  But I had to keep my eye on Lyla at the same time.  I would let Archer walk a ways, then carry him back to Lyla.  Lyla would try to crawl away, so I would grab her and try to get her to sit back down.  Then run after Archer...and so on and so forth.  My friend had her own two girls to look after.  Needless to say, we didn't get much time to chat.

After about 10 minutes, which felt more like 2 hours, we decided to go to the playground part of the park.  I figured I would put Archer and Lyla in the baby swings, so I just grabbed one baby under each arm.  When we got to the playground, of course the baby swings were in use.  I decided I couldn't just stand there holding my heavy babies, so I figured I would put Lyla back in the Ergobaby carrier and wear her.  That way I could just follow Archer around.  So I put both babies down in the wood chips that covered the playground so I could get the carrier situated.  Of course both Archer and Lyla decided they wanted to put all the wood chips in their mouth.  I would pull a wood chip out of one of their mouths, then try to get the carrier strapped on.  They were so stinking fast and persistent about eating those wood chips that I couldn't get the carrier on!  Some nice grandma saw me struggling and said, "Do you want me to hold one of your babies while you get that on?"  After sizing her up and deciding I could take her if she was actually a child abductor, I said, "Yes, please!"  So she held Archer, who was now soaking wet and covered in wood chips, while I got the carrier on and Lyla in place.  She told me I was brave for taking both babies to the park by myself.  I was thinking it was stupid of me by this point.  But her kind offer of help and her kind words were exactly what I needed at that moment.  It really meant a lot to me and I will forever remember that lady.

Another example of kindness from a stranger happened just the other day at the grocery store.  I go to Aldi to grocery shop because they have carts with two seats so both babies can ride in them.  But you have to put a quarter in the cart in order to use them.  I haven't quite figured out the best order in which to do things in to get from the car to the store.  Do I leave the babies in the car, get a cart, and then come back to the car?  (I feel like if I do that I risk someone calling child services on me.)  Or do I carry both babies from the car, somehow get a quarter into the cart without dropping one of the babies (or the diaper bag or the grocery bags), and then put the babies in the cart?

This last time I went to Aldi, I decided I would carry both babies to the carts.  So I managed to get the diaper bag (which is a backpack, even though I swore I would never be one of those moms) and the reuseable grocery bags (so the planet is still around when Archer and Lyla are grown ups) and both babies and a quarter in my hand (without one of the babies eating it).  We made our way to the carts and I started trying to get my quarter in the little slot without dropping a baby.  That's when some nice lady came up to me and said, "Let me help you."  She took my quarter and got me a cart.  Of course the cart didn't have both safety belts intact.  But that didn't end her kindness.  That sweet lady rearranged three different carts before we found one with both safety belts.  

These seemingly small acts of kindness certainly weren't small to me.  They made my life way easier!  So to honor the kindness that has been shown to me, I try to show others kindness.  My grandma (Hey, Mama!) has told me since I was a kid that she tries to do one good deed a day.  That has always stuck with me and I plan to pass it along to Archer and Lyla.  You never know when a good deed or small act of kindness can truly help someone out.