Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pantry Revamp

Since the arrival of Lyla and Archer, things around my house have not been nearly as organized and tidy as they once were.  But I'm learning to embrace that fact.  However, when I do get a chance to do a little organizing project, I jump for it!

This past weekend, I decided our pantry needed a little revamp.  We have one of those tall cabinets with the drawers that roll out.  I would love to have an actual pantry that you can walk inside or even a pantry closet, but for now our pantry cabinet does the trick.  It was getting a little crazy.  I had some loose organization going on and tried to keep like items together, but I didn't always stick to it and I didn't really communicate this system to Adam.  So even though I tried to keep it organized, it didn't always happen.

Here's what things were looking like before:

Nothing horribly unorganized, but definitely some room for improvement.  (Please excuse the grainy cell phone pictures.  One of these days I'll use my good camera to take pictures again!)  So while my mother-in-law watched the babies (Thanks, Janet!) Adam and I set out on an adventure to buy storage containers.  This was certainly not Adam's idea of fun, but he was kind enough to oblige since it was my birthday weekend.  Before we set out, I made sure to measure the dimensions of each drawer and made a list of the items I wanted storage containers for so I knew what to look for while shopping.

The drawer that drove me the craziest was the drawer with the cereal.  Those boxes are so big and bulky, which means they take up lots of space.  I decided that I needed to get some cereal storage containers that would maximize the space.  When I told Adam about my plan he said, "Oh, so we're going to be one of those households now."  He knew what he was getting into when he married me!    

So, yes, I set out to find some cereal storage containers.  It was a little tricky to find some that weren't too tall for the drawer or didn't cost a fortune.  I wasn't going to spend 20 bucks on a cereal container!  I did end up finding some at The Container Store for $9.  That was much more reasonable and I used my birthday money.  I guess you know you are old when you use your birthday funds to buy storage containers.  Or maybe that's just me. :)  

I also found some small white storage bins at TJ Maxx to help corral some of the smaller items, along with a small jar to hold tea bags.  A napkin holder and small jar for Jazzy's treats were found at IKEA.  And finally a water bottle from Target got a new use as a container to store rice.  I also used some other items I already had to store and organize other items.  

After collecting all my new storage containers, I took everything out of the pantry.  I threw away expired items.  Then I sorted everything into categories.  I assigned a general category to each drawer and made labels so Adam would be able to know what was going on in my head.  I just printed off the labels and glued them on top of some pretty wrapping paper.  I used some packing tape to stick them onto each drawer.  (Packing tape might not be the best thing to use if you are worried about messing up the surface of your drawers.  Ours are old, so it doesn't really matter if sticky stuff is left behind or the finish is removed when the tape is removed.)

Next came the fun part of putting everything in it's new home.  We typically only buy what we intend to use for the next few weeks since we don't have a lot of space to store food goods.  I've also found that if we buy too much stuff in advance, we never tend to use it all and end up throwing things away when they expire.  Once everything was in its place, our pantry looked way nicer!  Now, instead of cringing when I open up the pantry, a little smile comes to my face.    

The top drawer holds all of our baking supplies.  Things like powdered sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla, vegetable oil, etc.  I ended up using some glass Pyrex containers to store our powdered sugar and brown sugar.  I was going to buy some jars, but couldn't find any that were short enough and large enough.  I have a ton of Pyrex and never use it all at once, so I figured I could spare two containers to hold those items.  I just put some of my favorite tape on the top with the expiration date.    

The next drawer is my favorite!  It has the new cereal storage containers.  One is filled with Cheerios for the twins and the remaining three are for whichever cereal Adam happens to be eating at the moment.  They take up less space than the bulky boxes and don't make as much noise when Adam makes a bowl of cereal in the morning.  No more crinkling bags!  Behind that are things like oats, pancake mix, tea and a bin full of instant oatmeal packets.  

The next drawer has snacks-everything from chips and pretzels to animal crackers and trail mix.  I also added a bin to hold the smaller items like granola bars and popcorn bags.  I always take things like granola bars and popcorn bags out of the boxes to free up more space.  

Then comes the dinner/stuff for Archer and Lyla drawer.  The left side has canned goods and pasta, while the right side has baby food and baby snacks.  Again, I used a bin for the smaller items that I took out of their boxes.    

Finally, the last drawer has Jazzy's food and poop bags, along with paper plates and party napkins.  

The whole pantry looks much tidier and should stay that way thanks to the new labels and storage containers.    

There was one moment during the organizing process that made me super proud, but then immediately bummed out.  I saw this water bottle at Target and thought it would be perfect for storing rice.  I could easily pop off the top and and pour out the amount I needed.  Whenever I am pouring rice out of the bag or box, it tends to go everywhere!  So I thought this would be the perfect solution.  I even wrote the expiration date, water to rice ratio and cooking instructions on some tape and added it to the side of the bottle.  I was tooting my own horn as I went to put the rice in the dinner drawer, but it was too tall!  Whomp, whomp.  So it has to live in the snacks drawer, even though I would never eat rice for a snack!  But I am getting better at letting things go these days, so live it up with the snacks, Mr. Rice Container.  

Rice container height aside, it was a successful organizing project!  I was so excited to have the time to work on this organizing project.  In the end, it will save more time while I'm getting items from the pantry.  I won't have to pull out every drawer to find what I'm looking for.  Now I'll know just where to look!  

Monday, April 9, 2018

Eight Months!

Holy cow, it's been 8 months!!!  I feel like both babies have grown leaps and bounds from last month to this month.  They just seem so much older and are becoming more and more like little people.  It's definitely getting trickier to take their pictures because they are busy, busy, busy! 

They are wiggly and rolling all around.  Lyla is crawling!  Archer hasn't crawled yet, but somehow manages to move all over the place nonetheless.  They are very interested in their month stickers and spent most of the photo session trying to pull them off.  I had to give them the back of the stickers to keep them occupied and then pull them away and quickly take a picture.  It was hard work!  I think our future monthly photo shoots might have to be a two man operation. 

They are both interacting more, too.  A lot of the time they are just taking toys away from each other.  But sometimes they just smile and talk at each other.  It melts my heart!  

Lyla has figured out how to sit up on her own in her crib.  I was shocked to walk into her room after one of her naps to find her sitting up!  It was a moment that made me realize just how quickly she's growing up.  Adam and I decided to lower her crib mattress in case she started pulling herself up.  I'm glad we did because she has pulled herself up a few times on her toy basket, but not in her crib yet.  I have a feeling she's going to be climbing out of her crib before too long...

As I mentioned earlier, Lyla has figured out how to crawl!  She is all over the place now and I have to do double takes when I return to a room I've left her in to find where she's at!  The baby gates are going to have to be closed when I leave the living room from now on.  I also close the door to the babies' rooms if they are playing in there and I have to go to another room.  Since they are located on the second floor, I would hate to have Lyla crawl right to the edge of the steps! 

All that moving around means I am very nervous about her hurting herself these days.  She got her first bruise on her cheek when she fell against the side of the couch.  Poor thing!  Adam and I were standing right next to her and she just lost her balance while she was crawling.  I'm sure there are many more bruises in her future, but I sure don't like the thought of it! 

She's also into screeching really, really loudly and at a very high pitch.  Adam likes to say she's the next Mariah Carey, and I'm not so sure that's a compliment.  She's playing more with babbling and making new sounds.  She continues to be very loud and makes sure it's known when she wants something. 

Lyla has been more affectionate lately, too.  She's still very independent and wants to do her own thing.  But she'll snuggle with me and appreciates kisses and tickles more than she used to.  Her eyes are rather puffy and red in her pictures due to some sort of sleep regression.  She has been waking up several times a night crying.  We give her a few minutes to try to self-soothe, but I go in there if she gets too hysterical.  We haven't really figured out why.  Could be teething?  A sleep regression?  Nightmares?   Her reflux bothering her?  She just misses her momma?  I am definitely looking forward to it passing, though! 

Archer is getting more mobile, but just tends to roll towards whichever place he's headed.  He's also working on sitting up on his own, but only manages to look like he's a model posing on his side.  It's pretty darn cute.  He gets up on his hands and knees and rocks away.  He's so close to crawling! 

He is definitely more snuggly than Lyla and I eat that up!  He prefers to be held a little before he goes to bed each night or for a nap and I'm more than happy to oblige.  Though, it's not quite as cute when he wakes up at 3am for a snuggle.  But he's actually doing really well with sleeping!  On average, he goes to bed by 7pm and sleeps until 5 or 6am!  I will count that as a success!

Perhaps one of the sweetest things he's learned this month is how to give kisses!  He'll open his mouth and lean toward my cheek.  It's usually a little slobbery, but just about makes me cry each and every time!  And I swear he knows I am "mum mum mum."  When he gets really upset during the day or cries at night, he'll say "mum mum mum" until I go to him.  He is starting to have some separation anxiety.  He gets rather upset when I leave him alone in a room.  So I have started a distract and sneak away method that seems to work pretty well.  At least until he realizes I'm gone, then he starts to holler for his "mum mum mum."  Really sweet, but also really annoying.     

Each month just keeps getting more and more fun!  It's getting easier to get out and do things.  We can handle trips to the store now and we've even gone on a play date!  We are going to hit up story time this week.  Once the weather gets nicer, we'll get to go on even more fun adventures!  Bring on the next month!  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Mom Thoughts

The learning curve has been steep when it comes to learning how to be a mom.  I thought I was ready and I thought I knew what to expect.  In some regards, I did.  But there have been many surprises along the way.  Here a just a few of the many things I have learned since becoming a mom:

You have to have more patience than you've ever had in your whole life.  I've always considered myself a patient person.  I think you have to have a certain amount of patience to be a teacher.  But I have had many a day when I've had to muster even more patience than I typically have.  Tending to two little babies' every need can be exhausting! 

When it's 2:30 in the morning and you are trying to get a very rambunctious baby back to sleep takes a lot of patience.  When two babies are screaming at you because it's 10 minutes until they eat their bottle and you just have to smile and sing "The Wheels on the Bus" (for the millionth time in a month), you have to have patience.  Sometimes it would be easier to just scream along with them, but I do my best to stay calm, remain patient and carry on.

I now have a new appreciation for the simple things in life.  I had no idea how time-consuming taking care of two babies would be on a daily (& nightly) basis.  Since Archer and Lyla take up so much of my time, I have a new appreciation for the simple things in life.  For instance, taking a shower is downright heavenly these days.  It's oftentimes the one instance in the day when I'm not holding someone or someone's not touching me.  I get a few minutes to myself and it's lovely.  There's usually two babies hanging out in the bathroom with me, but they're not in the shower.  When they start walking, who knows what will happen!  But for now, I love taking a shower.

The other day I took the babies to Target to get some formula.  Afterwards, they both fell asleep and I decided to get a hot chocolate and just drive around.  I drove around without any destination in mind and listened to my Macklemore cd.  (I can almost see Archer & Lyla rolling their eyes at me, right now.)  I loved every second of it.  Who knew hot chocolate, a car and a cd could bring me so much joy?!

Which leads me to...

I have a deep, undying love for drive-thrus nowadays.  
After wrangling two wiggly babies into car seats and packing all the crap they might possibly need in the car, the thought of having to get them out of the car sometimes seems incredibly daunting.  Then, if you are actually lucky enough to have both babies fall asleep AT THE SAME TIME (!), you really don't want to have to get out of the car.

That's were the beauty of drive-thrus come in.  I love them so very much.  I wish more places offered this service.  The thought of being able to get all my errands done without getting out of the car would be such a dream!  Unfortunately, fast food restaurants tend to be the leader in drive-thrus.  The teenagers who work at Andy's Frozen Custard might know my order by heart these days... 

My "mom body" doesn't bother me as much as I thought it would. 

I was slightly terrified about what my body would look like after having twins.  I feared the worse, but am pretty content with how things panned out.  I have a gazillion stretch marks and some loose belly skin.  In fact, my belly resembles a wad of pizza dough.  And I have no idea how boobs so tiny can end up being so saggy, but that's what mine have managed to do.  But I can tuck away my saggy boobs and my pizza dough belly and look pretty decent wearing clothes.  After it's all said and done, I have a newfound appreciation for all my body has gone through.  It endured infertility treatments, lots of shots and tons of crazy medication.  Hundreds of blood draws and tests.  It housed two babies for 35 weeks.   It went through a crazy delivery and recovery.  It fed Lyla for 2 months and Archer for 6 months.  I am pretty darn happy to have the body that I have, knowing all it's done.     

Us moms are all just doing the best we can and figuring things out along the way.

I must admit, I used to be very judgy of moms before I became one.  I would look at kids hollering in stores and think to myself, "My kids will never do that."  But I've learned not to judge.  My kids have done that.  And I'm sure they'll do much worse.  Now I try to offer any mom or dad or grandma or anyone with a baby or kid an encouraging smile.  I know I sure appreciate those smiles when I get them.

I know I will continue to learn more and more about this whole motherhood thing as my babies grow up.  I look forward to it!