no looking back baby

Birth order; It’s a funny old thing isn’t it? With your firstborn, you spend every moment noticing and documenting the first of everything.  First smile, first word, first step, first day at the beach, first food, first day of school.

school shoes

Our middle child, like many, has sailed through life somewhat under the radar.  Tagging along with his big brother with some of his achievements documented but sadly, a few overlooked as life got busier with two kids, and then three, in tow.

Then there is the baby.  I’ve spent a lot of time looking in the rear vision mirror of late because of mine.  Reflecting on all the “lasts” with my littlest boy before he started school; Last day at daycare, last special days with grandparents whilst his brothers were at school, last swimming lesson and milkshakes in the peaceful bubble that was our standard Friday morning.  I never wanted that time with him to end.

“It’s not the end, but the start of a whole new phase” friends told me.  How could they say that when it was my baby starting school?  Didn’t they understand? Looking back now, I was stuck.  Really stuck.  Stuck hanging on to all those lasts and fearing the day when my baby no longer wanted to hold my hand on the short walk to the school gates because, as the mama of two older boys, I know it all happens in the blink of an eye.

When the day came for his “Best Start Interview”, a brief meeting with the teacher prior to the official start of school, I cried.  I made sure it was I was out of his sight and that it was big, heaving, ugly (UGLY) sobs so it was out of my system before we arrived at school.  We couldn’t have the poor little tacker burdened with the label of the kid with the mum who “ugly cries” at the school gates, even before he started school.

Jonty classroom

When the official start day arrived, I whacked on my bravest face, faked a smile and off we went.  Our baby has settled in nicely and is owning the whole school gig as he follows in his big brothers’ footsteps.  He’s got this.

And guess what?  Those friends were right.  Now I have finally stopped clinging on and looking in the rear vision mirror, I can see all the beautiful moments that lay ahead for our little family.  Even my baby.  Yep, that’s him running off to school without me.  And that’s OK.

Jonty off to school cropped
Has your baby started school?  How did you handle it?

pimping my ride

We got some new wheels just recently.  Before you think I am being all showy offie about that, I should point out my last car was literally held together in parts by tape and glue.  We had pushed that old girl to the very edge yet I was still so sad to see her go.  So much so I made the kids stand in front of her for one last photo because I am SO ridiculously sentimental, even trading in a car gets me going. (Not all of them were enthused about the photo opp).

kids in front of car

I was rambling on about how she’d  kept us safe all these years, taken us on some awesome adventures, brought babies home from hospital, taken toddlers and kids back to hospital, played host to a million games of Eye Spy, and almost as many arguments. I even welled up when I had to leave her at the car dealer’s. I mean, it’s just a car. Right?

Anyway, I digress.  In addition to being excited that my glovebox is no longer held together by washi tape, I am also looking forward to keeping my new car “nice”.

So it’s time to pimp my ride.  Keeping the car organised with a few basics can save a whole lotta last minute emergencies and stress.  I found this expandable storage box for less than $15 and, although it is not pretty it is very practical.

Here is what I have packed into it;

Office stuff:  Pens, pencils, ruler, scissors, tape, clips and a fab little storage system for receipts I collect on the run.

First aid stuff: Baby wipes (we will NEVER grow out of needing them!), Panadol, Band Aids, sunblock, antiseptic wash, tissues.

Back up stuff: Caps, water bottles and, as things cool down I will add jackets.

What have I missed?  What do you keep in your car?

world’s most organised mum (wannabe)

Newsflash! Whilst I appreciate the fabulous and highly complimentary title of World’s Most Organised Mum, recently bestowed upon me by some media outlets, my reality is more along the lines of Slightly-Frazzled-And-Trying-Really-Hard-To-Be-Organised Mum, trying to make things work for my family. Of course, that headline is not quite so catchy!

Truth be told, I am a naturally organised person, somewhere deep, deep down in my pre-mum self, but the chaos that comes with kids, in my case three of them, seems to have slowly worn down that natural ability to keep things sorted in their special places.

With Littlest starting school this year I knew things had to change. We needed systems and to return our home to one with a “place for everything”.

So as we welcomed 2016 I committed to getting my shizzle together, for the sake of our family’s collective sanity. It’s started with a mini makeover, and huge purge of “stuff” in the boys’ bedrooms, and the now “world famous” School HQ to house all school related goodies.

Now I have seen the success of such systems and we are all enjoying smoother (but not perfect!) sailing on the school run I’m determined to stay on this organisation mission. And I’m going to share each project here so you can come along for the ride.

How does that sound?

marquee light

out with the love peeps

With Valentine’s Day being celebrated tomorrow, we have gathered some LOVE-ly crafty ideas to share with your little ones.

Simply click on the image for the tutorial (and credits).

Start with this terribly fabulous robot card …

robot card

You could send it to your beloved in this hand made cute-as-ever felt envelope …

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let the whole street (or world) know of your love with this gorgeous paper heart wreath hung on your front door …

heart bhg

This heart and hand tree is an old favourite of ours and is great for pre-schoolers.

heart tree

And I just adore this decoration for above the bed. I think this could look amazing above a “grown ups” bed too!

heart bedhead

We have loads more old favourite ideas to show your love here.

However you choose to show and celebrate your love, you enjoy it.

Shared Boys’ Room Mini Makeover

 

No we have not been burgled. This is the “before” shot of the boys’ room. The aftermath of Christmas, going away on a mini break and general school holiday slack-heartedness (is that even a word)? I know it’s hard to look at, but it’s real and I’m sharing it so we can all be even more excited when I post the “after” shot in a minute.

The first step is to GET RID OF STUFF.  Sort the STUFF into three piles – Keep, Chuck and Donate.

If your kids are anything like mine, they form an immediate and unbreakable attachment to anything that looks like it is headed for the bin.  Mine have even been known to retrieve stuff from the bin and return, hugging it like a long lost friend.  Hence, I find the “chucking out” part of the clean up is best done when the kids are not home, if at all possible.  I am ruthless – if it has unfixable broken parts or missing parts that will never return, it’s gone.

Next step is to donate toys they have outgrown.  We always involve our boys in this as it gives them ownership of the process and also teaches them about community and that good ole gratitude I am always banging on about.

We sometimes choose to sell a few items if the kids are saving for something special, but most are donated on.  We especially like to help families in need who are moving into a new home for one reason or another.  That’s another story for another day.

Once all THE STUFF IS GONE it’s time to find new homes for everything that remains.

The big old chest of drawers was on it’s last legs after serving us well through pre-marriage and the first ten years of parenting.  The shiny new IKEA set (surely they will start sponsoring me soon, right?!) we purchased are perfect for this phase of life. Super dooper affordable, reasonably robust and the deep drawers run smoothly, making my most loathed task of putting washing away almost bearable.  I got a bit carried away organising inside the drawers so I will do another post on that soon.

As this was a mini makeover we opted for some cheap and cheerful linen, some new wooden bunting and a couple of new accessories to freshen things up for the new year.  Add these to the existing original artworks and pieces already in the room and we have the eclectic look we love (OK, the eclectic look I love) without breaking the budget.

Drumroll please as we unveil the boys “new” room …

JW beds after shot

Can we all take a moment to hold virtual hands and focus on the CLEAR floor and CLOSED drawers.   Ommmmmmmm ….

Back to School Organisation

Firstly, I’m sorry I’ve been absent of late however we have been planning and preparing for our “baby” to start school.  Let’s just say it took me a while to come to terms with this giant leap forward.  After cramming in as many “special days” as possible, I finally had to concede that time was marching on and our littlest guy was ready for the next phase, whether I liked it or not.

Apart from the emotional conflict , I was also concerned about how on earth I was going to keep everyone organised once we had three little students under our roof.  The school notes alone make my head spin …

They say necessity is the mother of all invention so my overwhelming need to avoid the usual morning chaos and “Shouty Mama” drove the development of our new School HQ. Ta daaaaah!

School HQ

It’s an easy IKEA hack, completed by hubby and I without any domestic disputes whatsoever! The basic unit is the Kallax, a bargain at $159 (no, this is not a sponsored post, we just love IKEA).  During construction, we (OK, hubby) left out the bottom row of shelves to allow space to hang school backpacks and store school shoes.  We have used stick on hooks to avoid damaging the unit.

School HQ bags

There is a shelf for hats and water bottles, and another to house readers, library books etc.

I’ve made a (not-so) fancy new folder for the millions of notes that come home and previously would be stuck on our already crowded fridge, left in a crumpled mass in the bottom of a school bag, or just lost.  Notes will be filed under the relevant child’s name, or general subjects such as band, sport and finances.

JW memo

Because our printer is currently on the fritz we hacked a Kikki K Kontrast Weekly planner document.  You could, of course, easily make your own personalised version which I believe would be waaaay cuter.

This planner is a prompt so the boys all know what they have on each day, giving them the independence to pack for their own requirements eg musical instrument, sports equipment etc. The littlest still needs help but takes great pride on packing his bag like his big brothers.

Just one week into the school term, we are yet to reap the rewards of our new HQ and I don’t expect it to look this pretty for too long however I do believe it is an important step in saving my sanity whilst teaching my boys to plan ahead.  Fingers crossed.

How do you and your family stay organised for school?

school shoes cropped