Thursday, April 29, 2010

Basement Playroom: The Before Pictures

We have what my 7-year-old niece calls "the coolest playroom ever" - true story. Except, as a 33-year-old, I'm not so crazy about it. I'm always looking for ways to improve what we have. So I decided to take a few pictures to document my (soon to be, I hope) progress on updating the area for Ish.

A few disclaimers before we begin our tour: Ish has a TON of toys. I make no apologies for spoiling my only child! And the room is in a state of chaos at this time - we are not using it for it's intended purpose at the moment (which is kind of the whole point of this post). I really need to get this room in order.

Here's the right side wall. Adorned with Winnie the Pooh wall decals (stolen from Ish's nursery). There are various storage bins (which I need to re-evaluate and replace) and a cute little desk set we got for Ish at The Container Store (which as you can see, I'm also using for storage at the moment!).
The back wall houses a piece of our sectional couch, a toy bin and a little book shelf (we definitely need a bigger book shelf down here). The small windows are the only source of natural light (our basement is partially underground). Note: that lovely A&P bag is filled with clothespins - we have a retractable clothes line that I use once in a blue moon.
The left wall. Two big problems.
First problem: the entryway to our under-the-house storage (this is our only real storage area, as we have no attic). It takes up a good 1/3rd of the wall space. We can't really do anything about it without involving major construction to our home.
Second problem: this lovely Ikea entertainment center. It's a nice piece and has some storage, but it's not very practical and I think I can make better use of the space. I would like to replace it with a corner TV stand - which I think makes a lot of sense as it would have a smaller footprint and would make watching TV easier (since it would angle the TV towards the couch).
That's it for walls - the fourth wall is the entry to our laundry area and Matt's tool room (which is a disaster of it's own!).

I'm thinking we should change the wall color(s) too. I fought this idea for a while (because the vibrant colors seemed to give the room a "brighter" look), but I'm warming up to the idea of something in the blue family. Maybe with stripes - although I can't commit to that because I'm not a great painter, Matt would have to do it and he may not be keen on all that extra work! I like what Behr has to offer:

I emailed all these pictures to a friend who is great with all things organization and volunteered her services for brainstorming - I'm going to need all the help I can get. As I get brilliant ideas and come across must-have storage solutions, I'll let you know! Stay tuned for after pictures.

Random Cuteness

Hang on a second mom - I'll get down and play cars with you on the floor in a minute - I just need to check my email real quick. If I can only remember my password...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wayback Wednesday

Last March. I remember it was quite warm (by NY in March standards). In his diaper and a t-shirt that was just a tad too big at the time (of course on his little body EVERYTHING is a tad too big). He was getting good at the crawling thing. You can really see his Stork Kiss in this picture - it's almost gone now. Little bit of peach fuzz on his head - a head that looks much bigger in this picture than I remember it being!

This was before he became a camera hater - a lot of my early pictures feature him looking directly at me. Good times. :-)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Huggies Codes

New codes for the Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards program:

bfrjwlqpsgzjpgb – 5pts



I found these at a new website I came across yesterday: Crazy Coupon Mommy

I have my eye on this Crayola Color Me A Song set from the rewards catalog:

My point stalking continues....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Look Who's Talking

Ish has a secret language - an alien language that only he knows. It's not baby talk - it's not babbling. His voice fluctuates with tone and intent - and he looks at us as if to say, "What, don't you understand what I'm telling you?" So, in a sense, young Ish speaks two languages - just because we don't understand his language doesn't make it any less remarkable!

As for the language we do understand, here's what he says now at 19 months:

Sasha (every dog is Sasha!)
Neck (this is his latest word - he says it while stabbing me in the neck with his pointer finger)
Moo (as in, you know, cow)
Gramma (grandma)
Please (pronounced "peas")
Baba (bottle)
Dana (as in Aunt)
Baby (this is what he calls cousin Maryann)
Chips (I can no longer enjoy my Baked Lays without being expected to share)
'Ning (as in Lightning McQueen from Cars)
Ming Ming (from the Wonder Pets)
Moose (as in Moose A. Moose from Noggin)
Uh-oh (he usually says this as he's doing something he knows he's not supposed to)
Oh no (usually said after he does something he knows he's not supposed to do)
Six (he comes in a little early and says it after we hit four - he has no patience to wait for five)
Nine (either referencing the number, or the German word for no, I'm not sure)

And while these are the words he physically says, he understands so many more. He is a smart little monkey. I hope his genius takes him far in life and makes him a lot of money along the way - mommy wants to live in a Trump retirement home.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Super Saturday

I bought Ish this massive box of matchbox cars at a tag sale today. He is out-of-his-mind-in-love.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Who needs pants?

It's certainly easier to navigate the stairs without pants.
Water from your sippie tastes better when you're not wearing pants.
Moving your toy bins around is a breeze when you're not wearing pants.
Getting into the correct yoga positions is much easier when you're not wearing pants.
And why do you need pants to lay on your Little Einstein's rocket ship and watch Everybody Loves Raymond?
That all makes sense, right?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Technical Difficulties

It has come to my attention that there was an error in my blog button code. It was causing the link to re-direct back to the poster's blog while referencing my blog link (basically, it was doing a roundy-roundy thing and giving people error messages!). I emailed Jennifer in a panic and then did a little investigative work on my own. It's all better now!

So, if you have my button on my blog, here is the corrected code (just simply cut, paste and replace!):

This reminds me, I need to update my blog roll - I follow a lot of great blogs and need to add them to my list. Look for a new list soon!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wayback Wednesday

Christmas 2008. Waiting in line to see Santa at the mall. Look at that little round bald head! Santa was a success that year - after all, he was only 3 months old at the time and really didn't have a clue as to what was going on. Sometimes I forget how cute he was back then because I'm blinded by how cute he is now!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

30 Free Pampers Points

I'm a free points stalker on the web. Here are 30 free Pampers Points for your Gifts to Grow collection:

apr2010facebook (this one expires on 4/30/10)

These codes put me at over 1000 points and I ordered Ish this Melissa & Doug Pets Puzzle:

Monday, April 19, 2010

Better than Disneyland

And a whole lot cheaper! This is Ish's latest thrill when we go to the mall. Riding the escalator. Forcing his father into a permanent "c" shape. Inconveniencing young teenagers who are to afraid to pass him. Insisting on just one more time up and down and getting his way. It's good to be the king.

And because it's not always about Ish - special thanks to Katie over at I Thought I Loved You Then for this Sunshine Award! She has a fun blog with great pictures, be sure to check it out!
Part of my responsibility with this award is to pass it on to other bloggers that I think deserve it. I'd like to pass it on to:

Kayla at The Randolph Family blog - she's got a cute little boy just a few months younger than Ish.

Christine over at A Mama Stork Knows - I'm a new follower of hers. She's a fellow giveaway-aholic!

Beth from Unskinny Boppy - a great blogger with great pictures and nice family stories.

Enjoy the award ladies - and pass it on!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Trash to Treasure

Another weekend brings another chance to score at some local tag sales. So we loaded Ish into the car with his Cars graham cracker cookies and we hit the road early.
My favorite score of the weekend was this Sesame Street Giggle & Go Garage - it retails for about $30. It is in GREAT condition and we got it for $5.
I had to get this when I saw it - a travel pack of animals from One Step Ahead. I love the quality and it's the perfect size for when we travel. Just $1 - I can't find these on the One Step Ahead site anymore but I can guarantee they were never $1!
Ish loves loves loves the car tub stickers I got him for Easter so I thought he would get a kick out of these Leap Frog Alphabet tub stickers. He loved making the animal noises and pointing out the letters to us last night in the tub. Another great deal at only $1.
The box on this Little Tikes Waffle Town set has seen better days but this was just too awesome to pass up. $2 for this set - these are selling on Ebay for upwards of $50!! I love Little Tikes toys - they are sturdy and can hold up to the abuse Ish dishes out.
I cleaned the pieces and re-homed them into one of my fabric baskets. Good as new! Ish has already commandeered the car pieces.
Now that Ish is getting into watching dvds in the car, I'm trying to build his collection. We got these from our neighbor for $1 a piece.
And Ish's favorite find of the weekend - a Cars bowl. Perfect for his growing car collection.
And after all that hard work finding new treasures for young Ish, we were rewarded with a 20 minute cat nap from the lad on the way home!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Grumpy Gus

When I walk into Ish's room in the morning during the work week to get him out of bed, I usually see this.
I gently say good morning and try to coax him into waking up. He responds by curling up into a ball - as if I won't be able to see him if he does this. He lays very still and I actually catch him trying to peek up at me to see if I'm still there. I always am of course.
He then proceeds to thrash around and make a mess of his crib in protest to having to wake up. The protest continues on the changing table and doesn't end until he realizes we are going outside to get in the car.
One day in the near future he'll come running into our bedroom at an ungodly hour and want us to wake up immediately to put on cartoons and pour him a bowl of cereal . I am plotting my revenge for when this day comes...

Getting there...slowly

We're making progress in the daunting task of organizing the massive amounts of toys and books we have for Ish. It's been a slow and steady progress...

I'm really happy with the book sling from One Step Ahead - it really holds a lot of books and the drawer space is pretty generous. Plus, Ish gets a kick out of putting the books in and out of the sling.
Stackable bins from The Container Store are proving to be a good solution for some of Ish's smaller toys in the living room/family room. We also got a few stackable laundry baskets for the bigger toys as well.
I'm trying to organize toys by type - putting them together in various size bins for easy access. Makes clean-up time easier for me.
I wish I had more wall space for these Ikea units. They really are pretty neat - right now I'm using a few of them for clothes/wipes/blanket storage in Ish's room.
The bathroom is looking neater now that I've consolidated his bath toys to two nets. There are other toys under the sink that I'll rotate out as he gets bored with these.
So, all in all, it's going well. There was a time when I came down from putting him to bed and couldn't walk in the living room. And it would take me a good chuck of time to throw toys to the side/in various bins/wherever I could just to make the space livable again. Now, after playtime, I see this - which is a HUGE improvement (trust me!):
Now, who would like to volunteer to come organize my kitchen pantry??!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wayback Wednesday

This one isn't too long ago - but I never posted it. It's a really bad, grainy picture from our November trip to Chuck E. Cheese for cousin Jake's birthday party. Being only 15 months at the time, there wasn't much for Ish to do there, but this open booth picture machine seemed to entertain him.

For some reason me and Ish thought we had to look up (you know, where the camera lens was). Matt seemed to be the only one who realized that looking straight ahead was the best option. As a result, you can see my big mouth and Ish looks like he's staring into space, but I still think it's cute none the less and I will, of course, keep it forever.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who doesn't like free?

My latest finds:

Toby the Train coloring book - trains + crayons = happy Ish:

Free Geo Trax DVD - trains + tv = even happier Ish:

Free Pampers Kandoo Music CD:

$3 off any Huggies Diapers (link from Money Saving Mom) - I scored Huggies Overnights for $4 a pack using this coupon today at Shoprite:

And last, but certainly not least - free coffee! Bring your reusable travel mug into Starbucks on Thursday April 15th and get a free brewed coffee:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Paging Dr. Ferber

Dearest Ish -

I love you. I really really do. You know what I don't love? 4AM. 4AM is bad. Bad bad bad. Why are you choosing this as your new wake-up time? We have to stop that, ok?

I need you to sleep until at least Wow Wow Wubzy time. Lazy Town time is ok every once in a while, but nothing earlier. On the weekends it would be great if you slept until Max and Ruby time, but I'll settle for Wubzy time.

Please don't make me break out the Ferber book. I put that away months ago. I'm not even really sure where it is and I'm too tired to look for it.




PS - Dearest Starbucks, please never ever ever close. Ever.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Snapshots

Of all days to decide to wake up at 4AM, Ish chose today. The day we had a nice brunch planned and were expecting a full house at 11. We did our best to try to get him to nap beforehand, but had no luck. The best I could do was make him look cute and pray he would behave.
He seemed to be acting like his normal self. Here he is ignoring the camera as usual.
He had some buddies to play with - that seemed to keep him awake and functional for a while.
He forced all the guests to read to him. On his level of course. Thankfully our friends are good sports!
Of course there comes a time when it's just impossible to go on any longer. 4AM - 7PM with no nap is a long day.
And would you believe he is upstairs in his crib crying and fighting his sleep as I type this! I'm exhausted - why isn't he???