Shared Office Space

One of the benefits of having an office big enough to share is that Peter works from home so much more. It’s been so nice to cut the commute time and have him be able to be able to pop out for lunch and then back into the office.

But there is a downside…we have totally opposite working styles. I like order. He likes chaos. I do not eat at my desk. He has full blown meals (I’m cringing while I type…). I like my papers stacked up neatly and I have a system of where each project goes. He has the paperwork tornado approach. What’s worse is that his craziness spills (sometimes literally) onto my stuff. Which if someone touching my stuff wasn’t enough, food stains aren’t really my gig.

So for months I have been trying to find a new desk configuration that would work for both of us. Something where we could each have our space and storage and have a cohesive look to the office. That in itself is a challenge. Finding something that meets that criteria AND that we both agree on was damn near impossible.

Every few days I would find myself digging around online looking for ideas. We couldn’t agree on anything. Finally one day I sent off an email with links to a few things I found that I liked (or could tolerate if he liked) and we got a hit. A great, rustic industrial desk from Target. The price wasn’t too bad to buy two of them – plus there was an online sale. Sold!

I love the illusion that there’s just one desk.

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We were also able to reuse my current desk’s sides and reconfigure them into a console table. It made for a cheap solution to my need for drawers. I like storage and organization, but it all has to be out of sight. I am very visual so whatever I am working on, or need to work on, goes on the desk. But if too much is out, the clutter makes me itchy. It’s a delicate balance.

Now I have to get some clever storage bins for the shelves. I need something that looks nice but also is functional that can hold file folders…plus some cute desktop accessories…I see a trip to The Container Store in my future.

Mac approves too.

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Firehouse Fun

Our family was treated to a personal tour of a Mesa Fire Department Firehouse this weekend – and it was amazing! Mike, a friend and college of Peter’s, invited us over when he heard that Auggie was having a firefighter themed birthday. I think Auggie was equal parts excited and nervous.

Mike rolled out the red carpet showing us all around the firehouse, introducing us to the other firefighters and giving us the inside scoop on how it all functions. We then got to go check out the truck, including a quick ride around to the back of the station (headsets and all!) where the kids took turns with the fire hose.

Mike also showed us how much gear he has to put on – and in under 2 minutes. Holy moly, it’s a lot. I can’t imagine walking around with 45 pounds of hot, heavy gear on…let alone fight a fire!

Look at those smiles

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Here’s the thing, we were only one of two tours going on. If you think your kiddo would love to visit the fire house, give your local station a call. They will let you know the best days and times – they seem to really enjoy educating people – and kids- on how the fire station works and fire safety. In fact, when Mike was in his full gear, mask and all, he made a point of talking to each person in each of the tours. It was a good lesson for all the kids that that is what firefighters look like in an emergency and not to be afraid of them. It was a fun an educational way to spend a Sunday morning!

Organized Living: The Play Room

I was so excited when we moved to the new house and decided to keep our kiddos in the same room and use the second room as a play room. I liked that they would have a bedroom that was for sleeping, reading and resting – and a play room that could be a total disaster that I could shut the door on.

But alas, I can’t just shut the door. My hatred for all things cluttered, disorganized and messy, drives me to rally the kids into cleaning up the room daily. I can’t stand the clutter, the craziness! I think everyone in our house is all too familiar with my screeching demand for help to clean up.

I do have a rule that if I have to help clean up, I throw things away. The panic that arises when one of the kids sees me put something in my pocket as it’s destined for the trash, usually spurs them into working faster…but not better. So I added some details to the play room that will hopefully help them be able to keep their toys organized and make clean up easier.

I used these hanging storage racks from Target. They make cubes that fit in the drawers too that looked really nice, but I went with transparent bins with lids instead. I could only picture every bin being pulled out to discover what was inside…They work great because lots of different things fit in the spaces.

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Next I took a picture of what was in each bin. I printed them in 3×5 size and wrote the name of the items inside for Baylor. She is amazing at memorizing words when she sees the definition in pictures.

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I also used the labels inside of the fabric bins in the playroom.

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I think there are two ways you can organize the playroom – or any other kid space in your house: with or without your kids. Today’s project was done without them home. It allowed me to clean out some things and save my sanity by being able to quickly sort toys and have them actually stay where I put them. I take a trash bag and a “give away” bag in with me and as I clean, I sort. If you are worried about them noticing that something is missing, hide the bag in the closet for a few days. Or if you’re like me, you blame their disappearance on moving.

If you are feeling brave and want to clean up clean out with your kids, talk about what the goal of the process is before you start. When Baylor was little, we talked a lot about how not all kids have toys like she does. We talked about how it was important to care for those less fortunate and one of the ways we can do that is by donating some of our toys. We never ask them to give away anything they really love, but we do ask them to consider whether or not they think that toy could make a child who has no toys, happy. I’m always surprised by both kid’s willingness to part with dolls, toys and games in the name of helping someone else. I always let them deliver the bag to the donation site too to complete the process.

Good luck and happy organizing!

Spooktackular Crafts

While looking for ideas for Auggie’s birthday party on Pinterest, I randomly came across the cutest Halloween craft. I’m a sucker for hand and footprint art. But I tend to leave those to the kid’s schools because paint on feet and hands gives me anxiety.

Despite my apprehension,  I was feeling ambitious so I took the picture of the craft and the kids to Michael’s to get our supplies. The kids were surprisingly good and happy to help gather up what we needed. They (generally) cooperated when it came to putting their hands and feet in the right place and they (sort of) listened when I told them not to touch the wet canvases. Overall? A win! And the end product came out pretty cute!

When we were getting ready to paint their feet, I asked Baylor how they do it at school – did they dip their hands into the paint or did the teachers brush it on? She concluded that most of the teachers would brush it on. Auggie then chimed in with “Mommy? Mommy? At mine school, when we are painting….they no let me put my hands in the paint.” I couldn’t stop laughing. He wanted so badly to contribute to the conversation.

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So their high arches and “sleepy” toes made for some funny prints, but I think they’re pretty cute! Want to give it a go? Here’s what you’ll need:

1 8oz bottle of multi-surface acrylic paint in Black and Orange

1 2oz bottle of multi-surface acrylic paint in Green and White

1 Spool of festive ribbon

Paint pens in Black and Orange. (I couldn’t find orange so I just used paint. It’s doable, but it takes a lot longer)

3 8×10 canvases

Glitter paint for decorating

Sponge brushes

Small paint brushes

Paper plates and news paper

Towels and small tub of soapy water

Start by painting the background on the three canvases. This is a great place to let the kids help. Ours took two coats with about 20 minutes of drying in between. Let dry overnight.

When you’re ready to do the hand and foot prints, on clean feet / hands, use a sponge brush to coat the whole bottom of the foot. You will need to use more paint than you think – really coat it. Then standing, have your kiddo put their foot on the canvas and hold still while you push down on each toe and the edges of the foot. Be careful not to let the foot slide around. When each foot or hand is done, dunk it in the soapy water (Baylor told me this little detail of school crafting AFTER we were done…). Let all hand and foot prints dry over night.

Start decorating! Add in wording, spider webs, glitter – whatever you want!  Hot glue the ribbon to the back, tie it in a bow and voila! Instant holiday memories. Have fun!

October Babies

Just like June in our house, October is crazy! Not only is our social calendar packed, we get to celebrate Peter and Auggie’s birthdays. And because they are back to back (literally) it’s a little nutty trying to get it all in.

We celebrated Peter being older than me (we’re the same age for about 4 months a year) again with his favorite Funfetti cake and dinner out. We sat at Steak 44, studied the menu and strategized on who would order what so that we would get the full spectrum of the steak house’s offerings. Shrimp cocktail, ribeye steak, onion strings, creamed spinach, crab legs and chocolate chip bread pudding were all absolutely delicious! A birthday celebration to remember.

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We planned a Fireman themed party for Auggie the following day to celebrate this guy – the big 3!

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The kiddos got to cover their fire helmets with stickers. Then they raced outside to an emergency – chalk flames that they got to put out with squirt guns. It was a huge hit! The remnants of the chalk flames are going to require a little more elbow grease to get off though. Peter pointed out AFTER I had drawn all over the wall –  “maybe you should have tested it to make sure it will come off”. Yes, that would have been smart. Now we’ll just pick a paint color faster…IMG_8961

And what good party doesn’t have a fire truck pinata?? And when the little guys can’t get it open, you bring in the softball team.

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The struggle to blow out the candles is real, my friends.

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I love this picture. He was absolutely perfect for the party. Honestly, a parent couldn’t ask for more – he was happy, excited, friendly – he was having an amazing time! But hold him back from his ice cream cake? Sh*t gets real, real quick.

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Happy birthday my October men. I can’t wait to celebrate 100 more with each of you!