Posted by: mmstanger | September 8, 2010

Mike Speaks: Nina at 3 yrs. 3 mos.

“Daddy, I lufs you so much!” Not a day goes by that my daughter, Nina, doesn’t say these words to me.  Sometimes she says them with a grin, a scrunched up nose and a pair of tightly closed eyes.  Other times, she says them with her eyes wide open and pouty lips, expressing to me the sincerity of her words.  No matter the facial delivery, the words always create the same reaction from me – total joy!

My little girl is growing up.  She demands independence, from getting her own cup of water to taking a shower by herself.  She always is saying, “I do it myself!”

Her energy is boundless.  She’ll jump up and down on her mattress non-stop, always smiling, often requiring that I acknowledge her abilities.   She dances with her shadow and swims underwater in a pool, usually coming up, gasping for air.  My Nina is definitely a sensory-seeking girl!

Although she idolizes her big brother, Luke, and oftentimes mimics his behavior, she definitely has her own personality.  Unlike him, she isn’t into videos and won’t sit still for hours demanding that Daddy, “read!”  She doesn’t know the names of all the dinosaurs and couldn’t care less about learning them.

And, unlike Luke, she definitely requires a nap.  When Nina exceeds her fatigue threshold, the whole household trembles.  Hell hath no fury like a Nina sleep deprived.  She becomes belligerent and, at times, downright mean.  She’ll instigate her brother into lashing out and she’ll spill food items on the kitchen floor, all with a sinister laugh trailing behind her as she runs away.  In her defiance, she becomes illogical.  For example, one day she hurt her hand and was crying.  When I asked to see her hand, she said, “No!  I won’t let you!”  Okay.

But, no matter what, she is my beautiful, little girl.  A little girl that one day will grow up to be a woman.  And, that woman will marry and have children of her own.  But she will always remain, in my eyes, as the little child who greeted me at the door with a big hug and a “Daddy, I lufs you so much!”

Posted by: mmstanger | July 27, 2010

National Guard Family Day

time out tuesdayWe haven’t posted a Time Out Tuesday in so long, although we have been grateful for many simple hours, afternoons and evenings of enjoyment of late — from picnicking at local free summer concerts, to cooling off at the Freetown State Forest wading pool, to watching trains zoom under the bridge during post-dinner walks, to simply building Lego structures on a blanket in the shade in our front yard… Life offers moments of praiseworthy peace and fun in the midst of life’s usual chaos.

So, we thought it was high time to do a Time Out Tuesday post, even if we are spotlighting an event from a couple weeks ago (instead of this past week):  Mike’s National Guard Unit’s Family Day.

After having Mike away for three weeks of annual training just before Jack was born, we were glad his drill this past month included a family day.  And, although we had to wake the kids outrageously early to get to the event at the command-appointed time and ended the day with driving home with Mommy in the back next to Luke, who had a climbing fever, the day was a great one overall.

Luke and Nina enjoyed climbing around in the military vehicles at the Armory.

And, then, they had fun playing “You can’t get me! You can’t get me!” with Daddy at the playground at Hanscom while I nursed Jack in the shade.

Finally, after some socialization and food, Jack and Nina crashed on a blanket in the shade while Luke helped Daddy dunk folks at the dunking tank.  (No pics of the dunking tank experience, since having a camera near the water would not work well with Luke!)

Granted, Luke did cry when Daddy got dunked  after taunting the soldier trying to throw the balls at the target while Daddy sat perched atop the dunk tank.  Daddy didn’t mind though.  He loved cooling off from the sweltering afternoon sun.  And, he liked showing off his pitching prowess, too.  Indeed, we were all impressed when Daddy proved he still had his arm, barreling balls to the target to dunk others.  (Albeit, less impressive were the fast balls that missed their target!)

Laughs, food, sharing and, of course, introducing Jack to Mike’s Unit colleagues who were eager to meet him — it was a good day!

This post is linked to Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday.

Posted by: mmstanger | July 21, 2010

Jack’s Due…

Today is July 21 — a day we anticipated for months and months.  But, one that’s significance became less important just three weeks ago when…  Baby Jack arrived!

Now, we cannot believe it’s been…

one…

two…

three…

weeks since our youngest blessing arrived.  We continue to celebrate our sweet little man who keeps growing  — literally at about and ounce a day (big eater!) and figuratively, with loads of love!  We are so grateful to have Jack Robert with us.

Linked to Wordful Wednesday at Seven Clown Circus, Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom and Thankful Thursday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage.

Posted by: mmstanger | July 14, 2010

Breaking Our Own Rules…

Just a couple days after we brought Jack home, Luke fell asleep on the couch.  I knew at that moment, we were in for it.  Why?  Our big boy gave up napping at 18 months (Yikes – we know!) and we can count on our hands the number of times he has succumbed to daytime sleep since — and every time has  involved a cold or flu…

The seemingly peaceful slumber pictured here was no different.   It was the precursor to a lovely bout with lots of laundry and lethargy.  For, within an hour of passing out on the couch, Luke spiked a fever and became subject to a night of vomiting and three days of on-and-off fevers… Yuck!

Our response, besides lots of love, pushing the liquids and doing load after load of laundry was to break our rules!  I usually refuse to purchase anything with artificial colors and lots of added chemicals.  But, Luke needed some help so we bought some generic Pedialite pops, which are – unfortunately – full of red (and other) dyes and yuckiness along with the “good stuff”.

Before long, Luke was re-hydrated and back to being himself.  And, with the heat wave we’ve been experiencing, I was willing to break another rule.  We generally don’t allow daily “treats and sweets’ in our home, but, since I found some dye-free, all-natural popsicles at the store, we have been enjoying cooling off with at least one a day.

(And, yes, I know, I could — and should — make my own even healthier pops for the kids myself.  But, Jack is just two weeks old today and I am still trying to get myself into a good rhythm with all the lack of sleep from nursing.)

So, for now, breaking the rules with daily store-bought pops works for us.  What works for you this week?  check out others’ ideas at We Are THAT Family.

Posted by: mmstanger | July 12, 2010

…And a Good Read, Plus Socks!

…And while we’re at passing on contest info., here’s one for folks who hate seems but love thei SPD kids:

Check out http://www.ourjourneythruautism.com/2010/07/give-way-im-not-weird-i-have-spd.html

Enter to win a signed copy of  I’m Not Weird, I Have SPD along with Seamless Sensitivity Socks from SmartKnitKIDS.

OJTA would like to spread the word about SPD and build our SPD Resource Directory.  Help OJTA raise awareness by sharing the recent Q&A with Author Chynna Laird or by sharing the link to the SPD Resource Directory Sign Up.

Go to the Q&A and/or the SPD Resource Directory page, grab the urls and then Tweet it, Facebook it, Blog about it, Post the links on your website, include it in a newsletter…however you choose. Each place you share it is equal to one entry, so the more places you share it the more chances you have to win.

Click enter below. Leave the name of where it is posted (ie: “My Facebook”), the link to where it is posted (need the actual link) below and your e-mail address. We will be checking the links, if we do not see it, your listing will be removed.

Winner will be drawn July 31st using random.org. Winner will be announced via our e-newsletter. Be sure to subscribe at the right to receive the announcement.

Posted by: mmstanger | July 12, 2010

No Cry Sleep Solution — Bring It On!

Oh, for a night’s sleep – or a daytime nap – right now.  Luke took until after 9 to fall asleep.  Jack woke every three hours or so to nurse.  Nina woke up and crawled into Mama and Daddy’s bed around 3:30.  Mommy has been up since 3 a.m.  Bleary eyed and just trying to make it through the day peacefully wihtou literally having to prop my eyes opne with toothpicks.  Also, praying to win this great contest, which promises solutions to many of our family challenges!  Wish me luck and enter yourself…

NEW CONTEST – Win 6 books! at http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth/

Enter to win a complete set of all 6 “No-Cry” books:
The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution **NEW**
The No-Cry Nap Solution
The No-Cry Sleep Solution
The No-Cry Discipline Solution
The No-Cry Potty Training Solution
The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers
There will be ~ TWO winners ~ each person wins a set of all 6 books!
HOW TO ENTER:
Simply mention ANY of my No-Cry books on your blog, newsletter or website!
You may include any of the excerpts, or simply link to more information on my website: http://www.nocrysolution.com
THEN:
Send me your URL (the page with the book mention), your name & email address. That’s it! You’ll be entered into the contest!
TWO winners will be chosen at random on July 31, 2010.

Posted by: mmstanger | July 10, 2010

Mama…Milk…Please

Luke and Nina are so attentive to Jack.  As soon as he cries or whimpers, they immediately try to figure out what he is “saying”.  Diaper needs changing?  Hungry?  More often than not, Luke runs for our brest friend pillow and Nina signs “Mama…milk…please”.  At which point, Daddy and Mommy smile, so happy to see their compassion and to see Nina signing.

You see, we did a lot of signing with Luke, but, when Nina came along, and was not as interested in videos as her brother, we did not keep it up.  (Luke loved Signing Time videos.)  Now, it seems, with little brother to care for and teach, Nina has a new found interest in signing — starting with “mama” “milk” and “please”.  Whoo hoo!

We definitely plan to use this interest for us all to start signing again.  And, as such, were excited to see this interview and this contest at OJTA.  We wanted to pass along the information so others can join in the contest, too!  Good luck!

Posted by: mmstanger | July 9, 2010

Nina’s Birthday Celebrations

Nina's favorite gift -- her "chompo" bars!

Today, we posted a Spotlight on Nina over at our homeschooling blog.  I have been meaning to post pics of her third birthday here.  But, June went by so quickly that I never got around to doing it in a timely fashion.  So, one month late, I am finally posting about Nina’s very happy third birthday, which we celebrated with a small extended-family party days before Daddy left for his annual training with the Guard and, then, again, with a little party at Grammy and Grampy’s on Nina’s actual birthday.

Prior to Nina’s extended-family party. I recorded a brief conversation Nina and I had a bout her birthday.  It began when I was trying to put together an idea list for gifts.  So, I found it quite funny that while I was thinking gifts, she was thinking food.  That’s our Nina!

Here are parts of  the conversation we had:

Mommy (M): Nina, what do you want for your birthday?

Nina (N): Sandwiches.

Nina peeling eggs for egg salad as we prepared for her family birthday party -- she wanted sandwiches!

M: What kind of cake?

N: A black cake and a pink cake.

M:  What kind?

N: One little black cake with strawberries.

M: Anything else?

N:  I want a pink cake with this (pointing at the picture of a princess on her nightgown).

M: With a princess?

N: Yay!  With a princess.

M: So, you like princesses now?

N: Yes…I like Gianna. (her cousin who likes princesses)

Nina later changed her mind and said she wanted a big black cake with little, pink, strawberry ice cream cakes. Note the big chunks out of the "black" one. They would be because our little girl decided she needed to sneak into the kitchen to taste it before I had time to ice and decorate it, which we ended up not doing at all.

M: What do you want to drink at your party?

N: Juice!  Yellow juice like at Grammy’s.  Regular juice and Mama juice.”

M: What do you want to decorate with?

N:  The birthday cake…Decorate with my pink one and my juice.  Okay?  (giggle)

(after more chatter)

M: So you don’t want decorations?

N: Yes, I do.  Just blue… Pink ones and blue ones (sung over and over in Nina-song style)  I want pink ones and blue ones.  Yes, I do!

M:  Would you like any gifts?

N:  Nooo…. (Pause)  Yes, I do want gifts.

M:  What kind?

N: Blue and pink (continuing the song).  I want Chompo bars in them! (chocolate bars)  One is gonna be for Luke and one chompo bar is gonna be for me.  Okay?  Okay?  Okay? (very excited)

Before the party, Nina, Luke and Daddy blue up pink and blue balloons, but they all popped before guests arrived. Less disappointing - in fact, oh so joyous for our excited three year old - were "chompo" bar gifts from Mommy, Daddy and Luke, which Nina broke apart, counted out and shared, just as she had said she would. Too sweet!

M:  Do you want any other things?…  Toys? … Craft supplies? … Books?…  Clothes?

N:  Noooo…  I want books and not clothes.  I want just jammies.  I want jammies and clothes.  (Sung and danced and bounced on bed.)

Leave it to Auntie Jenn to find the best gift bag! Nina thoroughly enjoyed opening thd closing the doors of the barn to her the animal sounds weeks after her birthday passed.

(Brief hiatus to sing, dance and talk about baby Jack and ask if he is kicking and when he will come out and if he will come out for her birthday.)

M: What are some things you like to play with?

N:  The dinosaur….and the trains…That’s it.

M: What do you like to do outside?

N: Play, play, play, play, play…  I want to get, ah, what’s it’s called, those little things in my bag… the chocolate things… Downstairs.  The little things and the big things.  I mean at my party.

M: You want chocolate at your party?

N: I want big chocolate and little chocolate…  Ice cream!

Before her birthday, Nina was adamant about what she wanted for a cake - a big black cake and small ice cream pink ones, plus chocolate. It might not be pretty, but it is what she asked for...

M: Who should come?

N: No one.  Just Luke.  (Later)  I just want Grammy and Grampy to come to see me.  Grammy and Grampy can have some of my ice cream… Will that be silly

Nina loved her cake from Grammy and Grampy on her real birthday -- just the perfect size for Grammy, Grampy, Gianna, Luke, Mommy and Birthday Girl!

And so it went…  Nina had some very clear ideas about her birthday and we tried to abide by them.  Later, she helped me think of some good gift wish ideas, which were:

As far as gift ideas if anyone needs any:

-Nina loves to play hairdresser, so a tiny spray bottle, hair brush and comb — her own hairdressing kit

Perfect! Not only did Uncle BJ and family give Nina a little brush and mirror set among their fun gifties, but Grammy found my old hairdressing head in the attic and re-gifted it. Nina has been loving it!

-a real kid/toddler digital camera if they even make them, as Nina (and Luke) are always trying to knick ours.

-a real toddler/kid CD player as the kids’ one broke and Nina loves music

– a bike helmet and pads

– Size 3 One-Piece Swimsuit (or if there is a hand me down coming, that’s great!)

Go, Auntie Jenn and family - not only a fun bag with bathing suit and bubbles, but the bike helmet with princesses on it (in the right corner). Nina got her princesses on her birthday after all.

– Ice Cream/Peaceful Meadows certificates (Nina actually said she wanted ice cream for her birthday.  On the rare occasion we have it in the house, she constantly goes for it and we have PM near us)

Friendly's Customer Appreciation Day took care of the ice cream craving between Nina's two birthday celebrations!

– a huge thing of Bubble Mix (she goes through it like crazy)

Whoo hoo! Among the gift bag from Bj and family was a huge bubble wand, jungle bubbles, grape bubbles -- bubbles, bubbles, bubbles!

– Construction Toys like Tinker Toys, Magneetos and K’Nex (We don’t really need more toys in the house, but these are thing Nina would love.

Go, Grammy and Grampy, with the retro toys! My old Tinker Toys, Puzzle Town set and Barbie Head were all just perfect -- and Nina looks forward to her new camera when I finally get to the store to buy it.

– Melissa and Doug stuff, especially a magnet dress up doll  – she loves little things, story felts and magnets, dramatic play, etc.

– an apple to cut ( a toy one), because that’s what she said she wanted

Nina has been loving her M&D cutting food set ever since Grammy showed her how to use it.

Besides that, almost any fun crafting stuff, playdough and accessories, beach stuff, etc. would likely be a hit.

With shovel, water toys, etc. from Uncle BJ and family, swimsuit from Auntie Jenn and family and hat from Grammy and Grampy, Nina is ready for the beach!

So, in the end, we had one chocolate filled, ice cream-filled, happily gifted and visited little three year old!  What a great celebration!

And — bonus — Auntie Jenn, David and company went to work fixing our front stoop and screen door!  So, now, we can all  get into and out of the house much more safely.

Now, that was a gift for Mommy!

Posted by: mmstanger | July 8, 2010

Mike Speaks: Daddy’s Perpective on Luke

Today, as Luke turns 4 years and 7 months old, Daddy thinks:

When I was young, I had asked my father how he knew so much.  I was concerned that I wouldn’t know all the answers to everything when I grew up.  His reply escapes me, but my question is still pretty fresh in my mind.

Periodically, I think of that question, especially when dealing with my own children.  How will I know the answers when I grow up?  Apparently, I’m a grown up, but I still don’t know all the answers.  Not just to the questions Luke poses, such as, “Daddy, if the world fell into nothing, what would happen?” but also to the behavior Luke displays.  My disposition is not calibrated to Luke’s settings; therefore, I’ve had to reset my attitudes to be more in line with Luke.

For instance, ever since I was three years old, I’ve played sports.  At first, it wasn’t my choice:  my father told my older brothers that professional ballplayers are made at a very early age, so they played with me constantly.  Needless to say, I never became a pro ballplayer, but, through them, I developed a love for sports, especially baseball.  I spent many days with my father playing catch, and those memories will be with me always.  I had hoped that one day I would play catch with my son and share my love of sports.  Although he is still young, Luke doesn’t appear to have any interest in sports.

Case in point:  While visiting my father, I was playing basketball in his driveway.  My daughter came over to me and wanted to try.  I handed the ball to her and she gave it her all.  She would throw the ball up and close her eyes, and I would help it along.  (With her eyes closed, she couldn’t see me assisting her.)  I asked Luke if he wanted to try.  He took the ball and threw it into the trees . . . and into the flowerbed. . .and up against a garage window. Finally, he tossed it into wind chimes before he threw himself onto the ground, clutching the ball in the fetal position.  In Luke’s hands, the ball went everywhere but within thirty feet of the hoop.

Like I said, no interest.

Before you judge me as being too shallow, please understand, I am not disappointed in my son, and I have absolutely no problem with him having no interest in sports.  In fact, in some ways, I’m glad he doesn’t.  His interests have become my interests, which have opened up different worlds for me.  For example, who knew there were 307 species of dragonflies in North America?  Not I!  But, because of Luke, I’m becoming an expert, especially with the Common Green Darner (Anax junius) species.  (See Mommy’s post about Luke at Training Happy Hearts for more on this and Luke’s other interests.)

With regards to Luke’s behavior, I am less inclined to be casual and more perplexed about how to handle it.  You see, at times, he can be “difficult” and non-cooperative.  For the past couple of years, I had no idea what to do.  Was it better to be a rigid disciplinarian, like my father-in-law, which is against my nature, or should I take on a more flexible approach?  Although flexible was more my style, there were times that I wanted to be more strict with him.  His obstinacy and disobedience pushed me to my limits.  I couldn’t understand why he appeared to ignore and defy me.  I had run out of answers.

Some family members and friends suggested that we should test Luke for autism.  At first, I thought this was unnecessary.  Luke didn’t appear to have autism, at least no obvious signs of it.   Martianne did some researching, and convinced me to take a closer look at related disorders like Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  We sought advice from our family physician.  He didn’t think that Luke had any apparent manifestations of autism, but thought that there might be just enough there to seek expert counsel.  He gave us a referral for a neurologist.

To make a long blog entry shorter, I will sum it up like this: the neurologist saw some things which led us to an occupational therapist.  After answering questionnaires and attending a few OT sessions, it was determined that Luke has a mild form of SPD.  Without getting too detailed, basically, children with SPD have trouble processing certain sensations and may react erratically or irrationally to certain situations and stimuli.  In many ways, we were relieved, but his condition created a new group of challenges that we had to face, especially me.  My biggest one:  How do I connect with my son?

As mentioned earlier, my relationship with my father is important to me.  I always felt that we were close.  I wanted that same type of relationship with Luke.  Before his diagnosis, I wasn’t sure why it was so difficult; afterward, I wondered if it were even possible.

So, here I am, each day trying to connect with my little boy.  I think that we are doing better.  Scenarios that used to set me off are handled differently.  I ask him for his mindset when he does things.  Many times, he gives a logical (at least in his mind) explanation for why he has committed an unruly act.  Other times, he reacts out of pure frustration with not being able to process what is going on.  I understand that, now.  Does it mean that I handle everything picture perfect?  No way.  I am human, after all.  Probably more so than most.  But, I am trying.  I am trying because I want to be the best Daddy I can to Luke.  I want him to have a great relationship with me, like I do with my dad.  Most importantly, I want him to feel safe and loved in our house, so that he can grow up to be a kind, loving individual who makes the world a better place through his compassion and his works.

Both Mommy and I are thankful for our very unique little boy.

To share what you are thankful for today, please link up to Thankful Thursday at Spiritually Unequal Marriage and to read about other SPD dads, check out the SPD Blog Carnival at Hartley’s Life with 3 Boys.

Posted by: mmstanger | July 7, 2010

Kids’ Clothing Management

What works for me?  Having a “paper brain” to help me stay focused and reasonable when doing seasonal tasks like sorting the kids’ clothes.

This comes to my mind as, lately, I have been sorting bags of clothes that recently got handed down to us for Baby Jack and Nina, as well as rooting around the various places we had outgrown and yet-to-be-grown into clothing tucked throughout our overloaded storage spaces.  First pregnant, and now with a three-week-early newborn at home, I have been a bit too brain-dead at times to make responsible choices about which items to keep and which to pass along again, as well as about what to do with our soon-to-be-outgrown clothes.  Thus, I jumped on my computer to dig out the “paper brain” I began composing last winter for moments just like this one.   You see, I work best with plans and checklists, and, having written guidelines to help me effectively sort the kids’ out-sized clothing, as well as their “new” hand-me-downs works for me.  Perhaps, you could use a similar plan.  So, now that I have a virus-free, working computer again, as well as our surprise blessing sleeping quietly nearby as his older siblings are engaged in a craft here at the table, I thought I would take a few moments to share my “paper brain”.  Feel free to borrow and adapt it!

Our Hand-Me-Down Plan

  • “now” sized hand-me-downs — See if good-condition items mix and match with the wardrobe we already have.  If so, and if we are not above our Clothing Inventory limits, add these items to the kids’ wardrobes.  If we are over our limit, only add items if purging items within the same clothing category.  Pass on whatever excess there is to friends, family, Freecycle and/or non-profits.
  • too-small hand-me-downs — Do not pass go; do not be tempted to set a box or bag anywhere that it might become fixed in our home, adding to the clutter.  Within days, pass too-small clothing onto friends, family, Freecycle and/or non-profits.
  • too-large hand-me-downs — Add items to bins labeled by child, size and season for up to two-to-three sizes larger than kids currently are.  If the bins are overly full, only keep clothes that are practical, stylish and, preferably, made from natural fibers, which coordinate with other items in the bins and/or are needed according to our Clothing Inventory lists.  Any excess items, pass along within days to friends, family, Freecycle and/or non-profits.  Do not let extra bags or boxes find fixed positions on our home!

And, while  at all this, say a prayer of thanks.  Many families have but one of two outfits per child.  For us to spend “work” time, as well as thought, on “clothing management” is a blessing we too often forget to count!

Our Kids Seasonal Clothing Sort Plan

And, what about the clothing items that are already in the kids’ closet?  Well, only so much will fit in there and, with the kids in the midst of their high-growth stages, a plan is needed to keep the closets from seasonal explosions as well.  Hence:

Sort Luke’s clothing into the following categories:

  • stained, ripped, etc. clothes — Set aside one fall/winter outfit for a scarecrow.  Then, offer the rest on Freecycle as play clothes/craft materials.  If there are no takers, donate the rest to St. Vincent De Paul as rags. (As I understand, St. Vincent de Paul is one of the only clothes collection non-profits that does not simply toss clothes they don’t think clients will use.  Instead, they sell these at a per pound rate to help fund some of their programs.)
  • 2-3 favorite outfits — Label and put into Memory Clothes bag if we wish to.
  • neutrals — Put in a marked box for Nina.
  • 7 or so “boy” pieces/outfits per type (jammies, dress clothes, play clothes, etc.) — Put into a marked box for Jack  Also, make a note to leave in the box of what we still might need for that age/stage.
  • remainder — Pass on to friends and family who may need them.  Freecycle some as a thank you to those Freecyclers who have generously given to us.  Donate some to our Church Thrift Shop, St. Vincent De Paul, Big Brother Big Sister, Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles or similar organizations.  If family budget is too much “in the red” and specific clothing (child care or learning) items are needed “now”, yard sale, post on Craig’s List and/or consign some items to make money to flesh out current wardrobe (and play and learning supplies).

Sort Nina’s clothing into the following categories:

  • stained, ripped, etc. clothes — Set aside one fall/winter outfit for a scarecrow.  Then, offer the rest on Freecycle as play clothes/craft materials.  If there are no takers, donate the rest to St. Vincent De Paul as rags.
  • 2-3 favorite outfits — Label and put into Memory Clothes bag if we wish.
  • neutralsPut into a marked box for Jack.
  • 7 or so girlie pieces/outfits per type (jammies, dress clothes, play clothes, etc.) — Put into a marked box for Maybe Baby (not that we are planning more, but we need to pray and talk a bit more at this point before making any “final” decisions, which we are well aware will only be truly “final” with God’s seal of approval).  Also, make a note to leave in the box of what we still might need for that age/stage.
  • remainder — Pass on to friends and family who may need them.  Freecycle some as a thank you to those Freecyclers who have generously given to us.  Donate some to our Church Thrift Shop, St. Vincent De Paul, Big Brother Big Sister, Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles or similar organizations.  If family budget is too much “in the red” and specific clothing (child care or learning) items are needed “now”, yard sale, post on Craig’s List and/or consign some items to make money to flesh out current wardrobe (and play and learning supplies).

Sort Jack’s clothing into the following categories:

  • stained, ripped, etc. clothes — Set aside one fall/winter outfit for a scarecrow.  Then, offer the rest on Freecycle as play clothes/craft materials.  If there are no takers, donate the rest to St. Vincent De Paul as rags.
  • 2-3 favorite outfits — Label and put into Memory Clothes bag if we wish to.
  • neutrals and 7 or so pieces/outfits per type (jammies, dress clothes, play clothes, etc.) — Put into a marked box for Maybe Baby.  Also, make a note to leave in the box of what we still might need for that age/stage.
  • remainder — Pass on to friends and family who may need them.  Freecycle some as a thank you to those Freecyclers who have generously given to us.  Donate some to our Church Thrift Shop, St. Vincent De Paul, Big Brother Big Sister, Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles or similar organizations.  If family budget is too much “in the red” and specific clothing (child care or learning) items are needed “now”, yard sale, post on Craig’s List and/or consign some items to make money to flesh out current wardrobe (and play and learning supplies).

And, how about that Clothing Inventory mentioned in the above Plans?  Well, it is still a work-in-progress and, unfortunately, it may be a bit reflective of my leftover hoarder-tendencies.  (I think I should cut back on numbers of specific items even more, especially as we attempt to fit three children’s wardrobes into one small bedroom in the coming year!)  But, at least, it provides some limits so that when I am having a difficult time purging perfectly wearable, good quality, cute, free clothing, I can look to it to keep myself (and the kids’ clothes!) in check.  The first part is the graphic at the top of this post.  The other two parts are below.  You should be able to click on any of them to get larger, printable versions.  Or, if you want a copy in Word to adjust to your own needs, simply leave a comment and I will email you one.

Of course, as I put all of these plans into action, I also try to remember:

God provides.

Do not store up too much.  If someone is expressly in need, be generous!

And so, with “paper brain” in hand, I successfully attended to our kids’ clothing management project as part of the Just One Thing Challenge and continue to as new hand-me-downs come in.  All the while, I pray for discipline to stick to the plan and seek strength (yes, for me it is an effort!) not to “store up” more than what we need for this season and the ones to come soon.

works for me wednesday at we are that familyFinally, one kind commenter on my last post already shared a great thought for clothing management – which I would love to follow if only I had the room in our closets for bins!  I would be happy to hear how others approach seasonal clothing sorts, too.  Do you set limits for how many of each different type of clothing you will keep per child?  What are your strategies for having a wardrobe that works for your kids without causing closets to explode nor laundry to pile up?  What thrifty ways to you recycle, Freecycle and re-purpose clothing?  Any favorite places to purge or procure? Do share with a comment and, also, be sure to check out others’ Works for Me Wednesday thoughts at We Are THAT Family.  Thank you!

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