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Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring...

It has been a tough start to the year.
I am about to start the bring back 2011 campaign {smile}.
We had 4 months of not stepping a foot in a doctor's office,
only to now be regulars again.

My boys have RSV.
We took so many precautions and avoided it for nearly two and a half years.
The big bad wolf finally chased us down.
I wish I could have done more to prevent it, yet I know I did everything possible.
Ethan picked it up from school and we didn't stand a chance.

Last night Matt and I slept with Liam and Aiden on us,
they asked to sleep in mommy's crib {grin}
 waking every half hour,
checking their breathing, foreheads, offering their drinks, hearing Liam
panting and wheezing and cringing with each horrible cough.
Griffin and Beckham were doing better and wanted their beds.

I am wiped after days of it and so is Matt.
We are getting sick ourselves.

We are in survival mode.

Liam is flirting with hospital admission.
His fever after FIVE days will not break.
I spent about six hours at the doctor's office yesterday.
To find that now all of my boys have double ear infections
and the virus is settling despite every four hour nebulizer treatments.

Imagine five neb treatments every four hours to not feel like it's accomplishing much.

Last night I sat and stared at our living room wall and felt defeated and helpless.
I could not make my boys better, that's always a tough one.  
I don't like to feel defeated.  I also felt guilty because I know in my heart
this will end, life will get back to normal, and we will be ok.
This time though I had to let myself feel it to get past it.  

Do you ever feel like that?
It just keeps coming back until you deal with it?

The other things in life nagging at me just one thing after another...
the tire light coming on again because I haven't had time to deal with getting the new tires my car desperately needs...Matt's car not starting after picking up the prescriptions trying to get home...finding two holes in Beck's mattress {that little monkey is tough on stuff!}....the washing machine giving out...the dryer giving in...every time we turned around something, yet we could not give that something a lick of attention.  

I just looked up for real?  Are you kidding me?
I know these things aren't important but we have to function Lord.
I felt back in the storm again.  

Yet I felt strong and hopeful.  
We were still standing, we have always been still standing.

I was sad that now every cold they get from now on will be amplified.
RSV damages lungs, especially preemie lungs like four of my boys have.
Despite being born at 33 weeks and surpassing all milestones,
on the inside my boys still have traces of their preemie-hood.

Ethan has asthma, it's tough on him too.  

Yet, I thought I want to be good with what is right here and now,
so when we are running around having fun, 
we LIVE it and remember this time.

The tough makes the good sweeter.  

I had to remind myself that it wasn't all mine or Matt's.
That we do NOT have enough strength.  
How I know this etched on my soul, yet how easily I forget
and think just keep working harder and you can fix it.  

I sat there staring at that wall, 
two boys sleeping on me,
and let myself BE STILL.
Let it all swirl around me.
We don't have to try to make it out alone.  

Today it's more of the same, yet I am not the same.

Until soon friends and thank you for the prayers {again},


Friday, February 24, 2012

And the winner is....

Being Oscar weekend and all, I could not resist!

Our winner of the 3-in-1 diaper changing system
and never lose baby socks is...

I love the blue with white polka dot 3 in 1 diaper case!


Please email me at
to confirm your choice and send on your address.

So excited for you!

THANK YOU to everyone who entered and visited designs by alix...
make sure to stop by and check out all of her fabulous goods if you haven't done so already.
Thank you kindly to the sweet Alix for sponsoring this giveaway!!

Welcome to all who discovered our little corner of the world!
Glad to have you here!

Wishing you a beautiful weekend my friends!


{official business}

Happy Friday & Last Chance to enter GIVEAWAY!

Wow, it has been quite a start to the year and not in the best way.
All of my five had RSV this week, well still have it.
It's tough on preemies.
I will post more right now we are just focusing on us.


I wanted to remind you to enter the 

Seriously great odds to win and I would appreciate
showing our new sponsor,
designs by alix,
some love!  

Happy Friday friends and we'll catch up soon.
In the meantime, thank you all for your kind thoughts and comments,
so appreciated!!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Anatomy of a Playroom {3}: 10 Genius Toy Storage Ideas

Operation find the floor is in full swing!!  This next stop in the 
Anatomy of a Playroom Series
is to find some really clever toy storage solutions.  

When they are little, storage needs to be soft.  
I switched out chalkboard bins {form} for canvas bins {function}.
Especially with more than one child playing and hard bins falling on toes {ouchie!}

I know we all get the amazing Pottery Barn catalogs, but honey I can afford
maybe one of their storage bins, so I did some research and found ten very
awesome, affordable toy storage solutions.  Of course I had to include a couple DIY {grin}.  
I sourced everything should you find something you like!  

{Toy Storage}
magnetic car storage{the style files} :  sand toy buckets {our wonderfilled life} : 
TROFAST {ikea}  :  LEGO storage bags {swoop}  :  
strapping storage collection {land of nod}  :  vegetable bins {land of nod} : 
DIY clear storage bags {make it and love it}  :  
DIY canvas lined diaper boxes {positively splendid} :  
suitcases {land of nod}  :  GLIS stackable storage {ikea}

We'll continue chugging along in this fun little series talking about
All Things Art next, and if you missed any of the topics so far, 
here you go....

Anatomy of a Playroom {1} : The Essentials {Organizing by Function}
Anatomy of a Playroom {2}: The Great Toy Debate

Holla at me...leave me a note...let me know what you would still love to know!

Happy Monday friends!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

GIVEAWAY: New Sponsor!!

I am happy to be partnering with designs by alix as a new sponsor here. 
I know we'll make a great team, so I am happy to introduce them to you!!
And...what better way to start things off than with a giveaway?

Here is what you'll win...

Grab n' Go : 3 in 1 : Diaper Changing Set
: your choice :
includes covered case, matching washable changing pad, slot to hold 3 diapers

and they are absolutely adorable, here are just a few of the options:

also in the mix, a set of never lose baby socks...
I know every mom needs these!!

 The giveaway will be open until Friday, February 24th, midnight.

To enter, leave a comment here for each action.
This contest is only open to Our Wonder*filled Life blog followers.  

{1} Like {Designs by Alix} on Facebook
{2} Visit Alix's Etsy shop {click on the button above}
and tell me which grab n' go case you'd choose.  
{3} Share this giveaway on Facebook or your blog.  

That's all, easy peasy!!  
Now you'll be a stylin' on-the-go mommy!!

Check back on Friday for the winner!

mother*wonder Monday {eight} - When it seems like you're the only one who cares


Hello, Hello...I realize it is Saturday {smile}.
I had to take a little break in the playroom series for 
a mother*wonder post, long overdue.
The sun is shining here brightly.
My boys are into another round of sickness,
so it's a blah day with rays of light.

The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, is playing in my head.

I am really working today on feeling like I am 
always listening to others, but not feeling like its reciprocated much.

I am not naive to think I am the world's greatest listener,
I would not be anywhere near the top of that list, probably not even the middle.

What I mean is this.  I am always hearing about friends children,
their ailments, friends ailments and problems, some truly serious,
and I listen, I try to encourage, hope, pray,
but I feel the minute I want to share, 
I am shut down.

It's hard and I am trying to figure out why I feel this way.
I am not throwing any parties here today, especially the pity kind.
I just need to find a way to not always be the listener.
To have a moment to vent and speak too.
It's frustrating.

I feel like Ethan's cancer has a statute of limitations even though a whole
new world has opened up here.  He is thank God cancer-free and doing
great {well except today he's horribly sick} , but he has lots of questions about it.
It's not something we can ignore.  We have to discuss it.
We have always been open about it.  He is too curious and too smart to not be.
We are handling it well and he is good.
He knows God's plans for him are big, far, and wide. 
It's just that it's hard because everyone thinks over and done.

Let's put that on the shelf all nicely tied up along with 
all the other things we are still working through with my little boys.
I kind of feel like I am not supposed to talk about any of it to anyone anymore.

Not so fun.

Thank God for God {grin} and for my husband.  

I realize we all have things we don't share all the time or most of the time.
Nor do I want to discuss any of this even a fraction of any time.
Just to be able to say hey this is what's happening would be nice.

Maybe to have the same courtesy given to listen?

Thankful to share here today.  Feels good to get it out.
I hope you all have a beautiful Saturday!

See you soon,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Anatomy of a Playroom {2}: The Great Toy Debate

First I want to wish you all a Happy {Heart} Day!!
I hope you enjoyed the day with all of your loves big and small!

Next up in my Anatomy of a Playroom Series is...

The Great Toy Debate

So we know what they say about good moms, they have sticky floors and messes.
I do agree to that...substitute life for house, playroom, get my point {smile}.

It's hard to determine when children are ready to start helping
and what the consequences are for not doing so.

Recently, I had witnessed two instances in which people wanted to
not so nicely provide their unsolicited insight on this topic, mom-to-mom.  
Thing is we all have our own tips and tricks and ideas,
but the bigger thing is not to think yours are best.
{and one may want to hold off until they are asked, so what works for you?}
green light to proceed.

Since this is my space I am going to give you some of my thoughts,
but remember they are just my ideas and what has worked in our home.  
I do hope you will find them helpful.  

If you have visited me for awhile you know I DIY most everything,
clean my house myself with my husband's generous help, and
I am passionate about my kids having a childhood.
That being said I am not one to let my boys just run amuck...

You have to....
and remember...

I am so much better at this somedays than others, 
and while I think consistency is key to any success with children,
especially toddlers, sometimes you have to wave the white flag.

When I find myself getting angry, irritated, annoyed at toys, toys, toys and messes,
I have to admit it's usually something else that is bugging me.
I am a type A slowly reforming perfectionist,
but I have relinquished a lot of control over the past few years 
when it comes to my home.

While I am so passionate about children having a designated place 
to call their own to play, our whole home really is open to them.
With 5 boys trying to contain them would be tough.
Yet I am not about to relinquish my home to a complete and utter state of disaster.

What tends to work for me is this...

 : My boys have learned to put away toys since about 18 months of age.
Not every day all the time, I still help A LOT, but every day I give them something to do before they can do something else.  Put your cup in the sink, truck on the shelf, and then you can eat lunch, play with another toy, etc.  They get lots of  "great jobs" and "thank yous" from me.  Now they have started to thank each other for cleaning up toys.  :

: In order to do this though, things need to be organized and easy for them to access and understand. :

:  I clean up the playroom completely two times a day, once during naptime
{which can be the only time I have to myself in a day} and is only about an hour long until I get my oldest from school.  Then once at night, which yes my amazing husband usually does the later while I put our oldest to bed, run errands, answer emails, organize for the next day, blog, etc.  Our floor plan is so open which we love, 
but toys spill into every room, which is ugly sometimes. :

:  Toys need to be organized for play.  
I cannot concentrate with a messy desk or office,
so I can't expect my kids to play if they are tripping over 
everything or missing pieces and parts.  :

:  I edit toys before birthdays and Christmas.  Usually a month
beforehand I start going through everything, donating, selling, etc. 
and clearing out to make space for the new fun stuff soon to take over.  :

:  I do believe kids need to be messy.  With my oldest it was easier to cleanup
as we went but even then we'd be messy.  And then we'd clean up.  It 
is good for them to learn that cycle...that it's ok to get a little crazy,
but it's responsible to care for your things too.  :

:  At the end of the day I try to remember this..I wanted toys in my house and noise.  Sometimes it gets to be overwhelming, but God willing I will be older looking around and wishing for these times.  That really grounds me.  When a day is tough, then sometimes you have to let it go, chose not to battle and move on.  I dig my heels in at times when I should let them knock me down.  I am not one who gives in easily to try again tomorrow but trying while completely frustrated, angry, and upset does not help anyone.  :

I'd like to leave you with this from Ann Voskamp.   Lately, we've been told not to seize the day, to seize the day, not to live in the moment because it will stress you out, but then you have to live in the moment because you'll miss out.  
Now if that isn't confusing I don't know what is.

Here are some wise words to help ground your soul.  
I know I need to anchor mine too often.

 If you missed the first post in this series about Organizing your Playroom by function you can find it here.  It's loaded with great info!

Up next, Practical, Smart Toy Storage!
And then, All About Kids & Art, with a special guest.

Once again thank you for bearing with me as a put together this series.
I am putting more into these posts, and will have a new play oriented post every 3-4 days hopefully. That being said my little guys and their needs will always come first, 
including the tests and sicknesses we are dealing with still.
I am so grateful for your understanding!

Wishing you a day full of love!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

VOTE for us {pretty, pretty please!!}

Would you take a minute out today and 
Please vote for us to have a night out!

Contest ends today.
Should I mention Matt's birthday is next Sunday?
This would be a great present!

Thank you so very much!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

**Testing** **Testing**

Hello dear friends!
Sometimes it's just better to explain....

Our little Liam had a CT scheduled for today, but after making the trek into the city,
all the coordination and prep work the test was disappointingly rescheduled.  

I could go into more detail, but we are wiped. 
It is still really important for us to find out more about his heart.
His amazing, renowned cardiologist wants this test very much too.
We have waited for 2 years for this moment.

Things always happen for a reason.
God protected Liam today.

I will be plugging along on the series soon.
It's been a kind of crazy start to the year, but we are good.

Thank you for the prayers!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Anatomy of a Playroom {1}: The Essentials {Organizing by Function}

Kicking off this fun little series today and talking about...

the essentials
organizing by function

From many of you I have heard you do not have a lot of space
for play and/or are not sure how to organize what you do have,
which is why I want to begin here with a good, solid base.
I grew up in a teeny-tiny ranch home with three sisters and many
of our toys were in our room or tucked in a playspace in our unfinished basement.
Yes we had a basement, but it was not glamorous, rods of hanging clothes
were above our heads and next to the space was my mom's stockpile of canned
and dry goods.  As we teased her enough for our family of 6 to survive some sort of 
natural disaster, catastrophe, world war III God forbid.

While yes we still did dream and play and learn and grow,
I do love that we are now more intentional about a space for our children to play.
If you are like our family, living where you cannot really play outdoors
for 4-5 months of the year, then it is even more of a priority.
So, what are the must-haves, the things to include if you are short on space, budget, etc.?

I like to think of a playroom in the same way I would think of any room 
I was designing in my home, by function.
In a play space that would include:

dramatic & pretend play
arts + crafts
Note: storage has been included in each inspiration board, 
and I will be doing a separate post on storage and furniture.

The overall sense should be that the space yes is fun, but also 
defined, engaging, imaginative, and theirs. 

I wanted to make sure to address this concern from my readers:
I know some of you have said that it is not possible
for you to have a separate space in your home.
First I would challenge you to see if you really need the rooms you
currently have with the function they currently hold.

We do not have a formal dining area, that is our playroom,
and our living room was downsized as well to make space.
Guests will see toys when they come into our home.  
{and every time they join in the fun}
Upstairs yes our oldest has his own play space, but
we also have four boys in one room and that will change over time.
Eventually his play space will become his bedroom.

I do realize that it still my not be an option,
in that case even organizing by these functions can help.

When designing our first playroom I definitely drew inspiration from 
our amazing local childrens museums 
Aside from their featured exhibit, they typically have play
organized into areas, as do most classrooms, it just makes sense.

Here are some great tools to define by function...

{dramatic play}
all you really need is a bit of wall space and some fun hooks
to hang everything from a superhero cape to a tutu to a fireman's hat

add a wall mounted awning with some great striped fabric and a few
shelves full of playfood for a little market
white shelving  :  reusable bag  :  little marvels capes

who wouldn't love a cozy little corner?  
it doesn't have to fit everyone at once, just a magical little spot near the bookshelf.

A little book sling does wonders, you can read more about ours here
you can change it to fit your dimensions.  
 You also may want to check out this removable teepee tutorial I created for the boys' room,
it would look darling in a playroom corner.  

to take care of the little bricks and blocks that always find their way under your toes...ouch!

With our smaller manipulatives like pattern blocks and stacker pegs, it helps to work from smaller trays in which I store them as well. 
These trays can found in the Target dollar bin and easily labeled.  

I have mentioned our NILO table before and how much I love it,
the inserts, train table to lego table, to lunch table.  I also came across
that fantastic table with storage built underneath as well.  
Get this, you can purchase plans for the lego table here.
Truly, if you have a handy husband or any handy friend or family member,
this would be a GREAT investment.  You bet I'll be handing these over to Matt!

All-in-all what I have found easiest with blocks, legos, gears, etc. is to have them
stored near the place they will be used.  Have the finished pieces displayed somewhere
they can easily be accessed.  Glue some lego baseplates onto existing shelves.  To avoid having lego pieces everywhere, store them near where they will be used and have a designated area.
They even have fancy schmancy lego sorters out there.  Tackle boxes work great as well.  

{arts + crafts}
here are just a few ideas for a designated art area and some storage...
I will be devoting a whole post to children's art, so much to explore!

As in our playroom if you do not have space for an easel, or four {grin}, 
you can create one by either adhering a dry erase board to the wall as we did 
or using dry erase paint.  Secure clips to the wall to hold the paper and instant easel!
While the slant isn't there, unless painting is done hours on end with your little
Picasso, it should suffice, and has worked great for us.  We also framed out 
a chalkboard and feltboard.  If you can believe it we created the playroom
before the chalkboard paint craze!  You can also create a magnetic chalkboard,
add a little magnet hook and bucket to hold the chalk.  

I just adore the spray painted animal jars, what a fantastic idea!
animal craft jars  :  oilcloth splat mat  :  chalkboard paint  :  magnetic primer  :  

Once you have set functions, toys will for the most part fall into these categories
and then can be organized with a planned purposeful place for them.  

I would say we are off to a good start!  Please send me your questions or include
in the comments here anything play space related you would like me to address.  I will try to answer them in my upcoming posts!  

{P L A Y}
As astronauts and space travelers children puzzle over the future; as dinosaurs and princesses they unearth the past. As weather reporters and restaurant workers they make sense of reality; as monsters and gremlins they make sense of the unreal.  Gretchen Owocki

Until soon, 
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