KonMari with Kids: Part 2 Organizing 

From the high of the discarding phase, I was hit with the reality of organizing.

My discard pile was one of the biggest in my life, but as I set out to organize, I could see now why my house always seemed cluttered. My house was severely disorganized. All this time I feigned organization and cleanliness, but I was letting areas of my house go to serious disarray.

Going through each category for the second time showed me where the problem areas were. First, I organized clothes, books, random stuff  (you know, the tray you stash everything in because it’s the landing spot of whatever is in your pockets). They were all relatively easy to conquer.

Using Kondo’s shoebox trick, I used both halves of my Samsung Galaxy tablet box in my closet which has built in shelves and acts as my dresser, and it works like magic. Shallow and sturdy, it is perfect for seeing what you have. (Better go get some more tablets! Do you think Samsung will sell me just the box?)

But then it hit me, my kids’ toys, books and homeschool preschool “classroom” is what is truly troubling the house. Toys are now in 2 closets and I will try one day to consolidate them into one place.

I set out to fix the problem, first by consolidating all things in one locale. This method sI set out to fix the problem, first by consolidating all things in one locale. This method shows how much of an item you have. Doing some toddler busy book games let my crafting supplies run crazy. It’s time to tame the pile into controllable and organized amounts. It shows how much of an item you have. Doing some toddler busy book games let my crafting supplies run crazy. It’s time to tame the pile into controllable and organized amounts.

I’m slightly crazy and ever OCD so I actually had already my kids’ toys inventoried on a my phone, just using the Cozi app. I checklist the boxes of the toys in storage and I make sure to rotate through those toys periodically.

Ask yourself:

Does everything have a place? That’s the question of the century and the solution to most clutter after decluttering. If it does not, then things are left to roam without a home. Our house is messy because our stuff is homeless.


KonMari with Kids: Part 1 Discarding 

I just finished The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up book by Marie Kondo. Previously I had perused a copy at Costco when it was then new and trendy. I dismissed the concept because she spoke about possessions like they were friends and thanking them before parting with them. It was just too much. Too crazy.

Years later, I read an excerpt from the illustrated companion volume Spark Joy about folding clothes found in the Reader’s Digest and it really was quite awesome. Especially after my LuLaRoe makeover, it felt like my new clothes were meant to be folded and stored upright. So I gave the book another chance and here’s some of my insights as I was discarding:

Day 1 Clothes

It actually started last night at like 11pm. I decided to do my clothes since I don’t own that much and sorted and discarded til 1 am. Yeah, I had to get up again at 7 am like I always do. But it felt great.

I am not a hoarder especially when it comes to clothing. I am pretty good about laying to rest old clothes and here in Texas, you can schedule a local charity truck to pick up the clothes and other small household items, to use for proceeds towards charitable causes. I usually support local organizations: the act of donating items to a charity instead of to the trash, helps dull the pain of the discarding phase.

The key to the KonMari method is letting go of emotion that bind us to material possessions that really don’t work for us. If the item sparks joy, then keep it. If not, then discard or donate.

I was finally able to let go of old clothing that I had saved to try to fit into again. I mean, maybe it’s all due to a matter of time, but I have accepted the fact that my last pregnancy has altered my body entirely (not just the little fat pouch, which I should work off, it will only take me like two years) as in new bra size (not cup), new shirt size, and new body shape.

The next day, I worked through my kids’ clothing, which I often do throughout the year but doing it all at once really felt effective. My kids didn’t seem to mind me sorting next to their play and they still napped well in the afternoon despite the indoor activity probably because it was so unorthodox of an after-lunch activity. This time I was finally willing to let go of some of the hand-me-down clothing I had received from other moms. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hand-me-down just as much as the next mom, but there was so much I keep that was out of style, weirdly colored, or just ill-fitting. I mean, we’re talking clothes already 6 years old which my kids will not be able to fit into for another 3 years. It’s time for someone else to enjoy them.

It feels great. I know in the book, she says claims it will be life-changing, but to tell you the truth it is. It’s liberating.

It also makes me really evaluate my re-gifting of kids clothes that I did in the past to my brothers and in-laws. I am going to stop this practice mostly because I realize that I only kept a small amount of hand-me-downs due to geography. We all live in different climates and have different lifestyles. I don’t want them to have the burden or obligation to keep something. I would hope if I did ever send something to them that wasn’t suitable, that they’d be courageous enough to sell or donate it.

My Disagreements

There are, however, a few things in the book which are wrong, I mean, unrealistic for moms with kids. We use a ton of clear plastic bins in our house, the ones from Costco. Homes with children will need storage. I can’t start all over with new wardrobes with every child. I can’t throw away baby gear, even if it’s taking up a lot of space in my closet. The same thing goes with maternity clothes; perhaps she has never seen how expensive those clothes can be.

And some kids’ toys you can’t really get rid of. This falls under that gray area of others’ possessions and kids’ things. Yes, there are toys they don’t really play with and those will go bye-bye. But there are things that feel like clutter like random plastic containers, but they play with them all the time and would be a waste to throw away a cheap toy just because it looks like trash.

She says to stop the practice of packing away seasonal clothing but I still like wearing certain shades of colors for certain seasons. I do see how storing away clothes is a recipe for forgetting what you have in your closet. I need to change my shopping skills a bit though and stop buying clothes to last just for a season but to be worn throughout the year. We can wear the same shirts all year round here if I buy the right items.

Take all tags off clothes? I disagree. There have been so many articles of clothing that I returned because I simply changed my mind about how they looked on me after I returned home. I am so glad I didn’t take off the tags so I could return the item for a full refund. Keep in mind that I am one who does actually do returns within the time limit and I remember to keep receipts etc. For others, tag removal might be the necessary painful reminder to only buy what you love in the future in order to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Day 2 Books

I actually did a clean-out of my books years ago, so I only have 50 of my own books. What has grown is my children’s book collection, which I will not let go of yet, since my kids are still super young and need a good variety.

I did, however, let go of The Help, which was probably the last hard copy grown up book I bought.  And from the kids’ section, I sent packing a Nihao Kailan Look and See book since Qiaohu rules our Chinese library now.

I consider myself a pretty good declutterer. Cleaning a hoarder’s house, a pack rat’s house and living with my cluttered siblings is enough to change anyone’s life forever. This book was still relevant to me. What has helped me is the advice to discard by category instead of go from room to room. While this is kind of tedious work, it’s very dramatic and therefore memorable. It is true that you will not likely forget swimming in a pool of your own clothing, underwear and all.

Day 3 Papers

I used to do the binder method which I wrote about in this blog. I’m letting of the binder and I’m going to try out a simpler system of just using one folder or container.

I did a part with Baby B when she woke up from her nap. She loves playing with my checkbook and some coupons which expired months ago. Yes, paper trails are so easily created!

Day 4 Papers Again

She argues that eliminating what is unnecessary will help one determine what is most important to him or her and I agree. She also says it’s okay to donate or let go of gifts, as the gift giver already expressed love and care when the gift was initially given. If we hold onto gifts that are not used or enjoyed, we’re complicating our living spaces with things of little meaning and that was not the intention of our gift giver.

I also love that she sees right through people’s excuses when they claim they want to regift a possession or put it at a parent’s house for safe keeping: these actions are just delaying the thought of letting go. We need to love enough to let go and move on.

I have been working on papers for two days now. I’m finding it extremely difficult to let go of necessary documents because I was always taught to keep them for 7 years. I will simplify by trying to keep all paperwork in a single file cabinet instead of throughout the house and I did whittle down half of the existing paperwork.

I’m just having a hard time throwing away the paper trail. Medical documents, old tax forms and returns and some warranty information are all keepers but I can’t put them all into one file folder as she suggests. So I still have many folders, but instead of a ton of subcategories, I just have main ones: warranties, receipts, family history, kid’s medical and my medical. This is more my style.

I’m going to have to take some time to see what more can be reduced. I know it’s supposed to be a one-shot experience to discard, but on papers, I need some time.

Day 5, 6, and 7

So the last part is this vague conglomeration category called random objects and for this, I did do room by room mostly because of time and space and the kids. If I had things of a certain category spread throughout the house, like craft supplies, I did bring all items together to sort, but for example, bathroom stuff is only in the two bathrooms of my house and it is well-organized, so it didn’t make sense to take it all out.

On the last day and on days after this purge, I thought to myself, what more can I do? For days I didn’t know and that was because there was simply nothing else to do. Amazing.

Part of the magic is when you do it by category, your mind will take an inventory of all your belongings in the house. When you ask yourself, “Is this all my clothes?”, You’ll search for the random places you’ve stored all your clothing. When you’ve finished your mind feels at peace because it no longer has the burden of remembering where everything is, because if organized properly, anything will be easily located.

This does not mean my house is spotless clean and totally organized. I am still working on Part 2 Organizing.

You will still need to do actual cleaning every day but tidying up and decluttering are done long term. You will need to go through things again, like when you move or all the kids grow out of baby toys, etc. But it’s a rare event.

The results are fabulous. My closet looks awesome. I’ve started tracking down shoeboxes, her preferred storage container, for phase 2 and I am thrilled that we are donating 6 diaper boxes’ worth to the charity trucks.

The New Year So Far 

Last night as I crawled into bed at 1 am again, I thought, “Dang it, not even a month into the year, my resolution to go to bed earlier is so not working!” What can I say? I am a night owl and I am super productive at night after the kids go to bed. I clean, sometimes I cook when I’m up to it, and lately I’ve been discarding under the KonMari method so it’s taken up my nights (more on this to come).

I will do better. And I think I will sleep better when all is organized in my home. 

Then when I got into bed I compared this year so far to last year at this time.

Last year I had twin infants. I was recovering from a c-section. Luckily I had my mom with me, then my mother in law, then my mom again. So it was nice but not nice. (If you’ve ever had a mother in law, even the most angelic, you know what I mean.) All in the same month. 

I didn’t sleep more than two hours at a time. Sometimes I was nursing every hour with the two. We supplemented with ready-to-feed for a long time (and Baby B never got off formula.) So there was a lot of juggling back then. And I was truly on survival mode.

This year is already better and I’m trying to be grateful that it is better. 

Baby A has slept through the night since 5 months. Baby B whines a little at night but she’s okay, it just could use improvement. Both of them are well-mannered babies. Baby B just started whole milk. Baby A is still nursing to my dismay but it’s still early in the game and he likes it so it’s fine. 

The only horror now is they are both learning to walk and I can’t just plant them on the ground  anymore. Separation anxiety is starting to kick in. But things are so much better. 

I can actually wear regular clothes again instead of my pjs. I get six hours of sleep and even eight when I plan it right. I don’t have to have my nursing pads in and distract Toddler all the time because he’s better at playing independently. 

My goals this year center around helping others and doing more for other people including my kids who will be 4 and 1. Last year, I went a little crazy indulging myself when I could because I needed it: I heavily relied on Amazon shopping and bought things for me and the kids whenever we needed it; when I needed a new wardrobe, I bought it and then some. I bought rich food and desserts because I was nursing two for a time. And while some of this is justified, it can’t remain this way forever. 

This year we’re returning to the simple and beautiful ways. Come with me.

Toddler Busy Books and Activities 

I’ve sunk some good money into quiet activities for my kids since we go to church every week where quiet is desirable (but really hard for this age group). I think it’s worth investing in independent play that not only teaches academic concepts and fine motor skills but also teaches appropriate behavior by redirecting them to a hands on activity that does not require screens.

 Here’s a list of some of my favorite resources:

  • Magnets — my favorite activity is magnets because unlike velcro and zippers, magnets are relatively quiet. I like this set from Janod which are made from wood with a nice gloss finish. I bought them for about $8 from Zulily. Please note Zulily doesn’t offer returns, but if you know what you’re getting and will keep the items, it’s a good way to shop for a bargain.

    • File folders — this is an old school method used by a lot of mom friends. Finch Family Games is one of my favorites, they have some LDS and Bible themed, but there’s also plenty of secular themes. They’re styled similar to old school Carson-Dellosa classroom decor, which speaks straight to my teacher heart. Keep in mind the hard copy books offered are black and white (b/w). The digital downloads are available in color or b/w. We make our file folders to last using quality materials.We use this Scotch laminator from Wal-Mart. The laminating sheets are cheapest at Amazon where they do go on sale often, so wait for a good price and do some price history checks (camelcamelcamel and slickdeals.net are my go to for Amazon prices). We use plastic file folders from Staples, which we scored for about $4 with a coupon for $10 off $10 but we also used regular Scotch tape for the laminated sheet inside so we will be able to reuse the folder. I also splurged on 3M Dual Lock rounds to use in place of velcro, they’re available at Jet.com but you need to buy in bulk, $100’s worth. It’s quieter to pull off and adheres to the paper well. You can go the more budget-friendly way, which is to use plain file folders, use b/w copies, do the coloring yourself, use thinner lamination and clear velcro or alternatively, adhesive magnets which are cheap but don’t look as nice. 

      • Magnets part two with pom poms or other homemade magnets– I’ve also used a magnet board with pom poms; my first version was a simple cookie sheet from Walmart for 88c. But this was slightly bigger than a sheet of paper and kind of loud. So I updated to thinner and smaller, a 8×10 Loran magnet board from Joanns (with a 50% off coupon about $3.25), it’s used for needlework patterns. This requires smaller play mats than 8.5 x 11 but you can always adjust when you print. This slimmer piece of metal can be made safer with masking tape around the edges and then placed into a sheet protector with an adhesive magnet closure, so that metal sheet and laminated worksheets are kept in one pocket. You could do this with your own sheet metal as a more cost effective way but I didn’t want to go through that hassle or danger. Just fyi, my local Home Depot does not cut metal and I would have had to buy a large roll of sheet metal there for about 10 bucks to do the DIY method.
      • Check the One Spot Dollar section at Target. A friend of mine found these great felt busy books for $3. It pays to have mom friends looking out for you! Felt is a great option for a quiet book but takes a lot of time designing, cutting and gluing. It is probably the quietest of all quiet book materials. I’ve also purchased a nice magnetic scene board with transportation from there; since Preschooler loves cars, we got a lot of use out of it. 

        • Check the dollar store — craft supplies, toy cars, puzzles, are all worth buying at the dollar store. We had a dollar store puzzle made of erasers with a farmyard scene that kept my kid busy for 20 minutes. It was his first puzzle experience and now he loves them (but needed a lot of parent help at first)
        • Binder pouches with random distractions — once again, quiet is best. It’s best to find a binder pouch that is relatively quiet. Walmart used to carry these sturdy plastic ones with the slider zipper instead of the traditional zipper. It is very quiet and easy for kids to open by themselves. I definitely recommend these over the others with a regular closure. My crafty friend carries kid scissors, paperclips for making chains and Popsicle sticks for shape making. This is kind of like the restaurant kit people make with a makeup bag, only with 3 ring pouches, you can extend this to as many pockets as can fit in a D ring. Even my toddler twins love just holding the plastic and “flipping” through the pages.

        Materials needed:

        You need scissors, tape and hot glue and adhesive magnets and/or clear velcro fasteners are available at Home Depot (but 3M Dual Lock fasteners are recommended as an alternative to velcro) 

        If you choose to do the lamination yourself, you’ll need a Scotch laminator and pouches.

        A craft paper trimmer is optional but nice to have for straight lines

        Craft supplies are optional and vary based on project:pom poms, Popsicle sticks, neon binder pouches  (recommend Casemate binder pouches with black slider zipper or equivalent)

        Tale of the Fancy Dress

        ​Just returned from a week with fam. It only takes a so-called vacation to remind me that being a mom is not glamorous. Let’s not ever be in denial about that fact.

        There was a lot of talk. Talk with the siblings (all of whom are or soon will be Parents) and their dream cars, dream phones, and dream houses. We all have plans and dreams for the future. But all these things paired with babies or children are completely impractical. 

        And these things don’t make our lives all that much better when we do have kids. Expensive stuff gets ruined with kids. Lavish vacations are just babysitting at a hotel instead of at home; we do get to enlist more baby holders when family or daddies take time off but Mom still does most of the work. We get to do some grown up things but it is all interrupted by naps and diaper changes.

        I’m not innocent either. I spent a ton on clothes this year including this past month, some nicer outfits, things I’d wear to a nice party. Simple Guy had a work party coming up and I figured I had an excuse to try out some fancy clothes. When was the last time I treated myself anyway? When the items arrived with all our held mail after vacation, I was pretty happy but in my vain heart, I knew deep down this was, plainly speaking, stupid. I don’t go to nice restaurants anymore. I don’t attend concerts, the ballet or the opera. I don’t attend holiday parties, unless they are kid birthday parties. So why did I pretend that I do? 

        Sometimes we parents need an escape from reality and I guess babysitters can help with that. Yeah, it is possible we will get that one night of elegance. One day. So I would wear the dress a grand total of one time. Hmm.

        I get that we mourn the loss of past freedom and independence we had as singles or married without kids. But it’s time to grow up, people. When all life stops for kids to be sick or dirty, let us realize there is more to life than just what we adults want. I know one day I will be able to leave all three kids with a babysitter. I know one day I will be able to have nice stuff. But I’m doing something eternally more important right now and luxury can wait. 

        We are doing a great work by raising the next generation. When we are parents we are more than just an individual or even a partnership. We are caregivers with power to influence generations. 

        The irony of it all is that the whole family got sick after the week of supposed vacation and we missed the work party, so I didn’t get to wear my fancy eveningwear. Luckily it was LuLaRoe holiday wear and doesn’t really break the bank, but it’s still kind of ridiculous to admit I own something that sparkly when I’m about to have two toddlers and a preschooler. Guess I will wear it on New Year’s after the kids all go to bed.

        Lesson: Don’t buy stuff that doesn’t go with your current phase of life. Got kids? Don’t buy a fancy car, dress, or house or furniture. Kids will destroy or spit up on it anyway. Don’t falsely assume that your kids are going to be somehow cleaner than the rest of their demographic. Even Preschooler is compulsive about cleanliness and he just transferred marinara from his pants to the carpet not even 12 hours from me writing this.

        Good for You

        Rant time. Hope you don’t mind.

        Since becoming a parent, I’ve encountered a lot of other parents with other styles, philosophies or priorities. Of course, to each their own. But today, could you hear me out?

        What’s good for adults (you parents out there) is not necessarily good for your kids.

        Example one: nutrition

        I have several friends and relatives who are kind of health nuts: love to exercise, eat healthy and do recreation all day long.

        While I of course support kids getting exercise and eating healthy, I do not understand why these friends push fad diets like vegetarianism and eating non dairy *without medical reasons* to do so.

        Pediatricians recommend whole milk for babies from age 1 to 2. Instead these little kids are drinking almond milk when they are not lactose intolerant.

        Doctors recommend a healthy amount of meat and other protein which is good for kids who grow rapidly compared to us adults. Instead these kids eat vegetables all day long and don’t ever get full. Or, get full on “snacks” perceived as healthy but not completely (granola, smoothies, (aka sugarrrrr!) or whole wheat crackers with a ton of sodium).

        These kids are not obese either. I could see why a kid with a weight issue would need to cut back on (but not entirely eliminate dairy) a little or eat a little less meat. But these kids are normal, in fact, if anything they’re underweight.

        Then these kids have serious behavior problems and are cranky all day and can’t control their emotions. I’m not talking about autistic kids or typical toddler tantrums, but consistent bad behavior which is not prevented by better well balanced nutrition and being well fed and is left unaddressed by poor parenting.

        Harsh words. I know. I love these parents but I can’t get why they do this to themselves.

        Read about CHILD nutrition. And don’t rely on blogs, fad diet books or holistic medicine. Be a good parent and support your kids’ growth to reach milestones. This isn’t complicated, people. Go do your research. Scientific peer reviewed would be your best option.

        To say that your dietary needs as an adult and the dietary needs of your child are the same, is to seriously neglect your child’s needs. Kids don’t eat that much. Make every bit count. Of course, seek to be well balanced.

        Example two: community

        Simple Guy and I have a deep connection to the Bay Area of California because of his family and my volunteer missionary work for our church in Oakland. We always talk about if we didn’t have kids how we could live in the big city…’kay, we love our kids so much, but I think every parent naturally wonders what things they could do without kids. Exotic travel and fine dining comes to mind. Oh, yeah, and buying designer furniture!

        We choose to live where kids can grow and have a sense of community and wholesome activity. And I’m sorry, but the big city is not wholesome. It has a lot of fun. It’s great for travel. But it’s not an ideal place for people like me who 1) want to save money instead of pay rent and 2) believe in traditional values and family. I believe with all my heart there are good people in all places, for I’m now related to some big city dwellers and I lived in a pretty big city (Oakland). But the problem is the overall community.

        What does the community value? And will the community support your values?

        Those are the biggest questions. I respect all walks of life but I don’t necessarily want my kids in a culture of chaos, confusion and coldness, which is what is in all city life. Go ahead and prove me wrong.

        I know many suburb dwellers and small town people and we’re always complaining about how boring it is where we can’t do activities we once did, because now we have little kids. Get over it! Parenting is not glamorous!

        We live in one of the nicest suburbs, probably in the nation. It’s freaking awesome! It’s got good schools, good eats, and lots of walks of life. But we do it without being in a huge city where people have learned to only think of themselves. I’d love if all my friends lived here, but I know they can’t.

        They’re limited to jobs and family and a billion other factors. Some have to deal with the city issues to support their families. But these decisions are not just about you. Choose for your kids to be in a place where they can thrive and have a sense of community and where values are upheld.

        Example three: childbirth

        Okay, I know this is a tough subject, but I have to write this!

        It is wonderful if you or someone you know gives birth naturally, in a birthing center or in your home.

        But before recommending it to all your girlfriends, please, please know this. There are tons of things that can happen to women and their babies in a birthing situation.

        Several mom friends have described to me their birth stories: c-sections, vbacs, premature births, large babies, babies with respiratory issues. All these things are best treated by a doctor with medical experience and in a hospital with NICU and with licensed and trained professionals.

        Let us agree that there are many good ways and options to have babies. But not one fits the needs of all women.

        Do what’s good for your child.

        Recently a dear friend of mine debated on having her baby in a birthing center or hospital. Of course, I had my opinions but let her choose her way and would respect her decision.

        She told me, “I wanted to be in a birthing center because my first delivery was really painful and I wanted to have the extra support a birthing center would give me. But then I realized that I was only thinking of myself and what I wanted for my birth plan, without really thinking of the needs of my baby. So because of certain health issues I am concerned about, I sought out the best hospital in the area so in case I need the help it will be there. ” and she described to me this strong feeling she had to follow this impression.

        This was absolutely. brilliant.

        She is a great mother, thinking of the needs of her unborn child.

        Think of your baby. What does she need? As a c-section mom, I realize that the baby only cares about coming to earth in a safe and healthy way, where her chance of survival is highest.

        Think that over, ladies.



        Qiaohu 巧虎 2016-2017 Preview

        Yoyo “Toddler” ban for ages 2-3
        Kuaile “Happy” ban for preschoolers ages 3-4

        I found these images off the Qiaohu website, for those of you who are interested in seeing what the 幼幼版 (Youyou or yoyo ban) and 快樂版 (kuaile ban) subscription receive each month from September 2016 to August 2017.

        Remember the best time to begin the subscription box is at the beginning of each school year in September, so you get the whole slew of topics and variety without repeating unnecessary content or subject matter.

        I mean, the songs can get so annoying,  you really do want fresh material each month. If you subscribe by calendar year, there is a risk you will receive repeat gifts or dvds with similar content or lessons.

        Now is the time to subscribe for September!

        In a conversation I had with the office, they told me that this year’s Yoyo ban has toys each month which is a new feature, they used to not have so many toys, but everyone who’s been around a 3 year old knows they need imaginative play and a lot of it.

        I really wish I could subscribe to both but we are advancing to Kuaile ban this September because my child needs more stories and early literacy rather than imaginative play, which is why there will be less toys and more storybooks in the kuaile ban.

        But honestly I can’t wait for my twins to subscribe to Yoyo ban because it’s so much fun to have stories in DVD form and thematic toys that go along with the subject or topic. My children’s language development has really blossomed with the use of these DVDs, songs and imaginative play.

        The boxes really do well at addressing needs of the children and their development.

        If this information has been helpful, please consider adding me as a referral when you order. I am not paid to write this. It’s just my honest review. My referral ID is 2600018310, first name is Kyleen.

        Note: there is a BaoBao ban for babies ages 6 months all the way to grade school, age 8 plus. Check out the site.

        Qiaohu 巧虎 August 2016 Preview

        Since I’ve received a lot of inquiry into the QiaoHu (CiaoHu) subscription box, please allow me to preview the latest box’s content. I’ve been really impressed with each box we’ve received. Toys are simple, cute and educational. The DVDS can get annoying on a loop but doesn’t that happen with all kids’ music, toys and interactive fun?

        Parent’s user pamphlet
        August activity workbook cover
        Stickers from activity workbook

        Sample pages
        Special workbook/storybook

        Each month they send a DVD, activity workbook, parent’s user pamphlet and either toy, CD and/or storybook.

         I think it’s totally worth it! (For me, I break down the value this way DVD $10, workbook $10, toy or CD $10. Some of the toys are extra special and are worth $10-15—perceived value, of course!) The educational value language-wise is worth it to me. And they also cover colors, numbers, shapes, and certain preschooler know-how’s like tidying up and sorting. 

        If this information has been helpful, please consider adding me as a referral when you order. I am not paid to write this. It’s just my honest review. My referral ID is 2600018310, first name is Kyleen.

        ASOS Maternity Clothes Review

        With the heat and the kids,  I don’t get out much. I do my grocery shopping at 10 pm after two of three have gone to bed. So online shopping has become a very important thing in my life. I need retail therapy as much as any parent with three littles.

        Of course Amazon has a place in my shopping world, but so do these new discoveries of online shopping, the first is ASOS.

        I was first introduced to ASOS by my adorable, fashionable sister in law, but I wasn’t convinced at first glance. I saw a lot of teeny bopper clothing similar to Forever 21 and I wasn’t buying.

        But then one day said sister in law and I were at Target with twin baby b and we saw another girl, an expectant mom, wearing a dress. Okay, maybe it was seeing a dress in person that made me a believer because isn’t that the horror of online shopping, buying something and then getting it realizing that you need a new laptop or a new pair of eyes because you must be colorblind because that thing you bought looks hideous!?!

        The girl also told us it was a nursing dress, so as a new mom with my new babies, I had to go check it out.

        Fast forward to now, I have that dress and two other maternity or nursing dresses in my closet. I adore ’em.

        ASOS is a UK-based brand but they ship to the US and to many countries for FREE and include FREE RETURNS. This is big. This is like having an H&M in my house. I get to try on all the clothes I want and return anything (unused, of course) that I want to.  I love that the maternity line has a lot of modest options. I also love the double layer concept of their maternity dresses.   I also love that they have maternity formal dresses, so if you have a wedding to go to while sporting a bump, you do not have to settle for a frumpy looking dress, you can go and look amazing! I think this would be so cute to wear to such a function:

        Cute and comfortable!

        The return policy is easy, you reuse the bag your items come in, slip in your order form and can place it in your mailbox for regular postal service to get and ASOS will notify you when they receive it. Just keep in mind that a previous order of mine with a promo code was partially returned and I also lost the sale price of the items, even the ones I kept. Meaning, they will remove the entire discount you received at initial purchase.

        Please go check it out. I really think in the next few years, I will phase out almost all my old clothes to ASOS clothing. I love it that much.


        Confessions of a C-Section Mom

        I know there are plenty of doctors out there who will push c-sections on expectant women and it’s not right. Plenty of us can and should have normal deliveries.

        The key is to finding an OB-GYN you really trust, to give you sound medical advice and to give you the best shot at a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Easier said than done.

        My c-section was scheduled because my baby was breech.

        I had a few ultrasounds done throughout my pregnancy by the same sonogram technician who was always grumpy and sour (I know, not the best person to tell pregnancy news to expectant moms, but you know, can’t have everything). My last sonogram a few days before scheduled c, my ultrasound showed the baby flipped but uncharacteristic of this grumpy tech, she went into detail about giving birth to her son, a 9-lb child and how she tore and she had many lingering issues due to a delivery that in her mind should have been a c-section and kindly advised to stick with the c-section.

        Yeah, I guess it’s true she could have been paid by the docs to say that to all the women who came into the office. But the way she said it indicated to me she was completely sincere especially when she related to me her own experience. (Later, then my second pregnancy with the twins, she told me she has dealt with back pain for years, ah, ha, that explains the grumpiness. I felt bad for being judgmental. When will I ever learn? )

        I had to make a choice and it was a choice most “granola moms” would not support me doing: I chose to proceed with a c-section. The granola moms asked me if anything could be done to prevent me from having a c-section. They asked me if I was being manipulated by my doctor and commented on how evil and money hungry doctors are. I really respectfully disagree with them.

        People are very vocal about c-sections. Many old-timers will tell you “Once a c-section, always a c-section” which is not necessarily true anymore. Other more sympathetic old-timers will tell you about their own c-section experiences, which were a lot more risky back in the day than they are now. We know a lot more about c-sections and what risks are involved.

        My so-called birth plan went out the window as I had to prepare for surgery instead of delivery.

        When my 8 lbs 12 ounce child with a head of 98% percentile size was delivered, I was so grateful that for me, I had made the correct decision.

        Recovery was slow and tedious. There were many times I thought I failed as a mother and I took the easy way out. I was also battling other losses in our family’s life, my father in law passed two weeks prior to Baby’s birth unexpectedly. We were in shock.

        Time healed these wounds.

        For my twins I wanted to try for a VBAC. A lot of people think it’s not possible with twins but it can be done. My old OB retired so I found another in her practice willing to do a VBAC if Twin A was head down and I really think she would have done it for me , except Twin A did not cooperate and and was transverse from Week 32 on. There was actually a lot of movement during the last trimester when they predicted there wouldn’t be. But no matter how the twins moved, they did not get into the correct position. I was due for a repeat C.

        This time I was almost completely prepared for the process of getting a c-section and this time it went better than the first time. Healing was faster. The hospital days were a mini vacation and we left the hospital with our boy/girl twins, 6 lbs 1 oz and 5 lbs 8 oz.

        In the end I I was just thankful for healthy babies knowing a lot of multiple births have complicated pregnancies, deliveries and post births problems.

        Now I view c-sections differently especially since this will probably be my mode of delivery for the rest of my childbearing years. I have accepted this in my life.

        Is it ideal? Of course not. Would I wish it on my sisters in law or my daughter? No! Emphatically no. But it happens, so can we remove the stigma associated with cesarean birth? Yes.

        People like to talk about how the statistics of c-sections are rising but honestly, I don’t care that I add to that stat. Me and my three beautiful children are not a statistic in my eyes or my husband’s. We’re a growing family. I care not how they were born, just that they are here now, and I thank God for healthy children.

        I wish people would be less judgmental about my decisions to have c-section and just realize how blessed we are that we can have medical care necessary for almost each birthing situation.