The Great Toy Overhaul

This spot right here is where I’d love to share a giant photo of all the other moms and me. And to make it even worse, I actually have the perfect picture!! However, I try really hard to not tick people off by posting their smiling face on my blog, so I’m refraining. I want you to know that sometimes it is incredibly hard!!! I want to show you my super cute friends, but I also want them to stay my friends.

Every article is better WITH pictures, so if you ever mention to me that you are not blog-shy, it will make my day, and I promise to not abuse the privilege.

My successful Mom’s Night was made possible due to the Great Toy Overhaul.

What’s that, you ask? Prepare to be shocked:

The Great Toy Overhaul

Every single toy they OWNED.

This has been bothering me for about 8 years. Five different rooms with toys in them, all reachable by children, all mixed in. Cars in the blocks box, dinosaurs in with the Little People, and basically not a single fun set because what makes sets fun is having the whole set together.

But how???? I’ve re-sorted toys a billion times, and it never stays that way.

So I devised a plan, a brilliant idea in my brain. I did this five days before Mom’s Night, and the toys managed to stay fixed the whole five days!!

While Nonna and DaddyO were still here, I announced, “As you put kids to bed, I’m snatching all the toys out of their rooms and dumping them all in the living room. THEN we are going to give away HALF of them, sort the rest, and store all toys where the boys can’t reach them. From now on, I will set out two sets of toys to play with in the living room each day, and we can rotate them.”

Alan was giddy. “Can we give away all of them!? Let’s just scrap it ALL! Then they will have to do puzzles and read, and that’s it!”

Well, now, let’s not get carried away.

DaddyO put his face in his hands. Was he pretending to be sick to get out of this insane project??  No, but I did allow him to sneak upstairs rather than participate in all the sorting fun. After all, the man did clean my microwave, and he’d spent so much time with JD during this visit that we began to think that JD had stamped DaddyO with his dirt and hypnotized him into being his personal servant. We let JD’s servant go on up to bed.


Dirt boy misses DaddyO.

Nonna and I did the bulk of the toy sorting work. I know many of you have never met Nonna, so I should explain. She’s like the grand slam hitter of any home improvement task. Want to make sure a job gets done? Who do you send in when the bases are loaded, with only 1 out to spare??? Nonna! She has more energy than Caleb, and that’s saying a lot.

I was rather proud of us.

We gave away the equivalent of 5 diaper boxes full of play things!

We’ve made it through a solid WEEK, and I’m here to tell you that it can be done. The toys are still SORTED! This brought me so much peace!!

Watch out drawers and closets!!! You are next!!!

……..So yes, Mom’s Night was largely a success because we did not need to clean up any children’s rooms. I was able to give them a full house tour. Plus, I taught all 11 of my friends how to play Four on the Couch. Never played? Oh, we must! Next time there are at least 8 of us together, we will be happy to teach you!

Here’s a little of what else has been going on around these parts:

Joshua is gradually learning how to write essays this year in school.

Therefore, I created a “Whining and Complaining” Chart. Every time a child obeys WITHOUT whining, complaining, or arguing, they get a check mark by their name. Once everyone gets 17 check marks, we are going to have a Friday Fun Day, and I’m going to take them to see a movie.

Every time they DO whine, argue, or complain, I erase a check mark.

Why 17? Because that’s where I reached the end of the poster board.

No, I didn’t put myself on the chart. Let’s not get overly ambitious. 😉 I’m kidding. Now that I think about it, perhaps I will put myself on the chart.

Caleb made a perfect 100 on his math test this week. We’re talking problems like 86 x3 (in the 3rd grade!!  For real!!) and 112+130+95. I have not been this excited since Alabama won the National Championship. Forget about Caleb; let’s focus on his brilliant math teacher!!!  🙂 🙂 :)hehehe Just kidding. This victory was Caleb’s. 😉

Daniel MASTERED bicycle riding, which has created attention overload everywhere Daniel goes.


I think he looks like such a big boy!!

“Look at that. A baby riding a bicycle. Well, I never!” a woman muttered as she passed him.

“Hey, did you see that little bitty kid riding a two-wheeler!?” a bigger girl shouted to her friend as they whizzed by him on their bikes.

Back in our day, a kid would have bragged, “I learned how to ride a bike with no training wheels.”

Thanks to the new glider bike movement, children now say, “I learned to ride a bike with pedals!!”

I pass pre-schoolers on glider bikes everyday, but seeing a four-year-old, and a small one at that, riding a real bike with pedals, is apparently still very impressive.  I’ve never heard so many comments.

I wish you could’ve seen him teach himself to ride it. He used the bicycle with no pedals for all of three days. By the fourth day, he was sailing by us, feet in the air, all without a wobble, so we bought him his own brand new bicycle. He would not let any of us help him. He stubbornly worked on it until it was mastered, all in a day. We were so proud.

I love having four totally different children. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that I can’t truly take credit for any of their struggles, successes, or failures. Not one boy is the same as another.


JD is still happy to ride his tricycle.

JD is still happy to ride his tricycle.

Last but not least, I have a surprise! Alan is going to take charge of the tribe this weekend while I head off to a women’s retreat! I can barely believe it myself! Have I mentioned how thankful I am for Alan?

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Oh! This is an image I will remember for the rest of my life.

How much difference does there appear to be between Caleb and Dan? It looks like 5 years, but it’s only 3!! It almost looks like I have 2 sets of twins.

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teaching moments


Alan and our boys at Yosemite

Colossians 3:14-15


14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!!



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