Learning to Let Go (aka Accepting that My Kids are Actually Growing Up)

Can I make a confession?  It kills me that my little ones are growing up.  I miss hearing the little high pitched voices, the little footsteps running through the house, the happy sounds of the little kid cartoon shows and the giggles that went with them.  My house is filled with bigger, louder voices now, heavier footsteps (still running through the house), and annoying “bigger kid” tv shows that have me alternating between gritting my teeth and demanding the tv be turned off – at least the giggles have remained!

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I’ve been in denial about this for quite some time now.

But my great Lego project has helped me to start to put things in perspective.  Let me explain.

While the majority of our crumbling Lego sets reside in the basement, my son had a decent-sized collection of lego decorating his room.  Sadly, it was facing the same fate as the Lego in the basement – namely, it was slowly disintegrating, with bits and pieces falling off as the sets got moved.  And so, last week, I took it all out of his room and added it to my pile of Lego to disassemble, sort and bag.  While I was at it, (and while he was at school), I took the opportunity to clean out the rest of his room.  I went through the bookcases, and removed books that were clearly too young for him.  I boxed up all the Mickey Mouse ear hats we have collected during our trips to Disney.  And while I was at it, I did a good sweep of the Little One’s room too.

As I continued through the house, cleaning up the detritus of the kids’ toddler years (I was amazed how much was left), I got to thinking about clutter, and tidying up, and letting go.  While I love a neat and tidy house, I love being a mom and having my kids around more.  And thus, my house has, for the last eight years, been a jumble of toys and clutter.  Sure, it gets straightened up, on a not infrequent basis I might add, but its still there, lurking in bins and behind closet doors.

But, as the Lego, is slowly getting sorted and boxed, so are my emotions about the kids growing up.  We’re entering a new phase with them, one where we can adventure more, explore more (unencumbered by a stroller, no less!).  A phase that stands to be equally as fun and rewarding as the phase of toddlerhood has been.

And so, I’m going to start looking less towards the past, and more towards the future.  But in the meantime, I’m going to treasure every time my son holds my hand, every time my daughter climbs into my lap for a snuggle, every Disney movie they want to watch (even if it means seeing Frozen for the 1,000,000,000th time), every chance I can get them to still wear matching pj’s, and of course, every early morning wake-up (well, maybe not every time we get called by one of the kids waking up for the day at 4:30am), and every bedtime cuddle, because, as I look to the future, I know that all these lovely little moments will get fewer and further between.

 

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My Most Ambitious Organization Project Yet (A Love/Hate Story – About Lego). And Also A New Nut-Free Breakfast/Snack the Kids Should Like

My kids love lego.  Well, at least in theory.  They love researching all the different sets, they love watching The Brick Show, they love receiving Lego, and they love to build their new Lego sets.  Once.

After which, completed sets are left forgotten, languishing in bins, or on shelves in their rooms, only to get bumped, jostled, and slowly, broken apart.

Lego, in our house, hasn’t held much lasting play value.  While that is changing a bit for my daughter – who is showing signs of treating her “girl” lego like a little village of dollhouses – for the most part, lego sets have been a one-shot deal in our house.

Which leads me to where I am today.  In the midst of my most daunting organizational challenge yet.

Of course, this is me, I have just one small digression before I get on with my story.

When Lego first came into our house, and a set was built, I immediately put any extra pieces into a plastic bag along with the instructions.  That system worked great.  Until things like birthdays and Christmas happened and my son received multiple Lego sets, that he seemed to build all at the same time.  I gave up trying to keep everything separate, and just put any extra pieces into one big bin and all the instructions into another.  But then the sets started to fall apart, losing a piece here and there.  As that happened, I just threw those pieces into the “spare part” bin too.  Last year, while the kids were home with a virus, I got super ambitious and actually sorted the spare part bin into colours, but that’s as far as my organization of the Lego went.

Until this weekend.

When I started in earnest to fix the mess that our Lego collection had become.

See, as the kids are getting older, and the toys they play with are changing, I am finding that we are ready to switch up the way we organize our basement play room.  But in order to do that, I had to deal with the Lego . . . Also, I made cleaning out the play room and organizing the Lego two of my monthly goals in my PowerSheets this month too, so I do have some motivation to tackle this task.

 

I have now taken out ALL of the instruction books we have, sorted them by genre and am now slowly (VERY slowly) assembling all the pieces for each and every set we have.  As I collect the pieces, they go into a plastic bag, along with the instruction book, ready to be re-built.

Here’s the thing about this project – while my kids can build a set faster than you can say Lego, it takes an inordinate amount of time to dis-assemble what remains of those sets and find any/all of the missing pieces.  I’ve a good 4 days into this, and there is NO end in sight.

The Husband thinks I’ve lost my mind – and maybe he’s right.  But I am determined to to see this project through – if for no other reason than the satisfaction I will derive from completing it.  Although I am also harbouring dreams of the kids, and my son in particular, taking out these sets and building them again with his young cousins as they enter the age of fasciation with all things Lego.

It’s at this point where I should be offering some sort of advice as to how not to get yourself into this mess.  Sadly, I have none.  Kids will be kids, lego isn’t permanent, and I there isn’t an organizational system in the world (that I could come up with anyway) that would have prevented this mess.

But, I can offer some advice as to what you might want to fuel yourself with if you’re staring down a massive organizational project. . . or if you just want something different for breakfast.

I am continually on the hunt for foods the kids can eat for breakfast/snacks, that they LIKE, that are nut-free (so they can take them to school), and that are not filled with sugar.  I made these last week.  While I think they are fantastic, the kids were lukewarm on them.  If I’m being perfectly honest, they are better warmed up a bit . . .but for a recipe that has no sugar, no eggs, no milk, potentially no diary (if you use coconut oil in place of butter), they are GOOD.  In fact, I enjoyed 2 myself this morning with a strong coffee as I sat down to write this post . . .

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Oatmeal Muffins (Gluten, Dairy AND Nut-Free)

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 5 cups rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 2 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 5)
  • 1/2 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (or any kind of fruit or nut that you want to add – these are totally versatile muffins – just note that if you use frozen berries, the cooking time will be longer!)

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 and prepare 2 muffin tins with liners (or grease them well)
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in just a plain bowl, mix all the ingredients together until they are well combined.  At first it’s going to seem like the recipe calls for too much water – but it gets absorbed relatively quickly.
  4. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins and bake for at least 30 minutes.  You may find you need more depending on what fruits/nuts you add in.

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