Q & A

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  I thought I’d kick the week off with a Q & A post so here we go!  


What are your thoughts on babysitting and how do you manage it?  (i.e. how often do you use one, where did you find her, how much do they charge, do you have things you check about them first, how do you know the kids are happy with them, do they manage three kids ok, is it better to have someone older or do younger babysitters work ok too, etc.)


Whew!  Now THAT was a question!  :)  A really good question.  Babysitters are an absolute necessity in my opinion (unless you are lucky enough to live by grandparents who take over that duty!).    
We don’t have a set amount of time that we use babysitters.  On average, at least once during the weekend so Kenny and I can go on a date.  Date nights are a huge priority for us.  Especially since baby #3 came along.  It’s the only time we can actually talk without interruptions!  Regular evenings after kids are in bed don’t count – we are both plopped in front of the TV with our laptops completely exhausted from the day.  Kenny makes sarcastic comments about whatever show we’re watching and I roll my eyes at him and blog the night away.  We need our weekend date night to hold hands, focus on each other, and feel like a couple again.  Other than that we get a babysitter whenever we need one.  Lately because of the new house stuff – a lot!  Right now we are averaging 2-3 times a week that we need a sitter.  If it’s just for an hour or two after school, I have used girls age 12 and up.  For an evening when kids need to be put to bed, I always get a sitter at least 15 years old.  I just feel better about someone a little older at night time.  I’m lucky because I know so many darling babysitters in my ward (church group).  I know their families – I’m friends with most of their moms and know those moms are close by if there is an emergency.  I have a list of about eight  girls I can call who I know and trust and who my girls LOVE. My girls are at the age where getting a babysitter is like Christmas.  Seriously.  They get SO excited for a “teenager” to come over and do nothing but play with them.  Kole always cries when I leave, but is over it two minutes later (I always ask!).  All three of my kids handle sitters well because we use them a lot.  Obviously I talk to my girls about their sitters (did you like her?  what did you do?) – if there was ever a time they didn’t like someone or I didn’t feel good about someone I wouldn’t call them again, but that hasn’t happened yet.  I usually hear – “when can we call HER again!?”  As far as what we pay our sitters – we pay a generous hourly rate for two reasons: 1 – we live in an area where everything costs more and 2 – I want my babysitters to know that I value them and I want them to WANT to babysit for me.  :)  I think it’s best to ask other moms in your area this question because fees vary so much depending on where you live.  My Utah friends pay a lot less than I do, but San Diego is an expensive place to live which unfortunately means everything costs more (including babysitting).


I have a question for you – do you keep any of your kids’ clothes?  I know you are a master organizer, and through posts, it sounds like you send a lot to your niece, but everything?  


“Master organizer” eh?  I don’t know about that but I’m certainly not going to stop you from calling me one.  ;)  Ok – kids clothes.  Man!  I’ve said this before.  Kids’ clothes are the HARDEST thing for me to get rid of!  Seriously!  I do so well with everything else – including a lot of their school work, but the clothes get me every time!  I always think … “oh I have to keep this!  It’s the shirt Addison wore for her first day of pre-school, or those were the pajamas El slept in every night at age 3, Kole came home from the hospital in this one.  I can’t possibly get rid of it…”  I’m a sucker for the memories that come with their little outfits!

So here’s what I’ve been doing with kids’ clothes.  Every season I go through my kids’ closets.  (I actually have this on my current to-do list right now for the summer.)

Anything I just can’t part with, I don’t.  :)  I keep the clothes in boxes that are currently in a storage shed we are renting.  Once we’re in our new house I’ll find a place for these clothes.  I’m sure I’ll go though them a time or two again and get rid of a few more things.  This is the box of what I’ve saved so far.  Addie’s first boots that she didn’t take off for six months, the cupcake pajamas both girls lived in for years, first ballet shoes, hospital hats, etc.  It’s not the cutest outfits I keep – it’s the ones that take me so quickly back to a special time or moment.  After I round up some to take to the storage shed box, I take the clothes that are too small for Ellie and put them in Addie’s closet.  A lot of clothes that are too small for Addison go to this cutie:

Yes!  I still send a lot to my niece (isn’t she a doll).  :)  She is one year younger than Addison so size wise it works out great.  I also have some friends with daughters younger than mine who I give clothes to from time to time.  And I take a lot of stuff to Goodwill.  I swear I’m there at least once a month!  I have to admit though that right now I have three HUGE bags in my garage full of too small kids’ clothes.  A lot of them are too small for my niece now because I’ve waited so long to get them to her.  I need to figure out what to do with them.  Some people have suggested selling them on eBay?  The clothes are all nice and in great shape (mostly from Gap and Gymboree) but I don’t know if it’s worth the time to try to sell them?  I’d love to hear what some of you do with kids’ clothes!

Erin, what do you do with all of the doll clothes and accessories and shoes??


When you have little girls this kind of stuff can take over your house!  I used to have one drawer that held doll clothes, shoes, and accessories –

but with new dolls came new stuff the girls had to keep so this drawer is now for doll clothes only.  And it doesn’t look nearly this neat.  All the doll clothes get taken out and stuffed back in on a daily basis as dolls attend a variety of social events and functions.  :)  As long as the clothes end up in the drawer at the end of the day, I’m ok with the messy drawer.  As far as doll shoes and accessories go…

Remember when I re-did Ellie’s closet?  All of that little girl stuff that is so small and gets all over the place was driving me crazy!  So I bought some clear plastic bins, organized all of their small toys, slapped some labels on them, and called it done!

One shelf holds small dolls, doll shoes, doll accessories (all of that random – what in the world do I do with all of this?), and one bin just for polly pockets and their clothes.   This system has worked beautifully!  We all know where to put things away and where to find things.  And since I’m feeling a bit witty tonight I’ll add that I no longer “sweat the small stuff.”  :)  (Yeah… probably more tired than witty after all…)


What do you do with all of your kids’ little creations and notes and such?  I have boxes and boxes of it all, and more keeps adding to the collection.  Do you take photos of some and then toss them out?   

Ok.  The short answer is this:  some stuff I save for my kids’ albums, some stuff I save to display, some stuff I save for me.  If you want a more detailed answer, I’m going to direct you to three posts that will show you exactly what I do with everything.  :)


Project Life Organization Update
What I do with kids’ school work
Hutch Organization (where I keep my keepsakes)


If one of your children makes you a really special mother’s day card or something, do you include that in their album or do you keep that in a keepsake box for yourself?  


Similar question to the one above.  If it is something that my kids have made for me, I keep it in my “Erin’s Keepsakes from the kids” box.  Kenny and I each have our own.  (See my hutch organization post I mentioned above).



If it is something that I want to keep for me AND I want my girls to have it in their albums, I usually take a picture of it for their books, and I keep the original.  Here’s an example:

This note Ellie wrote me on the left (which is an all time favorite that I blogged about here) I actually took out of her album and put into my keepsake box.  If you look at the bottom right of her book, I took a picture of it for her to keep.  I wanted this story in her book, but had to keep the original for myself.  :)


If one of your children has a special event like a birthday party, a baptism, etc. do you put a few photos of that event in all of the siblings albums too, to show the different things that happened that year?  Or do you stick strictly to that child’s own events in their album?


Another great album question!  Let’s say I’m developing Ellie’s 6th birthday photos.  I develop a bunch for Ellie (usually a two page layout in her book with my favorite pics from the event – hoping from now on to limit this to a one side layout).  Addison will get one maybe two pics from the party.  Probably one of her and Ellie on El’s b-day and then a general pic of all the party guests or something.  For Kole’s book I would include one picture – maybe Ellie blowing out candles or something and write in his album “Ellie turns 6!”  So yes – I do try to document important sibling events in each album but the child experiencing the event gets several pictures while the other children get one maybe two.  This is one of the many reasons I like to do separate albums for each child (even though it is a major time commitment!).  I like the focus of their albums to be about their childhood, but this of course also includes what is happening with siblings.


I have been following your blog for several months and love it!  My question is what is your workout and diet plan?  —  I agree with the last person, a workout post would be great.  How do you stay in such good shape?  —  An idea for your new Q & A section, could you share your workout routine with us??!  


So many questions about exercise this time around!  (And thanks for the sweet comments that went with them!)  My exercise routine changes with the wind.  Seriously!  I have to constantly adapt to the current schedule/situation with my kids.  Only one thing remains certain:  I always exercise!  It’s great to look good, but it’s even better to feel good.  I feel so much better when I exercise and I’m a big believer that something is better than nothing.  When I started therapy with Kole in our mornings it ended my walks/runs with friends.  So this is what I currently do:  I pack lunches and lay out clothes the night before, kids are up at 6:30 and I get them all dressed and fed and me in my workout clothes.  Around 7:40 Kenny heads out to take the girls to school and Kole and I head out on our walk/run.  Therapy starts at 9:00 (they come to my house) and I need a little time to pick up the house and wipe the sweat off of my face before the therapists come so I have 45 min – 1 hour to exercise.  (This only works if I have everything ready the night before so we are ready to walk out the door with the girls.)  I put Kole in the jogger and we’re off!  I walk the first half of our route (usually mentioning and pointing to everything along the way “see the dog Kole!  woof woof!  say dog!) and then the second half I jog.   I say to Kole “ready, set, and he says GO!”  His first word he learned in therapy.  :)  So workout routine isn’t anything too special.  Just a walk/run with my boy in the jogging stroller.  Here is my diet plan (if you can really call it that):  I maintain my weight by eating a lot of the same things.  Usually Bran Chex for breakfast (because it’s fast and easy and I like them), and my turkey sandwich, baked lays and strawberries for lunch…

I don’t eat all of the strawberries at once.  :)  Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good turkey sandwich!  Sometimes I mix it up and eat my salad in a tortilla for lunch:

Dinner is always different – usually a Lean Cuisine because of convenience, working late husband, and hatred of cooking, but if I do cook something else I just control my portions.  Always popcorn for a snack.  Of course I snack during the day.  Sometimes healthy, sometimes not so healthy.  I just always exercise and I always pay attention to what I’m eating.  If I’ve had a cookie earlier in the day, that was my treat and I try to eat better the rest of the day.  Exercise is key because I always eat better if I’ve exercised.

Additional posts I’ve written about exercise and healthy eating:

My #1 priority
Healthy Eating
Kicking it in gear
Workout music  

I hope those answers helped some of you!  I didn’t have time for all of your questions, so I’ll do another Q & A post soon.  If you have any of your own answers to these questions that might be helpful to others or a question for me please feel free to comment!

Have a great week!  Love that it’s a short one.  :)

Comments

  1. Susan says

    Thanks for taking the time to answer everyone’s questions. I hope to become more disciplined with healthy eating/exercise this summer…that is my goal for me and my kids!!!

  2. says

    Like the Q & A posts!

    I have done eBay many times with my daughter’s clothes (and my own) and I would recommend it. Of all the methods to get rid of old clothes, this is the biggest money maker for me. You only want to sell items in really good condition and name brand is best, I usually “lot” or group my items to get them out the door faster. It is a lot of work but if I have items I am really having a hard time parting with or that I paid a good amount for, I always feel better getting more money to part with them. I have been surprised with what will sell on there…one season I made $600.

    Good luck!

  3. says

    I just wanted to comment on your kids clothes. We have a kids consignment clothing store near us called Once Upon A Child who pays you up front for your clothes/and or toys. I’ve always made a fair amount of money and you don’t have to take the time to price, photograph, or mail out ( I have 4 kids and time is not something I have a lot of). You take them in, they sort through them, and pay you for what they keep. Win-win in my book!

  4. says

    I have a really hard time parting with my kids stuff too. I have a few things that I have kept in tact, but I am planning on making a quilt with all of my favorite outfits of hers….then there is a story for the whole quilt. So that’s my plan….not sure if I can actually cut the cute adorable little outfits, but my kids love blankies and this would be a special one :)

  5. says

    Loved reading through your Q&A this morning!! We have sooo many clothes from Kendall that we are holding on to until we are finished having kids. Thanks for sharing all of your ideas. Your blog is my favorite to read!

  6. Anonymous says

    Hi, Just wondering if you would mind sharing some more about Kole’s therapy (who does it, how many times a week, specific things they work on, etc.) Does he have a diagnosis? I have a son that will be 2 in August and he is not saying anything. He is enrolled in Early Intervention and gets another 1/2 hour weekly of private speech therapy, but has made very little progress. Any info you could share would be appreciated.
    By the way, I love your blog and your positive upbeat attitude. :)

  7. Audrey says

    I have 4 boys so I can relate to being overloaed with kids’ clothes. We do lots of hand me downs- especially for the nicer Gymboree stuff. But I still buy many new things that sometimes only last one or tow kids. When I’m done, I use the Freecycle group in my area. You post to a Yahoo group with the items that you wish to give away (ie boys winter clothes sz 18 months) and then you’ll receive email responses from potoetial takers. You set up a pick-up (no money exchange) from there. Works great in my area of suburban Philadelphia. I like knowing that our things are helping someone else and you’ll often get an huge thanks in return.

  8. says

    Great Q & A. Good to hear your workout routine.
    I hear you on overload on clothes. My son is older, he is easy w/ clothes. My daughter on the other hand has a ton of clothes. A close friend of mine has been super generous & always handed down her daughters clothes & it is a blessing! So when my daughter finishes w/ her clothes we pass them on to another child. Theres always someone thrilled to get clothes!
    I have another Question for next time you do a Q&A, how about a list of your favorite things. ( household products of beauty products) , I think its interesting to know about peoples favorite stuff :) !

  9. says

    Thanks for the kind comments everyone! Lots of good questions that I’ll include in my next Q & A. :) And thanks for all of the great tips about kids’ clothes. I’m going to look into some of the options several of you mentioned!

    Anonymous (person who asked me about Kole’s therapy/diagnosis) — would you mind emailing me? I’m more than happy to tell you all about everything we are doing with him. (erininsandiego@gmail.com)

  10. Cortney says

    Oh, My son has williams syndrome and his very first word was also Go during a physical therapy session where she was pushing him on the swing saying “ready, set,…” and then he said go! It was so exciting!
    Such a fun coincidence!

  11. says

    Great Q&A Erin! You are such a busy mom, and so thoughtful to take time out to answer questions for others. You really are an inspiration to many young moms. And, as an “older” mom…I love reading what you are up to. Brings back memories!!

  12. says

    Cortney – that really is so cool. I was thrilled when Kole started saying “GO!” and a few other words so I get your excitement! :) I haven’t heard of Williams Syndrome before – I just looked it up. Wishing you and your little one all the best.
    xoxo, Erin

  13. says

    Love the Q & A – and are you and I related?! I say the same thing all the time about exercise “something is better than nothing” though I have yet to have as consistent a routine as you do. I’m working on that… I’m using the whole “my youngest is not yet 1″ excuse, but that all ends 7/1!

  14. says

    Hi Erin
    I have kept 99% of my sons clothes and am doing the same for my daughter. My intent is to make heirloom blankets for both of them from their clothes.

    I’m a sucker for sentimentality and I just can’t bare to part with their clothes for the same reason as you..ooh he wore this shirt at his first Christmas, so I figure this is the best way to keep them and and appreciate them.

  15. says

    HI Erin! It is so much fun to hear you talking through your blog. I am sitting here thinking, but isn’t she then thinking about another cookie??? or how about another bowl of that cereal you love? haha! You obviously do great! Looking forward to getting some shared workouts in the future! xox0

  16. says

    My special box with my kids clothes is such a treasure! What some great ideas you share and so true the importance of date night!

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