In any case, my folks' visit allowed me some focused time to a) sort and put away toys b) remove a few unnecessary items and store them in the attic space, c) rearrange the furniture into a more useful arrangement, and d) sort some of their shoes and toys, removing all of the items that were too small or young for anyone to use. My mom helped me sort and try on (the kids) many pairs of shoes, dress up outfits, and dolly clothes, and she washed the dishes and helped do laundry, so I could continue to clean. My dad entertained the troops outside on a beautiful day, and later inside, he patiently sat through an animated kids' movie. Thanks a bunch, guys. You are the BEST!
Well, here is how the room turned out:
Ladybug and Firefly's beds
Cowboys's bed to the right and the Duplo/Brio/Hot Wheels table
(the top flips over to show a road/town scene)
Baby Boo's crib and toy chest on the left and the kitchen/doll area on the right
Cowboy's bed next to the table that serves for playing school and restaurant
I think the room turned out nicely. Notice, there is one corner with restaurant/kitchen items, and dolls for the girls. Then there is one part of the room with Duplo and Hot Wheels (and Brio Trains, which are currently put away) for the boys. They all play with all of the items, together. Cowboy pretends to be a chef like Bobby Flay and his restaurant is The Dino Diner. The girls like to play dollies, and Cowboy is either the Daddy, or he is the handyman and fixes their sink and broken beds and such. They all like to build with Duplo, especially Firefly and Cowboy. Ladybug is in a slight school-teacher phase and enjoys organizing them for class. We have a dress up box with a "teacher vest" (it is made of a chalkboard print material), chef's outfit, and doctor clothes, among other things. I love to see their imaginations at work, and hope they are learning that order helps us play, and think, and that they will want to keep their room clean...but I went ahead and took the pictures right after I finished anyway, just in case this is the last time this room is this clean.
My mom helped sort the toys, and we put all of the play food and dishes into the drawers under Cowboy's bed, so it would be easier to pick up. The dolly clothes and bottles are all in the drawers on the side of his bed. We stored their shoes in baskets under their beds, and there is a sock/tights bin under Ladybug's bed, too. The Duplo store inside the table, and the cars are in a bin near Cowboy's bed. The trains are currently in storage due to space issues. The baby toys are in the toy chest at the end of Boo's crib. When it is time to clean up, first I have them make their beds and arrange their special animals nicely. Then each one has a type of toy they are responsible for picking up. It is usually Ladybug who picks up the food/dishes, Firefly picks up the dolly things, and Cowboy picks up any Duplo Legos or cars that are out. Who ever finishes first/second helps whoever is still working, until the job is done. So far that plan is working out very well.
Last month, I found removable wall art for their room, and they each picked something out to put on the wall by their bed. Ladybug picked pink butterflies, Firefly picked flowers, and Cowboy picked planets. I think I will put them up today to surprise them when they get back from a short visit with my parents (who were kind enough to take the little ones for an overnight stay while I host Tex's friend's for his delayed birthday bash). Maybe while they are gone, I can tackle their closet, too. You wouldn't want to open the closet door because you might get hit by an avalanche of clothes, most of which don't fit anyone anymore. My friend, L., just sent over a dozen "new" dresses for the girls and I need to make room for them. It may sound odd, but really, I can't wait to get started cleaning!!!
Have a blessed Saturday with your loved ones, and don't foget to visit tomorrow for Sermon Sunday. I wonder if I can find a sermon about having order in our lives?
PS. Just in case you wondered, most everything in these rooms is a hand-me-down, from a yard sale, or found at a thrift store (other than the handmade blankets and a few things that were gifts on birthdays). The shopping cart (which they love!) has seen better days...it was from when Bubba was a little boy, and the dolly bunk beds were mine! They don't make 'em like that anymore. I definitely believe that you can have nice things on a tight budget...it just requires patience and a bit of ingenuity to make things work out the way you envision.