toy storage tips

I wanted to write a post about our toy philosophy...yep, that's totally a thing as a parent. TOY ORGANIZATION GUYS.  Otherwise known as the most exciting blog post of all time.  JK JK, I know my non-parental friends aren't gonna be reading this one, but if you're a parent and want your home to look a little less like Disney World than this one is for you.  First, a few tidbits about how we go about buying//managing toys for our kids:

| be intentional |

We like to keep toys at a minimum over here.  Less stuff = less mess = less stress for me. When we buy toys we pick natural materials over plastic and handmade over mass produced (of course there are exceptions to this, but we try!). My preference is open ended toys that are educational and well made, specifically Waldorf and Montessori style.  Our criteria for toys may seem high maintenance, but I think it plays a big factor in maintaining a sense of peace in our home.  I'm someone who doesn't do well in an unorganized space filled with distractions.  Our kids are already over stimulated. Heck, I'm over stimulated.  I want to maintain a calm environment as much as I can and picking simple toys is one small way that helps our household do just that. 

All this being said, I don't ever want to seem ungrateful for gifts for our children...we are blessed with generous family and friends who love Pier as much as I do! But we're intentional about what we buy for a reason.  Kids don't need a lot of stuff.  I don't want our materialistic culture to infiltrate what is meant to be a season of innocence, wonder, and discovery.  I've seen how Pier can be perfectly content with a stick for minutes on end.  Or how he plays with the scraps of my vegetables while I'm cooking.  I say this simply to reinforce what I think we intrinsically know -- children teach us to slow down and see the world through pure eyes.  

| toy rotation |

You've probably heard of this already and it's GENIUS.  We do this primarily with books, but I think it's a good idea if you find yourself having a hard time narrowing down your toys to keep.  Buy a big basket to keep in your hall closet to store excess toys in and then rotate them out as often as you like.  

| spring clean twice a year | 

We do a seasonal spring cleaning a couple times a year and go through our entire house to see what needs to be organized more efficiently to better serve our family.  Kid stuff is a huge thing to tackle at first, but now that I do a seasonal clean out it's way more doable. 

| everything has a place |

Not only does it teach kids organizational skills, but it also helps save a mother's sanity.  As a parent, it's my job to teach my children how to take care of their home and the possessions that fill it.  If everything has a place then it makes things a breeze to clean up!  As soon as Pier was old enough I taught him how to put his toys away.   Basically when things got messy I took him (literally) by the hand and physically showed him where things go.  

After a few days he got it and it has made my life much, much easier. He knows now that his books go in his book basket, his blocks in his block baskets, and his pots and pans in his play kitchen.  I'm not sure if this will work with all my children or if it's just how Pier's brain is wired, but he's done a really good job putting away his toys before taking out new ones.  And cleaning is a game to him, which is a good thing for all parties involved. 

| toy storage in the Little Fossi House | 

We recently started to transform Pier's nursery into a more toddler friendly space.  If you'd like a refresher on how it looked before, you can view that here.  Ready for the nitty gritty details of how we store our toys? LET'S GO

One basket for puzzles | Puzzles are a hard thing to store...they're various sizes and oddly shaped. I ended up using this savannah basket from Pottery Barn that we received as a wedding gift and it looks great!  Plus it fits puzzles of all sizes.  Store it under the crib or dresser or keep it in a closet to take out whenever you want something new to play with. 

Two bookcases for Montessori style toy storage  | this has been helpful teaching Pier the "every thing has a place" rule.  He can easily play with his toys and put them back on the shelf whenever he's finished.  Playtime goes by smoothly and, not to mention, mama sure loves walking into a clean kids room every day! 

One basket for books (or a book shelf)  | I personally love that we don't have to look everywhere for a book.  There's a teepee and a reading nook in his bedroom with a basket of books he can pick from whenever he wants.  We use these Ikea spice racks to display some of the nicer books that he is too young to read right now.  

Play kitchen in main living area | I am team kid kitchen.  The developmental benefits of imaginary play are incredible, and Pier is engulfed in his own culinary world whenever he plays with this!  I keep it in our family area so that he will be in view when I'm cooking dinner or doing the dishes and we can pretend we're cooking together ;). 

Two toy baskets in main living areas | my favorite are these because they have handles and Pier can take them from room to room.  We put smaller toys in here -- trucks, balls, musical instruments, plush toys...anything small enough to be hidden by a good basket!  We also have two smaller market baskets we keep on the shelf in his to organize special play toys like lacing toys and animal puppets. 

That's it.  That's every toy we own in this house!  I hope we can continue on this path of simplicity for our family.  This works for us, and if you've considered doing something similar in your household I want to encourage you to take the time to think about what will work for your family life.  I never want to come across as thinking my way is better than someone else!  Seriously, I only felt like sharing because I've seen how much of a difference it has made in my own day-to-day.  If you have any specific questions leave me a comment or message and I'd love to elaborate on any of this...organizing is one of my favorite things!  Totally normal. 

life lately

Here's what our March looked like in photos:

We have been going STIR CRAYZY in this house due to the insane snow and cold fronts coming through Indiana.  I think there were probably 2 days total that we could actually play outside.  BUT the flowers in my yard are playing peek-a-boo and we're waking up to lots of chirping birds so it's not too long now. C'monnnn spring, we're ready for you! 

Pier has been increasing his word count and talks non-stop (even though 90% of it is still babbling).  It is currently my favorite age ever -- still cuddly, still givin those open-mouth kisses like he'll forever be my baby -- but he's growing up quicker than I can document.  He loves saying "night-night" and waving goodbye every time he leaves the room.  He blows kisses to Jesus on the cross and gives hugs to his stuffed animals.  He started DANCING and spinning around in circles with the biggest smile on his face. This boy loves to clean. His favorite thing is to help me sweep and makes me sweep the entire house multiple times a day (much to the delight of my floors...and my house has never been so clean, ha!).  A true music lover, he always wants daddy to play the "-tar" so he can dance.  He can out chase mama and daddy and will count down "1...2...3...GO!" before he starts to run.  Quite simply, Pier is a delight to be around.  And let's not forget he's got the most delicious basketball belly in the history of toddler tummies. 

^ I'm so proud of that last photo because it was my first ever attempt at making zeppole san giuseppe.  I am .000000% Italian, but I have a big appreciate for Italian food and thought it would be fun to make a traditional pastry for St. Joseph's day (a big day in Italy!).  They were yummmm, guys. Yum.

We've been doing some serious spring cleaning in the Fossier household and spent an entire weekend clearing out our spare bedroom for baby fossi number two.  Of course, as someone who thinks organizing is more fun than a normal person probably should, I love this season of purging and rearranging.  There were about 10 bags of excess stuff donated to Goodwill and it feels ohhhh so good.  We're slowly making Pier's room less nursery and more toddler-friendly, and I am busy daydreaming about all the little girl things we get to decorate with in the baby room.  Why are little baby things so irresistible?  Specifically, girl baby things?  I have an Amazon Wish List 10 pages long (not really, but it could easily be that long) of all things GIRL.

Lastly, we've been in a funk this week in particular because Mr. Pier is sick!!! Poor little love.  Fever, runny nose, coughing, and lots of cuddles are happening around here. This guy has only been truly sick maybe once or twice before, so it always throws us off whenever a virus enters our home.  Say a quick prayer for Pier if you think about it!  Sick babies are always the most heartbreaking, but I know I'm always amazed at how quickly they bounce back.

Enjoy the remainder of your month!  
...and if you are getting spring temps right now send them my way please ;) 

month 12 | year 1

Well, I've avoided writing this post long enough.  I'm still in denial that he is ONE, but I guess I gotta finish the year strong and knock out this last month-by-month update. Month 12 has been an adventure.  Traveling, teething, ear infections, visitors, milestones -- life is movin fast and keeping us busy.  Pier has learned how to do some pretty fun stuff this month: clapping, pointing, waving, SPEAKING ACTUAL WORDS LIKE A PERSON, and just overall being super cute.  

Some of my favorite things he's up to this month:

  • He's super shy!!! It's really sweet.  When we walk into a new place and someone tells him hi, he immediately puts his head on my shoulder and clams up.  It takes him a while to warm up to new faces and environments.  He's uncertain about anything unfamiliar!
  • Maybe this is because he's been sick the last few weeks, but he is very cuddly right now.  He will play with his toys for a few minutes then crawl over to me, sit in my lap, nuzzle is head on my shoulder, and start sucking his thumb.  After a few minutes of that he'll look up at me, then give me the worlds biggest smile and go right back to playing!
  • He's starting to point at things!  He will point to random objects and then look at us so that we can tell them what they are.  His favorite things to point out: lights, Jesus, the clock in our living room, Gertie the cat, and his ball.
  • He started waving! It's so stinkin cute! He waves backwards, opening and closing his hand toward his face (if that makes sense?).  But he can wave to people on command.  It's the sweetest.
  • We're working on a few words right now: Gertie, ball, clap, and Mama
  • This isn't really a favorite thing, but he has started screaming (LOUDLY) and flailing and kicking when he doesn't get his way.  For example, if I'm not fast enough giving him the next bite of food, or if I won't let him crawl up to the alter during mass, or if I have to move him away from some type of dangerous things he fights me. Big time.
  • He started clapping! And he is so proud of himself!  If I say "YAY!" enthusiastically he starts clapping his hands together and gives me a big grin.
  • Speaking of grins, he's giving us the funniest smiles lately.  I call it his cheesin smiles because he squints his eyes, crinkles his nose, and smiles as big as he can.  They are hilarious! It makes my life!

I think books are his favorite toy.  When I put him down to play, he crawls straight to his book basket.  He flips each page and actually reads to himself!  His voice goes through the sweetest inflections and he points to the pictures on the pages.  He's in heaven when we go to the library! (Or when mama isn't looking and he gets to pull all of her books off the bookshelf)

He's eating a lot more solid food this month too.  His favorite foods right now are sweet potatoes, bananas, blueberries, raspberries, eggs, guacamole, bread, olives, and sliced turkey.  He also obsesses over Whole Foods as much as his mama does :).  Oops.

How are we doing on sleep?  Wellll it's hit or miss this month.  Sometimes he sleeps through the night, sometimes he doesn't.  He's been doing this really fun thing lately where he wakes up ready for the day at 4:30 and won't go back to sleep.  He's still taking two hour and a half naps a day, but he must have perfect sleeping conditions (black out curtains, white noise, sleepsack) or he won't sleep at all.  He doesn't even sleep in his car seat!

Andddd it's officially summer in Indiana! You bet I LOVE IT!  The weather during the warm months here is simply lovely.  You can actually go outside! And not die! This week it was in the 60s and 70s and that is simply unheard of during a Louisiana June.  We've been spending as much time outdoors as we are able...farmer's markets, picnics, park visits, long walks.  I try to take advantage of it while we can (because...winter..).

Another favorite outdoor activity: SWIMMING!  Except they were out of baby pools everywhere (literally), so I had to settle for a drink bucket.  Pier or wouldn't even know the difference ;).

I feel like a repeat myself every month, but I just can't help but think that each new stage is my favorite....and then the next month comes and it's even MORE fun.  He is full of surprises, and brings me so much joy.  I hope you've enjoyed all of his monthly updates over the past year!  I've loved looking back on past month-by-month posts and seen how far we've come and how much he's grown.  But I this isn't the last Pier update, so stay tuned for more in the months to come.