A FAMILY DAY OUT: KING JOHN’S CASTLE

Life has been so busy lately. I guess that when it’s sunny and warm, sitting on the couch doing nothing is not an option.

We have been out and about most weekends and the ones we have stayed at home, we’ve spent them working in the garden, painting furniture, weeding…

A couple of weeks ago we went to King John’s Castle here in Limerick.  It was a great family day out.

Family Day Out in King John's Castle

It is one of Limerick’s landmarks, it’s only around the corner and the boys have been wanting to go for ages. So we took them. Because that is how we roll. We are cool parents. Ask my children (only 1 day a week though, and I will tell you exactly when to ask them, right?). Cool parents, indeed!

A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
Big Monkey got to do some sword training and archery, his latest obsession.

Daniel training swords @ King john's Castle
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog

Chaotic Monkey got to climb to the top of the towers and investigate every room, which he loves.

A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
The views from the towers are spectacular!

Most of the history went right over their heads but between the weapons and the other props, the boys imagined themselves to be right there with Robin Hood.

Family Day Out - King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog

Great family day out. Where have you been?

Chaotic Itzi

OCB

AM I READY?

Last week was my niece’s and my nephew’s birthdays. One is in Spain and the other one in England. One turned 9 and the other turned 10. 

9 and 10!!! They are only numbers until you start thinking of them in terms of your eldest child’s age!!! How can that be? I wasn’t that long ago when he was my ” Moon Face” boy obsessed about elephants! 
On growing up - Am I ready @ Organising Chaos BlogIt really hit me! Next birthday up is Big Monkey’s. In 2 months he will be turning 9!!!!!!  —- Am I ready?
On growing up - Am I ready @ Organising Chaos BlogI love our chats, our conversations, our secrets. I love seeing the person that he is becoming. He is very sensitive, compassionate, very determined and (extremely) stroppy at times. He is very much his own person and a better and improved version of Mr B and I at the same time.

But sometimes I feel that all this is happening way too fast! 
On growing up - Am I ready @ Organising Chaos Blog
Yes, we do all age at the same rate. But children not only grow, they develop, they are  constantly expanding  their minds (and ours), they are  searching, investigating, learning…. It is beautiful to see. And a bit heartbreaking.

“Am I ready for this?” – that is not really the question. It doesn’t matter if I am ready because it is happening! I better get ready.

The real question is: Am I missing it? 
I better not blink!

Chaotic Itzi

OrganisingchaosBlog

WHEN YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH

We all have those moments, something happens, it keeps happening and then, that’s it! We’ve had enough! Something needs to change.

I had one of those moments before Christmas.
But let me start from the beginning.
My monkeysBack in 2009, Mr B and I bought our current home which had 4 bedrooms upstairs. Big Monkey was already with us and we were expecting Chaotic Monkey. As Mr B and I were planning the distribution of the house, we had a few things very clear: our room is the one at the front, we need a double spare room and the kids will share a room.

Both Mr B and I grew up sharing rooms with our siblings and we always loved it (except when you hated it!). The laughs, the fights, the camaraderie…  we wanted that for our children. At this stage we didn’t know the whether Chaotic Monkey would be a boy or a girl, but it was irrelevant. We wanted them to share for as long as possible. So that was the plan.

The Chaotic Monkey was born and it is amazing how siblings can have such different personalities, even at the baby stage. I have to say that I was an extremely lucky mum in that both Monkeys fed and slept well. Big Monkey would feed, you’d change his nappy and put him down on the cot and he’d be sleep in minutes. Chaotic Monkey would also feed well, and after a nappy change he’d settle well in the cot, not problem, but he wouldn’t go to sleep straight away. He’d start talking (making noises…). He wouldn’t cry, he’d be happy, but I would not be able to go to sleep until he was sleep himself. At this point we have to take into consideration that I had an emergency cesarean (with both of them), I was breastfeeding, in a lot of pain, hormonal to the max and exhausted, so no logic applies here. NONE!

After few months, we moved Chaotic Monkey from our room to the nursery and by the time he was 7 months old he was already sharing a room with his brother. Perfect! It worked! Both of them have always been great sleepers, so this worked a treat for many many years. Until it didn’t.
When you've had enough @ OrganisingChaosBlogAs their personalities developed and evolved, some basic things did not change. Big Monkey would go to bed, he’d be happy to have a little chat with his brother and then turn around and go to sleep, Chaotic Monkey would not. He would want the chat to go on for longer and so if Big Monkey wanted to sleep they’d start arguing, or Chaotic Monkey would keep talking (he doesn’t need anyone to answer back!) or start singing at the top of his voice hoping that his brother would give up trying to sleep and join him in his shenanigans.

Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. More often than not, there would be bickering, fights, “he said, no he said”, “he started it…” and so on. They would of course be tired the following day which made the bickering start earlier and earlier as the week progressed. Mr B and I had never walked those stairs more than the last 6 months! Up and down every 5 minutes (or roaring from downstairs if we were too tired) with the “stop arguing”, “stop talking”, “stop singing”, “I don’t care who started it”,”stop talking”, “go to sleep”…

They were threatened with being separated, being sent to different rooms. Despite the fighting, they hated that idea, so I had some leverage there for a little while. Besides, I think they thought it would be too much work and we wouldn’t do it. Until one day, when I had enough.
Breakfast picnic in their bedroomOne normal day, we all woke up, had breakfast, got school lunches, waived everyone goodbye at the door, got my electric screwdriver and went upstairs and started moving furniture around. It was tough but I was determined. I sent some photos to Mr B in the middle of the day with all the beds taken apart and in different rooms and I’m sure he had a little heart attack at work and thought of not coming home that day but he also knew that it was all for the better.

The beds were up that night in different rooms. When the kids came home after school they got a shock. Different rooms? How could I? Chaotic Monkey cried and mourned the loss of his big room. Big Monkey loves having a room to himself although I am sure that he misses hanging out with his brother. Both of them are sleeping much better now although Chaotic Monkey still insists that he needs to share the room with someone for him to sleep better.

As there is an extra mattress in Big Monkey’s room, they are allowed to sleep together at weekends. They love it!  So they get the best of both worlds – they get to sleep earlier on their own on school nights and they still get to hang out at weekends.

Mr B and I are loving the new sleeping arrangement, the kids are getting more sleep and we all are in better form for it.
Adapt or die they say. Well, it’s true.

Do your kids sleep together or separate? How does it work? Share with us!

Chaotic Itzi

WEEKLY INSPIRATIONS : BOYS’ BEDROOMS

As I mentioned recently, I moved every bed in my house before Christmas. I just woke up one morning and I had to do it.

The boys had been sharing a room since they were born but for different reasons (that will soon be revealed to you), the boys had to be separated and they now have their very own bedroom.

I have always tried to decorate their bedroom and playroom with different colors. I never liked the blue with soccer balls kind of decorations for the boy’s room. It is not them. It is not us.

As now I get to decorate 2 bedrooms, I have to take into consideration their ages, their tastes and their needs for their individual rooms, always within budget which means recycle, up-cycle, inherit, beg…. the usual!

For BIG MONKEY’S ROOM (age 8) I will need a nice desk to keep up with his drawing

http://randihusom.blogspot.mx/
randihusom.blogspot.mx

And some shelving will also be neccesary for books and general stuff that they seem to get…

http://todayscreativelife.com/
todayscreativelife.com

These walls are just gorgeous. Fun but sensible… right?

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/
www.apartmenttherapy.com

The bed is priority. It needs to be comfortable and inviting, not only to sleep but also to grab a book and read for a while.

www.thestickerworkshop.com
www.thestickerworkshop.com

Their little feet need to be warm, but stylish also… of course!

caitlinwilson.com
caitlinwilson.com

As for CHAOTIC MONKEY’S ROOM (age 6) I will also need some storage and this one looks not only affordable but fun!

http://crazylittleprojects.com/
http://crazylittleprojects.com/

I am totally in love with that Fantastic Mr Fox print and that rug here. Just. In. Love.

thestickerworkshop.com
thestickerworkshop.com

This kind of wall decoration is so Chaotic Monkey, it is scary.

http://www.ministyleblog.com/blog/
http://www.ministyleblog.com/blog/

There is so much I would take from here. From the cushions, to the wall, to the bed… so much…

stylebyfreedom.co.nz
stylebyfreedom.co.nz

How cool would it be to have this seat in your room? I mean Chaotic Monkey’s room… yes, that’s what I mean…

100layercakelet.com
100layercakelet.com

Food for thought.
I will be working hard at making those spaces as amazing, relaxing and inspiring as I can.
What about you?
Are you inspired yet?

Have an amazing weekend.
Chaotic Itzi

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Unique and original tableware just for you makes each place setting a perfect view!

POSITIVE THINKING: Enjoying the Little Things #ChaoticallyPositive

The last month has been a bit crazy busy

In the middle of December, I moved every bed in the house and about 85% of the rest of furniture. It was intense. I am nearly finished tidying up all the rooms but it has taken the best of a month and a lot of back pain. The chaos, the constant mess, the darkness and the bad weather was not a great combination for my head but I knew that I wouldn’t get done before the Christmas holidays and that I wouldn’t be able to do anything from Spain, so I made a decision to do little bits every day without getting bug down on finishing the rooms. That was a great step towards keeping my sanity.

This decision also helped me focus on the little things.Focusing on the little things - OrganisingChaosBlog.com1. I managed to make some presents for the teachers in the boy’s school 2. We had a lovely morning going to visit Santa and hanging out with Rudolph 3. The boys got dressed up to go to see Star Wars: the Force Awakens, the first time 4. Big Monkey made a Christmas card that sums up our Christmas 2015 – equal amounts of excitement for Star Wars and Santa – perfect!

Focusing on the little things - OrganisingChaosBlog.comChristmas - Spain 2015Hanging out with family in Spain was soooooo lovely!!! 1. Travelling to Spain had many hiccups and took much longer than we planned but the boys were so good and patient. Real heroes. 2&3 . Christmas Day was fabulous. It was sunny, it was warm, there was 40 of us. Loads of chats, loads of hugs, loads of food. So good for the soul. 4. Chaotic Monkey and I went to a soccer match with my sister. He loved it.

Focusing on the little things - OrganisingChaosBlog.comAnd this is my new BFF,  one of my presents this Christmas. It makes everything better….

Have a  fab day
Chaotic Itzi

A NEW APPROACH TO THE TIDYING CONFLICT

Chaotic Monkey turned 6 last October. It is a bit insane to think that my youngest is already 6, a full little person with a lot of personality and spirit.

Chaotic Monkey

He loves toys. That might sound like an obvious statement considering that he is a child but not all kids are the same. Big Monkey has always been more about making up stories and acting them out, drawing or making things. Toys, not that much. But Chaotic Monkey could spend hours playing with the tiniest figurines. Hours! He always has a toy in his hand – going for dinner, to the bathroom, to his bed, everywhere!

He mixes and matches also. So the dinosaurs, Darth Vather, Storm Troopers, Ninja Turtles and Spider-man can all easily be in the same game. I love that about him. He has an amazing capacity to immerse himself into a game for so long that he forgets about the rest of the world – just him and his toys

The downside to all this playing, is that the playroom’s floor gets covered in toys every day. He has an uncanny ability to have at least 20 toys down in .2 of a second, and that is no exaggeration whatsoever! But then, at the end of the day, when it is time to go to bed, he is always too tired to tidy up, or there is too much to do, or he can’t do it by himself and he talks his brother into helping him, or his head/ear/nose/hair/foot/brain is sore, or he just simply refuses to do it.

Shortly after he turned 6 I had a chat with him about what it meant being a big boy : helping out more, no winging, tidying up, eating better… Looking back at our little meeting I realise that he would have agreed to anything that day as there was a hot chocolate and a brownie in front of him… oh well, we live and learn..
Chaotic Monkey - always with toys

As much as I would like to say that the tidying improved, I can’t. It only happened as a consequence of “Angry Mum”, blackmail (“your friends can’t come to play until the toys are tidy”) or when he wants something and, as a side note, always be aware when that happens…

So I decided to try a new approach in the new year, one they had been threatened with for a while but I never implemented.

Every toy left out of place at night goes into a bag and is decommissioned for 2 days.

Simple? Yes!
Does it work? Oh Yes!
Why did I not try it before? Don’t know!

There was of course resistance from Chaotic Monkey. He might have even contacted Amnesty International to make sure it was in agreement with the Geneva Convention on Human Rights, but once that was confirmed, he had to go along with it.

A tidy playroom

I have been doing it for a couple of weeks and I am picking up less and less toys every day so it seems to be working. For how long? I expect I will have an answer to that very soon, but for the time being, the toys are put away at night and there are less toys on counters and tables everywhere, so I’ll take this little victory and enjoy it while it lasts.

Have you got a technique to get your kids to tidy up that works for you? Let us know! All together we can win this battle!

Have a great day.
Chaotic Itzi

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WEEKLY INSPIRATION : STAR WARS

Star Wars VII : The Force Awakens opens in Irish cinemas on Friday the 18th of December. We are so excited! We have been waiting for the film for, like, ever!!! no exaggeration!!

We have tickets booked for Saturday the 19th to go with the boys and I can’t tell you who is more excited, the boys or me! Well I can. It’s clearly me. I win the exciting competition. Me! Me! Me!

So yes, we are Star Wars nerds in my house and if, like me, you are looking for Star Wars presents that can complement any house decor and not look tacky, I have made up a little list here for you that I hope will help you:

A Darth Vader Projection Alarm Clock would always be useful. We all have to get up, right?

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

For those nerd cooks in your life, this R2-Q5 Measuring Cup  

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

If you like books, these AT-AT book ends are for you!

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

If you know someone who likes both chess and Star Wars (it may happen), someone came up with the best combination ever!!! The Classic 3D Chess Set

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

This R2-D2 Mint Cady is so cute and it will keep your mints fresh, which is no small task!

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

A Storm Trooper mug is always appreciated, isn’t it?

Weekly Inspiration : Star WarsAnd slippers!! Always welcomed they are…. 😉

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

Now, this Chewbacca jacket  is not only practical but very stylish. Am I right or am I right?

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

And of course there is also something out there for the arty ones too. These R2D2 crayons are just adorable!

Weekly Inspiration : Star Wars

Or just some cool Star Wars wall art. I have to say, I ADORE this.

Collage created using TurboCollage for Windows from www.TurboCollage.com
So as you can see, you can give thoughtful and stylish presents all at once.
Ok, fine. At least thoughtful ones…

Chaotic Itzi

Owl

HAPPY LUNCH NOTES

The boys are tired. We all are really.
happy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogThe weather has really turned from cold to just pure evil in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been having storms, strong winds, rain, rain, more rain and when you thought you couldn’t see any more water… yes, you guessed right, more rain! The skies are grey and the forecast is not looking good. Between the weather, the extra-curricular activities and the darkness, we are all exhausted and very much looking forward to the break at Christmas. And did I mention we are going to Spain for Christmas? I am so excited!!!

In order to make things a bit fun for the kids until we get the holidays, I made some notes to go in their lunch boxes and cheer them up at lunch time with random notes from their mum.
happy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogThey were very easy to make and they can be as goofy or as deep as you want, whatever you think will put a smile in your kid’s face. I used colored paper, punchers, reward-chart stickers and markers. Some cutting, some sticking, some drawing. That is all.
happy lunch notes - how tohappy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogThe boys are loving them. They are coming home with big smiles and are then looking forward to seeing what they’ll get the following day. I have been instructed by Big Monkey not to give him cards that say I love you, although he does love me. I guess I’d better get used to get to that, it is the age. As long as I keep getting big cuddles and kisses at home, I’ll play cool mum outside.
happy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogSometimes I even put a little note in my lunch at home to cheer me up. It really is the little things…

Chaotic Itzi

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