It's just one of those things as a momma. You knock your head against something for so long that when the (rather obvious) answer appears, you can't believe that you haven't done it this way from time immemorial.  I've had one of those weeks.

There are two things that have been troubling me for a while, and that my poor Beloved could practically recite in his sleep. Bear with me…the mess and the nap. The mess in the playroom, to be specific, and the lack of naptime. Until this week, nap time could perhaps be referred to as chase-time, because I swear that's all I did. And well, the mess is self explanatory.

Problem #1: Naptime. The answer: Think like  a preschool teacher.

We live in a split level- the bedrooms, the kitchen, and the living room are all upstairs. The office, the playroom, and the laundry room are all downstairs. We spend 80% of our time down here, even though it's only partially finished. But come nap time, everyone's beds are upstairs. I don't know about your kids, but my kids like to see just how far they can push the whole "laying down" thing. Isaiah likes to hang from his bunk upside down usually, so they need supervision. This presents a problem. I tend to concentrate the bulk of my responsibilities during their nap times- the laundry, stuff for the business, etc. which are all, you guessed it, downstairs. I had a baby monitor…but I still spent roughly half of nap time trundling up the stairs to order someone to bed, catch a run away Lorelei, etc. You have to understand, this has been a crisis/battle/sticking point for months and months for me. I have no idea why, because the answer hit me like a ton of bricks this last week after picking up Ben at school during their rest time. You're probably chuckling at me, and I don't blame you. What do you think I saw? 25 kids laying down on their sleep mats with blankets with the lights off, while their teacher sat there working at her desk. AHA! So now, our new schedrule? Lunch is around 11:30 eaten downstairs at their play table, after the toys of the morning are picked up. Isaiah and Lorelei then lay down in their designated space. David usually is already asleep or is nursing about this time- I go lay him down in his crib and turn the monitor on. What do you know? Three sleeping babes while I go about my chores in full sight of the kiddos. Sheesh. Why it took me ever so long to figure out, I 'll never know.

Problem #2: The mess.
Our partially finished basement is split in two: the office and the playroom. A three foot tall bookcase open on either side "splits" the room, and we have a stretchy lattice gate that covers the rest of the span (keeping Lorelei out of my paint and craft supplies when I am in and out).  The kids play here for a large part of the day- watching videos (occasionally!), playing, building, swinging (on an Ikea swing we found). And they make a mess. A big big big mess. And when it comes time to clean up, we have a big big big fight. It has been driving James and I absolutely nuts. I've been puzzling over it for about a month now, because it truly became one of those critical mass family things. Here's what I discovered: there wasn't a 'place for everything and everything in it's place'. I honestly could not hand Ben a play John Deere tractor and Ben be able to put it back where it belongs. I came to this conclusion in a round a bout sort of way: Ann Voskamp had this post about spring cleaning, which linked to this woman's blog about the way she controls toy chaos. We also had picked up the Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room book at the library. A bit of purging, some reshuffling, and a bit more *logical* storage later, and everyone is breathing a sigh of relief. The kids now abide by the one container of toys rule: they may get the bin of blocks out, but they must pick it up and put it away before they get the bin of trains out, for example. What used to take nearly an hour to clean up (because every single stinkin' toy was spread in every nook and cranny of the playroom) is now a quick matter of maybe a minute. Say it with me, AHA!

So what AHA moments have you had? Do share! (You don't have to be a momma, or wife, or even female- jump in- you might help one of us poor goofs who hasn't thought of it yet!)  

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