The Toys

Our basement scares me. I hate going down there and I am sort of happy that Cortney has pretty much taken over laundry duties while I’m pregnant.

It’s not that it’s spooky–at least not in the traditional sense. There aren’t weird shadows or strange nooks and crannies. It’s a finished basement: Eddie’s bedroom, a full bathroom, and a large family room.  The laundry room isn’t finished, but that is probably the least scary room down there.

No, it’s not because I feel like there is someone hiding under my stairs or ghosts lurking in shadows.

It’s the toys.

Oh my word, the toys.

We have almost six years of birthdays and Christmases and random “just because” gifts of toys in our basement. One time I organized it all. I bought a 9-bin tote shelf thing with 3 different color totes. I put plastic drawers in. I sorted the kitchen stuff from the trains from the Little People from the matchbox cars from the pirate stuff from ALL THE TINY THINGS people give out at birthday parties. I parked trucks under the train table. I set up the easel with all the fun magnets and paper and dry erase markers. I put all the puzzles together. I lined up all the DVDs and Wii Games. Shoot, I even dusted.

And now?  It’s like I was never there.

Cortney can’t even get to the ironing board to iron his long-sleeved shirts.

The room gives me hives.

And yet I love when my kids get new toys. They really do play with most things (which is why the room is a disaster zone), and getting something new is so special to them because it really only happens for Christmas and birthdays with the occasional blog-related-try-it-out toy sent our way.

One of my favorite online stores to shop for toys for my kids and for my nieces and nephews is Imagine Toys. They are local to me (Michigan, baby!), they are focused on thoughtful/educational toys, and toys can be searched by age/skill of the child you are shopping for.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, November 12), I will be hosting a twitter chat on the hashtag #ImagineToys discussing their toy line, their partnership with KaBoom! (which I blogged about this summer), and what to get the kids for the holidays.  There will be four prizes and one BIG GRAND prize handed out to some lucky participants, so you don’t want to miss it!

What could you win just in time for the holidays?  Feast your eyes…

1. The Electronic Cash Register (this is totally on Eddie’s Christmas list!)

Electronic Cash Register

2. The Wobble Deck Extreme (I wish I could fit on this thing)

Wobble Deck Extreme

3. Nancy B’s Moonscope (another thing Eddie put on his Christmas List)

Nancy B Moonscope with tripod and multiple lenses

4. Step-to-Play Giant Piano Mat (Charlie would DIE for this!)

Step-to-Play Piano Mat

And the GRAND Prize: One GLX yGlider!

I told you. SERIOUSLY cool prizes…just for showing up to talk to me about toys and shopping and kids, five of you could end your Wednesday with something sweet to gift a child this holiday season!

The details:

Twitter party at 9pm est on Wednesday, Novemeber 12. Follow the hashtag #ImagineToys as well as @ImagineToys and @ksluiter to make sure you don’t miss a thing! See you there!

Now excuse me, I have a basement to organize!


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I just really want to make sure people know about the twitter party because PRIZES!  I am being compensated for the twitter chat, however, with a gift card to Imagine so I can get some fun toys for all the kiddos I have to buy for this holiday season!

The Way You are Now {Eddie Age 4}

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You are four.

Suddenly, you look so tall and big to me.  The traces of “baby” are still there, but they take a trained eye to see. A mother’s eye.

As a baby, you were so chubby. You walked bow-legged because your thighs were so chunky.  Now you have long, lean limbs. Your run is not a reckless toddle, but is marked with fast strides.  Once in a while you will still request that we pick you up, and your legs wrap around your dad’s or my waist easily and your arms around our neck.

When I hug you, I feel muscles and pointy bones and lanky boy. The squishy baby fat that I used to raspberry and nuzzle are gone.

But I still see baby in your face.  Your cheeks still carry the chubby baby boy softness.  When you smile, those dimples are still there.  When you concentrate, your lips still pucker out.  Your relaxed face just begs for cheek kisses and neck snuggles.

You protest it more than you used to, but still end up giggling.

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You are four.

Your vocabulary is booming and every day you say things that surprise us.  When you were two and only had a handful of words, none of them being “mommy”, people said to me, “just wait, once he starts, you’ll long for the quiet days again.”

They were wrong.

Once you started, I realized I could listen to your stories and questions and observations forever. I want to memorize your little boy voice. I want to freeze time because already you are starting to change.  You’ve learned to make the “L” sound so you don’t “yike” things anymore, you “like” them. You’re still getting used to that “L” sound in your mouth though, because you tend to over-emphasize that beginning “L” on words. When you complain that something is going to take a “long” time, your little tongue comes out of your mouth to ensure that you will get the “L” in “long” right.

Sometimes you slip and miss the “L” sound if it’s inside a word. “Yellow” is still “Way-yo”. Sometimes it’s “Way-lo” though.  “Yellow” is one of the only words you confuse your “Y” for a “W” though. But you also are not so good with “Rs”. If an “R” begins a word, you use the “W” sound. If it’s in a word, you will either replace with an “L” or sometimes a “W”.  Tomorrow is “To-mallow”.  And your “TH” sound sounds more like and “F” so “thirty” and “forty” sound the same.

But my favorite is that you sometimes sound like you have a bit of a Boston accent. “Yard”, “park”, “arm”, and and other words with the short “a” sound sounds “Bostony” when you say it. I’m pretty sure I will have to video this because I never ever want to forget how hard I laugh when you tell me “daddy’s armpits are stinky”. It’s funny, but it’s even funnier how you say “arm pits”.


You are four.

You are hilarious. Often I call you my Funny Boy or my Silly Boy. You just love it when I call you “My boy”.

You make people laugh with your funny observations, like when you pointed at the large glass-front of the Gentex Building and told Grandma that is where the penguins live. You were totally mater-of-fact. It did not even cross your mind that you were pointing at the front of a factory building that makes car parts.

Your Grandpa laughs so hard when you are around.  Every time we are over there he says, “Eddie, you are a funny kid!”  And he is right. You talk to people and ask questions so easily.  You have no problem asking people to play with you.

I think this is why you make friends so easily. And if kids don’t want to play with you, you go do your own thing. But kids rarely turn you away…especially the girls. Since we live on the dead end, you talk to every kid who rides his/her bike down this way.  This is how you met your newest friends who live up the road from us. Each day you watch for them to get home from daycare and then you beg me to let you go ride your bike to their house. I always say yes because I can see their driveway from our driveway and their backyard from our side yard.

But I needed worry. You come home and ask every time they ask if you can do something new: play on their slip n slide, jump on their tramp, or ride bikes.

You make me proud with how responsible you are about following rules and getting permission from adults.

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You are four.

While you are a cautious person by nature, you are not afraid to try things at least once.  That is so brave.

You talk to kids and ask them to play. This past weekend I watched you try raw broccoli from a veggie tray without anyone asking you to. You didn’t like it…I saw you spit it into the trash can when you thought no one was looking. But you tried!  You tried chip dip at Granny’s house and decided you loved it. You tried pita chips and hummus.

You tried swimming lessons and gymnastics.

When you wanted to hold a baby duck at the Farmer’s Market last week, you bravely sat next to kids you didn’t know, said excuse me, and got to hold one.

It makes me smile.

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You are four.

You are kind and helpful, many times without being asked. You are quick to help Charlie when he falls or to show him how to do new things. You are even quicker to help your younger cousins…especially babies.  Your kind heart doesn’t stop there, though. If daddy or I have a job to do, you are always asking what you can do to help. You like to help at stores and to carry groceries in and to swifter the floor.

And you always want to help me in the kitchen. I like that. I hope we spend lots of time together in the kitchen. In fact, when I plan our weeks out, I always think of something to bake or cook that you can help me with.  You take a lot of pride in helping others, but you  never get boastful.

And you are so thankful and gracious. As people were leaving your birthday party, you told each person “thank you for coming to my party,” without daddy or me even asking you to do that. You thank us for everything you get from the big (your birthday party and your bike) to the small (buying Monsters University cereal and bananas).  You even thanked God during your prayers for giving you such a nice family.

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You are four.

You are growing up so fast, yet you are still so small.

Sometimes we forget that you are still just little, and sometimes we forget that you are not so little anymore.

You get dressed on your own, but you still sometimes need help getting your shorts straight. You love to control the tablet for stories, but you still hold my hand when we get to the part of the “not so good streets”. You can ride your bike, but you still need training wheels.

Four is so big.

But it is still little.

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You are four.