Dealing with kids' artwork

Schools in and the artwork is rolling in. To be honest, the girls create more art than I know what to do with and I have a strong anti-clutter gene. To deal with their artwork, I sort every piece that comes into the house into 3 categories:

  • Keep: This is the art that I want to keep for years. There has to be something very special about it. I organize this art similar to how I organize the girls' paperwork. Each girl has a 4 inch binder with 50 plastic sheet protectors in it. By my calculations, that's 2-4 special art pieces per school year. So far they each have 3 pieces in there including a foot-print art (so they can look back and see how tiny their feet used to be) and first drawing of the whole family. 

    First family portrait showing daddy, mommy, the twins and some random kids I don't know!
  • Display: This is the nice art that gets to be displayed for a while before it's "retired". It includes mother's day gifts displayed on the TV stand and the art I display on the kitchen wall. I remove them when I have another nice piece to replace them with. The kitchen wall display is space limited to maximum 4 pieces per kid. The girls love seeing their art displayed in this form. I must confess that all the Mothers' Day crafts I get from the girls fall into this category and none have been taken down yet because I'm emotionally attached to those and I may end up having a mommy memory box for these when they become too many to display!
    The current kitchen wall display

    My Mother's day flowers
  • Retire: This is the art work that gets retired into the recycling box that's euphemism for trashed! A lot of pieces go into immediate retirement.
What's your approach to kids' artwork. Do you attach a sentimental value to them and keep everything or do you keep some and lose some?

Family Hotel Sleeping Arrangements

When it comes to vacations, hotel accommodation is always a big ticket item if not staying with family. When you have 2 or more kids to consider, things become extra tricky. 

My objective has always been to find a comfortable sleeping arrangement for our family of 4 without breaking the bank. I've tried a few options in the past and during our recent vacation, I experimented with a few additional sleeping arrangements.

Here's a list of the pros and cons for each arrangement based on my experience of 2 adults and twins.

Bed Sharing. We've tried this a couple of times with mixed results
Best for: Non-mobile infants or kids who are used to sleeping in big beds without tumbling all over the place
Pro: Even the standard hotel room with 2 full beds can work for this. Much more comfortable in rooms with king-sized beds though
Con: Talk about passion-killer!

Peapods or similar travel beds. Did this while relocating and on a couple of vacations
Best for: Crawling to toddler stage. (8 months to 2 years). We stopped using these when the girls were able to flip themselves upside-down while in the peapod for the sheer fun of it.
Pro: Very small footprint so if floor space is tight, this works very well. Plus the pods are mobile and can be setup anywhere meaning any location - beach, porch, living room - can become a nap area
Con: The flipping upside down mentioned earlier means kids outgrow this fast

Pack and plays.  Did this while relocating and on our San Antonio vacation
Best for: all ages up to the height and weight limit of the pack and play
Pro: Most hotels will provide these if you call ahead so it's one less item to pack
Con: Older, vocal kids will not appreciate this. I haven't tried this with my kids once they were over 2 years old. Hotel room needs to be very big, preferably a suite with 2 separate living areas. Depending on hotel, the pack and play you actually get may look a little dingy. I suggest traveling with your own sheets

Sleeping Bags on the floor. Tried this for the first time last week
Best for: Older kids who are used to sleeping in big beds without tumbling all over the place. When we used these, I spent half the nights fishing the girls from random corners of the room to tuck them back into their sleeping bags. It was harrowing for me but they slept right through it
Pro: It easy to fit 2 sleeping bags on the floor of most hotel rooms
Con: Watch your step! 

Sofa beds. Tried this for the first time last week
Best for: Older kids who are used to sleeping in big beds without tumbling all over the place. The sofa arm rests act as mini-bed rails for the peaceful sleepers. Acrobatic sleepers will probably need their positions adjusted several times during the nights
Pro: No additional equipment required from your end
Con: Not all hotels have rooms with sofa beds available. When available, they're usually part of a more expensive room package

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