Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

May 17, 2011

I Had To Do It

05 | 16 | 11

A couple weeks back I saw a white version of this Lego storage idea via Pinterest and knew it was only a matter of time before I did the same thing for Simon. I loved how the other one was painted white and I thought about doing that for this one and then decided that the wood went just fine in his room.

In Simon’s case he probably needs a few more of these to hold all the guys.

I’ve had this type drawer waiting for something special for awhile (found most likely at an antique/second hand store). I bought it a few years ago thinking I’d do another photo type case like this one:

photo type case

This specific one was great for photos because it had all the same sized square spaces. I haven’t seen another one like this since – I’m not actively looking but I do keep my eyes open.

I continue to be a fan of finding things to put things in.


This post wouldn’t be complete without a real-life-Monday-story thrown in for good measure.

While I was photographing the Lego-type-case, Simon was having a melt-down.

Actually it was more along the lines of experiencing withdrawal. Withdrawal from the Wii to be more specific.

This past weekend he got a new Lego Wii game (Pirates of the Caribbean) and he definitely wants to play it non-stop. The problem is that when he plays for longer spans of time his eyes turn bloodshot (I’m not sure that he’s blinking normally while playing) and he has a really hard time transitioning away from the game when it’s time to stop. Really hard.

He was able to play for a very limited amount of time this afternoon after some pretty yucky behavior last night but that wasn’t enough. There were grumpy faces, loud exasperated sighs, growls, and quite a few whines. And some stomping too. Can’t forget the stomping.

SIDENOTE NO. 1 | I had one of those Mom moments this past weekend where I told the kids if they didn’t stop asking about/whining about watching TV we were going to get rid of the TV. The first thing Anna said was “watch the singing show?”

Up in his bedroom he laid on the floor for awhile and said things like “what am I supposed to do now?” while Anna rummaged in his closet and came out with the Playmobile pirate ship that hasn’t seen the light of day for quite some time.

SIDENOTE NO. 2 | I love that I’ve kept some of these toys that Simon’s not into any more because she totally loves the Playmobile people. She had these pirates doing all kinds of fun stuff – especially jumping from the tallest heights.

After saying “no” and “how about playing with all these Legos you have in here” and “want to help me put some of your guys in here” and “we’re not watching TV any more tonight” what felt like at least a hundred more times he laid on the floor a little while longer and then noticed Dr. Seuss’ Ten Apples Up On Top book on his bookshelf. He pulled it down, sat up and started reading to Anna and me.

YES! Forward progress. Something to celebrate.

And then it was time to go downstairs for dinner. To a non-preferred foods dinner (chicken and rice) which he ate over the course of an hour or so. He ate almost all of it while telling me and Anna a variety of different facts about Scooby Doo episodes and asking me questions I couldn’t answer because I don’t know all the ins and outs of the episode about The Creeper. (He’s going to love that link to the Scooby files.)

Dessert was chocolate ice cream. Definitely deserved after only one loud complaint when we first sat down at the table.

Later in the evening, after I tucked him in bed, he read me a chapter in Fantastic Mr. Fox. He’s definitely enjoying it – it’s a movie we both enjoy quite a bit. He’s especially loving the book because it included the words to the song that the town kids sing about Boggis, Bunce, and Bean.

After I kissed him goodnight I could hear him singing it to himself and giggling away.

And really, that’s the way I’d like to remember the day.


  • 51.
    Emma said…

    It is for this very reason (fits and meltdowns
    when it is time to quit) that we enforce a
    hard and fast rule with our game-loving 7
    year old: no wii, ds, etc Monday through
    Thursday (school afternoons and nights) and
    Sunday no games after dinner. That is the
    rule, he knows and expects it, and understands
    that on school nights he needs to find other
    ways to keep busy. But he comes home Friday
    running from the bus ready to play!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Emma – I’ve thought about doing this. On Friday after school and on Sat/early Sun is he allowed to play as much as he wants?

    • ….
      Emma said…

      Ali, in theory he can, which makes him feel good (“I can play as long as I want”). In reality, we are busy on the weekends so he will play in the morning when he wakes up, bring his ds in the car while we run around (and may or may not play, depending on what we are doing), and plays for awhile after dinner. It works, and the predictability saves much frustration on his part. Good luck!

    • .
      Ali said…

      Thanks Emma – lots of good things to think about here. Appreciate the input.

    • ….
      Debbie S. said…

      We do this, too. My little girls (6 and 8) are allowed to play as much Wii and DS as they want on the weekends to a point. If it is too much, usually defined by it getting annoying to the rest of the family or to me, I give them 15 more minutes then stop it. After they play outside, read, go play with their toys, and otherwise demonstrate that they are not obsessed, I may let them back on. Usually though, they get involved with something else and don’t come back to it. I feel like after a while they really needed help getting the monkey off their back.

      Since I put this rule in place, things are much happier and calmer. They read more, and I don’t get frustrated with their nagging me to let them play. I also explained that too much of it isn’t good for them, so they’ve mulled that a bit over time. Occasionally, the older one will now turn it all off and go outside when she starts to get “overcooked.” So they’ve accepted it, and it’s a really good rule for us. I’m wondering how to tweak the rule for summer…

    • ….
      Jenn Serrano said…

      ohhh, that is a fabulous idea!!!!! Thank You.

  • 52.
    lynne moore said…

    Thanks for posting the difficult part of the day as well as the good. And thanks for bringing it around the end in the good category. :- )

  • 53.
    Karin Podolski said…

    Creeeeepppppeeer…….creeeeeppppppeeeerr… of our favorite Scooby episodes…….:)

  • 54.
    Brooke said…

    Haha. I’m a regular reader of the Mondo Cherry blog (they are local to me) and I saw the white Lego storage idea too. It came the day after my husband found my son pulling things apart, to which he said to me “It’s time to get him some Lego”.

    Maybe you could try a cup of popsicle sticks with “to do” prompts written on one end. It could be something for Simon to turn to when he doesn’t know what else to do. And a kitchen timer for Wii time? We are far away from that stage – good luck!

  • 55.
    Kathy said…

    I think all mothers particularly here you about the gaming thing. My arguement was if they are on for 30 mins or 3 hrs when they get off they are cranky, irritable and unappreciative of the fact that they have just been on there for 30 mins or 3 hrs. Mine two are allowed to play for 1 hr on a Friday and we set the timer. They must play a game that both kids can play on the screen, child friendly and when the timer goes off, the xbox goes off straight away and they both say “thanks mum”. One week one of the batteries in the charger wasn’t charged so they had to take turns, they were carrying on before they started, during and after to which I said, no x-box next Friday – it’s meant to be fun, happy and a treat. James wants the star wars one now but I can see that it would be hard for him to wait a whole week to play it but that’s the rules. Personally I hate all those games and anti-social type of things. When we go to my friends place at the coast they can play 10 pin bowling on the wii which is fun.

    When we were kids there were no such things and we used to have to make up games like shops and we would make cash registers (kids don’t know what these are really) and we would pretend we had a supermarket conveyer belt and place food cans and boxes and play for hours. The modern world does have a lot of conveniences and a lot of draw backs. Thanks for sharing Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  • 56.
    Clare said…

    Ali do not get rid of the Playmobil. My three kids who are now 23, 19, and 15 loved playing with all the different kinds of sets. They wouldn’t let me get rid of it, they want me to save it for their children. I have it all packed away. Also I wanted to mention that we did not get a gaming system(Playstation,Wii, etc) until my oldest son was 10 or 11. This worked great on two levels, by this time they developed good playing habits and the maturity was there. I did not let my youngest play until he was 11, and he really had no interest because he loved playing with all things animal related.

  • 57.
    kristen said…

    Oh wow…we are having the same behaviors related to Wii these days…and specifically Pirates. But my 9 yo doesn’t have the game yet…so his meltdowns are over the fact that we won’t drop everything and go to GameStop. Sigh.

  • 58.
    ~Michelle said…

    Hi Ali! Thanks for keeping it real on here!

    I amnot sure if anyone mnentioned this but I am almost positive the photo display item is not a type case. This may be why you are having a challenge finding another one.

    I learned how to handset cold type back in the day (high school graphics program!) and cold type cases would not have all same size compartments. You simply need more space for e’s than you do for q’s, so the sections are different sizes.

    I wish I could think what your photo display item would be called, because then maybe you could google it and find a source for another one. But it is stumping me. It is definitely type-drawer “inspired.”

  • 59.
    nancy said…

    Hi! I realy love your stamp handwrithing and your ideas but i am a french canadien and i would like too know if some day you think making french word stamps. thank you

  • 60.

    i can really identify with this post.i always can identify with you…and that’s part of what makes you so accessible and inspirational. your kids are blessed to have you as a mama. wish we lived closer. :)

  • 61.

    p.s. LOVE your photo case. LOVE.

  • 62.
    Kathleen said…

    Thanks for being vulnerable and honest with us–what a beautiful picture of a risk taker—LOVE this.Thanks for showing us the real side of your life. Sometimes when I read blogs I think—”where’s the other side of life”—I am grateful to see the other side and it coming together so beautifully—all I can say is thanks Ali—it means a lot! THIS is the beauty of real life to me!

  • 63.
    JoAnn Motta said…

    my 7 year old gets has the withdrawl response to any “mario” game, except “mario cart”…..found out last week, he has the same response to “kirby”- it actually changes his personality the entire time he’s allowed to play (until I figure out why he’s so hard to handle and remove the game from our lives) it’s really terrible. We haven’t had that with any of the lego games though, and he’s quite a fan of those!

  • 64.
    Barbara said…

    I just had to laugh when I read this. It is wonderful to know that you are not alone. I have an 8 year old son with autism and I find there is something bad about playing too long on Wii. He LOVES it (especially star wars Wii) but too much equals a bad transition and yucky behavior. I am always happy when we can transition well.
    Here is to small accomplishments!

  • 65.
    Jen said…

    Have you tried setting a timmer for the Wii? Then give him time 15 more min…5 more min and so on. Just an idea to maybe try. Remember kids are only suppose to have 2 hrs combined tv/computer/video game time a day. I say that in the most kindest way ;)
    And I loved the lego guy orginizer. I dragged mine out and put my sons rock collection in it. Looks so cute.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      We did the timer today (and we’ve done it in the past) and unfortunately the timer seems to be almost as distressing to him as telling him it’s time to turn it off. We’ll keep doing it the rest of this week and see how it goes (stuff like this takes time for him to adjust to).

  • 66.

    did Simon did Early Intervention? My son was recently diagnosed with Autism and when I read your stories about Simon even with things like this make me hopeful one day he will express himself even not the way we want to :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Janaina – yes, he definitely participated in early intervention – starting around age 2.5 :) . There’s lots of stories about his development to be found in my archives under Simon: Early intervention has definitely made a difference for him.

  • 67.
    Teresa said…

    I’m glad we cut off the satellite here. We did go buy an antenna to get the local channels for news and we do watch a couple of shows still. I myself miss the cooking shows I watched but it’s not killing me. lol My daughter(8) still thinks the tv has to come on as soon as she walks in the door. I’ve gotten in the habit of telling her not to turn it on as we walk in the door. We don’t have a lot of trouble with Wii or the DS. On the DS we have more learning games than for fun games so I don’t really limit those as much. Jeopardy on the tv is a freebie.

    Thanks for sharing your day. It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one that has to go through the meltdowns.

  • 68.
    Corbi said…

    Ali, I just wanted to say how much I love your writing. You capture life so well and I am envious of that ability. Writing has never been a skill of mine. So many times I have heard, “You should write a book about your life with Connor.” (He is 18 and autistic) and I think, “yes I should.” but when I go to try it it is just so hard for me so Thank you for being able to put into words your life with Simon.

  • 69.
    Melissa Darnall said…

    My 8yo has that same Wii affliction that comes with Blood Shot eyes and a VERY BAD ATTITUDE. We DREAD of getting new games b/c all he wants to do is play it nonstop. I feel for you!

  • 70.
    Claire said…

    I am a great believer that a little boredom is a good thing. I think it encourages them to be inventive, and usually in the end my little boys manage to come up with some fun of their own despite the protests.

  • 71.
    Jennifer McQueary said…

    Hi Ali! Monday evening, WAAAY across the country in Virginia, the same things were going on here at my house. (only I think you win the prize as the mama that handled it better!) Those nights are toughies. My son has adhd, dyslexia and mildly pdd. Just want you to know hom much you inspire me…especially when I am feeling like giving up and my hard work is useless. I will come across a post on your blog and it will completely change my perspective and attitude. Thanks so much for helping someone that you don’t even know get through a bad day. I wish I could do the same in return.

  • 72.
    Laurie said…

    What a great, every day, mom story. And it was so nice to read about another mom who had one of those mom moments (sidebar #1). I’ve had a few of those myself. I’m always amazed, after the fact, that I actually said something that I know I’m not going to do. I’ve read all the parenting books; I know that you are not supposed to state a consequence that you don’t really intend to carry out. But there are moments, those mom moments, where the words just come out. Real life!

  • 73.
    Annie said…

    A friend sent this link to me for my nephew and I thought Simon might like it – it’s for a free 2 year subscription to Lego magazine

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Annie – we get the Lego magazine – he loves it!

  • 74.
    Judy Webb said…

    I am organizing and dressing up my scrap room. I still struggle with being lowest of the low talent artist, but it doesn’t stop me. Found this quote: “Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them. But do not let them master you.” Helen Keller. I admire her above all other women.

  • 75.
    Molly said…

    poor simon! It’s hard on everyone and harder for kids who don’t transition quickly. We got rid of TV about a year ago, and now they just watch an occasional show on the laptop. Helps with the controls but they still ask a LOT.

  • 76.
    Lauren said…

    Ali, Thank you so much for posting this. I felt like I was reading about my day, well actually last coupe of days. My son totally has Wii withdrawl and asks the same thing: “I don’t know what to do if I’m not on the Wii.” So I say to him: “How about we put together your legos?” I love the idea of the Lego people display. I have an old wooden Coke crate that I think would work. Thank you again for sharing. You are an inspiration to me!! Lauren

  • 77.
    Terri Torrez said…

    I’m so not showing the Lego guy shelves to my son. He already adopted the Lego drawer storage. We don’t have room for this one. :-)

    Thanks for sharing.

  • 78.
    Angie Hall said…

    Ali, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I, too, have to go a few rounds with Malcolm about that Pirates Wii game, which he bought last week, I think. I totally had to forbid him from playing with it Monday because, despite my multiple requests, he keeps dropping his pants and underwear right in the middle of the family room floor when he comes home from school! Arrgh!

  • 79.
    keri said…

    *sigh* completely understand. we go through this with our 4yro. and no matter the guidelines that we set for him, the tantrums are always inevitable. ours is usually with the computer. we tell him how long he can play for and we stress that once we tell him “time’s up” he has to finish playing. we make him repeat the rule. i reminded every five minutes how much playing time he has left … “15 more minutes, buddy …”, “10 more minutes …” and he always replies with a cooperative “yes, mummy”. but of course when his turn is finished he starts a chorus of “but’s and aw~’s” and throws himself on the floor.

    sometimes we just let him go, pay no attention to his behavior and he’ll shake it off by himself. other times, when i’m feeling the stress of the day, we’ll give him an ultimatum … he can either continue his tantrum, go into timeout and lose his computer privileges. or he can be a “big boy” and go play with something else. more often than not, he’s too heated to make the right decision but the 5mins in timeout usually calms him down.

  • 80.
    PattiP said…

    I so love your honest sharing of those tough times as well as your positive attitude. When our kids were young we monstly didn’t have a TV. Their friends were astonished. They got a lot of wpquestions “What do you DO?!!!!” They were very creative kids, rarely bored, and felt like they didn’t really have time for TV. I really think that our overly available entertainment makes for easily bored people (adults too), and I know from personal experience that it is vastly more difficult with children who don’t transition well.

    I very much appreciate your focus on the positive things in spite of the difficulties.

  • 81.
    TaraMcK said…

    Ali, how did you mount your tray? I have one here I have been wanting to use for something and Ian saw Simon’s and loved it.


    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hey Tara – I just nailed a picture hanger set (two small nails + the hanging piece) and then put a nail in the wall to hang from.

  • 82.
    Melissa said…

    You know, I totally love how they surprise us. Every once in a while Michael (almost 13) will surprise me and say, “Mom, I haven’t gotten a proper hug today”. It just melts my heart. I love it when he asks me to sit with him while he does his homework. I love it even more when he asks for help with something (even something as simple as how to print front-back on the printer) as he’s very much in the independent, becoming-a-man, pulling-away-from-mom place in his life. We have the same problem with the Xbox in our house, to the point that we have to hide the remotes so he doesn’t sneak down to the basement and play. And if you think Simon is stomping now ….. just wait! ;)

  • 83.
    lyley said…

    A dietician once told me that if I didn’t keep junk food in the house my family would be forced to eat the healthy stuff-its true. That doesn’t mean we didn’t have junk food-but we had to make special trips for those treats. I wish I had applied the same principles to electronic equipment-it caused endless negotiating and a lot of stress-looking back my advice is-chuck the tv and computer games-go out as a family to watch a movie or to the arcade to play games-healthy families are worth the effort!

  • 84.
    Kaly said…

    It’s nice to hear your real life stories. I know Simon is high functioning (I’ve worked with several very low-functioning autistic children and it’s definitely a challenge!), and often I assume you (and he) are able to handle things quite well. You always seem so on top of things, I also assume that things are running pretty smoothly at home.
    So here’s to real life!
    I’m glad that Simon had a turn-around. I had to laugh about the supper – my 2-yr-old also takes his sweet time at all meal-times. And he’s had a few rough days lately due to a cold. But when he goes down willingly for a nap and nighttime, saying “WAH-oo” (love you), my heart still melts!
    Thank you.

  • 85.
    tracey said…

    love seeing simon’s room! what color is the paint in there? (you knew someone would eventually ask – right! lol)
    thanks as always ali ;]

  • 86.
    Autumn said…

    I have a type case stored away to do something special for Samuel and I may eventually do the same thing you did. Samuel is too young right now for Legos but I can’t wait …

    And as a new momma, I have to admit that there are some challenges to having kids but the stuff they do that melt your heart makes you forget all the difficult times. Love that Simon ended up giggling away before he went to sleep. This is the kind of stuff that I love right now with my little guy.

  • 87.
    Jacqueline said…

    I do remember the ‘phase out’ problems with my (autistic) kids. I tried to soften it by mentioning 10 minutes before time that they had 10 minutes more to play. And then by allowing even some more minutes to adjust… :-)

    I also learned that when they had switches to make, it was much more helpful if I not just say what they had to do, but also started the activity.
    Even something like playing: helping to get the toys out, asking what they were about to do and then play along for 3 or 5 minutes. It took more time and effort, but it went so much smoother!

    Wishing you all the strength and luck that you need as a Mom – maybe today you can snap a picture of his great smile: a different side that is also a part of him. :-)

  • 88.
    Shannon said…

    was looking for a case to do the same and came across this on ebay:

    thought it was right up your alley.


  • 89.
    Jenn Serrano said…

    We also had a major meltdown in our house a few days ago… my daughter was super excited to get a small part in the school play. But as time has gone on, it has turned out to be way more work and a lot more boredom than she expected. She wanted to quit halfway through but we talked her out of it. Then on wed she did 3 performences and had only one to go for thursday. Wed night major meltdown how she did not want to do the last performance, so boring, I hate it, etc etc. Such a hard lesson but important lesson to teach and learn, commitment, following through on promises etc. Hours of crying and whinning and pleading. She finally decided to agree to do it…. and then did happily do it the next day. But WHEW i was worn out and was thinking to myself, ahhhh parenting is so so so much harder than I thought it was going to be, and sometimes I actually hate being a parent! Thank goodness for the awesome moments!!!! It can be easy to focus on the difficult ones, but I try to find the small and big good moments and savor them!

  • 90.
    Mbavhalelo said…

    I love your story,you gave me a thought of what should i expect from my son as a mother.Thank you for sharing this with us,it is a wonderful story and so inspiring.For more inspiring Story’s people can visit

  • 91.
    Marie said…

    Hi Ali,
    Can you please tell me where you got that poster that’s in the picture of Anna playing with the pirate ship, right next to her? Like Simonmy son enjoys those Star Wars “guys”. Thanks

  • 92.
    Margaret said…

    The lego display is such a cool idea! This would definitely save my bare feet from unwanted interactions with those little men :)

  • 93.
    Stephanie said…

    I feel your pain w/ the Wii. I have to limit our son’s time on it also. Too long and he gets a migrane…I think they just zone out and it’s difficult for them to transition back to reality after they’ve gotten sucked into the game, Mario or Lego Star Wars or whatever it may be. Ali, I love the idea about using the printer drawer for mini fig storage…I’m going to try that. My DH and I each have a print drawer handed down from our respective families. I used mine to create a picture arrangement after seeing yours in the DIY section of your site. I cherish it each time I see it hanging on the wall. Thanks to you again, now I know what we’re going to do with the other drawer. Our son is way into legos just like your Simon. He would love this idea. Thanks again for sharing your creative ideas here.

  • 94.
    carey said…

    Hi Ali,
    I’ve loved your type drawer idea since I first spotted it forever ago! And I happened upon one at an antique sale this weekend. Yay! So, I was curious if you had any tips/preferences on hanging them securely?
    Thanks in advance for your response and thanks so much for all of your inspiring ideas!

  • 95.
    heather starr said…

    hi ali! just stumbled across your blog from pinterest! love love love this! just bought one on ebay! thanks for sharing! i would love to know where to find those little hanging globes if anyone knows! :)

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Hi Heather :) . The hanging globe is from an old Pottery Barn Kids solar system set. You might check ebay for that too :) .

    • ….
      heather starr said…

      thank you!!!! :)

  • 96.
    Brandi said…

    Hi Ali-
    Could you please share the wall color of Simon’s room? I’ve been looking fir a color for my Son’s room & this looks great.

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