Friday, August 12, 2011

Kids Room Swap

Everyone who knows me knows that I love a good home improvement project. The pics in this post are to show what I've got myself up to earlier this year: swapping the kids' bedrooms.

When I was pregnant with Isla, we didn't know whether she was a boy or a girl, so we waited to do much to the kids' rooms before knowing what the eventual dynamic would be (two girls or two boys). At that time, Edie was in the smaller of the two kids' rooms, and Owen had the slightly larger one. Once Isla was born, of course, I realized that at some point the girls should have the larger room (since they have to share) but I was too busy and tired to tackle it immediately, so I crammed the girls into Edie's already-smaller room, and figured I'd wait until I really wanted to make all that effort. (And I do mean CRAM — Edie's old daybed took up nearly the entire wall opposite the crib (which we had to pull down from the attic), leaving NO room for her beautiful dresser — which meant it got relegated to live INSIDE the closet.) Both rooms would require a major overhaul, so I wanted to make sure I was ready to deal with the mess.

In the spring of this year, I decided to tackle the project, first basically emptying Owen's room of everything except his bed and dresser (and piling ALL that stuff on the floor of my own bedroom, up against the walls!) and began patching and painting, choosing a soft, buttery yellow for the girls' new domain. After a couple of weeks of mess, the girls' room was complete, and they moved into it, all excited about their girly retreat.

Owen's room would have to wait a couple more months, so there was a period where he lived with his furniture in a pink and white bedroom, because circumstances and outside events meant we had to wait just a bit before finishing the project. There was a deadline, though: I knew that I would be having my dad out in late June to build a custom loft bed that would really maximize the space in such a small room, so that meant I wanted to have the room painted and ready before Dad got here. So sometime in mid- to late-May, I began working in Owen's new (old) room (see below), painting the white wainscoting a warm taupe and wallpapering two of the walls with an awesome surf-inspired grasscloth (which I had actually purchased years before with every intention of installing it Owen's OLD room and never got around to it — of course, now I'm glad I didn't, since it's so perfect here!). The result is a super-cool surfer boy's domain that Owen just loves. See below for pics of the rooms, in several of their incarnations:

Room 1: Owen's New (Old) Room:

Owen ORIGINALLY had this smaller room as a baby, hence the pastel green color on the walls. In this picture below he had just turned 2 and had just gotten his new BIG BOY BED (which is actually one of a set of bunk beds that were my mother's when SHE was a kid, and then my brother's when we were growing up — I painted them dark blue and distressed them for Owen. Unfortunately, I did not take pics of my refurbishment project for this bed). I was also about two months pregnant with Isla in this picture.

Below is how the room looked after Isla was born (Edie's daybed, not seen in this pic, was across from Isla's crib at this point) — this is also very similar to how the room looked when EDIE was in the same crib.

Here is a different view of the room, after we moved Owen's stuff back into it this summer, but before we had gotten rid of the pink walls...

And here is Owen's new loft bed (custom built by my dad — I helped — based on this one I found online). Notice the new taupe paint on the wainscot and the grasscloth wallpaper, along with the awesome limited edition signed Eddie Vedder ukulele tour poster given to Owen by Uncle Chris.

Room 2: Edie and Isla's New Room

(Somewhere I have pics of this room from when it was an office, but I won't bother showing you those here.) This "before" pic is actually from when Owen FIRST moved into it (before I set up his bunk bed when he got a little older) — I can't seem to find a pic of it with the bunk bed set up! Anyway, you can see the before pretty well here. Note the blue (single) bunk bed, and watch for it a little later...

And here is the opposite wall "before"...

Here is that same wall, now, with Edie's bed and Isla's crib side-by-side. (Note Edie's bed... look familiar? It was Owen's old bunk bed, the blue one, refurbished by me a nice bright white. Next I have to finish refurbishing its twin so that when Isla is ready to move out of her crib in the next year or so they can either be set up like this, side-by-side, or possibly as bunk beds, to give the girls more room to play.)

And here is bookcase wall, with the girls' dresser fitting beautifully into the space next to the book shelves and no longer relegated to suffer hidden in the closet. (Please ignore the messy shelves... The girls need to filter through some of their stuff.)

All three kids are happy in their new rooms, as am I — as much as I love a home improvement project, I love them even more when they're all finished!

Now, what can I work on NEXT? Hmmm....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Monthly Newsletter — Month 20

Beach Baby, originally uploaded by JenSig.

Dear Isla,

You are now 20 months old, and are just so full of new tricks I don't know where to begin! With Owen and Edie, I always liked to say that we never had "terrible twos," instead it was more like "terrible threes." The independent antics and acts of imperious demanding didn't really start young. But with YOU — you are already well into what I would call your "terrible twos" — and you aren't even two yet!

That is not to say that you aren't still an inherently sweet and adorable child — you are, very much. When you give your sweet little kisses and come to me for cuddles, you are just about the sweetest baby ever. But you have also begun to perfect the art of The Tantrum — big, walloping displays of anger, impressive and terrifying at the same time, due to their volume and severity.

I have heard it said that the youngest kids in a family learn to fight early for what they want, because the older ones will always stake a claim first, being bigger, and I would say that this is true for you. Woe to the older sibling who has decided to take something that you wanted for yourself — woe to us ALL, in fact, who must listen to your shrill shrieks and see the way you flop onto the floor, facedown, kicking your feet in defiant anger.

But I don't mean to make it sound as though this is all there is to you, because that is SO not the case. You are sweet and curious, a mischievous imp with a delightful sense of humor. Your vocabulary continues to grow, and you enjoy singing songs, though most of the time you're just following along with the beat and the inflection, while not actually singing real "words." And you definitely get worried if someone in the house is sad or upset, turning into a little mother hen, clucking and patting your away around the person with a look of intense sincerity on your face. It is these moments I truly try and capture in my memory, the sweet delight that is YOU.

I love you, baby girl!
Love, Mama