Tag Archives: decorating

Operation Decapitation

Before Hanukkah started, I showed Rose a big pile of wrapped presents in my room to get her excited for the coming week. Her reaction?

“Where’s my bunk bed?”

For months, Rose has been complaining about her toddler bed. Every night when she went to bed, she’d say “I’m just going to go POP! And Boing! And I’ll fly out of the bed and break it! I don’t fit!”

She was right. She didn’t fit in that bed anymore. I mean, she had a couple inches before the bed would actually explode, but it was definitely time for her to upgrade to a twin bed. We kept putting it off because even when you get the cheapest set of bunk beds ever, it’s an expensive investment. The beds require two special 6 inch thick mattresses in addition to the cost of the frame (and extra sheets and matching comforters).

We finally ordered the bunk beds without a discount on Black Friday and assembled them late into the night while the girls slept in OUR bed. We didn’t finish assembly until the next day and it wasn’t until everything was set up and perfect when we realized we had a problem.

Do you see the fan blades? I never got a proper picture of it, but the way the bed was set up the blades lined up perfectly to decapitate a kid if the kid was on the ladder on a hot day.

Brilliant set up, really.

Needless to say, we had to move the bed to the other side of the room in an attempt to prevent our children from dying.

There. Now you can climb the ladder without being decapitated. It’s the little things, really.

But since children are children, even the new arrangement wasn’t working great. I could just imagine someone clowning around at a weird angle on the top bunk and getting the top of their head lopped off by the fan.

The fan’s cord broke at the end of summer and we hadn’t replaced it yet. You couldn’t turn on the fan without standing on a chair and reaching inside the light cover, so despite the somewhat awkward placement, we briefly thought we were ok.

But of course, children are children and our kids couldn’t stop playing with the blades of the fan when they were sitting on the top bunk. We could picture some kid someday thinking it would be fun to grab onto one of those blades and swing around the room on it and kill themselves in the process. We had to resort to more extreme measures. This is what our once pretty white ceiling fan looks like now.
Gorgeous, right?

Buying an expensive bunk bed apparently means you also should probably invest in a new light fixture.

It’s going to be hot in their room in the summer even after we get clip on fans for their beds, but at least the kids can’t decapitate themselves anymore!



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The Coolest Swingset on the Block

Last week, something kind of crazy happened in our yard.
We painted the swingset!

The swingset is only about two years old, but the wood was showing a lot of wear and tear. The elements around here are pretty rough. We have a near-constant horrible wind situation that I believed help beat the stain right off our swingset. There is almost never a day where I don’t whine about the wind. I’ve nearly lost a child-filled stroller or cart in parking lots so many times because of the crazy local wind. You add snow, rain, sun and climbing children to the mix and the wood was balding fast despite our best efforts to water seal it.

This is actually our second swingset. We inherited our house’s “old” swingset when we moved in, but the wood to it rapidly decayed and it became unstable by our second or third year here. Considering the age of our house, the original swingset wasn’t old enough to need tearing down, but there it was. It was totally unsafe to use. Now we are overly paranoid about the life of our swingset’s wood. When my husband saw this year’s wear and tear on the swingset, he wanted to stain it instead of water seal it. I wondered if we might have more fun with exterior paint.
We debated a bit on what color to paint it before I had a vision to paint it freaking adorable. You’d be amazed at how few painted swingsets come up on google and pinterest. The lack of images made me worry that I might be insane. What if it turned out ugly? What if my neighbors thought it was an eyesore? All in all, it was a paranoia fest, but I went forward anyway.

Just to make things more crazy, I let the KIDS pick the colors (though I picked the tones) AND help paint it.
They loved helping, but they wasted so much paint and were so annoying, that I had to cut this short before what was supposed to be an enjoyable experience turned into me losing my temper. Lily was somewhat decent at painting, but Rose is only 3. Based on this experience, do not let a 3 year old paint a swingset if you don’t want to lose your mind. Seriously. Three year olds CAN NOT PAINT. AT ALL. She got more paint on her than on the swingset.

The project cost more than I expected. When you look at a swingset, there doesn’t seem to be much to paint. What I forgot to account for was the fact that every piece of wood on it has four sides. The thing also sucked up a lot of paint. We ended up using three full gallons of Behr exterior paint instead of the three quarts I originally brought home for the project.

Time will tell how the exterior paint does on the swingset, but for now I’m just enjoying the way it looks. And, much to my relief, most of my neighbors seem to like the swingset too. Unless they are just being nice. Their kids like it anyway and now a lot of neighborhood kids are harassing their parents for painted swingsets. It will be interesting to see if our neighborhood swingsets are all still bare wood next year.



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Rogue Thermostat

Ever since we moved into our house five years ago, I’ve been battling the poorly placed thermostat in our living room. Instead of putting the thermostat somewhere that makes sense like directly above a light switch, our thermostat is in the middle of the room at a height at which any picture you’d hang would overlap it. It’s caused a lot of decorating problems. Yes, you can have decorating problems.

I mean, really, who looked at this wall and thought that was a good place for a thermostat? Really!

For the past five years, whenever I tried to hang pictures, that stupid thermostat would get in the way. Every hung picture called attention to the ill-placed thermostat. It drove me crazy… but not crazy enough to pay someone big bucks to move the thermostat to a more logical place, even when we painted last year. At this point, if we had someone in to change the thermostat, it would be a large endeavor that would include repainting at least one chunk of wall. That sounds like a huge pain, so we’ve been living with the stupid thermostat ruining picture arrangements like this.


And this strange arrangement that we’ve had for the last YEAR and this is the only picture in which you can vaguely see it. I couldn’t figure out a way to make it look better.

I think this picture arrangement just called attention to the fact that we had a poorly placed thermostat.

The stupid thermostat was always right where I wanted to put something. I can’t get over how stupid my builder was for putting it there. Perhaps this is why my builder went bankrupt a couple years ago?

So this past week I was trying to create a better photo gallery wall on the wall that has the horrific thermostat. I couldn’t figure out how to make it work, when one of my friends suggested framing it to help it fit in better. I held a 5×7 frame up to it and realized it fit perfectly inside it. Another trip to Hobby Lobby later and all of my problems were solved. I totally framed that ugly thermostat.

Take that, thermostat!

Where’d the thermostat go?

I love it. It’s totally less awkward and pretty much fits in (or I’m delusional). I kind of love that I have a framed ugly thermostat in the middle of all these pictures of my family. It’s hilarious. Like “Here’s my daughter Rose when she was 8 months old, and Lily when she was 18 months old, and newborn Violet, and here’s my thermostat, isn’t it beautiful? I love it so much that I framed it!”

Sexy gallery wall shot!

I mean, I still wish that stupid thermostat was somewhere logical, but now I have this nice gallery wall with a conversation piece right in the middle. From now on, whoever comes over to my house gets a “LOL, look at my stupid builder!” story with the frame to prove it.



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It Matches! (Or Not)

When Violet was born, my mother was determined to make Lily a new fleece no-sew blanket to match her new room. Lily had slept under the pastel butterfly blanket my mom had made her for 2 years until she moved into Rose’s red, pink and blue heart and ladybug room. The pastel butterfly blanket stayed in her old room for Violet to use later as Lily dove into a bedroom of bright colors and slightly different bug decor.

It's either the cutest or loudest room ever.

Mom and Lily went on a hunt for an appropriate heart or ladybug fleece pattern to go with the room. We were hoping they’d find something like the fabric she used to make Rose’s blanket to match the room.

Under these very cute girls, you can also see the amazing fabric my mother found for Rose's blanket 2 years ago.

We were hoping she could find that EXACT fabric because it’s one of the cutest bug patterns we’ve ever seen.

Mom and Lily walked into the fabric store together and Lily went for this pattern.

“It matches my room!” she claimed. She was extremely excited about it.

Mom (and I, but I wasn’t there) didn’t understand how a pastel savanna pattern matched her brightly colored hearts and ladybugs room.

“It has ladybugs and hearts!” Lily insisted.

And so it does. Teeny, tiny pinkish ladybugs and hearts are hidden among those giant elephants, giraffes and trees. According to Lily, this is why this fabric matches her room.

It was not exactly what any of the adults had in mind, but Lily was so excited that my mom couldn’t say no to buying the fabric.

And so, Rose’s and Lily’s perfectly matched hearts and ladybugs room full of red heart blankets and ladybug patterns also has this pastel giraffes and elephants blanket in it. It doesn’t look as horrible as we anticipated, but it doesn’t match by a longshot.

Unless you are 4 years old. Then it looks absolutely perfect because it has microscopic pink ladybugs and hearts hidden on it.



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Toddler Feng Shui

After the recent acquisition of a toddler bed and a load of kid furniture from IKEA, Rose’s room was looking ridiculous. Both kid rooms were so full that we couldn’t even unload the IKEA furniture from the car so I could start building it. I drove around with that stuff in my van for a week. Operation Room Share had to take place whether Rose was sleeping well or not.

Rose's room seriously stayed like this for 2 months!

About 3 weeks ago, we moved the full-sized bed and crib out of Rose’s room and into Lily’s room and we moved Lily’s twin-sized bed into Rose’s room. I still had some IKEA furniture to build, but the girls were officially room sharers. Believe it or not, they were actually very excited about the change and Rose and Lily slept just fine in their beds for the next week before I finally got around to building some furniture. Rose’s bed looked like this.

The next week, I built Lily a wardrobe.

When I first saw the IKEA Mammut collection, I couldn't figure out if I was crazy or brilliant for wanting to buy it. I've decided brilliant.

Rose was ok the first few nights after we moved things around, but then she started showing up in our room a lot in the middle of the night. Since she was ok the first night the wardrobe was in the room, I didn’t think the new arrangements were upsetting her.

The next weekend, I built Rose a dresser.

If that quilt were centered, this would be the perfect ladybug room, if I do say so myself. And I do.

Within a couple days, she absolutely refused to sleep in her toddler bed anymore. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. We could say it was the changed furniture, but she really loved her dresser and the wardrobe. She seemed to like having Lily in there with her.

What was particularly odd about this was that she preferred sleeping in Lily’s OLD room. True, the beds in Lily’s old room used to be Rose’s, but it’s not like she was used to sleeping in there. She had LOVED her toddler bed when we brought it home and slept in it every night up until this point. I just couldn’t figure it out.

She wasn’t adjusting to things If anything, every night things were getting worse. She wasn’t even sneaking to other rooms anymore. She wouldn’t even touch her toddler bed anymore.

Finally, my mother suggested that maybe Rose felt insecure with her bed being perpendicular to the wall instead of parallel to it.

And so, I turned her bed back three nights ago. It looks completely stupid.

No longer Better Homes and Garden-worthy.

Not only did she agree to sleep in the toddler bed again, she pretty much jumped in it and refused to get out. She’s slept the whole night through in her own bed every night since we turned her bed back.

Apparently, Rose’s feng shui was off when her bed was perpendicular to the wall. In order to get a good night’s sleep, she needs to be parallel to it. I guess.

Or it’s just another case of Toddler OCD raising its ugly head.

The room looks insane now and I may need to unbolt the furniture to rearrange it again and expose the ugly drilling mistakes we made trying to get things right (we fail at tools), but Rose is happy and sleeping again.

I guess that’s all that matters, but my own amateur design eye flinches when I see the room the way it is now. I guess anything is better than what was going on when we had a full-sized bed, toddler bed AND crib in there and were stuck in limbo waiting for the room swap?



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The BED room

This is what Rose’s room looks like right now.

Clearly we are destined for a home decor magazine.

That’s right, her smallish room currently houses a full-sized bed, a toddler bed and a crib. It’s literally wall-to-wall bed in there.

I swear we aren’t crazy. Or maybe we are. You decide.

We want to move the girls into the same room, so when a friend offered up a free toddler bed I nabbed it. While Rose already had the full-sized bed and has been sleeping in it for months, the room will be a lot more livable with two girls in it if we have either two twin beds or a twin and a toddler bed. Getting a toddler bed means putting off purchasing a second twin bed for a year.

Clearly they will share the room as two kids in a toddler bed. They will get a TON of sleep this way.

The thing is, Rose isn’t quite ready to share a room. She’s been waking up lately. If we put them in the same room during this night terror/teething/whatever the hell reason my 2 year old is up at 3 am once a week streak we’re having, Lily will be waking up too. The big move-in is on hold even though all the furniture is here.

But moving some of the furniture to the basement at this point just seems like a lot of extra work. In the long run we will be moving the crib and the full-sized bed into Lily’s room because Rose still naps in the crib… and other reasons.

So we’re just on hold with this wall-to-wall bed situation of craziness.

Come on, Rose, start sleeping again so we can move forward with the furniture moving/room sharing plan!

Oh well, Rose is very excited by the princess bed and sleeps in it every night, making the full-sized bed just something that’s taking up half the room for no good reason.


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Clean Up

My husband keeps going upstairs with the girls to help them accomplish their favorite mess-making game. They climb in Rose’s crib or bed (she has both) and pile every single blanket and pillow in the room (and there are a TON of them) into it and crawl around and giggle and scream. It’s great fun for sure, but it’s a lot of work to clean it up because hey, that’s a lot of pillows and blankets to put back in order. I kept coming upstairs to put Rose to bed hours later only to discover I had a lot of work cut out for me before her bed was inhabitable.

The last time they played this “game”, I confronted my husband about the leftover mess. I said the game was great, but could he PLEASE put the pillows back when they were done. He said he didn’t see what the big deal was.

What’s the big deal indeed. That’s clearly no work at all. All of those pillows and stuffed animals will magically go back in their strategic places across the room. The bed will remake itself.

I took this picture to show him what the big deal was. He shrugged.

I hope he was mocking me. Because seriously. No.


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Baby Clock

For ages, I’ve been searching for a reasonably priced clock for Rose’s room. It had to have red hearts on it. It had to be less than $20. It had to not make a ticking noise. I was held up by the ticking noise thing for some time because nothing in any product description has ever revealed if a ticking noise is involved. Finally, in a fit of whimsy, I bought Rose a $10 heart clock at Meijer the other day. I don’t have a picture of it, so let’s pretend it’s this one.

It wasn’t this one. I wish it was this one. This one is so much more perfect, though I’m insulted amazon describes it as a silly gift. It makes me question my tastes. Not a good selling point. I mean, yes, red hearts and ladybugs are obnoxious, but I’ve convinced myself that they are adorable in Rose’s room. And they are. Right? Right.

So I put the wall clock in the cart and Rose AND Lily start freaking out that they don’t want the wall clock. They want the “baby” clock. Let’s pretend it was this one.

It wasn’t this one. I wish it was. This is why we need a smartphone.

I tried to take the clock out of the cart and/or away from a kid, but every time I did, everyone got very upset.

“No Mommy! I don’t want the mommy clock! I want the baby clock!”

The clock was for them so it was hard to argue with them. But I really didn’t want the baby clock. First of all, Rose doesn’t have a dresser in her room so we don’t have a surface where it could sit. Second of all, I knew if Rose could reach the clock, she would mess with it constantly and it would never tell the real time. I wanted a wall clock in there so I could see the time and Rose couldn’t mess with it.

But they REALLY wanted the baby clock.

“What’s your problem? Get them the baby clock! We need more clocks anyway.”– Dr. Toy Warden

I didn’t want to spend that much money, but since Dr. Toy Warden is the maker and manager of the money I listened and we came home with two heart clocks.

Guess what’s been happening with the baby clock? Has it stayed on top of any dresser/bookshelf? Has it kept the right time at all? No, because small children have been playing with the dials constantly. They’ve also been setting off the alarm constantly and giggling wildly over it. This is why children should have wall clocks only. But whatever. Best $10 toy in a while in their book. Loud nightmare in mine.

Aside from the noise the girls didn’t know the baby clock made, I still don’t get why the baby clock is so superior to the mommy clock, but either way mommy clock is hanging on Rose’s wall displaying the correct time.

Unfortunately, both clocks making ticking noises that are only audible in the kids’ rooms AFTER you’ve thrown out the packing and the receipt. The ticking noises are so loud you can hear them on the baby monitor. Why, clock makers? Why must these clocks make noise? Is it an evil plot to annoy people or keep them awake? Why?

In any case, we now have $20 worth of clock we might not be keeping. Oh well.


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After a lifetime of living with marshmallow white walls, last week I finally added a little color to my house by painting with something other than white. I decided to be brave and go with bold colors. I asked Lily what color she wanted the playroom to be and when she said red, I said bring it on. Playrooms should be FUN colors. I had just painted the living room lavender taupe and had the same color purchased for our (massive) hallway when I realized there was a problem.

The stairs have one wall with what would be a red playroom and another with a hypothetically purple hallway. They also sit across from what would be a purple wall. And they have a bizarre construction about them with little slivers of wall beneath the banister. What IS that all about? I never realized how weird that was until I was about to paint it.

If I used two colors, my choices were bleak: I could do purple on one side of the stairs and red on the other, paint the playroom purple (I didn’t want this) or paint the wall above the banister red and below it purple. Everything looked or sounded bizarre. I was cursing our builder (whom I curse a lot anyway) for making this design decision even though it was the first time it bothered me in the 4 years we’ve lived here. What were they thinking? (We didn’t buy directly fro the builder, otherwise I’d know exactly why my stairs are like this. An open spindled banister must be an upgrade, I’m guessing.)

And thus, because of this insane construction and my promise to Lily that the room could be red, I painted my entire hallway AND playroom red. Although I never realized how much I wanted an open wood banister with spindles and NO wall, it ended up looking great.

I guess from now on my 3 year old will be making all my decorating decisions… though I’m guessing from the toy clutter I trample through daily she’s always been my chief decorator.

Coming next week: Tales of a Seasoned (But Only Partially Successful and Mostly Disgruntled) Potty Trainer– at least a 2 day series including crudely drawn cartoons.


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