Monday, April 30, 2012

REAL kids' rooms

A post in which I share my opinion. (Hopefully, graciously).

You know there's this big trend right now toward sophisticated kids' rooms. Nurseries with chevron and designer prints, little girl rooms with glam mirrors, gilt cribs, etc. It's all in answer to the years of overly themed kiddie rooms. Kids' rooms these days don't have themes, and the overall aesthetic of the rest of the home is flowing over into the kid spaces more and more.

I've spent a decent amount of time looking at kids' rooms over the last year. Room tours on Apartment Therapy. Pins on Pinterest. I've read books. Lots of grown-up nurseries and stylish, "designed" bedrooms for children.

And I've thought about this whole idea of ditching a kiddie look in favor of more stylish spaces for children. Kind of a lot.

I gotta say it.

I'm not a fan.

I understand why someone might choose that direction for their home, though... I do. And, really, many of the kids' rooms out there right now are knock out gorgeous. They're so well done! I see the appeal. But here's the deal. Honestly, the only way I could have an of-the-moment-ultra-designed kids' bedroom like those in my own home, is if I ignored what my kids wanted. Basically demanded it. Disregarded anyone else's preferences. Made it happen... my way. Like perfectly arranged bookshelves that I obsess over on a daily basis. Like a recently vacuumed room I won't let the kids walk on. I know that's not true for everyone. Some children want the glam, grown-up room. I don't want to insinuate that every trendy, chevron-bedecked kid's room has some uptight, type A, overly particular momma behind it. That's not the case. But, it would be true for me, and - because of that - those kinds of rooms give me a negative impression. They feel uptight to me.

When it comes down to it, our choices for our homes are just so personal... what communicates one thing to one person easily communicates something completely different to someone else. A single room can stir up totally different emotional reactions in different people. Like colors. Some look at yellow and think it's happy and cheery, while others look at the same yellow and think it's loud and tacky. When I look at a bedroom... designed for children... I want it to look like it's obviously for children. Not for adults. Regardless of how well it's done, how beautiful it is, if a child's bedroom doesn't have a sense of imagination, of play, of childhood about it... it just doesn't grab me.

I like order. I like symmetry. I like traditional, classic foundations. But, more than I want those things, I want my children to really love their rooms! And to look back on those rooms fondly as an especially sweet part of their childhood. In decorating their rooms, I want to show them that their preferences, their personalities, their individualities matter. That what they think is beautiful has worth.

Now, it's not all pie in the sky. I know that. Reality comes in and I do have to guide them. We have to make choices that will last for a while. At my children's ages, neon orange walls probably do not have staying power. Maybe I help them work the neon in some other way. We need to try to avoid scenarios where someone totally dislikes their choices a year later. And, since all of our children share rooms with one another, I need to mediate between what often prove to be two very different visions for a single bedroom. I also need to be a good steward of our time, money, and other resources while I'm attempting to steward the children's plans and ideas. It has not been easy to try to hit this balance so far. But, I feel like I'm learning so much from the process.

I have a few images I've been referencing. But, "real" kids' rooms are hard to come by on the internets. Everyone stages rooms into oblivion for photos. There have been, happily, some exceptions. I want to share a few that I feel really get to the heart of what I mean. If children didn't have direct say in the look and feel of these rooms, it seems to me that at least the adults making the choices were very sensitive to what would naturally appeal to children.

Cozy. Homey. Childhood.

This summer, I'm really hoping to make great gains in all three of our kid bedrooms. I'm guessing some of my choices would not have made sense to you without this post. Especially given the little sidebar list of things that define our style. I'm not going to lie, my style is sneaking in there. I think it's inevitable that it will. But, my children have different senses of style, and those are - I really hope - going to come through, too. They don't necessarily mesh with the whole sidebar dealy. One thing has already become very apparent... my children don't care much for neutrals :)

Found this last one after I originally posted this. Pinned with the caption "a real room". Made me smile, because it's so true. But, it would make me crazy if that were my child! ha ha. I have to draw the line somewhere! I haven't followed the link, yet. How much would you bet that's in Sweden or Denmark?

Anyway. Do you all have any links to great, "real life" kid's rooms? Not too so-so, now. Not too picture perfect. I would *love* to have some more resources!

And what do you think of the photos in this post? Too wild looking? Too chaotic? Would you let your kids choose Pepto Bismol pink? What are your thoughts on the highly-designed vs. real life kids' rooms?

Friday, April 27, 2012

a little something for the dude

This doesn't reeeeeeeally warrant an entire post all to itself.

It's just a quick project I did for Little Dude this afternoon.

Another addition to the bedroom he shares with his sister.

Not this sister - this is Shug. Dude shares his bedroom with one of his other sisters, Punkin.

Shug was just jumping in the photos and talking smack to him.

So, he pinned her.

Anyway, I was taking these pictures to show you the bottom of the top bunk there. All flowery. Dude sleeps in the lower bunk, which means he looks at that Mattress-y Bower every time he gets in bed. I thought that would probably be worth changing for him.

I had an idea of what to do, but I couldn't find the fabric I wanted.


Etsy came through... again. And made me the coolest mom ever.

This is Dude explaining how the Millenium Falcon jumps to hyperspace. In case you were wondering.

Sorry. Not sure exactly which ship he's personifying here.

Or here.

But, apparently, they are all awesome.

I asked him to give me two thumbs up, and this is what he gave me instead...

Sweet boy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

soccer mom (ETC)

I think I've already mentioned that four of the five children are on soccer teams right now. Baby decided to sit the season out. Thankfully, Shug and Punkin are on the same team. That simplifies the schedule immensely. And this is rec soccer... no traveling. That's huge. It's all teams from within our city league. Lower key, but still fun and great for the kids.

Soccer mom. Posing like a cheeseball in my folding chair on the sidelines. Photo courtesy of Punkin, age 7. That's my ride right behind my head.


It doubles as a tent on rainy game days. (This was fun... at first.)

Sam is all about the games. Rain or shine, man. I watch, too. I do. I just watch a little less... intently. And less... in the rain. Half the time I'm wrangling the other kids. I have a general idea of the score. I try to watch my own kiddos bouncing around on the field. But, I don't really have a good handle on the actual rules or strategy of soccer. Not really a sports person.

But I love my kids.

Sam loves his kids, too, of course. Bonus for him that he is totally into soccer for soccer's sake.

I get distracted and start playing with my iPhone. Wake up, Baby!

From time to time, I look around and figure out what's going on. You know, yell out a "good job" or "woo hoo!". Like I'm all engaged.

I love that they love it.

And I love them.


True to Soccer Mom Form, I keep a big blanket in the back of the van, water bottles, and peanut butter cheese crackers. Especially for my boy. The first few soccer days, I didn't have enough food stashed away. Soccer Mom Novice Alert. Dude had total meltdowns on the way home more than once. Complete spazzo city. This child needs food when he needs food.

He's a different boy with a little sumpin sumpin in his tummy.

Last night, Dude had a game (undefeated so far!) and Shug and SweetP had practice. Tonight, Punkin has a game. Friday night = no games! So, Sam and I are going out for sushi. My sister's baby is almost 8 weeks old now, and she's ready to start date night swapping again. Hallelujah to that one. Saturday... four games. Starting bright and early at the fields by 8:30am.

It's all been worth the hustle and bustle so far. But, maybe you can help me out. I have had two scheduling issues since the season began that we're still working through. Our practices/games usually start at 5:45pm or 6. This will be our schedule until the beginning of June. I would really, really like to still eat dinner as a family at least most nights, but Sam just can't get home before these times. So far, I've been giving the kids really big snacks before we leave the house and then trying to have a quick idea for dinner to eat all together when we get home... it's pushing 7:30 some nights. The most successful dinners so far have been a baked potato bar, chicken salad with cut up fresh fruit and veggies, and Mexican chicken that cooked while we were gone and then I shredded it and we had chicken soft tacos. BUT - I'm usually hurting for ideas. Calling all soccer moms... and volleyball moms, and basketball moms, and track moms, etc. How do you do family dinners in the midst of your children's sports seasons?

And, the second dilemma is, how on earth do you get to the grocery store when every evening is full??? This has been an unexpected glitch for us. By the time we get home, eat, and get the kids in bed, it's around 9. It's dark by then, and I'm not really into going to the grocery alone at night. As I type this, Sam is going for me. He's at the grocery store at 10:45pm. Saturday is booked up tight. Not sure there's a better way, but if y'all have ideas, let me hear 'em!

That's all. Thanks for stopping by! Linking up with Emily :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

8 months to the day

(And then her big brother photo-bombed our little portrait session).

Glad he did.


Friday, April 20, 2012

the weekend

Hmmm. Blogger changed things up on me. It all looks... different.

I don't like change, Blogger.

Why do you have to mess with me?

Thanks, guys, for the sweet comments on the shelves and the pictures with Baby. She's such a little doll. She'll be eight months this coming week. Eight months! Want to hear something really crazy? When our oldest child, SweetP, was eight months... we found out we were expecting her sister. Wildness. It didn't seem so crazy at the time, actually. But, I was looking at Baby today and thinking... man, 16 months apart is nuts! And, no. This not all leading up to "news". Baby's still the baby.

So, what are you going to be up to this weekend? Tonight, we're going to watch some friends in a play, then soccer, soccer, soccer, all morning and early afternoon Saturday. I'm sure we'll get to something on the room. But, this soccer schedule - although totally worth it - is really eating up the weekends.

Last weekend, Sam took Friday afternoon off - just to do some extra work on the house.

He finished painting the last wall and wrapped up the second coat on the last of the trim. (Paint is SW "Buoyant Blue").


He also sanded down all the shelves for both closets.

There are a lot of shelves.

Primed them, and painted them late Friday night. I know. He's such a keeper.


He got quite a lot done. We still have to paint the opposite sides of the shelves, stain and poly the closet rods, prime and paint the closet doors, choose and install lighting for inside each closet, and switch out the dingy old cream-colored outlets for white. And then, they can move in.

I asked. They don't want to move in until it's really, truly done.

Such patience.

I'm hoping we can grill out this weekend, but we'll see. And I would love to get around to painting my nails. It seems like it's been forever. I don't like to mess with it when I'm painting a lot. What's the point? But, I really liked the bronze-goldish color I bought last fall. I'm in the mood for a little metallic nail action.

Do you have anything exciting going on tonight? Later this weekend?

I just realized it's supposed to be raining here on Saturday. Maybe that means the games will be cancelled. More likely, the older two will still have to play, and the rest of us will crowd into the open trunk of the van to watch them get sopping wet.


Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

crazy busy

It's been a crazy busy week.

But, not too busy for a little Embrace the Camera!

Happy Embracing, everybody!