play room plans

so as i mentioned yesterday, i (we) have big plans for the play room. having an elementary ed background and deciding to home-school ava for this first year of ‘pre-school’ have really been the driving forces behind planning this space for the children. ever since deciding that this was the house we were going to buy (back in april), i have been planning the space out and hunting for items that will compliment our style and serve the room’s many purposes – all without spending a lot of money.

i knew from the start that we would get a ton of use out of a chalkboard wall, so we will be converting a wall into a magnetic chalkboard wall from about mid-way down. giving the girls ample amount of chalkboard space will allow for each child to utilize the wall without bickering (we hope), so i can be working with ava on her schoolwork, while isla doodles to her heart’s content in a separate area.

it’s amazing what you can do these days with a little paint. i’m sticking with black, b/c it will coordinate with the bookshelves we already own (ikea’s expedit line) and will go well with the pale wall color we have chosen (serena and lily’s ‘rain’). you can see from this photo i found on apartment therapy that the magnetic paint does actually work, and will end up costing us around $40 or so, depending on how far just one can will go.

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as i mentioned, we already own three of the black/brown expedit bookshelves from ikea. we had them in our living room and dining room of the townhouse. i love this line, b/c they are both versatile and inexpensive. you can use them vertically or horizontally. and the little cube inserts are so cheap! we own a ton of the black ones, but they recently came out with new colors too. i’m loving the teal and yellow… anyway, i plan to sit the shelves side-by-side horizontally. doing that against this longest wall, i’ll still have about three to four feet to spare. i plan to place the girls’ fisher price toys on top of the cases when they’re not being played with, along with the tv. (the tv only plays vhs tapes, btw. we did not run cable into this room, b/c i wanted to be able to control what they will be watching and for how long easily. i scored a ton of safe, appropriate vhs tapes at a secondhand book store in the area. they were selling for $1 a piece! i picked up prince of egypt, mary poppins, and aristocats, just to name a few.)

we have a little laptop desk that we had been using as a tv stand in our old master bedroom. our future plan is to mount a small tv above our dresser, so for now, our old tv is sitting on our dresser, which freed up this little desk (also ikea). i wanted a desk in here that was small enough to blend in. i wanted the other features of the room to stand out more than my little workspace. i like that i have a place to sit and read, write, or catch up on emails while still being able to interact with my girls only a few feet away. we have a little desk/counter in the kitchen, but i like being able to see what they are doing and be consistently engaged in their play activities.

aside from using things we already owned (like the furniture, lamps, curtains, and toy bins), we have also been able to control cost by buying little things here and there over the past few months. once i had the wall color picked out, i was able to find additional items at random times. i came across some adorable prints on etsy. i had my hubby pick out one for each daughter (based upon the girls’ individual personalities). they were all created by the same artist, so they go together, but each is entirely its own subject. you’ll love them! they cost about $14 each, which is a splurge for me, but i planned ahead and purchased them at an opportune time. the same goes for the canvas art i came across at tj maxx about two months ago. it went with our color scheme, and the saying on it is perfect for our family, so i bought it. it too was $14. the last accessory i have on my immediate list is an adorable ‘button’ rug that i found at ikea for just $39.99. if you know rug prices, then you know that this is a steal for a large rug. plus, it’s soft, which is key when designing a kids’ play space. i wanted something fun, colorful (but not in-your-face), and SOFT. it’s perfect, b/c it’s all three.

as far as a cute chair to go with my desk…i’m going to be patient and picky. i hate spending money on anything just to get it. i want it to be the right chair, at the right price, so i’ll just keep my eyes open while i’m out, and if i find that perfect, little seat at a price i can swing…i’ll grab it up! until then, my tush will be fine on a folding chair…

so…that’s where we’re headed in this room! i can’t wait to share our progress with you! the flooring should be completed by mid-september, so once that’s finished, i’ll be able to tackle some of the rest. here are those ‘before’ images again with my chicken-scratch all over them! ๐Ÿ˜‰ let me know what you think! let those creative juices flow and play design with me!

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welcome home!

we’re in!  we’ve been in our new home since tuesday afternoon.  it’s been a wild ride, but we’re in, and sorting through a sea of boxes.  i said to my hubby last night, exhausted, that i just packed all of this stuff!  now, i don’t want to unpack! 
i often think in pictures…life leading up to the move was like scrambling before an impending waterfall.  then, you’re over, and kind of floating along in the aftermath!  that’s us…floating along in the aftermath…i still can’t find isla’s clothing.  oops.
things have been a tad bumpy, but, like with everything else, i’m sure the kinks will work themselves out eventually.  both our washing machine and dryer went kaput on the first day.  not helpful when your babies are peeing and pooping all over the place!  i currently have two outfits just hanging out in vinegar water until i can’t get them to a washing machine.  both appliances came with the house and are on the old side.  the house itself is about twenty years old.  i take that back…it’s twenty years young!  hubs and i are going to make this place sparkle, right?!  right. 
i feel like we’ve already done so much.  well, the mister has already done so much.  we went and ordered a new, slimmer couch.  the old ones were really beat up and so bulky that they are destined to remain in the basement.  in fact, the sofa is too large to even fit through the door, so we’re just selling it.  the oversized arm chair made it all the way up to our bedroom, and we’re loving it!  it’s nice to be able to hang out in our bedroom without sitting on the bed.  it’s also the perfect nursing retreat.   
he mowed the lawn yesterday with an ancient push mower, because our mower wouldn’t work.  so after church he’s picking up a lawnmower.  we also need a microwave.  we tried, really we did, but we couldn’t live without the convenience of a microwave.  kudos to the previous owners – they didn’t use a microwave OR cable!  i had a useless cup of cold coffee and a recipe that called for melted butter, so mama threw in the towel after just four days!  i need a microwave.  i’d consider myself old-fashioned, but i don’t have the time to warm my coffee repeatedly on the stove.  and if you’re thinking, ‘why don’t you just drink it while it’s hot???’ i’d say, ‘wow.  what a novel idea!  haha reality is that i’m lucky to finish a single beverage by noon.
anyway, the list goes on…he put down new vinyl in the master bath, and then, we realized that the toilet doesn’t work.  luckily, we have two others in the house that do, but it stinks to learn we wasted that money on a floor that will be torn up once we do replace the toilet.
funny how we made our to-do list based on our budget prior to buying, but the house itself is giving us its own to-do list now that we’re here.  the only upside…you’re guaranteed about sixty years worth of project posts on the blog!  haha  slow ‘n steady wins the race, right?  ๐Ÿ˜‰
the girls’ play room is still at the top of our list, so i’ll be starting it soon!
here’s a sneak peek at its current state:
the girls already love it, but just wait until i’m done with it!  it’s going to be awesome.  (and done on a teeny weeny budget too!)  stay tuned!
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moving on

so, moving day is upon us. we have exactly ten ‘sleeps’ left in our current home. for those of you new to the blog, or that don’t know us personally, i’ll let you in on some of our more intimate details…

hubs and i didn’t live together before marriage. i’m not about to go down that path of stating why or why not – we just knew what we believed to be right for us, and we decided to spend our first nights together under the same roof as husband and wife.

our first ‘place’ was literally under the roof…he moved into my itty bitty attic apartment. poor guy bumped his head at every turn! he was so kind about it though. needless to say, we started house hunting immediately! it must have been a dry spell in the housing market around here, b/c we were faced with slim pickings. our realtor tickled our cramped fancies by showing us this brand new townhouse community in a desirable location. hubs was driving quite a commute to a nearby city at the time, and so being right off the interstate was so enticing. not to mention, we were still ten minutes from practically every family member, and i had about a three minute commute to the school in which i was student teaching. we spent those summer months following our wedding day in sweaty anticipation (my apt had no a/c) for our bigger, brand new home!

fast-forwarding here…we moved in on the first of october 2008, and it wasn’t until december 2009 that we welcomed our beautiful child, ava, into our lives. this is where it really begins.

the other day, as i was thinking about this move…this house…the life that exists here…i found myself dwelling on the ‘good-bye.’  i have been sooo eager to sell this house and move on. since finding out about eden, we have been in the ‘need a bigger home’ mode. we’ve hit it hard, and although we’ve been delivered a few blows and endured what has been a rollercoaster ride of offers and emotions, after having our home on the market for nearly four months, we are finally ready for the grand exodus.

and here is where my mind and spirit went…

in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Gen. 1:1-2)

now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen. 2:5-7)

and therein lies something beautiful that applies to what happened within these four walls that december. we became a family. we, by the gift of God, formed man in our own image. we prepared a place for this little being, but before her, without her, it was just a formless place, a room, walls, paint, a spare bed and a mess of boxes. then, she came, and God Himself, breathed life into that room, and like a miraculous breeze, He allowed more life to flow into bedroom after bedroom, until four babies later (one in heaven), we have a house whose walls are literally breathing. their rooms became alive when we hung that first piece of decor. our kitchen took its first breath when we put that ultrasound picture on the refrigerator…and like a child moving from milk to solids, the spirit of this home grew stronger and stronger with every kitchen dance party, birthday celebration, bath time, bedtime, late night feeding time…my goodness, our house is alive, and it seems we’re saying good-bye to a trusted friend and the keeper of so many precious memories.  when the new owner moves in, and he hears and feels the cool, kitchen floor creek under his feet for the first time, he’ll have no idea how i’ve come to expect saying hello to those worn boards almost every night for the past three years as i’m venturing in the dark to get a little person a bottle, a cup of milk, or a dose of tylenol.  

i wish, to make it easier on my heart, that our house could feel more like an object, a stepping stone, a place we simply occupied, but i can’t. i’ll never forget any of it. i can’t go into too many details, b/c there are so many, but we’ve brought babies into this home and we’ve lost a baby in this home. i could tell you exact spots in which i felt the first contractions of impending deliveries. i close my eyes an can see us reading stories to ava in her bed…catching glimpses of the girls playing on isla’s floor together…finding them jumping on our bed in the middle of the day while the afternoon sun floods our bedroom… i’ll miss that backyard view from that bedroom too. laying on the bed on a lazy sunday, staring out the window into a sea of trees or a screen of snowfall…i will miss that. i will miss all of these moments and places. i just pray and pray that the life in these walls follows us to those new walls and fills them up with the same warmth and love we’ve shared here.

i don’t know what the girls will actually remember as they grow, but i hope that everything they do remember is as fun and loving as we tried to make it for them every day.  

i hope you don’t mind coming down memory lane with me over the next week and a half as we wind down our time here…

the great thing about the internet is you won’t have to see how weepy these posts are making this mama!  ๐Ÿ˜‰