Hi and happy Sunday! I hope you had a great long weekend and got everything on your to-do list done so you can spend the Sunday enjoying yourself.
Deeming from the discussions in the blogosphere and on Instagram, it seems like a lot of you are growing tired of the picture perfect homes we're fed with and would like to get to see more real homes. I agree, it would be really nice to balance that feed of inspiration out a bit with homes where real lives are happening. So I'll do my part and invite you in to our home. It's far from picture perfect and full of real life blemishes, I promise! If you want to do the same I would love to see your home too - please leave a link in the comments below!
Last weekend, my oldest son Oliver and I spent most of the Saturday cleaning up his room. Usually he will clean his room by himself on the weekend in order to get his allowance, but since his room had grown brim full with school projects and leftover pieces from toys and who knows what else that was just stored there without anywhere else to go I had decided it was due for a real. good. cleanout. We went through all of his stuff in folders and cubbies and nooks and crannies and ended up with loads of stuff to throw away. Even though this is the cleanest we've seen his room in a while, I think there's enough realism in there to qualify for this post. Yikes...showing you what our home really looks like is just a little bit over my comfort level..but I think you can handle it so here we go!
To talk about kids rooms, there's something that needs to be said. There's a very big disconnect between the intentions that go into a kids room and the actual results. At least if you are the kind of parent who want to encourage your child to think for themselves, create and nourish interests and an appreciation for their own abilities. It doesn't matter how perfect your own vision is, your child is always going to take it somewhere else. You can certainly decide that it's going to be your way, but if you want to let them be part of it they will undoubtedly take some turns you had not expected.
Look at that picture above for example. You can kind of see what I had in mind there. The colors were that stormy blue, black and white. There was going to be some accents of brighter blue on the other wall and little splashes of primary colors to bridge from his toddler room. Far from as perfect as what you see in the post about "10 perfect Scandinavian kids rooms" or whatever, but at least there was a plan.
He loved the art I had gotten for him, and he wanted more. And so, capable as he is, he found some packaging tape and some Pokemon imagery and a Colorado Buffs poster he had lying around and added it to the collection. I hear him call for me from his room "Mom! Come and look!" and as I enter his room, there he is with the biggest smile "Tadaa! What do you think - isn't it awesome?!"
What could I say? There was only one thing to say. "Great sweetie, I like it". I should have been more enthusiastic, I know. But I don't think he noticed. He had added his own touch to his room and who am I to take that joy away from him? It's just like that time when I had found this antique victorian side table. It had been fixed up and was painted in a matte dusty blue color and had been sanded down in some places to look a little worn and I thought it would make the perfect bedside table for Oliver. He liked getting a bedside table but the next time I saw it he had taken the Bronco's duct tape he had and taped it ALL AROUND the table, covering every inch of it in the Bronco's logo. His smile again "Isn't it super cool?!". You can imagine what was going on inside my head for the first few seconds. But then I realized it was so dumb of me to think that a 6 or 7-year old or whatever he was then would appreciate a nicely renovated antique piece. It was better that he made it into something he liked. And next time I wouldn't spend the money getting something because I thought it was fancy. Better to get something cheaper that he could have his way with without me feeling that values were lost in the transition.
When we put Oliver to bed we usually read together for a while. Reading is not one of Oliver's big interests to put it mildly and so the only time he seems to be happy about doing it is when it's his last resort to avoid going to sleep, so that's when we take the opportunity. So I put up these IKEA picture ledges above his bed to keep a few of the (good looking) books close by. Oliver got very happy about them and immediately pulled down the books to make room for his soccer trophies and self portraits. Even happier, he pulled me in to his room and proudly showed me how great it had turned out. Man...if I had a dollar for every time I had my vision drastically changed by my kids we would be looking at an entirely different house by now! Of course, it's his room and he's the one who needs to feel at home in it so I never changed it back to the books on that shelf. Although I really want to. I really do. It might still happen...not sure how long I can stay strong :-)
When we turned our basement to a guest room we ended up with an extra bed frame that I initially wasn't going to use. But then I thought maybe I would paint it a dark blueish grey and use it for Oliver's bed. So until I had time for the painting project we put it up in his room. Since then I have thought many times that I will go ahead and paint it but every time I hesitate to paint over the warm wood and those flowers and so I haven't been able to do it yet. Maybe one day..we'll see. Or maybe not. For some reason I like it the way it is but it bugs me that I haven't finished it the way I intended. Not sure if that makes any sense but until I am clear on what I want I'm not going to paint it. Once it's done there will be no going back. Anyone else struggle with final decisions that way?
When Oliver started Kindergarten I wanted to give his room a make over to reflect that he had gotten older, and I also felt like he needed a place to keep his most valuable/fragile toys where his younger brother couldn't break them. I really wanted to get a String shelf, you know the classic danish system shelf..but who on earth can spend that kind of money on a shelf for a kids room? I don't know..I really encourage spending more on great design and something that will last and you will want to use for many, many years. But I really struggle with paying that much money..for anything, actually. And especially for a kids room. So we went with the Elfa system instead. It's super flexible, quite affordable and similar style. So far so good. Now, I'm going to tell you that this piece of furniture is by far the least used piece of furniture we have. Other than the dust bunnies running around, there's not much action going on with that desk space. And the toys that we kept up there were never used. See, Oliver is a careful guy and for a couple of years now he has been scared of being upstairs by himself. If he needs to get something from his room, he needs one of us to come with him. So you can imagine how easy it is to get him to go up to his room to do his homework right? Yup. Not happening. He will bring things with him upstairs though when he goes to bed or when one of us is doing something upstairs, and anything in his hands at that point usually ends up on one of these shelves or on the desk which is why it was a mountain of dust and junk when we got started cleaning it this weekend. My strategy now is to keep as little stuff as possible up there which is why the shelves are pretty bare.
I'm so glad he still wants to have his soft buddies around. He was never one of those kids who played a lot with stuffies and he never had any that he needed to sleep or anything like that, but he still likes his crew to hang around. I like the playfulness they add.
That black and white elephant was the first thing I bought for Oliver when I was expecting him. It was waiting by his crib when we brought him home from the hospital :-) That gives you an idea of the nursery style. What great times that was...all the time in the world to prepare for a new baby, I was sewing curtains and crib bumpers and sheet sets and I was painting and god knows how much time I spent just thinking about the color scheme for this kiddo's first room! Not quite the same thing with the second one, hah!
This lion is super friendly. He is usually placed by the closet doors so Oliver can stand on him to reach his clothes in the morning.
I like this shark mobile a lot. The colors match the room first of all and they add a little big boy excitement to the room. Oliver got this from an older friend who had found it in his drawers and had never used it. Sometimes the things we end up loving the most are things we never knew we wanted..!
That's all I have to show you from this room - next time I'll show you my little guys room. I learned a few lessons from Oliver so the second time around I went a bit more ... minimalistic...I guess you might say :-) Check back in to see it!
Are you on Instagram? Follow me there and I'll let you know when that post is ready. Let me know in the comments below if you're following me there and I'll make sure to follow you back to see what you're up to! And don't forget to leave a link in the comments so we can see your home if you have a blog post for us!