Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fall Decorating

I don't know about the rest of y'all but we had a pretty short summer and I've been avoiding fall like crazy. Right down to wearing my flip-flops in 50 degree weather. When I had to turn the heat on this morning, I finally gave in and pulled the summer decor off the porch and got started on changing things up for fall. I know lots of you love this time of year but I'm not a huge fan. Summer is my favorite season, hands down.

In fact, I struggle with all the fall stuff, in part, because I don't even like fall colors.  Orange? Ick. Brown? Allergic. Red? Ummm, no thanks. As a result, I'm a little challenged with fall decorating. But since Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend, I figured I better get going.

I swapped out my favorite summer wreath for this little cutie that I picked up a few years ago. Can't remember where for the life of

I found this lovely banner printable at Tomkat Studios.  How gorgeous is this set up? I pretty much love every single thing this gal does.

Tomkat Studios

I printed it off and hung it with some brown ribbon from my overflowing ribbon bin(s).


As you can see...the letters are supposed to be brown but my printer turned them this interesting shade of salmon. If anyone knows why it's doing that and how to fix it, let me know. I'm stumped Still looks pretty cute in the dining area, though.

On the dining table, I've pulled out my burlap Halloween runner and added some neutral accents and pine cones that I've had forever. I picked up that velvet pumpkin from Michael's clearance bin this week for 60% off, along with a lot of other neutral fall items that fit my need to avoid orange and red. Gotta love waiting til the last minute to greet the new season and get some good deals. Seriously, that velvet makes the pumpkin almost sexy looking. If a pumpkin can be sexy and all.

More of the neutral colored pumpkins that I've had these for years and used year after year. I've just added them here and there throughout the house to update for the season.

I usually change out this frame to have a seasonal printable but I just can't yet....this was from our last visit to Panama City Beach in favorite place in the whole world.  Nope. Not yet.

(Also, if anyone has some ideas about what to do with those dang TV wires, I'd love to hear it. I don't want to drill into the wall but I would love to cover them somehow. And now back to our regular program.)

The bar area also got some seasonal updates as well. I swapped out the summer plates and straws for some more pumpkins and this owl that I spray painted a few years ago for Aiden's room. I found it in a box in his closet when I was cleaning out the summer clothes last week. (Talk about shopping the house!)

And then I swapped the water bottles for the Halloween books....

I found this adorable printable on Bonfires and Wine and printed it off. Again, my printer messed up the colors going from the original brown to a sort of purple color but I kind of like how it turned out.

"Gobble Til You Wobble" is pretty fitting since that's definitely my motto on Thanksgiving. And at Christmas. And at lunch...well, you get the idea. I just like food. A lot. Don't judge. I was going to frame it but I kind of liked the way it looked on my clipboard so I left it there.

I dumped the lemons from the vase on the kitchen island and added some shredded paper and another of those gorgeous velvet neutral colored pumpkins. Seriously...where have these been all my life?

Another swapping of seasonal decor on the little shelf in the corner of the living room....

And there we have it. If I have to acknowledge fall, I'm going to do it in the most neutral and minimalist way possible. Now bring back summer.

Sharing here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Gray Paint Update

A few of months ago I went on a weird paint sampling bender in my living room and I wrote all about it here.  In the end (at least at that time) I settled on Revere Pewter because it's a nice greige and it goes with everything.  And then I discovered that we have a Sherwin Williams store in the city. Two actually. And that's where it happened.  I found a soft gray that I fell in love with.  No beige, no greige.  Just a pure, cool gray.  The color is Light French Gray and it's described as a light, cool neutral.

In the interest of keeping it real, by this time I had also tried out two other grays.  Which brought my testers up to a total of nine. 9!! This was getting crazy.

But the minute I put the color on the wall, it was love. I managed to get the main floor painted while the boys played around me. True story. And I'm still swooning over this color.

Here's the kitchen transformation....

The living and dining area....

You can see the old gold color on the stairway and landing just begging to be painted.

I loved it so much, I took it all the way upstairs to the second floor landing. I sigh with happiness every time I come through the door.  Huge difference.

And just to mix it up a bit, I painted the entry way in Dior Gray by Benjamin Moore.  A nice dark gray with a purple/blue undertone. Looks perfect in there and keeps it fresh and interesting.

The finished hallway....

Love, love, love both of these colors.  And nothing beats the feeling of coming home to a house you love.

Sharing here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

10 Adorable Boys Bedrooms

I've been insanely busy this past summer, working on a major new project (stay tuned!) and I haven't been posting as much as I used to. I also lost my phone cord and finally got around to ordering a new one. And the boys turned 2 and 3 in July. Can't believe I'm even saying that!! Where does the time go?

One of the things on the drawing board these days is updating Liam's room.  When he was born, I did up his nursery in blue and brown with a monkey theme. The color on the walls is Caribbean Blue by Benjamin Moore. The decal was from Etsy and I hand painted the letters on his wall.

This decal was from Toys R' Us.

The pics on the wall are just canvases with fabric wrapped and stapled to them. Easy and cheap.

When we moved to this house, I just hung up the pics and left the room as it was, knowing he'd be moving to a big boy bed soon enough. Seems like that day is finally here. We still haven't landed on what we're doing (I'm hoping for Pirates!) but I've been so inspired by the beautiful rooms I've been pinning on Pinterest.  Here are a few of my favourites....

Love the red and blues in this room from Beneath My Heart along with those industrial shelves.

Similar colors were used in this air plane room that I found on Etsy. I'm not a red lover but it really works with the light blue and navy.

This bright, shared room caught my eye right away at Project Nursery.  The hounds-tooth wall, the pallet bed with crib mattress and the colors are just fantastic!

More aqua and orange from Dream Big, Small Fry featured at Honey We're Home.

A Pop of Pretty transformed her nursery into a bright and colorful toddler room for her twins. I like the way the beds are pushed together...good for twins but my two would maul each other.  So cute, though!

I've been considering having the boys share a room since they're pretty good sleepers and all. Love this idea from Pottery Barn Kids... the placement of the beds is a great space saving idea. The names and colors are pretty awesome, too.

This bunk bed set-up, also from Pottery Barn Kids is pretty swanky, too.  Love me some navy stripes.

More navy stripes, this time on the wall from I Love That Blog!

Have I ever mentioned how much I love navy?  And navy and yellow together, just make me feel happy. Another gorgeous space and shared bedroom from  Home Stories A to Z.

This shared room, featured on Better Homes and Gardens, is my absolute favorite. It appeals to my love of color and my fondness for pirates and boats. A boat bed?? To heck with the boys, I want one for myself!!

For more inspiration, you can check out my Boys Bedrooms Pinterest Board.  Sometimes, the hardest part is just making a decision, isn't it?

Sharing these cute rooms here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Road Tripping With Toddlers

I've been a bit absent from this site lately and one of the reasons (the best reason ever, actually!) is that we took a little family vacation. Ok, we took a major family vacation. 20 hours in a car on a road trip to the beach. With two toddlers. That's right. 20 hours.

We've been vacationing in Panama City Beach, Florida forever. Liam has actually been there twice before this trip, including the month we spent there at the end of my mat leave. I was living the dream there, folks. It was fantastic. Here he is at 2 months of age, lounging on our balcony....sigh.

But when Aiden came along, I worried that we'd never travel again. I figured that as a single parent I could never manage two babies who then became toddlers on a 20 hour road trip. And I wasn't wrong. What made this work is that my oldest daughter, Emily, came along and it made all the difference. I can't do it alone. Not yet. So kuddos to Em for being the best auntie ever.

I have no real advice here because, let's face it, I mostly just wing it. But I do have my "live and learn" wisdom and I'm sharing it here.....Some of it's obvious, some of it is just what worked for our family.

I took an extra day off work before we left while the boys were still in daycare and was able to finish packing and load the van the night before we left. Suh-weet. Just had to throw in the overnight bag and off we went.

Contrary to all the advice I read cautioning parents not to slide backwards in milestone achievements, I say "let it slide". I haven't potty trained anybody because diapers on road trips are way easier than going the bathroom every hour. (Also, Liam looks at me like I'm crazy when I ask if he wants to try the potty). Liam gave up his "suss' (pacifier) at daycare a few weeks before our trip and he only has it when he sleeps. I gave it to him. For the entire drive. Both ways. My daycare provider is probably not too impressed but I figured since Liam is not in the most pleasant phase of toddler-hood (We're calling him our "threenager") do what you can for a bit of peace. I took it away again in Florida and at home....He was fine with this little "suss" blip.

Our grumpy, soon to be, "threenager"

I also left them in their pyjamas until late the first morning. We landed at McDonald's somewhere in Ohio. As an aside, we NEVER go to restaurants. I've tried a couple of times with a friend or family member to help. The first time Liam announced he was pooping to anyone who would listen. (He wasn't. He was just making friendly conversation.) The second time I was too tired to eat because I was trying to keep them from tossing drinks on the floor along with everything else they could get their hands on. So I was worried about disturbing other people but seriously, McDonald's is so kid friendly, you can't go wrong. And they love it. Because it was a Friday morning the place was full of seniors....the boys were fussed over and adored. They had more attention than they knew what to do with. Wish I'd been half that popular in high school. Or anywhere, really.

I woke the boys and hit the road at 4:30 am because all the Pinterest/bloggy advice said they'll go back to sleep and you could travel in peace. Well, they didn't. They basically stayed awake for 16 hours but for a really short nap. But they were interested and (mostly) cheerful for hours since this was so out of their routine. I never let my kids nap in the car so the fact that they didn't sleep much while travelling shouldn't have surprised me. We travelled 15 hours the first day and neither boy napped longer than 1 hour. Which is crazy because they sleep til 8:30 am every morning and nap 2-3 hours every day. Regardless, they were insanely and unpredictably happy for the first 14 hours. Then we all fell apart and stayed overnight in Cullman, AL. I was trying really hard to make it to my sister's house which is about another hour or so away but we just couldn't do it. This is why I believe in driving hard and fast the first day. The next day we had 5 hours to go and that felt less daunting. It also allowed us to linger at Waffle House, Liam's favorite place in the universe.

Popular advice also says to stop frequently and let the kids run around to burn off energy. Ummm, not my boys. They acted utterly ridiculous and crazed at every rest stop. In Clanton, AL, one toddler followed the beer delivery guy and got stuck in a walk in freezer while the other was behind the counter grabbing for cigarettes. This was after they all but molested loved the giant plastic M&M dude to death. The cashier was lacking in our world famous "Alabama Southern Hospitality" that day and we're no longer welcome in Clanton.

Let them run loose? Awww, hell no!

I'll be the first to admit that I don't much restrict the number of hours the boys watch tv at home. Don't judge. I do restrict what they watch but I'm single and tired. I can only do so much. Before we left I bought a dual screen DVD player and they watched countless Disney movies, happily in the back seat. I bought 2 new movies that they'd never seen before which helped although, in truth, they're not terribly picky. I bought this one from Best Buy. Love. This. Thing.

I packed a bag of individually packaged, moderately healthy snacks in case we couldn't find anything on the road. Truthfully, they ate a lot of fries and I didn't care that much because it was new and exciting for them to eat out. Or eat fast food. I knew we'd eat better in Florida because we rented a condo and planned to cook most of our meals at home. I also brought sippy cups. Lots and lots of them. Some of it we used and and some of it we didn't but it was nice to know that on the last stretch to Florida, where rest stops and gas stations are sparse, I could have fed them if needed.

Ok. I didn't use this one at all. I made impromptu play trays for the boys and attached them to their car seats with bungie cords. Seriously. I spent weeks browsing Pinterest for ideas for DIY trays. However, I ran out of time and energy and at the last minute I grabbed two thrift store wood trays that I'd been planning to paint and used those. The boys used them once for like 5 minutes. And Liam only colored on the tray. He does what he wants.

Truthfully, they were either way too young or way too happy with movies to make use of all the activities that I packed. Most of those things came in super handy when we ate out in Florida but the in-car trays? Not so much. They're still there because I think the boys will grow into them. And we're planning more road trips in the near future.

Easier said than done for old-school parents (aka grandparents raising grandchildren) like me. I love a good schedule for babies and toddlers because that's what has always worked for this family. When the boys were tiny I structured everything around naps and bedtime. So I was so nervous about disrupting the boys and what could happen. Because sleep is my favorite thing. EVER. But, aside from the first night in the motel where Liam kept giggling and wanting everyone to play with him, the boys slept beautifully, napped well (and even skipped a few) and all was well. AMAZING. I brought playpens for the boys to sleep in and they did just fine. Aiden actually asked to go to bed the first night in the motel, even though we were all roaming around and the lights were on. He just lied right down and drifted off to sleep (love this kid!) For the first time in almost three years, I didn't stick to much of a schedule and it was fine. I couldn't believe it. They napped, they slept well, and they went right back to their routine when they got home. I was so scared! One night, after a late dinner, Aiden fell asleep standing up. In the elevator. He slept til 930 the next morning and life went on.

There you have it....what little wisdom I gained from road tripping with two toddlers. My standards were really low. Basically we just wanted to make it there and back alive.

I can't begin to tell you what this trip meant to me. I have been single forever. FOREVER. When my girls grew up and moved out, I started travelling like crazy. I'd been Hawaii just a month before Liam was born and we were back in Florida when he was two months old. The hardest thing about accepting that I would raise two more babies at this stage in my life was thinking I wouldn't travel again. It might look a little different but it's clear that we can do it with some planning and help. Yay!

Anybody have any must have pieces of wisdom that they want to share for our next road trip in the fall?

Sharing this road trip adventure here and over at Serenity Now, Home Stories A to Z,  Cedarhill FarmhouseCoastal CharmJennifer RizzoBlackberry VineFrom My Front Porch to YoursSavvy Southern Style, and Salt Tree.