Friday, August 25, 2006

Bedroom Re-Do

Here's the promised post about the kids' "new" bedrooms. With school starting, and different soccer schedules for both of the boys, my already sparse blog attendance might get even more sparse for a little while. But once we settle into the new routine I'm anticipating lots of nice time at home with my little girl. Zöe and I have never had much one-on-one time at all (although the boys play together so intensely that sometimes it does feel as though they're not really here, but rather off together in imagination land) so it's really going to be a treat to have some time just with her. This will also mean extra cleaning time, reading time, craft time and computer time because when Zöe takes her'll be Mommy Time! This is not to say that I'm not going to miss those big, active boys. It's so hard to see them go. Jack is an old pro at school now, but I can hardly believe that my little Max is beginning full-day Kindergarten. My, oh my.

So anyway, several weeks back Jack informed me that he felt there was still dust in his bedroom from when Nana (my grandmother) lived here. My mind raced in several directions when I heard this, and thankfully this was one of the very rare times when I actually processed a thought or two before speaking. First, there was never a speck of dust in this house when my grandmother lived here. Ever. Second, while I may enjoy doing almost anything before housework, our house is not dirty. It was then that I realized what he meant. The paint in Jack and Max's bedroom really needed sprucing. And while I loved the rich, chocolate brown color my grandparents painted it like, thirty(!) years ago, it also needed a change. So change we did. In addition to painting it with Pratt & Lambert's "Briney Deep" we debunked their bunk beds, got new sheets, duvet covers, lamps, bedside tables, and totally organized the overflowing mess of toys that was threatening to smother them in their sleep.

Such a remarkable and profound change! The first night Max ran around kissing all of his new things, and jumping for joy that he now had a "real" bed. Apparently the poor little guy never felt at home in his cave-like bottom bunk dwelling. So now it's fantastic! They play up there all the time, instead of always bringing their toys down to the living room. They sit on their beds, alone and together, and look at books. They hang out and talk. I couldn't be happier to see them loving and enjoying their space.

And in the interest of fairness, but mostly because I was totally excited to decorate, we re-worked Zöe's room too. She was so fascinated by the boys "new" beds (she really, really wanted to sleep with Max that first night...) that it seemed like a good time to move her into a Big Girl Bed. With a new bed, sheets, duvet cover, dresser and paint (two shades of pink...Pratt & Lambert's "Ballet Pink" and "More Than Pink") we were able to transform Zöe's little space into a glittering jewel box.

She digs it in a major way and has done marvelously without the crib. I end up sleeping in there with her if she wakes up in the night (which can be often) but it's sweet and cozy, so that works for me. Incidentally, we ordered Zöe's bedframe online and she was soooooo excited that she carried around the printed-out photo of her new bed for days until it arrived. And boy does she have that girlie squeal of excitement down pat. Zoiks! My eardrums were not happy, but I was. It's worth all of the hard work to see the kids proud and excited and enjoying their bedrooms.

We're coming up really soon to being in our house for one full year. That's funny, because their room re-dos were right there at the top of my list when we moved in. Oh well, better late than never. Enjoy those last few late-nights of summer vacation everyone, and best wishes for happy first days of school to the students in your lives!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Show and Tell

I've been meaning to show these crafted items for a while now...but, you know. And as Eric's mom is visiting and there's really no time to post, this will be photo heavy today. I'm loving this patchwork business. The bag above went straight from my sewing machine to my good friend Holly. I have four more cut, but have yet to find the time to make them. They are so pretty and not very hard but they take forever to complete.

This bag took even longer to make so I'm keeping it, darn it! Turquoise and red, some summertime goodness.

And last, here's our Lucy from Hillary's put-together book. The kids want way more of these, Jack and Max included, so I'll have to figure out a boy-version. I've seen this done on Hilary's Flickr site and will definitely be giving it a whirl. It was so much fun to make...the ideas for new ones are swirling around as I sit here.

Next post: photos from the Kids Room Redecoration Summer 2006. If I'm not in a fatigue-induced catatonic state by then, that is.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fun Times, Oregon Style!

Gosh. Such a very, very long time since I last posted. It's summer. I have three kids. I'm stumbling into bed at night. My skin is tight and itchy from the chlorine at the pool we visit daily, my fingers perpetually stained from snow cones and berries. The house is a mess (and I'm not just saying is a m.e.s.s.), and I don't think my hair has been out of ponytails in weeks. But it's summer. And we're living it to the fullest. The kids aren't going to bed until 10 (or later!) and they're getting up late too. Breakfast is at lunchtime, lunch is dinner, and dinner is right before bed. Our best accomplishment by far is that Jack has finally learned to swim, in true Jack fashion. He went from not wanting to put his face in the water, to sprouting gills in the space of one day. Now when we're at the pool I can barely get him to surface. The boy is obsessed and oh, so happy with his newfound skill.

The last couple of weekends we've had a great time with day trips outside of the city. The first was our Super Salem Sunday, where we visited A.C. Gilbert's (the inventor of the Erector Set) Discovery Village. It's a super, super cool museum with quite possibly the coolest play structure ever; a multi-story labyrinth of twisting, turning passageways and a really long (like five complete twists!) twisty tube slide that is pitch dark. Scary and so fun! We played a rousing chase game of Zombie Mommy, despite the soaring 105 degree heat. That is, until I noticed Jack's face, which was deep scarlet yet strangely white around his mouth, nostrils and eyes. Can you say heatstroke? We rushed him inside for some air conditioning and water, poured in him as well as on him, and he was ready for more fun.

After the museum we took an excursion ride on the Willamette Queen Sternwheeler. Jack got to steer (wink wink), and wear the Captain's hat, and spy through the spyglass. But Max was too happy chatting with Uncle Cabel and soon-to-be Aunt Nicole to be bothered with such funny business. It was a super nice ride, for a super Salem day. And just as we were all about to completely collapse from the heat we had a lovely dinner in the lovely air conditioning at Nicole's mom's lovely house. Did I say it was lovely? I contemplated for a very long moment crashing for the night on her lovely air conditioned floor...

The following weekend involved a ferry and some trains. The Canby Ferry has always been one of our favorites. A short hop across the Willamette River, the ferry holds nine cars and is run by cables so there are lots of cool gears and machinery to watch as you cross. But that was just a side trip as our real mission was...

...the absolute coolest little train park on the planet. Shady Dell, home of the Pacific Northwest Live Steamers. It's a sweet little park in the middle of the country (Molalla, for those of you in the know) with great spots for enjoying a picnic and trains. Real, miniature steam trains that you can ride for the incredible cost of free. The ride is long, looping several times around the park (but not just the same track repeatedly), over bridges, past water, and it's ridden by people of all ages, as well as all shapes and sizes. It really is so cool, and so "Oregon," I can't do it justice at all. If you're local, just go check it out. If you're out-of-state, I'm sorry. I hope you have something this quaint and wonderful somewhere near where you live. I'm sure you do...