July 11, 2013

Home makeover: Living room, one-hour valences, and the end of the story.

I am finally ready to post the last room in the house that suffered through a makeover! Good thing because I'm getting burnt out on these posts. Here is the living room. Nothing much about this room but it's comfortable and cozy.

(I blacked our name out in these pictures for privacy's sake)

I don't love this beigey-yellow color but we weren't about to tackle twenty-foot ceilings so it had to stay. If I could paint the room it would probably be a cream or cream-gray. The color isn't too bad.
I know gliders are typically reserved for baby rooms but they are more comfortable to me than armchairs so I figured, why not put it in the living room? Almost all of our furniture is hand-me-down or consigned, so we don't sweat if things get spilled or dropped since we have zero attachment to this furniture.  I'm not the kind of person to get frustrated at Anna when she has an accident anyway: my mom used to label me as the dog's personal chef because of all the food I dropped on the floor.

This is my favorite thing in the house. I wanted the main focus of the room to be something that emphasized our family's priorities, but I'm old fashioned and didn't want to put a big picture of us on the wall as the focal point. This wood sign is a constant reminder of the things we hold most important in life. Each word was carefully thought out. We got this idea from a fellow blogger.

We ditched our coffee table because I like the extra open space and it wasn't a necessary piece of furniture.

I chose to use the bookcase to display favorite family photos instead of the wall. Our wedding album and family albums are also kept here, plus some of Anna's toys. In the three bins are books, and the basket holds Legos.

I found this ottoman at a consignment store. I love it because it is solid wood with a ton of storage space. It holds all our games and cards.

The house has this random corner nook-thing that I couldn't figure out. My mom gave us this corner shelf to make some sense of it.

I did move some of Anna's toys to take these pictures. I know many people like to keep certain rooms toy-free, but I prefer to have some toys throughout the house. Not a million toys but a few special things in each room for the girls to enjoy. We keep it minimal. I don't mind that toys are around because they are a sign that life is being lived. It helps that we choose toys that are quality and nice to look at rather than piles of plastic. 
How to make a one-hour valence

I wanted some sort of curtain on these windows but long curtains didn't make sense in the space. I did not want to block any natural light with shades or valences that hung down. I decided to try my hand at making some pseudo-valences that would hit at the very top of the window without blocking any of the window itself. It was fairly easy and inexpensive.

First I used masking tape to mark off the section of the window I wanted the valence to cover. Then I measured it:

I purchased one sheet of drywall insulation from Lowes which we cut to size with an exacto knife. I cut my fabric about three inches longer on each side, and staple-gunned the fabric to the insulation:

The corners are the trickiest:

I put two pieces of heavy-duty Velcro strips from Lowes on either side of the board.

I placed the boards on the wall using the Velcro and voila! Done. They don't block any light whatsoever, but the windows still look finished. I would recommend using an upholstery fabric for this rather than a light cotton. I used a less expensive fabric myself because I wanted to get 'er done and didn't have the time to peruse, but a more expensive, dimensional fabric would look better, and I can always change the fabric up down the line.


July 5, 2013

Two-and-a-quarter. Six months. Pictures, and the sweet spot.

It seems I've finally reached the sweet spot as a mother of two. These girls are so much fun, and I am absolutely loving this season. Babies are adorable and cuddly and cute, but to be perfectly honest, the first six months are not my favorite. Now that Kimberly has passed the six month mark life has been easier, more enjoyable for everyone, and full of great memories. People always talk about how terrible the twos are, but I love them! They are so much fun as everything is new and exciting and language is developing. Thankfully Anna only had a period of a handful of tantrums, and she now (for the most part) seems to have moved past that stage; she is learning how to deal with her emotions and use language to communicate her needs. 

Yes, there are tedious days, a lot of tiredness keeping up with the two of them, and times where it seems all I do is feed and clothe and wash kids. But I know that someday Anna will not need me to comb her hair, put on her clothes, or strap her into the carseat. Someday dancing around the room with Mommy will not be the coolest thing in the world. Someday she will not want to be attached to my heels. Someday a favorite nursery rhyme will not fill her with utter excitement. So I really delight in this time. I try to be fully present and let it all soak into my memory: the sweet feel of Kimberly's skin against mine when she falls asleep in my arms; the giggles from Anna when I tickle her; the way she pops up out of bed when I get her up; the excited shouts of "Mommy!" when I return home from even a short errand.

My mantra has always been that I don’t want to look back and wish I had experienced and appreciated the special moments more. This was important to me way before kids: during my college days dancing for the Georgia Bulldogs, my internship at Wesley, performing ballroom at UGA, mission trips, and India. I knew all of these wonderful, special times only happened once, and I can honestly say that I don’t look back and think “I wish I had known how great those times were. I wish I had appreciated and enjoyed them more." Instead I look back and say, “I’m so glad I realized that those were special times, that I enjoyed them to the fullest, and that I tried to soak in the memories as much as I could.” For this reason I am not a big picture taker because it tends to distract my attention away from being in the moment. However, I know I will want these adorable ages captured so I make myself take them!!

Our yearly trip to the Riverbanks Zoo has become a Father's Day tradition:

I fell asleep on the couch for about ten minutes and woke up to find this:

My parents were able to come visit, something I never thought would happen again. It was tough on my mom who had to stop and get chemo on the way back, but the time was encouraging for them both and special for all of us. She had been working on restoring my old dollhouse and dollhouse pieces that I built with my grandfather to give to Anna when she was older. She decided to go ahead and bring it now. 

Here's my Grandfather and I with the dollhouse back in the day:

Putting Anna down for the occasional nap in our bed:

I lied about not owning anything monogrammed. My friend recently gave me these bloomers. I have to admit, they are super cute!

I think it's pretty funny how Kimberly is rivaling Anna in size. These pictures highlight how tall and thin Anna is, and how round Kimberly is. It's hard to believe they are almost two years apart in age.

My mom's neighbor sent these dresses for the girls. I typically rely on hand-me-downs for clothing so the girls have never had matching outfits.

*Sigh. Someday...