Category Archives: House Projects

Making Room for Baby: A (Forced) Nesting Checklist

I am officially five days away from my due date. If I am being honest, I am not sure what I am still doing pregnant. Seriously though. Eliann was on time. David was two-and-half weeks early. Pierce was nine days early. And Baby #4 what is going on? I am not technically passed my due date (yet!) but I kind of set myself up for this awful lull by thinking that as soon as July came it was baby time. Guess what? It has been two whole weeks in July and nothing… which can seem like eternity to a preggo who is ready to move on with having a baby.

I honestly had no intention of wanting to feel “prepared” before baby. It’s our fourth so I am kind of like… we got this! Or… we’ll just wing it! Not knowing the sex of our baby wasn’t helping either because I kept getting stuck thinking I won’t feel fully prepared because I don’t know what color to finish off the trimmings in the nursery. Boo-hoo. I sulked for a little bit… but I couldn’t sulk for two whole weeks! Since God is affording me this extra time before baby, I figured it wouldn’t be wise not to make the most of it… hence the FORCED nesting (although I honestly don’t want to be nesting).

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10 THINGS TO CROSS OFF YOUR NESTING CHECKLIST PRE-BABY

I have done some shopping and prepping around the house in the last two weeks before my due date that I think would be useful to list in case you are feeling anxious for baby and don’t quite know how else to feel prepared (outside of washing the baby clothes, packing a hospital bag and finishing off the nursery decor where I got stuck). They aren’t in any particular order and they aren’t necessarily things you should do (have someone else do them), but in my experience bringing three other babies home, having done these things ahead of time (or wishing I had) made for a smoother transition once we got home from the hospital with baby.

1. PUT AWAY YOUR BABY GIFTS

Most families are blessed to receive baby gifts before baby arrives. Do yourself a favor and find them a home now. Having gifts just lying around unopened or unwashed can lead to them not even being used! You wont have time to deal with opening a package, setting up gear, or washing a baby item once baby is here (especially when dealing with a newborn). You’ll always opt to grab something that is ready to be used because its convenient. So do the prep-work now. Open them, prep them (build them, put batteries in, wash them, etc.) and find your gifts a home to make sure they are ready for use.

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2. ANTICIPATE AND CREATE SPACES FOR BABY AROUND YOUR HOUSE

Most people who bring home their new baby don’t put them straight to sleep in their own room. For the most part you’ll want the baby in the same room with you until they are a couple of months old. So anticipate where baby (and baby gear) might need to have a spot around your house.

For example, each of our babies have slept in our room with us in a co-sleeper next to my side of the bed. We transitioned our babies to their crib in the nursery at different times but somewhere between 3-8 months after they were born. So outside of the nursery itself, I set up a space for baby right in my room. It includes where the baby will sleep (co-sleeper) and supplies for baby (diapers, wipes, extra outfits, etc) so that I don’t have to get up and fetch these items from somewhere else in the house.

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Anticipate problem areas too. When I first set up the space above next to my bed, I thought about waking up in the middle of the night to feed the baby. The lamp on my dresser was far away and sits taller than my bed, so it was going to end up flooding the room with way more light than any of us would care for. I decided turning on that lamp wasn’t going to be a good idea and that I needed another solution. I quickly came up with the idea that I would attach a flexible reading lamp on the frame of our bed next to me that I could easily turn on and off and have facing the floor. That way I get enough light to feed but the room isn’t completely lit and I don’t even have to get out of bed. Win-win!

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There are other places around the house to consider setting up a space for baby too: near your computer or work space, in the family room, the dining room, etc. Setting up some baby gear like a pack-n-play, baby swing or baby rocker strategically in these areas will help you feel like you can enjoy those rooms with baby without needing to hold them the whole time or putting them down somewhere further away than you would like them to be if they fall asleep. Keeping a small caddy in these areas with diapers, wipes and an outfit can help you avoid needing to get up and walk somewhere else in the house to change a diaper.

3. CLEAN OUT YOUR FRIDGE

What?! Before you think I am just inventing extra work to do (although it does feel like it at this point) let me tell you why this makes sense. No one really likes cleaning out the fridge. We all find something nasty in there that makes us sad we took on that project in the first place. So having to clean out the fridge when you just brought a baby home would be extra lame to have to do. But why would you want your fridge clean before baby?

For one, cleaning out your fridge would alert you to any staples that you should have on hand that you may need to re-stock before baby (you don’t want to have to run to the store as soon as you get home because you are out of milk or bread, right?). Need help thinking through what staples would be good to have on hand? Click here for a list from The Well-Stocked Kitchen: Freezer, Fridge, and Pantry.

For two, when your family and friends drop by to see the baby and hopefully bring you a meal, your fridge will be ready to receive it or to take in the leftovers. You don’t want to be stressed trying to find room for the extra food. Make sense? It’s helpful, I promise.

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4. TAKE INVENTORY OF THE SNACKAGE IN YOUR HOME AND STOCK ACCORDINGLY

This is serious business. There is nothing worse (at least you’ll think it) when you get home and are up sleepless for the first couple of days with a newborn and all you really want is to order ask someone to bring you a cookie or ice cream only to realize there is none in the house! Someone might love you and honor your request by running to the store to grab you some (or someone may be just as tired as you and can’t possibly want to get dressed to grant you this request which could turn into a spat because you just pushed a bowling ball out your hooha and they can’t go get you a cookie from the store?!) Avoid this drama… seriously. Plan ahead and stock up on your favorite munchies (and your families favorite munchies) so that when things get rough post-baby you can at least count on knowing your favorite treat is waiting for you in the pantry.

Practically speaking too… if you know you will have other people in your house when you bring baby home (spouse, kids, etc.) having these extra easy to grab snacks on hand will help you avoid getting frustrated when they are walking around saying “we’re hungry” and you don’t have the energy to whip up something for them to eat. You can simply direct them to one of these items until meal time (which hopefully others can help you with for the first week or two). The snacks don’t have to all be junk either (think fruit, veggies, cheese, yogurt, sandwiches you make ahead of time and freeze, etc.).

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5. DO YOUR LAUNDRY 

If at all possible staying ahead of your laundry pile before bringing a new baby home is ideal. You will  be producing more laundry than ever before the second your baby comes home, so you don’t want to be in the hole with laundry before this happens. Plus baby items will get priority washing so you want to make sure your adult laundry is definitely able to get you through a week or two without needing to throw in a load.

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Other piles you may want fresh before baby arrives is your bedding and towels (especially if you will be having guests over to help when baby arrives). Get those piles done and beds made now so you aren’t stripping sheets and making beds when you get home with baby.

6. CLEAN OUT THE CAR WHEN YOU INSTALL YOUR CAR SEAT

Trust us, you may as well. You have to make room for your car seat before you head to the hospital anyway, so take that time to clean out your car. It may be the last time it gets that kind of love for a while. Plus baby stuff will be everywhere soon so having the car clean will help you feel more prepared when you rush out the house two days after baby is born for their first doctors appointment.

Because we have other children this step also included coming up with a whole new configuration for the car seats in the car. We had to think through what would make the most sense for where our other children would sit (thinking through how everyone would get buckled in).

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7. BOIL THE BABY BASICS

Now is the time to open up or pull out all your baby bottle supplies, breast pump parts and pacifiers to boil them ahead of time for disinfecting purposes. Having these items clean and ready to go where they will be needed saves time and energy.

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 8. PAMPER YOURSELF

Seriously! It will be baby time soon, so make sure you think of yourself ahead of time. You wont have time for that hair cut or pedicure for a while post-baby so get it done right before to make sure they last the longest. And you may as well make it an event with friends because you may not be able to get out without a baby for a while either.

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Other ways you can think of yourself ahead of time is to consider what you might need to feel “cute” post-baby. Think a new robe for walking around the house, comfy cute pajamas you wont mind visitors seeing you in, new slippers, new undies you don’t care about ruining with post baby recovery (lets keep it real). Take stock of your toiletries so you feel like you will have what you need to pull yourself together (deodorant, make up, hair spray, etc.). It makes a huge difference when you are able to help yourself feel good about your appearance post-baby.

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 9. THINK OF OTHERS

When a baby arrives on the scene they demand a lot of love, care and attention. This can leave others around you feeling a little neglected. Your spouse and other children can especially feel this way because you are there… but not really 100% there for them. This will be especially tricky for our family this time around because it is Summer time and all three of my other kids are home. In order to make this transition for our family easier I have decided to buy some gifts to give each of the other members of my family to open when baby arrives. The gifts I chose to buy them have nothing to do with baby. They are thoughtful gifts just for them and I specifically tried to make it a gift that would entertain them so they have something new to do or play with around the house.

Daddy- Barnes and Noble Gift Card (to go pick out some new books to read)
Eliann (7yo)- Sketch Book, How To Draw Your Favorite Characters Book, Color Pencils
David (5yo)- Ride-On Swing Car from JoyBay
Pierce (2yo)- Transformers Bumble Bee Toddler Car

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10. PREP A FEW DINNERS

Now this one is really a stretch, but if you have the time and energy it can be a life saver. Hopefully friends and family will be around to help you with your first couple of meals. But after that you can feel on your own pretty quick and desperately trying not to think about how dinner time has rolled around again and you have to eat (especially if you are nursing). If at all possible, making some meals ahead of time (freezer meals) or even just cooking meat ahead of time (seasoned ground beef/turkey or chicken you shred and freeze) could help tremendously. Don’t have time to cook? Stock your freezer with some easy meals (lasagna, pizza, chimichangas, etc.) whatever you have to do to feel like you can feed your family for a couple of weeks while you get it together with a new baby.

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There you have it folks… ten things I have inadvertently been forced to do while I have been waiting for Baby Griffin #4’s arrival. I hope you will find this list useful as you begin nesting or that it has sparked some of your own ideas for what you can get done before bringing baby home.

Feel free to share your own tips for how you have nested pre-baby too!

PS. If you have other children… one other thing I think I will be doing before baby arrives is to lay out the clothes I will want my kids to wear when they head to the hospital to meet baby for the first time. If you don’t want to be surprised by what others may throw on your kids when they go visit you and/or you are someone who thinks through picture memories etc. then you totally know why this one makes sense.

Making Room for Baby: A Room for a Little Lady

A couple of post’s ago I laid out the “game plan” for the transformations that would need to happen at the Griffin home to make room for our fourth child (now due in a little over a month). We have made a lot of progress since then and so I wanted to give an update.

Today’s update will be on what was formally “The Guestroom” to what has now been transformed into “A Room For A Little Lady” (the room Eliann has moved into).

THE CHALLENGE

  • Create the perfect space for a little lady from scratch.
  • Strike the right balance- the room can’t scream ‘baby’ girl… but we’re in no hurry to get her into a ‘teen’ looking space either… Eliann is only 7.5 years old.
  • Account for the fact that she is school aged so her needs are a little different then just a place to sleep and play.

This room took a complete overhaul. We literally got rid of everything that used to be in the guestroom and started from scratch. It was difficult because it required a lot of vision and of course that we stayed within budget (in spite of needing to furnish the whole space… unlike in the boys room).

BEFORE

Let’s take one more look at what the room was like before…

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MAKING PROGRESS

(You can scroll to the bottom if you want the quick before and after shots… if not continue to read the step by step of how we transformed the room).

1. SELL THE GUESTROOM FURNITURE. We sold all the furniture you see above to a couple we know who wanted to furnish their own guestroom. Thanks Eaves’! Check.

2. BUY A TWIN BED. This could have eaten up our entire budget… so we searched Craigslist for months to find just the right bed to save money. I knew I wanted a day bed for Eliann to keep the room feeling open and welcoming. I also knew the bed would take up a big foot print in the room so I wanted the bed (and eventual bedding) to make a statement in the room meaning it had to have a little character to it. Thankfully we found one I loved and for a great deal! We assembled the bed and moved it all around the room until it found a home where I originally pictured it going under the window.

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3. BEFORE YOU BUY MORE… TRY USING WHAT YOU’VE GOT. This is a hard one folks… because in theory I would love to just be able to buy all new pieces for the room that coordinate perfectly and look just a like a page from a Pottery Barn catalog. But in the real world we don’t have that kind of money. So the next thing we did was try out some of our existing furniture in the house to see if it could work in Eliann’s new room. We knew we needed a dresser, bookcase, table/chairs… so we identified pieces in our home we could move around and got to work trying them out in the room.

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We finally settled on a configuration that looked like this.

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The only problem was the little table and chair set was too big for the space, the lamp needed to stay in the nursery and the nightstand to the right couldn’t live in this room permanently because it was Brian’s nightstand (I just moved it into the space to give us a visual).

Still… all in all we found an open shelved display with drawers (from the nursery room), a small corner bookshelf for the left side of the bed (from the nursery room) and a dresser (from inside my closet) that we already owned that we could live with moving into the space. Three key pieces of furniture we didn’t have to spend money on!

Can you tell my kids were getting excited about this new room?!

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4. BUY MORE OF WHAT YOU NEED.

For sure at this point we needed:

Nightstand/Bookcase- something for the right side of the bed.

I took a little shopping trip to Home Goods just to see if they had anything I could use (because I had a leftover birthday gift card to use there). I wanted something with shelving because I already felt like we had enough drawers in the room.

I ended up choosing a Three Tiered Outdoor Garden Shelf because I just loved the more whimsical feel it would bring to the room. A lot of the other furniture already felt box-y so I loved this piece for the room and took to filling it as soon as I set it up!

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Twin Bedding- would be key to bringing in the color scheme for the room.

When we first started talking about Eliann moving into her own room, I started a pin board on Pinterest called Home: Girls Bedroom. I had Eliann help me decide on a color scheme for the room. This was a very important conversation because a year prior Eliann would have insisted on a rainbow themed room because rainbow (as in all the colors) was her favorite color. 

Thank God that her taste matured ever so slightly since then and now she really likes a color I would call turquoise or aqua (although she does still like rainbow). I showed her several color combination with turquoise and she really liked coral/peach/pink tones with the turquoise (as did I!). So we settled on pinning this image as the basis of what the overall color scheme for the room.
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It just so happened that the weekend after we decided on the color scheme I went away for a ladies weekend that brought me to a lovely little store called Hobby Lobby. Let’s just say I had died and gone to heaven. I couldn’t pass up all the cute decor in the store so I picked up some pieces that I loved for Eliann’s room. Then I tried to match some bedding to it… if I couldn’t have Pottery Barn furniture I would compromise with a cute Pottery Barn Duvet!

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Unfortunately when the bedding arrived… it wasn’t really doing anything for the room. The statement I had hoped the bedding would make wasn’t a very bold one. Both of the Pottery Barn Duvet Covers were too muted for the room. I needed more pop! And for the price of anything Pottery Barn I better feel like I am getting what I want.

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So the hunt was back on for bedding. I was so disappointing in my Pottery Barn finds (having waited two weeks for them to arrive in the mail) that I didn’t want to order anything online. I wanted the bedding in front of me to tell if the colors would work. I happened to stop by Target (like I do everyday) and I decided to look down the kids bedding aisle. I saw a print that was almost too bold for my taste, but had the right colors in it. You know what (I thought to myself)… lets try it! If I don’t like it I can bring it back and honestly this costs 1/4 of what I was willing to pay for Pottery Barn so if we get over it in a year or two I don’t have to feel bad about replacing it.

Well I am happy to report that it worked! It was bold enough for the room.

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This is a picture of Eliann walking in to see this new bedding… I asked her is she liked it and she jumped up and down and said “YES, YES, YES!”

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Window Treatments- since the bed is under the window we needed a way to block the light and add privacy.

With the bedding in place I could now add color in the room to coordinate. Because the print on the bed was so bold I searched high and low for the perfect soft coral color to accent the bed. I found the perfect color “Coral Almond” online at JCPenny.com and went into my local JCPenny to take a look at the color in person. It looked just as good in person but the material was very sheer. I purchase two panels anyway and enlisted the help of a good friend, Joy Ring, to help sew blackout panels to the back of the sheer curtains and make a matching bed skirt out of excess material.

Joy was such a good sport… she whipped out the curtains and bed skirt in a jiffy all the while balancing a pigeon on her head and giving Brian pirate lessons.

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The result… new window treatments and bed skirt for the room!

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5. MAKE IT FUNCTIONAL- SCHOOL WORK & TOYS

Other than wanting the room to be super cute, we also needed it to be functional. If you’ll remember one of our challenges was to account for the fact that Eliann was school aged. This meant the room would have to be functional for a little girl who might want to study in her room.

We had originally tried to bring in a round kids table/chairs from our garage so she could have a place to sit and do homework, but it was too big. Thankfully with the boys room complete we knew we had the little table/chair and bulletin board combination that used to be in that room up for grabs… so we tried it in this space and it worked! More pieces we didn’t have to buy.

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The drawers on the open shelved display to the left of the little table were all empty so I decided to use them for school supplies and school storage.

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Another functional component that was missing in the room was toy storage. Eliann still plays with all kinds of toys but right now we didn’t really have any space in the room dedicated to that. Under the bed was now hidden with the bed skirt but we didn’t want that to be the only place for toys to get thrown.

We decided to use half her closet for the job… which there was still plenty of room in because she only took up half a closet when she shared with David. We added a small cubby system for her toys and a shelf for other personal belongings (she might not want her little brothers accidentally getting a hold of).

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6. PULL IT ALL TOGETHER WITH THE RIGHT ACCESSORIES (IF THE BUDGET ALLOWS).

At this point in the transformation the room was absolutely livable (as in someone could move into the room and be just fine in it). In fact Eliann had already been sleeping in the room for a couple of weeks… but thankfully I had enough money in the budget (because we chose to first consider items we already owned to fill the space) and I was able to add some finishing touches that pulled the room together.

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There you have it folks… a complete room overhaul fit for a little lady!

Here are the official before and after pictures:

BEFORE

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AFTER

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What do you think? Did we tackle our challenges with the space?  Would a little girl you know want this to be her room?

Hope you didn’t miss the update on A Room for Boys!

Making Room for Baby: A Room for Boys

In my last post I laid out the “game plan” for the transformations that would need to happen at the Griffin home to make room for our fourth child (now due in a little over a month). We have made a lot of progress since then and so I wanted to give an update.

Today’s update will be on what was formally “The Kids Room” (the girl/boy room Eliann and David used to share) to what has now been transformed into “The Boys Room” (the room David and Pierce now share).

THE CHALLENGE

  • Create a space that felt new for the boys and not like “the left overs of where their big sister” had been.
  • Make the room “more masculine and give each of boy a personality within the space.”

I suppose the real challenge was that our budget for this room wasn’t very large. Most of the money we set aside for these room transformations was getting eaten up by Eliann’s new room simply because we had to furnish her room from scratch. So I had to be more creative with this space in order to make the transformation a success.

BEFORE

Let’s take one more look at what the room was like before…

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MAKING PROGRESS

I knew right away that I wanted there to be more toy storage for the boys to help them stay as organized as possible. I pulled the large bookcase and small table/chairs out of the room because I wanted to make room for another 8 Cube-Organizer to help catch all the toys the boys would combine.

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Removing these pieces also opened up the floor plan which I loved because I wanted the boys to be able to imagine and create freely in a space just for them… not to mention I assumed boys would rough house more than a boy/girl would so I didn’t want them breaking anything or running into furniture as they played.

AFTER

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KEYS TO THE TRANSFORMATION IN THIS ROOM

  • Removing Furniture- large bookcase and small table and chairs are gone.
  • Adding Storage- new 8-Cube Organizer and 3 Shelf Bookcase were added.
  • New Area Rug- the rug actually isn’t new to us, it’s just new to the room. We had this rug leftover from the playroom in our previous home and it was just hanging out in our garage (we bought it on Craigslist so I am not sure where it’s from originally). I wanted a bigger rug in the room to define a play space for the boys near the new storage. This rug was perfect because it also brought in some more masculine color to the space while complimenting the existing color of the room and the curtains that we weren’t planning on replacing.
  • Color Scheme- we got rid of all the pink cubical fabric drawers and accents in the room and replaced it with cubical fabric drawers that complimented the new rug- brown, mocha and green.
  • Bulletin Board- we had an extra bulletin board in the garage that we decided to swap in here because we thought the natural wood (vs. metal frame the old bulletin board had) would compliment the new color scheme nicely. With the endless amounts of preschool art work that comes home it makes perfect sense to still keep a place the boys can display their work.
  • New Artwork- these pieces were key! Artwork is an easy solution to help make the room “more masculine and give each of boy a personality within the space.” If you know me, you know I struggle with liking “characters” on just about anything. That being said, both my boys love superhero stuff (even though they have only been exposed to them through books). That being said, I didn’t want a giant Spiderman poster on their wall or their bedspread. I was so happy when I saw these Super Hero Wall Prints featured on Jane.com from Amy’s Simple Designs Etsy Shop. They were beyond cute and what I felt a little boy pretending to be a super hero would look like… so I bought them! I also added an Alphabet Art piece because Pierce LOVES (and that is an understatement) letters. ??????????????????????????????? IMG_1535
  • New Bed Sheets- another easy way to let the boys showcase their personality was to allow them to pick some new bed sheets (from the predetermined one’s Mommy would allow for the space of course). We lucked out because Pierce was sold on the Dinosaur Printed Bed Sheets that belonged to David (which of course made the sheet still new to Pierce). David on the other hand chose a fun new Pirate Printed Bed Sheet. Both prints work perfectly in the space because overall they are neural and white with colorful accents that compliment the other colors in the room. You might not even notice the different prints walking into the rooms but the boys love that each of their beds are themed with Pirates and Dinosaurs that they got to choose. ??????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????
  • Small Impact Pieces- their are a couple other pieces that are new to the room that seem small but are big in the eyes of my boys because they helped choose them to make their room feel their own: new piggy banks (Bumblebee and Robot), a car tower for racing little cars (they both love cars… especially Pierce), a wire basket “like in Eliann’s new room” that they wanted to “fill with toys to play with like Eliann got to fill with stuffed animals.”
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There you have it! A new space just for my boys that didn’t break the bank. With furniture rearrangement, a couple new functional pieces in the room and some colorful adjustments to accent my boys personalities, we now have a super fun little boys room.

REPORT

I am happy to report that they have been sleeping together for about a month now and they love it! We are working out the kinks before baby comes which is great… what kinks you ask? Well you know… rules for the room (like staying in your own bed to sleep come bed time), training them how to clean up the room together (working together and David being able to communicate clearly to Pierce what needs to be done so they both don’t end up frustrated with each other), staying in their room on weekend mornings until a parent let’s them out (Eliann and David had learned this but now that Eliann is in another room they wake up and try to find her or wander… so we are having to relearn this)… stuff like that.

I love my boys and I love that they can now enjoy a room that was lovingly put together just for them!