Sunday, November 25, 2012

Four Seasons Tree Mural

I've been itching to work on the nursery for several weeks, since I decided the wall could look a little more interesting than this:

Yes, I know. Pathetic! This is how it's looked ever since we moved in 1.5 years ago and since the new baby is getting basically the same theme as Ryan's old nursery, I thought the least I could do was spruce up the wall a bit!

First, I spent months pinning inspirations on Pinterest. See my entire board here. My mom helped me paint the entire room a neutral tan color (pulled from the curtains) and I decided to take the plunge into a hand-painted mural.

I borrowed a projector and Ryan thought it was awesome that my screen saver made a room-size picture of him show up on the wall.

But, I thought that might be a little hard to paint and also might be a bit intimidating for the baby, so we settled on a tree. 

And yes, I know it's a stock photo and I honestly did try to buy it, but the minimum "credits" to purchase on this site was $50 and the image I ended up using (by pasting it onto a PowerPoint slide and adjusting until it fit on the wall) was only $.80. I would have happily paid a few dollars, but $50 is a bit far when I probably won't ever use anything else on the site. So, sorry, I used it as a guide.

I hand-painted the white trunk of the tree using white primer and the leaves using the leftover Acrylic craft paint I'd used to make the 4-season wooden cutouts for Ryan's original room.
The Acrylic ended up not covering that well and I knew I needed some good white paint for the final coat, so I bought some semi-gloss bright white paint from Lowe's and also had them mix up a $3 sample jar of Valspar paint of each of the 4 colors. If you have any inkling of painting a mural type thing with just a few colors, I highly recommend getting the sample paint jars from Lowe's. They are supposed to cover 4'x4' and are available in ALL their paint colors, instead of being limited to craft paint.  After 2 coats of acrylic and one of Valspar Latex, This left me with a white tree and four different color leaves to represent the four seasons.

 I decided it didn't look "finished" enough, so I went ahead and added white outlines to all the leaves as well as "veins" in the same design as my Ikea curtains.
Here is the final tree with outlines:

I still need to do another coat of the leaf outlines, but otherwise I love how it turned out!

This covers the entire back wall of the nursery and although part of it will be covered up with the changing table and crib for a while, eventually it will work great with a twin bed. It also solves the problem of it not being "safe" to hang pictures above the crib and changing table, but prevents the wall from looking like this:
The nursery still has a ways to go since our crib and dresser haven't arrived yet, but at least we're making progress. I'll hopefully post pics of the entire room once it's complete (and hopefully it will be complete before the baby arrives, since he or she is due in 3 short weeks!)

Family Rules Wall Lettering

As I mentioned, Adam picked out some Vinyl Lettering at Hobby Lobby and had the idea of putting a saying at the bottom of the stairs. It was a great idea, and since it was only $35 (plus I had printed a 40% off coupon from, it seemed like a steal compared to Uppercase Living and other vinyl lettering companies.  

However, we did discover that you get what you pay for. With a semi-textured wall and semi-gloss paint, we had a VERY hard time getting the letters to stick to the wall. Even after following the directions and LOTS of rubbing using the tool (and a stronger Uppercase tool), the letters would just peel up every time we tried removing the clear front.  We ended up having to painstakingly peel up the clear part in small sections while holding down each corner of each letter with a fingernail or the smoothing tool.  It took over an hour to apply and I'm not confident it will stay stuck, but for now, we are happy with how it looks! I am also happy we stayed civil to each other while trying to get it in place (including a "mis-measurement" that resulted in a way-off-center first application attempt).

We must have been paying attention to the "Be Forgiving" rule. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Saturday Shopping

As mentioned, we are not big "Black Friday" shoppers and prefer to do almost everything online, but found a trip to Sioux City to be necessary to do a few returns and pick up some things at Lowe's. We dropped off Ryan at Adam's parents (always a key to a successful and efficient shopping trip) and headed to Sioux City, via Walmart in Sioux Center. He got almost everything on our list completed in record time, and here are a few highlights:

  1. Divide and conquer is the name of the game at Walmart with each of us taking half the list. We got a bunch of things knocked off our list before we even left Sioux Center.
  2. Lowe's, for the first time in my memory, actually had their store properly staffed on a Saturday morning! Usually, it's hard to scare up anyone, let along someone who can help you in the right department, but we had really good luck and got the paint we needed plus a few other supplies. We did "fall "for a Black Friday special, but thought a portable fire pit for $39 was too good of a deal to pass up, so Merry Christmas to us, I guess!
  3. You know how long it takes me to find a pair of black shoes for work? Years. You know how long it took Adam to find some? Less the time it took for me to complete a return at the Kohl's customer service desk. Oh, to be a man! I also used some super-savvy/pregnancy craving justified logic to convince him to add a box of Ghirardelli chocolate squares to our order because with the 15% coupon I'd brought along, his shoes dropped below the magic price of $50 that earns you $15 in Kohl's cash. Adding the chocolate got us just above the minimum. I call that free chocolate (and the chance to order $15 worth of stuff next week). For the record, we also saw no less than 8 families from OC, all with NWC connections, at Kohl's. So much for Small Business Saturday!
  4. I thought I needed to pick up an online order at Sears since the "confirmation" email they sent me said 2 of my items were available for pickup at the store instead of shipping to my house, like I'd selected. It turns out it was just a glitch in their system, but waiting in the merchandise pick-up area did provide some comic relief. A lady brought in her vacuum to be sent off for repair because it "was working great, but suddenly stopping sucking".  The worker was checking for the model number and when he turned over the canister, several coins started clanking. He emptied them and handed them to the lady, saying, "Oh! There were a bunch of coins in there!"  She replied, "Oh yes, it works great for picking those up!"  Um...I'm no certified technician, but I think that might be part of your problem, here, lady!!
  5. Our last stop was Hobby Lobby where I warned Adam "This is not a hunting and gathering trip...there will be some browsing involved," but he was fine with that. While looking through the home decor, noticed they had a line of vinyl lettering. I've had a few items from Uppercase Living over the years and always had good luck, so we picked out a good, large saying that would look great at the bottom of our stairs, before you go into the toy room.  At only $35 (plus the 40% off one item coupon you can always get at, it was much more economical than Uppercase Living, but we found out later: You get what you pay for.
We headed back and enjoyed supper with Adam's parents since we hadn't been able to spend Thanksgiving with them.  We were happy to have gotten a lot done and it was nice to actually spend a few hours together. Our discussion on the way to Sioux City even resulted in us finally deciding on baby names, including a complete switch in our top "boy" first name and finally agreeing on a girls' name. Amazing what happens when we actually have some uninterrupted time to talk!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday

We are not crazy shopping types, so we really had no plans to do any true "Black Friday" shopping. In fact, almost all of my shopping has been done online this year. I did stay up late Thursday night and spent time Friday morning taking advantage of various cyber deals. My biggest tips include signing up for and checking for coupon codes.  Adam did end up doing his own version of Black Friday shopping, since he was up early anyway, he decided to walk over to Alco. They advertised a boys' red Schwinn 16" bike in their ad and when he arrived at 6:47am, they had 2 left in the store (and no crowds to be seen).  The associates even helped him take it out of the box to see if it would be a good size for Ryan. He purchased the bike and was back in the house by 6:56am! It truly was a great deal--about half of regular price and over $40 cheaper than the Toys 'R Us ad, plus a $10 off coupon to use next week.  We hope Ryan will like it, even though he may need to grow into it a bit.

My mom came over to help me paint the nursery and we had two coats of tan paint on by 1:30. I then started an ambitious project to paint a tree mural on the wall of the nursery (see full post) and we did some other projects around the house, like order a new dresser for the nursery and move the old dresser into our master closet. We also finished decorating for Christmas! Our decorations are mostly just two trees, stockings, a nativity scene, and some shelf rearrangement, but as busy at the Christmas season is going to be this year, it's okay that we won't have an abundance to put away.

It was really nice to have a whole day at home to get a lot done (and we'll just choose to forget about the mountain of things I could have done at work) and as sore as I was from painting and decorating, I'm glad I didn't add shopping to the day's activities...that can wait until tomorrow!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving stayed pretty low-key for us this year, which was great. On Wednesday night, we went to the combined church service, so Thursday morning was pretty relaxed and we were able to get a few things done, like hang outdoor Christmas lights. We're a "roof-line of white bulbs" type and this is the first time we've hung lights on this house, so We headed to my parent's at noon for dinner with my Grandpa VK and Grandma B, then hung out in the afternoon until Abbie, Wade, and Saylor got there. We ate supper and just enjoyed time together as a family.

We have a lot to be thankful, jobs, health, a home, and a baby due in less than a month! We try not to take our blessings for granted and feel truly thankful for all we have.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sibling Class

I signed Ryan up for a "Sibling" class at the hospital as it seemed a good idea for him (and us) to be able to tour the hospital rooms and have him learn more about babies and make him feel special about his upcoming role as "big brother."  He was very excited about it and for the most part, did a great job listening to the teacher as she read a book and played a video about babies.  When she asked questions, he was the most outgoing one in the class (ages ranged from 2.5-2nd grade) since he had an answer or a comment for just about everything and the others could hardly be coaxed to talk. He may take after his mother a bit in that he was thinking, "Hey, if no one else is going to answer, I'm not going to just sit here quietly!" I'm sure he'll find that to be a blessing and a curse later in life.  A few of his answers/comments garnered some chuckles. Here's a little taste of his "baby wisdom":

Teacher: Do you know if you're going to have a baby brother or sister?" (All the other kids knew the gender of their coming baby)
Ryan: "I'm going to be a big sister."  (Sorry, not how that works--and we honestly don't know if it's a boy or girl, but he keeps saying sister which I think has a lot to do with wanting the baby to be like Saylor.)

Teacher: "What can we do with babies?"
Ryan: "We can share our toys."
Teacher: "No, babies can't play with your toys." (I kind of thought he should have gotten a little credit for this Sunday-School answer, or at least encouraged to share his toys once the baby was older, but he got shot down big time.)

Teacher: "What else can we do with babies?"
Ryan: "We can teach them to love Jesus." (Classic Sunday-School answer! You'd think he was a children's sermon pro! Adam and I discussed how it's probably good our church doesn't have children's sermons in the front, because he would probably be "that kid" that all the adults are secretly hoping will be up there to answer all the questions in awkward ways that make the teacher desperately try to redirect their attention back to the topic/right answer.)

Teacher: "Sometimes babies' diapers smell bad, don't they?"
Ryan: "Yea, yea, yea, they are a skunk." (I've noticed Ryan likes to make comparisons and it provides some insight into the associations he makes in his mind. He also got shot down on this one and told that babies diapers do not smell like skunks and again I was thinking, "sheesh...lighten up...he's 3")

We practiced putting a diaper on his teddy bear and then went to see the nursery and recovery rooms. They were nice and it's a brand new hospital, but the rooms were so much smaller than what we had in Sibley, probably since here they have separate delivery and recovery rooms. I was just picturing all the people who came to visit us when Ryan was born and there is no way they'd fit in the rooms here! But, I'm anticipating a lot less visitors this time anyway.

We got to see a baby who was born that day (his older sister was in the class with us) and Ryan was pretty fascinated with how small the baby was, although he was mostly concerned about the umbilical cord clamp and whether or not that was hurting the baby.  He wanted to hold that baby and wanted to go find some more babies. I'm glad he seems very interested instead of scared or distant, but have the feeling he might be more of the "smothering and/or jealous" type. It's going to be a heck of an adjustment for him, no matter what, since he's pretty much been the focus of attention for the last 3 years.

  After our tour, we had a snack in the cafeteria and he got all sorts of trinkets like a color book and crayons, a stuffed hippo, and a certificate. Overall, I'm glad we went and it made me feel good that one of the other moms, who is a preschool teacher, commented on how well-behaved and articulate Ryan was. As the due date draws closer (4 weeks away), we have a lot to do to prepare for the baby and this was a good reminder that we need to prepare Ryan for the changes as well!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekend Update

Last weekend, Adam was on a 4-day trip to Indianapolis with the football team for their playoff game, so Ryan and I found lots of things to do to stay busy.

Thursday, we went to the NWC JV girls game to hang out with Abbie and Saylor and watch Saylor's Aunt Whitney play.  Ryan had a great time playing with Saylor and her cousin, Sage. After the game, we hit the library for some new books and so Ryan could play with the train table for a while. He is always drawn to the kids' computer games, but hasn't quite figured out mouse navigation yet, so we're limited to "press any key" type of games and there are only so many times I can watch Elmo pop up from behind the same 3 objects.

Friday, we went to Adam's parents' house for supper and then got to spend some time with Andy and Kim who were staying overnight before they were all leaving for a wedding in the morning.  They are great sports, playing tackle with Ryan, and letting him get out ALL the toys in the basement!

Saturday, Ryan went to his first "friend" birthday party and had a great time! One of his friends had a Thomas-themed party for his 4th birthday and the kids enjoyed playing games, eating lunch (and cupcakes), and playing toys together. It was also nice for me to have 2 hours to myself on a Saturday :). When he got home, we watched/listened to the football game while moving the rest of his clothes/toys out of the nursery and down to his room. The Raiders played a great game, but unfortunately, lost 32-42 to Marian.

Sunday was church/Sunday School and then a trip to my Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course, it was delicious and we had fun with family, but Ryan was not on his best behavior and spent most of the time trying to sneak candy corn off the table after being cut off. He took a much-needed nap and was excited to wake up to find Daddy home! Although we're sad the Raiders lost, I can admit that I was okay with the next few weeks being a little less complicated as we try to get ready for the baby!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Questions about God

Ryan has been asking many questions lately about God and heaven and I thought it was important to record some of his questions to remember what his insight/understanding was at this age (3 years, 1.5 months). Some of them make me think really hard about how to explain it to a toddler (telling the truth but not making him worried or scared), some make me want to laugh out loud, and some, honestly, make ME sad, but I know how important it is for him to learn and understand how much God loves him and that we don't have to be scared of heaven. It has definitely stretched me as a parent (sometimes I wish I could just say "Ask Grandpa," he's the one with the doctorate in this!) but I am also grateful that he is curious and that we are able to plant the seeds of truth in his young mind!

Here are some of the questions he's asked:
  • What color is God?
  • What does God look like? Why can't we see God?
  • When I get to heaven, I'm going to give God a big hug and a kiss!
  • Where is heaven? Is it far far away? Who is going to be there? What do we eat there?
  • Are there kids there to play with? (When I told him he probably won't go to heaven until he's very old, he got sad and said he wants to grow smaller and smaller so he can just be a boy in heaven and play with the other kids. I got sad trying to explain that yes, sometimes there are kids in heaven.)
  • What kind of toys does God have? Does God have a nativity set? 
  • After we are dying and go to heaven, can we come back to my house? (He got a little scared thinking about what "forever" meant. He also talks about dying but I don't think he actually knows what that means.)
  • Is heaven way up high in the sky?
  • But if we are in the sky, how do we stay up there? (He wants to know what we'll stand on since there is no "earth" to stand on)
  • When we go to Florida in an airplane and we go way up high in the sky, then will we see God?
  • Are you and me and Daddy and Nika all going to go to heaven? I don't want to go there unless you go with me!
  • Are Abbie and Wade and Saylor and Milo going to be in heaven too?
  • After I told him that a lot of people don't die until they are very old, he said, "Oh, is Great-Grandpa going to die soon?" (This made me sad, but I think that is just the oldest person he could think of. But, it gave me a chance to tell him about Great-Grandma who is already in heaven who died just a few weeks before he was born.)
  • Will God play tackle with me?
Here are a few "truths" that he seems to repeat to himself or me. We've talked about many things, but these seem to be his basic understanding and the things that have "stuck" so far:
  • God made everything.
  • We don't have to be scared because God is always with us.
  • Don't worry, God will protect us.
  • God loves us and will take care of us.
  • When we die, we get to go to heaven.
  • Everyone who loves God will be in heaven.
We've talked about Jesus being God's son and have read a few Easter books so we haven't skipped over the cross entirely, but for now, I'm more concerned with getting him to understand the difference between God and Batman than explaining the trilogy. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Raider Football

Saturday was the last regular-season game for the Red Raiders and we were very glad it was almost 70 degrees for a great game against Sioux County rival, Dordt. I think it's fair to say we won handily, securing a 55-7 victory. This was the second game that Ryan attended from beginning-to-end and I think it would be fair to summarize his time as:

Quarter 1: Playing on the bleachers with the 2 Long-Horn Cows and 2 cars he brought. Granted, the cows were apparently playing football (lots of tackling between the "Vikings" cow and the "Blue Jays" cow), but still, not a lot of real football being watched.
Quarter 2: Adam's dad took him to go buy a treat at the concession stand and we've perfected getting a bag of Skittles to last an entire quarter (shake out 1 or 2 at a time, then he picks them out of my hand and has to eat them before he gets another one). He was SO excited to discover the purple bag of Skittles has BLUE ones in it--his new favorite.
Quarter 3: Play cows/cars with my cousin, Carter.
Quarter 4: Run around in the grassy area, tackling Grandpa and waiting for the game to be over.
Post-Game: Running onto the field to find Daddy and then NOT cooperating to take pictures.

On Sunday, we found out that NWC had moved up to #12 in the NAIA rankings and they were granted an at-large playoff spot. This means they play #5 Marian this Saturday. We are excited they made the post-season, but it does mean Adam will miss 2 days of school and be gone Thurs-Sun for the trip to Indianapolis. I wish I could go cheer them on, but there is no way I can ride a bus and I don't think it's smart for this 35-weeks pregnant mama to drive. So, Ryan and I will have another weekend together and we'll cheer on the Raiders from home. Ryan is very proud of his Daddy (one of the "coachers", as Ryan calls it) and often talks about how he's going to grow up big and strong so he can be a Raider football player.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kite Flying

With a high of 70 degrees today and tomorrow promising a high of 30, we thought we should take advantage of what could be our last night day to play outside. This morning, Ryan and I walked to the park to fly his Transformers Kite. It was pretty windy and the $2.99 kite lived up to its cheap price tag, but Ryan had a great time and even figured out a little bit about steering it and pulling the string up to keep it from crashing to the ground.

We also spent some time playing in the sandbox and on the swings in the backyard He's really going to miss playing on his swingset once the snow comes! We enjoyed the beautiful weather for the football game as well and I'm just not looking forward to the below-freezing temperatures in the forecast.

Baby Update- almost 35 weeks

Since I haven't updated since the 20-week mark and have a few more fun photos to share, I thought it was time for a baby update.

I had another ultrasound this week because they weren't able to check everything at our 20-week (like the lip/face) and just to check on the position of the baby. Although he/she wasn't cooperating a lot for some nice face shots, it was good to hear that everything was looking normal and the position is correct.  Here are the two best "face" shots we got. The bright white on the right is actually the baby's arm which he/she insisted on keeping in front of his/her face. The bright white spot on the left is the nose--you can basically only see the nose and lips and closed eyes.

Here's some FAQ's:

Q) When are you due again?
A) Monday, Dec. 17. I've been measuring exactly on and my recent ultrasound kept my due date the same.

Q) Did you find out if it's a boy or girl? 
A) No. I was really tempted, but decided to keep it a surprise.

Q) Have you picked out names?
A) We don't have anything definite although I think 2 keep rising to the top of each list, so at least it's narrowing.

Q) Can you feel the baby move?
A) All the time, but especially at night when I'm trying to go to sleep! The baby is positioned correctly and seems crunched in there, so it's unlikely to move. It's always a relief to know it is unlikely to turn breech.

Q) How's the belly?
A) According to Ryan, it's getting bigger and bigger and very fat. It does seem like an awful lot to haul around and I've gained around 30 lbs. This isn't great news, but it's about the same as my first pregnancy so far and my doctor doesn't seem concerned, so I'm not stressing. Clothes, even maternity ones, are getting awful tight and I think this is the point in the pregnancy when people start thinking that you look ready to pop. I can definitely tell a difference between pregnancies (showing more) and the baby's particular position has put more stress on my hips/pelvis/bladder so walking is already uncomfortable/painful. With regular chiropractic care, though, I've avoided sciatica this time around and trying to keep back pain under control.

Q) How are you feeling?
A) Here are a few lingering symptoms:

  • Morning Sickness: This mostly faded around 25 weeks although I still feel nauseated every once in a while and have had a few non-pregnancy related puking episodes that made up for getting rid of this symptom.
  • Heartburn: Still going strong and makes it hard to sleep at night. I'm taking daily medication and can tell when I eat trigger foods (spicy, fried, sugary, chocolate, ice cream---so pretty much everything I want to eat)
  • Swelling: I can't remember exactly when this kicked in with Ryan, but so far it's barely been an issue. Maybe it's because of the cooler weather than with his Oct. 1 date.  I still have my wedding ring on and only get swollen feet if I sit at the computer at night and don't put them up. Keeping away carpal tunnel pain would make my plan of working until my due date much more tolerable than it was last time.
  • Insomnia: I'm mostly contributing this to heartburn and baby movement keeping me from getting to sleep at a decent time, but once I'm out, I usually sleep hard and don't get up often.
  • Tiredness: I often feel fatigued during the day but still go to bed late so never really catch up on this. I feel more tired with this pregnancy but I think it's just more responsibility with parenting this time around instead of only taking care of myself.
  • Pain: Mostly just hips and pelvis. Some back and joint pain, but the "stretching" pain of the belly seems mostly over.
  • Leg cramps: Only occasionally and it's usually due to dehydration.
So, less than 6 weeks to go and we still have quite a bit to do to prepare, but it's getting closer and we're all excited!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Turkey Supper

Since I did my voting early, my biggest concern of the day was getting to the annual American Reformed Church Turkey Supper before all the chocolate pie ran out!

I picked up Ryan from daycare and after a few questions, he announced, "Mommy, I don't want to talk about how my day was." But, after we stopped at home and got back into the van for the ride to Hull, he became very talkative. We covered all kinds of topics from what happens to the monkeys in the zoo in the winter time (he was concerned they would die if people didn't come to see them all weekend--I told him about zookeepers), to his list of facts he knows about cows ("they drink milk when they are calves but some of them on Uncle Kevin's farm are big enough to drink water and they eat corn and silage and a group of cows is called a herd"), to why there are no more dinosaurs alive (I went with the "big rock hit the earth and no plants could grow so they ran out of food" theory), to his decision that someone needed to tell T-rexes that they need to be nice to the other dinosaurs (i.e. not eat them).

After a short period of silence during which I could almost hear Ryan's 3-year-old mind whirring, he said, "Mommy, did you know there is someone who we can't see but he is always with us and will always help us and lives high in the sky where we can't see him?" Before I started congratulating myself that our nightly devotions were sinking in, he announced, "It's Batman. Maybe he can help the dinosaurs not to be extinct too." Oh boy, we need to work on our theology.  Later tonight, he told me that we all belong to the "kingdom of Batman." Apparently he has taken everything he's heard about God and inserted Batman instead. Kind of wondering what that makes Robin.

After these enlightening (blasphemous?) conversations, I steered the topic to the approaching Turkey Supper, explaining that we were going to be eating at a school (not a "wes-twant") and that Grandpa, Grandma, Great-Grandma, Uncle Wade, Aunt Abbie, and Saylor would be there. I was listing off all the things there would be to eat when he suddenly stopped me and became very excited about one particular offering. Was it when I listed the turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, rolls, chocolate milk, or even pie? was...jello. You'd think the kid hit the jackpot. "Mommy I LOVE jello, I always WANTED jello, I can't WAIT to eat jello. What color jello do you think it will BE?"  Luckily, they pulled through on the jellow and he enjoyed both a red and an orange cup while Saylor destroyed an orange cup as well. He did eat corn, a roll, and tried his turkey and potatoes, but the whole time he was also eyeing the white cupcake with white frosting and red/blue sprinkles. Nothing like "election cupcakes" for a Thanksgiving meal!  He also helped polish off my chocolate pie which I got too full to finish.
As usual, he loved seeing family again and wanted to tickle Saylor's cheeks while saying, "Hey, Tookie, Tookie!"  I love the turkey supper and look forward to a few more Thanksgiving meals before the season is over. Thinking about all the yummy food to come helps keep my mind off the disappointing election results that are currently rolling in.

Ryan's shirt may not recover from the red jello stains, but then again, I'm sure Batman can help with that too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Boy's Baseball Room: Navy/Red/Gray

I think I'm ready to declare Ryan's new navy/red/gray baseball "big boy" room just about complete! My goal was to have a more "grown-up" room that wasn't too themed, so a few changes to some decoration accents could make it less of a "baseball room" and more just a boy's room. We also kept in mind that once Ryan is older, we'll probably move him to the larger bedroom in the basement (being less than 3 when we first moved him downstairs, we didn't want him so far away from the stairs, so we put him in the closest room) so we wanted this room to be versatile enough to change to a guest room if needed.

Here is a tour along with links to many of the things used in this room. I do this as a reminder to myself in case we ever need replacement/similar items and also to help out anyone who many stumble across this looking for, say, the perfect shade of paint to match the bedspread, etc. This is a very small room (only one reason why the pictures are so terrible) , so we tried to make the most of storage space, plus, being in the basement near the toy room means he doesn't need a lot of room to store/play toys in his room.

View from the door.
  • The Northwestern College banner is one that Adam got from his alma mater's bookstore several years ago and since Ryan is a big Red Raider's fan, we thought this would be a great place to hang it.
  • The rug is a rag-rug hand-made from various red/blue/white materials that was Adam's "nap rug" when he was a kid. I kind of like the pop of color it brings to otherwise plain carpeting. Nika, our beagle, lays on it every night while I read Ryan books.
  • The wooden milk stool was picked up from a second-hand store in Sibley and is necessary for Ryan to be able to climb into his tall bed.
  • The furniture: Standard Twin Captain Bed with bookshelf headboard, Standard City Park 5-Drawer Chest, and matching nightstand are all from Nebraska Furniture Mart. So far, they've worked great (after we got them down the stairs, of course).
Corner of room
  • The bedding set (comforter, sheets, pillow case, pillow sham) is the Mainstays Striped Bed-in-a-Bag from Walmart. I haven't washed the comforter yet and will be sure to use a Color-Catcher when I do, since I've read it can run, but so far, it's been fine. It's not super-warm, but Ryan gets really hot when he sleeps and we added a red Room Essentials Blanket from Target for the winter.
  • Two walls are painted Valspar's Stone Mason Gray and two are painted Valspar's Blue Coal. We bought both from Lowe's. Since the walls started white, we painted the whole room gray first, then did another coat of gray on 2 walls and did 2-3 coats (I can't remember)  of navy on the other 2 walls. The colors match the bedding very well and we picked the darkest navy color we could find so that it wouldn't turn out looking "bright blue" with the lights on.
  • The blue  Jumping Beans® Play Ball "Baseball" Decorative Pillow as well as the white baseball pillow came from Kohl's, but I can't find the white one on their website anymore, but it's similar to the one sold here.
  • His headboard is filled with a few Minnesota twins figures, a picture of Daddy, and some of his favorite (red and blue) books, including the A Treasury of Curious George, The New Adventures of Curious George, and The Boy, The Kite, and the Wind (read about how the net profits of the sales of this book are donated here.)
  • The art above his bed are pictures of Ryan's great-grandfathers' baseball teams from the 1940's along with a great motivational quote from Clingspiration that reads "Be Strong when you are weak, Brave when you are Scared, and Humble when you are Victorious." See my previous post for a full run-down on this Baseball Picture Project.
Other corner of the room
  • The curtains are navy Room Essentials Thermal Window Panel Pair from Target and this window already had a wooden-looking roll-up shade and curtain rod installed from the previous owner. I like the heavy curtains because the block a lot of light, help block any sort of cold draft, and they have a slight vertical stripe in the design that matches the stripey theme we have going on with his bed.
Alcove next to Closet
  • Besides a picture frame and a fake trophy Ryan won in an "egg race" his dresser holds a Minnesota Twins baseball cap and baseball signed by Alexi Casilla that I won for being selected as the "Designated Driver of the Game" at a Twins game.
  • He loves dropping coins into his Circo Sports baseball Piggy Bank from Target.
  • The "R" initial was the black one I got on clearance at Kohl's several years ago. It hung in his nursery and I just repainted it to match his new room.
Short wall between closet and door

  • The canvas of the Minnesota Twins' Target Field was purchased at Target.
  • The bookshelf is Target's ClosetMaid Cubeicals 9 Cube Organizer Alder with the Cubeicals Fabric Drawers in Blue and Red.  The drawers are nice for storing his CD's as well as small toys. P.S. The books never look like this--they are always strewn about is room or at best, laying in stacks inside the cubes.
  • I used leftover navy paint to paint some cardboard to use as mats for the red picture frames that hold pictures of Ryan's cousins.
Ryan loves his baseball room and is always proud to show it off (even if you've seen it before). The transition to his basement "big boy room" has gone amazingly if only I would get started on the nursery. Oh well, we have 6 weeks yet, right?!?

Baseball Picture Project

For Ryan's baseball-themed room, I found a poster on Pinterest with a great quote and the perfect red and navy colors, so I bought it from Clingspiration:

Then I made 8x10" prints of both of my grandfathers' baseball teams--my dad's dad's high school team from 1945-1946 and my mom's dad's town All-Star team from 1948, both from Hull, IA.  I just scanned 5x7 prints on our printer/scanner, enhanced them using Picasa, and ordered them from Winkflash.  I'm sure a professional could have made them even nicer, but they were fine for my purposes.

I picked out two of the wooden 8x10 frames I've picked up from garage sales and bought an inexpensive 11x14 frame from Walmart and painted all three of them using the leftover navy paint from Ryan's room.  It took one coat of primer and three coats of paint using a sponge brush, but I like the way the navy matches the rest of this room.

Here is the final project:

And here it is hanging above the bed:
I'm going to work on a full post of Ryan's baseball room next, so stay tuned for a full tour of his room!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

3 Years, 1 Month Old

Milestones: I think we can declare a pretty full victory on potty-training. He hasn't had any accidents in several weeks and although we are keeping him in pull-ups at night, he has only woken up wet twice. I'm not fully confident on long car trips yet since he won't always go before he feels like he has to go, but am really happy to have met my goal of not having 2 kids in diapers at the same time! In other developmental things, he's getting better at drawing closed shapes and coloring, although he prefers stickers to colors. He tried to write a grocery list the other day and when I asked what was on it, he just said "Cheetos" (which we never have in our house...but man those sound good about now). He can correct his tone of voice and use good manners when reminded (CAN is the key word) and sometimes will surprise us with his consistent use of "please" and "no, thank-you"  but can be as ornery as all get-out or will have days when just about anything will make him cry, too.

Favorite Foods: Most-requested breakfast items are "Captain Crunch with no milk" or "Chocolate Krispies" which he also attempts to eat with no milk (not easy). He never ends up eating much of the cereal anyway.  Apparently the 15 minutes of Curious George he watches while we get ready is simply riveting.  He will ask for milk when he's thirsty (rarely juice) and since chocolate milk hasn't been on sale lately, he's been fine with "regular milk." Favorite concession stand treats are Skittles, but fruit snacks are the most common treat at home, which he chooses by character ("Mad-a-mask-car", Scooby Doo, or Superman are current choices). He usually does pretty well eating meals and has had quite a bit of Chinese food lately (mostly homemade) and, if asked what we should have for supper, will probably say "pizza."  He does well eating vegetables (except green beans) and will eat sliced apples at every meal if they are available.

Favorite Toys/Activities: Legos, farm animals/fences, Hot Wheels or tackle football inside, and soccer, football, or swings outside. I'm dreading the colder weather where he doesn't get enough outdoor time, but am okay with the end of "let's collect all dead bugs we find" season. He also loves helping bake/prepare food although there have been a few sneeze in the bowl/fingers in the dough incidents that mostly prevent us from sharing food he's helped prepare.

Favorite Books/Games: Lately we've been reading  I Saw an Ant on the Railroad Track and 101 Dalmations or Bambi every night, along with either a "Marley" book or a story from his Curious GeorgeTreasury.  His favorite ipad app is Make-A-Scene Farmyard or Safari and will do a few different puzzles or memory-type games, but would be most content using the PBS video app to watch Curious George videos.  He's getting better at being a good sport when playing Candyland and likes to play Sorry! now and then, even though he doesn't have good number-recognition yet.

Habits: Every night he falls asleep to the Go Fish Splash! CD on repeat. He wants to wear his firetruck pajamas and wants to have the light in his headboard on, hallway light on, and door half-open.  He probably stays up much too late (usually in bed between 8:00 and 8:30 but often will be heard singing to himself/looking at books until 9:00 or even 9:30) but he usually does take a good 2-hour nap in the afternoon if he's at daycare or at home. We try to follow a routine in the morning: wake up around 6:30, potty, wash hands, get dressed except shoes, chose breakfast, watch cartoons while mostly not eating breakfast, then shoes, coat, backpack, say good-bye, go to daycare around 7:15.

Thoughts on the baby:  When he asks how long it will be until "the doctor gets the baby out of your tummy", we've been telling him that it won't be until the winter after it snows. Well, of course, it snowed the other morning and he seemed a bit disgusted that it didn't mean the baby was coming!  He is also insisting that "I want the baby to stay a baby."  At first, this was in regards to being asked if he wanted a brother or a sister (boy/girl) and he'd insist "I just want it to be a baby, not a boy or girl."   I get the feeling he wants to be the "big" kid and wants some separation that he is not a baby--he is a big boy, so the baby can't be a boy too, it can only be a baby.  He is also quick to point out that mommy's tummy is getting "big and fat" and that it is growing "bigger and bigger and BIGGER!" As my maternity clothes get tighter and tighter, you can imagine how much I appreciate this (true) observation!

Thoughts on God: We've been reading from his Blessings Every Day devotional each night and it's brought up some interesting questions. It talked about getting to go to heaven if you love Jesus and he asked what heaven looked like and what kind of toys Jesus had. He got a little lip quiver and said he didn't want to go unless Mommy and Daddy and Nika could go with him. (no comment on the possibility of Nika making it past the pearly gates) He also asks baited questions about who made everything (trees, birds, people, etc.) and will answer his own question that "God made everything."  He asks about flying in an airplane a lot (we're going to Florida next summer) and asked what we would see from the airplane. I told him we'd be so high we'd be in the clouds and he asked if we'd be high enough to see God. I love his innocent questions and it's always a challenge to figure out how much to explain to a 3-year-old!