The entire third floor of this house was used by the previous owners as their master suite… I can see how it would be pretty awesome. We chose not to do that though, as it just felt so disconnected from the rest of the house, and with two little kids on the second floor, it just felt better to be near their rooms in the middle of the night.
The previous owners (POs?) did a great thing utilizing the empty space behind the knee walls by inserting three dressers into them to make a lot of “built-in” storage. Super practical and I totally get it.
For whatever reason, these things are just FUGLY to me. Maybe it’s the hardware? Maybe it’s the rounded molding around the sides? They just look so dated and yucky to me and since we moved in, I’ve been saying that I just want to chuck ‘em and put in something else. Anything else. Shelves? Cubbies? Different drawers? My mom, ever the practical one, always advises me to keep them (“Drawers are so functional!”) But I just can’t do it.
They’ve gotta go.
When I did a pinterest search for “Built in cubbies playroom,” a sense of omg I love these just washed over me. Seriously, there is just something pleasing about a little cubby hole, right? I can remember back to when I was in preschool… the littlest kids had hooks on a coat rack, but the bigger kids? Those guys had their own personalized cubby holes near the front door. I coveted those cubby holes and I remember how excited I was when I aged up into the part of the preschool where I got my very own personalized cubby hole.
So I feel like cubby holes are the way to go.
Luckily enough, we discovered that Ikea’s Kallax bookshelf is almost exactly as big as the openings in the wall! There is about an inch or two room on each side but I figured that can be covered with trim. This saves us from constructing a cubby unit from scratch and I also love that all the great Ikea storage boxes and baskets will fit into the cubbies—they’re my favorite organizational tools anyway! Ikea for the win, once again!
So that’s what is going to happen with those two horizontal dresser openings.
What I’m really excited about is what we are doing on the opposite side of the room where the vertical dresser was.
When we pulled it out, we found that the space behind was pretty roomy, and it felt like such a waste to just block it back up with something else. So we are fulfilling one of my childhood fantasties: A SECRET ROOM! Or a reading nook. Or a hidden room. Whatever you want to call it I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE GIRLS TO SEE IT.
It just makes sense to finish out that space. Once the kids are grown up and gone, it’s great storage space… or that how I’m justifying the expense in my head. 😉
The framing inside was already done and there are already floor boards in, so I had my friend Jeff, who is also an extraordinary handyman, come over to hang dry wall and beadboard and trim. Basically, Jeff has a saw. I do not have a saw, nor do I possess the gross motor skills to use a saw safely. So Jeff is here to do all the things that I cannot do with a screwdriver, hammer, or crow bar. (Okay he can do more than saw things, like plumbing stuff and electrical stuff… basically, he’s a great guy to have on speed dial if you own a house).
Poor guy. He’s at least six feet tall and he’s spent more hours than he ever wanted to cramped in a tiny crawlspace that we nicknamed the [horribly-bad-politically-incorrect-name-that-I-shall-not-publish-here.]
After all this talk about cubbies and cozy secret rooms, I’m sure you (and my husband) are wondering just who this playroom is actually for… the kids or me? Let’s just say “the kids” ok? 😉
Check out the finished project here!
We had three birthday parties in two months. For two girls. And there was cake. Oh yes, there was cake.
Because we were in the Boston area close to Poppy’s First Birthday, we had a party there for all our Boston family (there are a lot of them), but then we also another First Birthday party for Poppy back in Chicago when my family was visiting from Cleveland. Then a month later, we had a smaller party for Millie’s Third Birthday when all three of her grandparents visited for that day.
So, like I said, a lot of cake.
But cake makes a party and we needed to throw a party! We closed out one year of being a Family of Four. I know there are many people out there that have more kids and have done this before so it’s not really monumental, but you know, it is to us. Last summer, I couldn’t imagine what having a second child would be like, and I was so nervous about it… how it would affect Millie, how it would change our family dynamic, how our routine would be upended again… I had a lot of anxiety about it.
But now I know, it just works out. Millie adjusts. I adjust. The family adjusts. And then you have this wonderful smiley, happy, chubby ball of baby that just makes everything even better. Watching the two of them–Millie and Poppy–figure out how to exist together (and maybe even become friends) is pretty enjoyable too. So yeah. It was reason to celebrate (three times).
Again. Cake. These cakes are from Chubby Love Bake Shop. I’m obsessed with her cakes and cookies.
I believe the soundtrack in hell consists mostly of popular music hits sung by children. There are all kinds of really cool playspaces in the Chicago area and I pick where we spend a day based on which ones won’t play me that Kids Bop kind of stuff. It makes me want to scream. There is so much great music out there, there’s no reason we need to subject our kids to that crap, right??
As much as I am an advocate for just playing ANY music for kids, from The Beatles to Jason Mraz to Michael Buble, I have realized that my three-year-old does enjoy listening to songs that are about more than just unrequited love or adult-themes. Like, you know, songs about bubbles. She likes songs about bubbles.
So I created this playlist of music I found that my kids love and that I don’t mind listening to. I threw in some kid-friendly standards and classics, some current “kid musician” songs, to a little Queen. I’m not going to say that every song in here is curse-word free or void of adult references like drinking or kissing or whatnot. I’m not all that concerned about “protecting” my kids ears from things like that, unless it’s really blatant or, well, the Eff-word. So there’s your word of warning.
Some of my favorite tracks on this playlist:
“Yes, We Have No Bananas” from Louis Prima. This is a song from 1922 that first appeared in a Broadway musical revue and has been recorded by dozens of famous and not-so-famous artists throughout the years. Louis Prima is just fun and his version is also just fun. I love Big Band and Swing and pretty much all popular music from the 1920’s through the 1950’s and this is a wonderful example of some vintage music with interesting sounds and instruments for kids to hear and fun lyrics. I adore this one.
“Ho Hey” from The Nashville Cast/Lennon & Maisy. Millie goes through phases where she is obsessed with this particular recording and will not listen to anything else. The song is about two minutes long and we had thirty minute drive to an appointment and we listened to this 15 times in a row. I love The Lumineer’s original of this, but my kiddos like hearing little kids sing together, so this wins. Plus, I’m hoping that the sweet harmonies Lennon & Maisy have will sink into my kids brains so they too have a great sense of harmony.
“A–You’re Adorable” from John Lithgow. I was so excited to discover that John Lithgow recorded three children’s albums (one is a companion album to his children’s book The Remarkable Farkle McBride) that quickly added many of the tunes to this playlist. I love Great American Songbook songs and his does them well enough to please an adult music fan but also very accessible to little ears. This playlist is heavy on the Lithgow. Can you really have too much Lithgow, though?
“Bohemian Rhapsody” from both Queen and The Muppets. Okay, so here’s how two versions of this song ended up on this playlist. I love the Muppets. As you get to know me, you’ll find that my love for the Muppets runs deep and long. I showed the Muppet music video of this to Millie and she went nuts. It was all we watched for a week. I couldn’t not put this song on the list, however, part of me kept thinking that it would be a crime to also not have Queen’s version. THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT QUEEN! So there you go. Two versions. But we Wayne’s World Head Bang to both versions, ok?
WHY I LIKE THIS PLAYLIST: it’s light on Disney music (not that there’s anything wrong with Disney music…), it’s very light on actual kids singing, it has artists adults know and love singing kid-centric songs or kid-friendly songs.
One of the best things about (almost) three-year-olds is that they can have conversations with you like they’re an adult, with their own fully formed ideas and thoughts and sentences. But then they go and mispronounce a word and the whole thing is ruined because they are just so damned cute you can’t even take it anymore.
That’s what Millie does to me all the time now. We will go on and on, discussing things (the girl has A LOT of thoughts on EVERYTHING), but then she just says the cutest damned thing. Like earlier this week when she was sick… after a trip to the doctor and several doses of Children’s Advil, she was on the road to recovery without a fever and feeling so much more like herself that she had been. And she wanted to tell me about it. I cannot get over how she says “fever.” OMG I JUST WANT TO SQUEEZE HER CUTENESS SO HARD.