our home

our toy room

Let me start this story by explaining that we rent our house. When we moved in, the whole thing was ‘furnished’. Furnished as in, ‘We rent from family friends.’ The house had only been rented once previously, by a husband and wife who needed a place to live while they rebuilt their own home after a major fire. They needed the ‘furnishing’. Prior to that, this house had been in the same family for 100 years. 100 years.

Why is this relevant? ‘Our’ house had 100 years worth of stuff in it when we first saw it. You can’t even imagine. Paintings, pictures, photos, furniture, furniture, lamps, furniture, and THE BOOKS. The books. This was a family of teachers. They kept all of their books. All of them. Extended family members helped us empty out the big stuff before we moved in, but much of the tchotchke removal has been done by me alone, slowly over the past few years.

The Toy Room was previously the matron of the household’s bedroom, who was very old and, also, sick at the end of her life. The built-ins were filled with books about ill health and making peace with yourself, etc. Completely necessary for a particular age group, but not relevant to all crowds, and certainly not welcoming to guests. The walls in this room, as in the rest of the house, were a blue that almost appears white, but doesn’t due to the navy blue carpeting that runs throughout. Everything appears blue. Everything. Needless to say the space needed some sprucing, if not a complete overhaul.

After trying to make this our guest room, I realized it would get a lot more use if it had another purpose. Enter Graham’s second birthday. The week before his birthday, he wasn’t allowed in the room. Since this had been a guest room, and Graham didn’t need to use the bathroom (not potty trained yet), it was shockingly easy to keep him out.

A little paint, a lot of love and voila! Since Graham’s second birthday the room has evolved a bit. There is a lot more shelving now than there was in the beginning and more baskets. There have been a few holidays since then, so… toys. Here it is:

Toy RoomToy Room

In the top photo, that white wall looks super plain, but it doesn’t feel that way in person. It’s so busy in the room that the white space is a nice break. You can see where we’ve started wasi taping artwork at the bottom of the wall. Our plan is to go from the bottom to the top. The whole wall was covered before my last rearrange, but we needed a reset. It was overpowering, so we’re just starting from zero again.

I buy vintage children’s books at thrift stores and mix them with our newer ones. They have beautiful illustrations that are often in different styles than many books published today. I like the idea of Graham seeing things in many different ways. I don’t just want him to think a tree can only be drawn/ recognized in one way. This is particularly true of color, so many new books have beautiful, saturated colors. Sometimes it’s nice to see something more muted to change the pace. I like to talk about the different images we see. It’s fun. I hope it makes him less fearful to express things in his own way, if only in his art. I’ll even buy a book just for the pictures. I’ll tear them out and buy some ready-made frames from Ikea or Target. It’s wonderful playroom art for just a few dollars.

Sources: Bookshelves, Wicker Baskets, Rugs, and Toy Barn

Toy RoomToy Room

I love, love, love that magnet wall. I was inspired by this post. The Today Is….. Calendar is my favorite Christmas gift that Graham received this year. He has so much fun changing the weather around :)

Sources: Tall Basket, Black and White Pillows and Stacked Blue and Pink Baskets, Abacus

Toy RoomToy RoomThe built in bookshelves and I have a love/ hate relationship. They add so much stylewise, but are seriously lacking in the storage department. The little dress up section is a recent addition. I love the vintage mirror below. It sits low enough that Graham can watch himself play, if he likes. You know, three is such a modest age.

Sources: Pennat Flag was DIY, Garbage Truck 1, Garbage Truck 2, Firefighter Costume, Stool

Toy RoomToy RoomThe chalkboard wall! I’m crazy about this thing. I wish the room were bigger so it was easier to access all the time, but for now this will do. Hey look! It’s Graham wearing sound suppressors, because I had just finished vacuuming. That’s just how we roll.

Sources: Clock, Piano is vintage

IMG_0088Toy RoomA few sweet details and a little sunshine, problems forgotten.

Feel free to ask any additional questions in the comments. I hope you find it as inspiring as we do!



the view from here

From us to you

Happy New Year!

I’m always a little late, but honestly. I don’t actually observe the New Year holiday until the Chinese one rolls around- February 19th! That’s when you know it’s time to get serious. I take the time between the American New Year and the Chinese New year and I use it as an incubation period. I think about what sort of growth and change I’d like to see take place, and I, also, fiddle around with the more ridiculous and silly resolutions I’d like to make. It’s just not January without wondering whether or not exclusively wearing thongs for a year will assist you in becoming a more refined person.*  To date my biggest resolution prospect is this:

I will not NOT eat anything this year.

As in, no restricted diet. None. I’ll eat meat. I’ll eat dairy. I’ll treat carbs like they might not kill me. And you know what the funniest part of making this resolution is for me? I’m having a really hard time committing. I can’t NOT restrict my diet periodically. I thought it was silly at first, but considering how hard it has been for me to mentally commit, I think this might have to be the one resolution I stick it out with this year. I’m pretty sure if I stopped coming up with lame dietary changes to focus my energy on, I might actually do something more productive with my time. I don’t know, like blogging. Wouldn’t that be nice? I think so.

Anyhow that’s my New Year’s update. Here are a few photos I took of our home this week, with that new camera I demanded, er… was gifted, this Christmas.






IMG_0013I look just like my mother in this photo, but she’ll tell you that’s not true.

IMG_0024The rest of my tribe, currently.

Over and Out, E

*SPOILER ALERT: Alas, I will NOT be choosing this particular resolution for my own, but it’s yours to take, if you like.



This is my most shameful confession so far, by a landslide, too.

You guys… I ate so much chocolate that I’m almost positive I’m now allergic.

No, you guys, do you realize how much chocolate that is? You can’t possibly imagine. It’s gross. It really is, but I have an addiction and I cannot be stopped… until now.

I’ve spent the past week and half trying to determine the source of my newfound hives and uncontrollable itching. Seriously, I thought the skin on my abdomen might start bleeding this morning.

The sad, sad truth that I don’t want to be true is that the culprit is likely chocolate. How awful. How shameful! What a mess! Ugh.

Happy New Year? Ha.



#8,795 & 6

I have spent the past 4 winters wearing Ugg boots like it was 2005.

It is not 2005. It is 2014. I am so ashamed.

When they finally kicked the bucket and ripped this week, they were doing me a serious favor. A favor which I have not been able to perform for myself, obviously. Those mothers were comfortable.

I was VERY pregnant when they were purchased.

On that note… DOUBLE CONFESSION!!!

I cut my own bangs at 36 weeks pregnant in 2011. It was a poor choice. I thought I could be Zooey Deschanel. I cannot. I have not 1, but 3 serious cowlicks on the front of my head.

Per your view of my mental health, it should be considered that this was the only time in history that I cut my own hair… except for when I was 7. That time I couldn’t get one dang tiny section of hair to lay flat, so I cut it. Straight to the scalp, because that was my only rational choice. It was near the front of my head.

This is almost, sort of, a triple confession.




I made a batch of cookie dough a week ago. It has since become rock hard, and surely should not be consumed. Today, I used all of my upper body strength to break a few hunks off. I put those hunks onto a cookie sheet and shoved them into the oven. I didn’t even attempt to roll them into balls. I then severely underbaked the dough. I ate all of it.

I ate it.

I ate week old underbaked cookie dough hunks while sitting alone and staring at my computer.


dear graham

dear graham,

This week we watched Home Alone together as a family. I am a ninny and did not preview the movie. It is definitely a little too mature for the three and half year old crowd. However, you handled it swimmingly. I, also, chose to make loud noises, block your view, and tickle you whenever Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) played that stupid movie on the T.V. with all the gun shooting.

Anyhow watching the movie is not the point. The point is that when I brought you up to bed that night, you rambled a mile a minute about each and every trap you would set to catch the robbers. You went on and on. You told me how you were going to use your humidifier with super hot water. Where you would put nails in the ground to step on. Trap doors were mentioned in a way I couldn’t understand. Door blockades came into play. It was a wild and wonderful and frantic conversation.

I soaked up every moment of this, because it is officially official. After this past Tuesday night, of all the nights of your life thus far, I can now whole heartedly say, ‘Welcome to the brotherhood.’ This life will be one of many late nights fantasizing terrible, if not highly unlikely, situations. Strategizing elaborate escape routes, as well as plotting booby traps and hiding ‘weapons’ amidst your surroundings are certain to be future (if not current) hobbies. It all comes with the territory of being a Vester.

I’m so glad to have you amongst our ranks. We could really use a guy like you,

Your Fellow Comrade,