While the boys were away at Fort Stevens with Grandma and Grandpa in late July? Mom and Dad tackled the dark chaos that was:
Sam and Caleb’s BEDROOM.
The photos have not been altered. Yes. Their Mother had clearly just given up.
They had requested the bunk beds to be taken apart, but their room is very small so I had to get creative:
We took those 2 black bookshelves, placed them back to back and screwed them to the wall (because you KNOW someone is going to try to scale that) John built a platform, and then indulged me by cutting a piece of beadboard for the side to cover the seam. I came up with the color scheme after endless debates between two VERY different personalities. One wanted an Oregon Ducks room, one wanted Army theme. Space? 1 yes, 1 no. Jungle? 1 no, 1 yes. Lego? 1 yes, 1 no. AARRGGHHH. Finally, I said they could each choose a favorite color, and get one veto vote over a brothers choice. Caleb suggests Sam goes first, quickly vetoes Sam’s first choice then declares his own:pink. Just to waste sam’s veto! I tell you, he is scary-smart. So I forbid pink or purple as choices and we end up with Caleb: lime green and Sam: ocean blue. We went to the fabric store and found this flannel:
it had both their colors, and a nice chocolate-brown and pumpkin-y orange, as accents for me to play with. I sewed them matching pillowcases but put each boys color sheets on their beds. I then ordered these vinyl decals from etsy, only about $11 each, and one of the kids favorite details in here! the photo makes the wall look green but it is cream-colored. I was already out $$ for the dressers, fabric and bedding so I skimped on paint by going out to the garage. I “shopped” my extras and mixed what was left of our hallway, bathroom and living room (since they are all neutrals) then it was darker than I liked so I glugged in there a shot of shiny white from the baseboard trim painting of 4 years ago. Viola! Soft, creamy tan walls. NOT puke green, like this leads you to think. I thought their books and Legos were already SO colorful, that a restful light color would be a good backdrop and not overpower the small area.
this is what the closet looked like, before:
We took the bi-fold doors off years ago, to give them easier access and make it easier to keep tidy.
yeah, that clearly didn’t work.
but here is the After!
They each have their “color” hanger, so I can tell immediately who put their laundry away properly, and who didn’t. We found the plastic dressers at Big Lots and gave their green, wooden one to a friends little girl, who loves it. It was a perfect dresser when the kids were 4 and 6, but once the length of their clothes doubled, suddenly only 4 pairs of pants would fit in a drawer and open drawers with clothes hanging out? That is one of my peeves. I stopped getting on them about over it a year ago, when I could see-it really was impossible to shut the drawer completely.
Here they are, trying to clean up:
and the Lego desk, after:
There were so many holes in the walls to spackle that I bought them each a bulletin board and insisted they could only tack things to THAT. They were 1.99 each at a thrift store-one frame was white, the other yellow but they were the same size so I just painted them both brown to coordinate. Yes, all 8 of those drawers are full of Legos. John built this desk for Caleb when he first came down with Lego fever, and I am afraid the child will never be completely well…
Claudia jokingly (yet accurately!) called this room my nemesis. Seriously, it was, for about 2 years. This is my favorite accomplishment of the WHOLE Summer! lets look at more pictures, shall we?!
This is just a $5 green edged mirror that I painted a blue frame around, so both colors are represented. now no one child can claim ownership and charge the other to use it. the way I survive being Caleb’s Mom, is I stay just one step ahead of him at all times. and I sleep with one eye open. it freaks JOhn out, but you do what you gotta do.
I added the hooks for Sam’s Fedora and Calebs (now lost-have any of you seen it at YOUR house?) newsboy cap. The stools are for playing Wii, and they are at Fred Meyer for $18. They are washable brown vinyl and have lids-we are using them to store extra baseball hats, a green and yellow Ducks afro wig that is VERY important to Caleb, and belts. Because neither boy has buttocks plump enough to hold up their pants. Yet, they are clearly MINE-that’s just weird.
The mirror was one of their requests. They said they needed a place to “get ready” and “check their look”. I was good, you’d be proud. I didn’t shriek out For what?! Since when?! For girls?! Why do you suddenly care? STOP growing up!!
ok. deep breaths.
more photos, please…
I ought to start charging for my photography, really. I have some mad skills.
perhaps it was paint fumes making me dizzy? you don’t know! it could have been!
This is the view from Sam’s side of the bed. I love that they have easy access to their favorite books. They love the clip-on light. I love that they have slept less than 2 feet away from each other for almost their entire lives. They love the privacy and separation the bookshelf gives them. Most likely they will be sharing this room at least another 3 years!
I made this little white board message center from a Goodwill find that was $2.99. There was a french lemon theme going on, but I just glued scrapbook paper over it, to match the room. Can you see where the skull and crossbones WERE? I put doo-dads over the top, but there is still a glimpse of corpse, see under the blue star-circle?!. Then I hotglued brown ribbon to the top, to hang it, and a loop on the bottom to hold the dry-erase pen. It’s funny to see what reminders Caleb gives himself! I write “Sam–Pants first, then Shoes.” hahahaha who gets a real kick out of herself, huh? is it me?!
Sam was grateful and stated immediately that he liked it, but he was very matter-of-fact about it all. After exploring everything he promptly climbed into his bed, put his hands behind his head and sighed contentedly with a “Yup! I love it!” and he never said another word about it. This was his new room, it was great, that was enough. He just accepted it. This is one of the ways he is like his Dad. Because John does like it when things are clean, or pretty-but he doesn’t REALLY notice when they aren’t, (unless it is really like dirty or ugly) This comes in handy when I am busy.
For all Sam’s stoicism, it was the opposite for his brother. Caleb could not stop gushing. He noticed every tiny detail, and admired it, loudly. He must have thanked me 100 times! For days he was saying “I just can’t believe it.” and “I never IMAGINED it could look so nice!” He wants to have all his friends over to see, and enjoy it with him. He makes his bed every morning now, and keeps things tidy with hardly a prompting from me (that is new!) I know Sam likes his room, and I don’t worry over him being grateful a bit. He’s like his Papa, who always laughs at the joke where the husband says after 50 years “I told you I loved you the day we got married. If I ever change my mind, I’ll let you know.” he gets that! Sam said “I like it, thanks!” So really, what else is there to say? There is more excitement to his life than new sheets and new paint!
But Caleb is different about it, and it shocked me. See, I just don’t see me in Caleb (as much as everyone else sees and points out!). But THIS? This, I get. This, is how I was about a room, even at his age. We moved a lot because Dad was in real estate and choosing my new bedroom was supremely important. Brian would just look at square footage, but I would stand in a dusty, echo-y space and watch the way the sunlight fell through a window, in order to decide where I was going to LIVE and SLEEP. I cried every time we moved, because I got attached to a space after makig it my own. I often spent precious little money I had, on houseplants, and I was eight.
But it changes some of us, how a place is ordered, or not. For some, the visual noise of clutter can drown out thoughts, and a lack of light stifles growth.
There are both people and places that are loud and tight and negative and chaotic and we are amongst it all too long and we grow stilted. bent in a way of protecting self.
sometimes we learn there are other souls and places that are soft and warm and spacious and simple and when we stay in that environment, our hearts just…open.
A week after they were home, I felt Caleb’s little arms steal around my waist as I loaded the dishwasher and then a sweet, earnest little voice said quietly…
“I could stay in my room all day. You are the best Mom and this is the best thing you’ve ever done for me.”
and you discover that’s how it is, then.
a parent will cry, the moment they see how they gave to their child, something they had ached for.