Tuesday, June 20, 2017

renovation diary : master bath // before + after

Once there was a really, really dark bedroom.  
Dark walls, dark trim, and dark tile on the dark, empty fireplace.
Six years ago, when we purchased our 1859 Greek Revival fixer-upper, we saw this room attached to our bedroom as a temporary spot for our firstborn (then a one-year-old) while we renovated the rest of the house.

So it became Cormac's toddler room. All we did at the time was paint the walls a medium gray, then insert kid stuff.  Done.  I didn't hang anything on the walls or buy anything fancy.
Cormac's toddler room for several years.      
Finally, last October we decided we were ready to begin transforming this room into an en suite master bathroom with closet.  So Cormac, now a five year old, moved to his new "big kid room" and we started turning our master bath dreams into a reality.

I knew the kind of bathroom I wanted:  Victorian, yet updated.  Marble.  Black + white.  Simple, yet glam.  Vintage vibes.  (I posted our inspiration photos here.)

That was early November of 2016.
Fast forward (wait, maybe not fast) eight months.
Yes.  Eight whole months.

We are finally done!

At long last, here is the transformation.  We are pretty excited to have a shower, a real closet instead of just clothing racks in our bedroom, and even a separate toilet room.  Honestly, it is missing the necessary art + plants needed to make it truly feel like home to me...but you can sense the general vibe in the before + after photos below!
Kept the original tile, fireplace mantle and heart pine floors.  Painted all the trim and picture rails white.
Yeah, the steam shower is a bit over-the-top...but we love it!
We widened the doorway into our bedroom and added pocket doors.  The other door leads to toilet room.
light fixtures from overstock.com
Black vanity was a cheap antique find that I painted black.  Furry stool from Target!
All hardware in room is from Signature Hardware.  Countertop is quartz.  Giant gold mirror was a random vintage find I purchased three years ago -- one of my favorite parts of the bathroom!
terribly lit photo...but our closet is from EasyClosets.com - installed by Hubby!

View looking out from closet.  We kept the closet open on top to let in more natural light.

One more look back at how far we've come...

If it seems completely unrecognizable...well, good! :)

We still need : shutters, plants, art...but, as with all things in our home, it will happen in time.  I find my style evolves over time anyway, so it is best for us not to do everything all at once.

We are glad to be done with this really drawn-out project.
Happy to have cash-flowed the entire thing (our most expensive home reno project so far.) 

Now, onto turning our former bathroom into a cozy little nursery for the baby!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

my kids aren't 'pleasers' - and that's okay.

My kids are a lot of things.  Affectionate.  Loud. Verbose.  (Very verbose.)

But they aren't pleasers.

As parents I think we naturally hope our kids are pleasers.  What I mean is, we want them to be good-natured and compliant.  Pleasant to be around.  Polite.  Follow all the rules.  Maybe even just quiet.

That is not my children.
two strong-willed kiddos - lucky me! ;)
They can be sweet and delightful - if they know you and you are patient enough to wait for it. But they are not the type, upon meeting them, to respond to your adult greeting with a shy smile and a tiny toddler wave.  "Say 'hi' Cormac," I will urge.  Sometimes he will simply ignore the whole interaction.   Or he will say something completely off-the-wall, leaving the adult stupified.  Finola is not much different.  "Will you give me a hug?" will sometimes ellicit the response of a flat-out "Nope!" They don't give obligatory hugs.  Ever.  But, if they feel like it, they are the most cuddly kids I can imagine.

When they want to talk to you, and they love to talk, they will initiate the conversation on their terms.  They will be brutally honest.

It is no surprise to me that my kids aren't pleasers.  I would not describe my husband as a pleaser. Good-natured and very friendly, yes.  Pleaser-personality, no.   I know for a fact I am not a pleaser... although I am more conscious of my responses/actions now that I am older.

A 'pleaser' (from what I gather from self-proclaimed pleasers) is someone who often acts to appease others.  Who may hold back their opinions or feelings to avoid confrontation.  Who follows the established social graces, sometimes even when it goes against every fiber of their being. (Thus causing inner turmoil - or at least some discomfort.)  A pleaser's default setting is to concern themselves with how they "should" act - and are very concerned with how other people are judging their actions.  They want to keep the peace and make others happy, despite personal feelings.

Don't get me wrong - pleasers are wonderful people!  They are usually sweet and kind and very easy to get along with.  They will usually have more friends than non-pleasers.  It is easy to like a pleaser.

In my family, my sister is a self-proclaimed 'recovering pleaser.'  My younger brother was definitely a pleaser growing up.  Spencer would always be saying, "Can't we just all get along?"  He was and is the nicest guy ever.

I, however, was the opposite!  A natural button-pusher.  I didn't care at all (in the moment) how I was perceived.  I was the child who wrinkled my nose at strangers who told me how cute I was.  I would literally grunt and recoil when well-meaning adults would try to get "all up in my hamster ball" in any way.  I believe I even threw a few punches as a baby.
I was a textbook "non-pleaser."
As I grew older I continued to embarrass/annoy my parents by giving my startlingly honest opinions and telling them (and everyone) exactly what I thought.  I was hard to discipline because I questioned everything - and let's be honest, parents typically just want kids to hear that they are wrong and stop doing whatever it is.  I wanted to discuss (argue) why things were wrong, even as a very young child. That didn't usually go over well!

I go through these same things with both my children.  I get it now, Mom and Dad.  It wears you down!

Although it is super frustrating sometimes to parent my strong-willed children, I want to emphasize the positives of their big personalities. There is great value in being a non-conformist. There is strength in not being afraid to give your opinion (respectfully) even when everyone else is saying something else.

And it is totally okay to say the kid equivalent of "get the heck away from me" when a someone makes you feel uncomfortable!  (Real talk: My kids have shouted "Stranger danger!" around innocent bystanders outside buildings who have even glanced at them sideways. Kinda embarrassing...but at least they are aware...???)

As they grow up, I want my kids to feel empowered to not just go along with what the other kids are doing.  To state very clearly if they don't like how they are being treated.  To not be bullies, but definitely not be victims, either.

So mamas and dads, the next time you find yourself wishing your kid was more of a "pleaser" -- pray for God to work His will through your child's unique little personality.

The world needs all kinds.

+ + + + + +

If you sometimes struggle, as I do, with parenting a strong-willed child, I highly encourage you to read the following article as it may help you to understand the behavior better.  As a grown-up "strong-willed child" I can say that this is pretty spot-on:
(Such a great website, and Dr. Laura Markham's book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids is probably my favorite parenting book of all.)  

Friday, April 21, 2017

a week in the warmth // beach + lego vacay

Recently we got a much-needed dose of vitamin D and relaxation down in Florida.
We road-tripped down to my in-laws' condo in Treasure Island 
and it was so, so, so nice to get out of the drear that was our weather and into the warmth + rays.
I tried to post a few things on Instagram each day for those who follow along, but here are some more photos chronicling our seven day trip...
My pale children are not used to bright sunshine.  Don't worry - we got them sunglasses.
reading this for book club - and excited for an upcoming Savannah trip!

These kids in the Burley bike trailer.  A little too close for comfort most of the time.

This is Cormac's comfort zone at the beach.  

Paul out in the warm Gulf waves with Fin.

She loves being immersed, literally in nature.

we exfoliated a lot.

The belly even was treated to various spa treatments.
relaxing on the beach...sort of.
start of day two! apple eating!
After day one's sunburn, hubby invested in a shirt.
The waves freak him out, but being buried in sand is totally okay.
Another reapplication of sunscreen under our new beach umbrella.
Sometimes they play so nicely together.  It's like 60/40.
Sunset from the condo's lanai. 
my burnt feet.  ow. 
The only day I put on full makeup deserved a selfie!  We went into St. Pete's and had a family movie date to avoid the mid-day sun.  We are really into movie dates, even on vacation.  
Then later we ended the day hanging on the beach at sunset and getting ice cream.
Had to dress uber-comfy for my biggest craving all vacay - Waffle House!  Which is weird as I never crave waffles. 
everyone wore their pjs or comfies!  
Cormac humored me and wore his WH hat the whole meal.
Last day at the beach!  This girl was born for it.  Peace out, ya'll.
Daddy/Son walk up the beach.  #guytime

After four lovely days at the beach we departed for the second part of our adventure: Legoland. Cormac had suggested this months ago after he had seen an ad for it before a movie.   "We can 'Stay and Play!' Mom!!!!" he had told me excitedly.  (Advertising money well-spent.)  It was so sweet to see him pumped about it, since just this year he started getting really into Lego sets and being able to put them together completely by himself. (Praise Jesus!)

I'll be totally honest : I am sort of dreading ever having to go to Disney World (and Hubby is pretty much against spending the money and fighting the crazy crowds.)  I figured this would be a nice alternative that would hopefully be more laid-back and non-stressful.  It was!  Hardly a line, so the kids got to ride a bunch of rides both the days we were there.  We stayed at the Legoland Hotel, which was super-kid friendly (obviously) and the kids had a blast.   I loved that there were zero lines or crowds or chaos.  It's just not my bag, baby.  I wish I was a chill laid-back mama who just goes with the flow and thrived on chaos...but I'm not.  
the real beds were more comfy.
Fin's fave ride, besides the 3D Ninjago ride.
Cormac now wants bunkbeds, of course.
Blondies and Nya from Ninjago.
The road trip home from Atlanta, just me and the kids after dropping Paul off at ATL to fly to London for work, was ROUGH, ya'll.  Only seven hours, but I think we were all super ready to be home and out of the vehicle.

I love road trips, but this age with the kids is difficult to keep them entertained and not fighting with each other in such close quarters!

Seriously considering a mini-van.  Not gonna lie.  :D

All in all - it was a sweet spring break week.