Thursday, April 21

Around the House

63. That's number of rooms I have painted in my relatively short life, give or take. My first paint job I shared with my mom. It was the upstairs bathroom in the house on 8th Street, circa 1996. The home was close to a hundred years old, and still had the original clawfoot bathtub (totally under appreciated) and with enough hard-to-reach nooks to make me wish I had never started. I remember being so proud of the clean look of the room when it was done. Painting a room made me feel...well...grown-up, really. Ahhh, naivety at its best and brightest. I would slap that girl if I could.

Fast forward twenty years (gulp!), four states, and 62 rooms. Virginia is now our home, and has been for more than two years. And with the exception of a couple of closets (and that tough to reach spot at the top of the staircase), every. single. room. is finally painted. It's a relief to feel settled in a home, putting our roots down and being invested in this place. 

With the painting projects coming to a close, I thought I would share with you a few of the more recently painted rooms. Some tidbits, really. I've posted some of our rooms on the blog before (have a peak at the nursery, the bunk room, the school room and the living room if you like), but there are many spaces I have never photographed or shared. So, here is a mini tour of some freshly painted places around here. Enjoy!
The moody master is one of my personal favorites.  'Cause, duh, it's our room!

I painted our little master bathroom a soft white to contrast with the dark bedroom and it works really well for us. 

This used to be the shared girls' room, but is now the guest room. Since the girls aren't in here anymore, it will probably change at some point, but not anytime soon. 

The kiddos still use this space as a play room when we don't have house guests. 

The laundry room and mud room are the most recent spaces to get painted. 

This is a view of the dark teal walls and the buffet in our kitchen.

And here's the sunroom. It is mostly windows, but I did paint the tiny part above the windows. So, it still counts as one of the 63. 

Now that the painting is finished, we are turning our focus outdoors. The mister is in full-blown treehouse-making mode, the girls are burying junk in the yard and map-making like the crazy shorty-pirates they are, while I desperately need to find a solid patch of sunlight in which to grow some veggies. Or maybe I'll be a glutton for punishment and just start on those closets. See ya on the flip side, folks!

Saturday, April 2

A Sea Poem

The sea swells large in laid out waves,
It draws the feet too close.
Each swell and splash procure a laugh
And claps the crinkled toe. 

Quickly running, quickly leaping
Away from the pulling tides.
The youth who knows the simple truth,
The secret the soft sea hides.

Can England truly lie so far
My eyes it cannot reach?
And this smooth shell across the swell
Has landed on my beach?

Sand grabs my skin and teases me
With tricks and flicks my cheek.
I brush it off and it does scoff.
Hope for release is bleak.

The sand and sea mix thoroughly.
Fantasy mingles, too.
Creation of castles on sandy grass hills
And moats with waters so blue.

Hearts contented with hands to hold
Spur love between you and me.
We both are here and have no fear
In this sweet reverie.

Aged hands guide first delights
With knowing trepidity.
For all things teach and all things grow
The minds of babes continuously.

Hello. Goodbye. The sea replies
In time with each heartbeat.
It holds our gaze, sure to amaze.
To leave is bittersweet.

Through the years the sea brings tears
Some sorrowing, some bright.
Trust is earned, for the sun does burn
Our memories stronghold tight.

Thank you sea, your waves and breeze
Wrap our souls with love
From God, the one who made you blow
Swift down from heaven above.

Thursday, February 18

The Girls' Room Progress

Last March we decided to move our newly-two Magnolia out of her crib and into Adelaide's room, making space in the nursery for our newest baby. At that time, Lily (who had her own room) began sneaking her way into the girls' room at night. I mean, who wouldn't want to have a slumber party every night of the week? So, the mister and I finally gave in to the idea of having all the girls intentionally in one room. Yes, even Poppy in the near future. 

It isn't for lack of space, but rather a desire to foster camaraderie and friendship between the girls, while also lessening the inevitable struggle and combativeness having just two in a room can cause. Have you ever notice when two kids share a room, they inevitably blame to other one for all their woes? But when several kids are squished together, the issues get more evenly distributed, and the kids tend to help each other out, since there is not "one person" to always blame. 

Once the decision to put them all together was made, we decided to go all-in and build some bunks that would take up the least amount of floor space (i.e. scrunching them together). But we also wanted them to be easy on the eyes and fun to be in. 

Over the years (and many different homes) we have tackled our fair share of DIY projects. Most of them with little foreknowledge to the scope of time, skill, or money a project would actually cost. I think we both prefer to be ignorant of these facts on the front end, lest we loose our nerve. Truth is truth. With that in mind, we jumped in head first last November. The mister designed these himself, sketching out a couple of ideas on some scrap paper, and then went at it. He built the main part of the bunks over a long weekend and then moved the girls in for a couple of months for a test run. They loved them! This holiday weekend he finally finished out the trim and caulking, and sent me to the hardware store to pick out the paint.

I chose this cheerful green, hoping not to go too girly, even though it is for four girls. Keeping in mind these need to grow with them for the next several years. The girls were thrilled with the color. Phew! 

The mister built in a shelf for each girl with an outlet for an LED lamp. This is Magnolia's bunk, and, much to her chagrin, she remains lampless until she is old enough to keep the light off after bedtime.

This one is Addy's bed. The bar across is removable for leaping off during the day, an absolute necessity. The lamps help at night, since we allow the girls to read and draw after lights out for an hour. This gives them a separate nook for doing their own thing, and has helped when one girl wants to sleep earlier than the others. 

It is rather dark in those caves  after all the lights are out. The first night in the painted bunks I was informed it was "pitch black and spooky, Momma!" So I picked up some lantern lights at Walmart and Addy and I wrapped them in yarn, each starting at one end and racing to the middle. They give enough light to ward off the spooks. Win!

A few months in and no one has taken any tumbles, although I won't hold my breath. Our time is coming, I am sure. Right now, the bunks are still new and delightful to the girls and to their momma.

Oh, and the uppers provide loads of...


As far as the To Do List goes, we plan on adding a long drawer across the front of the bunks, and then finishing the trim around the bottom once the new floors are in. Before we get there, we want to finish ripping up the carpet in the closet and making that space more functional for all the little ladies. We would like the whole upstairs to have the same floors throughout, so it will be some time before these projects are completed and the girls are not walking on sub floor. But as you can see below, they don't seem to mind too much, even the crawlers.

You're turn's a comin', little Poppy. One more year and that bottom bunk is yours!

Friday, February 12

Addy Turns SEVEN

What can I even say about this kid? Adelaide Rose Hickok is seven-years-old, full of belly laughs and curiosity. She loves to make everyone bust a gut, and hates, HATES to be surprised. She will punch you should you foolishly decide to jump out from behind a door in a dark room and yell "Hi-Yah!" I know. I have tested this many times. 

During her sixth year of life, Addy conquered reading, sucking her finger at night, and riding her bike with no handlebars ... no handlebars. As a seven-year-old, she intends to learn how to design cards in Photoshop like a boss, and put together the "Daddy-sized" Lego sets on her own.

Nostalgia aside, she turned seven in a grand way a couple weeks back, and we couldn't be prouder. After taking her sweet time deciding on a theme for her annual birthday shindig, Addy finally announced that she had narrowed it down between two themes: an Art Party or a Princess Party. I may have nudged her in one direction, or rather away from one direction. 


There was plenty of Artsy Partsy food, of course.

As well as Artsy Partsy Crafts. Our first activity involved the kids painting their own canvas cookies. The edible watercolor paint was just a combination of lemon or vanilla extract (depending on the color) and some food coloring. It made for some really lovely and fragrant paintings.

After contemplating on the perfect subject to paint on her cookie, she boldly decided to go...

... abstract! Behold! Art at its tastiest!

Next, we herded the Artsy Partsy people into the school room for some string art. The mister had cut and sanded some wood squares for each kid. He pre-nailed them with basic shapes in mind, so all the kids had to do was choose their string and start winding. 

Finally, the surprise activity! We filled some water balloons with paint and attached them to a canvas. It was hung out back and we let the kids try to pop the balloons with a BB gun! So much fun!

Cake! The perfect end to an Artsy Partsy fit for our girl. 

Happy Birthday Addy Rose. Much love to you, little lady. 
May you go forth this year and grow in height, strength, love, kindness and good cheer.  

Wednesday, December 2

Happy Advent!

The gray weather was starting to bring down my soul. I have doubled my coffee consumption, and still the sunshine refuses to break through. Yesterday, realizing it was December 1st (Wha!?), I jumped in and decided to brighten up the dinning room and my soul with a fun advent project I saw here

"Momma, remember that time you wrapped all those tiny gifts and we got to open one every night until Christmas?"


Adelaide, the crafting queen, wielded her ever-lovin' X-acto knife and glue gun like her title suggests: with a great deal of overconfidence and unmatched prowess. 

"Really, you don't remember? We read verses from the Bible, and you wrapped up funny things like tissues and nail clippers."

"I don't recall. Maybe that was another momma you're thinking of."

With all her skin cells still intact, the kid glued till the glue rods where no more.

"I think you remember and you are just pretending, right?"

"Bean, does that even sound like me? I'll tell you what it does sound like: a whole lotta work."

Within minutes of the advent village being completed, it was turned into a Lego village with a bakery, pet shop, and salon ta boot!

"Momma! Please, please, Pleeeeeeeeease, can we do that again. We didn't do it last year cause you were pregnant, and the year before that because we were moving. Remember?!"

"Lily, I don't remember yesterday, so...that's a big N-O."

A quick google search, and the print button gave us a Scripture schedule to follow. I plopped it in a frame and smiled at my own cunning. Nailed it! 

Literally, I put a nail in the wall and never looked back.

"Addy! You remember it, right? There was a big jar, and tiny little packages."

"I don't remember that, Lily, but I think it sounds really nice."

Eye roll.

Today, after reading our verses from Isaiah, I let Addy pick out the first house. I had already wrapped little sweets to put under each house. The girls divided up the goods, savoring every bit. 

"Momma, it's ok if you don't do the advent calendar this year. I just like to think about it sometimes. It's a really nice memory to think about."

"Your guilt-skilz are improving every day."

I added the copper wire string lights for a little more festivity. Viola! An Advent Village Calendar Thing. 

I guess making memories for the kids is worth it. I particularly look forward to the memory of our two year old secretly decimating a large portion of our little Christmas village. Seriously, there is no way this is gonna last till December 25th. Oh the tears! Oh the laughter! I think that will be a pretty awesome memory. Wish us luck!