Posts Tagged ‘magic’

Halloween 2018 (Part 2): Harry Potter

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Evan told me he wanted to be a Harry Potter character for Halloween months ago. I tried to talk the whole family into Harry Potter, but Linc and Caroline INSISTED on going with The Greatest Showman. So I promised Evan his own photoshoot and that he could be Harry Potter for trick-or-treating if he humored me for the family costume pictures.

Evan has gone back and forth on whether he is Harry Potter or Ron Weasley. He wants to be Harry because Harry is the main character and gets to do the most magic and save the day. But he has red hair and freckles, so he LOOKS more like Ron. I also struggled with this as a child – I thought I could *only* be blonde princesses or movie characters. It’s why I am the only person in the world who likes Amy March the best.

In the end, Evan decided he’s Ron Weasley, so here is his official Halloween 2018 Ron Weasley photo shoot. The setting is the high school down the street from us (Norwich Free Academy), which really does look pretty magical. I added a few special effects to make it extra wizard-like.

 

Big Kid Room Makeovers!

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Our house has four bedrooms, but since we moved in as just a couple with no kids we’ve never really used all four effectively. We started with two guest rooms, our bedroom and a storage room on the 3rd floor. Eventually, we renovated the 3rd floor (it used to have shiny animal safari print wallpaper), moved our master bedroom up there, and then used two-second floor bedrooms as kid rooms and one as a guest room. The nursery room has been through several renovations (original first-kid nursery, monsters, Lincoln’s nursery) and the bunk room used to be a playroom/Caroline’s nursery.  If you want a whole house tour, my most recent was in 2012 (probably the last time my house was ever all clean at the same time!) but the video below is much more accurate of the “before” status of the kid rooms.

It’s really bad. And this wasn’t even peek-disaster. Just regular disaster. Also, I am still learning how to use my DSLR for video, so excuse my technical errors.

 

But now, we have three great kid rooms! The kids like them but I like them the most. It’s so much easier to keep clean and put away laundry and organize stuff. When I want to move a toy or category of toys upstairs, I have room for them. Everyone’s laundry baskets are easy to find and they are actually putting their dirty clothes into the baskets. I will probably lose my infatuation before too long and they’ll all end up a huge mess I shout at the children to clean every Saturday, but for now, it’s the best.

Let’s start with Evan’s room, which was previously the guest room.

 ‘

E bought some really deep, strong anchors for all the shelves, so they’re very secure.

Almost everything is from Ikea. The bedding is from Target. I offered to move the dollhouse somewhere else, since I wasn’t sure he wanted it in his Big Kid room but Evan asked to keep it, so he and Linc can play with it (and they have been! Which is a change, it hardly ever got played with before.) The Force Is Strong With This One decal is just a sticker I bought on Amazon and you can buy it here.

Now to Caroline’s room:

Again, almost everything is from Ikea and the bedding is from Target. The Unicorns are Real wall hanging is from Amazon and you can buy it here. She Persisted is amazing and you can buy your copy here.

The last room is the bunk room, which Linc and Finnegan officially share. We haven’t done too much in there yet, besides clean it and change out bedding. I need to touch up the paint and move some more toys up there. But right now Evan is letting Linc sleep with him in his new room most of the time so Finnegan has the whole huge room to himself and has no opinion on my lack of formal decorating.

Again, the bedding is from Target and everything else in this room was repurposed or moved from a previous room. It’s not going to win any design awards but the boys like it and it’s a HUGE improvement over that before video.

And that’s how our upstairs looks now! I don’t think we’ll have to redo any of these spaces again…maybe ever? We don’t plan to live here the rest of our lives. Hopefully, we move to somewhere with five bedrooms before Linc and Finn are teenagers and can’t stand to share anymore.

 

 

This Christmas I Am Spoiling My Kids Rotten

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

Hello Internet.

Thank you for all the wonderfully written, thoughtful posts about how kids these days are too focused on things and not on the true meaning of Christmas. It’s so important to remember that giving is far superior to receiving, just as God gave his love to all of us. I also read your advice on how experiences make better gifts than giant hunks of plastic. It’s true! You made some excellent points. Then there were the 4 Things devotees: Something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read. It rhymes! So adorable and minimalist and a great way to cut down on junk! And finally, there are the hardcore anti-stuff people who object to basically all of it and make their opinions loudly known. Thank you for your input, I appreciate the time you took to explain it.

This year, I am flat out ignoring ALL OF YOU.

wrapping presents

 

 

 

And I’m doing it 100% on purpose. I haven’t accidentally bought too much. I am not pretending to purchase only hand-crafted, heirloom quality, Waldolf-inspired toys. I am not claiming to be a minimalist while buying piles of presents. This is intentional, planned, thoughtful spoiling.

Our December has been full of both experiences and things. This year, we are seeing Santa no less than 5 separate times. We have five sets of matching Christmas pajamas, including two sets for me and one for the dog. Caroline has a special dress for The Nutcracker, a different special dress for our photo session with Santa, and another special dress for Christmas Eve. Oh and one more to wear on Christmas day after taking off her matching Christmas pajamas. We are opening seven advent calendars every morning. There are custom printed Santa bags for each child and fancy gourmet chocolates for their stockings. They are getting everything they asked for and then some. There is a giant Batman robot, thousands of Legos, and a stupid Baby Alive that pees. There are sleds and ride on toys and loud beeping things. ALL FOUR KIDS get their own Fingerling monkey, even the baby, who definitely does not need a Fingerling monkey. When they come down the stairs on Christmas morning, they’re going to freak out and scream their little heads off with joy.

Do you know what won’t be around our tree on Christmas morning? Their father.

I realize things don’t make up for your dad being deployed during Christmas. There is no present in the world I can give them that will stop them from saying “I wish Daddy was here”. My heart breaks a little more every time they say it – which is often. This isn’t their fault. They didn’t ask to be born into a military family. And until this year we’ve been able to shield them quite a bit from true Navy life – no moving, no long separations, no new schools. I grew up with that lifestyle and although I enjoyed it for the most part, not having “a” home or long-term friendships or a sense of being FROM somewhere can be hard sometimes. We’ve been very lucky that we can do this a little differently than most military families. But our luck ran out now that E is very fancy and important; his skills and expertise are needed on actual working submarines, and actual working submarines deploy.

It’s hard. Being the only parent means I am responsible for all the Christmas, for everyone. I don’t mind, really, because I love Christmas. But trying to buy stocking candy when I am never without at least one child is hard. Wrapping gifts at midnight is hard. Trying to decide if it’s time to tell the big kids about Santa is hard. I’m still part of a partnership as far as parenting goes but my partner is unavailable (most of the time he is 100% unavailable, not reachable by any means).

My choice to go completely overboard and ignore what other people are doing is in no way meant to be a reflection on others. This doesn’t just apply to our specific situation regarding Christmas presents or even just the holidays. As I am very fond of telling my children, different families make different choices. Some do small Christmases, some do big Christmases, some go to great lengths to be with as much family as possible, some want to stay home. Some people step away from Facebook and social media to stay focused on family, but I couldn’t imagine doing that when I spend so much time as the only adult in the room. Some find that taking photos helps keep them connected and in the moment (me, 100%), others find that putting away the camera makes them happier. It is a difficult time of year for so many people for so many reasons, finding joy however you want should be allowed. And this year, my joy is in distracting my kids from things that make them sad with things that make them happy.

Come January 2nd when everyone goes back to school, I am going to be cursing all this STUFF that will have taken over my house. There’s nothing more #firstworldproblem than buying too many toys and then being annoyed by too many toys. I’ll remind myself of that as many times as is necessary during the long, cold, dark months between the end of the holidays and the end of deployment. But right now, I am SO EXCITED about Christmas magic and that is just what our family needs.

Essex Steam Train North Pole Express 2015

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

We did the Essex Steam Train North Pole Express (it’s basically the Polar Express without the trademark) two years ago and it was great. I skipped it last year because we have to buy tickets in August and last August I had a 1 month old and couldn’t get my act together. Plus E was gone that whole summer/fall and I was VERY sure I couldn’t take 3 kids on a magical nighttime train ride alone. But this year I planned to stay home on ticket day and got my fastest fingers ready and bought tickets for the last train on Caroline’s actual birthday day so we could all go. I think next year I’m going to spring for the first-class tickets. They’re a ridiculous amount of money, but I’m not throwing Caroline a big party next year so I feel like we can swing it. Plus I saw one of the elves who host the first class cars and she looked like a legit magical snow queen. Caroline would lose her actual mind.

It is a wonderfully done event full of good cheer – it’s well organized and everyone goes out of their way to make the kids feel special and really believe in Santa magic. The cars are decorated, there are special songs, they give you cookies and hot cocoa, and the whole last 20 minutes is a big dance party where the kids just go crazy in the aisles. All three kids had a blast.

p.s. In case you were wondering, the pajamas are from Hanna Andersson.

essex steam train north pole express 2015

essex steam train north pole express 2015-3

essex steam train north pole express 2015-4

essex steam train north pole express 2015-6

essex steam train north pole express 2015-7

essex steam train north pole express 2015-10

essex steam train north pole express 2015-11

essex steam train north pole express 2015-12

This girl worked at the station and I am not sure if she was an extra elf or a fairy or a snowflake or what, but she chatted with Caroline and it was SO adorable. She told her she peeked at Santa’s list and Caroline was definitely on the nice side. Caroline squealed she was so excited.

essex steam train north pole express 2015-13

essex steam train north pole express 2015-14

essex steam train north pole express 2015-16

essex steam train north pole express 2015-19

essex steam train north pole express 2015-20

essex steam train north pole express 2015-22

essex steam train north pole express 2015-24

essex steam train north pole express 2015-25

essex steam train north pole express 2015-26

essex steam train north pole express 2015-29

essex steam train north pole express 2015-30

essex steam train north pole express 2015-31

essex steam train north pole express 2015-33

essex steam train north pole express 2015-36

essex steam train north pole express 2015-38

essex steam train north pole express 2015-39

essex steam train north pole express 2015-40

essex steam train north pole express 2015-41

essex steam train north pole express 2015-43

essex steam train north pole express 2015-45

essex steam train north pole express 2015-46

essex steam train north pole express 2015-48

essex steam train north pole express 2015-50

essex steam train north pole express 2015-51

essex steam train north pole express 2015-54

essex steam train north pole express 2015-55

essex steam train north pole express 2015-57

essex steam train north pole express 2015-59

essex steam train north pole express 2015-60

essex steam train north pole express 2015-61

essex steam train north pole express 2015-62

essex steam train north pole express 2015-65

essex steam train north pole express 2015-66

essex steam train north pole express 2015-70

essex steam train north pole express 2015-71

essex steam train north pole express 2015-73

essex steam train north pole express 2015-75

essex steam train north pole express 2015-76

Get Adobe Flash player