...because home doesn't happen overnight.

toddler transition 1

A few weeks ago I put Mabrey down for her afternoon nap and jumped in the shower. I hadn’t even wet my hair when she threw back the shower curtain and said, “Hi mom! I get outta my bed.” She had climbed out of her crib for the first time ever. She was so proud. I was so, so sad. There went my babygirl and my opportune shower time. Sniffle, sniffle.

Needless to say, we skipped naptime that day and later on in the evening I converted the crib to a toddler bed. For those who don’t know already, it’s the Ikea GULLIVER crib and I have nothing but good things to say about it. It’s affordable, practical and has clean lines & a small footprint. The ability to convert to a toddler bed was the final selling point for me.

toddler transition 2

Removing the one side was quick & easy. It took me all of twenty minutes. My favorite thing about it was that other than the accompanying toddler side rail (which I stashed in the nursery closet for the past two years), I didn’t have to keep track of any other parts or hardware. All of the hardware I removed was used again to install the toddler side rail. LOVE THAT. I slid the crib rail I removed in behind the standing shelf in Mabrey’s closet. It barely takes up any space. DOUBLE LOVE THAT.

The crib-to-toddler-bed conversion left me feeling sentimental and a bit lost. Sentimental because I’ll never put a child of mine to bed in a crib ever again. Lost because, even though I have two older kids, this was my first experience with a climbing toddler. Neither of my boys ever showed interest in climbing out of their crib. They were both 3+ years old when I transitioned them to a twin bed in preparation for a subsequent baby’s birth. And they each handled the transition beautifully.

I’d like to say the same for Mabrey, age 2¾. She did really well the first week. I think she was just so smitten with the idea of sleeping in a “big kid” bed, she wanted to do it right. But, lo and behold, last week was rough. It was like she went to bed one night and something clicked.

Heyyyyyyyy. Wait a minute. I can get up whenever I want. I can get up WHENEVER I WANT. And turn on all of the things! And take off all of the things! And climb all of the things! And never sleep! And party all night long!! Yeah, let’s do that.

Steve was out of town last week. Figures. When he’s gone, Everett gets a little daddysick and likes to wake me up in the middle of the night to tell me his foot hurts and the only thing that will make it better is sleeping in my bed. I don’t mind. He goes right to sleep. But when he came into my room one night last week (for the second time that night), I had already been up with Mabrey a half-dozen times or more each night for the past several nights (including that night) and was on the verge of livid-exhausted. If you’re a parent, you know that feeling. You are so, so tired and you’re mad that you’re tired. You’re so mad about being tired that your anger wires you and the only thing you can do is lay frozen in bed thinking about how tired-mad you are and what you wouldn’t give for just five hours of solid sleep. Until another little person walks into your room or the baby starts crying again. Sleep deprivation. It’s a torturous thing.

Anyway, I hadn’t an ounce of sympathy for Everett’s daddy-missing foot. Gruffly, I told him to get in bed with me and go to sleep. Then I cursed Steve. Because somehow it was his fault that Everett’s foot was heartbroken and Mabrey was participating in what can only be described as “Girls Gone Wild Toddler Edition.”

By mid-week, I had removed the rocker and all lightbulbs from the nursery and was contemplating a padded room. Mabrey was miserable. She hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in over a week. She’s normally a very happy-go-lucky kid but had melted into a whiny bag of overtiredness. I was at my wits’ end. Then, I think out of sheer exhaustion, Mabrey finally slept through the night. As did I. Uninterrupted sleep is pure bliss.

We’ve had a few nights in a row of good, long sleeps. Mabrey is back to her cheery, cheeky self. Steve is home. Everett’s foot is miraculously pain-free. I think we’ve turned the corner. Fingers crossed.

toddler transition 6

toddler transition 7

I thought I’d share some pictures of the changes in Mabrey’s room now that we’re all in a better place ;) Don’t let her cuteness fool you. She was a hot mess less than a week ago!

The highlight of the transition has been bringing out the heirloom quilt my grandma gave me last year. Doesn’t it look like it was made just for this room? It was made by my great-grandmother, Mabrey’s great-great grandmother. Mabrey is her namesake. My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Larew which is Mabrey’s middle name. That quilt is pretty special.

toddler transition 3

I hung the Bright Lab lights months ago. I’ve mentioned them on instagram but don’t think they’ve been formally introduced on the blog.

toddler transition 8

Ironically enough, they are dubbed the Party Girl lights. How fitting.

toddler transition 5

The rocker is still in the living room. I’m not taking any chances.

In summary, the physical conversion of the crib to a toddler bed was smooth sailing. The actual transition? Notsomuch.

I’d love to hear your experience with the crib-to-bed transition. Was it an easy or difficult milestone? At what age did you switch your child(ren)? Was it different for each child? Did you use any sneaky tricks?

Sweet dreams all around! And if not, there’s always Go the F**k to Sleep. No, Seriously, Just Go to Sleep.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

02.01.15 / Made Me Smile

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The photo shoot stars aligned yesterday! The final piece for the bathroom arrived. Steve returned from his work trip. He and the boys got out of the house in the afternoon while Mabrey napped. The light was decent. My camera battery was fully charged and the bathroom was clean. You know what that means? Yup, the bathroom reveal is happening this week.

Until then…

*House & Home’s hit list. (That Ikea kitchen! I could totally live in a cube, too.)

*Two real Ikea kitchens.

*Great space planning ideas in a narrow living room with a corner fireplace.

*Love these built-ins with both open and closed storage.


*Hey lil’ etsy shop. You’re cute. (Full house tour here.)

*On my nightstand: Essential Oils for Beginners, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Bluest Eye.

*One neighbor, “Well, I hope he’s going to repaint it after the Super Bowl.” Hehe.

I hope you have a happy, lazy Sunday.

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Ninelle Mikula

little things 1

With the major renovations completed, we’ve been able to turn our attention to smaller projects here and there. Most of these pesky projects are leftovers from bigger projects. We never truly finished some projects because we let minor details fall by the wayside in favor of: pretending we did them, feeding the kids, going outside, sleeping, working on our fitness, drinking wine, watching “New Girl,” smothering all the edible things in Trader Joe’s cookie butter, reading, showering, singing karaoke to “All About That Bass,” petting the cat, talking with our faces, (insert any action or inaction here). Whatever. It happens. And when we finally do get around to tackling these measly projects, they don’t seem blog-worthy.

But lump all those lil’ effers together and, BAM!, blog post. At least, that’s how I see this playing out. I don’t know. I might be wrong. Let’s give it a go anyway, shall we?

new fans 1

new fans 2

We replaced the ceiling fans. We loved the look of the first fans (seen here) but they hummed and whirred so loudly. In the fans’ defense, they were listed as commercial fans and we overlooked the possibility that they might not be ideal for a residential setting. The other problem we had with them was the fact that, due to unique installation requirements, the canopies didn’t mount flush against the ridge beam so there was a visible gap.

Last month Steve said, “All I want for Christmas is new ceiling fans.” Santa came through with these plus coordinating downrods. (Apparently, Steve made the nice list.) Installation was uneventful which is always a good thing when it comes to DIY. But the best thing? They are quiet. Like, silent. The canopies are flush with the ridge beam. No gap! And we really like the aesthetic. The fans are matte white and super sleek. Functionally, they’re better too. They’re slightly larger than the previous fans and a better fit for the room. They also have reverse switches at the motor so we can change the rotation based on our needs. (Clockwise in winter; counter-clockwise in summer.) The only thing that would make them more awesome is if they were self-cleaning. Someone please invent a ceiling fan that cleans itself.

trim 1

trim 2

trim 3

We installed and painted trim around the fireplace surround. After painting the brick surround and building & painting the TV wall, we lived with gaps at the mantel-wall and brick-floor seams for several months. We added trim last spring (that can’t be right?!) and I just got around to painting it a few weeks ago with the same paint I used on the surround. It’s Benjamin Moore white dove, semi-gloss finish, mixed in Clark + Kensington’s primer + paint in one. It’s really, really good.

painted man door 1

Notice anything else?

painted man door 4

I have been cropping out the man door to the garage for years. It’s solid wood but was orange-y and drafty. I kept an old towel pushed up against the bottom to prevent cold air from blowing in but you can imagine how (in)effective my efforts were.

We reworked the door frame and added a new threshold, weatherstripping, hardware and trim. I painted the door and trim when I had the paint out for the fireplace trim. Now the mudroom / dining room isn’t nearly as cold as it used to be but I still wish we would have added radiant floor heating.

painted man door 3

I added a double hook to the back of the door for my purse and reusable shopping bags. The three wall hooks in the mudroom have been overtaken by the kids’ coats, hats and backpacks. And a certain toddler likes to play “Quick! Take and hide all the things in mom’s purse!” So this seemingly trivial hook is, in all actuality, a game-changer. There’s a set of key hooks to the left of the door which recently caught the attention of said toddler, ifyaknowwhatimean.

You might also notice that we rotated the sisal rug in the living room. See the corner in the image above? That corner used to live over by the media cabinet and the corner that was here (now by the media cabinet) sported a perpetual roll that drove Steve mad. (You can catch a glimpse of it in the seventh image of this post.) He tried everything. It was comical. If you can’t beat ’em, rotate ’em.

kitchen plinth

Finally, FINALLY!, we added a piece of filler plinth to the corner in the kitchen. (You can see the gap here.) This was one of those minor details that we overlooked when we installed the cabinets. We bought the plinth shortly after “finishing” the kitchen but didn’t put it up until, oh, THREE YEARS LATER. We still need to caulk at the wall seam. According to my highly technical estimates, that should happen in 2018. Don’t worry. It will be a blog post.

Have you been putting off little finishing projects too? What’s your excuse? It can’t be any worse than ours.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking