Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Close Quarters :: Our 3-Kid Bedroom

Back in March, I got an email from a lovely magazine editor. She wanted to feature my kitchen in a magazine.


That's what I said, too.

I had immense trouble wrapping my brain around it at first. It caused great philosophical and existential dissonance within, because we moved here to simplify and scale back. We moved to the weird part of town, for Pete's sake. And now this?? It all seemed very backwards. (I should be used to that by now.)

It was fun sharing my kitchen with all of you, but good grief, if I had known magazine people were watching, I would have at least organized the bread basket.

In the end, we decided why the heck not.

The editor and I emailed back and forth a few times. And then she asked for more pictures. She wanted to see the living room and the dining room. The entry way. You know, normal places in a normal house. I complied.

A few weeks later, she asked to see the bedrooms. As in, the rooms with next-to-nothing on the walls. The messy rooms. The bedroom that my 3 kids share. The crazy places.

I explained that nothing was really happening up there, but she said she really just wanted to see the bones. She suggested that I find matching quilts for the twin beds and said we could pretend that Silas didn't live in there, but in a different, undisclosed room.

I totally understood that she was doing her job, but matching quilts don't live here. Nothing "matches" in this hood and there was no way I was going to go buy matchy stuff for a maybe-opportunity. The thought of me presenting a matchy house made my wheels screech off the rails.

As for Silas? He lives in there, man. In all his dramatic glory and with the evidence of much wall-scribbling. I explained that it's important to always present my life with authenticity and that I wasn't comfortable pretending anything. She emailed back with so much kindness and said she understood. "Send the pics."

I tore around this place and grabbed some colorful odds-and-ends. I had no great "vision", it was more a matter of putting something together on the fly, without spending money. As luck would have it, I had just bought Ruby a quilt at Craft Weekend.

Here's the good news: I didn't have to move any furniture and the beds were already both gray, which helped. (Although we made the mistake last year of putting a coat of poly over Calvin's bed, turning his gray into a weird greenish/yellowish gray. Take heed.) The other good news: white walls. It made it all easier.

The dresser originally lived in Silas's first bedroom, back on the farm, back when everyone had his/her own room.

Seems like a lifetime ago.

My friend Holly gave me that round, metal piece for Christmas last year. She found it on the side of the road one day while she was running. And she gave it to me! I almost cried.

The lamps are cheapskates from Target.

Small maps used to live in the upstairs bathroom on the farm.
That turquoise trunk? I found it in the old cow pen at my parents' house. Hate me.

Plaid Throw :: $2 thrift store purchase eons ago originally intended for Calvin's old room.
Striped comforter :: $15 Target
Curtains :: Urban Outfitters - This is one of my favorite places to find curtains, throw rugs, and other quirky homegoods. Their clearance sections rocks!!

Best garage sale find EVER! I don't remember how much I paid. Maybe $50? It used to live in our old toy room.

The barn art also came from a garage sale ages ago for $1. It's an old 4-H project, hand stitched.

In the end, I'm sorry to say our home didn't pass muster. I never heard back from the editor. It was a tiny bummer, at first. But it's also just really okay.

Because whether we're in a magazine or not, I love my home. I love that it represents who we are. I love that we don't try too hard around here. I love the people who live with me.

The bedroom has evolved a bit since these original pics were taken.

We added Ruby's collage wall and switched out the art above her bed because the horse means a whole lot more to her.

Calvin's collage wall grew...

And he made room for his "My Collection" shoe box. (I'm sure you can imagine the contents of said box.)

Silas is still sleeping in a toddler bed. He's small, okay?
But he is, in fact, growing. It's probably time to figure out a new plan, but we're a bit land-locked. We're contemplating bunk beds, though the floor plan makes that tricky.
(Note to self: Vacuum under Siley's bed.)

We hung the Ethiopian bird mobile, because it makes us all happy. Especially Ruby, our resident Bird Girl.

I'm not gonna lie, there is often considerable angst happening upstairs around bedtime. In a perfect world, Silas goes down first and is asleep before the other two go up. This usually works well.

When they all 3 go down together it typically spirals into dancing, yelling, fighting, wailing, whining, and occasionally, mooning. On those nights, we split them up and send someone into our room.

I wish I could say we're perfect parents with perfect kids who all behave perfectly and whisper poems to each other and softly sing hymns while they drift off to sleep. But we're rowdy. Impatient. We fancy entertaining each other at the worst possible times.

We're messy and disorganized and the kids are happiest together when they're doing things like this:

I'm not sure what this was called, but they sure had fun.

This is how we roll right now. I've gotta say, it does my heart good knowing they're all tucked in there together. There's something so heart-pinching about the nights when things go smoothly. Sometimes one kiddo prays before bed. Sometimes we pray for the person on our right. Sometimes we say the Lord's Prayer together. Now and then, I whisper to Calvin and Ruby, asking them if they've talked to God during the day, because I want them to know it's not just a bedtime thing. It's not a task to check off and it doesn't have to happen at certain times or in certain places. They don't need to do it out loud and they don't need Mommy or Daddy with them to do it. I don't know where this particular thought came from, but it suddenly seems important.

Our routines aren't hard and fast. They aren't really even routines. This is our rhythm, and it fits us.

We kiss all 3 heads in a matter of just a few steps. And with any luck, we hear just  a few whispers and giggles before things quiet down for the night, because bedtime giggling has to be the official love letter of childhood and I don't want to be so rule-obsessed that I rob them of the wonder of living small together.