Three Boys, One Room

It took a while, but we finally got the boys’ room done! I was inspired once again by Ana White. When the time came for August to switch to a big boy bed, we decided to put all three boys in the same room. We looked for some time for bunk beds, triple beds, and all different combination of beds to accommodate all three of them in a small space, and we really didn’t find anything that we liked and could afford. So, although what we hoped to be a weekend project took a little longer, we are happy with the results!

We used the plans for the hanging daybed and modified them just a bit. The beds are hanging from the walls with thick rope from metal hooks and also bolted into the wall.

This is Sam’s bed. I cannot remember for the life of me where I found the rock poster, but I ordered it online when we first moved into this house about three years ago. (Kideko!) The bed is about four feet off the ground and has a nice space underneath that I plan on adding to in the future…

The bed linens are from Ikea, including this embroidered map of the world pillow. Neil rigged these outdoor lights to work as battery-powered LED lights that you turn on with a button. I will have to do another post altogether on his amazing work of genius.

August sleeps on the bottom and Jeremiah sleeps on top.

Jeremiah has a ladder and a rope that he can climb to get in bed.

Jeremiah takes art as his elective at school and I framed one of the stamp prints that he made.

The corner under Jeremiah’s bed- table from Ikea, vintage lamp from a garage sale, with some books and a few toys. We store all of our toys in the playroom, although they do get hauled all over the house, it makes it easier to clean up and keep things organized. The boys have book time every day on their beds, so they keep whatever books they want in these baskets.

This is the artwork by August’s bed. A vintage print of the Dumbo book cover, and a piece depicting an Argentinian poem that I grew up with.

And, yes, they have bed rails… The older boys sleep with these and August with this. I was nervous the first few nights about them getting down to go to the bathroom, but we haven’t had any problems!

Even though Neil and I both enjoy projects and have fun building and decorating, it doesn’t compare to the joy of putting the boys to bed at night in the same room… Their voices singing and praying together, their whispers long after the lights go out… and the not-so-whispered demands from the youngest to the oldest for “more song!”

Update: Thanks for your kind comments! To answer some of your questions… The beds are secured into the wall with five inch lag bolts drilled through the frame of the bed and into each of the wall studs. The ropes hang from big eye hooks that are drilled into the wall and into the top of the bed frame. This is a picture of  the underside, you can get a better idea how the beds are drilled into the wall. The beds that are stacked are approximately 2 feet off the ground and 6 feet off the ground. We measured to the bottom of the frame, but I am not certain that they turned out exact, we kinda eyeballed it. The beds are heavy! The stool is from Ikea, spray painted with something like this.  Even though we put much effort into making sure the beds are secure, we have given the boys strict guidelines as far as safety is concerned. They are not allowed to jump on the beds, jump from one bed to the other, and Jeremiah is not even allowed to sit at the end of his bed, just in case. My husband and I have both climbed up on the beds and they haven’t budged, so they are sturdy, but we do not want them loosening up over time. I will post the wall color tomorrow! More info here

Check out the Room Tour on Ohdeedoh and a complete list of resources at Apartment Therapy Marketplace!

Advertisements

Daddy Date

Neil has been taking Antonella on dates since she was about two years old. They usually go out to eat and then to Starbucks to play games and talk. Although sometimes the dates are a bit more elaborate, including a roller coaster ride or a little shopping, there is one thing that every date includes- a question. The same question, actually, every time they go out together.

How’s your heart?

This tradition opens the door to the conversations that shape our daughter’s heart. She knows it’s coming, she knows that a simple “fine” will not suffice. She knows what matters to her daddy, and she knows what has eternal value.

What she may not know now, however, is that her daddy is a very tough act to follow.

Flowers

As I have mentioned before, seldom do I get the chance to sit at the sewing machine for extended periods of time. Most of the things that I make these days are quick, easy, and fun. And most of them are gifts for people. Antonella loves to help me, and a couple of nights ago we made a headband for her friend’s birthday… She had the idea, picked the fabrics, and sewed it together. I helped with the flower.

The headband has an elastic at the bottom and is really simple. She was so excited and wanted to keep making them. I sent her to bed because it was late, but I did stay up long enough to make myself a simple little flower!

These are the days

We are half way through the first semester. I have been teaching the first grade class at our school, unexpectedly, so my days have not been what I had planned. However, I am so thankful for the days we are at home… Thankful because even though we have a couple of crazy days every week, the rest are filled with what I hope the following pictures capture- very normal homeschool days.

The easiest way for me to capture these moments throughout our days is with my phone, so the following images are a collection of photographs taken without a plan, or a flash, or a zoom… just with my phone.

The kids have been hard at work…

Antonella sits at the table to do most of her work.

Jeremiah and Sam sit in old school desks (thanks, Nina!) for some of their activities.

We take lots of trips to the library.

 

Some field trips…

And recess every day!

Antonella works on her project

while Jeremiah tuckers out. So much thinking and learning and studying in kindergarten… enough to wear one out!

Sam sorts and works on fine motor skills…

And August takes advantage of the grey areas in our dress code policy.

The first at eight

She’s the joy of our family. Her heart is tender, peaceful, beautiful. Her birth in so many ways, was my birth- a coming into light of my calling and passion from the Creator. For her gentle, forgiving way that she has allowed me to become a mother, her mother- I am forever grateful.

Dear Antonella,

On this birthday I will share a memory with you, because not only am I overwhelmed with things to say, but also because I have this moment engraved in my mind as an example of who you are. On this day, we celebrate who you are, the bearer of the image of the invisible God.

You were five then, and we were in the car headed home from the library. One of your brothers disobeyed and I told him he would have to get a spanking when we got home. He cried and begged and pleaded, and then quietly sulked in the back seat. You broke the silence, “Mom, I will take brother’s spanking for him. I want you to spank me instead of him.”

Somewhere deep in your heart, you understand Jesus. Your life has been marked with the gift of faith, and my prayer is that your hope, your identity, and your treasure would be the Giver of Compassion.

I realize that I tell you “thank you” a lot during the day. Thank you for getting the diaper, thank you for feeding the dog, thank you for helping me with the dishes. And although these things are expected behavior for a child, I want you to know that I am thankful. I realize that the way you go about these things-serving, caring, giving-the way that you do these things is not always expected. This unexpected grace, compassion, and joy are the work of the One who gave you faith. May His work continue, for your joy and His glory.

Happy Birthday, Antonella Reese!

Food for my Heart

We have certain convictions about the food we eat as a family. Heather, a friend of a friend, wrote a post about her life in Haiti in which she listed a few of their goals concerning food and… well, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

We want to eat food that is healthy, nutritious, and as close to the way God made it as possible.

We want to be good stewards of the bodies that God has given to us.

We want to buy foods from companies who care about the environment and are good stewards of the earth God created.

We desire to purchase our food in a way that honors God by caring for the people who are producing our food.  God cares about the laborer.  He cares about the people growing our food.  He loves them, and we want to love them as well.

These things have been stirring in our hearts for years and we have slowly made steps toward this end. We fail miserably, often, and fall into unhealthy routines. But having these goals in mind helps us make decisions day to day.

However. There are many variables to these decisions- questions of worldview and fairness, marketing and trends. The simple goals listed above get blurred in a culture of excess and countless options.

When Antonella was three months old we went to Argentina for a few weeks. I went to the store to buy diapers and I will never forget-there was two options. Two kinds of diapers to choose from. It was the easiest time I have ever had choosing diapers. When I am not using cloth diapers, I fret and over-analyze the price, the material, the potential health risks… of a diaper. I’ve been known to stand in the diaper aisle for many minutes just staring at the colorful pattern. I know there is validity to my concerns, but my point is this: my experience in Argentina buying diapers reminds me that not everyone in the world gets to choose chlorine-free over comfort-fit. And this affects the way I make choices about the things we buy and eat. I have to keep in perspective that although I am blessed to have these choices, they are not to rule out the simple fact that at the end of the day, all of us, as in humanity, are doing the best we can with the lot we are given. And diapers is just my first example!

It is so easy to get caught up in the current all-natural, organic, reusable recyclable trend, believing that I am killing my children if they drink milk from a cow that has been injected with antibiotics. Don’t get me wrong- I’m all for those things, as I said above. But my heart just can’t blindly buy it without considering another side of it.

There’s always more to be doing. There are always more ways to be healthy. There are always more recent discoveries about the harmful effects of processed food. You can find “scholarly” articles on the internet to support just about every potential health risk in question. Companies who recycle and care about our environment are often just as pagan and driven by greed as those who don’t. Finding a balanced, Godly way of consuming in our corrupt system is a new challenge for our generation.

But as always, much of it is a deeper issue for me. I am finding that certain attitudes and thoughts about these things are connected to issues of the heart. It is easy to say that I want to honor God with my body and spend $15 on an organic chicken thigh. But, really? Again, I am all for organic, but I have to ask myself… Am I falling victim to the ancient temptation to achieve immortality? Do I want to honor God with my body or preserve it for as long as I can? And… do I purchase these things out of fear? Fear of suffering? Fear of the guilt of harming my children? Are these fears robbing me of the joy that God intended? And lastly, can I do this considering this?

I know these attitudes are unlikely most of the time, however, they do creep into my heart. It is hard to tell when a simple desire for what is best for my body and my family becomes an idolatrous submission to culture. I find myself trusting companies that tell me they are God’s gift to the world of crackers or syrup, and maybe I am alone in this, but I think that for the most part, God does not prefer Mrs. Butterworth over Aunt Jemima. He does care about their cholesterol-clogged hearts. Not that you would ever find those on our table, after all, they are not organic!