This girl keeps me on my toes. She’s funnier, smarter, and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined her being. She teaches me so much patience and mindfulness every day. I love that she loves dressing like a princess while walking around the house with her tools ‘fixing things like mom’. Brian and I constantly look at each other and shake our heads amazed at the things that come out of her mouth. She loves to have a good time and wants everyone around her to be having a good time too. She has only been a big sister for seven months and is already a pro at it. Bowen lights up when she walks into the room and I have no doubt they will be the very best of friends.
A couple of weeks ago Hollis turned three. (I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that my tiny baby is now a giant three year old.) This is the first year that she has really understood what her birthday is and been excited about it. She knew there would be a party, she knew there would be presents and most of all, she knew there would be cake. Cake is very important to this kid. She is undoubtedly my child.
This is also the first year that she had an opinion about the party theme. I was fully expecting a princess party or even Peppa Pig, but no. I asked her what kind of party she would like and she said a giraffe party. I offered other suggestions, great suggestions, but no. This is what I love most about my darling daughter. She knows what she wants. She wanted a giraffe party so she got a giraffe party.
I scoured Pinterest for giraffe cake ideas and found two different cupcake designs that I really liked. I sent them to my mom to see what she thought. We both agreed that we liked the layout of one cake and the decorations on the other cake. So we mashed them together and ended up with this guy. My mom did all the work, I really just watched her while tending to a fussy baby. (Bowen was working of 4 of his 6 teeth that weekend…) She used a mix of chocolate and white cake. Then she made buttercream frosting that she colored orangey-yellow. And she made the spots out of salted caramel flavored candy melts. The nose and feet are Oreos.
It was delicious. I think it turned out really cute and Hollis LOVED it!
We celebrated at my parents house with family. We kept it simple with pizza and salad, and decorated with orange and green for a jungle/safari look.
My aunt and my grandma also surprised everyone with these sweet giraffe party bags full of giraffe swag!
Happy third birthday sweet girl! I can’t wait to see what theme Hollis picks next year!
I feel like I’ve been MIA for a while in blogland, but my baby Bo is getting in four teeth…at the same time. Poor little babe. He’s a tough little guy, but I’m not as tough. He’s been waking up every 2 hours at night for the last month and I’m feeling the lack of sleep. I’m in full on mombie (that’s mom + zombie for those that don’t know) mode and doing super productive things like pouring orange juice in my coffee instead of creamer…
But I digress…I’m actually here to talk about filling up those large empty, or awkward walls in the house.
Our old farmhouse is the opposite of open concept. I know Instagram is full of beautiful pictures of open concept homes where you can see from the front door all the way to the back door. But I have to say, I love that in our house when the playroom looks like a bomb went off in it, I can just pull close the big pocket doors and pretend that the little playroom fairies are behind the door cleaning away while I sit in the living room sipping my oversized glass of Cabernet. Don’t get wrong, there is a good flow, but the rooms in our house are all pretty much separate which makes for a lot of walls to fill up!
Here are a few ways I like to fill up the walls…
When hanging things on the wall, I like to mix things up. I like hanging simple objects like a rustic, old window. I like the dimension and texture it brings to the room while still being really simple. I also like a small shelf or two where I can easily change things out by just leaning pictures on it, and using small decor that can be rotated out with the seasons or whenever the urge strikes.
Plants in fun containers on the wall are also a new fave of mine. I love a good pop of green and try to incorporate a plant or two…or ten in all the rooms in our house. I feel like they bring a lot of life and energy to a space.
And of course there is paint. If you’ve followed this blog for very long, you know I love to paint. Like really love it. I used a lovely shade of pink and some painters tape to fill a wall in the playroom with a “playhouse” for Hollis.
Again, I used some rustic shelves for Bo’s side of the kid’s room. I just love the versatility of it. I can swap things out as he grows and his interests change. I also like to hang things around the shelves to add more interest and create a little “mini gallery wall”.
I have to say there is just something that really speaks to me about a simple picture hung on a large, empty wall. I struggled with what to hang on Hollis’ side of the kid’s room. I really didn’t want to mimic the other side of the room and have it feel too matchy-matchy. I finally decided to make my own graphic onto two matching frames I had. I love how simple it is, yet it really stands out when it is the only thing on the wall.
I am currently trying to figure out what to do with the large wall space that runs along the staircase. It is such an awkward space to fill! I’ve been looking all over for inspiration. One of my go-to sources of inspiration is Wayfair.com. There is a whole post on decorating a large wall. It’s a great place to get some ideas when you are stuck on a space or if you just like to look at pretty decor pictures. I especially love the idea of using statement piece, like one of these beautiful starburst mirrors!
The bathroom did not need to be painted. It was a perfectly fine shade of mint green. It was light and bright. Yet I painted it anyway.
I just couldn’t help myself. I love this color so much! I recently painted the office (Muted Ebony by Valspar) and as soon as I put it on the walls, I knew it needed to go up in another room too. First I thought of the entry way, because I have the urge to change things up in there. And I thought the darker color would hide some of the marks and things on the walls that seem to inevitably happen in the entry way. But then, I decided it would look so great in the upstairs bathroom. And I was right.
I have a lot of black and white going on in the bathroom already along with some warm wood tones. The mint green on the walls was fine…but just fine. Not too exciting. Things were just starting to feel a little blah. So I thought I would shake things up and do a two-tone wall with dark gray on the bottom and a bright white on the top to keep things from getting too dark in there.
This room only has one window, but it gets great light in here so I knew the dark, dark gray wouldn’t make the room too dark. I think if I had taken the gray all the way up the walls, it would’ve been a tad too dark.
It was a spur of the moment decision to paint, but I’m really happy with the result. It feels so much more pulled together in here now and I love how my plants pop off the gray and white!
It has been a while since I’ve talked about the kid’s playroom. I thought I would give a little update on the little changes I’ve made. Now that Bowen is six (almost 7 months) old and can sit up and move around a little bit, he is really getting into toys. He is no longer content with sitting in one spot, he is ready to move around and explore…and get into as many of sisters toys as possible.
Up until now, Hollis has had the whole playroom to herself. It’s filled to the brim with baby dolls, princesses, and dress up clothes and accessories. I have been slowly moving some of her things out and finding a home for them in her bedroom or the toy closet, which she agreed to pretty quickly after I explained that they will be safe from little brother and his slobber. I’ve been replacing those things with some more toys that Bo might be interested in.
The last time you saw it, it looked like this.
I tried out this scalloped, two-tone wall to add a little playfulness to the room. I liked it at first, but it started to feel a little too crazy after a while as well as the colorful curtains. So I decided to tone it back a bit. I did still really like the two-tone neutral walls so I kept those, but chose to ditch the scallop. I also switched out the curtains for a more neutral option.
I added our old futon back into the space, because let’s face it, Mama needs a place to sit and supervise in the playroom. It’s also great for napping toddlers and movie watching.
I tried to add some little nooks in the corners of the room. One nook is Hollis’s “house”. She loves to hideaway in the nooks and read books or play with toys and it’s nice that the kids can separate and escape each other when needed while still playing in the same space.
That nice straight line makes me so happy. It feels calmer in here even at the most chaotic of times. There is so much color in the room from the toys and furniture, the walls really needed to be calmed down bit. I’m so grateful we have this room, I don’t know what we’d do without it!
It’s still a work in progress, but I just wanted to take a moment and note that there is PAINT ON THE WALLS!
I honestly don’t know how I’ve gone over two years without painting the paneling in the office. It is literally the first room you see when you walk into the house as it is directly across from the front door. You also get a good view of it from the playroom and the kitchen, which are the two rooms I spend the most time in. And now that it is painted, and painted such a lovely color, I find myself admiring it from every viewpoint.
Originally there was a door on that doorway in the pic above, but we ended up taking it off because it really closed off the house. With it off we have a much better flow and even though the first floor is not ‘open concept’, each room does open up to the next and creates a circular pathway. I pulled the desk away from the wall and added some much needed seating to create a walkway.
Also, how great are these retro office chairs?! We scored three of them…for FREE. They are from our bank and were sitting in the basement unused. We asked about them and offered to buy them if they were ever for sale and they ended up giving us these three (the other one is currently in our bedroom)! I plan re-upholstering them some day, but I kind of like them as-is right now and they are super comfy.
Moving the desk away from wall was also necessary because of the lighting in here. There is a small chandelier in the center of the room. With the desk up against the wall, we weren’t getting much light on the desk. All the light was falling behind the desk on our back which made it really hard to read any papers or anything on the desk. Now with the light directly over the desk, it is much easier to see in here. We would like to replace the light one day too as soon as we find something we really like.
I hung some IKEA Grundtal shelves we had in storage. The two metal storage units are actually one unit that can be stacked on top of one another. It was a Craigslist find. I unstacked it because we needed more surface area in here for the printer and things that need to be filed away. It works great for Brian because he can store all of is catalogues and price sheets and everything is easy to see and grab.
I still have a lot of organizing to do in here and I also have the closet to organize. I think cleaning out the closet will make a huge difference, but it is such a daunting task that I keep putting off…It’s still on the to-do list, it’s just at the very, very bottom of it. I’m really weird about organizing things. I will put it off and put it off and then one day I’ll wake up and it is ALL I can think about until I just hammer it out. Is anyone else like that? Basically it just won’t get done until I’m in the mood.
So that’s it for now. I still have lots to do, but I’m so happy there is paint on the walls finally. And I am so in love with this dark gray. I have already started painting it in another room, which if you follow me on Instagram, you already know about. If you don’t follow me on Instagram (@thegoldbrickroad)….you should!
Some rooms I search endlessly for inspiration and design ideas. I usually go back and forth and change my mind a hundred times. Other rooms I know exactly what I want to do with zero hesitation.
The office is one of the few rooms that I knew exactly what I wanted to do from the moment we moved in. And yet, I haven’t touched it since we got here. We use our office…a lot. My husband runs his business out of there and I get so overwhelmed with the thought of organizing everything.
Now that the rest of the house is somewhat in order, I really have no excuse to put it off anymore. Since Brian does use the office the most, I want to cater to him a little more than the rest of us. He could care less what it looks like, he just wants it to be functional. Which I totally get….BUT I need it to look nice too. It is literally the first room of our house you see when you walk in thanks to it’s location across from the entry way.
Here is a pic of the office right after we moved in. Sadly it still looks a lot like this. It has acted as a catch-all for a long time. The first act of business is to remove anything that doesn’t really NEED to be in the room. We have had the treadmill in here for a little over a year and it never got used….like ever. So it has since been moved to the living room to try to motivate us to use it more. It also housed the dog kennel for a long time so it needs to move elsewhere too. The other issue is a lack of surface space. Everything gets piled onto the desk because it is the only place to set things down and then it turns into a big ‘ol pile of stress. We also need seating for other people for meetings or when I’m in there helping Brian. Here are some visuals so you can see what direction I’m heading in.
Right now are we are working with only one desk, but we both agree that this t-shape configuration is the ultimate set-up. I would love to each have our own workspace and a place for the kids to work on homework or crafts. This will happen someday….someday.
Love this dark gray. It is masculine, but something I can totally live with too. There is so much clutter and paperwork floating around the office so I definitely like a nice neutral backdrop.
I like the idea of filing cabinets doing double duty as both necessary storage AND holding up the desk. I also really like the way they are finished to fit in with the décor.
Lastly, I would love a small command center. We need a place to sort the mail and keep it from ending up on the office desk in a big pile. Our calendar gets a lot of use. Brian goes out of town for work fairly often so I need it to keep track of when he’s going to be gone. I use it to plan dinners for the week. And I absolutely need it to write down doctor appointments and things like that because my brain just cannot be trusted.
Office To-Do List:
paint the paneling (obviously)
organize the office closet (it’s full and I don’t even know what’s in it!)
better utilize the storage we have
build/buy a multi-person desk (need to get rid of the current desk first to make room)
make a command center (calendar, mail box, cork board, etc.)
new light fixture
I probably won’t get to all of this stuff right away, but I will getting started on some of it. (Which will be a huge improvement from blatantly ignoring it all!) Paint is first on my list. I can’t believe I’ve gone this whole time without painting it yet!
After spending a weekend in Colorado Springs for a family reunion, we headed to Black Canyon of the Gunnison. On the way we stopped and stretched our legs and had a mini picnic lunch with a beautiful view….and of course Hollis found some dirt to play in so she was stoked.
So many beautiful places to pull over and stretch your legs and take pics. I can’t wait to hike some of these places when the kids are a little bigger.
The next morning we woke up nice and early to drive the Million Dollar Highway. I’m so glad we went early because there was very little traffic which made the super steep drop-offs and winding road, slightly less terrifying. I’m glad I wasn’t driving because there was so much beautiful scenery to look at. I kept pointing things out to Brian while he was driving…luckily he ignored me and kept his eyes on the road. Fortunately there are many places to pull off and whip your camera out.
The cutest town, Ouray is tucked away in the mountains. We drove through it because the kiddos were asleep, but we would have loved to get out and explore it. It looked like a fun town to stay in, so hopefully next time we can do that.
We drove through Durango and then to Farmington, NM where we got a glimpse of Shiprock before heading to Four Corners.
We were looking forward to the Four Corners Monument, but it was a little disappointing. It was super hot and there was zero shade to escape the afternoon sun. The only thing to do there is stand in line and have your picture taken on the monument. The people in line were friendly and took turns taking the pic of the people in line in front of them so it went fairly quickly. There are also little vendors selling souvenirs. The prices were reasonable, but each vendor pretty much sold the same things. We let Hollis pick out a necklace and bracelet and we picked out a bear carved out of stone for Bo. The biggest disappointment was that there was NO FOOD/DRINKS. There was one food truck there, but it was not open at 1:30pm while we were there.
We kept moving towards Mesa Verde National Park. We had another impromptu picnic there and checked out the Cliff Palaces. We would love to do the tour some day, but the kids were just too small to do it this time. There was more white-nuckle driving as we drove higher up and then down the mountain. We left just in time before it started to storm.
At this point, the kids were getting really used to hotel life. We found that after a long day of driving we all did better with picking up dinner somewhere and eating it in our hotel room. The kids were able to wind down before bedtime and pretty much stay on their usual schedule. So while our night life was pretty low-key and boring, it definitely made for calmer, happier kids the next day.
On our way back home, we stumbled upon my new favorite spot. We had spent most of the day driving already with no real opportunities to get out of the car and recharge. So when Bowen woke up hungry and Hollis started to get restless, we decided we better find somewhere to stop asap. Of course when you really need to stop, there is nowhere to stop. After searching for a place to pull off and feed the baby, with no real options, we decided to get off the highway and trek down a dirt road and see where it took us.
We ended up at a campground tucked away deep in the trees. Seriously, if you wanted to commit a crime and hideout somewhere, this is the place to disappear. We continued down this narrow dirt road, passed people horseback riding, and passed what we thought was a little stream to our right. We thought it would be a great spot for Hollis to get out and do her thing aka dig in the dirt. When we actually got closer to the spot, it opened up to this beautiful fishing spot.
These pictures really don’t show how secluded this little gem was. The whole spot was hiding behind a wall of trees. I was so happy to relax on a blanket and feed the baby while Hollis got to collect rocks in the water with dad.
We had the place all to ourselves for a while. A friendly older couple showed up to fish and said this is their favorite fishing spot because it is so hidden and quiet. They were really sweet and let Hollis watch them catch a fish (which only took them less than five minutes to catch). We didn’t stay long after that because we didn’t want our little hooligans to scare away any fish for the nice couple.
The rest of our trip home was pretty uneventful. Just lots of driving. Lots and lots of driving. We broke up the driving with one more stay at a hotel so that we only had about 3 hours on our last leg home. Part of me really wanted to just keep driving and not stop, and if it was just Brian and I, that’s probably what we would have done. I’m glad we stopped and rested. The kids definitely appreciated it and it made life a lot easier when we did get home and transitioned back into our normal routine. I needed that rest just to unload everything out of the car and catch up the laundry!
I’m so glad we survived (and enjoyed) our first vacation as a family of four. Colorado was so beautiful and had so much to offer. I can’t wait to go back again!