Monday, April 28, 2014

Sleeping Arrangements -- Triple Bunks!

It was over a year ago when I had a panic attack!  My kids were 4 1/2 years old and still in toddler beds!!  I could NOT have my 5 year old babies sleeping in toddler beds!  Plus, it was ridiculous how giant they were for those teeny beds! 

When we moved into this house (almost 3 years ago…) we had a plan for sleeping situations.  We have 4 bedrooms downstairs and a game room upstairs.  The plan was to give each girl a room downstairs and convert the upstairs to the boys room.  But like with any good plan I make, it crumbled…. To convert upstairs we had to build out the attic, add a bathroom, raise the roof line, and more. And trust me when I say it was going to cost a fortune!  Now, I do not mind spending a fortune on anything, but my sweet frugal husband said something about not recouping our money… something, something, something…. no way!  Soooooo, back to the drawing board… How am I going to fit 5 kids in 3 rooms?!?

After lots of thought and talking, I came to the realization that I was going to have to settle on the dreaded bunk bed…  I DETEST bunk beds!!!  The idea of crawling up to the top and changing sheets chills me to the bone… But there just was no other way!  

The 3 kid bedrooms are REALLY small and if you have ever looked into buying bunk beds you know they are REALLY big.  It would have been okay for the boys room, but the girls room would literally just be 2 sets of bunk beds…  One day, Stephen came to me and said he found plans for a triple bunk online at The Handmade Dress Blog…  I checked them out and they were perfect!!  

He downloaded the plans, made a few tweaks of his own and voila!  Problem solved!!
Here's how it went down...

1.  Clean out beastly guest room….  This is how my room looked with all of the junk from guest bedroom in it!

2. Guest room cleaned out.

3.  Buy lots of wood.

4.  Paint room..  (Sherwin Williams 6821-- Potentially Purple)

5. Start building bunk beds.  (1 day to cut wood, 1 day to assemble.) 

6.  Paint bunk beds.  I wanted to have an antiqued white.  We chose a technique where you paint a dark color first and then paint the light color over, rubbed the edges with wax and then sanded where we wanted it to look antiqued.  I am not sure I would choose this again, because as you can see in the final pictures below, the white is coming off a LOT more in the high traffic areas and it looks more dirty than antique.  It took a day for the brown and then a day for the white.  (I used Sherwin Williams 6083 -- Sable for brown and 6119 -- Antique White for white.)  I have heard wonderful things about Annie Sloan chalk paint and still wonder if I had splurged, if I would have the same issues of the white coming off….  Oh well, too late now!   

7.  Assemble

8. Decorate!!  My favorite part…  obviously!  

I bought this dresser from My Happy Place by Deanna Cheriese.  It is a 1936 dresser that she painted using the Annie Sloan chalk paint at a seriously reasonable price!!  I wish I could buy all my furniture from her.

One of the major reasons I love the bunks is there is still room to play in the room!! Not a ton, but enough!!

This is going to be hard to believe, but the girls did not fight over who slept where… Ivy on top, Sidney in the middle and Brie on the bottom.  I was shocked, but went with it!  This is the place that is theirs alone, so they do not switch around.  They haven't even asked!

And in case you want to know… Quilts, pillow shams and drapes from Pottery Barn Kids, Pink lattice sheets and green Euro pillows from The Company Store,  light fixture from Ikea, rug from

8a.  DIY Wooden Book Crate from Family Love Home Blog!  We desperately needed a book storage solution in the girls room and I ran across this cute little book crate tutorial!  Super easy and perfect size.  I painted it the same color as the walls, where in hindsight I would have done a contrasting color…

Brie helping me paint.

I still haven't done wall decorations and as it's been over a year I wonder if I'll get around to it at all… hmmmm…

9.  Start the process again for the boys room… Build.  (Their room was already green, so I just left it.  Sherwin Williams 6710 -- Melange Green.)

10.  Paint bunk beds.  (I started with SW 6524 -- Commodore, but it was too blue, so I had them darken it until it was more navy.)

11.  Assemble.

12.  Decorate again…  Yippee!!

Mitchell sleeps on top.  Luke in the middle.  And cousins on the bottom.

Again, if you want to know… Quilts, pillow shams and drapes from Pottery Barn Kids, Star sheets from The Company Store, rug from Target.

And again, haven't gotten around to wall decor…

13.  DIY light fixture.  I fell in love with this navy and white striped light fixture from Shades of Light, but I was already over budget for the room and just couldn't justify an extra $200!!!  So, I searched for tutorials on how to make one.  The one I found was gluing ribbon on the lamp shade, but since the only cheap white shade I could find (from Ikea) wasn't the same circumference top to bottom the ribbon bubbled.  So I ended up just painting a blue strip on the top and bottom and calling it a day.  Not perfect, but cute!

14.  Try to tame the lego disaster…  I stole this idea from my organizing sensei, my sister, Amy…  Plastic organizers from The Container Store.   Believe it or not, this has kept the lego messes minimal.  Before they were all in a huge bucket and the boys would dump the entire thing out every day and it getting them to clean it up was like murder!!

So… if you ever were curious how a quintuplet family squeezes into a small house,  now you know!!  

Keepin' it real…
1.  I still HATE changing the sheets.
2.  The rooms normally look like a tornado blew through them.
3.  As cute as the light fixtures are, I really miss the ceiling fans….  Two words… Texas.  Summer.

I am so, so proud of Stephen for being able to build these!!  He truly is amazing and the kids absolutely LOVE them!!

Monday, May 13, 2013


I have been getting my hair cut at The Upper Hand - River Oaks for what seems like forever!  Even though I moved out to the burbs ages ago, I still drive back into town because I can't leave them.  Maybe it's the chocolate chip cookies... or the wine.... or maybe Tony, who is hands down the best hair washer EVA... or Rachel, the owner, who makes you feel so welcome.  They seriously rock, if you need a new salon!!

My hair dresser, Jessica, is AMAZING.... She has been by my side through thick and thin.  Job Stuff, Boy Stuff, Fertility Junk, Raising kids... She knows it all.  Really, why do I feel the need to share my deepest secrets the minute my bum hits the chair??  She even makes last minute house calls when I am desperate for me AND the kids!  (Here is when she came to give the babies their first haircut!)

Several times, I have been in the salon and have seen TV cameras rolling.  A show called Mirror Mirror on The Live Well Network comes into to film short segments every now and then...  Tips on beauty products, hair/nail/skin care, etc.

Back in December, Jessica called me and said that they were wanting to do a makeover for a deserving mom and that they immediately thought of me.  (so sweet!)  My initial reaction was no thank you... from being burned in the beginning, we have declined all show/publicity offers... Plus the last thing I wanted was a new blond crew cut.   Ha!  But after Jessica described that it was a mild makeover, more of a pampering day and after she told me all of the fun products I would be introduced too (and get to keep!) my love of all things beauty beat out my aversion to being on TV and I said YES!

They came and filmed my morning routine....  Rebecca, the host of Mirror Mirror was ADORABLE!  She was like my new BFF instantly!  Having cameras in your face was somewhat flustering... And having 3 extra people in a tight space wreaked havoc on our factory-line routine, but I got through it only sound like a dork a few times....   I feel compelled to tell you that the clip makes my house seem WAY more chaotic that it really is.... Creative editing or the kids were off/wound up because of the excitement.... Probably a bit of both!

Ellen and Rebecca
Ivy, Mitchell, Luke, Brie, Sidney

Then we went to the salon.... SO much fun.

My faves:
1- Color/shine rinse that I have been wanting forever!  It gave my hair just a boost of color and the shine took some of the dull mousy out.
2 - Product called LiBrow.  My eyebrows are turning Gray!!  What the heck??  I was thinking about dying them, but Rachel gave me LiBrow which is a serum that darkens and thickens them.  Am loving it!

My not-so-faves:
1.  The pink lip stick.
2.  The cheesy hair toss for the after pic.  

I really had such a good time and truly felt so special!  Everyone was so amazing!

Stephen bolted before they got there that morning...  Just "happened" to have a really early meeting...  :)  But he did take me out and splurge on a fancy dinner!! Thanks Aunt Mimi for watching the bittys!!!



Being a mom is definitely the hardest, most rewarding job I have ever had!  Am loving it!!

Am so blessed that I've had a great role model that has paved the road for me....


Am so blessed to have two mother-in-laws that would do ANY thing for us...


MaMa Jude

And am so blessed to have two amazing, strong grandmas...



My heart is full!  Love you all!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Easter!

Easter was a whirl wind weekend... not surprising as everything is whirl wind in our lives.  I am starting to think that it is me... I get so busy with so much of nothing and then I realize Easter is this weekend, so we must pack every craft, baking, decorating, fun activity that I thought of (or saw on Pinterest) into 3 days!  Most of the time half of them don't get done and put on my list for next year when I definitely will NOT wait until the last minute.

Saturday we spent with Stephen's side of the family...

Ivy, Mitchell, Brie, Luke and Sidney
(Lalaloopsy dolls... cute or creepy? I vote cute, Stephen votes Creepy!) 

Stephen's cousin Lisa hosted this year... This girl can throw a party!  She is my soul mate when it comes to party planning!  (Except she actually implements the things that have to go on my list for next year!)  We had brunch, which is my most favorite meal EVER and had fun just hanging out, playing and hunting eggs....


Girl Cousins
Laura, Elle, Lisa

Stephen and Ivy

Briellen is obsessed with Ava's room... She only left once for the egg hunt!

Wild Boy Cousins
Luke - Mitchell
Ethan - Jacob

MawMaw with her girls
Kaeli Sidney Ava

It truly is hysterical how excited the kids get before the egg hunt!  They seriously can not wait for the door to open... and when it does, watch out!

All of the Cousins

My philosophy on events where candy is available in mass quantities -- Let them open it all, gorge themselves and then at the end of the day toss it ALL.  First of all, it eliminates the fight of, "You can only open X amount of eggs... Okay only 1 more... Well, one last one..."  Second, it eliminates the consistent pestering of wanting candy on the subsequent days.  Lastly (and probably the most honest reason,) is I would eat the entire bag in the night when everyone was sleeping and I was having a pity party and was promising myself I would only have one more!!!!!   My philosophy would probably be different if I had a kid who ate themselves sick, but most of my kids eat a few pieces and move on...  Most, as in not all, because my Ivy girl is just like her Mama and likes to eat!

Eating the Loot

This was our first year to dye eggs together...  Definitely not the fun crafty eggs of my years past!  It was barely controlled chaos in a vinegar haze.  I am hoping they (and me) will have more patience next year.  (And maybe I'll have everything already prepared for them next time.  Sharing was a titch challenging... It's a miracle none of the buckets were spilled.)



Thanks Nonna for helping me!!

Final Products
(Ummmm... Mitchell, really?)

Aunt Laura had a cute idea of planting jelly beans....  Then the next morning the kids go out and they have grown into lolly pops!

Planting Jelly Beans

All Planted...

Looking at the Lollypops


I got the girls leotards because they have been asking to go to gymnastics or dance class because they want to wear leotards...  So I thought that if I just got them the leotards, I could buy myself some time... but I am sure you can guess that I was way wrong... Now it's even worse!

Easter Day we went to church and then family lunch at my parents house.  Every meal is an event at my parents...  Tons of incredible food and amazing friends and family...  Love seeps from every crevice of that home!!

Papa and Nain
(Have I told you that Nain (said like the number 9) is Welsh  for Grandma.... My mom is half Welsh.)

Uncle Neal, Bibi and Aunt Mimi
(Bibi is "Aunt" in Balinese)


Our "little" Fam!

Mimi Brynne and Aiden

These two are inseparable!



"Do you like my hat?"

My parents yard is perfect for egg hunts!  We hide eggs in front in really hard places for Margaret's boys and eggs in the back for the little kids.

Look at all this space!

And here they are waiting/ off again!

I don't know who had more fun... us hiding the eggs or the kids finding them!


Sooze and Aim


Aunt Mar helping with the hunt

The Wagners -- Our besties... Love them!

Clever spot to hide and egg, Uncle Neal

Uncle Damon going all out to hide eggs!

Trying to get egg hidden a little to well...

Still trying...

Ivy tried and did NOT want to get down until she got it out...

And of course, our fabulous bunny cookie from Mrs. Sandy!  Our friend from church who came to help me every week, when the babies came home!!