Here is my mother, Liz, at the center of a pack of my children. She's reading them a bedtime story - just like she does every night when we're at her house.
Needless to say, we all love to visit Grandma and Grandpa's house. This trip we only get to stay for 8 days, but this past summer we were here for a full month - and we felt welcome and at home that whole time.
Part of the reason we feel so at home at Grandma's house is the accomodations. Years ago my parents expanded their house to make a little extra room for my mother's mother to move in with them. That left a large attic space above the add-on that was soon turned into a kids playroom. The roof is angled multiple directions, the floor bumps up and down here and there, there are nooks and crannies everywhere - in short, a perfect kids room. My Dad did much of the work himself. And my Mom did all the decorating.
The main feature of the room is a "family tree" painted by my talented sister-in-law, Kelly. My parents names are on the trunk (as if carved into the wood) and my siblings and I's names, along with our spouses and children's names, are in the leaves in family groups using vinyl. That way whenever a new baby or spouse joins the family, their name can easily be added.
My talented mother decorated this room perfectly. The walls are sky blue, the carpet is grass green, and all along the walls there is white picket fencing. For storage, they use plastic flower pots! Genius! The lights are clouds and the sun and stars (from Ikea). It is just such a sweet little space.
Here's a little nook with a bookcase. The bookcase is filled with vintage toys and books mixed with new star wars guys and Disney princesses.
After the first open area with the tree and the bookcase, there this narrow passage to the back area. Here is the first toddler-sized bed. Oh, and Franz, the larger-than-life nutcracker. He stands guard over the children while they sleep.
The back area has another toddler-sized bed, a little dormer window, a dresser, a shelf-lined storage area, dress-ups, and a black board wall.
Here's the little storage area. We use these shelves for the toys that shouldn't be down all the time like play-doh and kinex and such. There's also hooks for towels, swim-suits, etc. (Are you noticing something similar in all these photos? My little Sammy followed us wherever we went as we staged these photos and sweetly said "cheese" whenever asked.)
Here's the blackboard wall. This seems to be a hit with younger and older kids. Who doesn't love writing on the wall? And there's the dress-up basket in the corner.
Not only does Grandma have this wonderful room where two of my children can sleep, she also has a nursery, a guest room, and a sewing room with another bed. So we actually have more room when we come to Grandma's than we do at our house!
Below is my favorite part of the nursery. The little shelves have vintage baby booties and other small keepsakes from our family's past and those dresses are the real-deal, too. I love the cross stitch of the mother with children. We all really do love babies around here.
Also brag-worthy at my mother's house is her brag wall. She acquired a huge, elaborate frame and turned it into a pinboard. She keeps current photos of all her grandchildren, children and other family on it. It's right in the dining room, adjacent to the kitchen so we see it often.
Grandma loves it because she sees her grandchildren and can think about them. I love it because my children can see their cousins and remember the fun times they had with them. Our family is close, and we want to stay that way.
And since I'm bragging about my Mom so much, how about a shout-out to my super talented woodworker of a father. This week while we've been here he has spent hours out in his woodshop (use to be garage) making the most amazing cradle for my brother and his family who are about to have baby number 4.
This cradle is not only stunning, it rocks, and it easily dis-assembles to lay flat for storage! The pattern came from Wood Magazine (Sept, 2007). I have a few things that my father has made from wood in my own house, so I know from experience what a treasure this cradle will be to it's new owners.
What talented and fabulous parents I have! We've had a great week at their house and will be sad to go home tomorrow.