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The Boys Space Room and Constellation Wall Mural

2018 January 13
by Becky

I realized the other day that I’ve completely neglected to talk about our new house, the number one thing people have asked me about out here in bloggerville. Maybe it’s because we’ve been getting settled or maybe because I’ve felt a little trapped here. Sure we try to get out as much as possible, but home is the place I spend most of my time since we’re new to town (aka I have very few friends), I have a kid who naps every day, my husband travels a lot for work, and I’m not working. But we’re feeling officially settled and I can confidently say it’s a great house and fits us perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done some work. Mostly icky maintenance issues (like the giant hole cut in our living room ceiling), but some have been fun and aesthetic.

Like the boys’ room.

Boys Shared Space Room- NASA Space Art

You know, the room I alluded to working on via Instagram but never bothered to post out here? Well I FINALLY took some pictures—both cleaned up and real-life—and can’t wait to share!

Let’s start with the before.


This is a listing photo. A little girl lived in this precious butterfly room and I knew it would hurt to change it. When Ethan saw the wallpaper, he loved it. Immediately said he wanted to keep it and I happily agreed. The bunk beds we’d promised the boys for months before the move fit perfectly in the highest part of the sloped-roof room and the yellow dresser made a perfect addition against the short wall…the boys LOVED sharing a room (something we thought would be short-lived) and were thrilled to be tucked at the very top of the house.


It was less than six weeks later that both boys adamantly told me the butterflies had to go. We had a little fun with them first, coloring in a few butterflies with markers, because drawing on the wall is FUN!

But eventually I had to get all that paper off…


It was a mess. Lots of the wall came off with the paper—not sure it was put on very well since it had begun to peel in many places anyway. I used the hot water soaking method and a steamer, but it was slow going. Good thing these kinds of monotonous tasks appeal to me sometimes, especially while zoning out to a podcast or audio book. I’m weird.

It was two walls of paper removal later that I threw in the towel. The removal process was more destructive to the wall than was worth it and I decided to paint over one wall of wall paper. Yeah, painting over wallpaper…yikes. But after reading many many reviews online, I decided to forgo the removal and primed the last (and biggest) wall with Gardz Problem Surface Sealer, which is supposed to “seal” the wall in it’s current state, eliminating bubbles and/or more damage. Turns out, it works! After patching all the paper-removal holes and other wall issues (so, so many) and priming those with with Gardz too, the paint went on like butter.

Or however paint is supposed to go on.

Boys Shared Space Theme Room Ikea Rainbow Rug
Boys Shared Space Theme Room Constellation Mural Wall

That yellow dresser from Finn’s St. Louis nursery looked even better against the crisp backdrop of Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, which is apparently a superior white because OMG it looks fantastic. Here it is, containing Finn’s clothes AND adding the most glorious pop of color to the room.

Boys Shared Space Theme Room Yellow Dresser

The best part of this project was painting that luxurious dark blue, Gentleman’s Grey by Benjamin Moore, on the feature wall, and then drawing constellations and stars on it with a Sharpie Paint Pen. The very same Sharpie Paint Pen used for Finn’s nursery back in St. Louis.

Fun little connection to the past.

Boys Shared Space Theme Room Constellation Mural Wall
Boys Shared Space Theme Room Constellation Mural Wall


Don’t go trying to tell your horoscope from this wall, it’s not very accurate. After designing a to-scale sky and getting started, I decided it was more fun to just wing it, using a straight-edge and the map as inspiration. I even fudged the kids’ initials in there as constellations.

After finishing the paint, I found those cute space sheets and hung some fun space art. The rug was one I picked up at Ikea and I LOVE the color it adds to the room! Ethan took one look and yelled across the store, “We need the rainbow rug!!!!”



That nice white wall was just screaming for more artwork, so we suspended some twine between nails and made it Ethan’s personal Pokemon and Transformer art gallery. I love that there was this blank space for him to add a personal touch, he’s proud to have his work displayed so prominently!


We also added that shelf above the radiator for special items, it really added a finishing touch to the room. Turns out radiator covers are awesome little pieces of “furniture” throughout the house, as long as your kids learn not to climb them…they fall over if they do. Just speaking from very recent experience.

Overall the room is a success. Ethan’s room in our old house was waaaaay too big, so this smaller shared space is perfect. Everything is contained in the same area, all within a manageable clean-up zone. One place to unload laundry. And, while we have some bedtime scuffles at times (nothing the Nest cam can’t help us solve), they truly love being together.


I’ve always dreamed about our boys being best buds and maybe even sharing a room, and well here it’s come true. Though it may end in the not-too-distant future, when Ethan needs his own space, for now it’s their little penthouse above Old Town, watching the bustling world below. We’ll take it as long as it lasts.

This begins the series on the Old Town house, I promise to share more than you’ll want to know.


The Longest Holiday

2018 January 4
by Becky


It just keeps going and going and going.

I’m curled under my favorite blanket, cup of tea by my side, fireplace blazing to heat our drafty old house, editing photos and watching videos of the past two weeks of holiday break. The break that is still technically going because, after only one day back at school, a dusting of snow has everything shut down yet again. So while the wind blows and Finn naps and Ethan plays in his room, I’ve got my sights set on jotting down a little recap.


I’d like to say we did “everything” this year as usual, but really we laid pretty low and picked just a couple holiday events to attend. One was the waterskiing Santa show that took place two blocks from our house and included holiday characters actually skiing down the freezing cold Potomac River. It was too insane to miss. The other was ICE! at National Harbor, just across the bridge in Maryland.


We wore these snazzy blue parkas while walking through a 9 degree tent to see incredible ice sculptures. Finn took off his parka in protest before we even got to the tent yet he somehow made it through the whole thing while the rest of us were freezing! This event was extra awesome because right next door was the big man.



Here it was mid-December and we realized we’d completely forgotten to make Santa plans. He couldn’t wait to tell St. Nick the full details of his gift requests, with no nerves and plenty of adorable smiles. And though I thought this year would be the end of Ethan’s Santa spirit, he seemed very much on board with hopping up there for a serious Transformer dominated chat.

Before we knew it, my family was arriving—my brother from Denver and my parents from sunny Florida. Coming to DC winter weather from 70 degree paradise is true grandparent commitment. It was SO COLD here.

Good thing the reindeer are impervious to wind chill…



As I’d mentioned, this year the boys had very specific gift requests, ones they’d described in detail to Santa and anyone else who’d listen. Ethan’s wish was a huge transformer that breaks into five or six little transformers, which was the first gift he opened and the one he played with for an hour before even looking for another present. Finn, meanwhile, ripped through several boxes to find the Power Rangers sword, costume, and figurine he’d been coveting for a month. Yes, we bought our kid a sword, I know it’s nuts, but at least we opted for the foam version as opposed to the hard plastic chainsaw version he’d spied at Target. In that pic above he’s showing his huge muscles.

We lounged in pjs and ate my first-ever attempt at cinnamon rolls—coming from a non-cinnamon roll person, I must say they were totally incredible—and we played with everything. I spent at least two hours building with the marble run extension kit that includes an elevator and jump while Ethan dominated everyone in electronic Simon Says. Finn and Grandpa built half the Snap Circuit book. Grandma facilitated some Qixel building. It was a busy and creative day.



By late afternoon we were camped on the couch watching Home Alone for the first time in a million years and, once the kids collapsed in bed (Finn in his Power Rangers costume), we dove into our Christmas dinner of standing rib roast and truffled mashed potatoes. I’d never made this cut of meat before, but this crazy-easy method turned out the most perfect medium rare beef.

Over the course of the week I spent hours and hours in the kitchen, it was blissful.

Since it was my brother’s first trip to DC, we made the sight-seeing rounds. It was really cold so “Stu-ber” drove us around to the monuments to minimize walking. Finn wore his Power Rangers costume everywhere.



Our final stop that day was the Library of Congress, a big check box on our list of places we’ve been meaning to go forever. It was so far beyond my expectations, I never wanted to leave. Not only is it incredibly gorgeous and museum-like with it’s huge exhibits, but there’s an awesome children’s section with regular story times. We’ll be back very soon.

And no holiday would be complete without Ethan getting a little older! My SEVEN year old made his annual request of sushi for his “actual” birthday dinner and the next day we had a little Pokemon Pool Party with his buddies from school.



After saying age five was the end of the big parties (the dinosaur party seemed like a good capstone), we caved this year what with the big move and all. He’s done such a great job making so many new friends, it was even more cause for celebration. Plus, I found Kids First Swim School and it sounded too fun to pass up. It was a super simple party, but I did get to make a really fun cake!


Now here we are in week THREE of no school. We’re already delayed two hours tomorrow, and since the wind is howling and temps are plummeting, it’s looking like another snow day is looming. Here’s hoping we have a normal schedule again soon…I’m all holiday’ed out.

Happy New Year!