‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Thursday, December 16, 2010


To deal with the monotony of the paperwork, I am taking little breaks and doing some nesting. Sounds premature? Well, think about it....based on the timeline I am on, I am technically anywhere from 4-6 months 'pregnant'...lol. So, doesn't it make sense that I'd start feeling that nesting urge? Here is what I have to work with:
the view when you enter the room
to the left , when you walk in

To your right when you walk in.
This is how the room looks now. It was Dasha's room for the summer, complete with dolls and dress-up clothes and stuffed animals galore. I now need to make it a little boy's room. So today I boxed up all of Dasha's things and put them in the basement. (I'll be holding on to them in case another little girl finds her way into my life in the next few years:)

Next, I need to find creative, no-cost ways of making this room more boy-friendly. The wall color works, but the bed is pretty feminine. I may have to cave and buy a cheap new bed when my next paycheck comes in. I saw some advertised at the local discount furniture store for $269 for a twin. We can reuse the mattresses.

I'm going for a nautical theme  in the room for a few reasons -- first, I live on the North Shore and that means every other shop has nautical things in it, and my family's storage unit does too! Also, I've inherited a few cool things from my dad which are nautical. Also, my Dad wrote several books on pirates and we have pirate stuff just collecting dust throughout the family.

Things I am putting on my wishlist for the room and hope to put in it before he (God-willing) comes home:
  • lots of blocks. My brothers and I LOVED using blocks well past age 10.
  • legos and magnetics. So good for right brain development
  • soccer ball, basketball, and football
  • some easy reader books to start him on English
  • some new clothes ( he's only a size EIGHT, can you believe it?)
  • tactile toys, puzzles and things to help him sensory-wise
  • inspiring artwork on the walls
If you have any other ideas, let me know! Keep in mind this is for a cognitively delayed 11 year old, who -- aside from the typical post-institutionalized issues -- has FAS related issues that I am just learning about. I want his room to be a sanctuary for him...calm and inviting, but also housing some elements that will spark his interest in learning about the world around him. Nastia has already donated her telescope to the cause:)


  1. A wonderful project to be working on Keri.

  2. Is it possible to get new knobs for the bed and spray paint the one you've got. They make some pretty neat textured paints these days that would make that bed look like old wood - perfect for a nautical theme. Or, you could go matte black as well. I've seen some pretty descent blue and black and tan striped comforters at places like the W*lmart that could easily work wih a nautical theme.

    As for decor, keep it EXTREMELY simple, difficult to remove, and unbreakable. If possible, keep at least 90% of his toys somewhere else in the house and keep his room as "quiet" and understated as possible with only a bed, a dresser, and clothing in there. This will really help the transition home and will make it easier for him to keep tidy, too. Even just clothes, school papers, books, and a couple of teddy bears become really overwhelming for my boys to clean up. It all just becomes chaos and they don't know where to start in cleaning it up. I always have to break it down for them. Ok...just focus on hanging up all your clothes right now. When that's done, then they can clean up just the papers. By that point, they can usually finish the job...now, anyway. It's taken 3.5 years for them to get to that point.

    If you do decide to do a little something different with the wall, a quick and easy and cheap way to change up the wall color and add some visual texture is with a color wash treatment...which again, fits in just lovely with a nautical theme. All you'll need is a quart of clear glaze (paint department), a small amount of a lighter colored regular latex paint (even a sample size that covers about 4 sq. feet will do...those are only a couple of bucks) and a little bit of water. Mix the glaze, paint, and just a few tablespoons of water and then "wash" it onto the walls. My favorite tool for doing this is actually old plastic shopping bags. Turn them inside out so the printing doesn't come off, crumple it up, dab it in the paint, and start washing it on the walls. You can either go up and down, work in a circular pattern, or blot it on like sponge painting. You'll have a few minutes to play with it once it's on the wall and find a pattern you like. The more you work it, the more subtle the pattern will become, which is my personal preference. Plus, your paint will go further that way, too. Be sure to protect the carpet against drips, wear some surgical type gloves to keep your hands clean, and tape off the ceiling edge to protect against stray marks from the bag and paint. The only down side to doing a treatment like this is that it does make touch-ups a bit more difficult.

  3. I have 4 boys - I am an expert on boy toys. if he is a builder then definitely Legos, bionicles, Kinects, even Lincoln Logs. My 12 year old and 7 year old like to set up massive army battles with army men, and lego people. My 13 year old NEVER played with any of those toys and was always into electronics. My 10 year old is an artist. My advice- wait until you see what type of boy he is. Maybe he loves sports and will always be outside with a ball. You never know what you will get- it's like Forrest's Gumps box of chocolate!

  4. Great comments so far! I think the bed is great and not at all too girly--the bedding will make all the difference, so go with navy and red predominantly (with your nautical theme) and it will look great! (and hey, a little patriotic too! ; )

    I posted a week or so ago on my blog about using your local Freecycle group to help play Santa. The people on Freecycle--at least out in Santa Cruz, all the way across the country from you!--are so generous, and if you say what you want and why, you never know what awesome stuff people will give you for free! It is not like begging, because you of all people know how much it blesses others to give. We have asked for and received such amazing things:
    --Chinese rosewood abacus
    --sleek wood and steel fold-up toddler boost seat for the table (way better than I had expected!)
    --a CAMPER to borrow while family was vistiing, for 2 months!
    --this month I asked for trains, for our kids for Christmas, and a lady gladly gave me a bunch she did not want/need, and they were the exact same we would have spent big $ for at the store, all in like new condition!
    --and this month I also received a beautiful "real" ukelele for our daughter for christmas, also like new!

    So this demonstrates the range of things you can have (or borrow) from freecycle. All those legos and things you want--ASK for them! There are loads of families who have sons now too old to play with theirs, who would love to pass them along to someone who would truly appreciate them.

    Just a suggestion! : )

  5. Sent you an email to gmail, can't remember if you are using that...anyway, I have stuuuufffff. For a skinny kid stuuuufffffff. For a boy who needs to build stuuuuuffffff. :-)

  6. Love the blue color you have to work with. Warm primary colors all work with that neutral blue. Another idea is to divide the room onto 3 sections, horizontally. The middle stripe would be 1 shade lighter on your color strip and the top again, 1 shade lighter. It gives the room lift and makes it seem airy and tall. I agree, the bed can be spray painted matte black. I would put it against the wall rather than in front of the window. This way he can walk right up to the window and look out. When adding furniture, make it tall keeping the floor space open for play.

    As far as the dress-up clothes, if D is getting adopted in the US what a cool gift to give her the very things she used to play with. If you have pictures, what a nice keepsake for her and her family!!!


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