Friday, February 25, 2011

Small but important changes

Well, I expected my next post to be filled with pictures of the enormous strides we had made on our house. It is not. It is, however, filled with pictures of the few things that we have done and these have made a great impact on our daily lives. After sickness stole the last 2 weeks of January and the first 2 weeks of February from us, we still feel like we have made some progress. Most of all, we have scaled back our goals for winter projects, partly because of the baby that is due in May and also because of sickness that has just taken over this winter!

Homeschool area before....

First, I have spent more time working in the homeschool area. It has changed yet again, but these are the most recent pictures. They do not show how our area currently looks, though its in a similar layout. It functions, which is really all I can ask for. We are in the market for some dining room chairs, which would allow us to bring our current dining table and benches up to the homeschool area, so if you hear of any for sale, let me know. Two sets of 4 will work, or a total of 8-10. They do NOT have to match, but they do have to be sturdy and in good condition!

Homeschool area after... You can see in the second picture that a pile of boxes hides off to my right!

Second closet before, and after.The challenge of before & after pictures is taking them before the kids make a mess!

Second, the older boys bedroom has really changed and I can now say (drum roll please!) ... they are unpacked! Woohoo! To walk into their room and not step on toys or find boxes of books with clothing hiding in the top is a wonderful feeling! It is so nice, I feel like I can spend time in there without getting upset at the condition of their space. I wish I had taken more "before" pictures, but oh well. Art drawers found a new home in the homeschool area, we added another 2 towers of wire drawers for clothing (building the laundry basket drawers was mathematically and practically impossible in this space) and with the new wall shelves, a book case was freed up for its intended purpose (it had been housing Callen's collections). The recliner from the homeschool area fit nicely in their room and there was enough room for the roll away bed in one of the closets! A clean room, ready for a sleep over! Aside from trim, all that is missing are curtains for the windows and closet.

Clockwise from top: book shelf at far end of bunkbed holds the turtle tank and is no longer surrounded by boxes!; view standing in front of bunk, to the right; view standing in front of bunk, to the left (1st closet, recliner, rollaway and small child or two in tunnel); project table and new wall shelves across from bed, looking toward 1st door to room.

Callen, boy #2, is our collector and the biggest challenge of this space was convincing him that he cannot keep every thing he has ever touched! He had collections of bullet shells, coins, rocks, bottle caps, notes from friends, small toys... You name it, he had it! All this in addition to the Legos and Bionicle figures! We had provided a work table for him and it just seemed to get more and more cluttered, each completed project becoming another item for his "collection" instead of being disassembled and returned to the lego bin. We provided a camera and album for pictures of his projects, hoping he would document them and then let them go. He didn't. NOW, we have downsized his work area, with the hope that his work space will be more precious to him than the projects, offered our services as digital documentors for his creations, and organized his lego bins and left him with the threat that a messy area or any hoarding of projects would result in a suspension from legos! At the moment, there is room for his two brothers to keep their modest collections on the new shelves....

Lego storage, project table and shelves.

Last of all, Mr. Ireland has cleared space for the final 2 sets of shelves in the basement. I am so excited! The last set made such a big impact on the state of the basement. The shelves sat empty for a few weeks while we were sick and then he filled them and started clearing another area for new construction all in the same day, so I don't have pictures of that transition. I promise to run down immediately and get some "before" pictures before he begins building this time! When all the shelves are done, we can turn our attention to preparing our bedroom and the nursery for another baby :) Maybe someday I will get around to my office and the upstairs hallway...

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