Monday, January 9, 2012

Very Hungry Caterpillar Bathroom

We have had the same decor in our guest bathroom for 11 years. A striped shower curtain in shades of blue with matching striped hand towels and coordinating solid towels. It worked well for our guests and when Rylan was born, it doubled nicely as a young boy's bathroom.
I get a pretty serious decorating bug about every year, and lately, I had been dreaming about doing something different in the kid's bathroom. I wanted it to be bright, colorful, suitable for a boy and a girl and NOT ocean or jungle themed. That doesn't leave a lot of choices, so when I saw the "Very Hungry Caterpillar" set on Pottery Barn recently, I fell head over heels in love with it. I love Pottery Barn designs, but the high PB prices, not so much. So, I have been biding my time, and looking around to see if I liked anything else better. I thought I might just splurge to buy the shower curtain at full PB price and try to accessorize with cheaper stuff.
The Tuesday after Christmas, something made me decide to pop in our local PB kids store, just to look. I had no idea the entire "Very Hungry Caterpillar" bath set would be on sale. So, I was thrilled able to get the shower curtain, rug, towels, and the toothbrush holder for a significant discount.
That empty week of after-Christmas vacation was suddenly filled with painting, dreaming, designing, and shopping to complete the "look." Despite not liking the first paint color and having serious nausea about buying and painting the final green color, I absolutely love the way it turned out. Whenever I walk up our stairs, I look directly at those bright colors and patterns and it makes me smile. I think I am even more thrilled about that bathroom than the kids are. Now if they would just stay little, so I can keep this theme for another 11 years...
Here are a few tidbits about how it all came together, if anyone cares for those details.

The shower curtain focal point. I decorated and painted while the kids were sleeping, so they were surprised when they woke up. Rylan isn't so crazy about change and his response was, "Mom, why are there so many caterpillars EVERYWHERE? When are we going to get our old bathroom back?"

A view from just outside the bathroom door so you can see the matching rug, too. P.S. The paint is Benjamin Moore's Potpourri Green. Pottery Barn uses Benjamin Moore paint in their designs and since there were a lot of different greens to choose from, I decided to go with some hues that had passed the expert designer test. The color from the bathroom on their website turned out to be way too light, so I chose a green a couple shades darker. I think green is becoming my color, with my bedroom and now two bathrooms in different shades of green.

Looking for an affordable way to incorporate some Eric Carle artwork, I bought a set of 4 Hungry Caterpillar puzzles at Target, assembled them and glued them onto matboard. Then I found some coordinating polka-dot ribbon to hang them on the wall.

The fourth picture, the butterfly, found a home by itself above the towel holder. I originally bought solid green hand towels, but didn't like them as well against the green wall. So I solved that problem by sewing matching ribbon to plain white hand towels. I bought a polka-dot soap dispenser from Etsy. Eventually, I would love to find a matching night light for this wall.

I finally convinced Caroline to let me use her stuffed animals as part of my decoration. They had to come down to play several times those first few days. I am thinking they will be terrible dust catchers, but right now they add some interest to the top of a plain white cabinet.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas Day 2011

Amazingly, the kids slept in until 7 am on Christmas morning. We have a balcony overlooking our living room, so we heard Rylan squealing with delight and calling to us as soon as he awoke and saw that Santa had indeed come. He was so excited to wake Caroline and tell her the good news, too. Caroline was very quiet as she crept out of her room and looked downstairs. She saw her Princess castle and after several seconds, she screamed and both kids rushed downstairs.
We loved being able to share their joy and excitement and took our time opening, admiring, and wrestling the presents free from all the packaging. I made a breakfast casserole and an apple pastry and took some to the hospital to share with Bethany and Brett and the other ICU nurses working that day. I had to work later that night, but we enjoyed a relaxing day at home playing with all our new toys.
We didn't get to spend Christmas with our extended family this year, but they were so thoughtful in sending us gifts and phone calls seemed to shorten the distance a bit. Thank you to all our family for your love and generosity to us.
Here are a few pictures of the hurricane that blew through our house on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve

We celebrated Christmas Eve by sledding with Aunt Bethany and her friend Brett at the park in the morning. Everyone took great naps, much needed, then we had Bethany over for dinner and our family celebration since she had to work Christmas Day.

Just had to include this picture of our special Christmas Eve bread, a new recipe for me. This muenster cheese filled bread was pretty and so delicious. We ate roast beef, mashed potatoes, Super Bowl salad (a Walker/Clarke family tradition) and this bread for our dinner. My oreo truffles for dessert did not turn out so pretty, but they were eaten up quickly.

Aunt Bethany brought presents to open on Christmas Eve, a new Breyer horse for Caroline....

and some Star Wars figures for Rylan.

Two mischief makers beyond excited about Santa's upcoming visit. We read the Christmas story and then they actually went to bed and fell asleep without too much fuss. Charlton jingled some bells and made noise on our roof to simulate Santa' sleigh landing. Rylan was amazed, but Caroline was a little scared, so we had to stop those antics on her side of the house.

Pretending to eat Santa's treats.

Full stockings were settled on the chair with care since they were too heavy to hang on the mantle.

After the kids were snug in their beds, the presents arrived right on time.

We went to bed filled with anticipation of the morning and pondering the true meaning and wonder of Christmas.

Gingerbread house

One of the kids favorite and most delicious Christmas traditions. Rylan was more interest in decorating the house. Caroline ate the candy as fast as she could stuff her face!

Rylan pretending to lick the icing.

Caroline tasted gumdrops for the first time, and she liked them!


The week before Christmas, two big storms dumped about 8" of snow in Colorado Springs. We had beautiful weather, perfect sledding conditions, and plenty of vacation time to take advantage of the fun. Both kids had a blast sledding, but I was surprised at how much Rylan loved it especially. I had a hard time getting him to come home for lunch one day.

Caroline made lots of snow angels.

Waiting for her next run.

Rylan getting ready to launch down the hill.