Harrison’s Room – The Plan

Well it is March Break and the boys are at Nana and Poppa’s for a week of fun, so it is about time that I show you what I have in store for their rooms while they’re away.

Foster’s room will end up looking a lot like  Harrison’s “big boy” room in our previous house, with a few additions, and obviously a different shape and size. So let’s talk about Harrison’s room.

As I mentioned in the last post, I had found bedding for Harrison’s room and it was on sale at The Bay (now on clearance!)so I snagged it up while I could. He’s really into hockey right now, so I’m going to try to incorporate that into the room with some temporary and/or inexpensive accents and I’m planning a pretty neutral palette in the hopes that the room will be able to grow with him for a long time.

Curtains have been a sticking point for me. As you can see, there’s two options on the board above. I really like the rugby stripe because I think it’ll keep the room looking youthful, but those ones are from Pottery Barn Kids and are $109 USD per panel! I was hoping to find something at a lower price point. The other option I found at Urban Barn and they’re a bit more formal and grown-up and still also $79 per panel. So… I continue to hunt for a bargain. Maybe the decor gods will be with me when I hit up HomeSense.

I ordered the Stripes around the Cube Bins in yellow from Land of Nod and am not-so patiently awaiting their arrival. I have ordered these before in different colours and they fit perfectly in the Ikea Kallax (and formerly Expedit) shelving that has a home in each of the boys’ rooms. The hockey pillow is from Target.

A while back I picked up some white wire shelves/bins that I found at HomeSense to begin to corral some of the books/paper that is now coming into Harrison’s room from school. I think that’ll be great for beside his bed.

The first step is to paint the rooms in an eggshell finish (which I talked about back here), so that we can start to put furniture back, hang curtains and put art and decor on the wall and un-boring the rooms once and for all!

I have one lingering design/function question for all of you. I was thinking about putting a desk in Harrison’s room. What do you think? Do your school-aged kids have a desk in their room? Or do they do work/homework elsewhere in the house? Do you think a desk in a bedroom would just capture clutter? Let me know what you would do.



Boys’ Rooms Tour

After a long hiatus I’m back! If you follow me on Instagram, you might’ve seen this post:


In which I teased about a little bit of decorating that is ready to happen at the new nest. I also mentioned that I figured when painting eventually started at the new nest, I would be starting with small space like the powder room. But the boys have been talking about how “boring” their rooms are. Actually, they’ve told me how boring the whole house is. #brutallyhonest. And although we tried to make sure that their rooms seemed like home from Day One in the new nest (with success I think), I would tend to agree that its about time to give their rooms a bit of a personality boost.

To date all we’d really done in the boys’ rooms is install window coverings which were much needed for privacy and light management. And part of the delay in decorating was by design. I didn’t really want to be putting holes in the wall for shelves, prints etc. when I knew I’d be painting soon. But, I didn’t want to paint until we’d been in the house at least a year because the house would shift, and nail pops would happen etc.

There was never any doubt that I was going to paint the house eventually. The whole house was painted in flat paint. Its a bit of a nightmare for scuffs and dings (and fingerprints… ahem). And November of last year marked one whole year in the new nest for us, but of course, the holidays were upon us and I wasn’t ready to DIY or paint anything in December.

Harry's room 1

Harry’s room was pretty much a clone of what he had at the old house. Same bed, same bedding, same dresser and shelves. A bit more space to work with and some really cool angles in his room.


Harry's room 3

Harry's room 4

And although he had talked about wanting some changes to his room, he was chugging along rather happily with his room. But what really got this project going was Foster’s emerging, ongoing, undying love affair with dinosaurs, in which he wants to steal all of Harrison’s “stuff” and have a dinosaur room to call his own.

Foster dino

So for me this had a simple solution, swap out most of the dinosaur themed items from Harrison’s room and put them into Foster’s room and a few other things to personalize it for Foster. This also meant convincing Harrison to “let go” of those items and “sell” him on a new room. Luckily it didn’t take much persuading as he’s growing up too and could understand the idea of his brother loving dinosaurs more than he does now. It didn’t hurt that I told him he’d be getting new stuff and he could help me plan some of the items.

Meanwhile, Foster’s room had undergone some transformation since our move-in day. We moved him into a nursery.

Foster's nursery

Then he outgrew the crib (quickly!) which prompted a mini update to the room including firetruck bedding and a few accessories.


I figured red would be the colour that gave some continuity to the room once I was ready to actually decorate, but then he threw us a curve ball with this dinosaur stuff (although we should’ve seen it coming) and he declared that he didn’t want a red/firetruck room at all. He wanted dinosaurs!

So his room is currently a mix between firetrucks and his nursery. There’s red and green and blue, and his elephant lamp, and his animal banks… Fosters room 2

… and his nursery chair, and the ottoman,

Fosters room 5

Fosters room 3

but it is pretty clear that his walls are bare.

Fosters room 4

Isn’t it amazing how you can see things so clearly in photos that you miss in real life?

So, what’s next?

Well the paint is purchased and painting is definitely the first step. I decided that I’d keep the paint colour as it is, but give it another coat in eggshell finish to make it a bit more durable for the boys’ rooms. That’s easier for me – probably fewer coats – and also allows me to add colour and personality to the room in other ways. And hey! if Foster decides that he doesn’t like dinosaurs any more, I don’t have to worry about having a strange paint colour on the walls to work around. (Not that he’d get another makeover any time soon).

The boys are headed to my mom and dad’s for March Break this year, so I think that’s when most of the painting will get done. It turns out that when we’re home the boys are mostly in their rooms/sleeping so it is hard to disrupt their space and make it function for every day.

I’ve already purchased some new bedding for Harrison’s room, and I have some thoughts on how that room is going to turn out and the colour palette I want to use. I talked him out of a Pokemon room. #momwin

We have some dinosaur items that we’ve received as gifts over the years that never quite made it to Harrison’s room (this one or the old one) so I’m hoping to use those in Foster’s space.

I also had purchased some fabric for Harrison’s blue room, which never got used so I’m hoping to find a way to incorporate that into Foster’s room, as well as phasing out the nursery items by selling them on our neighbourhood buy and sell or on kijiji.

What are you up to?

About making plans as a parent

I had a long list of things that I wanted to accomplish today – the day before Foster’s birthday! How did that happen so quickly? After dropping both kids off at daycare I had a list that included prepping some items for Foster’s party, putting together a blog post for tomorrow, and maybe even getting a bunch of the trim and doors painted in the basement.

But, Harrison had other plans for me. He woke up in the middle of the night with the flu and so he and I are home today. Luckily it seems to have just been a short-lived bug, since he seems more like himself albeit a bit less hungry. He has been a real trooper and since the worst of his illness seems to have passed I was actually able to get a lot done today.

Harry was in need of a haircut and he actually suggested doing that today. So we kicked off our day with a haircut.

hair cut

Then a quick trip to the grocery store on the way home.

At home he just wanted to chill for a little while so he played with his trains, his Lego, and his peel and re-stick sticker book – all things he doesn’t get to play with uninterrupted when Foster is around. Then since he was feeling up for a change, together we baked a birthday cake for Foster’s birthday tomorrow. And also made a few egg nests for Foster’s celebration on Saturday. Harry was happy to help with putting the eggs in the nest. And licking the spoon of course.

egg nests

After lunch we hit up the Bulk Barn for a few items for Foster’s party. And if that wasn’t enough, we also stopped by the toy store so Harrison could pick out a gift to give to his brother. He had a great idea last week that Foster might like a construction helmet, so we went in search of one, and to my surprise we actually found one at the first store.

So, although what we accomplished today might not jive exactly with what I had planned we still had a full day, I got to hang out with Harry, and I crossed off a lot of items on my larger weekly to-do list.

If you want to keep up with all of Foster’s birthday party prep (or the rest of my life) follow me on Instagram “heatheroleary”.




Harrison – Three years old!

Dear Harrison,

It’s been about six months since your last newsletter. And a lot about you has changed, but at the same time so much seems the same. I guess it just feels like you’re growing into yourself more every day. You’re still a loveable, friendly, happy-go-lucky, dinosaur-loving, talkative munchkin.

Let’s talk milestones shall we? After September whenever anyone asked you how old you were you always said you were two and a half. You never forgot that extra half. It was very important to you. September had beautiful fall days and we got outside to play and go for walks quite a lot.

In October you started at a new preschool. It was a big adjustment for you. I must admit it took me by surprise that you had trouble going from a home daycare to preschool. Not because I didn’t recognizes the differences, but because you’ve always been so adaptable, and really quite brave when it comes to meeting new people, and visiting new places. It was completely heartbreaking dropping you off those October mornings. Every day I would hear back that after a short period of sadness you were happily playing and having a great time. But more than once, I wanted to just put your coat back on and take you home. Or not leave the house at all due to your pleading. More than once I went to the car and cried myself. Over time of course drop offs became routine and no problem. You were eager to see your friends and teachers in the morning. You continue to thrive at preschool and have made lots of friends. You’ve been able to explore so many new things in this environment too.

One of your favourite parts of going to preschool was a field trip that was planned for the pumpkin patch. You got to ride a school bus to the pumpkin patch. I think that might’ve been your favourite part. You also got to trek into the corn field, take a ride on a tractor-pulled wagon, and even got to pick out your own pumpkin in the patch. You were totally in your element. You still talk about various parts of that morning as you remember them. Sometimes you remember riding the bus, sometimes going into the corn and sometimes, picking a pumpkin the size of your head (as per the instructions)!

And your memory is absolutely amazing. You remember things like your field trip, the long names of dinosaurs, things people have said, past events, and the little details of every day. Sometimes you remember things that I’ve forgotten. And your ability to make associations is truly astounding to me. This morning we passed a cement mixer on the expressway. You pointed out that we had passed it. I told you it was because he was going “so slow, because he’s big and heavy”. You responded with “Yeah, like a stegosaurus”, because we’ve learned from your many dinosaur books that the stegosaurus was a slow moving animal, but we haven’t talked about that part of stegosaurus in a few weeks. Not to mention, you then added, “he has a walnut”. Which means he has a walnut-sized brain. Yep. You’re right. We’ve learned that in your books, too. I told you that he didn’t have a big brain like you, and you responded “Yeah, I know everything”. Some days it sure seems like you do.

So if you haven’t guessed, your love of dinosaurs has just expanded over the last six months. You love to read about them, you love reading through your dinosaur flash cards and rhyming off their multi-syllabic names like most adults can’t!

But your love of animals doesn’t stop just at dinosaurs, you still love all animals. In November we took a great family trip to the new aquarium in Toronto. You loved going through the tunnel and watching the sharks and other animals swim above us. After we returned you often talked about taking your favourite people to the aquarium, often promising friends and family that you would go together. You’re so kind!

You’re still loving your swimming lessons. You are always asking about when your next lesson is. I’m so glad you love to be in the water. And this winter you and I started skating lessons. You didn’t exactly love it at first. You did really well at the first lesson enjoying the newness of the experience. The few lessons after that included lots of yelling at me that you wanted to go home, and a few tears. You didn’t really like the falling part that comes with learning to skate. Of course, we kept with it and you were skating without my help in just 7 short weeks. You were getting up on your own, spinning around, hopping on the ice, and bending over and picking up toys. It was hard to see you struggle with it because you couldn’t see the great strides you were making each week. It was so hard to explain to you that you were a natural when you were sitting on your butt on the ice. I knew you had it in you though!

As far as the last few holidays go, they’ve all been great. We spent a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend at Nana and Poppa’s. You helped pull veggies in Poppa’s garden, and picked apples from his trees. It poured rain on Hallowe’en so we just hit up a few houses on our street before I decided that we were all too wet go any farther. It didn’t matter to you. You loved that everyone was handing out candy. And you loved being Buddy the Dinosaur from the TV show Dinosaur Train.

In the fall we hit up two parades, both the Oktoberfest parade and the Santa Claus parade to kick off the holiday season.

We spent Christmas as a family of four at home. Your dad and I want you and your brother to have memories of Christmas at home, just like we do. And maybe you won’t remember this Christmas (or maybe you will – your mind is like a vault), but I will always remember this very special Christmas, our first as a family of four. It was so fun to see you come downstairs on Christmas morning to find your train set that Santa brought you. You had all the joy and exuberance and excitement that I could’ve asked for. You were so fun to watch. You wanted to play with everything as you opened your gifts. The hardest part was trying to keep you focussed enough to keep opening presents before getting to play with everything. After the gift mayhem at our house we went to Gramma and Grampie’s house in London and had Christmas dinner with the family there.

You are a highly quotable child and I’ve been keeping a record of the awesome things you say in your quotable book, but one of your favourite catch phrases lately has been to say “Sure!” or “Sure is” or “Sure does”. You sound so grown up when you say that.

All in all, I’d say you have it pretty good, little buddy. Here’s a day in your life: In the morning you usually wake up by calling for me. Usually you say, “Mom, is it morning time?!” And repeat at increasing volume and urgency until I’m in your room. Then, if you’ve woken up at what we deem to be too early to get out of bed, you usually snuggle up between your dad and I and watch a show on our TV. Your favourites right now are Busytown Mysteries, My Big Big Friend, Dinosaur Train, Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood and Chuck the Truck. After a show (or two depending how early you woke up), we head downstairs for breakfast. Your favourite breakfasts lately are “circle toast” ie: toasted English muffins with PB and J, “sugar brown” aka instant oatmeal with brown sugar on top, and usually one day on the weekend we have pancakes. Your favourite is when I make banana chocolate chip. You’re also a fan of dad’s egg mcmuffins.

On school days we then scurry upstairs to get dressed and then out the door. Sometimes if I’m tending to Foster you get to play or watch a show before getting your gear on to get out the door.

After school seems to be a blur of 4 hours. I leave the house to pick you up and moments later it seems to be 8 o’clock! After school you and your brother usually play while I put dinner together. Your favourite dinners right now are make-your-own-pizza, chicken wings, shawarma with Greek salad – you LOVE Greek salad – and you’ve been known to like a chicken McNugget Happy Meal. You always, always, always, ask for dessert, so if you’ve had a good meal then you get a little dessert after dinner. At Christmas we invented a game called the M&M game in which everyone at the table picks a colour of M&M and then we pop them out of the bag one at a time. The person with the most of their colour is the winner. But you always get to eat them all!

After dinner we usually have a family dance party. Your favourite song for dance party time is the quirky “What does the fox say?” by Ylvis. You absolutely love it. You sing it all the time. I love watching you dance. Your dad has taught you the upside down turtle “move” which you love. You also love to make a penguin parade around the room, and during the Olympics we even created some sports-themed dance moves for the events. You’ll have to ask your dad to show you the ski jumper some time. You still sometimes ask us to do the bobsled.

After dance party you and I “race” up the stairs. Somehow you always win. Every night you ask “I wonder why I’m so fast?”.

Our bedtime routine consists of getting you into your pyjamas, reading a couple stories or reading through your dinosaur cards, and then a bathroom break/brush your teeth. After you climb back into bed we have a family “huggle” where your dad and I give you a hug after you’re tucked in. On a good night, you go right to sleep or talk to yourself a little before drifting off to sleep. Other nights you press your luck and call on us for every last thing in the book.

It’s a pretty good day. I love spending my days with you. And even though those last few hours seem to fly by they’re some of the best times. Our family dance parties are epic, if I do say so myself.

The last three years have been epic. I’m so looking forward to seeing you grow more into yourself each and every day.



blowing out my birthday candles

First day of preschool

thanksgiving parade

sums it up

Harrison’s Third Birthday Party

It’s hard to believe that my little peanut turned three years old this weekend, but he did and we celebrated with some friends and family to mark the occasion.

By request, we put together a dinosaur themed birthday party for him. If you know Harrison at all you know that the theme is not a surprise choice!

He said to me the other day, “Mom, I love every dinosaur of the whole world!”. Yes he does.

watering hole

Most of the credit goes to Pinterest and the wonderful bloggers and event planners who gave me such great Pin-spiration, and of course Target who had some of the goodies ready to go.

Since this was a morning party there was just a table laid out with a few snacks to tide people over before pizza lunch. I ran some wrapping paper down the centre of the table to act as the runner and then spotted the table with some of Harry’s many dinosaur friends. The pitcher was later filled with apple juice. The drink station was labelled the “Watering Hole”. For all the paper goods I used the free printables in this package found here.

table set

The pretzel sticks are labelled “Dinosaur Bones” and the cake “Cake-asaurus”.

As for the rest of the decorations I kept it pretty simple. I hung a happy birthday banner that I found at Target near the front door. I’ll be able to use it over and over again for many birthdays to come.


I also swapped out the pictures at the front door for Harrison’s birth announcement and a recent picture of him that I had printed. And his triceratops pillow made an escape from his bedroom to welcome guests to the party on the bench.

Harry says station

I also set up a memory station that included this memo board of some of Harry’s many memorable quotes from the time he was two to now. On the table I included about 60 photos of Harrison over the past year for people to browse as well.

dino egg hunt

We started the morning with a little game for the kiddos. I figured that they’re getting to the age that actually doing something organized at the party could be fun. So I set up a little dinosaur egg hunt and hid two eggs for each kid around the house. The timing couldn’t have been better. All the Easter stuff is already in stores. I found a huge bag of empty plastic eggs at Target and amazingly there were eight colours in the bag, one for each child at the party. So two eggs of each colour were filled up and hidden around the house and then I had one egg of each colour in a bag and the kids picked a colour out of the bag. Then they had to only search for their colour egg. This allowed for each child to get two eggs  and there was no fighting over who got more or who was the fastest. Everyone got to find two. I think it worked out well.

We then let the kids play in the play room for a while before letting Harry open the presents before lunch.

card as a gift

Harrison was totally spoiled. There were so many great gifts for him. He’s been itching to play with all of them. Even some of the cards were kind of a toy too, like this one from Gramma and Grampie!


Foster got Harrison a bike helmet which he was pretty tickled about. What a thoughtful gift for Harrison!

bike reveal

But the helmet was a bit of a hint at what was to come. And after all the presents were opened Husbandman rolled out our gift for Harry. We got some good advice from friends who have older kids or about the same age and decided on a balance bike for Harry. He helped pick out the colour that he likes to call reddish orange.

And Husbandman timed the oven pizza perfectly and it was ready to come out of the oven as Harry “opened” his last present.

And after lunch, well, it just wouldn’t be a birthday party without candles and cake.


When I saw the Happy Birthday candles at Target I knew just what I was going to do with them. That is, I knew what I wanted to do with them. I had this vision of the candles being the spikes on the back of a stegosaurus. I immediately thought that Rice Krispie squares would be perfectly pliable (to the best of my abilities) to shape into my best version of a stegosaurus. Just one minor little detail of a problem. I had never made Rice Krispie squares before. And even though it required a little troubleshooting (I had old marshmallows that wouldn’t melt) the cake turned out great… eventually. I had to make a run to the grocery store for new marshmallows to make it work, but I think it looked great. It definitely tasted delicious and Harry seemed pleased. He asked for the “H” pieces.

goodie bags

And once cake was shared it was time to say goodbye to our friends. I packed up a little goodie bag for each of the kiddos. Everyone got one of those squishy dinos, a glow stick, an activity pack, a fruit roll-up, a piece of side walk chalk, a stamp pen and a little popping toy.

We kept it simple but Harrison had lots of fun. And I enjoyed myself too since there was no stress! (Except for the little marshmallow hiccup the night before)

Can you believe I’ve never made Rice Krispie squares before? Any parties in your future? I’m already back in party planning mode because somehow Foster is turning one in just a few weeks!

Family Day Weekend

It was Family Day Weekend here in Ontario and it was so jam-packed I didn’t even get time to post Friday’s Finds. (I’ll have extra goodies for you this week).

We travelled to my parents house on Thursday night just before a storm hit and thank goodness we decided to travel when we did because the 10-15 cms that we were supposed to get was really more like 30 cms and much of Friday was spent shovelling snow multiple times. Who am I kidding? I didn’t do any shovelling but I watched the kids (as usual) while my dad used the snow blower. More than once.

One of the best gifts I got for Valentine’s Day was a night out with husbandman with free babysitting and a DD so we could both enjoy a drink (or two) and not have to worry about getting home safely.

Here’s a picture of me and my littlest Valentine just before we put him to bed before we headed out for dinner.

little Valentine

Saturday was a beautiful winter day and the best day of the weekend weather-wise. It was relatively mild compared to what we’ve been having and it wasn’t snowing, so my brother, husbandman and I took Harrison over to the neighbourhood rink to go for a quick skate. He totally impressed me with his skills. The rough outdoor ice really made a difference and gave him the confidence to go on his own and he even learned to get up on his own too.

Considering that during most of his lessons he yells at me that he wants to go home, I’d say this smile is a vast improvement.

Goalie's best friend

I am one proud mama!

family skate

And after the morning skate my parents took Harrison out for lunch before the early version of his birthday party began. I can’t believe he’ll be three in just two weeks!

We went to the community pool with one of his cousins and my brother and sister inlaw. Sadly there’s no pictures of this part, but both Harrison and Foster had a blast. There was a wading pool that was just perfect for both kids and Harrison spent most of the time going down the slide.

Winterfest was on this weekend as well so we walked over from the pool to the main festivities and Harrison got to check out a huge train set, got a balloon animal and had his face painted. He wanted to be a cat.

Cat opening presents

And before we headed home, the boys had time to stick their heads in the penguin photo.

penguin pals

Then we headed back to the house for presents and a game, and of course, cake.

cake candles

Chocolate cake!

protecting his cake

After skating, lunch, swimming, festival-ing, presents, dinner and cake we had one tired kiddo on our hands. I had lots of fun too!

Sunday was a belated Christmas party for my mom and her friends and their families. We celebrated with brunch and cheering on Team Canada in various events. Primarily men’s hockey and the Ice Dance short program that Tessa and Scott totally nailed!

The men’s hockey game went to overtime and we put out all the stops to help Canada win, including the tried and true (?) put on your Canada Olympic mittens and put a hex on the other team.


It may be crazy, but it worked! Doughty scored so we wouldn’t have to endure a shoot out.


The Olympic action didn’t keep everyone glued to the TV, though.


We travelled back on Sunday after dinner so the kids slept for the entire 5 hour ride and we relaxed on Family Day as you’re supposed to.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend too!


This weekend was another cold one so indoor projects and pj time was on the list. We crossed off an item that has been bugging me for ages! We finally hung the gallery wall in Harrison’s room.

The wall above the Expedit was definitely bare and in need of some “juhj” (juhj: technical design term for somethin’-somethin’)


The blank space was definitely crying out for some juhj.

gallery wide

I bought this White Gallery In A Box set from Pottery Barn Kids a little while ago when they were having a sale (it must’ve been a big sale, because I just saw the price!) I’m so glad the frames are finally up on the wall.

gallery close up

As you can see, we added our own items to the gallery as well by including the “H” that moved from the nursery into Harry’s big boy room, and the plaque that I have plans for too. You might also notice that not all the frames are occupied yet, and that’s because I hadn’t fully decided on the arrangement until installation time and I didn’t want to print the wrong size or orientation of photo for the wall.

newborn photo

rawr means i love you

I knew I wanted to include the photo of Harrison from his newborn shoot, and also the dinosaur print that I created for his room. Having those two items pre-set helped to limit the number of arrangement possibilities. Thank goodness!

side view

Now that the wall has been framed I can start flipping through old photos and try to narrow down which ones to print out for the honour of making it to the wall. Big thanks to husbandman for being so handy.