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Friday, August 8, 2014

Ella's New Room

So one of the things I wanted to do this summer was redecorate both of the kids' rooms for them. Once we got the okay from our awesome landlords, I went to work! Ella got her turn first:)
As you can see, the room needed some colour!
As many 5-year-old girls, Ella loves Frozen, and requested her room have as much of that theme as possible. I saw that there were a zillion decals, comforters, drapes, and even furniture coated in Elsa and Anna, but I didn't want to spend a fortune. Call me crazy.
One end of the room.

And the other end.
I began by having Ella pick her 2 favorite colours off of her Frozen poster. She picked a baby pink, and what we've titled, "Elsa Blue."
I scored these sheer drapes in "Elsa Blue" for $9 at Ikea. Win!
So Ella really loved this decal of Elsa, but all the places I found it at online would have worked out to more than $40 with shipping for an 8X10 decal. Instead, I whipped out the paintbrush and painted it myself. While it lacks the perfection of the decal, I'm pretty happy with it:)
Elsa silhouette
Instead of buying both the kids' new beds, Ella was happy to take her brother's loft-style Ikea bed. I painted all the (previously) blue panels on it a lovely, dark "Anna purple," as we called it. (Same purple I used for the Elsa silhouette above.) It's quite light in the picture below, but it's just the flash. On the panel at the foot of her bed, I painted the design on Anna's dress.

Anna's dress design.
I had searched on different sites to try and find a way to store Ella's princess dolls in a way so that their hair wouldn't become a rat's nest every time she pulled them from the toy box. I found different pictures on Pinterest that led me to sites where the parents of children with expensive American Girl dolls had come up with ways to store them carefully. While Ella's dolls are nowhere near as expensive, she just didn't want to play with them looking so disheveled, and then, what's the point of having them? 
In the end, I kind of came up with my own idea, then shocked the hell out of myself when it actually worked!
I bought inexpensive moulding, then measured and cut it to comfortably fit 3 of her dolls across evenly. I then painted them in the "Anna Purple" we had been using for accent in the room, and measured and drilled holes the width of the dolls torso's. I inserted cheap pegs (the kind you see in a store on pegboard holding up merchandise) and the dolls hang on the pegs by their underarms. It matches her room, is secure and child-safe, and gives her a great way to keep her dolls (and their hair) pretty and safe! Gotta admit, I was wicked-proud of myself for this one:-D
My mad skillz;)
I had done so well expense-wise, I decided to splurge on one item for her room. She really didn't need a new comforter, so I went for a stroll on the Etsy website and found a super-cute decal with one of Ella's favorite lines from the movie. And it was available in the "Anna Purple" with decent shipping prices! Sold!

Oh, child-Anna, you're too cute:)
So her room is all finished, but for some last minute small character decals I found on sale at Walmart. There is one bare wall however, but I have plans for it. I might have seen a gorgeous Elsa and Anna print at Calgary's comic-con that I will pick up from the artist's site and have framed. Maybe;)

It looks so much more inviting and playful, and Ella loves it, which is most important. And I love that for paint, drapes, decals and new decor, I did it all for under $160 and about 3 solid days of work. But throw on an audiobook, and away I went;)

Next up: Evan's room!

Sunday, August 3, 2014


A bit frustrating that only the
altered American version of the book
is available to us, but I explained the
changes as the story went along.
So my son and I reached an exciting milestone together: we listened to the first of the Harry Potter books on audio book. He is only 7, but his reading and comprehension are quite good, and he's shown an interest in the stories - so we went for it.
He (and my 5-year old, who was half-listening) absolutely loved it! He asked questions and geeked out with me, and it was just a blast. As a long-time lover of all the books, I had been waiting for this adventure to begin for my son and I.
That friggin' picture.
Once we had finished the book, I told him we could watch the movie together. (I would not let him watch the movie without reading/hearing the book first, unlike many of his friends who had already seen the film. I'm a mean Mom like that:) We finally had the opportunity to begin the movie, and as I prepared some snacks, he pulled out my Blu-Ray collection of all 8 films. He opened the case, to reveal a picture in the inside sleeve promoting the 8th movie. This image of Voldemort terrified him and he came into the kitchen and told me he didn't want to watch it anymore.I explained that nothing in that picture was in this first movie, and that there was nothing to be afraid of. He was emphatic; there was no movie happening. I let my anger get the best of me, as I had been so looking forward to sharing this with him, and I was unfair and angry toward him. Not my finest hour.
Now, in my defence, Evan's irrational fears have caused issues before. He isn't afraid of the dark, or being in a basement alone, or speaking/playing music/acting in front of others. He is afraid of scary images, strangers stealing him, running out of gas in the car, and camping during a storm. While kidnapping is a valid concern, I don't want him living his life in fear. It's the same for seeing this picture of Voldemort. I'm aware the other movies are not appropriate for him, and I would never let him watch them right now. So upon discovering that this incarnation of Voldemort is not in the first film, I wanted Evan to accept that, and watch it with me.When he wouldn't, I felt his fear was irrational, and frankly, it pissed me off.
Man up, Cringer.
It sometimes seems like he is too cautious, too anxious, too afraid. A friend has likened him to Cringer from He-Man. But how to I get Evan to discover the Battlecat inside? The next day, I actually texted this friend after the failed HP movie attempt, sharing my frustration.
She completely understood my frustration and was very sage in her reply:
"Healthy fear is a positive. The odd irrational fear is part of the human experience. But literally being so afraid of things, imaginary things, things that can't get you and aren't even part of the experience you're about to have, being that afraid that you can't partake in life? Insane. And problematic. Because what happens when real life throws scary curve balls? Part of fear - most of fear - is learning to live with and through it. Learning to face it."
Reading this calmed me down immensely. She validated my feelings and gave me the fortitude to talk to Evan the way I should have when he first told me he was scared. I showed him a picture of Ralph Fiennes and explained calmly that Voldemort was the result of a lot of makeup, digital imagery, and excellent acting. I
also made it very clear that what he saw in the picture was not in the first film. Then I reminded him that he knew exactly what to expect: we had listened to the audiobook and knew exactly what we were going to see. I told him that the only image I could think of that he might not like was Quirrel-mort, (which, granted, is rather disturbing) and if he wasn't ready for that part, we could fast-forward it. But I wanted him to conquer his fear and watch the rest of the movie, at the very least. He listened and decided to go for it.

We hunkered down and began.
Through the film, he exclaimed and hooted in excitement. He loved knowing what was going to happen next, and recognized scenes from the book. After the wizard chess part, Evan practically bolted from the room, knowing what was coming. He peered from a distance at various parts of the scene between Harry and Quirrelmort, but ultimately admitted he flat out didn't like it. I get that. When it comes down to it, it is a terribly freaky thing to see. It's one thing to imagine in your mind while reading it, but seeing a realistic interpretation could definitely be scary for a child.
By the end, as the Hogwarts Express puffed into the distance, Evan was besotted. He threw on his Gryffindor cloak and wore it with pride.
For me, I was so proud that he decided to brave the movie, and saw that there was nothing to be afraid of.
He also asked me when we could read the second book, which I told him wouldn't happen for a while.
"You'd be petrified," I said.
He just raised an eyebrow as I laughed hysterically.
I am just so excited to finally share Harry's adventure with him:-D
On a side note, when I was surfing Pinterest the other day, I found a link to an awesome blog post chronicling a grown man's experience with watching the first movie, for the first time. He subtitled it: "Wood! Balls! Murder! I can’t believe I waited this long." It is hilarious!
Check it out here:
Regarding the subject of kids and anxiety/panic/worry, please share your advice! While this is a bump in the road, he has had legit panic attacks and I know all this worry, etc will continue. As someone who battles with panic/anxiety disorder, I'm equipped ( I think) to help him should he develop it too, but I truly, truly, TRULY hope this is just a passing phase.