Crew’s Big Kid Room (with garbage trucks, of course)

Big Kid Room Garbage Truck Theme | www.lifeinyellow.com

Even before we finished swapping the nursery and the big kid room, this oh-so-big kid was begging to sleep in here. He had exactly zero issues making the transition to new bed and new room, and we haven’t looked back…although I have a hunch as to why this room is where he wants to be. :)

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I’ve always shied away from anything too “themed” when it comes to decorating — cohesive pieces, yes — color palette, yep — so as I rolled around the idea of working in some garbage trucks here and there (along with other favorite things) — I had to apply a little creative brainpower to make it COOL and not too cutesy or cheesy.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I tried not to invest too heavily in anything specific to garbage trucks, thinking ahead to when he’s onto the “next thing” …although I can’t imagine that day now. I have videos over a year old on my phone from him captivated by the garbage truck. It’s been a nearly lifelong love affair for this nearly two-and-a-half-year-old.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

It was fun to share the final room with Crew, who saw the progress as it happened — furniture being moved in, crib being taken down, etc. But I waited to hang and place all the little details until one mad-dash evening before bedtime, so he could walk in and see the whole effect. He had no idea it was going to be a “garbage truck room” and it made me so happy to watch him gasp and grin and count them as he found them around the room.

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(Cut to me trying to shoot this wall, and Crew pretending he’s important and walking in front of my camera chattering away on a toy cell phone *eye roll*)

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big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

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The “trash in my lamp!” was a big hit, as was the 3-foot-wide engineer’s print of him with “his” neighborhood truck. (A fun and different way to print your photographs — send to Staples and for around 3 bucks, you get a gritty/grainy effect black/white large scale print.)

big kid garbage truck room | www.lifeinyellow.com

The thing I didn’t quite foresee was what a hit the little vintage book would be — I like to incorporate something vintage in each room of our house, and I thought this would serve as charming little decor detail if nothing else. Turns out we’ve read it (multiple) times daily since it appeared on his shelf. I love that Crew refers to it as his “new old garbage truck book” after I explained he had to be careful with the pages!

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Garbage trucks aside, we brought in a couple favorite animals — a lion (his favorite to see at the zoo) and a crocodile on one of the throw pillows. The stars and the moon are also both a big hit in his world. I liked Page’s idea to put the moon up high near the window, as opposed to my compulsive need to make everything part of an organized grouping in the room, and I love how it (and the wooden star) look against the night sky paint color. Some glow stars on the ceiling were the final touch.

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I was able to reuse quite a bit from his old room without it seeming babyish, as well as several things we already had on hand around the house. The corrugated metal letters were in his first room and seemed like a natural fit (he thinks they are made “out of trash cans”) and the concrete and wood stool is less a side table now and more a perch for a certain someone to look out his window (for what else…the garbage truck, whose route he can now see from this room!) The duvet we had on hand from when this room was still a guest room. I added a stripe of green paint to a cork lampshade from his nursery, spray painted his previously aqua “Things” bin to navy, and used white fabric paint to add a recycling icon to an Ikea pillow cover. A swap of hardware on his dresser (previously changing table) gave it a little facelift as well.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

I’d still like to find a headboard, but haven’t come across quite what I’m looking for yet. I’m waiting until we’re less in need of the bedrails before adding a nightstand (too many sheet-changing obstacles!), but I like the idea of this one that would match his shelves. I considered these a couple times, but ultimately we don’t store much besides books and clothing in his room (toys and more books are both in our loft playspace outside his room and, soon, in the basement playspace).

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

No room tour would be complete without me patting myself on the back for cleaning out both rooms’ closets. Actually swapping the rooms around forced me to go through everything and move out the baby stuff. Hello, big boy closet space:

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Thanks for checking out this little garbage enthusiast’s new digs!

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

Wishing you many happy memories in here, buddy, and lots of sweet dreams.

big boy garbage truck room | lifeinyellow.com

engineer print frame (Ikea, only available in store) | C pillow | crocodile pillow | striped duvet | polka dot sheets | plaid shams (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | wood monogram | bedrails | green metal shelf | vintage childrens books | garbage truck watercolor print | “you make me happy” print | tiny trash can | wire basket | Trashy Town book | trash can wastebasket (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | garbage truck patent print | lion head | wooden star | Moon in My Room | “Things” bin | black storage box | baby monitor | curtain panels | recycling truck costume (Pottery Barn Kids, no longer available) | nightlight

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The Flex Room’s Half-Way Point

flex room progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

The front living space we refer to as the “flex room” is gaining a little momentum!

flex room progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

After falling hard for a green velvet sofa, things about this room’s look and feel began to click for me.

flex room progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

The rug, wall art, sofa (obviously!), and curtains are all staying, but I see some more texture in here in the form of wood and/or metal (a round coffee table). and 1 or 2 chairs, lighter in appearance than the overstuffed white Kivik chair (which has yet to receive a new assignment somewhere else in the house!).

flex room progress | www.lifeinyellow.com

I had to see the sofa in play under the windows to get a feel for what focal point (art?) might best work on the wall’s blank space. The hunt is on!

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For now, I’m stroking the velvet sofa, soaking up all the natural light for which I love this room so much…and contemplating just how big an eye roll I’ll get when I suggest to my handier half that we do some built-ins on this north wall? :)

Fun progress, and more to come!

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Finishing the Basement: the play space

I definitely jinxed myself saying we’d have flooring in for the next post — nope, backordered, then backordered FURTHER, and the latest update is that the mill is now making a whole new run of our carpet, so yes…more waiting.

So I figured in the meantime, I can still share some updated “in progress” pictures — this time, of the play space. This little cove wraps around the bottom half of our stairwell, forming an under-stairs clubhouse spot on the right, and a closet designated solely for toys (and storing baby gear up top) to the left.

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I have since finished arranging all the components just the way I like them (we went with the Ikea “Algot” system, and so far, I’ve been very pleased!). I’ve also been slowly relocating a few toys from upstairs down here — which will be a fun rediscovery for Crew when he can get down here to play in what is (hopefully!) a couple more weeks.
toy closet in progress

We still have some work to do on the clubhouse. Since the first photo above was taken, our electrician installed both a light inside, and the “porch light” on the outside. We’ve purchased some plank style paneling that Page will rip into the shape of a house, and edge with some leftover trim we have on hand. Finally, when he builds a sliding barn door for the bottom of the stairway to help muffle some sound, his plan is to create a mini version to serve as Crew’s front door. I’m thinking a mailbox and/or a flower box of some sort is in order to make it especially homey! :)

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I’m waiting to take pics of the inside until it’s truly finished, but decorating this little spot has been so much fun! We will back soon (fingers crossed!!) with the reveal!

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Finishing the Basement: our home gym

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Paint color is Sherwin Williams “Oceanside”. You can view all our basement paint picks here.

The gym is our basement level is currently the most finished space so far, but still a work in progress. Today I’m sharing the final plan (and inspiration board, above) for this space, along with a couple progress pics!

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The flooring was in before we even drywalled (Page used the horse stall mats similar to what you might see in a CrossFit or other gym). We have since drywalled, trimmed, painted, and added a ceiling fan and TV. The doors that will let the window light through to the main living area are hung as well, just waiting on the door handles. I don’t have a photo that shows the last few details, but here’s a gist picture thus far…

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The final touches will include a series of full length mirrors on the south wall, and across them a ballet barre (yasssss!!!!) and eventually, a wall of planked wood across the south (window) wall to bring in a little warmth to the space. I’ve already squeezed in a couple workouts down here and am LOVING the space.

We’ll be back with the FINAL reveal, and I’ll have Page chime in on all the equipment (much more his gig than mine) for anyone curious!

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Finishing the Basement: The Bathroom

Bathroom Inspiration Board | www.lifeinyellow.com

Mirror | Sconces | Faucet
Paint color pictured is Sherwin Williams “City Loft” — see all of our paint picks here

I’m proud to say we’ve stayed remarkably on budget for this basement project, now that we have drywall, trim, paint, and electrical/fixtures all behind us. But we KNEW when we requested our first flooring/shower estimate that we were asking for all of the “wants” on our wishlist. So somewhat expectedly, the estimate came back and we choked. For the first time, we stopped to reevaluate a bit as to where we wanted to splurge, and save, to keep ourselves in check financially. Much of the estimate (and much of where we could reevaluate and save) was allocated to various elements of the bathroom.

I’ve had to remind myself that while I was living out all my bath tile dreams in the showroom, this is – in fact – just the basement bathroom and the shower will only get used a handful of times a year, if that. It’s a must-have for our guests, but unless I plan on moving down to the basement level and making it my master, I could apply a little “look for less” to the plan. :) #realitycheck

The inspo board above was put together while we were still picking items to estimate, but the overall look/feel will stay very much the same. It was easy to identify the look we were going for in here — Pinterest is a great tool for gathering the styles that grab you time and again! My board quickly showed several trends and elements that needed to be incorporated, blending classic tile with restoration-style light fixtures, a pivot mirror, window pane shower doors, an open-concept vanity with exposed plumbing, and a mix of black and chrome hardware.

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source | source | source

The beauty of going back and swapping out materials is that a) the challenge is kind of fun to see how much you can save for a similar effect, and b) once I settle on the new option, I often forget what I had even planned on doing the first time around. Picking a different but very similar floor tile will save us over 50% of the original estimate, as did shopping around for our subway tile and hiring our own installer. We’ve planned all along to hack our own vanity, similar to what we did in the basement of our first house. In part, this saves us money, and we haven’t found any ready-made options out there that aren’t well into the four digit price tags (keep repeating with me…it’s just the basement bathroom…). :)

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I leave you with the current status of the bathroom –more to come soon!

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Potty Training Essentials (and 5 things that worked for us)

Potty Training Essentials | www.lifeinyellow.com
potty training seat | flushable toddler wipes | OXO travel potty and extra bags | Even Firefighters Go to the Potty | Potty
Big Boy Underpants  (girl version here!)| the BEST underpants by Kickee Pants (available in girl styles, too)

If you follow Life In Yellow on Instagram, you may have spotted the exciting news at our house…no more diapers! People love to tell you that boys in particular are hard to potty train…but I found it to be pretty darn easy overall! I think we put it off anticipating a lot of dragged out progress, but all in all, after a couple of days hanging almost exclusively at home as we all figured out the mechanics, within a week we were feeling like he had it about 95% mastered and had several (successful!) trips out of the house under our belt.

Every kid is different and of course ready at different times. Crew had become way more interested in everything bathroom-related, and I took the interest as reason enough to give it a go, before the window of opportunity passed us by.

I think this kind of stuff is ultimately as hard as you make it out to be and it’s easy to overthink it. I took the approach of “okay, maybe this won’t work and if not that’s okay, but let’s plan that it WILL, so I’ll have all the stuff I need on hand“. I also read enough to educate myself on the basics, but not so much that I started to psyche myself out with a bunch of “rules”. If we got a day in and it became clear I had misread all his readiness signs, I was completely prepared to chill out and try again in a couple months. We didn’t follow any set schedule or “method”, we just picked a weekend he was healthy/happy and we had little on the agenda, so we could tag-team the extra-close attention we needed pay for a couple days while he got the hang of it all. Oh, and obviously we TALKED. UP. a garbage truck toy as bribery. 😉

Again and again, I look to bloggers and moms who’ve “been there” for product suggestions and reviews, so today I’m sharing my punch list of products that helped to make potty training a piece of cake! If you’re interested further, I made a few notes below about the items on the list, and a couple of tips that worked for us!

  1. Potty versus potty seat — it made sense to me to just stick him on a regular potty from the get-go. At his school, they use a “real” one (although lower to the ground), and when out and about, he’ll have no choice but to use the real ones, and I didn’t want him to be afraid of them. I bought a couple kinds to have one on each level at home, but this one was our favorite — comfy for long sits and no seams to pinch anything!
  2. Flushable wipes and a travel seatbecause it’s way easier than TP and frankly more “familiar” to him to use a wipe. We did add a waterproof liner to his car seat but have yet to experience an accident. It gives me major peace of mind to make further ventures from home if I know we have the travel potty in the trunk!
  3. Lots of books for motivation — We started reading here and there about going to the potty a couple months ago and his interest in the books directly reflected his interest in the potty — one of the ways I felt he showed he was ready was to ask to read them much more frequently and then reference them when we were in a bathroom. I was drawn to the books that could be a bit more specific in terms of gender, and that, for the most part featured the “big” potty versus the little ones (see note #1!).
  4. Underpants (SOFT ones!) — I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t do characters on my kid’s clothing! But when mom after mom told me to let him pick some, I did — and despite the fact he barely knew Thomas or Paw Patrol, in the moment he seemed to like them, so we took a few home. And I hated them. They were cheap and scratchy and my apparently pampered son told me more than once he didn’t want them on. While it’s hard to find many aside from the cheapos that run small enough for a two-year-old, I kept on with my search. If you need undies that run on the smaller side and/or have a younger and smaller potty-trainer on your hands (my stash of adorable Gap ones have yet to fit!), I bought pairs that fit like a dream from the notoriously soft Kickee Pants brand (pictured above) and this set from Boden, also super soft. I laughed out loud when, on more than one occasion, Crew told me “oh they’re so nice and soft!”. Hey — whatever it takes!
  5. Rewards — I printed out a sticker chart and bought an arsenal of stickers…and should have known better. My kid just isn’t really jazzed by stickers in the first place — so a chart that lets him put up a sticker each time he tries/goes/whatever…just didn’t help. We quickly changed course and he got a couple of mini M&Ms each time he tried – success or not. I had heard stories of kids “rationing it” in an attempt to get more successes/treats, and I didn’t want that! I worried that the M&M thing would backfire over time, but we just slowly phased it out or “forgot” or distracted him after the first couple days, and he no longer expected any treats after a couple more days. We also used suckers in the beginning as a reward for trying — the fact that they last longer was great for minutes on end of sitting and waiting, with the deal being that he had to be on the potty to have one. And of course there was the BIG reward that we talked up the whole first weekend — and it became our first big potty-trained outing to go get it — going to the store to pick out a new garbage truck. Whenever Crew was getting tired of our requests to try (after the first few he was kind of over it) we talked up the truck all weekend long to keep him motivated – and it worked!

And finally — celebrate! Page and I busted out dance moves and cheers and we shouted it from the rooftop driveway! 😉 Guys! We haven’t changed a diaper in over a week — life is amazing! :)

(And in other news…) 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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