Projects. And something else.

I’ve heard it said that it doesn’t cost anything to dream. Technically, that’s probably correct. But in this house, it seems like that doesn’t always hold true.

Dreaming usually leads to ideas, which often leads to action, meaning trips to the store for paint. Spackle. Insulation. Cleaning supplies. And lots of work for Paul, I’m afraid.

We have 3 bedrooms upstairs. One is a big, ‘bonus-style’ room over the garage. It has great light (when the fluorescents are turned off), dark hardwood floors, a big closet, and horrendous insulation. The boys used to sleep in there, until I was scared that in the summer they would cook from the heat, or that in winter they would freeze. It was that bad, and the room was draining heating oil like water. So we moved them to a different little 10×10 bedroom, squeezed in their beds and bureaus, and shut the door to their old room, which is only entered through by a short little doorway from their current bedroom. (I love that part.) We turned down the heat, and used the big room just for storage for the last couple years. Oil was no longer being drained at tremendous rates, and the problem was solved. For the time-being.

You know what, though? It’s a little frustrating to have a big room that’s not being used. Especially when the boys don’t play in their room now, since there’s only just enough space to squeeze past each others’ beds to go to sleep at night. Plus, turning that little 10×10 room into a studio would be handy for a certain Etsy shop owner. And thus, this is the place where dreaming turns to action, where we begin to utilize all the square footage in our home.

The color scheme ideas for the boys’ room all began with this little guy, an antique tin toy WWII- era airplane:

This little design board is sorta’ where we’re hoping it will go:

I’m glad that we have some good pieces to work with already. Like an antique trunk from Paul’s grandpa that just needs a coat of paint, a couple mismatched end tables that have some potential if they, too, get a coat of paint. Their current bedspreads will work great, and I’m trying to decide if we should paint their beds or leave them. I’m leaning toward white paint. Shocking.

But this is where we (well, mostly Paul) have been:

When Paul gutted the east wall, we found out why the room was so cold. Three words: cardboard box insulation. Mm-hmm. That’s all. One little layer of cardboard. Nothing else. Welcome to owning a Cape built in 1943.

It is getting better. Really.

You’ll see.

I sure hope, anyway.

I have a feeling we’ll let you know.

(And we may find ourselves working on painting the kitchen, the studio, and the hallway. Isn’t that how it goes…?)


At this point, my youngest sister is probably breathing a sigh of relief. She probably assumes she got through her birthday without me mentioning it here.

Nope, sorry.


Happy Birthday, Kara Jill.

Know what?

I like you.


And lots.

Know what else? If the youngest one of the 5 of us is 27 years old, I think that means the Ryan girls are kinda’ growing up.

Remember when?

Me, too.

Mom, thanks for being the beginning of our stellar fashion sense. :)  Way to go on the top-siders with white tights!

(Readers:  Bonus points if you can name who’s who right to left. Hint:  You may see traces of our children in some of these personalities. Oh, boy…) And yes, this is a photo of 5 girls. Ignore the hair. Or lack thereof.



February 1, 2011 - 12:42 pm

Cheryl - I can name them, is that fair? Surprisingly, I got choked up when I looked at that picture again! Also, twould seem like the top-siders were your father’s idea wouldn’t it? Somehow you all lived through it!! Just be glad I don’t still dress you, or your children!!

February 1, 2011 - 12:45 pm

Melinda - Hilarious!! Does it count if you know for sure who it is left to right :)

February 1, 2011 - 12:45 pm

Betsy - I almost warned you not to get choked up, Mom! :) I had a feeling Dad might have had influence over our shoe choices…

February 1, 2011 - 12:59 pm

kris - happy birthday kara!
ok, let’s see…. colleen, kara, melinda, katie, betsy??

February 1, 2011 - 1:01 pm

Betsy - You’re close, Kris!

February 1, 2011 - 1:30 pm

colleen - So funny. Love that picture tho’. Funny how Melinda looks alot like Brandon in this picture. Hope that just didn’t give it away!

February 1, 2011 - 1:37 pm

Kara - Thanks Betsy! Love you & I love that pic of us 5 girls. You’re right Coll- Minna does looks JUST like Brandon in that pic.

February 1, 2011 - 1:42 pm

Katie - SO funny – you are right! Happy Birthday Kee!

February 1, 2011 - 2:13 pm

Darla - How fun to look back at old pictures! Colleen, Kara, Katie, Melinda and Betsy?

February 1, 2011 - 2:38 pm

Melinda - See MOM! I told you I looked like a boy and then you put those brown cords on me!!! I love this picture too :)

February 1, 2011 - 2:53 pm

Kara - Btw, I’d wear those top-siders now. I wasn’t lucky enough to get a pair in that picture. Wah! :)

February 1, 2011 - 2:58 pm

Dee - Colleen, Kara, Katie, Melinda & Betsy

February 1, 2011 - 3:02 pm

colleen - Doesn’t Betsy looks so much like Connor in that picture? I can see Connor making the same face! :)

February 1, 2011 - 3:10 pm

Betsy - @Kara: I’m with you! I wouldn’t mind a pair now, either.

February 1, 2011 - 3:11 pm

Betsy - That’s what I was referring to with the personality thing, Colleen. (Or lack thereof?) I still remember that first day of Kindergarten. I was TERRified. :(

February 1, 2011 - 3:40 pm

Shara - Love the vintage picture – your mother was a smart woman to chop off all the hair! If I have girls someday, that’s what I’m going to do.
Our old house is insulated to the maximum, thanks to a spray foam insulator husband. Comes in handy with this violent central IL wind.

February 1, 2011 - 4:06 pm

Cheryl - Thanks for the endorsement, Shara. The girls have always made fun of me for hacking their hair off, but if they have 5 girls in under 6 years, I have a feeling they would do it too!

February 1, 2011 - 4:48 pm

Holly - Oh my achin’ heart you are all so CUTE!

February 1, 2011 - 6:21 pm

Melinda - ha Mom I don’t have to worry about it, I have the best of both worlds Kerigan’s hair doesn’t grow and she still looks absolutely adorable cause it is curly :)

February 1, 2011 - 8:44 pm

Sarah G - Happy Birthday Kara! Betz, nice talkin’ to ya yesterday ;)

February 1, 2011 - 8:49 pm

Betsy - A certain reader noticed that all the answers are actually incorrect. (I asked for R to L. :)) oops. So: R to L: Betsy, Melinda, Katie, Kara, and Colleen. Our ages at the time? Oldest to youngest? 7, 6, 5, 4, 2. My mother? She wasn’t bored.

February 4, 2011 - 8:30 am

Uncle Bud - I LOVE newsies boats….I mean shoes..Cheryl where did you get them? Kara, Your hair is a classic! When I look at Katie and Min all I can see is BRANDON on BOTH of them!! And Betz….You R CONNOR ALL THE WAY!! This picture is a classic and is a treasure!! I absolutely LOVE it and couldnt ask for a better way to start my day…. They just don’t get any cuter than this. Happy Bday, Kara! Love U all

February 5, 2011 - 8:20 am

Ruth - Now girls, your darling mother never had Elizabth St. hair accessories to spice up your hair-do’s. I realize how lucky I was, my mother put a silver clip in my bangs(w/ half of them falling out of it:) Timeless classics.

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