This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

Here's an example of normal living with a kid (or three) life. We have two floor lamps from IKEA. The first was broken within 48 hours of arrival. The second? Smashed this summer. The pretty glass bowls were sturdy...just no match for children shoving them into the wall. Sigh. DSC_0382

An image of a broken lamp bowl

I am a big believer that children should respect the houses in which they live. Although every room is allowed in our house for play or reading, every room is not available for eating. That's the domain of the kitchen.

Toys are put up each night so we can start fresh the next day.

Jumping on furniture or ramming rolling toys into furniture is not permitted (but happens anyway).

If a stain does pop up somewhere, the girls are helped in their task of cleaning it up. I spot clean our carpet immediately. I once knew a neighbor who allowed her carpet to get trashed by her two boys. She just shrugged it off as "Kids. Meh."

Me? I don't have the money to rip up our carpeting (six years old and going strong) so stains are vanquished instantly.

I was inspired on this path by my friend Jessica who had the coolest house with eclectic furniture, perfect decor and awesome art. You know the friend whose house looks like it should be in Real Simple or BHG or HGTV magazine? That's her. Anyway, she had kids before I did and believed that little ones can enjoy nice things. Note that "nice" is not expensive...nice is lovingly and stylishly arranged. See our post about what you can do with Six Dollars.)

If you have children, you can also have a clean, artfully arranged home. I'm queen of budgeting, so I know it can be done on the cheap. Will your house be cluttered and toy-bedecked by the little darlings? Of course! But do they have to destroy it? Absolutely not. You deserve a lovely home, Mama.

Sometimes, All Roads Lead to IKEA

We did an ambitious thing yesterday---we took the entire family to IKEA. That means three kids six and under, one of them being an infant who likes to stop at the Milk Bar multiple times per day. The two older girls salivate at the mention of the word "IKEA." To them it means hot cinnamon rolls, a trip to Smaland (the free kids area where you can drop the little darlings off) and darting through the kid bedrooms.

All in all, it wasn't a bad trip.

Since we were there to pick up a few floor lamps and little else, I could relax and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the place. I saw a too-old-for-this guy in his late twenties giving his granny the hard sell on what she needed to buy for him. I saw at least two couples fighting. And I walked behind a woman who held court with her five kids proclaiming, "IKEA is overrated. I guess it's a status thing."

Jonathan, who has a Scandinavian heritage, pointed out several designs in the textiles area that reminded him of his grandmother, Elsa. And then this ironing board cover caught his eye.

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

Something simple. Something under seven dollars. We talked about design, artists, family heritage and the accessibility of good art (did I mention the kids were in Smaland? Because they were occupied, we were able to actually talk---you know, have a conversation. Which is a miracle.)

We're not snobs---a high price on an object doesn't mean it's better. Sometimes, it's worse. We have an overpriced bookshelf from a modern design store that's quite frankly a mess. It's poorly made and barely holds itself together.

I like looking at pretty things. And I like when pretty things are reasonable priced, which means more people can enjoy them.

I love these blocks my sweet friend F. gave us for the new baby. They are from Tiny Giraffe on Etsy.

http://www.jonathanfenske.com

One of those IKEA floor lamps makes a perfect accent to the girls' room. The kids are delighted to have something new---and pretty. In fact, as I write, they are playing "IKEA" in the family room. I have been invited to attend the Grand Opening. Have to go!

http://www.jonathanfenske.com