Summer of ReFUNishing

Clap your hands, happy dance, and throw some confetti; it’s finally starting to feel like summer around here!

We’ve had the windows and doors wide open, letting in the sunshine and warm breezes, and with them drifts in an internal sense of refreshment. Breathe in deep. Smell that slight scent of honeysuckle and lemonade? That’s it. Out with the cobwebby thoughts of winter. A renewed mind and spirit have taken over and I’ve been in the mood to renew a few things around me, as well. Thus, I have made a summer to-do list of things that have been sitting in the back of my mind, in need of a little dusting and a fresh coat of paint. Those things are as follows:

~ An EAT sign that hangs over our pantry door.

~ Tim’s old school desk.

~ The rocking chair my mom used to rock me when I was a wee babe.

~ A child’s rocking chair handed down to us from dear friends.

~ An old side table.

~ Our dining room chairs.

~ And perhaps a few other things that I’ve yet to find hidden amongst the dusty boxes of my mind’s attic.

Today I finished the first. The old school desk. IMG_0505

Rusty and dusty, but still study and useful, I’ve been wanting to return it to it’s youth for a while. After a good scrubbing, sanding, and several coats of paint it’s definitely youthful-looking, if nothing else. IMG_0519I used paints leftover from old projects; the turquoise is from our master bedroom at the old house, the white is a sturdy paint-and-primer-in-one trim paint, and the writing table has a chalkboard finish. I like it, and I can guarantee that it will get a whole lot of love from a new generation. {See, I’ve done this nifty thing of tricking my kids into thinking learning is fun…Shh! Don’t tell them otherwise!} Plus I just love this picture because my house just looks so clean and bright and perfect….but wait for it…

…waaaait for it….IMG_0521

that’s the other angle. At least the desk still looks nice.

So the house is a bit strewed. At least my mind’s attic of projects forgotten and neglected is being cleaned out, yes?

With love, Malorie

Our Own Little Tee-Tee, I mean, Tiki Room

One Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, Tim woke up, stretched {elbows in my face…king sized bed, but always elbows in my face!}, and let out a dragon-breath, “Good morning. Hey, lets paint the guest bathroom today!”

We love our house so stinkin’ much, but when we moved in, every room {minus one Pepto Bismol-pink bedroom} was a boring Knit Knots shade of beige. Over time, we have gradually been adding our touch to the rooms; a gallon of Dark Granite here, a of quart of Ballet Slipper Pink there…

We are definitely not Knit Knots beige kinda people.

We had no idea what direction we wanted to go, decor-wise, in the guest bathroom, so we browsed the paint aisle at Home Depot pulling up both the boldest and safest of color swatches.

“Hello, Diane! Take a look at these swatches!”

Tim had been wanting to paint a room bright green for the longest of time. He presented me with a Baer swatch called Herbal Garden. Not bad, not bad. But bright. “Hooooow about we add chair rail molding and paint the bottom white?” Much to my surprise, he agreed! Eureka!

We played an Adventureland music loop that day, as we nail-gunned molding and slopped the bright, hippie-green paint on the walls. As we worked, we became inspired.IMG_0365 IMG_0370

Welcome to our Tee-Tee, I mean, Tiki Room! The tribal-esk shower curtain and espresso stained, bamboo floor mat are from Target.

IMG_0372

We ordered this print from photographer Mark Willard. It features the group of water-sqirting Tiki men that stand huddled between the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. It’s entitled the Leaky Tikis and is appropriately perched above the toilet, because we Elrods are not above making a good potty joke.

IMG_0373

{Oh, never mind that bunny. That’s just some poorly placed Easter decor.} The next two Enchanted Tiki Room prints were ordered off of Ebay and gifted to us by my mom. She ordered only one, but the seller threw in two for the price of one!

IMG_0381IMG_0379IMG_0377IMG_0383

Guests can hang their towels on the rack between the door to the hall and the en suite door to the guest bedroom.

IMG_0384

We chose this shelf from Home Depot because the hardware straps added a Pirates of the Caribbean feel to us. The green glass cup is from a local antique store, and the Tiki souvenir cup can be purchased in Adventureland! I stacked some rolled-up, white washcloths to give it more of a Disney resort feel.

IMG_0385We are super pleased with how it turned out. Our family tends to spend the night often, so it’s nice to be able to offer them a more inviting space when they stay. However, I am tempted to ask myself, as our house grows more and more Disney in style, is our love of Disney becoming a sickness?

I think I’m okay if the answer is yes.

With love, Malorie

P.S. Bonus points to those who picked up on my movie quote and kids’ television references.

 

House Hunters Epcot: The Butterfly Garden

IMG_8103During the Flower & Garden Festival, Epcot has an exhibit called the Butterfly Garden. I love it. IMG_0128Walking through, I am not only lost in thought of the homeschool teaching potential {my kids happen to know every word of The Hungry Little Caterpillar by heart, so getting to see a butterfly break from it’s cocoon is amazing}, but dreamer-me gets wrapped up in the fantasy of my life as a fairy.

If I were a fairy…

IMG_8105

I’d live in a place exactly like the Butterfly Garden {only on much more acreage, not in a tent, and no humans to gawk at me}. I’d be friends with the butterflies.

IMG_8112

As for my home, well there are options. {Let’s keep it classy and do this House Hunters style.}

Listed at $200 option number one is a quaint, old kettle. Rich in history, it’s roomy interior possesses the faint smell of earl grey with a spot of cream. The spout works as excellent ventilation for the wood burning stove, and the attic, with it’s exterior charm reminiscent of a pinecone, provides all the space you could wish! Enough to hide away sentimental trinkets, while still sparing room for a reading nook and guest quarters…but watch out for those moving staircases! Hogwarts wasn’t the first to have them! Last {but not least!}, take note of the outdoor amenities; a work table and rock garden that would flutter any tinker’s wings.

IMG_0127

Located just outside of Butterfly Gardens, option number two is listed at $4 and is a sweet little spot. So sweet, in fact, you could lick the walls! This whitewashed sugar dish turned over centuries ago, but has provided shelter to many weary travelers. Simple, and one roomed, this sugary fort is cozy and warm; perfect for the hibernating introvert.

IMG_0126

Listed at $5,260,998, option number three is updated and trendy. This craftsman cottage offers breathtaking 360 degree views of Butterfly Gardens from it’s high-standing stump. It’s earthy exterior reflects all of the warmth the home has to offer indoors. Move-in-ready, this is the perfect home if you wish to kick up your feet and enjoy the world around you. Free from scrubbing thimbles and sweeping floors, this modern home’s association fees include daily housekeeping provided by Betterfly Cleaning Services, the Better Way to Keep Tidy.

IMG_8118So, which shall it be, for fairy me?

Is it house number one: old but charming and roomy?

House number two: small but sweet?

Or house number three: modern and impressive, but obviously on the top end of the budget?

{Insert several anxious glances in differing camera angles here.}

Fairy Me: I think I’m going to go with option number one!

{Cue happy, upbeat music.}

Who can pass up the charm and excitement of living in an old kettle. The scent of earl grey {with a spot of cream!} and the reading nook sealed the deal for me.

So which home would Fairy You choose? IMG_8122

With love, Malorie

 

 

 

One Month In

We’re aliiiiive!

Even better than that, we’re thriving. Don’t take my blogging absence as a sign of chaos and struggle; more as a blissful busy, in which I am trying to sort out a new normal when it comes to my typical day.

Well, our baby girl is here. And not only that, she is already one. month. old.

Wait, what?IMG_7423 We’re pretty in love.

As of now, she’s still just a little floppy blob of goodness. We occasionally get a few smiles, and recently we’re suspicious that they are starting to be on purpose and not just because that last burp felt sooo gooood. She is up to sleeping ten hours at night {praise the Lord!} and that makes us elated in light of our rapidly approaching WDW trip. IMG_7431

As for big brothers, they have adapted well. They L.O.V.E. love her. A little too much, in-fact.

“Jack get off of her.”

“Cole, be gentle!”

“Get out of her face.”

“She doesn’t need her pacie right now.”

“I know she’s crying.”

“Get out of her face. Get out of her face. GET OUT OF HER FACE!”

IMG_7439

Yes, they just love her.

We all do. Life as a family of five, thus far, has been great. We are looking forward to how little Lorelai is going to fit and find her place in our ohana in the weeks, months, and years to come.

With love, Malorie

Lorelai’s Room

Hi.

Yes. I’m still pregnant.

And as for your second question: Look up any symptom or level of discomfort that a woman can have during the third trimester of her third pregnancy, and that’s how I feel.

Now that we have that out of the way, I wanted to let you know that we’ve officially finished Lorelai’s room! I’ve had many requests for sneak peeks, but due to the slow progress and, let’s be honest, the extreme fatigue laziness on my part, I’ve only just now gotten around to taking pictures to share. So here ya go! IMG_9644

As for theming, I knew I wanted it to be feminine and light, but not so girly-frou-frou that you’re overwhelmed by ruffles and bubble gum pink prints the moment you step inside. I definitely wanted it Disney inspired, but not slap-you-silly-Cinderella with wall decals and stuffed castle mobiles. I think we struck the perfect balance for us. PicMonkey Collage

We went with a grey and ballet-pink {think more peachy, than baby pastel} color scheme, with gold accents throughout. It’s amazing how far a can of gold spray paint can go!IMG_9657The bedding was actually handmade by my mom! I love it. She hit the nail right on the head in what we were looking for, and it is so much more special having come from Grandma versus Pottery Barn Kids. LorelaiRoomNot only were we blessed by the bedding, but we were also given two other generous gifts for Lorelai’s room; a gorgeous chandelier {shown above, in the first picture} and an amazing Thomas Kinkade frame. The chandelier was a gift from a recently wed couple at our church, Ashley and Adam. They used it for their wedding ceremony, but said they had no place for it now and would love for us to have it. Flabbergasted! What a gift! The Thomas Kinkade frame came from Terri, another friend {and co-worker of Tim’s} from church. She said she was looking to re-frame the art and gave us the beautifully ornate frame in which it previously resided. It works perfectly in the room and is just what I was envisioning for the artwork we were wanting. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to both parties!IMG_9662

As for the artwork, it is a phenomenal piece of photography by Tom Bricker. Oh. My. Word. We love Tom’s work and have always wanted to own some of his prints for our home. In our tiny, Crooked Little House we didn’t have the wall space to justify, but now that we have moved, we are looking forward to collecting a few of our favorite shots. We just so happened to start in Lorelai’s room. We knew we wanted it to be of Magic Kingdom, and we were pretty sure we wanted it to incorporate the castle, so we debated between this one, and this one, and I really loved this one, but we finally settled on this one, because it was so soft and serene and the golden sunrise just really picked up what we were puttin’ down in the space.

I am no photographer, so I can promise that my photograph of his photograph does it absolutely no justice. The print quality is fantastic and it is just perfect for what we wanted. It’s an eye-catcher and conversation piece from the moment you walk into the room. Love. Love. LOVE!LorelaiShelfI filled her shelves with some gifts she received and a few of my favorite things that I hope become some of her favorite things. The horses are favorite things of my younger sister that she swears will become one of Lorelai’s favorite things. To that, this highly allergic mother says…we shall see. As for decor, they fit quite nicely, though, don’t you think?

LorelaiMirror

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Why Lorelai Noel, of course, who sleeps so sound within these walls.

With love, Malorie

All My Ing-ings

Baby readying. Thanksgiving planning. Christmas shopping. Gift wrapping. Hardly sleeping. Lots of contracting. Toddler disciplining. Kid cuddling. Dinner making. Book reading. Boo-boo kissing. Nighttime praying. Tea drinking. More contracting. Muscles aching. Deep breathing. Stair climbing. Clothes washing. Hospital packing. Lorelai dreaming. Tossing, turning. More praying.

Trusting.

Wishing.

Hoping.

Loving.

Hardly blogging. Like, not at all.

With love, MalorieIMG_9475

Trip Report: Our Mornings in Magic Kingdom

On this trip, we spent many mornings at Magic Kingdom. At the ages and stages of our kids, this is our favorite park to be in, hands down. With meet ‘n greets of their favorite characters and gads of attractions they can enjoy, it is no mystery that when our kids think Disney World, they think Magic Kingdom.IMG_6061 IMG_6054 IMG_8726

This year we found a great groove for our rope drops {rope drop meaning arriving at park opening}, and were able to get tons accomplished before nap time. I made a map to show you our route. The yellow and blue routes were done on separate days. Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 2.43.23 PM

Yellow Route: Fantasyland/Attraction Knock-Out

1. Peter Pan

2. Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

3. Dumbo

4. The Barnstormer

5. Mad Tea Party

6. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

7. Prince Charming Regal Carrousel

8. Mickey’s Philharmagic

9. It’s a Small World

10. Haunted Mansion

11. Splash Mountain

12. Pirates of the Caribbean

13. Lunch at Casey’s Corner

NAP TIME!

Get there at park open, catch the opening performance, then hit the trail. We were able to knock out all of Fantasyland in just over an hour, but even during busy times, I can guarantee that if you get there on time and don’t lolly-gag in between, you can knock out these rides in swift order. We hit up potty breaks with our toddlers near Gaston’s Tavern after Peter Pan, and in the Tangled restrooms after It’s a Small World.IMG_8749 IMG_8760 IMG_5797 IMG_5864 IMG_5932 IMG_5867

Teal Route: Meet ‘n Greets

1a. Mickey Mouse at Town Square Theater

1b. Princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall

2. Enchanted Tales with Belle

3. Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and Donald at Pete’s Silly Sideshow

The teal route knocked out our meet ‘n greets. Number 1 has an a. and a b. because we typically don’t see the princesses {although that will change with the arrival of our sweet Lorelai!}, so I would suggest doing either/or. However, doing both is always an option too! After meeting the characters we would suggest seeing Dream Along with Mickey. Otherwise, move along to some other attractions that you haven’t crossed off your list yet in Adventureland and Tomorrowland. IMG_8769 IMG_8776 IMG_8819 IMG_8675 IMG_6204 IMG_8828 IMG_5808 IMG_5804By the end of our trip we had gotten to do everything we wanted several times. Jack’s favorite ride was Haunted Mansion and Cole’s was…well just about everything. We were bummed that he was still too short to ride The Barnstormer, so our fingers are crossed for our trip in March.

Just this morning, Jack said to us {again!} at the breakfast table, “I wish we was in Disney World. I love Disney World. I thought we lived there.”

Ha! Someday he will realize that in the grand scheme of things, the fact that we have been blessed with the opportunity to go so often and make such wonderful family memories there is very rare, indeed. I am so incredibly thankful for that. With that in mind, I say to Jack, “We do live there, Buddy. We do.”

With love, Malorie

Photo Report: Villas at the Wilderness Lodge

I thought I’d start out our string of trip reports by sharing where we stayed on our most recent trip to WDW. As fresh-faced DVC members, we spent our first trip at our home resort, The Villas at Disney Wilderness Lodge.  IMG_8502 IMG_8503 IMG_8504 IMG_8508IMG_9306 IMG_8509 IMG_9300 IMG_6143 IMG_8514 IMG_8516 IMG_8518 IMG_8519 IMG_8520 IMG_8522 IMG_8523 IMG_8526 IMG_8530 IMG_5789Since there are so many things we loved about our stay, I will keep it simple and less wordy by just listing out a few:

~ How cozy the Lodge, especially the lobby of the Villas, feels. It really feels like a home away from home the moment you arrive. With it’s scaled back Disney character theming {as opposed to the All-Star Resorts}, it definitely feels like a relaxing retreat, especially after a busy and loud morning in the parks. It makes for great naps times!

~ Our room! We had the perfect room, and plan to request it in the future if it’s available. It was near the elevators and had the perfect view of Bay Lake and the DVC pool. At 9:30 each night, we could sit out on our balcony and watch the Electrical Water Pageant peeking through the trees, gliding by on it’s way to the Camp Grounds and Contemporary. We’d probably say our least favorite thing about the room was the decor. We’re looking forward to updates in that regard.

~ The size of our Villa. It was our first time staying in a studio, so the extra space was needed and felt.

~ The kitchenette. The refrigerator was even more spacious than we anticipated and we loved having a separate sink to be able to wash dishes and mugs in, in addition to the bathroom sink. In regular rooms, it always felt slightly gross washing baby bottles in the same sink I just brushed my teeth in. Gag.

~ The pools. They are so great, and we love having the option of resort pool towels and returns. It’s nice not having to deal with finding places to hang wet towels in the room.

~ Having the option of boat transportation. The larger boats that go directly between the Wilderness Lodge and Magic Kingdom have wide enough doors and aisles that we can roll our fat double stroller right on, kids buckled in. This is a life saver with sleeping kids. It is a pain and a half having to fold that thing up and keep tabs on two roaming toddlers on small boats or buses. We loving having that easier, stress-free option.

~ All of the cozy little nooks the VWL offers to those seeking just a few minutes of serenity. During one of the boys’ nap times, I walked around the lobby of the Villas and captured some silent and comfy spots to share. It makes me long for a cup of coffee or hot tea and a good book right now!IMG_9310 IMG_9328 IMG_9340 IMG_9335 IMG_9337 IMG_9338 IMG_9343

~ The restaurants. The Wildnress Lodge offers three  spots to get your fill; for counter service, the Roaring Fork and Trout Pass Pool Bar, and for table service, the Whispering Canyon Cafe and the signature dining spot, Artist Point, which includes the Territory LoungeIMG_8492IMG_8841

~ We also love the grounds. Just gorgeous. IMG_9407

{The top corner balcony was ours.}

IMG_9371 IMG_9372 IMG_9374 IMG_9376 IMG_9385 IMG_9393 IMG_9396 IMG_9398 IMG_9399IMG_8873

{Boat transportation: the large boats go directly to the entrance of Magic Kingdom, while smaller boats make stops at the Magic Kingdom, Fort Wilderness Camp Grounds, and the Contemporary Resort. Pictured is one of the larger boats.}

Ahhh, the Wilderness Lodge. How we love you. Have you ever stayed at the Wilderness Lodge or the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge? If so, what were your thoughts on your stay there?

With love, Malorie

Happy Anniversary, I Will Stay with You

I’m borrowing some words from John Legend this morning. This is exactly how I feel about my husband, and I can’t wait to walk down that aisle again to him one day to this song. Click here to listen along while you read.
~~~
We’ve been together for a while now
We’re growing stronger everyday now
It feels so good and there’s no doubt0003-0070
I will stay with you
As each morning brings sunrise
And the flowers bloom in springtime
On my love you can rely0005-0295
And I’ll stay with you
Oh I’ll stay with you through the ups and the downs
Oh I’ll stay with you when no one else is around
And when the dark clouds arrive
I will stay by your side
I know we’ll be alrightDSCF1075
I will stay with you
Though relationships can get old
They have the tendency to grow cold
We have something like a miracle35841_1481472122210_1396037543_1230957_6005018_n
Yeah, and I’ll stay with you
Oh I’ll stay with you through the ups and the downs
Oh I’ll stay with you when no one else is around
And when the dark clouds arrive
I will stay by your side
I know we’ll be alrightElrod-Maternity-54
I will stay with you
And there will be heartaches and pains, yes it will
But through it all, we will remain
In this life, we all know
Friends may come, and they may go
Through the years I knowIMG_9529
I will stay {I will stay!}
And in the end I know that we’ll find
Love so beautiful and divine
We’ll be lovers for a lifetime
elrods-48
Yeah, and I’ll stay with you
Oh I’ll stay with you through the ups and the downs
Oh I’ll stay with you when no one else is around
And when the dark clouds arrive
I will stay by your side
I know we’ll be alrightIMG_2672
I will stay with you

190373_4712025847_508080847_47873_8585_n

Everything will be fine
And I will stay with you0005-0509
Through the end of time
I will stay with you
Happy 6th Anniversary, Tim. After all of these years, I’m still into you, and you can count on the fact that no matter what our future holds, I will stay with you.
With love, Malorie

The Best of Both Worlds

Nope. Sorry if I got your hopes up, but this post has nothing to do with Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana, or any other alter-ego of the aforementioned.

~~~

Before we had kids, I always imagined myself a mom of girls. I am so girly. Dance shoes, ruffles, singing to birds perched lightly on my fingers….all things that describe me.

Then, after a year of trying, nine months of pregnancy, thirteen hours of labor, and a broken tailbone to top it off…I had a boy.Jack HAtThen eighteen months later, ten days late, and only two hours of labor, I had another boy! photo(1)What?! What is a girly-girl mommy supposed to do with this bundle of testosterone handed to her, wrapped in a baby blue blanket?

Adapt. So I did. And quite nicely, I think. Gummy worms…IMG_3355

…forts…IMG_3370

…little boy haircuts…IMG_7441…I’ve mastered them all. I’ve even ventured into the [shivers] great outdoors!IMG_3446 IMG_5503When we found out we were pregnant with our third, I was convinced it was another boy. I mean, the medical odds were in that favor, right?

Wrong.

A few weeks ago we found out we were having a girl. And I have to admit, since then I have had a few freak-out moments! After over three years of “boy world”, I was beginning to wonder what I would do with a girl!

But then this weekend we started the process of getting our house ready for our little bundle of Lorelai, due to arrive in just three-ish months. We painted the boys’ room and went ahead and started bunking them together for naps and nighttime. We picked out paint colors for Lorelai’s room and bought her this…photo…and this for her room! {To hold all of those hair bows Mommy is going to make her wear. Thank you, Hope, for her very first bow!}photo1And suddenly my little girl isn’t so much an idea, but a reality. And it all starts coming back.

We went to North Point Mall this past weekend, as well. When we walked past the American Girl Doll Store, both Tim and I welled up with baby girl excitement. Tim said, “I can’t wait to take my daughter there for lunch with her doll and buy her $12 chicken fingers.”

Isn’t that the sweetest? He’s the best Daddy ever. {And just so you know it’s actually $15.50. Per person. Shew! Good thing we already have six of the dolls waiting for her.}

Needless to say, in just one weekend it all came back.

It’s all comin’ back, it’s all comin’ back to me now… {sorry, just had to}

We were already excited about adding some pink to our lives, but now that it feels a little more tangible, we are just beside ourselves.

Pirates and princesses will roam run the halls of this Elrod house. And that’s what we call the best of both worlds.

With love, Malorie