The Kid Takeover



We moved into this house when I was newly pregnant with Remmy. Young, fresh-faced couple (um, Jack fresh-faced, the first trimester made me look a tiny bit like an eager zombie with a ponytail), super eager to make our new house a home.

“Where should I put this extra nightstand?”

“In the baby’s room!”



Right? Obnoxious. I’m not sure how we retained any friends that first month. They’re having a baby AND they want us to help them move, ughhh we totally need to dump this couple for the Parkers. The Parkers have a pool and their kids are at least toilet trained.

Three kids later, and our house is full. Of love and happiness? Huh? Oh yeah, THAT, but I meant full of humans, furniture, impossibly tiny dresses, instruments, nine healthy potted plants. Okay, like eight and a half healthy potted plants.

The Kid Takeover || SEMIPROPER

Our limited square footage seemed to disappear under weird contraptions that hold babies and supposedly rock them to sleep, toys that promise to entertain children while you’re slicing avocados, and, like, a million tutus. Don’t get us wrong. We adore our children. There’s something endearing about hearing little kid chatter while I’m burning dinner, for example, but I also crave space that is unmarred by trucks and ponies.

Over the course of a couple of days, Jack and I went downstairs into our mostly finished basement, cleared out a space, cleaned it, and it became the girls’ playroom. By mostly finished I mean there’s an actual ceiling and electricity and heat and lights, but there’s some exposed cement and the laundry room looks a little bit like I should be making and selling moonshine out of it during the prohibition.

The playroom is a glorious little space gated off from the rest of the basement. The two big girls can go downstairs and play by themselves, and it won’t be long before we’re letting Minnie traverse the stairs without an adult. It’s their space to be loud and creative and messy. We keep the basement door open and hear peals of laughter coming from downstairs. The plus side for us – our living room no longer looks like Toys R Us vomited all over it. And we can invite an unexpected visitor inside without having to offer to give them a piggyback ride to the couch, lest they be impaled by scattered teeny tiny legos.

It’s still our shared space for family time – watching movies, playing board games – PLEASE MY CHILDREN, PICK ANYTHING BUT CANDYLAND – general snuggling and conversation, but it’s a lot easier to maintain now that toys are mostly relegated to the downstairs.

We have a Home Depot gift card provided by the new, no-annual fee American Express EveryDay card, and we’ll be using it to make the playroom a little bit more playroomier. Instead of just gating off the playroom, we’d like to have an enclosed space with real walls and doors with locks, and we’ll paint the walls something other than ecru. I’m voting for a mural of my face, but that – surprisingly – was shut down by every other member of the family. Want a $4,000 Home Depot gift card to enhance your own #EveryDayMoments? Enter for a chance to win here, and if you do, please invite me over to hang out and enjoy your new deck. Or kitchen remodel. I’ll bring Cheetos.

Disclosure: I was compensated by AMEX EveryDay Credit Card, the new credit card from American Express that celebrates #EveryDayMoments and everyday purchases. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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  • Reply Jennifer June 12, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    The link to enter isn’t working.

    • Reply Roo June 12, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Woops, coded that wrong. Great catch, Jennifer. Updated. :)

      • Reply Jennifer June 12, 2014 at 11:20 pm

        Awesome, thanks! We could totally use this as we have plans to upgrade the kitchen and sell soon so we can get a yard for our two little boys (17 months and 4 days old) and two dogs.

  • Reply Caitlin @ {walker whimsy} June 13, 2014 at 12:04 am

    Cool! Home Depot could totally hook me up with the materials to make a nine foot tall gnome. I’ve wanted to put one in our hay field forever just to watch the visitors in the adjoining state park freak out. You have to find creative methods of entertainment when you live in the boonies.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2014 at 1:39 am

      There’s a house about a mile from mine that has just about every lawn ornament you could think of in their front yard. Gnomes? Check. Rainbow spinwheels? You bet. Those wooden garden characters that look like someone’s bending over? Uhhh.. yeah.

      You guys should hang out. :)

  • Reply Beth June 13, 2014 at 7:58 am

    What a great family photo!

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Thanks, Beth! :D

  • Reply Katelyn Breen June 13, 2014 at 8:33 am

    That is an awesome picture of your family!

    I’m not sure if the coding is different, but I can’t access your blog anymore at work. We run WebSense and it filters it as “Uncategorized” now. :(

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Oh, bummer. How recent is that change?

      • Reply Katelyn June 13, 2014 at 9:03 am

        Since the URL change. :-/

        • Reply Roo June 13, 2014 at 9:10 am

          Oooh, the URL was just registered, so maybe Google needs to crawl it and establish it as a “suitable for work” website first. Give it a week or two, maybe? Hope that gets remedied soon!

          • KNatGU June 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm

            Will there be a blog post about the URL changer? I just noticed that too… Another re-brand in the works?
            – Nosy Nellie

  • Reply Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution June 13, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Roo, that photo of your family is the BEST!

    Man, a $5,000 gift card from Home Depot would be a dream come true to me right now. My husband and I have lived in our house for about a year now and we have big dreams but a shallow wallet. :) Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I feel you! I totally want to rebuild the deck-we-do-not-speak-of. :)

      (If you win, I want photos!)

  • Reply Cassandra June 13, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I love that you listed general snuggling as a family activity. :D
    So, funny story. Remember that post about Trader Joe’s and broken friendship bracelets? I totally had a dream where we ran into each other in a store and we became instant BFF’s.

  • Reply Laura June 13, 2014 at 10:02 am

    Oh man, what I would do with $5k!! A fenced in yard for the dogs…maybe some grass back there, too! Fingers crossed!!

  • Reply Anna June 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

    What a good looking family!

  • Reply Aya June 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

    You guyyysss my favorite photo of you ever!!! Did you get it professionally done?
    We have a playroom too (I think my kids call it Mommy’s Dungeon/Penalty Box of Doom) with GATES.
    Congrats on your freedom from clutter and noise!!!! *uncorks champagne for toast*

  • Reply Lindsay @ fueled by diet coke June 13, 2014 at 10:41 am

    That family photo is AMAZING! Yeahhhhh!

  • Reply Megan June 13, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Chutes-n-Ladders is WAY worse than Candyland.
    Get them Blokus. That is fun–just don’t let your littlest eat the pieces.
    And $5,000 would be amazing. We just moved into an 1860’s farmhouse in the country-ish. There is no storage space to speak of. We have to get rid of more than half our junk. It’s taking a looong time. I could use that money on plastic bins and damp-rid alone. But I wouldn’t–I’d probably buy rugs and wood and shelves and a dehumidifier and stuff.

  • Reply Melanie June 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I really, really like your site, but I hate when I’m totally into a post and then get to that last paragraph where it all of a sudden becomes clear that it’s a sponsored post. I feel duped. I could swear that after one of your site info surveys a couple years ago, you said, based on the feedback you’d gotten, you’d start being more upfront about sponsored posts. I assumed that meant you’d tell us at the top, so we could decide if we wanted to keep reading. I think this every time I get to the bottom of a sponsored post and decided it was finally time to tell you about it. I really hope you’ll consider changing the way you disclose when a post is sponsored.

    • Reply Roo June 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

      Melanie, I’m confused by your comment. There is a banner at the very top of each sponsored post clearly stating that it is a sponsored post. Additionally, it’s categorized as sponsored. Both of those are at the top before any text starts off. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be seeing both of those things, especially since that banner is uploaded just like any other image.

      Let me know if you’re still not seeing either. Maybe you could send me a screenshot.

      • Reply KNatGU June 13, 2014 at 3:49 pm

        Possibly she is in a reader? My feedly doesn’t seem to show that image at the top or the categories. I do have to say Roo, I think you put forth some of the most meaningful sponsored content out there, of which I feel like I consume a lot.

        I feel it is a bit of a double standard these days between ads in blogging and ads in other forms of Media like television and print. But that option is probably reserved for another conversation.

        • Reply Melanie June 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm

          Yup. Like KNat said, I read in a Reader (Feedly) and it doesn’t show any of that. I’m sorry I didn’t think to look when I clicked through to leave the comment. Carry on!

      • Reply monica lynn June 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm

        I was actually scrolling down to write a comment to praise you for your sponsored posts lady. I love that you write exactly the same in your regular posts a you do in your sponsored posts. I never get the impression that you are just saying something to sell me or get clicks because your voice and content don’t change. Like if you take out the link and mention of a company it would be something you would have said anyways. Authenticity is totally why I chime and hang out here and read every post whether its sponsored or not.

      • Reply Kadie June 13, 2014 at 11:46 pm

        You can’t really see the banner or category if you’re reading it from your phone, but it was still fun and worth reading. I just thought it was going to say you bought a bigger house. Hahaha.

        • Reply KNatGU June 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm

          @Kadie I totally thought they were going to be moving too.

  • Reply Kelly June 13, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    So awesome having a play space for the kids! We need to redo our basement for the kiddos too. I don’t think we’ll have it in the budget for a looong time. So much to home improve, so little time.

  • Reply Sandy The Fearless Scribe June 13, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    What a beautiful family! Also, our basement in NJ was divided into 3 parts: Half finished area, laundry room, and the scary part where the boiler was kept that resembled something out of Criminal Minds.

  • Reply Natasha June 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    Hey girl hey just catching up on posts I’ve missed all week. Playrooms are a LIFE SAVER GAME CHANGER WHAAaat. I’m super anal about toys in the living room. Books, yes. But I don’t want lego pieces all over the house and Nerf darts and little pet shops and hot wheels and and and and….even the kids rooms generally just have clothes, bed, books. We recently got an ikea system for the playroom, I smile and whisper sweet nothings to it every time I walk through.
    As for the Home Depot card, wellllll, seeing as number 4 just turned a week old today, we have some remodeling in the near future-we need to chop up the current playroom into bedrooms, and turn the basement into the playroom. That’ll be fun. Ha. Ha.
    That family picture is BEAUTIFUL. and I’m loving the blog name!!! I’m a little sad Sullen Hedgehog didn’t make the cut.
    And for what it’s worth….your sponsored posts are totally cool, you’re an excellent write so I pretty much enjoy anything. (When are you writing a book……)

  • Reply Sarah June 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Hey Roo, I entered this contest because of your post and I won! I’m having the best time dreaming up what I’m going to do with it. Thanks for posting about it!

    • Reply Roo August 6, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Sarah! I’m so glad that you won!!! *\o/*

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