A trip to Ikea and a rite of passage

First of all, I’d like to address one little thing: as I am still very new at this, it has come to my attention (thanks to the husband) that the emails that this blog sends out are chock full of typos/crap. I am constantly getting the ‘preview’ and ‘publish’ buttons mixed up, and have many times sent out a post that wasn’t ready. So I yell out “OH SHIT” and frantically correct everything that I can in warp speed, thinking that I can get it done before anyone reads it. Little did I know that it is that first, crappy draft that gets emailed out. Oops. Sorry to all that have had to read those crappy emails. I will do my best to not be such a spaz in the future.


I have been talking about getting bunk beds for the kids for awhile. My kids share a room that is short on space, and having two cribs (one converted to a toddler bed) was taking up a lot of space. Their toys were spilling over-scratch that-taking over-our  living room. With all the extra space, I could take back part (a very small part, but still…) of my downstairs. So we went to Ikea to look for one. I wasn’t sure how the kids would take to it. Zoe would be on top, putting her up pretty high, and Brody would be giving up the comfort and familiarity of his crib. The trip to Ikea turned out to be not just about our search for a bunk bed, but also about a day of hanging out at a furniture store. But not just any furniture store-how many others have a full restaurant (with pretty good Swedish meatballs), a gigantic play area- complete with ball pit, and ice cream and sweets on your way out? That place is ginormous and pretty fun, actually. We spent at least 2 hours there. Here’s what we saw that I thought was was pretty cool:


This is the Maskros light fixture. I have been eying it for a long time. It is so modern and cool. This is the smaller of the two and is only $49.99.


Here’s the shot of the bigger one, which is only $89.99. In my opinion, the bigger one is waaaaaay cooler.


Aren’t these cool? They look like little lockers. I love them for kids’ storage. Only $99.99.


These chairs totally look like high-end chairs that I’ve seen sell for hundreds of dollars. These? $79.99 a pop.


Yup. And bread. Oh…and this print is a whopping $12.00.


Darling prints. I could see these in a playroom. So fun. These are also $12.00-for ALL THREE.

And now onto the kid stuff….






Brody LOVED getting into all the “big boy beds”. He was especially drawn to this one because the bedding was his favorite color-“yayow”.


The shoes came off.


And Zoe got to see what being on the top bunk would be like. She loved it. It was short lived, however, as apparently it’s against the rules to climb up top. So she got down, we waited until the meanies left, and she got back up. So there.

After walking through the entire store, having a bite to eat, playing in the kids area, and having ice cream, we left that day with a brand new bunk bed. However…..anyone who has ever bought furniture from there knows that not only does it come with names like Fjell, Ektorp, Lugnvik and Sniglar (love the Swedes), they come in 8, 000 pieces. Two days (and a ton of mess) later, we had this:


Brody’s transition from his crib was seamless, and Zoe mastered the ladder in about 5 minutes. It was great to see them so happy about their new bed. But for mommy, it was bittersweet. The same day the bed went up, I also took out the changing table mattress and a basket of cloth bibs. I rearranged the room, and although we all love it, it doesn’t look like a room that babies live in. It looks like a big kids’ room, and that is just something I am not yet ready to deal with. With “yayow” as a favorite color, I think I have a little time before I have to.


If I read one more Dora book, my head will explode.

Books have always been important in my life. Ever since I can remember, I have loved to read. I have vivid memories of getting lost in books like Ramona the Pest, A Wrinkle in Time, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. Books have such a way of transporting you. Of showing you things you’ve never seen. Of showing you the world, whether its this world or one imagined by the author.  So it’s only natural that I pass this love of reading onto my children. It’s not coming from  my husband-reading a magazine about the latest BMW engine is his idea of heavy reading. (There is always a stack of car magazines in every bathroom in our house.) Thankfully, they’ve responded. I’ve tried to incorporate into their library books that are of educational value. Books that teach a lesson. Books that broaden their horizons. I have this vision of my children being so ahead of the curve by the time they get to kindergarten their teacher says to me: “Oh my, Mrs. Lee-your children are so intelligent and well-read! It must be from all of those wonderful books you’ve been reading to them.”  Unfortunately, my daughter now only reaches for books about Dora (puke) and Barbie (double puke). As hard as I try…. sigh…. But the reality is that after reading like a gazillion books with the line “Swiper, no swiping” (really???), the teacher will most likely pull me aside and say “Mrs. Lee-your daughter is hoarding all of her pencils and folders for fear some kleptomaniac fox is going to steal them. Do you know what this is about? Oh, and she talks to her her backpack and refuses to take it off. Like ever.” Parenting win. No, really, we do read a lot of different kinds of books. My favorite ones are the ones that show diversity. The ones that show that not all people look the same. That there are different skin colors. Different eye shapes. Different religions. Different ways of doing things. I think that lesson is one of the best ones I can teach my children. That the world is diverse. And to accept things that are different from them. My kids are, in fact, a minority (I am Caucasian and my husband is Korean), and it’s good for them to see other people that look like them, and people that look nothing like them. And know that it doesn’t matter. (side note-we recently had gifted to us a “Korean” Barbie. She really looks like NJ Housewife Barbie who spent too much time in the tanning salon. Is ‘Korean’ that hard to pull off???) One of the ways I can do that is through books. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite books for kids that show them the wonderful world that they live in. And that there is no fox stalking them waiting to steal their stuff.

Rama and Sita. My kids became captivated with this story after seeing it read on Nick Jr. (I probably could have come up with something that sounded way better than that) It’s an ancient Hindu legend with princes and princesses, evil kings and monsters. It’s a book that teaches morals. And it’s beautiful.

The Story of Ferdinand. I adore this book, and it’s one of my son’s favorites. It’s about a docile bull named Ferdinand who lives in Spain, who is like no other bull around him. He likes to lie under his favorite tree and smell the flowers, while all the other bulls like to fight each other. There’s a lovely lesson here with some Spanish culture.

For me, this one’s a no-brainer for my kids. They’re just starting to understand what being Korean is, and what a great way to instill their culture in them. I recently discovered this on Amazon and have since ordered it.

Kiki and Coco in Paris. This book is responsible for my daughter’s love of all things Paris-related. She’s obsessed with the Eiffel Tower and thinks that all electrical towers are “Eiffel” towers. It’s the story of a girl named Kiki and her doll Coco who travel to Paris, and about all the places they see while they’re there. The photography  is absolutely beautiful and I just love when my daughter asks me to read her this one.

This is New York takes you on a tour of the city’s famous ethnic neighborhoods and introduces little ones to the history and culture of one of the most amazing cities in the world. Love, love, love.

Pea Boy and Other Stories from Iran. A lovely book of beautiful fairy tales from Iran. It’s truly fascinating  to see how another culture tells stories.

The Family of Man is a stunning book of photographs from countries all around the world. It’s a great way to show children just how diverse this world truly is.  Disclaimer: if you’re not prepared to explain what “boobies” are, steer clear. It gets a bit National Geographic.

The Family Book is a must for anyone whose family is “different.” If your family has two mommies, people of different races/cultures, single-parent families or anything that’s not considered traditional, this book is for you. If all children would read this book, I think  the future would be a much more accepting one. Come to think of it, we should ALL read this book.

So while I’m grateful to Dora for teaching my kids some Spanish, (they both call out “rojo!!!!!” or “verde!!!!!” at traffic lights), I really wish they’d put that crap down and stick to reading these. I don’t want their teachers to think I suck.

This is not a just a mommy blog.

Yes, I am a mommy. And this is my blog. But this is not just a mommy blog. I’m not going to offer any parenting advice (but maybe you could give ME some-I can’t get my 2 year old to eat anything except waffles and my 3 year old’s obsession with Tinkerbell is bordering on looney). I am a nurse turned stay at home mom enjoying the daily hilarity and insanity of life home with my kids. As my free time diminished, I found I had less time to read up on my interests-mainly fashion and interior design. Unread magazines piled up and eventually turned into furniture. I can’t tell you how many Vogue tables I ended up setting my sandwich on. So I let all those subscriptions expire and turned to blogs. I loved them because I could pick and choose what I read and touch on my favorite ones in a matter of minutes. They became my primary source of all things fashion, music, interior design, motherhood and a million other things. They kept me connected-which can be a hard thing to accomplish when your world revolves around Laurie Berkner (not familiar? Think Mamas and the Papas meet The Wiggles), The Fresh Beat Band (a punch in the throat to Twist if I ever meet him) and all things fairies/cars/trains/dinosaurs….you get the idea. And as my love for blogs grew, so did my desire to write my own. Every time a fellow mom at the playground would ask me “Where did you get your diaper bag?”or “Where do you shop for your kids’ clothes?” or a friend would say “only you would know where to get those pens”-it just seemed natural to me to write it all down. So here I am. I’ll share some really cool things I’ve found for your home, yourself and for your kids. I’ll share the things that I do to make my surroundings beautiful-and you don’t need to spend a ton of money to do it. And I’ll tell you how I try to keep feeling good about myself-even on a day when I’m covered in Cheerios and poop. I hope you’ll share with me, too.  Welcome to Beautiful with a side of crazy.