Johnson Summer Bucket List

About three summers ago Sam and I started making summer bucket lists and it is one of the best things we ever started doing–besides making a yearly family goal list. It’s a practice that has begun to define our summers! If you’ve never made a summer bucket list I highly encourage you to do so. A summer bucket list can be all the fun things you want to do and it can also be all the goals you have set for yourself. Have you ever made plans in June and looked up in August and you hadn’t accomplished any of them? Me too! I have found that a summer bucket list keeps that from happening–its like fun goal setting. Below is our summer bucket list:

Lay out by the pool

Finish my summer reading list

Kaboom Town Addison Firework Show

An Evening Picnic

Attend a Baseball Game

Finish My Manuscript

An Evening of Stargazing

Make homemade ice cream

Twinning with Sam

Day trip

Try Galaxy doughnuts at Sweet Daze

Cook stir fry

Feed the ducks at the library

Try rolled ice cream

Trip to the Zoo

Finally go record shopping

Take Lemon swimming at the dog park

Visit my parents in Nashville

Vintage shopping

Paint the dining table

Paint and organize the loft

What’s on your summer bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!

Maegan — xx

Declutter Your Closet in 9 Steps / MaegankJohnson Blog

Declutter Your Closet in 9 Steps

The closet purge. It doesn’t matter how well you know your style, every so often it’s time to clean everything out. Am I right? It could just be that the seasons have changed and as you un-box your clothes for the new season wardrobe you spot pieces and items that just aren’t working for you anymore. Or maybe there are a few things that just don’t fit the same as they used to–hello Christmas cookies and those extra holiday carbs. Or maybe you’ve had a major life change and your wardrobe no longer fits your current lifestyle–I’m looking at you brand new mama. Whatever the case may be, life is constantly changing and so our wardrobes are constantly changing as well.

I have two resources I recommend reading on the subject of decluttering and closet management. First is ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up‘ by Marie Kondo and the second is ‘The Curated Closet’ by Anuschka Rees. They both have a wealth of knowledge on two different but similar subjects–one on organization and health the other on style–and I highly recommend you read them both. I drew a little from both of these resources while coming up with my own purging method.

A few recommendations before you start:

Purge your closet before organizing your closet

  • I’ve made this mistake a hundred times and let my say that trying to organize where bags and shoes should live among all the clothes you probably don’t wear and wont be keeping is a total waste of time. Leave the organizing until the end.

Purge accessories and shoes last

Gather your tools

  • Trash-bags, permanent marker, music to set the mood, something to keep you hydrated

Let’s Begin!

You will be making four piles: pieces that don’t fit, pieces you haven’t worn in the last year, pieces you’re keeping, and a donate pile. Lay a trash-bag out to represent each pile.

1. Separate and place in a pile what doesn’t fit

  • Let’s be honest–you probably know the exact pieces of clothing that don’t fit in your closet right this minute. And if you aren’t sure, you probably have a good idea which pieces really need the ‘try it on’ test. I will go so far as to guess with great accuracy that you are picturing those pieces of clothes right now. Take everything for the current season that you know doesn’t fit and put it in a pile. Don’t try anything on yet.

2. Separate and place in a pile everything you haven’t worn in the last year that still fits

  • Don’t make excuses for your clothes, don’t not put it in the pile because you spent good money on it and you probably will wear it later on–maybe(that’s called the sunken cost fallacy–go google it). Just put it in the pile. You will be glad you did later on.

3. Go through the ‘doesn’t fit pile’ one piece at a time, try it on if need be, and determine if this is really something you will ever reasonably be able to wear again.

  • If you’re not confident you will be able to fit into it again within the next six months or by the next year(summer 2019 from now summer 2018) then toss it in the donate pile. Holding onto the past sometimes keeps us from reaching our goals in the future. I’m speaking from personal experience as someone who lost 130lbs. When I started my weight loss journey, I parted ways with a lot of clothes I had been keeping for years in the hopes one day I could go back and fit into them like the old days. You can’t go back to the old you. You–in the present–has to move forward to your future self–that’s how time works. However, if a particular piece of clothing motivates you forward I say keep it! That clothing is now an empowering tool to encourage you! You will know the difference too as you hold each item. If it fills you with guilt its holding you back. If it empowers you, keep it!
  • If something is too small or too big but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

4. Put all clothes you haven’t worn in the last year in the donate pile

  • Let’s face it–you didn’t wear it because you didn’t love it and you probably are never going to wear it. Give someone else the chance to wear it who really would love it. If it’s a more expensive item try selling it at a consignment store or through an app like Poshmark. *
  • If there’s something you haven’t worn but has extreme sentimental value(notice I didn’t say guilt or sunken cost fallacy) then keep it!

5. Go through the remaining clothes in the fourth pile piece by piece and determine if it fits your style perfectly

  • Can you make three separate outfits with this item? Do you really love wearing it? Does it fit right(can you wear it all day without discomfort)? Does it make you happy to put it on? If you answer yes to all these questions then place it in a new ‘to-keep’ pile. Repeat this step for each item. What doesn’t make the cut gets tossed in the donate pile.

6. Separate all the off season clothes (that would be fall and winter right now) and put them in bags or boxes and store them underneath your bed

  • When doing a major ultimate purge I don’t recommend trying to sort off-season clothes because it’s too overwhelming to guess where you might be in four-six months in life. Just repeat this process once the seasons change.
  • Move all off-season clothes into bags or boxes and store them under your bed. This will free up space in your closet and each time you look for an outfit you will only see the clothes that can be worn right now. This is really a huge deal because it gives your brain a mental rest and it becomes relaxing to look at the clothes in your closet and not have to constantly block out all the off season items.

7. Bag up all the clothes being donated or stored and label them

8. Put your donate bags in the trunk of your car

9. Place all the items in the ‘to keep’ pile back in your closet

10. Repeat these 9 steps for your shoes, jewelry, and other accessories

*There might be a few items that you’re on the fence about. I recommend a trial separation for these items. Put them away for two weeks in a bag under your bed. If you don’t go looking for them in two weeks donate them.

Once you have it all purged its time to organize and beautify your closet!

I hope this post was incredibly helpful and simple. Its daunting to tackle what seems like an impossible task but I know you’re up for it! I want to know if my ‘method’ worked for you! Come back once you’re done and tell me how it went in the comments below!

Maegan — xx

Summer Reading List for Kids

I remember every summer my mom letting me pick a big fat “big kid” book from our local library and reading it to me every afternoon until we finished it. Those are some of my best childhood memories. Even my brother–who didn’t really enjoy being read to–wanted to sit and listen sometimes.

With summer in full swing your child or children are probably desperate for something to do. Or maybe they are reading through books faster than you can swipe your library card. Either way, you need book suggestions! Guess what, I’ve got a great list for you! The list I’ve compiled is categorized by genre instead of reading level–I leave the reading level decision to you, the parent.

May I also suggest signing your older child up for a Goodreads account. It’s a completely free online community with millions of book suggestions and millions of people passionate about reading. It’s a place to keep track of all the books your reading, write reviews, and get suggestions about what to read next.

Adventure:

Swiss Family Robinson

Little House on the Prairie (Series)-1 from boys perspective

Watership Down

The Odyssey

Wilderness:

Hatchet

Call of the Wild

White Fang

The Last of the Mohicans

Where the Red Ferns Grow

Shiloh

Old Yeller

Irish Red

High Seas:

Robinson Crusoe

Master and Commander (Series) 12+

Treasure Island

The Temeraire (Dragons)

Fantasy/Magic:

The Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings (Series)

The Chronicles of Narnia (Series)

Redwall (Series)

Ralph the Motorcycle Mouse

Indian and the Cupboard

Eragon (Series)

Harry Potter (Series)

Western:

Hank the Cowdog (Series)

Science:

The Magic School Bus (Series)

Science Fiction/Space Opera:

Enders game (Series)

Star Wars (Series)

Strong Female Characters:

Little Women

Anne of Green Gables (Series)

Amelia Bedilia (Series)

Mystery:

Nancy drew (Series)

The Hardy Boys (Series)

Box Car Children (Series)

Equestrian:

Black Beauty

National Velvet

My Friend Flicka (Series)

Misty of Chincoteague (Series)

Bears:

Paddington (Series)

Winnie the Pooh (Series)

 

Happy Reading!

Maegan — xx

Boho Chic Laundry Room Renovation

Laundry rooms are not glamorous. Especially laundry rooms in a rental. Ours is utilitarian at best and that’s only because the hook-ups actually work. Like most adults I would love for my laundry room to be functional and look great. Our laundry room was obviously neither functional or pretty. It was a hideous mess. Aside from the tools laying on top of the dryer this was what it looked like a good eighty percent of the time–especially once we started fostering. I couldn’t keep up with the clutter and the clothes at the same time. The fact that we had nowhere to put a laundry basket made the situation worse. Part of renting in a large city is lack of space. I was stacking the laundry baskets on top of the washing machine and dryer to keep them out of the hallway that runs between the guest half bath, our bedroom, kitchen, and garage door. I also had other baskets full of laundry randomly scattered throughout the house. I had to take the baskets off the top of the washing machine every time I washed clothes–it was such a time waster. Not to mention that the tiny horrible self was really hard to reach. I finally had enough.

My goals for this mini-remodel were; a permanent place for my laundry baskets and laundry, laundry supplies within arms reach, a soothing and happy color palette, and no more clutter. I had been wanting to paint something a deep dark green for years, so I immediately knew that this space was the perfect place to try that color. If I hated it I could quickly repaint and it was easily hidden from guests.

The first thing I had to do was rip the shelves off the wall. They were installed poorly and calked around the perimeter so they ripped off the top layers of drywall and layers of ancient paint. They were a mess and they smelled so so bad. It was really gross. I was immediately faced with several dilemmas I wasn’t expecting; first, I had to repair the drywall and peeling paint; and second, I now had to putty and add texture back to the wall. I had no idea how to do either. As I stood staring at the gashes and holes torn in the wall I started second guessing my decision. It’s that moment every renovator has when they realize they’ve committed to more than they expected but it’s already too late to turn back.

The first thing I had to do was take a very sharp knife and cut around the edges of the peeled up paint. I’d never repaired drywall before so that took some internet sleuthing to figure out. I used Rx-35 PRO-999 to seal down the drywall and paint, and create a layer for the putty to stick to.  So I painted over the entire exposed area and then let it dry. (This is the drywall after the PRO-999)img_9377

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Once it was dry I started puttying. I used a wide putty knife and regular old DAP, and honestly I just went for it. I have seen my dad and Sam putty before so I kind of had the idea. This was a little different though in that I had to layer in on thick and leave it(that’s why the PRO-999 is so important because it helps that putty stick). It took over an hour to putty the area and then it took about twelve hours to dry completely. Once it dried, I lightly sanded it and then reapplied another layer of PRO–999 over the entire area to set the putty into place.

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With the putty dry we taped off and painted. The color I chose is called Thunderbolt by Valspar. I opted to have the color mixed in Sherwin Williams Enerald paint because it’s antifungal and water resistent–perfect for a laundry room. With that we installed the Closet Maid wire shelving from Home Depot. They were the only brand I found locally that had 20″ deep wire shelving. They cut my shelf to length in store so it fit perfectly in my car with the back seat down. Did you know both Home Depot and Lowe’s can cut your wire shelving in store to the exact length you need? I was so proud of myself for figuring that out. I saved a lot of money on this project because I didn’t have to buy an extra tool to cut my shelving! Sam was very very happy about that too. I chose coated wire shelving because it wouldn’t be as affected by the humidity and moisture constantly trapped in this space and it was an inexpensive option even though it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing shelving to look at. And we rent, so the budget for this reno needed to be a reasonable. Y’all know what I mean.

Maegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White,

I now had a designated place for all my laundry baskets but I lost space for my laundry supplies. I cut a 3/4″ piece of pine and painted it with some white paint I already had to match the appliances and shelving. I bought these 3″ brackets from Hobby Lobby and painted them to match. A key component to living organized in a small space is to constantly get rid of stuff. I completely purged the junk that was being kept in here and what I didn’t trash I moved under the kitchen sink with the rest of the cleaning supplies. There are perks to living a more plant based life because the stuff you actually need gets narrowed down to the essentials. I honestly had no idea that I only needed like three things to do laundry.  Laundry soap, dryer balls, lavender to scent the clothes, and lemon for stain removal. Done.

Maegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White, Theives Laundry SoapMaegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White, Small Laundry Room

With the dark green walls I wanted to keep the aesthetic as crisp as possible. I also painted the dryer base white and what a difference it made! It added a cohesive, geometric element to the space. The laundry room is located in the smack middle of our town home and it gets no natural light. I needed a better, brighter, whiter light so I could see. How can anyone see stains in dim yellow light? I changed the light bulb to a generic 75 Watt Daylight LED and what a difference it made!

Maegan Johnson Laundry Room Tour Before and After, Dark Green and White, Scottie Dog, Lemon

Lemon is soo sweet–and such a good helper! She really wanted me to play while I was shooting for this post. I can’t believe what a little paint and some new shelving did to our laundry room or what a huge impact it has made on our life. I have seriously stayed on top of laundry now. Let’s get real though, my husband still wants to leave a pile of clothes on his side of the bed and I left the clean sheets in a pile at the foot of our bed the other day. But, this change has brought so much peace and functionality to a daily chore that was really making my life miserable. And, for the first time in years, I am actually able to keep up with what is clean and what isn’t–and I’m not drowning in loads of unwashed laundry. This ended being a bigger project than I anticipated, but it was worth it. Oh, was it so worth it.

I hope you were inspired by my mini reno! I always want to inspire you and remind you that if I can so can you! Do you also have a space in your home that is completely not functioning for you and your family? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Maegan — xx

Click here for our Midcentury Coastal Nursery/Bedroom Tour!

Maegan Johnson Foster Care and Decor Blog New Orleans Vacation

Our First New Orleans Vacation

New Orleans is one of the places I have had on my bucket list since I was a little girl. When Sam came to me earlier in the year and asked me if I wanted to go I was beside myself. New Orleans was like nowhere else I’ve ever been before. It is one of the friendliest, welcoming, down to earth cities I’ve ever visited. I kind of felt like I was on another planet. The weather was just beautiful at this time of year too. I expected it to be a lot hotter and muggier but it was really dreamy–the perfect amount of humidity mixed with cool breezes from the surrounding water. As soon as we landed, we dropped off our bags at the hotel and hopped on a streetcar to the French Quarter.

The first thing I noticed was all the color! It was everywhere! I really loved how informal using the streetcar(not trolley) was too. The platform sat flush with tracks making hopping on and off fun and casual–though it did take us a few rides to get the hang of proper streetcar etiquette(board from the front, exit from the back). It was really cheap to ride and I highly recommend buying the streetcar day pass–the Jazzy Pass–which is $3 per day for unlimited rides. The easiest way is to download the app and add your pass to it.

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Our first stop was the St. Louis Cathedral. I was really stunning to see that kind of architecture in America.–it’s so European! This is the oldest cathedral in America–if you were wondering.

A kid riding along on a bike stopped abruptly in front of Sam and I and thrust this daisy in my hand then rode off before I could even thank him. I stopped where we were and took a picture of it before I handed it off to a man running a vending stand. I kind of feel this photo is a really great visual descriptor of the spirit of New Orleans–beautiful, tender, people surrounded by hundreds of years of history, technology, and tourists. A flower in an urban jungle. It’s honestly on of my favorite photos of our trip. 

After an afternoon and evening of sightseeing we ended up at Cafe Du Monde and the beignets  were even better than I imagined! What I didn’t expect was to see such a large informal outdoor space! I was thinking it’s French so it will be a more formal atmosphere so I was pleasantly surprised to find a boisterous crowd of all different types of people in the late hours of the night enjoying the evening while drinking coffee and eating beignets.

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Cafe Du Monde is open twenty-four hours a day seven days a week and couldn’t help but take a picture of the harried wait staff taking a break. It wasn’t just that they were all dressed in uniform that brought a sense of cohesiveness to the little scene but also that they were covered in equal amounts of powdered sugar. It even caked the floor in a thick layer. It was just so Cafe Du Monde.

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The next morning we woke bright and early and walked up Poydras to catch the St. Charles Ave Streetcar to eat at The Trolley Stop Cafe. For the first time in my life I had catfish, eggs, and grits for breakfast and it was one of the top three best breakfasts’ of my life. If we did one thing right on our trip it was food. We listened to the locals and ate where they ate and we were NOT disappointed.

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The catfish wasn’t even fishy. It was that dang good. My only regret was not taking a picture with our waitress who was the most friendly woman and taught me how to eat grits–of which, I am now a HUGE fan!

We left the cafe and decided to walk off our breakfast by taking in all the beautiful antebellum houses along St. Charles Ave. There were churches everywhere in New Orleans and I really appreciated their beautiful architecture and uniqueness–none looked alike. 

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The houses and the views were equally breathtaking. And the trees were enormous!

We walked up St Charles quite a ways then caught the streetcar to the end of the line. From there we took a Lyft and went to City Park. Honestly, this was part of the reason I put New Orleans on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to see trees so big they lie down with moss wafting from every branch. I felt transported back in time.

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We walked around City Park(which is absolutely huge) for about an hour and we started to get hungry. By this time we really were sweltering. We were hot and tired and hungry–it was close to 2:30pm. So we took a Lyft over to Willie Mae’s Chicken House for the best chicken I’ve had in my life!

But first, we had to get on the wait-list. It was hot and we had to stand outside. Thankfully I found a little “convenience store” literally around the corner. And by convenience store I mean it had a window where you walked up and they sold beer in a brown paper bag to you–and any other convenience store type items like chips, candy, and cigarettes. So we bought two beers and stood in the shade while we waited an hour to get a table. But it was worth it. It was so worth it that I forgot to take a picture. This is actually a very famous restaurant and for good reason. If you come to New Orleans you HAVE to eat here. And be prepared to wait an hour because there is never a ‘slow’ time–just get a beer and people watch to help the time pass. You wont regret eating here, I promise.

We went back to our hotel and slept off the chicken and then headed back into the city for more sight-seeing and dinner. I had my first ‘poor boy’ sandwich at Parkway Bakery & Tavern. This was a local recommendation and I highly recommend it too. The atmosphere here and everywhere we ate was so New Orleans.

The next day I was on my own as Sam had a seminar to attend so I took an all day tour of the Oak Alley Plantation. So this is one of those things I’ve had on my bucket list since I read ‘Gone With the Wind’ in the 6th Grade. And it did not disappoint. This was the view from the back of the house.

This was the view from the front of the house off the second story balcony. At the end of the walkway is a road and across from it is the levee they built up for the Mississippi and that red thing is a barge floating down it. I think it’s a half a mile to the end of the drive from the house. I have never in my life seen such grandeur on that scale. I was in awe.

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This is the front of the house. Of course we were not allowed to take pictures of the inside during the tour which was a huge bummer. I also learned that the trees down the front entrance and all the trees in New Orleans proper are actually Virginia Live Oak and not native to Louisiana. Virginia Live Oaks naturally let their branches lay and grow on the ground. I always wondered why the trees in Louisiana looked so weepy and just magical–I thought it was the climate or something. Trees don’t grow like that in Texas y’all. The trees growing along this walkway are anywhere from one hundred and fifty to over two-hundred years old.

The picture above is from the very end of the walkway.

This was the highlight of my trip. I really cannot wait to go back again and tour some of the other plantations in the area. I am so so so glad I went–even if I was by myself. It was worth it. I did not want to leave and I made Sam promise me that we would go back together soon.

I returned to New Orleans and met Sam after his seminar and we grabbed a quick snack and then did more sight-seeing in the French Quarter.

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One of the things I really wanted to do was dine alfresco in the French Quarter and we happened upon this amazing restaurant called Tableau on the corner of Chartres St. and St. Peter St. There was this perfect breeze as we ordered cocktails and dessert from the second story balcony just enjoying the afternoon until Sam had to go back for more seminar classes. It was the perfect last afternoon of my trip.

I thought I was going to be spending the evening by myself and I enjoyed the view and the food so much I went back to Tableau for dinner. I still can’t get over the European architecture that was the French Quarter. I didn’t feel like I was in America at all. I took this photo from my table and was enjoying my dinner when Sam came back and joined me as a surprise! It was a perfect ending to my trip!

I enjoyed New Orleans so much and I only saw an eighth of the places I wanted to see. But hands down my favorite thing about New Orleans is the people. They are some of the most friendly, down to earth people I’ve ever met. And I can understand why so many people visit here and then don’t leave. The atmosphere was so easy and relaxed but also full of life. People here work hard but they also know when it’s time to lay down their work for the day and enjoy life–really enjoy it. I didn’t want to come home I loved it so much. And now I understand why I hear people rave about it all the time. It’s a city to love.

Maegan — xx

Maegan Johnson Blog Updates

My Blog is Expanding

acs_0140Becoming a foster parent has put a lot of things in perspective. I put off a lot of things in my life like painting the walls of our town home or buying that rug I really wanted with poor excuses that I can’t even begin to justify. Almost immediately after our fist placement arrived clarity descended–having a child for the first time seems to thrust most parents into the reality of what really matters and what really doesn’t.  I love to decorate and design spaces–I have since I was a little girl–and I realized that a creative passion should be fostered if it brings me joy. It wasn’t just interior design that I had placed by the wayside but also my love for writing and books, my love of fashion and makeup, and my knack for a good DIY. 

I primarily started this blog as a way to share our foster care journey but there again I was challenged. I wondered for a long time if this could also be a place where I share my hobbies and my interests and possibly little things about my life too? At first, I was very against this idea, but one thing our foster care journey has taught me is to live in the moment and make calculated leaps in faith because tomorrow it could all change forever. With this in mind I have decided to expand the topics I cover at this time to include decor, style, and crafts. I am really excited and bit nervous about this new adventure but glad that we are sharing it together!

I wanted to come right out of the gate and give you a little taste of the content that is to come. Here’s a link to my very first interior design project–our nursery tour! I really hope you enjoy it!

Happy Reading!

XX — Maegan

Mid-century Coastal Nursery/Bedroom Tour

Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Changing table, Dresser as a Chaning table, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NEven though Baby E is gone, I am still excited to share our nursery tour today. I jumped so many design and foster care inspection hurdles to get this room ready and not only am I happy with the end result but I’m so grateful to have had a baby to use it. I put a lot of hard work into incorporating a nursery in our bedroom without it feeling juvenile. According to the state I had to fit a crib and changing table in a bedroom that already contained a king size bed, an eight foot dresser, and two night stands. Because we rent I could not change the carpet, ceiling fan, the color of the trim, or doors. I also could not remove or change the blinds. This is a HUGE post so grab a coffee or a glass of wine and settle in. Let’s do this!

BEFORE:IMG_1875Our room was pretty sad looking. The paint in this photo was from the first apartment we ever lived in ten years ago. I am not kidding. It’s a semi-gloss finish(first time paint buyers remorse) and it’s shiny and tacky looking–like patent leather. Just no. Obviously, nothing is working together and it’s very dark and dreary–our lamps don’t even match. Our bedroom needed lots of help.

AFTER:Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryMaegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Changing tableMaegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Green Jenny Lind Crib, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurserySo much better, right?! I wanted our room to tell a story each time I walked in or lay down at night. I was born next to the ocean and it is one of the happiest places on the earth for me. Some of my happiest memories from my entire life are vacationing at the beach with my family. When I lay down at night I wanted to be surrounded and transported to the beach but I did not want it to feel hokey or campy. I wanted it to hint at the beach and leave room for my imagination to fill in the blanks. I also needed a gender neutral theme for the ‘baby’ side of the room and ‘beach’ landed squarely between both baby and grownup. I drew my color pallet from the large art piece hanging over the changing table. It’s just a print but it’s one of the first pieces of art I ever bought and I’m so proud that I still love it to this day.Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Coastal Nursery, Vintage Blue Mason Jar, ShellsI started with paint. We rent and therefore the walls have been repainted a thousand times and are covered with inches of uneven texture. I needed a color that would not accentuate the texture like the tacky, semigloss, dark blue I had painted them. I also had to take into consideration the ugly tan carpet. I wanted to chose a paint color that would draw attention away from the carpet and complement its undertone–not an easy feat. I vacillated over paint color more than any other design aspect. I was very worried that the green undertones of the paint might be nauseating, but this color ended up being so versatile and calming. It leans more blue if you add blue accents and it leans green if you add green accents. It’s one of those truly neutral colors in that it isn’t too warm and isn’t too cool–and it’s not grey. It reminds me of sea foam or misty mornings on the beach. Of all the choices I made this was the most transformative, most dramatic, most effective, and CHEAPEST ‘renovation’ I made to the entire room. The new paint color also helped the ugly carpet disappear. The dark blue color from before exaggerated the carpet but the light blue green draws the eye up and away. Now the carpet I can’t change is more like a accent to the wall–like sand in a sea-glass bottle. Wall color is Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Reading Noook, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryNext I had to figure out where I was going to squeeze a full size crib into our room.  I spent a lot of time digging through Pinterest looking  for ideas on how to incorporate a crib into a master bedroom. Most ideas revolved around picking a corner of the room and letting the baby have that space but that just didn’t work for our room. There were no corners to designate to a baby space because they were almost all taken by windows and doors. I wracked my brain for weeks trying to figure out a good solution. One evening, while Sam and I were sitting on the couch watching TV, I decided to sketch the room out on a piece of notebook paper and draw different layouts. I realized after my first sketch that every room I’d seen the ‘baby in the bedroom’ space designed for was very square with only one or two doors and a single window. Our space is a long rectangle with three doors and two windows. No wonder I was having issues!Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Green Jenny Lind Crib, Book Mobile, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue Nursery I was playing around with my sketch when I got the idea to draw a diagonal line down the room to define the space. The furniture instantly clicked into place. The crib fit snugly against the shorter wall between the closet and bathroom doors with plenty of room for our king sized bed against the opposite wall–though I had to give up my bedside table. I converted our dresser to accommodate the changing pad and slid it against the wall between the windows. The space above the dresser was empty so I designed some shelves and had Sam hang them off center making that wall the focal point of the room. It was the perfect solution. Now there was ample room for the crib and unobstructed paths between the bed and all the doors and windows. The crib is a vintage find I got from a family friend and it has an interesting little story. I got this crib months before Sam and I decided to pursue adoption through foster care. That crib is really special to me because I bought it in faith that I would one day have a baby to put in it. I was so nervous I wouldn’t be able to use it once we began the certification process because whatever crib you use has to pass government codes and the environmental inspection. I was so relieved that we were able to use it! It was already painted the minty pastel green when I got it, and I had planned to paint over it, but after assembling it against the new wall color I left it alone.Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, White Washed Shelves, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryMaegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Changing table, Dresser as a Chaning table, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NThe shelves above the dresser we made out of 2×8 pine from Lowe’s which I hand sanded and whitewashed with Sherwin Williams Extra White paint. I chose to whitewash the shelves because it gave me another texture and design element to play with–a sort of drift wood look. It played to my beach theme and whitewashing made the shelves look visibly lighter. Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Reading Nook and Jenny Lind Crib, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryI had a little corner leftover with nothing in it and I wanted every part of the space to be usable. There wasn’t enough room for a rocking chair so I decided to make a child sized reading nook. We could have gotten a child up to eighteen months old who really could have used a quiet corner of the house to ‘read’ and use their imagination. Books are so important to me. My own childhood was filled with books and endlessly being read to. I still adore books–I’m an aspiring author–and I really felt a space for books needed to be incorporated into our design. I vacillated over whether to buy picture frame ledges from IKEA or build them myself. It came down to aesthetic, really. I wanted shelves that had texture and natural wood–plus building them cost me nothing. Sam found some plans online(search picture frame DIY for a million options) and we used the left over scrap pine from another project. I sanded them down and stained them with Minwax Classic Gray 271 (left over from staining the headboard) and then white washed them slightly with Sherwin Williams Extra White (which I also had left over from another project). I decided to stain them first because I wanted to add another depth of color and contrast as opposed to the very light shelving above the dresser. I used this tutorial as my guide. Whitewashing is a learning process so I recommend getting a small piece of similar scrap wood and practicing on it before tackling your project.Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Coastal Shelves, White Washed Shelves, , Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryMaegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, White Bedding, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryThe headboard is a very heavy piece of paneling from the inside of an old elevator that I refinished and hung with a french cleat. It’s actually the same headboard in the before picture. And, technically Sam added the french cleat. This is one of the projects I’m most proud of because it took a lot of work and planning. I ended up having to start over because of unsavory advise from someone working in a big box lumber store, but it turned out much better than I could have imagined. I already had the white linen duvet cover and I knew I wanted to keep with the white bedding because it is cooler to sleep in(we live in the south y’all) and very spa like. Once I added the faux down duvet insert the bed became very light and airy to look at.Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursey Book Mobile,Let’s talk about the mobile. I made this mobile myself–yes, I really did. I knew I wanted a mobile over the crib but I honestly couldn’t find anything I liked that didn’t scream ‘baby’. I came across the idea on Pinterest(a girl’s best friend) and instantly knew this would be perfect. I love books because they can transport you to other times and places, and you get to experience what it’s like to be a different person. But I also love books because they have messages and those messages can be empowering, edifying, and resiliently hopeful. I wanted a child to be able to look up and see that there is a life just for them that extends far beyond foster care. There is hope. Initially, I wanted to use a Bible–there is no other book filled with more hope– but Sam couldn’t come to terms with me tearing a Bible up this way. I think it would have been beautiful–also very controversial–and I didn’t want ‘controversy’ hanging over our placement’s crib. There is enough literal controversy in a foster child’s life they don’t need metaphorical controversy hanging over their heads too. So, I chose the hardback version of the Chronicle’s of Narnia by C.S. Lewis which I snapped up from a local Half Price Books. The pages hanging from the book’s spine are from ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’. I didn’t have a guide or tutorial I just sort of made it up as I went along and for a first go it turned out beautifully. As I was cutting the pages out of the book’s spine I asked out loud for C.S. Lewis to forgive me for tearing up his work. I also sent a silent prayer asking God to pass the message along in case he was too busy up there in Heaven and didn’t hear me. I added the little wooden stars because it needed a little more length with some fishing line and hot glue. I think once it’s no longer needed as a crib mobile I will remove the stars and hang it in my office.Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, White Washed Shelves, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design, Mid century Nursery Design, Blue NurseryInitially, we didn’t have a light on the changing table but after several weeks of blinding each other in the middle of the night with the overhead light I broke off and bought a lamp. The most time consuming part of this entire room was styling the shelves above the dresser. It took months. The top shelf actually came together in like five minutes. It was the bottom shelf that really gave me a headache. The vintage glass mason jar–which is filled with shells and sand-dollars from Sam’s very first trip to the beach and our first trip as a married couple–was the only object that actually made it to the end of all the edits I made. Maegan Johnson NurseryBedroom Tour, Nursery Interior Design, Modern Nursery Design, Coastal Nursery Design

There is still a lot left to be done to the adult side of the room. I’m still looking for the right art to hang above the bed as well as a bedside table that better matches the aesthetic of the space. And there is still the dilemma of what to hang on the long wall against the bathroom door. The bedding could also use some color and updating. But that’s the joy of design your own space–in my opinion–because you get to decide as you go along and what ultimately ends up in your space is curated to be 100% you. Thank y’all so much for coming over for a tour. It really means the world to me that y’all have followed our journey as foster parents. You’re continued interest and support means the world to me.

Furniture: Crib/Vintage, Dresser/Cason’s Mercantile, Headboard/DIY

Decor: Changing Table Lamp/Target, Bedside Lamp/Target, Wall Art/ Etsy, Crib Art/Hobby Lobby, Crib Mirror/Vintage Find, Sea Urchin Spines/Target, Changing Table Tray/Hobby Lobby, Coral Art/Target, Book Shelf Art/Urban Outfitters, Oval Frame/Hobby Lobby, Indigo Art/Jennifer Parry Dodge, Wooden Ship/Michael’s, Cream Vase/Target, White Basket/Target, Grass Basket/Target/ Changing Pad Cover/Buy Buy Baby, Crib Sheet/Target, Green Squirrel/Anthropologie

If I forgot something please let me know!   XX — Maegan

Baby E Final Update

As most of you have probably noticed I have been absent from social media for the past two weeks. There was a lot going on with Baby E’s case so I intentionally stepped away from social media to focus on what was most important. I am back today to announce that Baby E has officially left us. I cannot go into detail about her case, and as with most things in foster care there are still a lot of unknowns, and as such we do not know if she will be returning to our care.

Sam and I are so blessed to have been Baby E’s foster parents. Of course we were very sad to see her go but we are confident that we gave her the best start we possibly could and are confident in God and His plan for Baby E. We are proud of the people that this experience has shaped us into and blessed beyond measure to have fostered a child in need.

We will be taking a few months off to rest and rejuvenate and spend time together as a family.

We want to thank each and every one of you who have diligently and fervently prayed for Baby E, Sam, and I throughout this entire journey. We have felt your prayers in a powerful way and cannot express out heartfelt and sincere gratitude enough. Thank you so much for all the love and support we have received from each and every one of you.

Maegan and Sam

The Dreaded Home Study: It’s Nothing to Dread

acs_0175We had a wonderful home study experience. It was intense and our interviewer did ask many probing questions. But it wasn’t scary. The interviewer was never inappropriate and he never made any ugly remarks.

Exactly why does everyone dread the home study and why does is have such a negative connotation? What exactly is so horrific that the word ‘home study’ is whispered in hushed tones like the name Voldemort?

I think the general population has the expectation that a home study is to have their private life and home broken into and swarmed like a SWAT team on a drug bust. Glass breaking, wood splintering they kick down the front door and crash through the windows with automatic rifles flashing, screaming for everyone to get down on the ground–GET DOWN ON THE GROUND AND PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD–as they shoot the family dog.  This is what people imagine about a home study because it is the kind of experience that has been described to them. There is a lot of bad and untrue information about foster care–especially the home study. It has to be one of the top three that gets lied about and/or blown out of proportion within the topic of foster care. Please always consider the merit of the person who is regaling you with stories or information about foster care–that includes me.

Most people– including myself before we became certified–know absolutely nothing about foster care or what the certification process looks like. When you are ignorant about a subject then you are completely vulnerable to misinformation. That’s how rumors and nonfactual information root themselves in the populous. When you get educated on a topic you can spot misinformation a mile a way. If you want an education on foster care, seek out several foster care agencies and attend their orientations. While you’re there ask the people who have careers in foster care what a home study is like. Never rely on just mine or anyone else’s second hand information. Always go straight to a credible source for credible information.

What most people are unaware of is that months prior to the actual home study everything you’ve ever done wrong; your darkest secret; the past you’ve only shared with your spouse or close family; all of it has already been written down and divulged to your agency. Remember all that paperwork you have to fill out–yeah, all that stuff about your past is part of it. There is almost nothing that your home study interviewer asks you or talks to you about that you haven’t already answered in your paperwork packet questionnaire or written in your autobiography. You will have already submitted your budget, bank statement, taxes, medical records, FBI background checks, autobiographies, house rules, job history, marriages, children, rabbies vaccination records for your pets, baby sitters, and the four different people who you asked to be your references(who submitted their own stack of paperwork of questions all about you asking very personal, honest and harsh questions about your integrity, your social standings, your finances, your personality, etc), you’ve submitted pictures of every room in your house, pictures of yourself, and your pets, and children. They have background checks on your cleaning lady and yard person and your nanny and babysitter(nannies have to complete a certain amount of foster care training in order to remain your nanny). They’ve already requested a lot of personal information from you. They already know EVERYTHING. There is almost NOTHING that the government doesn’t know about you by the time you have that home study. You have willingly made your life an open book and your home study interviewer has already read your ENTIRE file before they ever come to your house.

If you have been honest and upfront on all your paperwork you have nothing to hide or be afraid of at your home study. A home study is another way for the state and your agency to get to know you and all the members of your family–to better assess everyone. It’s the same reason companies have phone and then in-person interviews with job applicants. The in-person meeting helps to complete the already extensive picture that has been painted for them. That’s one of the big reasons why they have home studies.

So, there is no reason, NO reason to be afraid of a home study. None. And if that’s the one thing keeping you from pursuing foster care or adoption through foster care you have no more excuses. If you have nothing to hide then there is nothing to fear. It’s just part of the process to ensure the safety of the already abused children coming into foster care.

This foster care thing isn’t about you. And if you stop and think about this whole process from the perspective of what is best for the child then this process will stop looking like a governmental SWAT raid and more like good people trying their best to ensure that they are taking the very very best initiative to protect children coming into foster care. Wouldn’t you do the same if the roles where reversed?

Maegan

 

 

FROM ORIENTATION TO LICENSING—THE COMPLETE STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO BECOMING A FOSTER PARENT

Baby E Update

We are now a little over three months into fostering Baby E and, though I have not posted any updates lately, there has been a lot going on behind the scenes. Sometimes, I get so frustrated because there is so much going on that I believe is really worth sharing but I can’t because it is not my right to share. I believe the longer we foster the better I will be at sharing without breaking the rules. Y’all should know that there is always a lot going on that I can’t share and if it gets a little quiet on the ‘update front’ there is a high likelihood that there is a lot going on I can’t talk about.

For example, February was nuts–it was not a great month. There was a lot going on with the foster care side of our lives that was not positive and unfortunately none of it is shareable. I can say that Sam and I learned a lot of valuable lessons and appreciate our foster care agency more than ever. I’ve talked before about how important it is to foster with an agency and I cannot emphasize the importance of that enough. If we did not have such an amazing agency I don’t know if we would have survived February. I think my takeaway from February could be summed up in the words ‘appropriate communication’. Once the appropriate communication started flowing things got much much better.

On the personal side of things, I had to have a cracked molar pulled in February and that was miserable and complicated. I hate the dentist(as most people do) and it was just the worst timing for it to fall in the middle of everything that was going on. The infection was starting to spread down into my neck and ear so we had to bump up the extraction date and it just so happened that Sam was supposed to go out of town that same day for work. I was freaking out because I wasn’t sure how I was going to have my tooth pulled and take care of an infant at the same time. I was freaking out. But Sam has such an amazing and flexible job (and boss) who allowed him to move his out of town trip to the next week and he stayed home with me. It was a good thing too because they ended up having to give me laughing gas and I was so out of it afterwards. There was no way I could have driven home. I was glad to see February go. March was a much much better month. A lot of the foster care things got smoothed out and both sides of our family came to visit. It was a relief to have family here.

One of the things I am most proud of Sam and I for is our willingness to take on the responsibility of foster care despite both our families living far away. That is probably one of the most taxing parts of foster care for us. When we need a sitter, we have to have a certified sitter and all but one of our certified sitters(family) don’t live nearby. So Sam and I had not really been able to take a break until our families got to town. We got to go on our first date since baby E! And just having someone else to hold and bounce the baby so we could take a break or wash some clothes was much needed relief. I’d say that this is another lesson we have learned on this journey–have at least four babysitters certified and scheduled before you get certified. Seriously. By the end of February Sam and I were both exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. When our families came to visit it was like taking a swim in a cool spring–refreshing and renewing. I also learned that I have to reach out to people and tell them I need help. In the middle of February I started reaching out to friends asking if they would become certified sitters for us because we were drowning. By the end of April I think we will have several babysitters certified! I’m so very grateful for all our friend who are pitching in to help us out. SO So much.At the beginning of April we found out there will not be another hearing until the middle of the summer. That means we will definitely have Baby E until then. We are loving her, and really enjoying being her foster parents. As I have said before, I don’t know how this will turn out for her or us but I do still believe that God has a plan. We pray everyday for God’s will for her life. Our plan is just to enjoy all the time we have with her and take it one day at a time like we always have. Foster care is a waiting game and while we wait we have fun plans ahead! Sam and I have so many fun activities planned for E in the upcoming months!

Baby E is doing really great and I’m so proud of her! She has made HUGE progress with the OT and just the other day she rolled over for the first time! I am so proud of her! She might have been a bit behind but she is really making strides and catching up developmentally. She has also turned into a really bubbly and vivacious baby! She really really craves social interaction and has started a lot of ‘play’ behavior. She is definitely relationship motivated. She is starting to have interest in Lemon now and watches her every chance she gets. She is sleeping really well–almost through the night now–and Sam and I could not be more grateful. Conversely, she is staying awake more and more during the day. She still has a really gentle and easy disposition and she smiles all the time now. E has already started identifying Sam and I as her parents. We weren’t sure when that would happen. All babies are different and some don’t form that attachment until much later on. She still struggles after every visitation–though she does better now than in the beginning–and now when she comes home she wont look at me for several hours because she is mad at me. I try so hard not to take that personally. I put myself in her shoes and I can see that I would be mad too. Even at three months she is so aware of what is going on. It is so surprising to see how much she understands and that she is trying to regain some control over her world. I can only imagine how confusing it must be for her. I have said it before and I will say it again; no matter how young a child is visitation is still hard for every child.Aside from visitation day, she is a happy baby! We live a normal life six days a week–Sam and I make sure of it. I take so many pictures of her and us together. Right now she is definitely going through a growth spurt and she is growing like a weed right in front of my eyes! I wake up and something about her changes every day. I honestly don’t know how she is growing up so fast or where the last three months went. I am excited to see her growing though–that is a really great sign that she is going to be a healthy, happy, little girl. We only want the very best for her even if that means she wont stay a sweet snuggly baby forever.

We appreciate every single one of you who read our posts, and pray for us, and invest time in our lives. We feel your love and prayers. We are so grateful to have such an amazing support group like you!

Maegan