Sunday, October 28, 2018

Built-in Trundle Bed

Hello! We got back two months ago from our big trip (details of which can be found here) and I promptly set about deconstructing the bunk beds in Emma's room. 

Let me be clear about one thing: I love bunk beds; they are great in small spaces or for fitting multiple people in a room. They make a ton of sense for almost everyone out there. 

But not for me. I had come to loathe these beds. There are two reasons for my extreme disdain:

1. We purchased them under duress on a tight timeline before our trip and I always felt they were too dark and hulking for the room, plus they fit poorly in the weirdly-shaped alcove. 

2. I run an Airbnb and I nearly broke my neck every three days climbing up on that bunk to change the sheets. 

So project Numbero Uno upon returning was to post these babies to Facebook Marketplace, stat. 

Here's a good view of the alcove without the beds. Take special note of that heat register; it would cause me a lot of grief down the road. 

My first task was to paint the room. Over time I've come to regret painting each room a different color; now they're all getting the same basic grey, although we still have a few rooms that haven't quite been brought into the color fold. I am also no longer willing to mess around with painting my ceilings a different color than the walls. Grey from top to bottom. 

Chris painted these walls back in 2010, a few weeks before the arrival of our first child, and three weeks after breaking his hand in Mexico. It was a rough month. 

Post painting, I covered the floor in plastic sheeting and began building. Because we still occasionally post our house on Airbnb, I needed to get the same number of beds in this room: two twins. The plan was to do a regular bed for Emma with a trundle stashed away that could be pulled out for occasional use. 

I began by first building the trundle. 

It's hard to tell in the photos, but that heat register is an inch wider at the bottom than at the top, meaning that the trundle stuck out perilously close to the edge of the alcove. Things were getting tight. I had a scant 1/2" for the trundle faceboard. 

Next up was the main bed frame. I attached the frame directly to the wall studs; this thing is solid as a rock. I also learned that trying to drill through carpet will cause said carpet to unravel 12" across the floor but that's a story for another time. 

Frame plus trundle. Slowly coming together. I used 2x4s for the main frame and 1/2" particle board for the mattress foundations. The outer frame and table top got fancy 1/2" plywood instead of the particle board.  

The trundle is complete. Working on the table top and closet door.

The headboard and footboard got the cottage look: horizontal 1x4s nailed to the frame. 

For the record, I really hate the sanding process. So. much. dust. 

Ben gives it a test run. 

Paint: same grey as the rest of place (Subtle Touch by Behr, which, if you want my honest opinion, has a touch too much purple but it's the color we chose for the upstairs hallway and everything is now following suit. I'm too cheap/lazy to repaint the entire place.). 

The trundle face and closet door get some fancy trim. 

More sanding before the final coat. 

DONE. Hardware and lighting have been added. Closet door has been hung. 

These aren't great photos (dark Seattle Fall days don't help the ambient light situation) but we're scheduled to have updated Airbnb photos done in the next few weeks so hopefully we'll have some pretty pictures to show on the website soon enough. 

In the meantime, our little girl is loving her new big and plotting all the sleepovers she's going to have (haha, sorry kid, not until you're like 14...)

The rest of the room is a little bland, which is partly by design. Airbnb guests don't want a bunch of personalized clutter in their rooms. Fortunately Emma can messify a room in about 3 seconds flat; she is currently asleep with a pile of books, dolls, and legos vying for space in her new bed.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Out and About


The blog is on hiatus as our family is currently on a round-the-world adventure in our little truck camper. We have a travel blog,, where you can read about our latest shenanigans.



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Beginning of a New Adventure

Hello Friends, 

We have some news! 
At the end of the June we’ll be packing our truck camper and hitting the road for an extended year-long adventure.
The Plan
We’ll begin by driving into Oregon and California and if all goes well (a big IF, given that we’ll have four people living in a house smaller than a parking space!) then we’ll keep driving south into Mexico and Central America.
And if things go fantastically well then we’ll hit the tip of South America(!!) sometime in January 2018.

Escape Options
Of course there are many variables when travelling with kids, so we’re trying to keep the agenda and schedule flexible. It’s possible that we’ll decide international travel isn’t in the cards and do a loop of the US instead. Or we’ll last two months and then zip back to Seattle in time for Ben to start first grade. 🙂
Chris’ last day at work is June 1. Emma (age 3) will have just finished preschool and we’ll wait for Ben (age 6) to wrap up kindergarten before heading south. We’ve just completed our last round of vaccinations and we’re looking into homeschooling for the coming year. Not surprisingly, we are both excited and nervous.
If you’re interested, we’re hoping to regularly update our travel website Terra Trekkers. We are also on Instagram. The Sweet Seattle Life will be on hiatus until we return. 
If you’ve got kid-friendly travel recommendations for Baja, Mainland Mexico, Central America (Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, CR, Panama), and South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina), we’d love to hear ’em!
Sonja and Chris

Monday, May 22, 2017

Weekend Happenings


Summer weather has finally arrived in Seattle and we spent the weekend curled up like cats in the sunshine on the deck, just soaking up that Vitamin D.

We are ready for warm weather!! (But, because we're fickle Seattlelites, we'll be complaining about the hot temps in no time flat).

Ben and Emma went swimming in the lake for the first time this year. They report that it is still freezing, but that somehow didn't stop them from spending an hour playing in the waves with some buddies. These kids are nuts.

Our new favorite outing is to ride down to the ice cream shop in Lake Forest Park. It's 8 miles round trip which gives Ben a nice sense of accomplishment. And if we need a little pick-me-up then we'll stop at my parent's house (half way) for biscuits. I am a firm believer in restoring lost calories through ice cream consumption. :)

Also, please note that these will be the only two selfies I take while riding a bike. It was terrifying and I'm putting it firmly in the category of 'generally bad and unsafe ideas'.

This is a poor photo but word on the street is that someone in our neighborhood raises these ring-necked pheasants and then releases them into the city. (here's a better photo). We see them about every six months and our little eagle-eyed Ben was the one to spot this gentleman on the way to school yesterday. The guys are pretty flashy and it's a hoot for the kids to spy them strolling down the street.

We also have nesting merlin falcons and several coyote sightings so things are hopping in the 'hood from an urban wildlife standpoint. Love this city.

Chris got an early birthday present and we went down to SODO to see the band Passenger. It's been ages since we made it out for live music so it was definitely a treat. They put on a great show; Also: we're old. I double triple checked to make sure I'd brought my ear plugs for the concert; I get cranky when my ears ring after too long at top volume. I need to save what hearing abilities I have left. :)

We also just finished up an (exhausting) two day Wilderness First Aid class at the Mountaineers Club here in Seattle.

Given that we have two diabolical bambinos, we definitely feel more comfortable having some introductory knowledge for treating injuries while hiking out in the woods.

 It was great fun; we also got to play the victim and be gussied up with stage makeup and fake wounds.

Get injured with us? We'll get you packaged up in no time. :)

Here is our hot air balloon crash patient with two broken legs, big bleeds, and facial contusions. He was a champ (and a good sport, given that we had him trussed up like a turkey).

And, last but no least, some articles for you to peruse. There are a few real gems in here. And probably a few duds, too, but you'll have to weed those out for yourself. :)

Did you know that AirBNB now offers experiences, in addition to vacation rentals? Spend a few hours with a local eating your way through their favorite food trucks or exploring their favorite haunts.  I thought this one here in Seattle looked pretty cool. As does this one.

I'm digging these posters from Rebel Girls. I think Em and Ben might still be a little young for the book but the posters are fantastic.

This is an interesting perspective on household chores: You should have asked

My family's slave

Check this box if you're a good person

I was a starter wife

My Uncle told me about this Mother's Day Tradition: Climbing Mt. St. Helens. Looks like a hoot, right?

Illegal Pot Farms Are Poisoning California’s Forests

Another reason to love badgers: their awesome digging abilities!

This article begins tragically but raises some very important questions: Kids vs. No kids

Co-working meets childcare: How this business incubator is supporting working moms. This place sounds almost, but not quite, as awesome as my sister-in-law's Boardroom!

Self driving cars will create organ shortages.  A slightly morbid perspective I never would have considered. 

And last but not least, a little levity: Bike lane hero. Make sure you can hear him singing. 



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March Happenings

Hello! Happy March. 

Things have been humming away here in our household. We are ready for the grey soggy clouds to be replaced by gorgeous Spring sunshine but so far there has been exactly zero evidence of changing seasons with the exception of a few brave tulips.

Ben's class created another auction item, based directly off of this example. Print-making with kindergarteners is a LOT of work but we're pretty delighted with the finished product. 

We took a field trip downtown the other day and Ben's teacher instructed the kiddies to observe the buildings and structures that make up the Emerald City. Seattlelites will notice the Smith Tower, monorail, Great Wheel, Link Light Rail, the Space Needle, the Ballard Bridge, and several of the cranes that dominate our skyline these days. Drop me a line if you know any high bidders. :)

It's been fun to spend time in Ben's class, getting to know the other kids and observing how his days are structured. Mostly it's made me especially appreciative of his teacher. She has a tough job teaching 24 kids with drastically varying abilities and talents; I'm in awe of her abilities. 

For mid-winter break we took a quick trip up to Alaska to visit grandparents.  The kids had a blast sledding and ice fishing, despite the fact that it was seriously cold. Grandpa wins the award for best sport... kids get cranky when the fish aren't biting and the wind is whipping across the lake. 

Remember how I said that I wasn't going to get new furniture until the kids were off to college? Well, I'm having to eat those words right about now. The couches got to the point where they had collected enough stains that it was embarrassing when company came over. 

We did a little makeover. We brought the tv room couch upstairs and got a close-out leather couch from Macy's. We also got a new rug...which is a lot more white than I thought. One glass of spilled red wine is going to be the death of it. 

You can also see the paint job on the fireplace. Here is the original version.

Here are a few articles of interest from around the 'net:

Seattle folk: Let's eat here sometime

Chris loves the band Passenger. And I love this song. 

Swedish supermarkets ditch the sticky labels 

The Sandy Hook promise. 



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Ben got up at 5:45 this morning because he was so excited about 'this special love day'. His teacher did a nice job of facilitating the exchange of cards and even incorporated some heart candy into her math lesson. She also had the kids refrain from opening their bags of goodies until after the school day was over. She ain't no dummy. We were sugar crash central around here [ahem. see the above picture for photographic proof].

I'll admit, I've never been a big VD person. Chris and I usually forget, honestly. This year he came home with a kiss and a wilted rose that he said was from his parking attendant. No joke. I didn't get him anything and we had two cranky kids this evening so it wasn't the most romantic of nights.

But! We actually do have a sitter scheduled for this week and I'm looking forward to a nice dinner and time for some non child-related conversation.

In other school-related news, I sewed this little reading tipi for our upcoming school auction. It was relatively straight forward (but also time consuming) to construct. Let's hope it sells for a lot of moolah. Our Seattle public schools are woefully underfunded and our little school could use the cash.

Have a great rest of the week.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

News and Reviews

Happy Weekend! We are having a lazy few days and it feels lovely after an especially hectic January.

 Our neck of the woods got a slight dusting of snow early in the week which was especially exciting for the bambinos.

We had some neighborhood kids over for a bit of sledding and snowperson-making. They had a blast. And I was happy when school started up again. :)

The Wild Horses of the American West (part 1)

Ten minutes in Lituya Bay (the mysterious tale of a massive wave in a remote Alaska fjord)

Women: You are not equal. I'm sorry. 

What it's like to work (and live) in the White House

How a fugitive smuggler became an environmental hero

A reality show I might actually watch: An indigenous family of women in a new series titled Family Rules

This is how we need to do battle: Canada and Denmark are caught in a whiskey war

Only in the Pacific Northwest: flying eagle drops fish, causes power outage

19 lifesaving tips


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

State of the Union

The president has removed all climate change data from official websites and banned social media accounts and press releases from government environmental and parks departments. 

The National Parks service fights back! Check out their twitter, it's hilarious. 

Also, I needed this laugh yesterday:

See some other great ones here. Photo via Twisted Sifter. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Emma's Birthday & DIY Furniture

Whelp. You win some, you lose some.

We had Emma's third birthday party scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Ben started puking Saturday night.

Last year 300 employees at Chris' work got Norovirus thanks to some tainted food at a company party. Our family was affected by the outbreak and flashbacks from that hellish week made us unwilling to invite our extended family into our home for a potential repeat of that GI agony.

So we cancelled the shindig. Our family was gracious enough to meet us at a restaurant while Ben & Chris stayed home with takeout and movie. Fortunately, Emma was pretty thrilled with Plan B as it involved lemonade, pizza, and presents. And then we went home and ate the cake I'd made for the party. So all was not lost.

And Ben's puke event seems to have been a one time thing, and not the dreaded vicious stomach bug.

As for presents, I had fun this year making her some furniture.

When I was a kid I have very vivid memories of making a doll bed with my dad down in his shop. He'd fashioned a small work bench for me, complete with a mini vice, and tools best suited for small hands. I remember us drawing the template onto the wood and using a jigsaw to cut the headboard. My mom sewed a mattress and pillow.

Since our little girlie had become doll obsessed over the last few weeks, a homemade bed was clearly in order. And a pram, too, of course.

The plans for the pram are here. The bed was my own concoction.

Both fit an 18" doll. Emma is in love. She carts them everywhere and insists that they are positioned next to her each night as she falls asleep.

These two crazies. I love them so.