Aren’t Mother-In-Laws The Best?

When Sherry’s mom was here a couple of weekends ago for Clara’s birthday party she clocked more than her fair share of hours helping us clean the house in preparation. Perhaps her most miraculous accomplish was in the future playroom / second kids bedroom (aka: current junkroom) which looked like this when she arrived (no kidding):

Since our junk basically screamed “I Will Topple Over On Your Baby!” we were just planning to close and lock the door during the party to keep all of the littler guests away from certain death. That plan went to pot when we realized that we couldn’t physically close the door anymore (mainly due to the poorly timed delivery of a large box full of replacement parts for our recalled outdoor grill, which came the day before the party).

So before one might consider us candidates for an episode of Hoarders, my mother-in-law took it upon herself to get things organized. Ahhhhh……

Now the door closes, which was definitely necessary for the party (let me paint you a picture: kids everywhere). Surprisingly, Diana didn’t actually throw that much away – except maybe a few boxes that we had been hanging on to (like the one for Sherry’s sewing machine in case she and Oh Brother didn’t survive their first few rocky weeks together). So this really is just a result of sorting and putting things in some semblance of order (pillows with pillows, baskets nested inside of each other or stacked, etc).

Now it’s almost like this entire room is our mega “decor store” from which to pull frames, accessories and pillows when we need ’em elsewhere in the house. At least that’s what we tell ourselves when we feel super slothy for having a room full of not-sure-where-it’ll-land-yet stuff after five months of living here.

Oh, and notice that vintage kids chair? That was a birthday gift from Sherry’s mom. It’s the actual chair that she and her six siblings used when they were growing up to eat meals. Cool, right? I mean, in that totally-not-up-to-current-safety-standards way. But nonetheless, it’s fun to have in our possession (imagining my mother-in-law as a baby eating mushed up bananas is always a trip). We’ve got big plans for it as Clara’s big girl chair after she’s past her highchair days. In fact Sherry’s already googling around to make sure we can safely fix it up (making sure there aren’t any lead/formaldehyde issues since those were used in old furnishings). That’s my slightly neurotic girl.

As happy as it made us to have the room walkable again, it’s obviously still miles away from being a usable playroom. Luckily there’s no rush to get started (since the living room, office, sunroom, nursery, and kitchen are all playrooms for the bean these days). But Clara and I did take a few moments to enjoy the fact that we could actually see the floor again. The fact that all 6 feet of me can now lay down in there is nothing short of a miracle.

Thanks Nonna! We promise to (do our best not to) mess it up again.


  1. says

    It’s really amazing what a little organization from someone else will do! My mom is the same way, and I admit when I know she’s coming I may leave things a bit less tidy since she does a better job of cleaning up then I do! Ha!

  2. says

    I love the vintage high chair! It looks so cute! Speaking of mother-in-laws – I recently spied how mine pulled a vintage changing table from my husbands babyhood to the front of their basement! Sneaky but I noticed the change. Kids are still a few years away for us but shhsss don’t tell her that yet!

  3. says

    They really are! I can’t tell you how happy I am to be reminded that you have a “junk” room and that you still haven’t got to it! We moved a week ago and I feel like we live in a sea of boxes and stuff that I don’t know where to put. Here is a short video clip I took last weekend to share with our fam…both Mom’s called us and asked why it was so messy. Ha!

  4. says

    Ohmygosh, no way, everyone must have a vintage high chair, because when I had my daughter, my grandmother found the one that my dad used, and brought it out for us. My daughter still thinks it’s hilarious that “Pops” used to sit in it. Although, the one she uses now is my old high chair, which fortunately, is a great swedish-design piece. Sturdy and modern-but not too modern. The vintage chair is really just a prop in our dining room. :)

  5. says

    Not that I’d ever let her catch me saying it (again) but did you really just use the terms “mother in law” and “best” in the same title without a adverb of negation? Lucky you!!!

    Also, we have a vintage high chair that we use at said mother in law’s house…it’s held up quite well now that our daughter is a bit older. When she was in wiggle mode, my mother in law has been known to tie her into the chair with a long scarf…I kid you not! Children are surprisingly resilient.

  6. Tammy says

    Hi John and Sherry,

    Exactly how many West Elm day beds do you guys have? I seem to see them everywhere!


    • says

      Haha, we have two. One in the sunroom and one in the playroom (they used to both live in the larger sunroom in our first house). The one in the playroom will someday be Clara’s big girl bed!


  7. Lauren says

    This is not a snarky question at all, but what concerns do you have about the high chair? As another commenter pointed out, other generations have “survived” them :) Promise I’m not being judgmental, I’m just genuinely curious about what parents should be on the look out for when inherited furniture like that. Thanks!

    • says

      I think just lead or other chemicals in the treated wood (some of the old chemicals to “cure” wood have formaldehyde in it, which is now a recognized cancer-causer). Just wanna do the best by Clara that we can!


    • Jenny says

      So if you wanted to be super-careful, could you do whatever minor sanding/restaining it calls for and then put a coat or two of super-safe varnish (I forget what you call the product you like?) over it?

    • says

      Yup, I think we’ll be fine as long as we don’t sand it (bad new for releasing lead and chemicals) and just prime and paint it and then seal it with Safecoat (which is meant to lock in things like lead or formaldehyde).


  8. Cara says

    I am jealous you have such a great mother in law! Mine is the opposite of helpful and extreme high maintenance when she visits.

  9. Mariela says

    I love that ‘decor store’ reference. I’m moving soon to my first house (!) and I will have a decor store of my own :)

  10. Megan says

    Great job on the room! So organized! Great pic with Clara! On a side note..I loved her birthday video and was wondering what songs were used from Ben Drake? I’d love to use those songs in a slideshow of my own!

  11. says

    We have, and use (!) that same child’s chair for our super petite 4, almost 5 year old daughter. She loves it! Truth be told, we even squeeze our less than petite backsides in that comfy little chair from time to time! I’m amazed at how sturdy it is.

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