Eight days. Eight days until my little guy returns to school; eight days before another year of bagged lunches, squeaky running shoes and gooey hair gel.
However, the anxiety starts now.
You may remember an earlier post where I shared that Ryder, my sweet little 5-year old, has selective mutism – an anxiety disorder. To make a long story short, in social situations where Ryder does not feel comfortable, he simply does not speak. In fact, in his entire first year of school, he only spoke a couple of times.
We have coping techniques; ways to help draw him out of his shell. And for the most part, they’re helping. But we can’t control his anxiety, nor can we write it off as inconsequential. He has a real aversion to social situations and we have a really difficult time watching as he withdraws into what we call “the Ryder zone”.
So, with the onset of school just around the corner, things are changing. Ryder stops is his tracks when he hears “Back to School” commercials. He asks on a daily basis, “Is there school today?” And when I say “No, but soon…” he stares off into space, no doubt thinking of a gazillion ways to psyche himself out.
I wanted to do something special for him. Something positive that he could associate with back to school; something to give him comfort and reassurance. And I just knew that I wanted it to somehow involve Disney Cars – it’s no secret that both boys are obsessed with them, and for Ryder, they represent confidence and fearlessness.
Then it came to me – a bedroom makeover! Of course – what better way to start off the school year right than to recreate his bedroom – his safe place – into one that reflects his love of Cars and life in the (G-rated) fast lane?
And I knew just where to go to make it happen – Walmart, of course! They have absolutely everything you need for back to school, back to campus, and even back to sanity (which is what I’m looking forward to once the boys are separated for a few hours each day). Plus, they have a fantastic selection of Disney Cars merchandise for your little race fans.
Now, y’all know that I’m pretty obsessed with Walmart, and have been an avid Sunday morning shopper for oh, the last 15 years or so. And, like so many friends and family, I constantly fall victim to the “Walmart Rule of 60”; that is, you walk in to buy one thing, and you end up spending $60. (Read: How to Spend $169.22 on Three Bags of Milk)
The good news? Being an avid shopper, and an avid supporter, has allowed me to build a fabulous relationship with the brand. Hence, when I politely requested a $200 Gift Card to makeover Ryder’s room, they happily obliged. (Thank you Walmart!)
And you know what? While I came very close to spending my budget, I definitely didn’t go over. So…. are you ready to see how you can take a room from cutesy to KA-CHOW! for less than two bills? It’s time for a good old fashioned before and after!
Ryder’s bedroom was last made over as part of my “Renocation” in 2011. With the exception of the toddler bed being swapped for a double bed, the room was essentially the same. So for all intents and purposes, here are the “before” pictures:
As you can see from the above pictures – super cute room, but definitely more appropriate for a toddler stuck in the terrible two’s than a 5-year old speed demon. Since we converted Reid’s crib into a double bed, the space is more balanced, and in fact, we added another dresser to the mix, because the boys now share a bed – and room!
Et voila! In one shopping excursion, I was able to purchase everything necessary to complete the bedroom makeover. Take a peek!
Okay, let’s dissect piece by piece. First, the comforter and sheet set were sold separately; the Cars 2 Espionnage Full Sheet Set retails for $39.94; the comforter, $59.94. Tragically, I forgot to pull back the comforter to actually show you the sheet set, but through the magic of the Internet, you can check it out via the hyperlink above. I washed the comforter before use and as you can see from the photo below, there was zero fading and the colours remain true.
This snazzy Tow Mater pillow was purchased for $19.97; it’s currently seated on Ryder’s dresser but will no doubt make it to his bed tonight. The pillow was a bit of a splurge, but can you deny the adorableness?
The wall decals and border were super easy to find in the paint section at Walmart. We purchased two borders at $12.97 each to complete Ryder’s entire perimeter, but then he does have a larger room (12′ x 14′) and one package may suffice for smaller spaces. The Cars stickers, featuring popular characters from the second movie, were also a must-have; I spaced them out evenly throughout the room as seen pictured above.
The Japanese racer Shu Todoroki is one of Ryder’s favourite cars, so I knew I had to grab this desk lamp, as it prominently featured #7. At $24.97 it was reasonably priced and I think it’ll give off the perfect amount of light for bedtime stories.
Now you may be asking, Lena – what gives? What’s on the other side of the room? Well, it’s no biggie really, here’s a picture. As I previously mentioned, there’s an additional dresser due to the fact that both boys now share this room, and their (reformed) shopaholic mother buys them a lot of clothing.
Okay. So the truth is, I do have another Cars-related theme to show off. Ahem…. as much as I’d like to call it Ryder’s Die Cast Cars Collection…. the truth is, it’s really mine. Sure, the boys play with the cars… but it’s me who collects them like a fiend. Like a deranged, obsessed fiend. I may even have a “dealer” who scouts the city for the best scores. I know I need help.
I know each and every name and even purchased a Collector’s Encyclopedia so I could get to know their personalities, too. Of course, this isn’t the entire collection; the boys were playing with a handful of cars while I prepped the room. Like I said: a deranged, obsessed fiend.
Okay, okay – so I’m pretty sure I did a kick a** job making over Ryder’s room. But what did he think? Did he love it? I do believe his expression says it all :)
We had a long chat this evening about back to school, and changes, and good things to come. And his Cars bedroom encompasses all three; a new room, a new school year, a new start. I’m hoping that his snazzy “boy cave” will instill new confidence in him for the months ahead, and I’m certainly thrilled with the outcome, makeover-wise. Special thanks to Walmart Canada for partnering with me on #ProjectBacktoSchool!
This is an amazing makeover of Ryder’s room Lena and that is quite a collection of cars! Ryder is so lucky to have a very creative mommy and he is such a great model! I love all his pictures – especially the last two with his Tow Mater pillow.
I didn’t know that Walmart had such a great selection of decorations for kids rooms. I’ll be checking it out for sure.
Thanks Marissa! Please do check it out!
Chandra Christine O'Connor
definitely cute but is his bed in front of a door?
Yep – it’s just a small closet, and we never, ever use it – so we rationed why not tuck the bed right into the corner. As he grows, if he requires use of the closet, we’ll simply flip his room around (I’m sure by then he won’t want to share a room with his little brother so we can remove one of the dressers and get some more space).
Great job Lena!!!
Thanks for babysitting the boys while I tackled it :)
Judy C (Cowan)
Great on Ryder’s room, I am sure he will love it. And hopefully it will help to ease some on the anxiety/fears about back to school
Fingers crossed Judy. He’s hanging out in there right now and seems perfectly happy; we’ll just have to keep stressing the importance of being brave and fearless like Lightning McQueen :)
Teena in Toronto
Very cool! He obviously love love loves it!
He does :) It took a while for him to fall asleep last night!
Great makeover, we are getting ready to redo Rachel’s room, which will probably get done Thanksgiving weekend. Finding a combo of black green and blue is WORK, but we have been eyeing a few pieces at Walmart including a funky green rug, and chair back.
Thanks Hollie! Walmart is great for teen rooms – they have an entire section dedicated to them!
Oh so fabulous and his reaction is priceless! Well done Mama, and for a great price!
His reaction was the best part for sure!
Thanks Jenny :)
I have learned that every renovation needs at least one splurge, and I Mater is definitely worthy. Love the bedroom makeover Lena and Ryder looks thrilled! Ps I never would have guesses you had a cars addiction. Too cute!
Haha happy you approve of our Mater pillow :) And yes, I’m currently in a 10-step program for my Cars addiction :)
Love his Ryder’s reaction. $200 well spent! My favourite is the lamp. Good for you on letting the boys share a room. My two girls have separate rooms and now they have this distinction going on and little sister is not allowed in big sisters room. I wished I had let them share a room until they are older and want more privacy.
Thank you Tricha! As long as the boys are sharing a room they’re less likely to sneak into my bed :)
Oh, Lena!! The expression on his face says it all! :D You did an AMAZING job at stretching the $200 into a fabulous make over!
I really hope this surprise helps soothe Ryder’s fears of the upcoming BTS day!
Thank you so much Soozle! Muah!
Looks great and what a fabulous reward for your hard work – that look on his face! I bet he wasn’t as thrilled last Christmas morning.
You’d win that bet Lisa! This totally eclipsed Christmas morning!
Wonder how you will be able to outdo yourself this December? Or not even trying?….
:) We actually don’t do gifts at Christmas, because thanks to my line of work, my boys are spoiled fortunate all year round. Instead, they get to choose out gifts for toy drives :)
Great job! The room looks fabulous. Hope Ryder has a great school year. My youngest son has anxiety issues (as do I) and I understand how frustrating it can be. Your such a great mom for helping him feel better :)
Thank you Brenda! Our fingers and toes are crossed. And it’s nice to chat with someone who can sympathize!
Great room. Ryder’s face says it all. I hope it gives Ryder something to hang on to when he’s feeling the anxiety building.
On a different note, that’s a great collection of Cars cars! I thought we had a lot, but you’ve got us beat by a few :) We used to scour e-bay for missing cars.
Hahaha I really enjoy collecting them, though our hardwood floors are taking a beating cause they boys are a bit rough with them :)
Great room makeover! My 4 year old boy has a Cars themed room too. :) And I’ve been fighting an internal battle with obsessively collecting the characters too! Little did I know back when Cars 2 came out that I should’ve snatched up all the different ones I could find and tuck them away for future gifts. I naively restrained our buying and now it’s hard/expensive to find the ones we’re missing. I even bought a couple off eBay for his last birthday because they were cheaper than people selling them locally. We’re jealous of your Rip Clutchgoneski! The Cars 2 racers are the only ones my son has actually wanted specifically and that’s the one we’re missing! :)
Ah, you DO understand! I found Rip Clutchgoneski at Target in the US and I just about fainted with excitement :) Haven’t gone the eBay route yet but I have no doubt I’ll get there one day!
I’m a little jealous of your Rip Clutchgoneski too!
I was jumping up and down when I spotted him!
Awesome job Lena and great scores from Walmart. You’re such a good mom and I wish Ryder a happy and successful school year.
Thank you Yash, we really appreciate it :)
Fabulous makeover (and love Ryder’s expressions !). Be prepared and forewarned – “Planes” is out now… LOL !
Hahaha oh I know! And the boys have already seen it… hopefully we can keep THAT particular addiction at bay!
Your son is one happy camper lol The looks on his face are so adorable! Great job with the makeover!
Thank you so much Anne!
Love it! Ryder’s a lucky little race fan and you did an amazing job of making $200 stretch, but then Walmart is awesome for that!
You’re right – they are pretty awesome at helping us make a dollar stretch!
Sweet room makeover, and I love the Mater pillow!
Thanks so much Jenny!
Diana @ Toronto Teacher Mom
Sa-weet! Thanks for providing some fabulous Cars-themed inspiration. I haven’t done anything in my son’s room yet but maybe next spring we’ll give it a fresh coat of paint and look at new bedding with matching decals.
I definitely recommend it, Diana!
What a lovely idea, Lena, and it came out so well! Fingers crossed that it is a good year for Ryder.
Also, that is quite the impressive collection of cars! I’m glad you captured it at three angles for full effect haha!
Thank you Victoria :) And thank you for noticing that I captured the cars at three angles for full effect, LOL!!
OK, my son would lose it if he got that room. And “your” collection of die-cast cars – amazing!!
Thank you Erin :) And the good news is that the decor at Walmart is really very affordable!
Ryder looks so surprised and amazed! A wonderful start to a great year for Ryder. How thoughtful of Wal-Mart to contribute this way. The room looks fantastic!
Thank you Teresa! It’s ALL Cars all the time at my house now!
What an awesome transformation – I love the photos of how happy he is with his new room! And I love your, I mean his, car collection. :-) I have two girls and love all things girly, but this room (and the car collection!) made me think it’d be nice to have a boy in the family too!
:) I love the Cars as much as he does – they all have their own personality, which I adore!
Great job!! And we love Cars too – so great to see that both boys are fans. Now you just have to get him to Cars Land in LA!
For sure – it’s on our travel bucket list! Thanks Carlee!
His face truly says it all. Good job Lena! :)
Thanks so much Nancy!
How nice Lena!
:) Thank you Lisa!
Way to go, looks fabulous!
I appreciate it, Courtney!
My son would go crazy for this room! Thanks for the ideas!
You’re very welcome! Good luck!
I love what you did with your son’s bedroom! My son is an INSANE Cars Movie fan too, and I was blown away to see that you also collect the diecast cars for him. We have just as many, but my son has his all across a bookcase. They keep popping up for $3 at my dollar store, and there’s one he doesn’t already have … ;)
LOL I think I’ve visited all the Dollaramas in the city trying to find new ones that he doesn’t currently have. It’s great to know that you’re a collector too – perhaps we can trade duplicates one day!
Oh, and I forgot to say that I can name the following obscure cars in your collection Lena: Austin Littleton, Max Schnell, Grem, Geoff Gorvette, Carla Velosa…but do you have Galloping Geargrinder? ;)
Very good!! And I DO NOT have a Galloping Geargrinder… but you’ve officially added it to my list of cars to collect!
Simply WOWWW!!! I am impressed:) and loved his collection!!!
:) Thank you Savanah!
You did such a great job with the room. You’re a great mom and I’m so proud of you both! Wishing Ryder a happy first day of school.
Thank you Alexandra! I was so nervous, I hardly slept! LOL
The room looks fabulous and the look on his face absolutely priceless
Thank you Debbie!
Mary @Capturing Magical Memories
Congrats Ryder on the snazzy new bedroom and good luck this year in school!! I know you will do great.
Thanks so much Mary – much appreciated!
The look on his face is HYSTERICAL! There really is nothing better as a kid than to be surrounded by the things you love in your room. I remember how much I loved my room makeovers. I remember when I had a Muppet room and then when it became a teddy bear room.
Hahaha thanks Kuleen! And a Muppet room sounds fab – lucky you!
Judy C (Cowan)
We picked up the sheet set to put away for a Christmas present :)
So. Very. Awesome!!!
WOW!!! Looks amazing!! Love the expression on his face!