Decorating a home with children can be a challenge. The more children you have, the bigger the challenge.

And if you have all boys, heaven help you. Put those wild Pinterest fantasies to rest; your house will never be the same.

There will be vile odors emanating from gym bags that no scented candle can cover. But speaking of candles, an open flame is just probably not a good idea anymore unless it’s under constant parental supervision or on a birthday cake for a fraction of a moment.

There will be football games in the living room… “No punting in the house!” “If you’re going to throw it, it better be a catchable ball!” “No Nerf gun wars in the kitchen!” “Get the Nerf bullet out of the spaghetti NOW!” “DO NOT THROW THAT BALL INTO THE GLASS DOORS!” Why do I have glass doors on my bookcase again?  “Put. The. Golf. Club. Down.” “We don’t swing bats in the house, honey!”

Thank goodness they don’t play hockey.

And the best one of all: “You accidentally shot an arrow at the tv??? And now one-fourth of the screen is black? Forever?” And this was the replacement for the tv that was smashed from an innocent Gymboree rhythm stick three months before. We have to be the only family in the universe to cause electronic destruction with a musical instrument!

By now, I know you’re either giggling or judging. I promise – my boys are not unruly disrespectful tyrants. They’re always just boys who like to be active, and being active outside in Nebraska doesn’t jive with the weather and I’m not a big fan of endless tv time. So, I allow my boys to be boys indoors within reason.

I’ve started following a few self-imposed decorating rules to deal with my reality. Like decorating with indestructible materials. Wood, metal, and plastic are my friends.

Lamps? Have superglue handy.

Family heirlooms? Anything expensive? Keep it out of the line of fire.

I’ve come to realize that a living room coffee table makes a great Lego construction station… whether I like it or not. And I’m good with that.

My favorite is decorating with books. (That’s wood, technically. Yay me!) Is there anything better than settling down on the couch with a warm snuggly blanket and a good book and the end of a long evening of living room football? It’s pretty hard to break anything reading a book – except maybe breaking the rule of staying up a few minutes past bedtime to finish a really good bedtime story.

Hopefully, someday my sons will look back and remember a house decorated with memories of playing catch, decorating the Christmas tree, setting up racetracks, a basket full of books, and the support of a family that loves them.

Diane Karr

Diane Karr lives on a family farm in south central Nebraska with her husband and four sons. Besides chasing after her busy boys and the farm, she volunteers as a church organist. Diane graduated from UNL in 1996 as an agribusiness major, shares stories about farm life at, and is a volunteer for CommonGround Nebraska. She also enjoys Husker football, hazelnut lattes, cooking and baking, boating, photography, and spending time with family and friends.