Saturday, December 23, 2006

12/23/06 All I want for Christmas is...

Oh, if only...

Our new kitchen faucet has me on a tear. Suddenly, other aspects of our kitchen that have been nonideal for the past 7 years are now urgent severe irritations (like pot & pan storage). Things that never occurred to me before to be bothered about, bother me now (like spice storage). And things that have always bothered me are intolerable (like our ugly, too-high cabinets).

But I'm caught between very much wanting to remodel, and very much not wanting to remodel at all anymore. The goal of finishing the upstairs by the holidays is far from met.

Here are photos I took today of the boys' room and the baby's room. They'll stay like that until work resumes after the holidays. There's no chance of even assembling the crib or putting things away. Even after the painters are done, there are still numerous details, some little (like knobs) and some big (like bifold doors for the laundry area, carpet for the stairs, a shower door).

At this point, I'm not even sure it'll be done by February.

This morning, we all went to Bobbi's, where Katrina peacefully slept the whole time. She's definitely the most reliable in the mornings.

Then, a quick photo session in front of a fountain at an adjoining nursery with the boys, who were basically pretty good.

Then we all went -- Shopping! For new carpet for the stairs, actually. I have a hankering for an outrageous color, like purple, but Dave is wisely nixing that. We ordered some samples, but the carpet world moves a lot faster than the paint world, so there's no point in ordering the carpet until the painters are done.

The one remaining thing I'm really looking forward to is the stained-glass window we commissioned. That will be the real capper, a nice unique touch that will make the whole thing worthwhile.

One thing for sure: the downstairs remodel will not take as long, and I will be far more decisive and directed about it, and manage the whole project much more tightly than this one. Especially since I won't get pregnant right as it starts!


Friday, December 22, 2006

12/22/06 A nice Friday

After telling Betsy yesterday that Katrina never just dozes off, she did so this morning in the bouncer. I never see her sleep freestyle, she's always tightly swaddled, so her arms by her head is sort of a cute novelty.

This afternoon, I experimented with my new way of posing a baby, but didn't get any fabulous shots. I tried a few profiles, and this was the best shot I got in the session.

I never get tired of looking at this beautiful and lively baby. She gets tired of it though.

I took Julian and Katrina to the Y this morning, and was surprised to see that a genuine old-fashioned aerobics class had just started. What fun! I haven't done a whole aerobics class in a long, long time. I felt GREAT afterward, energized and optimistic. I can only dream of how incredible I'll feel when I take a dance class again. It's been a year.

We all went out to dinner tonight, a risky undertaking. But though Katrina cried on the way there, she was great while we were there, sitting happily in the carseat for about half of it. The other half, Dave or I held her, and as long as she could look around and see people, she was OK. Not necessarily calm, but very interested in what was going on around her.

This dinner was at Midori, our favorite Japanese restaurant. Julian actually asked for "shooshi," which he ate, and then couldn't get enough butterfish, as well as his usuals: edamame, tofu, miso soup, tempura, rice, gyoza, and pretty much anything we put in front of him. Restaurants have definitely gotten easy with the boys. The baby...well, she did really well tonight.

Gabriel was so excited about starting a gingerbread house this afternoon and helping me with it. I got the pieces "glued" together; now we can decorate it tomorrow. It's so fun doing things like that with him, he throws himself completely into it and is so enthusiastic and cheerful and completely focused. Sometimes out of the blue as we're working together, he'll say, "Come here Mom, I want to give you a kiss." Nothing's sweeter.

Julian had a great time playing at home this morning without Gabriel, then took a nice long nap in the afternoon without incident.

Dave came home early from work, having pushed through some critical things. He took Julian to The Learning Game to pick out a Christmas present for Gabriel, that was fun for them.

As for me, my aerobics-high lasted all day. We all did great today.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

12/21/06 Coloring cookies

Today Julian and Katrina and I went to Betsy's house to decorate cookies. Betsy made some gingerbread cookies and coated them with white icing, which are then perfect to draw on with edible markers, though Gina and Andrew also painted. Gina is very creative and coordinated with painting, I was impressed!

We did this last year too, and Gabriel spent maybe 5 minutes with the cookies before abandoning the project for Gina's train table. Julian, on the other hand, sat for quite a while coloring, then putting sprinkles on icing. It helped that Gina was sitting next to him, as he really likes her. And she didn't deride him for "scribbling," as Gabriel does.

Julian and Andrew actually played together for a while too, a first.

When it was time to go, all three kids were jumping off a couch onto a mattress and having a grand time. I was glad that Julian had some playmates today. And me too; it's always nice catching up with Betsy.

One advantage of giving the boys dinner before Dave gets home is that I'm not distracted trying to have grownup talk with my husband. Tonight during dinner, we goofed around making up new words to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer":

Then one froggy twisted sleeve
Santa came to bray
Moo-Golf with your doze so right
Won't you grab my sleigh tonight.

A surprise side-effect of all the laughter: Katrina sat CALMLY in my lap! She was sufficiently interested in her silly brothers that she forgot to move around constantly. Truly a treat. She is far more responsive to social activity than I remember the boys being at this age.

Speaking of reindeer, Gabriel stayed at Kids Inc all day today, to attend a holiday party. And, apparently, perform in a little show the kids have been rehearsing, which I hadn't heard a thing about. He came home with a little Vixen "costume". NOT to start the day: at 5am, I heard Julian crying. Upstairs to investigate, and I found that Gabriel had gotten up and made his bed (!), then had pushed Julian out of bed and was trying to make Julian's bed. Julian just wanted to sleep and so was crying. At 5am!!! Julian went right back to bed, but Gabriel had to be threatened with not getting a gold star (ooh). Thank goodness that actually worked. I was in no mood to drag him out to the garage.

Gabriel is suddenly into picking his own clothes. This morning, on a day when we're experiencing a cold snap and rain, he shows up in shorts and a T-shirt. Why the shorts? Because they have a number on them. Somehow Dave managed to persuade him to put pants on, but changing a Thomas T-shirt wasn't worth the battle.

A few thoughts on 3...

Betsy agrees that the transition from 1 to 2 children was harder than from 2 to 3, at least so far. The experience of having already transitioned from one child to more than one has definitely paid off. There certainly are challenging times when all three need something from me, but for the most part, how to get dinner made and cleaned up every night isn't a daily mystery. It's just more hectic (especially tonight when the boys were all over Katrina and I didn't dare turn my back while making dinner).

But that's while one of the three is an immobile baby with simple needs. Karen at the gym says that now that her youngest is starting activities like dance, gymnastics, music, etc, shuttling all 3 of her kids around is the hardest time. I asked her if it was unrealistic to insist on only one activity per kid at a time, and she said it was, especially since some activities require a big committment (like soccer practice 4 times a week).

What a different childhood I led. A different time, in a very different place. Even though I've spent most of my adulthood in suburbs, I'm not sure I'll ever really belong in them. But my kids will. All three of them.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12/20/06 Wiggly Katrina

A fairly uneventful day, just as I like it.

Napped with Katrina this morning.

Took Katrina to Supreme Court, put her in the gym daycare where she smiled at everyone while I went to the Power Weights class.

Picked Gabriel up at pre-K, he promptly fell asleep on the living room floor.

Wrapped gifts and prepared to send away, late, AGAIN, while baby asleep.

Early dinner for boys and Dad, boys to bed, baby to bed.

Did a photo session this afternoon, including a few crummy self-times. The zoom on my camera is worthless.

I discovered how to prop her up on pillows for pictures, though by the time I did so, she wasn't really into it anymore.

Katrina's hair was really out of control today. The rooster-mohawk thing started by accident when she was barely 10 days old, but now I sort of do it on purpose. After her bath every night, while her hair is still wet and curly, I give it a quick brush up each side of her head. That's all it takes. It dries that way, sort of, and if it doesn't, running fingers through her hair will do that too. I know it looks funny, but I can't resist.

Also did a camera video to show why it's so hard to get good photos of Katrina, because she's constantly wiggling!

These days, when people ask me how the baby is, instead of rolling my eyes and complaining about how much work a baby is, I smile and say she's delightful. Which is genuine and completely true.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

12/19/06 Everything and the kitchen sink

We had a plumber here this morning -- morning?! All day! He arrived at 9am and left at 2pm. Nearly $600 later, we have a new kitchen faucet and shutoff valves that work and will last.

He also took out an instant hot-water heater that we never used and a broken soap dispenser, extended some lines, and did a whole bunch of infrastructure things that you can't see. The actual faucet took him maybe 20 minutes.

Now more than ever, I want to scrape our hideous kitchen off the face of the earth. I haven't wanted to put one cent into it, but now that we had to, it's whetted my appetite to do what it really needs: vanquish it to a bad memory. Our new faucet works so, so much better than the old one that it makes me want to get rid of every nasty fixture and appliance we have!

Waiting for the plumber dominated our day. Julian and Katrina and I didn't go anywhere this morning, not even to pick up Gabriel. Instead, Dave came home for lunch to talk to the plumber, and picked Gabriel up on the way.

But we had to get out. After the plumber finally finished, I packed up all three kids and took them to Target. Yeah, great. Target. Our big outing of the day. Wow. Gabriel has a gift exchange at school (optional) and he has to pick out a gift.

I had to give up on Julian's nap, but that meant EARLY dinner for the boys. And indeed, I managed to get them fed and even cleaned up dinner by 6pm! Now that's more like it! No fusses, no blowouts, no arguments, no threats, no yelling. Everything went very smoothly.

In the old days, starting dinner at 6:30pm was early. But now, if I haven't thought about it by 5pm, I'm behind. Getting it all done by 6pm meant starting to think about it at 4pm, but that was perfect. The only flip side is that Dave had late leftovers, but that is well worth it (at least to me!).

One welcome benefit of shifting everything earlier was having some nice time with the boys after dinner. I helped Gabriel wrap the present for his pre-K holiday party, and I do mean that I helped him. I guided him, but he did most of it. The gift exchange is a random one, so we don't know who will get his gift, but he kept saying he wanted to give it to a girl in his class, Donya.

Katrina joined us for some photos in the living room, then took a nap while the boys decorated the tree.

The lights have been up on our tree for a week, but we haven't found a good time to hang ornaments!

It's about time! That was fun; I put on some nice music and the boys had a great time.

My little darlings. Aww.


Monday, December 18, 2006

12/18/06 Julian's birthday party

Today we had a little birthday party for Julian at Tonya's. I made cupcakes and decorated them with "3"s, and brought little party favor bags as well. The kids sat at the table, we sang Happy Birthday, and they all ate their cupcakes.

Julian was the slowest cupcake-eater, apparently savoring it!

Then the kids all lined up on the wall for a photo (that didn't turn out well enough to bother with), and then Julian handed out party favors to everyone. Then he got a birthday present as well. That was it!

Katrina hung out and watched the action. I thought she'd fuss, since she was tired when we arrived, but she was much too interested in what was going on. She has a huge interest and response to what goes on around her, if she's not exhausted. I remember noticing that about the boys too when they were just two months old, and being amazed that a baby that young would notice new things -- but they do. (Why couldn't she have done this at my Las Madres holiday party a few weeks ago?!)

Naturally, Katrina herself was of great interest to the other little girls, especially Sadie.

After Julian's party, I went straight to Supreme Court to catch a conditioning class, where Katrina slept the whole time in the gym daycare. Yay!

Katrina gets comments more and more these days about how smiley and interactive she is. Indeed, she's become downright outgoing and friendly, smiling easily and frequently, and making the most adorable sounds as though she's really trying to talk. She'll do this with me for 20 minutes at a time, and does it with anyone who looks closely at her. It's delightful. No one is more thrilled by her broad smiles than her brothers.

Minor crisis: our kitchen faucet broke, again. Dave replaced the spray hose thing less than a year ago, and it broke again. Though we don't want to put one cent into our hideous kitchen, the reality is that we have to live with it for at least a few more years. So, he got a much better faucet from Lowe's, but when he tried to shut the water off to install it, the cheap plastic valve broke. Plumber tomorrow, first thing!

Third night in a row of Katrina waking me up twice. At least she goes right back to sleep after nursing!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

12/17/06 Gabriel and Julian go to a motorcycle show

Today was my favorite annual DoD event: the Pancake Breakfast at Reid and Rubye's before the Motorcycle show. I stopped actually going to the moto-show itself many years ago (long before kids), though two years ago, Dave and I got a sitter and went to the show when it was in San Jose.

It's always fun seeing our old friends, especially at Reid and Rubye's darling Menlo Park house. We saw Eric Murray and Laura Lemay there, who apparently hadn't gotten the e-birth announcement about Katrina. They were pretty surprised when we walked in with another baby!

Dave took the boys to the motorcycle show, and spent all day there. They were very good, he said, overall behaving and enjoying it. They got a little punchy at one point and needed to run off some steam outdoors, but since it was a nice day (crisp and cool, but nice), they could do so outdoors between buildings. In retrospect, I almost wish I'd gone with them, but not with the baby.

Both boys fell soundly asleep on the drive home, and Dave put them both in their beds when they got home. He had to wake them up at 6pm, and they were both in good shape. No big fights or blowouts or screaming sessions today!

Meanwhile, I hung out at Reid and Rubye's with Katrina, catching up with friends and showing off my adorable and very agreeable baby. Katrina was in fine form, going right to sleep in the carseat when she needed it, and looking around and smiling at people the other times.

I took her grocery-shopping on the way home, then got her down for a solid nap, and got to take one myself. Good thing, because she had me up twice last night, and I was feeling it. How did I handle being up so, so many times a night when Gabriel was a baby?!

Katrina got an early bath tonight (thanks to a major diaper blowout), before everyone else's dinner, then started to cry after the bath. I put her down, and she went straight to sleep. HMM! I think baby needs an earlier bedtime than I've been giving her! I wonder what that says for the rest of the night and tomorrow morning though...

Only photo I got today was right after our bath, a lousy mirror shot. But the lousy mirror shot doesn't "reflect" (har har) the fact that today was a truly excellent day in Doudna-land.