Saturday, January 20, 2007

1/20/07 The stained-glass window

We got our stained-glass window today!

The motivation for a stained-glass window was to obscure a line of sight our neighbors have into our hall, and it turned into "la piece de resistance" in this whole remodeling project. John, the stained-glass artist, explained that the design is inspired by of a series of balloon-confetti designs by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1910 "Coonley House" in Minnesota.

Since this was a private commission, and a very special thing we'll want to keep, John installed it hanging with hooks, so that we can take it with us when we move, even though it's designed to fit into the stairwell window.

First, the window itself.

Carrying it up the stairs.

Lifting it carefully onto the ladder.

Hanging it in place.

John, the artist, and Theresa, his right-hand gal.

Our window!

It will create all sorts of interesting colored shadows on the hall walls, but still lets a lot of light through to the only truly sunny space in our house.

Tough day today, mostly due to lack of sleep. Dave pooped out on our movie last night, so I watched Les Choristes (let's hear it for Netflix's 2-at-a-time plan!), an excellent movie that had my mind spinning all night. Les Choristes is a movie about troubled young boys at a boarding school, some orphaned, which, combined with Tonya's divorce, and some other awful news (a childhood playmate of mine lost her 20-year-old son to suicide last year), made me edgy and stressed about family, especially on a night that Gabriel and Julian weren't there. Add to that nightmares about hurricanes, it made what little continuous sleep Katrina allowed very fitful.

So, early to bed tonight. I can't wait to see our window in the morning sun tomorrow.


Friday, January 19, 2007

1/19/07 Sleepover night/day

Nice relaxed day, with no kid pickups! Still, I got a lot less done than I'd anticipated. Silly me, I keep forgetting how much time a baby takes. But such delightful time, much of it spent playing face-games, smiling, making silly sounds. I do believe she's starting to chuckle.

I took Katrina to the Y for a good solid workout, the first good thorough one since my back injury. Then Katrina slept much of the afternoon; I caught up on things and made minor headway cleaning up and moving in upstairs. She was in fine form today, smiling broadly when she woke up from naps, making lots of adorable -- and loud! -- sounds.

Everyone who meets her comments how smiley she is, and indeed it seems she likes nothing better than smiling back and forth. A very social, outgoing baby. (Hmm, I have a cute photo of her, but for some reason, Blogspot's already very poor photo-uploading system isn't working at all right now.)

(OK, added it in later)

Good news! Uncle Ronan is coming for a short visit on Feb.1st!

But bad news otherwise...Tonya's moving, which isn't bad by itself, but it's because of a divorce. Solid family life is so important to her (they have 3 daughters, ages 8, 11 and 14), my heart goes out to all the Howards. Tonya's daycare/preschool will continue to operate, and thank goodness for that. She really loves kids, and that will help keep her grounded through a tough time.

Dave and I are about to watch a Netflix movie. Life is returning to normal. Funny that nowadays, normal life includes Netflix.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

1/18/07 Music class

hoo, I'm tired. Fun skating class tonight, despite expected pain from my new ice skates. Dave and I went to Olarn Thai Cuisine, which was so-so. This after bailing from a Japanese Tapas place near our house, in a crummy little strip mall, with only a sign that says Karaoke...but it was so packed inside that we didn't wait and ended up at the Thai place. Maybe next time.

Music class this morning....brand new teacher, and he wasbrand new. He needs more training, at the very least: memorizing the songs, keeping class time on track, varying the physical movements and gestures during repeated choruses, not getting distracted by kids running. Music Together is so expensive that I think we're owed higher quality. Even Julian, usually a zombie during class, ended up running around the classroom in a circle, laughing -- during the lullaby!

Good day otherwise, back is healing and I had all 3 kids this afternoon. Though that's always more work and sometimes stress, I also feel more settled and contented knowing that they're all home with me.

Still...sleepover tomorrow, yay!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

1/17/07 Back to exercise

I dared attempt a conditioning class today, which was challenging mostly in lugging the carseat and Katrina into the gym. I am very close to chucking that heavy thing, I so much prefer a regular carseat! But Katrina is a little young to be carried around everywhere, she still needs two hands, and she still sleeps just enough that it's useful to have her in the infant carrier. Not for long though.

In fact, more and more I've left the carseat in the car and just carried Katrina wherever we were going, though with little boys in tow, it seems I often need to carry other things.

In any case, the conditioning class felt great, though bending down to pick up weights put some strain on my back. I used lighter weights than usual, and moved gingerly through the class, but it was definitely a plus to have done it, even at diminished capacity. I expect that tomorrow I'll be myself again, and even if I'm not, I'm still skating!

Today the strangest thing happened. In the afternoon, Gabriel fell asleep on the family room floor. I put Katrina down for a nap, and it was a fine time for me to lie down too. So for a time, we were all three asleep. This is a very common scenario for us in the afternoon (Julian was at Tonya's).

(I'll add here that Katrina has been waking up more and more, including times when it's clear she's not hungry. The boys started night-sleep trouble around this age too, so I'm deeply fearful that I'm in for months and months of being tired all the time from constant sleep interruption. So I look for any opportunity to lie down.)

When I got up, I heard Gabriel crying softly, and went to see what was wrong. He was dejectedly cleaning up his train tracks, crying without tears, just slightly more than a whine. This is the sort of crying he does occasionally if he breaks or tears something he cares about. I asked him what was wrong, and he looked at me and said, "I'm lonely." I probed him more, and he'd thought he was alone in the house! I wasn't in sight when he woke up from his floor nap, so he assumed I was gone. He wasn't fearful or distressed, just sad. It was so strange! I sat and held him and rocked him for a long, long time, and told him many times that I'd never leave him, and he just snuggled me and said calmly, "OK, mom." He didn't cry or complain, he just quietly curled up in my lap. Even when he's vulnerable, he's tough!

For dinner, I continued a con I tried last week: "green french fries." It worked, though the boys tried to eat the buttery green beans with their fingers, a la French Fries. Still, they both consumed the vegetable without complaint. Yay! And then, more music to my ears, from Julian: "Mommy, can I please have some more fish?" They both downed the baked tilapia I made. That makes up for the frozen fish sticks I just got, even though they're Trader Joe's and the ingredients are pretty good.

No contractors for two days now...turns out, the painters are done (FINALLY!!!!!), and we're down to punchlist items. Still, a big thing still left is the bifold doors for the laundry area, that would have been done by now except that the wrong doors came in. So now we're waiting for those doors. We could move upstairs now, but then when the guys come for the final items, they'll be trying to start work upstairs while we're still taking showers and getting dressed. After 13 months living downstairs, you'd think a few more weeks would be no big deal, right? On the contrary, every day irritates me more and more. I want to move up!

The boys' room sure is small (11x13) with both their beds in there, and worse than that, there's very little wall space. I'm starting to e-shop for bunk beds for them.


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

1/16/07 Healing

I went to physical therapy today at 7:15am, which helped a lot. My back is now sore all over, but it's just muscles (not joint). With more ice and heat, by the end of the day, I could stand up mostly straight, but still couldn't carry much, especially not Katrina. I asked Kids Inc to keep Gabriel all day, since I couldn't handle the boys together. One or the other, fine, but both together is 100 times as hard.

Baby was fussy and hard to please today, I think because she hasn't been out of the house in two days.

Julian's one big outing was out front to pick an orange, though he played in the backyard for a while afterward.

While outside, I was struck by an orange. Not literally, but it stood out boldly from the others. I didn't know how to compose the photo, nor crop it later to adjust for poor composition. It's like drawing: I'm a very creative artist in my head, but I absolutely can't make my hand transfer a drawing in my head onto paper. I feel like I'm in a foreign country struggling to speak the language, and I have a lot to say even though I'm illiterate.

I should be able to stand up completely tomorrow, and maybe even carry Katrina around comfortably. And, exercise again! I've been doing a few minutes here and there of exercises on the floor, but that doesn't compare to a session at the Y. But absolutely no stationary bicycling.


Monday, January 15, 2007

1/15/07 Mom takes a bath

It was time! My brand-new bathroom has been awaiting for months, and tonight I decided to try it out. I've hesitated because it's still partly a work zone; there's still new dust every day, and, well, I feel funny putting all my personal little indulgences around the bathtub when there are still strange guys in and out of there!

But my injured back demanded it. I've spent all day doing nothing, saving whatever strength I have to lug a bewildered Katrina around from place to place, dangling in my arms like a lion cub. I lay down whenever I could, knowing from regrettable experience that time off my back is essential for healing. Gabriel was wonderful today, despite the lack of entertainment, playing on his own for hours. I felt bad when I did join him, and he'd say, "Oh I'm so glad you're here now Mom. I was lonely!"

I was a little nervous testing out my new bathtub: the time and expense of this remodel puts a lot of pressure on everything being great. But I got over that quickly when I remembered why I'd chosen that particular tub: it is comfortable! It was great taking a bath in a tub that I could actually fill. The controls are a little too high; I have to really reach to turn the water on and off. My sitting-shower concept (a handshower placed low enough to act as a shower when you're sitting in the bath) works great. But my bathtub's jets didn't work!! Wah!! I really needed that. Another item for the punchlist.

I didn't dare attempt going anywhere today, so had to settle for sitting in the backyard to give Katrina, and myself, fresh air. Gabriel discovered this adorable hand-me-down hat for Katrina, and thought it would be really funny for him to put on. And it was!

Of course, if I'm essentially on bedrest, there's still one thing I can do with baby: photos! Not the ones in which I stand over her, but I had to take some pictures, since she was being pretty cute.

I took one with my hand in it, on purpose. If Mom is any indication, I will probably age pretty well....except my hands. They are every bit my 43 years, and then some. (I'm in good company though; look closely at Sarah Jessica Parker's hands in Sex and the City.) So I faced up to it and took a picture with my wrinkled old hand in it, next to my perfect little baby.

This kicked off a series of hand shots. These were quite difficult to take, since Katrina was in full wiggles-and-kicks mode!

But there's a lot of potential there. I have a lot of idea for hand shots now -- if only I could get her to cooperate! Still, she found these finger antics pretty interesting.

Gabriel can never get enough of his little sister, and helped me a lot today entertaining her.

Without Julian around, Gabriel was a perfect angel today, though he was quite glad to see Julian when Dave brought Julian home. In fact, Julian came up and gave Gabriel a kiss hello! While I was luxuriating in my bath, it was quite heartwarming to hear them downstairs running madly after each other, laughing and shouting and excitedly yammering out ideas for play and mischief. Ah, little boys.

Tomorrow will probably be another bust, but I plan to be standing up tall again on Wednesday.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

1/14/07 Back out!

Bloody hell. Yesterday I was flying high, feeling great about being able to run, I'm hobbling around bent completely over, unable to lift or carry anything or reach up. Did I say I spent 6 minutes on a stationary bike yesterday, despite my risky sacro-iliac joint? Well, that's what I get for tempting fate!

This time the trigger wasn't as benign as the others. I was trying to lift a heavy piece of the crib up the stairs when I felt the toing. But still, I know what it's like to wrench your back lifting something heavy -- it hurts, you stop, it aches for a few hours, it goes away. This is completely different. I can't straighten my body at all, even under no load (as in water). Past experience says it will be a few days before I can stand straight again.

Last time this happened, Julian was a crawling toddler (about 17 months old) who needed to be carried, but he was too heavy and I had to get Peggy to help me for a few days. This time, Katrina is light enough that I can clutch her against my chest and move her from place to place, but that's about it.

Just sitting here typing is pretty painful. Dave took Katrina and Gabriel to Safeway for our usual Sunday shopping, and I'm about to tackle dinner, somehow. I don't know what we're going to do tomorrow.