I spent a lot of time with the boys today. First, they accompanied me to the jobsite house and "helped" me test-paint and measure closets. Gabriel helped me by writing down all the closet measurements as I called them out. He takes his job very seriously, even tucking the pencil behind his ear like a real carpenter.
When I paint a test patch on the wall, their job is to take a dry brush and smooth the edges so there are no streaks. There are now patches of color all over the house! I think I have it down-pat now. The theory of using a 50% strength formula of the main color in the halls didn't work at all, so I had to try another color. Looks like the entire new part of the house, except one bathroom, will be some or other shade of muted green. I like getting the boys' opinions on all the colors, too, and though I have to keep a close eye on them and immediately nip any running games that get started, it's much more fun having them there with me.
Later, we decorated cookies. I'd made the dough two days ago and only today got around to cutting out and baking the cookies, then we decorated them after dinner. I have a system now, in which I ice a cookie, then set the wet cookie on a tray, where they sprinkle away to their hearts' content. Normally I'm very open to letting them do everything themselves, but a bowlful of drippy icing...I think I'll handle that one myself for a while.
They had a great time. Gabriel tried again and again to get perfect red stripes on candy-cane cookies. Julian's cookies were random and creative. A nice summary of their personalities as seen through Christmas cookies.
Katrina was in better shape today overall, and other than a showy dinner tantrum, she was pretty good. Tonight's tantrum was partly sparked by foolishness and stubbornness on my part. Foolishness because the cookie-baking project was in full swing -- and full view -- when she came into the kitchen, and she wanted a COOKIE, not dinner. Stubbornness because even my under-the-weather baby is not getting a cookie for dinner, not first, anyway. I finally got her to eat by quietly asking Gabriel to put the bowl of turkey burger in front of her instead of me. She has nothing to prove to him, so she calmly accepted it. When I gave it to her, she dumped it on the floor angrily, earning her one of her first at-home timeouts.
Time to go play... I mean, wait for Santa!