Saturday, September 20, 2008

9/20/08 Not a painter

My big project today was testing some house paint colors. "Templeton gray" (a bluish-gray, left), "Hancock gray" (a greenish-gray, right), with white trim; another color family altogether, or chicken out and stick with white?

I'm no painter, but I'm also no photographer, and the photo doesn't reveal the streaks, splashes, drips or uneven spots. It's not easy to paint well!

This morning some wonderful new toddler toys appeared on our porch. Katrina loves the playsets at Julian's school, and we didn't have any. Ah, but for the generosity and practicality of friends living nearby with girls outgrowing toys just as Katrina is getting into them.

I have so much to do to prepare for next week, but it's Saturday night and I just don't feel like doing anything!


Friday, September 19, 2008

9/19/08 No school day

No school today (Staff Learning Day or something), so Gabriel joined us for the weekly jobsite meeting. He was really good and let us conduct our business with no trouble. What a difference 4 years makes! There's no way Katrina would have allowed that.

When plumbers ask you multiple times where a newly delivered cast-iron bathtub sitting in the driveway goes, there's a reason. 600 pounds of it. I guess they figured if they asked enough times, eventually the answer would change, but the answer was unwaveringly upstairs. Sorry, guys.

Well, they got the last word. No sooner did I finish the big push with the plumbers, now the electrician said he needs all the light fixtures next week!

I'm a nut about making use of spaces. Under our U-shaped staircase (it used to be an L), the carpenters have framed a handy storage area, that connects at both sides. Kids are gonna love this. Gabriel demonstrates the pass-through storage area under the stairs.



Our most wonderful kitchen designer was there today too. She walked in and immediately noticed that the arched niche behind the cooktop is framed in the wrong place (not a big deal, they can move it).

Someday it might look something like this (that reminds me, I've got to give Stacey back her magazine article that this photo came from!).

I'm really missing Katrina these days. She's just lighting up and exploding, turning into such an amazing little person. But even on Fridays, when I don't go to work, I just can't possibly find the time. When the remodel is over....

Maybe Katrina is missing me too. Tonight she resisted going for her bath with Dad, crying "MAMA!!!" and rushing to me with open arms and even giving me some semblance of a hug. Anyone who knows her even slightly will recognize this as highly uncharacteristic behavior. Then as I hugged her, she looked at Dave over my shoulder and smirked. The little stinker!

It's getting chilly enough in the mornings that I'm digging out jackets and sweaters now. This adorable number still fits, with a little style license. Bonne Maman knit it for Katrina when she was 3 months old.

My beautiful, spunky, vibrant baby. I do miss you so!

But I had a very nice day alone with my firstborn, reminding me that I'm determined not to be controlled by a full-time 9-5 schedule, despite our new financial committments. I want to be there for Staff Learning Days, and many others.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

9/18/08 Plumbing placement

Ever wish your shower were higher? Or that you could reach the tub controls while sitting in the tub? Have you ever really given any thought to aligning knobs and showerheads with even spacing so they looked right?

Apparently, people do this. And when you've spent as much as we have on plumbing fixtures, so do I. But even if you don't spend much money, you still have to decide where to put things. Hence my evening. No Coffee Night, no photos, no blogging....well, I can still blog while I persuade my printer to do more than one sheet at a time.

Big meeting with the plumbers tomorrow, when I hand them my (in-theory) completely prepared designs and dimensions, and they instantly poke holes in it "sorry ma'am can't mount the shower bar there," "those are too close together" "well, 'standard' is usually..." or, more likely, completely ignore it. I'm going to make darned certain there isn't one lick of blue tape on the (future) bathroom walls, because it instantly turns off trademens' ability to read.

Dave worked late tonight, so I put the three to bed myself, something I don't usually do. I had a great time wrestling with Katrina while putting her pajamas on, letting her "knock" me over, which she thought was hilarious, then rolling on the floor holding her and flopping her giggle-wracked body around. I'm happy to say that now the regular mealtime tantrum is, generally, the only seriously annoying thing about the day with her, rather than the most annoying. It's a jinx to say this, but I'm starting to cautiously raise my hopes for age 2.

Susan, Tonya's friend who often helps her with the daycare, observed today that Katrina is talking in sentences now. I guess she is! "Red car there" is sort of a sentence, but Susan heard her say "I have orange pants!" Allowing for very jumbled articulation, she does say things like that.

No school tomorrow. What a relief not having to deal with homework. Except for this onerous plumbing design thing.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

9/17/08 "There!"

Katrina's new word: "there!" Though it sounds more like "day!" Her articulation is on the "only-Mom-understands-sometimes" level, but she's very excited about pointing things out and saying "there!" "Red car there!" "Bicycle there!" "Doggie there!"

Oh yeah, the red car. She insists on the "red car" (Dave's is red, mine is green) as we leave the house, and endures varying degrees of disappointment when I have to break it to her that we're going in the green car, like we do every day. She points out every red car we drive by: "rit cah day! rit cah day! rit trah (truck) day!" She just likes red cars right now, it seems.

I love how she hums a syllable if she knows one is in a phrase she's repeating, but doesn't know what it is. We look at the Play-Doh strewn all over the floor and say, "Monkey made a mess!" and she answers "Mmm-ee mm mm MESS!"

Swamped, exhausted, gotta lay out plumbing fixtures by Friday. "There!" I'd rather play with my little bubble-mouth baby.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

9/16/08 Eight in '08

It's pretty easy to remember how many years you've been married when your wedding was in 2000 [ corrected ]. Eight years today! Many [ corrected ] more ups than downs, and in the face of much adversity.

Dave and I traditionally have taken a day off work for our anniversary, and did today, but not for the best reason. We met at the jobsite today, for an electrical walkthrough, a meeting with the plumbers, and to finalize items with the framers. The biggest job there had to do with the fireplace framing, which was wrong in numerous ways. It's easy to notice because there will be a big tabletop counter above the fireplace where the TV will go, and I don't want to the TV to be four feet high! At least we had a nice lunch together before having to go hit the books again when we got home.

Thankfully, the framers and plumbers agreed they could indeed recess this medicine cabinet above the main downstairs bathroom vanity.

This is a bold style statement for a main bathroom for me! No plain mirror will do.

(But there's a reason most bathrooms plaster a big mirror above a bathroom sink: because straight plumbing venting gets in the way, and it's more work for the plumbers to route the vents around the cabinet. To recess a medicine cabinet, you have to plan ahead, choose the cabinet, make sure the contractor knows you want to recess it, and be prepared on framer-walk-through day.)

I've put a lot of attention to the main downstairs bathroom, because while it won't be a daily bathing spot, it will be "Grand Family Central," where splinter-pulling, bandage-applying, allergy medicine dispensing, hair-brushing, potty-training, pre-dinner hand-washing, post-breakfast teeth-brushing, and countless mad dashes to the toilet will happen. It has to be functional. Not to mention it'll be the main one guests see, so I'd like it to look nice too.

We took the three out to dinner tonight, to Chevy's.

Katrina has inherited a negative face while in deep thought from me.

I was just remarking to Dave that Tonya also now gives her a regular cup (we gave up on sippy-cups about 2 months ago), when she spilled her milk for the first of three times. That'll teach me!

As we were leaving the restaurant, something Julian did offended her, and she attracted the amused attention of onlookers by brutishly screeching and shoving Julian out of her way. She has no idea at all how much bigger and stronger he is, and looks so ridiculously tiny and fragile next to him. More incredibly, her dear brother just stands and accepts her furious attacks, unfazed. I wonder, would he be so gentle if this rage came from a little brother instead of a little sister?

She's having a great time with colors these days, volunteering yesterday that my shirt is pink, for instance. Though she's still pretty volatile and liable to blow up and scream at any moment, she's been delightful and funny and cheerful and adorable lately. It must be the joy of discovering colors!

8+3+1....8 years, 3 kids, 1 house...


Monday, September 15, 2008

9/15/08 The bad word

Julian knows that "What the h*ll?!" is a bad word. Sometimes he shortens it to "What the---?" or "What the heck?!" Today he amended it a la Colonel Potter: "What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks?!"

Last night, Dave got Julian to play the piano and sing at the same time, by "reading" the little music book from his toy piano, both the little circled notes and the words. It's slow going and filled with mistakes, but it was still "A tisket a tasket." This afternoon, on his own, Julian tried again. To anyone else, the sounds are no doubt painful, but to me, it's literally music to my ears!

Katrina is still willing to sit on the potty, but she's forgotten all about her former production and thinks sitting on it is just a fun game. Tonight I sat her on the potty and got up to get a book, and as I returned, she was standing and staring at a puddle at her feet, puzzled. I showed her that some of the puddle had made it into the little potty, and she studied it quietly, then slowly smiled as I carried on with yays and claps and praise and kisses. The wheels were turning, the connections forming!

I just caught a major mistake in our remodeling...the framers framed the fireplace incorrectly, the cabinets around it were also wrong, but it took some messages and phone calls and reading installation manuals to straighten it out. I'm starting to forget what life is like when you live in your house instead of just work on it. It's ... h-e-double-hockey-sticks!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

9/14/08 Park picnic

I took Katrina and Julian to a 2006 Las Madres picnic in a park today. The boys said they wanted to go, but Gabriel bailed at the last minute. Just as well! I love excuses to go to the park on weekends, and was glad to make it a toddler-focused event.

The 2006 moms. Actually, all of us here are also 2004 moms, and some of us even 2002 moms as well. The "true" 2006 moms who arrived later are both uber-pregnant with 2008 babies, due this month!

All the moms with our 2006 babies. 4 boys, 2 girls. These support groups tend to be heavy on boy-moms. I wonder why....?

Julian and Thomas, Sonia's 2004 son. Thomas is only 7 weeks younger than Julian, and they've done many things together over the years (including their first ice-skating class), but not really enough to know each other well.

Julian does know Andrew well, and they tackled this steep hill immediately. Somehow Julian ended up at the top instructing Thomas and Andrew how to climb up, amusing since Andrew is a capable athlete. I notice that Julian relishes opportunities to shine and be the "expert" for once when his older brother isn't around.

Meantime, Katrina played with Nico, 5 weeks younger than she is.

Me and Nico's mom, Stefanie. If you thought I was rigorous about taking photos, I'm nothing compared to the ultra-thorough Sonia!

Katrina had a grand time digging in the gravel. She played some version of "kitchen," in which she took the shovel and wiped it across her face, then started to drink from the gravel-filled bucket. The mother in me wants to halt these activities; the observer in me says that she'll figure it out quickly enough on her own. So I kept my flinching to myself as she "drank" gravel.

There were balls to play with, and other 2006 babies, younger than herself and much faster, to chase.

Sonia even got some photos of me and Katrina together, though Katrina wouldn't look up for the photos (deliberately, the little stinker). Still, I relish any chance to document us together, for her sake.

This funny pose on her part makes this shot my favorite.

It was a really nice, relaxed visit to the park. Katrina was great, no fits or crying or being impossible -- just hanging out, exploring, playing, interacting with other kids, and generally have a great time. And thanks to that and the company of new and old friends, so did I!