Saturday, November 15, 2008

A minor makeover

I couldn't figure out why that line appeared in the previous blog template, so I changed it to a different template. This is a good one though, since it's got lots of room horizontally. I wish I could make the sidebar more distinct, but I don't care enough to try to make that happen.

11/15/08 Daydreamer

I found this sign on the small table where Gabriel has been working on his comic book.

Katrina spent over half an hour sampling every tooth-cleaning implement in the kids' bathroom drawer, including a bag of 50 floss sticks.

Of course, you don't let your toddler put her mouth all over everyone else's toothbrushes if you know about I lied to myself that all the cheerful chatter coming from the bathroom couldn't possibly involve an unsanitary or undesirable activity.

Julian endured two more "errands" today, one to the tile store to pick up an order, and another to a stone place to check out prefabricated granite. One of the hidden costs of remodeling is all the new Captain Underpants books.

He was really good on our errands, but was a big pain the rest of the day. We were expecting triple disaster after the sleepover last night, but only Julian met our expectations, so we came out ahead.

Too bad most home improvement businesses are closed on Sundays. Guess I'll have to be a mom instead of a frantic stressed-out homeowner for a day.


Friday, November 14, 2008

11/14/08 Market Day

I had an odd 35-minute slice of time to use Friday morning, after dropping the bunch off and before our jobsite meeting. So I stopped by a nearby farmer's market, one I've been to once before but didn't have much time to look around. I really like the sense of hearkening back to a simpler time, in which everything is fresh, out for you to see, straight from the farm to a market. I don't know if farmer's market shopping is really greener, fresher, healthier, or cheaper, but it's far more pleasant and fun than Safeway -- even if this quaint scene is re-created in a mall parking lot right next to a major Interstate. After all, it is Silicon Valley.

My mission turned from food to photography though, as I found many delicious photo-ops.

I still bought a lot though, partly out of guilt from standing there taking pictures and feeling like I should buy something. This is 3 minutes from home -- our real home. I should do this every Friday morning!

I bring the construction crew fresh-baked goodies every week. Today it was banana-apple butter muffins. They were gone in minutes.

Sleepover tonight! Kids are all at Tonya's. Dave and I went out to a wonderful dinner at our new favorite going-out-to-dinner restaurant and actually had conversations!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

11/13/08 All tile, all the time

I know you're all getting tired of this. I never get tired of tile.

We had a very successful excursion to the tile store again to choose tile for the living room fireplace. This time, we had a design already. This makes a ton more sense to me than choosing tile first, then doing the design. Derive the formula, plug in the data. That's how I think. Plus, with Dave there, it helped keep things focused (though I had to nix his preference for slate).

And it worked really well. We wanted Craftsman-y, but not dreary or depressing as Craftsman-y designs so often are. I love the tile we ended up with, and it didn't take all that long to settle on all the colors and accents.

Big bonus is that we'll do the hearth in that stone-looking porcelain tile on the right, and save a bundle on granite.

And now that we're done with tile, I can move on to lighting, bathroom accessories, trim, doorknobs, appliances, bathroom countertops, interior paint colors, and many many other things you all are grateful are just there in your house and you don't think about them!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11/12/08 School Photos

We got roped into these "official" school photos. It's unavoidable, but who can turn it down anyway?

These staged studio shots aren't my favorite, but the very same photographer who takes my very favorite shots (that look nothing like this) said he always liked these sorts of photos growing up. It's all part of the story.

And, of course, I can never get enough photos of these subjects!

We're all looking very forward to seeing that favorite photographer soon! And his lovely wife!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

11/11/08 Veteran's Day Off

(what's with this line that just appeared on this blog page? Blogger must have updated a template or something. That's annoying!)

Dad rode his motorcycle to work this morning. But not before our least motorcycle-fearful toddler had a sit.

No school or preschool today! I didn't mind a day off work with the boys, though they first had to do some remodeling-shopping. Julian reads a sign that says "This tub display is not a play area for children" as I picked up a tile sample.

I really wanted to do something fun this afternoon with the boys, and considered going to the Exploratorium. But that's an all-day trip, and we'd already blown some of the day with remodel-shopping and a trip to the Y. Hmm...what can we do that's fun? I was drawing a blank all morning, frustrated that there must be an obvious answer, and I'd really regret it later if I couldn't think of it until it's too late.

Then I had it! A stroke of genius. "Guess what, boys? We're going to do something really fun! You know what it is?"

"Letterboxing!" cried Julian.

OK, a different stroke of genius. That actually was an even better idea.

"Make cookies!" cried Gabriel.

I'm being trounced here. When is baking not forefront in my mind?

"Nope...I was thinking we could go ... ice-skating!"

Gabriel was excited right away, and lamented every red light that delayed his being on the ice by another 10 seconds. Julian wasn't so sure, and he did fine at first, but pooped out after about 20 minutes in favor of playing with the video game machines (without coins).

Still, they had fun together at first.

And Julian liked "fooling" me with pretending he couldn't skate, then skating away from me quickly.

I attempted to teach Gabriel forward crossovers, which is a laugh because I can barely do them myself, and certainly am in no position to teach them. Still, he was really game and really excited when he did some of them. Gabriel's persistence and determination and willingness -- when he finds something he likes that is -- never fail to amaze me.

Gosh, I'm looking forward to having our lives back so we can consider things like skating lessons again. Julian asked today about going to the mountains so we can see snow, and I had to put him off again. I guess it's just as well that 2-year-oldness and remodeling coincide, as either by itself is a barrier to easy trips. (Yes of course you can travel with a 2-year-old, but it's a lot easier when they're older!)

It's funny, our contractor is away this week, but more importantly, so is his office manager, who keeps after me about delivering finish selections on time. So the pressure is off for the week. But instead, it's replaced with something far, far worse in remodel-land: the dreaded lull. I've forgotten all about this with our extremely efficient contractor. I experienced it at length with our upstairs remodel, including a nearly 4-week downtime while the gestational clock ticked away. This lull isn't really a lull at all; in fact I exchanged email with the jobsite foreman today to get some measurements for a side entry door. Still, I'd rather have the complete pressure.

Still, we do have to have something of a life. I told the boys today about something really fun we have planned: we're driving to L.A. for Thanksgiving! This is how the boys felt about it when I told them:

I hope Laura and Ryan feel the same way after seeing this!

And while we didn't make it letterboxing, we did make cookies, at Gabriel's request. I had the boys do just about everything. Much as I marvelled earlier in the day at Gabriel's persistence in skating, I marvelled again at Julian's fine motor skills. For things like scooping cookie dough and dropping it onto a cookie sheet, he's critically younger than Gabriel, but still better at it.

Back to the grind tomorrow. I really really liked the no-school days!


Monday, November 10, 2008

11/10/08 Spacey

On the way home from picking up the three today, Julian was quiet for the first few minutes, then during a lull, he said clearly, "Mommy, you know what we learned about today? SPACE!" Then he clarified, "In circle time, not in science class."

I immediately turned down the radio and asked him to tell me more.

"We learned about planets! Mercury, Venus, Earth. We're on Earth."

I asked him if he could remember the next planet, and gave him a not-so-good hint: it was his Halloween costume two years ago. "Mars!" he declared. I gushed with fascination, genuinely.

Then Gabriel interjected assertively, in his slightly condescencing tone: "What about Pluto?" And Julian answered calmly, "Pluto is no longer a planet." His air of confidence actually shut up his know-it-all big brother!

"It's a star now." (I'm not sure that's true, but I wasn't about to interrupt my astronomy lesson.)

"Mercury is made out of liquid."

I know I'm repeating myself, but you have to see how sincere and clear he is when he offers these little "science snippets." Julian often talks just to talk, as many kids do, but these moments aren't just to hear the sound of his own voice. There's something special going on. The sparks are flying in his head. Or maybe that's just my pride.

Katrina, meantime, is picking up a very stereotypical girl behavior: BOSSY! It's hilarious, this tiny little body speaking in such a STERN and LOUD voice, "Thas' e-NUFF, SHJU-YAN!" You can almost see the flames coming out of her eyes as she stares down the unfortunate target of her admonition. "NO PUSSS-in, BAY-AL!" (No pushing, Gabriel!"). Will this always be so cute? Many of the manifestations of her strong personality aren't.

For today, I was happy to "space out" with Julian before Katrina brought me down to Earth.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

11/9/08 Outtakes

We went to the house today to do some measuring and checking medicine cabinets. I found a photo-op with all three on the front porch, but since Katrina was munching on a pancake, I didn't really try for a good photo (I don't like food in photos and I hate plastic bags in photos!).

In fact, I almost tried to get silly outtakes. Somehow, I ended up with a bunch in-between.

It felt good to take photos on our own front porch again.