Monday, July 30, 2007

Dear St. Anthony please come round.....

My camera battery charger is lost and can't be found. I think he is on vacation or something as it has been over a week and not turned up yet. So I am stuck having to use old pictures to decorate with. Nothing too special. The kids are trying to get the message across that they would really like a play structure. They have gotten so desperate they transformed a table in the backyard into a slide. It was in the backyard because I had used it as part of a fence to keep them in the yard while I was making Paska bread. Shane came home, took one look, and promised to build me a fence that week-end. We are still deciding on the design for the gate but the little baby gate works well for now. I've been working on putting the stain on it. It is very pretty and VERY sturdy. He used all screws and it doesn't wobble at all. I am sure it will be Kateri and Pippin proof. We are looking for a play set but it getting to the end of summer I guess so Costco stopped carrying them in the stores. I think you can order them still but it takes a few weeks so we'll see. I am getting a little tired of telling them not to swing on the granite counter tops.
The lilies I just threw in for fun. Shane suprised me when he got home from work one day. I like lilies. I carried them at our wedding and they last for such a long time. The pollen stains though.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Funny Face

Cyprian picked up Shane's fresnel sheet and was having fun looking through it. But I thought we had the funnier view. So we decided to do a little photo shoot. Kind of silly but that is what you get when you wake up before 5am. What is really funny is that Kateri's enlarged hair didn't seem foreign. What you also get is a head start on the craigslist junkies. I was able to secure a nice solid wood shelf for Cyril's room at 10:00 this morning. But it took hours of looking. Shane is picking it up for me on his way home tonight. I sent him the picture and he approved. He laughed about the chairs but appreciated all the effort I put into getting and returning it. And he agreed to take a picture of it on his way home for me so I could share. After I post this I am going to put Pippin down and make my second latte.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In which we go searching for a chair, have an adventure and mommy realizes her limits

Well I've been going a little crazy lately in my house furnishing plans. I have several things I am looking for and am frequenting craiglist religiously. It is amazing how quickly good thing go. I was so bummed Sunday when someone else beat me to a 10.5 foot long solid wood shelf for free. I kept hoping the guy wouldn't pick it up and waiting for the seller to call and say it was mine now and was so hung up on it I was distracted several times during liturgy. I know. That was a sure sign of addiction. But it did give me a new idea for shelving configurations and also a shelving company to look into- Ballard Co.
Later that day Shane and I made a run up to Restoration Hardware- by ourselves which was heavenly. I always wince when I tell the kids we are going there because they all hate it. I think the workers there might feel the same way but they hide it well and usually give the kids stickers. Besides we have donated quite a bit of business there. I got a wooden curtain rod for Audrey's room. They were out of brackets but I can get those anywhere. I didn't find any drapes I liked but I am considering making them anyway. Her room faces south and got so hot on the really hot days, she slept on the floor of Cyril's room.
I've also been on the lookout for a small chair for Audrey's room. A little cozy one to put by her window and curl up with a good book. Everything I've found on craigslist has been too big or too ugly. Or both. Well today we were on our way to the store to get coke for Cyril's energy experiment- more about that later- and at the top of our hill I saw two small, cute, blue velvet upholstered chairs with a free sign. They were small but not child sized. So on the way home I stopped to check them out. They seemed in need of some cleaning but structurally sound. One of them has some worn spots so I decided to lug just one home in the back of my van and take a closer look. I unloaded it into the garage and left it while I made lunch for the kids. I tipped the chair sideways and left the garge door open just in case something needed to escape.
It had a zippered cushion so I thought I'd start by removing that and washing it and throwing away the foam. Well, under the cushion I could see some mildew stains and as I inspected I got more and more nervous. I could see "things" in the cracks under the cushion so I grabbed a weeding fork and pried anything I could see out- not sure exactly what I would "do" with anything that come out. There was some odd tool that looked like a cross between a stud finder and a lighter. I didn't touch it. There was some paper and not too suspicious things. I thought I should turn the chair over and see if everything was intact. It still had the fabric cover on it but there was no way I could be certain there was nothing nesting in there. I couldn't find any gloves and had shorts on so I was not feeling very protected or brave. I poked around with poker and though there were not any holes that looked big enough for a varmit to fit through I was still wary. I told the kids not to go in the garage. The more I thought about it the more I realized I was not up to the task of completely restoring a chair- mostly I didn't want to take it apart and discover who knew what. And I could just imagine the look on Shane's face when he saw it "You actually put this thing in your and allowed it tocome into our garage? I'll just buy you a chair." I thought it might be a good idea to get rid of the evidence so I replaced the foudn items and the the cushion and told the kids to finish lunch and we were going back to drop off the chair. I felt a little sneaky and was hoping no one would catch me and say we don't do returns. THe chair was a little big and I couldn't close the back all the way but it was not a problem when I picked it up. This time we drove a few feet before we heard a sound like the doors opening for Darth Vader and the kids start calling " Mom, the back is open." So I get out and fix it and we continue on, very slowly, playing a movie in my head about it falling out and causing massive accidents and Shane shaking his head at my crazy antics. It was not a good movie.
Audrey, who is sitting in front of it makes a face and asks,
" What's that smell?"
"Its the chair, Sweetie."
She moves forward a little to get a bit more distance.
I was just praying nothing more than the odor emerged from the chair. Audrey is a bit squeamish about spiders, but I could just imagine a mouse or something coming out and running loose in the car. I pulled up next to the other chair, which amazingly enough was still there. I quickly unloaded the chair trying not to let more of it touch me than was necessary, plopped it down next to its mate boasting the "free"sign and sped home to chanage my clothes and wash up.
So I am back to searching craigslist for things from pet-free and non-smoking homes. It was a cute chair though. I didn't have the camera to get a picture but it did have potential. I am just not the person to help it realize it.
And after changing, a half a dozen Trader Joe's lemongrass stix and some coke I have put the whole event behind me and am very happy with my decision. And I am not afraid of going into the garage now. I have not told Shane the saga yet, but if you read this first Sweetie, I was planning on saving it for after dinner.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Daniel Craig Eating a Popsicle

This is Pippin's impersonation.

We're having a heat wave

Or at least that is what the news is calling it. It hasn't been unbearably hot yet but it is supposed to get in the 90s sometime. But I figured it was a good time to get the kids a pool- as we could probably use for at least two succesive days- so we venture hunt for one. And we had to hunt. Toy R Us had one plastic pool and that was it. I wasn't sure if it would fit in my van and would have preferred an inflatable for that reason so we decided to keep looking. I needed a tarp and thought Lowe's might have some but once again no. Target was close by so we took a quick look and found one single inflatable that looked as sturdy as a latex glove for the bargain price of $30. We pressed on.

We finally came upon some at Fred Meyer's. I was wondering if the heat wave was just a story to help clear out pool inventory. They only had the hard plastic and in one size. It was similar to the one at the first store but was $7 more so I felt better knowing I was getting a high quality pool. And for $7 I was not about to haul the kids back to the toy store.

Next we had the challenge of fitting it into the car. I didn't have any rope and figured that would probably be the worst idea. I could just imagine it flying off on the freeway and the kids screaming for their lost pool and me just driving on and talking up the the benefits of filling up the bathtub with cool water to an unconvinced audience that couldn't hear me anyway over the keening. So I resolved to stuff it as best I could.

The back was not an option and i hoped I could get it between Kateri and Pippin's seats, parallel with the van. But there was not enough space to turn it. So I stuffed it in behind my seat competely blocking my rear view and perfectly positioned for the little kids to run their feet up and down it like a wash board- which was not a very good musical instrument. I hoped the stress from being slightly bent would not be enough to crack it and it wasn't.

Although the pool didn't come without effort it was worth it and every penny it cost too. They played in it all day long and I even took a quick dip. I put Pippin down for a nap- all sunscreened and sticky from numerous popsicles and went to check craigslist happy with the kids occupied playing horses in the water. I found nothing and went back outside to discover they had decided what could be better than a pool full of water? A pool full of bubbles. They had used half a bottle of dishwashing soap and were flinging giant armfuls of foam up into the air and shrieking. Cyril discovered if he held onto the side and kicked his feet it made really big bubbles. I have no idea what it will do to the grass which is already fighting for its sparse patchy existence and losing.

I figured we should empty it and stary again so they could at least rinse off. I gave them buckets and instructed them to carry it to the woods and dump it. It made a nice bubbly river which incentivised them to pour more and quickly so they were happy as they worked.

Cyprian woke up was a little in awe. I thought he'd scream bubbles and jump right in but he preferred to stand back and watch, eating a popsicle.

So they rinsed off and we finished off our summer day with bbq chicken legs and ears of corn and lot of ice water- as we were out of popsicles. I don't know how many they each ate but I htink around 24 all together. It was nice to know they were staying hydrated but now we are out so we'll have to run down to QFC again this morning. I also need dish soap.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I like wood.

Shane and I were discussing hobbies the other day. I realized I don't really care to spend much time on extras. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, educating kids, and running the house are pretty much all consuming and I don't like having competition for any of them. Then I tried to think of the last time I was actually motivated to get up early to do something and it was to work on Shane's desk. I really like re-finishing wood. I think it all started when I asked my mom if I could re-do the spindle railing on their staircase. I liked the feeling of rescuing something old and making it pretty again. I think it took me all summer to finish and I never did put a top coat on- but I didn't know any better then.

I got to resurrect my passion this year when Shane was looking for a desk for his office. He wanted a big one and wanted it to match the stain on a buffet we bought from the Restoration Hardware Outlet here. They had a desk but it was a little small and was also $2000. So I watched craigslist for a while and finally found this one- for not very much. I forgot to take a before picture. The color came out exactly what I wanted- thanks so the helpful people at Sherwin William's. I had no idea what kind of wood it was- they didn't know either- but they tested on pieces until the color come out right. It turned out better than I actually expected. The polyurethane coats covered a multitude of irregularities and we found some pretty handles at Restoration Hardware to complete it. I still have to finish the little pull outs at the top. Luckily the helpful people at Sherwin William's suggested I buy lots of extra stain so now I match other projects too. Shane says he likes it better than the Restoration Hardware since it is much bigger and was stripped, sanded, stained, and top coated- often times at 6am because that was when I could count on Pippin not waking up- with love from his wife. Which was pretty sweet. Of him.

So now that my appetite has been whetted I have been on the look out for more projects. Handily, my mother in law was working on a dresser for Kateri and said I could take it home and finish it. I remembered to take a before picture this time. There is no after because I have not started working on it yet. I am waiting for the heatwave to pass. But in the mean time I have been perusing craigslist again. I need some cabinets and shelving for the kids school room so I'll hopefully have a few projects lined up soon.

We went to Costco this week-end and found a leather coffe table/ottoman. It has a pull out tray underneath so you can set down you morning latte and being leather is comfy to sit on. The kids think it is great. We had been wanting a table for the sitting area in our room and it seemed perfect. I think it looks nice and as Shane pointed out after we set it up when you hit you shin on your way to the bathroom it won't hurt. I still want to get some plants and a standing light to finish off the room. Someday I'll work on our room. But I have not found a bed frame I like yet so I don't want to get other things until I know what I am working with.



I was looking over some pictures to put up today and decided Kateri meritted her own exclusive post. She is such a personality I am continually amazed at how much she packs into her tiny frame. She is just starting to ougrow her 24 mos outfits and she will be 4 on August 1. I haven't had to buy her anything in awhile- especially since the last additions were from her cousin Avigail. She was just telling me yesterday as she was getting dressed ,"Avigail loves me. She gave me teeny pants."

She can be so sweet taking care of her babies and cooking things for them in her tiny kitcken, I sometimes forget her ferocious critter side. But only momentarily. The other day I was working on the Montesorri insets with her and we were making al kinds of shapes and then embellishing them. She was working and stopped to admire her page and told me,
"Its to shoot the bad guys."
I looked over at her page to see what she was doing. I couldn't figure it out at first but then I realized she meant the cross hairs she had added to her shapes. I am thinking of cutting down on her Rainbow Six play time.

Audrey was getting ready to leave for Idaho last week and had to wait two excruciting hours for Grandma and Grandpa to come get her. I, being very sympathetic, suggested we finish her final math lesson which we had been saving for a month. We got out the pages and she was supposed to survey people about their favorite season and then make a graph. Cyril and I chose summer. She turned to Kateri and asked

"What is your favorite season? Spring, summer, fall or winter?"

Kateri looked thoughtful for a second and responded,

"Rabbit season."

Maybe being sandwiched between two boys has had some influence. Or maybe not and for them they are lucky they are boys and can stand up to her. I am glad to see she is very self confident and has a completely can-do attitude, she gets that from Shane. But sometimes I wish she was a little unsure of her masterminding capabilities. I am sure whatever she does in life she will go far, we'll just have to help direct her towards something good. She almost has me convinced she could single-handedly clean out al Quaeda. But she likes telling people what to do as well "Here Jack, eat this" so she might prefer to be in charge of the mission. Secretly, though, and with her three foot stature and Cousin It hair she could blend in and then after the enemy is taken out, slip away through a key hole onto her next assignmen- of her choosing of course- leaving others to take all the glory. Or the blame, as she did with Jack, the bathtub, the laundry, the toothpaste, and Nunca Aaron incident.

But for now she'll stay with us and hone her sniping skills taking out the crows in the back yard. I was thinking of doing a mini-boot camp with all the kids just for practice. She'd probably end up running it and we'd all be taking orders.

Friday, July 6, 2007

4th of July

We had a pretty calm 4th of July. It was unusually dry and warm for July and we enjoyed not grilling in the rain. We decided to stay home and watch the fireworks in our neighborhood and then be able to put the kids in bed not too late. We barbequed spare ribs and Kateri and I made strawberry cream cake. Its from a recipe in Cooks Illustrated. It is very tasty and I made it, I think four times last summer. It was just as tasty this year and we finished it off the next night when Tirzah and Aaron come over for dinner. Now we are all out so I'll have to make a new one soon.

The kids allenjoyed the fireworks. Shane let Cyril light off his own tanks and a few other ones. Cyril thought it was pretty cool. Cyprian wanted to catch every firework. Shane started off with some parachuters so he expected every "bew bew" to have something and after every bang he would try to go running in to the street frantically calling "catch it, catch it". He picked up a used Roman Candle and thought he was responsiblile for the cascades of sparks flying everywhere. It was hard to corrall him but finally he settled down and eventually went to sleep in my arms. We came in and had cake and put the kids to bed and finished watching Blackhawk Down. Which made me want to light off a few of my own fireworks aimed at some political "leaders" and some not so civilized groups. But I settled down enough- and eventually so did the fireworks- to get to sleep.

Audrey got to spend the 4th in Grangeville, ID with her cousins. They had a parade and Audrey got to wear her great-grandmothers dress. I'll put pictures of that up later.

We are still having very warm weather. The ferry is running over to Jetty Island so maybe the rest of us will accompany Shane and Cyril on a kiteboarding expedition one of these days.