Friday, May 29, 2009

Myra update

I can't get over how completely adorable my little princess is, so I am inflicting her on you as well.  She's quite the little mover these days.  She crawls faster than a speeding bullet (although she has yet to catch the cat!), pulls to stand and cruises all over creation.  She also waves good-bye and tickles Logan - sort of.  She loves to laugh, as you can see.
She's making a few strides in the verbal arena as well.  She says Mama and Dada now, in addition to kitty (which sounds more like di-dee, but we know what she means).  Everything else in her world is Deh.  Deh Deh if more than one syllable is required.
She has six wee teeth, which she uses on all sorts of fun foods, as well as whatever she finds on the floor, or anyone's finger that happens to find its way into her mouth.  Those little teeth are sharp - watch out!  She roundly refuses to eat anything that might resemble actual baby food, but loves all manner of grown up food, even including hard veggies and meats.  She loves dairy products, particularly yoghurt and cheese.  She even swiped a sample of Mitch's tzatziki sauce when we were at Alexander the Great in Houston.  She was very annoyed when he realized what she was doing and took it away!
I can't believe how fast the time is going!  It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with her, and here we are coming upon her first birthday.  Crazy.

Furniture

The potty training stall, which I have decided will wait another month, as June is pretty crazy for us and I want a calm, unpressured environment, encouraged me to do some pretty deep cleaning, mostly because Logan had peed on pretty much every surface in the house. The couches, fortunately, are slipcovered. So cleanup should be easier, which it was. I had actually not taken off the slipcovers since I put them on years ago. They are easy to spot clean. The Logan pee required a serious cleaning! Since the slipcovers are machine washable I took them off, and was reminded why I bought them in the first place. Nice, huh? I admit, they really aren't that bad. The big pieces of foam were added by me to help the slipcovers fit, but they are ugly and I really hate them. They came with Mitch and he got them secondhand, so I have absolutely no idea how old they are, but based on the style and fabric I would guess 80s-ish. It got me to thinking about a surprising lot of things. The first was how I couldn't wait for a real paycheck so we could get some decent furniture, but you know, these couches have served us well, and slipcovered, they aren't even that ugly.
See? After I got over myself, I realized that I've really been given a lot of blessings and that I really need to be more grateful for what I have. Even if it looks better under a slipcover.
Now about those throw pillows...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Potty Training - Stalled

I've been pep talking myself all night, gearing up for round 2 of potty training. Logan woke up this morning crying about an owie in his neck and running a temp. Since I suspect that it would be supremely bad form to attept to potty train a sick kid, he is currently ensconced in our bed, drinking juice, snuggling Monkey, wearing jammies and *sigh* a diaper.

Here's how things looked for most of the day.
He wins this round, but I'll be back. Muahaha.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Potty Training - Day 1

We started off well! Logan loved sitting on the potty for candy and the Elmo underwear was a total hit! We even had potty success at one point, so Logan earned a Matchbox helicopter for a pee-pee in the potty. Then he decided that he didn't want to sit on the potty anymore and nothing could induce him to do so.

Here's where we are now. I'm starting to question his readiness, but maybe he was just cranky and ready for a nap. We'll see how he (and I) are doing when he wakes up.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Godiva's manicure (pedicure?)

Godiva has been a feisty beast lately! While she has never exactly been thrilled with the addition of two small children to her world, she's taken to expressing that distaste with her claws - to the face. She has tagged Myra, Gracie and Kyle, all too close to the eyes for comfort. We've been discussing what we can do to deal with this problem. Obviously, we can't just let her claw out our kids' eyes. Mitch's gut impulse was to find a new home for her, but Godiva has been with our family for some time, and I wasn't too excited about saying good-bye to her. Besides which, Myra and Logan LOVE her, regardless of her tendency to hurt them. So, I pondered declawing her, but I have always been opposed to random mutilation, even for a good cause. Then I found this - http://www.softpaws.com/, and we decided to give it a go.
So, a few scratches later (ouch!)...

Godiva has a new set of lovely blue claws. We'll see how well she adjusts, and just how well this works...

Friday, May 22, 2009

What I learned on my Summer Vacation

Our trip to Houston did not go quite as planned, but still, I learned a few things.
- When choosing a hotel room for your family, go for the suite. It's worth whatever you paid for it.
- Hotel towels absorb an amazing amount of vomit.
- So do carseats.
- Carseats are not fun to clean in a hotel shower and do not dry effectively with a hotel blow dryer.
- It is very embarrassing to throw up in Uptown Park.
- Uptown Park has very nice trash cans.
- I am capable of going to Nordstrom during the half-yearly sale and not buying shoes for myself.
- I am incapable of going shopping and not buying something for my kids.
- It is not a good idea to go out to eat if you are not fully recovered from your stomach virus.
- French fry throw up is gross.
- Carseat manufacturers do not account for french fry throw up in their design specs.
- A portable DVD player is an essential item when travelling with your children.  (Thank you, Tammy!!)
- A large tub of toys is also helpful if you end up spending a lot of time in your hotel room.
- Sometimes, you spend a lot more time in your hotel room then you had planned.
- Even with an active toddler and a hungry baby, the Blue Bell Creameries tour is FUN and there is free ice cream at the end!!
- Lake Somerville is a great spot to stop, stretch your legs, and go skinny dipping.
- True friends are those who have stood by you during a vomit-filled vacation. Thanks, Nick & Laurie!!
Finally, a few pictures. We didn't take any pics of the majority of the fun, and I'd not have posted them if we had. Still, there were still some picture worthy moments!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Measured in Geologic Time


I'm still working through the T. rex puzzle. The original picture shows some stripes on the body, as you can see at left. I'm trying to replicate something like that, but thought it would be cool to actually carve out the stripe sections.
Here's my own personal pattern, with the stripes in green.









And then with them carved out in relief below. This is a bit time consuming, as the plywood has different layers that vary greatly in hardness. Basically you score the edges of the area with a sharp knife to the depth desired and scrape out the middle using one of the chisel edged carving tools. Looks cool when done, though. The one on the right is turned so that the areas are well outlined in the shadow.


Birdies

We have a nest of little birdies in our front porch! They have come every spring that we have lived here and built a nest under the eave in the entryway to lay eggs. They are very sweet and we tolerate them, despite the inevitable birdie messes. Ick. It makes the tile entryway even MORE slick. It doesn't bother us too much since we go in and out the garage, but it makes our guests a mite uncomfortable I would imagine. Anyway, the newest crop of bitty birdies have just hatched and are so cute!! Look, they even respond when you talk to them!

video

Are you my mommy?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Nine Months

I cannot believe my little princess is already nine months old!

The vital stats-

Height - 26 3/4 inches (25%)
Weight - 20 lbs. 8 ozs. (90%)
FOC - 40 cm (95%)

Just like her brother - short, round and big-headed. Oh, and really cute!

Mother's Day

Mother's Day was lovely this year. My sweet little ones (with Daddy's help) brought me chocolate and presents. They even both signed the card! I think Mitch helped with that, too. I am pretty impressed with Logan's contribution, though. If you look hard, you can actually see "Logan" in there!

Myra's little handprint is sweet.And my wise children knew what I wanted best - a year's subscription to Burda World of Fashion magazine!! Yay!! I can't wait until it starts coming!Logan's favorite part were the chocolate cupcakes, which he kept climbing onto the counters to get. Messy, but cute.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Puzzlemaking.

Some time ago I stated I would try a puzzle pattern I found here.

It's pretty simple: just print, cut, paint, and enjoy. Well, it's not quite. I have never used a scroll saw before, and I'm not used to how it cuts and turns. Nor am I used to saw blades so thin that it's hard to see them. Nothing like practice to fix that, however.

Here you see pattern pasted on the wood, with some of the parts already cut off. I used 3/4 inch plywood because that's what I had laying around. Also, the piece should be able to stand on its own after it's cut out. I did this section with a wide, pinned saw blade that wasn't great at corners. It's hard to tell from this view but my cuts aren't really very precise. Not bad for first time, however.


Of course, cutting out the eyes and nostrils is a bit touchy. The technique is to drill a hole in the waste portions of the pattern, slide the blade through, and then cut. It doesn't take too long to catch the trick of that.

You can see here in the nostrils the initial drill holes, which are 1/32 inch wide. I used a non-pinned blade that fits tightly but nicely. In the eye you can see I've already cut out a bit to give the blade some room to work. The 90 degree cuts for the teeth were a little tricky, and probably should have been made with a spiral blade (see picture), but the thin blade appears to have worked out well.


Here is the exploded version of the puzzle, then the entire puzzle assembled and standing up:


















The next step is to pull off the paper, sand, and paint. I may even get creative and try to carve some bits out of the wood, just as highlights. But that remains to be seen. I have found it devilishly hard to find time to work on this. So many distractions. At some point I'm going to learn to say "no" when people ask me to do things.

Traditionally, Dallas sucks

Tradition holds that most folks from Houston hate Dallas, and the feeling is mutual.

Myself, I was struck by a strong sense of deja vu driving near Downtown Dallas. Nothing makes sense in either of the two downtown areas.

One difference was the degree of schizophrenia. By this I mean: in Houston, it's easy to find a nice neighborhood right next to a ghetto one, with little transition. In Dallas, it's taken to a new degree: I was able to find the rich:poor dichotomy on a block by block, or even house by house scale. It's not quite so crazy in Houston.

We went looking for diapers on the upper east side of Dallas. Wow. I'd forgotten just what it was like to be the only white dude driving through the black ghetto. I spotted 3 drug dealers, 2 prostitutes, and a host of homeless folks, often sitting at the doorstep of $500,000 homes.

I'm happy to continue the Houston-hates-Dallas stereotype. One less program on my application list.

For all that, the farmer's market was pretty cool and Logan had a blast.

And now with the heat coming, I'm beginning to envy Varina and her escape to parts north.

The Big D

Yesterday we drove to Dallas to see my sister off at the airport. I've never been to Dallas before, and Mitch has only ever been to the Temple there, so it was a sort of adventure. We also wanted a chance to hang out with Rina before she left for Seattle. Who knows when we'll get to go see her up there? Although I hope it's soon!
We started out at the Farmer's Market, where there was room to run, so Logan had a blast. The produce there was amazing, and there were lots of interesting people to see and hear. Then the girls (Mom, Rina, Myra and I) peeled off to go see Neiman Marcus #1. Daddy's GPS said that it was less than a mile away, so we walked. What the GPS was apparently unaware of was that while downtown Dallas is in the process of regentrification, the homeless and panhandlers have not gotten the memo. Scary walk!!! Anyway, Neiman's was lovely and we introduced Myra to our friends Manolo, Christian and Stuart.
After that we stopped in at Whole Foods, and then headed home. I will say one thing for our small town. Traffic in Dallas SUCKED! And the streets made no sense at all. What is with the six-way intersections?  Who designed those highways, and what the heck is about this exit?!?
The kids had a nice quiet ride home.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Curlies!

I was starting to think she wasn't going to get them!  Logan had his curls much younger, but there it is.  Myra's first wee curl.