Thursday, October 30, 2008

Something for me

I bought something yesterday. Actually 39 somethings.

When AB and I got engaged people started asking about china patterns.

China? I would respond. Who needs china? All we need is a good set of quality dishes. And so we registered for a large set at Crate and Barrel and enjoyed seeing the components to our set roll in and donating our old mismatched sets to Goodwill. As daily dishes they are fine. The bowls have lead a hard life and out of the 12 place settings I think only three have survived. I have started augmenting with some heavy white IKEA bowls that match alright. But as the years have gone by, my blue and white dishes look less than stellar sitting next to a gorgeous holiday turkey and the fixings.

And the silver chargers I bought on clearance after Christmas a few years ago have only done so much to pick them up.

I still like those dishes for everyday use. They work great.

But a few years ago I did start longing for china. I somehow thought that I would be white haired before I got china though (not that *that* seems to be very far off, I have a few white hairs poking through at my temples), IF I ever got china. I just didn't see it ever becoming a priority on my horizon. As far as froo froo gifts I recently turned my eye towards other things, like Department 56 Christmas village components and quality stemware.

Growing up we weren't "china" type of people. And while my grandmother does have some nice crystal single pieces and fairly willingly gives me whatever out of her home that I show an interest in, obtaining hand me down china was not going to be a productive route for me. So instead I just coveted secretly since everytime I mentioned it to AB I was met with an eyeroll.

Then I happened across a set of china for sale locally online. I clicked on it and was surprised with what I saw. No excessive froo froo-ness. Just a really nice pattern with silver rims. Silver rims that would match my chargers.

The wheels started turning as I Googled the name, "Imperial China Whitney". When I saw that a 5-piece place setting was $36 I quickly dismissed the set out of my head chalking up to the fact that the owner was ridiculous to ask $60. Nevermind. I wanted to recall the e-mail I had sent inquiring about the set, but my Yahoo mail doesn't have a recall function. Oh well I thought.

A few days later I got an e-mail stating that there are two missing cups to the set, but a turkey platter is included. Was I still interested? I replied that $60/setting was out of my price range, but thanks.

I got an immediate e-mail back saying that she wasn't offering it for $60 a setting, it was $60 for the entire set.

I paused and called AB.

"China?" he replied. "Why? We won't ever use it. We can't use it with our kids."

"But I have a china cabinet," I said.

"So now it is something else to store," he said.

"Consider it an investment... the turkey platter alone is $60 online," I argued. "I want some pretties for my table!"

"Whatever," he resigned. "If you want it, get it."

I secretly wished that he was more enthusiastic. Something like, "oh it would be neat to have a set of china and of course I love the pattern, honey!". But I suppose that was asking a little much of my Alaskan husband.

Nevertheless I pushed his reluctance to the back of my head and e-mailed VargasGirl - the only person I thought might still be at work that late in the day.

Then I called my mom.

"You have to get it," she says. (I knew she would say this since she recently admitted to wanting some nicey nices too.) "The price is great and if you love the pattern than it is perfect. But don't tell AB I told you that you had to get it."

"No way," I told her. "Saying, 'my mom says I have to get it' is exactly what I need to say!"

So I told him.

"I said if you want it, get it," he replied (with no enthusiasm whatsoever).

I picked up the phone and called the woman letting her know that she had just sold her china and asked when I could pick it up - secretly hoping she wouldn't see her error in assessing its worth.

Last night I picked up my china and left three $20 bills sitting on her table. It is gorgeous. So pretty and delicate. Like nothing I ever expected I would have.

Now *I* have china. *I* have a pattern! And I can't wait till Christmas to pull it out (if not before then).

And phooey if my husband can't get excited with me.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Must go finish those Blurb photo books...

But first I had to put up some pictures from Skadi's Halloween party today.
Skadi and her best friend:

Skadi's other buds - and the mom of one.

Look mom I found a pumpkin!

Helping "M" get a pumpkin too.

Oops! They dropped it.

Skadi is quite pleased with her pumpkin and wondering what she should do with it next?

Of course the only logical thing to do with a pumpkin now is to sit on it. (I am positive she got this notion from the pumpkin patch visit when I forced she and Leif to sit on pumpkins for pictures.)

Taking it a step further...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just playing

Photos from the weekend:
My shutter finger can be slow sometimes. Any idea how many of these pictures I have?

Way too many. I need to hit delete. But if I stop to hit delete, I might miss something.

Like this:

Ok, this is more what I was aiming for. (I promised Leif a quarter if he looked down.)

Ok, so it is cute. But not really what I was looking for.

This one cost me a treat sized bag of M&Ms. Wonder if I can cut Skadi's expression from the one above and put it over her shadowed face in this one?

Skadi finally decided that she had enough and came out of hiding thus ending my attempts to get the perfect picture. Probably saving my kids teeth too... I am not sure what I was going to offer next.

A lesson in life cycles

The other day AB found a praying manthis on the back porch. Since it is getting cooler and the poor thing was probably headed towards its demise, he brought it in and put it in the very nice big jar I bought for Leif's Pez dispensers. (Pez dispensers were deposited on the floor.)

He and Leif had to pick Winny up after her grooming appointment this weekend so they also picked up some crickets. For the past few days we have "enjoyed" watching the praying manthis jump on and devour - in little pieces - the live crickets.

We came home today to see the lid from the top of the glass container on the floor. And a half a praying manthis laying next to it.

Lucky now has a new and sudden obsession with the crickets in the Tupperware container.

The patio

Seriously we love it. Everytime I walk out there I love it even more.
It feels so good to actually be happy about money spent on a home improvement!

Toys, toys, toys

I posted last week about Leif finding and zoning in on the Lego Coast Guard Platform. Happy to report that after ordering it, that it is still the toy of choice. We were at Target the other day and lo and behold, there it was. Available nearly nowhere online, but sure enough, our Target carries it. Go figure.

Leif walked up to it and declared, "this is what I want, right? I found it in the catalog and it is here! Let's get it now!" We let him admire it and then shoo'd him on to the aisle of inexpensive gift appropriate toys for the birthday party he was attending the next day.

The catalog obsession has remained pretty constant, however now Leif is finding the catalogs himself and not waiting for me to hand them. This also means that he flips open magazines only to be disappointed when there aren't pages and pages of toys. Or gasp... he finds a catalog for women's clothing. ("Hey what kind of toy catalog is this?") This morning he did find a toy catalog however and of course, a toy inside.

I was doing Skadi's hair when he brought it to me and I honesly don't remember what it was he was singing the virtues of this morning. My response was the typical, "remember to tell Santa about it". (Lucky for me he can't write and make a list yet.)

He persisted.

"Grandpa would be REALLY impressed if I got this and brought it to Colorado!"

So the tactics have changed now... it isn't just that Leif wants the toy - but bring GRANDPA... Leif's biggest advocate... into the mix!

Seriously I have the best husband ever.

"I will take Leif to the party, I know you have a lot of stuff you want to finish this weekend."

Seriously I have THE best husband ever. The birthday party was even during the Seahawks game. Given the Seahawks pitiful season though I think he was maybe looking for a reason not to be subjected to the humility. Though when I noted they were actually winning, I did hit record for him.

I finished up my touch up painting in the bathroom. This was so not what I felt like doing at every opportunity this weekend - standing on a ladder with a cup of paint and a tiny little watercolor brush in my hand. But when I finished the first phase - the shower/toilet area - I realized how really nice it looked to have the hairy edges touched up and my resolve was restored to finish the task.

Finally, I can call the Master Bathroom nearly done. That last 1% will be complete when AB nails a few small pieces of trim into place. I even found bamboo/glass containers that match the one I bought a few months ago at Target. All my storage items match, my paint looks finished and the bathroom is now my oasis... as long as I pay attention to where I step watching out for kids toys, shoes and the ever-present evidence on the wall behind my toilet that I have a little boy.

I didn't get to that last corner in the bedroom this weekend, but it will be an easy thing to do next weekend.

Now the big question lingers... which room to do next?

I had intended to get started on the kitchen, but the patio work we had done last week hit our savings account and I am not sure I can justify a kitchen redo that will be the most expensive room in our house (new floor and cabinet pull outs to name a few key items). Not to mention the fact that we will be out of town for 8 days and have a houseguest for another weekend in November.

The room that truly needs attention the most is the utility room. It will be inexpensive, though time consuming as it seems to be the ugly "catch all" location of my house. Two closets to be organized, crummy floor to be cleaned (since my housecleaner tended to miss that floor... wait... old houscleaner. Yes, another housecleaner down. We will be getting YET a new one this week supposidly) and two sets of cabinets in need of storage solutions.

Yes, I think I am leaning towards the utility room for November and the kitchen for December and likely January. It will be a big job that will require time and a serious influx of cash.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Little boy obsessed

After getting the mail most evenings Leif is eager to pilfer the toy catalogs. He has a need to find something on every single page that he wants. He brings the catalog to me, points the item out, explains the virtues of this toy and then returns to browse the next page. All the while I nod my head, tell him to ask Santa and wonder in my head if he would actually play with it. For the most part, Leif isn't a big "toy" kid.

The other night Leif found the Lego catalog in the stack of mail and after a few minutes came back to me declaring, "I want everything in this catalog".

I reminded thim that was NOT happening, but he should look through it and figure out what he would like since unbeknownst to him, Legos are on the list from Mommy and Daddy this year.

He came back mesmerized by the Coast Guard Platform.

I agreed with him that was awfully neat.

Leif then spent much of Tuesday evening looking at that page in the Lego catalog. All through "dessert" (which was yogurt) he talked up the virtues of this set.

"And it has a helicopter, and a man, and you can lift your mans out of the water, and I think you can lift your boats out too!" The talk went on and on.

AB eyed it and agreed we had probably found the Lego set for Christmas and on Wednesday morning I found it online (available ONLY at the Lego store - no deals to be had on this baby thanks to its "Limited Availability") and ordered it.

I also tossed in the 4WD and jetski for good measure since Leif has loved jetskis the two times he has had occasion to ride them with AB.

Last night he confirmed my notion that this was a good choice when he spent the second night at dessert (once again yogurt) oogling over the same page in the catalog. He finished and with catalog in hand said, "I am going to go lay in bed and look at this for awhile". I steered him to the bathroom for tooth brushing.

While brushing his teeth he asked me how he could be sure Santa brought him that set? I reminded him all he could do was ask, there are no guarantees.

AB put him to bed and instead of selecting books to read, Leif brought the catalog to bed to "read".

I can't wait till Christmas morning and he opens this. I remember being about this age (just barely) and opening up my Lincoln Logs on Christmas morning. I was so excited and immediately sat down to build cabins. My mom recently sent my Lincoln Logs (and all the extra goodies that had migrated into the box 30 years ago - talk about a trip down memory lane). I still remember that Christmas morning like it was yesterday.

What gifts stand out in your mind?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Slowing down

I haven't been my normal avid blogging self the past few weeks. I was a little surprised to look at my blogging stats to see that I have a total of 9 posts for October so far and it is already the 20th. Somehow I managed 30 posts in September. I am running about half as many in October and additionally I have fallen behind on my newspaper blog. Must catch up!

There really is a reason for my slipping. Ok... maybe four or five reasons.

First this little girl here...

She is at that age where she is demanding a lot of attention lately.
Her list of choice people around the house goes something like this: Leif, Daddy, Winny, Mommy, Lucky. At least I beat the cat. One would think that given this list my time would be free right? Wrong. She does insist on her daddy putting her to bed instead of me - and the man so firmly wrapped around this little girl's pinky finger is only too happy to oblige her.

Skadi's big brother gets a lot of attention from her lately and we laugh at how hard she works to do things exactly as he does. Laying down on the floor to watch TV the other day she made sure to get her little body in the exact same configuration as Leif's and corrected it a few times when she noted she wasn't exactly parallel with him. Hmmm... analytical a little?

Whenever I sit down at the computer though I become Skadi's favorite person. She runs to me, crawls on my lap screaming, "Mahna Mahna Mahna Mahna"! And it doesn't work to play it only once and scootch her on her way. Nope, she will watch it and say "again" as long as you sit there. Removing her results in a tantrum of epic proportions. I don't get much done on the computer around her.

Skadi's first response to everything lately is an emphatic "NO!" even if she has to go back seconds later and change her mind. She gets that this is a woman's perogative and doesn't have a problem with admitting she is wrong.

She is baby obsessed. Seriously all dolls are "babies". My old Strawberry Shortcake dolls have found new life in her eyes - as well as her Cabbage Patch baby and her other baby dolls. She has even become a little obsessed about what they are wearing.

We are considering moving her crib into Leif's room potentially permanently in a few weeks. We have two houseguests coming to visit at different times over the next six weeks though this is NOT the main reason we are considering this move for her though.

We have friends with children the same ages and genders who despite having a much larger house than we do, share a room. They prefer being together and they believe this has helped with their daughter sleeping through the night. When we asked Leif what he thought of this notion he responded excitedly about the prospect of Skadi sleeping in his room. I don't need to ask Skadi - she practically lives in his room as it is. We will give this a shot when my MIL visits in early November and depending on how it goes, she may just stay in there. Anyone with thoughts or experience in this vein please post or e-mail me. We wouldn't expect them to share for long, once Leif wants more privacy (I know, ha ha ha, Leif privacy? But he may someday...) we would seperate them.

Second reason why my blog has been less busy lately, as you can probably guess, is this not so little person here:

I am pretty sure he just went through a growth spurt and much to Leif's disappointment, I really have a difficult time carrying him anymore. When he gets out of the tub and wrapped up in his towel he wants to be carried and snuggled. Since AB is usually putting Skadi to bed at this time, it is up to me. Suffice to say that Leif has been walking himself to his bedroom the past few weeks.

Ok, truth be told though, he isn't needy like his sister and thus preventing me from blogging so much. In fact, it is the opposite. Leif has become very independent lately and if anything, has afforded me more time to myself. However, he has become pretty proficient at the computer - particularly the Curious George website (the caatapult game is his favorite) and... ok, I might as well just admit it... You Tube, which means *I* don't get my computer time - so that is why Leif made it to this list.

Yes, I see you. Look at me with scorn if you must, but Leif loves You Tube. Of course I have to keep a very close ear on what is playing, but once you pull up a video he will navigate the site to continue pulling up related videos he likes.

The Swedish Chef. Leif is obsessed with the Swedish Chef and isn't half bad at imitating him. I have been a little surprised how violent the Swedish Chef can be though! Lobsters toting guns and all. Leif will spend an hour in watching various Swedish Chef clips and will run back and forth to me to tell me which one he pulled up this time and what they did. Hilarious fun.

Moving onto number three... Christmas.

Yes, Christmas preparations are killing my blogging mojo right now. Mainly my determination to complete some Blurb books for Christmas. Whenever I sit down at the computer the Blurb icon stares me in the face and guilts me into opening my Alaska photo book project instead of blogging out of fear that Christmas is going to arrive and I am not going to have gifts. (We won't even talk about the fact that I haven't started Leif's 3-4 year birthday book.)

Number four... work.

Just this past week work has invaded my home life. I put out a concept paper for an upcoming proposal call and not only was it accepted, but it multiplied upon request of the sector manager. I am now submitting two proposals that are due Thursday. At least this is one of those short lived impediments and in a few days they will be sent off to oblivion where I will nearly forget about them.

Number five... my goals.

My goals for the year. I gave up on resolutions and instead decided I was going to work my way around my house in fixing things, organizing things, replacing things and keeping my husband busy telling him what to do.
I have one corner left in my Master Suite to organize. I have (in my head) postponed painting the Master bedroom for now. But I plan to finish up the bedroom this coming weekend, do the touch up paint in the bathroom and call it good. I really would like to repaint my bedroom, but right now it just isn't on my radar. I need to finish the Master Suite and move on to something else because I fear I could dawdle in here with things to do for ages. And if I don't call it good then the remainder of my rooms will continue to suffer.
So that's what has been going on here. How about everyone else?

Friday, October 17, 2008

"Let's go to the mall!"

Ok, so if you don't watch "How I Met Your Mother" that statement probably doesn't evoke as much imagery... see the gang finds out that their Canadian friend Robin was actually an 80's Canadian pop star...

Tonight we were contemplating dinner out. We ran through the very few options where we would willingly take our kids. Then AB tossed out the mall and added on "I know there have been a few things you have wanted to get there".

Yeah, for probably going on 6 weeks or so now. Just haven't made it there despite living right about a mile from the place.

I haven't been to our mall since reading Shampoo Planet by Douglas Coupland for book club. Shampoo Planet is based in the town we reside in. I really enjoyed the read as for me it was a testimony of reaching that "grown up" stage in the late 80's to early 90's. And what made it more fascinating to me was that the book was set here - in a time when I didn't live here. But was living a somewhat parallel life in a small city in Colorado. So not only could I relate to the characters of the book, but the scenery and that period of time. I have to admit though that reading the portions where they went to the mall evoked a sense of dread in me. A "so been there" dread that was too familiar thinking back to the Foothills Fashion Mall (now closed) as well as the mall I rely on locally.

Walking into the mall I immediately thought about where Tyler's girlfriend (yes, fictional character and all) may have worked and those kids hanging out in the food court.

Remember when it was cool to go to the mall? The security guards, who pretended to be much bigger shots than they actually were would try to exert some authority regarding loitering. I remember being dropped off and picked up at the mall by my parents with $10 (on a good day) in my hand. We might spend some time in the arcade, wander the toy store laughing at the toys we were much too old for now that we could go to the mall by ourselves, buy a big lemonade from Hot Dog on a Stick (giggle about those poor people in those awful outfits), buy some earrings at Claires, browse the music and wind up back at the front of the mall waiting to be picked up while rehashing which boys we saw (but never talked to).

I have become a little of an online shopping fiend in the last decade. It started with books at Amazon and has recently grown to whatever I can find that doesn't cost me much more or charge me a fortune to ship. I know... my city could use the tax income. But my time is short and gas is expensive.

Today it was my Merrell Plaza Mocs that I finally succumbed to along with a pair of Mary Jane Pedipeds for Skadi. I am blaming Rockergirrl because I did not go into work this morning with the intention of buying shoes and I need very little encouragement in this arena. But I got to browsing after she posted some of her favorites, then I got to "needing".

So I buy stuff online. However. I still refuse to buy my makeup online. I know I could order from Clinique somewhere... but if I did that I wouldn't get my Bonus Gifts and I wouldn't find out about new products (like the new powder I bought today).

And there are occasional mistakes I make buying online - particularly with Old Navy. That is about the only place I ever have to return things to. Best to just shop in store. For example, I was glad I actually went in and examined their little girl coats before buying online. We walked out of the mall this evening without a winter coat for Skadi and I am fighting MY need for her to have a cute girly coat when Leif's old Columbia coat and snow pants will do just fine.

We did however score pajamas for both kids, a pair of boots for Skadi (impulse buy), two dresses on sale from Children's Place, a few pairs of sweat pants for Leif, my make-up and dinner from Ivars.

I had thoughts of trying to avoid the mall for the Christmas season, then Leif started mentioning Santa Claus as we walked out.

That may have been the last time HE was at the mall.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A day trip

On Saturday our friends invited us to join them on a trip up into the mountains for lunch and a hike. We always enjoy hiking with them and AB and I realized how nice it would be to get out of town for the day and into the mountains while it is cooling down and the leaves are changing. Plus, we were intrigued by the hike which is probably about 3 miles round trip to a cave (dubbed "the bat cave") at the end with the last part being a loop through the cave.

AB and I have always been a bit of cave buffs. We have done a little spelunking years ago in Wind Caves and Jewel Cave National Parks in South Dakota as well as some lava tube exploration at Lassen in California. Truly amazing.

We got Leif all psyched up for the trip and headed out Saturday after swimming. Skadi slept in the car for the about 1 hour 45 minute drive into the mountains. We met up with our friends, ate lunch (scared away the neighboring table with our rambunctous kids) and then headed to the trailhead with an anxious (getting old) dog.

Skadi walked the first quarter mile or so until we finally decided to get the show on the road and deposited her in the Kelty carrier. We finally made it to the cave and Leif was thrilled to go look for bats. I was amazed though how well he behaved and willingly shined his light where it was needed without having to ask twice.

Going into the cave.

Coming out - the dog was NONE too thrilled about the cave aspect.

The kids shared an apple on the way back and I loved these photos:

Now please excuse me while I go cry and wonder how we went from this:

to this:

all in the blink of an eye.

It has started

I am constantly amazed at how quickly Skadi is becoming verbal. AB and I can't figure out if she is just that much faster than Leif, or if we are accustomed to toddler-speak already. I presume it's a little of both.

One of Skadi's favorite lines lately is a very rude sounding, "NO!" She says it quickly and usually while turning away from you.

Or like today at the door on the way out of daycare. She plopped down in the middle of the floor a few minutes after 5pm and when I said, "Skadi come on". She responded with her rude little, "NO".

You know how much stuff you have to put down between two kids to pick one child up out of the traffic? Yeah, lots. We finally got to the car.

We got home and I had told Leif he could watch "Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving" when we got home. Truly I was just glad I didn't have to listen to another Scooby Doo. Anyways, I walked over to the DVD player holding Skadi when she very plainly asked me, "Elmo?"

I put an Elmo video on most mornings and entertain her during my maybe 10 minute shower until she comes wandering in insisting on something - namely me getting out of the shower.

I was surprised to hear her Elmo request.

"No Skadi, we are going to watch Snoopy," I told her still not sure that she had actually ASKED for Elmo.

"NOOOOOOOO!" she wailed and threw her body backwards. Ok, I guess she DID ask for Elmo.

I set the DVD player to only play the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving episode and not the Mayflower episode after. Once it was over I asked her if she still wanted to watch Elmo.

"Yes," she said and walked over to the couch where she sat for a whole 20 minutes.

And then I got to listen to Leif whine about "I don't like Elmo," and "but I want to watch Scooby Doooooooooooo".

It has started.

Maybe our bedroom TV will get some use afterall.

My pictures arrived!

Not only did they arrive in record time - just a few days after I ordered them - but they are so awesome! Really, really great.

And it isn't just me that thinks so.

I had planned on putting them in the entry wall to the Master Suite. AB has nixed that because they aren't center enough there. If we are going to have such cool neat pictures then we should at least put them somewhere where people will see them.

He is right.

But herein lies the problem with open floor plan houses. The number of walls. Not only that, but the number of walls without big picture windows and built ins. All things I love and want in any house I own from now on. But what this means is that my wall display square footage is small.

Something will have to be moved.

So here is Leif holding his picture:

Oh and you want to know where I got my big pictures?

The details - they are 16"x20" mounted on foam core with the special coating (which I forget what they call - but it makes them look and feel like professional pictures). They are printed on Professional Photo Paper - so now my prints look like *I* am the pro! I retouched them myself using PhotoShop (which came out great enlarged to this size - I seriously wiped a lot of snot off Skadi's face). Let them play with the color too, I am quite happy with the way they came out!
I made the eyes pop using the Pioneer Woman's Instructions. (<--Rachel see here! And if you want to play with it with me, let me know!)
The 16x20's came out to about $30 a piece. Then I ordered some 5x7's and wallets. The wallets are die-cut. Love that. No sitting there with scissors hoping you see the lines correctly and shaving off edges where you strayed. I will order more wallets for putting in Christmas cards and handing out to teachers.

Because the pictures I did? So much better than what we got from the school. Even Leif's - which turned out good. The company that did the school pictures did a good job and put up with a lot from my lovely daughter, but I was unimpressed with the little things in the backgrounds - like the chain link fence. Just details.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I ordered huge pictures of my kids.

I have been wanting big huge pictures of my kids for a long time. I mean, if you aren't going to at least print up big pictures, why have an SLR? Ok, don't answer that. Because there are LOTS of reasons to have a digital SLR. But this was one of the many reasons I wanted a digital SLR. I love photographing my kids. Granted I am not a professional, but I still manage to eek out a few good ones every now and then. Helps with being able to just hold down the shutter button and get 5 or more shots at once, especially for those turkey times.

My son is in THAT stage now.

If *I* want to take a picture of him he either runs, glares at me and says, "no pictures" or makes some ridiculous face. Ha. I will show him. I can snap two pictures straight after the ridiculous face that he can't hold forever and catch a smile. Sometimes.

Then there are the times, like this morning when he decalres picture time.

It was 8am and I was struggling to get us out of the house when Leif yells, "let's take a picture now!"

Skadi was looking her cutest in her HA skirt with striped tights, so I grabbed her and stood them next to the door (the one spot in my house where no one can see all the clutter) and started snapping.

(See he *CAN* smile for a picture... when he wants.)

Then Leif declared his need to use my camera to take a picture.

I must have been in a good mood when I agreed putting the strap securely around his little pencil neck and showing him which button to push.

I was so impressed with his picture that you get a view of the clutter here. (Quick someone post indicating that their house looks *just* as bad.)

Anyways... back to the point of the post. My huge pictures.

I took these pictures and cleaned them up with Photoshop. All the stuff that you can't really see here... unless you click on them and they get a little better. Then you might see the crud I am talking about.

Wiped the snot from Skadi's nose and cheeks, the particles of breakfast from her chin and shipped off the huge image. Then I cleaned breakfast off Leif's face and the syrup off his shirt and shipped it off. Oh and I also did the whole "make the eyes pop" thing on both of them. The available standard sizes were cropping them funny and so when I finally found a size that cropped in a way I was happy with I hit order.

Then I layed in bed last night wondering what in the world I am going to do with two 16"x20" photos of my kids mounted on foam core.

I need more walls.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Catching Up

It seems as though a lot has been happening recently, then I go to blog about it and I might have a hill of beans, but only if I tried really hard. So here is a hodge podge post of all that stuff that hangs there, fleeting thoughts really, but aren't really malleable into blog posts of their own.


AB has just hired a company to come in and tackle our back patio. We started with a narrow wave of concrete back there, then enlisted the help of some really awesome friends to come out and poor a huge patio area for us. It has been nice (particularly with the pergola), but the concrete isn't in great shape. So during the Parade of Homes this year we kept an eye open for concrete treatments.

On Friday AB had a guy specializing in epoxy treatments come and look at the patio. It isn't cheap, but they start on October 22nd and our patio will be out of commission for 3-4 days while they repair the concrete and epoxy coat it. Looking something like this when finished (photo pirated from their webpage):


I am working towards finishing off my Master bedroom organization goal. I seem to just make it a touch further each weekend either because we are busy, or in the case of this past weekend, because I wasn't feeling great. At this point I need to plow through AB's dresser, clean off the top of it and apply the (likely) faux leather organizers I bought at Target to corral some of his odds and ends. Then I need to tackle the corner where things go to be stacked and ignored. VCR tapes... toss? Garage sale? I hate to just toss them, but they seem pretty worthless. Let me know if you are interested in the titles we have.

Then I need to think about painting. I would love to get it done, but have to admit I am a touch hesitant. I need some thoughts on finishes. I did our bathroom in semi-gloss because I like the sheen in bathrooms. It really lightens it up a lot and I like the way it looks. However, I am not so sure I like the idea of semi-gloss for the Master bedroom. Can I mix the finishes in adjacent rooms connected by a larger archway if I keep the same colors?


Today I spent money. I am really good at doing this. Up until four years ago I would say my technical savvy level was about 8 out of 10. I wasn't a pro, but I could do most anything from whip up a webpage to program in a few languages (now likely obsolete) and had a lot of the new gadgets. Then well... children put a cramp in my techno ways.

This weekend though AB and I realized that 18 hours on the Tivo hard drive just isn't enough. We were in that first wave of Tivo users. I had thought previously about just getting a hard drive to help the storage issues. But there were other issues... like the phone cord (tripping hazard) running down a hall and across a room. And hating the fact we couldn't record two shows at once. (The only two shows we were really interested in the premiers for were the 2 hour openers of Survivor and Grey's Anatomy and they overlapped by an hour.) Issues like this are just silly in the technology era!

I got with the program and upgraded our DVR to an 80 hour one capable of recording 2 shows and then I bought the wireless adaptor AND a router. I would say we have caught up with the rest of the general public though I noticed when I bought this one it was the lesser of three options and since we don't have HD in our immediate future I will just have to accept being a step or three behind.


Skadi has become Miss Chatty. She now has a number of words though her favorite is still "no". She says it so quickly and with such determination you KNOW she knows exactly what she wants. And that look in her eyes also says that if you don't comply, a meltdown will ensue. Among her new words are "nana" (banana), "juice", "coat", "socks", "brother" (isn't it easier to say Leif??), "hair", "bug", "bird", "fruit" and "meat" among others I am likely forgetting.

Leif has learned that Skadi can repeat what you say and is taking it upon himself to teach her to talk.


I have always bought Leif's clothes ahead of time. In the spring I buy clearance for the following winter. Fall I buy summer clearance for next spring. Leif has (knock on wood) so far never deviated from his growth curve and has always been dead on for size.

Skadi... nothing can be easy with her! Last spring I was sure she was on her growth curve and bought a number of 2T outfits for this fall. Appears she will be wearing most of those next fall. I was happy last week when I finally got to use my Gymbucks to buy her a few cute new outfits for this year. Otherwise she is solidly back in 12-18 month clothes again and should get two years out of most of her outfits from last year. I did buy her Gymborree clothes in 18-24 months being optimistic that it is only October and that by December they will fit her. Except for the red tulle skirt... that I bought in a 2T knowing that I can cinch it in this year and she can (and will) wear it next year as well.

My biggest issue there is going to be keeping it off my son. His best girlfriends are projecting the love of princesses onto him and his little sponge of a brain appears to have soaked it all up.


Work is good for both AB and I. I had an "informal" lunch meeting last week where I was offered another major project to manage. With the addition of this project my umbrella over this client will be complete. This one wasn't a big surprise or a coup, it was offered up by the current PM to me and it was truly just a matter of time before it scootched over as she moves on.

At my informal lunch meeting last week I was also asked if I would consider taking over management of a project that is pissing off most of the upper management due to its lack of management.

This one will be the major coup. I know enough about it that I qualified my yes answer pretty heavily. I know the project well enough to know that one person in particular may walk off the project if I jump rank. A few others will just be hostile. The program manager didn't seem to have a problem with this and said that he may walk, but he will likely only do the talk since he has nothing else to fall upon. And if he does find something than more power to him and they will have underestimated his resourcefulness.

My saving grace in this regard is that if this comes down, it will come down from up way high and outside of the program. Which should provide me a little bubble to cushion myself when they start storming the gates.

Scared? Me? Damn right I am. But more terrified of being a wuss and not even trying to bring the project back onto the straight and narrow.


Then the last topic is moving. It is still looming out there. We want a new house. We need a new house. We think.

There are the days we remind ourselves that MANY families live in houses much smaller than ours with no problem. We look around and see all the things we love about our house and our yard (our soon to be gorgeous patio) and wonder what our hurry is. Particularly if I get new floors in the kitchen this winter. And wow we need new carpet. With just a little injection of cash into the house, it would be a really pretty house.

Then we see other homes out there that would give us so much more of what we want and need in a home. And we remember how little storage we have and that we have no real guest room right now. And we complain about the depths of our closet pantry. And needing a three car garage. Then we start looking again.

Basically the update is that we are going forward with preparing our house to either go on the market or possible rent next spring depending on the market. It may happen, or we may decide to build at that point. But hopefully this spring we will have a clearly defined path forward.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

He gets it from me...

Leif has apparently inherited my "overzealousness" for the holidays. I just finished singing the "12 Days of Christmas" book to him. (He picked it out.) Then he turned around and sang it to me. I loved it.

Leif: "On the first day of Christmas someone sent a package to me, mommy what is this again, an ostrich?"

NM: "It's a partridge, a smaller bird than an ostrich."

Leif: "Ok, they sent me a partridge and a pear. On the second day of Christmas someone sent a package to me..."

I seriously busted up at the "eight mooses probably for Halloween".

The topic of Christmas has come up this weekend because AB and I have been talking about what a good gift might be this year and the fact that I am chomping at the bit to get my shopping started. We tossed out ideas today on a gift/gifts for each other and the family.

A Wii was mentioned. Leif and I went to friends' house this weekend and played for a couple hours. I was surprised how he seemed to be picking it up by the end and that I had to pry the "remote-thingy" out of his hand. And I was also surprised how much fun I had.

We also mentioned an HD TV. AB talks about and oogles the TVs at Costco, but neither of us could bite it. Our TV watching has dropped off to nearly nill since AB works out of town, long hours and goes to bed right after the kids are out.

I think we have both fallen out of the habit. We are Tivo-ing Entourage (love that), Survivor, Grey's (though we missed the premier somehow) and I Tivo Amazing Race. We struggle to get through those. Oh but we did actually watch a whole movie this past weekend - Love in the Time of Cholera. And no it isn't that one with Ed Norton where the guy goes to treat cholera patients, brings his wife and she dies. That one sucked. AB and I, though both tired and sick from our colds, sat mesmerized and wow'd by the movie. It was awesome and I highly recommend it.

Ok, so we nixed the idea of an HD TV. I am still voting for waiting until our TV dies since we watch so little lately and I am not buying a new HD TV for Wall-E (DVD on order). AB is probably more of the opinion that we will get a new one when we move.

Tonight AB mentioned an idea... "we could go back to the waterpark for Christmas". Hmm... he might just be onto something there...

So before we should start talking about Christmas we should get through Halloween.

My love for Halloween is also something Leif gets from me. Today he told me that I could be a chef for Halloween if I wanted to. Think I can stretch it far enough to infer that he liked my cooking tonight? No, probably not.

Last year I told AB as he was tossing things up in the attic willy nilly-like to leave the Halloween stuff accessible as I know that there is no way he will want to retrieve my Halloween decorations when I want them. He never likes crawling into the attic when the time comes to do it, but he will. Today he admitted that he's pretty sure my Halloween decorations went into the attic even though I suggested the garage, "and do you really need them the first weekend of October?"

He will be retrieving them next weekend.

Leif is all hyped up over Halloween and every evening goes out on the back porch to practice "trick or treating". He's got it down - even the "smell my feet" part.

Tonight we were singing the song I invented, "This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Halloween night."

Ok, so I didn't invent it.

I just am prepping Leif for the day when I pull off of the shelf one of my favorite animated movies ever. I have also maybe encouraged him just a little in watching "What's This" on You Tube.

Still, when we were singing our "This is Halloween" song this evening, I was quite surprised when Leif took off singing, "I am the one hiding under your bed!"

My guess is someone at school is watching "The Nightmare Before Christmas". Still though, I will wait at least another year before sitting down on the couch with him in front of the movie.

Oh and I officially get my Star Wars Halloween. Leif has his Anakin Skywalker costume and Yoda fits Skadi perfectly. And they are both perfecting their Jedi skills with lightsabers recently released from long term time-out. (My bribery offer for agreeing to the Anakin costume over Boba Fett.)

Saturday, October 04, 2008


That would be what Skadi screams when she sees a dog.

She screamed it many times at PetSmart today and then again while she was sitting on my lap at the computer when she saw a dog on the screen.

She used to just tell us that is what dog's say, "foo foo!" But now they ARE foos.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

So much for my big surprise

I had the perfect surprise for my husband all planned out.

You see 15 years ago our first forays "out" as more than lab partners (i.e., friends) were to CU football games. AB wouldn't date me because he thought it bad to mix romance and forced working together (we were chemistry lab partners). I persisted though and finally wore him down.

Anyways, we are going to Colorado over Thanksgiving this year and it dawned on me that CU ALWAYS plays Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving. Ok, I have to qualify *ALWAYS*. The games used to always be the weekend of Halloween. Which equated to - Boulder - Halloween - an influx of red - buffaloes - rivalry - mall crawl era - well it was just more than the city could really tolerate. The game was then moved to Thanksgiving - the time of semester when a good portion of students would be out of town.

I went to my first Colorado versus Nebraska team with AB. I decided to surprise him and buy tickets for the game and arrange for some unsuspecting relative (i.e., my mom) to take care of the kids while AB and I ran off to Boulder and had a trip down memory lane rooting on the Buffs.

I went to go buy tickets.

I could NOT find the link to buy for that game. Where is it? Can you not buy tickets yet?

Finally I doublechecked the schedule and realized I had missed one little detail - "at Lincoln".

So much for my great big surprise.

Sorry honey. I tried!