April 28, 2006

The Carnival of the Mundane IX

Welcome to the Carnival of the Mundane! When Dean first proposed the idea of a carnival of ordinary things, I thought the idea was great. That hasn't actually gotten me organized enough to actually submit anything for any of the previous carnivals, and I admit that my hosting of this one caught up with me before I even remembered I'd volunteered to do it. I have lots of excuses -- I volunteered before Christmas, then I got pregnant, then I put my house on a home tour, and besides all that I have three kids, a husband and a dog. Mundane and busy are clearly my strong points.

We have a wonderful collection of the every day things of life to present for you today in this, the ninth Carnival of the Mundane.

Read More "The Carnival of the Mundane IX" »

April 27, 2006

This Is A Test

It's the Thursday Three Final Exam edition:

1. What was your luckiest experience with finals?

Looking back, I consider the fact that I passed almost every test I ever took with good scores a lucky experience. Some of the highlights of this luck would be when I decided to take the Physics SAT Achievement test, when I passed comps both as an undergrad and grad student, and when I didn't flunk Humanities after having not read more than a few pages of Plato's Republic. I didn't have the gaul of one student who reportedly wrote that the myth at the end of The Republic was that "anyone got to the end of The Republic."

2. What was your worst experience?

The aforementioned Humanities final ranks right up there as one of the worst experiences. My boyfriend of the time broke up with me the night before and I spent a large part of the night crying although he was totally not worth it.

Another bad time was, when during my oral comps for German grad school, one of my professors asked me about a poem that I couldn't remember reading. Sure it was on my reading list as both an individual poem and as part of another book I had put on the list, but I couldn't even remember who wrote it. I still can tell you the name of the poem and what story it appears in and I still can't tell you who wrote it.

3. Finally, do you have any recurring finals nightmares?

No finals nightmares here, thank goodness.

I'd Say I'm Losing My Mind, But I Think It Is Long Gone

Is pregnancy brain, that state where intelligent women are reduced to tears over their lack of ability to remember anything, a state that like the "popping out" of the belly occurs sooner the more children you have? I know that some people claim pregnancy brain lasts at least 18 years, but I also know that between pregnancies I regain at least a modicum of my former coherentness.

I am beginning the second trimester -- I am 14 weeks and 5 days along for those of you keeping count -- and I have been to Michael's three times this week. My task on Monday was simple enough. Find four frames to fit one tulip painting by me, two silk Chinese things, and one poster advertising the home tour our house was on. Michael's has all their frames on sale this week, so now is the time to get this done. I came home with three frames not four and none of them fit anything.

Tuesday, I carefully measured and checked the web to figure out what size frames Michael's carried that suited the sizes of the items in question. I even made a list and put it in my pocket. I returned the frames I'd bought the day before and came home with four frames. Three of them were the correct sizes. The other one? Not so much -- unless I wanted it to have a 1/2-inch mat on the sides and a 3-inch mat on the top and bottom. I didn't even buy the size frame I'd written down.

Today I returned that mispurchased frame and came home with something else. I hope I don't have to do any more shopping for a while.

April 26, 2006

Etiquette Lessons

This morning after I turned off the water in the shower, my three year old asked to go directly out to another room to see in the mirror how wet she was. I told her we needed to dry her off some, but that she was so wet that she'd still be quite wet when she got to the mirror.

"Mom!" she said in shocked tones, "Don't ever say a person is wet. That's very, very rude!"

Who knew?

April 24, 2006

Chaos is Restored

After all the painting, cleaning, fixing and other preparations, the neighborhood tour went very well on Saturday.

Friday night we had a babysitter and went to a pre-tour party for all the owners of homes on the tour. This involved getting a quick tour of all the houses that would be open the next day. We were too tired to make it through them all, but the ones we did see were all neat. They included two small bungalows with really nifty colors and funky modern art, a ultra modern condo with a tower that made Justin dream of mounting a red eye into it and having a Sauron room,anda huge Victorian house that has just been completely remodelled and I found jaw-droppingly beautiful, but it's $750,000 asking price is a wee bit above what I imagine I will ever pay for any house.

Justin and I both woke up early on Saturday morning and did a few last minute things like sweeping the front walk, painting some trim on the porch columns, and marking a few rooms as being not on display. Then we went to a pre-tour breakfast so that we wouldn't have to cook at home, after which I took The Middle Girl off to her friend's house for a birthday party and the day and another friend of ours came and got the other two. We'd taken our dog to the kennel on Friday, so that the house wouldn't be covered in mud and dog hair after it was cleaned and because had the dog remained during the tour, he would have gone insane with joy at the thought of all those new people to jump on.

The tour started at 11 and since we were one of the later homes on the list, we didn't have any one show up until about 11:20. After that there was a pretty steady stream of visitors. The people who renovated our house and whom we've talked to a few times came to see the place which was great. They thought the place looked really good and we found out a few things -- such as where our kitchen cabinets, which we'd always suspected had been salvaged from somewhere had come from and where the fireplace mantels that used to be in our house went (they are now in the possession of the mother of the two brothers who put in most of the work) . We had pictures on display of what the house looked like before it had been renovated in 1990, when we bought it in 2002 and what it looks like today. Those were a big hit with a lot of tour takers.

I surprised and pleased to hear probably half a dozen people say that ours was their favorite house on the tour. Most of them said they appreciated that it looked like a house in which people actually lived. It was cleaner than usual, but we didn't go out of our way to hide the Legos and other stuff like that. I did hide anything I thought people might be interested in making off with, but we don't have much that people would want to make off with anyway, so that hadn't taken long. We had several people ask if we travelled a lot, because our living room is a collection mostly of stuff picked up in our earlier lives like when Justin lived in Taiwan and I when I was in Europe during college. It's our travel room, even though we haven't been any where since we came back from Alaska. I was also surprised by how many people loved the table cloth I had on the kitchen table (which looks like a quilt top). I think they were all disappointed when they asked where I got it and I told them TJ Maxx. I think they were expecting something fancier or more exotic.

By the time the last people came through at 5, I was worn out. The kids came home about 5:30 and then there was an after party and dinner at another house that night.

All in all, it was a lot of fun, the tour raised necessary funds for the neighborhood and community center, and although I always get a bit of house envy seeing where everyone else lives, I wasn't embarrassed to be on the tour with either the bigger and fancier places or the artsier, funkier places.

Here are the pictures of the inside of the house, all neat and clean and tour ready.

April 20, 2006

This Thing Will Kill You In Your Sleep

The other day I was tired, hungry and craving French fries. I took the kidlets to McDonald's, which since they don't get to go there often, they consider about the biggest treat in the world. We ordered our transfat laden delicious meals and drove home, where we snarfed down the food.

Of course, as with most children, for my kids the toy is just as important to the fast food meal experience as the actual food. The Boy got some little Spy Kids related gadget, or something like that. The Middle Girl got this:


Remember those ugly trolls that people collected in the '80s? They have been revamped (literally) and are back. With big slanty eyes and slutty clothes, they now look like a cross between the trolls of old and Bratz dolls. I wanted none of the above around the house.

As soon as The Middle Girl went to sleep, I snapped a few pictures of the evil slutty troll and hauled her out to the garbage can. Fortunately, The Middle Girl hasn't remembered the existance of the toy which was briefly hers.

April 19, 2006

Everyone is Invited

Don't forget that if you happen to be around the middle of Tennessee on Saturday, you are invited to stop in for a visit during the 12South Neighborhood Tour.

He Is My Son, After All

No one could mistake the resemblence between The Boy and his father. He looks like him. He acts like him. He wants to be just like his father. However, I was pleased to discover yesterday that he has at least a little bit of me in him.

As many of you may know, I was a librarian in a former life and although on first glance the books in our family library look a bit disorganized (because they have been reshelved by the short people) we started with a great deal of thought to it all, with a reference section, literature and history sections in chronological order, etc. Yesterday evening, I asked The Boy to put away all the baby books scattered around the house and he spent twice as long as necessary, categorizing them all. First he put all the books by the same authors together and then organized all the other books by topics, such as animals, potty-training, vehicles...

I was so proud.

April 17, 2006

Jordana and The Girls

After much cajoling, threatening, running around, and pouting, I managed to get almost no decent shots of all the kids.

Here's me with the two girls in the only picture where they aren't looking the other way or running towards Daddy.


The Girly Room

The one room in the house that is totally ready for the coming onslaught is the Toddler Girl's room. Eventually, when I get the headboards I have for it refinished and the Toddler Girl learns to sleep in a real bed, it will become the girls' room, but for now The Boy and The Middle Girl share a bedroom.

I'm pleased with how the room turned out. It's just as I wanted it. I'm even more pleased, because I found almost all the little decorating stuff on clearance here and there -- even the paint. It's Restoration Hardware's lavendar color, which they sold for $7.99 a gallon when they change to lilac. Other than the Beatrix Potter print on the wall, the paintings are ones I did. Here's a link to all the photos on Flickr.

The Long and Exhausting Weekend

So...the weekend. It was very productive and tiring enough to be Possum-worthy, although there were no trips to Wal-Mart involved.

I think our weekend really started Thursday night. Justin primed the upper portion of the beadboard in our kitchen (we have beadboard above and below the upper cabinets). Friday morning, Justin got up at 6 so that he and a friend could go get cheap mulch from the city. For $8 they'll sell you a truckload of aged, shredded wood mulch from the brush pick-ups they do around the city, it's not the best mulch -- with a few more sticks than I'd like and some trash that needs to be picked out, but for $8, I'll take it. So the guys each got a load and shovelled it into the back yards. Later that day, I painted the upper beadboard with a first coat of paint and started priming the lower section.

Saturday, I painted and primed more of the lower beadboard. I also mulched the flower beds. Justin restained our front porch steps and then cut the grass and all that necessary yard stuff, plus worked on the brick he's putting under our new arbor. That night we went to an Easter egg hunt at the house of the assistant teacher in The Boy's class. When we came home and put the kids to bed, we put a second coat of paint on the upper beadboard and Justin painted the crown moulding. I also did some more priming on the bottom beadboard.

Sunday morning, Justin put a first coat of paint on another section of the bottom beadboard before church. When we came home from church we had lunch and a birthday strawberry tart. Then Justin went back to work on the arbor project and I finished mulching the back flower beds. After that I trimmed some bushes in the front yard and then went back to painting beadboard. I put a second coat on the stuff Justin had painted that morning and started priming the last section of beadboard. Then it was time for church again. We went to Sonic for dinner. After the kids were in bed, Justin put another coat on the crown moulding in the kitchen and I finished priming and cleaned up a little bit, though it was still a mess when we went to bed. By the time we went to bed, we'd gotten at least one coat of paint on everything we're painting (except behind the stove, where I keep forgetting we plan to paint) and we got the decorations put back up
above the cabinets.

This morning I put on the final coat of paint on the last section of beadboard. Justin has one more section of oil painting to do tonight and then tomorrow we'll have to scrape some paint of the mirror (fake window, it's hard to explain) that hangs above our sink. I think that will finish the kitchen more or less.

Then we just have to clean house. Blech.

April 16, 2006

Old and Worn Out

After this weekend, I feel old and worn out. We've done a lot. And though I am not really worn out and will be much better after a night of rest, I am older. My parents were hoping for a child born "on the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five" but they got one today instead.

April 13, 2006

Post-Modern Church Buildings

The Boy has not been to see a great many of the world's more lovely church buildings. In fact, I'm not sure he's seen any. We worship in a building that was built in the 1960s and follows one of the two common styles for buildings of that era in Church of Christ architecture. Ours is, in fact, the worse style, being built with the classrooms down the sides of the auditorium and thus making windows impossible.

I certainly don't think architectural design or even the beauty of the building are the most important things at play. Learning about God and worshipping with other Christians are far more important, but I do sometimes wish we had at least a little more beauty in our building. As this article (via Theosebes) points out, twentieth century church architecture in general does leave much to be desired.

As I said, The Boy has yet to see any of the world's beautiful cathedrals or church buildings. When he started building a Lego town the other day, is it any wonder that the church building looked like this:


I asked him to please consider, if he ever went into architecture and designed church buildings for a living, putting a lot of windows into them. The Boy said, "We only spend a few hours in the building each week. Why would it need a lot of windows?"

My son is not only obviously a Protestant, I think he's taken secret architecture lessons from the East German School of Ugly Building Design.

Read More "Post-Modern Church Buildings" »

April 12, 2006

Birdie, The House Guest


It's Starting Again

Knowing that this will be his last chance, my husband is really hoping to foist the middle name of St. John (Sinjin) on this child should it be a boy. The question is -- will I be insane enough to agree?

April 11, 2006

Less Than Two Weeks to Go

Our neighborhood tour is now less than two weeks away, which certainly ranks high in "things that make me go ACK!", however getting ready for this thing has been good for us.

The girls' room is finished. The dining room is more pleasant than ever before. The Boy's Legos aren't in disorder. Our house stills needs a lot more cleaning and there is a bit more painting to do, but the light is at the end of the tunnel. It's coming together.

I've never been this motivated before in my life. I've "nested" more for this tour than for any baby. It sure is nice to move things off the to-do list.

Read More "Less Than Two Weeks to Go" »

Peaceful People

We have extra points on the peaceful scale these days. Last year a robin family took up residence by our front door until the little robins were old enough to leave the nest. This year I noticed a new family had moved into the same spot. At first I assumed it was another robin, but when we peeked at the nest, the egg was white. Then we noticed the mama. We have a dove nesting by the door.

She seems perfectly content as long as we aren't banging the door all day long, which is somewhat of an "if". I do regret now not having cleaned the siding before now, since I obviously won't get the chance before the home tour since I don't want to move the nest. I can clean the other half of the front porch at least, I suppose.

Anybody know any interesting information about doves?

Read More "Peaceful People" »

April 10, 2006

Just to Reassure Everyone

Some very kind people have been e-mailing to check on us and find out whether Casa Adams survived the recent horrible Tennessee storms. Although we did head for our interior closet under the stairs once on Friday afternoon, we were spared the brunt of the storms, with everything passing north or south of us. We're fine, and very sorry that others in the area were not so fortunate.

April 06, 2006

The Way Things Were

Terry has a brief reminder of what happened 89 years ago today.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

I haven't done the Thursday Three for a while, but I think I'll jump right back in today since I'm ignoring all the projects that need doing.

This week the subject is something generally not considered near and dear to Southerners, since down here football is king and we only have teams like the (blech gag hiss) Braves in the region. My dad has always been something of a baseball fan though and when I was very little and lived in Pasadena the whole family would head off to Dodgers game fairly regularly. I think it may have been harder for my father to move to northern Ohio and live near an American League team than it was when we lived in Phoenix where at the time they only had a minor league team. Over the years, my parents have adapted though and now root for the home team, even if the Indians are in the wrong league.

1. Do you really like baseball, or is it just something baffling that some people do?

I like baseball more than any other sports, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it all that much. I mostly start watching and paying attention during the playoffs and World Series.

2. Who are some of your favorite players?

I don't really have any favorite players at the moment, but when I was a wee little tike, I had a thing for Steve Garvey. That was before his women troubles and when he was still married to Cindy.

3. What one thing would you change about baseball?

I think designated hitters and interleague play are impure perversions of the sport. Actually, I don't care that much, but I do think they could do without those two innovations.

Extra bonus question made up by me: What's the very best thing about baseball?

Baseball movies!

Welcome Boy Child #2

A new, and certainly sweet, little boy has arrived to join RP, The Viking Bride and The Girl and Boy Children.

Let's Play a Little Jeopardy

And now for the answers:

1. A silver candlestick wrapped in blue underwear

2. A Republican membership card, a flashlight and a paper clip

And the questions?

Read More "Let's Play a Little Jeopardy" »

April 05, 2006

And In Other Milestone News

The Middle Girl learned how to buckle her own carseat yesterday! If she can learn to unbuckle it, I'm set.

Bye-bye Nur-nurs

Weaning has always been easy for me.

When The Boy was 25 months old, I was nursing him once a day to get him to fall asleep for naps. One day it didn't work and he couldn't fall asleep. I cuddled him to sleep instead and he never nursed again.

The Middle Girl worried me. I had wanted to nurse her longer, but I was due with baby #3 when she would be 25 months old and I did not want to tandem nurse. I was afraid I would be short-changing her and that getting her weaned any younger than her brother would be impossible. I had her down to once a day nursing too though, by the time she was almost 20 months old. She caught a head cold, couldn't breathe and nurse at the same time and stopped nursing entirely -- no pain or sadness on either of our parts.

When I got pregnant again, I knew I was going to have to think about weaning The Toddler Girl. I wasn't ready to do it yet -- she's only just now seventeen months old. Again, I have been fretting about how it would go and would it be a major struggle. She's been nursing about twice per day, sometimes three times and very enthusiastic about it.

Last Sunday I decided to myself that I was going to start trying to work on moving that down to once a day. Monday morning was busy getting everyone going and The Boy and his dad out the door for school and work. The Toddler Girl didn't even ask to nurse and so I celebrated to myself. This was going to be easy! Then she didn't ask to nurse at all that day. I decided to wait until she asked, because afterall, I do want to wean eventually.

Tuesday morning she asked for water (she does this by getting herself a cup, taking it to the sink and babbling loudly and insistently until you get her a drink). As I was getting the water, she said, "Nur-nur." But she forgot all about it when I handed the cup of water back to her. She didn't mention nursing for the rest of the day. She hasn't mentioned it today.

I thought weaning the other two was simple. This time it has been so simple I'm not emotionally prepared for it. It seems so sad for her to stop now, when she's not even a year and a half old and such a tiny thing. You can tell my bias is for long term breastfeeding. On the other hand, if she's going to make it this simple, I'm not going to encourage her to keep nursing and I'm not going to offer. Afterall, I did want to wean her in a few months.

A big milestone and I wasn't ready at all.

April 04, 2006

Yanking Weeds

When its spring and the sun shines, but the temperature is moderate, I wonder why everyone doesn't move to Tennessee and then I remember August. I also like to yank weeds out of the yard. I'm not above using a little Roundup on spots that are difficult and painful to weed completely, like the cracks in the sidewalk in front of our house, but in the yard I prefer to dig the suckers out.

Over the last few years I've waged a successful campaign against dandelions and wild onions. The onions are gone and though the dandelions will always be with us, their numbers are vastly reduced.

The next task in the weed war will be violets, though their numbers frankly make me want to cry and I'm never sure if I'm even pulling enough to keep up with their replacement rate.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying yanking this year's crop of dandelions out and I must admit to a certain sadness on days like today when I could only find one in the entire yard, front or back. If this keeps up, I might have to start weeding the neighbor's yard to assuage my dandelion blood lust.

April 03, 2006

The Stomach Bug Lingers On, But The Toddler Is a Genius!

Okay, she's perhaps not a genius as the title states, but she is very verbal and very aware of her bodily functions, although she does not appear to yet be potty-trainable as such. Today she had a leaky, drippy diaper of the most unpleasant sort. Instead of continuing her play or worse yet, playing in the drippy, leaky parts, she toddled her way to me, said, "Uh oh! Poo-poo!" and headed towards the changing table. When I discovered the extent of the damage upon removing her pants and noticing stuff all down one leg, she looked down too and said, "Oh yuck!" and sat patiently while I hosed and scrubbed her off in the sink. She may still have a touch of something, but she's awfully helpful to notify me immediately.

And Then There are Women Who Really Don't Handle Pregnancy Well...

Please say some extra prayers or think some extra good thoughts for RP and his Viking Bride, who is currently hospitalized with preeclampsia.

The Truth Hurts

I don't make an emotionally good pregnant woman. Sure, I fly through the first trimester with nary a wave of nausea, but my emotions run the gamut and I find myself lecturing, yelling and watching myself be genuinely unpleasant to be around at times. I pray for calm frequently.

Over the weekend, Justin and I were discussing this excellent children's book we'd read to the kids for bedtime called I Remember Papa. In the book, the boy saves up all his quarters from working on the farm to buy himself a baseball glove. Finally he gets his chance to go to the big city with his dad who needs new work boots and who has saved up enough to take the two of them to a baseball game. After the game, the boy's money is gone, but instead of a lecture, the dad buys the glove he's been longing for and they glue the work boots back together when they get home.

We were discussing how sweet the story was and how it showed an act of grace and how the boy learned more from his father that day than a lecture would have taught. I said that I found the lesson particularly meaningful and one that I hoped to follow more often, because it was a wise one.

The Boy piped up, "Mom, you yell a lot. I think you'd better read that book a million times if you want to learn that really well."

Thanks son.

Love/Hate Relationship With the Weather Radio

We got a great weather radio for Justin's last birthday. It's programmable, so we only have to hear the weather alerts we want to know about and not the flooding two counties away where we aren't going to be. When the weather radio goes off and lets us know about weather systems coming in that we haven't yet noticed, it is very helpful.

It was comforting last night to have the weather radio on the job when the major storms raged around our area. Which still didn't exactly make me love it when it shrieked loudly at midnight or so and woke me from a dead sleep to let us know the tornado watches were extended for a few more hours.

I am grateful though that the storms that did so much damage elsewhere, passed by our part of Nashville and see to have done little here. I know others were not so lucky.