Monthly Archive for May, 2008

Well, if the goofy cartoon shoe fits…

Claire saw the stickers on my desk. She gets to pick a sticker when she’s done certain things in the potty, and she’d just done both!

“I get to have a sticker! I want that sticker. Him’s goofy! Him’s a goofy guy!”

“Actually, his name is Goofy.”

“Cuz him’s a goofy guy!”

Two and a half!

Today marks Claire’s 30-month birthday, and that means we’ve officially made it half-way through the Infamous Year Number Two!  Yeah!

Click on photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

30-months old

30-months old

30-months old

For the record, she’s been a really good girl, for the most part.  We’ve had our challenges here and there, but we really can’t ask for anything better.  And, as with anything, some days are more challenging than others.  😉

To mark this milestone and also prepare for our trip next week, I’ve decided to call in the professionals to do her hair.  I really wanted to grow out her bangs and have her hair all one length.  But, then reality stepped in and reminded me that until she’s old enough to keep the bows in or keep it behind her ear, it would be a constant battle.

I’m tired of battles.

So, today she got bangs!

There is a place near us that specializes in cutting children’s hair.  And, the price is really reasonable and, to be honest, I would have paid three times what they were charging just to keep my sanity somewhat intact.  (Don’t tell them that, or they’ll raise their prices, and then my sanity becomes even more expensive!)  😉

Before

During

During

Almost Done

After

All Done!

So, her bangs are wispy and the stylist did some face framing. I think it looks really good!

Afterwards, we changed clothes and met some friends at a park for a picnic.  Claire has gotten so brave and was exploring all over, and she wasn’t even afraid to go down the big slides!  She was playing so well with all the other kids, and had a great time playing.  When I think about how outgoing she is most of the time and how much fun she has, and then I look at the above pictures, I’m struck by how much she’s changed and how she’s turning into such an interesting little girl.

Part of me gets a little teary and I kinda miss my Baby Claire!  But then I realize how cool this stage is, too…and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Lost Observations – Season 4 Finale – “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 2”

Well, the end has come. And, actually, it’s the beginning. Eight long Lost-less months stretch out before us, and that’s a long time to wait!

I think Therese from Tubular (see my blogroll for some other cool Lost stuff) will be posting weekly recaps of Season Two’s episodes. (Check out her archives for the recaps of Season One.) What’s cool about these recaps, is she reviews them knowing what we know now in the show. I’m so curious to see how we’ll see things looking back through those 20/20 hindsight lenses. I mean, remember way back when we had no idea that time-travel was even a possibility on the show? A second look at those previous shows will be very interesting!)

So, where to begin? As always, I won’t recap this show. Others do that very well. I will, however, use this as my crazy scientist-like notebook for scribbling notes to my future self. 😉

And, you all know the drill. If you don’t want to know what happened in last night’s episode, don’t read this.

Blah Blah Blah
Obligatory Spoiler Alert Complete!

Wow. I’m still reeling. WE FINALLY KNOW WHO IS IN THE COFFIN. Yes! From the very first time we saw the coffin, I was curious. Is it Ben? Is it Locke? Is it Michael? Is it someone we haven’t met yet? Are they going to keep us in suspense forever? Then, right as we were getting to the end of this episode, I was practically shouting “It’s BEN! Ohmygosh, I just know it’s BEN!” at the screen…right up until he startled Jack. Even then I wasn’t convinced that it wasn’t going to be Ben’s body in the coffin. I’m SO GLAD we find out who it is. Now, the question, is how did HE get off the island??

Oh, there’s so much left of the story! I can’t wait!

I must say I was pleased to see that I was right in my thinking about Ben traveling to Tunisia from the Orchid station. I’m glad we got to see how he injured his arm. It’s a great twist that that is how he left the island and that he couldn’t return from that point.

I loved the fact that there were humorous lines sprinkled throughout the episode. My favorites include Ben’s line about the “time-traveling bunnies” and the fact that John didn’t know what Anthuriums looked like. (I’d actually said out loud during the last episode that it’s lucky Ben didn’t give me those instructions, because I had no idea what an Anthurium looked like! Ha!)

And, when Sayid crept into Hurley’s room, and Hurley was playing Chess, I said, “Well, there’s poor Hurley, playing Chess with Charlie…” Only we found out it was Mr. Eko! Ha!

When Sawyer jumped out of the helicopter, I looked at my hubby and said, “My boyfriend had better be a good swimmer, or I’m going to be very sad next season.” He scoffed. Imagine my delight when Sawyer swam up onto the beach. “Oh look! He lost his shirt. How awful…” 😉 I’m glad my hubby humors me.

Speaking of my hubby, he was the first to point out that shooting Keamy in his flack-jacket shouldn’t have killed him. So, neither of us was surprised when he stumbled down to the Orchid. He was, however, quite hung up on the fact that Keamy’s monitor was still working so far underground. I swear, he muttered for half an hour about how that was so unrealistic. Something about a signal underground, etc. When I asked him why time-traveling bunnies and humans, moving islands, and ghosts were okay, he rambled on and on about how fantasy things are fine, but unrealistic technological things bug him. Fair enough.

He was also irritated by the whole bomb sequence. We were confused as to why they just couldn’t pull all the wires out of the C-4 when the battery was frozen. I told him it was probably just a plot-point…I mean, if the bomb didn’t explode, how would the freighter blow up? 😉

Speaking of which…poor Jin. I’d had a feeling that Sun’s tears at his grave were real, even if the dates on his tombstone weren’t. 🙁

And, Miles and what he “knows” just gets creepier and creepier. And, what did Charlotte mean about where she was born?

I was so glad to see Penny and Desmond reunited! But, when Jack warned Desmond about not letting them find him, I was wondering how difficult that would be with Widmore being Penny’s father. Wouldn’t they see each other at the wedding? Just kidding.

I was afraid that something horrible was going to happen to Frank Lapidus or Desmond, because we know who the Oceanic Six are.

Okay, this is an aside that I just have to share. This is so funny. I told my hubby I was putting this in the blog, because I just can’t pass this up. And, I’m not making fun of him, per se…it’s just that this pretty much sums up a majority of the conversations we have:

We’re watching the show, and we’re at the scene where the Oceanic Six are in the chopper with Frank and Desmond. I am really concerned for Desmond’s safety because anything is possible at this point. My hubby says, “Oh my gosh! The final one is Desmond!”

And, I was like, “What? No he’s not! We already know the six! And, he wasn’t on the plane!”

He said, “No! We don’t know the final one, and now we do! It’s Desmond!”

By this time, I’m really confused, so I pause the TV. Then, it hits me. “So, you’re saying Desmond is the final Cylon?”

“Yes!” he shouts…so happy that he’s figured it out. “Now we know the final one!”

The funniest thing about that? He was serious. He’d somehow slipped into Battlestar Gallactica mode and gotten the Oceanic Six mixed up with the Final Five Cylons.

After getting him back on track, he still thinks it would be an awesome twist. He, of course, thinks it would be great to mix Cylons in with whatever is going on with the island. Imagine how many twists and turns there would be then??

I guess you had to be there…or at least be a BSG fan to even understand why that conversation makes me laugh. 🙂

Okay, back to this show…

It looks like we have a lot to look forward to next season. What did Sawyer tell Kate before he kissed her and jumped into the ocean? (We know from the last episode that Kate was doing something for him. What is it?) Why does John seem to know more than he should, what with all his “you’re not supposed to do this and you’re not supposed to do that” stuff. How many times has this island moved? How did John get off the island? It’s interesting that Sun is working with Widmore now…or is she?

I do know one thing: if next season is anything like this one, it will be well worth the wait!

The Vulcan Car Seat Relaxant Grip

Is there a “get the toddler in the car seat” equivalent to the “Vulcan Death Grip?” For real. I’d love to know where that pressure point is. Her ability to climb into the car seat herself really saves my back, so I’d like to be able to apply said grip after she’s sitting in the seat.

You may think I’m being facetious in my question, but I’m serious. A pressure point that doesn’t cause permanent paralysis would be awesome. Or that doesn’t cause bruising. Well, no visible bruising anyway… Just kidding! (or am I?)

😉

At first I thought maybe the straps needed to be adjusted on the car seat. I checked the manual, and sure enough, the straps needed to be moved to the next slot up. So, I did that. But, it’s still a wrestling match.

Some days are okay. I’ve tried giving her choices: Do you want to get in the seat yourself, or do you want me to help you? Do you want to click the top latch by yourself, or do you want me to help you? Like I said, some days are okay.

Some days are not. Puppy gets taken away until she calms down. I physically have to hold her down with one arm while trying to click the latches as quickly as I can…all the while shielding my face from her claws and flailing limbs. The ringing in my ears from all the screaming seems to subside after a few minutes.

The day we brought a little boy home with us from a playdate (so that his mom could go to an appointment in peace), I wasn’t sure what to expect. I couldn’t handle two crazed beasts. I decided to hope for the best and really played up how much fun it would be to ride in the backseat together. It worked. He hopped right into his seat and waited patiently. Claire did the same. I was amazed. So…you CAN do it. You just don’t WANT TO. I’m onto you, Little Missy.

And, for the record, she gets in the car seat with minimal thrashing about for Daddy. Again, proving that the issue is not mechanical, it’s psychological. Maybe the problem is me? No…I’m not the one who is two. 😉

Today, we had another Music Class with the Mom’s Group, and Claire did NOT want to leave. I tried to leave three times but got stopped chatting with other moms that were also trying unsuccessfully to head for the door. On the fourth and final time, I told the moms that I had to do the Grab and Dash, and to please ignore all the screaming.

I went back to the playroom and escaped through the door with a screaming toddler.

As I carried Claire to the car, she was literally kicking and screaming, and she didn’t stop when she got to the car. She was in no mood for my choice-offering questions, so I put her in the seat. Out of nowhere, she developed the strength of ten men. This was the biggest struggle I’ve seen yet.

Oh, the arching of the back! Oh, the throwing of oneself from side to side! Oh the gnashing of teeth and the shrill screams!

I was finally able to get the latches clasped, but not without her smacking me. This is unacceptable. I told her that as soon as we got home, she was sitting in time-out. You would have thought that I ripped poor Puppy limb-from-limb with how she erupted in a fit of tears. Then, the bargaining began. She didn’t do it on purpose! (Yes, she did.) She wouldn’t do it again! (Sorry, I’m not a fortune teller. Actions have consequences. The sooner you learn that, the better.) She tried apologizing, but I told her that was nice, but it was too late. Time-out is where little girls go who hit. Period. (see note below)

As I got out of the backseat, all disheveled and bruised, I saw one of the other moms. “Do you have a bumper sticker that says, ‘I swear I’m not kidnapping this child; she just hates her car seat,’ on you?” She laughed and said her little boy does the same thing and that she’d just survived a massive struggle as well. As both kids screamed in the backseats, we quickly chatted about how he was perfectly fine for me that one day…he’d gotten into his car seat willingly and was all happy through the entire process.

Maybe next time we should switch up kids, and I should put him in his car seat and she can put Claire in hers. Hmmm…that might not be a bad idea. Of course, that will work for Music Class, but not for any other trips I take, and I’m sure the novelty of someone else strapping them in would wear off eventually.

The Vulcan Car Seat Relaxant Grip would be much more practical. 😉

Note: Claire sobbed all the way home (thankfully, we live close), and went straight to the time-out corner upon our arrival. But, whatever it was has worked itself out of her system…for now. Oh, the trials and tribulations of being two…

Master Bathroom Remodeling Project – Final Phase is Complete!

A few months ago, we finished remodeling the master bathroom. (Actually, I just looked, and it was in October that we finished! It really seems like “just a few months,” and I’m not sure where the first part of the year went!? Does anyone remember what happened to February!? You can read about The Master Bathroom Remodeling Project: Phase One project here.) Anyway, we were purposely waiting to start The Final Phase (Phase Two) of the project: the refinishing of the master bathroom cabinet and replacement of the counter/double sinks.

When we were done with Phase One, we placed the order for the counter/double sinks and after weeks of waiting, it arrived. My hubby has been leisurely refinishing the cabinet. He stripped it all down, sanded it, varnished it and then put on the protective coat. It looks gorgeous. He does great work.

To do this project, we removed the old counter and sinks. We’ve been using the main bathroom down the hall for all our sink-required needs. (This is the bathroom we remodeled first. You can read all about that here.) It’s been a hassle, but not the end of the world. That said, I can’t wait to get everything moved back in here!

This weekend, the project was officially completed. Yesterday morning, I razor-bladed the mirror to clean up the random paint droplets here and there (my hubby repainted the white wall and did a great job of not getting it where he wasn’t supposed to, but mirrors this large attract tiny droplets of paint). And, I decided to take pictures of the finished project.

I didn’t want to wait until Claire’s naptime to do this, so how did I take pictures without her helping me too much? 😉

She said, “Take a picture of Puppy, and then I’ll let you take your other pictures!”

Click on photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Refinished Cabinet

So, I did, and she held up her end of the bargain! She let me take the following pictures in peace!

Refinished Cabinet

My hubby used a red oak stain with brushed stainless pulls and hinges. I love it!

 

Refinished Cabinet

The countertop/double-sink combo is a Swanstone. It’s a bone color, which is the same color and style we used in the Main Bathroom.

Refinished Cabinet

The master craftsman even painted the entire interior white.

Refinished Cabinet

We replaced the two hideous light fixtures with these, shown above. The brushed finish matches the towel bars, pulls and new faucets.

 

Refinished Cabinet

We ended up going with a lower wattage/energy efficient bulb, because with six of the original bulbs, we could do surgery on our countertop. 😉

So, there it is…we’re officially done with all phases of the project! Now, I wonder how long it will take me to remember that all my things are in this bathroom. I can see it now…I’ll be standing in the Main Bathroom wondering who took all my toiletries. 🙂

Technical Difficulties

Okay, I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I write what I’m going to post and then set it to post the next day, usually after midnight. It’s a system that works for me, and I can get a lot of things written and still stay on top of the blog, chasing after Claire and all the other things we must do during the day.

Sometimes I post in real-time. It just depends.

Well, imagine my surprise when I couldn’t get into my blog. I could get to everything else in cyberspace except my blog. How convenient. Then, I started to panic. What if no one else can get into my blog!? What if I look like a big dork sending people links and leaving comments with my URL and all they get is a “neener, neener, denied!” error!?

I started to panic. I won’t lie. I try to remain calm and casual about things, but sometimes the perfectionist side wins. This was one of those times.

I called my hubby at work. (He loves when I do this, by the way. Loves it. Yeah, not so much…) He could get to my blog. I even tested him to be sure he wasn’t fibbing. “Oh, suuuuuuuuure. It came right up!” wink, wink, eye-roll. But, he passed the test, and I was relieved that others could get to it. I was super annoyed that I was still locked out, but I felt a little better.

Then, all my thoughts started to snowball. My Mr. Tech Support has always been able to figure out what’s wrong, but I didn’t want to bother him with my silly little blog. What if it didn’t correct itself! What if I was forced to worry about this all day tomorrow!

So, after Claire’s nap, I scooped her up and we went to the library. Yes, this library. Every time we’ve gone, she’s gotten exponentially better. I was hoping that she would sit quietly on my lap while I quickly typed. This was asking a lot, but I had worked myself into an irrationally desperate frenzy.

Luckily, after years of experience, I’m good at hiding this, though, so no one at the library could tell. 😉

I’d never used the free Internet connection nor the computers at the library, but I thought this would be as good as an excuse as any to see how all this works.

It went without a hitch. We found an open computer, and I posted my entry. I set the date for Wednesday. Because I can. This should buy me some extra time in trying to figure out what is wrong! Claire sat quietly the whole time. I was amazed!!

Then, we get home and I can’t resist trying one last time to get on…and it works. Whatever was wrong had fixed itself (just like my personal Tech Support said it would).

So, rather than waste a trip to the library, here is the post I wrote! (I mean, I could delete all evidence of the tiny panic attack I had, but life is more realistic and interesting this way…) Enjoy!

~*~ ~*~ ~*~


Okay, I’m not sure what’s going on…but none of the computers in my house will let me onto my blog! Everything was just fine and dandy and then blam! I’m denied access! It says I don’t exist! I exist! I’m right here! All I wanted to do was to see who had commented, etc., and I was denied. Ack!

It’s been hours. I still can’t get on. I’m trying (unsuccessfully?) not to panic.

I’m typing this at the public library, of all places! (With Claire on my lap…the little ‘you’ve got x-amount of minutes left’ timer in the top right corner of my screen meaning more to me than just the Internet time-limit! I’m so glad she’s being good!!) I’m technically typing this on Tuesday, but I’m scheduling it to post after midnight on Wednesday, so that Claire and I can accomplish all of our Wednesday Tasks and Duties and (try – really hard) not worry about this little issue with the blog. I may or may not be able to access it from my house tomorrow (er, later today), and that thought is driving me a tad mad.

It’s so bizarre!

My hubby can view my site from the outside world. I can get to it from here (the library). I can get to everything else from my home computer(s): personal email, CNN, Google (mail, reader, search), our local news channel. My posts still show up in the FeedReader, but I can’t see the photos…maybe you can? Who knows.

Anyway, I feel like I’ve been locked out of my own house. Only, I can’t even peek in the windows! (You can imagine how much the perfectionist part of me is screaming right now. The casual part is failing to calm her down…)

Hmpf.

I’m sure that Mr. Tech Support can figure out what’s going on…in the meantime, I’m really trying not to panic. Deep breaths.

In.
Out.

Oh well, this will give me an excuse to actually work on my To Be Done Before We Leave On Our Trip Next Week List.

Yippy Skippy.
😉

The Sandbox Project

Yesterday, I posted some pictures of our little backyard project helper. Well, today, I’ll give a recap of the project we completed this holiday weekend!

As my hubby and I were cleaning up some things in the backyard on Saturday, we started to brainstorm about what to do about an area by our deck that is not currently being used to its fullest potential, if at all.

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Sandbox Project

You see, we have a three level deck on the back of the house. A few years ago, we removed a portion of it that was literally built around the Linden tree (the original owners had literally cut a circle in the deck around the tree). 1) The tree was suffocating because of the deck, and 2) because of the tree, that portion of the deck was in great need of repair, and 3) because the tree had grown so much since the deck was built, it was hard to use that portion of the deck anyway. Imagine our surprise when we discovered a two-level flagstone patio under that part! So, we removed the trouble-maker portion of the deck.

It was the right choice. My hubby repaired/rebuilt the remaining portion of the deck and now we have a three-level deck and a two-level flagstone patio. (Refinishing that patio may be a project we’re going to tackle this summer…we’ll see.)

Anyway, in making this change, there is a corner that is not being used. (In this photo, you can see that Claire is still wearing Momma’s glove…) 🙂

Sandbox Project

“What do you think we should do with this corner?” my hubby asked.

“You know…I was thinking about that. What about a sandbox?” I asked. “I think it’s about the right size for one of those, and Claire loves digging. This way, she’ll stop digging where you don’t want her digging, and this corner will serve a purpose. What do you think?”

“That’s a great idea!” he said.

That’s when I nearly fell over. I hadn’t realized that the planets were aligned properly. What else could I suggest that would meet such instant approval? Just kidding. We (eventually) agree on most things, but we’re known for our lively banter. 😉

So, we found the sandbox we wanted online and went to Toys R Us that night to pick it up.

Sunday, we spent the day readying the area for the 200 lb. sandbox. Actually, the sandbox weighs hardly anything, but it holds 200 lbs. of sand. (Daddy used the wheelbarrow to transport the bags of sand from the car to the backyard, and that was the project Claire was helping him with in those pictures I posted yesterday.)

Sandbox Project

Momma and Claire goofed off while Daddy did all the work. Kidding! You can’t have a project without a self-portrait. 😉

Sandbox Project

Daddy built a retaining wall. Momma helped dig the trenches for the support beams. Getting it level was challenging, but we did it!

Sandbox Project

We filled it with old concrete pieces that we’ve been collecting from the property over the years.

Sandbox Project

Daddy broke up those pieces with a sledgehammer…and then we backfilled it with dirt. A lot of dirt. The above picture is just the first of many layers of dirt. We had fun stamping it down and repeating the process all afternoon. Where do we get the dirt? Well, we have a gajillion tons of landscaping rocks in the back yard, and my hubby has been digging them up and sifting them. He then puts down new weed fabric and puts back the rocks or replaces them with woodchips, depending on the landscaping layout we’ve been working on. This sandy dirt mixture is what is left when he sorts the rocks. (He has a whole process, and he built a fancy sorting apparatus that he uses with the wheelbarrow.)

Sandbox Project

Once we had enough dirt, we put the sandbox in place.

Sandbox Project

Here it is with its lid shut. The lid will help keep out water and critters. Daddy will be installing hooks to the side of the deck and the retaining piece to use with a bungee cord so that it won’t blow off in the middle of one of our famous wind-storms. (You will see the black edging piece in the photo above. We opted to do something different there, so we didn’t install that piece. Not that it matters. I just wanted to clarify.)

Sandbox Project

Here is the top view from the top.

Sandbox Project

And, The Sandbox Project is complete! All three of us played in it for two hours on Sunday afternoon, and we had so much fun! I can’t remember the last time I played in the sand, and I’d forgotten just how much fun it really is. So, if you can’t reach us one of these days…check out back. Odds are, that’s where we’ll be. 😉

Wheelbarrow

Yesterday, we worked on a special project…

And, it’s a good thing we had good help! 😉

Click photos to enlarge.
Clicking a second time will show more detail.

Wheelbarrow

Where do you want me to go, Daddy?

Wheelbarrow

Okay, I’ll go over there…
(Yes, Claire is wearing one of Momma’s leather gloves!)

Wheelbarrow

Wait. Why won’t this thing go?

Wheelbarrow

I know I can get it if I just try hard enough…

So, do Child Labor Laws differ from state to state or is it a federally mandated thing? It probably doesn’t matter, since we’re not paying her anyway…plus, she volunteered! 😉

Stay tuned tomorrow for pictures of the actual project!

Two, please: One for her and one for me.

“So, can I get you anything while I’m up?” my friend asks me as she heads back for another trip to the salad bar.

Meeting my friend for lunch on Saturday seemed like a good idea at the time. But, I could tell that the sand was quickly draining out of the hourglass on the table. You know, the Toddler-Sized hourglass with the label that says, “Total Time Allotted for Being Good.”

“A tranquilizer dart would be awesome,” I answered, with a completely straight face.

I only wish I were kidding.

😉

Scratchy

“Claire!” I gasped. “What are you doing!?”

“I’m tryin’ to get that,” she said, as she was reaching for my hubby’s shaver.

“You know you’re not supposed to have that,” I said, moving it farther toward the back of the sink and making a mental note to remind my hubby that Claire’s arms are longer than they appear.

“But, I want it!” she whined.

“Why do you want it? What would you do with Daddy’s shaver?” I asked.

“I’d use it!” she screamed with joy. “Cuz it’s mine!”

“It’s not yours. It’s Daddy’s, and really, you don’t have any use for it.”

“I need it!” she whined some more.

“Why do you need it?” I asked, wondering where this would go.

“Cuz my face is scratchy,” she said. “I need it cuz my face is scratchy!”

“Your face is not scratchy!” I said with a laugh. But it was too late. She’d already started to pantomime how to use an imaginary electric razor on her scratchy face.

Nothing gets by this one; I tell ya. 😉

(And, don’t worry…she can’t reach it…)