Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thinking outside the box

Robin, holding up a bin of toys: Dump it out?

 Me: Let's not, sweetheart. Can you take out the toy you want to play with?

 Robin: Sure!

 She proceeds to take each toy out individually and throw it on the floor.

Probably not the first time I've been outsmarted by a 2 year old. Nor the last.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Postman (sometimes) Commeth

We had an issue with postal delivery recently which made me think we were subject to some good ol' fashioned postal theft. We do live on a busy street. . . Mystery one: Erin didn't receive a Valentine's card from my parents Mystery two: Erin and Robin didn't receive a message from Grandma and Grandpa from Hawaii. Mystery three: an old class-mate said she was sending a package ... which has never appeared. Concurrently, I'd read recently about some mail thefts in our area. So I started to lock the mailbox. Then the belated Valentin's arrived. The postal sorting mis-read the zip code. The Hawaiian message arrived at Grandpa and Grandma's house with postage due. The item from my old classmate is still not here, but I"m starting to think it has more to do with strangely coinciding system glitches and not nefarious neighbors pilfering our greeting cards.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Robin's birthday party

Family from near and far converged on our little casa to celebrate Robin completing her second year.  It was such a special treat to see every Mc from a 200 mile radius.

Thanks for helping us celebrate!

Get the flash player here:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

After only 3 weeks....

.... we've moved to paper plates, cups, and compostable cutlery.

Sorry, environment.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Woo-hoo, Robin is 2!

 Opening a few presents first thing this morning:

Showing off her two ponytails and celebratory lei:

Happy birthday, sweet Robin!  We love your sparkle. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kitchen Remodel Week 3

We took a look around at all the progress and realized the family room was going to look TERRIBLE when the open, adjacent kitchen was shiny and new.  So.... we decided to do the entire family room too.
Just look at this ugly paneling! 

We were already doing the floors, so we just added on the walls.  No more paneling, rather new insulation and sheetrock. Thankfully the contractor was able to kind of catch-up the family room work to the ongoing kitchen work and double thankfully he has yet to say "I told you so."

This week:
plumbing and electrical inspection (completed)
demolition of family room walls (completed)
insulation of family room walls and minor electrical adjustments (completed)
sheetrock hanging (partial)
taping/sanding (this weekend)

Main kitchen, looking in from family room:

Looking in on kitchen from dining room door:

Family room, all demo'd, half sheet-rocked:
Next week painting and cabinets!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thankful for warranties

We bought a new iMac in November.  It's already in the shop.  I probably should have taken it in a few months ago because it was having strange connectivity issues with the router and the wireless keyboard and mouse from the get-go, but I'm pretty forgiving of technology.  The issue finally got so bad that every time the computer would wake after "sleep" it would need to search for the internet connection for a minute or so, then the keyboard would drop out for a few minutes, then the mouse.  I had self-assessed the problem via iMac forums to be a configuration file issue, but took it to the Genius Bar nonetheless.  It is a new, expensive computer still under warranty after all.  They suspect a hardware problem. Hopefully we'll have it back in a few days.

Now, at this point in my life I loves me some Apple.  Our house is lousy with iThis and iThat.  But I think I've visited the Genius Bar about 10 times in the last 2 years.  I mean, I go there so often that they guy I usually got has said, "Wow, Robin is getting big."

Just ranting here.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Celestial thoughts

Erin (pointing to a contrail): hey, look Mama! A plane. Me: how can you tell? E: the clouds coming from the plane are close. Much closer than a shooting star. We can only see the shooting stars in the night time. Then they are far away too. Me (just curious): good point. There are stars at night and the Sun in the day. So where do the night stars go at night? E: Hmmmmmm. I think they gather close to the sun. Then when it is night, they spread out one by one as the Sun goes down to bed.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

What happened today?

Um,  how did I miss this?  He's got a kid with Trisomy 18?  Um, last I checked median survival time of a kid with trisomy 18 is 14.5 days.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Now that's sticky!

We checked out The Letter Factory from the library yesterday and the kids have been begging nonstop to watch it. It is repetitive, cute, non-confrontational, and all about phonics. And it's driving me crazy! 

Apparently, there's is a whole line of research into what kids like to watch. And not to generate the kind of data that will just sell more frosted cocoa sugar bombs. The book "Tipping Point" discusses the efforts Sesame Street has made with child-based focus groups to make their shows more interesting. It also talks about Blues Clues to be the "stickiest" of all shows, at least for the preschooler set.

So what is it about The Letter Factory, a show that methodically goes through the alphabet with nmenoics, narrated by a daddy and boy frog, that makes it the bees-knees in this house? At the same time it makes me kind of glad that the show they gravitate towards is gentle, educational, and shown to really help kids learn letters. I totally acknowledge it could be much worse. They could be begging to watch this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Kitchenless Dinners

We're on week 2 of no kitchen.  Well, it was broken up by a 5 night trip to PDX,  so really we're still in our first week. Our cooking capabilities are limited to a rice cooker, microwave, hot plate (which just broke) and electric griddle.  The nearest McFeely's have also given us a 2-burner propane stove which we've yet to use.  We have a BBQ too, but haven't used it since last summer. Mostly we seem to be using the microwave and rice cooker*.

Tonight's dinner: 

Carnitas, pre-cooked and re-heated in the microwave, fork shredded and BBQ sauce added (WHERE has this been all my life?  So tasty and easy!) 
Mac N' Cheese
Shredded cheese, mexican blend
Rice, tortillas, or bread, diner's choice
Cherry tomatoes

Seriously. Delicious. Dinner. Everyone could plate out what/how they liked it.  Shown is the kids' plates, Erin's on the right, Robin's on the left, the differenced being if there was sauce in the pork (yes for R, no for E) and if the broccoli was cooked (yes for R, no for E). 

I'm growing more and more amazed at how versatile the microwave is.  And the electric griddle. Really, do we need a "kitchen"? 

*Lest you think The Coffee Queen has gone without her daily megadose, the fancy coffee maker is hooked up and running.  And in a pinch, I have the one-cup drip funnel available for use.  Trust me, nobody wants to see me without my 3-4 cups of coffee a day. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kitchen remodel week 2

Completed last week: demo and cleaning

Scheduled work this week: electrical (done), plumbing, insulation, inspection.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Nostrils are not pockets

Yesterday, a stick-on jewel from a homemade valentine emerged from my purse, dropping onto the floor of the Oakland airport.  Robin picked it up and admired it.  It was, in fact, from her valentine, and had fallen off when I put the card into my bag to save.  

On the way home she complained that her nose was stuffed.  I was feeling a little under the weather and assumed she was coming down with something. 

This morning, after breakfast, she sneezed.  A big sneeze.  A big juicy sneeze.  And from her left nostril emerged a strangely colored booger. I had her blow, but it didn't come out.  So I had her blow again.  This came out:

The penny is for sizing purposes.  I believe the jewel is larger than her actual nostril.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Hope yours was filled with frozen-raspberry kisses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kid Pictures

The memory on Erin's camera was full.  The last time pictures were downloaded form it was about 18 months ago.  There were 750. I haven't looked through all of them yet, and nearly all are blurry, smudgy, unidentifiable color.  Even so, there's tons of cool images in there. 
 Things you'd see in a funky frame and displayed at a coffee shop, on sale for more money than you'd like to spend for a blurry, smudgy, unidentifiable image. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Triangle Breakfast

One perk of taking the gang up to PDX is we get treated very well.  This trip is no exception, with dates, visits with friends, and lots of shenanigans.

Today we were treated to brunch at the Condo.  Everything was triangle shaped and delicious.  And there was a fish.  And Erin and Hen were thick as thieves.  Nice to know some things don't change.

* Though  I brought our fancy SLR I took disappointingly few pictures.  Seriously.  There were a couple of pictures on the plane there, the first nap in the car, and these.  Quite lame. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Just to report: the girls have had their first official non-family, non-friend babysitter experience.  Twice.  In two nights.  Both nights went well, with the first night resulting in two sleeping children, and the second night a little sadness just before Mom and Dad returned.  Thank you to the Smithstanzas and the Brinkley's for setting it up!!  We had fun as adults two nights in a row.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fashion Friday: Earring and Clip

Little aqua blue clip and princess stick-on earrings really do accentuate the sparkle pink bow top with grey ruffle sleeve accent.

I kid you not, Robin wore this shirt this summer when we were out and about and people still assumed she was a boy.  Can't wait sometimes for her hair to grow in.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Robin's First Google Search

It would not surprise me if she was really trying to look up "Who Pooped?"

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Erin Reads "5 Little Ducks"

She's not truly reading, as much as knowing the song and looking at how many ducks there are.  But she nailed it.

Truly, I'm not sure how much she really can read right now.  She knows how to write several words and tries to write others she's unsure of.  Sometimes when we flip through a book she'll recite what is on a random page.  Likely it's memorized, but still it makes me think she can read more than she lets on.

One thing about this person named Erin is if she's not 100% sure she can so something perfectly she sometimes will dig in her heels and not even take a stab. There's a lot of data about how praise can hinder children, as described here, here, and here.  I can absolutely see a difference in Erin over the last year or so since I shifted praise from "good job" and "you're so smart" to "wow, you used a lot of blue in that picture" and "I can see you put in a lot of effort".  But I still worry about her holding back, or even giving up, because she's not perfect at something.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2 big K's

K number 1:

We signed Erin up for Kindergarden today.  She starts in August.  

K number 2: 

Kitchen.  Now you see it:

 Now you don't!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Superbowl XLVI: live blogging edition

Erin: I'm voting for the PaintChips.

Ash: Great, that McDonald's commercial made me cry. (commercial just before kickoff)

K: I think the entire U.S. will be short of sequins for the next few months. (at halftime)

3rd Q Taste Test: Pigs in a blanket made with refrigerator croissant dough vs. biscuit dough.  Winner? Biscuit dough. Hands down.  Especially with catsup.

And how did it end up?  C says, "Suck it, Tom." word.

February 5th

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Time to do serious recycling

We're cleaning out the kitchen to prepare for the remodel.  I've come across my college and grad school textbooks.  It occurs to me that
(a) I have two copies of MBOC
(b) They are different editions
(c) Parts of the earlier edition have been rendered invalid through the last 20 years of experiments
(d) I really need to get rid of some of my college and grad school books.

Anyone need something to prop up a wobbly coffee table?  Or maybe some kindling?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Goodbye Stove!

Today as I was cleaning out cabinets in prep for the kitchen demo, I found the original manual for our range. I tried to figure out what date it was installed.  The most recent manual I could find online was from 1984, and it was a later model than ours.  Judging from the canning tips and very slender, well manicured ladies' hands in the drawings, I'm guessing early '70's.  

As funky as this range is/was I will not miss it.  We stopped using the two right burners a long time ago as we would frequently get a sharp electric shock when cooking with them.  Brian and his dad figured they weren't grounded but try as they might couldn't fix it.  So we removed the knobs and stopped using them. So we've been cooking with 2 burners for nearly 2 years.  And the larger of the 2 working burners only works about 60% of the time.

I look forward to a stove and oven that work and will let me live till dinner.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Project Sparkly

The last trip to the dollar store resulted in a glitter shaker set.  What better way to spend some time with a 4-year-old playdate than to make some sparkle-laden paper plate puppets?!?  The results were stunning:

However, the cleanup was is awful.  Sparkles are e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

The floor, the sofa, the counter, the keyboard, my eye sockets, and probably all over our dinner tonight but who can say. I love the creative, let the kids explore and experiment projects, but the cleanup* kills me.

*The clean up from yesterday's impromptu 15-minute project took at least 30 minutes to clean up and still resulted in some warped IKEA floorboards.  And the floor still feels funky underfoot. I feel we will be finding sparkles for a few weeks.  Good thing the kitchen is going to be demolished in a few days. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Indoor Skating

I made this bubble recipe today.  Good bubbles, easy recipe.  This isn't a post about bubble recipes.

I filled two empty yogurt cups and put in two old bubble wands. This isn't a post about blowing bubbles.

This is a post about silliness.

The girls excitedly found the containers.  They had already taken off their clothes (normal at this time of day, and hence why this post has no pictures).  They blew a few bubbles.  They spilled the entire contents, maybe 4 oz, of bubble solution on the family room floor.  They laughed.  They pushed it around with their hands.  They laughed harder.  They squished it around with their feet.  They slipped.  They laughed even harder.  They bubbled up their tummies and legs.  And laughed.

At first I quickly pulled out the cleaning rags and a bucket of water.  I warned them they would slip and it might hurt.  I was concerned, nervous.  Then I started laughing too.

Erin's quote: "You know what I want to be when I grow up?  A kid."

Me too, sweetie.

Wordless Wednesday: Smear