Monday, March 30, 2015

Solid wood?

I was just looking at youtube for pointers on ukulele-buying and just came across this.  This guy is strongly pro-solid wood and cautions buyers that if it doesn't say "SOLID" it is a laminate instrument.  He also says some very nasty things about Martin's $300 ukuleles and their build quality.  I sat through 19 minutes of video getting more and more enlightened.  Well.  I'll have to encourage C to be more open-minded about wood types and perhaps more focused on wood quality rather than species.

Koa ukuleles II

I didn't quite finish my thought.

Both C and I are charmed by the pretty koa grain, especially the curly grains.  The koa wood (which is the traditional Hawaiian wood for ukuleles) is supposed to bring a bright tone rather than soft tone of mahogany.

This is provisional, but my current thought is to say that if C opts for a higher end ukulele, we can let the practices accrue credit at the rate of $2 each--so 50 15-minute practices for a $100 ukulele, 100 for a $200 ukulele, and 150 for a $300 ukulele.  That's not final, but it sounds reasonable.

C was able to play a number of songs for her teacher (including the Star Wars theme) and it sounds like he thinks she is almost done with her book.  Her homework is going to involve work with a metronome--it sounds like her teacher is very keen on the metronome.

Koa ukuleles

Today was C's third ukulele lesson ever and her first official ukulele lesson with her new teacher (he's a real string guy and teaches guitar, ukulele, mandolin and bass).  After her lesson, C gravitated over to the acoustic room and was trying out ukuleles.

Later at home, C and I were doing research on Amazon for her next ukulele, which will be concert-sized.  C wanted to get either koa wood or acacia and I think we're now leaning toward koa.  I think she also wants to go with solid wood.  The current plan is that after C has done 50 practices of 15 minutes each, she is entitled to a new ukulele of not more than $100 (she's around 37 practices now).  We're going to talk to her teacher soon in detail about her next ukulele, but based on Amazon, we should be able to get something very nice between $200 and $300.

If we go ahead with this, we'll have to start thinking about humidifying her room next winter.  It's so dry during the winter months.  


My husband and the kids did a lot of work on Saturday on the patio.  This time of year, it's quite idyllic out there--not too cold, not too warm, and no mosquitoes yet.  We've arranged Baby T's sand and water table on the patio.

Oh, and our new hammock has arrived!  (The old one wore out from being outdoors for 2+ years.)  We're going to put up the new one on an as-needed basis near the patio.

My husband really wants to eradicate the English ivy that occupies a ridiculous percentage of our back yard (I suspect that there wasn't originally so much of it and that it has been gradually encroaching on the lawn).  However, the internet says that English ivy is invasive and resistant to being eradicated, so we may need to bide our time.  

Bath duck

Baby T has appropriated her large bath duck for bed.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Matching wallpaper and fabrics

I see that this month's House Beautiful is pushing matching patterned wallpapers and fabrics as being "peaceful."

No, no, no!

Homeowners, don't do this one!  They've got a small sample photo showing a bedroom full of blue and white everything and it looks like the designer was trying to hide the bed and the little love seat.  It's like some sort of upscale version of camouflage.

Don't do it!  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Mopping up

Baby T got the floor under her chair wet during breakfast as she was doing her favorite thing--pouring water back and forth between cups.  That's not the interesting thing.

I gave her a kitchen towel, told her to mop up, and she did.  And then she carried the wet towel off to the laundry room.

Good girl!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scarborough Fair

C got to perform Scarborough Fair on the ukulele at a school coffee house!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Free book or movie plot!

Here's an idea for science fiction writers in need of a plot:

In a post-apocalyptic world, the only functioning social structure left is the school PTA.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Long sentences for Baby T

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T said, "How about I pee?"
  • On D's b-day she said, "Not D birthday.  This is T birthday!"  
  • She pronounces her name "Tee-uh."
  • From time to time, we've been able to do a playground trip on the way to church.  Baby T didn't go to nursery yesterday and was actually pretty good in church, if a little loud.  Fortunately, the sound system was louder.   
  • She is starting to play effectively with Duplos and is finally getting interested in Little People.
  • My husband took the baby feeding seat off the chair.  Baby T is officially liberated!  (Although she actually liberated herself a couple of weeks ago, when she decided that the "high chair" was only for her stuffed critters, not herself.)
  • After lunch today, Baby T surveyed the debris under her seat and said, "Wow!  Tia made mess!"
  • We are officially halfway through the big kids spring term, so 75% of the way through the school term.  Soooooon.  The number of projects this term has been ridiculous.  Why do we need a quarterly Latin project.  Whyyyyyy?

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New bed!

Thanks to D's birthday checks from various grandmas, D now has a new black-brown IKEA Malm bed with drawers on casters underneath and a new IKEA mattress (bed with drawers, mattress and slats came out to $382 including tax).  My husband and D assembled it today.  This is D's first real bed ever.  He slept in a crib in infancy, it got converted to a toddler bed and he slept there until 6, and then for the next four years he slept on a mattress and box spring that are now 18+ years old.  So, a big day for D!

Aside from the new bed, D's furniture dates mostly from our initial move to Texas, and was chosen with the needs of a 2-year-old in mind.  So, it's nearly all about 2 feet tall, max--a terrible waste of floor space.  Within the next half year, I'd like to get him some taller matching black brown IKEA furniture to accomplish the following:  a place to do homework, a place to store books, some closed storage with doors and something with more drawers.  C has a tall IKEA cabinet type thing with shelves behind doors on top and then several drawers underneath--I'd like something similar for D.  Ideally, we'd only be getting another two pieces of furniture.  C has basically all the furniture she needs until college (I hope).  Baby T only has her crib, but her room has lots of built-in shelves and cabinets (it's technically an office), so the next thing she is going to need will be a mattress (we like to start our little people out with a mattress on the floor).   

I wanted to just put the old mattresses on the curb (eww!).  My husband has listed them on Craigslist and already got four interested people, including one person that offered us five whole dollars to deliver the mattresses.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

School closure

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We've had so many school closures, late starts and early dismissals this winter.  This is the longest winter we've had in Texas and it's not over yet.  We had a closure today.  Fortunately, we haven't had days and days in a row--it's just half a day here, half a day there, and a full day there.
  • Baby T loves Dora.
  • Baby T is getting more and more competent around the house.  She knows where to get straws, forks, spoons, baby dishes, ziplocs, you name it.  
  • We are planning D's birthday party!
  • My husband is ordering fencing gear for himself and both older kids.
  • C's guitar teacher has quit Guitar Center.  Waaah!  She's worked with him for the past 10 months.  On the bright side, C is scheduled to work with a young guitar teacher that also does ukulele (and mandolin and bass), so that could work out really well as I've been planning to switch C over to a 50/50 ratio of guitar and ukulele lessons as of May or June.  Up until now, she's had regular guitar lessons and a total of two ukulele lessons, so hopefully it will work out well to be able to have the same teacher for guitar and ukulele.
  • C is working on "Scarborough Fair" for a school coffee house.
  • C is also working toward a new ukulele.  I've told her that when she's done 50 days with 15 minutes of practice that we will buy her a new one.  I'm thinking a concert ukulele (that's a bigger one).  C took her tuner and was trying out the ukuleles in the acoustic room at Guitar Center.  She says that the more expensive ones are heavier and sound better.  I've told C that our deal does not hold for ukuleles over $100 and that for over $100, we will need to renegotiate a number of practice days.     

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Choosing to stay in

One of Baby T's oddities is that although she is fully capable of hopping in and out of her crib (which is flat on the floor, as my husband sawed off the legs), for the last month or so, she has been in her bed when I come to get her in the morning or after a nap, even if she's awake.

It may be that she knows that the good stuff is in her bed.