Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I walk the line

C is practicing Johnny Cash's "I walk the line" on the ukulele.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Summer is coming!

Here's some of what's going on:

  • Baby T loves to stuff every available DVD into a single Netflix envelope.  
  • Baby T is starting to enjoy our train set, but she took apart the looping track set-up that D so graciously built for her.  But Baby T is very good at linking up trains.
  • We're having some hold-ups with summer camp registration.  It's going to be OK, but the kids' main camp is really slow this year in getting out the registration packets, so everything else is backed up.
  • It's such a cold, wet May!  No complaints (it's saving us big bucks on watering expenses), but it is unexpected.    

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Train track!

We have a loop of the train track set up for Baby T.  She is keenly interested.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

D furniture ideas

In the next month or two, we are going to be finishing the furnishing of D's bedroom.  He is currently living mainly with odds and ends that furnished his toddler bedroom when we moved to Texas nearly 8 years ago.  He's got a real bed now (an IKEA Malm with drawers) and a very nice set of large painted shelves we got from our sellers, but we need to replace his small toddler furniture with larger pieces, suitable for the growing tween.  I'm not totally sure what pieces we're going to get, but he needs more book storage, some sort of desk, something with shelves (ideally behind doors), and something with drawers.  And ideally, it would only be two pieces...Tough!

I'm still working through this, but one possibility is to get an IKEA Kallax work table with bookshelf cubes in IKEA brown-black plus a Hemnes black-brown solid pine cabinet with glass doors and three drawers.  It's kind of a dining room display type item and ideally I'd like something with drawers below and shelves above behind opaque doors (opaque because I want a place to keep the less decorative stuff), but it's functionally really close to what I want.  I had the thought today that we can use some of the decorative window film that we've used to such good effect the past few years, stick it on the cabinet glass, and voila--an inexpensive and tasteful solution to the problem.      

I'm hoping to have this all taken care of by July, but no hurry.  I do want to get it done before the new school year, though.  

Thank you, IKEA!

Our family has been struggling to fit onto the sofa my husband and I purchased pre-kids in mid/late 2001.  The five of us do not fit as neatly onto the sofa as we used to as a family of 2 or 3 or 4.  A month or two ago, I had a near-miss at a discount furniture place, where I thought I had found a suitable small leatherish sectional for $850 (I think)--it looked and felt great.  The brand name for the material was Durablend.  I even called my husband in (in the middle of the working day) to look at the find with the thought of buying immediately.  Sadly, when he googled Durablend, it turned out that the material (which larger consists of non-leather stuff) is notorious flaking profusely at around the one year point.  So, that was a no.

I did a little more research and was starting to make peace with the fact that real leather sectionals cost as much as reliable used cars, but that it would be worth the wait.  (Here's a $5,500 leather sectional from Pottery Barn.)

I had previously looked at IKEA and found that their leather offerings were probably too small.  As I recall, the biggest leather sectional in their fleet was a love seat plus a chaise longue.  It seemed logical, since their base demographic is young adults furnishing small starter homes, so mega-sectionals are not their market.  Well, I checked again today online, and IKEA's sectional offerings have been blossoming.  Here's a $2,000 IKEA leather sectional that is pretty much exactly what we want.  This is very exciting, as at this price, we might even be able to get one within the year.  10 year limited warranty!  

Friday, May 8, 2015


Baby T loves C's large stuffed orca, but she call it "okra."

Thursday, May 7, 2015


Here's some of what's happening:

  • C had a ukulele lesson today.
  • Her teacher was talking to her about doing tremolo on the ukulele and talking about his inability to deal with people that pronounce it oo-kulele.  
  • He also quizzed C on her music theory
  • C is finishing up her Hal Leonard Ukulele 1.  I have just ordered her the second book and the first Hal Leonard book of easy ukulele songs.
  • D had a field day today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kitchen marauding

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Baby T helped herself so generously to a new package of straws (she stuck a dozen in her water cup) that I've found a new location to keep the straws.
  • Baby T is really savvy about my kitchen stepladder.  She picks it up, takes it to the pantry, and has started helping herself.  She has a very good idea of what are the most promising targets in the pantry--her attacks are very focused.
  • Baby T also likes having several sippies on the table during meals and snacks.
  • I bought some Cadillac pullups (64 cents each), in the hope that they will do the job better.  We've had SO much laundry the last couple days, so it seemed like it was time to move on from the standard pullups and try the ones specifically sold for nighttime use for bigger kids.  There is a dark side to all those fruits and veggies Baby T has been enjoying.
  • C has been home from school the last several days.  She has had an infection and is on antibiotics but is on the mend.
  • C, Baby T and I went to the grocery store today.  It wore C out, but she's done very well with walking hand-in-hand with Baby T at the store.
  • C has about $180 (I think) in credit earned toward her next ukulele.  At current rates of progress, she's within 1-3 months of being able to get a very fine new ukulele.  
  • D took his simple machine project to school today. 
  • Baby T has been enjoying watching Star Trek with my husband and the big kids.  
  • Less than 2.5 weeks of school left!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Summer is coming!

Here's some of what's going on:

  • Baby T continues her program of diapering, dressing, feeding and watering her critters.
  • Baby T LOVES the water table at the children's museum.
  • She keeps trying the potty and reading her potty books, but not performing.  ????? 
  • Three more weeks of school!!!!!
  • We all went to a potluck last night.  Baby T was not terrible (she and I have been sitting out potlucks for a while).  She enjoyed the preschooler host's trampoline and playing peekaboo with the host family's cat.  I encouraged C to bring along her ukulele and the preschooler host kid liked playing on it, too.    
  • C is rapidly accruing credit toward her next ukulele.  She's got $172 (?) accrued and that puts her about half-way, maybe more.  I'm not totally sure how much we're going to wind up spending, but we lean toward solid koa wood, which drives your price up quite a bit.  There seems to be a nice selection on the Guitar Center site, so we will probably order in the most promising looking one, try it out in the store, and then buy or not buy.  Hopefully, it won't take too many tries.  
  • The kids and I had a good hunt at Barnes and Noble and Big Lots today.  We found some 75% off Easter chocolates at B&N and then found some discount organic baby food pouches and candied ginger at Big Lots.  The big kids also had a chance to try out a (plastic) sectional at Big Lots and thoroughly approve of the generous size.  Now, to find a leather one that doesn't cost as much as a car...
  • I get the feeling we should be getting the catalog for the big kids' gifted camp any time now.  My husband is going to be teaching in it again this year.  The gifted camp is always the biggest chunk of our summer, so once we are able to schedule that, everything else ought to fall into place.  There will also probably be some fencing for both kids (part of the summer), some swimming for both kids (with maybe a junior life guard camp for C), a quilt camp for C, music for C, cake decorating for C, and a sailing camp for both kids (hopefully).  That's tilted toward C, I know, but C has A LOT of interests and usually wants to do more stuff, so that's how it works out.  If D wants to do more, he can do more.
  • We also have one night booked at Great Wolf Lodge to celebrate C's birthday.  
  • And there will be some West Coast travel for the big kids.