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Week 8 Progress So Far

A new batch of pictures; lots of progress, both visible and not so much.

Week 8 Day 1 (Tuesday)

Week 8 Day 2 (Wednesday)

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Remodel Week 7

Things started moving here in Week 7, and surprise!  I have pictures on Friday evening!

I've combined the relatively small amount of work that got done in Weeks 5 and 6 into a single album. Remember to read the notes on the right-hand side before doing the slide-show.

Weeks 5 and 6

Week 7 started slow, but things happened on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Week 7 Day 3

Week 7 Day 4

Week 7 Day 5

If all goes well and we get all our shopping done, our contractor thinks he can finish up late next week.  Note that the plan was for a 10-week project, and I was going to say that anything under 12 weeks was good enough.  I'm almost scared to think we might actually get done early!  We will be a bit over budget, though.  The added expenses: the downstairs bathroom floor repair under the toilet, the window seat miscommunication (see the album notes and captions), and choosing a few more paint colors than was in the original budget.

We still need to buy knobs for cabinets, towel racks and related hardware, a bathroom light, and a small TV and mounting arm for the kitchen.

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Dramatic progress, and then a break

The kitchen cabinets are installed!  The upstairs bathroom is nearly fully functional!  The outside work is almost done!

Having said all that, we're probably done with photo-worthy progress for the rest of the week and maybe into next. 

The next big thing to happen will be kitchen counter-tops, but they need to be measured for and ordered (probably on Wednesday) and then will take at least a week to arrive.

The gutters are on order.

Here are two days worth of pictures.

Week 5 Day 1

Week 5 Day 2

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Remodel Week 4!

Heh.  And I thought I'd be really diligent in posting a summary once a week.  I should know better.

In my defense, I've been fussing with Picasa and PicasaWeb, trying to get that under control so I can do albums and whatnot more quickly.  I've redone all the previous albums, with new links and everything.  The captions are also a bit better, if you happen to want to go back and read them.  Read the descriptions to the right of the thumbnails before looking at the slideshow.  I've been putting the "daily summary" there.

So, here we are at the end of Week 4.  When I last wrote, we had a large hole in the downstairs bathroom, courtesy of a chronic leaky toilet.  The floor did get replaced by Thursday of Week 2, and the toilet was installed by the next week, after the new flooring was laid.

Week 3 was mostly about drywall, which was dramatic and exciting on the first day but then kind of dull from our perspective.  I did not take daily photos of all the drywall work.

Here are the links for the rest of Week 2 and Week 3

Week 2, Day 3

Week 2, Day 4

Week 2, Day 5

Week 3, Day 1

Week 3, Day 2

Week 3, Day 3

Week 4 has been a bit more exciting, at least towards the end.  When we got home tonight, Jack and a crew were still here laying the kitchen floor.  They had all gotten a late start but needed to finish before they could leave.  Jessie, bless her doggy heart, walked through the floor glue and had to get her paws scrubbed down.  Fortunately, she only tracked it through the entry before she was wrestled down.

Also today, the cabinetry all got delivered.  The vanity is installed in the upstairs bathroom, though the counter top isn't here yet.  The kitchen stuff is all either in boxes in the kitchen space or in the garage.  Lots of big boxes.  That should all get installed Monday and Tuesday.

Thursday and Friday, progress was also made on the "outside project," which is to say, repairing and replacing gables and gable-ends and gutters and siding.  This is work that needed to be done before David was born, but we just didn't get to it.  Things have gotten pretty raggedy looking.  Jack is contracting this project, too, though we're paying for it out of savings rather than the new mortgage.  Just to make our lives easier, we're pretty much covering anything wood with vinyl or aluminum siding.  That work didn't quite get finished this week because of an injury to a member of that crew at another site, a late start, and a family commitment.  It should get done early next week.

I asked Jack whether he felt like things were on track, or fast or slow.  He thinks things are maybe even ahead of schedule.  Exciting.  I hope asking him that (and then blogging about it) didn't jinx things!

Pictures from Week 4:

Week 4 Day 1

Week 4 Day 3

Week 4 Day 4

Week 4 Day 5

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Rant

A colleague of mine describes good technology by saying that "it just works."  Meaning, you don't have to fuss or struggle with it, or read the manual, or mess with a bunch of confusing settings, or anything like that.  You use it and it just works.

It's a nice phrase to describe a well-designed product.

I've decided, though, that there is something worse than technology that "just doesn't work," to twist G's phrase.

Worse than technology that "just doesn't work" without a lot of fussing and manual reading and climbing the learning curve would be technology that "almost works."  Meaning you're going along, using it to do things you want to do, and it's working and you can find the features you want where you expect to find them, and they work like you expect them to.  And then you try to do the next thing, and it won't do it.  At all.  And you fuss, and find the help files, and mess with settings, and it just won't do that next thing you want it do to.

Aaarg!

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Kid News

Lest you forget that our lives are continuing along their usual paths during the remodel...

Sophie has been learning to ride her bicycle.  Even she agrees that she is completely ready to take off the training wheels.  Yay.  She doesn't quite have perfect control, but she's got balance figured out.  We need to re-enforce some safety rules.... 

She had a bit of a stand-off with a car this evening.  Sigh.  She had slowed down at an intersection to wait for David and me to catch up.  She tipped over because she was going too slow.  While she was getting herself upright, a car came along and stopped to wait for her.  And she waited for it to go.  And it waited for her to go.  And she waited for it to go.  And...  Finally, it make a wide turn around her.  And she and I discussed a basic rule:  You are smaller than cars.  You always go to the side of the road.  Beloved, stubborn child.

David, meanwhile, had a weird day.  Apparently, during naptime, for no reason at all, he got a nosebleed.  From both nostrils.  It stopped relatively soon and no harm done, but it freaked his teacher out a bit.  I am not really freaked, because I remember my sister getting a lot of nosebleeds for no reason at roughly David's age.  I also got nosebleeds fairly often.  But I'm noting it here, just in case I need to remember when the first one was.....

Also, there was the oatmeal encounter.  The story goes that the classroom next door to David's had dried oatmeal in their sensory table.  Fine; playing with oatmeal is an interesting experience.  Then they decided to add water to the oatmeal, just to make a gooey sensory experience.  Fine.  Then they dumped the gooey oatmeal out in the playground.  !?!?!?!?  And David ran up and sat in it.  I have no idea why.  Neither did his teacher. 

Weird day.  Yucky David pants.

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a linky experiment

This is how I've been doing links to Picassa.

This is a slightly different way


Does it matter?

EDIT: It's moot now anyway.  I deleted those albums and started over

A slight complication

Today, two things were supposed to happen: the last of the "rough electric" in preparation for the first inspection, and replacing the pink sink and toilet in the downstairs bath.

I didn't actually get a report on whether the electrical all got done, because there was a slight complication with the toilet.  Ahem.

The sink installation looks good.  I chose a very small sink for the very small space.  It is WAY too small for its current function of all-purpose-sink, but will be fine for hand-washing once the whole thing is done.

When they took up the toilet, they found that the wax ring was defective and the toilet had been leaking water into the plywood under the vinyl tiles.  Probably for years.  As in, Jack found evidence in the layers of plywood to suggest at least 2 attempts to fix the leak.  We have never attempted to fix a leak in this toilet, so these attempts would have been done before we bought the house ten years ago.

In retrospect, we were not completely and utterly clueless.  When Mike's family was here over Thanksgiving, we noticed a small leak where the plumbing comes into the garage, but it wasn't much.  We decided to just keep an eye on it and see if the problem continued.  It didn't continue, so we forgot about it.

Until today.

All those extra flushes didn't cause the problem but they did put enough water into the floor that it dripped....

Anyway, Jack took up all the plywood flooring to give the joists (which are thankfully in sound condition still) time to dry out.  Meanwhile, he installed the toilet in the upstairs bathroom.  So we have a small sink and funky shower downstairs, and toilet upstairs.  We almost thought about moving to a hotel for a day or two, but decided to stick it out.

And so, the downstairs bathroom gets a new sink (with some green tile removed to make that possible) and a new toilet, and new lino.  Sigh.

Here are pictures:

Week 2 Day 1

Week 2 Day 2

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Remodel Progress Report

If you've been following along on Facebook, you'll know we're a week into the Great Remodel of 2010.  Mostly, they've been doing demolition, but some new stuff is visible, too.  We sort of feel like we're living in a large but not luxurious hotel.  There is a place for everything, but it all feels small and cramped and not quite like what you'd want.  Everything has a light layer of plaster dust, except for the paths we usually travel.  I'm drying to decide if it is really worth the effort to wipe stuff down.

I've got pictures, taken daily when get home and find things changed.  I think I got them sorted in Picasa by day, but since Picasa hides file names (evidently) I may have gotten some things that were done on one day filed in the album for a different day.  No big deal.  See the links below.

In a nutshell and from what we can tell from looking,

The kitchen is pretty completed gutted and most of the flooring is removed.  The wall is gone and the support beam appears to be done.  The gas line for the range appears to have been run through the garage and is waiting for further work.  We're keeping most of the appliances we had, but we have picked out a new range hood and I purchased the new range itself at a Tax Day sale.  I still need to pick out tile for the backsplash areas.  We're going to put a TV in here, and that still need to be bought.  We found out that we'll need to have insulation put in in order to meet current code.  It'll cost a little more, but I am not at all unhappy about this.

The downstairs bath has had one minor change so far -- putting the light and fan on separate switches.  Not really a "remodel" project, but something that needed doing by an electrician.  The only other changes for this room are replacing the sink, faucet, and toilet.

The upstairs bath is also completely gutted, including the awful yellow and black tile on the walls.  I haven't noticed much change in there since Wednesday.  This room will also need new insulation.

In the family room, the new lights all work (I LOVE them), though the switches haven't been moved to their new locations.  The studs are up for the sewing room wall, which is great because I can finally get a sense of how big the room will actually be (visualizing in 3 dimensions is not something I do well).

Other small projects: the scraped and ugly paneling is off the downstairs stairwell, but there is still work to be done there.  The electrician also fixed the light in Sophie's closet.  There also appears to be a junction box in the basement for the smoke detector system that is required to meet code.

Can I just say, I'm really liking this contractor and crew?  I really appreciate their willingness to manage the dog and do small maintenance type things while they are here.   I also appreciate that they took enough plastic off the family room furniture that we can use the TV and DVD over the weekend.  We did include the maintenance kind of stuff in the contract, but it really feels like I'm working with good people.

I believe the first inspection should happen this coming week and then dry-walling?  Maybe?  If you're wondering, the estimated time to completion is 10 weeks.

Here are the pictures.  Keep in mind, neither housekeeping nor photography are hobbies of mine.....

"Before" pictures, and also pictures of us making a functional kitchen in the living room

Week 1, Day 1

Week 1, Day 2

Week 1, Day 3

Week 1, Day 4

Week 1, Day 5

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Minor Progress, Sort Of - Clearing Rooms

Last week, we dismantled the crib.  We sold both of our crib mattresses to Once Upon a Child, along with a bunch of other baby stuff (yes, I know, I'm asking for trouble, getting rid of all my baby stuff).  The crib itself will probably go into the construction dumpster, since it has acquired numerous stripped screw holes in its service to 4 kids (thanks judifilksign !)

Last night, I finally got all the china packed and stored.

This morning, a large collection of boxes and assorted unboxed baby and other items were picked up by the Kidney Foundation, my charity-of-choice simply because they make it easy.

That cleaned out the basement corner by the electrical boxes.  It also cleared most of a big table in the basement, giving us a place to put stuff from the kitchen.  We'll probably set up our temporary cooking and food storage in the living room.

I want to clean out unneeded crap from the hall closet and the upstairs bathroom.  That should leave room in the hall closet and downstairs bath for the necessary stuff from the upstairs bath.

Mike has made some progress on moving his stuff out of the north end of family room, but there is still a lot to do down there.  I have no idea what we're going to do with all the toys.

We need to figure out what to do with the futon and pingpong table, since we probably won't have space for them after the remodel.  We need to figure out where / how to store the dining room set for the duration. 

We have a very old TV, at least one old printer, an old VCR, and 3 old car seats that need to go away.  I doubt they are donate-able, but I hate to send stuff like that to the landfill.


I would like to get all this stuff done, but even I can see there is no need to rush and make ourselves uncomfortable until the bureaucracy clears out and we can get our permits.

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Remodel Pending

Pending, pending, pending.

We have plans.  We've done the refinance.  We just waiting for the paperwork.  Columbus is evidently very slow in these matters.

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Contract Two-Step

 For the mortgage loan, we have to have a complete set of construction plans.  Makes sense.  Our contractor's idea of a complete set of plans and our bank's idea of a complete set are not quite identical.  We are currently sending documents back and forth in an email two-step trying to get everything aligned.

This project is going to be so much fun.

Edited: on further information, I just didn't have the actual complete contract to send to the bank.  Sigh.  I have it now.  As I said.  So much fun.

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Committed

Our remodel documents are firming up.  All the loan paperwork has been sent to the bank.  Should be looking at all the stuff for the permit next week sometime.

We haven't actually signed anything yet, but I'm feeling like this project will actually fly.

Eeeek!

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Remodel News

We have a contractor!

We ended up not choosing the design / build company we started out with.  I'm really glad we started there and paid for the design consultation, because our plans really reflect the insight of someone with good design ideas (duh!).  We're doing a lot more with the kitchen than I would have thought to do, but I think it will be well worth the extra money and effort.  The rest of the work also, I think, ended up being more thoroughly thought through and planned than would have happened if we'd tried to do it on our own (a few details in the sewing room; new lighting plans in the the kitchen and the whole basement; a plan for the downstairs bathroom that we're not going to do right now, but might at some point in the future).  Also, the designer was able to help us get a better understanding of the contingencies and options.

In the end, though, the difference in the two bids was still huge. As far as I could ascertain with a point-by-point comparison of products and tasks, the difference was mostly in the costs associated with a full-service, showroom-equipped, higher-end design/remodel firm vs. a good, experienced general contractor.  We'll not get as much hand-holding through the process and my guess is that it will actually take a bit longer than planned.  But for the money.....

Also, I realized in retrospect, by the time we got to the details, I felt better talking to the actual builder and getting the bid from him rather than the designer.  I felt like his bid reflected on-site experience and expertise.  For the bigger firm, we wouldn't actually have had construction-type people on-site until after we'd agreed to work with them.  That seemed to me to leave all sorts of potential gaps in the bid that could cost a lot of money.  I know we'll end up with change orders, but I think (I hope) they will be less than they would otherwise have been.

So.
  • Kitchen & dining room to be combined into a big room with tons of storage
  • Upstairs bathroom to have everything removed and replaced in exactly the same layout but less garish colors
  • Downstairs bathroom to have 1950s era toilet and sink replaced
  • Huge family room to be divided into large family room plus sewing room; new lighting in both rooms
  • Stairwell to family room repaired and a door added
  • Not really part of the contract, but occurring in coordination: painting all the rest of rooms; and determining whether the stair & hall carpet can just come up and reveal nice hardwood or will need to be replaced
  • Also needing to be done but not part of the contract: outside work on gable ends and whatnot

We have what in my world would be called a really solid, well-researched first-draft plan.  The kind of first-draft that is close enough to done that you are actually willing to have people read it.  We met with the contractor (aka Jack) on Thursday and went over the whole project and ended up with detailed notes toward the next, probably final draft of the plan, which will result in the contract.  That draft should show up sometime late this week.

The meeting on Thursday was a good meeting, because there were at least 2 items in the kitchen where what I (we) thought we were doing was different than what Jack thought.  I'm so glad we caught those issue!  We made a few product choices (kitchen flooring, countertop color for kitchen and bathroom, stain color for the cabinetry). 

Also, Jack cut a hole in the soffit near the wall that will be removed. The beam that we hoped was there actually was!  So yay!  That was the good news.  The not so good news was that the beam is about six inches north of where he thought it would / should be.  No big deal, really, but we did have to pick out a different upper cabinet right there since we had only 39 inches instead of 45.

We've got a few more significant product decisions that I'd like to make before we start.  There is one small area of the kitchen that may need a more thorough re-thinking.  There will definitely be a few decisions made as we go along (of the "shall the switch go right here? or right here?" type).  There are also some other decisions somewhere in between (of the "I know I want 'double' towel racks, but which ones to choose?" type).

In February and early March, we will be concerned with finishing up the contract and getting the financing all settled (preliminary discussions and forms already filed, but the contract and the financing have to happen in conjunction).  We should start work mid-March and finish sometime in June.  If all goes according to my understanding of the plan.

I took a whole bunch of "before" photos.  I've got a full set of all the rooms except for the current layout of the family room.  I'd prefer to take those pictures when it is a bit tidier down there.  I'll probably use Flickr for all the before-during-after photos.

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Christmas Pictures

Pictures from Christmas for Grandma

... under the link ...Collapse )
Love from us!

Sophie's Annual X-ray

Since I'm clearly not sleeping even though it is after midnight ....

We took Sophie in for her annual x-ray on her hip early this week.  Things still look good (or obviously, I'd have freaked out before now). 

Her legs are growing equally.  The pins are entirely out and away from the growth plate.  If there is ever a need, the pins can come out, but they are fine so far staying in.  The ring around her femur that held the pins in place is completely encased in bone, so it can't come out but by the same token shouldn't cause her any issues.  The bone graft is still visible, but is getting smaller as real bone continues to replace it.  The cyst itself is not reforming (though it is always odd to think of an absence forming....)

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Frog Quilt Done!

I forgot the mention that the Frog Quilt is Finally DONE! Sewn, quilted, bound, and washed! Done!

Bear in mind, I'm a rotten photographer....

Photos behind the cut...Collapse )

So, how did I come to make a teal, navy, and pink frog quilt. Long story. Suffice it to say, impulse buy. And a determination to finish the silly thing! How did it get so big and take so long? Poor planning. When David has his own room, it will go on his bed. Until he decides he doesn't want it anymore. Then it can be a play quilt.

David-isms

Mommy! I want to make it yellow! = ??????

Translation - he wants to flip the light switch himself.


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David has been on a banana kick lately. The other morning, he said he wanted one, so Mike peeled it half way and handed it over. But David didn't eat it. He kept hold of it while getting on his coat and into the van, but still didn't eat it. Insisted on taking it into the daycare with him. Walked into his room, told his teacher "I has a banana!" and proceeded to sit down and eat it.

OK. He had a plan, evidently.

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Hooray! A Picture Post

Guess what! we finally bought a new camera! Grandma's on both coasts will be pleased!Pictures behind the cut.Collapse )

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Waiting....

We're pretty much done with the design phase of the remodel. We still need to make some decisions about specific products, but those are details.

We've applied for a loan and are waiting to hear how that turns out.

Then we need to put the plans and available money together and decide what will actually get done. And when.

Waiting....

Sophie turns 6 tomorrow. Eeek!

Waiting....

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Ignore this post

I'm trying to figure out how to set up an RSS feed on a program that I don't know how it works, and I need a control from a program that I do know. 

General Catching Up Post

I have been reminded (ahem, sorry) that I haven't posted much lately.  We had a fast-track high-priority project at work (http://elearning.osu.edu/carmen-help/h1n1/index.htm).  It doesn't look like much, but you wouldn't believe the amount of strategizing, consulting on available technologies and policy issues, revising, and writing of background documents we had to do to pull off something simple.  We did get a nod of approval from the big boss, though.....

Anyway, when I have a big thing like that at work, it tends to make me unwilling to deal with words in my free time.

We may or may not have had our bout with H1N1.  Two weeks or so ago, both David and Sophie had slight fevers at one time or another and spent time at home instead of at school.  Sophie was more strongly affected, but both are fine now, aside from coughs, which Mike and I both also have. 

On the day Sophie went back to school, we got a call from her teachers at around 10:30.  She had been hit in the mouth with a plastic bat while playing t-ball.  Poor kid.  We took her to the dentist.  No damage to teeth, but she did have a cut on her lip and another on her upper gum.  You can still see the cut on her gum a little bit.  Probably a good thing she still doesn't have any front teeth.

Meanwhile, weekend before last, I look the frog quilt to my friend Catie's house.  Catie is starting a long-arm machine quilting business.  She did an all-over dragonfly pattern on the main body of the quilt, with a repeating sequence of frogs for the border, and a bit of custom cut-and-paste to add an extra frog in each corner.  It looks waaaay cool.  I had not quite enough of the intended fabric (see linked post) for the binding; I just patched in a 4-inch segment of navy and carried on.  I'm actually about 1/2 way through with the hand-sewing part of the binding, and then it is done, done, done!

Catie also has the other top that I finished recently.  It is a simple quilt - batik squares framed and bordered.  However, because of the general narrowness of the frames and borders and the fact that I don't want quilting across the batik images, Catie is still working out a design.

No pictures of quilts because -- get this -- the camera itself is on the fritz.  Sigh.  I know.  I need to buy a new camera.

We have had 3 meetings and lots of email with our remodeling designer.  We've got a pretty clear plan, though the details are not all completely ironed out.  We have a reasonably accurate but not final cost estimate from the company our designer works for.  We are sharing those documents with one of the contractors we talked to in our initial investigation who wants to bid.  Based on that information, we've also started serious investigation into funding options.  I'll do another post about all of that.

The girl is out of the bathtub.  The boy is in the bathtub.  I think that's everything for a basic summary.





Just saying....

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  - Eleanor Roosevelt

I volunteered to move into a position that involved more writing.  It's driving me crazy right now!

And so it begins....

We've been moving ahead, in fits and starts, with a project we've known we would eventually need to do when we learned David would be David and not ______________ (we didn't pick any kid names until we knew which one we'd need).  Anyway, we need to remodel enough to let my office / sewing room be a bedroom while still having a room that is my office / sewing room / family command center. 

We thought some about what else we might want to do if we were making changes.  We talked to a realtor about what would be good to do while we were remodeling anyway.  And we've talked to a couple builder / remodeler / designer types.  And I've skimmed through a few books.  I'm pretty convinced that without professional guidance, we would make a lot of silly, expensive mistakes.  Also, in the time / money equation, we're not rolling in money, but we certainly aren't rolling in time, either!

So, we decided to go ahead and hire a designer who is affilated with a remodeling company that has done good work for people we know.  She will help us figure out what we want to do with the house, do much of our "shopping" for us, and draw / write us a design plan that will result in a good construction plan.  We had a short conversation (about an hour or so) with her, then she spent at least 3 hours here talking to me and measuring the house and taking pictures.  She took all that and loaded it into a designer-type program and we met with her this afternoon for round one of "Design Plan."

Mike and I have agreed on a budgetary ballpark.  We're at the "dreaming big" stage with the designer.  Once we get through all that, we can get a realistic idea of what it will cost to do everything.  Then we can decide what we can afford.  And of course, since the universe runs on an irony engine, the part that motivated all this -- making a new office / sewing room / family command center -- is the cheapest, easist part of the project.

Here's the general set of goals, in decreasing order of importance and increasing order of expense.  That does not mean, however, that goal #3 is not a serious goal.  Just that, well, everyone agrees it would be a good idea but it is more optional than the rest.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I want all 3.

1) build a wall at one end of the ginormous family room to make good-sized sewing room plus enormous family room
2) update 2 classic 1950s bathrooms so they function better, look better, and are less oddly colored. Ideally, make the downstairs bathroom more functional.
3) remove the wall between the kitchen and dining room, re-arranging the kitchen as needed to make a really good gathering room.

Above and beyond all this, there is also stuff outside with soffits and gables and the garage door to be done, and the whole inside of the house needs to be painted.

Because it is the biggest part of the project, we've started the design process with the kitchen. 

Photos behind the cut

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David-isms

David has become quite the talker in the last several weeks.  Quite expressive.  Still working on the whole observing-correctly-understanding-knowing-words process, though.

For instance, he has 2 arms and 2 legs, each has a joint.  The joint is called an elbow.  I cannot convince him that the joint in his leg is a knee.  This one has been amusing me for several weeks.

Last night, while we were walking back to the van from the Blue Nile, I figured out something else in David-speak.  Anyone with young kids will know that waterfalls figure prominently in Dora and Diego episodes, as well as who knows what all else in kid-TV.  According to David, anything that has a flat horizontal surface and then a sharp 90-degree drop to a vertical (you know, like a sidewalk curb) is a waterfall.  OK.  I guess that makes sense.

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Gratitude

Thank you to all who sent birthday wishes and love.  I'm feeling very happy with my world.

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ah, cool weather

... and even though it has not been cold yet, I had my first episode of Reynaud's since spring. 

Really, I've never really liked hot weather and I get that rash.  Now I have a reason to not like cool weather, either.

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Perceptions

I was talking to Sophie last night about her new class and being in kindergarten and all.  Turns out, I don't think she realizes she really is in kindergarten.  One of the hazards of sending her to kindergarten just down the hall from where she went to preschool....

The conversation was a bit confused, but it seems that while she likes the new kids and the new teachers, she's sticking pretty close to the friends she already knows and that she knows she'll be going to kindergarten with, because all those other new kids are going to be going on to kindergarten somewhere else pretty soon.  I'm sure this will get resolved, but it was an interesting insight.

On the other hand, she has noticed that the adult to kid ratio has changed.  "There are more kids and ONLY 4 GROWN-UPS!  It's crazy!"

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I get it!

Here's a comic I liked....

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First day of kindergarten

By all reports, the first day of kindergarten went well.

I walked Sophie to the kindergarten room to put her stuff in her cubby. No classmates in the room, so we headed down the hall to see if they were in the muscle room (play area). We met the kindergarten class heading back to the classroom. One of Sophie's friends leaped out of line to give her a big hug; the teacher welcomed Sophie. I might as well have left then, she was totally into the new place.

We did hang around a bit while the teacher and kids got in a circle for introductions. Some of the kids were hanging back and crying, but no one in our family was upset.

They worked on some lunch-time food-passing skills and did their first formal reading lessons (focusing on the word "we." What a nice thing to start with.)

Anyway, pictures below the cut.

Pictures here!Collapse )

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A responsible parent....

A responsible parent would not have allowed this sort of unsupervised search for a breakfast bar of a particular kind to even occur....



Failing that (which I did), a responsible parent would have immediately gotten him off the counter.

But instead, I left him there while I went to get the camera.  And then I helped him down.  And made him help clean up all the bars. 

And then I gave him the one he was looking for.

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A Sophie Story

Sophie just had me transcribe a story.  She taped the pages together and did the illustrations.  I thought I'd share.

Princess Superhero
by Sophie Jane

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess and she was sad.  She wasn't pretty like the other princesses.  One day, she found out she was special, too.  She had powers!  And her power was to blast power and she could not control her powers.  Then, she smiled for the first time because she knew she was special, too.  All the other princesses loved her too.  And she wore a beautiful gown.


Feel free to skip the critical review if you don"t want to ruin the effectCollapse )


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Bike News

So, Mike implemented our training-wheels work-around last night.  Yes, it does involve duct tape.  We went for a family walk / ride up and down all 3 streets in the neighborhood.  Going down the mild hills scared Sophie, but she'll get there!

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In increasing order of age...

Last night, David read me a book!  OK, it had maybe 15 words total and I'd just read it to him twice, but the third time through, he recited the whole thing.  He could barely pronounce some of the names (it was about Pooh and friends), but he did it!  He also knows his colors (but has trouble with blue, green, and purple) and seems able to count to 5.  I'm not sure how much of that is really counting and how much is mimicry, though.

Last night, Sophie lost another tooth!  So, she is missing 4 teeth right now and looks even more like a vampire child.  She and I had dental checkups yesterday.  The dentist said her top teeth are just below the surface and should finally be coming in soon.   Several of her adult molars are also through the gum but not completely grown in. 

I mentioned on Facebook last week that we'd bought a new bike for Sophie and a set of training wheels.  The new bike has something of a mountain bike structure, so the standard issue training wheels can't be installed as designed.  Sigh.  Who knew?  We did a best-we-could installation and took a spin down the street and back.  She is so close to being able to balance (mostly, she needs confidence) that we think a work-around improvement to our best-we-can installation will get her up and running.

Last night, both kids were in the tub.  I attempted to sit down on the bathroom stool -- a tippy, trecherous, 3-legged affair -- and flipped backwards against the cabinet.  My back (just under the shoulderblade) connected with the knob on the door.  Hard enough to to bend the screw on the knob!  I'm actually surprised my back doesn't hurt more this morning!  As I sat there gasping for breath, David asked if we should "Call Daddy?"  Smart kid.

No special stories for Mike from last night....

Finally!

I've been promising and promising a picture of Sophie with her two front teeth missing.  And here it is!

Though we kind of missed the window...Collapse )

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Jul. 19th, 2009

I've been promising a picture of Sophie with her two front teeth missing.

This really isn"t it.....Collapse )

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Finished a project, sort of

Yay me!

Years and years ago, I acquired (inherited? bought? I think there were multiple sources) a big brown bag of wooden thread spools.  Various sizes, shapes, colors, amounts left.  Some of the thread was definitely starting to get oddly textured; some was probably OK.  I had no interest in using this thead, or in "collecting" wooden spools.

Instead, I have been engaged, off and on, whenever I think about it whenever I find the bag again, in pulling all the thread off the spools.  And I'm finally done!  Now, I have a whole bag of of neatly shaped wooden beads / blocks / toys. 

My plan is to give them all a good wash and let them dry.  And then make a bag to store them in.  Maybe I'll add an "inner bag" of biggish buttons and regular beads, too.  And some strings and cords of various weights. 

And maybe I'll give it to my kids.  Maybe not.  Maybe it will be a toy to play with when they visit me in the office / sewing room.....

Projects - and memories

So, I finished another quilt top this weekend.

Scary.

Now, this quilt was both smaller and a much more simple pattern than the last one.  But I've also been really wanting to sew lately and the kids are getting old enough that I can. 

I updated my quilt design software last week.  I finally have Electric Quilt 6!  From what I can see so far, they did a good job with the update -- you can be both more precise (they finally included an option to type in exact sizes and locations for sizing and spacing blocks and you can use the arrow keys to nudge things around) and sloppier (on the block drawingboard, you can precisely adjust the the "snap to points" and then just put lines approximately where you want them;  it will get all the lines where they need to go, and if you get waaay too sloppy, it just deletes the lines and lets you start over).  

I also bought two pattern books.  I hardly ever buy pattern books, but these provide strategies for using color and very simple blocks, placed and rotated in different ways, to get very complex but easy to sew quilts.  So.  I didn't buy them so much for the patterns but for the descriptions about how the patterns work.  It is also very clear that both authors used Electric Quilt to do all the non-photo illustrations.  One author comes right out and says that -- "if you have EQ, you can use that to play around the these design strategies; otherwise, you'll need to use colored pencils and grid paper." 

I've been going through my boxes of stash fabrics to find a backing for the top I just finished and to see what I have handy for new quilts based on these new designs I intend to make.

Sigh.  I did find a big piece of fabric that will make most of the back for the new quilt top.  Now I just need to figure out what fabric(s) to put with it to make it wide enough.  

I have 3 sets of fat quarters that were stored separately from the rest of the quilt stash.  Two sets are big enough to make something pretty large.  One, I remembered I had; I had bought it to make something for our bed.  The other, I had forgotten about.  It was stored with a smaller set that I remember buying just after Phoebe died, that I specifically bought to make a memorial hanging.  Now, I'm wondering about making up both of those sets and sending one or the other or both to either John (Phoebe's partner) or Molly (Phoebe's mother).  Of course, that all depends on what I actually get done.

I haven't even opened the main fat quarter stash. 

I also realized I have quite a lot of fabric more appropriate for clothing than for quilts.  I should do something with it.  Either use it or give it away.   About half of this was purchased when I was pregnant with Sophie, when I was teaching Phoebe to sew.  Some of it is stuff that she bought that John asked me to take when he was clearing out her stuff.  

All of which also reminds me that I still need to find a home for Phoebe's sewing machine.  Anyone want a nice, older sewing machine in a sewing table?  Probably needs to be serviced, but that last time it was out, it worked perfectly well.

Question

How does a mom know her 2-year is not feeling well?

Answer: when he demands "lap," coos and snuggles for a good half hour, will barely let go long enough to get changed into jammies, and then coos himself to sleep in about 5 minutes.  The fact that he does seem warm and may have a fever (he was not willing to really tolerate the thermometer) is simply extra evidence.

On the plus side, he did have some juice and a roll of smarties, his hands and feet are cool, and he was pretty much able to resist the thermometer on the first couple of attempts.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

In other news, camera and computer are not talking.  Have figured out a work-around but it involves two extra pieces of technology.  Sigh.

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needlewomyn
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