Thursday, January 29, 2015

Photo a Day | Week Four

Hours after I posted my week three photos, I hopped on a plane for Hawaii.  I was determined to keep up my photo project, which was no easy feat considering we worked more than one 12-hour day. Here's what a week of working in Hawaii looks like.
Day 22. After I landed on the Big Island I had to make the two-hour drive over the mountains to the other side of the island. I was tearing through The Omnivore's Dilemma, which made me scrutinize my food more than normal and make it even harder than usual to find something to eat. Thankfully I found lunch at an a great health food store.
Day 23. I got to spend part of the day visiting with some incredible alumni who own a coffee farm. The farm includes a herd of sweet sheep who obliged a shot with the coffee bushes.
 Day 24. On my way back across the island I stopped by the roadside to take in Mauna Kea (white mountain). Look ever so carefully and you'll see the snowy peak.
Day 25. This was one of the long work days. After I got back to my hotel I treated myself to a beer from the gift shop. This $5 wonder came with a non-twist cap, which I didn't think about until I was half way to my room. I have never opened a beer without a bottle opener. I managed to get it off, but not before I sliced the heck out of my finger.  Adding insult to injury, the beer was bland. So, that was fun.
Day 26. Another road-side snapshot taken from the Pali Lookout on Oahu. The wind was incredible, but I do really enjoy this view.

A runner up for Day 26 would have been an image of Kailua Beach (famous for being President Obama's vacation spot). My lunch date decided we should wrap up our visit on a beach-side bench. This was the only time I saw sand up close. I forgot to get a photo though ...
Day 27. This was the view from my hotel room. I've stayed at this hotel and studied these boats on almost every trip I have taken to Hawaii over the past seven years. Later I got to see the conclusion of this sunset over the ocean. It was stunning, but I was at a dinner and wasn't able to get a photo.
Day 28. An oasis in the Honolulu airport.

The tropical weather was a welcome respite from Oregon January and I had some great visits, but it is really nice to be home!

Here's to paradise of our own making.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Photo a Day | Week Three

Day 15. Baby's bottle must be kept in the fridge. Sure this keeps the pretend milk pretend cold, but it also means we know where to find Baby's bottle when it is imperative Baby gets her milk.
 Day 16. Blue eyes and curls. Over the shoulder photo credit goes to Kyle.
Day 17. A rare night out for dinner. Not proud of our choice of dining establishment, but everybody had a great time.
 Day 18. Dinner at home.
Day 19. I wore this vest as a kid. Now my kid is rocking it with the same wild and messy curls I contended with at her age.
 Day 20. A favorite page from Once Upon an Alphabet, a new addition to our library.
Day 21. The worst cold of the season has descended upon us.

Here's to January sunshine, January deluge, great play time, hard work and to next week, when if luck is with us this cold will have passed.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Milestone

We finally got organized to acknowledge a fairly big milestone over the weekend. About six months ago Rosie moved into her big kid bed!

For the last eighteen months or so we've had two cribs in the kid room, along with the bunk bed. It was like a furniture store in there. Our original somewhat loose plan had been for Rosie to move into the bottom bunk when Ellen needed the crib, but when the time came no one was ready. So, we bought a second crib.

About six months ago, Rosie decided she wanted to start sleeping in the top bunk. We had decided she would be in charge of that move and she was -- from crib to top bunk. There was not one bit of angst about it. She did take a break from the bunk and go back to her crib for a while, but somewhere around September she started sleeping in the bed permanently.

Finally, after months of using the crib for storage, over the weekend we dismantled her crib and did a little rearranging.
I am pretty sure I am going to come home to every article of clothing in the dresser on the floor tomorrow, but they've been doing that lately despite the dresser being closed up in the closet. Plus, it's too cute to hide away.
We decided not to move Ellen into Rosie's crib nook because it seems a bit warmer on the other side of the room and she's used to it. Plus, we suspect she'll be graduating to the bunk bed soon too. She does have her eye on the top bunk. I'm not sure what we'll do when she gets tall enough to climb up there.

Here's to a big transition!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nice and Kind and Helpful

We attended a commemorative march yesterday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I attended this years ago before we had kids and looked forward to the day when we'd do it with our kids. The girls loved it!
The march starts in a park near where we used to live, so that was fun. The procession is lead by a truck broadcasting Dr. King's "I have a dream" speech.
Behind the truck are two giant peace doves. Ellen was particularly crazy about these. She kept telling us about them for the rest of the day. "Birds!"
Ellen walked almost half way and Rosie walked the entire march and then back to the car. They were both pretty tired afterward, but we were proud of them.
Once the march was finished we walked back to the park for a little play time before we headed home.
The girls are still a bit young to understand the gravity of the day, but we talked to Rosie about how everyone in the march believes in being nice and kind and helping people and we all went out for a walk together to make sure everyone knew how important it is.

She thought about that a lot. Then she asked "did they call someone?" I think she was trying to understand how we all knew to go to the march. It's amazing to watch their little brains tick! Though she got a bit hung up on the mechanics, I think she understood the power of so many people coming together.

Here's to believing in a better world.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dining Room Redux

So, this happened yesterday ...
Yeah, we impulse-painted our dining room. I was looking at the mirror, now hanging on the brick, and I commented to Kyle, "You know after we repaint the dining room we could use this mirror to cover the stove pipe hole." His response -- "Well, let's go get paint."

Four hours later we had a new dining room. The first hour was spent at the store picking out a color. I wanted a color that was neither blue nor gray, but somehow both. I don't know if that is possible, but it's sure hard to achieve with two toddlers underfoot who have just discovered the paint sample strips.

Even though the color is smidge blue-er than I wanted, we still love it. Kyle was never a fan of the green. I liked the green at first, but grew to seriously dislike it. Rosie is not a fan of the new color. Kyle told her we can change it again in five years.

Here's to a whole new room!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Faux Fun

My 2014 New Year resolutions have been weighing on me lately. We actually did a pretty good job with all four of last year's goals. The belt-tightening after the house rot not only helped us gain control of our money, it forced us to start eating better and riding our bikes more often. Plus, it's hard to create waste when you're not buying anything. I didn't run a 5k, but I did bike to work a lot in July and August, so I'm calling it a wash.

The one weighing on me lately is "fix three things about the house that make me cringe." We tackled a lot last year, so I should feel pretty good, but there was one project we didn't tackle. When I wrote that post last year I had an absolute intention to deal with the faux brick in the dining room.
"Hate" is a rather strong word and one we're trying not to use for the benefit of the little ones, so I'll say I seriously dislike everything about this faux brick stove surround. I think my dislike would be marginally less if it was real brick, or if it was a big rectangle instead of having that weird stair-step pattern at the top. Mostly I just dislike how dark it is. All of the light in the room just get sucked into that area. If we ever get our stove installed it will be even worse since the stove is black.
Our theory is the house once had a fireplace in this area which was tiled over to create a stove spot. I sympathize with these previous owners who certainly didn't have a bounty of internet-provided inspiration photos, but I really wish they had found a way to preserve the fireplace feel by enclosing the stove and creating a mantle.
That project could be in our future, but I still have to convince Kyle we could do it without losing heat. For now we decided just to paint the brick. We decided this a really long time ago, but hadn't yet found the motivation, despite it being one of my good intentions for 2014. Last night after the girls fell asleep I found my motivation!
My original plan was to paint the whole thing, but after I painted the first tile Kyle suggested we leave the grout as is. It was clear the texture and recesses of the grout were going to be a pain to paint, so I did a small section before we made a decision. We decided we liked the gray grout. So we kept going.
 I can't say I was super thrilled about those low tiles, but I persisted.
The paint dried pretty quickly so every tile got at least two coats before we called it a night. The whole thing took about two hours.
The stove surround is still not my favorite feature in the house, but it has improved remarkably with less than a quart of paint.

In addition to adding the stove, the dining room project list includes:
  • Refinishing the floors
  • Repairing or replacing the door
  • Replacing or repainting that horrible brass light fixture/fan
  • Repainting the wall
  • Possibly replacing the windows. The energy-efficiency of new windows in tempting, but I'm so charmed by the original glass. 
  • We'd also like to open up the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, but that is still in theory stage because we have no idea if that wall is important to the structure of the house.
I have no idea if any of this will make the 2015 priority list, so for now I'll just enjoy our refreshed faux brick.

Here's to another awesome Saturday night.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Photo A Day | Week 2

Week two of the daily photo project went reasonably well. I'm eager for the days when I'm off work in daylight hours, but I'm managing. Here's week two:
 Day 8. Ferns growing out of moss on an oak tree.
 Day 9. Letter recognition practice.
 Day 10.  Saturday night special.
 Day 11. Backyard moss on lilac.
Day 12. Kyle's answer to someone's recent assertion that "if you have time to bake bread every day, you have too much time."
 Day 13. Bottle caps.
Day 14. House plant starts.

Here's to capturing the small moments in our days and to the extra minutes of daylight we get each day.