Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Sam, being the morning person of this pairing, wakes up with Kenyon and one or both of the other children about 6 days a week. Last Sunday, I woke up with the boys and took them out to Buffalo Doughboy, our favorite local bakery, and selected Sam's favorite cherry turnovers and other goodies. We came home and nestled lovingly homemade cards and a new Flip HD digital video camera against the box of baked goods. When Sam came downstairs, we celebrated the wonderful father of this family. My father was on a plane that morning, so I left a voicemail message wishing him a happy Father's Day. Like I said, this was last Sunday. It wasn't until I called my brother and wished him a happy Father's Day that I learned that Father's Day was in fact this Sunday. Ahhhh, nothing like being on top of things, eh?

We spent the morning outside with the sprinkler going, our kids frolicking with the neighbor kids. Sam took the boys to the flea market and came back with 36 mangoes (50 cents apiece--a bargain!). This afternoon we'll meet some friends at the pool for a couple of hours, and then spend the evening dismantling the part of the kitchen that will be our future bathroom; framing is scheduled for sometime this week. Sounds like a good (second) Father's Day to me.

I feel so fortunate that my boys have a loving, involved, silly, sensitive, active father like Sam. Here are some pictures honoring Sam's journey of fatherhood...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Would you go up against this 4 year old in a Geography bee?

From the way he absorbed the information on an electronic US map puzzle that we weren't even aware he was using, we're thinking that auditory learning may be his strongpoint. Keep in mind that, despite what you see here, simple things like finding his shoes and putting them on the correct feet are too difficult a task on most days. I love this kid.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To

Sam has completely exposed the wall innards (that's the technical term), ready for the contractor to build the support walls to hold up our second story while the beam is installed. This is the view standing in our kitchen and looking into the dining room...

A hundred year old home always has its quirks, and this one still has plenty of the old knob and tube wiring.

While I think it looks really neat and I appreciate its historic nature, I'm also thankful that little by little our electrical wiring is moving out of the Victorian age. Antiques are fun; fire hazards less so.

I didn't mean for this to be a home improvement blog, but it has been dominating our life in recent weeks. Summer days this week have been filled with Sam taking the boys to swimming lessons at the pool, followed by lunch and more swimming. I get home from work by 3:30, and it's outside playing and hanging out with neighbors, which usually carries over into picnic dinners outside, and inside only for a quick bath, stories, and bedtime. I love summer. I did take a picture of each boy sleeping last night, mostly because Kenyon looked more like he was sunbathing on a chaise by the pool in Cancun than sleeping in his crib. Here are my sleeping beauties...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hot Dates #1 and #2

My wonderful mom flew in from Arizona on Tuesday, literally at a moment's notice, to help keep me sane while I agonized over just a few of the thousand decisions that need to be made as we go through this remodel. Choosing which flavor of ice cream to get often paralyzes me, so after careful deliberation, I decided that Librans are not simply meant to remodel kitchens. Unfortunately for us, Sam and I are both Librans. My mom's help was much appreciated, and Sam and I even got out to our once-in-a-blue-moon movie (Hot Date #1). The documentary film 'Anvil' was fantastic; go see it at your local indie theater. Afterward, I did my good deed for the day by supporting a new ice cream shop in the area.

Hot Date #2, this evening, consisted of me holding a hair dryer to the tarry adhesive used to stick the linoleum onto the wood floors, softening it while Sam scraped off as much as he could.

We have many similar dates to look forward to, considering the amount we made it through tonight. I love Sam the most when we are doing home improvement projects, so it was actually a good time. And look--you can kind of see wood floors under that gunk!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gaylord Street Sweatshop

Child labor laws weren't the only thing broken today; we also tore up the tile floor in the kitchen. Lucky for us, we had the foresight years ago to have a couple of kids who are now old enough to wield crowbars and sledgehammers (shhhh, don't tell their Nana).

They loved being a part of the action, and I told them they will appreciate the beautiful hardwood floors in the future kitchen all the more as a result. Their future wives will certainly appreciate their penchant for tackling home improvement projects.

While Kenyon napped I worked as well, wearing my most expensive designer jeans for the job. I will spare myself ridicule by keeping the cost of these jeans to myself, but let's put it this way: I doubt there's many people out there who are engaged in any sort of manual labor wearing these things.

Jackson and Alex were paid for their work in the form of a well-earned homemade popsicle. And thanks to my trusty Vita-Mix, the boys were completely unaware that nestled amongst the berries and pineapple in the blender was the secret ingredient: spinach!

Kenyon didn't quite make our stringent age requirement to be able to do any of the heavy lifting, but he did participate by checking out the safety gear.

By Monday afternoon we should have a contractor finalized, an approved construction permit, and our cabinets ordered; things are starting to happen!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Kenyon, 15 months

I am making an effort to take some more pictures of the boys; here is Kenyon, at 15 months. He began walking and saying real words other than 'mama' and 'dada' at the end of his 14th month, and just two short weeks later he is running and knows a ton of words--all the standards such as animal noises and various fruits, but my favorite are the attempts at 'donkey' and 'outside'.
Even though none of the boys are on the larger side, Kenyon is comparatively the littlest of my three. He makes up for it by being the roundest. His body is best described as stout, which makes for good, solid hugs.

Nothing makes him happier than doing whatever his big brothers are doing--he has no qualms about toddling over and flopping his body on Jackson and Alex in the midst of wrestling, or demanding that they share their piece of pineapple with him. Luckily for him, Jackson and Alex are still showing patience and tenderness in their actions towards their baby brother. I don't know how much longer that will last, but it's awfully cute for now.

We're Off!

Even though we are still in the process of getting bids from contractors, Sam will be taking care of some projects on his own in an effort to keep costs reasonable. Tonight he is *carefully* removing the trim from the doorway in the wall that will be removed so we can reuse that trim around our future main floor bathroom door. I am (self-appointed) Quality Control Officer of this first project, which largely consists of me sitting on the couch with my laptop and remarking, "Wow, that was loud--did you break something?"
Sam will also be ripping up our horrible white tile floor. White tiles with three young boys and an art teacher husband means sweeping and mopping every day, at least. The rest of our house has wood floors, and we were hoping that underneath the kitchen tile would be the original wood flooring that we could simply refinish.

Well, a quick peek in the corner a week ago revealed a layer of metal grating, then a layer of linoleum, then a layer of sticky, black adhesive, under which lay wood floors. The word 'simply' went away when we saw the metal grating, and 'painfully, backbreakingly' took its place when we saw the adhesive.

Just now when Sam took off the trim and broke off a couple of pieces of tile (second picture), we saw--wood floors! No other layers. (cue heavenly singing) We'll find out where the other layers begin as we remove more tile, but hopefully it will only be a portion of the floor.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Remodeling Opinion Needed, Round One

We are teetering on the precipice of a major remodeling venture for the summer--tearing down the (loadbearing) wall in between our kitchen and dining room, completely rearranging our kitchen, installing new cabinets and an island, ripping up the existing tile (and myriad layers underneath) to expose the hardwood floors, and installing a bathroom on the main floor. We will be kitchenless for much of the summer; anyone want to have us over for dinner a night (or five)?

I'll be posting the gory details of the remodeling process throughout the summer, but Sam and I have different opinions about how our teeny powder room should be tiled. For any of you that haven't been to my house, it was built in 1905 and has built-in cabinetry, wood floors, and pocket doors. We will be installing tile from one of my clients, a really cool company called Subway Tile ( I will refrain from telling you which of the two options I prefer, as Sam is aware that the readers of this blog are my family and friends and I don't want the results to appear biased. That being said, I earnestly hope you all will make the right choice so I can build my case for what is clearly the right choice.

The first picture is a marble hexagonal tile.

This next one is a marble basketweave pattern.

Don't bother going through a 'which wine goblet has the iocane powder' analysis to determine my preference based on the order I listed the pictures; I promise it was strictly random, and thus scientifically sound.

So, comments on preference?

Summer Has Begun

Alex and Kenyon finished up their Montessori school year on Friday, and we attended Alex's Moving Up ceremony to mark the end of his second year in primaries. He had dutifully learned the group song and was excited for the opportunity to perform it, as evidenced by these pictures.

He composed himself and sang very nicely. Afterwards we summer officially began with our evening at the Tates' house. The Tates are Jackson's godparents, and we also gave Jackson the middle name Tate in honor of Mr. Tate. Mr. Tate played four years of college basketball, stayed on for a fifth year so he could play college football, and was drafted to the NFL and played four years with Green Bay. He spent 20-odd years as a probation officer, and Sam met him when Mr. Tate was the security guard at the alternative school where Sam taught art. He is the quintessential host and full of wonderful wisdom; we adore him and his wife, Suzanne. Kenyon, who is definitely in a 'I want Mommy' stage, took to Tate in a heartbeat.

Sam is now a stay-at-home dad of three for the summer; wish him luck. :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Have Arrived!

After years of intermittently sending emails out to various friends and family members with pictures and snippets of our lives, I figured I might as well join the masses and start a blog. The way I see it, there are two main benefits to this venture--unsuspecting people won't be subjected to the minutiae of our lives unless they are truly interested, and I will have some sort of record of the boys' lives--especially valuable because they certainly won't have baby books to look back on!

So, welcome; I look forward to regularly posting with pictures and snippets about my life full of boys. Leave a comment letting me know if you'd like me to add you to my list of people who will be notified of new postings.