Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Looks like they got that gene

Last week, Mark took a well-deserved break and went up to Yosemite to climb for a few days with his old climbing buddy Mike McKenna. It had been almost a year, and he was excited and nervous about getting back on the rock. He had a blast, of course, and was quickly feeling at home. He came back tired but renewed. I love that happy look!

Well, his gear was laying around, and...you know what happens next, don't you?

Yes, one of the girls (Mae, this time) gears up and troops around in it.


And sidles up to the rock fireplace...


And starts to climb it, floppy shoes and all.


Not wanting to be outdone, Abigail rushes in...


And scampers up until I told her to stop. A fall on this tile would not be good!


Mark was thrilled, of course. I honestly struggle with wanting them to be bold and adventurous, and wanting them to be safe and protected in a little bubble forever and ever.

Yeah, I know. I'm working on it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Look who's coming to dinner

Well, I mean tea, really.

We recently ran up to Paradise, CA to visit friends Nick and Judy and attend our neice Amanda's state gymnastics meet. The meet went well, with Amanda finishing 2nd all around in her group, achieving her personal best score. On to regionals! But, as our nephew Peter put it, "This is the longest athletic event I've ever been to, all to see my person compete for five minutes." So accurate! But it IS an exciting five minutes! And I love to watch the floor exercises, especially at this level. Incredible.

But do I have pictures of this event?

No. I do not.

Our visit with Nick and Judy was wonderful as well. They always spoil us (all!) terribly and are tremendous hosts. I'm not sure who instigated it...I suspect Judy, but the girls ended up hosting an event themselves--an elaborate tea party, with quite the guest list! Here they are, setting up the table.



Teddy and friend.



Nermal can't believe his eyes...it looks so good!



The hostesses with the mostesses.


Apparently everyone had a good time, and the leftovers were spectacular!

Note: No animals, live or stuffed, were harmed in the making of this post.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Funkier than funky

OK, Mark has been complaining about the fact that I have had no pictures for several posts. So it is time to return to my series of dimly lit, underwhelming photos that capture only a fraction of the "big picture".

My vision for the interior of the house has been "farmhouse-y with a fresh, funky twist". Doesn't that sound like I know what the heck I'm doing? Like I actually learned something from the hundreds of hours I've spent poring over magazines trying to get some sense of style? Interestingly, many of the "farmhouses" in the magazines and books are starkly modern inside, which is NOT our look. And while the rough-hewn beams and rock-covered walls of the truly rustic look are attractive to us, it didn't quite fit for our long-term home. So I just started making things up. Obviously!

So I did things like this...two ceiling fans dangling down in our very high living room, with our funky interior windows in the background.


I didn't want the fans to be too dark, so ended up with stainless...kind of edgy, no? Goes with my stainless warehouse lights as pendants over the island.


And here is the half bath all tricked out with my funky black faucet.


And here is the flooring in the master bath. A darkly colorful and funky tile-look-alike. I'm thinking we might do just a white shower tile with REAL SLATE accent.


And here is the flooring in the upstairs bath. This picture, of course, does not capture the look, but maybe you can tell that it is the same pattern with lighter, more neutral colors, in keeping with our lighter theme in the loft.



Plenty o' funk going on here! Oh yes!

Monday, March 15, 2010

God's eyes

Yesterday at breakfast, Abigail asked me about God.

"Mom, God watches over everyone, right?"

"Yes, Abigail."

"Everyone in the whole world?"

"Yes."

"Well...how many eyes does he have?"

Hmmm...I'm sure some of us think we know the answer to that one, but I sure won't make that claim! And of course I've come up with many things I WISH I would have said right then...but didn't. I was transfixed by just the face value of the question. What was she picturing?

So I said, "Two, of course!"

No...I didn't.

Really, I said "Well, most people picture God as a grandfather, looking out over his family. So he'd look like an older man, with two eyes."

But did I stop there with my 5-year-old's question? No, I did not.

"But God could look like a woman, or a child, or one giant eye, or a spirit, or a ball of light. We really don't know."

Which then prompted me to look up and share the story about God appearing to Moses as a burning bush, because it was the only instance that immediately came to my mind where God appeared to someone. I was interested to see that, at least in the interpretation I was reading, it was an ANGEL of God in the bush, but God's voice. At least, the voice was speaking in the first person, so you would presume it was God's voice.

By this time, of course, Abigail had completely lost interest, and probably forgotten that her question had initiated the discussion.

Maybe I should have just said "Two." and called it good.

In other news, we now have three working toilets in the house! C'mon over...we'll have potty party!

No promises

I will now publicly confess that I sleep around.

I'm a very light, restless sleeper, and this, combined with a husband who often snores, means I often get up and go elsewhere for a "change of venue". Usually I'll go snuggle with one of the girls, which they seem to enjoy, and I try to give each equal time. Of the two girls, Abigail falls asleep and generally doesn't move. In fact, I'll often check her breathing (still), just on general principle. Mae, unfortunately, takes after me. She's very wakeful at random times in the night, and rolls and thrashes and kicks and hollers all in a good night's sleep. Now, if I'm in her bed, of course I'll just leave. But if she comes to sleep in our bed, I feel I should be able to make some conditions. A few nights ago, I tried to lay down the law.

Sometime during the night, Mae shows up and wants to sleep with us.

"Now, Mae", I said, "you were kicking and moving around earlier. You'll have to be pretty still if you sleep here".

Long silence.

"Mom, I can't make any promises."

What? She wants to come into my bed but can't promise to lie still? Why not? Finally, it struck me.

"Mae, I'm just talking about when you're awake."

"Oh. Okay."

Poor thing...she couldn't commit to controlling herself during sleep, and she wouldn't make a promise she wasn't sure she could keep!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sheet goods

Now, some of you will probably read about this and think it odd.

Some may even say "Ew, why would ANYONE put that in their house?"

And maybe someone will say "Well that was a very sound decision, and a lovely one too."

That last group is welcome to leave comments.

Just kidding! My skin is as tough as...as impervious as...well...vinyl!

OK, so we decided to put vinyl flooring in the mudroom and all the bathrooms. I KNOW tile is so durable and beautiful, but it is just too damn cold. So vinyl it was, and Mark insisted that it be sheet versus tiles, so we wouldn't have lots of seams for water to sneak through.

Yesterday we put down the flooring in the utility room and the mudroom and half bath. Still waiting on delivery for the master bath and kids' bath. The mudroom flooring is Armstrong Stratamax, which is supposed to be very durable, but was a booger to lay. The two bathrooms will be in this cushiony European stuff called Flexitec. Yeah, nice and SOFT on our naked feet!

So here are Mom and Dad inspecting the new flooring. They said they liked it.


Here is a close-up of the material. Doesn't it look like that fancy-dancy concrete that is in all the magazines? Yes! Yes it does!


Here is the utility room, where the washer and dryer will be, as well as an additional fridge/freezer eventually. THIS vinyl was eight bucks a yard, baby! (Note: this is NOT a laundry room, where I linger and fold laundry on my special laundry-folding shelves. I'm a haul-it-out-and-fold-it-in-front-of-the-t.v. kind of person, so...no laundry room)


And here is our first piece of trim, freshly painted in its new color: Cotton Whisper. I can't hear that name without thinking about underwear, but I must say it is a lovely warm-toned white.


The trim will be substantial (5+ inches for this base) but fairly simple. Not quite Craftsman, but along those lines.

Here I am with some beadboard wainscoting that I just painted. This will go in the half bath.


I've been campaigning to get a working potty up and running. Looks like it will happen in the next few days...isn't THAT something to smile about?

No more peeing in the yard! For me, anyway :-)



Just kidding...I run down the hill to Mom and Dad's! Now Mark, on the other hand...

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Mountain Press

I believe I have mentioned that we live in a rural area. Some of you who have not BEEN to Tollhouse, California I'm sure just picture the "California" part, and visualize freeways, smog, Hollywood raciness, and crazy, inept government. While that last one is pretty accurate, even down to the county level, there are many places in California that do not fit this general description, and our new hometown is one.

Tollhouse is a smaaaallllll town. And to illustrate, I give you our local paper, the Mountain Press. This newspaper not only covers Tollhouse, but the other local small towns of Auberry, Shaver Lake, Huntington Lake, Prather, Northfork and Friant. Here's the front page:


I draw your attention to this riveting front page story:



What DID happen to this goat? They are very popular pets up here. What someone coveting this goat and wanting it for their own pet?

Or, dare I say, just hungry for a little goat meat?

If the mystery is solved, will there be a follow-up story?

Going to the inside of the paper, is always fun, because I can usually find pictures of family. This week is no exception...here is my niece, Casey, front row, far right, recognized for finishing the JV basketball season second in their league. Congrats, Casey!



Next week will feature another niece, Megan, whose soccer team just won the league championship. Congrats Megan!

My own children have been in this paper twice...in the same week! Of course, I don't have pictures, but next time I'll do better. Because I'm sure it will happen again.

And you should see the letters to the editor! Religion, politics, you name it! Primarily discussed between three people, but still...hot debate!

Though it may be hard to guess, I DO love the Mountain Press, and read it front to back each week. If you want to know what's going on locally, they do a great job. Really!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dry Sea Grass and Castlestone

I woke up today with a mission.

My mother-in-law Fran is home from the hospital (yay!).

I MUST get pictures of the painted rooms on the blog so she can see them.

So...Fran, you are the wind beneath my wings! Here we go:

The great room. I've got to tell you, these pictures make the colors look kind of dingy, I know. They are not (despite my earlier angst about the color being overpowering). The room is warm and bright, just like I wanted.


The kitchen and dining area. Can you see the back door, which is white right now? See how crisp it looks? That's what I'm looking forward to adding with the kitchen cabinets. The trim will also be a warm white: Cotton Whisper. And there will be lots of it!


The master bedroom. With windows on the north and west, not much natural light gets in, so mostly the lighter color, with one darker accent wall. I'm in love with this fan, too.


And then we get to Never Never Land. I let the girls pick their own color, and we took it to the super-saturation point. Believe it or not, that fan is white, but I think my camera was overwhelmed. It does pop out nicely in "real life".


I'm picturing faeries, clouds, stardust, and flower kingdoms.


And I guess some furniture too.

Yellow :-)

Monday, March 1, 2010

My New Skill

First off, we're all breathing a big sigh of relief for my mother-in-law, Fran. She had a stroke this weekend, and we were all sweating bullets, but she got treatment very quickly, and is recovering well. Hi Fran!

You may remember my story about the drywall crews and their specialized tasks, There was a guy whose sole job was to push the scaffold around with another guy perched atop it, and hand materials up to him. Here he is now:


Well, last week, I was that guy! I got to push the scaffolding around, and hand stuff up to Mark. Mark, in an uncharacteristically prudent move, did climb down before I pushed the rig around.

Well, before we pushed it around.

OK...before Mark did most of the work pushing and I shuffled behind trying not to swing the darn thing into a wall.

What were we doing on the scaffolding, anyway?

Why...we were painting! You may well wonder how the paint color ordeal worked out. And I wish I had some pictures, but I don't today, so I'll just tell you, and show pics later.

I stuck with the color.

The funny thing was, I was convinced I had to start over from scratch. I went back to the hundreds of paint chips, downselected, and came up with the same, damn color! I couldn't deny it...it was my favorite! We did choose a second color two shades lighter, so instead of the second, darker accent color, we had a second, lighter accent color which brightened and softened the whole look. We're both very pleased.

So we sprayed and rolled ceilings and big walls, and we are getting close to the end of painting. And I must say, I'll be glad when this particular stage is over. Hard to believe we might be in the house in another 10 weeks...just in time for summer!

Do I hear a YEEEAAAAH???!