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March…didn’t happen?

It’s amazing how just when you get in a nice little groove with your favorite toddler, they decide to go and screw everything up.  In Simon’s case, this means dropping his nap.


That’s right, I now have a 20-month-old who, most days, is awake continuously from 8:00am to 8:00pm.  A 20-month-old who will not be dissuaded from this schedule, who would rather scream for an hour as I cuddle him, rub his tummy and sing every song known to man than deign to close his eyes at midday and potentially miss something Exciting.  And, not coincidentally, he is now a 20-month-old who nods off in the backseat when we go to pick Jeff up from work, and who has decided to fuss and hit and bite his way through the past several evenings.  I WONDER WHY.


Which means that today I’ve bought 10 minutes of silence this way:

I ordered a breadbox from Amazon the other day and it arrived this afternoon in a huuuuuuuuuuuge box.  The better to repurpose, eh?  Whoosh whoosh whoosh!


…aaaaaaand he’s moved on.  Now we’re back to staring at me and tugging at my sleeve in hopes I’ll let him go wreak havoc on the pantry.


Good thing he’s cute.


We’ve been up to a LOT of good adventures these past few weeks.  Rather than yammer about them in some huge blog post, you may as well just check out my Flickr photostream.  It’s not like a tremendous amount of narration is required anyway 😉


Jeff and I had been hoping to catch a matinee on Saturday but our sitter cancelled on us at the last minute so a change in plans was required.  We ended up making the trek up to Cleveland and visiting the science center.  It was well worth the trip 🙂


(That’s Jeff’s new profile pic on FB, too :))


Simon learned all about the building blocks of DNA:

And I impressed Jeff by remembering each base pair.  9th grade science FTW?  Though to be fair, I’m not sure DNA had been discovered yet when he was in high school 😉


The science center’s little kid play area had a ball pit with all sorts of buckets and pulleys (and a few kids who were definitely not under 6), so we plopped Simon in the middle of it and stood back to see what he thought:

Clearly he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  He just grabbed a few balls and froze, while dozens of others whizzed around him in the melee of tiny humanity.


The ramp/tube contraption off in the corner was more his speed 😉

Jeff and I are pretty sure he’d still be there sending that tennis ball whizzing around, if we hadn’t dragged him away after, oh, 6 or 7 hours.


But he was OK, because after that we found a slide!

He climbed the stairs all by himself (with Daddy spotting) and slid down all on his own, over and over.


He was a little trepidatious at first but made a friend who helped him along.


We escaped the kid’s area eventually, though, and found the physics exhibit that was a little bit more interesting for all of us.  I LOVE how much hands-on stuff this science center had, and how even on a snowy Saturday afternoon it wasn’t too crowded.


Planetary atmosphere simulations are still a liiiiiiiiittle bit above his level, though. 😉


But drums aren’t!


And this giant wall of gears was pretty much the best thing ever.


Of course, on the way back to Akron we got caught in an end-of-March “fuck you” from the weather (actually it was a quite pretty – 3-4″ of snow that pretty much melted on Sunday) that made for a little bit of nervous driving, as the highway department hadn’t prepped the roads at all.


This week has been pretty busy, but also low-key.  Errands (I went to Home Depot yesterday morning and got the supplies for a couple kid projects, and some grass seed and stuff to try and make this place have a modicum of curb appeal for when the homeowners list it for sale this summer), laundry, the usual.  It was supposed to rain all day on Tuesday but turned out to be almost 70* and sunny, so I was able to hang out two loads of laundry on the line (first time since, what, November?) and Simes and I went on a long walk that culminated in approximately 45 hours of swinging at the park.  I made him push his own stroller, because I am cruel like that.


It’s pouring rain all day today so we probably won’t get to go out (maybe to stomp some puddles in our dragon boots if it lets up a bit), but I got this picture yesterday, which proves that spring really IS coming to northern Ohio 🙂

Hopefully this weekend the weather will cooperate and I can rake up the last of the leaves, maybe get that grass seed down, and get things ready for spring.  Until then, I’m going to go make some energy bars with my sous chef and maybe dig into that blueberry bread I baked yesterday for Jeff’s breakfasts.  And wait for Simes to drop face-first into a dead sleep in the middle of the playroom at 6:00 because THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU’RE 20 MONTHS OLD AND DON’T NAP.  Ahem.


Wish me luck 😉

Officially a tradition

This weekend was awesome, dudes.  Awesome.


Friday night we had a dinner with some of the people from Jeff’s work, at an Italian restaurant here in Akron.  When I was getting ready for the dinner, I hit some sort of breaking point re: my clothes.


Remember how Jen and I had that style blog a few years ago?  How much fun it was, and how even though I’m not, like, the most stylish person ever (HA), I enjoyed combining pieces to make fun outfits, and finding good deals, and looking put together?  Well, I’m sure I’m the first person in the history of the world to say that that all changed when I became a SAHM.  😛  Really, though, since before I got pregnant I just haven’t really bought any nice new clothes.  I got a few pieces here and there, but they’ve all been utilitarian button-downs or plain tee shirts.  And so for the past 2+ years, my wardrobe has become progressively more boring and threadbare.  Couple that with the postpartum weight loss and Magic Boobs, and everything I own is suddenly either too big, holey, stained, or out-of-date.  Or all four.  And I’m kind of tired of it.


So after whining to Simon and trying on sixty different things for a casual yet sort of professional dinner (I ended up in an old work shirt – an olive green button-down from Express, my faithful corduroy GAP skirt, and an Old Navy cardigan that should be relegated to the rag bag), I snapped.  I was done!


Jeff apparently loves me, so I got to spend a while browsing on LLBean.  They’re having a “spend $50, get a $10 gift card” sale, and I already had one gift card from ordering a new casual winter coat a couple weeks ago.  So I used that, shopped the sale section, and now have a couple new pieces coming my way.  I got *another* $10 gift card from that order, so in a week or two I’ll order some more (just to hit that $50 minimum to get yet another $10 card :-D).  Winning!


Then yesterday in the course of our running around (more on that in a bit), I found an outlet mall in Aurora that has a Banana Republic outlet.  Banana was always one of my favorites back when I was working, so I was psyched to hit their outlet.  But it wasn’t quite like I remember.  Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I always had good luck finding natural fibers at Banana.  Silk and cotton and wool, not rayon and polyester.  Browsing yesterday, though, it seemed like just about everything was synethetic fibers.  Disappointing.  I did find a couple cute things, though, that fit within my self-imposed rules of “not slobby, not neutral, not boring”:

That short-sleeved shirt looks sort of sickly colored in the pic, but I promise it’s quite lovely 🙂  It also has a really great waist detail shaping.  I think it’ll look good with some of my handknit sweaters this fall :).


So, backtracking a bit:  we had the dinner on Friday night, which was fine, whatever.  Friday is *also* when we discovered that the washer (which came with the house but isn’t maintained by the property manager) is broken – and apparently has been since we got here.  The agitator doesn’t agitate (though the spin cycle still spins, and it fills and empties OK).  So I called a repairman who came out, looked at it, and said it’s un-fixable: the motor is completely seized; the repairs would cost more than the washer is worth.  Ugh.  So no we have to go buy one of those.  But that also solves the mystery of why none of our clothes really felt like they were coming clean, and Simon’s diapers were building up ammonia despite 3-4 rinses on each load.  And yes, our landlord is a damned dirty liar in yet another regard “Oh yeah, the washer in the house works!”.  Bullshit.


The Akron Marathon was Saturday morning, and Jeff had signed up to volunteer for it (two of his co-clerks were running the half marathon).  But since somebody waited until the last possible minute to fill out his volunteer form, the only position left was “recycling steward”, on a 5:30-8:00 am shift.  Oh, that did give me such joy!  That my beloved would spend the wee hours of Saturday morning sorting recycling.  Because I am not a nice person.


Simon and I rolled out of bed at our usual time and strolled over to the marathon route (the portion running down Market went through Highland Square proper, just a few blocks from our house) to cheer on the runners and our stalwart (recycling) steward.  This is the only picture of any runners that I got before my phone started being an asshole:


Simon didn’t think much of the whole thing at first…

but he quickly picked up on the fact that there were people clapping all around him, so by the time Jeff’s shift ended and he joined us, Simon was busy clapping every time he saw someone (runner or bystander) pass our spot.  So helpful!


The rest of Saturday was pretty much just spent around the house.  I got a fair amount done on my cross-stitching project and the stripey knee sock I’m knitting, and we went on a nice long family walk that evening, through the ritzy neighborhood adjacent to ours.


But then Sunday.  SUNDAY!  So much fun!  I got up early and did a bunch of random cleaning (the kind that’s impossible to accomplish with a toddler underfoot), then when my boys woke up we headed out on a super autumn adventure 🙂


First stop was the aforementioned outlet mall and lunch at some local grill up there – nothing too exciting.  After that, though!  APPLE PICCKKKINNNNGGGGG!!!!


We went to Monroe’s Orchard, just northeast of Akron.  It was SO AWESOME.  Much more authentic than the orchard-that-must-not-be-named 😉  (Yes I AM still on about that.).  More fun than the orchard in the desert of 2012.  Pretty much in line with my previously-established high expectations, circa 2011.


Look! I was positively giddy with excitement!


Jeff was his usual cool self, and Simon was underwhelmed:


I then enthusiastically dubbed myself the Apple Wench, and set about scampering among the branches and gathering a full bushel of Cortland apples:


Everything was just right!  YAYYYYY apple picking!


All miiiiiiiiiine!


I MAY decide to share with Jeff and Simon.  Maybe. 😛

There were perfect rows of apple trees!  And a wagon with hay bales to ride out to the orchard!  And hand-painted family signs!  Even the cute-but-surly teenage son that Eckert’s was lacking.  SHEER AND UTTER PERFECTION.


Then after we deposited our overflowing apple bags in the car, we headed over to the orchard’s pumpkin patch.  Because DUH.


We found a Simon-sized pumpkin, and a Jeff-and-Kate-sized pumpkin:


Then we rounded out the trip with a peck of Macintosh from the store (they didn’t have any for you-pick), and a candle and some local honey.  It was marvelous.  Monroe’s Orchard gets an A+ from us!


Here’s our front porch this morning:

Doesn’t that look nice?  I need to paint all the white with Killz before it gets too cold, and do something with those poor sad flowerbeds.


And now I must away!  The wee one is whining for boob + lunch, then once the washer repair guy leaves I have to run to the store for quart jars, and start canning! 🙂


Happy Monday, friends!

So many strange men in my house

Jesus.  Today.


Yesterday afternoon the gas guy came back out to inspect the repairs that the landlord’s maintenance guy had done, and he said the lines were still failing hardcore.  So he had to turn the gas back off.


I called the maintenance guy, who called the landlord, who was incommunicado until this morning (of course).  Once he had permission from his boss to make this place habitable, Maintenance Guy and his partner showed up at the house at 8:07 this morning (just when we were rolling out of bed, of course).  They banged some more pipes and pronounced everything fixed a couple hours later.  So I called the gas company, and they sent a guy out (not the one who looked like JK Simmons from the other day, alas.  We were buds.) and he said there was still a problem and so he couldn’t reconnect our service.  OF COURSE.  So I got Maintenance Guy on the phone, and he and Gas Guy had an argument about calibrations on their respective sensors and what lines need to be connected and how many cuts to make in a pipe replacement, and then Gas Guy left.  Then Maintenance Guy came back (at which point I thought about asking him to install a revolving door on the basement stairs because JFC), and he banged some more pipes and turned off some valves (fun fact! This hundred-year-old home was originally routed for gas lighting.  But somehow, between the advent of home electric lighting and September 20, 2013, none of the home’s various owners or tenants had thought to remove or adequately plug any of the defunct gas lighting pipework.  Just in case this whole “electricity” fad doesn’t catch on, I guess?  Also, for the record, I am not a plumber, but this was my idea.  I think I see a second career in my future.).


Then Maintenance Guy called Plumber Buddy (why Plumber Buddy wasn’t called in the first place I don’t know), who told Maintenance Guy some other ways to fix the various gas leaks running throughout the basement.  Maintenance Guy banged some more pipes, then pronounced it Done-I-Really-Mean-It-This-Time, and told me to call the gas company back.


So I called the gas company back, and Gas Guy returned, rolling his eyes and telling me that Maintenance Guy is an idiot because of his well-established stance on calibration methods.  I DON’T CARE, GAS GUY.  Fortune finally smiled upon us, though, because this time the plumbing passed inspection!  Gas has been restored to the house.  Which means that at this moment I am simultaneously boiling a kettle for iced tea, soaking a load of diapers, and contemplating a blissful, long hot shower.


(There was a 10-minute pause here because Simon heard me type the word “shower”.  Dammit!)


So in between all the people working on the house and the baby all up in my business and the dog who pooped on the bathroom floor (because apparently that’s what you do when you get weary of barking incessantly), I worked on unpacking.


We are so very nearly there!  Just 5 boxes left for the main rooms of the house (not counting the still-unfurnished craft room/office).  Unfortunately, as anyone who has moved can sympathize, it’s those last boxes that are always the hardest.  They’re the ones that you’ve previously opened up and thought “where the heck am I gonna put *that*?!”, then set aside for an amorphous ‘later’.  Well, later has arrived, and I still have no idea where to put Jeff’s LEGO replica of the White House, our ice cream dishes, or my cute little quilted seasonal wall hangings Aunt Judy made.


Which is interesting, since I did manage to easily fit it all into a 2-bedroom apartment the size of this house’s first floor, but somehow now that I have a second floor and an attic and a basement I’m mystified.


(That said, it’s really not at all an issue of space.  We have way more space than we know what to do with.  Hence Simon having a bedroom *and* a playroom, a superfluous dining room we’ve designated as “the library”, and china displayed on the kitchen cabinets’ upper stories.)


Have I mentioned that I love this house?  Almost daily I tell Jeff that I wish we could buy it and take on its problems and charms whole-hog, a huge task that I’d love nothing more than to take on.  We’ve always said we like old houses and established neighborhoods, but after this adventure I really don’t see us being satisfied with anything less than a hundred years old.  I love this house so much.  SO MUCH.


Tonight we’re going to pick Jeff up from work and check out Akron’s Greek festival.  Mama needs baklava!

Happy Thursday!

We’ve had a busy couple of days  Luckily it was mostly fun-busy, less stress-busy (though our bum of a property manager still isn’t answering my calls/emails.  GRR.)


On Tuesday I hung up my chalkboard (finally!).  This gives me such a happy.

It’s only been OVER A YEAR, JESUS CHRIST!  (There was no space to hang it in our LA kitchen, so it lived propped in a corner of the office/craft room for a year.)


How stinkin’ wonderful is that?  I am so in love.


Then Simesie boy and I made some cookies:

to foist upon Jeff’s unsuspecting co-workers.  They are good.  Because duh.


And we built a fort:

The only thing more fun than building a fort is knocking it down!


Yesterday I came down with the type of cold that leaves you cranky and low-energy, but isn’t severe enough to actually lay you up.  So I pressed onward in our daily activities, snotting and coughing all the way.  Sexy!


A while back I joined an Akron-area kids’ clothing sale group on Facebook, and yesterday it finally paid off.  A woman was selling a toddler-sized Yoda costume, so we ran over to Stow and picked it up after dropping Jeff at work.


Simon didn’t think much of the headgear 😛

Ah well.  He’s got 6 weeks to get used to it. 😀


In the meantime, I need to find some cargo pants at a thrift store for Jeff, and hem and dye an old t-shirt for him.  BECAUSE THIS:


Babywearing Halloween FTW! 😛


I also installed our clothesline yesterday.  One step closer to a dream come true!

That was the second time using my drill, in as many days.  (Wow awkward phrasing much?)  With any luck, our forever home will have a real clothesline on posts, but a retractable spool clothesline is better than no clothesline at all!


This weekend I’m going to get a couple things at Home Depot and work on winterizing the yard.  That dirt strip by the driveway is unappealing looking, but shady almost all day.  Any ideas what I should plant (maybe in the spring)?


This morning Simes and I headed out to one of those three-days-only consignment sales down in Canton.  He needed a coat and a few more pyjamas (seems like I’m always buying that kid pyjamas!), and I, as always, maintained a faint hope that I might find a gorgeous woven wrap tucked into a pile of baby blankets or something.


I’m sure you can figure out how well that last bit worked. 😛


The sale wasn’t the best I’ve ever been to, but it wasn’t bad.  I found the items on my list, but then I saw a giant Enfamil booth:

And the formula-pusher lady was talking to that mom in purple.  She said, “Are you breastfeeding?”  (Mom nodded)  “Good for you!  Just in case it stops working, take this.  It’ll be a huge help and really lift the burden!” And then she shoved a big shiny tote bag of formula and crap at this family.  THIS is the kind of stuff that pisses me off to no end.  It undermines a perfectly healthy breastfeeding relationship.  Not all breastfeeding mamas are educated about the dangers of formula, and not all of them will understand the negative effects of formula.  Plus, who doesn’t love free stuff?  By calling breastfeeding a “burden” and paying lip service to supporting the mama, the Enfamil rep was worming her way into the family’s awareness and trust.


Seriously, formula marketing sickens me.  It’s one thing if a family needs to use formula, or makes an educated decision to choose it, but it’s another thing completely when the companies pretend that they’re supporting breastfeeding while actually deceptively promoting their inferior product.


I thought about whipping a boob out right there, or claiming an open booth for an impromptu breastfeeding support station, but I made the mistake of calling Jeff and telling him about my brilliant plan and he talked me out of it.  Something about not wanting to have to come to Canton and bail me out of prison.  IDK.   Meanie.


I need to shut up now.  It’s making me too mad to think about.


Anyway.  In addition to a coat and a couple shirts and some jams, I also found this little bit of wonderfulness:

Grey. Wool. Tweed. Sportcoat.  WITH ELBOW PATCHES!!!  I am dead.


I’ll try to take a picture of him wearing it after he wakes up from his nap here.  Warning: it will be blurry 😀


Finally, MY MY MY MY MY hydrangea.  MINE!

I may have to try and dry that, as Kathy suggested.  Isn’t it just unbearably gorgeous?!


Hope you’re having an excellent week!

Oh man.

Where to begin?


First of all, we’re in Akron.  Unfortunately we’re not in our new house yet.  No, we’re not happy about that (duh).  Let’s just get that out of the way.


Leaving LA went about as planned, and the boys’ drive to Akron was OK.


Simes and I spent two days at Mom and Dad’s house: Granddad had a short stint in the hospital for an infection so we drove Grandmother to visit him.  I got to have a GREAT lunch with Stef and Mandi, sans baby (Grammy’s babysitting service!  The price right ;-)).  We got haircuts, hung out with Aunt Judy for a bit, did some laundry and picked Linda up from the airport.  On Wednesday we drove (well, Linda drove.  I sat in the back and entertained Simon) from KC to Indianapolis, with a long lunch- and yarn-buying-break in St. Louis (got to see Jeff’s cousins Katie and Carol, and Linda’s best friend Paula).  We met up with the guys in Indianapolis, and yesterday we went from Indianapolis to Akron.  That’s where it went tits up.


I made this gussied-up picture when I was young and optimistic (soo….Thursday morning):

The guys had had usual little problems on their big drive – Dad had some minor issues with the truck, Jeff got tired of lugging the kennels and coolers and Gretchen into hotel rooms every night, Dad accidentally put his hand in dog puke and had to ride like that 15 miles to the next exit… all the little things you can look back in 5 years (or 5 weeks) and laugh at.


We will NOT be laughing at this current situation, though.


About an hour before we all got to Akron, Jeff got a call from our new landlord.  The previous tenants – a somewhat less-than-desirable-seeming family – hadn’t vacated the house as planned.  Consequently, the maintenance guy(s) weren’t able to take care of all the fixing up that the house needed to make it habitable.


Why on earth did they wait until just before we got there to tell us this?!


Our landlord assured us that he had three men working on the house, and that it would be in tip-top-shape by the time we arrived.  So we pressed onward.


We got to the house, though, and of course everything was not OK.  The kitchen was filthy, the walls still full of holes (nail- and fist-sized).  The windows have dust half an inch thick.  The carpets…::shudder::.  And the upstairs floors were still covered in debris the previous tenants left behind.  It’s just a mess 😦


So I called the landlord and told him about our concerns; he told us he’d have the crew back the next day to keep working on the place, and that we should go to a hotel for the night (whether he’ll pay us back for that or not is to be determined.  Also, fun fact:  the only hotel in Akron that accepts pets but isn’t also infested with bedbugs, costs $100/night.  Wowee!  Good thing that Jeff and I are so independently wealthy!  /sarcasm)


Yesterday morning we woke up, bright-eyed and optimistic about our new home.  A crew had allegedly been working diligently since 6am to make the house move-in ready.  So what do we walk in to see?  A guy re-painting the only room in the house that didn’t need to be re-done (and, of course, completely ignoring the other 8 rooms that were a mess), some Kaboom ineffectually squirted on the moldy kitchen tile, and (to be fair) a lawn guy working quickly and steadily to rid the garage and yard of all the crap the previous tenants left behind.


So we sat around on the front steps and tried to stay out of the way, and tried to figure out exactly what this three-man team had been up to for the past five hours (I told Jeff that I could’ve gotten more done myself in that time, if I’d been bopping to music and had a cooperative baby on my back).  I had to pester the landlord *again* about my concerns, and he talked to his guys (probably bitching about me).  The crew packed up and left at 3:00 on the nose, one coat of paint hastily and crappily applied to the bedroom walls, and a scrap of wood covering the hole in one bedroom’s floor.  The whole place was filthy, but apparently they were “done”.


Here, I made you a picture of me, at that news:

Clearly you don’t want to be dealing with me.


More angry phone calls, etc etc.  Landlord told us he’d call a carpet cleaning company to deal with that, he’d contact the owner for permission to repaint the first floor and finish the painting on the second (apparently asking for two coats of nicely-applied paint is a really unusual request), and that if we weren’t happy with the cleanliness of the house (that’s putting it mildly), we could hire our own cleaning crew and have the bill sent to him.  So that’s exactly what we did.  Our cleaners are going to work this afternoon and evening and tomorrow, and with any luck they’ll be done by tomorrow night.  In a single fortuitous turn of luck, the clerk at our hotel (which is a really commodious, friendly and helpful establishment, for all the exorbitant expense) also does housekeeping and home repairs, and when I mentioned our troubles to her she was happy to get her crew right on the job.  Which was good, because none of the other housekeeping companies I had called first were answering their phones at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon.  (Shocking!)


In the end, we’ll have accrued (hopefully no more than) a three-night hotel bill, an extra day of truck rental, and at least 900 bajillion phone calls, untold amounts of stress, 45 bottles of Diet Coke, and 8 Subway sandwiches.  And a new dress shirt for Jeff, because all his work clothes are packed away in the truck and did I mention he starts work on Monday?  (!!!)  And I went and got ice cream sundaes for us last night because DAMMIT WE DESERVE IT.


We’re about to head back over to the house and see if this mythical carpet cleaner guy is really as good as the landlord insists (I remain dubious), and meet with the housekeeping crew to make sure they see everything that needs to be done.


Later – not now – I’m going to get on the landlord’s ass about the paint that his maintenance guys smeared on the light fixtures, the fact that they re-hung the bathroom cabinets about an inch off, and figure out exactly when the new, non-mold-filled dishwasher will arrive.  We also need to attempt – for the third time – to schedule someone to come unload our moving truck, and then worry about anything that may have broken in transit (I’m a little bit suspicious of the apparently-precarious positioning of our sofa in there).


At our leisure, Jeff and I are going to repaint the front porch with Killz (it’s all sorts of moldy), weed and winterize the flower beds (there are long-neglected raspberry bushes there!), plant some pretty climbing plant for the pergola, repaint the back door, and probably paint and scrub the basement stairwell.  And other assorted little jobs.


To say these past few days have been rough is…a bit of an understatement.  I would like you to note that I will not be reclining on the screened-in porch with iced tea anytime soon, nor will I be preparing a hearty and homey dinner in that kitchen tonight.  I do remain ever-optimistic, though, that maybe I won’t have to sob on the living room floor at any point today.  But we shall see.


I’ll wrap up with a couple cute pictures of Simon and Granddad.


He got to drive from Indianapolis!



And that’s all I’ve got.  Wish me luck as I head back into the moldy, dirty abyss!


Someone convince me this will all be OK in the end…?

Happy Wednesday!

I don’t have a whole heckuva lot to share today.  Simon never ended up letting me get much alone time yesterday, so I mostly just sat and watched documentaries on Netflix while he napped  on me.  He ended up sleeping for 3 hours, off and on, yesterday afternoon!  At one point he was even so soundly asleep that I could put him vertically on my shoulder rather than draped across my lap.  Which was a nice change of pace (my days are so exciting).

Here, I took a picture of the miracle:



When he wasn’t asleep, I was busy trolling Craigslist and emailing back and forth with our realtor person and Jeff about all the stuff for the move.  I made all of Dad’s and  Jeff’s hotel reservations (they’re doing the exact opposite of last year’s trip: LA to Kingman AZ, then Kingman to Albuquerque, then Albuquerque to OKC, then (this part is new, of course) OKC to Indianapolis and Indianapolis to Akron.  It’s more-or-less evenly spaced that way.


Dad is flying in to LAX about two hours before Simon and I leave for KC, so Jeff is going to drop us off and pick Dad up in the same trip (sooooo convenient, assuming his plane isn’t late or anything).  Then Simon and I are going to kick around Kansas City while the guys are doing their drive.  I think I’ll try to see Aunt Judy and Grandmother & Granddad, and at least get coffee or something with Stef and Mandi.  Then Linda arrives on the afternoon of 9/3, and she’s going to accompany us on Simon’s haircut and maybe a grocery run for car snacks.  Then the three of us set out early on 9/4.  We’re going to have lunch in St. Louis with some of Jeff’s family, and hopefully make it to Indianapolis at about the same time as Dad and Jeff.  Then the next day we’ll all head for Akron together.


So much logistics!  I will be so glad when I never have another cross-country move.  Every “in town” move for the rest of my life is going to seem like the easiest thing ever, lol.


Our realtor has found about half a dozen places for Jeff to look at on Saturday.  A couple of them are just “meh, OK maybe”: apartments in big buildings, etc.  A few are houses, which I vastly prefer the idea of.  I just would rather not be stuck out in the suburbs where there’s no place to go and nothing to do.  But I’m sure they’ll be able to find something that’ll meet our needs well enough.  It’s just a year, after all.


Anyway.  Enough about the damn move.


The PLAN last night was that Jeff would come home from work and play with Simes so I could get my housework done.  I felt bad because I’d spent almost all of yesterday afternoon working on Akron stuff and stuck under Mr. Sleepiness, so he hadn’t really gotten much lovey-playtime.  Which makes me feel like a pretty crappy mother (maybe that dumbass lady who rear-ended me was right after all :-P).


Instead, of course Jeff ended up getting home later than he’d planned, and Simon didn’t want much to do with his dinner, and then next thing I knew it was 9:00 and I hadn’t been able to accomplish a darn thing.  So frustrating.  And when the floors are dusty and the sink is full of dishes it just makes me twitchy.  So this morning I threw him on my back and ran the vacuum until he conked out, then finished my mopping and dishes and now I can finally stop twitching 😀


I love all the expressions this kid makes.  He is just SO much fun to interact with.  All his little faces crack me up, and I love how he latches onto one particular sound, then we have whole conversations in it.  He does the cutest little wordless whisper, and a mean fart noise.  And a dinosaur noise!  Anybody looking in our windows would think we’re a bunch of lunatics, the way we’ll all sit around and “talk” to each other like we’re all dinosaurs.  Seriously, ever new age/stage is more fun than the last.


Time to go switch the laundry.  I will NOT miss having to feed quarters to a machine down the hallway!

Stick your nose in the air, and wiggle it around like you just don’t care

Yesterday I posted one of the two pieces of art I received in exchange for a review of Global Gallery.  Today I’mma talk about the other.

So here’s the thing: our place in LA is small, and not fancy.  In fact, it is completely lacking in personality.  (What it lacks in charm, though, it makes up for in location, price, dog- and cat-acceptingness, and also having the nicest manager ever, who has a cute baby not much bigger than Simon. Friends for everybody!).

But for a year, I don’t need another charming, cozy, wonderful home like we left behind in St. Louis. I can get by, and I know our forever home in DC will be everything I’ve ever dreamed of.

So I’m not offended by the awkwardly-arranged living room here, or the tiny craft room/office, or the postage-stamp kitchen (which, for all it lacks in size, it makes up for in efficiency.  It also has a gas stove: with that, I can do anything.).  I’m even learning to survive with a coin-operated washer and dryer down the hall, rather than our own ones – which we owned and loved – in the basement.

We did have to rent a storage unit, though, for our Christmas decorations and camping gear and even our coffee table and other furniture.  And the “bonus” closet in our bedroom is used to store all our fine china and half my kitchen appliances (I have to move furniture in order to dig out my blender or slow cooker…).

But like I said: it’s fine, for a year.  It’s in an amazing location, has a great view, and is juuuust big enough to meet our needs.

Anyway. Enough bitching.

When I was in college, I fell in love with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood style: Waterhouse is my homeboy; Rossetti and I are tight.  (I tried to get on Millais’ Christmas Card list, but it was marked “return to sender.”  Asshole.)

My most favorite painting ever is Miranda in the Storm, by Waterhouse:

Jeff gave me a framed print of that for Christmas last year, and it hangs in a place of pride in our living room.  Gawd I love that painting.  Love the play, too.  But REALLY love the painting.

Boreas, also by Waterhouse, is a close second favorite:

The color! The composition! The movement!  Unf.  And unf again.

So it should come as no surprise that that’s what I chose for my second review painting from Global Gallery.


While I went with a simple, ebony frame for the Tiffany print, I decided to choose something more elaborate for Boreas.  So look what I found!

I love how there’s just a touch or ornateness and floral movement which echoes the painting itself.  [Insert other such hoity-toity comments in which I pat myself on the back as if I actually painted the damn thing].

Then I added a double matting: one that’s a creamy silver; the other a midnight blue:

I am SO stinkin’ pleased with how this turned out!  And the folks at Global Gallery did a superb job with the framing and matting, as well: everything is top quality.

But here’s the problem: in this aforementioned smallish and awkward apartment, I don’t really have a ready location to display this beautiful piece.

So here’s where you come in:  help me figure something out!

Here are the empty spaces we currently have.  None of them really scream “put art in me!”.  So…I dunno.

Option 1: the living room:

There’s nothing above the TV, you see.  But I also don’t know that there really *should* be.

Option 2: the hallway

I tried to make this scary corridor mildly more appealing by putting our two low bookshelves along it to create an entryway, then hanging a bunch of family pictures above:

(Not pictured: the Ikea rack for coats and leashes that I haven’t bought yet).

I think that looks OK as it is, so I’m hesitant to mess with it.  I deliberately left the right side of the hallway blank (see first picture above) so you don’t feel like you’re walking into an antique mall or hoarder’s home when you walk in the door.  But maybe Boreas could go there.

Option 3: the craft room/office:

This room is the bane of my existence.  Since Jeff doesn’t have a desk yet (see: Ikea), all our office-y stuff is still in moving boxes.  This is also where we’ve tossed Simon’s laundry basket (aka napping basket), and where we’re temporarily storing some painting supplies and stuff.  In short, this is where all the random crap has landed.  And worst of all, there’s nothing I can really do about it until we buy Jeff a desk and make a couple extra square feet of space magically appear.
Clutter makes my skin crawl.

But my crafting area is mostly put together, at least:

I was thinking I might hang Boreas where my bulletin board and Knitting sign (thanks, Kathy!) are currently?  I could move them over to another wall or something.

But again: that’s just a place, not *the* place.

Option 4: another wall of the craft room/office:

Since we don’t have a dining room in this apartment, all of the stuff that used to be hanging in there (read: wedding photos) has been relegated to the office.  Hence that random spread.

But what if I took them down? I’d like to be able to look at them, of course, but we’re not talking about hiding them long-term: just ’till we leave LA.

Option 5: bedroom:

I have another project in mind for that space, but realistically I doubt I’ll finish it before we leave here anyway.

So…what do you think?  Do any of these options seem better than any other?  Help me: I want to show off my beautiful Boreas!

And thanks again to the kind folks at Global Gallery for offering me the opportunity to review their products. I had so much fun choosing them, and am super pleased with the quality.  I can heartily recommend them, and I know who I’ll be shopping with when it’s time to  buy art for the fantasy forever home in DC!

PS>For the record, Miranda is hanging on a wall in the living room that I didn’t show, along with a whole section of wall that I’ve reserved for pictures of Simon. And Jeff’s Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog is in another part of the office, too.

PPS>Would anyone be interested in a proper picture tour of this place? It really isn’t much to look at, so I’m hesitant to go all Design*Sponge tour-y on it.

The past couple weeks

Despite having a newborn freshly-home from the NICU (2 weeks ago today!), we’ve still got to be productive and keep up with little things.  Just tiny little details.


Like moving to LA.


(It kills me that I’m not being linear in my July/August storytelling, I want you to know.  But today I’m notsomuch “telling a story” as I am “dumping some pictures I’ve taken on my blog and calling it good enough”.  I’ll fill in the words later.  Like, this winter.)


Here’s the state of my cozy, tidy, beloved home right now:

(We’re going to ship Simon to LA in one of those sturdy white “FRAGILE” boxes.  Nothing but the best for our little dude!)


Luckily for us, Simon is a really content little guy: as long as a doting grandparent is holding him…

…or he’s being worn by Jeff or me, he’s happy as a clam.

(Pictured: happy clam)


That’s the cotton gauze wrap that Mom made for me: it was one of two sewing projects I’d planned to finish pre-Hoopling.  We all know how THAT turned out!


Here’s the other sewing project:

That’s the good thing about having a sew-y mom: I can just throw a pile of flannel at her and say “Please to be making into good burp cloths yes?”


Then she turns it into this:

And everything is wonderful, and I am happy.


Also, at this point I’m pretty sure Mom has gotten to use Hazel more than I have. :-\


But even though Jeff and I are busy packing and scrubbing and sending stuff to Goodwill (Macbeth is going in the next load), we still have time for this:


and this:



and this:



And, of course, a whole lotta this:




There was also something else, but it needs its own post (once Kara shares her pictures… :-))


Today is our last big packing day (we also have a doctor’s appointment for little dude, and a family dinner this evening).  Jeff picks up the truck and the movers load it tomorrow, and then we hit the road for KC early on Wednesday morning.


With three grandparents’ assistance at various points, as well as food and diversion from various factions of friends, we’re actually in a pretty good place for getting it all done (yay!).  But now I need to get off my duff, shower, and keep packing.  This may be the last you hear from me for a little while, but my hope is that I’ll be able to write up Simon’s birth story while little dude and I are cooling our heels in KC late this week (while Jeff and my dad are caravan-ing across the southwestern US).


Keep your fingers crossed for us…

Poor little guy doesn’t stand a chance

After proving his mettle at breastfeeding, Simon got to come home from the NICU yesterday.


Just in time to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday, Hoops-style:

Sorry, kid.  You’re destined to a lifetime of geekitude, and there’s nothing you can do about it.


And yes, I promise we’ll read Chapter 2 tomorrow night.  And Chapter 3 after that.  And on and on and on.  We’ve got all the time in the world, little guy.


They say it’s never too early to start reading to your kids, y’know…

Puts my little type-A mind at rest

I was in OMGSUPERPRODUCTIVE mode this weekend.  Well, part of the weekend.  Um, OK – part of one day of the weekend.


FINE.  I’m not gonna lie – on Saturday I mostly just sat on my ass and knitted interminable 1×1.


Jeff is playing a new video game (Deus Ex, if you care), which means that even though we reside in the same physical plane, he is for all practical purposes completely absent right now.  You see, he’s in New Video Game mode, during which he stays awake until 3am playing and drinking Coke Zero with a cat on his lap.  Since I’m physically incapable of sleeping in and wake up at 6:30 even on the weekends, that means that we operate on nearly opposite schedules.  By the time he rolls out of bed at 11 or noon, I’ve already got a half day’s work (or knitting) under my belt.


So while he slept on Sunday morning, I cleaned and organized and finished up myriad little projects around the house (in the process, of course, I uncovered several more that I’d forgotten about completely.  Which will occupy me next weekend :-D).


It was that perfect kind of busy-ness which is completely without stress or hurry, but just fun, gratifying productivity.


Y’know, the kind of busy-ness that leads to my handknit socks being clean all at once – for the first time in recorded history – which, in turn, leads to a beautifully organized handknit-sock tray in the cedar chest:

I’ve knitted myself 26 pairs of socks since I started in early 2008, if you were wondering.  And I’ve done a further 20-ish pairs for others. (By this time next year, I’ll have likely upset that balance and sent out more pairs than I’ve kept for myself).


That gorgeous cedar chest was a gift from my grandparents: each of us 5 grandkids got to choose one “big” item from their house.  I’ve loved the cedar chest as long as I can remember, and was so glad to get it.  After Dad brought it to me in his little black Mazda last summer (leading Mom to call it the “midget hearse”), all I had to do was sand the interior a bit and refresh it with a couple coats of cedar oil, and it was good as new!


While I was at it, I sorted out my sweaters, and sent a nice big box of acrylic-blend turtlenecks (aka Old Navy circa 2001) to Goodwill, along with our old gross $20 Wal-Mart comforter and a couple other odds-and-ends that surfaced in my organizing frenzy.  And then I decided the windowsills were looking a bit dingy, so I scrubbed those.  And cleaned the kitchen.  And finished entering all our book collection into GoodReader.  And reorganized the linen closet.  And aired and fluffed and squeezed my yarn.


And then I made dinner and spent the rest of the evening knitting and purling and watching The Office with Jeff (who did, reluctantly, surrender the TV for an hour or two).


If that doesn’t make for a gratifying and productive day, then I don’t know what does.


How was your weekend?