Monday, February 28, 2011

Project 365 - Day 58

Caroline and Elizabeth about to take a ride in Cinderella's carriage after spending fun afternoon at a Fairytale Tea with Grandma.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Project 365 - Day 57

This is not the Day 57 photo:

No, that is the "before" picture of the storage room in our garage. It is the best angle I was able to get to give you the general idea what it looked like, because I could not walk in the room. In fairness to us, we pretty much moved into this house when I was 35 weeks pregnant and then had a baby 3 weeks later. So we just used the storage room as a dumping ground, and dealing with it just hasn't been a priority. But the never-opened-since-we-moved-in-the-house boxes, the fact that our hammers were somewhere in there mixed in amongst faux apples and kiddie pools and outgrown jackets; the fact that I truly had no idea what was in that room and how I'd ever find it; and the fact that the room was a case study in wasted potential all started to get to me. So I decided that tackling this room would be my major project of 2011, and I honestly thought it would take me all year to do it. But to my great surprise, with a little bit of focus, a little bit of determination, and a little bit of help from mom & dad, I was able made HUGE progress in this room in a matter of days.

Day 57 -- the storage room "after":

We bought one of those shelving units when we moved into this house, but for this project, I decided we needed two more: one that I assembled into a workbench, and one that I assembled into another shelving unit so that we had two shelving units flanking the workbench. Once the shelves were assembled, I just starting moving things around into zones. All of the tools are now on the pegboard over the workbench (the pegboard was already there) or on the shelves under the workbench. That's it, just tools. Well, except the inflatable kiddie pools, which fit best under the right side of the work bench where there wasn't a shelf. On the left side shelving unit, I have decorative objects that are not in use, bins full of picture frames and photo albums, etc.

On the right shelving unit, I've got a bin of pool & beach toys and a bin of gift bags. I plan to move my party supply bins onto this shelf too (you know, streamers, festive paper plates, signs, confetti, tin buckets, etc. -- what, doesn't everyone have a party supply bin?) Two shelves are currently taken up with empty bins and boxes, and two shelves are currently taken up by old electronics that (David, close your eyes) I plan to bring to Best Buy for recycling, so there will actually be a lot of open space on this shelf. I mean, it's a storage room, it ain't pretty. But I love that we can now walk in the room. I love that I know where everything is. I love that we now have usable counter space where we can set down the hammer while fishing for the right size picture hook, etc. I basically love all of it. And since the kids don't go in this room, it might even stay neat!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Project 365 - Day 56

Yup, I've fallen behind on Project 365, and here I am (on March 1) backdating a whole 4 days, and really needing to catch up. The truth is, I'm surprised I made it as far as I did, as I am essentially a unitasker in a multitasker's body. When I get into a particular project, all other projects tend to get neglected. And for the past few weeks, I've been on a mission to get our house organized -- every drawer, every closet, every cabinet. A friend summarized this phenomenon by explaining that the first three years of a child's life are characterized by mere survival, but once your youngest hits three, you start to aspire to survive in a more organized fashion. Caroline is three, of course, so perhaps that is what's going on here. Anyway, I hit the upstairs linen closet last week -- this is a large closet with tons of potential that had been an overstuffed mess since we moved into the house. I emptied the newborn diapers, the elmo stick-on placemats, the falling towers of towels, and the 72 fleece throws, and returned everything that we'd be keeping into bins, baskets and (somewhat) neater piles. I have not yet arranged the sheets in rainbowetical order -- that will be phase 2. But I did put labels on the bins:

This one contains assorted heating pads, hot water bottles, knee/ankle braces for old sports injuries, etc. As David and I are pushing 40, I expect I'll need to add a second bin for these items soon.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Project 365 - Day 55

Make your own pizza night.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Project 365 - Day 54

Jacob in a tree.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Project 365 - Day 53

Yesterday's menagerie of puff ball animals.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Project 365 - Day 52

My poor Caroline had a rough day -- dentist in the morning, followed by throwing up the afternoon. I am so sad that my baby feels bad, but secretly I'm a little relieved -- this has been WAY too easy of a winter in the illness department -- maybe a couple of small, forgettable colds? -- and I've been really worrying that payback would come in the form of a family stomach bug beginning the day we are supposed to leave for Disney World (in May). Thankfully, the mid-winter stomach bug is finally here, so maybe we'll get to pay our annual dues now after all. Anyway, here is Caroline, feeling a little better and taking a break from puff ball animal making with Grandma and Elizabeth.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Project 365 - Day 51

I'm cheating all the way around here -- I did not actually take this picture on Monday (it was taken on Sunday outside the theater where Elizabeth and went to see the Giselle ballet) or post it on Monday (I'm posting it on Tuesday and backdating). Still, I'm into 50-something Project 365 posts - not sure I thought I'd get this far!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Project 365 - Day 50

The kids were very excited when they found these four weeds popping out of the dormant grass. Elizabeth asked me to clip one into her hair so that she could look like her American Girl doll, Kanani. Oh winter, please don't come back.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Project 365 - Day 49

Due to the kids' busy social schedules, we celebrated David's birthday a day late. But we celebrated well, with an apple galette (birthday boy's request) and a post-dessert dance party.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Project 365 - Day 48

In various photography courses I've taken, I've learned that when taking photos indoors, you should position your subjects so that they are facing a window to take advantage of that natural light. That is a great idea in theory, but while I am interested in improving my photography skills, I just don't think I have it in me to set up my kids' play activities in such a way as to maximize the natural light source. In this shot, I actually asked Caroline to come look out the window, and she did -- getting so close to the window that I couldn't quite fit myself between her and the window. Hence, EXTREME CLOSE UP!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Project 365 - Day 47

I realize that without a "before" shot that the "after" doesn't have much impact, and I'm pretty sure that nobody is as excited about this as I am anyway, but I snapped a shot of Phase 1 of our basement cleanup. The bikes, balls, scooters, tennis rackets and strollers that are now hanging neatly on this garage wall were lying in a muddled mass on the floor between the two cars just a few short days ago.

I'll be tackling the rest of the main garage and a storage room next. If you don't hear from me in the next few days, I've been buried alive by junk -- please send help.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Project 365 - Day 46

Spring weather here this week -- so we are soaking up the outside time while we can.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Project 365 - Day 45

I think Elizabeth and Jacob may have had a bad morning the day that Elizabeth did this assignment at school:

I'll have to ask her to tell me what the drawing depicts, but I do see the telltale frown face, so it can't be good.

I'm not sure if this one was done the same day or a different day:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project 365 - Day 44

The ballerina takes a break to enjoy a Valentine cake pop (thanks Aunt Diane & Uncle Sal!)

Project 365 - Day 43

It's been a regular Valentine factory around here today. The labor intensiveness (intensity?) of Valentines Day is underrated -- 3 children = 51 kid Valentines + 6 teacher Valentines. I think if I tie one more bow or lick one more envelope I may start exhibiting multiple markers of a clinically insane person. This is a picture of the Valentine iPods we made for Jacob's class. Elizabeth is bringing heart cake pops:

In the middle of all of this, Caroline suddenly got really quiet, and we found this:

I'm right there with you, sweetie pie.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Project 365 - Day 42

Elizabeth's homework for Monday was to construct a Valentines box to hold the Valentines she will receive on Valentines Day. The only instruction was to give it at least a 2" x 6" slit to fit cards and candy, but otherwise, to be creative. I was thinking we'd wrap in it Valentinesy paper (pink/white/red) and that she'd color it or glue paper doily hearts or cover it with stickers - you know, a Valentines box. Elizabeth, on the other hand, wanted to make it into a four-poster bed. She found 4 large sticks in the backyard (mini tree trunks, really) and started asking for help putting together a bed. I think I've noted that I'm not a craft person, and therefore would have no idea how to rig up a four-poster bed Valentines box, nor am I someone who enjoys tormenting kindergarten teachers by sending my kid into school with multiple large sticks. So I started suggesting alternatives. Unfortunately, anything resembling a traditional Valentines box held no appeal to her at all. She ultimately settled on a house. The front door opens to double as a Valentines slot; she decorated it and made puff ball bushes for the side of the house, and we rigged together a roof with cardstock. In the universe of houses, this would most closely resemble one made by the first little pig or the second little pig (i.e., it would be easily blown down by the Big Bad Wolf) and I'll be shocked if it survives Valentines Day in one piece, but boy, was she excited about it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Project 365 - Day 41

Seventy-one cases of Girl Scout Cookies just landed in my garage, in furtherance of my duties as Cookie Mom for Elizabeth's Daisy Scouts troop. I'll be sorting and doing math, etc. tonight. It took a giant act of self-discipline to post this picture before tearing into a box of Thin Mints.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Project 365 - Day 40

Huge overnight snow here (or, at least the kids thought it was huge). I snapped proof that it really happened before it all melted.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Project 365 - Day 39

Even though I got all crazy and cut Caroline's hair the other day, I would not dream of attempting Jacob's poker straight boy-hair myself. He was getting a little shaggy, so we visited our favorite barber for a trim.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Project 365 - Day 38

It was visitor's day in Elizabeth's ballet class, but sadly, I forgot to bring my camera with me. I'm still not in the habit of taking it with me everywhere (and if I'm really going to do this every day, I had really better get into that habit soon). I did have my iPhone with me, however, and while it takes horrendous photos, it allowed me to capture Elizabeth very enthusiastically practicing her arabesques.

Caroline begged to come watch practice with me. Given that we've taken to playing You Tube clips of Swan Lake for her in a futile attempt to satisfy her unquenchable thirst for ballet, I thought she'd really enjoy it. Unfortunately, 5 and 6 year old ballet practice was, er, not quite up to Caroline's standards, and she was not impressed. She still can't always find the precise words she's looking for to express her displeasure with things, so rather than saying "their ballet moves are not exactly graceful, can we please go home and watch The Waltz of the Snowflakes again?" she started telling me (loudly) "You're weird! You're weird!" It was a little awkward.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Project 365 - Day 37

I was outside washing windows and Caroline wanted to help. I filled up a bottle with water and let her go to town on the table. As you can see, she put on her best yellow ballerina dress for the occasion.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Project 365 - Day 36

I found these cute foam Valentine mailboxes at Target and thought that the kids would enjoy decorating them.* And they did.

* I thought this was straight-up sticker art and did not realize at the time of purchase that said mailbox craft actually involved glue.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Project 365 - Day 35

Second Project 365 pic taken with the assistance of my new tripod (thanks Santa!):

Caroline has had three real (i.e., in a salon) haircuts in her life, and all three times I've left the salon wondering if I accidentally said "whatever you do, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, make it look as though she's had a haircut." Despite my attempts to communicate "a few inches off" or "cute bob" or "just below the chin" or whatever, I always leave the salon with Caroline having just had a non-haircut. Of course, I know that I should have said something to the stylist while I was still there, but I guess I never quite realize that her hair looks exactly the same as when we walked in until we get home. Now, you should know that by the time I get around to taking Caroline for a haircut, she needs one -- really, really needs one. Such was the case today, when I decided that she could not go another day with her extra long locks, but I just couldn't bear the prospect of dragging her to the salon, consoling her through the ordeal (which it is for her), and then paying $17 for a non-haircut. So I decided to try my first DIY cut. I figured that I basically just needed to cut a straight-ish line around the bottom, and if I scalped her, I could then bring her in to the salon to get it straightened. I actually think the left side is about 1/2 longer than the right side, but it shouldn't be noticeable when it's up in a twisty or a bow (and if I kept trimming to get it even, she would have eventually been bald). It's an adorable length on her, and one that I could not seem to get a professional to cut. Anyway, I don't think I'll be cutting long layers or the Rachel any time soon, but I think this has given me enough courage to trim my own kids' hair every once in a while.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Project 365 - Day 34

Here's Caroline at breakfast this morning. As you can see, she's become the master of the cheese smile. She told me this joke at breakfast:

C: Knock knock
Me: Who's there?
C: Cow.
Me: Cow who?
C: Awwwwwwwwwwww, don't cry! The cow just climbed up to the top of the hill!

I think she made that one up all by herself - no lie.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Project 365 - Day 33

Gong Hay Fat Choy! Elizabeth's kindergarten class (actually, all of the kindergarten classes) celebrated the Chinese New Year (the year of the rabbit) with a fun parade around the school. Moms, dads, siblings, and the rest of the student body lined the halls to watch the masked, costumed kindergartners pass in festive fashion. Caroline's preschool class is also celebrating the Chinese New Year this week, and Caroline's teacher generously let Elizabeth borrow a beautiful silk Chinese (or "Chinesey," as Elizabeth says) jacket from the 3 year old dress up bin to wear during the parade. Here is the class assembled back in the classroom after the parade for one last enthusiastic "Gong Hay Fat Choy" greeting . . .

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Project 365 - Day 32

Elizabeth made a cute pop-up groundhog at school today (something like this) and wanted to take it outside after school to see if it would see its shadow. Thankfully, just as the real groundhog had done hours earlier, Elizabeth's groundhog predicted an early spring.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Project 365 - Day 31

Just got through decorating 20 groundhog cupcakes for Elizabeth's kindergarten class tomorrow. Her teacher sought a volunteer to make these, and I've been having some baking withdrawal, so before I could really think through how excruciating it would likely be to cut out scores of tiny slivers of jellybean and fruit-by-the foot for groundhog teeth/noses, I said I'd make them. I'm not going to lie, these were kind of a nightmare. That Phil better not see his shadow tomorrow, dammit.