Monday, January 28, 2008

Extreme Makeover revealed in Manchester

If you remember this past fall, I got a glimpse of Ty Pennington as I was picking up drive-thru with the kids. Well, they built a new home for a fellow Manchester family and last night it was revealed on the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show. I don't normally watch the show but of course I couldn't resist watching this one, since these folks live mere minutes from here. Also, I nearly crashed my car on the highway, craning my neck to see the Christmas light display this 3-story home had this past season. Nearly the entire home was outlined in white lights. Pretty cool.

Anyway, I was struck by how long this show was and how much crying goes on in it. Understandable, of course, considering the circumstances. I would be crying all the time if I lost my home to a flood or any other disaster, and crying even more if someone came to build me a new one.

During the show, one of the designer's brought up a good point about communities. He essentially said we are all responsible for making sure that the people we share our town with are taken care of, that we all do something to help out. This came more sharply into focus when a local news story covering the makeover pointed out that the local city food bank had been asked for donations for the people working on the house to which the food bank workers essentially replied that their supplies were depleted enough as it was. Even so, I do believe they still made a contribution. Made me think we need to be doing a little more here in town to help out on a regular basis.

Cool to finally see the interior of the finished home. Very neat, indeed. I don't know why that designer was so worked up about getting those circles on the ceiling in the family room. Whose going to have to dust those blasted things??

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fun family stuff

I've been meaning to link to these sites that I think are really great for young kids. If you've got a beginner reader in the house and want a fun and easy to follow online activity for him/her, check out Starfall which has gone over well with both my kids. If they struggle with a word, they only need to click on it to hear it sounded out. It makes a great substitute for your usual phonics lesson if you happen to be homeschooling, or if you've got the kids stuck at home on a snow day. If you are clever enough they won't even realize they are learning anything! Be sure to click on the characters in the stories to make them do silly things.

I'm sure there are other sites like this, but this is one of our favorites when we want to learn about animals. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has live web cams of otters, fish and other creatures that live in and around the Bay. Of course they are on Pacific time, so their cams aren't up and running until around 10AM out here. Which of course turns into a good lesson on time zones for the wee ones. Thanks to my mom who first turned us on to this one.

Also, I wanted to mention that I bought this strategy game called Blokus for the family for Christmas. So far we have only all sat down together once to actually play it and Sofia got distracted by the end, but I think this is a great game for families of kids ages 5 and up. And kids as young as Sofia can still make cool patterns with the pieces on the board. It is sometimes a challenge to keep those pieces out of the baby's mouth, however.

Hope you're all staying warm this week...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"That's one step for baby..."

Isobel took her first few steps this past Thursday morning. I tried, pretty unsuccessfully, to get some good video footage of this milestone in action. Here I managed to shoot a few seconds her taking just a couple little steps and of course I didn't even get her feet in the frame. Oh well.

Note that even after three children I still use that high voice that gives people a headache and makes dogs' ears prick up. My first thought was, wow, do I really sound like that?

Anyway, she's been taking as many as four steps at a time before she either falls or decides she's had enough. It must be pretty exhausting work, all this learning to walk. You would think it would help her to sleep better...

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh Rats!

The kids and I were headed home from the store this afternoon and while listening to the radio we heard the DJ commenting on a story about how a 2000 lb. rodent fossil was just discovered. I looked into the rear mirror to see David's jaw just about drop to the floor. He's really interested in this sort of thing (ok, what isn't a five year old boy interested in, except "girly" things and cleaning up after himself?) and he was very impressed with the news story. He was taking it all in and it was very quiet in the car. Then he slowly uttered a single word:


At any rate, this one's certainly got the ROUS's beat.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Miles to go before he poops

Today the kids and I were enjoying the album, "For the Kids Three" I won over at Phil's blog a while back. David and Sofia have enjoyed it immensely and today I was reminded of my nephew Miles when I listened to "The Poopsmith Song". He's well on his way to complete potty training, but as you can imagine he's had a few stumbles here and there, and um, everywhere.

We know you'll get there, buddy, even if your poor parents have to reupholster the entire house. This one's for you Miley!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Primary teeth

Isobel celebrated her very first NH primary election by cutting her very first tooth. What amazing timing she has. See, even at 9 mos. she has a wicked keen sense of humor.

David and Sofia marked the occasion by having their own mock election here at home. Sofia circled two names on her ballot so I guess her vote would have been thrown out if it weren't for the fact that I'm her mom and I get to make up the election rules. "Everybody's a winner!" I declared since all three of us had voted for different candidates. And I allowed them to vote in both the Republican and Democratic races, but like I said, I make the rules here!

I took David with me to the polls last night and he got to experience standing in line for fifteen minutes. "See? Isn't voting fun?" I asked him. He rolled his eyes. He did like putting the ballot in the electronic ballot sucker. He wanted to know what that other, even longer line was for.

"Those are the people who haven't registered yet."
"Why didn't they register yet?"
"Maybe they thought it would be fun to wait in line, too."

Anyway, easily the biggest turnout I have ever seen. Glad to see people getting out there to vote, cutting their Primary teeth.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Buried treasure

Leave it to us to start the new year off with an impromptu home project. Ever since we moved into this house almost two years ago I've been threatening to "pull up the carpet" in the living room. The carpet was fine and in fairly new condition. It didn't match the carpeting in the rest of the house and I really just wanted one room with a wood floor. I know it may sound strange, but walking across a wood floor in my bare feet reminds me of my childhood, or at least my childhood home. Also I like the practicality of wiping up spills easily and not having to haul out the carpet stain remover every other day. Or every other hour, depending on kind of day we're having.

So yesterday Ernesto was trying to find the spot in the carpet where an old cable had been pulled up through the floor. We had removed the unused cable when we moved into the house making the hole in the carpet difficult to find. but now Ernesto wanted to run some speaker wires up through it from the stereo below in the family room.

"Well, you could always pull up the carpet," I offered, shrugging. I was quite unprepared for him to agree to do it this time.

"You have to live with whatever is under here, though," he warned me.

We decided to go for it and several hours later we had the job completed (um, Ernesto had the job completed- I had to deal with the kids) and a new (to us) wood floor was laid out before us.

Needless to say it's not in pristine shape, though the area in the center of the room where a rug most likely laid for many years was in near to perfect shape. There are scratches, worn and darkened spots and now lots of little nail holes to fill, and it will certainly need to be refinished as soon as the time and/or money presents itself to get the job done. But I love the look of it and I was thrilled with the herringbone details along the border. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to make this floor unique and I'm so happy we've uncovered it.

And most importantly the kids and I can now take our "socks skating" tournaments out of the kitchen into a larger rink. That is probably a post for another day...

Friday, January 04, 2008

A ruckus of a caucus

I enjoyed watching the Iowa caucus coverage last night and I actually feel like there could be some presidential-worthy candidates in the race. Imagine that!

But in the past months with all this talk about rebuilding our great nation, bringing an end to division, starting on a new path, not one, not ONE candidate has tackled the real issues that matter most to me. They all claim that if they are elected president they will make a real effort to meet the needs of all the "ordinary" people. And on no occasion have I heard one of them make mention of these crucial issues, that will for me, at least, either seal or kill the deal. Here's what I'm talking about:

* Who among these candidates is willing to get up at 4 in the morning each day and change my baby's leaky diaper? I have thus far heard no mention of how each of them intend to tackle this on-going issue. What a mess.

*Who is going to baby-proof this house? If I cannot have secure borders within my own home and the baby is able to just sneak on up the stairs without anyone taking any notice at all, well, I just don't know what that says about our government. Unbelievable.

*What about the budget?? I mean, have you seen my grocery bill lately? Completely out of control! Who, tell me WHO is supposed to pay for all this cheese???

*Oil prices are completely out of control. I want whomever is elected president to personally come and lug in and chop up all this firewood because I am NOT turning up that thermostat, do you hear me? I'm tired of having to wear a sweater all the time!!

*Lastly, this next president needs to help create better paying jobs. This is ridiculous. I've been in this position almost six years now and I have not seen a single paycheck. How am I supposed to live like this??

For all their talk and promise making, I just don't know how these issues have yet to be addressed. Now the race is on here in NH and the next time one of these campaigners drops by the house, which could be any minute now, I'm going to give them what-for.

And probably a cookie.