Tuesday, September 30, 2008

one tooth down

Erin lost her first tooth the day before her 6th birthday. It was only 24 hours before that as Erin was talking to me I thought one of her bottom teeth looked a bit crooked so I touched it and found it to be pretty loose. Erin hadn't even realized this, but she immediately began playing with it and wiggling it constantly and asking when she'd lose it. She didn't seem nervous about it hurting at all, in fact she was very happy about the prospect of losing it, but I figured the process would take several more days. But by the next evening while she was playing in room she announced that it just came out. Wow, that was fast!

"And now I put it under my pillow and I'll get DOLLARS for it!" she informed us.
"How much do you get?" John clarified.
"Well, some dollars, I think."

The tooth fairy, very generously I might add, gave her one dollar for this first tooth.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

cast away

Today's the day, hooray!

A little concerned about the cast cutter (it was really noisy). The same ortho tech that casted Kate was happy that he was there to remove it. He's really sweet and quite funny.

What a beautiful left arm you have there!

Following the x-rays and awaiting the final check by her orthopedist, Allison thought she'd remind Kate of the value and use of two healthy arms, "Look Kate, now you can make muscles again, like me!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the state of the house, part II

Things are moving along. We've had two inspections (that I know of) so far and both went smoothly. John stops by during his lunch time frequently and checks on things, and usually chats with the general contractor first thing in the morning when the guys arrive. I'm mostly out of this whole loop, but from my layman's perspective things seem to be going well. There are generally guys here working all day monday through friday, sometimes a little gets done on weekends too and judging by the stories I hear from others and their contractor/remodeling experiences, the fact that work is being done on a full-time basis is fairly miraculous.

First, the plan, which I should have posted before. Ah well. The addition is outlined in red, though this plan also reflects several changes within the existing house (moved/added/eliminated walls/closets/doors etc) that I won't bother detailing here in the interest of not causing you to fall asleep.

Some photos from last friday, and some from today:

A view taken from our current front door, through what will be part of the new living room and hallway, down to what will be the girls' new bathroom straight ahead, which uses the current exterior wall. The doorway slightly to the left of the bathroom is the entrance to the twins' new room.

The wall at the farthest left (with the diagonal beam) is the south wall of Erin's new room. Erin's current bedroom window, in the photo to the right, looks out to her new bedroom. Her old bedroom and adjacent hall closets will be converted to the rest of the new living room.

A view from our existing front door out through our new front door, and adjacent entry way window. The new front entrance will be pushed out about 6 feet, allowing for more eat-in kitchen/dining space and living room space.

We move to our apartment (less than a mile away) on saturday and will have our mail temporarily forwarded. No need to keep track of our new address and we aren't adding a land line phone in the new place, so please reach us by cell phones, email, or you can continue to use our old house number and we'll check messages on a regular basis.

Friday, September 19, 2008

four, squared

I had a whole big party planned and reserved for the girls but it involved an activity that Kate in her semi-delicate state can't participate in, so those plans got scrapped and in its place was a little cupcake party at preschool, a family-only small celebration at our dirty construction site, semi-packed up house and I also have a couple of surprises planned at Disneyland in early October.

I'm REALLY not much of a baker or cake decorator, but I gave it a shot this year.

The girls were pretty thrilled to have their own cake. And they were each presented, and lighted, and sang to individually.

And of course they had a great time with the presents, that is, when they could manage to wrestle them away from Erin to open themselves. And then they had to wrestle the gift away from big sis who thought she should hold and "explain" all the gifts to them.


Erin was drawing on a magnet doodle board and asking daddy for inspiration. She asked him what to draw, John suggested something, she drew it, then erased it and asked for another idea. This went on for a few minutes late one evening.
"Ok Daddy, what should I draw next?"
"It's 8:00. It's bedtime. Nothing."
She wrote this, handed it to John, and walked away.

Waiting in front of the school to pick up Erin this week, Allison and Kate were picking at a small tree/large bush thing out front, first picking off a couple of leaves, then TOO many leaves.
Me: "Ok, girls, enough, no more of that. Be nice to the tree, do nice things only."
Kate: "What kind of nice things?"
Me: "Touch the tree gently, or say hello and talk to it."
Allison: "But a tree doesn't talk!"
Me: "Well, you can talk, and the tree can listen to you."
Kate: "Oh, hello Mr. Tree. What? You want me to pull your leaves off? Well....okay, Mr. Tree!" And she resumed the leaf removal.

how to eat a hamburger, by kate

In a simple two-step process in order to savor each of the major components individually and maximally.
Step 1:

Step 2:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

no, I didn't try the haggis

A few weeks ago, a patient told me about an upcoming huge Scottish festival during Labor Day weekend. John, genetically the most Scottish person in our family, wasn't really thrilled at the thought of going and he had some work to do, so I packed up the kids and went anyway, ready to explore the kids' roots and lie about the fact that I'm Irish.

My patient told me this was a BIG festival but I really didn't expect it to be as huge as it was. There really doesn't seem to be much of a Scottish presence around here. How many people would this thing actually draw? Turns out, quite a few, and from all over the country and Canada. There were many, many thousands of people and the fest was held on the fairgrounds of a neighboring county.

The first point of interest: the outfits. Kilts just make me kinda smile, in no small part thanks to this famous song:

Tons of people wore kilts, and/or sashes of their family's plaid over their shoulders.

And others dressed as, I don't know, English peasants or something. Maybe they really were English peasants. Many others combined their kilts with a tshirt which identified their clan.

Second point of interest: the music. We saw the Marine Band from San Diego, and more Scottish Pipe and Drum bands than I could count. They were here from all over North America for a competition, which we watched for quite a while but not nearly long enough to learn who won.

The girls were really pretty captivated with the bands. We positioned ourselves along the short parade route they took to and from the competition spot. I don't think the girls ever heard or saw bagpipes before, but they didn't seem to dislike them, so there's that.

There was a huge lawn area set up with tents for every major Scottish clan where folks were encouraged to stop and sign in and catch up with...total strangers for the most part. I found the Fergy tent, which was actually one of the largest there. No wonder I guess, it's one of the oldest names and clans, and they welcomed us and played with the girls and chatted up the Fergy Society of North America (who knew there was such a thing?). I had to confess I wasn't actually genetically part of this "clan", but I married into it. That was good enough for them. I don't think I mentioned yet that beer stands and whiskey tasting stands were plentiful.

John's family clan has two plaids: an ancient (left), which I guess is SO out of style these days, and so there is also a modern plaid (right). Not wanting to give in to fashion trends, I bought a scarf in the ancient pattern (but didn't wear it).

The girls especially enjoyed the dancing, which took two main forms: the couples dancing in varying formations, and the mostly young/teenage girls who danced in unison on stage.

One of the dancers was sitting in front of us and the girls were really, really intrigued by her costumes. They tried asking her about it a few times, but she wasn't too interested in explaining it all.

The supposed highlight of the festival is the Highland Games that go on all afternoon. We stopped in and watched for a while, but the girls didn't find any of this as interesting as the dancing or music elsewhere, so we bailed on the games after only about a half hour.

Overall we really had a great time. Sure, they sold Scottish food, but they also sold ice cream, so the girls were happy and I'd definitely come back too. I mean, my children's heritage aside, where else can you find eating and shopping like this?

the state of the house, part I

Ground has been broken, construction has begun on our addition/remodel/gigantic mess. Here are the first steps in the project that will no doubt endear us greatly with our neighbors on our otherwise quiet street.

We're tearing out the girls' bedrooms (and building new ones, plus a full bathroom) and moving some interior walls, putting on a new roof, some skylights, new garage door, removing asbestos from the ceilings throughout. When it's done our 3BR/2BA house will be a 4BR/3BA and have 640 more sq ft. Should be a hoot. We're still living here until the end of the month and then we'll go to a nearby apartment for 3-4 months, until the work is finished. The porta-potty is NOT our new bathroom.

These are taken from the existing front door, it will be moved several feet toward the street in the project.