Thursday, January 20, 2011

Toothpaste explosion

I finally decided to paint the downstairs bathroom. Our entire house is a very light contractor's beige color. We did paint the kids' rooms when we moved in but we stopped there. At least they got a little color in their lives. It was also part of my plan to ease them into the big move from North Carolina to Alaska. I bribed them into being happy/excited about the move from everything they've ever known by saying they could pick out the paint colors of their new rooms. I'm not above bribery (especially when it comes to children). I finally decided to do something about the boring beige bathroom and now I am having second thoughts. I got tired of practical and neutral. It is a small room so I figured I'd go bold. Turquoise is what I had in mind.

 Toothpaste explosion is what I ended up with. I bet if you licked the walls they would taste minty and whiten your teeth. DH looked at my color choice with a slight bit of disbelief and then painted for me. Pretty much the exact same thing he did with my Popsicle purple front door (I'm hoping this color will grow on me the same way the door color did).
  DH is such a trooper. He puts up with all of my crazy ideas. Unless it involves flowers. He draws the line at girly. I'm hoping to remedy the overpowering aqua with some brown and white stripes. I know that toning something down by adding stripes might seem counter intuitive, but I really think this may work. Now my biggest dilemma is should they be

Katie of Katie Beth Interior
or horizontal?

I am the most indecisive person ever and I'm in a time crunch. I want to get it done before Sonny Boy's birthday party this weekend so people won't know of my epic color choice fail. That pretty much leaves me tomorrow to figure it all out since that's my only day this week with nothing else going on. I can't take this kind of pressure! Ugh.

Update: The finished wall is here. I got a burr in my bonnet and decided that I would forgo stripes all together and went for a lattice stencil. A pain in the butt on textured walls, but I think the end result was worth it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You gotta do what you gotta do

Why yes, I did put my baby nephew to sleep in the bathtub, why do you ask? Oh, that's kind of odd? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures, my friend. 

Tired baby who is recently mobile + no pack n' play or crib = baby gets to sleep in my tub where he cannot escape or harm himself (except for possibly his eardrums. Baby cries really echo in a bathroom).
As long as I don't throw the baby out with the bathwater I figure I'm fine. Where did that expression come from anyway? There is no expression saying anything about letting babies sleep in bathtub, so I think I'm doing all right. 
You gotta do what you gotta do.

(By the way, I did not put him in there sideways like that. He wedged himself into that position all on his own. I supposed wedged is not the right word, although it does look like it. He can move, I promise.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

It feels like the first time

(Is it weird that many of my blog titles stem from a song? Every time I write a post I get a song stuck in my head. I may be the only one out there with a blog soundtrack...)
Yesterday I did something very brave. Right after I took pictures of my neighbors yard like a stalker, I put my camera in the manual mode for the first time. I changed my subject matter from grass to my nephews and just started pushing buttons on my camera. Since my husband was so nice and got me a new camera for my birthday, I think it is my duty to figure out how to use the thing to full capacity. The first several pictures were too dark, then too bright, and all of them blurry. I pushed some more buttons and then I ended up with something that I thought looked all right. Here you have it, my first attempts at taking pictures with a camera that is smarter than me.

My baby nephew, who I will not be able to call a baby for much longer.

He got to be my subject because he can't move around as fast as his two and a half year old brother.

These are all straight out of the camera shots. No editing (except for cropping). That will come later. Baby steps for me. My focus is a bit off, but I'm still really pleased with these for my first try.

Then I started taking pictures of Bob, but that is hard. Every time he sees me looking at him he has to get up and come to me so I can pet him. Or he just sits on me. I think it's his weird way of trying to showcase his dominance over me. I need to learn to put him in his place. The Dog Whisperer would be so ashamed of me. 

Sometimes a little nephew distracts my subject by driving trains on him. And then Bob gets excited because somebody is playing with him and I can't take pictures of things that are moving yet. Baby steps, remember? Speaking of baby steps...

I then witnessed something grand. My sweet baby nephew crawled for me! Well, half crawled. I think this is the first recorded evidence of this accomplishment and for once, I was in the right place at the right time with my camera ready!

 He has now locked in on his target.

Must. get. car.

So close...

If I just shimmy a liiiitttle closer....

And I'm there.

This target requires both hands. Must double fist it.

Operation 'acquire car and chew on it' complete. 

So now I need your help. Please tell me any online tutorials or blogs that you know of that can help me figure out what I'm doing with my camera. I'm talking very beginner stuff here. Like 'what is aperture' type stuff.  I would be forever grateful if you could all point me in the direction of a website, blog, or a book. Thanks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter weather?

This is my neighbor's yard. I felt like such a stalker when I put my telephoto lens on my camera and took pictures of their yard from my living room window. But it had to be done. You had to see that while the rest of the U.S. is besieged by snowy wintry weather, we have grassy lawns in January. Just in case you don't remember, I live in Alaska. This is weird.

While most people have grassy yards, our yard is surrounded by trees, and is therefore mostly in the shade.  So while everyone else's snow melted or blew away,

our yard turned into a solid sheet of ice as did every single driveway and parking lot.
Given that my choice of winter foot wear is either my Danskos or my cheapo faux Uggs from Target, I slip and slide around a lot. My goal this winter is to not fall on my arse. Considering I fell at least three times last winter (I started losing count after a while), I think this is a pretty lofty goal. My back has not been quite the same since then. I actually had to go to the doctor because my leg was going numb after one particularly hard landing when I wiped out while I was carrying my nephew. He was completely unscathed, being the super aunt that I am I tried my darnedest not to squash him and I succeeded. He just thought I did a really neat trick. I sincerely hope that I can make it through the winter without wiping out.  I'm not sure how much more my body can take.

This is not the winter wonderland I was hoping for.

This is the winter wonderland I would like to have back again. 
If I'm risking life and limb (ok, mostly just limb) walking around in this winter weather, I would like it to at least be pretty. Is that too much to ask?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

10 More things I've learned about Bob

It seems like we have had Bob here forever. He fits right in with the family. He is still getting used to the way things work around here. This is a continuation of what I have learned about Bob.

1. He is still trying to figure out where to sleep at night, given that his preferred spot is on our bed with us and he is denied every night. This leads to him trying sleep on the kids beds, which they love, except that he is a bit of a bed hog. 

2. Bob loves a good cuddle. Every morning when DH leaves for work the dogs jump at the chance of half of my bed being empty and immediately occupy it. Both dogs have to make sure that they are touching at least part of me. Bob's first choice is to stick his face in my face so I know for sure that he is there waiting to be cuddled. It gets a little cramped. 

3. Bob follows me from room to room all day long. He thinks I may decide to play with him or feed him something at any moment and he doesn't want to miss his chance. 

4. When Bob is not following me, he and Stinky Beagle have taken to sleeping on my bed. Bob can see out the window from our bed and is always the first to know when someone is coming or going, or heaven forbid, leaving him behind. I thought he was going to claw through the window the other day when I had the audacity to walk to the bus stop without him. There is a lot of dog slobber on that window now. I see a dark shadow watching me every time I come up the driveway, and then I hear the thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk as he runs down stairs to wait for our entrance from the garage. 

5. No food on any counter is safe. I'm not used to that. Stinky Beagle is no threat to my counters. First, Bob ate a cookie as they were cooling on the counter, then Bob ate my breakfast when I went in the other room for a minute, and then, Bob ate a pan of peanut butter bars in the middle of the night. I heard a loud crash that woke me up. Even DH woke up, which is saying something. I'm usually the only one to wake up and check out scary noises, but even he woke up this time. I went down stairs to find that Bob had knocked the ceramic pan onto the floor while he was gorging on peanut butter.
6. Needless to say, Bob threw up quite a bit for the first few weeks. His stomach seems to to have settled a bit (knock on wood) and I have learned to put stuff away. 
7. Bob likes to sprawl himslef right smack in the middle of my kitchen floor anytime that I am cooking. He gets tripped over a lot. I also knocked him in the nose when I opened the over door. He doesn't quite get the concept of getting out of the way. I think he might actually jump in there if I didn't watch him.

8. Bob likes to ride on the fourwheeler. He hops right on the back with the kids and goes along for the ride. He barks and howls the whole time. I need to get video of this.

9. Bob is a talker. This is probably my favorite thing about Bob. He grunts and groans and "talks" but he very rarely barks. 

10. He has chewed up every one of Stinky Beagles toys. It took him two weeks to eat through what Stinky Beagle had collected for two years. She's not much of a chewer. I have to try and try to find something she will chew on. Bob's pretty indiscriminate when it comes to chew toys. I foresee good dental health in his future.

The integration is complete. Bob is officially a part of this family.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Grandparents trump parents every time.

My kids love it when grandparents come to visit. It doesn't matter which set, heck it doesn't even have to be their own. They liked my sister's in-laws pretty well when they came to visit too. Even my friend's in-laws were well received when we were still living in North Carolina. They're equal opportunity grandparent lovers. They do of course have a special place for their own grandparents, and so do I. I love it when they visit because it means I'm pretty much off the hook for the entirety of their stay. The grandparents are up for anything.

 They make cookies (and eat all the icing).

 They play outside and collect pine cones with them. They also wander through the woods with them as Grampa, Sonny Boy, and Bob are doing in this picture. You just cant see them. 
On a complete side note, did you see what my children did to that tree? After it fell down in the wind storm they stripped that tree of every. single. needle. They tore all the little branches off. That tree is pretty naked now. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? I don't know, but they've got nothing on my kids. If you've got wood to be chucked, I'll send them on over. Apparently it's great fun.

Back to the granparents. They are also really good at playing games.

  They play game,

 after game, 

 after game with them.

 Even when the kids cheat.

 They freeze their behinds off on polar hayrides. 

They give the kids tape and let them help wrap presents.
 Play that godforsaken Paper Rock Jam guitar. Thank goodness it has headphones, or it would have ended up hidden somewhere. I can only listen to "It's the end of the world as we know it" so many times.

 They don't mind when Princess Blondie tells them what their presents are before they get a chance to open them.

 They color brides and grooms.

 They read bedtimes stories every night.

 And they give the best hugs.

The kids are VERY excited to go to Michigan to visit next summer. They get a double dose of grandparents whenever we go to Michigan because we get to visit both sets. They talk about it all the time and Princess Blondie is praying for safe travels for us already (every night) even though we aren't leaving for six months. Perhaps I shouldn't have told them yet because now I won't hear the end of it until June, but it did help soften the blow of them leaving.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hot, hot, hot... hot chocolate! (insert catchy tune from Polar Express here)

Nothing is more satisfying than hot chocolate on a cold day. 

And nothing feels better on fingers cold from playing in the snow than a warm mug to wrap them around. I think my kids may go play outside in this Alaskan winter weather just because they know that they will get hot chocolate when then come back in.

Insert a satisfied "ahhhh" sound here. 

Contemplating all that is right with the world now that her fingers are toasty and she is warmed from the inside out. 

The hot chocolate mustache will stay on her face for the rest of the day. I'm convinced she doesn't have any nerves in her face because she claims she can never feel any of the food stuck to it. I think she just doesn't like napkins. But, none of that matters because her belly is warm and full and everything is fine. Chocolate can do that. It's powerful stuff.