Monday, June 30, 2008

Tough Ten-Year-Olds

That would be my daughter, tongue sticking out,
racing to stop the ball.

That would be my daughter stopping the ball.

And that would be my daughter meeting her match.

Dinner last night: fettucini alfredo with chicken

Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Two Types of Moms at the Playground

Type A Mom gets upset when kids pile rocks on the bottom of the slide because they'll scratch up the slide and get the clean children dirty. Type B Mom doesn't care about rock piles because she understands that all kids love to play with rocks. They love to sift their fingers through pebbles, put them in their mouth to rinse them off, and shower passers-by with pea gravel. But most of all, they love to pile rocks up at the end of the slide and then plow through them.

Type A Mom climbs into the slides, tunnels, and cockpits/boathouses/rocket ships to play with her child, to supervise the other children so they don't mistreat or speak harshly to her child, and to extract her child when it's time to go home. Type B Mom doesn't play with her children at the playground. She reads her book or talks on her cell phone. If one of her children comes crying because of something another kid said or did, Type B Mom threatens to pack it in and go home. When it really is time to go, Type B Mom sends in a sibling to get the others from the slides, tunnels, and cockpits/boathouses/rocketships. If no siblings are available, she'll grab someone else's child and send them in. If that doesn't work, Type B Mom uses the healthy lungs with which God blessed her to get her children's attention. Under no circumstance will she haul her big butt onto, certainly not into, playground equipment.

Type A Mom has one child. Type B Mom has lost count.

Dinner last night: clam chowder, toast

Monday, June 23, 2008


I wrote yesterday about coming home to a blooming garden. I thought I'd show you what happened over the weekend:

This is the lilac bush outside my kitchen window. As you can see to the left, it's not completely blossomed yet, but almost!

The Sitka Rose buds opened.

I did some major weeding and cleaning out of the strawberry patches this spring, so here's hoping for some fruit this year!!

Lots of action going on in the rock garden, too:

Forget-Me-Nots are my favorites.

The ferns transplanted just fine.

They must be called chocolate lilies because they're such sweet little flowers!

And we can't forget about the annuals . . .

Wait a minute! How did that get there?

Dinner last night: chicken pasta salad

Summer Solstice

We just returned from a glorious three-day weekend in Fairbanks. The drive to Fairbanks is never short, no matter where you live in Alaska, because it is located in the "interior" of the state . . . far, far away from everyone else. Our drive was one long minivan ride through an extended sunset, with the sky starting out clear blue as we left our home then gradually changing to peach and azure then to bright orange and pink the nearer we approached Fairbanks. I snapped this photo at 12:40 at night!

Besides an amazing sunset, the other thing you see on the drive to Fairbanks is wildlife. We spotted one porcupine, two brown bear, three moose, and a couple of rabbits . . . nineteen rabbits, to be exact. As my daughter remarked, "This is Bunnyville." I tried to distract her as we sped past two bunnies who were (how shall I put this delicately?) in a compromising position.

We saw lots of wildlife along the way and lots of people. Lots and lots of people. Summer solstice is always a big deal in Fairbanks, celebrated with a downtown festival, a 10:00 p.m. run, and a midnight baseball game. So everyone who is anyone headed on over to Fairbanks this past weekend . . . in their RVs and campers and SUVs and minivans and zippy sportcars and motorcycles and even bicycles. We avoided traffic on the way there by leaving a day early and driving at night, but got caught in it coming home yesterday. It's nothing like the daily commute into LA, but still.

The weather was divine the entire time, although I'm now a brilliant red color across the chest and shoulders and itching like mad from the sunburn to my shins and tops of my feet. The sun was worth it, though, because I returned home to blossoming rose and lilac bushes. We may have short summers up here, but—because the sun shines all day and all night—our gardens are spectacular.

Dinner last night: fast food

Friday, June 20, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Moose are Afoot

Good morning, world! What a bright, sunny day! Time to open the curtains and let the light in . . . What the . . . ?

Oh, for goodness sake! That baby moose is coming right towards me!

Um, moose? I hate to break it to you, but if this window pane was a bush and I was a wolf, you would be DEAD.

Hey! I was just kidding! You don't have to run off mad. I was joking!

I mean it! I was teasing! I'm not a wolf. I won't hurt you, I promise.

Awright, that's more like it. Come and gimme some sugar . . .

That's right . . . I'm not gonna hurt you.

Er, moose? Don't hit your face on the window.

You're kind of cute, in a bug-eyed sorta way.

Wait a minute, I didn't mean it like that. Come on, now, don't be so sensitive! You moose are all the same . . . go run to mama . . . you big baby.

Don't even think about it. Unh-uh, no sirree, you are not going to take a nap right there. I have two little girls who are ready to go outside and play in the sunshine. Git! I said, "Shoo!"

Oh. I see how it is. You sleep wherever you want. Well, you're messing with the wrong woman. Get off my property!

Are you leaving? Or getting ready to kick me in the head? I don't like the looks of your bristled hair. On second thought . . . we don't need to go outside today. Not at all. Keep your hooves to yourself, mama.

Dinner last night: chili, rice, and cheese

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Nursery BEFORE and AFTER

The room has a soaring ceiling and large windows across two walls so it feels very open and airy. Because its original color (shown here) was a nice neutral, I actually would have kept the taupe walls and matching draperies had we decided on another purpose for the room. But a taupe nursery simply won't do, so . . .

Step One: Colors

Laura Ashley Olive 2 will be the main color, with Thalia the accent color. Sky Blue 3 will be used for the ceiling as I attempt to create the feeling of open sky. I'm going with furniture in a natural finish and a decor that will be mostly white with blue gingham accents.

Step Two: Carpet
This speckled Berber had to go . . . the rough texture and lack of padding was too uncomfortable on bare feet. 
While perhaps appropriate for a home office or family room, this flooring would not do for our babies to crawl around on. We wanted clean, new, soft carpeting. As we ripped this old stuff out, we were shocked to find that there was indeed some padding underneath.

We replaced it with premium padding and a lovely plush carpet. Its softness should help with sound cushioning as well as comfort.
What color is "April Rain," you might ask. Good question. A sort of green. I went monochromatic and matched the wall color, but I refuse to describe our new carpeting as "olive."

Step Three: Doors
Since the nursery is adjacent to the master bedroom, we needed to fix the door situation for privacy, safety, and aesthetic reasons. We replaced the original sliding pocket door with these beautiful french doors (ten-paned fir we stained in a natural finish with two coats of varnish).
They allow lots of light through to our room and will make for a lovely transition to the master suite once the girls move out. Until then, these doors protect our room from mischievous toddlers.

Door number two was installed at the top of the stairs. Originally there was no door at all. A baby gate was okay for awhile, but now that the girls are climbing it is way too dangerous. This new door also provides soundproofing, especially in the early morning when the rest of the household arises and the twins are still sleeping.

You'll notice the white trim around the doors, which looks a little funky in this shot, but will look better once the baseboard trim is on and the walls are painted.

Step Four: Ceiling
The worst part of prepping the ceiling was scraping off the hundreds of glow-in-the-dark stars and planets that were evidently Gorilla Glued on. I gave myself a nice case of carpal tunnel. I applied two coats of Laura Ashley Sky Blue 3.
The odd angles of the ceiling required bringing the "sky" down onto three walls. (You'll see how it works when we put up the moulding.)

Next I used Laura Ashley Thalia mixed with glaze to create clouds. I worked freehand with a textured roller to apply the initial paint and a dry brush to manipulate it until I got the shape and "fluffiness" that I wanted.
The clouds look a lot better when you see them in person. My older girls aren't impressed because they think the clouds should look cartoon-y. These look decently realistic, though, and I'm happy with them.

Step Five: Walls
The walls received two coats of Laura Ashley Olive 2. Olive sounds gross, I know, but this color is actually a beautiful neutral that holds up well as the light changes over the course of the day.

What doesn't hold up as well is my temper when I find THIS all over my freshly-painted wall. 

Hard to tell in that shot, but I'm talking a lot of scribbling. Here, let me pull back just a little further . . .

Now that's an insane amount of scribbling!! And it wasn't even the work of both twins. Just ONE naughty little girl, who looked up at her mommy and said, "UH-oh."

I had been fretting for months about how I was going to paint this room, what with the weird angles and rising ceiling. Then I stayed in a room at Land's End Resort, which had crown moulding running around the room a good foot from the ceiling, and I realized that something similar on the nursery walls would fix my dilemma.

I think the white moulding around the top of the room helps pull the nursery together.

We also installed white baseboard trim, which looks great:

Seven: Decor
We took an old bookcase and painted it white.

You can see how I use a lot of white wicker baskets with blue gingham. This look is repeated with white eyelet lace bedding and blue gingham sheets for the crib mattresses and diaper changing pad.

I painted the valance boxes over the windows white, and hung simple draperies that I made from white linen, which I got on sale for only $3.70/ yard. I thought that was a pretty good deal! I then put up cute gingham letters that spell out the girls' names, with little blue bow accents.

I'm really pleased with the look and feel of the nursery. What do you think?



Dinner last night: baked potatoes with broccoli and cheese