15 April 2014

Roman Shade Project

If you follow me on Instagram then you already know I spent a lot of time a couple of weeks ago making a Roman shade for my kitchen window. This window had been in great need of a covering since we moved in. I even set a goal in 2012 to get it done, but it just didn't happen. (I did manage to get curtains for the patio door, though.) Finally, I saw something on Pinterest that seemed like it would be a perfect solution for the window. It was a really straightforward Roman shade tutorial. I read over it a few times, and then I got busy.

After consulting a friend I ordered some fabric from the interwebs. I got lucky and bought the last two yards they had in stock, and it was marked down to a decent price. I tried to get most of the hardware at Home Depot, and they really didn't have most of the things I needed. Ultimately I bought it all on Amazon. The really nice thing about buying it there is that once I added drapery cord to my basket, Amazon suggested all the other stuff I needed. It made it incredibly easy.

Pinning and sewing the shade was a bit more challenging than I expected, largely because the window I was covering was so wide (46 inches). The friend I'd consulted with on choosing the fabric worked with me on the shade. Actually, she pretty much did everything and I helped. If I had done it on my own, I can assure you that I would have had to tear out a lot of stitches.

Hanging it was a bit of a challenge because my window seems to have some sort of metal plate that runs along the top, but Eric was super handy and managed to get it hung. And now we can go downstairs in our skivvies without worrying that the neighbors behind us (who can see straight into our kitchen window because their home is on a hill) might catch a glimpse of us.

11 April 2014

Family Camping Trip

It's Spring Break! We have been counting down the days for quite a while, and we've enjoyed Eric's time off. He stayed home with the boys on Monday and Tuesday while I worked. On Wednesday we went to a park with a bunch of friends, worked in the yard, and then went camping. 

We failed to bring a hiking backpack, but our little hike up Sunshine Canyon was short. If we had put Felix down he would have tried to pick up every rock he saw. Ike was on the lookout for animals, and we did see a lizard.

 The boys loved the campfire. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows and listened to Eric tell stories.

We have two tents. We totally forgot that one of our tents had a broken pole. The tent could stay up without the pole, but it would start to sort of fold in on itself. This is the larger of the two tents, which Eric and I had intended to share, but we needed to use the pack and play in it to help keep it up. When it all boiled down to it Eric slept in that tent with the boys, and I slept by myself in the fully functional tent. We are going on a big road trip this summer and are planning on camping on the way. This was a good practice run for us to see how it would go with two little boys. It certainly wasn't perfect, but it was fun. We'll definitely try it again in a few weeks.

In the morning we woke up around 7:30. Eric put the boys in the car and gave them each a plain bagel. They ate their breakfasts while we loaded up the car. We stopped by our local grocery store to buy donuts on our way home, and we were home before 9. 

Also, Eric and I heard a band of coyote (apparently that's the proper term for a group of them, not "coyotes") howling at the moon. It was pretty cool.

06 April 2014

Felix - Eighteen Months

At eighteen months Felix is adorable. And small. He still can't fit into most pants sized 12-18 months. He is an even later teether than Ike; he has two bottom teeth (that he got at 11 months) and one top tooth that has come down about halfway. His other top tooth has been thinking about breaking through for a few weeks now. I'm not expecting it any time soon.

He has a growing vocabulary and says about 12 words. (My favorite is "bye" which sounds like "bay." Watching him pat himself and others on the head while saying "duck" is a close second. "Wow" is probably next in line. Especially when he says it without prompting.) His favorite person is Dad, but he thinks Mom is okay too. If Ike is sitting in a parent's lap, Felix is eager to join too.

He loves animals, unless there is actually a chance the animal might touch him in any way. You are more likely to get an excited, "HI!!!!" out of him if you are an animal than if you are a human.

Felix loves his pacifiers and gets excited about bed time because it means he gets to have them back. When we go to get him after he wakes up, he is pretty willing to hide them under his blanket and tell them "bye." If he ever has a chance to get one outside of bedtime, he will come find me, very triumphantly, with a binkie in his mouth. As soon as I say, "Hey, you. Binkies are for bed time." He quickly scurries off.

I call him every variant of his name that you can imagine (and some you probably couldn't imagine), but mostly I just call him Wiggles. Because he doesn't sit still. It's likely that I wouldn't notice his wiggly nature so much, except that he wants to be held constantly so it's hard not to notice.

Felix's hair is like his older brother's; blonde and wispy. He still looks bald most of the time, but there is some hair there. The back is starting to turn into a mullet, but the curls are so cute that Eric won't let me cut off his party in the back.

When it gets wet it looks really long. A few months ago during bath time Ike saw Felix's long hair and said, "Oh no! He's a girl!"

*Editor's note - The very day this posted we realized Felix had two molars coming in. One had already broken through the gums a bit, and the other was on the verge.

21 March 2014

A Potty-Trained Boy

Ike is potty trained. My sister-in-law says you can potty train a kid when you're ready and it will take a couple of weeks, or you can do it when they're ready and it will take a couple of days. I went with the long option, and I'm glad I did. If we had waited for Ike it might have been until the end of the summer.

Sadly, one of the points of leverage I used to get him trained was to tell him if he stays dry he doesn't have to take a nap. This was, overall, very successful, with the downside being that my boy rarely takes naps anymore. He really needs a nap most days, so by about 5 each evening he's a total basket case. Sometimes I can convince him to take a nap while I work, but sadly, my child-free afternoons are dwindling away. (This means getting work done and sneaking treats for myself is more challenging.) Still, having a potty trained child is amazing. Who knew?

26 February 2014

Review: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

If you were to ask me five months ago (just prior to starting The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt) what I knew about Theodore Roosevelt I could have summed it up about like this:
  • He was definitely a president.
  • Teddy bears are named for him.
  • He was instrumental in getting the Panama Canal finished.
  • Tread lightly and carry a big stick.
  • Something about Rough Riders.
  • Something about the Natural History Museum in NYC (thanks, Night at the Museum!)
  • Dutch ancestry
Really. That's it. Once I started reading the book I checked a few things on Wikipedia and other really important aspects of his life came to my recollection. But generally I knew very little about him. I may have liked the book for the sole fact that I had a lot to learn by reading it, but the fact that the book is really well-written sealed the deal for me.

This book is the first in a series of three (all of which are completed, so you don't need to wait on pins and needles for the next installment to come out). The second one, Theodore Rex won the Pulitzer Prize, and based on the excellent writing of the first, I'm not surprised.

It is, hands down, the best biography I've ever read. The writing is so clear - descriptive when it's necessary, but not overly so. Many details are so specific that it's clear the author researched and scoured an unfathomable amount of material, only to whittle it down to the most important things for the reader. 

This book is dense, but it's still easy to read. I spent about five months reading it, and it's 780 pages before the end notes and index, which are just over 100 pages.

18 February 2014

Just Different

Before I had more than one child, I frequently asked parents of more than one child (especially moms) how their kids were different. Usually the parents could give one or two details, but inevitably the answer came, "They're just different." It's something that I can totally understand now.

Here are some differences in my two boys:

Ike was usually big for his age, and Felix is barely on the charts.

Ike loved everyone, and Felix is more discriminating.

Ike liked to get in the mix and play with big kids; Felix is more likely to stand on the sidelines and watch before jumping in.

Ike never cuddled as a baby (he does now); Felix cuddles daily. (It's so nice!)

Ike was really independent in practically every way; Felix is just not. He loves to be held and generally requires more attention than Ike did as a baby.

Ike was somewhat oblivious to other people's emotions. (He's more aware now that he's older, but as a baby/toddler emotions were not on his radar.) Felix notices when people are sad and takes it very personally if he's chastised.

Ike wasn't especially picky as a toddler (though he is somewhat picky now); Felix is incredibly picky. This probably accounts, in part, for his small size.

Ike didn't want to stop nursing; Felix didn't seem to notice or care when I weaned him.

It took a lot of effort to make Ike laugh as a baby. (Again, his behavior as a little boy is different. He laughs readily now.) Felix has always laughed readily. He seems to be constantly on the lookout for something to laugh about.

All in all, though, they're just different.