Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Shoes

Chase's FAVORITE shoes of 2008 have been her Dora slip-on (crock-like) shoes.

Hold on to something. Or sit down.

Today she picked out a new pair of shoes. Little girl kicks (sneakers). Pink and white. No silly characters on them. Just a couple of sparkles and small silver flowers.

But I checked her feet just about an hour ago and they were already getting red (where the shoes were rubbing). So we slipped on some socks, in hopes of stopping any blisters. Fingers crossed when I take her shoes off tonight for her bath I don't find them red and swollen.

If I have to put her back in the Dora shoes, I'm not sure I'll ever get them off again.

Another Friend

There is a little girl up the street, who Chase loves almost as much as she loves Chase. So I decided to ask her if she would come and read to Chase once a week. So starting next Thursday, I'm planning to hold a tea party for them. They can munch on little scones, drink tea and read books.

The little girl up the street has three brothers, so I think it will be a welcome break to do "girlie" things with Chase.

Make Believe

Chase's ability to self-entertain grows daily. The content and complexity of the conversations her Einsteins have with each other is amazing.

The Einsteins started off speaking in Mandarin to each other - they would say "Ni Hao"to each other. When they started speaking English, they said only basic pleasantries - "please," or "thank you" to each other. But recently I overheard them having complete conversations with each other.

Tonight, for example, they are talking about having "boo boos" on their knees (while the other is saying "your knee is okay"- and then the conversation evolves to one asking the other if she is wearing underwear, training pants or a diaper.

And now, she is putting all of them to bed and singing little songs to them.

So sweet.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Why Silestone Quartz?

After debating Silestone vs soapstone, it came down to money - which we don't have much of at this point - and resale potential.

Hubs and I both love soapstone, and will probably install it in our "forever" house (if there is such a thing). It's old. It's gorgeous. It ages naturally. It is quite common in Europe.

Silestone, on the other hand, looks more like granite. It's been featured in all kinds of home decor magazines, as well as the street of dreams. It has no VOC emissions and offers consumers the joy of preparing food on a antimicrobial surface (sort of freaks me out but whatever). It's also one of those counter tops that is more appealing to the masses.

And the real kicker - the Silestone, thanks to two promotions running simultaneously, is MUCH more affordable.

Kitchen Remodel: More Pictures

Cabinet installation took three days... (have I mentioned how sick we are of all things grilled)


And then Hubs began to tile...

Hubs worked late into the night...

The tile is set...

So now we have a working sink and a dishwasher (which will be replaced once we have money again) - our fridge is still in our dining room - and our stove is still on the back porch.

What's next?
1) Counter top needs to be measured and ordered (we're going with Silestone Quartz)
2) Floor needs to be grouted and sealed
3) Back splash goes up
4) Wainscoat and trim goes up

Friday, August 22, 2008

Kitchen Update - Go Hubs Go!

The cabinets are installed. The workmen are gone. Now we're on to tiling the floor, the back-splash, the trim, the wainscoat -- and if we're really lucky, we'll be able to move the fridge and stove back in to the kitchen by Sunday.

Bless Hubs; he has done amazing things with this house and has probably increased the value of our house by 50K (at least). Go Hubs, Go!

I am so tired of all things grilled.

I tried to get the downstairs nice and clean today, but everything has a thin coat of dust on it. I think we're going to have to call in back-up.

On Being An Adult

Two nights ago I was invited to attend a sneak peek of the new Children's Garden at the Denver Botanical Gardens. It so fabulous to be invited - really fun. I actually pitched a fundraising idea (shocker, I know), so we'll see if any work comes out of it. It would be a great project (not that I have any time)!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Room For Chase

I have asked Chase several times if she wants to move into the "big bedroom," so that her little sister have have her room. She has said no. And no. And no. So I decided not to push the issue.

But last night, she told me she wanted the big room and that her little sister could have her room. So after Nana Cris and Auntie Lockett visit, we're moving her into her big girl room!

Bushel & A Peck

Nee Nee will be happy to hear that Chase sang the Bushel & Peck song last night while we were eating dinner!


Two nights ago, Chase sang her ABCs - with excellent diction - but when she got to V, she jumped to "double-X" and then Y and Z. So cute.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


So I would rather not post this, but Hubs promised he will stop calling our dog Monkey-Butt in front of Chase if I did.

Yesterday Brian was outside, trying to call Taggart, our dog to come out of the kitchen. He said, "come here, Monkey-Butt."

Chase, who was right beside him, said, "No, Monkey-Butt, No." For some reason she likes Taggart to stay inside.

Hubs thought this was hilarious. I was scared for the future of our child. I mean what if she called another kid Monkey-Butt?

Just one of many things that makes parenting so, very interesting.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kitchen Remodel Pictures

So when we bought this house we knew the kitchen needed a face-lift if we were ever going to resell it. I did not take a picture of our old kitchen because I disliked it so.

Picture white-painted cabinets, a mustard counter, mustard backs plash, a very funky plaster "blue sky" and grubby white plastic tile floor that showed everything that ever touched it.

This, combined with a very weird downstairs entry (back left on second picture) made the kitchen even more confusing, as it was covered over and left like a giant, unusable shelf. We decided that instead of opening it up, we could keep it covered, but insert cabinets above it and panel the wall below it, so that a person coming in would not even suspect a stairwell was beneath it.

Note the blue plaster "sky" - oh lovely... It was in the main kitchen too, before we put beadboard over it.

Yei Yei managed to take a little time away from the kitchen to enjoy Chase...

And Nee Nee spent countless hours reading and playing with Chase...

And Yei Yei helped us install our new light fixtures (just one of his many talents)...

And Hubs worked until he was too tired to stand...

And Nee Nee helped us paint over the yellow and rust colored walls...

And then the cabinets arrived...

Butterfly Dreams

Me: What did you dream about last night?
Chase: Butterflies
Me: Oh? What color were they?
Chase: Red
Me: How many were there?
Chase: Two
Me: Were they big or small?
Chase: Small
Me: So what did you dream about?
Chase: Two red, small, butterflies

Remodel Tip

Couple things we've learned...

1) Some things on are less expensive than they are at Home Depot

2) You can live with just a BBQ and a garden hose (it's hard, but it's possible)

3) You can remodel with a toddler in the house - and they can sleep through anything if they are exhausted enough.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Kitchen Remodel: Day 4

Has it really been four days already?

Besides the dog running through the floor leveler yesterday (while it was setting), and my father-in-law burning his forearm, the kitchen remodel seems to be running (knock wood) on time. Hubs goes back to work tomorrow, so it's really important the ceiling gets put up tonight (it will cover a "charming" sky-blue, plaster mess).

We're all tired. Long days with no rest. But it is saving us about 10-15K, so in the end it's worth it.

Chase, who hasn't napped since Nee Nee and Yei Yei arrived, crashed at 7:30 tonight, unable to keep her eyes open, despite the insane noise of an air compressor, staple gun and circular saw humming away in the background.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Kitchen Remodel Update

The cabinets have been removed. The old plastic tile has been removed. The sink is gone. The fridge is in the living room. The stove is outside on the porch.

And today Hubs and Yei Yei start putting the kitchen back together. Starting with leveling the floor. They also have to level the ceiling. But that's another story.

Only casualty - the kitchen window. Cracked. And probably should be replaced. So far we are only just over the original budget, but with the house across the street, which is smaller (and does not have an updated look) on sale for 100K over what we paid for this house (amazing!) we feel pretty good about spending the money on the kitchen.

Now we're off to confirm the counter top. We found a GORGEOUS piece of soap stone yesterday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's A Girl

That's right, on December 29th (or thereabouts) we will be welcoming our second daughter to the world.

At our Dr. appointment, yesterday, everything looked great - the measurements are right on the mark, all of the tests have come back pointing to a healthy baby, so we're quite excited. I'm halfway through and I've gained 6 lbs. The baby weighs 1 lb. Chase was born weighing just under 7 lbs, so I've got to gain at least another 5 lbs in the next four months (which I'm sure won't be a problem). The most significant difference in the two pregnancies are (1) my diet - alas, no full English Breakfasts here!, and (2) activity level:rest - activity level is very high, rest is very low this time around. With Chase I took 2 naps a day - oh, lovely naps.

Hubs is already planning the girls will play soccer and ski, so that he can do it with them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Kitchen Remodel Update

We've decided to go with a soapstone counter, as it has no VOC emissions. Slate-colored tile floors (no slate, as it emits radon). Now we're on to lighting, back-splash, as well as the sink and faucet.

What's This?


Friday, August 08, 2008

Crazy Week

So this crazy guy almost punched me in the face (I'm not kidding) - I was crossing the street and he was coming from the other direction. I could tell he wasn't "all there," so I put as much distance as I could and stepped away from him just as I passed him, which turned out to be a good move, because he just missed me (I felt the wind).

We had our first Tornado experience - but the sirens sounded outside (pretty amazing warning system actually) and we headed for the basement - with Chase, the dog and the cat. We were down there for a half hour, checked the warning and unfortunately I misread the second warning and we stayed down there for another half hour (even though we didn't have to). Ah well, better safe than sorry, right? Good thing I had taken some of Chase's toys downstairs - she entertained us by whacking on her drum set and singing.

And Taggart (the most expensive dog in the world) visited the vet (yet again). He's had a rather large bump that won't go away over the top of his eye and there are three others that seem as though they are growing fast - turns out he has mites (yuck-o). So we just need to give him more meds.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Busy Bees

We are heading into another busy streak here... expecting Hubs' parents next week (hurray!) to help us with our kitchen and nursery. From there, Hub's little sister and her hubby will be in town, as well as some friends from Portland (for the Democratic Convention) - and then my mom returns! My dad may be able to come visit in October. And November/December should be nice and quiet, with many a fire in the fireplace - and many a hot chocolate.

Living in Denver has been so great. It is SO nice to have company and see family. We love it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Counter tops

And so the much anticipated kitchen remodel begins in less than two weeks. Hubs' parents will be in town - Yei Yei will help Hubs demo and prep the kitchen for the contractor to install the cabinets, while Nee Nee will play with Chase and help me stay sane.

The custom cabinets have been ordered. We have selected the tile. Now we are evaluating counter tops. Who knew that the counter top would be the hardest part?

We've decided (okay, I've decided) we are going green. I just need something that isn't going to emit radon and radiation (like granite), something without toxic polymers and sealants, and something that is going to be a safe and sanitary cooking surface. Is that so much to ask? Apparently it is.

So being everso slightly obsessive compulsive, I have contacted a number of stone vendors in the area, as well as "green builders." And while they say their stone is safe, they can't actually provide me with recent radiation/radon readings. The green builder wasn't even aware there might be a problem with granite counter tops.

The New York Times recently wrote an article about radon and radiation coming from granite counter tops and noted "The E.P.A. recommends taking action if radon gas levels in the home exceeds 4 picocuries per liter of air (a measure of radioactive emission); about the same risk for cancer as smoking a half a pack of cigarettes per day." So I guess smoking three cigarettes is okay? Whatever. Is that seriously their guidelines for when to take action? Oh and there was no mention of the toxins in the polymers that hold granite counter tops together.

And of course all of the granite people are telling me that the story was placed by quartz people - and then go on to provide me with a tutorial of what PR is (seriously!). It's always interesting to hear what other people think PR is, so I have actually only told one that my background is PR. The others I figured, well, whatever.

So granite is out. Soapstone and quartz are possibilities (if anyone could actually provide me with a picocuries reading from them, which they don't have even though they say it's safe). And then Ice Stone is supposed to be good, but I'm weary of the glue that holds all the recycled stuff together - it clearly isn't water soluble. And did you know they are actually putting antimicrobial agents in counter tops now? That's a little scary too.

But the one on top? Glass. Recycled glass. Pure, simple, non-leaching and easy to clean. It doesn't get better than that, does it?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Is It Hot In Here?

We have just survived Denver's 21st consecutive day of record-breaking heat - every day has been above 90 degrees. Seriously. And we have no AC. We do, however, now own more fans than I have ever owned in my whole life.

We leave the house first thing and by 10:30 a.m., it's too hot to be outside. The weather guy seems to think it will break this week. Fingers crossed. I would be happy with anything in the 80s at this point. I would be VERY happy if it rained. And I would be elated if we could have a couple days in the 70s - although I think we'd have to pull out our winter jackets and boots because we've become so accustomed to this heat.

And let me say that being pregnant when it's hot is SO UNFUN.

Anyway - on to Chase. Hubs and I marvel at her growth - mental, physical, emotional. At 2-years, 4 months, she is capable of completing a 24-piece puzzle with very little help. She has the concentration to complete 5 puzzles in a row, which seems to prove she has a powerful ability to focus for her age. She has started loving the game of memory (we have a Pooh set). I'm starting her on Dominoes this week and may even buy the game COOTIE for her some day in the near future. Her ability to self- entertain is growing -- she can play for about a half hour at a time before she needs attention. She loves her friends and talks about them constantly.

And her Chinese is coming along beautifully. She can sing songs and repeat Chinese words with ease. And yes, she even plays with her dolls in Chinese. Speaking of which, we have decided to have Chase's latest tutor give us 6 hours a week once baby #2 comes along and we have also decided to apply for DIS's Fall 2009 class NOW - they just merged with another private school so it looks like it's the best we could hope for! - Now she just needs to get in...

On another note, we took her to the pool and used a swimming aid (not wings, it's this yellow pad that straps to her back. The child really has to work to stay afloat.) and she was swimming short distances, un-aided, by us on the third day.

And she continues to grow. After she gains another 2 lbs she can ride on the volvo booster seats - goodbye car seat! She will be in to 5T clothes (does T go that high?) this fall - and wearing size 8.5 shoes.

She still loves the Einsteins, Clifford, Elmo and Thomas the Train. She enjoys books and being read to immensely. We start a dance class in September.

It will sure be interesting to see what number 2 is like...s/he is already kicking and moving about like mad - much more than Chase. Both Hubs and I have had dreams that s/he is a boy. Hmmm. We'll know in a couple weeks.