Monday, June 28, 2010

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...

Actually, TJ is the one making milkshakes all the time, but Topher finally decided he wanted a piece of the action and dove in.
Like father, like son indeed.
--KC

Reflections on a Full Night's Sleep

This weekend we had the opportunity to attend a wedding in Waterloo. The bride was Bre, my best friend and co-intern down at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando. TJ's parents kindly offered to take Topher all day Saturday and overnight so we could take our time at the reception. As we drove away from their house, Topher was playing basketball and waving and we could see him saying, "Bye mom, bye dad" repeatedly. He loves his grandparents so much that he wasn't upset in the slightest, and that made it SO much easier to relax and enjoy ourselves. The car ride was about 2 hours (I was glued to my Kindle and TJ was driving and listening to the iPod which was plugged into the car stereo. In case you wonder why I never know how to get anywhere, it's because I'm never, ever looking at the road, I'm always reading.) We really love being in the car alone, no offense Topher. It's so calming and easy and fun. If we get lost, it doesn't matter. If we want to stop somewhere, we just do. And I get to sit up front the entire time. Enjoying our car ride
The wedding was great, if not a bit stifling in the heat, and Bre looked gorgeous. We stayed at the reception a couple hours but knew we needed to make the drive home at some point.
Me and Bre at the reception
The drive home was even better, because it was growing dark and all the hundreds of wind turbines were flashing like Christmas lights out in the fields. We got home around 10pm and got ready for bed.
It is the strangest sensation laying down knowing that you won't be getting up until the following morning. It almost felt too quiet, too much of a good thing. When morning came and we woke naturally (naturally!), TJ told me it had stormed loudly all night. I never heard a thing. The night was one long, black oblivion. And not only that, but we could just lay there. There was absolutely no reason to rush, no voice demanding attention from the next room. Just a lazy dog snoring away and a cat curled up by my head. Basically, it was heaven.
I did miss Topher very much. I always do when he's not here. But I think it's okay to revel in the precious few moments I have alone with TJ, too. And since the last full night's sleep we got was the last time we left him overnight with the grandparents, I think it's okay to revel in that, too. We felt brand new after all that sleep. We wondered what it would be like to have that feeling every day.
TJ's parents are wonderful people and gifted grandparents. Topher ADORES them and their farm. When we came to pick him up, I opened the door and he was sitting at the table, having a breakfast of crackers and juice. He looked at me, gave me a smirk and said, "Mom." Then he turned around and continued eating. (Can you tell how deeply upset he is when we leave him???) Topher had new sippy cups, new clothes and pajamas, and new gardening toys. Terry and Kathy didn't complain one ounce, even though Topher had been up awhile during the night. They just said how wonderful he was and how much they loved spending time with him. Seriously, my in-laws are the BEST. We can never thank them enough.
Topher showing off his new ant pajamas
If only he could do this...for longer :(
Last night it was back to reality, only worse. Topher was worn out from the farm and church, so he fell asleep before 8pm. This was a HUGE mistake. He was up at 1am, and didn't go back down until about 2:45am. Then--and this is the best part--he was up again at 3:30am and never went back to sleep. That's right. It's only 6:30 am and Topher has been up and active for the last 3 hours with no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
I don't know what it would be like to repeatedly sleep all night. I don't remember how it used to be. All I know is that it is one of the major reasons we've never even considered having another baby. And yes, I know at some point he will sleep better, or at least be old enough to lock in his room or bribe or whatever it is that parents do. But for almost 2 years now we've been continuously sleep deprived and we...are...so...exhausted.
I know we don't have a lot of room to complain. Topher is healthy and happy and well-adjusted. He's beautiful and funny and curious and cuddly. I love him more than I love filling my lungs with air.
And yes, I even love him more than I love sleep. But I do love sleep, at least from what I can remember about it.
--KC

Friday, June 25, 2010

Everything Old is New Again

I buy some ugly things off of Craigslist, but this rocking horse takes the cake. In the ad listing, the picture was small and it looked cute enough for $5. But upon inspecting it in person, the paint was bad, the body scratched and chipped, and the hair a monstrosity. I was seriously worried that there might be bugs in that matted hair, so I chopped it off immediately upon arriving home. Once it was down to the stubs, it took a Herculean effort to remove the 37 staples securing the mane and the gorilla glue securing the tail, which I ended up ripping out one piece at a time with pliers and arm muscles shaking with the effort. (I made sure the horse was in a medically-induced coma first, poor guy.) Then I had to fill in the various gouges all over the body with wood putty. This hole in his leg was especially bad and exposed the entire length of the screw holding it in place. Ever the equal-opportunity toddler, Topher loved him, even when he was bald and at his worst. After the final humiliation of popping his eyes off, we hit rock bottom. I was sad to see that someone at some time hastily painted "rein" lines all over his face. Here's the beginning of your new start, little horse. Hang in there, it just gets better from now on. And I'm now proud to introduce Freckles, the once-neglected-but-now-super-loved horse.
He received new paint, new yarn, a new "working" bridle and reins, and some freckles. He has a new owner and a new lease on life.
I have to admit, I wasn't sure I could pull this off about halfway through, but I'm so happy with the results. The hair was especially challenging because googling how-to-make-a-yarn-mane-and-tail-for-old-rocking-horse yielded no results, go figure. So I was on my own, but I love how it all turned out. I think The Velveteen Rabbit effected me quite deeply as a child because I think every toy with eyes needs to be named and loved. Welcome to your new life, Freckles. :)
--KC

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kitty Moment #3

I just noticed that our last posted kitty moment was about a year ago, so this one is for you, little Squashers. While I was working on my bathroom remodel last night, I heard Topher laughing and laughing and when I came out to see what he was up to, I found him dragging around a piece of floss while the cat chased him around and around a step stool. (Topher will watch me floss and then ask for some himself, so I'll tear him off a piece. Then he'll shove it into his mouth and suck on it and say "mmmm!" because it's mint flavored. But apparently after the flavor is gone it makes a great cat toy.) video

Thanks for being so silly, kitty, and for keeping Topher endlessly entertained. We're so glad our paths crossed yours in that little animal shelter where they gave you a terrible haircut. Our home wouldn't be the same without you.

--KC

Super Big Boy

Sometimes Topher does "big boy" things, like when he wears his little flip-flops and he looks so grown up, or when he watches me eat and says, "All done mom" when my plate is empty. (I was so impressed with that one last night, it was nearly an entire sentence!) But then sometimes he'll do something that makes him a super big boy, like when he went up all the stairs and came down the slide all by himself at the park.

video

As you can tell, he was eager to repeat this feat over and over again. He's such a brave little toaster. Happy sliding, Topher!

--KC

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My Cabinet

My latest Craigslist find was a bathroom cabinet for the basement-bargain price of $5. And my next project is our master bathroom, so I was too excited by the find. By all accounts is was a fine cabinet except that it was so ugly I could barely stand to look at it. Oak and I do not get along very well, and oak veneer and I are sworn enemies. So without further ado, here is my uggo cabinet's before picture:

The worst part about it was that the door frames of the cabinet were literally covered with an oak sticker (peeling) over pressed particle board. So rather than painting over a bubbly sticker, I painstakingly peeled it all off. Here is one door finished beside the other one I haven't started yet.

After the peeling and sanding, I used a wood filler to fill in all the old hardware holes so I could start fresh (sorry old brass hardware, but your time has come and gone).
Next it was time for the primer. I don't skimp on steps, people! I have to say, it was already looking better just painted a flat white.
Then it was finally, finally time for my favorite part. I chose a dark "java" brown for the cabinet color. Incidentally, I also chose "heavy cream" for the bathroom walls, so apparently my bathroom with have a coffee theme of sorts, even though I won't touch the stuff myself.
The color turned out even more beautiful than I imagined and I was SO excited to have all traces of oak be gone for good.
Lastly, I attached my new hardware, all silver, and stood back to admire my work. Feel free to do the same (I did some last minute paint touch-ups that aren't yet dry in these pics):
And I did it all, 100% by myself. For less than $30, might I add. Plus I barely touched the can of primer or paint, so there is plenty more to do the bathroom vanity in the same finish, and then maybe it will be on to the kitchen cabinets...
While I was busy creating a masterpiece, TJ was busy replacing our kitchen light. It was an old fluorescent light before that looked more like it belonged in a shed than my kitchen.
Plus it was broken and would flash rhythmically on and off in a way that could drive a person mental. So now it's a modern track-light-style fixture and it's SO much brighter than the old one. I'm pretty sure these are the same type of lights that jewelry stores use because it makes my wedding ring bling and shine like it's brand new.
It has been storming for days now so it was a perfect Saturday to renovate our DRY home and smile as the inches added up in the rain gauge. --KC

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Can you blow me a kiss?

It's a little more slap-in-the-face than blow-me-a-kiss, but he's getting it. :) video

--KC

Monday, June 7, 2010

Animal Sounds

Our little man is smart and comical at the same time. It's a magical combination.

video

--KC

Friday, June 4, 2010

City Beautiful

In Illinois there is a city called Nauvoo, which roughly translated means "city beautiful." It is a small city right across the Mississippi River that has no major highways leading to it. However, it is a place of significant history to people of the LDS faith. Last weekend we journeyed there as a family and although the trip was planned months in advance, it was not without difficulties. The biggest challenge we faced was Topher coming down with a high fever the night before we were supposed to leave. The morning of our trip, he had a fever of 103 degrees, and you could tell he felt miserable. However, we could not postpone the trip as my entire family was going to be there (my uncle had even flown in from California), so we had to keep alternating Motrin and Tylenol until Topher's fever was under control. Once he seemed to be doing a little better, we hit the road. We were fully expecting him to sleep most of the way, but unfortunately he didn't sleep a wink the entire 3 hours. (In fact, he wouldn't sleep at ALL that day from 5:30am until almost 6pm that night.) It was a huge relief getting to our hotel and seeing my family as they trickled in. I prayed and hoped that Topher's fever would break overnight, but instead it was one of the worst nights we have ever had with him. He was burning up the entire night, never able to sleep more than a few minutes at a time.
The next morning my eyes were completely blood-shot and I was more than disappointed that Topher's fever had not broken. However, nothing was going to stop me from doing what I came to do in Nauvoo, and that was going to the Nauvoo temple with my family. Leaving Topher with my sister-in-law Katie (who is AMAZING with him--better than us, we decided), TJ and I went to the temple together. We went through a ceremony where we made covenants with God, and then we were sealed together in a beautiful room with my family sitting all around. (In our faith, we believe that you can be "sealed" or joined together in the temple for time and all eternity, not just "until death do you part.") After TJ and I were sealed together, Topher was brought in the room and we were all sealed together as a family unit. When one of the temple workers carried him in, he was sleeping like an angel in her arms, all dressed in white, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. (Until he woke up and cried through the very short ceremony, but I fully expected that. And he was fine a few minutes later, he's just always grumpy when he first wakes up.) That was the other thing...earlier in the temple, while not really thinking about Topher at all, I had a very strong and overwhelming feeling flood my body and I just knew that he was okay and that his fever had broken. I realize that might not sound like much, but things like that never happen to me, so it was an amazing sensation. I really really knew, down to my core, that Topher was fine. Sure enough, Katie said that when he woke up from his nap he was all sweaty and that she didn't need to give him his next dose of medicine because he no longer had a fever.
We spent the remainder of the day resting (it was way too hot to see all the historic sites around Nauvoo, especially with a baby!) and visiting with family. The ride home from Nauvoo was just as sleepless but much better because Topher was a lot healthier.
It was not an easy trip. Topher was sick, we barely got any sleep, the walls of the hotel were anything but soundproof, and the weather was stifling. And yet, I would not trade our Nauvoo weekend for anything in the whole world. I believe that I can now be with my family through the eternities and that by going to the temple, we will receive blessings beyond our imaginations. I want to publicly thank my husband for braving the trip with me and for loving me so much, my family members for coming far and wide to be with us, and my Heavenly Father for constantly watching over us. The temple was absolutely beautiful, and I can't wait to go back again.
When Topher is just a little bit older. And probably in the fall.
--KC