House/Home

I Love Getting Stuff Delivered!

Have I mentioned I'm a bit obsessed with subscription boxes? I LOVE them! Okay, I don't have a lot of experience. I subscribe to three currently, two of which are new new new:

StichFix - A personal stylist! The box comes when I want one and I've bought three great dresses, two cute blouses and a jacket. While the styles don't always mesh (though they fall within the parameters I laid out) 98% of it has fit great. Always a great thing!

Try The World - a food box delivery with each box coming from a different country. We get one every other month and so far we received on from Argentina. We scarfed down all but one item so far. YUM! Can't wait for this month's box to come, apparently it will be from Japan.

IMG_2272PopSugar - a new one I saw and ordered because I'm a mom with a 3 1/2 year old and I want to feel young and cute and hip again, so I have to have "young" and "cute" and "hip" delivered. Also, I want something that is just mine. Mine alone! Which is why I'm not opening the FIRST box of my subscription today until after the said child is asleep tonight!

Also today I received my long awaited MemoBottle that I had supported on Kickstarter. I thought it was a genius idea all around - a book size water bottle that slips easily in your bag or briefcase.

Hooray for deliveries!!

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Fridays And The Toys

We are fortunate enough to hire a woman to clean our house on Fridays. And every Friday I love to see how she's tidied up the toys that live on/around Harper's bed and chair. It's never radically different but it always makes me so happy to see the toys all together and at attention. Here is a sampling from the last month or so.

Toys1

I love that Tigger is wearing Woody's hat. Suits him.

Toys2

We don't own Bullseye, so woody had to improvise.
Toys3 Toys4

It's always a happy moment to see them all together before Harper comes home from preschool. I sometimes get other funny surprises in unexpected spots. Like the kitchen drawer that usually has a pile of clothespins. One day I opened it to see this:

Drawer

Ahhhhhh, so tidy!

 


Milestones: Of House Cats and Houses

MouseOn December 30, we said good bye to our cat, Mouse. She was 18 years old and lived her long lucky life indoors, mostly trying to snuggle with Bunny, and not always succeeding.

In the fall of 1996, a friend's alley cat had kittens and since I already had Bunny and was working a million hours at Sony, I thought a new cat would be good for Bunny, so I adopted Mouse. She got her name from the fact that when she was just days old I saw her for the first time and she was grey all over and looked like a little mouse.

It was purely coincidence that I named both cats after other animals.

Mouse was an odd cat. She never slept in your lap or curled up and slept next to you. She liked attention but always seemed riled up and a bit frantic when asking for it. She sort of liked to be petted, but not in the usual cat ways. In her old age she would ask for attention, you would pet her and then she would bite you. That got a little tiresome, I'll be honest.

Bunny151Bunny died about six weeks after Harper was born and poor Mouse grieved heavily for the loss and massive changes in the house. Every night for almost a year she would yowl in the wee small hours of the morning. The first few times I thought something was horribly wrong with her and would leap up and come and see but she would just be sitting in the living room (not unlike that photo above).

She seemed comfortable this last year, though clearly getting quite old. Rather quickly, her heart gave out during the day on the 30th and we made the quick call not to resuscitate. Her time really had come and with average life span of cats at 10-15 years, she had a lot of time on this planet.

We tried to explain to Harper, very directly and honestly, that Mouse had died. Harper didn't seem too interested, just wanted to watch Curious George. But a couple of days later she and I were having breakfast and she told Willoughby not to play with a cat toy. I told Harper it was okay for Willoughby to play with it. Harper said, "It's Mouse's toy." And I said, "But Mouse isn't here any more." She said, "Mouse is in the hospital." And I said, "Well, I took her to the hospital, but Mouse was very old and she was sick and she died." Harper thought about it for a minute then she said, "Can she get a new battery?" That just warmed my heart. I said, "No sweetie, only toys can get new batteries when they die. Animals and people only get one battery." She then moved on to another topic.

Good bye Mouse, thanks for being part of our lives, sorry you only had one battery.

Cat-clipart-1 House_on_hill_line_art_2Cat-clipart-1 House_on_hill_line_art_2 Cat-clipart-1 House_on_hill_line_art_2 Cat-clipart-1

Another milestone is that January marks 17 years that I've lived in this house. I'm amazed it's been this long already! I'm also amazed that we've made it work all this time with very little change. I'm proud of myself for buying it all those years ago (when houses were affordable!) instead of blowing my down payment on a car. But in those days (like it was 50 years ago) this would have been considered a "starter home" and five years later I would have upgraded to a larger one. But five years later we were already two years married and both freelance, so we made the space work.

Now that there are three of us, the house does seem to be getting smaller and smaller! I have to remind myself to put on my "perspectacles" because we own a house with heating and plumbing and modern appliances in a great school district. Okay okay, but I'd like at least another bathroom soon (now that all three of us are potty trained) and modern sized counters in the kitchen (they are still original to 1938).

The house is cozy and has a working fireplace and sweet period details. I am so glad I found it and bought way back when. Happy anniversary little house!


The Trees Get A Haircut

Household maintenance, always fun. Last weekend it was Tree Trimming Day! Though it might have come a week early as now there is much less shade on our house and it is HOT HOT HOT in LA this week. Oh well. I'm hoping in two weeks it will all be a distant memory and Fall will truly be upon us. Though "Fall" in LA will simply mean it's 80, not 90.

TreeBefore1 TreeAfter1

TreeBefore2 TreeAfter2

After it was all over, I saw a squirrel on one of those power lines behind the pine tree. I swear it was giving me major stink eye. Sorry dude.


Part Time SAHM Adventures

We are fortunate that we have a nanny part time to care for Harper while we work on other projects that we hope will become well-paying projects. I'm still looking for full time VFX work and Kurt is currently employed on a few writing projects. So on the days there is no nanny, I am on full Harper Patrol. I am a part-time stay-at-home-mom. And in doing so I find myself being quite the throw back old-school mom. Maybe cuz I'm old? Whatever, it amuses me. And trust me when I say, as a mother to a two year old, you need all the self-amusement you can find. (Get your mind out of the gutter! This is a family blog!)

Sammich1Case in point -- sandwiches. On days when it's just me and Harper, I plan a field trip with other friends and their kids or just us. Either way, I pack our snack/lunch bag. Sammich2Lately I've been making sandwiches for us. But funny enough, I find I like to cut the crusts off. I've NEVER done that before unless I was making tea sandwiches for a special occasion. But I find myself doing it now. Then there is wax paper. I always have some around (why?) but now use it all the time to wrap the sandwich! Very handy, and folding that wax paper is somehow satisfying. Maybe I'm just losing my marbles. No matter, the sammiches are delicious. Ask Harper!
Sammich3

Someone gave us a Richard Scarry book called What Do People Do All Day? Harper likes to read it ("read" it) and so we've spent time going through it, though not really reading it word for word. In fact it took a few times before I found this gem:

GrocerCat

 

 

 

"She earned it by taking such good care of the house."

!!!!!

Mommy earned the dress, but she doesn't get to leave the house or get to actually, you know, choose the dress she might like. Or choose something better, like a high paying job outside the home. But nevermind.

Can I interrupt my own blog post to say this about being a parent? Thanks, here goes: The one thing I don't remember reading in any parenting book -- and I've read a few -- is how boring it can be. B O R I N G!! You hear about the hard stuff (tantrums, hitting, etc), the joyful stuff (too many to mention) but you never hear about how just downright DULL it can be to hang with a two year old day after day. I will say the dullness can be interrupted by some super awesome cute moments, that is for sure. But hours spent at a park watching Harper push her own stroller can be mind melting snooze fest. You can't read a book or talk on the phone or even text with friends, or if you do it's just to answer with LOL or OMG or nothing at all because you are standing under a climbing structure saying "How about the slide? Come down the slide!" You can't really chat with other parents who are there because you can't quite make eye contact and/or you are running after your own child in the opposite direction. You get three words out and then have to run, then come back for two more then have to run again. Sometimes it is super challenging. A lot of times it is great, most times, totally boring. My least favorite times are when we are playing in Harper's room, building her wooden train set. She'll get distracted with something else so I'll start building away and will actually be enjoying it, then she'll usually come over and Godzilla the crap out of it. Sigh. It's so hard at that point not to say out loud "DUDE! I WAS TOTALLY BUILDING THAT!"

But back to the fun parts. Like Breakfast In Box. Harper was acting like a cat for a few weeks, totally loving this big box we had around. Many a breakfast was had in-box.

BreakfastInBox

Meal times are good for inadvertent face-painting. Sometimes jelly, sometimes cream cheese, sometimes ketchup. OMG Harper loves ketchup! "Spicy!" She'll dip anything in it. Last night she ate a big pile of green beans by dipping them in ketchup. Cool with me!

Jellymustache

One of her favorite things is to have a surprise after dinner. Sometimes a cookie, sometimes a mini ice cream cone (one of our fave things from Trader Joe's), sometimes homemade berry smoothie. But she can't quite say "surprise." For some reason it came out "soapy prize" which I think is awesome. So now when we need more mini ice cream cones, I write soapy prize on the list. Kurt knows exactly what that means. Once she started understanding that it was a special treat, she started asking at breakfast with big eyes after one bite of yogurt "Soapy prize?"

SoapyPrize2

I truly can't complain. Yes yes, our personal projects move more slowly because we can't be full time on them, but they are moving forward. And Harper is pretty danged great. We are so lucky. And there are evenings when I'm making dinner and look outside and see this:

WindowScene

Life is good.

 


How "Toy Story" Messes Me Up As A Parent

Way before we had Harper, Toy Story had given me pause any time I came across toys in real life. The movie is so charming and funny and brilliant that how could you not consider that your toys come to life when you are out of the room?

Now with Harper and her toys, it's double trouble there. A pile of stuffed animals, baskets of balls and toy cars, the Gabba Gang, a stable full of horses. It's a lot. Most are on the floor or on shelves. But there are a few in the crib and they tend to stay in the crib. I started feeling bad about them, that they can't just jump out and play with the others. Prison. They are in toddler prison.

CribRabbitI feel especially bad for one very soft, furry rabbit. (She's the grey one on the left.) Except for Harper's little bear, which goes with her everywhere, Rabbit was the only other toy in there for months. I've slowly put in a few others and now I feel that she's not so lonely in there. Is that weird??

Or how about this? Mom gave Harper this awesome "Impossibly tall" rabbit doll for Easter last year. A lovely girl rabbit with a cute dress, a flower on her ear and fancy espadrilles. Harper loves it. For Christmas, Harper got the brother doll, also cute with sweater, jeans and Chuck Taylor type sneakers. Well, Harper is in the phase where all doll clothes come off. So one day I come in and both dolls are naked, their clothes strewn around and I realize they are both the same doll model underneath. There is nothing to distinguish them from each other without their clothes.

RabbitsToyStoryaMy worry? When I put the clothes back on, how do I know that I put the clothes back on the right doll? What if brother rabbit is not happy wearing his sister's dress and fancy shoes? Or maybe he loves it and can finally be his true self? What if the other boys are laughing at him? It's a tough call, man. I hate to think of any of Harper's toys being unhappy. I like to think they live in a warm and open group but can you really trust that crazy pelican puppet?


Early Christmas Present - Yay!

We got a new stove for Christmas. Hooray! Here is the old stove. It was here when I moved in (almost) 16 years ago. It's pretty and charming, but man, we were ready for modern, efficient and predictable!

Stove1

It is smaller, but the broiler works (haven't had a working broiler in 15 years) and the kitchen doesn't heat up to 350 when you bake something at 350. Did I mention efficient?

Also? There is a light in the oven. What a modern concept!

NewStove

If you know anyone who wants to buy the old O'Keefe and Merrit, we are selling it...

 


Catching Up On The Summer Fun

August has been busy and mostly good fun. Swimming continues and I'm amazed at how after five weeks of lessons (one lesson and one practice each week) Harper is more and more comfortable in the water and doesn't grab for me hardly at all. She still wears floaties and fins, and is getting better and better with the kicking and paddling. Plus just seeing her in that cap kills me every time!

Swimming1

Every time I put her sunsuit on I call it her Elvis suit.

ElvisPurple

I love this picture that Kurt took as the girl next to us was so funny and chatty. I'm making a Jen face for sure.

Swimming2

Harper also helps us fold laundry, yet she was stalled in her folding one day to put my undies on her head.(Yes, they were clean!)

Underwear1

But with that face, it is hard to complain. That FACE!

Underwear2

And just a thought -- these toys should probably not be sold or given to households with those that suffer from combat related PTSD...just sayin.

PopPopPTSD

We got an old chair recovered. I've never done that before and the guy we were referred to was awesome. Cheap, cheerful and FAST! With pick up and delivery.

Here is Before:
ChairBefore1 Chairbefore2

And now After:

ChairAfter1 ChairAfter2

We were going to get a brighter, bolder pattern, but then Kurt brilliantly remembered that we have an almost 2-Year-Old...so we opted for darker for now.

We've tried some kite flying, though it's been challenging due to lack of wind. Most times this is how we look:

Kite2

But last weekend we got lucky with a few stronger gusts:

Kite1
(Harper also loves her sunscreen bottle.)

I was trying to figure out why in the world I remember kite flying being so easy as a kid. Then it dawned on me that, um duh, I grew up where the weather report said "Tradewinds 10-15 mph" EVERY DAY. Much more helpful for kite flying than LA where you barely get 6mph.

Speaking of Hawai'i:

Slippah!

And the sunflowers are starting to bloom and that always makes me happy.

Sunflowers

And finally, the fork. A new tool in Harper's eating arsinal. (Note the right hand in ballast position.)

Fork

She hasn't fully decided if she's a lefty or a righty, but it is leaning righty...