Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Playing Segue

We've been playing in the snow quite a bit.

Turns out Trixie is quite the snow bunny. She would be outdoors playing in the snow all the time if I let her. If her brothers are outside playing, she runs and gets her coat and sits there watching them until I let her join in.  Maybe she's feeling a little stir crazy indoors.

I know I've become a little stir-crazy living in 1200 sf with 4 other people and winter weather outside. I dug out my sewing machine out of the dust and started making stuff to keep my mind on other things.
(There once was a photo of Trixie in a jester hat here.)

I'm working on a classic clown or jester type hat design. It seemed like those clown costumes I made last Halloween needed hats, but it took me a while to get up the courage to actually make a pattern and risk failure. (I get really annoyed at myself when I spend too much time working on something that I perceive as unnecessary or outside the scope of my regular work, and then it FAILS. But) I'm pretty pleased with the results. I put aluminum foil inside the points to make the points curve/bend.

(Photo of Trixie with her hair in pigtails)

Trixie's hair does a curving thing without aluminum foil. Fixing her hair in the morning has really become one of the highlights of having a daughter (as opposed to sons) so far. This is a surprise: I LOVE playing with her hair and putting it up in funny little ponytails! Of course, I could do this on a son, but 1) it would be unusual, 2) my sons really don't even seem to like having their hair brushed, 3) my sons never had the patience that Trixie seems to have.

With most of the toys packed away, Trixie is patiently becoming a master on one of the few toys to be left out: legos. Forget duplos, forget ages 3 and up, and forget special girl pink legos, this 21 month-old's just going to go for it. I credit both her lego obsessed brothers for giving her access and baby led weaning for giving me the confidence to let her play.

(Photos of Trixie's lego skills)

Mattias has been playing almost exclusively with this for about a week now: a new wood pirate ship, crafted at Tinker Time at the Craftsman and Apprentice. Can I mention how much I love this place: the philosophy, the workshop space, the projects? So cool!

(Mattias and his super-cool pirate ship)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

granddaughter again

Last weekend, Trixie and I traveled to northwest Iowa to see my paternal grandmother.  Noah and Mattias stayed home with Fritz because when they visited my maternal grandmother under similar conditions 2 years ago, their behavior and needs were really counterproductive to visiting.

(Photo of Trixie and Grandma)

We were able to visit my grandmother for two days. The week before we left, I worried endlessly about all the things that could go wrong: a blizzard, sickness, terrible toddler behavior. Fortunately, all the stars aligned and we had a great trip and visit. Leaving aside my specific reasons for the trip – which are important and significant in their own right – there were several secondary things that bubbled up to top of my consciousness as a result of this trip:

1) Traveling with just one child EASY.
2) Being with just one child felt like a huge, luxurious vacation.
3) I should do this again, much more often, as an opportunity to bond (with just one child at time).
4) Upon return: Oh my, we are CROWDED in our under-construction house.
5) Our new urbanist neighborhood feels downright claustrophobic and noisy.
6) Huh. Maybe I want to move to a farm.
6) Okay, TOTALLY ready for house construction to be over.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


I do believe the construction is starting to take its toll on us.  I would describe it – not as an obstacle – but more like something that is creating drag on our daily life.

We're kind of sickly around here, as I alluded to in my last post. I suspect the dust with lowering our body's defenses. I'm usually the one who doesn't get sick, but this time, I've got it as well. It's a good reminder of how not-fun it is to be sick.

This week's construction wrapped up with permit inspections. On Monday, the drywall arrives and installation begins. Drywall is a notoriously dirty part of construction, so I'm looking forward to it with a fair amount of dread.

The thing I miss the most about our house right now is the whole house fan. Do you have a whole house fan? If not, may I recommend one? I didn't realize how much I depend on and use ours (yes, even in the middle of winter) until this construction began.

A whole house fan is basically huge fan that mounts in the ceiling under the attic. It pulls air from inside the house and pushes it out vents in the attic. Sometimes, whole house fans are called attic fans mistakenly. A true attic fan vents only the attic, but a whole house fan vents the entire house. To use a whole house fan, you have to open some windows, and a fair amount of draft is created. But all the air within the house is exchanged for air from outside the house in a matter of minutes. Precisely seven minutes for our house. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be able to exchange all the stale air in the house with fresh air in seven minutes. In the summer, we can use it almost exclusively to cool the house. (Almost exclusively. I could write a whole post on how to use the whole house fan most effectively in the summer.)

Even in the winter, when it's cold outside, we still use our whole house fan. I find that the fresh (cold) air in the house will warm up relatively quickly as it comes in contact with warm surfaces like walls and floors. While you might rightly say, "You're letting all the warm air out!" by running the whole house fan in the winter, there are many days that I would prefer some fresh, cold air over warm, stale air. Also - Colorado always get a few warm days midwinter. Like now. It's 72ยบ F and sunny.

 During the construction, with all the dust, I've found myself wanting to run the whole house fan more than ever. Sadly, the electrician turned off that particular circuit a couple weeks ago. Also, there are so many holes poked all over the walls and ceiling that running the fan might mean blowing insulation around the house. Not good. So we wait. And we try to get out of the house as much as possible.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What do you do with a sick kid?

I'm not talking about going to the doctor or medicine or homeopathic remedies. I mean, how do you pass the time with a sick kid, assuming the kid is not sleeping?

I stick the child in front of the television. I think we're pretty good about limiting screen time around here. But honestly, a sick child has unfettered access.

I was telling my mother the other day that I think this strategy is problematic because sometimes I wonder if a slightly sick kid maintains that he is quite sick just to get some more screen time. But the whining of a sick child! I have little patience for trying to rally his mood! Just turn on the tube.

"Well, that's what I did when you were young," says my mother. "That what my mother did when I was young."

So it occurs to me that maybe I just never learned any better.

What do you do with a sick child?