Sunday, July 27, 2008

Some unforgettable moments in July...

Aren't they cute? Here's a rare moment when the're not mad at each other, both ready to leave to work the same shift at the same stand at the park. Too bad they can't stand each other, huh?

These next two really need no explanation...

Noelle has developed an affinity for lying prone on the cool, hard floors. She does this all the time. Andy even found her like this one night when he found that she was missing from her bed. It's gotten a lot more complicated now that they can reach doorknobs and let themselves out. He went to check all the windows one night during a terrific storm, and only found one twin in bed. After a quick search, he found her all alone downstairs in the dark, fast asleep face down on the kitchen floor. Go figure.

They have both recently shown a fondness for eggs. Cracking them, that is. I stepped out of the room while getting ready to make breakfast. Probably went to do something lazy and frivolous, like use the bathroom. Anyway, they both figured out how to push a chair over to the counter. Two chairs and eleven eggs later, this
is what I found when I returned.
They did it again today in the upstairs kitchen, even though I had the fridge barricaded with a full bucket of drywall compound. I have no idea how they moved it.

This is Noelle learning a new trick. Click on the picture for a close-up so you can see the pleased-as-punch little smile on her face. Argh - I went through this once already with Brian! Oh, and they can both scale up to the top of that chain link fence in the background.

The perennial favorite - the yellow truck. This was a gift from Pap & Mam on Brian's 2nd birthday. It is now missing the door, the tailgate and the gas cap, but they still play with it every day. I will often find Natalie in particular, just sitting in the driver's seat.No matter how much grass we now have, inevitably the truck ends up pushed in the bare dirt section.

This was taken right before the carjacking.

Here they are at bedtime on their 19 month "birthday." Natalie is closer to the bed rail. Gosh, look how long their legs are getting.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Video: Backyard Carjacking

Natalie is in the driver's seat, and Noelle wants in. And she gets in, too. Little stinker.

Cooperative play, my eye.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Be It Ever So Humble Part III - the second floor

I finally got around to taking pictures of the upstairs. First of all, the piano was delivered last week and tuned this week. We are very happy to have you back, piano! We had it placed along the stair wall. Our lovely but disgruntled tour guide Clare will show you to the upstairs. You go up three steps, and turn to the right for the rest of the staircase...

There is an accordion-pleat door at the top of the stairs. It doesn't slow the babies down much, though.

At the top of the stairs there is a wide hallway with five doorways - two to the left, one straight ahead, and two to the right.

Turning immediately to your left, the delightful Theresa will escort you into the first bedroom, belonging to herself and Clare.

They have a built-in vanity top and dresser along the wall.

A rainbow mural on the wall

And a tall, deep closet with built-in drawers
The previous owner left the beds and the bedding for them. She even bought new stuffed animals for their beds!

Back in the hall, going clockwise, the next door leads into the twins' room

They share a double bed, with enough room for a tired parent to lie down in case they are taking too long to fall asleep. We are leaving it with clean, wide-open spaces for now. There is another tall, deep closet in this room, perfect to play hide-and-seek.
The next door leads into the 2nd floor bathroom

Continuing to the right, we enter the danger zone . . . Brian & Conor's room

It is a spacious room with a linoleum floor, perfect for cars and legos.

Here they are seen exercising their thumbs, vis-a-vis playing GameCube. The room has a built-in air conditioner, and the boys routinely keep it about 56 degrees in there. Conor had a sore throat the second week from keeping it so cold.

The room has a large closet with folding doors. They put a dresser in there to keep more floor space open for construction, or smackdowns.

Clare (and her glass candy dish) would like to show you into the next room.
We never thought we'd be able to say this, but it's our SPARE ROOM. Imagine that, a room that has no occupants, and no urgent and immediate purpose! It is actually what is known as a walk-through bedroom. You have to go through this room to reach the next floor, which doesn't allow for much privacy.

We thought about keeping the twins here, since this room is just below the master bedroom, but then anybody wanting to go up to the rec room would have to pass through the twins room (or NOT, if the babies were sleeping). So the plan for now is to use this room as a school room once we start school again. Right now it's another cozy place to hang out and we've been keeping the computers there as well. I refer to it as The Lounge.

Just behind the door is a built-in bookcase, and a closet on the other side.

That window on the left faces out onto that inaccessible high porch that can be seen from the exterior pictures. One of the projects on our to-do list is to replace that window with french doors that open onto the high porch.

The closed door is another closet, albeit a shallow one. The plan is to open up the space between the light switches and make another built-in bookcase. Theresa is standing in the open doorway that leads to the third floor- the master bedroom, storage areas, third floor bathroom, rec room, upstairs kitchen, and Sarah's & Scott's bedrooms. But those pictures haven't been taken yet, so ta-ta until next time!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Be It Ever So Humble Part II - the downstairs

Today I got so far as to take pictures of the downstairs...

The front door from the inside...the previous owner designed that stained glass sidelight herself. Shoe storage and coats to the right, because we have a zillion pairs of shoes on the floor at any given moment.

When you enter the angled front door you can look into both the living room (left) and the kitchen(right)

This is more of the living room, showing both mirrors and the hearth.
The other end of the living room, and the staircase to the upstairs. The piano will most likely go against the stair wall.
The front half of the kitchen...the window on the right faces Independence Street, and the left window looks out upon the yard. I have never had a kitchen with windows before!!
The rest of the kitchen. I love how many cupboards there are! Just to the left of the stove is the doorway into the dining room.

Looking into the dining room from the kitchen doorway. Behind the dining room door on the right is canned good storage, and on the left is a very deep closet. The door in the background leads up a flight of stairs to the patio.
The other half of the dining room - laundry center, bathroom door, and kitchen door.
Closeup of the bathroom door - Andy calls it the "man bathroom," so I got him this sign as an anniversary present last week. It is a pretty utilitarian room . . .
...stainless steel slop sink, toilet, door to the oil tanks, storage...
...furnace, "man" shower right next to the furnace. The furnace keeps this room toasty - I hope it will continue to do so when the weather turns cold.
Clare, hard at work on one of the electric typewriters that the previous owner left behind.
Another shot of the twins falling asleep at unlikely times and places. Noelle conked out at snacktime. They never used to do this, but our wake/nap/sleep routines are all discombobulated.

Overall it's been a great two weeks. The first week, it felt like we were on vacation in a beach house - everything so spacious and clean, and we didn't know where anything was! Now it's beginning to become familiar. I still look around in disbelief, though - I can't get it through my head that this is OUR HOME now.

The rec room bedroom construction hasn't begun yet, due to Andy's work schedule and all the cleaning that needed to be done at the old house. It still isn't empty, but the garage here is full. Doesn't that mean that we don't need anything else? We will hopefully start building the walls on Sunday.

Right now Sarah and Scott are just bunking on mattresses on the floor up there, right alongside their growing frog & toad collection. Scott bought three frogs last weekend from a pet store, found one toad the same day, and Conor caught a monster toad in our backyard last night. The toads "sing" like tree frogs or some kind of bugs. It actually sounds a little eerie, and man, are they loud!

Last week, Noelle was so upset from the move that she just walked around crying for two days, but since then we're getting into a groove and they seem more comfortable. Both twins
chose this week to EACH cut ALL FOUR eye teeth at once. They just walk around, crying and drooling. To top it off, they both got pink-eye as well.

Our yard slopes down from the alley out back toward Independence Street. Theresa was riding a trike down the concrete walkway from top to bottom (in bare feet, I might add). I warned her, but she insisted that she wouldn't get hurt. Sure enough, a minute later I heard her screaming. There she was, at the bottom of the path, bloody scratches on her face and neck from crashing into the bushes. "I forgot to stop!" was all she could wail. She's okay, btw. She also tried to reach something up high today by standing on a plastic tub, which cracked under her weight. I am amazed that she wasn't impaled or punctured on the sharp plastic. Thankfully all she got was a long shallow scratch on the thigh.

Last week, Brian tried a daredevil stunt that didn't work out quite as planned. The wooded lot out back is about three feet higher than the alley. A gravel driveway is in the middle, but there's a sharp slope everywhere else. He (on a dare - thanks, Sarah) tried to jump his bike from the lot down to the alley. It probably would have worked, but he panicked in mid-flight and squeezed his brakes. Instead of landing and rolling, he landed with brakes engaged, and the bike came to a screeching halt. Brian, of course, did not. He flew over the handlebars and bruised himself up pretty good.

We were in mid-swim season when we started the move, but I had to let the coaches know this week that we can't finish. Our routines are so screwed up that nobody's getting to bed at a reasonable hour, and this week swimming practice changed to 7 a.m. That's 0700 hours! Insane! I told the coach he'd see us in the winter, but I couldn't manage right now.

Sarah and Scott both work at the Gun Club and at the International Food Court at Knoebel's, but they don't often work the same shift (ahem, wasn't that the idea when they both got hired at the same places??) so we don't see too much of them. Tonight was fun, though - a friend let them borrow an X-Box and Rock Band, and they taught me how to play. I think I missed my calling. I should have been a bassist in a rock band. 99%, baby. I rock! (Love ya, S&S)

Brian & Conor met some neighborhood kids their ages, and have even been invited to swim and use the basketball court. They were both worried about leaving all their friends behind, especially Brian, who doesn't like to stick his neck out (except during stunts, apparently). He's so shy he can't even ring a strange doorbell.

Clare is something of a priss and loves makeup, as you may have guessed. She and Theresa painted their dolls' fingernails and toenails the other day, and left long nail polish marks on the kitchen floor. I was upset about it, but I found that a light application of nail polish remover wouldn't damage the floor's finish. While I was searching the floor for polish, the babies wandered in and got hold of the polish remover bottle. Noelle, a.k.a. Miss Manual Dexterity 2008, twisted off the cap and spilled the entire bottle on herself and the floor. I heard the splash and smelled the acetone - those are the moments in life when you find a brick in your pants. You'll be glad to know that nobody was harmed, neither the twins nor the floor, although after what could have happened to the floor, I may have had a few thoughts about harming the twins!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Be It Ever So Humble... our new house from the outside

The deal was completed on Monday, June 30, 2008, and we slept there the first night!

View from the front of the house. The living room is on the left, and the kitchen is on the right as you enter the front door. Brian & Conor occupy the upper room on the right, and the left is the spare bdr, which will also be our schoolroom. The dormers at the top are part of the master bedroom.

Side view of house/yard from the front. That's a cherry tree on the left, a small dogwood in the middle, and a Chinese Chestnut on the right. We have trees. Trees!!!

The upper half of the yard, taken from the lower half, with the patio to the left and the wooded lot in the rear

The Patio (plus a bunch of junk waiting to be put away) taken from the playground area
View of the wooded lot out back, taken from the patio
The rear of the house, taken from the wooded lot. The large room above the garage is where the previous owner had a preschool. We are going to build two bedrooms into the near end, and use the far end as a rec room (with a kitchenette). Sarah and Scott will occupy the bedrooms for now.

View of the yard from the rear, taken from the patio. Hi, Clare.

There are patio stones set in the middle of the yard under a dogwood tree, where we have set up patio furniture and the chiminea. We can finally "legally" burn the chiminea!!The yard is completely fenced in, which does wonders for my peace of mind, and beautifully landscaped. I feel so lucky!! However, we are quickly learning that some of us CANNOT spend time in the yard without bug spray. The proximity to the woods is beautiful and certainly quieter, but some of us get eaten alive by bugs. Noelle and Michele in particular are sporting some monster bug bites.

This is a shot of half of the living room. Those blinds open up to the front window which can be seen just behind my van in the first picture. Along the right wall just past the television are two built-in mirrors which flank a hearth and a wood-burning stove. I had to take this one because both babies passed out in front of the tv.

Here's Noelle in front of one of the mirrors, to the left of the stove

Natalie put herself for a nap yesterday.

More photos of the inside will be coming, as soon as I get some more boxes unpacked!