Under Construction Daily

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Unless you live in the Midwest, network primetime is 8-10 p.m. That's my primetime too. The prime time for getting just about anything accomplished.

Now, before you say that raising my child is the most important work of all and sure to be my greatest accomplishment, let me say that I agree. But, the important work of parenting just doesn't get the dishes any cleaner.

We have miraculously managed to establish a bedtime. After a week or so of screaming at bedtime we finally figured out that 10 p.m. was far too late for bed and the poor child was exhausted. Mr. H and I determined that 8 p.m. was the ideal bedtime (through the very scientific method of deciding that 8 p.m. worked for us). Then I made up an elaborate bedtime routine (all the books say that babies need routines). Here's the schedule
7:30 p.m.--bath
7:40 p.m.--dry off and put pajamas on
7:45 p.m.--story in rocking chair (unless prevented by grumpiness)
7:50 p.m.--boob time
7:58 p.m.--swaddling (yes, still swaddled at 5 months, weird but it works)
7:59 p.m.--animal alphabet
8:00 p.m.--in bed and off to dreamland
8-10 p.m.--primetime

During the precious 2 hours between baby's bedtime and my eventual collapse from exhaustion, all the household stuff has to happen. Dinner, dishes and laundry of course. Plus internet surfing, blogging and mail reading. And, ideally, a few projects around the house.

Tonight, between 8 p.m. and now (10 p.m.), I got my shopping done at Target, did the dishes and finished the nightstand. I took the advice of by blogging pals and tried the destressed finish. It sort of didn't work and now the table looks kind of crappy but hey, it's done. And really it doesn't matter 'cause the top will be covered with books and crap in no time. I do appreciate the feedback from my loyal readers.

And just because I said I wouldn't do any more posts without photos:
Baby is now eating solids. This was spaghetti squash. Mmmm

Spring is in the air

It was another productive weekend. Enjoyed a day of wine tasting and then brunch with friends (including baby's "boyfriend" who is 2 days older than her). Awww, so cute!Made the requisite trip to Home Depot on Sunday (the only time all day Sunday that baby stopped fussing) and purchased four new fruit trees. So far only one has toppled over in the rain storm. Also bought paint for my nightstand. Here's the unfinished nightstand I got from Mr. H for my birthday. And here it is painted. The upside of being up for 1-3 hours in the dead of night with a fussy baby is you have time to mull projects. I was inspired to do a spring flowering branch design on the table to allow some of the wood grain to show. It also goes with the floral theme of the bedroom and the pink is complementary to the all green color scheme we have so far.

If any of the 4ish readers care to comment, I'd like to get your opinion on how to finish this project. I could just put on some clear coat poly or I could sand and "distress" the paint and finish it with some wax. Thoughts? Ideas? I want to get it out of the living room and back by my bed...my books are hard to reach on the floor.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Bunny Blog

So this is another favorite new site. She offered a free bunny pattern. At first I thought the bunny was ugly (actually, I still think it's a bit ugly) but that didn't stop me from making three of them for Easter presents.

I was additionally inspired by this site which pointed out that my "original" idea of making pillows out of thrift store sweaters is about as far from original as you can get. Oh well.

I took baby to Goodwill the other night and bought this sweater for $3 (seemed a bit overpriced considering my mom can find far better stuff at garage sales for $1 max)
washed it and turned it into these bunnies:
One each for my nieces and daughter.

Here is a bunny enjoying some tummy time and showing off her sweater ball tail.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Work Shoes

Monday, March 20, 2006

Blogger=Tractor Beam

So Sactownkid referred to Blogger as a Tractor Beam and I think she's right. I am up to five readers and have my first family member reader, my dad. And now he started his very own blog to chronicle his impending retirement. I put a link on my favorites page. The half ounce part refers to the approximate weight of backpacking stoves he's been obsessed with making out of Pepsi cans. I'm sure he'll post a photo of the stoves sometime soon.

I've also gotten mildly obsessed with some crafty blogs. I'll post a some sites every few days as I discover them. Here is a current fave. I love the title!

Finally, I reviewed my recent postings and decided that photos make the blog much more fun so I will include a photo in every post (Lord knows I have plenty of baby photos to choose from).

Here is a photo from about 3 months ago of baby in one of my favorite outfits (that she's completely outgrown).
Is that the cutest sweater or what?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Oh weekend how do I love thee? Let me count the ways

It has been an excellent weekend. Here are some highlights in photographic form.

1. Friday night: Mr. H had a poker party in the garage and baby was asleep so I had the whole house to myself (a rare and treasured event). I celebrated with 2 cups of coffee and a serious case of the caffeine jitters but wow was I productive. I finished all the pillows for the day bed in the craft room.

2. Saturday morning we got up and went camping near Point Reyes with a group of friends and family. It was a lovely day and we had 10 adults and 3 kids at dinner. I got to go to bed at 8 p.m. so I got tons of sleep. We ate well at every meal. All in all it was a great first camping outing for baby. (Just a touch too cold). Here's baby trying out the new tent. (you can just barely see her little head)

And here is a partial group shot. It was us, my parents, our friends and their 3 year old and 3 month old and their two sets of parents. Their little baby didn't sleep over.

Here is a chipmunk that was eating bacon grease off the spatula. Nine of us ate FOUR pounds of bacon this morning (along with fruit, eggs and pancakes)

Here is baby with Grandpa trying on his hat. Awwww

Here is the aftermath of the trip. Baby slept in the car BOTH ways. Not a single tear was shed over 5 hours of driving!

3. At home, the patio project remained in limbo. Here it was at 5 p.m. tonight. As you can see we got the forms in and a whole bunch of sand. Under the sand is "road bed" gravel. The shrubs on the left are the ones we transplanted.

And here's the patio at 10 p.m.! We ended up buying 900 pounds of sand (sadly not a typo!) and then had to buy about 170 bricks. The 100 or so bricks I found around the yard just weren't enough.

And the good weekend continued!!

4. Appropriately numbered, I found out I have a fourth reader. U.C.D. has gone international. A week or so ago I got a very exciting email from my college freshman roomate. We had lost touch since she is quite a globetrotter. I had heard she might be moving to Turkey a few years ago and lo and behold she found me from Istanbul and sent an email. Turns out she saw my photo in the alumni magazine (pregnant) and emailed to tell me she had a daughter in January. I was SO excited to hear from her that I gave her the link to this blog and now I find she's a regular reader. How cool is that?

5. Our new DVR on our cable remembered to tape West Wing for me even though I totally forgot it was on.

6. Baby has a checkup at the doctor at 9 a.m. so we get to sleep in tomorrow and continue this really good weekend just a bit longer.

Eight ways to make sure the new owners really hate the house you sold them (or at least hate you)

1. Paint exterior being careful to caulk all windows CLOSED and then paint them shut to be sure nobody ever breaks in through a window (at least not without breaking the glass)

2. Leave the electric stove but take all the burners with you

3. Install fancy new GFI outlets in the kitchen and baths but just screw in the outlets without actually attaching the wires

4. Remove all exterior lighting (i.e. porch lights)

5. Rip out your own deck leaving random concrete stairs with no railings

6. Leave a cup of Starbucks coffee hidden in the back of your bathroom vanity until it molds, soaks through the cup and into the vanity and smells like vomit

7. Leave the alarm set but don't give the realtor the code

8. Bury sprinker lines throughout the yard but don't actually attach them to sprinkler heads

Sadly, this post is more of a documentary than a fiction novel. I wish I were this creative.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It Didn't Start With the Wisteria

The dedicated reader will recall the first post to this blog involved an overgrown wisteria and a professional grade chipper. This might lead the reader to believe that the wisteria was the first project around here. That would be inaccurate.

Additional detail will be provided in further posts, but here are the highlights of the home renovation completed pre-baby. For reference, move in date was August 8, 2005. Baby due date was October 20, 2005. Baby arrival was October 16, 2005. Here's the timeline:

August 8: This sucks!
Officially a really sucky day involving: work, damaging an uninsured moving van, a car accident in our personal vehicle, an emergency trip to labor and delivery and our first night in our new home.

August 9: What's that smell?
Recognition that the incredibly disgusting stench emanating from the guest bathroom would require that the bathroom remodel move up on the priority list (stench ultimately traced to a moldy cup of Starbucks left in the vanity and soaked into the vanity plywood). Ripped out entire vanity.

August 15-17: We really know how to party
Painting "party" involving all the family we could rope in and priming and painting the entire interior of the house (including trim)

August 17-30 (approx): Bye bye carpet
Ripping up all the carpet to reveal hardwood floors in bad condition and a hallway made of patched plywood. Installing new hardwood in hall and refinishing all hardwoods.

September-October: Pregnant ladies pee a alot
But fortunately this house has 2 bathrooms. Remind me to tell you about redoing our ONLY bathroom in the former house. Gutted the guest bathroom down to the studs and then put it all back. The vanity was installed October 14. We still don't have a medicine cabinet

Despite the fumes, our baby is incredibly normal! Those waterbased finishes are good stuff.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

You can lead a baby to her crib

and, you guessed it, you can't force her to sleep.

Welcome to our world. Our perfect little sleeper (who made me feel superior to other parents when, at about 3 months she was only waking up once per night) has started boycotting sleep. Just when we think she could sleep all night without food, she's decided she'll get up every 2 hours or so. Fun times.

She's also sworn off napping in increments longer than 30 minutes.

You'd think this would have a detrimental effect on project progress but it's actually been a very productive weekend.

2005 taxes--done (and wow, what a refund!! Kids are quite the deduction)
brick collection--done (still need to wash the bricks)
patio development--serious progress made

And, in other VERY exciting news, we got DISH network today. Never in my life have I had cable (that's what hotels are for) yet I still know more about cable then most of my cable subscribing friends. For example, I can tell you that Trading Spaces is on on Saturdays and TLC only runs one program a day. Unfortunately, for our first day of cable, it's running shows about REALLY fat people such as, "The Half Ton Man." Gross!

So that sums up the weekend. As dusk was falling and the baby was fussing in her chair on the porch and we were hauling and raking the last bits of gravel from the truck to the patio Mr. H commented sarcastically on what a "relaxing" weekend we'd had. Funny thing is, I thought it was pretty relaxing. Getting things done feels like a weight off my shoulders so I can really relax. Now all I need is a glass of wine (and a sleeping baby!)

Monday, March 06, 2006


So Ikea West Sacramento opened last week. Mr. H and I decided to brave opening day but by the time we got organized and out the door, picked up Panda Express for dinner and drove around the giant parking lot for 20 minutes, it was 7:30 p.m. and baby was tired and fussy so we sat in our car, ate bad Chinese food and viewed the wonder that is the Ikea warehouse from our parking spot about a quarter mile away.

We still haven't seen the inside of this exciting addition to the Sacramento region but, according to my mom who has already visited, they have toilet bowl brushes for $0.79 (where is the cent key??) so I"m sold on Ikea. For $0.79 you even get a holder for your brush!

Another cool thing about Ikea is the kitchen planner tool. I had hoped to paste in one of the 8 kitchen designes Mr. H and I are considering but the program isn't quite cool enough to create pdfs. What it does do is allow you to enter the size of your kitchen, fill it with windows and doors, add in appliances and cabinets then tour your creation in 3-D. Trust me, hours can be wasted spinning around a virtual 3-D kitchen.

If you are planning a kitchen remodel, I would recommend this tool. That is at least until I have the results to prove that professional kitchen designers exist for a reason!

On other updates:
  • I plan to try to stay more true to the theme of this blog (but won't ever be able to resist posting adorable baby photos)
  • Still only one pillow done in the craft room...
  • Mr. H has constructed a few more shutters but can't paint due to rain
  • Found the mother lode of bricks but haven't collected due to rain
  • The inspiration for this blog, is celebrating a milestone of nearly 50 posts. This is a personal fave (oh, and this).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The shrubs go marching

It was a really lazy day. I did manage to vacuum and fold some laundry but mostly we just hung out with the family and ate too much and took pictures of the baby.
At about 6 p.m. the guilt of not getting anything accomplished started to eat at me so in the waning light I moved one last shrub for the patio project. Then, in the almost dark, I went on a brick hunt. It's the uncommon home where you can wander about for 5 minutes and manage to find 20 loose bricks. It was like an Easter egg hunt. I figure if I search while it's light, I'm sure to have enough for the patio. I'll keep you "posted."

Friday, March 03, 2006

I see why the mommy bloggers are mostly full time moms

So I just learned that I may have a second reader which inspired me to make another post (instead of working). It's been an absolutely nutty week. We got baby back to daycare on Monday after much illness last week. Monday was another road trip but with a boss that is more understanding of the needs of the boobs.

Tuesday night we had a meeting with an insurance broker about life insurance (the things you think about when you have a baby). As an aside, never try to get life insurance for a diabetic. As another aside, the guy had a serious overshare problem. Within 5 minutes of meeting him, I knew that his parent's had divorced when he was in high school, he and his wife are trying to get pregnant and he has some sort of problem with his testicles that involves pooling blood.

But let's talk about life insurance!!

So he left and about 20 minutes later baby threw up all over. And then she threw up again. And then she wouldn't stop so we raced off to the ER on the advice of the doctor on call. Well, we got to the hospital at about 9 p.m. with a baby we could barely wake up. We saw the triage nurse and we waited...

and waited....

at about 10:30 she started to perk up and seem much better. And still
we waited....

and then, at midnight I finally gave her a little snack and she kept it down and just then they called our name.

So we went into a little room in the ER and, you guessed it, we waited!

We gave the same story of what happened over and over and by this time, baby was so happy and healthy we had to swear she'd been sick at all.

I guess when you've waited that long they want to make it worth your while so we got to see two doctors (one of whom had the distinct pleasure of sticking his finger up her little baby butt to look for blood in her stool), then we got to have x-rays, then more x-rays, then finally, at 4 a.m. they said, "nothing appears to be wrong, just keep an eye on her."

Gosh, thanks for that insight, she's been fine since 10:30 p.m. Of course I can't complain. I'd rather wait until 4 a.m. to find out she's fine than learn that something is seriously wrong!
And, she's still fine. A bit of a lingering cough from her cold but that's it. All meals are staying safely in her stomach until they (not so safely) exit into the diaper.

So, in the good old ER, Tuesday became Wednesday and Wednesday was a blur of tiredness at work and I got home and passed out and Wednesday became Thursday and now it's Friday with no posts. You can tell I've been busy as I was three posts behind on reading Dooce.com. Thank you to my faithful reader(s). I'll try to be better next week.