Monday, September 27, 2010

The House Renovations that Never End

Every summer (and most Christmas breaks) I spend a large chunk of my break transforming various parts of our house.  I enjoy the work because it is opposite what I do most days. I usually sit or stand around and talk and think and write - physically inactive work.  But working on the house is physical labor that I find rewarding (though I would not want to make my livelihood at it).

I'm aided in my enjoyment by a wife who always has ideas for improving our house.  So over the five years we have lived in this house, we have now changed every room in some fashion, some quite dramatically and others only marginally so.  Throughout it all, we've always had the ultimate goal of removing our carpet and exposing the hardwood we knew was underneath.  We were simply waiting until the boys were old enough that hard wood would not meet soft heads on a regular basis.

So this summer, I slowly started taking up carpet, one room at a time.  Our bedroom was not bad - it was small, could be closed off for the kids, and we could sleep downstairs on the pull-out couch.  However, once the carpet was up I discovered that the floors needed a bit of work.  Evidently, two layers of carpet had been put down and when installing the second layer, the workers left the staples from the original carpet pad in the floor and then gouged the floors in sections putting in goodness knows what.  I had to pull two layers of staples out, fill in the holes and the gouges, sand down the floors, clean them, and then apply a few new layers of polyurethane.  A bit of work, but not bad because we could keep the boys out of the room.

Not so with the hall, living room, and dining room.

I tackled each individually, and Joy gamely took the boys on excursions.  We ate at odd times and in odd places (especially when the piano was sitting in the middle of our kitchen), had mountains of furniture to try and keep the boys off, and had dust and dirt from the carpets everywhere.  That was our impression of it.  The boys?  They just loved having all that exposed, hard floor that was better than a bowling alley or a roller rink.

We have a bit more to do painting-wise, but the floors are finally finished and we've been enjoying them (and the boys still ride all their machines on them constantly).  Noah had discovered they make a great loud sound when you throw things on them and the boys have had to stop tackling each other on the stairs (which is a happy consequence of this change), but overall we've settled into new floors quite well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sam Joins the Vampire Craze

I suppose he tired of all this talk about Edward and figured he would get in on the action.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harry Partch on YouTube

I tell my students every year when I get to Harry Partch in the Music since 1945 class that the day is my vanity day - a chance for me to spend a day reveling in a composer I find endlessly fascinating. This morning, I was searching on youtube looking for a specific video when I discovered this:

That's right, the Beck song I blogged about last year that grew out of a feud between the lead singer of The Fiery Furnaces and Radiohead has a video. Most of the images are taken from the Partch documentary The Dreamer That Remains and is full of vintage Partch. Hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Adventures in Potty Training

Joy and I have been making the preliminary motions toward potty training Noah (which means we think he's ready but haven't had the time to hit it hard core yet). For the past month, I've been having him sit on the potty every night before bath, even though he normally just looks around and smiles at being up so high. Last week, however, he decided that sitting on the potty was for girls, and he wanted to stand at the potty like Sam. So now, he stands there with Sam with his penis sitting on the potty's edge because he is not quite tall enough.

Joy had rarely seen this ritual until last night when she took over bathtime duties so I could go to a meeting. As usual, Noah stood naked at the potty, but with a crucial difference - this time he produced. Joy was so taken aback that she exclaimed "You're doing it, Noah!" causing our youngest to immediately stop and look to see what had his mother so exciting.

Joy immediately began encouraging him to keep going, but Noah could not figure out how to make it work again.

Until he had a revelation.

Noah looked down and began jabbing his penis with his finger, loudly proclaiming, "I just push the button!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

New Boots

For the past few months, Sam has wanted a pair of boots. I believe it began with a pair of rain boots our neighbor gave us that Sam and Noah both love tromping around the house in. Sam quickly took to calling them him "power boots" and wearing them while playing super guys. Then, his good friend Cole got a pair of boots that he refuses to take off. Cole has been wearing said boots every time I've seen him this summer and Sam has declared them "cool."

So when we were in Branson last weekend, Joy stopped on our way out of town to buy a new pair of sneakers. The store was having a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale and they had a perfect pair of boots. We bought Sam a pair and Joy warned me we should get one for Noah too. I foolishly ignored my wife and my own experience of two years with Noah following in Sam's footsteps and declared we would buy him a pair if it became an issue.

Yesterday morning, getting ready for church, it became an issue.

Sam wanted to wear his boots to church and proudly stomped down the stairs to show them off. Noah screamed louder than Ollie, "I want BOOTS!" and ran upstairs. He appeared a few moments later wearing the rain boots (which fit Sam, but are boats for Noah) and insisted he wear them to church.We'll be getting Noah a pair of boots this week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Latest Apple Invention

For some reason, this flew under the radar of last week's Apple announcement of changes to the iPod:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Waking Up

This past weekend, we went to Branson to spend time with Joy's family. We stayed in a two bedroom condo, which is quite a treat for us because we get to put the boys to sleep in one room and Joy and I can take the other. Unfortunately, as plans always go awry, Noah decided to wake up at 6:00 on Sunday morning. I heard him mumbling over the monitor and padded down the hall to get him only to find Noah standing over Sam declaring "There's Sam!"

I suppose the novelty of finding your brother asleep in the same room with you reduced Noah to fits of obviousness.

I scooped him up before he could wake Sam up and took him back to our room where Joy turned on the TV for him to watch. I was unable to sleep with Noah watching TV, so headed back to Sam's room and slipped into the bed to doze for another hour.

A little before 7, I heard Sam stirring this time and, opening one eye, saw him get up and head for the door. He had only moved a few steps when he loudly proclaimed, "Super Guys, Away!" and ran out the door.

I'm glad to have firm proof that his imagination never rests.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Summer Obsessions - Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs have long been of minor interest around our house. Sam has long loved going to the T-Rex restaurant and had a favorite book when he was two called Dinosaur Train (the name alone shows why the book was beloved). But dinosaurs were a distant third in favorite things to trains and cars.

Early this spring both Sam and Noah became simultaneously infatuated with dinosaurs. Perhaps it was from a book, perhaps from a show they watched, but my best guess for their new found love was a box of dinosaurs our next-door neighbor dropped off one dreary February day. The box was full of small dinosaurs and large ones, multi-hued ones and several monochromatic, and watching the boys with those dinosaurs was like reading Sammy and the Dinosaurs. They ate breakfast with dinosaurs, they slept with dinosaurs, they took baths with dinosaurs, and they took dinosaurs to church. Soon, both boys wanted to wear dinosaur shirts everywhere we went and they stomped up and down "roaring" at everyone we met. We were dinosaur central.

Dinomania escalated when grandparents started visiting this summer. First, Nana and Granddad came to visit and took the boys to T-Rex and got them a few more dinosaur figures to love and adore. Then May and Pop came and we all went to Union Station's "Dinosaurs Unearthed" exhibit which featured dinosaur bones and moving recreations of dinosaurs. The boys were in heaven (as you can see with Sam here holding a Stegosaurus's tail spike):To top the visit off, May and Pop got the boys dinosaurs at Build-A-Dinosaur, Sam getting a pterodactyl and Noah getting an orange, fuzzy velociraptor. Now with our plastic and stuffed dinosaurs, we are never far from a dino explosion at our house.