Wednesday, May 23, 2012

First Day/Last Day

Luca's last day of preschool was today. And, in spite of my big fears it would go otherwise, I rolled with it pretty well. I only got choked up once, when talking to a co-worker about how I couldn't believe we will have a preschooler and a kindergartner in August.

She's grown and learned so much these past two years. She is completely the same in so many ways, but new in ways that really matter. Above all, preschool gave her a chance to become her own person outside the world of our family and gave her confidence. I look at the pictures of her biting her lip before walking into her first day of school, and compare that to the happy girl who ran to the car today to start summer break and I am eternally grateful for growth.

First Day:

Last Day:

First Day:

Last Day:

First Day:

Last Day:

Monday, May 21, 2012

15 Feet from Bed.

It's been awhile since I updated on our master bathroom, mostly because it's been awhile since we did anything significant in there. Shortly after my last update we hit a stalling point. I spent a solid day with my mother-in-law helping me to finish the tile surround (going up and down and up and down and up and down the stairs to get from the bathroom to the tile saw is not the MOST fun I've had in a weekend), and then it sat like that. Because the next step was to go in there with a green scrubbing pad and hot water and make those tiles shine. And really, there is very little that sounds as un-fun to me as the idea of spending hours scrubbing every last bit of thinset off of and from between tiles so we can grout.

Except grouting. THAT sounds less fun, but really only because my husband buys epoxy grout which is about as easy to spread on the walls and into the joints as frozen peanut butter being spread onto soft white bread.

We did manage to move the mirror up a few inches to accomodate the taller counters. That was all KINDS of fun, but it's done and it worked.

Anyhow, once the tile was up and I was officially stalling to avoid scrubbing it clean, we had a few other bathroom items to attend to before we could move on. Number one on the list was a new toilet. The old one worked fine, but it was almond colored, and with all the fixtures in the bathroom being white now that just wasn't working for me. So one Saturday morning Darrick followed a Craigslist ad to a rich neighborhood not too far away to get two new white toilets. Turns out, rich people buy houses brand new and then rip out the unused toilets and sell them on Craigslist. For $25 each. When they would have cost about $150 new.

We ended up getting a second one to replace the toilet in the other bathroom because why not, right? He still had to run to Home Depot for toilet seats and lids (no way were we getting THOSE off Craigslist!) and while there he decided it was as good a time as any to buy our new countertops and 2 new ceiling fans. Why new ceiling fans, you ask. I'm not sure. I mean, we needed them but we did not need to spend that money and deal with installing them (3 hours each, anyone?). Alas, we compromised on the ceiling fans and I let him keep one for our bedroom but made him return the other for now.

I also let him keep the countertops, which look like these except without the cheest 1992-style builder basic faucets.

Once the new toilet was installed, my husband got kind of lazy. Ok, that's not entirely fair as he's been working his butt off, but it might be considered accurate to say he got complacent. I mean, once you're without a master bathroom toilet for 5 months and then you get one back....what more does a man need? He can shit in his OWN BATHROOM! And you had better believe I heard that no less than eleventy bajillion times in a week.

But this weekend? This weekend we killed it. First, my husband installed the cabinets in their place by screwing them into the studs. Then he put the countertops on them and attached them to the wall with liquid nails and added the side splash guard things (which he kept calling bumpers for some unknown reason and thusly almost drove me nuts to the point where I just bit my tongue instead of correcting him so that I could then feel very proud of myself for not correcting him when he was in the bathroom slaving away). Once those were in place, I reattached the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and then 'we' went back through and took the drawer fronts off and re-reattached them because 'we' hadn't done it well enough the first time and they were a bit loose and crooked. And the only thing that's allowed to be BOTH loose AND crooked is a hooker in an old Clint Eastwood western.


When all that was done and the tiles were scrubbed too (Finally! Jeez!) Darrick installed the faucets and then we stood back and felt really special about the whole thing cuz DAMN does it look nice.

This is where I should share picures, but: (a) I don't have any uploaded, and (b) I'm waiting to show pictures when it's ALL DONE. Which at the rate we're going will be sometime in June or November.

The last thing we did? Picked a godforsaken paint color (and, sadly, threw away the collection of 3,472 paint sample chips I've amassed since January) and slapped a first coat up on the wall. And after MONTHS of going back and forth and taping up samples and even buying a gallon of paint only to hate it on the walls, we decided together on a color we both love:

Can you guess which one? Dun dun duhhhhhhhh...


Time to update the to-do list!

- Call insurance and file claim
- Remove baseboards
- Remove toilet and cover hole
- Remove tile
- Remove subflooring below tile
- Remove flooring BELOW subflooring.
- Remove tub surround (also involves removing showerhead and closing off that pipe)
- Pull out and discard tub (also involves removing and covering drain into floor)
- Have insurance assessor look at damage and determine if it's going to be covered by insurance
- Cut away water-damaged drywall in garage ceiling
- Put in new insulation and replace drywall.
- Potential repair/replacement of subflooring in bathroom
- Potential refinishing of cabinets
- Sand, stain, buff, and poly cabinets, doors, and drawers
- Build risers to increase height of cabinets
- Buy new counter tops and faucets for cabinets
- Move sink plumbing on both sides to accomdate taller cabinets
- Move, replace, or cut down mirror to accomodate new taller cabinets
- Replace layer of plywood on subfloor, sealing together with Liquid Nails

- Install Hardi Backer over floor plywood with mortar and screws
- Install new tile
- Grout new tile
- Fix pipes below floor level for toilet
- Replace toilet flange and put in new toilet
- Removal of current counters and cabinets
- Removal of hardware (towel rack, light plates, etc.)
- Spray paint bathroom hardware to brushed nickel
- Buy new globes to cover bathroom lightbulbs
- Spray paint light fixtures to brushed nickel
- Spray paint cabinet hardward brushed nickel
- Clean ceiling to prepare to paint
- Repaint bathroom ceiling and walls
- Move existing drain and pipes for bathtub to accomodate new height of tub

-Move showerhead up 6"
- Build support box for tub to sit in
- Installation of new tub and surround
- Buy and install new waterproof drywall for shower surround
- Tile new shower surround
- Tile front of tub- Hook up plumbing to bath and shower
- Paint room- Reinstall fixtures on walls
- Reinstall bathroom lights
- Installation of cabinets (either refinished old ones with risers or new ones)- Paint and install new baseboards OR use tile as baseboard
- Installation of countertops (either current one or new)
- Put in new faucets
- Add new shower curtain and bath mats and toilet paper roll
- Look into storage options in room
See?!?!?! Almost there!!!!! I can't wait until we're done because while the coup de gras for my husband was shitting a mere 15 feet from his bed, for me it will be the first long bath in that nice new tub!

Monday, May 7, 2012

She Is 5, She Is Mine.

This little baby:

She is 5 today.

I don't know how it happened, but the little doll-baby with the huge blue eyes and peach-soft cheeks is now a little girl.


Birthdays in preschool mean treats, so Darrick dropped off Rohan this morning so I could steal some sweet alone time with my first baby. She chose a fancy purple dress for school and we pulled her hair away from her face. We drove to school talking about parties and balloons. I took her to the store where she picked popsicles for the class treat, and she made sure we didn't forget Skittles for her friend in class who has allergies. He's not allowed to eat birthday treats because of fear of an allergy attack, but Skittles are on the short list of treats he is allowed.

We walked into class together, her tiny hand with newly painted nails (Hello Kitty sparkle polish) grasping mine. I handed the bag of treats to her teacher, and she pulled out the Skittles and asked for it to be put aside for her friend who can't have popsicles. I felt a tug at my heart for this girl, my girl, who always remembers her friends.


Dinner tonight was pizza with family and best friends. We played games and won prizes and laughed and ate cake. She tickled the cheeks of her baby cousin and colored a picture of a butterfly to give her best friend.


Since her birthday was a Monday and I couldn't miss work we made Sunday into Luca Day. "Anything you want to do," we told her. "Anything?!?!" she asked. The world hers for the taking, she chose donuts for breakfast, park and splash pad fun, and lots of cuddles.

Grandma and Grandpa took us out to dinner, her first fancy meal to celebrate a certain sense of coming of age. From toddler to child. From little girl to little lady. There were big glasses filled with Sprite and fancy linens and roses on the table just for her. There was the story, from Grandma, of how she was born and 4 days later I walked with her in my arms across a huge, hot parking lot so she could see her Daddy graduate from ASU. For dessert, she had a piece of cheesecake all to herself. Afterward, we went to a park nearby and walked around the lake. She held her brother's hand and chased trolls from under the bridges that criss-crossed the lake.

It was one of those nights where everything was perfect: the sky, the food, the company, her. Always her.


For Christmas she asked for a horse. When we told her it wasn't likely that Santa would deliver because we couldn't possibly house one in our yard, she acquiesced and said a unicorn would do.

She got her unicorn.

When we got home from dinner, Darrick and I had to work together on installing a new ceiling fan in our bedroom, so the kids decided to make the best of it and throw an animal party. Before we knew it, every stuffed animal in the house was circled around the unicorn in her bedroom. Big and small turtles, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, three bears, a duck, a hippo, a puppy - all sitting on the floor together facing the desk in her room, where a CD was playing from her Disney Princess player.

Emancipate yourself from mental slavery;
None but ourselves can free our minds.

Bob Marley was singing and the animals were listenig. And in the middle of it all, a unicorn nursed her young. As soon as she was done, Luca dressed her properly in a rainbow glitter tutu, then took a seat to milk the unicorn.

"You're milking the unicorn?"
"Yeah, she has a baby who drinks her boobie milk. But all these other babies - " sweeping a hand over her minions, "- they all need her milk too."
"Oh, well by all means. Milk away."

They filled several small buckets with invisible unicorn boobie milk and passed them around. Letting the other animals drink the fortifying magical milk of unicorns.

I could not make this shit up if I tried. And I also can't even pretend to be anything less than smashed-to-pieces in love with this kid. This girl. This beauty. This amazing magical wonder whose soul is older than dust but whose spirit I hope stays forever young and full of wonder.


Tonight they splashed together in a tub of bubbles, Daddy washing their hair and scrubbing their backs while I remade their beds with fresh sheets that smell of gardenias and honey. I wrapped them in towels, tousled their hair dry, rubbed lotion into their skin before letting her choose the bedtime story. I sat on the floor and she stood in front of me and it was only when she asked me what was wrong that I realized I was smoothing lotion into the knees of a kid. Not a baby, whose fat knees are smooth and puckered. A kid, whose knees hold the stories of trips and falls and scrapes and 5 years of life.  But I couldn't explain that to her because how do you tell your first-born you're both mourning the loss of baby-soft knees and listening to the stories to be told by that ever-changing skin?


Wrapped under a gauzey tent that hangs above her bed, cocooned in a swath of pink blankets, she asked to hear the story of when she was born. We were just to the part where we'd left her Grandma and Grandpa's house and rolled down our windows to breath in the last moments of Just Us as we drove home when I spied Rohan, listening in from the doorway. She invited him in and then it was the three of us. Minnie Mouse played the part of Luca, hidden below my shirt. Giggles erupted from both kids when I told them how I'd been unable to sleep, so full of excitement and all, so I'd bathed and done my toenails and then watched movies and slept on the couch all night only waking here and there to aknowledge the early cramps of labor.

Her eyes grew huge when I remembered all the people who came to meet her and how we all just stared into this tiny, beautiful face and these impossibly huge blue eyes and fell madly, swiftly in love.

"It hurt when I was born, right mommy?"
"It did. But I don't really remember it hurting. I just remember being so happy."
"So when you have a baby, it hurts? And then the baby is born and love comes in and fills all the spaces that hurt? And instead of being full of hurt, you're all full up of love?"
"Yes, I think that's about right."
"So love is soft like your belly?"
"I guess that must be true."


"You're not a baby anymore, Luca. But you will always, always be my first baby and I'll always love you more than you could ever know."


Five years ago yesterday, I was anxiously working through labor, pumped with adrenaline and wonder. Waiting to meet her.

Five years ago this morning, at 12:10 a.m., she came earthside and I felt the world collide around me. Waiting to know her.

Five years ago tonight, I was exhausted and elated and stayed awake despite the pleas of nurse just to watch her sleep. Waiting to find the mom in me.

Five years, filled with so very much love and soul-expanding lessons in being humble and human and greater than I knew I could be for her. For both of them. For us.


She is 5, she is mine.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin