Calvin’s Word List

"I don't know!"
“I don’t know!”

Though Calvin started off pretty slowly, so far as the whole “talking” thing goes, he’s been picking up pretty rapidly in the past month. Meg had 35 at this point in her development, but Calvin’s been able to rely on his big sister to help him out up until now.  Still, it looks like he’s running a bit ahead on language than she was (though, again, it feels like an explosion in the last month, whereas Meg got them a bit more gradually).

Anyway, here’s a non-exhaustive list.  I’m probably missing a few…

Words/People:

  • Mama (“Mama”)
  • Daddy (“Dada”)
  • Meg (“Meh”)
  • Sam (“Hem”)
  • Nana (“Nana”)
  • Mimi (“Meh-meh”)
  • Harper (“Hah-pah”)
  • Emma
  • Banana (also “Nana”)
  • Milk (“Mah”)
  • More (“Moh”)
  • No (“Nooooo”)
  • “Cow” (“Boo”)
  • Pig (“Pih”)
  • Snow (“No”)
  • Snowman (“No-MEN”)
  • Please (“Peas”)
  • Baby (“Beh-beh”)
  • Books (“Boo”)
  • Bed (“Beh”)
  • Bath (“Bah”)
  • Shoes (“Soos”)
  • Socks (“Hoks”)
  • Moon (“Moo”)
  • “Shh” (“Ssss”)
  • Water (“Wah-wah”)
  • “Rock rock” (also “Wah-wah”)
  • Elmo (“Meh-mo”)
  • Bye bye (“Bah-bah”)
  • Night night (“Nah-nah”)
  • Tractor (“Tac-tah”)
  • Bird (“Bih”)
  • Truck (“Tuh”)
  • Dog (“Dah”)

Body Parts (Identification, mostly):

  • Mouth
  • Nose (“Noh”)
  • Belly (“Beh-beh”)
  • Toes
  • Feet
  • Head
  • Hair
  • Cheeks
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Knees
  • Eyes
  • Teeth
  • Ears
  • Fingers

The Bathroom

IMAG1765

This post has been “in the making” for, well, months.  When we first moved into this house last August, we knew that the upstairs bathroom was probably going to be the first thing set for a “re-fit.”  Largely, this was because the toilet (pictured above) had to go.  It must have been one of those top-fill types that used to have the tank suspended high above it, yet no such tank existed.  The toilet actually flushed just fine: you just had to fill it by opening a valve inside the tank, effectively rendering it useless to our 4-year-old (and a hassle for us).

IMAG1767

The rest of the bathroom was “fine,” at best.  Tiled all the way around.  Nothing too offensive.  Everything else worked fine.

2014-08-28

So, we got a new toilet.  One that flushed.  And filled.  Of course, in doing so, we lost some tiles behind it.  As we clearly couldn’t leave it like that, Brooke started looking into replacing those tiles.  As she tried removing a few of them, they started crumbling all around her.  To make matters worse, she removed the towel rack from the bathtub area and found that the lathe behind it was wet, suggesting that the grout had to go.  Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned “crumbling” part, re-grouting wasn’t a viable option.

So, I came home from work one day to see much of the bathroom looking like this…

DSC_0096

…minus the ladder, of course.  I came home in the middle of this debacle.  You can see some of the less-broken the tiles in the sink there.  Brooke did nearly all the tile removal and I contributed by hauling tiles and debris outside.  The wallpaper came down remarkably easy (though unsurprisingly, as the humidity in the bathroom made it pretty loose).

As you can tell, the plaster underneath the tiles came along for the ride, while the plaster behind wallpaper was mostly unscathed.

DSC_0094A similar story around the bathtub.  Firstly, we had to solve the tub problem so we could actually shower in this bathroom (it’s the only one in the house).  We grabbed some moisture-safe drywall and put it up where the tile used to be.

DSC_0100

Next, we had to replace the tile, or at least line the tub with something more water-resistant than drywall.  After looking around online a bit, we settled on fiberglass sheeting.  As you can see in the picture below, we got it done in time to give the kids a bath.

DSC_0105

It was a similar story across from the tub.  This time, however, no fiberglass was necessary, so Brooke just used joint compound to merge the plaster and drywall, plugging a few holes in the process.

DSC_0106

Not all that attractive, we know, but nothing a coat of paint (or two) can’t fix.

IMAG2051

After filling in the gaps and patching the ceiling a bit with plaster, we primed the walls in preparation for paint.  We decided to go with a brown-ish color, as it seemed to go pretty well with some of the shades in the floor.  In the end, we think it came off pretty well.

DSC_0099

Finished product in the tub!  We added an organizer to the corner and put in a new mirror that didn’t look like it was from the 1940s.  We’d still like to replace that pedestal sink sometime, but for now, it’s functional.

DSC_0100

The wall across from the tub looks better with some paint, right?  Brooke put up a rack of hooks for all our towels to go on.  Nice and accessible from the shower.

DSC_0102

The finished corner.  It’s probably worth scrolling all the way up to the top to compare these images, as we think it looks quite a bit better.  New towel rack, new toilet paper holder, some shelves above the new toilet, and the lack of tiles.

It isn’t perfect, though.  The wall under the window there is a bit rough, as it’s still the original plaster and not drywalled.  We may add some trim there eventually, but for now, it’s alright.  I also need to remove the paint on the wood frames, the doors and the window, as I suspect they’re laced with lead, but that’s a job for another time.  Perhaps this summer that’ll get done.

Much better than we found it, though!  That’s the most I can ask for.

Meg Turns Five

She turned out alright...
She turned out alright…

Granted, we’ve gone through more than a few adjustments in the last five years, but it’s still difficult to believe we started out with the one on the left up above, and currently have the one on the right.

Yes, Meg was born five years ago today at 8:57 am.  At the time, it was difficult to imagine how the next five years would go, and now, I don’t even know how this next one year will go for her as she begins <gasp> Kindergarten.  Since Calvin was born, she’s taken to the role of “Big Sister” more than we thought she was capable of, sometimes making me forget she’s still extremely young, yet perhaps more responsible than some of my college-aged students.

This year also marked the first time for two birthday parties: one “Kid Party” this past weekend, when three of her best friends from preschool came over for a “dress up party,” and then the next one coming this weekend for “Grown-ups” (i.e. family).  I think the “Kid Party” came off pretty well, as the girls mostly played by themselves and stayed out of trouble (mostly…).  Meg got some play makeup, a “Cinderella” costume, and a copy of Tangled (which she’s been asking for since December…).  She requested lemon cake with blueberries, and that turned out pretty awesome (thanks to Brooke, of course).  I think she’s requested spaghetti for the “Grown-up Party” this weekend, as well as a strawberry cake.

Personally, I don’t see how it’s fair that she gets two cakes, but whatever…

This morning, she woke up to a bike at the bottom of the steps, so surely that will present its own new challenge for 2015.  She literally, finally, learned how to make a tricycle “go” in 2014, so it’ll be interesting to watch her fight a 16″ bicycle with training wheels this time around.  Good thing my schedule’s pretty flexible this summer…

Aside from the presents and parties, the crazy part still remains: Meg is five.  She’s been with us for five years.  Half a decade has blown by.  She’s entering a stage of development that I actually remember in my own life.  Which is to say, these are years that she’ll start remembering 10, 20, 30+ years down the road.

Happy birthday, Margaret Jean.  I hope it’s great. :-)

Linsenblog 2.0

…or 4.0, by now?  I dunno…there have been a few iterations at this point…

As all two of you may have noticed, the blog has been effectively MIA the past few months.  I’m hoping to change that and get back to posting more regularly, now that my schedule has kinda evened out at school, but also now that I’ve shifted the blog off of a server I’m running onto something a bit more professional, hosted by GoDaddy.

Since moving to Marshall, I’ve been trying to run the site on a Raspberry Pi, a super cheap Linux-based computer that is powered by a cellphone processor and is, thus, quite energy efficient.  The problem, I found, was that a). it’s slower than I want it to be, and b). its limited version of Linux couldn’t reliably handle the database that this site relies on (hence the “Error Establishing Database Connection” that kept on showing up the past few weeks).

Rather than build a new Linux-based computer, I’m paying for off-site hosting now.  We’ll see how this goes, but the performance is already leaps and bounds better than anything I’d built the past few generations.  Hopefully, keeping the site up-and-running more reliably will also make it easier for me to post things on a more regular basis.  As always, of course, the blog has been more of an outlet for me (and occasionally Brooke), so I’m not trying to garner additional web traffic or readership or anything…

…I just want it to work…  :-)

Furniture Projects

Shortly after moving in, Aunt Diane and Uncle Mike were looking to unload some old furniture from an outbuilding of theirs that they’ve had for awhile.  By “old furniture,” I mean it was my grandparent’s set, and various parts were used by them and my Dad (among others, I suppose).  It was a set they picked up in St. Louis sometime in the 1950s – it still had the furniture store’s information taped onto the inside.

Regardless, we’ve had quite a few furniture pieces in a bay of our garage since it all arrived.  Two matching three-drawer chests made it into the house right around Calvin’s birthday, but some other pieces were taken care of over the break.  The priority was a vanity that my Grandma Corine used.  As with the other pieces, the wood was veneered in such a way that wasn’t particularly “modern,” so we sanded it down and repainted it in white.

2014-12-30

The above is something of a “Work In Progress” shot.  It actually took me awhile to complete because it was, well, really cold out in the garage and I could only tolerate sanding sessions for limited periods of time.  I ended up putting a few coats on it as I was battling the effects of “drying” and “freezing” of the paint throughout.

IMG_20150111_092040345

In the end, it turned out pretty well!  The mirror could use some restoration still, as it looks like a 60 year old mirror, but it fits perfectly in Meg’s room, as if that’s where it was meant to end up.  I’m sure Grandma would be tickled to see Meg sitting at it. :-)

IMG_20150118_163327567

The next piece of furniture was a larger, four drawer chest.  We weren’t sure where exactly to put it initially, but Brooke thought the dining room would be a good fit.  The weather was unbelievable today (almost 60 F in mid-January…seriously?!), so Brooke sanded it down outside and got a few coats of paint on it in the afternoon.  Clearly, the paint could dry a bit more efficiently when the temperature wasn’t 15 F.  The inside of the drawers weren’t all that spectacular looking, so Brooke used some blue paint (from the entryway…) to “spice it up” a bit.

IMG_20150118_180220

Ultimately, the muted red color Brooke went with paired nicely with the wallpaper in the dining room.  It’ll probably end up containing place mats, table cloths, etc.  At the very least, it’s yet more storage space for all our stuff, so the more the merrier!

I’m just glad Grandma and Grandpa’s stuff has a new home!

…and glad my garage is nearly empty enough to fit both cars:-)

A Busy Christmas Break…

I’m hoping to queue up a few posts here, as we’ve been pretty busy over the past, well, few months…

First of all, as I now have the privilege of working for a college, that means I get a month off at Christmas and three months off over the Summer.  Aside from the whole “much needed break” part, it also provides a substantial amount of time to get some stuff done around the house.

I should start by saying that this house is filled with wallpaper, most of which we’ll be pulling down over the next few years.  In some cases, it doesn’t really look all that bad – tasteful, even.  But in other cases, it’s simply got to go away.  As we don’t have much experience with wallpaper, we started small, with the back entryway to the house [though, technically, we pulled down wallpaper in the bathroom first, but I’ll return to that in another post…].

2014-12-17

Meg and Calvin actually got started with pulling down the wallpaper in the entryway a few weeks before, thus accelerating the need to do something about it.  In the picture above, you can see the drywall along with some white “patching” I did to seal some cracks.  I took care of this in an afternoon, as well as some patching on the ceiling above.

IMG_20141219_091904550After it dried, we painted it with a light blue-ish color.  The image above was taken without a flash, so it looks a bit deeper than it really is.  However, this is a blue color we were considering putting in a few other places, especially the kitchen, so we’ll probably scale back our use of it.  In the end, however, I was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

As a test run, it went pretty well.  The wallpaper came down very easily, though it’ll be more challenging in other areas of the house where plaster predominates.  More pictures will be on the way as we make various “upgrades” (including some of the projects we’ve already completed, of course), but next on the docket we’ll be covering the kitchen and what is to become “the music room.”

Onward!

 

Merry Christmas!

Christmas at Nana and Papa's house.  Jake, Kristen, Andy, Meg, Calvin and Brooke
Christmas at Nana and Papa’s house. Jake, Kristen, Andy, Meg, Calvin and Brooke

Again, haven’t posted much recently. I’m still on Break for another two weeks, but much of that has been taken up with various projects around the house (which I still need to take pictures of and post…) and various travels around the state for Christmas.

That, and I’m still fighting with access to this blog from within my own network at the house, as our router isn’t very happy about that…for some reason…

Anyway, Christmas has been pretty fun this year.  Meg has been pretty hyper all week, so my patience has been strained recently, but we’re in Hannibal now completing our week-long Christmas celebrations, so that should subside soon.  Calvin still doesn’t quite understand the concept of opening presents yet, but he certainly enjoys the new toys he’s been getting.

Regardless, this is mostly a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year” post.  I’m still working on getting everything working properly with the system at home, so once that’s done, I expect to post quite a bit more often.  There’s much to catch up on!

 

Oohhhh, I’m behind…

Meg and Calvin on Halloween
Meg and Calvin on Halloween

Let’s get this out of the way, first: Yes, we’re still alive.

Seriously, this semester has been crazy.  A good kind of “crazy,” but still quite busy, nonetheless.  There’s actually been quite a bit to post about here, but I simply haven’t had the time.  That, and the new router I picked up a few months ago, for some reason, makes it difficult to actually access my own website from my house.  Long story short, we’ve all been very busy and I’ll be back to posting more regularly soon.

Briefly though, a post about Halloween…which was a few weeks ago…  Meg had originally wanted to go as Doc McStuffins this year, a character on Disney Channel she’s been exposed to in recent months.  However, as these things tend to go, she had seen all those episodes enough times and wanted to watch something else, so Word Girl took its place (though she’s been watching Doc McStuffins again, recently…I dunno…goes in phases, I guess…).  Regardless, she  changed her mind and opted to go as Word Girl, which gave Brooke the opportunity to actually make the costume instead of just using the store-bought version Meg got as a gift from Aunt Mal back in September.  This actually worked out in our favor, as the costume for Word Girl’s side kick, Captain Huggyface, worked pretty well for Calvin to wear.  Brooke did an excellent job with them, but as very few people in Marshall really know who these PBS characters are, we had to explain the costumes to more than a few people.

I don’t have much to do on Friday afternoons, so I picked Meg and Calvin up from school and brought them over to the college, where multiple offices have candy available for trick or treaters to come by and visit.  This actually worked out pretty well, as that way, we could get Calvin in his costume for awhile, get some pictures taken, and then he wouldn’t necessarily have to go out for the real thing with Meg later.  It happened to be pretty cold that day, so walking around campus for a few minutes was a bit warmer than the alternative.

Still, we ended up going out trick or treating anyway.  Calvin was in a good mood and Nana came along to help out.  That way, Brooke could hang out at home for other kids to come by and Nana and I could take both kids out in the wagon.  We only ended up hitting maybe 7 or 8 houses, but as cold as it was, I think Meg had her fill of it.  Really, Calvin didn’t have any idea what was going on, but I think he enjoyed going on a wagon ride close to his bedtime.

Ultimately, Meg had a pretty good haul of candy, combined from daycare, a visit to Missouri Valley, and then walking around our neighborhood (which, apparently, has a pretty good participation rate on Halloween, so walking around our block will probably be “enough” for the next few years!).  All in all, a pretty good Halloween!

Other than that, again, we’ve been busy.  Lots of work around the house has been completed (and I’ll still post about that…I promise…), and much has happened with both of our jobs out here.  For my part, I’m now within a few days of Thanksgiving Break and, thus, within only a few weeks of the end of the semester.  Time flies!  I’ve enjoyed my time thus far, despite the number of hours I’ve been putting in.  Next semester should be markedly easier, as I won’t have to develop three courses worth of material again.

Onward!

The Boy Turns One

Here's our Little Man
Here’s our Little Man

A year ago today, we welcomed Calvin into the world.  And what a year it’s been.

Granted, the last half of this past year blew by incredibly quickly because of Life Changes for the whole family.  I barely remember what we did 4 months ago, as most of our time was spent packing and cleaning and looking into buying houses.

Through all that time, though, Calvin kept getting bigger!  It’s amazing how much progress he’s made, especially in comparison with his big sister.  Due to ear infections, it took her a bit longer to be mobile.  Perhaps Calvin is more motivated to follow Meg around though, because he’s been crawling for a few months now and late last week started to try taking a few steps for the first time.  He’s routinely standing up from a squat all by himself, standing for nearly a minute at a time before sitting back down again.  He’s ready to walk, but hasn’t quite taken the plunge yet.

Within the last month or so, he’s also finally, finally, slept consistently through the night.  He’ll cry out occasionally but can usually get himself back to sleep.  I’m thinking the creepy peacock wallpaper in his room has something to do with it, but it seems like shortly after the move to the new house in Marshall, his sleeping situation (and ours…) improved dramatically.

Now that he’s a year old, we’re also in the process of weaning him off of Brooke faster than we were before.  Meg was on a bottle long before this point in her life, but Brooke’s been able to keep feeding Calvin.  Generally, she’s only doing it first thing in the morning and right before bedtime.  We don’t even have to do it at naptime anymore to calm him down.  She’ll slowly scale it back, but at this point, it seems like he can make it pretty well without needing that particular form of comfort.  Big boy finally growing up a bit!

Other than his progress, life has been busy for the rest of us.  They say your first semester is the hardest and they aren’t kidding.  I’m frequently working 12 hr days during the week in order to stay ahead, but I don’t mind it so far.  Brooke’s still getting settled with her job in Sedalia, but things are starting to look up on that front, too.  I’ll post more about the house later, but we’ve got half of the electrical system done, some important plumbing done, some new appliances, and we re-did the bathroom upstairs by ourselves in a little over a week (there will definitely be a post on that one).  Long-story short, we’re making progress with the house and are nearly “settled.”

Because of that, we were able to have a birthday party for Calvin this past weekend at the house.  We had around 16 people over and, as the weather was gorgeous, we set things up outside.  Grilled burgers, had many sides, and of course, birthday cake.  Calvin napped through half the party and wasn’t exactly “smiley” after he woke up, but I think he still had a fun time, and definitely got some fun toys.

Regardless, Calvin’s done well this past year and, though his sleeping schedule was terrible for, oh, 10 months of his life, I think we’re finally past it.  At least we’re to the point when he and Meg can play together in their room(s) by themselves, giving us a few extra moments of peace.

It’s worth something, for sure.

Oh, it’s been awhile…

So, it’s been quite awhile since I last posted something.  There’s a lot I could delve into, but for now, I’m going to bullet a few points of “updates” to get you a cross-section of how things have been going.

1). We closed on our house on August 6th, and there’s a whole story behind how that went down, but suffice to say, we successfully closed and got everything moved in.  The house is doing pretty well, but we’ve got some long-term projects in process that prevent us from unpacking all the boxes.  I’ll go into this in a later post, but for now, know that we had some plumbing done, getting me all squared away for brewing and getting us a new (more functional) toilet installed upstairs.  Hopefully tomorrow, we will have electrical work done, where our house is going to be effectively re-wired.  This is stuff that needs to get done and we’re glad we can get it moving within a month of moving in!

2). Brooke’s new job (with the same company) is going well, but she has her work cut out for her.  Lots of things to get done, so she’s been busy incorporating her old duties at Bridges CSS (St. Louis) into her new duties at Bridges of Missouri (Sedalia).  She’s enjoying it and things have been steadily improving this past month, but there’s lots more to do!

3). My job is going well so far, but this is only the second week of school.  Our first exams will start late next week and continue into the following week, so while I’m trying to keep ahead on lectures for three separate classes, I’ve also got to do the “in the present” kinds of stuff like grading and test design.  It’s work, but I’m enjoying it so far!

4). Calvin is sleeping through the night.  It started August 23rd, on his 11 month birthday, and has continue on and off.  Some nights are better than others, but aside from a few cries in the middle of the night, he’s staying down from 7:00 pm to 6:00/6:30 am.  Oh, how long we’ve waited for this…and we hope and pray it continues…

5). Meg and Calvin are enjoying their days at the Missouri Valley Lab School.  They started on August 18th and Meg took to it immediately.  Like, I’m surprised just how well she’s done there.  Compared with previous places, where she’d cry for 2-3 weeks as I’d leave her there, she’s been nothing but easy to deal with there.  Calvin, on the other hand, took about a week-and-a-half to get settled where I can leave him with a teacher and not have him scream as I walked away.  Still, that’s been better in recent days, too.

6). I got a new router and a new Linux server, so that’s why the site’s been down recently.  I think I figured it out so it should be working fine, albeit a slight bit slower than it used to be.  We’ll see how it goes…

That’s enough for now!  I’ll expand on some of these points in the future, but this should tide you over for awhile!