Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Kitchen Re-Do

Our newish house is lovely and we adore it. However, the counter-tops in the kitchen were granite tile and we did not adore them. The color was fine, the back-splash was fine, but I did not love the giant tile and the unfinished edges.

We decided to replace the counter-tops and a kitchen re-model was born.  The first thing to go was the ineffective microwave/vent hood.  We took it out (recycled it to a worthy home) and installed a very good vent hood.  

After shopping around and getting three bids we selected a vendor and started picking materials.  The first decision - granite or quartz.  I thought for sure we'd go with granite, but we found a quartz that is very exciting.  It has blue, black, tan, clear resin and some sparkle.  SO VERY PRETTY.

To keep it from going too dark we selected a cream subway tile with a stainless steel accent.  An issue with the tile heights resulted in a delay and to protect our bare drywall I put up foam core around the sink.  The only color I could find was black.  We lived with it for a day and decided that a cream tile would not do.  Back to the tile designer we went with our photos and in spite of our desire not to go "too modern" we selected a black tile that would be cut in to 3x12 tiles and set like subway tile.

In addition to the new vent hood we ordered upper cabinets for the butler's pantry -thankfully we had the name of the supplier our house builder used.  They were very helpful in the ordering process, and they were delivered right on time.  Thank you to Cousin Marty and Jason for the lovely installation.

Lastly, a stove.  This is the item that feels the most extravagant , but I love it so much.  We were going to wait on the stove, but in the end the desire to have the kitchen done won out.  We came in on budget - even with the stove and I love how it turned out.

Because we were involved there are little touches that show that a lot of thought went into the details.  We had a row of tile set below the counter height behind the stove so that it looks as though the tile goes all the way to the floor.  In the nook where the refrigerator is there is a row of tile that extends to avoid a shocking spot of cream wall behind the fridge.

In the butler's pantry, we installed wine glass hangers on the one end and our expert tile installer was able to tuck the tile up and behind the hangers.   We used bull-nose tile around the edges which makes it look so finished.  The bull-nose had to be cut and shaped on site so it is not 100% perfect, but I think it shows that it is a custom kitchen.

The kitchen before

detail by the window

the butler's pantry 

butler's pantry

Sink before

tear out begins

the awful tile gone from the butler's pantry

our kitchen lived in here for a while

drywall repair

by the stove

ooh, the new counter, tile and under-mounted sink!

the stove and new vent hood

the new cupboards in the butler's pantry

Wine Zone...where all bad moods go to die.

Looking in... not too dark!

The detail behind the stove!  SHIMMERY

Finished at the window!

Another Video

Here's Lucy hanging out on a random Saturday.  She likes to play "night-night".  She lays down and we have to cover her with a blanket.  She gets a bit distracted by the tv because there are pictures that go with the music we're playing and she spots herself and other people she knows - the grandparents.  Also, if you listen really carefully you can hear Jason actually singing in the background for a brief moment.

Sorry about my voice - since I'm holding the camera and talking over the music I'm irritatingly loud.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My lost day

I was worthless yesterday.

I couldn't get warm, even after a long shower in the morning, couldn't focus and fell asleep after taking Lucy to day care in the morning.  I managed to make it through my meetings, but the last one of the day was conducted on the couch in our living room while I was tucked under a down blanket.  Being at my desk is far more "worky" but I knew FedEx was coming and didn't think I could muster the stairs in a quick fashion.

The thing that should really let you know how not good I was feeling is that I only ate a banana, an applesauce, two pieces of toast and a scrambled egg yesterday.

Thankfully, I have a great person in my life who made dinner and cleaned up, did Lucy baths and put her to bed.  After we ate dinner, I crawled upstairs to take my own bath and then go to bed.  Sure, it felt wrong to go to bed at 8pm at night, but I think it did the trick.  I'm back to being me today.

Monday, October 22, 2012


I think I've been clear on the fact that we love this kid.  She's super cute, she's really starting to show affection, she's a good sleeper, she's a good napper and by 3:45 on Sunday afternoon I'm ready for her to go to bed.

Does that make me a bad mom? I don't think so.  I think it makes me a bit more honest than the average super mom, or mombies (zombie+Mom) as they are known on my new favorite web site.  STFU Parents.  (it's devoted to eye rolls at people who talk too much about their kid in EVERY situation - I look there everyday for my picture, so far I'm flying under the radar.)  Ok, back to my kid.

This weekend we didn't have much going on which was a good thing considering I had been gone the previous week and Lucy was due for some serious mommy and me time.  We played, colored, and went for walks when it wasn't raining.  We kept the errands short and didn't attempt any activity directly after church. Sunday, Lucy woke at 5:00 am and was AWAKE.  Not, lay in the crib talking to the animals awake but "HEY DAMN IT  I'M AWAKE IN HERE, WHERE ARE YOU PEOPLE!!!!"  awake.  So, sadly, we were up at 5:00 am on Sunday.  Four hours later, she was ready for a nap but it was time for church.  A nap at nine in the morning is not a good idea when that will leave you another seven hours of toddler entertainment before bedtime.  Lucy doesn't have seven hours of continuous awake in her yet and she also doesn't take a second nap anymore.  So, off to church we went.  She likes church.  Well, to be clear, she likes the live music and getting to play with Rico and Mrs. Rico.  She also likes to flirt with the people around us as the sermon is going on.  We try to keep her attention "down low" meaning, on the floor with books or on the chair with the coloring supplies that are provided.   She is generally very quiet during church, and when she's tired she's especially cuddly.

Lucy wasn't a champion at transitions yesterday and it was challenging.  She cried when going in for a nap, cried when she woke up, cried during lunch, cried when lunch was over, wanted to go for a walk, cried when it turned into a car trip (our fault) and then cried when it was time to get out of the car. She cried going into Costco (then calmed down about 3 minutes before we were done), cried when having to get back in the car, cried when pulled out of the car to go in the house...

RAAAARRR... go with the flow kid.  We ended up splitting up the remainder of our Sunday activities and Jason ran our shopping errands while Lucy and I stayed home and played.  She did really well until about four minutes before Jason got home and then she lost it again over something trivial, like my unwillingness to let her color on the couch.  I know, sheesh lighten up mom.

In the scope of things, Lucy is happy and easy to be around, but WOW when she is off her game it wears an old lady down.

We had a good bedtime routine, and even snuggled on the bed for a while before sleepies (that's our word for going to bed.)  She slept until about 5:30 today which gives me hope that tomorrow we'll be back to the more humane 6:00 wake up.  And no, the owl isn't working.  She loves it but will not wait for the green face to get up.  When her internal clock is back to 6:00 and we're talking about a 10 minute window for crying then we'll wait it out. Until then we have to make an assessment based on the wailing that is occurring to determine when the rescue has to occur.

I know I'm supposed to keep any frustration that happens as a normal part of parenting to ourselves, but since we are not beating this child, yelling at her, locking her into her room I feel safe that it is ok to acknowledge that this parenting thing isn't all baking cupcakes and building tent forts in the living room   People who say it is either aren't doing the less than glamorous activities themselves or are flat out lying.

The thing that keeps us sane is perspective, sleep and those little moments where she does something amazing.  She's starting to hug and when she needs some contact she will snuggle right up and if my hands are busy she takes my hand and puts it where she needs them.  You can't help but hug a kid who moves in, and tugs your hands around her.

She also seems to defuse a situation by popping off with a new word, or a flirt.  New words are Hi, Bye, More Please (she had both, but they are now a married pair).  She's also pointing to the pictures on the music screensaver and identifying the people.  She laughs like crazy at a picture of Grandpa John (Jason's dad) in a fake Vicar's hat.  She thinks it's a riot.  It is... for sure.  I'd post it, but I'm sure the Pope reads this and I don't want to offend anyone.

Are you done laughing yet?  Good - because it is great to end on a high note.  I have no other comments or information to add.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Does this site have a page on Facebook?

Now that I've turned off comment moderation I have seen a large uptick in comments on older posts.

It is  hard to believe that the person who left the following comment isn't a HUGE fan (or even a person.)

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But then there are comments like this:  Does this site have a page on Facebook? I'd like to be a fan

So, I did create a facebook page for the fictionary stuff:  


It's there... find me, contribute new words...

If you're looking for an RSS feed (this has also been a question) scroll to the bottom and under the "More Posts" box there is a link that says "Subscribe to Posts ATOM"  It's a little hard to read because of my super cool background, but it is there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


I'm in Washington DC this week, but really for the most part I'm in the basement of a hotel that could be in any city in the world. When I arrived Sunday I was able to do a walking tour around the capital - that was pretty great.

The meetings started Monday morning and have been going all day for three days. I'm in the last two hours of of the event and honestly...I'm bored. The sessions are good, but skewed into domains that aren't overly relevant to my daily work life, or that of my team.

Rather than reviewing an abstract attack model of a cyber attack I'm more interested in the legal and business response recommendations. Either way, I know you just grabbed the nearest sharp object and stabbed it into your eye. Sorry.

There have been a couple opportunities to leave the hotel. Monday there was a reception at the International Spy Museum. That was really fun. There was a great mix of artifacts from real and imaginary spies. James Bond's Austin Martin was there and I'm sure they wanted us to get into it for a photo op, but I couldn't be bothered to climb over the velvet rope. Next time.

They also went into counter intelligence and detailed the efforts of the German military man who was feeding false information to the Nazi's regarding the movement of troops in preparation of the invasion of Normandy. The US gave him enough credible information so that he informed 'his' people that the invasion was coming, but only after he had convinced them to move their key response troops to an alternate area - thus leaving the coast compromised.

The museum had plenty of nifty little things that spies would use, from cameras to lock picking tools, poison, communication devices and secret hiding places. I think I'll be getting shoes with storage location in the heels. Sure, TSA will see my stuff, but if it's not anything illegal who cares.

Last night, I ventured out with a group of other attendees and we walked over to the Georgetown area for dinner at a former fire station.

If I'm unable to switch to an earlier flight tomorrow I'll be spending part of my day at one of the Smithsonian museums. I'm ready to come home and will be delighted if I can move to the early flight. I do want to see the sights, but would rather do it with my people.

I should meet up with other folks for dinner tonight but I'm tired of talking about work... lame.


Friday, October 12, 2012

The Good Tea Party



I'm testing the rss feed ... I don't think there's anything I can do with my settings to make it function better (or at all) but I did change a few things and maybe that will help.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A bird in the hand is MUCH better than this

WARNING:  Parental over-sharing is about to happen.

In case you don't want to read on, here is a picture of a spooky spiderweb in the tree in front of our house.  I wouldn't want you to think that you surfed over here for nothing.

Ok, with that taken care of lets move on to what I'm thinking is hopefully the worst of the worst of parenting activities.  Lucy pooped in my bare hand.  See, now you're disgusted and wish you had clicked away after looking at my pretty spider web.

How on earth does a 19 month old kid poop on their mom!?  This is the question that I'm sure you were just noodling on, or more than likely wish you weren't noodling on.

Here's our story. Friday I was home working trying to catch up from being at the conference all week when the phone rings at 11:20 am.  The caller ID says it is the day care.  I answer without a hint of fear, heck maybe they just wanted to call to say how nice Lucy's hair looked or to remind me personally that they were going to be closed Monday.  Either way, I answer the phone "Lucy's mom".  Sigh.  It is when you are least expecting things that the the world goes wonky.

Lucy got into an altercation at day care with a member of her class (they won't tell me who) and she got bit... hard.  The little carnivore broke the skin and drew blood.   Calmly I ask if she's ok and tell Miss A. that I'll call her back in about 30 minutes.  Honestly, this was not a panic situation, but I decided to call the pediatrician just to see what they suggest.  My hope was neosporin and hugs.  NOPE.  We were given the first available appointment at 1:50 pm.  That pretty much ends my super productive work day as there is no taking the kid back to day care at this age.  Once we pick her up she is ours again.  This isn't a school rule, but a know thy toddler thing.  Eventually, she'll go to the dentist or doctor and get taken back to school, but under the age of three, I don't think it's happening. -Late afternoon or early morning appointments are my goal.  1:50 is smack dab in the middle of the day.  ICK.

Lucy's bite looked like it hurt.  While the doctor cleaned it with super special medical soap she told me that a human bite is second only to the bite of a kimono dragon or some other mystical being.  Either way, it earned Lucy a 5 day round of antibiotics.   This disappoints me because unlike liquid tylenol or advil she HATES it, so each dose is a wrestling match and this is her third round in 19 months and since eventually the virus' will adjust to the antibiotics I hope to keep her exposure low in case we run into a scenario in which it is dire.  With that said, I did not push back on the doctor in this case.  My medical degree has not yet arrived in the mail (the post is slow from Nigeria) so I deferred to my more papered colleague.

The trouble with antibiotics is that they can upset the tiny tummy.  (See, now we're getting back to the original topic.)  Our poor girl has not responded well and has had a mild diaper rash since day 2.  Since we were home through Monday I was able to keep the diaper rash to a dull roar because I'm only managing one child, whereas day care is managing 8-10.  I can spot a poopy diaper and respond instantly, but the teachers are busy breaking up the bite to the death wrestling matches over toy ownership.

Fast forward to bath time two nights ago.  Lucy won't sit in the water because it hurts her bottom.  I get her all scrubbed and clean and we're spending a few minutes (safely) playing with the tub toys on the ledge when I spot the tale tell (tell tell?)  signs of an impending poo.   We've experienced poop in the tub before, which is an unpleasant event that results in an emergency bleach of the tub, all the toys, my hands, and anything else I see.   To avert the tub contamination, my instinct was to reach out and 'take the poo' and flush it.

I don't tell you this story because I think it indicates what a good mother I am.  I tell you this story because I had an idea that poo would be part of the parenting gig, but voluntarily taking one in the hand wasn't on my list.

As I was telling Jason about it he said that he was proud of me.  You see, I'm grossed out by lots of things - snot bubbles, for one, make me gag  (GAG)  and this hits high on the gag meter.   I told him that I did ok when Lucy was throwing up and for 3 hours or more I held her while she threw up all over me.  I think I was able to do that for her because she's a small person who didn't understand.  I told Jason I couldn't do it for him.  He disagreed and then said 'if I was really sick you could do it, now if I pooped in your hand that would be a different story."  INDEED

I think we can all agree that the marital vows did not, do not and never will include adults pooping into the hands of their partners.  I don't even think it needed to be said - but I am glad we are crystal clear on that front.

So, there's my gross story.  Today is Lucy's last dose of the bad liquid, we have no rash left to speak of and last night she sat in the tub while having her bath.  Things are back to normal... until the phone rings again.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Girl Conference Recap

I've been in Arizona this week for the best networking event. I'm lucky to get to participate, as a lowly policy manager it is somewhat unusual to have cocktails with the chief information security officers from all over the country.

The content of the meetings during the day are compelling and interesting. The evening events are fun. I danced last night for about three hours. Today my thighs are mad at me.

I arrived Monday after picking up my rented convertible camaro. Sounds cool right? Well, the issue was I had two other people in my carpool. We HAD to have the top down which means we lost 80% of the trunk space.

Normally, I'm a conservative packer and can manage to limit my travel items to only those that fit into a backpack. I didn't even try to limit myself for this conference. I brought bagzilla. My thought was that's I would need the three shoe options (true) and my full hair salon (true) and that it would be great to be able to pack the swag rather than carry it on. So, in the back "seat" of the Camaro my suitcase took up 90% of the room and our tiny Chinese co-worker. Angel is thankfully an itty bitty person, but she only brought a small satchel. It would have been sad to have to request a bigger, more boring car.

The ride in was fun, we managed to find good 70's rock music to blast as we zipped down the freeway in the hot sun. For the record, I could never live here. I love the sun, but a place that is 103 in October would be too much for me. Plus, I would never be able to afford to live at this amazing resort hotel. I suppose I could work as a maid and the I could be here everyday, but I doubt they would appreciate the amount of time I intend to spend at the pool.

After checking in and dumping my gigantic bag in the room I headed to the spa for my appointment. Let me say that I almost didn't book a spa appointment. The guilt of leaving Jason and Lucy behind to fly to summer, sleep in a glorious room where someone else makes the bed is pretty high, so adding on a therapeutic hot-rock massage feels selfish and indulgent. Somehow I was able to set that aside and I don't regret it. The secret benefit of the spa treatment is gaining access to the private mineral pool, the secluded hot tub, the outdoor showers and other serene spaces limited to other people soaking in the zen.

Floating in the mineral pool with only my nose and eyes out of the water allowed me to shut out all the to do lists, mommy tasks, work requirements and pressures. Sure, it was only for a few moments, but taking those moments to listen to my own heartbeat and breathing is restorative. The hot rock thing was lovely too. I start out super chatty with the therapist, but 20 minutes in I was in the zone and just focused on the muscle movement. Bliss

Reluctantly I re-entered the real world and went to the hotel patio to meet up with the other attendees. As loud and confident as I am, walking into a gaggle (or murder) of people whom I don't really know to sit down to chat it outside my comfort level. But, I'm a grown up and did it. I. Immediately ran into a friend and we ended up having a relaxing dinner. See, set your fear and insecurity aside and good things happen.

The next morning I had a yummy breakfast on the patio outside my room. (Why would i go home? Oh yeah, the family...). The conference activity started in earnest and for three days amazing women talked about risk, technology, time, confidence, leadership and shoes.

The social events are certainty a draw. Last night we dressed up, had cocktails and danced until my feet exploded. I'm super sore today, I'm sure it was the dancing, but taking a nose dive in the lobby at 8:30 am yesterday didn't help.

I'm headed home today. Leaving this desert paradise is bittersweet. Tomorrow will be a full work day and there will be lots of laundry to do, but I'll get to have dinner with my family and play with Lucy for a few hours. It's not floating in a mineral pool, but it's my life. My amazing, lucky life.