Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween...a bittersweet holiday

Since last Wednesday Lucas has been down and out with croup. So, no preschool, no playdates, and a very minimal Halloween.

Our first stop was to Jeannie's to pick up some good Halloween loot. We walked around the block with Jeannie, Zach, and Maggie. But Lucas wanted to take off his costume and walked around in his shorts and t-shirt. Sorry, no Halloween picture this year.

Once we got in the car, Lucas started screaming, "I want more candy!". I told him if he didn't stop, we would go straight home. His screaming decreased to a pitiful whimper.

So we went to Whitney's house. Lucas had his first Butterfinger and loved it. Of course, after eating his and most of mine, he started in on "more candy". So we made a hasty departure and went home and decorated his pumpkin with the Mr. Potatohead kit from Jeannie. It was a big success.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Halloween, Here I Come!!!

Enter, Lucas the Lion! ROAR! We borrowed this costume from Miles. He couldn't wait to try it on, so here's a little preview of what you'll see next week. He cried when we had to take it off.
We will take him trick-or-treating on Halloween. I figure this is the last year I can use him as a decoy to score some good candy for myself. He will read this one day and resent me, I'm sure.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Canine Curb Appeal

Last week, Lucas decided to try his hand at interior design, Maggie was his first client. He took some of the ASPCA mailing labels and other assorted stickers and made Maggie's little spot much more homey.

Lucas has a very modern approach to his designs. I asked what inspired him. "I just take the stickers and put them on there," he says.

According to Lucas, his client is pleased.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Toddler Logic

Lucas has been asking lots of questions lately. The most popular ones seem to be "What is ___?" and "Why?" Sometimes when Lucas asks me what something is, I give him an analogy. For instance, "Mommy, what is salad?", "A salad is a lot of vegetables like lettuce and spinach".

So now he gives me his own analogies, some of which make more sense to me than others.

Lucas: I want bubblegum.
Me: Do you know what bubblegum is?
Lucas: It's kind of like a mud puppy.

(Photo on left: bubblegum; photo on right: mudpuppy)

Lucas is also getting good at answering my questions, with the same definitive answers I give.

Me: Lucas, why are you so smart?
Lucas: Because I take naps. That's why!

Me: What is that? (pointing to a picture of a porcupine)
Lucas: That' s a porcupine. It has sharp points that can hurt you. That's why it's called a porcupine and that's all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Commitment Phobic - Countertops!

Throughout this construction process, I had been looking forward to being able to have input on some of the decisions. I mean, there's only so much for me to say about the HVAC system.

Now that we're in decision-making mode for the kitchen, I've become a non-committal nut case. Countertops keep me up at night and online early in the morning, searching for the "right" one. I posted a question on Berkeley Parents Network ( on concrete counters and was invited to Larkspur to check out some counters. And, of course, I went!

As our contractor says, there is no perfect countertop, they all have their ups and downs. Well, this may be true, but it's driving me batty.

After discussing the virtues of concrete counters with our contractor yesterday and leaving the meeting with the "decision" of moving forward with concrete, I had to poll everyone I knew who either recently redid their kitchen or just those who know a lot about kitchens. And of course, everyone has a different opinion. Granite, honed granite, tile, soapstone...there are just too many choices. I'm one step away from creating a countertop matrix (appearance, durability, price, degrees of porosity, levels of stain-resistance, color options). It would help kill time, but I don't think it will get me any closer to making a decision.

My friend Monica says that since all countertops have their issues, I should just go with what I like. Easier said than done, my friend. If anyone has input, please let me know!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Goats and Chickens and Toddlers, OH MY!

Today I was a driver and chaperone for Lucas' first field trip to Little Farm in Tilden Park. Little did I know what it would be like to be out in public with more than a dozen children under the age of 5! I was one of several adults, but those little urchins wouldn't have had any problem overthrowing the adults in a second. (Now that I look back, there were only 11 kids)

The girls were following the rules set by the teachers, content to hold hands with their partners and stay with the group. On the other hand, the boys were all over the place! Running around like maniacs, waving around sticks, and screaming at each other and the poor farm animals.

After an hour or so of terrorizing the goats, feeding them tons of celery, and eating snacks, the teacher asked me what we should do next. I had only one thing on my mind: Let's get these kids back in school before chaos really erupts! After a few suggestions, she suggested going back to school and I nodded emphatically, car keys already in hand.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Alpha Dog No More

Now that Maggie is an apartment dog, we need to take her on frequent little walks around the neighborhood to do her business.

The interesting walks occur when I have to take Maggie out with Lucas. I've always known that Maggie is an alpha dog, and am just starting to realize that Lucas is a burgeoning alpha toddler.

Our apartment is on the 2nd floor, so walking up and down stairs with Maggie and Lucas can be a tiresome task. Maggie, her silent but pushy self, trying to ooze her way up the stairs past me and Lucas. And the vocal Lucas, saying "No, me first. Don't come up yet. Me first. No Maggie, ME!" It's about a 5 minute ordeal to walk up 10 steps. Usually Lucas goes up first while Maggie and I follow, but he gets upset that Maggie is even on the stairs. So once inside the apartment, he tries to tackle Maggie, the sturdy fortress that she is, who just stands there looking at me like "What the heck is he trying to do?"

Nevertheless, Maggie, the good old gal that she is, lets him do what he wants. No matter how humiliating it is.

I think they will be good friends.

We Have Walls!

So, our construction project is moving along. We are very happy with our contractor, who was also our architect ( I went by the house the other day and called Kevin to tell him they were putting in gypsum board and sheet rock. I asked him what that meant. He said, "To you, that means we have walls!" Yay! Pictures to come.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Comment on Photos

I will be better about posting photos to this blog. We haven't yet set up the camera to the computer here. But we have a big table with chairs. One step at a time.

"Where have all the roses gone?"

Although Lucas is adjusting well to the apartment life, he is still a little confused over his new surroundings. He's a bit like an overthrown prince, who has been cast down from his high castle and now lives with the commoners. The first afternoon in the apartment, he looked out and saw a man down below. He said, "Is that our gardener?". I said "No, we don't have a gardener in the apartment, we don't even have our own garden." He started towards the front door, "I'm going to check to see what the gardener is doing."

Then this morning in his room and I lifted him up and said, "Let's look out your window." Of course, we saw other apartment windows, but Lucas said, "Mommy, where are my roses?" At least he can be certain that his lowly servants (aka Mommy and Daddy) are just in the next room, waiting to take orders from him.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Dorm Living for Midgets

So we're pretty much settled into our apartment. Last night was our first night here. I say we're settled in, but we're living off of Lucas' stuff. We're eating at his little table and chairs, using little utensils, and plastic and colorful bowls and plates. And our "coffee table" is Lucas' train table. Oh, and we don't have pots and pans. Did I also mention we're all sleeping on the floor? But, at least we have wireless for our laptops. And I spent $40 to get Lucas a fancy little nightlight-lantern combo for his room, which he really likes and so far, it's kept him happy in his room, so it was worth the money.

I've never lived in an apartment with so many units. The biggest apartment I've lived in had 14 units, aside from the college dorms. There must be at least 40 units here.

It's kind of surreal to be living dorm life with Kevin and Lucas. Maggie will be making her debut here tomorrow. Yes, Maggie the original good-time gal, the official party animal will be living with us in this little apartment. Let the fun begin...TOGA TOGA!

While I spent the first part of this post talking about what we don't have, I'm still so so so happy to be back in Berkeley. Lucas and I biked over to Totland to meet up with Whitney and Julian, it only took us 5 minutes.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

From Suburbia to Berkeley

Well, we decided to bite the bullet and rent an apartment in Berkeley till the construction on our house is complete. A few reasons for this: 1) Completion date moved from November to December (whoops!); 2) Three very long round-trips a week through the Caldecott tunnel during rush hour to take Lucas to preschool. Restless and hungry toddlers do not make for happy passengers; and 3) We really missed our favorite people and places out in the Berkeley area.

We made the decision just in time. I was almost brainwashed into thinking Moraga is BETTER than Berkeley. Lucas and I went to Totland park yesterday, the big park with lots of trucks and scooters that Lucas and I love. I looked around and it was so crowded, more toys were broken than functioning, and there were half-eaten pizza slices sitting on a picnic bench. This was shocking in comparison to the nearly-empty, pristine (almost sterile) look of the parks in Moraga. Then I shook my head and realized that this was home. Luckily, we had just come from signing the lease on the apartment. Moraga almost had me for a second.