Tuesday, January 31, 2006

More photos of the house

Here are some recent pictures of the latest work on the house. The countertops were stained this week and came out great!

Also, more rooms have been painted. This is especially exciting for me, since I've always lived in places with white walls. Unless you count some of the walls in the house where I grew up: fake wood panelling in the family room and a weird dark green wallpaper with an even darker green velour pattern in the two bathrooms.

Aside from a few pedestrian sounding names, like Raccoon Hollow (which is the name of the exterior paint color), or Traffic Light Green, which we are not using, they are all very aspirational and lovely.

Here is Provence Creme in the guest/playroom.

And Queen's Wreath in our upstairs bathroom.

If you catch me scrubbing the toilet in my tiara, you'll know why. (And yes, I actually do have a tiara.)

Monday, January 30, 2006

"All by myself"

Lucas has been saying this a lot lately. He loves being able to do things by himself and will not hesitate to let you know about it. Here he is, "making a pumpkin patch", all by himself.

And just a few days ago, he started asking about me, and things I do myself. Like, "Mommy, you went pee all by yourself? Great job!"

Today we were talking about names.
Lucas: What's Grandma Kay's name?
Me: Kay Young Choi. I was also a Choi before Daddy and I got married.
Lucas: You married Daddy?
Me: Yep.
Lucas: All by yourself?
Me: Yes, all by myself.
Lucas: Before you were born in the circus?

I'm always so proud of Lucas when he tells me he did something all by himself. But it also makes me think of my wonderful friend Sunday, who had temporarily broken up with her boyfriend in college, weeping as she blasted this song in her room. Now they are married with FOUR kids. Maybe she wishes she could sing this song again, for a totally different reason.

On potty training

On Sunday, when we thought Lucas was napping, he had silently removed his diaper and decided to try on a pull-up. I guess the first 20 pull-ups were not to his liking, because he tried on just about every pair in the pack before settling on one. That was our not-so-subtle sign that Lucas might be ready to take potty training up a notch.

I don't get pull-ups. To Lucas, it feels just like a diaper, so, what's the point? Do pull-ups really help in the toilet training process? Or is it an insidious marketing ploy to keep parents buying diapers until their kids are 8 and to pay the Toy Story royalty to Disney? Based on my experience with kids products and Disney, it's most likely the latter, but we'll see.

So we are just going to let him walk around without anything on bottom when we're home with him. It pretty much works, as he goes to the toilet most of the time when he needs to pee.

This is the current pee-pose for Lucas. Pretty clever, huh? He thought it up all by himself. I figured I should take a picture of him doing this before he does a more conventional stance, or gets embarrassed, whichever comes first.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Career aspirations

Here is what Lucas has said, in the past couple weeks, when asked what he wants to be when he grows up:

I want to be a taxi man.
I want to be a construction worker.
I want to ride in a gantry crane.
I want to be a bulldozer driver.
I want to be a mountain lion.
I want to be a mountain goat.
I want to be a gorilla mountain goat.

My favorite is:
When I grow up I will go to work on 4th Street like Daddy. And I will bring home lots of money for you so we can buy bananas, tortellini, trucks, and hot chocolate.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

What about Sunny, Kevin, and Maggie?

I know you all want to read about Lucas, but in case you were wondering, the rest of us are alive and well.

Maggie -
I just brought Maggie home from my mom's house today. She had been out there since around Christmas. We shipped her out there after some unfortunate incidents, including a very unpleasant vomiting phase with $300+ vet bills and then a short but ugly episode of dumpster-diving through Lucas' dirty diapers in the garbage. She had quite a time today at Pt. Isabel and then a thorough bath. She's happy to be back.

Kevin -
Kevin's still bringing home the bulk of the bacon for the McKay family. In his off-time, he has been telling some really good stories to Lucas. They involve Lucas and Maggie and always end with a trip to Grandma Kay's house for some kim-bop (Korean-version of sushi). He's also been getting in shape and eating better. Oh, and he's an Aquarius.

Sunny -
Between Lucas, household tasks, and work, I'm trying to do things for myself: going on walks and runs, watching old episodes of X-Files with Kevin, and hanging out with friends. (In fact, I was just asked by Whitney to write down 50 things I like to do. It took me about 15 minutes, but I will keep the list going and maybe find a way to link it to this blog.) I wish I had more energy but I am still summoned out of a deep sleep every night by the little elf, who goes by the name of Lucas. Lately I've been thinking about how old I feel sometimes. Where did the time go?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Lucas' business venture

Lucas ate a fortune cookie today. His fortune read as follows: "You will embark on an exciting business venture."

I asked Lucas what that meant, he said very deliberately, "I-T-O-A". Thinking this would be a lucrative stock tip, I quickly jumped on the computer and looked it up as a ticker symbol, but found no results.

I searched Google. The first legitimate business I found was the Irish Tour Operators Association (www.itoa.ireland.com). So Lucas is hinting at a trip to Ireland or maybe he will one day be an employee of the ITOA.

I asked him what ITOA meant. He pointed to the fortune and said, "See, it says 'I love you'". Then he put the fortune in his mouth and started chewing on it.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

More indoor activities

Looks like we'll have a run of sunny days this coming week, thank God. But here are some games we have been playing to keep active and happy inside:

1) What the $*#&^ did I draw? - One of us draws a picture and the other one guesses what it is. When it's my turn to guess what he drew, sometimes he'll say, "Wow! You guessed right mommy!" And he sounds very amazed that I actually figured it out. (See pictures)

2) Scavenger hunt - I make a list of things around the house (mirror, refrigerator, etc.) and ask him to find these things, then he crosses them off the paper. I try to challenge him a little by saying, "where do you see your reflection?", "what keeps the food cold?". You get the picture. He loves to cross things out. We did this one day for about 1/2 hour.

3) Balancing act - We make a game out of carrying things from one room to another by piling them on his tennis racket. This also puts a new spin on the somewhat tedious job of putting his toys away. Maybe all this practice balancing will land him a job waiting tables at Chez Panisse, if my mom's dreams of him being a doctor don't pan out.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It was "one of those days"

After a friend read the blog, she said, "Wow, you guys have so much fun." True, we do have fun. However it's not all songs, games, and dance-a-thons.

Take today, for instance. I came home around 7:30am from working out. I knew it was going to be "one of those days" when all this went down within the first five minutes.
1) Lucas was a little under the weather, so I kept him home from school.
2) I brought home a little Odwalla juice for him, as I usually do when I work out in the morning. And I always drink about 1/3 of it before I get home and he never notices. Today, he noticed and was not pleased.
3) Lucas had a mini melt-down because I didn't bring home a straw for his juice.

We somehow got through the morning and ventured out to Rockridge for some errands. We went to www.bakesalebetty.com for lunch and had a stand-off over him finishing his chicken pot pie before getting a ginger cookie ("Who won?" you ask? With a toddler no one wins, but no, he didn't get the cookie). Then he didn't nap, though he was clearly tired.

Around 4:30pm, I IM'd Kevin: When will you be home? You need to come home asap! Hurry! Lucas is driving me batty!

I went to the www.cantfailcafe.com to lick my wounds and assuage my bruised emotional self with a buffalo chicken salad.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

We're in the home stretch!

So, we're really in the home stretch now on the house. There is actual paint on the walls, which to me, is a good sign. Figuring out paint colors was the trickiest part of this whole thing, aside from coming up with the money to fund a project like this. After what seemed like hours of squinting at little color chips, we are totally happy with our choices. If you love the colors, great, if you don't, I don't want to hear about it.

Soft Fern will be in the living room, stairwell and upstairs office (see above).

Crisp Khaki in our room.

Soft Chinchilla in Lucas' room.

Soon to come...Castleton Mist in the dining room, Provence Cream (excuse me, creme) in the guest/play room, and TBD in the upstairs bathroom and kitchen.

Now the big question is, when do we give our apartment manager 30-day notice that we will be moving out? We're taking bets on this one.

Friday, January 13, 2006

More indoor fun

The break in the rain has really lifted our spirits in this dinky little apartment. Although we've spent a lot of time outside puddle-jumping and park-hopping, we also had a lot of fun inside. Here are some funny pictures from this week.

Lucas and I danced around the apartment listening to the Replacements, Pixies, and Offspring. Lucas was appropriately dressed in his Thomas the Train underpants and rain boots.

We played a fun new game called "Boy in the Bucket". You put a boy in a small bucket and see how long it takes for him to get himself out. In this case, he wanted to stay in there.

We found a new use for Legos. Put them on the tips of your fingers and see what kind of stuff you can pick up with your new Lego fingers. Hint: picking up peanut butter on apples can get messy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Lucas, the baby whisperer

Today, Lucas asked me what babies say. I said, "Babies say, 'Waahh waahh waahh!'" We agreed that the best way to see what babies sound like was to show him one of his baby videos. I found one from when he was 3 weeks old and turned up the volume so he could hear himself crying.

Lucas said, "That baby wants his mommy. Where's his mommy?" And that's pretty much true, Lucas cried quite a bit as a little baby, and I would spend hours holding him to keep him from crying.

I told Lucas that he was the baby crying in the video. I don't think he believed me.

Kudos on my New Year's resolutions

So today is the official start of my NY resolutions and here is the progress I've made:

1 - I've been running at least every other morning and walking some evenings. I've reached 10K+ steps a day, except Saturday. So I can confidently say I've overachieved on this one.
2 - I'm still waiting (albeit patiently) for more patience to come my way.
3 - It's been too wet and rainy for tennis.
4 - I'm going to sign up for the Bolinas Ridge 10K run in May!
5 - Today is the official start of my resolutions, and according to my rules, it's a special occasion. So I celebrated with a cheap chocolate fix while in the office. (see below)
6 - Done. I already figured out how to install Lucas' car seat all by myself.

I ate two Kudos bars in the office today. How can you pair these up with Snickers and M&Ms and call them nutritious? They're really glorified candy bars, with some adhesive sticking all the candy parts and stuff together. The only thing that makes them healthier is that they are smaller than your standard candy bar. But when you eat two, it's pretty much the same as eating one candy bar, isn't it?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Welcome home party for Kimberley!

Last night we ventured out to San Francisco to celebrate the return of our good friend Kimberley, returning to the Bay Area from Seattle, along with Dan, her man. There was a ton of food, beverage, and four dogs. (Maggie did not attend because the last time she and Daisy got into a bitch-slap session that left our canine hostess with a slightly bloody ear.)

To help celebrate, we picked up a very tasty dark chocolate bourbon cake at www.crixacakes.com in Berkeley. Crixa Cakes is a unique little bakery across from Berkeley Bowl with amazing cakes and other treats.

Professor Flanagan, world-renowned expert on the "manzee", wowed us all with his tales of the equally exotic liger and tigon creatures, which can be found at www.wikipedia.org.

It was a great night with good friends and good food. Kevin and I didn't get home till about 1am, which is almost wake-up time for me.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Breakfast of champions!

Lucas made his first meal this morning, a banana smoothie.

The Recipe:
Take one banana. Cut it into oddly shaped pieces.
Put the pieces in a cup.
Pour in the soymilk.
Mix with the handblender.
Drink and enjoy!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Resolution #6

Learn how to install Lucas' car seat. I figured this out yesterday so I will take it off my list now.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Our funny little monkey

Besides being his general saucy self, here are some more funny things Lucas has said recently:

"Are they talking about me?" (He says this a lot when we hear songs on the radio)
"Are they talking about Grandma Kay?" (When he hears the children's song "Trot Trot to Grandma's House")
"I can't reach because I'm short, just like Grandma Kay" (Grandma Kay is 5 feet tall)
"When this car grows up, I will drive it." (Holding one of his little toy cars)
"Why do you buy this funny water?" (After accidentally sipping some sparkling water)
"I have a joke. I'll stand here and you stand over there." (And that's pretty much the end of the joke.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year's Resolutions, beginning January 10

Are people so cynical these days that they won't even make New Year's resolutions? It seems that most people I know don't want to make resolutions since "they don't mean anything" or won't announce them for fear of publicly failing. Resolutions mean something if you're serious about them, like I am, except possibly for #5.

Well, here they are. Feel free to let me know if you catch me cheating on one.

1. Exercise at least three times a week; OR, walk at least 10,000 steps 4x a week.
2. Be more patient.
3. Pick up my tennis racket again. I'll take Lucas out to the tennis courts so I can work on my serve and he can fetch balls for me. Maybe a weekly tennis lesson when the weather gets better.
4. Run a race, a 10K with a stretch goal of the Big Sur Half Marathon.
5. And of course, my recurring resolution... Eat less chocolate. I will only eat chocolate when I go out for a nice dinner. Also, chocolate as a condiment is fine, like oatmeal chocolate chip cookies or mint chip ice cream. Or on special occasions, like my birthday, anniversary, Columbus Day, and every other sunny day. I shouldn't be so strict with myself or I'll probably just eat more of it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Going for the Gold!

The intense rains have kept us inside the past few days. For a kid like Lucas all this indoor time can be a challenge. In an effort to expend his boundless energy, we've set up obstacle courses for him through our little apartment.

The course usually goes something like this: Run around your tricycle, jump over the laundry basket, jump over the train tracks, and jump on Daddy lying in bed. So far, basket jumping is his favorite activity (see picture).

Anyone who watches Lucas will get caught up in the spirit and enthusiasm of this new sport.