Friday, March 22, 2013

Transitioning to the Toddler Bed

We are all about strategery in the W house these days. How can we utilize as many baby related things for Baby Boy without having to buy new ones for the new baby.  My ideal spacing between children would be 3 years, hopefully you have a potty trained, big boy bed sleeping, non stroller using child by then. That more or less worked out for us with Our Little Helper when Baby Boy was born. But infertility coupled with my advanced maternal age didn't lend us a lot of time to wait for that magical spacing so we will have 2 years and 6 months between our last two children. Not too shabby.

Partly because he has a speech delay which makes him seem younger to me than he actually is, I haven't really been encouraging much potty use by Baby Boy.  Mr. W packed the potty chairs during the move, in an unlabeled box of course, so I've been unable to locate them thus far. He has been so busy with work he doesn't remember to search for them, nor has he installed the 2-in-1 seats on the toilets. He has some interest in sitting on the toilet, but he doesn't gesture for it consistently so I have been putting my focus elsewhere.

I have been planning the bed conversion though. I converted Our Little Helper to the toddler bed a little earlier than most of my friends because he was shaking the crib so violently that the screws began to work themselves loose.  He also managed to use the too closely positioned changing table to climb out of the crib one day so I walked into the room to find him smiling on the changing table. That was disturbing!  One afternoon I took off the side rail and installed the toddler rail; Mr. W was quite surprised when he returned home that day. What we remember most from that transition was a bout a week of him running around the room like a crazy person playing with toys and venturing our of the room to come find us in the living room. We took to barricading him in the room with a baby gate, but he'd still stay up playing and would eventually fall asleep on the floor. We spent about a week gathering the sleeping boy off the floor and depositing him into bed. Then after about a week, the novelty of freedom wore off and he would just stay in bed.

In anticipation of another week of pandemonium, especially since the boys share a room and like to keep each other up late on occasion anyway, we decided to make the switch during OLH's spring break. That way staying up way past bedtime would not make for even less enjoyable mornings. The school schedule provides even more time off, with today as a teacher inservice day, all next week for spring break, and no school the following Monday in honor of Easter Monday. Yesterday after nap time I switched the side rail out, to maximize the amount of time we have for this transition.

It was, not surprisingly, chaos! Even though I had had a nice discussion with OLH at dinner time about the plan and what a good example we needed to set for our little brother, and he assured me that he would take good care of his brother, he was quite the adventure seeking instigator. Endless trips down stairs to the family room to visit us. Claims that they both needed to go potty again. We decided on this first night to not really enforce Super Nanny bedtime rules and just let them enjoy the freedom. OLH is happy to have a partner in crime, and Baby Boy is happy to do whatever his older brother wants him to do.  When we went to bed around 10:30 PM, they were still up. Stricter enforcement soon to come.

By converting him to a toddler bed now, he'll have 3-6 months in this set up before we need to move him to the matching twin bed. Our babies usually co-sleep, and sometimes bed share, with us for the first 3 months in a bassinet next to our bed. Then they mostly nap in my arms, I've never had much luck having napping infants transfer to a bed or bassinet. By the time the new baby is ready for the crib, Baby Boy should be completely finished with it, thus saving us needing to buy another crib. Hopefully we'll be able to execute this plan!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

St. Joseph Altar

It is our first St. Joseph's Day in our new house. Last year we were in the midst of moving and selling the Laburnum Bungalow and had buried a St. Joseph statue in our yard in the hopes that he would intercede on our behalf. We certainly had good fortune during the whole process considering we were only on the market 5 weeks before we had a signed contract. So this year I did not want to skip out out on honoring him.

Traditionally the altar should have 3 levels, which I have never been able to achieve. This year I managed to add a second tier by sticking the silver chest under the table cloth. It certainly looks much nicer having some height. I need to plan more next year to get all 3 tiers. We have most of the symbolic items: candles, St. Joseph statue, fava beans, wine, fruits, breads, special pastries, and for flowers this year I added lilies. We had to say goodbye to all our lovely Lenten Roses I had planted at the old house, also we are so close upon Easter that I figured I can manage to keep these plants alive for at least a week. Missing are breadcrumbs, fish, and palms.
 I went back to Di Prima Dolci to get an assortment of breads and some canolli. When I walked in I noticed they had made some special St. Joseph pastries so I was very excited.  They were offering Sfinci, fried cream puffs, which I had just been reading about in the Italian Holiday Cooking by Michele Scicolone while reviewing the dinner recipe. I knew I wasn't going to attempt to make cream puffs, so this was literally a nice treat. They didn't have a huge assortment of breads by the time I arrived; I was secretly hoping they would have some breads shaped like St. Joseph's staff or ladders or something. Every year I have good intentions to bake bread, but it hasn't happened yet.
Look at how pretty and delicious these cream puffs are!
As usual I made the St. Joseph's Day Soup which is a meatless bean and lentil soup flavored with fennel. It is always so much tastier than I expect it to be.
The other day MLH told me that his favorite soup was my carrot soup, but tonight he told me that this "Jesus soup" was his favorite. That was nice to hear. Certainly having a plate of sfinci helps to motivate little boys to finish their dinner.
Baby Boy was not at all interested in the soup, he only had eyes for those sfinci.
 We have so much fun putting this together and I enjoy seeing what other families are doing in their homes too.

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day

We went up to Seattle this weekend to visit our friends who are temporarily living there while Mrs. K does her final residency before completing her Nurse Anethsitican education. The men folk were going to attend a soccer match and I didn't realize that we'd end up missing St. Patrick's Day entirely. I had made plans to go out for tea at the Georgian Lounge at the Olympic Hotel with some of the other wives. I had such a nice time and I'm so glad the other ladies were willing to go with me.
On the way home we stopped in Fife for gas.  I have long admired the awesome neon for the Poodle Dog diner.  We didn't time it right to eat there this time, but the interior is a perfect time warp.  An excellent counter and lots of paneling.
I packed some green shirts for the boys to wear, but that was the extent of my celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  When we returned home My Little Helper put on a bishops miter and a staff they had made at school on Friday.  I actually think they had made the staffs in December for the Feast of St. Nicholas.  They look so cute; totally worth the cost of tuition!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Boom Truck

Slowly, but surely we are completing the conversion from oil to natural gas. We had a lot of excitement this week with both the oil tank decommissioning and today the HVAC crew was back with a boom truck to install the gas insert for the fireplace. I know I was originally thinking of waiting until the tile was set to have them back out to install, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be better to have them put the motor in place first rather than having to slide it in over newly installed hearth tiles. On a related not I finally placed an order for the tiles from both Pratt & Larson and Derby! Yay! Only 4-6 weeks to wait so we should have a completely installed fireplace just in time for warmer weather.

I had the tile setters out to review since they were last here in October before I had the demo done and we didn't have the unit on site. They verified my tile quantities. Our final selection is 4x4 Victoria tiles in Amber from Derby for the fireplace surround. (The sample here is in Butternut.) I ordered a few pencil liner tiles in the same finish to fill in an anticipated gap along the top of the fireplace unit. We're just about a 1/2 inch short so I'm hoping using the same finish will make it less noticeable.  The hearth will have the Aidan circles border in Amber with charcoal pencil liners. The hearth field will be P&L 2x6 tiles in the #WV35 mottled Victorian colorway and they will be brick set. The tile setters will set the tiles as closely together as possible to minimize the grout lines so it has a more Victorian look rather than a modern looking wide grout line. I'm very excited!! I've spent endless hours looking at photos of original fireplace tile installations online so I'm feeling confident that I'm making the right choices here within our budget.
 But on the the major excitement for little boys:the Boom truck! Since the chimney is so tall, and our roof pitch is kinda steep, the project manager felt more confident hiring a boom truck to be allow the crew to lower the ducting from the top down. We had a little melodrama first thing, the boom truck arrived right away and the guys determined that I hadn't been sold the correct attachment for a top venting installation. Certainly I should have been sold the correct attachment since she also sold me 40' of ducting so it obviously isn't a direct side vent installation. Basically it was a SNAFU, just like when I was working. The fireplace shop wasn't open yet so I was calling to the manufacturer to confirm the right part we needed. Part of the problem is the online specs which were all I was given pretty much had the correct part listed so it is unclear why I received the wrong thing. To complicate things, Our Little Helper has the day off from school AND I had made cookies for a funeral at church that needed to be dropped of by 9 AM. SO there was a lot of running around between our house and Irvington. I was so tired by mid afternoon, I wondered how I had managed to survive a day like this when I was pregnant the first time and still working. Then it occurred to me I didn't also have two little boys to drag around with me or shush while making dozens of phone calls. In the end the saleswoman realized her mistake and had the correct part in stock.

Here the boom truck is set up and is lowering the box for a passenger. The ducting is also all laid out on the pathway.
The view from below. OLH asked me if the guy was excited or scared to go up on the roof like that. I suggested he ask him afterward. He said he was a little of both.

 Getting lowered onto the roof. There is a flat section in the middle of the roof, so he was able to work up there and have a flat area to lower the box.
 Once out of the box he was able to lower the ducting down the chimney. Everything was so rushed when the boom truck arrived, they wanted to hurry up and finish since they are charged for the time they use. But in hind sight I really should have had them tarp over the firebox opening. The ducting being shoved down the chimney sent cloud of soot into the family room apparently since everything ended up being covered by a thin layer of sootiness.
 Ducting installed and the firebox and hearth area cleaned up. The gas line was added during the work completed in November.
 The Valor President gas insert installed without the decorative cover. We opted for the coal burning look since the house originally had a coal burning furnace and I imagine they may have burned coal in the one fireplace too. We can use it now, but without the outside cover the glass gets very hot so we'll probably only use it once the children are in bed for now.
 After a day of so much excitement an pretzel snack was in order.