Saturday, December 30, 2006

I've got your number...

The file name for this picture is 'Serious Lyra'. Even at one year old (as of Monday) this baby can do a mean stare.  Posted by Picasa

Kitchen Progress!

At times, it has seemed like it was taking eons to make progress on our new kitchen, but right now things are moving along well. Our new cabinets are being installed in the kitchen, and the trim is being installed in the dining room. This is picky work, and we have great craftsmen doing the job. The progress day to day is visible and it makes us salivate for the day we can finally work in the new kitchen. Our two cats (Noelle in this picture) are carefully supervising the project. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day!

Look at all this LOOT!

Santa brought Will a digital camera, SchoolHouse Rock and several books. He dug into Calvin & Hobbes right away.
Eva gave Will a James Bond book for Christmas and he was SO HAPPY! I think his interest in spies is starting to transcend his interest in Star Wars. I couldn't get the kids to hold the book up and look halfway presentable for the camera at the same time. This is the best I could do! Posted by Picasa
Will loves little Lyra too! Posted by Picasa
Eva had two important requests from Santa. One was an American Girl doll and the other was an Eva-safe chocolate bar. Many of you know that Eva has a nut allergy and because of that, chocolate is a very high-risk food. But she loves it soooooooo much! So, Eva-safe chocolate is a very special treat.

Eva recently discovered jewelry and has been pining for a grown up pearl necklace. Our special gift to her was a freshwater pearl necklace and bracelet set and she adores it!Posted by Picasa
All yesterday, Lyra was climbing on and digging into all the presents. This morning, she wasn't so interested. Eva's gummy bears did catch her her eye and she played with them until Will and Eva calmed down enough to let Lyra open her presents. Ultimately, I think Lyra was rather overwhelmed. That and sleep-deprived (aren't we all?) due to an up and coming tooth.Posted by Picasa
Eva did some Christmas art with materials sent by Aunt Edie and Auntie Jo. You can see our teeny weeny Christmas tree in the background. Because of the renovation, we only had space for a tabletop rosemary plant. Lyra is at a difficult age for having a tree so it wasn't such a bad thing. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Eve Day

For years, we've heard about the waterskiing Santa but have never gone out to see him. So, we made special plans to see him this year. Lots of people turned out on this sunny but very windy day. Will and Eva aren't in this photo because they climbed a tree to get a better view. Hope Santa comes out soon because we are cold! Posted by Picasa
Santa's elf is chasing the Grinch. That is the National Cathedral in the background there. Where is Santa? Posted by Picasa
Finally! There's Santa, taking a break from toy making! We hear this is Santa's last year waterskiing as age is finally taking its toll and he would rather relax in front of a warm fire with a hot toddy. It was very windy today and I'm sure the water was freezing, so Santa's plan sounds sensible to me.
Posted by Picasa
Here is Eva in her special Christmas outfit. This came from Norway. Last year, Eva's class studied Norway for Global Studies and she was taken with the country and its clothes. She should get two years or so out of this beautiful embroidered wool pinafore. Wearing this dress around town is prompting Eva to practice social graces because everyone asks her about it and tells her she is pretty. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Friday Dinner

Camera phones are always with us, but they are just not very good. Cath shot this photo with her lousy Motorola phone at Harry's Tap Room in Arlington. Here is Bill with Eva (happy) and Lyra (oblivious). Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Christmas Carol

I took Will and Eva and Eva's friend, Susannah, to Ford's Theatre tonight to see A Christmas Carol. We went with Ross and his family. What a show it was! I think this was Eva's first real grown up play. I have not seen or read that story since working backstage on our junior high production of the play, and I had forgotten how scary it is. I hope no one has any bad dreams. Bill, I am sorry you missed it!

Lyra did not come on this outing but had a nice time at Auntie Cheryl's and Uncle Todd's. She woke up as soon as I brought her home. It was fun to have an evening out with the big kids but I kept feeling like I had forgotten something very important. I am pleased that I remembered to pick her up on the way home. I was a little worried about that!

Risks of Parenting

Even though last night's recital was short and sweet, Will and Eva's piano instructor required the children to conform to her performance dress code. I asked Will and Eva to get themselves dressed appropriately, figuring they knew what that meant having performed in recitals before.

Eva did fine but, as you can see, Will followed the Letter of the law but not the Spirit of the law. He looks like a drunk. If I'd framed this shot better, you'd see his shirttail hanging out in front. The natural consequences of his decision are that I am posting this photo for all the world to see and that I will be supervising his choice of clothing more carefully in the future. Posted by Picasa
Eva is playing Christmas carols with piano teacher and performer, Julie Zupan. I liked the chamber music format of this recital. I don't have a good picture of Will playing piano because he played at the end and Lyra had lost all sense of decorum by then. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 16, 2006

More Progress!

The barrier between the front of the house and the construction zone is temporarily down, so you can kind of see where this renovation is going. I wish I'd taken a picture of the floor before all the thermaply was put back down but I missed my chance.

There is dust EVERYWHERE. It has even migrated up to the attic. It will get worse during the drywall work. I think we will be putting our cleaning lady's children through college trying to clean up after this is all done. Posted by Picasa
This is from the kitchen looking towards the front of the house. Posted by Picasa
The windows are finally in. There used to be a window on the lefthand wall and another to the right of the door. Now we have a larger window to the left of the door and the door is further to the right than it was. The old radiator is gone and we are looking forward to having heat in the back of the house! Posted by Picasa

Can you do this?

I can't. Posted by Picasa


Fireflies is our new kid friendly place to go eat. Eva loves the lemonade and live bluegrass on Sundays. Lyra loves her avocado though I brought that from home. I can't believe she ate the whole thing! Posted by Picasa

News! News!

The biggest news is that Lyra took her first step yesterday! It was just one and then she fell down but we were all so excited. She did it a couple more times so Will and Eva could see. I expect she'll take off over the next month.

I do have more renovation pictures coming but the wireless access in the attic (where the computer with all the pictures is) has stopped working. As result, it is a bit of a hassle to select pictures and bring them downstairs. I can't even email them to myself. But the new floor is in, the electrical work is done and we have insulation now. It is starting to look like a real house! They will turn on the heat in the back of the house and start the drywall work next week!

Christmas Chapel

Every year, Will and Eva's school does a Christmas Chapel service on the last day before winter break begins. This children in first grade reenact the Christmas story. There are angels, shepherds, wise men, animals and Jesus' family. They practice for weeks learning their songs and special parts. One of the songs is Silent Night which they sing both in American Sign Language and the regular way. It is just beautiful! Posted by Picasa
Eva is a sweet little angel, isn't she? Posted by Picasa
We sat right behind Will's class during the Christmas Chapel. Lyra provided lots of entertainment for the children. I had to take her out towards the end because her babbles and giggles were echoing through the Cathedral a bit too loudly. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Renovation Update

It's been about 3 weeks since we've posted about the renovation, but that doesn't mean that things haven't been moving. It just means that there's been a bunch of messy infrastructural work going on that isn't very interesting to look at.

The trench in the dining room floor is filled in now and there was a week and a half of work to lay radiant heat in the floor of the back half of the house. This turned out to be a good time for us to stay at our friends', the Juneaus (Juneaux?) while they were in Brazil. We were able to contribute to the Thanksgiving cooking effort and the their house had heat when ours didn't.
Our wood floor was delivered yesterday to acclimate to the house and (I hope) will be installed next week. The cabinets will arrive then also. The HVAC guy was here to do some duct work and the electrician was working away too. I bought what I hope is a beautiful light fixture off eBay and I will post pictures when that is installed.

What else? KC, our oldest and largest cat, has proved able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. No matter how high the wood barrier to the back part of the house is, he can get over it. When this project is done, he is going to PetSmart for a bath. I swear that the challenge of these plywood barriers is the only thing keeping him sane through all the chaos. That and Noelle....I am so glad we have two kitties and not one. The superintendent on our job finally barricaded the space up to the ceiling and built a hinged door perpendicular to the stair so it is more difficult for KC to get over there. But I am sure he will have that figured out by tomorrow morning.

Now, I realize I have been making our project sound perfect and painless. So, just to bring some reality to it all, I should tell you that we can only run our cooking appliances one at a time (the coffee maker OR the microwave OR the toaster oven). We've been having to take trash out the front door and walk all the way around the corner and down the alley to put it in the big trash bin. The new door to the back half of the house has fixed that, thankfully! And, (drum roll please....) our poor neighbor came out of her 2nd floor flat which overlooks our garden only to spy one of the contractors in the portajohn. There's no top on that thing! How's that for a SNAFU? I was mortified (so was she)! But fortunately, we have a responsive team and there is now a raised plywood ceiling over the portajohn. We hope that whole contraption will be gone in a week when the floor is in and they can reinstall the old toilet.

The windows are supposed to be installed tomorrow. I am sure in a week or two we will have pictures that show more interesting progress. :)

Eva and Jacob Sittin' in a Tree....

I took this picture of Eva with one of her most favorite beaux, Jacob. Unfortunately, Jacob is not in her class this year and she misses him very much. In fact, the other day, I saw Jacob in the hallway....he said Hi, I said Hi and that Eva missed him a lot. He said "I know." A true Hans Solo moment! Jacob is a sweet boy and more than one person in the Phelps family has noticed a resemblance to Will at the same age. Posted by Picasa