Friday, December 25, 2009

So, I won't quit my day job, but this met a 4-year-old's aesthetic requirements for a "Mater and Lightning McQueen birthday cake" while also avoiding the dreaded "at least a day old and dried out bakery cake because your kid's birthday is on Christmas." I ordered the cars online and Googled "Mater cake" and "McQueen cake" for ideas on how to decorate. There were some quite elaborate designs, well beyond my limited skills. When I read in the description, "It took four hours, but it was totally worth it to see my son's face..." I knew I was on the wrong track. But I did like one person's idea of using crushed Oreos to make a road.

I remembered too late that the last time I used my cake decorating tips (e.g. Daniel's birthday, last January!) I gave up on trying to get the left over decorating icing out of the writing tip and threw it away thinking, "It's way easier to just buy a new one." Yeah. If you remember. Oh well. John unearthed in the baking cabinet an unopened tube of writing gel and it lasted just long enough (it started sputtering on the "d" in Ed, hence no "ward.")
John helped me unscrew all the Oreos and he simply could not let all that luscious cream filling go to waste. He piled it high into a super-quadruple-stuffed-steroid-Oreo, which he admirably saved for Edward to eat as his afternoon snack. I do have a spectacular photo of John with said cookie, however, and would be willing to share for the right price.

All, in all, a successful, if exhausting birthday extravaganza (complete with homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner, as requested by the birthday boy.) Now, we have to summon all of our reserve energy to power through the weekend.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Christmas card continues to elude us. We love receiving them, but just can't seem to get it together to send them. But since this blog is something like the letters many people enclose with their cards, we'll add the family photo we finally managed to capture today and call it quits.

Merry Christmas with love from The Kenyons

We'll have lots of Christmas stories and pictures to share in the coming days.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Here is a photo of Edward after his haircut this morning. I was distracted by Daniel, and the next thing I knew, nearly all of Ed's hair was on the floor. One of his teachers stopped me as we left school today: "I can't believe you had all of Edward's hair cut off. He worked so hard to get it!" Consider it a lesson learned for his next haircut... sometime in mid to late 2010. The upside? He seems to like it.

Addendum: One good line from Daniel. He refers to everyone as "people," even singularly, so he'll point to someone and say, "That's a people, Daddy." So, when he got into the barber chair, he was not happy. At one point through his cries as he reached out wanting me to pick him up, he said of the barber standing behind him, "I don't want that people back there give me haircut!" Of course, he calmed down and was very good for much of the rest of the time, mainly because I assured him that when we were done, he would be handsome.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We took a late afternoon trip to the Children's Museum today, a brave adventure given that the museum is located at the mall. But we parked and got in with no mall hassle. As soon as we got there, Edward had to go to the bathroom (despite having just gone before leaving home.) As I headed toward the door to the women's bathroom, Edward stopped and said, "No, Mom, this is the boys' one" pointing at the other door.

Amused, I asked, "Well, how do you know it's the boys' one?"

"Because it says right there, B-O-Y," said Edward, age three years and 51 weeks.

The signs also had the standard white male and female character drawings (female denoted with triangular skirt.) Is it too much of a stretch to say he actually read the word "Boy?"

In other linguistic news, I've been meaning to chronicle some of Daniel's lexicon here. One of the funniest recent ones is that he refers to ambulances as simply "amb."
"I see amb right dere Mommy wih lights on."

Another source of endless amusement is the substitution of an "f" sound for many an "s." This list includes fwippers (slippers), fwoman (snowman), fool bus (school bus, ironically) and fweeper (sleeper), and creates a bright morning when he declares while rubbing his eyes against first light: "I eat cereal-milk in my fweeper."

He often initiates a "yes I am" - "no you're not" exchange with Edward, who can not be persuaded that Daniel is only trying out words and does not mean to engage in a debate to the death over whether or not we've just driven past another "fool bus." However, he sometimes stumbles over the grammar during a heated debate with his brother, as the other morning while driving past a construction site when he shouted, "Yes I AM see the crane, Edward!"

Since I believe I am Constitutionally required to include photos with these posts, here are a few left over from the last week or so.

Here we see our genius sons attempting to put their ornament stockings on their feet.

Here we see why we're eagerly anticipating a hand-me-down sled from Gram and PopPop next week.

Here we see a favorite post-snow activity, one of the few television options they have that includes commercials. When the program is interrupted, they call to me in the kitchen (or wherever I'm accomplishing life's tasks while they're entertained) "Commercial, Mom, please hurry!" (The later after they were admonished against the use of "Hurry UP, Mom" when I delayed a moment after the call so as not to scorch our dinner. We were not amused.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The boys had an eventful day today that involved a Christmas tree and a snowman. A quintessential December day.

First up: The snowman. Mary had a social outing today, so when the boys got up from their naps, we suited up and headed out into the surprisingly warm -- and subsequently messy -- afternoon. Edward said he wanted to build a snow firetruck complete with ladders and hoses, but settled for a plain old snowman. When we had finished with that, complete with charcoal eyes and a carrot nose, Edward declared that he was going to knock it down. My pride was too powerful, and I declared that this would not be happening. So, we built another snowman (less flashy, and given its intended purpose, intentionally more wobbly) that the boys could topple.

The results of this destruction, scattered across the back yard, were quickly adapted into a car, and then a train (see the video). I was even able to convince Daniel that an adjacent lump of snow was the back seat, so both boys actually played on it with out incident for five minutes or better.

Bookending this was the decorating of our Christmas tree. First, an admission: Our tree is crooked. It didn't look that way at the lot, but after considerable effort to get it to stand up straight in the tree stand, we took a closer look and realized that about a foot up the trunk, it takes a noticeable left turn that gives the tree a mean lean. We aimed it toward the wall and are hoping for the best. Mary put on lights while the boys napped. Daniel was first up, and as I carried him downstairs, he caught sight of it in the living room. "That's fancy, daddy!" he exclaimed. I was able to capture his second reaction on video.

After we came back inside from our snow adventure and Mary returned, she and the boys put ornaments on the tree. Yes, they actually helped, though we did have to redistribute a bit because they were clustering the ornaments in bunches along the bottom-most branches. They seemed to enjoy it, though, as with everything else, their attention was soon diverted and they moved on to something else.

Here's the video: First up, Daniel and the tree, followed by some creative use of snow piles:

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

We were reminded tonight of another two-year-old and the winter of 2008.
(scroll to the end of the linked post for the video)

Let's begin by saying that Pajama Week 2009 has ended. After the Thanksgiving long weekend, Edward was having trouble getting readjusted to our morning routine. He stayed in his pajamas through breakfast and when it was really getting down to the wire to get out the door, he started having a huge fit when John tried to get him dressed. Seeking the path of least resistance, I said, "Fine, just put your shoes on and wear your pajamas to school." We were out the door minutes (and many fewer tears) later.

I sent regular clothes in his backpack, figuring he'd feel silly once he got there and none of his friends were in pajamas. Oh, how wrong I was. Not only was he still in pajamas when I picked him up, he continued this pattern the entire week. Each day we tried new ideas to coax him toward normal clothes, and each day he steadfastly insisted on pajamas. One morning I said, "I bet you can't get dressed in 60" and started counting. In a Pavlovian response, unable to resist the challenge, he jumped out of his pajamas and, with John's help, was dressed in a (slow) count of 45. He appeared triumphant, but then, considering what had just transpired, he melted in a pool of tears and began pulling his clothes off. He was back in pajamas seconds later.

Finally, on Friday afternoon, I was ready to take them to a retirement party for a colleague. I told Edward there would be cake at the party, but that I would like him please to wear regular clothes. He considered, asked if he could take his pajamas in the bag, and then agreed to change. Saturday we insisted he had to wear regular clothes for our trip to the library and Sunday clothes were mandated for church. By Monday morning, the idea was fading, and he was persuaded to wear clothes with the promise that he could change to pajamas when we got home. (He didn't, but apparently the option was sufficient.)

I tried not to let it bother me. After all, parenting is about picking your battles. As long as it was just to school, I truly did not care. We all laughed about it and he went about blissfully. But when it came to appearing in the general public, I wasn't so carefree. The retirement party was to draw many people from around campus, and I was too self-conscious to bring my kid in pajamas. Why should I care if he didn't? Who can explain. I do hope he retains at least some of that PopPop-esque utter lack of self-consciousness. Life would be simpler if we never worried what other people thought of us, right?

John's birthday passed uneventfully (per his wishes) on Saturday. We did have French silk pie in place of cake, a long-standing tradition. Daniel's response to his first taste: "Mmmmm...happy!" Pretty much summed up John's day. Even though there would be no party, I felt that the 40th birthday deserved some wider recognition. I enlisted two of John's friends to help me execute a plan to create a CD with songs selected by a large group of friends (one song per friend) who are all as heavily invested in music as John. It worked perfectly--14 friends submitted songs and one of them, who is a graphic designer, created a personalized CD-sleeve. It took John a couple of minutes to figure out what it was, but when he did, he was quite pleased. It got even better the next day when John sent out a thank you email, and they all started responding with the reasons they'd selected their songs. They all held special meaning/memory between John and each friend, and John was touched that they recalled those times together--some even going all the way back to high school.

After the birthday, it was on to Christmas decorating. John says we don't have to follow that "wait until after the birthday" tradition his Mom established, but I like it. When commercialized Christmas starts before Halloween, it's nice to have your own personal benchmark for kicking off the season.

The boys helped hang ornaments on Will's tree, and loved seeing it all lit up. Edward was a bit distressed about the idea of giving these ornaments away (we ask friends to take one and hang it on their own tree, remembering Will.) But I explained that we would get a bigger tree for our own ornaments, and some of them even say "E-d-w-a-r-d" because they are his special ornaments to hang. Maybe over the weekend. I'd prefer to wait until the weekend just before Christmas, but I think all the trees will probably be gone by then. I do miss the Chicagoland availability of trees--every empty lot turns into a tree lot this time of year there. Last year, we were reduced to buying our tree at Menards. Just didn't seem very festive.
We did have one holiday experience before the birthday launch date. While visiting my parents in Evanston the weekend before Thanksgiving, we rode on the CTA Holiday Train.
It was a HUGE hit with the boys. It's a regular "el" train, but decorated "beyond the beyond" (as my Mom would say) with lights all over, inside and out, tinsel in the cars, Christmas patterned seat covers, poles wrapped in candy cane striping, and Christmas music playing on the public address system.
In the middle of the train is a flatbed car decorated as Santa's sleigh and he waves as the train pulls into each station. At the end of the line, he sat for pictures with the kids.
Daniel was totally freaked out when placed on Santa's lap, so I held him while Edward just climbed right up. After Edward got down, he realized he'd forgotten to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas. He was allowed a do-over, and registered his wishes (more train tracks for his wooden set, and a Mater--tow truck character from the movie Cars, which he's never seen.)
We opted not to wait 45 minutes for the holiday train to take our return trip. But even the undecorated train was a big hit with our boys. Cheap thrills for $2 per adult.
The other special thing about the weekend was our last visit with Joe and Brenda before they headed to Brazil for Joe's first posting with the Foreign Service. We are excited for them and eager to hear about their new adventures. By the time of their next visit (probably in about a year) will the boys still fit under each arm like this?
The adults extended the bon voyage until 2:30 Sunday morning, having a roaring good time, but not allowing for enough sleeping! Luckily, those who did not have a four-hour drive ahead of them, arrived at Gram and PopPop's bright and early for a trip to the park. This had the dual benefit of letting us get a bit more sleep, and exhausting the children, so that they slept all the way to the Iowa border. And, yes, it was warm enough that day, to go hatless. Can't say the same for today, as we're bracing for a blizzard, expecting at least a foot of snow by this time tomorrow.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Too tired for a full update, but we had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend with only one day of travel (to Chariton, Iowa to visit John's grandparents, cousins, aunt, etc.)

Here's a recent story and (unrelated) photo for each boy:

John and I had versions of this conversation with Daniel separately tonight and each wanted to be the one to tell the other how cute it was.

D: It's dark
J/M: Yes, it is dark, Daniel.
D: Sun go ni-night?
J/M: Yes, the sun is going ni-night now.
D: Sun have paci?
J/M: (**guffaw**) well, sure, maybe the sun has a paci... (pacifier, an essential ingredient for a good night's sleep.)

P.S. Daniel loves to wear other people's shoes. These boats belong to Uncle Joe.

Getting Edward to sit still for dinner lately has been quite a challenge. He was getting dangerously close to tipping himself over with the booster seat on the chair, so we took it off. (Truth be told, we were also annoyed that he kept buckling himself in and therefore could not get down on his own. Oh, how foolish we were.) So we have these battles over keeping him in the chair and keeping the food-to-mouth cycle going. If he and Daniel start exchanging goofy phrases and giggles, it's all over.

Last night after a long day of travel and fun with cousins plus only a 20 minute car nap for Daniel (he was exhausted but somehow did not sleep for the two-hour return trip to Iowa City) even our paltry dinner of peanut butter sandwich for D and grilled cheese for E turned into a zoo. I finally declared Daniel to be done (he was just mashing it around his plate) and took him up to bed.

John stayed with Edward and tried to get him to calm down to finish eating. At one point, in desperation, John said, "Edward, why don't you just NOT TALK for a few minutes." Edward, stricken, replied, "But I LOVE to talk!" Indeed.

Side note that tonight's dinner ended with Edward's plate being dumped in the garbage after he was sent away three times with instructions to return only if he calmed down and decided he was hungry. However, he was as good as he's ever been during Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma and Grandpa's. Perhaps it had something to do with being told six hours in advance that if he misbehaved he would not receive his much anticipated pumpkin pie.

If I thought it would work, I would serve pumpkin pie every night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My first Wednesday night free since late August--time to catch up on my blogging! Or at least make an attempt. I started gathering the photos and realized just how far behind I really was.

Our window project was a success. We went from this:
To this:
In just a little over a week. From the inside, it looked like this:
And this:
Of those four windows you see in the original exterior, only three were in the bedroom. The one to the far left in the picture was actually in our closet, which must have been created sometime after the original construction. Since we had to change the shape of the opening anyway (the originals did not meet egress for BR) and we were not eager to pay for an unnecessary closet window, we decided to replace with just two windows and close off the openings on either end. I don't have an "after" interior shot to share as we have only a makeshift window covering at this point. We just left part of the old curtain rod and threw up a set of curtains we used to have in Edward's bedroom at the old house. Perfect length, though if they were to be a permanent fixture, we'd need more width for the proper draping effect. For now, they are doing just fine, though it's even harder to wake up on these dark mornings now that we have bedroom curtains!

After that, we had a visit from Gram and PopPop, that exhausted Daniel so much he almost fell asleep pushing his "lawn mower" around the back yard.This was doubly dangerous as Ed was taking batting practice at the time. He hadn't had the tee out for a while and suddenly was having great success at hitting some long ones.Later in the week, we dutifully carved our jack-o-lantern. It was just barely warm enough to make this a porch activity--thank goodness we kept that mess out of the kitchen! Ed was not too enthusiastic about scrubbing it before we began, but did enjoy the scooping. When I asked him if he wanted circle or triangle eyes, he replied, "Rectangle!" Hence the unorthodox design. Daniel wasn't too interested in the whole endeavor, but he did help wipe down at the end.
Halloween itself was a trying experience this year. I thought the Saturday holiday would be better--no rushing around at the end of the day trying to have dinner and trick-or-treat in the short window between John getting home and the boys' bedtime. However, with the whole day of anticipation, I think it all just spiraled out of control. With these weeks distance, I can't even quite describe the emotions, but there was quite a bit of defiance throughout the day and more than our fair share of time-outs. Edward also had his first in-store screaming meltdown, including sprawling on the floor at Menards because the people who walked in just ahead of us took the only available "vehicle cart." (Those annoying shopping carts with the molded plastic truck and steering wheel for kids.) I had to take him out of the store kicking and screaming and hold him tight while speaking softly until he could bring himself back under control. Combine that with the end of daylight savings time that same weekend, and it was definitely one of those times we were more than happy to go back to work Monday.

The kids had fun trick-or-treating through the neighborhood. I fear that this will not be a staple of their childhood though, as very few houses had lights on to welcome the kids. We left a bucket of candy on our porch while we were out and some was gone when we got back, but other than that, only two other groups rang our bell the whole night. Apparently everyone takes their kids to the mall because it's safer. I suppose that's true, but it's so antiseptic, and who needs to spend more time at the mall? We really like the opportunity to see our neighbors, and those who leave the lights on seem genuinely pleased to see the kids all dressed up. Maybe we'll have a revival in coming years. It's not like we're living in some dangerous urban war zone!

Edward was a firefighter again (I asked him about a month in advance what he wanted to be and he looked at me like I had two heads: "A firefighter." Like there's any other option? Fine with me--same costume, no hassle.) Daniel was a giraffe in a costume borrowed from cousins. This truly did delight all those who saw him. Something about that tight hood around those chubby cheeks and the dangling tail as he walked away.

Speaking of Menards, we were there to pick up materials for a home improvement project--kid level coat hooks at the front door. John had a bit more "help" than he needed, strictly speaking, but accomplished the mission, striking a blow for order in our front hall. Edward is actually very conscientious about hanging his own coat. Daniel doesn't quite have the hang of it, but at least holds his coat up to the hook in an attempt. Ed feels its very important for every hook to be used so in addition to two winter and two fall jackets, we sometimes find unusual objects hanging there, including the occasional shoe.

The weekend after Halloween was shockingly warm for Iowa November--in the 70s. We spent a lot of time out in the yard and Edward even busted out the shorts for one last hurrah.
But we've settled into a cool, rainy pattern now so this is the preferred attire:
I don't have a picture of it yet, but Edward is now the proud owner/wearer of a couple of footie sleepers with the arrival of the latest cousin hand-me-downs. It's amazing how much more eager he is to get dressed, when I offer the opportunity to wear the "new Sean clothes." In addition to the sleepers (which he would wear 24/7 if allowed) a favorite is a Lightning McQueen (from Cars) sweatshirt that has sound effects in the pocket. The push of a button creates a revving, roaring car sound. He loves it!

He's wearing it here while "reading" with Aunt Peggy. This is a relatively new book, which he has memorized and loves to show off his reading skills. The boys were quite pleased to wake up from naps on Monday to find a visitor--especially one bearing gifts of books and trucks! It was fun to share time together and have dinner, though not quite the relaxing, reflective evening gathering Aunt Peggy is accustomed to!

One last picture--quintessential fall.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I promise a real update soon (class ends tomorrow night--woo hoo!)

This afternoon, the boys discovered the joy of pulling all the cushions off the couch to romp and play. I discovered that this activity is nearly as much fun to observe as an adult as it was to participate in with my siblings back in the day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm on borrowed time here as nap time is extending past the 2.5-hour mark. How does this happen on a beautiful, sunny afternoon, while yesterday's rain and gloom was met with less than 2 hours of sleeping? Oh well, it gave me time to wash windows (inside only) and hose down screens. Plus prep this short video of one of the boys' favorite new games.

This chair was my Christmas present from John (my request!) last year. A place to sit with back support at play level. I don't actually spend much time sitting in it as it now doubles as a ladder (seen here), dentist chair, and running flip toy. This last activity is not for the faint of heart (or Grandparents, apparently.)

We celebrated Will's birthday yesterday with pictures, his tree, a few more tears, and LOTS of questions. Maybe someday the boys will understand that we have as many as they do, but that there are few answers to satisfy any of us.

In the meantime, we tumble through life.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I can't believe I'm still two weeks behind. I thought I could get part-way caught up last time and then close the gap mid-week. Alas, time continues to slip away, but at least we have fun stories and photos to share. (Speaking of which, I have no idea what is going on in this picture. Apparently it has something to do with Daniel putting the drill in his mouth, but John was laughing too hard to really explain.)

Our visitors from the Northwest arrived with a cold snap that resulted in breaking from Geraghty family tradition and turning on the heat in the first week of October. (Mom always said we didn't need it until November, and while I doubt we ever really waited that long, it definitely was delayed as long as humanly possible!) But for guests--heat! Aunt Janet and Uncle Denis arrived just as naps were ending on the first Friday of October. I was hoping to take a walk to the park to mitigate the butt-numbing four-hour drive they'd had, but it was raining, so we played at home. Anticipating the rain, I'd made some Halloween cookies for Ed to decorate. He was enthusiastic about the project for about eight cookies, but used enough frosting and sprinkles for a whole batch!

I thought Daniel might be wary of Denis because of his beard, but he happily trotted off to play with him after finishing snack. A few minutes later however, piercing screams from the play room. I thought maybe he'd gotten hurt, but no, he'd simply looked up at Denis, looked around the room and, unable to locate Edward or me, started freaking out. This did not last long, as Daniel realized he'd found a new cozy lap from which to enjoy his favorite truck book.

The next morning, after we'd waved good-bye as they headed off on the last leg of their Midwestern journey (to Wisconsin) we decided it was finally time for Daniel to meet the scissors. Haircut day. John would have done it months ago, but I was resisting (along with Gram, Grandma, Great-Grandma...are we sensing a pattern here?)

Since he kept trying to climb down from the chair, John ended up holding him. Even so, it was an aerobic endeavor for the stylist, who had to keep moving side to side following Daniel's swiveling head. Finally a pacifier was produced so she could finish the job. He definitely looks older now, but those chubby cheeks remain as a sign that he's still my baby.

The next big event was the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade a week later. Time for Daniel to bust out the Gamebibs, a gift for newborn Edward from Aunt Ann, who lived in Iowa just long enough to witness the insanity that is Hawkeye sports. On the way to our favorite viewing spot, we saw one of Edward's classmates who was with his family in the parade staging area. They gave us the pompoms and we promised to wave if we made it long enough to see them go by. (We did.)

One of the first people in the parade is always the University of Iowa president, who was riding on the t-top of a Corvette. John is serving on a committee with her and we've met her through our work with the March of Dimes, so when her car stopped right in front of us, she waved, pointed to Daniel and said, "Hey, he looks cold!" He'd taken his mittens off...again!

The parade tradition is to pass out heaps of candy and other items to the crowds along the curbs. One group this year was giving out plastic drinking cups. Although they try to hand items out or drop them in the bags the kids hold out, many are dropped. At one point in the parade, a pick-up rolled over one of the plastic cups--a direct hit that made a loud cracking sound and left the cup in smithereens. Edward completely freaked out. He started crying hysterically and John could not figure out what was going on. He finally got Edward to say, "I didn't want the truck to break the cup!" It wasn't that he wanted the cup, just that he couldn't abide such reckless destruction. It took several minutes to calm him down, during which we thought we might just have to leave. He finally pulled himself together and came back to enjoy the rest of the show (and collect even more candy!)

The boys only got to see a bit of the first quarter of the next day's game, as it was a rare 7 p.m. start. Happily, Iowa defeated Michigan in a chilly, 30-28 nail-biter to remain undefeated for the season. (And as I was writing this post, the Hawks were busy defeating Wisconsin!)

So I think that's all for our major activities to date. Some general tidbits and observations. The boys seem to be more and more able to play together without immediate parental supervision. This is not to say that there are no disagreements, just that the time between them is stretching long enough for me to get dinner started or even, (gasp) go to the bathroom without "help."

It's fun to listen to them from the next room as they navigate whatever world they happen to be inhabiting at the moment. Ed's swimming teacher was the lifeguard when we went for a Sunday afternoon family swim last week and ever since then he's been sitting on the edge of the couch playing lifeguard. He uses his stuffed animals as rescue rings and likes it if John or I pretend to swim on the floor so he can rescue us.

Daniel has slowly been adding more words to his performance of "Rock-a-bye baby," and I'd say he's up to about 70%. He may skip a word or phrase along the way, but never misses the chance to clap for himself when he reaches the end.

I continue the weekly challenge of taking the boys to church. Some weeks are better than others. Heavy bribery is employed. We have, on occasion, been known to leave early. However, the experience did produce this gem from Edward last week when we welcomed four new babies to the church: "Mom, how many babies are getting 'bath-tized?' " At least he's paying attention...somewhat. It's not what anyone might call a spiritual experience, but I see older kids sitting with their families and know there is a tiny glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.

This week we are (finally) getting new windows installed in our bedroom. We knew when we bought the house last year that they needed to be replaced, but considered it a second year project since we had some major issues to tackle right away. It took more than a month this summer to collect bids and then additional information to make them comparable. Then it turned out that window manufacturers were backed up because there are tax rebates for energy efficiency improvements (like windows.) But we're finally ready, and not a moment too soon. The current windows are so bad they don't actually close all the way--a breeze most unwelcome in the coming months. It's more than a standard replacement because our old windows did not meet egress for the bedroom so we have to have a larger opening cut. We have been promised that the actual installation will be done in one day. Finishing the interior and exterior will take longer, but at least we we're not expecting a plastic tarp window.

Now that I'm back up to date, maybe I can stay on track for a few weeks. Look for the home improvement pics next time.