Sunday, April 29, 2012

teething. :(

last night, s woke up every two hours. she couldn't sleep because her nose was so stuffed. i know exactly how she felt - i've been suffering from the same exact thing for about a week now. i began the day exhausted, but thankfully j let me sleep in a little in the morning. once i got up, i spent the rest of the morning baking cookies for my students' recital.
z had swimming at 11:30, and they gave him a sort of progress report. he's doing well, but is still very hesitant to do anything (he always has a death grip on the instructor), so he is advised to do the same class again.
s & i ran a bunch of errands after baking all the cookies... had to pick up the recital programs from kinkos, buy a bunch of baby stuff at target, & pick something up at rei.
we all drove to the recital together - the first true family recital! z did an excellent job of watching the recital (or so i was told - i was busy running it). s did well until the last 15 min, when it was time for her to sleep again. anyway, we all survived, and got burgerville on the way home. we actually wanted to go to hopworks, but it was way too busy. we came home & watched a little of the princess bride after dinner before starting the bedtime routine. i am soooo tired. i hope tonight brings more sleep for both s & i.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

i'm half a year old!

little s is 6 months old today! half a year old! i can't believe it! the time has passed rather quickly. it's sad not to have a little tiny infant anymore, although it's also a relief not to have feedings that include sooo much spitting up that last for two hours. she is such a joy to have, such a happy little girl. it's rare that she doesn't have a smile for her mama.
no teeth yet. i just bought some stage 2 food, so we tried peach oatmeal banana today. she's able to sit up, but still falls over often, so i surround her with pillows. she's very talkative - it's fun to have little conversations with her.
we all have colds at the moment, the most miserable kind of cold. awful sinus headache, sneezing, running through tissues like crazy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

first parent teacher conference

i met with z's preschool teacher on monday. it was my first parent teacher conference ever!
he's doing fine. i received a paper with lots of different things, such as counts 1-5, & gradings for each, such as meets expectations. she says she likes that he shares well. evidently the girls really like him - he plays with them often. he frequently takes more time to finish projects because he watches what others are doing instead of doing his own work. he can work on his writing a bit more before next year.
he hasn't been very interested in writing letters at all, or working in books, until very recently.

today we didn't have anything scheduled, so we spent the morning at the childrens museum, and ate lunch at burgerville as a sort of reward for him being a good student. z received sugar snap pea seeds in his kids' meal, and he carried them around the rest of the day because he was so excited about planting them.
ugh. blogger changed again? another time suck to figure out how to navigate it. ugh!

an experience you don't imagine having before becoming a parent - scarfing down a peanut butter & jelly sandwich while holding your baby in a standing position because she's pooping, and you want it to be as easy to clean up as possible, but the poopy smell wafting up is ALMOST (but not quite) enough to make you stop eating. this happened last monday, and i was late picking up z from school because of it. once a baby starts pooping, you can't just tell her to stop, and you also can't just leave it there. she must be changed! s seems to pick the most inopportune times to go.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

sleep training

i just had my first sleep training episode with s. i'm not trying it at night, because that would keep z up, and she often will only wake once at night (such as last night). i'm trying to put her down for naps without soothing, with hopes of it carrying over to the night. this is so rough! she's such a sweet little thing, and letting her cry is just awful. she IS sleeping now....


s's first time in a "johnny jump up."
and someone does NOT want to go down for his nap!
sigh. parenting.


one morning, z was really fascinated by how i made my coffee. his little chick is looking on - it was a present he picked out after getting his hair cut - they were giving away plastic eggs for easter.

fun girly outfit, as the weather has been nice.


s & z. z is s's favorite person. she loves watching him! he is so good at making her laugh.

beautiful baby.

our pretty little girl.

s & neighbor g. g absolutely LOVES s! anytime he sees her, at preschool or at home, he pets her, talks to her, hugs her. it's really cute.

easter 2012

here's everyone (except abuela) at serratto's for easter brunch. abuelo sang at 2 morning services, grandpa sang also at 2 morning services. we attended church, too, although j & i spent the whole service in the church basement because s had to nurse. z had fun in sunday school and made some bunny ears. the previous night, s had me up every hour from 12-5am. i was exhausted, but i survived. brunch was great! afterward, z went home for a nap, and j & i finished preparing dessert for dinner at c & r's place. z got to play outside for awhile before heading for dinner. it was such a balmy, beautiful day - we really got lucky!!!

daddy & s. her easter dress is so pretty!


s is getting hungry. why won't mommy feed me? i'll have to just eat this card...

z is REALLY excited about his pasta!

our sweet little z. i still can't believe his hat matches the shorts. we bought the hat in the winter. i guess janey & jack reuse the material so things match for longer than one season. great idea.

birthday party

the day before easter, z skipped his swimming class and attended neighbor g's birthday party at indoor goals (where he has soccer class). they all had a great time!

Thursday, April 12, 2012


first time in sunglasses.

Friday, April 06, 2012


can't believe how many typos & grammatical errors were in that letter. how embarrassing. just shows how tired we were....

Thursday, April 05, 2012

so exhausted. barely survived yesterday without hurting anybody. barely.

Paul Davis Restoration of Vancouver, WA

Paul Davis Restoration

4510 NE 68th Drive, #114
Vancouver, WA 98661

To Whom It May Concern:

We felt it was imperative to inform the Paul Davis Restoration, Inc. corporate staff of how dissatisfied we have been with our recent experience working with the Paul Davis Restoration in Vancouver, WA. My wife and I live in Portland, OR, and recently contacted a handful of mold remediation companies to help us with a minor project in the home that we recently purchased.

The scope of our problem was focused on an unfinished utility room where our water heater and furnace are located. The old water heater was leaning slightly and had been slowly leaking, and the tray for it was rusting away. This had been going on for quite some time before we moved in, and it had caused significant moisture damage to the particleboard floor covering in the space. The particleboard was moldy, and we were looking for someone who could remove the moldy flooring in a safe manner, and address any additional mold issues with the underlying plywood. We also wanted to put down new flooring (linoleum this time), and we were going to need to replace the water heater as well.

After comparing bids, we specifically chose to work with Paul Davis Restoration because we were assured that all our planned work could be included – whereas other mold remediation companies would have focused on the mold removal and floor repair, leaving us to handle the flooring and water heater separately. It seemed like a good idea to work with a single company to organize the various steps that would need to occur, but it soon became clear to us that we would have been better off avoiding Paul Davis Restoration.

The first warning signs occurred when both the person who did the original bid, Matt, as well as our project manager, Randy, were largely non-responsive to phone calls and emails. It required multiple reminders before we finally were contacted to go over the details of our work and get things scheduled.

The source of our biggest complaint appears to be a nearly complete lack of communication between Matt, who provided the quote, and Randy, who scheduled and organized the work. When Matt had said that we could choose which water heater to install, we had told him of the specific Kenmore Elite gas heater that we wanted. After the fact, it became clear that this detail did not make it into the bid, nor was it communicated to anyone else.

After scoping out the work, Randy also said that he would be by again the week before we began to sign some papers and collect a monetary deposit, but he never did show up again.

When he had visited the house to understand the project, I discussed with Randy the need to remove both the current water heater, as well as a second large water reservoir that was no longer in use. These both needed to be removed to allow all the moldy particleboard to be fully removed and replaced with linoleum. When the Paul Davis employees showed up the morning that they were scheduled to start the job, they were completely unaware that there was a second water tank to be removed. Fortunately, despite the further lacking communication among Paul Davis personnel, we were able to resolve this issue, and get back on track.

At this point, after they removed both tanks, and the moldy particleboard, it was found that the underlying plywood was too wet to install linoleum on that day. We understand this was out of anyone’s control, and we fully expected to go that night without hot water – the new water heater was going to be installed the following morning, according the the initial plan - so we were not bothered when we were told that the plywood would have to dry out overnight before the linoleum could be installed.

This delay, in itself, was not a problem, but it seems that the response to the delay, to try to get everything still completed on the second day, just caused further problems. The next morning, Paul Davis personnel returned to collect the dehumidifiers, and then left us without any understanding of what was to come next. With no hot water, and no further contact from Paul Davis, we waited in the house until people showed up in the afternoon to install the linoleum, and put in the new water heater.

The water heater that ended up being installed was not the Energy Star rated Kenmore Elite we had been expecting. It was a “low-end” Bradford White model, which retailed online for about half of what we were being charged for it on the bid.

In addition, we later discovered that the water heater and pan had actually been installed first, directly on the plywood flooring, and that the linoleum had been cut to go around the pan.

The entire purpose for having this work done was to eliminate a mold problem, and prevent one from occurring again in the future. Because of the apparent cutting of corners in the rush to get the job done, we are left with the water heater pan still sitting directly on wood, with the possibility of water getting underneath the linoleum now if there is ever a leak.

When we discovered on Tuesday that the wrong water heater had been installed, we attempted to contact both Matt and Randy, and we did not receive any response at all, until late the following evening. Finally on Thursday evening, Randy had confirmed which water heater we had, and confirmed that he had not been told about the request for the Kenmore Elite. He stated that he couldn’t easily just return the heater since it had been hooked up, but that he would send all the specs/information about the Bradford White heater for us to compare it against the Kenmore Elite. After never receiving that information from Randy, we looked it up ourselves, and found the specs and pricing online. Despite what the plumber apparently wanted to convince us of, they were most definitely not equivalent models.

By Friday morning we reached an agreement with Randy for him to reduce the price of the invoice to only include the actual retail price of the heater, and he was also going to have an AC/HVAC company fix some duct work which was found to be damaged when the new water heater was installed.

At this point, things just went further downhill. The AC people were supposed to arrive by late morning or noon. When we finally got a call that they would be late, my wife voiced her frustrations of being stuck at home when she could’ve been running errands while our toddler was with his grandparents. Randy chastised my wife on the phone and stated some things were just out of his control. When the AC company guys did show up, they promptly tracked mud through our house to get to the utility room (waking up our toddler from his nap in the process). They turned around and came back out only to say that they hadn’t been given a correct description of the problem and that they didn’t have the equipment/parts that they needed to fix it. So, after waiting ALL DAY for them to show up, they left and now have to come back on Monday.

To be clear, we understand that in the line of home restoration work, there are going to be a lot of unknowns and things that are genuinely out of the control of the contractor. But, organization and communication are fully IN the control of the contractor, and should be an utmost high priority, as they are at the very basic foundation of doing business.

So, after a litany of missteps, miscommunications, and general rudeness from Paul Davis Restoration and their affiliates, we are left with the feeling that we want to just cut all ties and wash our hands of this whole fiasco. Ideally, we would want to make things right, and have the linoleum re-done correctly, and have the correct water heater installed. But after our experience dealing with Paul Davis over the past week, we are so infuriated with the lack of professionalism and accountability, that we do not want to see anyone from Paul Davis in our home again, even to attempt to fix what was done incorrectly.

We do hope that Paul Davis Restoration will take this feedback and make the appropriate corrections to avoid a similar lack of service in the future. In the meantime, we will be sure to share our Paul Davis experience every chance we get, with anyone who is considering mold remediation, or other insurance restoration work.