Thursday, January 26, 2012

Living With Small Children

Small children are beautiful, delightful, amazing, funny, sweet and incredibly, unrelentingly demanding and often very frustrating.   I've been thinking about what that means in my daily life a lot lately, and how I want to move through the days, structure my time, project myself into it.  Seems like many others are too.  (Such good company.)

This post was in my reader today, which directed me to this postAnd then this post appeared in my reader too.

All of which reminded me of how much I try to come back to this iconic observation -- the days are long the years are short.  Which sums it up for me, anyway.

Thank you Internet.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It gets better

It is looking more and more like Washington State will soon join the ranks of states and tribal nations that recognize gay marriage.  Go Washington! It's about time.

If you're uncomfortable with this idea, or scared, or feel like you just don't know who these people are, check out the it gets better project.  Scroll through, I bet you find someone who looks just like you.

There are all kinds of families; all kinds of love.  Bring it.

Shamelessly inspired by this post here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Putting away Christmas, finally

We finally finished putting away Christmas today.  After being buried in snow, and then enduring a fairly massive ice storm, and a long-ish power outage, today seems really and truly back to normal.  It is raining buckets. Sometimes sleet but mostly rain, rain, rain.   And, very occasionally, today, a sun break. 

The last bit of Christmas to put away was the lights and garland from the front porch and gate.  This is probably the longest they have ever stayed up, I am generally a "Christmas away by new year's eve" person.  The tree was out of here on December 27.  The Christmas plates went away shortly after, I am always so sorry to see them go.  And the garland and lights -- well, first it was so dark and rainy that I just couldn't stand the idea of putting the lights away.  Then it was so cold and snowy that I didn't want to be outside climbing on the porch.

Today we jumped out during one of those amazing sun breaks and got it all put away.  Done and done.  And I just ordered something like these, so in two or three days, I'll have a porch with lights again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A word about the Christmas plates

I know it's getting late for this, but these are actually my favorite of our Christmas decorations.  I love them more than the tree.  They were originally given to my mother by an uncle of hers (he gave sets to her and each of her two sisters) and she added to them to make sure that Auntie Chris and I each have a set.  (Both of which live at my house for now.)

I think you can still get some version of them various places, including, of course, here.  I like that they have  star on the top of the tree instead of a Santa.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We have snow

We have some snow.  About 15 inches at the house, I think, give or take.  It mostly fell overnight and is mostly fixing to melt right now.  I'm hoping for more like 10 inches in the morning and more like none by Friday; it's supposed to be almost 40 degrees here tomorrow. 

Snow is fun until you get too cold; or too wet; or too sick of being inside trying to work with a 4 year old doing Lego projects rated for 6 year olds.  (Sample dialogue: "Look at the picture. . .what pieces do we need to make it look like the picture?  Okay. . .how do they go together?  Do you want to take a break?  No?  Okay.  Let's look at the picture.")  Eventually a helicopter and a sea plane were accomplished.  And crashed. 

We drank hot chocolate.  I worked by conference call.  We dug out two cars but didn't drive anywhere.  Texted back and forth with the vegan who lives in the hills and has lots more snow than us. (Sample: "Hey - what are you doing?" "Sweeping snow off the porch, what are you doing?" "Shoveling snow off the roof."  Okay then.)  Auntie Chris made dinner.

We walked up the hill to the school to go sledding.  When your child gets too cold to put his (wet) mittens back on without crying and you decided it is time to pull him home downhill on the sled, sometimes you have to run to keep up.  We have some snow.  Lovely.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Live(ish) Video Snow Update

We are having a "snow event" here.  It's exciting.  Sort of.  If it weren't for all the various forms of road-based travel I'm supposed to engage in this week it would be more fun.

Yesterday was all about kids sledding.  Across the street the houses have a short, but pretty good, hill.  You can tell when it's okay to go over by listening for kids yelling and laughing.  (The house we sled at is about 3 houses away; it is home to another Liam, 4 months younger -- and 4 inches taller -- than my Liam.  They go to the same preschool.  It's funny at play dates to be calling my child "Liam H."  As in, "Boys, keep your hands and bodies to yourselves please; Liam H, I mean you.)

Today was pretty quiet.  Tomorrow we will try to have as normal a day as possible.  Tomorrow night and Wednesday and Thursday we are, apparently, going to be buried in snow.  Cliff Mass, the only weather person I pay any attention to says 11-18 inches on top of what we already have.  (I'm a good deal south of Seattle, we tend to get more snow here than in the city.)

It is snowing pretty hard now and we're meant to get about 2 inches over night.  (Newsflash: that was just updated to 3-5 inches overnight.)  Here's a live(ish) update of the back yard.  If  while you watch you say out loud whatever hysterical snow survival advice strikes your fancy, you will know what it is like to watch local news in my part of the world.  Some of my favorites: "The roads will be slick and icy." "At this point, we are suggesting that everyone who does not have to travel, stay home." "This is a serious weather event; you want to bring your pets indoors." "State patrol asks that you do not leave your car on the side of the freeway."  (Okay, that last one was from one of the previous snow events, I think.)  In most ways we don't really do snow very well around here; on the other hand, I sort of enjoy the whole: the region will now shut down on threat of winter conditions.  Makes for better sledding. 

PS -- Auntie Chris talked the Internet-Powers-That-Be into upgrading my internet to much faster, so I was able to upload this video with minimal cursing and anxiety.  Thanks Chris!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Auntie Chris' Graduation

Chris with my parents
Just before Christmas we took a quick trip to California to see Auntie Chris graduate (with distinction, of course).  Auntie Chris' new degree is in space systems engineering; which means she knows all about how to make satellites work.  (This complements her degree in aero/astero engineering; you know now where the brains in the family went!)  After graduation Liam and I drove with her from California back up to Seattle.  This went better than one might expect considering that Liam is 4.  After staying with us here outside Seattle for a few more weeks, Auntie Chris will move to the DC area and we are so excited to visit her (and Liam's cousin, and the big,big zoo, and my friends from when I worked in DC) later in the year!  Congratulations Auntie Chris -- we're so proud of you.  Thanks for fixing the computer --again -- and the TV (also again), and for teaching me how to touch up paint the trim without making a mess, and mostly for just being you!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Boat naming outtakes

At the boat naming Liam was excited to "help" wash the boat and play all around it.  In some of these pictures he looks exactly like Will to me.


Boat Naming

This weekend we went down to the boathouse to be present when one of the boats was renamed in memory of Will.  It was lovely, but terribly sad for me.  Will and I met rowing and he spent (at least as I knew him) many/most of his happiest and most productive hours coaching for the club.

My parents had won the rights to name this boat by means of a (large, very generous) donation to the club at a fundraising auction that I used to organize every year.  They had planned to name it for Will then (he was in chemotherapy at the time and had just shaved his head, I remember it as if it were yesterday), but Will declined since, in his words "I'm not dead yet."  So, now it's done.

I miss rowing, but it's hard to see how I can go back to it any time soon.  Already Liam is too much in various forms of child care because of my work. For a few more years I'll be happy with the occasional row and more regular workouts on the indoor rowing machine.

That's the news from here.

I'm traveling for work these next few days (Man, the air east of the mountains is cold and dry!) but have some catch-up  posts from December and holiday events coming later in the week, I think.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pizza Friday -- 1/6/2012 Edition

This week for pizza Friday Liam wanted to have a party.  The key elements of this were decorations and cake.  So, Thursday night we made a chocolate cake and wrapped it up tight.  While I was at work on Friday morning he and the babysitter blew up about 25 balloons and hung them all over the house with streamers.  Friday afternoon when I got home, after we made the pizza dough, we made some chocolate frosting.  The vegan (bless him) brought ice cream, which, of course, he doesn't even eat, and we ginned up an ice cream cake.  We also ate, again, this kale salad because I simply cannot get enough of it this time a year.  (We make it without the cheese.)

Mostly though we enjoyed the balloons.  And the four-year old.  And the pizza.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Liam's babysitter has a cast

She is lovely and talented and injured herself skiing. (Too much, much too much, very fast; she is a ski school instructor for tiny, little children, 3-year olds, but injured herself skiing on her own time.) 

She had a full length cast for about 4 weeks and was not babysitting, but now has a below the knee almost-walking-cast and is working herself back into the babysitting rotation.  So far, so good.  Her cast is purple and has made a big impression.  Although she is not yet supposed to put too much weight on her broken leg, she apparently excels at hopping using only one crutch.

If you look closely you can see Liam's cast, which is a blue pipe cleaner wrapped around his right leg.

We are falling into our old routines and schedules.  Pre-school.  Babysitter.  Work.  Welcome 2012, so far so good.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Ready for peas

The pea brush is up; it needs a little filling in here or there, but it's basically ready.  And the ground is roughed up and compost added.  December was so dry that I was even able to work the soil enough to get a little weeding done.  Liam loves to help with the pea brush, but will weed for only about 10 minutes.  He pulled some carrots and then played a complicated pretend game involving trucks.  If there is a better way to spend new years day, I don't know it. 

We won't plant until February or early March.  This year, I think we'll grow Avalanche, again; we have a small growing space, so productivity is important.  It was slow to start last year but once it came on, it went great.  I'm toying with the idea of growing it on the new-this-year wire front fence too.  Is it possible to have too many peas? I don't think so.

Happy new year everyone!