Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Ships

Every year, we go to see the Christmas ships. An Argosy cruise ship is lit up with a thousand lights and a choir sings Christmas carols from the boat. We hang out on one of Seattle's beaches just after the sun sets and listen to the music with hundreds of other people. At least 20 other lit up boats of all sizes follow the Argosy boat around Lake Washington. It's a beautiful sight and really fun for everyone. This year, many of our neighbors went too.

My neighbor, husband of the gal on the far left, took this picture many times.. this was the best one.. proof that when you see a good picture of a group of young kids, the photographer was professional.

Bed Head

Sonia's hair has become out of control.. She wakes up like this:

Then she screams when I try to comb her hair. Mama! Don't hurt me! It's very sad. So, I am cutting her hair short so I will not have this problem. I know this isn't a good long term solution. Sonia has such a strong personality that when she realizes I don't want her hair to be a tangled rats' nest, she will make that her official hair style.

She sings her own songs these days. The other day she sang this one to the tune of 'you are my sunshine'
You are my cheddar bunnies
My only cheddar bunnies
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You'll never know Cars 2
How much I love you
Please don't take
McMissile away

I have to confess that she has watched parts of Cars 2. And she does occasionally eat cheddar bunnies.

She will start a little school in January. When I took her to visit a couple of weeks ago, she cried when we had to leave. I think she is ready for friends and better toys.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

after school fun

I picked Jack up after his long day at school yesterday. He was in a good mood. The three of us headed to get a snack at a frozen yogurt shop. Sonia often asks Jack if she can hold his hand. He says no a lot but yesterday he said yes.

Then we went to the Seattle Center where they are displaying the super-cool miniatured winter village.

We wandered over to the Children's Museum and learned some great stuff. The last hour of the day you can pay a donation to get in. This museum is one of the pricier in Seattle and I was thrilled to learn this. Also, they have a nice LEGO exhibit with lots of cool projects on display -- a 3 foot tall Space Needle, a large Tower of London -- and LEGOS of all sizes for kids to use.

The regular exhibits at the Children's Museum are also cool. Here is Sonia driving the fire truck.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

5 years ago today

Today, November 24, was my due date with Jack. It was a Friday. My mom came to visit for 10 days. We made this video. That's all I remember.

I am Sonia

Sonia understands the words "you are" to mean "you are named." Therefore, whenever Jack says anything to her such as "you are dead" or "you shut up" (I know, terrible -- and no videos to blame it on!) Sonia replies, "I am not dead (shut-up or whatever), I'm Sonia. She always thumps her chest when she says it. We couldn't catch it in the moment but here it is, re-created:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Jack! #5

Surreal. Jack's fifth birthday.. It was the first time he was really excited about his birthday. I took him to school with chocolate chip cookies, and he celebrated with his school pals. Ryan picked him up from school and they picked up his new pedal bike. We had 8 kids over at 4. The theme was cardboard. Or rather all the games and activities were made from all the cardboard we have from our ikea closets. We raced cars down one big piece, drew pictures on 3 big pieces taped together, hung out in a tunnel made with a wardrobe box. I hung lights thought the wardrobe box, and hung some blinking flashlights in Jack's room. We also had an age appropriate fishing game which really didn't resemble fishing except for the curtain rod that we called a fishing pole. The kids mainly just played. We fed them dinner, sang happy bday, ate cupcakes, exchanged books, and then the kids headed home.
The party was a lot of work but I enjoyed putting it together. I love having lots of life in the house.. Great fun.

House photos

I posted much better pictures taken by our architect on google+ Let me know if you want to see those too.

Our house is a little messy -- we still have boxes to unpack and a bedroom closet to build.

This is the front part of the house from the view of the entry ( I didn't take a pic of the entry yet but I will)

This is a view standing near the 2nd half of the house - I am in front of the stairs

Hallway to kids rooms and trombe walls (passive solar)

Our not-quite arranged bedroom and bathroom. There is an open space so we can see down to the first floor.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fab photos

We attended our friend, Cyrus's, birthday party yesterday. He and Jack were born 5 days apart and we have known Cy since he was born. His dad, Matt, is a great photographer and took some lovely photos of the kids. Here are a few shots of our kids:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Herman The Helper

I am leary of books that attempt to teach moral lessons to children. They often seem heavy-handed. There is a book at Jack's school that he loves called 'Herman the Helper.' I figured since his lovely and amazing teachers chose this book so it must be good. I checked it out from the library and we have read it *many* times. Herman is an octopus. Each page details his day helping all the members of his community -- his mom, dad, friends, enemies, the young, the old, etc. At the end of the day, Herman returns home for dinner. His parents ask him if he'd like help with his mashed potatoes and, on the last page, Herman says, "No I'll help myself." Yesterday I asked Jack if he would help me with dinner. He said, "No, help yourself."
See? These books backfire.
We are in our new home and we really love it. The kids don't really seem to notice. They each have their own room. One bonus is they can play outside without us having to worry as much about them running onto a busy street. Jack spent much of yesterday afternoon watching/helping Ryan move dirt into our backyard. He seemed happy just to be outside. We had to put a special lock on our front door because Sonia quickly figured out how to open the door. She ran out the door 50 times a day knowing it was an act of rebellion.
We've been having fun lately outside, in spite of the weather. We walk down to a lovely green space by our home that feels like a forrest. The kids play in the creek and explore the different paths. Lots of fun.

Sonia in her silly glasses

Kids at the nearby greenspace

Jack not helping

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Halloween and Cool Birthday parties

This year, Halloween was a bit of a bust. Sonia got sick. Jack is freaked out by people in Halloween costumes. The big event was trick or treating at Ryan's workplace. Jack would not put his costume on until both Ryan and I explained (separately, several times) that if you don't wear a costume, no one is going to give you candy. So he put on his super-cool NASA astronaut costume that, clearly, mom loved more than he did. He agreed to the costume initially then told me he wanted to be the Space Needle again. Too late! Sonia was supposed to be a dog.

Last weekend, we went to a creative birthday party. The family lived in a small home (900 sq feet) They shared a backyard with their neighbors. One of the neighbors had built a wood-fired oven. The mom projected circus movies onto the wall of the neighboring building. She created a photo booth - using a closet, her digital camera, a bench placed near the camera and some masks and costumes. We each got to make a pizza. Then we had cupcakes topped with cotton candy. The dad served stout beer from a keg and mexican coke. The party took place in the back yard at dinner time. There were at least 20 kids there. Lots of fun!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

In the Pines

Years ago, I was singing a song I'd heard Kurt Cobain sing on his last CD from the MTV Unplugged show he did in 1993. He had covered the song and attributed it to Lead Belly -- a name I didn't recognize. I was singing the song at my dad's and to my great surprise, my dad joined me. I asked him how he knew the song. 'In the pines' or 'Where did you sleep last night' is an old Appalachian folk song dating back to the late 1800's. It's lyrics have been changed a great deal by many, many artists but at it's heart, it is a sad, sad song. I will always be attached to it because of that rare synergistic moment I had with my dear old dad.
Sonia, like all kids, stalls when it's time for bed. We read stories, then she wants to snuggle, then sing. I always end our time with In the Pines and now she sings it too. It is beyond cute. I love hearing a 2 year old sing. On a tangent, I taught Jack to sing a verse of Bohemian Rhapsody when he was not much older. He still digs the song.

I realize I have no new pics! I'll post some soon.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Good friends

Jack and Sonia love the kids across the street. The kids across the street love Jack and Sonia. When we come home, if our neighbors are outside, my kids get so excited. They yell their names and jump up and down, and immediately want to play. Jack could play with them every day. He loves their company. I have seen him equally enthusiastic about the little boy who lives on the other side of us as well. They are all little buddies.

Sonia in Jack's halloween costume..

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interpretive Trail

This weekend we visited my mom and stepfather at their house on the Olympic Peninsula. They are returning to Arizona next week so it was our last visit with them while they are here. We had a great time as usual. My mom and I took the kids on a great little hike on the "Interpretive Trail" -- not sure why it's called that. It is the site where there used to be a large logging company. We found a great supply of blackberries and a beautiful waterfall and creek. Jack had a blast in the creek even though it was really cold.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TV and the grandparent's house

Unlike us, my mom and stepfather have a TV.. a big TV. Jack and Sonia love it and are very focused on it when we visit. It's easy to understand why we don't have a tv when one sees how obsessed the are with the screen. They don't want to do anything else. It's a treat for them -- nice that they see how it's an out-of-the-ordinary activity.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Sonia

Today Sonia turns 2! It seems like it's been both the longest and shortest two years of my life. We are so happy to have Sonia in our lives. A couple of days ago she had woken up early and was dancing around in our room. She has such a lively presence. Ryan called her a little imp. We are grateful she is here.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Our newest friend

Jack and Sonia and I went to visit our new friend Ingrid a few weeks ago. She is only 6 weeks old in this photo. Big baby! Sonia is far more interested in babies than Jack has ever been. I think it's so interesting how she mimics me in ways Jack never did. Jack definitely mimics Ryan. Our habits make a strong impression on them. I can't believe either of them were ever this age.

Monday, August 29, 2011


This weekend, we met friends on the Hood Canal. Jack and Sonia were there on Friday then headed over to my mom's for the weekend. Life is so different without children. We all shared the housework and meal prep. On Saturday morning, I had no energy for any of it. I just sat on the couch. But by the afternoon, I had lots of energy. We had a blast with our friends. Thanks to the amazing organizational skills of my friends, Heather and Tammy, we rented a beautiful house on the beach, ate great food, drank good wine, and enjoyed the summer days with our dear pals.

I took the kids to my mom's on Thursday am to beat the weekend crowds. My kids seem much happier to play by themselves there. I was trying to get a few things done when my stepfather noticed we didn't know where Sonia had gone. I wasn't worried because their house is very child-proofed (so I thought). Sonia had crawled into her grandparents very deep tub, quietly turned on the hot water and sat there and played as the water filled the tub. Clearly, not child-proofed enough.