Saturday, December 5, 2009

Olde Fashioned Christmas

After living in Ferndale for over five years, I figured it was high time we went to the Heritage Society's Olde Fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Park. Volunteer members of the Heritage Society dress in pioneer costumes, they decorate the historic log cabins and other buildings for the season, and have a TON of activities for the children (and adults!) to do. My cousin Lindsey also joined us, and I think everyone had a blast.

Sean and I liked the house with the dancing upstairs and the cookie making downstairs. Two of my favorite things in one house--maybe I could have been a pioneer.

The boys liked the school house best. That was where they could sit and write a letter to Santa. Guyan wrote quite a lot on his page, but wouldn't let us see it. He wanted it to be just between him and the big guy in red.
Owen wrote: "I HAv Bin GooD. Pleez cAn I HAv Bacoogons? frAm Owen"

The letters were then mailed off to Santa...I hope the big guy will let me know if there's anything I need to take care of off of Guyan's list.


Alert! Alert! The boys both played in a chess tournament today, and both won their first matches. While they didn't win a trophy or take home first prize or whatever, they left the tournament with a nice taste of success. Unfortunately, I wasn't too good with taking pictures...but take my word for it, the grins on their faces were priceless. Hurrah!!!

And to test your own skills...In the picture below, it is White's turn to move. Can you find the checkmate in two moves (that is, White moves, then Black, then White takes his second move to make Checkmate)?

Not for the Faint of Heart

Owen lost tooth number three last night. After getting ready for bed and brushing his teeth, he came downstairs all perplexed because he had twisted his tooth around and could not pull it out nor put it right again. It was pretty gruesome.

(I told you it was gruesome...if the last picture grossed you out, don't say I didn't warn you)
But when it did come out a few minutes later, it wasn't at all gruesome...I promise. It was pretty funny, and now the boys are busy planning how they will spend the $10,000 they know they'll win from America's Funniest Videos. They don't think the other tens of thousands of videos have a chance.

Going to the Theee-ahhhhh-tahhhh

Bellingham has a great place for live theatre--the Mount Baker Theatre. And even better, they have a fabulous series of performances for schools and education. A few months ago, I saw that "Charlotte's Web" would be playing. Great idea for Tuesday field trip day!

I got the last three tickets available for the show--one for Owen, one for me, and one for someone special with whom to share the event. We decided to invite our friend Amanda--Sean works with her father, I work out with her mother, and all the kids in both families get along swimmingly. It worked out perfect, and the three of us had a great time. Can't wait for more theee-ahhhh-tahhhh experiences!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Nephew Nolan

Liz posted some pictures of Nolan on Facebook last night, as promised, but with the new fandangled changes Facebook has made, they didn't show up for me--I had to do some digging. Then I thought there might be quite a few of you out there that 1) don't "do" facebook; 2) if you do "do" facebook, might not be "Friends" with Liz and able to see her picture; or 3) you do "do" Facebook, you are "Friends" with her, and you still can't find the me.

So here they are! Baby Nolan, less than 24 hours old!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

So Thankful

There's much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Healthy and happy family is at the top of the list. Spending time with family we haven't seen for a while is also high up there. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new nephew in Idaho is a topper, too. And, if we're being all out truthful here, I'm also thankful that I collect and store food like a overachieving squirrel. The cupboards, improvised pantry shelves, freezers and refridgerators have been put to very good use the last couple weeks, all for today.

We had eight for our Thanksgiving, although I cooked for an imagined crowd of 20. Sean's sister Traci, her two girls Justine and Tanisha, and Tanisha's daughter X'zaijah came up from Tacoma to join us. X'zaijah is a doll, and refuses to eat anything other than apples, string cheese, popcorn...I think that's all I've seen in the past two days (except for candy, but what sane child would refuse Smarties?). While the rest of us sat down to a turkey dinner with all the fixin's, X'zijah dug into her bag of Orville Redenbacher. It was classic. But you know, I think I remember from elementary school that the pilgrims did eat popcorn at the first Thanksgiving...and I am pretty certain they didn't have green bean casserole. I don't blame them; I don't eat that stuff either. But Traci and Tanisha LOVE it (and they'll be taking home any leftovers, thank you very much).

In a house with two elementary aged boys, a toddler, and a teenage movie hound, there's no post-turkey football watching. They're watching Happy Feet.

But Sean, Mr. Go-with-the-Flow, doesn't mind. He's fully immersed in a Thanksgiving tradition in the making--brewing beer on the back porch in the freezing cold. Should be ready by Christmas!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Mrs. Cool, would you please come pick up Guyan?"

Guyan went to school today feeling fine. About an hour in (at the end of his geology test), he complained to the teacher that he had a headache. He went down to the office, and his temperature was 99. Given that Cascadia has about 25% of their student body out, and many children have thrown up in their classrooms, they decided it was time to call me. Not a problem--I don't fault them for it.

I picked him up, and took his temperature when we got home. 97. Took it on another thermometer. 97.4. Apparently the boy runs cold. Two hours later--97.1. He's fine.

But he, and his brother, think this is a free day. "Can we play Wii? computer? Watch Flushed Away?" Continued nagging led to the posting of this sign.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Girls AND Boys have Cooties

Fridays are our Alice Days. Both of them are in part-time Kindergarten, and have Fridays off. This makes for some great playdates (or several hours of staving off arguments, as was the case last weekend due to Owen's mood, but we'll focus on the positive today...).

Today they found the Cooties game, and for the past hour or two, have been making up all sorts of imagination stories with their Cootie creations. Owen doesn't often get the female perspective during his playtime, but he seems to be reacting to it well when it comes from Alice.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Home Grown Harvest

Like every other year, the boys wanted to plant pumpkins. Unlike every other year, they actually thought about it early enough in the season that we could do it!

But pumpkins take up a lot of space, so using our own backyard garden wasn't feasible. It was much more fun to plant about ten seeds in grandma's dahlia patch/vegetable garden. Grandma and Grandpa share this patch with their neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Hunt. There's been a bounty crop of Roma tomatoes (and since neither my mom nor Mrs. Hunt do any canning, I took my fair share and more off their do some canning), and there are three Hubbard Squash that look like "something out of invasion of the body snatchers," according to Sean. They'll be harvested in the next week or so, if they don't hatch first.

But back to the pumpkins. We planted some Giant Pumpkins, and some of the Jack-o'-Lantern variety. Today, we harvested three Giants, and nine Jack-o'-Lanterns. There are five more Jack-o'-Lanterns that need to "orange up" a bit more, but we'll be back for them. We were all ready to share with Mrs. Hunt and my mom, but Mrs. Hunt very effectively talked us into taking home two Giants and seven Jack-o'-Lanterns. Now to come up with a theme for the carving...

As for pictures...we forgot the camera. But I did have my phone, which takes incredibly bright, low quality pictures. I played around with the color since the pictures were pretty bad anyway...sorry if I hurt your eyes!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sean tiene cuarenta años!!!

We hosted Sean's 40th birthday party last night. What fun! While we would have liked to have invited everyone we know, I wanted to host a dinner party...and feeding 100+ people was totally out of my league. So we invited some good friends we've met through Sean's work, our neighborhood, my work (that would be MOMS Club from years back), and local family.

Lotsa kids! We worked through the ages, and we had all grades represented from preschool to seventh grade (technically, we were missing a first and a fourth grader, but we had some duplicates, plus a toddler, so it evens out in my mind). The kids all had a blast, running around the yard, chasing, playing games, and most importantly--getting along! No one got hurt, no one got least not enough to require serious adult intervention. Good enough for me!

I chose to do a Mexican food theme (how else to feed 25 people?). We had carnitas tacos, salsas, guacamole, crema, Mexican rice, lime-cilantro cucumbers, tortilla chips, and frijoles. Everything turned out really well, except one hiccup with the beans...I forgot to add the salt--I HATE recipes that you cook for 6 hours, then have to do one simple step before serving. I always forget the simple step! Curses! However, the rest of the dinner worked out well enough that I do believe my name should be pronounced with a Mexican accent for the rest of the weekend. "Meleeeenda." Say it with me..."Meleeeenda." Good (uh, I mean, "bueno").

By the way--the recipes (yes, I am a strict recipe woman) came from an awesome cookbook, Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. Highly recommended if you want to "cook Mexican food" and not have it always be tacos with seasoned ground beef.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Hiiiiiills are Alive....

...with the sound of really bad singing!

We took advantage of the great weather this weekend and headed for the hills. Or the mountains--Excelsior Ridge, to be exact. Go out past Glacier two miles, then turn left onto Canyon Creek Road. After 15 miles on a windy road (can you read Harry Potter the whole way and not puke? Guyan can!), you'll arrive at the trailhead. The pictures in the blog are all out of chronological order, but just play along.

Generally speaking, the skies were blue, but when we arrived at the ridge, the clouds just wouldn't leave Mt. Baker alone. Oh well. You understand the concept--family in front of beautiful, tall, snow-capped mountain.

And another picture, just in case the first one was too dark. Um, was the second one.

The boys were good troopers. Especially the one that had to carry all the stuff.

About halfway up to the ridge, there are a couple ponds, called the Damfino Lakes. They got their names from a couple early settlers that found them. One settler asked the other, "Do you know what these lakes are called?" The other one answered, "Damned if I know" and the name stuck (albeit abbreviated). This story took a while to explain to the kids. Never heard so much swearing in our family...

And finally--the blueberries! WOW!!! Perfect timing. Almost all of them were perfectly ripe. We got about 5 cups, which the boys said we should make into a pie. That would be only one pie. No. Mom is going to make about two dozen muffins or so and freeze them. We're gonna make those babies last. If the bears can do it, so can we.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Day of School

The first day of school, and a blog post to go with it!!! Yay for me! ...Of course, my friend Michelle has three posts for her kids' first day of school--and she only has two kids.

We started the day with a reading of "A Place Called Kindergarten." It was a book we got for Guyan when he started, and it came in handy for the second child, too.

Guyan and Owen posed for the first day pictures. I think this was the fifth picture before they were both smiling with open eyes.

Owen was very excited to walk to school. He ran for part of the way, but that backpack was chock full, and his little legs couldn't go the distance (uphill, both ways, you know).

We first went to Guyan's classroom and met his teacher, Ms. Dralle. I shook her hand, made eye contact, and took this picture of her profile. That's all I know about her. Guyan liked her though--said she wasn't strict at all (not at all? really? couldn't she crack the whip just a little bit???).

During Owen's two hour orientation, his teacher, Ms. Bell had them do some graphing. I was sad to learn that they won't be doing science at all this year (due to the reduction to a part-time schedule for all students), but at least math was a first day activity. Good thing we got that membership to the Science Center!

And finally, this is Ms. Bell (and half of Owen's class--there's 24 students total). A pretty, young teacher that seems to read children well. She's nice, but not saccharin sweet. And hopefully, Owen will love her and follow directions well. Good luck and Godspeed, Ms. Bell. Let me know how it goes.

August Postscripts

Things I of the activities for Grandma's birthday was the generation photo shoot. We had eight women, two outfits each, and about 60 combinations (Grandma with daughters, sisters together, daughters and granddaughters, etc., etc.). It's amazing we didn't leave there yelling at each other. Back row, L to R: Aunt Cindy, Cousin Julie, Aunt Suzy, me, my mom (Yvonne). Front Row: Cousin Lindsey, Grandma Hill (Dorothy), Sister Liz.

While at the Redwoods, Sean did a practice bike ride..."practice" being a very hilly, 25-mile, ride. In just eleven days--the Ride542, a very mountainous 25-mile ride. His idea of fun.

And at the wedding--I forgot to mention that Guyan caught the garter. I'm not sure he knows what that is supposed to mean.

And finally--how could I forget?!?--Owen learned to ride his bike. Yippee!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

August in a Nutshell (albeit a big one)

Technically, it's the first day of school today. So there's a lot of pressure to get a blog post up on that big milestone. But, being the anal-retentive, chronological-order-oriented woman that I am, I'm going to cram one of the busiest months of our family lives into one post.

Ready? Set? GOOOO!!!

First, we must mention Guyan's spectacular bicycle crash. No broken bones or anything, but would you have a look at that lip! Holy Moses! That happened just before going to Portland to visit Deke, Debby and Dory...from which, alas, I do not have any pictures. Go figure.

After the trip to Portland, Sean came down on the train to pick up the boys and mosy on down to Medford. The boys all spent time with Uncle Jeff and their cousin Cale, while I flew down to Southern California to celebrate my grandmother's 80th birthday. All of my grandma's daughters and grandaughters were there, and it was a BLAST! Here's me with my cousins (Julie, left, and Lindsey, right) and sister, Liz.

While down in Southern California, we had a shower for Liz, again...seriously, I think she'll have five or so before little Nolan is born (Nolan Jaxon, please excuse previous spelling errors).

After the California jaunt, I flew up to Medford to join up with the rest of the family. Soon after, we left for a few days of camping at the Redwoods. First, we stopped by the Oregon Caves and did the tour--the tour was so much fun, but the ride up and down the mountain, not so much. Lots of curves, lots of focusing on not throwing up. At least for me--Guyan read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the whole way. Apparently he does not get carsick, which is funny, considering that I had morning sickness for almost my entire pregnancy with him. Some things are just not fair.
I digress...this is the Paradise Lost room in the Caves. Difficult to tell from the pictures, but lots of cool formations in these caves!

Owen liked these caves much more than the lava tubes by Bend last year. There was lighting in these caves...

After the caves, we went to the California Redwoods. Owen joined me for a walk through the forest...literally. These logs covered the trail, but trailworkers just cut out "doors" in them so you could walk through. You can just barely see Owen at the far log.

There he is! (Guyan refused to go on this walk--he was reading again. Kind of funny to get mad at your child for reading..."Guyan, put down that d*mn book and look at nature!!! Geesh!")

Apparently an ocean (and maybe threats, I can't remember) will get Guyan out of the car, however.

Of course we spent some time at the Smith River by our campsite. Me and Momtos, laying on the banks, Sean in the river, and the boys throwing rocks into it. Typical.

Momtos had all the camping gear we could want. Including the tent from Sean's childhood (this woman takes care of her stuff well! I would hate to think of the condition of our tent in 30 years), and materials to build a chipmunk trap. Unfortunately, the chipmunks had seen this trick before (a month previous, when Uncle Jeff and Cale visited this campsite), and were wise to it.

When we finished camping, we came back to Momtos' house in Medford. Jeff had just bought a red 1978 Vespa Ciao, and I ended up buying its orange sister moped. I like to think that Jeff's will be the evil twin, and mine will be the nice one, for trips to the library and gym. I certainly don't plan on breaking my collarbone and three ribs (then again, I don't think Jeff planned on that either).

And our final August adventure--a trip to a family wedding near Salem, Oregon. It was at the Becken Ridge vineyards. I took more pictures of the grapes than the bride, I think...the grapes were gorgeous!
Of course, the bride was beautiful, too. She (Nicole) is Sean's cousin (on his dad's side) Rod's daughter. That's Rod in the picture (duh).

And that's it! Sorta...the next post has just a couple important things that I missed...