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!!