Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Recap

We are back in Seattle after a fun filled holiday in St. Louis. It's been a while since I posted, and as most people, it's been a very busy holiday season.

For my birthday, Dan took me to Elliott's Oyster House on the Sound. The food was spectacular, as usual. Afterwards we went on a fabulous cruise around the sound onboard Argosy's Spirit of Seattle - the lead ship in the Christmas ship parade. We loved it! I hope we can take Kendra when she is a bit older. It really was an amazing cruise.

We headed for St. Louis on 12/21 to spend the holidays with friends and family. Because we booked our flight so late, we ended up on a 12 hour adventure through 3 different airports before we landed. It was a very long day, but Kendra was good as gold. She slept through a big chunk of the trip, so we really only had to work at keeping her entertained on the last flight and during the layovers.

As is par for the course, I immediately came down with a miserable cold. Dan went visiting to friends while me, and sometimes Kendra, stayed at dad's and napped.

Christmas Day dawned with a light dusting of snow, and icey roads. We gingerly made our way to my grandma's house, where we spent the day eating, opening gifts and laughing at Kendra's antics. The child is a ham and loved being the center of attention of a room full of adults.

The last few days of our trip were spent visiting friends, and meeting a new one. Noah Benjamin was born on 12/26 to some very proud parents. He looks beautifully healthy, and looks exactly like his daddy. Congrats to the new family!

We flew back to Seattle on 12/28 - making our flight by the skin of our teeth. Who knew the STL airport would be crowded beyond capacity at 5:30am? Actually, we would have missed it entirely if a very nice Skycap and TSA agent hadn't helped us out. Thanks guys, wherever you are.

Home again, and I'm recovering from round 2 of my cold. Kendra is happy as a clam to be back with her doggies. The laundry is done, the floors have been mopped and the house is a toyland disaster zone. Another few days and we'll clean it up. For now, it's fun!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Despite my hopes and fervent wishes, I can no longer deny the truth. Kendra's eyes are not blue. I thought I was safe when they were still blue at one year, but it was not to be.

I am destined to have a brown haired, brown eyed girl.

Not that there's anything wrong with brown eyes, but geeze - Dan got everything! I was hoping she'd at least get my blue eyes. Good thing I gave birth to her because she doesn't look much like me!

She is doing much better after her bout with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. In fact, she's been downright fun. Dan took her to the art walk in Pioneer Square last night, and I went to the gym. I had a whole hour of uninterrupted me time! I listened to a book on my iPod and enjoyed every moment.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

First Official Childhood Disease

Kendra has been under the weather the past few days, nothing major, just a bit out of sorts. She's had a rash since Sunday, though, so today I took her to the doctor to have it looked at. The doc had no real idea about the rash, but while there I noticed several blisters on Kendra's feet. Dan had seen one on her hand last night, so I asked about them. Congratulations, we have Hand, Foot and Mouth disease.

It's a relatively harmless viral infection that is highly contagious in the under 10 set. One of Dan's co-worker's kids had it, so it's possible that's where she got it from. Since she is no longer running a fever she is no longer contagious so we can resume our normal activities. She will be uncomfortable while she has the blisters - especially the ones in her mouth. Lots of cuddles and Tylenol are the medicine of the day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Toddler Christmas

Here is our first toddler proof Christmas tree. It's outside on our deck so Kendra can't (easily) get to it. I miss having a tree in the house, but I don't think I'll miss yelling at Kendra every 45 seconds to stay away from the tree. She already managed to pull several ornaments off this one when our backs were turned.

Baby Girl is Slowly Becoming Not A Baby

I realized it's been a while since I posted a picture of our little one. As you can see, she is not nearly as little. She keeps growing and learning at an amazing pace.

The past few weeks she has suddenly discovered books. She loves to sit on our lap and have a book read to her. She has her favorites, one of which is "Are You My Mother?". She enjoys any book that has cats and dogs in it, actually. When she sees a picture of a cat, we hear "AT!" and she points to whichever of our cats is nearby. When we get to the the dog, it's "OOF OOF." (beginning consonate sounds are still proving to be a challenge :)

The kid absolutely adores dogs. She has a stuffed dog that she carries all over the place, and yesterday we got a floppy stuffed dog that I think is the new favorite. She carried it all over our friends house - even going into the bedroom to get it off the bed after I had put it up.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Christmas Ship

Tonight we went to watch the first sailing of the season of the Argosy Christmas Ship. It's a 60 year tradition here in Seattle. There are two large ships that offer a dinner cruise around the Seattle area waterways. Every night they sail to a different location, with an entire parade of privately owned boats that are decked out in Christmas lights.

There is a published schedule of where the ship will stop, and people gather on the shore to watch them go by. The lead ship stops, and there is a featured group of carolers on board. Their singing is broadcast through loudspeakers to the shore. Tonight it was the Seattle Girl's Choir. They were very good and we enjoyed it tremendously.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Prep

We are hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year. We're making turkey (one traditional, one smoked), stuffing, homemade rolls, pumpkin pie and fresh cranberries. Our guests (we're expecting 10-12) are each bringing the dish that makes Thanksgiving special to them.

We spent the weekend starting to prep the house - cleaning, decorating, finishing projects. There's nothing like the threat (promise?) of a house full of people to make you get off your duff and put away that pile of stuff you've been meaning to for months. Or finally get around to cleaning the ceiling fans and sprucing up the house with holiday decorations. Dan has been amazing - when I got home from church yesterday he and Kendra had made a huge dent in the cleaning portion, and between us we got almost everything done.

I've finished grocery shopping, except for the turkey. I'll take care of that tonight or tomorrow. We had a trial run last night - Dan made pizza and we had 4 people for dinner. It was very enjoyable.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Winery Open!

Four months ago we took 10 pounds of plums, crushed them up and dumped them in a bucket. After several rackings, we ended up with wine! It's a beautiful red color, and surprisingly dry. The flavor is strong, and Dan swears the alcohol content is a little higher than normal.

We bottled 8 bottles, plus a pitcher for drinking. Not too bad for a first attempt!

Our infused liquors were also ready for bottling. The vodkas were a total success! We have lime vodka, that will be amazing in lemonade, and cherry vodka - that we have no idea what to do with. Anyone have any ideas?

Unfortunately our experiment in making brandy ended up so bad it went down the drain. We'll try again using the technique we used for the vodka, and maybe adding some spices as well for extra flavor.

Good or bad, we've had fun experimenting! We have 20 pounds of apples currently turning themselves into wine right now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things They Don't Tell You

Everyone talks about how exhausting the first few months of an infant's life are for the parents. There is no doubt that everyone is right - it is exhausting. However, they forget to mention that after an all to brief respite, the Toddler Years set in, bringing a whole new level of tiredness with them.

I adore my child, but she is absolutely exhausting. She is constant motion, constant questions, and non-stop interaction all day long. By the end of the day my house looks remarkably like a tornado ripped through a toy store, I'm covered in food from being used as a napkin (or worse - a Kleenex), and I have to wonder how one tiny person has managed to make me say "no" or "don't touch that" or "don't put that in your mouth" 749 times. I feel my sunny personality slipping away :)

It's hard to stay positive when you spend your entire day correcting someone, and I work really hard to "catch" her being good - just so I have something to praise her for.

She's a smart little bug, and is capable of understanding a remarkable amount of what is going on around her. A few days ago I asked her to go find her bowl (which she had run off with - again) so we could have dinner. She toddled off and reappeared a few minutes later holding her bowl out to me.

If I had any doubts it was just a fluke, yesterday I put a cute barrette in her hair. By the time we were ready to leave, it was gone. I asked her where her barrette was, mostly in exasperation, and not really expecting an answer. She walked over to the bench, picked it up and handed it to me, babbling the whole time.

Her obvious understanding of what I'm saying leads to more frustration on my part with the constant "no's" I find myself saying. She obviously knows she's not supposed to play in the dog food, so why does she make a beeline for it every day? I guess we have reached the testing phase of our relationship - she tests everything again and again and again. Some say it's a sign of healthy attachment. I'll have to trust them, because I'm too mentally drained to come up with my own answers.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The cutest fairy on the block is sending lots of love and kisses your way!

We did a bit of trick or treating in our neighborhood, had dinner and put one very tired fairy to bed.

Click here for some cute pics of our darling girl.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween Costume

I made Kendra's costume this year...our little Fall Fairy. It's a tutu and a white onsie, and will be completed with white tights, white shoes and wings (if she'll leave them on).

We are planning a toddler trick-or-treat at the community center on Friday night, and a neighborhood candy grab on Saturday.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Day at the Beach

We've all been sick here - colds, bronchitis, ear infections (which was caused by her cutting a molar), but we're finally on the mend. Yesterday I was a little stir crazy from being cooped up for so long, so we loaded up dogs and headed out. Our first stop was the dog park in West Seattle. It was raining, but the dogs didn't seem to mind one bit. They had a ball.

Next stop was a coffee shop for some liquid warmth and a cinnamon roll. Since the Alki Bakery and Coffee shop is across the street from the Alki Beach, we wandered down the beach for a while while drinking our coffee. Alki (pronounced with a long i) is the oldest area of Seattle. It's where the Denny party (the first white settlers of the area) landed in 1851. It was originally called New York Alki, and has a small replica of the Stature of Liberty that stands on the beach in rememberance of the founding name of the area. There is also a time capsule that was buried next the statue this year. It is slated to be opened in 2059.

Kendra taste tested several rocks, but the one covered in seaweed cured her of that predilection. :) Her facial expression was priceless. She then decided that sand was much more appropriate, and proceeded to eat handfuls of the stuff everytime we took our eyes off her for even a second. Little stinker. In the picture she is handing me fistfulls of sand to hold. I'm not sure why, but she worked awfully hard at handing them to me!

(I just thought this was a great picture of Dan and wanted to share.) :)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Family Style Cooking

Kendra has reached the "curious about everything" stage, so we are now working on walking that fine line between encouragement and she's in the way.

We bought a step stool and Kendra promptly claimed it as her own. She wanted to see what we were doing when we cook, and now she can. In fact, she likes to help as much as she can. Helping by Kendra consists of moving things on the counter to the floor, and rearranging everything on the lower shelves of the pantry - usually to the bench along the wall.

It is so much fun to watch her explore and learn her world - and ours.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Family Down

It's been rough a week in our household. I came down with something (flu? nasty cold? bronchitis?) last Sunday, and didn't get out of bed until yesterday. I was miserable - fever, achy, coughing - the works. Dan worked from home and kept Kendra busy.

Yesterday Dan wasn't feeling well and came home from work early. His is more sinus/nasty cold. Kendra has had a runny nose all week, and this morning woke up with a low-grade fever. Her fever is now up to 101.2, and my normally high-spirited kid wants nothing more than to be held. :(

Friday, October 9, 2009

15 Month Well Baby

Today was Kendra's 15 month check-up. She once again received a clean bill of health, although it was a brutal visit.

She received three inoculations, including the seasonal flu shot. I also decided to have her tested for thrombophilia - a genetic mutation that causes blood clots. We know it's in the family, but we're not sure how close. I don't have it, but it's possible mom did. She was never tested because we didn't know to ask, but she died of an embolism so who knows. The test requires a few vials of blood, which turned out to be tough to get from Kendra's tiny veins. Poor little girl. :(

As for her stats: she was 29" long, and weighed in at 20 pounds on the nose. Not a big growth spurt from her last visit, but moving right along. I forgot to ask specifically, but from looking online at growth charts I'm pretty sure she's now in the 10th percentile.

Off to bed for all of us now...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Contemplating Life

Kendra in a very rare quiet moment...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Things We Have Learned

Being the parents of a toddler is an adventure unlike any other. We learn just as much from watching her as she learns from interacting with her environment. This week's lessons include:

1. Our child is fearless. We went to the Magic House in St. Louis (and had a blast!!) on Sunday. In one area there is a twisty slide about 15 feet tall. We were going to try to get Kendra to slide down it to see how she'd react, but she beat us to it. She slid down all by herself, giggling the whole way.

2. Kendra goes woof. Dan is thrilled - probably a little more than he should be :)

3. Kendra is capable of letting the dogs in the house, and herself out - without any help (or knowledge!!) from me.

4. Things go inside things. Specifically, a D cell battery clutched in the fist of a toddler fits very nicely into the cone of a brand-new-out-of-the-box-less-than-2-minutes sub woofer of dad's new surround sound system. And no, we couldn't get the battery back out.

5. Kendra is her own personal cheering squad. She has learned how to clap, and understands that clapping is a positive thing. Whenever we praise her, or she feels like she's done something good, she'll start clapping. It's really cute.

6. Turtle likes papaya. Don't ask.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fruits of our Labor

We've been enjoying the fruits of our garden this week. Dan made jalapeno jelly (although I have no idea what to do with it...) and some fantastic pasta sauce with our tomatoes, basil and carrots. Tonight I made stuffed squash! (Ok, we bought the squash from the farmers market, but it was still tasty!)

In case you have heard, we'll be back in STL next week. Work related for me, but Dan and Kendra will be around to have some fun with!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Everything Comes Early Here...

Here is our darling daughter posing with our Halloween pumpkins and Christmas tree. We grew these pumpkins from seed in our very own garden! As Halloween gets closer we'll carve one, and leave one whole for Thanksgiving decorations.

With Baby Destructo on the loose, I decided not to put a Christmas tree in the house this year. When Home Depot put their cypress trees on sale earlier this year, I bought one. Come Christmas it will be decorated with lights and put on our deck so we can enjoy it, and not worry about Kendra getting into it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Kendra Begins Geography Lessons

I also bought a very cute kids art table off craigslist. It has 2 chairs, a bench and an oblong table. There's a hanger for a roll of butcher paper underneath, a small plastic bin to hold paints and paintbrushes, and three holders for paint. It also came with paints and paint brushes. It had never been opened - and is really cool!

Kendra likes to sit in the chairs, but otherwise it's still a bit beyond her. She prefers to eat the crayons rather than draw with them. It will come thought, and when it does, I'm ready!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Doing Our Part. . .

to keep the economy going. We decided to take advantage of Obama's stimulus package and ordered some new windows for our house. We are only replacing five for now - the ones that need it the worst, and those that should match those for aesthetic reasons.

We are replacing both windows in Kendra's room, and the casement windows from our office and bedroom. We're also doing the one at the top of the stairs because it currently isn't designed to open, and we'd like it to to help with air flow in the house.

We went to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival this past weekend. The festival wasn't bad, but the transportation issues were so bad we won't go back. There was no parking at the festival, so they had shuttles to run you from designated parking areas. We waited for about an hour to catch it the first time, and we had arrived in time to catch the first one of the day. It took over 30 minutes to get back. In the sun, with no shade and no water. And the shuttle was a school bus - which made getting our stroller on rather interesting. It definitely put a damper on the day.

Otherwise things have been fairly quiet here. We're working on household stuff - boring things that come with owning a home. Hopefully we can make some real progress on the wall this weekend...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

St. Louis Visit

We are back home, safe and sound. We had a wonderful trip, although we didn't get to spend nearly enough time with everyone. I am so glad we were able to see as many of you as we did! It certainly wasn't a relaxing vacation, but it was productive...and we did have a bit of fun, as Kendra clearly demonstrates.

We were able to get a tremendous amount of work done at dad's new place. There is still a ton more to do, but we did what we could and I think it helped. Dan built a retaining wall and re-routed some of the rain drainage away from the house. I redid the landscaping in the front with various bushes that will need little to no maintenance (per dad's request) and will hopefully look great once they fill out. Dan got the computer and TV working, and I digitized the insurance paperwork to make it all searchable. Searching through 300 pages to match the lamp he just bought to the line item for a lamp on the insurance document was...painfully tedious to say the least.

Dad's new furniture is beautiful, and the house is shaping up nicely. He has a guest room and two sleeper sofas if anyone wants to visit...

Of course the star of the show was Kendra - she learned to walk!! By the end of the trip she was toddling around dad's place like a champ! His house is much more baby-proofed than ours - he has less stuff! There's no stopping that kid now! She is walking everywhere, and gains confidence (and stamina!) each day.

The three of us also made a day trip to Springfield to visit Marilyn. It was so good to see her. She was still in the hospital, but looked great. Weak and tired, but walking around. She even kept Kendra entertained as we ate dinner. She was released to go home last Thursday. However, I talked to my uncle tonight, and she's been re-admitted. I think she's just getting lazy - likes being waited on :)

Kendra and I also made a quick day-trip to Springfield, IL to visit with my bestest friends. We had lunch then wandered through a mall and let the kids play in the play area before heading home. Annie bought Kendra an adorable Build-a-Bear stuffed bunny, complete with a voice box that says "I love you, Kendra!" Kendra breaks out into a smile every time she hears it. It is so cute to see.

Here are a few pics from our trip...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

In STL Again!

We arrived in STL last night! Lemme just say that traveling with an exhausted one year old is not fun for anyone. But, we all survived, and with most of our hearing still in tact.

Dad's new place is very nice. It needs a bit of updating, but it's all cosmetic, and he's working on it. The furniture he's bought so far is beautiful!

To celebrate, we're having a BBQ here on Sunday. We're trying to call everyone to invite them personally, but just in case we miss you...come on by after 3 and have a hot dog and chips, or bring something to toss on the grill. If you need his address, give one of us a call.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rattlesnake Ridge

Seattle is always an amazingly beautiful place to live, but especially in the summers. We took advantage of it on Saturday, and went hiking with some friends. We did a four mile loop known as Rattlesnake Ridge.

The weather was fabulous, the company even better, and we had a wonderful time. As you can see, the scenery at the top made all 7 blisters on my feet worth it.

FYI - Marilyn went in the hospital Friday night, but as of today she is doing better. She's off the ventilator, and even managed to crack a joke. She's exhausted, and has quite a road in front of her, but it's looking positive. Keep praying for her!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rarely A Dull Moment

Living where we do is often an adventure. Across the street from us is a park, and we have seen some strange stuff in that park. Most is harmless, and it gives us a good laugh.

Today as I looked out our upstairs window, I saw some guy in a truck emptying all his trash down the hillside of the park. I grabbed my camera and headed outside to take pictures of what I could, and maybe get a plate number. I struck out on the plates (he had none) but I did video the entire thing, and got a pretty good shot of the guy's face.

Interestingly, this same truck was parked across from our house last weekend - the same day as my car was broken into.

I called the cops, and they came by a few minutes ago. I had burned a DVD of the pictures and video, and handed it off to them to deal with. I doubt they'll find the guy, but if they get lucky maybe what I provided them will help convict him.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

People Are Mean

This past weekend my car was broken into. They call it "car prowl" it happens so frequently. Although I was lucky (I'm told) that my car wasn't damaged, the theif made off with every piece of electronic gear in the car - namely iPods and my GPS.

I made a police report, but I don't expect much. I also called our car insurance, but they won't cover any losses not directly a part of the car. So, our homeowners probably would, but we didn't loose enough to cover the cost of our deductible. So, we're screwed.

We plan on replacing the GPS this week, but not the iPods. Maybe at Christmas, if there are some good sales.

Mean people suck.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Congratulations are in order for one of my cousins. She was recently chosen (as one of a very, very, very small group) to be a part of the Executive Training Program for her company!

From what I understand, her boss and her boss's boss nominated her without her knowledge. She found out yesterday, and is thrilled. How awesome to have bosses that believe in you, want you to succeed, and are willing to put themselves out to offer you that opportunity. And how fantastic that she has found a job she is so good at that everyone recognizes her potential for great things.

K has worked her tail off for this, and she deserves it. Congratulations Cuz!! You rock!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We woke up this morning to a sound we haven't heard in a long time...rain! It rained a few drops in June, but our last significant rainfall was in May.

The most common misconception about Seattle is that it rains all the time. We have a ton of cloudy days, but all in all our summers are dry, cloud free and amazing.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kendra is One Bullet Tall

This weekend was the conclusion of the summer-long festival known as Seafair. Yesterday we headed down to the pier to look at some ships that were in dock and on display. There were two missile guided destroyers, a Coast Guard Interceptor, and two Canadian destroyers. We took a tour of the USS Shoup, a destroyer based out of Everett. It was pretty awesome to see. Yes, that is a large caliber bullet Kendra is next to.

Today we decided to go check out the Blue Angels airshow over Lake Washington. We walked from our house to I-90, along with several thousand other people. WDOT shuts down the interstate for 2 hours, and everyone walks out on it to watch the show. It's amazing to stand on a floating bridge, over a lake and get buzzed by planes. It was sunny and hot, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Click here for pictures of what we saw.

We invited a few friends over for dinner, and are now playing with our new Wii Motion additions to our Wii. (Yes, they are as awesome as advertised.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Broken Records

We blew by the old heat record of 100 degrees, set in 1941 and 1994. It is currently 102.

Ugh. Even with my little AC unit it's 85 in the house. I can't imagine what it would be otherwise.

Anyone want to FedEx overnight a few air conditioners? We could probably make a killing on them.

It's Hot

It's official...we're miserably hot. Today is forcast to break Seattle's all time high, and records go back to 1891. Yesterdays low was the highest one on record as well, so even our (usually) blessed cool evenings are gone.

I did buy a room air conditioner, but it can only do so much in our fairly large downstairs. We're surviving, but geeze, this sucks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More Jelly

So today's adventures in canning included making three batches of jelly - blueberry conserves, cherry marmalade and blackberry. There is nothing like standing over a huge pot of 225 degree jelly for 3 hours on a day that was close to 100 degrees on its own. Did I mention the baby that wanted to be held continuously as I did all this? And the fact that I managed to lock myself, and Kendra, on the back deck and had to be rescued by the neighbor?

It was a crazy evening.

(I did end up with 20 jars of incredibly yummy jelly, though!)

First Steps!

Kendra took her first unprompted, unassisted steps this morning! She's taken one or two steps here or there between us, but this was the first time she did it without any encouragement from us. She had worked her way down the wall, and when she got to Dan she let go and took two, maybe three, steps to him.

Of course, she seems completely oblivious to what she's done, but how exciting!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

I am currently sitting on a stool in my kitchen watching a small gauge creep miniscully upwards. The gauge is on our new pressure canner, which contains 10 pints of Washington's finest Bing cherries (currently on sale for $0.77 a pound!!)

I grew up on a farm, with a huge garden, and summertime canning was a part of life. I didn't appreciate all the love and hard work my parents put into each one of those jars. I didn't understand how wonderful and special it was to eat produce, picked at the perfect time and preserved with all it's summertime flavor, in the blah months of winter. Now, however, I'm beginning to get it. See dad, it only took 30 odd years for me to come full circle.

With my new found appreciation for all the sweat of my childhood, we bought a pressure canner this weekend (FYI - a pressure cooker is not the same thing), the necessary accouterments, and a home preserving cookbook. Sunday we cleaned and pitted 8 pounds of cherries. Those were turned into 7 jars of jam that didn't set correctly and have now been dubbed ice cream topping, and 3 pints of whole cherries. Dan stopped at the store tonight and bought another case of cherries. I cleaned and pitted about half of them to come up with 10 pints of cherries, and the mash to make another attempt at jam. (My first batch does taste awesome - it just didn't set right.)

I also threw some cherries in a crock and covered them with vodka to make cherry infused vodka. It should be ready by Thanksgiving, if all goes well. And of course, the cherries will make an awesome flambe dessert for after the turkey.

Just for kicks, we also are trying to make homemade brandy. Once again, lots of cherries and lots of sugar tossed in a crock. It should ferment and come Thanksgiving, we'll pour off a beautiful cherry brandy. If it goes badly, we'll end up with a crock full of rotten cherries. Either way, it's fun to try!

In the midst of all this, we also bought a wine making kit. I had bought a case of plums that we just couldn't eat fast enough, so of course the logical thing to do is make wine :) The Pinkard Bathtub Winery is currently fermenting 2 gallons of plum "must." (Don't worry, it's in a bucket, but the bucket is in the bathtub downstairs - cool and dark - it's perfect!) We rack it for the first time on Saturday, and if cherries are still on sale we'll buy another case or two to turn into wine. We only have one fermenting barrel, although the future wine generally only spends a week or so there. It is then racked (siphoned with the solid parts removed) into a carboy, where it will ferment for anywhere from 3 months to 3 years, depending on the fruit used and type of wine desired.

More on our canning adventures to come. For now, my cherries need to be rescued. 8 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes has been achieved!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Sound of Silence

I remember the not-to-distant days when silence in the house meant a contentedly sleeping baby.

Now it's a signal to check and see what kind of mischief she's into. On today's "to-do list" is apparently re-arranging mama's sock drawer. (Yes, she opened the drawer by herself the little sneak!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

12 Month Check-Up/Day at the Beach

Last Wednesday Kendra had her 12 month well-baby check-up. Can you believe it's been a year already?

She weighed in at 18 lbs, 1oz. She's still tiny - that puts her in the 5th percentile. She has grown quite a bit, though; 4 1/2 inches in the past 3 months. She is now a whopping 28 3/4 inches tall, which puts her in the 50th percentile. Her head is still big; 75th percentile. :)

She had another round of inoculations, which did not make for a happy baby. The sugar binky helped (dipping the binky in sugar and popping it in her mouth just as she got stuck.)

The doc says she's just about caught up with a normal one year old. All in all, she's fabulous!

Saturday we spent the day at a beautiful park near here with some friends. We grilled and hung out, then got some great pics before heading home for the day. I think we all slept well after a day of sun, surf, wind and food.

Click here for the pictures of our day at Carkeek Park.

And lest you were concerned, for the first time I did not make the Harry Potter opening day. However, we have tickets (and a babysitter!!) for tomorrow night :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

First Ballgame

Thursday night we took Kendra to her first Mariners game. She had a great time waving at people, shaking peanuts to make noise, and trying to grab whatever was in sight.

The Mariners beat the first place Texas Rangers 3-1. It was a boring game with the Rangers winning 1-0 until the 8th inning. A well timed home run brought the Mariners 3 runs, and won the game. It was pretty funny to watch Kendra's face as the crowds went absolutely wild. Confusion, concern and elation at being able to screech along with 40,000 other people.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy July 4th

Ok, so I'm a little late in posting, but I do have a one year old to keep up with :)

Anyway, we had a wonderful 4th, and I hope you did as well! We spent the day at the beach (a major perk of living on the coast). We hooked up the baby trailer to our bikes (actually Dan's bike) and headed for a 5 mile ride to Seward Park. There is a beach just over a mile from us, but that was too easy.

Once there we set up our sun tent, got out the beach toys and relaxed. Kendra enjoyed eating the sand and splashing in the water. She even paddled around a bit, with me holding her of course. Dan and I had a turkey sandwich, while Kendra enjoyed pasta covered in grass with a bit of sand and dirt for texture. We all shared a cherry sno-cone for dessert.

We made it home by 6, rinsed all the sand off and ate some dinner. Kendra was asleep by the time the fireworks started, and surprisingly, stayed asleep through them. We didn't go anywhere to watch them, but the folks across the interstate put on quite a show.

It was a great way to spend the day.

Monday, July 6, 2009

World's Youngest Computer Disrepair Technician

Introducing your next computer disrepair technician...

You see, Daddy, I think this wire needs to plug into this plug over there...(More)

She's got it all figured out, and she's eager to help you remove your sensitive electronics, too!

Also, here are my favorites from Kendra's first birthday season...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Outdoor Living Room

A few weeks back, Dan humored me and we bought a gazebo off of Craigslist. We've got it set up in our driveway, since we don't have a usable yard at the moment, and I love it!! (If you've never seen our house, our driveway is long. Even with the landscaping bricks and gazebo, there is plenty of room for my car.)

We have 4 chairs, 2 tables and a lounge chair in it. (Two chairs, a table and the lounger were included by the lady who sold the gazebo.) I've taken my laptop outside and lounged in the chair while working. In fact, this post is being typed outside, lounging in the chair. :) Since we've put it up, we've spent nearly every evening out here.

Yesterday I inflated Kendra's baby pool (as brightly seen here) and Kai had her splashing in it for a while. Kendra was more interested in playing in the dirt around the pool. Wet baby + dirt = huge mess. But she had fun. We'll try the pool idea again this weekend. It's supposed to be very warm here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Word

We have our first word! {insert drum roll please...} DADDY!

We've been hearing sounds for months that are 'daddy', 'ball', doggie' - but she didn't seem to actively link the sounds she made to the thing they represented. Until last night. Dan came home from work, and Kendra and I were upstairs. She crawled to the baby gate and was looking down. As soon as she saw him, her face lit up and she said "daddy!"

Although words are slow in coming, we are amazed at how much she understands. If you ask her questions she will answer you with little sounds that mean yes or no. She's also learned to point to what she wants, which is a tremendous help in figuring out what she's after.

We also, officially, have four teeth. The second top one has been giving her trouble for weeks, and it finally broke through yesterday. Yay! Four down, 22 more to go.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The First Birthday Party

We celebrated Kendra's first birthday today, with about 25 of our friends. We had rented some picnic tables in the park, decorated with lots of balloons, and had a great time. The area was perfect as there was a playground right next to us for the older kids to occupy themselves with.

The weather was a gorgeous mid-70's day, with lots of sunshine. (See Dan's sunburned head as proof). We BBQd some brats and burgers, and topped it off with a yummy white cake filled with strawberry mousse.

Dan gave Kendra a beautiful dress to wear (she's opening it in the above picture) that he picked out himself. I was pretty impressed! I gave her the "It's my birthday" crown that she actually wore, for a few minutes anyway. Mostly she crawled around, ate things off the ground and watched the bigger kids play on the playground.

Click here for all the pics from the party.

Of course, since Kendra didn't actually want to take the time to eat at her party, she's now starving. She's already eaten a hamburger, some veggie stick chips, blueberries and she's working on cherries while trying to convince Dan to give her some pizza.

Friday, June 19, 2009

For All the Parents To Be

In my fantastic group of friends, right now there are a bevy of pregnant women. This post is for them, and the dad's-to-be, of course.

This is such an exciting time! Being pregnant has its ups and downs; its scary, emotional moments; and moments where you could conquer the world. You wonder if you are up to the task - after all serial killers had moms too, right? You think back to your own childhood, and realize all your parents did wrong. (Yes, I'm being very tongue-in-cheek here - but they are things that ran through my mind.)

Are you ready? Can you really do this? These thoughts are all normal, and yes, you can. In my humble opinion, one of the best things any parent can do is love their child unconditionally. Luckily, that's the easiest part of being a parent. Unfortunately, it's also the hardest part.

In between picking nursery colors and dreaming of what your new little person will be like, I have a game, of sorts, for you to play. Hopefully it will help you chuckle when you need it. Find a nice notebook, or the back of your baby book, and start a log of phrases you never thought you'd have to say as a parent. As time goes on, and your sweet, compliant lump of baby turns into a demanding, mobile, opinionated toddler, go back to that log and write down the date you actually had to say the phrase.

Be creative! Some of my personal favorites are:

  • Don't play in the toilet
  • Don't eat the toilet paper from the middle of the role...start at the end so we have less to clean up.
  • Get out of the dishwasher.
  • Don't lick the dog.
  • Stop biting my toes.
  • You're right! Spaghetti sauce does make good hair gel.
  • No matter how much you cry, you're not getting daddy's beer (I thought we'd have until at least her teens for this one!)
  • Don't eat the... {insert correct word} SD card, twig, rock, sticker, leaf, shoe, bug, paper clip, penny, cigarette butt...

Ok, so forget what I said earlier about love...the most important thing for you to do as a parent is keep your sense of humor!

Good luck to you all! May God bless you with an easy labor and a baby that sleeps through the night quickly.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mom and Baby Survive Bus Ride

Kendra and I took ourselves on a small adventure this afternoon. We hopped a city bus - alone - for the first time ever! We successfully navigated our way to Pike Place Market (ok, there were no transfers and pretty much a straight shot, but still!) We bought my dad a father's day gift, restocked our supply of spices, picked up some fresh fruit and a peirosky for dinner and found our bus home.

I think we both rather enjoyed it. Definitely beat dealing with rush hour traffic and hordes of tourists who have no idea where they are going - but know they don't want to park more than 10 feet away from it. Parking is always bad here. During summer months it's downright horrendous.

It may be silly, but I'm pretty proud of us!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cute But Deadly

She's cute; I'll even go so far as adorable. But at the rate this child is going she will not live long enough to see her first birthday.

Our darling daughter has learned what the word no means, and she doesn't like it. When said offending word is directed at her, she will - very loudly - voice her displeasure. On a really good day, there are even real tears.

She's also come to some very definitive conclusions as to how the world should be. When the world does not conform to her ideas, such as the cabinet she wants into not opening, she lets us know - again very loudly - of her displeasure.

The terrible twos have started before age one. We are so screwed.

In other news, my co-worker had her baby last Monday - 3 weeks early. Mom and new baby boy are both doing wonderfully, and I'm back up to full time. Kai agreed to babysit for us for 3 hours a day so I can get some uninterrupted work time. Hopefully it's a very temporary situation until she finds full time work, but I have to say - she is fabulous! I've felt less stressed this past week than I have in months!

We are frantically preparing our house for Dan's mom arrival next Sunday. Mostly it's cleaning the guest room, but we're also trying to accomplish some little projects. I have several pictures that have needed to be hung for a while, so we got some of those up. Today we hung a 6' bamboo blind on our deck. It will help block the afternoon sun from coming in the sliding glass doors and hopefully keep the house cooler. I also bought some thermal lined Roman shades for the office. Again, the afternoon sun is brutal coming in there. The shades will hopefully block the light and heat and make that room more tolerable to work in during the afternoons.

Thank you Cousin Michelle for the adorable dress Kendra is wearing in the picture. Both of them you gave her look great! (And she is clutching her favorite toy - "Octi" the stuffed Octopus. Of all the cute stuffed animals she has, the stupid octopus we bought as a joke from Goodwill was chosen as her luvie; her must-have-at-all-times. I've already ordered two more off the net - just in case!)

Sunday, May 31, 2009


Kendra has officially been baptized! I'll have more (and better!) pictures soon, as well as an update, but here's what she looked like on her big day.

Now we're off to ride bikes to get ice cream!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

New Experiences

We spent the morning at Gymboree, and had a wonderful time. Doubly nice, we found out our Gymboree is offering a "2 for 1" sale this summer, so we enrolled Kendra in a music class. She'll go to music on Mondays, and continue her play and learn group on Saturdays.

Dan and I had an assembly line of sandwich making this morning. We made 20 sandwiches to donate to the St. Martin de Porres homeless shelter for men. We then went to the shelter tonight, with Kendra in tow, to serve dinner to the men. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I experienced.

The men were mostly polite, funny and (fairly) clean. For many of the men, if I had passed them on the street I wouldn't have thought they were homeless.. More than a few thought Kendra was a cute little bug, and took turns trying to make her giggle.

We served roughly 200 men sandwiches, chips, fruit and dessert. Dan and I traded off wearing Kendra in her baby backpack. Dan worked the front lines, and I worked in the kitchen washing fruit and handing out dessert. I enjoyed talking to the men, and they seemed genuinely appreciative that we were there.

I was worried I'd feel overwhelmed by all I can't do to help them. That I'd feel guilty for the things and people I have in my life. That somehow this would be a negative emotional experience. It was completely the opposite, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next month.

How do you teach your child empathy and concern for her fellow human being? The best way, in my mind, is to model it.

Friday, May 29, 2009

More Teeth!

Kendra has a new tooth (finally!) coming in. It's one of the ones on the top, but I'm not sure which one. She's a little touchy about anyone coming too close to her mouth right now.

She continues to amaze us with how quickly she can move to find trouble. She practices climbing the stairs at every chance. Heaven help us if we forget to close the baby gate, because she's the first to notice. She seems to have (mostly) given up munching on dog food, but has discovered that Peace Lilies are an acceptable substitute. More often than not I find her with dirt encrusted fingers, tell-tale streaks on her face, and a big innocent smile.

We've completed our baptism preparation class, and will be having her baptized at the 11:00am mass on Sunday. We'll be (hopefully) videotaping it, and will definitely have some pictures taken. Kai has agreed to stand in as "pseudo" godparent since Annie and Ran can't make the trip. Some other friends of ours are coming to take pictures and run the video camera. I'm excited about it.

Our garden has the first fruits of our labor ready for harvesting! We planted broccoli raab and it's ready to eat! (If you don't know what it is, don't feel bad - we had to look it up too!) Broccoli raab, or rapini, is a vague relative of broccoli, but is much closer to turnip or mustard greens. I have no idea what we're going to do with it all...anyone know any good recipes?

Monday, May 25, 2009


The family website has (finally!!) been updated! There are three new scrapbook pages, and a few small blurbs on life here.

"Look What I Can Do!"

Stairs are no longer safe. Herself has learned to climb them, and will practice anytime the gate is not latched. Now I guess we work on teaching her how to go down them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cincinnati Update

It's been our normal craziness here. My trip to Cincinnati was wonderful. It felt great to be Karen again, as opposed to Kendra's mom and Dan's wife. I love both those titles, but sometimes it's nice to be recognized as me.

I met my new co-workers and my new boss. I really liked them all, and am looking forward to a return trip in early June. Now I'm trying to figure out how to work an 8 hour day while still taking care of an increasingly active child.

Dan and Kendra fared extremely well together. In fact, I think they had a ball. It also gave Dan a very keen look into what my days are like. He said it's extremely do-able to work and take care of Kendra. Try to add in taking care of the house, cooking dinner, running errands, and you need a 30 hour day to get it all done. Dan has always been very respectful and understanding of the demands and stressors I face, and I try to be of his. I think we do pretty well.

Kendra is doing fabulously. She has picked up crawling, and manages to get into more trouble than I would have ever thought. Our current argument is whether or not dog food is an acceptable snack for babies. She seems to think it's the greatest treat ever, but we're not as thrilled. She has discovered the toilets are fun to splash in, dishwashers make the greatest toys because they are full of fun things and they slide in and out, the fridge has multiple shelves that are perfect for climbing, and the screen door leads outside to a whole new world.

We have also finally signed up for her baptism. We start preparation class tomorrow, and she will be baptized on May 31. My best friend, Annie, will be her godmother and Ran has agreed to be her godfather.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sad Day

It's a sad day in Seattle. As of about 2am this morning, we are a two dog household. Otis has left this world to join the doggie brethren that went before him.

Rest in peace, furry old dog.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all moms and mom-to-be's. I hope you enjoy your day to the fullest! We went to the Market yesterday, and they had these beautiful Mother's Day bouquets. They were selling them faster than they could make them! The are filled with lilacs, and smell heavenly.

While there, Dan bought a nice salmon and smoked it last night. So for breakfast this morning, he made me cherry scones, crepes filled with raspberry and strawberry puree, topped with fresh berries, and salmon crepes with bechemel sauce. It was enjoyed with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. My mother's day gift was a new coffee maker. Believe it or not, we didn't own one. Dan found one that grinds the beans right before brewing for a wonderfully fresh, delicious cup of coffee. I really like it!

Later today we are heading to the Art Museum for a while, then maybe a wander around the downtown area. May is the start of tourist season, so it can be very tough to find parking. If we find a good spot, we're abusing it for all it's worth!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

It's supposed to rain here all week. So far, it's right on track. It is our rainy season, though, so it's not unexpected.

Anyway, I could use a bit of brightening up, and thought I would share with you as well. Dan took this on our camping trip.

Cute babies just have to make you smile. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dad Has New House

Dad closed on a house last Friday. It's a 3 bedroom/2.5 bath white brick ranch in Ballwin. It has a full, finished basement and two car garage. It's about 2 miles from his sister's house, and basically identical to it - same floor plan and everything.

He's having a new roof put on next week, and they want to paint and wallpaper yet. I have no idea when his move-in date will be. Considering he still has to buy even basic furniture, I'm guessing a few weeks.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Disasterous Camping Trip = Fun

We packed up the car, baby and dogs and headed to the Hoh Rainforest on Friday afternoon. We planned on staying in Forks at a hotel the first night (yes - the current home of Twilight fever). We ran into our first problem on trying to reach Forks. There are two ways to get to Forks and they are equal distance from Seattle, but in opposite directions. The way we went led to the bridge - that had closed for repairs the night before. So we turned around and went the other way. Our 3 1/2 hour drive took close to 6 hours. At least we drove through some beautiful scenery.

Saturday we headed to the Hoh Rainforest inside the Olympic National Park. It lived up to it's name. We got a great campsite right by the river, and it stopped raining long enough to put up our tent. Kendra promptly settled in for a nap. Dan and I worked on putting a tarp over our picnic table to try and have a dry place to eat. It worked great, until the wind started. The crazy wind ripped the tent stakes out of the ground and flipped our picnic table tarp all over the place. And it was freezing.

It basically rained all day. Dan and I finally rigged an umbrella to the baby backpack so we could go on a little hike. We did a 3/4 mile loop called the "Hall of Mosses." It was beautiful - even in the rain.

After a wet and miserable night, we woke up to bright sunshine, cold air and the relaxing sound of the river flowing by. We packed up and headed to Ruby Beach a few miles down the road. We took the dogs and Kendra down to the beach. It was gorgeous! Mickey and Turtle loved it, but
were unsure on what to do with salt water. Both tried to drink it, then settled on chasing the foam from the waves.

We arrived back home yesterday afternoon. After a nice, long, HOT shower, I crashed for a nap. Dan played Xbox with our neighbor and started laundry. Everything smells like campfire smoke and dampness.

Despite the rain and cold, I'm already planning our next adventure. Perhaps Mt. Rainier for Father's Day weekend...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tulip Festival

Yesterday we spent an amazing day at the Tulip Festival in Skagit County. It was sunny, slightly warm and generally beautiful. (Here are the pictures)

Kai went with us and helped keep Little One entertained. Little One is either sick or cutting another tooth. It's hard to tell since the symptoms are so similar. Either way it makes for an unhappy baby.

All in all though, it was an enjoyable day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cloudy Mt. Rainier

We walked around the neighborhood last night, taking pictures and playing with my new camera. Mt. Rainier was beautiful in the sunset. The top half is covered by clouds - pretty amazing, isn't it?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back to the Routine

Kendra and I arrived back in Seattle Tuesday night. Wednesday was spent recovering from our whirlwind trip. As usual, there wasn't enough time to see everyone, but we had a wonderful time.

Ann, Cass and Cass's kids came down. They rented a hotel room, and we had a ball. The hotel had a pool and a hot tub, so we took the kids swimming every night. Kendra LOVED the water. She kicked and splashed and explored the different textures of the tiles.

We spent one of the absolutely gorgeous days at the Zoo. Kendra wasn't all that impressed with the animals, but she loved splashing in the fountains and feeling the textures of the wooden fences. Her Auntie Annie bought her a pink stuffed penguin that she chewed on the rest of the weekend. :)

Kendra made some amazing leaps forward in her development. She has started "conversational" babbling - making noises that are more in line with actual conversation ebb and flow. She also started getting up on all fours and rocking - the prelude to crawling. She mastered the army crawl, though, and goes wherever she wants - which is everywhere. She can pull herself up on furniture, and transfer herself from one piece of furniture to another. She's also started toddling around while hanging onto your fingers.

My baby is growing up so fast.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

St. Louis Trip

Kendra and I arrived in St. Louis late, late Tuesday night. Our flight from Seattle to Denver was extremely rough, and I felt awful. It was not an easy flight. Once in Denver our flight to St. Louis was delayed a few hours, making it a very long day. Kendra slept the entire flight into St. Louis, though, so that was nice.

We spent Wednesday having lunch with some of my co-workers, then at my grandma's. Jean and grandma seemed to have a wonderful time playing with Kendra. She charmed them, and even learned a new skill. She can now move from a laying down to sitting up all by herself! My baby is growing up so quickly.

Cass, Ann and Cass's kids arrived in town today. Tonight will be spent swimming at the hotel and relaxing. Tomorrow - the Zoo!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cutest Bunny Ever

Here are a few pictures I took in the park across the street from our house. I love that you can see Mt. Rainier in the background!

This week Kendra and I attended a Parent/Child class at the Community College. It is one quarter long, and meets every Wednesday. I liked it, and am really looking forward to going to more. It's a very casual, open format. Lots of talking among the moms as the wee ones amuse themselves with lots of toys and chewing on each other.

The afternoons here have been gorgeous, so I've spent some time outside. Our garden is planted, and Dan rigged some plastic tarp thingy over it to protect the plants from cold, and to intensify the heat for the tomatoes. I'm excited to see how it all works out this year! I planted about 15 packets of various seeds around our tulips in the hopes that they will grow and fill in as the tulips die off for the season. I also planted 3 rose bushes. I've never grown roses before, so wish me luck!

Happy Easter and a blessed Passover!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Weekend Warriors

It's been a busy weekend in our household!

Friday - Kendra had her 9 month well baby check up. She weighs 15 lbs, 13oz - exactly 12 pounds more than the day she was born! She is 26 1/2 inches long. Those stats put her squarely in the 5-10% range on the growth chart. Her head, however, is still 75-90%. :)

No shots this time, although she did have to have blood drawn for an iron test. It's completely routine, and we don't expect any problems since she still drinks formula a few times a day. It was interesting to see that Kendra has clued in to the fact that people in white coats don't bode well for her. As soon as the lab tech walked in, Kendra started screaming. Real tears and everything - she was really upset. When we left, a different lab tech walked up to say hi to her. Same reaction. He walked away, took off his coat and came back. She was all smiles then. Smart little girl we have :)

Saturday - The weather here is gorgeous, so after Gymboree class we worked in the yard. Kendra hung out in the sun tent I bought her off craigslist. Dan worked on building my garden, and I finished ripping the boards off our fence. (The framework is still standing - that's another weekend). We're both a little sore today, but it's another beautiful day here so we'll be back at it after church.

Hopefully Dan will finish walling off the garden and I can plant my seedlings. I started them a month ago in the house, and they are going to town. We'd also like to take some time today for fun - a bike ride around the area with Kendra in her new bike trailer (I love craigslist).

All the tulips we planted are also blooming!!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Easter Photo Fiasco

Kendra loves having her picture taken. Every time she sees a camera she's all smiles and charm - posing and hamming it up. Unless it's in a portrait studio.

We went for Easter pictures at Sears yesterday. She looked adorable in her frilly dress, surrounded by my bunny brigade. Until the flash went off and she started screaming. And wouldn't stop.

Every picture has a very apprehensive, scared or downright unhappy baby in it. We did find a couple of cute ones, but not as cute as if she'd actually been smiling. And we got one of a very unhappy girl to use as a future blackmail photo :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kendra's First Car

My newest craigslist find...a push car! She loves it!