Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Wrap Up

Christmas here was a very quiet affair...well, as quiet as it gets with a manic, tired, cranky and overstimulated 2 year old. We opened gifts with Dan's parents via Skype. I love technology! It was nice to share a special time with them, despite being 2300 miles away.

After breakfast (a yummy strata made by Dan), Kendra was sent to her room to calm down. This was repeated after a plowman's plate lunch of gourmet cheeses, crackers, apples and orange slices. She finally took a nap, and woke up in a much better mood.

Dan and I played the Wii game he gave me - Harry Potter the First 4 Years. It was fun to sit and play a game. It's something we don't get a chance to do very often.

Kendra enjoyed her toys, and it's hard to say what her favorite is. (Here are some Christmas pictures...) She got a fun racetrack for cars, a cleaning cart full of "just like mom" stuff (broom, dustpan, little vacuum), a Cabbage Patch baby, a toddler play cell phone, some sticker books, a Crayola color wonder book and markers, some bathtub crayons and a small bag of M&MS. We didn't want to go too crazy with gifts, and I think we did ok. Dan bought me some nice shoes and a beautiful pair of earrings. I gave him some clothes and a hot pepper grower. We also gave each other the Google Revue and a camcorder.

It was a nice, quiet Christmas. I missed being at my grandma's, but I didn't miss the stress of traveling at the holidays.

The only mar on a great day was Mickey-dog seems to have had a type of doggie stroke. He can't walk, and didn't eat or drink for 36 hours. He finally ate a bit today, and Dan took him out to potty. We'll try for an emergency run to the vet in the morning to see what to do. He is making improvements, but it will come down to a quality of life issue.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

First Baby Gift

We received our first gift for Gummy Bear last night! Dan's parents sent a box of Christmas gifts, and included an adorable yellow sleep sack for the new baby. They are such sweet and wonderful people.

Sunday I hosted a cookie exchange. It was a success, and we ended up with several dozen deliciously scrumtastic cookies! I parceled them out to freezer bags, and we will now have homemade cookies all through the holiday season that I don't have to make!

Monday we were all down with various ailments. Kendra had an ear infection most of last week, and I figured I'd just let it run it's course or take her to the doctor if it got markedly worse. By Monday she had a 101 fever and was miserable, so off we went. She's on antibiotics now, and feeling 100% better. (As an aside - how cool are the new flavors you can add? She takes her meds with absolutely no complaint. She loves the raspberry flavor!) Dan had what seems to have been some sort of 24 hour stomach bug. He was pretty miserable though, and even stayed home from work. I started feeling bad last night, and today have what is shaping up to be a miserable cold.

Did I mention we leave for Canada on Friday? We are heading to the Vancouver area to celebrate my birthday. Here's hoping we're all feeling better by then!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Post Thanksgiving Wrap Up

I hope everyone enjoyed a fabulous Thanksgiving. We enjoyed ours - the food and company was great. About 15 of us gathered at Mike and Karalyn's house for a fried turkey and all the fixings. Everyone brought a dish to share, and let me tell you - our friends can cook! The food was great!!

We also picked up our exchange students and brought them along to experience an American Thanksgiving. We managed to stuff two teenage boys full, and that is no small feat. I think the turkey was stripped to the bone (although there was another one we had just begun to nibble on).

Friday we headed out shopping, although not crazy early. We got most of the Christmas shopping done, and scored some great deals. Our goofy purchase this year was a waffle cone maker from Macy's. Dan's already had fun cooking omelets in it. (They were cool. He rolled the egg into a cone shape and stuffed it with cheese and veges - very tasty!) Tonight we had some actual waffle cones with ice cream, and they were a hit.

The rest of the weekend was spent decorating for Christmas and working on household projects. We had some friends over Sunday for take 2 of the camp out cobbler. Take 2 was a resounding success and enjoyed by all. (Take 1 resulted in a glowing red cast iron dutch oven with a charcoal briquette of cake inside.)

This week will be spend trying to survive. I thought I was past my first trimester exhaustion, but it seems to be back with a vengeance. Nap yesterday, nap today, and I am now off to bed - at 9pm.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Freezing Weather

If you follow our weather at all, you know we've had it rough. Snow and freezing temperatures, which are uncommon to this area, have wrecked havoc with life in the PacNW. Here is a great video that was shot not too far from our house. (Check out minute 3 for how well city buses did.)

Schools have been closed for the week. Commutes which normally take 30 minutes took 5-7 HOURS yesterday. Bus drivers were giving passengers fast food breaks so they could get food and go to the bathroom after being trapped in traffic for hours. And that's if the bus didn't jacknife on the road or flip over. Arterial roads were snarled, and the interstates were all but shut down.

Believe it or not, this is better than it was two years ago...but just barely. The city tried to get ahead of it with salt trucks, but the cold weather was against them. We also just don't have the equipment or manpower to deal with situations like this. We are up to 30 snowplows - for a city of 600,000. It also doesn't help that because of our proximity to the coast we have an odd weather pattern for snow. It involves very wet snow that quickly melts, then freezes, then snows, melts and freezes over and over. The roads are literally just sheets of ice.

Since we're stranded at home anyway, and the temperature is only 15 degrees, it seemed like a great time to defrost our deep freezer. We hauled all the frozen food outside and set it in the snow, defrosted and cleaned the freezer. It's cooling now, and we should have everything back in it in about an hour.

Kendra and I also made the most of no school today by inviting one of her classmates over. They live just down the hill from us and were able to walk to our place pretty easily. I had hot coffee and coco waiting for them. We had lunch together, the girls played and her older son learned the joy that is Wii. All in all it was a really fun day. Take that weather.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snowfall

Today we were hit with our first snowfall of the season...actually the past couple of seasons. It has snowed all day long, and there is about an inch on the ground. Since Kendra has never seen snow, I bundled her up and off we went.

She wasn't too sure about this whole snow thing, although she did enjoy eating it. She went down the big hill in the park on a sled with the neighbor. She was giggling madly the whole way, and at the bottom said "more ride?"

Since she was dressed much warmer than me (does anyone even make maternity snow pants???), we came in after about 45 minutes. I am still trying to warm up. After much cajoling my sweet husband is making me some of his delicious hot chocolate - with marshmallows!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Learning Letters

Kendra loves reading. We caught her the other night - at 10:30pm - in bed with half a dozen books. She was flipping through the pages and telling herself the stories. It was really cute and reminded me of my mom telling stories of reading under the covers with a flashlight until the wee hours of the morning.

Here she is going through a set of alphabet flashcards I bought. She loves them. She would flip through the set a dozen times in a row if we'd let her. Unfortunately, our patience for looking at the same thing over and over and over is not nearly as high as hers.

Otherwise things have been really normal and boring here. The weatherman is predicting some snow over the weekend, which would be really weird. It would also be pretty fun since Kendra's never seen the snow. :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Dan!

Today was Dan's 35th birthday. For the next month we are the same age! So listen up buddy - no old jokes for the next 30-odd days, got it?

We celebrated his birthday Saturday with steaks, friends and pumpkin cheesecake. It was low key, enjoyable and fun. Today and most of tonight he has to work, so Kendra and I met him for a quick bite at a greasy spoon and gave him hugs and his gift. Our waffle iron broke a few months back, and he missed it terribly. I gave him a new and improved model that he is already planning on using tomorrow.

In other news, our poor Turtle developed a hematoma on her ear over the weekend. She had surgery today to remove it, and is now home and looking perfectly miserable. She will have to wear a cone for 2 weeks until the stitches are removed. She's also on pain meds and antibiotics for a while, plus some additional meds to treat the underlying ear infection that caused all this.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Feeling Better...

but not perfect. We went out to dinner with friends tonight. A lot still makes me really nauseous, but I was craving a nice, juicy burger. I figured I was fine because every place has a plain burger I could order...except the vegan Thai joint we went to.

I came home and made a big pastrami sandwich.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Seven Weeks In

All is well on the homefront. I am extremely nauseated most of the time, and have had a tough time dealing with that. The doctor says they can give me something that may or may not help. It's designed to stop vomiting, but often helps patients with extreme nausea as well. I'm going to try to wait another few days, but if I loose weight I'll probably start taking it.

I have been referred to a perinatologist as well. This is a doc who specializes in high risk pregnancies. It's just a precaution. So far everything is looking fine, but my doctor wants a second opinion and a second set of eyes on me because of my previous pregnancy. We want to avoid a repeat of last time, if at all possible.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!


Close enough anyway. Out here the official trick or treat day is today. Too bad it's raining like crazy and generally pretty miserable. Couple that with the fact the Kendra is bound and determined to not wear her costume, I suspect we will not be going begging for candy this year.

These are the pumpkins we carved for this year. We have two more we didn't get around to carving. Being pregnant is wiping me out - more so than I remember being Kendra.

We're off to the preschool party in a bit. 35 hyped up toddlers in a gym...anyone else want to come?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

June 21, 2011

That is our goal... In case you hadn't heard the news, we have a baby Pinkard coming to join us. Here's hoping this pregnancy is easier than the last one!

So far, so good. I'm exhausted most of the time, and since Kendra is sweet enough to still be taking naps, so do I. I've also been sick with a respiratory thing almost continuously, although that's the same as it was with Kendra.

We had our first doctor appointment on Wednesday, and everything seems fin so far. We have a tiny grain of rice with a heartbeat. I go back in 4 weeks for a double check of the due date since 6 weeks was still pretty early.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fence Is Done (mostly)

We finished installing the last of the mesh pieces, and hung the second gate. The only work left is to add the decorative mesh pieces at the top of the wooden sections.

The yard is officially doggie proof! So of course last night our phone rang at midnight. A very nice couple had picked up Mickey happily running down the street. We had no idea he was even gone, and less idea how he managed to get out! Houdini dog. Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fence Update

Here's the latest picture of the fence - with the gate! One more afternoon of nice weather, and we'll be done!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Drunken Toddler

Kendra and I were walking up the stairs earlier today, and she insists we hold her hands to walk up the stairs. She is perfectly capable of doing this on her own, but whatever.

As we walk up the stairs, she starts counting them.

"one, two, free" hiccup.
"one, two" hiccup
"one, two, free, five, six" hiccup

She sounded just like the town drunk as she hiccuped and would start her counting over. It was hysterical!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

So Close...

Today was not quite as nice outside, but we still managed to go "play in dirt," as Kendra would say.

We are so close to being done! These pics are from this morning, before we got started. By the time we finished for today it was too dark to take new ones. (I hate it getting dark so early!!)

As of quitting time today, all the wooden sections were done, and about half the wire mesh sections were done. The gate on the far left was built and installed, and Dan started the gate on the right side.

The top picture shows how we've been working. A long extension cord and power strip hooks up the chop saw and table saw. There's a portable air compressor that runs the air nailer and staple gun. Kendra keeps busy by collecting rocks and acorns in her yellow bucket, and has created some lovely chalk artwork on the steps next to the pile of wood. (We also have quite a pile of scrap wood at the moment. S'mores anyone?)

This is the other end of the fence - where we ran out of old wood. I actually like the way the old wood looks. It has character. :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Progress


We have made quite a bit of progress on our fence. Dan took off work yesterday, and the weather cooperated nicely. It was gorgeous - sunny and warm.

With Kendra in preschool for 3 hours, then a nice 2 hour nap, we were able to get a lot of toddler free work time in. We have all the support structure built, with the exception of where the gates will go (one at either end). We also started cutting the slats to fit. Good little environmentalists that we are (ok, fine - we're cheap!) we are reusing the boards from our old fence. I was looking at each board and cutting off the bad sections and Dan would tack it into place. It's a lot of time consuming work, although fairly low effort at this point. Each 8' section needs approximately 16 slats. After they are done, we'll have to cut and staple the mesh into the 4' section. Last will be tacking the mesh to the top of the wooden sections.

We have no idea how to build the gates. One problem at a time I guess!

Hopefully tomorrow will be just as nice, and with some hard work and a bit of luck, we'll finish it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Weekend Warriors Are At It Again


We have been working on leveling our yard for three years now, and we are FINALLY close to being done!

This weekend we tore down the last remnants of our old fence and started building a new one that will encompass our entire yard - not just half of it like the old one. We rented a two person auger and started to dig the first of 21 holes for fence posts. While it was much easier than using a post hole digger, it was no picnic.

By Saturday we put out a call for help, and our fabulous friends came to the rescue. Several guys helped Dan finish the holes, mixed concrete and began setting the support posts. I BBQ'd some ribs and burgers and we made s'mores for dessert. All in all it was great time.

Our plan is to have 8' sections of wood interspersed with 4' sections of chicken wire. On the wire we are going to plant kiwi's and grapes and whatever else sounds interesting. The only downside is the dogs don't have a yard right now. Dan is taking the day off tomorrow, so hopefully we'll make some serious progress on it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Day of School


In what will be the first of many school days, Kendra began her scholastic career at King Street Cooperative Preschool. She will be going two days a week, for three hours at a time.

In case you aren't familiar with co-ops (I wasn't) it is staffed by two paid teachers, and every other worker is a parent volunteer. There are 4 parents who work each classroom shift, plus the teachers, for roughly 15 kids. There is one in the "home center" - a pretend house that is fully stocked with child sized stuff; one in the gym area; one in the art room - which is a beautiful glass enclosed atrium with lots of plants; and one in charge of snack.

The parents are also responsible for running the school - registration, collecting tuition, maintenance of the facility - everyone has a job. My job is historian. I'm in charge of collecting and scanning in the kids artwork for the yearbook, decorating the two classroom bulletin boards and ultimately creating the yearbook. I'm really excited about it. Here are my first bulletin boards. The board on the left is the art board for the kids. It will feature a rotating display of the various types of artwork the kids create. This week features the artwork created at the kids play date before school officially started. The other board is for the parents - information, discussions, etc.

Here's to the start of a fun year!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Cousin Comes to Visit


My cousin (or some relation or another :) has come to visit! We have had a great time so far. She arrived Friday afternoon and we gave her the grand tour of Seattle. It started with the locks, a nice walk through Ballard to a great Puerto Rican restaurant, and ended with driving around the city showing her the area.

Saturday we enjoyed some tasty cinnamon rolls Dan made, then went down to the Market. We wandered all over, ending at a great little dress shop. She found the most adorable dress and matching shoes. What a great souvenir! She'll think of us every time she wears the outfit! (And she looks AMAZING in it.)

Sunday was a very, very early day. We were all up by 5:30am and out the door to catch the 9am ferry out of Anacortes. It's roughly a two hour drive there, and then an hour long ferry ride to the San Juan Islands. We were hoping to see some whales, since that is what they are known for, but we were not that lucky. We did see some beautiful scenery, learn more about the history of this area, and have a nice time. We caught the 7pm ferry back, and made it home by 10:30pm, absolutely exhausted.

Tonight is dinner (without Kendra) at Marrakesh...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One, Two, Five, Six

Kendra is starting to understand the concept of numbers and counting. As evidenced by the title though, she hasn't totally gotten it yet. :) She seems to understand what "one" is, and sometimes can count to two. Anything above two becomes "one, two, five, six." It's really cute, but also pretty cool that she is starting to understand the one to one correlation of numbers and objects. It is so fascinating to actually watch her learning.

Monday Dan actually had an entire conversation with her. She told him all about her swimming lessons. She used pretty clear words, and he had no problem understanding that she "blew bubbles," "floated on my back," and "dived." It was pretty cool that she could tell him about something that happened in her day.

As for me, unemployment is agreeing with me. I've dropped five pounds so far. I have gotten more exercise in the past week than I have in a long time. It's pretty amazing - I never realized how sedentary I was. Kendra, Turtle and I have been walking to the park, the store, the library - wherever we can. I've even taken my bike out once, which I haven't done in about a year.

I don't have any job leads, but I'm contemplating starting a drop in babysitting service. I could earn some money, and fill a need a lot of moms have. Even something simple - like trying to get a haircut - can become a major ordeal if you don't have someone to watch you kids for a bit. I need to do some more research, but perhaps...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fleet Week



The first week in August marks the conclusion of the Sea Fair festivities. In conjunction with that, there are parades, the Blue Angels fly, and fleet week starts.

During fleet week, several ships come in to port and the majority of the sailors are given liberty. The rest give tours of the ships to anyone who is interested. This year there were four ships - two American and two Canadian. We went last year, and it was really interesting. Time didn't permit us to do the tours this year, but we did go down to the Sound to watch the ships come in. It was a beautiful day, and a very impressive site.

I know I'm late, since we're nearing the end of August, but here are some pictures from the day. Kendra was in fine form, and our friend Kai was with us as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Need A Job

This unemployment thing is killing me. I have worked harder in the past two weeks than ever! I never realized how sedentary my job truly made me. I have muscles that hurt that I didn't know I had. I have a whole new respect for stay at home moms.

We did have some fun this week. Our friend Naomi from LA came to stay with us. She needed a break between grad school semesters, and airfare to Seattle was cheap. We had a wonderful visit with her. I think we ate our way around Seattle, and topped it all off with a sunset cruise (aka the ferry to Bainbridge Island.)

Here are the pictures from her visit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 1 On The Unemployment Rolls

I jumped up bright and early this morning and donated blood. Might as well get off on the right foot in the karma tally, right?

I spent the morning cleaning and doing laundry, then Kendra and I ran a couple of errands. As soon as she went down for her nap, I did the most important thing - filed for unemployment. It takes 6-9 weeks for a determination of eligibility, so now we wait.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Busy Weekend, As Usual


We had a very busy, but very fun weekend. Friday night we enjoyed the fabulous weather and took the dogs to the dog park. Kendra tried walking Turtle for the first time, and it went remarkably well. Of course, the dog was dead tired from playing but that was part of the plan.

Saturday we took Kendra to Gymboree, which is always fun because the parents stand around and socialize. We drug the dogs with us, and after class took them to Sand Point dog park. It's a fairly decent sized park, and ends at Lake Washington so the dogs can go swimming. Surprisingly, both dogs got in and swam around for a while. It wasn't very hot outside but I'm sure the cold water felt good.

Saturday I met a girlfriend for movie, and Dan took Kendra to the Torchlight Parade. The parade was so long, I met up with them afterwards and watched a bit of it myself. Kendra loved the marching bands and the dancers; she was not impressed with the giant animal shaped balloons.

Sunday we went down to Pike's Place Market to buy some fresh, wild-caught salmon. We wandered downtown a bit, then Kendra and I headed to the park for a playdate. By Sunday night we were all exhausted.

Monday we started our new session of swimming lessons, and this time slot seems much more feasible than the previous one. There was hardly any traffic to deal with, and we were home at a much more reasonable hour.

Today Kendra is helping make home made vanilla wafers (courtesy of Alton Brown's inspiration). We are having a mini-baby shower for one of the ladies in our toddler group this afternoon. Everyone is bringing a casserole for her to freeze, and something to share with the group. We're meeting in a local park so the kids can play. It should be fun!

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Blow

I was just informed that my last day of work will be August 6, unless I want to move to Ohio. They really want someone in the office there, and with the new computer system coming online (that I don't know) I can't say I blame them.

But it really sucks. I will be unemployed in 3 weeks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pearl Knotting


So my pearl knotting class ROCKED! I really enjoyed it, and ended up with (what I think) is a pretty cool necklace. I had no idea that pearl knotting is a technique that could be transferred to so many different areas of jewelry making!

I have signed up for an open studio session at the place I'm taking the classes. That means I get expert help from the staff, fun women to sit and bead with, and the use of all their awesome tools (which means I don't have to buy them!!) I'm really enjoying this!

In other news, I apparently have bursitis in my hip. It's what has been causing me pain for the past year or so. I'm on heavy doses of steroids to help reduce the inflammation, and if that doesn't work I'll need an MRI to map the problem and a cortisone injection directly into the hip. Ouch. Here's hoping the steroids work!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jewelry Hobby


Because I have so much spare time, I decided to take a couple of jewelry making classes. Last night's class was "Say It On Your Wrist." It taught us how to make stamped jewelry - bracelets, pendants for necklaces, whatever you can imagine.

We practiced on copper, but the final pieces were sterling silver. You simply spell out what you want to say and use a hammer to stamp in the letters. A bit of antiquing to make the letters stand out, and you have a beautiful, unique piece of jewelry.

I made three things. A bracelet for me that says "Magic finds you if you let it." A bracelet for Kendra with her name, birthdate and a couple of paw prints, and a necklace for me with Kendra's name and birthstone.

Tonight I have a class on pearl knotting!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Two Already?


This weekend we celebrated Kendra's second birthday with a puppy themed party! (Click here for more pictures...)

We had puppy balloons, paw print napkins, homemade "puppy chow" served in a doggie dish, sweet tart candies shaped liked bones - even a cake shaped like a dog dish filled with kibble. Dan grilled up some yummy ribs to satisfy the carnivore side of the festivities. We had some great friends come to celebrate with us, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The weather was -finally- beautiful and we spent the day outside. Believe it or not, all the pallets of bricks are gone. We were able to put some chairs and a table in that area for seating, put the food under the canopy and grill where we park my car. A cooler full of beverages and it was a perfect day.

About those bricks - you read correctly. After 3 years, all 8 pallets of bricks are in place along the Great Wall of Dan. We still have a ton (and that's quite literal) of dirt to dig up and move, but we have made some remarkable progress this year! I am so proud of my fantastic hubby for working so hard to make us a usable yard.

Kendra is able to go outside with us, which makes it easier. She raids the strawberry patch for fresh berries as we work. Today I brought a little iPod radio thing outside and she entertained us by dancing along to the music. It was really, really cute.

I can't believe that just two short years ago I was in the hospital wondering how long I would be able to stay pregnant, and if my baby would be ok being born so early (remember - we didn't know if she was a boy or girl!). Amazing what a change a very short 730 days can bring.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Official Kendra Translation Guide

Some toddlers start speaking very clearly right off the bat...ours not so much. She's getting there, but we have issues with different combination of sounds.

Here is your official Kendra translation guide:

Cuck - stuck. A good catch all word for anything that isn't moving exactly as she wants it to.

Eyes - can mean eyes, but when stairs are involved and small hand outstretched as she says "eyes, eyes" it mean hands.

Keekee - Mickey. Turtle is Turtle with a slight Bostonian accent, and Bailey is just "Cat."

Biper - diaper. Most frequently heard preceded by "ucky."

Baby - anyone under the age of 10.

Ahnu - airplanes. I have no idea where ahnu came from.

Beep - Jeep, as in "daddy's beep"

Wabber - water

Ta too - thank you

Peas - please

Foffee - coffee. (And heaven help us all if the girl doesn't get her morning cuppa)

Imins - vitamins. She loves them because they are gummy vitamins. She'll try to con all of us into giving her vitamins. We've had to start putting a serving out in the morning, and when they are gone no one gives her anymore. She'd eat the whole bottle!

Fuffs - Pirates Booty Cheesy Puffs. Frequently heard when she doesn't like what is being offered for dinner.

Mine - something that belongs to daddy or mama. "Mine's shirt"

Yous - something that belongs to Kendra, or Kendra herself. When pointing to a picture of our family, "Mama, daddy and yous." (How does she understand the concept of possessiveness, and yet manage to mangle the words themselves so badly?)

She's getting very good at expressing herself using language, but you do have to use your toddler speak filter. There are many times we simply have no idea what she is saying. She is quite adamant about saying it though, and will become frustrated when we don't get it.

It's tough to be 2.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Photo Contest

I've entered Kendra in a photo contest. It's a nation wide thing, so I don't really expect much, but I thought I'd at least try. :)

Yesterday I spent two hours being interviewed (on camera) about children's clothing. It was a market research firm and they wanted to know all about my life, my hobbies, my attitudes, and of course my shopping habits. I had to have five household items that represented how I see myself at this stage in my life (computer, camera, wedding picture, Kendra picture, flowers/strawberries from my garden). I also had to show 3 outfits of Kendra's, and ultimately ended up bringing down about 15. They wanted to know why I shopped at certain stores, how I shopped (online or brick and mortar), why did I like some stores more, what did I look for in clothes... It was very thorough and ultimately pretty interesting. Kendra spent the time at the neighbor's house playing with their little girl so she had fun too.

We also had our last ever toddler class yesterday. Kendra will be too old to enroll in the fall :( We will continue to meet with our group over the summer at various parks in the area, but I'll miss going to the class.

Otherwise all is well. We've been really busy working on the house and the wall. Nothing major - just all those little jobs that need to be done. We are replacing all the light fixtures upstairs. The existing ones are dated, and ugly. We are putting the finishing touches on the bathroom (trim work, finishing work on the cabinets, etc.) and installing a new door that matches the others upstairs. We are also on our last pallet of bricks for the wall, so we are reallyreallyreally close to being done.

Next up - build an awesome deck!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Our Parrot

We have reached the stage where EVERYTHING is parroted back to us. Time to watch our language!

Kendra has developed some very cute habits recently. Besides parroting, she likes to simply "talk." She'll sit in the backseat of the car and just jabber away. It usually sounds something like "no beep, no beep, BEEP, wabber, wabber, bye bye wabber, more wabber, more wabber, bye bye wabber" and on and on. (Beep = Jeep and wabber = water).

She is also very good at copying tone and intonation, even if the words aren't there. It was hysterical to listen to her mimic the sound of the guy trying to get people to sign a petition at Costco. She couldn't say the words at all, but it was very clear she was copying him.

Since our potty training fiasco, we've pretty much dropped the subject for now. However, Kendra is pretty adament that diapers must always be clean. When she wants a new one, she will walk up and say "Ucky biper" and as we change her she continually chants "ucky biper, ucky biper." She has also developed the unfortunate habit of checking daddy's "diaper" if he farts loudly. Or checking other kids' diapers if they smell funky. She "helped" another mom change a little girl yesterday by offering her running commentary the entire time.

Tell me this child isn't ready to be potty trained.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day - Thank You to Our Vets

First off - thank you to all the veterans and their families for all they do. It isn't easy to be a soldier, and they don't get the thanks they deserve nearly often enough.

Our Memorial Day weekend was wonderful. We spent part of Saturday wandering around Folklife. Folklife is a northwest tradition. It's basically a music festival but includes arts & crafts, dancing, street performers and ethnic foods. It's a fantastic time and a great way to hear/see hundreds of musical groups.

Sunday we hosted a BBQ at our house. Unfortunately Mother Nature didn't cooperate and it rained all day. We ended up a bit squished inside the house, but had a great time. Dan did a fabulous job grilling up ribs, brats and hot dogs. A few others grilled oysters, kabobs, and vegetables. The rain was light enough that under the canopy it was fairly dry, and a the grillers sat outside. The kids played Wii and the adults sat around and talked. It's always amazing to get groups of folks who don't really know each other together and watch the friendships form.

Monday started off gloomy and rainy, but by mid-afternoon the sun came out in force. I think everyone in Seattle dropped everything and ran outside. Kendra, Turtle and I headed to a couple of neighborhood parks and played. Dan worked on the wall and made good progress.

After all our cooking on Sunday we decided to go out to dinner at a local pizza place. We loaded Kendra into her new Deuter Kid Comfort III pack and headed out. It was only about a 2 mile roundtrip walk, but I'm glad we started slow. Carrying an extra 35 pounds on your back is tough - no matter how well designed the pack is. Kendra seemed to like it, though, and our goal is to do more hiking. I have a book called "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Seattle" that has some great places that are close enough to head out to after work.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home Again

We are back in Seattle after another whirlwind trip to St. Louis. It was wonderful to see everyone again, although it's nice to be sleeping in my own bed again! Hopefully we'll actually get our suitcases empty and put away soon.

This photo was taken outside grandma's church on Mother's Day. Three (or is it four??) generations together.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Art From Portland

I mentioned in my previous post about some cool things we bought in Portland.

I got an awesome vase for flowers. I have several vases, but they are all big. They look great with big bouquets, but I don't grow enough flowers to always have huge bouquets. I wanted something smaller that would look pretty on the table with just a few flowers picked from our yard.

Here it is with some lavender, blue bells and scotch broom, all picked from our yard. Lavender grows like crazy here, and I am planting it everywhere. I love having it around the yard and in the house. The blue bells and scotch broom are basically weeds, but pretty weeds :)





Kendra's picture is something we both fell in love with as soon as we saw it. The artist was a woman named Sienna Morris (click here for her website and more examples of her work).

When we re-do her room from nursery to little girl room, I want this picture to be part of the focus of the room. It combines nature, a young woman reading and numbers - all things I hope Kendra will appreciate.

Numbers? Yes, the entire painting is made out of the numbers 1-12.


Here's close-up of the leaf on the far right of the painting. Pretty awesome, isn't it? I'd love to have more of her work.



Saturday, May 1, 2010

Portland, OR


Dan went to Portland on Thursday to help an old friend with some computer work. He stayed at The Hotel deLuxe (if you want to see it). It seemed like a good time to go exploring, so Kendra and I took the train down on Friday to join him.

The train ride was fabulous! Beautiful, comfy and enjoyable. If time wasn't an issue I'd never fly again. Trains are so much more spacious and comfy. The scenery was amazing as well. Most of the time the tracks ran along the coastline, with the mountains in the distance. It's a trip I hope to repeat.

Today we wandered Portland, making sure to get a donut from VooDoo Doughnuts. I got the voodoo doll, and we brought a maple bacon back for Kai. They were every bit as good as their reputation. You know the food is good when the store is very tiny, located next to a live action porn theater that smells nauseatingly strongly of Lysol in the morning, and people are still lined up around the block for a doughnut.

Afterwards we wandered down to the riverfront for the weekly Saturday Market. It was huge, with tons of vendors. We each bought something (Dan got a new waterproof fedora-style hat, I got an earthenware vase and Kendra an awesome piece of artwork for her room). We had lunch there then headed back to the hotel to pick up my car.

On the recommendation of a friend, we went to a very pretty park, then drove just outside of Portland to Multnomah Falls. Both were gorgeous and well worth the visit.

Coming back into Portland so we could catch I-5 back home, we hit a MASSIVE traffic jam. It is normally a 3 hour drive from Portland to Seattle...it took us 3 hours to get through Portland. It took over 6 hours for us to actually get home. That part was not so fun.

All in all, a good trip, and one we'll be making again for a bit longer. I'd like to explore some more, and meet up with a friend of mine that lives there. She was out of town at the beach this weekend, so we'll have to try again.

Click HERE for pics of the trip. (You knew there had to be some, right :)

Bathroom Remodel Reveal

Our bathroom remodel was finally completed last week. I thought I'd post the before and after pics so you get an idea of how much work we did :)
It may have taken 5 times as long as we planned, but I LOVE my new bathroom!
Before...



After!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Garden


Ok, technically not the garden, but she is cute...

The front of the garden - tomatoes, beet, sugar peas, snap peas

The middle of the garden - purple green beans, purple potatoes, carrots, broccoli and peppers
The end of the garden - artichokes and strawberries. I'd like one more bed for viney things like zucchini and squash.Our front yard down by the street. Eventually I'm hoping to make the entire street side and the small section above it look like this - lots of color and little work. :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Warriors

In the time honored tradition of the weekend warrior, I spent today working in the yard and Dan in the bathroom. We had high hopes the bathroom would finally be completed, but alas, it was not to be. The sealant on the sink is taking much longer to cure than we anticipated. Dan is finalizing everything else, and we'll install the faucet - the last thing - tomorrow night. There are a few touch up details to finish, but it's all minor stuff.

I spent the afternoon cutting the grass and cleaning up our yard. I am, unfortunately, not exaggerating when I say the grass was taller than Kendra. Most of our grass is pure weeds for now, as we work on finishing the wall. No sense in combating weeds when we're going to dig it all up to move the dirt. It's all cut down to size again for now, and looks pretty good.

I also planted some more in the garden. We now have 5 tomatoes, one each of banana, cayenne and jalapeno peppers, and some purple green beans. The peas and potatoes I planted earlier are doing great, and my broccoli and carrots are sprouted. I even managed to lay down some mulch and Miracle Grow.

After finishing all of that, I spent the last of my energy planting flowers in a couple of baskets and treating my blueberries for bugs. I still want to plant more flowers, and we are getting a couple of trees to add to the yard, but I'm happy with the way it's coming along.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter


Happy Easter to everyone! This year has been full of blessings for our family, and I hope for yours as well.

Kendra has learned the joy of the Easter bunny. Yesterday we took her took her to the zoo for their annual Easter egg hunt. She had a wonderful time collecting the eggs with the other toddlers. The eggs were empty, and on the way out of the zoo every kid got to pick a few pieces of candy.

We met a few friends, rode the carousel and headed home. It was freezing cold, so staying much longer was just not possible.

This morning I hid some candy filled eggs in our driveway for Kendra to find. She LOVED it. I was actually surprised at just how much fun she had. She quickly discovered how to open them, and devoured the candy. I had to take most of it away or she would have eaten herself sick. As you can see, Turtle was ready and waiting to clean up any pieces she missed.

Dan is in NYC, and we missed him in this morning's festivities.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I Have Arrived

Yesterday Kendra and I made a quick jaunt to the local Fred Meyers. As we got in the car to come home, it started pouring buckets of rain. Most of you think this is normal this area, but it really isn't. We rarely get heavy deluges of rain.

Knowing, as I do, that the locals can't drive for crap in the rain (how's that for irony?), I pulled out my smart little anroid phone and hopped on Google traffic. Sure enough, the interstate was awful. I pulled out my GPS and programmed it to take me home via back roads. In 20 minutes we were home without hitting a single traffic snag.

At that point, I realized the absolute, delicious ridiculousness of it all. Ain't technology grand?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Two Years Today!

Today is our second wedding anniversary! Traditionally the gift is cotton, but I think we'll skip cotton and go with ceramic, a smattering of paint and some chrome. (Yes, we're still working on the bathroom.)

Thanks to a great neighbor who offered to babysit Kendra on Saturday night, we were able to go out to dinner at our favorite restaurant, then stop by a friends place for drinks afterwards. Turns out Saturday night was the annual "BrIdes of March" pub crawl. Several of Christine's friends turned up in wedding dresses (some their own, some bought for the occasion at thrift stores) before heading out to the crawl. I may have to think about going next year...

Since I was in MO and Dan in WA on our first anniversary, we broke out the top tier of our wedding cake last night. It was a bit dry, but still surprisingly good. Good enough we are planning on having more. We may even share with Kendra. :) Here's to many more anniversaries together.

The bathroom is closer to being done. We have the toilet installed and caulked, but realized today it rocks a bit. We'll have to add a shim and recaulk it. Dan is hopeful we'll get the cabinets fitted in today so we can cut holes in the back for the plumbing. Since no room is ever square, but the cabinets are - and measured to fit *exactly* - we are going to have to sand the drywall down in one corner to get everything mounted flush. We did sell my old desk and move the cabinets into the bathroom, so our living room looks a bit more normal.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Anyone Know A Good Plumber?

We have been working on remodeling the upstairs bathroom for about a year now. Actually it's only been 2 weeks, but it feels like a year. We have repainted it all, and laid ceramic tile on the floor. Last nights goal was to get the toilet installed.

Try #1 resulted in water gushing out the bottom of the toilet all over the bathroom floor. Oops. Guess the wax ring didn't seal right. Dan and Kendra went to the hardware store to buy a new one and go for try #2.

Try #2 had no water leaking from the toilet. YAY! Dan did about a dozen test flushes just to be sure, and there was no water. We cleaned up the wet towels and sponges and headed downstairs...where we found our kitchen soaking wet. All the water from the toilet had flooded the ceiling of the kitchen and was dripping through the light fixtures. Good grief.

We grabbed more towels and cleaned it up, but laminate floor and water don't mix well. The floor in our kitchen now has numerous spots where it buckled a little from the wood absorbing the water. Good thing we were planning on remodeling it this fall.

Needless to say, we still don't have a toilet upstairs. Try #3 is scheduled for this weekend. (Dan flies out to Reno tonight for work, so tonight and tomorrow are shot.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mighty Guard Dog

Turtle is sweet girl, not always the brightest bulb in the box, but very good natured. Dan had to work late last night, and got home about 3am. Turtle met him at the door, very wiggly and tail wagging happy. She then ran up the stairs to our bedroom, where she ran back and forth, several times, between our bed and the door until I woke up.

I staggered downstairs to see what was up, led by a very happy Turtle, to find a very amused Dan waiting at the bottom.

I'm not sure she'd be much good against a burglar, but at least he'd know he was welcomed!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Little Artist

Kendra's new favorite pastime is drawing and painting. In toddler class she gets to use a big easel and paint (or eat the paint) until her heart's content. At home, she has to content herself with an art table. She has lots of construction paper, toddler markers (which are harder to use on walls and carpet), and toddler paint (self-contained and very washable).

She will sit for quite a long time while I'm working, working on her drawings. She's gotten better about not eating the paint too.

For Valentine's Day she even made her Grandma and Grandpa a "Kendra original" to send them.

Because she is prolific, and not overly selective, I take pictures of her art, and throw out the originals. I get to keep a memoir of her talent, and I'm not cluttering up the house with dozens of pieces of paper. It's a win for everyone. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

That's Not a Bellybutton

We've been diligently teaching Kendra the various parts of the body. She's got all the basics down, although her favorites are noses and bellybuttons. Tongues and teeth run close behind.

To see if she really understands what we're teaching her, we've had her point to things on stuffed animals, in books and on our pets.

Tonight Dan was telling her to point to the cat's ears...which she did. Next was the cat's nose - again success! (We have a very patient cat.) When Dan asked her to point to the cat's belly button, well, she did pick something that was a hole. The cat was less than amused at having a tiny finger poke it in the butt hole.

Memo to us - don't ask about bellybuttons on anything other than people.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Home Improvement 101

Knowing Dan and I, you knew our first (indoor) home renovation wouldn't be too far off. We have decided to re-do our upstairs bathroom with a new floor, new cabinets and fresh paint. We bought the cabinets today! I'm actually pretty excited about this. Our current bathroom doesn't have much in the way of storage, and it's rather bland and boring looking. The cabinets we bought will actually go floor to ceiling. Dan will pick up the tile tomorrow (plain white porcelain), and we've already decided to paint it a pale blue. That just leaves find a new sink, faucet and countertop.

We bought the cabinets from Ikea, and figure the bathroom will be a great test run of how easy they are install and how much we like/dislike them before spending a small fortune on re-doing the kitchen. (We are looking at using the same style of cabinets in the kitchen.) We don't plan on starting the actual demolition of the bathroom until we have the rest of the stuff bought and in the house. We're not in a rush, and this will let us find what we want at the price we want to pay.

Otherwise, things have been quiet. I've had a boute with the flu or something similar. I started feeling bad Friday afternoon, and by that night had a nice fever and felt like I'd been run over by a truck. I'm feeling better, although not quite up to snuff yet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Jury Duty

I was called for jury duty this week, and spent a good portion of two days sitting around making new friends. I was called to be on two separate trials, but both were going to take about two weeks. With no childcare that posed a real problem, so I was excused for "undue hardship." I was actually disappointed - I think I would have enjoyed being a juror.

I did meet two really nice young women and we are now Facebook friends. Hopefully we can get together for coffee in the next few weeks. We had so much fun talking and going out to lunch together. Leave it to me to make friends doing my civic duty.

In other news, my baby is growing up. Need proof? I am enrolling her in pre-school this year. How did this happen? It seems like just a few short weeks ago she was coming home from the hospital. Out here if a child turns 2 by August 31 they are eligible to enroll in preschool for this coming fall. We are touring two different schools, although both are co-ops. I'm not sure how we'll fit a co-op into our working schedule, but I do think it's important so we'll manage. I'd also like to tour at least one school that isn't a co-op just to compare.

My doggie is also getting old. Mr. Mickey has totally lost his hearing. We'd suspected it was failing for a while, but as of yesterday we are convinced it's totally gone. He didn't react at all when the doorbell rang. Normally a ringing doorbell results in total chaos around here with barking dogs and a running toddler, but now Mickey just lays on his bed. I fear his time with us is growing short :(

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Back to Reality...


We arrived home very late last night after a wonderful sun-soaked extended weekend.

Saturday we met my cousin for breakfast. It was the first time I had a chance to see her condo - it's beautiful! She has done amazing work in decorating the place to fit her personality. It's very trendy and stylish. She was also kind enough to pass on two all-park tickets to Disneyland. Yes, my husband went to Disney and the world didn't stop spinning on it's axis, pigs begin to fly or hell freeze over. I'm pretty sure he even had fun. :)

Disney was awesome! It really lived up to it's reputation of being clean, friendly and fun. Kendra was a little shell shocked at everything that was going on, and totally hated the costumed characters. She did, however, LOVE Goofy's House in ToonTown. It's designed for kids 2-5 and she had a ball there. We took her on a few rides as well, and we knew she was good to go when she started dancing to the music on the Roger Rabbit wild cab ride. We ended up spending most of the day there - much longer than I thought we would.

Sunday morning was spent at the Getty. It's an architectural wonder perched atop the ridgeline with spectacular view of LA all the way to the ocean. The Getty is designed to enhance visual arts in all their forms. Everything from the buildings, to the exhibits, to the gardens are works of art in one form or another. It was the most spectacular place - and we only had time to see a tiny fraction. The entire place is made out of travertine cut into precise squares. It really is amazingingly beautiful (although a bit slippy for baby feet...)

Sunday evening we were guests at the wedding of two wonderful people. Gary and Naomi were married in front of 240 guests at a beautiful Jewish temple. The ceremony was very moving and the reception was amazing. Kendra had a wonderful time dancing and being cute at her first "big girl" party. She was a hit among everyone there.

Monday we finished playing tourist by seeing the Hollywood sign, the walk of fame and driving around LA. We ended up in Venice Beach where we walked along the ocean and watched the sunset. Just to be silly (and use their bathrooms), we wandered the Costco in Venice Beach, then headed to the airport.

Today was laundry and getting life back on track. You knew there were pictures, so here they are!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Welcome to LA

I am sitting in a motel room with the air conditioner running. Yup. In January. It was a balmy 79 degrees today - sunny and beautiful. We arrived late yesterday afternoon, and pretty much spent the day driving around and getting acquainted with the area.

Today we headed to the La Brae Tar Pits and Los Angeles County Art Museum. The Tar Pits were fascinating (and stinky!). The main pit in covered in water and looks vaguely like a polluted lake. You can see bubbles all over the surface, though, where the tar is seeping up from fissures underneath. If you wander to the back area, there are several other pits, including one that is set up for display and one that is being actively excavated. The one for display was really cool. There are fossils in the pit, and they are marked so you can tell exactly what you are looking at. I loved it!

At the art museum we went through a small sculpture park and a large sculpture thing called "urban lighting." It was basically 100 or so light posts all in rows. It was fun to chase and play hide and seek with Kendra in it. :)

Lunch was hot dogs from a hot dog van. We saw so many food vans - Chinese, Korean, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, BBQ, ice cream...it was crazy! An entire international restaurant row on wheels. After that we met up with friends from St. Louis who are also in town for the wedding. A couple of us headed to UCLA to wander through their botanical garden and sculpture garden. We enjoyed seeing the campus and spending time with friends we haven't seen in a while.

Tonight was Naomi's bachelorette dinner. We went to fun Mexican place and had a great time. Tomorrow we're heading to Disney, and Sunday is the wedding.

Stay warm!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome 2010!


Happy New Year to everyone!! We rang in the new year with our neighbor and a group of his fabulous friends. We celebrated on east coast time, which means we popped the champagne (and Martinelli's for the kiddos) at 9pm our time. It worked out great - all the little ones got to bring in the new year, and still get to bed at a reasonable time. The adults got to ring it in twice - with twice the champagne!

One of John's friends is a juggler, and put on a performance of juggling fire sticks and fire balls. It was quite the show and a wonderful way to bring forth the new year.

No real resolutions here, or any deep introspection. 2009 was a decent year for us, and here's hoping 2010 is as good.