Monday, September 15, 2014

Halloween is very serious business 'round here

Ben has been in a bit of a tizzy this week over Halloween. He simply cannot decide upon a suitable costume.

I suggested an owl, or a fish, or a monkey, but they weren't quite exotic enough for his taste. This kid likes a grand entrance. 

On Saturday we went hiking on the Iron Goat Trail (deep, dark woods, the perfect home for a strange forest creature) and he decided to be a yeti. " A scary yeti, mom. "

On Sunday he went to Remlinger Farms, rode a pony, and decided to be a cowboy. 

And today he saw a picture of a circus master, decided he liked the smart red jacket, and decided that would be his final costume. Emma would be the lion. 

But I have a feeling that he'll have a few more ideas when he gets home from preschool so don't count on the ringmaster being the final selection. 

At some point we're going to have to cut him off so we have ample time to make or acquire his costume. The only constant thus far is that he'd really, really like an Elmo trick or treat bag for which to store his loot. Perhaps he should be a pirate. 

Yo ho, yo ho, it's off to trick or treat we go...

[That’s Ben at his first halloween. Cluck!]

Friday, September 12, 2014

Benjamin’s Book Of Songs (Bedtime Songs for Toddlers)

Editor’s Note: I posted this a year ago but I was fixing a typo and it go bumped to the front of the blog queue. 

Back when Ben was going through the worst of his toddler angst stage (which is ongoing, I might add), he pulled off his diaper and left the pee-soaked article smack dab on top of his song book.

When I discovered this present sometime later, the pages had taken on a rather unpleasant eau de urine.

Time for a new Bedtime Book of Songs:

This is a Shutterfly photo album - sans pictures. I was originally worried about the process of importing a large amount of text into a template that is primarily for photos, but the process was surprisingly easy and straight forward.

We've modified the song list a bit but the core members remain unchanged. Hard to go wrong with Twinkle, Twinkle and You are my Sunshine.

I typically bypass the additional stickers and badges, preferring a more modern (sparse) look to my albums, but given the amount of text, it was fun to add occasional colorful elements throughout the album.

Huggie Boo is the song we always sing when all the other songs and books are done for the day. Ben was really offended that BaileyDog wasn't included in the list of family members so the pup has since been added although it he didn't make it into the book. Maybe for the third edition. Although I'm hoping that this version lasts longer than the first one.

Shutterfly needs to come out with a water/pee-resistant product, clearly. 

Here is the full song list:

A Little Drop of Rain
Baa, Baa, Black Sheep
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Grand Old Duke of York
Baby Mine (from Dumbo)
You Are My Sunshine
Star Spangled Banner (Go ‘Merica!)
Power of Two - by the Indigo Girls (my personal favorite)
I’m A Little Teapot
Row Row Row Your Boat
Wimoweh (In the Jungle) (Chris’ personal favorite)
This Old Town - by Nanci Griffith
The Going To Bed Book - by Sandra Boynton
Edelweiss - from the Sound of Music
Turn Around (Where are you going my little one?)
Wabash Cannonball
Angel From Montgomery - by Bonnie Raitt
Roll On Columbia - WA’s state folk song - by Woody Guthrie
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Puff The Magic Dragon
Amazing Grace
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean
Silent Night (yay Christmas music!)
Working on the Railroad
Low Bridge, Everybody Down (Ben’s current favorite)
You Can Close Your Eyes
Hickory Dickory Dock (The Cat Ran Up the Clock)
Good Morning Song (see lyrics below)
Frere Jacques (I butcher the french every time)
Morningtown Ride
Tender Shepard (My mom sang this to me a lot as a wee tyke)
This Old Man (He played knick nack on my thumb..)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
I’ll Love You Forever (I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be)
Rock A Bye Baby
The Hippopotamus Song
Golden Slumbers
Huggie Boo (Ohhhh, I love you - this is from preschool - we’ve modified it slightly)



This is the song that parents and kids would sing during circle time at Ben’s little preschool last year. It was a really neat routine: kids would arrive, we’d sing the song together, and then parents would depart while the kids dived into their activity of the day. Obviously, it’s not a bedtime song but I was afraid I’d forget the lyrics so included them in the book:  

The Good Morning Song

Morning has come
Night is away
Rise of the sun 
And welcome the day

Morning has come
Night is away
Rise of the sun 
And welcome the day

Good morning dear sun, 
Good morning dear earth, 
Good morning great wide world

The earth is firm beneath my feet
The shun shines bright above
And here I stand so straight and tall
All things to know and love

Good morning dear Benjamin

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Emma and the Great Outdoor Adventure

Hey Guys. I’m just out here enjoying a little fresh air on the lawn. 

Going to attempt a little off-roading; trying out my crawling skills.

Ready? Here I go. Downhill first.



Bum over teakettle! Abort the mission!

Huh. How embarrassing.

Do you think anybody saw that?

No? Ok good.

Here goes Round 2. I am a determined little baby.

Again?! WTH, hillside? No love for a little baby.

That’s it. I’m done with down-hill. I’m off to go see if there are any snacks in the kitchen. This off-roading stuff stinks.



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

From The Blog-O-Sphere

This is a bang-up edition of From The Blog-O-Sphere, if I do say so myself.

Let’s wade right in, shall we?

You need kids.

Did you read the Little House on the Prairie series when you were little? I read them over and over and over.  A new autobiography of Laura Ingalls is being published.

Note to self: How To Be Polite.

This is where I fess up to drinking box wine. And loving it. Bota boxes, wootThe Modest Pleasures of Drinking Boxed Wine.

Beautiful, amazing song/video of the day. 

Aww, newborns. They are so adorable. You’re probably not going to want kids after reading this blog post. Sorry, peeps.

Let’s hear it for the badass female viking warriors. How does this affect the ‘rape and pillage’ line of thinking?

Mermaids and sharks: when wildlife documentaries blur the line between reality and fiction. 

The dawn of the post-clinic abortion. 

I was super proud that our little Ben hiked 4.4 miles on Sunday. And then there are the folks that are in a whole ‘nother league: Maine family completes the Appalachian Trail. 

Chris could have written this article: Dear Person Seated in 6D

Reflections on the shooting range death from one who knows. 

Goo goo gaga: Pretending to understand what babies say makes them smarter. 

In our world, Emma is pulling herself into a standing position and this morning she taught herself the fine art of blowing raspberries. She’s been practicing. All. Day. Long. Everything is covered in slobber.

We also tried to get her a passport photo from our neighborhood shop. The guy gave up after 12 attempts. Fail. Can’t keep a good baby down. Or still, in this particular case.

She’s gotten pretty good at crawling too, and I’ve dubbed her our 'stealth baby'. Just when I think I have a few minutes to myself to check email, I’ll look up and she’s quietly and determinedly peering around the door jamb.  This babe can make it down a hallway in no time flat. You can almost hear her muttering: “Operation Find-The-Milk-Lady, commence!".

Last night I suited up and removed a low-hanging paper wasp nest from one of our trees. Usually I wouldn’t mind its presence, but poor R got stung twice while mowing the lawn and Bailey has been fastidiously avoiding that area. Sorry, waspies. They met a quick end in a bucket of water. I saw one insect forlornly circling the former homestead last night but so far she’s the only orphan.

We took Ben to my all-time favorite sushi restaurant tonight. He wanted none of it and had the gall (the gall, I tell you!) to ask for a ‘real dinner’ as we were driving home. Tear my heart out, kid.



First Day of Preschool 2014

The big day has finally arrived. He was one excited little boy: couldn’t wait to see his friends, play outside, and eat his lunch (?!). 

What a difference a year makes:

The plaid shirt/jeans theme was totally unplanned.

The backpack isn’t quite so big and floppy anymore, either.   -sniff-

While taking pictures this morning he decided we needed some flowers to look extra snazzy for the big day:

The one behind his ear wouldn’t stay put so he settled for it tucked safely into his lapel instead.

Love this boy. 



Monday, September 01, 2014

End of Summer

The last vestiges of this glorious summer weather are slowly slipping away. Time to hold on to them while they last. 

Ben decided that a dip in a high alpine lake was his version of perfection. 

Naked. Of course. This kid abhors clothing. 

The Pacific Northwest does forests pretty well, yes? This is what comes to mind when I think of my childhood here in this far western slice of our country. I hope it'll be the same for my own wee little ones.




Photos: Barclay Lake. Highway 2. September 1. 2014.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Emma: Weeks 20-33

We’re still marching along on the 1 picture/week project. Sometimes it’s hard to choose just one, other times I’m casting around for a qualified candidate. You’ll probably be able to tell which ones are shot with an iPhone and there are a few that are slightly fuzzy; I’ve made my peace with less-than-perfect pictures. Such is life with moving kids. 

Benisms, vol 26

From the other room:

Ben: "uh oh"


"I just broke your (grandmother's antique silver) tea pot". 

"Oh no!  Seriously?!"

"Yes. But!! I have a good idea!!


He strikes an arms-extended superman pose:



I was paying Ben to pick up all the crab apples that fell in the yard. A penny per apple.

“Mom, I picked up all the apples!”

“Sweet. Thanks, Ben”

“And then I threw them all over the fence! The yard is clean! And you owe me lots of money"

“Wait. You threw them all over the fence?! To our neighbor’s yard, who has the most impeccably perfect garden that ever existed?”*

“Yup. But I picked them up first and THEN threw them so you still have to pay me.”

Things are never boring ‘round here, peeps. Good thing I love this kid so much.



*Upon inspection, it turned out that he’d thrown the apples over the fence that divides our front from our back yards, and not over into the neighbor’s garden. whew. He still wanted double payment for having to pick up the apples twice, however. 

From The Blog-O-Sphere

Here is the latest from around the wonderful world wide web:

Sad day. Group Health is closing the birth center where my two little babes were born. Every time I drive by the building I automatically zero in on the window to our room where Benjamin entered the world. I’d do the same for Emma except there was no time to look around and actually see the room. Bed! Bassinet! Here comes baby! And it was in the middle of the night. They’re not closing down the midwifery program, which is good, as I adored those women, just moving their base of operations to Swedish. Which is fine; I’ve heard many, many very positive things about Swedish MC. But still. That ugly old building is near and dear to my heart.

This is your brain on fish. 

What’s at the bottom of Lake Washington? I think about this every time I take a plunge into the lake...

Welcome to Washington: [potential] Grizzly Country!

What the heck did I just watch? Impressed, confused, my head is unable to absorb this crazy Russian dance version of Kiesza’s Hideaway. Things get interesting at 1:05 (ps: that poor chicken).

I’ve just added this book to my list: The Signature of All Things.

“This novel spans two centuries and offers the reader details of travel, adventure, love, family dysfunction, and science. Alma Whitaker is born in 1800 to a self-made man who becomes the richest man in Philadelphia. Alma is brilliant but homely, and during her long, loveless life she pursues the study of botany, ultimately proposing one of the first theories of evolution. Gilbert expertly tracks Alma's travels around the world, her struggles with her family and the man with whom she falls in love, and her desperate need to understand the mechanisms behind all life.”  -- Kate Mai, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Man sets record for the Pacific Crest Trail. 50 miles a day? No problemmo.

Two working parents, one sick kid. An examination of the cultural default.

20 foods you didn’t know you could freeze: yogurt, hummus, tortillas. Sign me up.

My SIL and BIL (that’s sister-in-law and brother-in-law) got us hooked on these videos while we were in Alaska. Basically, it’s adults acting out kid conversations: Kid Snippets. Another: Math. Dance class.

In other awesome news, GoPro just introduced a new camera harness - for dogs. No foolin’ peeps.

Bailey! Get up! We've got to put your new harness on! Bailey gettttt upppppp.

Not sure the Beast would be the best GoProDog. This is about as excited as he gets these days:

Be well, my dears.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Baby On A Boat

Holla Peeps!

Hope you had a fantastic weekend. We did a bit of boating (thanks M&E!) on Saturday night. It was gorgeous. Fall is a-coming so it’s time to make the most of this mild weather. 

Ben was over at my parents house (on a camping the yard. He had a blast) so it was a rare chance for us to spend time exclusively with little Em. Love that girl. 

We ate dinner out on the Sound and then took a tour of the waterfront. It’s so rare to see Seattle from the ‘other’ side. We gawked at all the tourists and they gawked right back. 

I’ve been wanting a GoPro (with drone capabilities!) for a while but after Saturday I really want one. Eric had his attached to the windshield. All three people here are actively involved in taking the photo: Megan (model), Eric (adjusting the shot), and Chris (taking the picture. From a remote on his phone). Awesome, yes?! The fish eye lens is especially neat-o.

Our boating baby.

Has anybody gone on the ferris wheel down on the waterfront? I think we’ll have to give it a go one of these days.

Love this guy.

And this little girl.

 Look at those chubby legs!

The boat is popular. The life vest? Not so much. 

Every single time I step aboard a vessel (even if it’s only an 8-ft dingy),  this will be running through my head:

I'm on a boat and, 
it's goin fast and
I got a nautical themed pashmina afghan



Photo credit: ES and MS