Jun 27 2017

last day of first grade

Josephine’s first grade year has come to an end. She had a good one overall — made some new friends and strengthened friendships from kindergarten. She learned so many new facts and tricks and ways of thinking about the world. She has struggled, in the last few months, with a bit of anxiety around school. I’m relieved there’s a break from the daily grind and the mornings too full of cajoling and comforting and trying to figure out just how hard to push a nervous and uncomfortable girl. But she did it. She kept on getting up and getting on with the day. I’m proud of her and the progress she’s made. Also, we made it another year without being late to school — something she and I consider a major accomplishment. We have honed our speed-walking skills.

This afternoon we hosted a little ice cream party for friends. The kids piled on the toppings and Hong brought her bubble machine and our backyard got a workout. It was also my friend Jessica’s birthday so we celebrated that, too. (That’s her in the sunglasses and the fetching Moana ring.) Her daughter Nina and Josephine were in the same kindergarten class. Jessica has become a close friend and has made me laugh a thousand times over the past two years. She’s moving across the country next week; it was bittersweet to laugh with her after drop-off this morning for the last time, standing at our little spot near school where we pause and talk before she turns to go one way towards her house and Tilly and I head to the pond for our walk home. I’m going to miss those talks and laughs next year.


May 18 2017

these girls

they get along so well. (until they don’t.) mainly due to their age difference, these two spend a lot of time in the same place doing different things so it’s a joy to watch them become more of a team. josephine likes to make up games for the two of them to play or propose imaginary scenarios to act out. they bond over reading and have deep discussions about moana wherein tilly shares her far-fetched plot lines. josephine is quick to be frustrated when tilly is her impulsive two-year-old self, but is also old enough to get it when tilly is being ridiculously hilarious. and tilly is getting old enough to share jokes with josephine and is beginning to develop a similarly quirky sense of humor.


Mar 26 2017

pee soo!

tilly is now a proud, excited, happy preschooler.  it wasn’t part of the master plan to start our almost-2.5-year-old in preschool, but when i started shopping for preschools for next fall, we realized several things: 1) we couldn’t comfortably afford preschool without me working; 2) without spending even more money, we wouldn’t be able to put her in enough hours of preschool for me to have time to work; and 3) the preschool i liked the best was a co-op preschool that is much more affordable. so co-op preschool it was. BUT. the co-op preschool system has a pretty firm age cut-off which tilly’s late-september birthday didn’t make. there was a work-around. if we joined the pre-3s class now, a class that still had a few open spots, we could take part in priority registration for fall and tilly’s late birthday would cease to be an issue. so she’s going to preschool now.

she was SO READY to be a preschooler. while we were touring schools, we’d enter a classroom and she would take off and start exploring everything she could during our brief visits. she wouldn’t have cared if i had left and she never wanted to leave. she’s had no issues with me leaving her at her preschool. i work in the classroom one morning a week and she goes on her own the other morning and so far it’s working out just great for us. she’s learning the routine and likes to talk about the other kids and the things she’s doing there. i don’t know if it will be where we stay until kindergarten, but it’s a good place to be right now.

first day of preschool:

a month in, sitting still at circle time:


Mar 26 2017

mazama, snow version

over mid-winter break in february, we went back to meera’s family’s home in mazama, east of the mountains and north of civilization. despite tilly’s continued fear of snow and despite a whopping cold on my part, it was a good long weekend. both josephine and meera lost teeth and the tooth fairy made two visits to the house. tilly played in the snow-free dirt road, i rotated between bed and the couch in the cozy house, and josephine got up on cross country skis and loved it. ned got to take on the bulk of the parenting in a beautiful snowy place with friends to help. on the way home, we visited my aunt and uncle’s house on lake chelan and shared lunch with them. it was great to catch up with them and see their home. we’ve been trying to get out there for years and it’s conveniently on the way home from meera’s house. i think we’ll be back to both places again soon.


Mar 4 2017

beach evening

on a saturday in mid-february, we had planned to get out of the house all day and then, just before the sun set, it finally happened. we’ve been bad about getting to the beach lately and this brief trip, on a beautiful evening, reminded me of how much i love living here.


Feb 6 2017

went to snow, tilly greatly displeased

tilly is having a tough time with snow. it snowed in seattle a couple months ago, enough to delay school two hours (doesn’t take much), and i took the girls in the backyard to play. tilly was furious that we thought she’d enjoy being pulled around in the sled. she didn’t want to touch the snow, didn’t want to walk in it. she wanted to sit on the snowless steps with me and watch joey play. she also doesn’t want to be riding in the stroller when it is pushed over icy sidewalk. she doesn’t even want to step over a crack in the boardwalk at the pond that has a bit of frost in it. sigh.

fear of snow really isn’t the hardest thing to cope with in seattle. it is harder to avoid when you are planning a family trip to a very snowy place for half a week. then you start to wonder whether your child will spend the entire trip looking in fear out the window at the vast whiteness…

so we went to the mountains as a bit of snow therapy. it didn’t go horribly but it didn’t exactly go well. tilly’s normal mode is cheery, silly, goofy, happy-go-lucky. however, she did not crack a smile in the hour and a half we were in the snow. her happiest mode was something i would call “not crying.” poor kid. the rest of us had a great time. well, as great of a time you can have when someone in your party looks like this:


Jan 17 2017

Christmas 2016: the photos

Words soon, I promise. This blog needs more words. And more photos are on flickr.


Nov 21 2016

aquarium

josephine is off all week (yippee?) for thanksgiving break and we made the bold move of going to the aquarium when all elementary students were out of school. luckily, not too many other people took the risk and it was a rather mellow day there. tilly might have noticed that she was surrounded by tanks of fish, otters, and seals; she was quite busy jumping and running. but we got her to appreciate a few creatures. and josephine came home committed to redouble her efforts to care for her fairly neglected beta fish. she’s working on a watercolor portrait of him as i type. and now to figure out the plan for tomorrow’s entertainment…

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Nov 16 2016

moving forward

A week and a day ago, I was feeling so optimistic, so sure. I thought I knew who was going to win the election and I was mainly concerned with exactly where I would be when I found out that we had elected our first female president. Later in the evening on that fateful Tuesday, I was curled up in bed, crying and telling myself that I didn’t have to throw up over an election. But I wanted to. That visceral reaction has faded, thankfully, and I acknowledge the privilege I have that enables me to focus on day-to-day minutia while I let the grief fade a bit into the background. But the overwhelming emotion is still there. I find my eyes welling up and my throat closing when I let my mind linger too long on who has been elected and how scary the future looks. I feel so grateful that my girls are too young to be fully aware of what happened during the campaign and the ramifications of the election. (Josephine says that when she sees a picture of Trump she thinks it looks like he’s about to come alive and say, “I hate you” to her.) I shudder to think what we’ll have to explain to them over the next four years.

While we try to wrap our minds around what has happened and try find hope in what may come, I’ve been putting a little more energy into creating comfort. I’ve been working to make the house cozy; burning candles, keeping things bright, encouraging reading under blankets on the couch. We had a fire in the fireplace over the weekend and it was like a magnet we were all drawn to for a couple hours. We’ll do that again soon.

We’ve been trying to eat well. I made our menu for the week and realized it was all carbs and dairy — extreme comfort food. I’ve been making sure my belly is full and hoping that helps the rest of me feel less stressed. (Finding a healthy balance remains a challenge. There is still way too much Halloween candy in the house.)

I’ve been thinking about building community. We spent time with friends in the days immediately following the election and look forward to more friend time over the weekend and Thanksgiving. It’s a little thing, but I’ve been making more of an effort to smile and say hello to people I encounter in the neighborhood.

I want to follow through on feeling motivated to find avenues to volunteer my time, both with the girls and independently. Whether it’s through Josephine’s school or with local organizations, I’d like to be more engaged in the community.

I want to read more and better. I rarely read non-fiction, but this list the New York Times compiled makes me want to branch out and challenge myself to learn more. I want to be more informed on world news. For the girls, I want to make sure that the books we read at home continue to feature diversity. Related, I want to continue to insist that the amount of violence we’re all exposed to via movies, shows, and books is practically nil.

We will continue to give money to Planned Parenthood, the local NPR station, and the library, and will find a few more local organizations — ones that support refugees, maybe? — to support.

What have you been doing to keep yourself hopeful and healthy? Sending love out there…


Nov 8 2016

birthdays, belatedly

Now that it’s November (and I’m attempting to tamp down election anxiety by updating a sadly non-updated blog), I should probably post a few photos of the girls’ birthdays. Josephine’s seventh birthday has been covered — a beautiful day in Mazama. Tilly’s second birthday was celebrated with a family trip to the zoo (Josephine fell in love with an orangutan) and huge pieces of cake…

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…peach cake that was leftover from the birthday party! I convinced Josephine that a joint party would be great (Tilly expressed no opinion on the matter) and it was indeed. One party to plan, lots of friends to play with, beautiful weather, a huge cake, and two wonderful girls to celebrate.

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img_8306-533x800Tilly was quite upset about being pulled from a game she had been playing when it was time for cake. But then she saw the cake and instantly switched moods (she’s two!) and started exclaiming, “My cake! It’s my cake!” It was quite gratifying.

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