Jul 29 2012

to the sea

We just got home from a four-day tour of the Olympic Peninsula. Conclusion: it’s gorgeous.  Also, we can survive three nights of camping with a toddler. A successful trip all around.

We’ve spent time on the peninsula before and revisited a few favorite spots on this trip. But we hadn’t camped in this campground before — Mora, near La Push — and it was a beautiful spot. It was about a mile from Rialto Beach.  We spent Wednesday making our way to the coast and spent Thursday sitting on the beach.

That evening, Josephine learned how to prepare the smallest smore ever made (but only ate the chocolate and then requested a non-roasted marshmallow). (In case you can’t tell, she was thrilled with the whole thing.)

Friday, we woke up and laughed about July in the Pacific Northwest as we pulled on our winter hats and pulled up our hoods to stay warm during breakfast.

We went to the Hoh Rain Forest and hiked. Ironically, in order to get some sunshine, we had to leave the beach for a place with an average annual rainfall of 13 feet. Josephine hiked enthusiastically on her own for about three-quarters of a mile.  She talked the entire time. She was deep in an imaginary world in which she was Dorothy, I was “Dorothy’s Friend” and Ned was Scarecrow. Rose was the baby scarecrow that Dorothy was taking care of. She told everyone we passed about how she was Dorothy and was going to see the wizard. She also spent some time at the river bank washing rocks that were apparently dirty.

We wandered down to the campground’s amphitheater for the the evening’s ranger presentation.  The subject was “Whales” and we thought Josephine would maybe be entertained for 10 minutes or so and we could go back to the campsite for bedtime.  To our great surprise, she was riveted and so excited about volunteering to help the ranger with various tasks throughout the presentation. She raised her hand and told the ranger that we were from Seattle. She helped the other kids there walk out the length of a grey whale.  She guessed that a whale weighed fifty pounds. She went up to the front to select a piece of paper with a suggestion for reducing carbon emissions from a bucket. Then selected a second. And a third. She listened carefully for the entire presentation and reported back some of the things she had learned later. It was an unexpected highlight of the trip.

On Saturday, after a farewell trip to the beach (the impressive rock art was someone else’s), we started home. On the way back, we took a side trip and climbed through clouds to the glorious peaks at Hurricane Ridge and, at a spectacular lunch spot, marveled at the coast, forest and mountains we were able to enjoy in just a few days.

And then we got home and watched the Olympics for twenty hours. The end.

Jul 20 2012


who is this child and what has she done with my baby??  this morning, josephine cheerfully got up and decided she wanted to wear her laura dress (again). so she took off her pjs, took off her diaper (which she informed me was full of “grody pee”), neatly folded up the diaper and put it in the bathroom by the trashcan, got clean undies out of her drawer, put them on, and then made several valiant and calm attempts to get her dress on before politely asking for help.  i was floored.

also? she has recently decided she’s ready for the big kid swings. she even tried out the tire swings. livin’ on the edge. here are a few photos of her and meera (and rose!) on the swings the other day:

josephine, meera and sydney during a recent playdate:

and josephine laura and meera rockin’ out at the outdoor concert we went to last night:

also? the other day she actually enjoyed lying on her back in the bathtub:

i almost don’t want to mention it because i don’t want to jinx anything, but i feel like we’ve turned a corner out of the crappy just-let-me-survive-this-stage of extreme two-and-a-halfness of the past six months or so.  i could say more, but i’ll just say that it’s a VERY welcome change.

Jul 19 2012

overheard: the “sweet” edition

while in the car listening to something other than “the wizard of oz” or caspar babypants:

“mary poppins has such a sweet voice!”


while sharing a very juicy nectarine at the park this morning:

“mama, if this nectarine is too sweet for you, i can eat it all.  no problem.”

Jul 17 2012

alive, together

i’ve been thinking, for various reasons, about a poem that my uncle read to ned and me at our wedding. it helps me to remember to be grateful for what’s right in front of me. we could all use a little of that, right?


Alive Together
Lisel Mueller

Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard’s woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pope
or a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahontas
or a woman without a name
weeping in Master’s bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrong-headed angel,
or Mary’s friend. I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
statistically nonexistent;
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah’s Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who-but for endless ifs-
might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.

Jul 11 2012

move over, laura

Josephine has a new love. And calling it love is using moderation; really, it’s more of an obsession.  It’s the Wizard of Oz.  Or, as she likes to call it, the “Wizar Davoz.”  She’s watched YouTube videos of the scenes from the movie where Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion and the scene where Dorothy is serenaded by the Munchkins*.  These little glimpses, my telling her the story, and daily doses of the soundtrack to the Broadway show have fueled a deep love for this rag-tag band of Yellow Brick Road travelers.

When she first fell for Laura Ingalls, she played she was riding in the wagon with Pa and Ma, and Rose was renamed Baby Carrie for a bit of time. Now, we’re constantly traveling down the Yellow Brick Road, constantly searching for Toto who jumped out of my arms (yes, I am Dorothy) just as the hot air balloon was about to leave, constantly speculating on whether or not all of Scarecrow’s body is really made of straw. (How would he chew crunchy foods with teeth made of straw? Pondering deep questions such as this is our new past time.) Ned is Scarecrow. Thankfully, he’s dropped the floppy-armed stance and doofy voice he took on when he first was dubbed Scarecrow, but I think Josephine has called him “Scarecrow” instead of Dada about 80% of the time over the past week.

[I’m typing a bit of this as Josephine enjoys a post-nap snack and she just turned her tofu slabs into a Yellow Brick Road.]

She tells everyone she interacts with about Dorothy and her friends and introduces them to whichever of her stuffed animals is playing the role of Toto that day. She woke up in the middle of the night one night and Ned went in to check on her and she said, “What is the Scarecrow’s real name? I never thought of that before.” She’s in deep.

Here are some bits of an interview I conducted with Josephine about Oz. Enjoy.

*The day after we watched the Munchkin clip together, she requested that we watch “that movie where Dorothy meets the bitty gnomes wearing funny clothes” again.

Jul 8 2012

enter: the sun

oh, sun, how did you know i needed you? i wrote that little ode to cool, rainy seattle last week and then, suddenly, the sun came out from behind the clouds it had been hiding behind since, oh, october, it’s warm but not hot, and life is glorious.

here’s how we’ve been enjoying the sun.

on the fourth of july (three cheers for mid-week federal holidays!) we went to the beach at discovery park where josephine dug in the sand. she also sampled the “orange nut” in the trail mix and discovered that it was candy! chocolate candy!  later, we had a picnic at the lake with friends.

on thursday, josephine and i explored volunteer park on capitol hill.  we played at the playground, enjoyed the greenery in the conservatory (and you know i taught josephine that it’s call the conservatory, because how awesome to hear her tell ned when he got home that we spent some time at the conservatory), went to the asian art museum and then had a picnic (and then a meltdown about not wanting to go home, but we don’t need to dwell on that).

friday morning, josephine looked over at the floor during breakfast and squealed, “there’s a sunshine wheelbarrow, mama!” indeed, there was. we gave it wheels and something to carry.

then we headed to capitol hill again to swing at cal anderson park, pose by the boom wall and then take in the first friday storytime at the frye museum.

friday evening, over dinner, ned told josephine that they were going to watch the tour de france in the morning and explained that it’s a bike race. she said, “will they be nudie patoodie bike riders or riding with their clothes on?” the fremont solstice parade has ruined her.

yesterday, after celebrating a friend’s birthday party on the shores of lake washington, i headed out to spend time with my friend drie who was home alone with our newest friend, little cedric. drie and i realized we have never spent time together with only one child around (she has two older kids) and it was pretty darn fantastic.

we picked blueberries this morning. my hoarding tendencies were battling it out with josephine’s unwillingness to pick for multiple hours, but we ended up with a good haul nonetheless. ned and i snuck a chocolate peanut butter shake into the front seat on the way home. when josephine wakes up we’re going to take her to the neighborhood wading pool. sunny seattle is pretty sweet.

(oh, and? this whole week? josephine’s been wearing underwear full-time. and she’s been keeping them dry. but i’m not going to say anything because i don’t want to jinx it. forget i told you.)

Jul 6 2012

daughter of an evaluator

i crawled back into bed at 2am the other night/morning and told ned that josephine must have convened a focus group in order to determine the most obnoxious thing that she could say to me in the middle of the night. usually she’s very straight-forward with her middle-of-the-night needs: cover me up, i’m thirsty, etc. etc. we deal with it and we’re done and both back to sleep. but this was the conversation the other night:

josephine: [cranky whining]
me: jo, what’s up?
josephine: mama…
me: yes?
josephine: mama…
me: yes, jo?
josephine: i… i want something…
me: what?
josephine: something…
me: what do you need?
josephine: i neeeeed…
me, much less patiently: WHAT?
josephine: i neeeed…
me: i’m going back to bed.
josephine, frantically: i’m thirsty! i need a drink!


Jul 3 2012

we have a futon…

i just put my wool socks on because my toes were chilly, and not because i have the AC cranked up too high. quite the reverse; i’m tempted to turn on the heat. it’s 64 degrees and raining right now and i don’t know if i’ve ever liked seattle weather better. in the past week, two families we know have been without power in cities with 95+ temps. i think about them, and just about everyone else we know who doesn’t live here, as we pull on fleeces to go to the park and as i wonder if this salad, which was delicious, was the best choice for dinner the other night. perhaps a nice hearty soup would have been a better option?

i laughed the other day, the last day of june, as i picked up some shorts and tank tops for josephine from a neighborhood mom whose daughter had outgrown them. i was wearing a jacket and jeans and hoping that there will be a day or two in the next few months when it’ll be warm enough for such small amounts of fabric to be sufficient. josephine’s still sleeping in her footy pajamas and at bedtime we all curl up under the same quilt and comforter we used all winter.

have i convinced you nutty folks who live in warm places to come visit yet? it’s supposed to be sunny and in the 70s the rest of the week…

(all that said, i did have a strange yearning yesterday for that bone-melting heat that makes everything still and amplifies the buzz of the insects. that heat that forces you to slow down and rest and eat cold sweet things.)

happy july. happy summer. stay cool.

Jul 1 2012


what’s that old saying about home?  home is the place where, when you arrive carrying a kid who came down with a 103 degree fever on the airplane, they have to take you in?  something like that anyway.  yes, josephine was sick while traveling AGAIN. but this disease only lasted two days and then we got on with our minnesota visit — snuggling with family, digging up worms in grandma’s garlic patch, going out to lunch, visiting laura’s little house in the big woods in wisconsin, eating lots of ice cream and playing with new friends.  good good times all around.  i’m so grateful for these people.

(but, no, this trip did not distract me from the fact that certain people have left seattle. there’s an allisonmattelijesse-sized hole here now.)


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