Sep 25 2013

the grandma weekend

my mom came to visit a few weekends ago. we’d all been excited about this visit for a long time and it did not disappoint. mom and i had two mornings together while josephine was at school; we filled them with bakery treats, a fabric store visit, a long goodwill shopping adventure and lunch. josephine and grandma had time on their own which they filled with a walk around the lake, lots of game-playing, the enjoying of a cat cookie and book-reading. ned and i had time together which will be discussed in another post. all four of us ate a great dinner at our favorite restaurant which is closing next week (sob!). and mom, josephine and i went to the fair. it was all so full of love and laughs and good food and happiness. why on earth is minnesota so far from washington?

cats on roller-skates at dinner:

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the rain came down hard:

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some fun at archie mcphee (or “the crazy, silly store,” as josephine calls it):

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and the two cutest ladies i know:

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scenes from the fair…

the rabbit with dumbo ears:

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mutton bustin’ (we didn’t approve, but we couldn’t stop watching.) (that’s a small child on the back of the running sheep.):

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five-day-old piglets:

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josephine and a very large horse:

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we liked watching the roller coasters, but decided we weren’t brave enough to go on:

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this poor sheep:

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pig parade:

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sheep bath (and tail):

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pony ride! (the highlight of the fair):

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Sep 24 2013

an urgent message

just this evening, ned, josephine and i were sitting at the table, eating dinner together. ned and i were discussing something; josephine was not involved in our conversation. suddenly, out of nowhere, she yelled out, “urethra!” with a big grin on her face. well. ok, then.

Sep 21 2013

another year bites the dust

well, Celebration Season 2013 has just wrapped up around here and we can finally focus on non-birthday-related activities. like updating the blog. and cleaning the house. for those of you who don’t know, all three of our birthdays fall within a three-week span and ned’s and my wedding anniversary is in there, too. guess who gets short-shrift when all family celebration-type events are packed so close together. a hint: not the four-year-old.

so on thursday, for ned’s birthday, there was very little pomp and circumstance. no cat tails, no fancy cake, no party games. but there was a breakfast date for the two of us and then a dinner picnic at the lake in the last bits of lingering summer sunshine. there was a sunset and then an enormous moon rose.

ned’s a very smart man and he requested affogato for his birthday dessert. this is an italian treat that traditionally is made by pouring espresso over gelato. we americanized it and poured decaf coffee over brownies and vanilla ice cream. apologies to italy, but our version is pretty stellar.

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Sep 12 2013


i went for a walk (alone!) the other night to pick some tomatoes at the garden and this is what i saw along the way. fall’s on its way.

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Sep 10 2013

first day!

it’s the first day of school! thank the lord! let the bon-bon eating laundry and living-room-floor unearthing commence!

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Sep 7 2013

celebrating four, part two

it was just a little party in the park with six dear friends and their wonderful parents (and one grandparent). the invitations announced a meeting of the cat club; josephine’s favorite books right now are about a black cat named jenny linsky who wears a red scarf and is a member of a cat club. there were cats to color, face paints to apply, scarves to pin on the black cat (our version of pin the tail on the donkey). we ate goldfish crackers, sandwiches shaped like fish (and like cats, which is a little cannibalistic, but nobody seemed to mind), kibble (crackin’ oat bran), and other treats. the cake was made to look like jenny. we sang happy birthday in english and then in all meows. it looked like it was about to rain for the first hour or two and then the sun came out. it was a really good day.

the party has been discussed for months and josephine had expressed some very strong opinions about who should be doing what at the party; which cat each friend should act as and what they should wear and how they should meow. we talked a lot about everyone getting to do their own thing, be their own person/cat. and on the day-of, that’s just what happened.

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Sep 7 2013

celebrating four, part one

josephine turned four on thursday. four. her birthday started off with a bang, literally, as thunder and lightning boomed/flashed over seattle. morning swim lessons were canceled so we headed downtown to the science center. our friends put us on their membership, so we waltzed through the doors for free and headed to the IMAX for josephine’s first big-screen movie experience. perhaps a 3-D movie on a six-story tall IMAX screen was a little over-the-top, but she did very well with the sensory overload. the movie was about monarch butterflies and at one point, after reaching out her hands to try and snatch the butterflies that appeared to be flying right in front of us, she pulled her glasses down and told me she was going to watch without glasses for a while to stop her from being “selfish” and taking all the butterflies from the other people in the theater.

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we explored a bit of the science center after the movie (the corner mirror was her favorite part) and then went to the toy store where i announced that she got to pick out a new cat. my original plan was to have already gone to the store and picked out a cat for her and wrapped it up. but the pre-birthday trip to the store never happened and this way of doing things ended up being really exciting for her. she’s in love with her new cat who is either named lavender or butterfly.

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after a nice birthday nap, during which i finished sewing a dragon, she packed up her new backpack (are you sensing a cat theme? wait until you see the birthday party.) with some new things and we went out for pho — vietnamese noodle soup (her request). and then home for a little cupcake/candle action.

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we’ve been talking about her birthday for, oh, about the last six months and i wonder if josephine’s going through a bit of the same let-down that brides feel after their wedding. she was in an awful mood yesterday. i was convinced she was getting sick and that we’d have to cancel her birthday party. but she woke up this morning chipper and chanting: “today is a special day! today is a special day!”

to be continued…

Sep 3 2013

the last of the summer travels

as labor day marks the unofficial end of summer, i’m hailing this past weekend’s trip as our last trip of the summer. phew! we spent six weekends out of town this summer and, while i wouldn’t have given up any of them, i’ve decided that six weekends away is a few weekends away too many. and now we’re thinking we should squeeze one more camping trip in before the rain hits in earnest…  we’ll see.

we last went to guemes three years ago, and it’s been too long. this weekend, we went with our friends, a family of five with a daughter josephine’s age and two boys bookending her. they played so well together and gave the adults not exactly leisurely kid-free time, but a bit less time attending to moment-by-moment needs. as we have in the past, we stayed in a yurt. although josephine was needing a nap and very grumpy when we arrived (“i HATE yurts! let’s go home! i don’t want to stay here!”), she was much more enthused about the housing situation and location when she woke up. we went out kayaking both mornings and ended the days on the beach. our friend dove for crabs, the kids imagined monsters in the woods, some first steps were taken, the slugs were everywhere.

the drama of the weekend happened when josephine got stung by a bee (or a wasp — there’s debate) just as we were about to go for a hike. apparently it hurt. the whole of guemes island probably knows that my daughter was stung by a bee. after she screamed for half an hour in the car, we decided that our make-shift ice pack of a container of hummus — hippie first aid! — was not cutting it and we bagged the hike and headed back to the yurt. we dosed her with tylenol, put her finger on some actual ice, and made a sludge of baking soda and water. when the screaming continued (and i was finally feeling like i could relax about the possibility of her throat closing up), i was bemoaning the lack of a really good distraction. then suddenly i remembered — i had uploaded sesame street podcasts, video podcasts, on to the ipod for just such an occasion. so we plugged her in, coated her hand in goo, and she sat quietly for a good 20 minutes. it wasn’t until six hours later — broken up only by the blessed screen time and a brief nap — that she finally was calm. calm? no. actually, she became manically happy. exhibit A:

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it was a strange day. but we were in a pretty place and with good friends, so all’s well that ends well.  i think we’ll be back there someday.

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