Thursday, July 30, 2009

Keeping Our Cool

In case you haven't heard, it's been unusually hot here in the Northwest this past week. And, in case you haven't heard, rubber duckies get overheated. We took ours out to the fountains to give them some relief from the record-breaking temps.

I'm including these next two only because those of you who know James know this is not his typical behavior

And here we are doing some more cooling off at home...when it's been too hot to even leave the air-conditioned house to get in the air-conditioned car to go somewhere wet.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Babysitting/Birth Control

Assuming you've read the title of this post (specifically if you happen to be the parents of the small child in Pete's arms above), I feel I should issue a disclaimer. Little Jack is as sweet as can be and is a very easy baby by any standards. Furthermore, rest assured not a hair on his head was harmed during his time in our care. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

Friends and relatives often ask us if we are done having kids. Our stock answer is an immediate affirmative. Why? Simply put: too chicken. But the question itself always unearths that lingering thought that this might not truly be our "final answer." Last weekend we had the opportunity to babysit a two-month-old for a couple of hours while his parents went on a date (part of our gift to them at his baby shower). I think it's the first time Pete and I have watched an infant together since James was born. So for one evening, we got a glimpse into what it would be like with three.

At any given time, at least one out of the three children sort of became a blur...
Feeding a small primate is more complicated and nuanced than it looks. The older children, having eaten a mere 20 minutes earlier (toddler eternity), starve in the process and begin begging for food...
Middle child is already mysteriously absent from pictures...

And finally, Dad dozes off, the eldest regresses to an infant, and the middle child is left to fend for himself...

Both Pete and I come from families with three children. Our hats go off to our parents and all the other parents we know who are outnumbered by their children. They are brave souls. We're not even sleep deprived from around-the-clock infant care, but I'll embarrassingly admit we were "feelin' it" by the time it was time to return Jack to his rightful guardians.

Anyway, I think the next time a doctor asks me what form of birth control I am using, I might just say, "oh, we just make sure we babysit an infant from time to time..."

(and again, if you are reading this, B & M, we do want your little guy back soon!)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Our 4th of July weekend had a lake theme. Friday we visited Blue Lake with some friends. To our dismay, signs were posted everywhere stating that children under the age of 5 are not allowed in the lake in order to "control bacteria levels." Well, you can't just tell a 3-and-a-half year old all morning that she's going to her first lake to swim and then tell her when she gets there that she can't go in, right? But in fact, after our thoroughly potty-trained daughter and her friend were kicked out of the lake after about 5 minutes by some sort of lake policewoman, we were all then kicked off the sand next to the lake. The sand. It's a good thing too...we were totally planning on smearing James' dirty diapers all over the place and dumping our carefully packed vials of E. coli. With the nearby fountains completely off, our outing was looking grim. Mercifully, they were turned on at 11am. But by then, all the kids wanted to do was eat...

and work on their tans.
Blue Lake, you need some perspective. Blue Lake, meet Lake Grove Swim Park. This is where we went the very next day (the 4th).
Yup, that's Daphne sitting near the back of this god-forsaken rectangle of unchlorinated, unfiltered, shallow "water" for an hour--at the END of a long day. Special thanks to you, Blue Lake, for stripping me of the will to disappoint her two days in a row. Do not ask me what percentage of that hour I spent dry-heaving as I pondered what fraction of this "water" must be unspeakable compounds other than H2O. Against all odds, she survived, seemingly unscathed. I am still recovering.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoroughly Amused

During the summer on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Oaks Amusement Park gives kids under 6 unlimited "kiddie" rides for $6. So I fulfilled my suburban motherly duty and took D + J. I couldn't really bring myself to get out my camera after taking all those pictures of the carnival at the balloon festival a few weeks ago. The above shot was about all I could muster. The kids seemed to enjoy themselves.

Then we walked to some picnic benches over by the river to eat lunch, and happened to sit near a gate and steps down to the river bank. Daphne really wanted to go down. I just wanted to go home. But I capitulated, and I'm so glad I did!

After the intense and sort of icky fun that happens at a bustling amusement park, going down to the water was, to say the least, refreshing. But there was something very special about that few minutes we spent on the sand, and I don't think I'll ever forget the experience. The kids were so calm and so perfectly content. They didn't run around or ask to go into the water or demand that I magically produce sand toys. All they wanted to do was feel the sand between their fingers and look at the river.

(my new favorite picture of James)
(ASL sign for "sand")
(the real sign for "sand")

It's sort of trendy right now (and very prevalent on mommy-type blogs) for families to get "back to basics" and "live the simple life." I am all for this way of thinking and living, in my own way. We try not to have too much "stuff" around the house, but sometimes I think we try to do too much. Still, I can't help but think it was the contrast of the over-stimulation and "amusement" that immediately preceded that made the beach so special, peaceful, and memorable.

Friday, July 3, 2009


We just bought a minivan last weekend and it was time (long overdue) to say goodbye to Pete's 94 Camry. Some of its more endearing features included windows held in place by wooden shims jammed into the door frame, dented hood, peeling paint, broken door handle, missing hubcap, and of course the gigantic oil leak. And yet, we posted this baby on Craigslist (no, not James...oh, you are so funny) for $1200 and it sold for that price less then 24 hours later. Ha! But believe it or not, that was well under KBB value, even in this condition. It was worth it to see it go fast. Gotta love Camrys and Craigslist!

Here we are washing it for the, I mean...last time!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Come on, Costco.

For some reason our local Costco thought it a brilliant idea to line up all 15 sample stations in a row in honor of the 4th of July rush. The resulting cart gridlock was comical. Plus, the thrill of the hunt was gone. You know, the tiny release of endorphins you experience upon discovering your own special 1/16th of a chimichanga waiting for you in a dark corner of the store. That's the whole point of going, really.
We hardly ever go to Costco these days. You know the old joke that you can't walk out of Costco without spending $100. When we did go more frequently, we used to buy just bread and water...literally. Or one box of dishwasher soap. Or one pair of work jeans for Pete. The checkers often mocked us. And they don't take cash for gas, which irks me. I think we'll just let our membership expire this month. The samples are fun, but they're not "free" for people like us if you do the math.

I'd better stop because I can feel a household budgeting discourse coming on...

Anyway, the picture below is from nearly a year ago. They really don't look ALL that different, do they? They must not be growing up too fast after all. Whew.