Monday, November 29, 2010

Ella's Birthday and other news.

Quick!  Someone take a snapshot of this past week!  It's been a whirlwind of snow and no school and playing games and turkey day and cake and baby girls in pink dresses and chicken wings.  I think every day has been better than the one before and it would take fifteen blog entries to get through every detail.  I haven't been able to blog nice, short, concise entries each day as things happen because I no longer have access to the computer.  Breckin has discovered computer games and now has his own log in for our office computer.  He is ALWAYS on the computer and when he's not, Dustin is.  I'll be as brief as I can but sometimes I rattle on....  Here goes.

So, you've heard about the pre-Thanksgiving Christmas party.  That was last Sunday, November 21st.  What did we do on Monday?  Nothing.  We waited for the snow to start and watched live coverage of Arctic Blast 2010 on King 5.  Those poor saps in yellow jackets reporting from which ever town had the worst wind and the most snow falling in vain attempts at freaking all of us out and sending us darting for the nearest Fred Meyer in search of snow boots and sleds and batteries.  They should be saying "King 5 news sponsored in part by Energizer and Columbia Sportswear."  Breckin already didn't have school planned because he's a 1/2 day kindergartener who is out from Nov. 16th through today for conferences.  But, Dustin went to work and though I called him every 30 minutes to nag him about coming home early, he stayed until 3:00.  He was lucky with a 90 minute commute.  Some people sat on I-5 for NINE HOURS.  You better believe we played in the snow the very second it had accumulated enough to make an angel in.  And, not one hour into a snowball fight, did Breckin get whisked away by a little girl down the street for an indoor playdate. 

Tuesday?  More snow play.  This time, school was delayed or let out early or whatever- I didn't pay attention cause, again, we were already out for the break.  Ten kids plus five plastic sleds plus enough snow to shut down the city of Seattle and we were in hog heaven.    Breckin, Kellen, and Mikah built a snowman.  Complete with a carrot nose and oreo eyes and buttons.  The boys ate him.  Ate him.  Bit his head and ate his whole face.  Also, we have a small hill by our mailboxes.  It doesn't look big but man, those kids were FLYING down that thing on National Lampoon sleds.  Leave it to the dads of the 'hood to think that's not enough and introduce them to sledding in the street.  Thanks, Matt.  I think we spent about 1.75 hours bundling, unbundling, and rebundling children in snow gear between potty breaks, lunch, and thawing out finger breaks.  I'm pretty sure we only came inside for a grand total of 30 minutes on Tuesday.  What a great day in the snow.  Well, Ella doesn't think it's so great when the snow actually touches her.  And, Dustin went to work.  Again.

Wednesday?  A little more snow play but we had to run a few errands.  I mean, we can't just play all week, can we?  Ok, maybe.  The highlight of Wednesday was game night with the Davenports and movie night.  We usually get together on Fridays so the kids can run each other ragged and we can sit at the table and play cards and marginally tell them to behave.  This time, we bumped it to Wednesday because no one had to get up early on Thursday.  Kirsten and I lucked out of cooking- we both enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at our respective parents houses so we relaxed Weds night.  The kids watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer after a lasagna dinner.  They got lofty visions of how much energy they had and started Bee Movie right after Rudolph.  All three fell asleep shortly into it so we finished our game and let them snooze.  I love our game nights!! 

Thursday?  Clearly awesome.  It's Turkey Day and for me, that means browsing the Black Friday ads.  I've gone out on Black Friday shopping since I was a little girl.  Yes, we've evolved from going to Ernst at 7 am to get free popcorn, a free snow globe, and cheap poinsettias to getting up at 3:15 to be at Target shortly after they open to load up the cart for 1/2 the price I would normally pay.  Yep, 3:15 and that's sleeping in cause I didn't really need any doorbusters.  Anyway, I'm ahead of myself.  Mom made a fantastic meal and both of my siblings were there- rare these days!  Mom and Dad already had the tree up- the short story is they had to do it early cause Dad had surgery- but it made the whole day more festive.  Ella's birthday celebration started that day as there were presents under the tree for her.  And everyone else who showed up.  Go Mom!!  

Friday?  Shopping.  EIGHT hours of shopping.  I got everything I needed minus one thing and I'm done.  There will always be one or two more oops things between now and then but for the most part, I'm done.  I killed it at Target.  I saved more than I spent.  I was in there at 4:15- got a cart from someone already flying out the door on their way to the next place- and out of there at 6:30.  It's all the running between stores that slows you down but I made it to Joanns, Old Navy (twice!), Nordy Rack, TJMaxx, and Toys R Us and was home about 12:30.  I LOVE Black Friday. 

Saturday.  Ella turned ONE.  I know her birthday is on the 27th but for me, it will always feel like the day after Thanksgiving.  I will never forget going into labor at the dinner table on Turkey Day and missing Black Friday due to being in the hospital.  No matter what day of the week it falls on, the whole Thanksgiving weekend will be my reminder.  We had a small gathering of family and close friends for pizza and cupcakes.  Stress free and very relaxing.  Well, for all of us except Ella.  She's had a bad cold and took a long nap right into the first hour of the party.  Here's how she felt about her cake.

Not a fan.  We tried to show her how to eat it.  Breckin ate some and made a MMMM! face.  No dice.  She wanted out of there.  She hated her dress cause it hindered her crawling skills.  Fortunately, she did like seeing her granny and family and the fun toys she got to open.  She was so cranky from not feeling well.  What a way to turn one!   

Dustin's birthday was on Sunday.  And, what did he do on his birthday?  Put up Christmas lights for his wife.  He could care less about them but he knows I go nuts about Christmas stuff and it was really our only chance to get them up before too late.  What a guy!  Also, we went out to dinner at Wingers- one of his favs!  Bull, Annie, Clark, We miss you Andi!, Bobby, Mo, and Maggie met us there and made it a really fun dinner out.  His now annual birthday trip to Best Buy was a bust- they didn't have either thing he wanted- but I think he had a good day overall. 

WWHHHHEWWW!  Was that brief enough?  Looks like I'll have to start setting the timer for Breckin and Dustin so Mommy can jump on the computer long enough to update the blog.  I can't handle these week long updates!  Happy Thanksgiving, Birthday, Friday, Birthday, Game Night, Snow Day, and Back to School Monday! 

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's early, I know.

I know, I know.  It's kind of a rule in our house not to put out any Christmas decorations or turn on Gene Autry or really have any sort of Christmas acknowledgement until the day after Thanksgiving.  November is a month for celebrating football games, thanking Pilgrims, and finishing up all the Halloween candy.  Christmas doesn't rear it's sparkling, delightful head until after the1st plate of turkey is gone.  BUT.  It's not my fault if one of our family traditions involves the most beautiful Christmas party in Seattle.  I mean, I worked there as a young teen dressed as an elf or sugar plum fairy.  I've decorated trees, tied numerous giant bows, held the flashlight to point out bidders at the live auction, wore beautiful jewelry around the cocktail hour for the silent auction, baked cookies, served hot chocolate, got blown off by a rude and not-so-child friendly Jerry Lewis, packaged Christmas decorations bought by party goers, and any other task asked of me. 

My gorgeous mother STILL is involved with making this "Christmas Party" happen although it's gone from teddy bear teas for children to an overblown night of glamour for the wealthiest to story time and cookies for all.  25 or so trees are dec'd to the hilt with oversized ornaments, yards of ribbon, and statues of Santa that you usually only see on mantels.  Those suckers are hard wired so tightly to the trees that when someone buys one tree, it is delivered with all decorations still attached and those puppies don't move.  An inch. 

Just pulling up to the Fairmont Olympic downtown Seattle brings back so many memories.  The warm pineconey, cinnamon smell of the lobby.  The hoards of people dressed in their carefully chosen Christmas sweaters and pearls and tulle.  And, for crying out loud, last night it was snowing.  And now, I get to share it with my kids.  The suite they cover with teddy bears has new meaning in the eyes of baby Ella.  The giant teddy bear is almost the same size as Breckin when only a few years ago it dwarfed him.  We all had three or six cookies.  Listened to Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.  Danced to the choral singers lined up on the staircase.  Stood in line to talk to the big man only to see Ella FREAK OUT, flail her legs wildly, cry crocodile tears of fear, and damn near fall on the floor trying to escape.  Sorry, Yuen Lui, have fun processing those pictures.  It was a glorious night and one I look forward to every year.  I may or may not be getting the Christmas boxes down early cause for me, it's Christmas time! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ahhhh Wind Storms.

I LOVE them.  I could feel this one coming.  No, really.  I have a small thermomo-baro-meter in my back.  The place where I got the epidural when I was in labor with Breckin aches when the weather changes and when the temp drops in my house.  I can literally point at the spot where the needle went in cause it bothers me when I'm super over tired or the air gets cold or hot real quick.  Weird, I know.  Some attention-starved mayors of jerkville would file a lawsuit for illegally installing a thermometer in the spinal tap but I kinda like my back spot.

Anyway, we had our first overnight power outage last night and I was mentally prepared to sleep in the hall and set alarms on our cell phones before I heard it coming on the news.  See, when the power goes out, fancy gadgets like baby monitors don't work.  And, although it'll be nice to be completely across the house from Ella when she's a teenager and blasts her Nirvana, right now it's not so great.  I can't hear her crying while IN my room.  Let alone in my room asleep.  So, when the power goes out, I sleep on the floor in the hall outside her room so I can hear when she wakes up.  And, yes, she's slept from 8:00 pm til 7:00 am every night since she was one week old but (knock on wood, cross your fingers behind your back, do not tell the sick fairies I said this) the one, eventual night she chucks in her bed will be the one night I don't have full monitor abilities.  So, there I sleep. 

The power went out at 10 pm.  Breckin was snoring and Dustin moved him from his bed to ours so when the temp dropped he wouldn't wake up cold and step on my head on his way to wake us up and tell us he was cold.  A-ha!  Five years of being a parent gives us this insight.  Anyway, we all had our flashlights near our heads, our unusual sleeping positions assumed, and cell phones alarms set.  Sure enough, the power stayed out til 8 am.  Which is good cause if it hadn't fifteen lights, two tvs, and the dishwasher would have all started at 3 in the morning and no one wants that.  It was the perfect start to storm season.  Just enough power outage fun to cancel school the next day.  Just enough pitch darkness to get our storm brains going- do we have enough batteries, canned peas, oatmeal, and peanut butter?  But we didn't have to deal with grilling shrimp on a Coleman or take super cold showers or drive around doing nothing to charge our cell phones.  There was a significant loud bang right when the lights went out- probably a tree or transformer blowing or the huge steel light pole that fell across some poor sap's driveway a few blocks away.  And, I LOVED every minute.  Ok, now no more.  A few inches of snow so we can sled and build some snowmen and I'm set.  Thanks.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Whimsical Wishes

My sister and I used to ridicule the word whimsical.  For that matter, we kinda used to ridicule people that used the word whimsical but you have to understand, at the time, we were immersed in a project and it was the golden word.  Everyone used it to describe everything.  From tiny snowmen to feathery birds to strands of gold tinsel.  If it was whimsical, it was ideal and, we thought, annoying.  Oh how times have changed.  I still cringe when I hear or see "whimsical" and get internal giggles that make me want to throw a thesaurus at the person using it but really, I want something whimsical.

Breckin has been slaving over every toy book that comes in the mail in search of the perfect items for his wish list.  Dustin and I were briefly chatting about what we wanted for the upcoming holidays and really, there's not a thing that I want or need.  I want to save money for Disneyland someday.  And, I want something whimsical.  I want to throw a whimsical, enchanting, magical mad hatter tea party.  I want all of my girlfriends to indulge me by wearing silly hats and their fanciest shoes.   I don't care if they wear dresses or jeans between those hats and shoes cause who notices anything other than the hat and shoe anyway?

I want this.

And this.

And I want to use my silly collection of tea pots and the over the top floral tablecloth that I got on clearance at Bed Bath and Beyond ten years ago.  I want to learn how to bake good scones, make raspberry freezer jam, and serve tiny cakes.  I want to use my china.  I want a reason to wear some of the high heels in my closet.  I love tea:  I drink it every morning and sometimes in the evening.  I don't really want things for Christmas.  I want experiences.  Whimsical ones.  Who wants to be a Mad Hatter with me?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


What are you supposed to do when it's 70 degrees in November?  Go to the park in your tshirt, of course!  I am defintely not complaining about our weather lately- it's nice enough after the big kids get out of school to play outside yet the leaves are all over the ground and crunch deliciously as I walk to the bus.  It just smells like fall outside.  People are still cutting their grass but pumpkins still linger in the air and the wind is crisp enough to make you clutch your arms even for just a moment.  LOVE it.  I have a great recipe for some spice cookies that will end this week beautifully.  And, Toy Story 3 is out on DVD.  Sounds like a perfect movie night tomorrow!