Friday, June 20, 2008

Sometimes I wish I could just compose blog posts in my head and have them magically appear on my computer. Because I write such great ones when I'm sitting at the park in the sun, watching my cute kids have the time of their lives running around & exploring the spray park for the first time this summer.

Unfortunately the only times I have to blog are when the kids are asleep. Which means that generally I am exhausted, tired and often feeling cranky about how difficult the kids were being the last hour before bed. Its hard to capture a joyous afternoon in just the right way when you sit down to write about it in that sort of mood.

Annika at the park

She loves watching the spraying water and crawls just close enough to not get sprinkled. She spent at least 15 minutes yesterday just staring at the kids and the water, occaisionally looking back to smile at me. It was adorable.

Then it was off to the slides. She loves sliding and prefers to crawl down them head first. At this one park, she gets to the top of the stairs, stops, looks at me and then suddenly takes off for the slide because she knows that I am going to grab her. It is so funny, she really wants to go down head first all by herself. So I grab a foot and lower her down. She's done a few face plants at the bottom, but that hasn't discouraged her. At Fairhaven & Cornwall park, she goes straight for the huge spiral slides, none of those short wimpy ones for her and so Mommy spends the entire time going down slides with her.

Saben at the park

Saben loves playing with older boys. The more rambunctous the better. Yesterday he saw two 4 year old boys running around the playground with swords and he just joined in chasing them. They pretty much ignored him at first, but eventually they stopped & Saben tried to get them to share their swords. Lucky for me, they refused. He chased them a really long time, laughing, squealing & giggling the whole time till they ended up at a water fountain. At first I thought they were just splashing eachother, but suddenly a different older boy spit water right in Saben's face. He thought it was hilarious so we had to have a little talk about spitting. The boys mom felt really bad.

Lately he has really been into aggressive style games. He does it in fun, but he loves pushing & throwing things at kids. Unfortunately they often aren't ready for it and they don't find it so fun. Especially the girls. Especially when its woodchips being thrown in someone's (simon's) face. We're working on learning appropriate behavior.

Saben suprised me yesterday playing soccer with this older girl. She would boot it as hard as she could and he'd run after it and then kick it back to her. It always took 5-6 kicks to return it, but he always kicked it right to her. Her dad told me saben looked like a natural and he was impressed someone so young was kicking so well. Must be all the lessons his cousin Lara gave him a few weeks ago...

Also yesterday, Saben decided he wanted to put on his swim trunks and pulled his pants & underwear down right next to the playground. He pretty much stripped down before walking over to where I had his swimsuit. He ran through the water a couple times, just barely getting wet and decided he'd had enough. He prefers to dodge the water rather than run through it. Once again, he just pulls down his swim trunks before I have a chance to help him. THEN, he decides to pee in the grass, right there by our towel. Ugh. I was so embarassed, although I doubt anyone was really watching us that close.

Final Stats

Today was my last bootcamp class, yesterday was our final test to see how we improved.

Situps: 26 in a minute on our first day
36 in a minute on our final test

Pushups: (on my knees)
19 first day
50 final test

Running one Mile
10:36 on first day
8:34 final test

Woo hoo! I could not believe I took 2 full minutes off my mile time, I was quite pleased by that. And the pushups of course too. I am looking forward to not getting up at 6am for at least a few mornings.... But really I need to keep doing it & stay in shape. sigh.

I am also looking for a soccer team, because that is definitely my favorite way to stay in shape. I can't decide between co-ed or over 30 womens. I don't think I have played a team sport with all women since I was in 5th grade. It sort of freaks me out. I think I like co-ed because I don't care if a guy is better/faster than me. Playing with just women might make me more...aggressive? Angrier when I get beat? I have no idea.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Reported: Jun 3 2008 9:45AM
Location: 1200 BLK DUPONT ST
Case #: 08B20746

"Reporting party advised of dead calves in the back of a trailer at the above address. (C1) was contacted and advised that the calves are for his Lions and Tigers that he has at home. He has contracted with dairy farmers to supply stillborn calves for that purpose. I confirmed this information with Wildlife Officer, and he has obtained the proper permits needed. "

Ok, so if that's not funny enough, please understand that this location is in a residential neighborhood. Its like someone keeping tigers and lions in Ballard, or Fremont.

But the real kicker is that I was talking (if by talking you mean leaving crazy phone messages to alert her to the LIONS AND TIGERS in her neighborhood) to Kelley about it and she remebers this guy because apparently he walks around the neighborhood dressed normal except.....are you ready for this?

He wears a pretend TIGER TAIL hanging from his bum.

more potty talk

So the other day this guy comes over to measure our bathroom. Just before he arrives, Saben has to use his little toilet seat and I go to answer the door while Saben is just finishing up. As I lead the guy to the bathroom, we pass the seat, which somehow Saben bumped & spilled pee all over the floor. Gross.

Of course I can't just pretend it isn't there, so I kind of shrug and am like, great - so cool that my son has pee on the floor when someone comes over. I clean it while he does his measuring.

I spend some time chatting with the guy about what we want in our bathroom. He leaves and 30 minutes later as I'm sitting at the table I notice something um...crusty on my cheek. Annika has had an extremely snotty nose all week and sure enough, there are dried up boogers on my face from where she "slimed" me earlier in the morning.

sweet. I am sure we made a stellar impression. The kind of impression that leads young guys to think "I'm not so sure I want kids afterall".

Did I mention that these days our only toilet is in the basement, in a bathroom with no walls, that is filled with guys working on it? So every time I need to use the lavatory, I have to inform 1-3 guys of this fact & clear them all out. And hope that when I go down there none of them have picked that moment to take their own turn in the facilities, which uncannily has already almost happened a couple times. (I heard flushing right as I headed down the stairs, stopped & ran the other direction)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Garden Tour

Long overdue, I'd love to share some more of my garden with you....

This is how it began, in the fall of 2006. (One and a half years ago) Actually, how it really BEGAN is lost forever because certain members of our family were silly and forgot to take the "before" part of "before and after" photos.
Our backyard used to contain many miles of chainlink fence, a half dead compacted lawn, 6 forsythia bushes, scraggly junipers, and a big area of bark with a weeping cherry in the middle surrounded by a collection of ceramic animal statues. (which the previous owner took with her when they moved) It was about half the size it is now because the fence ended at the house corner instead of including our side yard.

So, this is how it looked once we had removed nearly everything living, started rebuilding the back stairs, started a new fence & installed our patio. And finally realized we should take some pictures.

And then....Ta da! How it looks today. (or Sunday actually)

As much as I love the hot tub, I sometimes wish it wasn't such a huge obtuse hulk of a thing. oh well. Now I know what you are thinking:

"How did that barren wasteland become such an oasis (crazy wild overgrown jungle) in just one and a half years?"

Two reasons

1) Lots of composted steer manure & garden soil that I used to make raised berms instead of sticking the plants in our cold mucky clayey soil.

2) Lots and lots of plants. Way to many plants. A serious plant addiction. As in, I'll wear 5 year old jeans if it means I can buy new plants instead.

Because who could say no to any of these beauties?

Cornus Kousa (chinese dogwood)

Foxglove from seeds gathered in our seattle garden. I love this creamy yellow one the best.

Iris chrysographes, a blue flower I forget, gold cone juniper in the background

Some sort of cistus. Sorry, too lazy to go find the plant tags. I love the delicate wrinkly petals.

My goal in the backyard garden was to have something smelling wonderful for most of the year. I will try to squeeze in almost anything that is reported to have yummy smelling flowers. My other love is big plants. Ones with huge leaves, tall flowers and gigantic proportions. But, it has to die to the ground and grow that big all in one season. Example below:

How on earth did I fit that into my tiny garden? Don't ask. It is smothering about 5 plants nearby and I really need to remove it. That's the story of my garden....things getting squished together. But I love how they spill over onto eachother. I like seeing flowers from my cistus hovering in a euphorbia mellifera.

The last part of our garden tour is the south facing side of our house where I grow all my food. I love growing food & wish I had at least an acre to do it in. But in a few hundred square feet on the side here I have: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, artichokes, a fig tree, currants and a hop vine. In the raised beds I grow LOTS of garlic, mostly exotic hardneck varieties. Plus tomatoes, basil, snap peas, kale, potatoes, carrots, fennel, onions, lettuce, zuchinni, etc.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

First Steps

10 1/2 months:
It's official! Annika took her first unassisted steps today, lured toward the tv remote mommy was holding in her mouth. (I needed my hands free to catch her)


Friday, June 06, 2008

Beach Day

Hi mommy! What are you doing up on that rock? I wanna come!

And up she goes.... (it was a big rock! See how you can't even see the ground?)

Little Crabbies

With Saben, my parenting philosophy was that if I let him gently hurt himself trying something dangerous, then he would learn & know better next time. For instance, carefully allowing him to smash his fingers in the drawer so that he realized how it happened. This does not seem to be working nearly as well with Annika. She has smashed her fingers countless times & does it over & over. And she tries to climb barnacle encrusted rocks barefoot. (see above)

I kept thinking "oh, it will hurt and she'll stop". But she didn't. She even cut her little toe, but was so darn determined to get up on the rock that I finally let her do it. (I pulled her down several times and didn't notice her cut toe till much later. But you can see it in the photo. whoops.)


All this time I have had a couple hours worth of uninterupted play time for Saben at my finger tips. Or ear canals. ha ha ha! Before the kids were born, we used to swear the kids would only have a few toys a piece. No piles of toys everywhere for us, we'd teach our kids to be creative with what they had.
I realize now that there was a mistake in my thinking. Parents do not buy too many toys because they want to spoil their kids. They do it because they will do absolutely anything to keep the kids busy for 15 minutes so they can enjoy the rest of their dinner. Eventually we learn that even a $50 toy is not guaranteed to do that. But a .50 cent pile of Qtips might. The mysteries of toys.

Play Date

Everytime we go over, Saben likes to wear every single one of Lily's pretty necklaces. And bracelets. We generally have to force him to share the necklaces with her. I blame that LL Cool J book we got at the library. (because rappers wear necklaces, right? Not because LL doesn't know how to share.)

Later this morning he came out in this stunning hat.

"I'm ready for the soccer game mom"

Both are great....

For the record, I love the convenience & cost savings of not preparing/washing bottles when nursing, but I also love having the flexibility to give Annika a bottle in the shopping cart when she gets hungry. Mostly it is a life saver when we want to go somewhere & I know she is going to be hungry soon. And bottles are the reason she's been making it much much longer in nursery lately. And Kyle loves laying on the couch and giving her a bottle in the morning when I go work out.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


We are planning a trip to Italy this summer and even though I am pretty nervous about leaving Annika for quite a while, I am very excited. So ....if you've been to Italy, tell me your favorite city. We are thinking Rome & Naples right now since we'll only have a week or so. I've been a bunch of places in the north, like Florence, Venice, Cinque Terra, etc.

Second of all, I started Annika on one bottle of formula a day to get her weaned shortly after her first birthday so that we can take our trip. I know I would never have considered it with Saben because I was completely in love with nursing. BUT wow. It is sooooooooooooooo nice. So convenient. It just makes everything so much more flexible to be able to offer her a bottle once a day instead of stopping to nurse.

No matter how dedicated you are to nursing, I would highly recommend considering it. I am not sure if there are any drawbacks I am unaware of, but it hasn't impacted our nursing at all so far, other than one less feeding a day. (its been 3 or 4 weeks I think) I am in love with it, but definitely still feeling sadness at weaning her so soon this time.
Did you know that all you have to do at Trader Joes or Haggens is tell them something you bought was bad & they'll give you a refund? You don't have to bring it in. You don't have to go to a special "returns" desk. Just tell the cashier and they will take the dollar amount off of your order. Its pretty nice, because I am always so peeved when I buy produce that goes bad in a day, or a bakery treat that ends up being stale. Totally honor system. I like it.

Monday, June 02, 2008


What is wrong with me, I can't even enjoy a kid's tour of a fire station.

"These are the jaws of life we use to cut open a car if you are in an accident and get trapped inside."

"This is what the fireman looks like in all his fire gear. So if there's a fire in your house and you are scared and hiding under the bed and you see him looking like this, don't be afraid. Don't run away from him, you need to go to him because he is there to help you."

Visions of my child in these situations dancing through my head...what fun.
One of my favorite pictures from April, click on the picture to get it big enough to see Saben's face.
Yah, cause why on earth would a mom want to buy a sweatshirt or pair of pants for her 10 month old this time of year? Apparently I should only be buying tank tops, dresses & shorts because there is not one single warm thing to be found in the entire mall. Look outside. It's June. Officially dubbed in 2007 as "Kari's least favorite month of the year."