31 March 2014

For 20 years

In mid-March Byron and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary -- 24 years together, really.  It seems like a long time when I think of all our adventures . . . how many places we've lived . . . how many gardens we've planted . . . degrees we've worked on . . . how many wrinkles we seem to now have around our eyes.  But it's been much like the blink of an eye, too.  I feel super lucky to be in this adventure of life with such an incredible person by my side.

One of the things I most admire about Byron is his persistence, or actually more like his obsession, with whatever it is he's into.  Since the fall, among other things, it's been the ukulele.  Byron has essentially taught himself to play with the aid of online tutorials and music in just a few short weeks.  It's impressive.  On any given night you can hear Byron playing his bright red dolphin ukulele while he hangs out with Wyatt during his bath.  If we are watching tv, he'll practice during commercials.  Often if I'm reading or watching tv in the living room, Byron will be camped out in the bedroom strumming and practicing cord progressions on new songs.  Oh, and humming. 

Honestly, I find this habit to be one of the most endearing things about this man.  He has always been a hummer.  Long before the ukulele came along he hummed.  As I remember, his mother hummed too so he comes by it honestly.  In any case, he hums along with his playing now.  And that means I get great ukulele-humming renditions of everything from "Let it Be" and "America the Beautiful" to "Hotel California" and the other night it was something by ABBA. Sometimes these concerts go one for quite a while.  As I said, he's persistent.

13 March 2014

A little snow

It's feeling rather springy around here lately.  Daffodils are blooming and the trees are well on their way to being in full bloom.  Of course, this means gardening season begins too!

But before I get to that, I wanted to share a few pictures from our only snow this season.  In February, we arrived home from our trip to the bay area to several inches of snow at SeaTac. After picking up our car from the parking lot we headed home, slowly.  Arriving about 1 a.m., the roads were fairly empty and everything was quiet and white and beautiful in the moonlight.

In the morning, we still had snow although it was warming up so we knew it wouldn't last long.  We dug out our snow clothes, dressed up the kid, and headed to the park up the hill for a bit of sledding.  Us and the rest of the neighborhood.

No complaints though.  We got in some sledding (we could have used some better hills though) and a snowball fight, and some snow baseball (of course) before we headed home for lunch and a nap.

12 March 2014

A San Francisco trip

We took ourselves out of town for a few days at the start of February.  A much-overdue visit to Jill, Mark, and Sadie.  Although the days were rainy while we were there, we managed to pack an exhausting amount of fun into four short days.

The immediate fondness that Wyatt and Sadie had for each other upon seeing one another again was very sweet.  I think Wyatt asked to hold Sadie's hand in the car from the airport.  And Sadie insisted on carrying Wyatt around while we waited for lunch.

Our fun was punctuated by good food and sleeping.  We enjoyed Mark's crepes for breakfast and a yummy nearly adults-only dinner Friday night.  We enjoyed a lot of games and hanging out at their house on the rainy afternoons. And while we were there, Byron and Wyatt managed to get a nap nearly every day. I had a chance to catch up on some face time with Jill and hatch some new plans for collaborative projects and/or work.  Oh how I wish we lived in the same town!

We went ice skating -- and by "we" I mean Byron and Wyatt, the two Canadians among us.  They skated with Sadie, who is quite a capable little figure skater.  Wyatt loved wearing Sadie's pink helmet and thoroughly enjoyed being pulled around the ice rink by his arms.  He went down a few times, but he demonstrated surprisingly good balance overall.  The highlight for him, of course, was the Zamboni that serviced the ice after free skating was finished.  AND THEN . . . hockey players arrived, with "nets and face masks and a bucket full of pucks" as he was telling us over and over.  We watched the pick-up hockey players for a bit, then headed our own way.

I was so glad that we made time on Thursday to spend a few hours in Half Moon Bay visiting with a dear friend we haven't seen in many years -- Mary Ann Fiene.  She retired there from pastoring in Oxnard for many years and now stays busy with music and ministry in the area.  We shared a meal and got to see her home.  Wyatt and Mary Ann had no trouble becoming fast friends.  Hard to believe it's been 20 years almost since she married us!

Another day we spent a while at Rockin' Jump, an indoor trampoline park.  I jumped for an hour with Sadie and Wyatt, including bouncing myself into a giant pit of square sponges again and again . . . and again. Aside from losing my socks and fearing that I would never actually be able to climb out a time or two, it was great.  It inspired us to find a similar park here in Seattle.

On our last day, we headed to the city for a day at the Exploratorium with Jill, Mark and Sadie.  Upon arriving, we participated in a fire alarm, which required all occupants of the museum to exit and stand in the rain for about 20 minutes.  This was Wyatt's favorite part.  A real fire truck showed up, alarms sounded, flashing lights were going off, people were everywhere.  We pretty much still talk about it daily.

The Exploratorium itself was amazing.  So much to see and learn and tinker with and try.  By lunch I was over stimulated and hungry, so from there we took a little side trip to the Ferry Building for Blue Bottle coffee and macaroons at Miette, and then met up with the group for the drive home -- and then to the airport for our flight home later that night.


Looking forward to our next visit already.

03 March 2014

Fan Fest

At our last game of the 2013 Mariners season.
As you may know, we like our baseball games.  In recent years, we have enjoyed attending 15 or 20 Mariners games each season, and we are looking forward to doing the same again this year.  We've taken Wyatt to games since he was only about three months old, so it's no wonder that he's a bit of a baseball kid.

Accordingly, Byron got us tickets to Mariners Fan Fest at the end of January.  We dressed up the kid, pulled on our Ms shirts, and headed down to Safeco Field for a few hours. Wyatt got to pitch in the bull pen to a real catcher, which I think was the highlight for everyone.

Wy also "hit some balls," as he tells it, in the outfield with a bat that almost toppled him over a time or two.  We took a tour of the club house and checked out the visitor's dugout.  We all "ran" the bases, complete with a slide into third base by Wyatt.  Well kind of.  It was actually more of a sit-down-then-recline.

Wyatt had a blast exploring the stadium without thousands of people in his way. He learned about knuckle balls, got to "check out" Felix Hernandez's club house locker, and even spotted the Mariner Moose at least once.  Now I think we are definitely ready for opening day. Luckily, it's only a month away!

12 February 2014

In January, he turned three

This year our early January birthday celebration for Wyatt was a family-only affair.  It included local relatives, a double chocolate cake, fireworks (well, a sparkler anyway), and a pinata filled with small musical instruments, baseball stickers, and old Halloween candy.  Wyatt had requested "a fiesta like the one on Caillou."

We did our best.  Byron took charge of the indoor-pinata-experience, which turned out great.  I used the party as an excuse to make homemade tamales -- something I've wanted to try for a long time.  After a trip to a Latin market, I was set with lots of dried chilies and Oaxacan cheese and sour cream.  Plus a few lemon dulce, which we never quite figured out what to do with although they looked like a good idea at the time of purchase.

The tamales took a bit longer to put together than I anticipated, but five hours and a whole lot of masa later, we had tamales with several fillings to choose from: potato and Guajillo chile sauce;  chicken and tomatillo sauce; garlicky chard and cheese, and poblano pepper and jack cheese. We also had lots of guacamole and chips, a pot of our favorite beans, and an experimental Mexican rice dish that I don't think we'll make again anytime soon.  

Wyatt had a blast whacking the pinata, wearing his birthday crown from preschool, blowing out his candles, and essentially eating chips, guacamole, cake, and old Halloween candy for dinner.

All the excitement did not lend itself well to getting Wyatt to bed, and by 10 p.m. we wondered if he would fall sleep that night at all.  He was most definitely the last one of us to succumb -- the last thing I remember was him, tucked into the big bed between Byron and me, animatedly jabbering about something . . . .


I kid you not -- the day after Wyatt turned three I felt like a switch had been flipped.  We heard new words and phrases, saw new insistence upon doing things his own way, and the hoarding  of things as "mine" started up.  On the up side, he has started napping again fairly regularly -- and for two-plus hour naps!  He's grown out of all his pants, most of his shoes, and required a new coat quite suddenly.  Nowadays if I ask him whether he wants yogurt for breakfast, if he doesn't say yes, he'll give me an answer like, "No, mom. I'm good" or "No thanks, maybe another time." 

Tonight (it's been a little over a month since his birthday) he asked grandpa whether he wanted "hot chocolate of some sort" after dinner.  And earlier today he told me he was, "Preparing a list of things I want to do tomorrow."

My toddler boy pretty much disappeared overnight.  Wyatt is exactly right when he calls himself a "bigger boy" these days.  As for me, I have the sinking feeling that he'll be in high school before I know it.

Winter hikes in Discovery Park

This winter we've spent a good number of weekend days exploring new paths and unseen areas (at least to us) of Discovery Park.  It's one of the city's best parks -- with breath-taking views of Puget Sound, lots of wildlife, and the kind of terrain that actually gives you a bit of a work out (especially when carrying a small child).

That said, Wyatt pretty much walks everywhere himself now -- especially since he acquired his Merrell size 11 "hiking shoes" as he calls them.  Last time we hiked in the park, about a week ago, he walked for a couple hours and only gave out on the last stretch back to the car. Proof, I think, that he indeed is a "bigger boy" as he calls himself now.

Our favorite route, at the moment, is to park at the upper lot, take the stairs up to the top of the meadow and walk down the road a little.  Then cut through the meadow on one of the many paths headed for the bluff. Take the trail through the sandy area and up to the crest of the bluff above the beach (after reading all the signage we can find).  From there, we head down the stairs/path to the water, stopping to look out the lookouts.  Once at the bottom, we walk out to the lighthouse, have a snack (or better yet, lunch followed by Sharkies gummy fruit treats) and then head back up the hill via the road. At the junction with the loop trail, we cut back to the west and head back toward the bluff, up through the meadow, and back to the car.  Then we stop for hot drinks or fish and chips (if we forgot lunch) on the way home.

You might want to try it.

Wyatt behind the lens.

26 January 2014

Museum of Flight

Pretty much every evening I ask Wyatt to tell me about the favorite part of his day.  He usually tells me it was the part where we went to the Museum of Flight. Except, most days we don't go to the Museum of Flight.  Earlier this month, however, our friends Michelle, Tuffer, and Sabine took us along as their guests to explore the museum.  We had a super fun time "checking everything out," as Wyatt likes to say.  And it left quite an impression.

My last visit to the museum had been in 2000, and as you can imagine a lot has changed.  Most notably, the museum has acquired the now-retired Space Shuttle Trainer that astronauts used to train for shuttle missions.  It's an impressive exhibit.  I learned a lot about the space program too.  But I must admit, I came away wondering who is going to service the Hubble telescope now that the space shuttle program is over.

Wyatt spent most of his time in the shuttle cockpit simulator repeatedly crashing instead of landing.  That and hugging Sabine and falling over.

The rest of the museum had plenty to offer too.  We learned about the moon landings and spent a fair amount of time trying figure out how the lunar rover folded up small enough to pack into the lunar lander.  We were perplexed for a while over whether pluto was a planet or a planetoid.  The NASA exhibit wasn't so helpful on that point.

Wyatt and Byron co-piloted a fighter jet.  Sabine and Wyatt spent a fair amount of time taking turns talking to air traffic control, or at least the recording of air traffic control.  In addition to the exhibits, Wyatt managed to locate and identify most parts of the fire suppression system in the museum -- sprinklers, fire extinguishers, alarms, and emergency exits.  He's a bit of a safety nut.

We took elevators, sat in simulators, boarded aircraft, and ran around a lot.  I think the day was the highlight of Wyatt's month.  Pretty high on my list too.