"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

"Take chances! Make mistakes! Get messy!" --Ms. Frizzle

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 In Review

The bigger the word, the more frequently I wrote it. Here's what I've been blogging about in 2009!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I realized when I started this blog that I would never be one of those people who posted every day... but I kind of figured I'd post more than once a month! Oh well-- I guess anyone out there who has been waiting around for updates can take comfort in the fact that these intervening stretches of time are always filled with a lot of living and joy. That couldn't be more true now that it is officially Christmastime! Right now I'm listening to Jingle Bell Rock (through the ceiling; I'm in the basement) and wanting very much to be cuddled up by the tree with a cup of cocoa and a blanket, but I'm also excited to share some pictures of our first holiday season with the little bunny so I'm braving the chilly basement. Cocoa can wait-- or rather, the dinner dishes can wait, which is realistically what I'd likely be doing right now.

By now it feels like it happened months ago, rather than just a few weeks, but Avery and I successfully hosted Thanksgiving for the first time! It was a full house, but fortunately we were able to get the basement room in usable shape so that the kids had somewhere to romp. The food was delicious and the company was, of course, beyond compare :) My only regret is that it went so quickly! Could we as a nation institute The Twelve Days of Thanksgiving? That would suit me just fine.

Here is the one picture I took of the actual event.

We also got the chance to gather at Jason and Allison's house for dessert, and to celebrate Holland's third birthday. It was especially neat for me to see all of the kids together because this was the first time that Geneva was able to really interact with the herd of cousins on her own. Granted, it was in an extremely limited way, but she wasn't on anyone's lap-- she was right down there in the thick of it. For some reason that seemed monumental to me. She's officially one of them now :)

I used to roll my eyes at the people who immediately launched from Thanksgiving to Christmas without missing a beat. Of course I have now become one of those people. Especially with a baby, I find myself thinking that a month just isn't long enough to cram in all of the Christmas baking and decorating and reveling that I'd like to do. Even now, with only four days left until the 25th, I feel like there's still so much more I want to do to celebrate. Shoot, I only just now heard "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch" for the first time this season! But I certainly can't complain. We've had such a blast already (thanks entirely to wonderful friends and family!). We've made gingerbread houses, one adorable house with Jen and Owen, and another structurally unsound (and currently roofless) house made from scratch by Ave and myself. We've decorated gingerbread men with Allison and the boys, and we've visited the carousel at Westlake Center with Nana, which could only have been more wonderful if Geneva had been awake for that part. We played in the snow, went to see the Christmas train display at the railroad museum, sat on Santa's lap, and made some really knock-your-socks-off yummy shortbread cookies with Allison and Maya. And, despite having Christmas music playing at some point during each and every day, I'm not tired of caroling yet!

Some of our favorite moments this season have been quiet and peaceful. Others have been chaotic. Here are some pictures of both!

Cuddles with Daddy

We tried to take some family portraits, and this was the best we could manage. Also, Avery lied-- you CAN tell that that's a maternity sweater!

I think the gingerbread house turned out perfectly! Aren't they supposed to look like a kid had a hand in the decorating? Jen piped on the icing, Owen attached the candies, and I... what did I do? I guess I prevented too many candies from disappearing into Owen's sticky little mouth.

Here's a look at our house all gussied up for the holidays!

Probably my favorite little day trip with Geneva was our visit to the Northern Pacific Railroad Museum in Toppenish. It was cute without being glitzy, bustling without being loud, and there were just enough exhibits that Geneva didn't get overwhelmed before the end. Plus we got to ride a train to see Santa Claus! We rode it all of fifty yards, but still. I love trains.
The Hogwarts Express!

And here we are back home. My big girl can play in the bouncer now!

This is sort of random, but worth mentioning, because this is the first thing I ever crafted to fill a very specific need in our house. Most of the things I make are just for my own enjoyment, but with the weather down below zero at night we really needed a way to keep the draft out of Geneva's room. I pounded this sucker out in about half an hour. My craftiness is now officially a life skill!

Our most recent trip over to Seattle included snuggles at Nana's house, a trip downtown to Westlake Center, and Family Sing with the Labbees.

Our kitty, Io. He's peeking out of the kitchen window at the birds on the birdfeeder.

We might be a little out of our element on this side of the mountains, but one of the many upsides is that you can always count on Eastern WA to deliver when it comes to fun winter weather. It's mostly slush now, but we did get about four inches of snow last week which made for beautiful walks and a very appropriate backdrop for all of the Christmas lights around the neighborhood. Geneva and I spent some time at Franklin Park, where most of these pictures are from.

And finally, this weekend we had the opportunity not only to see Santa Claus, but to see Santa Claus with Geneva's best baby buddy Maya Rose! And as if that weren't cool enough, we then got to come home and make cookies with Maya and Allison. Later, Avery helped me to frost the cookies and we ended up having a really fun time with that. All and all, one of my absolute favorite days this winter.

This is probably the last you'll hear from us until after Christmas, so we hope yours is a merry one! Be safe, warm and happy. We love you all!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back to School

Okay, so we're a little behind schedule, seeing as how it's November, but Geneva and I finally made a trip out to Sunnyside to visit Pioneer Elementary! It was loud and hot and overwhelming-- for me. Geneva was amazing. And, despite being exhausted after two hours, I loved every second of it. It has been easy for me to forget how much I adore teaching during these last five months, because staying at home with my girl has been the most wonderful experience of my life, but being back at school reminded me of everything I loved about working with kids. They were goofy and honest and sweet (and they loooved Geneva). I wouldn't trade this time with my daughter for anything in the world, and I am thankful every day that I get to stay home and take care of her as she grows... so how on earth did I get lucky enough to have a fulfilling career waiting for me when she's off having adventures of her own? I miss teaching-- not in a way that makes me sad, but in a way that keeps me excited for the future, and makes me sure of who I am and what I want to do with my life.

As I was typing this, Geneva peed all over me. You don't get that in the classroom!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


How time flies.

It has been the better part of a season since I last posted! You would think, then, that we'd have a whole ton of really exciting updates to put on the blog. Ha! We're not exactly an exciting bunch. Basically, life has just been happening as we enjoy our little house, get ready for the holidays, watch Geneva grow, and take in our favorite season.

So, when we bought this house last January I had a rough idea of what updates/projects we'd like to have done during our first year here. I realize now that we were a bit ambitious and maybe foolishly optimistic to think that we'd be able to make so many changes (mostly in the yard) while at the same time adjusting to home ownership, new parenthood, and life as a one-income family. Oh well-- we've got our raised garden beds in, and a new flower bed in the back yard as well. All of the nasty, half-dead arborvitaes are gone. We even have a little compost bin to help with the establishment of next year's garden. What we do NOT have are a chicken coop, tool shed, patio or rose hedge. I guess that gives us something to look forward to working on next Spring and Summer. It's also making me think about family planning... I always wanted my kids to be close in age, but now I'm thinking hmm, if I space them apart just a few months more, how much yard work could I cram into those extra months? Not that we're trying for another already or anything. It's just funny where my mind goes now. I feel like such a grown-up sometimes. Anyway, despite having completed very few outdoor projects this year, it turns out that our yard is self-decorating in the fall! The beautiful birch tree out front turns a breathtaking shade of gold. Even the light looks different when that tree's leaves turn. I love fall!

As you may be able to tell, I was VERY much looking forward to the prospect of trick-or-treaters this year. It has been a long time since I had little kids in costumes knocking at my door. In Seattle we either lived on a busy street or in an apartment building, and my signs saying "trick-or-treaters welcome" with arrows going up the stairs must have creeped people out. Anyway, this year we had plenty-- probably about fifty kids-- and best of all, we had our very own adorable costumed child! I dressed Geneva up as a raccoon and we answered the door together to hand out reeses, kitkats, apple suckers and cider. I was kind of bummed out that some of the moms seemed to think I was trying to poison their children with homemade cider. Yeah, lady, I'm holding a five-month-old but I could really use another kid so I think I'll drug yours. Sheesh. The teenagers liked it anyway. They were actually the most universally polite of all the trick-or-treaters we got. Some of the kids were as sweet as pie, but some of them were little stinkers who didn't even say "trick or treat" and basically just stuffed their fists into our candy bowl and ran off. Oh well, we got a huge kick out of the whole evening and of course took lots of pictures!

Geneva and me at Mom & Baby group.

Our sweet little raccoon.

Daddy and baby.

Whereas I tend to just wing it when it comes to jack o'lanterns, Avery goes the "cheater" route and gets his patterns online. This year he went with Barack Obama. The website called this pattern "Yes We Carve." Hell yeah!

Okay, this is not a great picture but the face Avery is making cracks me up. He's singing a particular AC/DC song that goes along with the placement of his pumpkin.

Our new kitten! This is Io. He was a rescue kitten from the local shelter. He's very friendly-- like, up your nose friendly-- and fitting in very well.

We interrupt this long overdue blog post to bring you exciting news: Geneva has been napping for over TWO HOURS. To give you an idea of how amazing this is, over the last three days she has napped zero hours. I actually keep running upstairs to check on her, it seems so surreal. I think we both needed this.

Speaking of that little girl, here's what she's been up to lately: sitting up (with help), eating rice cereal and squash, and rolling over exactly once. I got the feeling she was able to roll over but just didn't really feel like it, and then on Monday we were playing on the floor when she caught sight of a toy she wanted. She went as stiff as a board, and with a mighty grunt she turned slowly from her back to her tummy and grabbed the toy. Since then nothing seems to have interested her enough to motivate her to roll again, but at least now my suspicions are confirmed: she can do it! Our new feeding routine is going fairly well, too. She's kind of done with rice cereal, and having tried a little myself I can't say I blame her. Squash, however, is going over very well, and although we make a huge mess every night a good portion of the food does end up in her tummy. The introduction of "solids" (and by solids, I mean goo) hasn't really changed how much she eats, sleeps or poops, but it has changed our nighttime routine because now she requires a bath every evening to get the squash out of her rolls. Between eating, bathing, getting jammies on, nursing, reading, and rocking, Avery and I basically have to have our own dinner the minute he gets home. Honestly, I'm so exhausted by the time Geneva is down for the night that I don't do much except read, watch TV, knit or go to bed. I wondered when I first started staying home with Geneva if weekends wouldn't seem like such a big deal anymore, since I'd be home every day anyway. Oh my goodness! I do not know what I'd do without Saturday and Sunday. Or Avery, for that matter.

When I get a spare moment I am still enjoying doing crafty things, but I'm afraid that's as specific as I can be. Why all the secrecy? Well, Avery and I decided that since Geneva will be too little this Christmas to be surprised by her presents, we will each provide presents for her stocking without the other knowing what they are. That way, at least someone will be surprised when she rips off the wrapping on Christmas morning. So, I am currently working on a bunch of small projects to go into her stocking. Sorry Ave, no clues! Some non-Christmas creations that have been finished since my last post are a sweater, a blankie, Geneva's costume of course, and sometime this afternoon I'll be finishing up a pair of knit legwarmers. Oh yeah, I'll also need to get started on eighteen new napkins-- we're hosting Thanksgiving this year! I'm so excited. So so so so so excited.

All right, it's been nearly three hours since she went down. I MUST be nearly out of time, so I'll wrap this up with some pictures!

She might be getting big, but she's still little. (This is the sweater I made for her.)