Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dear you,

From a recent letter I sent to a friend who still does snail mail:

The summer is almost over and while it was fun I’m enjoying the cooler evenings and the shorter days.  It’s a lot easier to get that kid to bed when it’s not sunny outside.  We were busy all summer with everything, and nothing monumental, just life, a happy little life.

We invested in our tiny yard and built a raised garden bed along the back fence and extended the retention wall along the right side of the house.  We gained some much needed extra footage for our bocce tournaments.  Actually, due to the need for good drainage, the field, while nicely sized, is sloped in such a way that there is an unfortunate dip at one end.  If only we didn’t care about the foundation of our house so much…   

The raised flower bed is the perfect size for the amount of effort I want to put into gardening.  I love it, but don’t have the time or patience to get out there every night and weed, prune, dead head and all those wonderfully “relaxing” tasks that a garden is supposed to yield.   We planted some fun perennials, some of which got much larger than the expert at Molbaks said they would, and some annuals for color.  The gerberas (those remind me of you too) did remarkably well and I am happy to invite them back for next year too.  Sadly, the yard is too minute for fruit trees, so you’ll have to harvest from your orchard and know that I am envious.

We took time off in August and went to Denver.  Visiting family is not really the kind of vacation that I prefer, but dragging a 2 year old to Spain is probably not wise.  Plus, she doesn’t have a passport yet and it would be horrific if we couldn’t get her back into the country.  I think the grandparents would revolt.

While in Colorado, we took advantage of the grandparents and Jason and I escaped to Vail for a few days.  We dined in real restaurants, slept in past 6:30 am, and hiked on the mountain.  It was a mini-vacation within a vacation. 

Looking ahead we’ll probably go on an extended camping trip next year and save our pennies for a lengthy trip in 2015.  We’re thinking about a couple weeks in Hawaii.   I get a 4 week sabbatical in my 5th year of employment, and I want to do something memorable.  I’d love to pack it up and go to Europe for three weeks, but we’ll see what finances, the kid and family stuff does to that dream.  Part of the allure of Hawaii is the ability to invite the grandparents to come for a week.  I will return to Italy, but I don’t want to pass up opportunities for grandparent/Lucy events.  If we were younger it would be a different story, but I think it’s safe and polite to say that they might not be up for, or fun on trips forever.   

Work is going well.  I’m far more engaged than I was a year ago and while I’m still working at home I’m more productive and feel like I’m really contributing.  For a while there I was very distracted.  I do miss the office thing from time to time.  Yesterday I took the bus into Seattle for an all-day meeting, and it really was fun to be “in it”.  However, I hated how early we all had to get up and how rushed our morning was, so I’m acutely aware of how lucky I am to work at home.  Lucy and I have time to cuddle and play in the morning and I’m still “at work” before many of the folks in San Jose.

As for Lucy, she’s so great.  What a crazy ride this parenting thing is.  It’s amazing and frustrating and exhausting and fun all in the same day, sometimes within minutes. 
I love her school, and can tell that they really are teaching her things.  Last night we were reading a book before bed and usually she tells me who the characters are “that’s a teacher mama” but last night, she points to the teacher and says “that’s a zebra mommy”.   We’ve been to the zoo a few times, but they recently spent a week talking about animals and it just sunk in.   I’m not saying she’s a genius or anything, she seems to be of average kid brightness, but it is fun to see her world expand.   My mom thinks she’s the smartest kid on earth, but I think every kid knows how to work grandma for treats – Lucy just knows her audience.

She’s quite the chatterbox too.  I am the most fluent in Lucyese, but there are times when things just simply don’t compute.  When we’re at home I can ask her to show me what she’s talking about, but when we’re in the car visual references can be gone in a flash.  She’s got some kid words that I love, but I know they’ll be gone before too long.  We already lost “lala” for Banana and “I You You“ for “I love you” and “milp” for milk.   Yesterday, Jason corrected her on “pee-pop” for lollipop and I asked him to let it be.  It’s not like she’s not going to get into kindergarten or Yale because she doesn’t know how to ask for a lollipop correctly.  I think pee-pop is CUTE, and we can have it for another month or more.
I am sad to report that my child is a nudist.  She was naked in the back yard from May until the rain started just recently.  I’m thankful that we have a good fence and that the Lee’s next door don’t allow their children outside.  No one needs to see that much bum.  Even with religious sunscreen application, combining back yard nudity and swim lessons Lucy changed ethnicity sometime in July.   Come October, she’ll fade back to pasty and rejoin the rest of us vitamin D deficient north westerners.

In the world of Renton, SMLC is undergoing big change.  Kirby was elected Bishop for the ELCA and has left St. Matts.  We’re on the hunt for a new head and associate pastor.  Pastor Maynard signed on for a 2 year stint to get us through it and I was relieved to see him.  As much as some of the more conservative congregations are worried that Kirby is going to race in and breathe ‘grace, love and acceptance’ all over them, I’m equally worried that we’re going to end up with one of those “Christians are better than everyone, especially gays, democrats and women” type pastors.  Not that I really think that guy would get past the committee, but there’s still fear of change.   If they are looking for that guy, I did go to high school with him and he is a Lutheran pastor.  I don’t get his point of view on many (most) things.

So, what else… in other worlds, my parents are good.  Not perfect, but their bouts of getting along seem to be more frequent than the times when they are in their separate corners.  They put their house up for sale after investing in some needed maintenance.  They put on a new roof, painted and put new flooring in the entire house.  It’s a TINY house, but cute.   If they sell, they will move to a townhouse with two bathrooms which I hear is a must when living with a grumpy grandpa.

You can find the house on Zillow.  The only really sad thing is that in the last picture by the barn you can see the burned chicken coup, site of the 2012 Inferno where eight of the best chickens lost their lives to a faulty heat lamp.  “Gee, it’s getting kind of hot in here.”  “Oooh, does someone smell bbq?”

I hope they are able to sell. The yard and adjacent property are a bit too much for them to handle.   Plus, all those chicken ghosts can be really noisy at night.

Jason and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.  It was a no gifts year, so I of course violated the agreement and bought us tickets to see Michael Buble’ in November.   He bought me 2 gift cards to el Gaucho and we’re going tomorrow to dine on some MEAT.  Happy continued love, but now that the gays can marry in Washington, I’m worried about our family.  I’m not sure how long we’ll be able to hold out.  So far, we’re hunkered down and watching shows like the Walking Dead to learn how to protect ourselves should the hordes of gay people decide to come around to hurt our marriage.  Actually, I’m pretty ticked that my one close set of gay friends haven’t set a date.  I mean, come on, they’ve been together for 15 years, I need a wedding.  Wait… not about me.  That’s right, I keep forgetting.

I hope you both are happy, busy and good.  I hope your mom is in good health and spending time with her friends.   Call and let us know when you’re in town next, we’d love to see you and catch up.  I know it’s hard because you want to see everyone and we’re saddled with this small person who is no fun at a pub, but I do miss you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Date Night

To celebrate our 4 years of wedded bliss (and those few moments of "we had better work this out") Jason and I planned to have an adult only dinner at el Gaucho.  We lined up a very reliable and fun babysitter for Lucy and made our reservations.  Friday night around 8pm, a text came in from said babysitter informing us that she had a fever of 102 and wouldn't be coming Saturday.

I must say that as disappointing as it is to have a babysitter cancel at the last minute, I really appreciate that she didn't want to bring whatever plague she was exposed to into our home.   I made a series of phonecalls to the primary babysitter - voicemail, "Aunt Ninny" - voicemail, and finally Cousin JoJo's go-to emergency caregiver - voicemail.

Then we pulled out the big guns and called "Bama" (grandma) .  It is a lot to ask to have her drive over from Yakima to hang out with the kid while we get dressed up and go on a date with each other.  We were resigned to having to reschedule our date - after all, we do live together, it's not as though it was a life or death once in a lifetime event.  However lucky us, Bama came through for us and drove over the next morning.

Bama arrived during Lucy's nap.  Lucy squealed with delight when Bama opened the door to rescue Lucy from the dreaded nap.  Normally, after naps Lucy likes to sit and snuggle with me, but not when Bama is in the house.

With Lucy safely entertained, we proceeded with our date night plans.  We hit happy hour at Pearl, then went over to dinner.  Dinner was, as expected spectacular.  We were there from 7pm until well after 10.   There are times when I worry that we'll run out of stuff to talk about, but I think that worry is misplaced.

We talked about the evolution of the last four years, established the thing that is causing the most stress in our lives (we refinanced the house into a 15 year mortgage - which we can totally afford, but in doing so sucked up about 85% of our disposable income, so now we're having to focus more on what we spend) and then we moved on to other things that interest us.  We talked about the kid, vacations we want to take, work, current events, popular culture stuff and everything in between.  I guess, it's safe to say that we'll continue this marriage thing for another year.

Oh and we did establish that he's not really very serious about an 80" tv.  Whew.

This morning we got up and made breakfast while Lucy and Bama colored and then went for a walk.  Today has that lazy Sunday kind of feel to it.  There will be football on downstairs at 1:30, and at the moment, I'm catching up on laundry while Lucy watches her weekend movie.

I"m off to San Jose in the morning, so in addition to hanging out, football and laundry I have to pack.

Last night was great, but we're back to real life and that's good too!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life, shoes and hap-PEE-ness

hello love!
 What's been going on around here?  Not much and everything.  Yes, nothing and everything.

Let's get the big news out of the way so we can focus on other things.  Lucy is semi-regularly using the loo to make a tinkie.  She's covered in temporary tattoos and for the most part is waking up in the morning semi-dry.  Of course, having said that I have to state for the record that she did have a tiny pee blow out in the bed this morning, but accidents are part of the process.  By no means is she spending any significant time without the diaper.  

She has worked out a #2 or two at school, but we have not seen any of that action at home.  I look forward to it and dread it all at the same time.  There is a lot of convenience in just being able to zip around town and know that potty breaks are contained.  I'm sure we'll adapt to having to use every public restroom in the state of Washington.  

Our girl also just attended her first official Sunday School class.  I was trying to dump her into the nursery and she wasn't having it, but she saw a gaggle of kids her size in the room next door and asked to go in.  She had a grand time making arts and crafts, singing and of course snacks.  I'm sure there was a church message in there somewhere too.  I was surprised that she wanted to go because she didn't know the teacher or the kids (except one.)  Sadly, we got an email from the coordinator yesterday to kindly say that Lucy needs to be 3 to be in the class.  Sure, that is the rule and I can't blame the coordinator for doing what she needed to to keep her volunteer teacher happy, but I feel badly for Lucy.  She has been talking about Sunday School ever since.  It made a huge impact and she can't wait to go back.  This morning, I told her that we were lucky to get to visit the class early and that she could go back the day after her birthday.    Jason told me it was wrong to tell her that Jesus won't want her until she's 3.  I guess I understand that sarcasm might be lost on a 2 year old.  Whatevs.

Guess what we just did?
In other news, Thursday is the 4th anniversary for these wacky people.  To celebrate they will be cooking a take and bake pizza and giving thoughtful cards to each other.  They have a strict 'no fart joke' anniversary card policy that will be enforced.   Just so you know, fart joke cards are allowed for non-marquee birthdays.

I keep sending Jason a hint for the 5 year anniversary (Round Brilliant Diamond Double Strand Eternity Necklace) but he keeps saying the link opens to an 80" tv.  Strange.  I tried to tell him that for the price of the 80" tv he could buy the necklace and a 32" tv and have $500 in cash in his pocket.  I don't think my argument is going over well.  I think we're both being silly.  Everyone knows that next year we're going to finish the retention wall in the front.  Yup, there's my diamond necklace.  It will look a lot like 12 feet of concrete blocks and dirt fill.   Hang that around your neck.

But, lest you think that I'm free of the shopping bug.  I found a stunning red dress for a party in October and it will be used quite heavily during the holidays.  I can think of at least three other outings for it already.  I love it so.

Speaking of love. I found a supplier for boots made especially for the "wide calved" ladies.  I ordered a pair and I am filled with hope that I will love how they look.  I am also filled with worry that I will love how they look.  If they are nice, that is the end of my shoe (or any shopping) budget for the rest of the year...and then some.  Ouch, but aren't they pretty?  Now I just have to tell Jason, as they do eclipse the agreed upon spending limits for our little organization.  However, so far they are just on loan and can be returned if we don't love them.

Ok, on that bit of "how TP helps the economy" information, I'm going to sign off. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013



That's all, thank you.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Little Girl, Big Bed

There are times when we are fortunate to transfer a tired girl from the car to her bed for a nap. Sunday, I brought her upstairs hoping to extend the much needed nap but found that her toddler bed was unmade. We had experienced a minor accident and all the sheets, protective covers and blankets were in the washing machine, I was thankful that we have the queen sized bed in her room. The bed is there because I was (am) too cheap to get rid of a relatively new bed, and it's nice to have options for more than one set of adults to sleep over at the same time. (Christmas?)

Because of the state of the toddler bed I decided to put Lucy on the queen. She rolled over, grabbed a friend (stuffed animal) and resumed the nap. The nap was a success, in fact we had to wake her up for dinner. Tired girl! She liked the big bed. Now, she won't sleep in the toddler bed. I asked her if she was going to want to sleep in that bed again and she replied, "Lucy in the big bed."

We'll keep the toddler bed around a while in case this is a phase, but based on all of our other developmental milestones, once a transition is made she does not revert. We have rails on the big bed and today I'll be remaking the bed with the moisture resistant cover in the event of accidents. Later if we need to use her room for guests (Christmas?) we can boot her out. Kids all over the earth have given up their beds when the grandparents come to visit. Lucy should enjoy this tradition too. When I asked Lucy where Grandma should sleep when she comes to visit Lucy said "Grandma with Lucy." This sounds sweet, but I wouldn't want to sleep with that kid unless she was already in deep deep REM when I went to bed.

Ah....days gone by.