Monday, April 21, 2014

Birthday

Kyle had a birthday over the weekend. We didn't do anything super special, but we spent Sunday together doing things Kyle enjoys.

He requested a layered carrot cake, which I was game to try. I didn't realize, until I started reading about carrot cake, that layering a carrot cake is hard. Kyle agreed to consult on the tricky parts and I set to work on a four layer cake with cream cheese frosting, recipe courtesy of Cooks Illustrated.

In retrospect I probably could have done it on my own, but it was more fun to do it together.

Here is evidence my lack of kitchen time is because I don't cook, not because I can't cook.
After we finished the cake we took a family outing to the garden center where we browsed a bit and picked up a few tomato plants, some seeds and some hazelnut shells, plus a pair of gardening gloves for Rosie. She helped me pick out a new gardening tool and a pair of gloves for Kyle earlier in the day and really wanted some gloves of her own.
When we got home from the garden center, Kyle's mom came over for a visit and we spent some time in the garden. I pulled a big pile of birthday celebration weeds.. Afterward we all went out to dinner a a fairly new Mediterranean restaurant in town.
 After dinner we had cake!
 Four layers of carrot and cream cheese frosting goodness.
 I even lit 34 candles and burned my thumb in the process. That's kind of a lot of candles.
Here's to another great year. They just keep getting better!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Super Special Family Movie Night

We spent most of Saturday deep-cleaning our kitchen. We didn't mean to -- it just worked out that way. Ellen "helped" by being relatively mellow on Kyle's back. She even took a nap. Rosie actually helped for a little while. She scrubbed the fronts of the appliances with a little rag until she got bored.
Eventually Kyle had to take a break to read to Rosie and get her settled for quiet time. She doesn't usually nap these days (since last summer), but she always has about 90 minutes of quiet time. This time she napped. And on nap Saturdays we get to do Super Special Family Movie Night!

We've discovered that Rosie stays up crazy late on days when she naps and on Saturdays it's fun to let her stay up and watch a movie instead of putting her to bed on time and listen to her chatter by herself for two hours.

Popcorn is essential to Super Special Family Movie Night.
Rosie had never had popcorn until we started Super Special Family Movie Night at the beginning of February. I think her favorite part is watching it pour out of the air popper.
In theory Miss Ellen should have dropped off the sleep shortly after the movie started, but she had an extra nap today and thought it was more fun to play. Since she shouldn't watch television yet, I had to keep her otherwise entertained and missed most of the movie (this week it was the Aristocats).We've got another year before we'll let her veg out with us and I look forward to Super Special Family Movie Night including the whole family.
Here's to a family day (and night) with two super special kiddos.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Vacation

We just returned from spending the week up north with my family. We had a nice visit with lots of play time, a few good walks and lots of great meals. The girls had a great time visiting with family -- in particular, Rosie was ecstatic to have so many hours of play with her cousin O.
 
We made it in about 8.5 hours with five stops. It's quite a haul and a bit to ask of the girls. Rosie kept telling us, "I'm all done being in the car now," and repeatedly asked to be allowed to get out and walk.The weather was great and the scenery was fantastic. I couldn't capture it from the car window, but the hills near the gorge were completely drenched in yellow and purple from the balsam and lupine flowers.
  
We spent most of the visit at my sister's in Oroville, Wash., which is just a few miles south of Canada on a nice lake.
 
 
 We did spend part of one day up on the mountain where I grew up.
After four days, we decided to head home a day early. I was anxious to have an extra day at home to get some things done before going back to work Monday. I had hoped to tackle the spare room today, but didn't quite manage it. The drive home was also about 8.5 hours with five stops and great scenery.
 
We've always employed the drive-all-day-get-there-as-fast-as-possible method for these trips, but next time I think we might split the trip into two days each way and doing some sight-seeing along the way. There are some interesting attractions along the road, but we always fly past. Next time!

Here's to a week off.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hoarding, Spring Cleaning & Memory Lane

Our guest room currently looks like this:
I woke up Saturday with a bee in my bonnet about dealing with some of our seriously deferred organization. This is not going to be one of those posts that ends with a gorgeously clean room. Nor is it going to be a post about how we figured out how to better store our possessions.We're still very much stuck in the "it gets worse before it gets better" phase of this project.
The mess in our guest room is not an issue of not having the right bins or boxes.

It is an issue of too much stuff.

As evidence of this fact, I present Exhibit A:
 And, as further evidence, I present Exhibit B:
The chronic condition of too much stuff stems from several causes.

1. Laziness.
2. Misguided assumption that something will be useful in the future.
2. Sentimentality.
3. A desire to be good to earth and not waste truly usable items.

Most of the technology stored in the recesses of closet under the stairs (accessible from within the guest room) is the result of laziness. In theory we could clear the data from our cell phones and donate them to charity as soon as we buy a new one. Yet, at least once a year one of us gets a new phone and we stuff the old one in a drawer.

The floppy discs are an example of the misguided assumption that something will be useful in the future. Other items in this category include text books, coats we never wear and gift bags.

Sentimentality ... oh boy, this one really gets us. Our attachment is often to clothing. I also get caught by an attachment to mail (invitations, birthday cards, etc.) And of course, photos. We could fill a whole closet with the albums, photographs, negatives and old cameras.

The desire to not toss usable items is another tough one for us. Among the piles are no fewer than four dresses with broken zippers, six sets of sheets and several pairs of pants intended to be cut up for their fabric.
At this point I've managed to make piles for the keep, toss and donate/sell. I've also got a ton of stuff in a maybe pile. We're rapidly running low on weekend hours, so this is likely going to be a long-game project.

The good news is that this falls into the category of "things about our house that make me cringe." Hat tip new year's resolution.

Here's to tackling the overwhelming.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Neighborhood Scenes

The girls have been just crazy about looking out the window lately. Earlier this week Kyle and Rosie had tons of fun watching the neighbors try to catch a rooster. He managed to evade his captors for most of the day but they finally got him at sunset with a large posse and a leaf rake.
We also had a gorgeous rainbow over the neighborhood a few days ago. I'm not sure the girls noticed it, but Kyle and I really enjoyed it.
Here's to the wonder of spending the day watching the world go by.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

March Garden Update

How is it April? Our March garden update photos are already more than two weeks old. I try to keep up, but between work and the little ones, I don't find myself in front of the computer much. Kyle has managed to log a few hours in the garden though.
 In the west beds we've got new strawberries, peas and lettuce.
In the east beds we've mostly just got asparagus so far, but the blueberries and raspberries are doing great.
Kyle's been tilling and cutting more sod out on the easement, but I'm not sure anything is growing out there except the hops.
 Asparagus.
 Lettuce.
 Peas.
 Raspberries.
Strawberries.

Here's to another year in the garden.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recent Favorites

Kyle and I spent Saturday in Seattle.

Without the girls.

I had to go to Seattle overnight for work and we were debating whether they'd come with me or if I'd go by myself. After a trying weekend last weekend, it suddenly occurred to me that we could go sans kiddos. Kyle was quick to jump on board and his mom obliged an overnight stay.

This was the second time we've both left Rosie overnight, the first being our two-night hospital stay when Ellen arrived, and the first time we've both left Ellen. Kyle enjoyed his night off and the girls had a great time with Grandma.

We didn't take any photos, but when we got home we all had a walk around the yard and garden and I captured a few of the recent blooms.
 
 
 
 
The peach trees are showing gorgeous pink blooms which are hopefully indictative of lots of fruit this summer (or at least more than one). The plum tree is also blazing with white flowers. So pretty!

Here's to a different kind of weekend.