Friday, January 2, 2015

Thanksgiving break

Thanksgiving is a month past but I left this post in DRAFT mode.  Here it is to catch up family who asked what we did on this holiday.

1) I baked a pie.

2) I baked another pie.

3) Frost made cranberry sauce and was splattered in the face with burning sugar-berries during the filming of this shot.

4) The leaves turned golden overnight.

5) I baked a vegan Quorn roast with cranberry stuffing.

6) Frost printed out our Dinner Menu.

7) I set the table in the living room.

8) We ate dinner.

9) We collapsed afterwards and Josh played PS4 while the boys watched.

9) A few days later there was SNOW!

9) We went for a walk to the coffee shop.

10) Beezle got cold feet waiting outside.

11) Wren got so cold that he made a blanket tent over the vent and stayed there a long time reading and playing iPad.  He has made many similar blanket saunas since then. 

12) On Black Friday sales I bought a Bosu Ball which Wren used to launch himself through the air.  The family joined in becoming obstacles to challenge his ability to remain airborne over long distances.


New Year at Sleeping Lady Resort

During the heat of August I had the inspiration to go away for New Year to Sleeping Lady.  This was 90% because they have dog friendly room (canine companion suites) and I knew that Josh would be more likely to agree if Beezle could come and 10% because I hoped to be near snow, conceptually, spiritually. I have discovered that snow makes one feel good.  Not necessarily being IN it but as contex.  I am pleased to report that both objectives have been accomplished.

Beezle enjoying resort life.

A Room With a View
This is the view from our bedroom window.  I have just cranked the heat up to 73 degrees because it is something like 17 degrees outside.  Beezle is on the bed enjoying resort life and Josh has taken the boys to see the latest installment of the Hobbit.

The room is lovely.  It has high loft ceilings with whitewashed beams.  The beds are comfortable with amble pillows and they have nice big glasses for wine in the rooms.

Our visit here co-incided with a very cold snap.  I haven't been in such cold temperatures since I was 18 and skiing in Austria during a cold snap that caused tourists to lose fingers.  It is very cold here.  Last night it was 10 degrees F or -12 F.  I found that my fingers became disabled while cross-country skiing at 3pm.  The shadows brought bone-numbing ice and we had to retreat to the hot pools.  The weather is so cold that the rocks around the hot pools were sheets of ice from water splashing out.  Also, when I climbed out wet my feet froze to the ice and it was painful to pull them off.

This is not so fun.  Especially since the first night we didn't know we had to bring towels with us and so we had to walk back to the room wet.  Can someone say "cold"?

What was fun was cross-country skiing for the first time.  After Wren's footwear malfunction was resolved it was great.

Wren and Josh ski in the grooves

Frost skiing in his PJs and the puffy coat Grandad gave him.
The Snowshine
There are about 8km of trails in the area.  We skied for a couple of hours.

The Glorious Snow Dog

As we arrived at Sleeping Lady we met a family who have a boy in Frost's class.  They were returning from a Nordic skiing vacation in the Methow.  They said they stopped at Sleeping lady "for the food".  I can see why.  Its an all-you-can-eat buffet with good quality organic food.  The only constraint is your stomach.  This morning I found that one can eat once and return later (I went alone early and again an hour later with Frost since neither Josh nor Wren wanted to eat breakfast).  This phased breakfast approach helps if one does not have a second stomach.

All in all our first trip to Sleeping Lady has been a great success.  We are languid with cold and over-feeding and ready to return to a more temperate and active lifestyle in the city.  The dog is happy.  

This will definitely be a place to bring visiting guests in the winter season.   Visiting guests, be warned :)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy Birthday Wren

Wren did not want a birthday party this year so we had a brunch for friends and family and went out to sushi for dinner.

Wren had a great time.

He had asked for a giant donut as his birthday cake.  We had to innovate as Mighty-O does not make giant donuts.  Instead, we bought two dozen and Frost and I learned to spin sugar (at 9am).  It was messy but great fun.    Here is the final cake.  We made the beeswax candles before Thanksgiving and Josh says it gave the cake a Seussical quality.

Wren was thrilled to receive $50 in Christmas money from his great-granny and granny.  Unfortunately, he wanted to spend it on in-game pack purchases for PVZ Garden Warfare on the PS4.  We told him that $20 was the limit for virtual toys.  He is now sulking and making strong moral arguments about a child's right to spend his birthday money on whatever he sees fit.

What do you think?

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Holiday Party and The Issue of Camembert

Yesterday was a bit crazy.   It started with the usual rushing to get the kids lunches in time for Frost to catch the bus in the dark.  There was not much in the pantry so he ended up with two granola bars and some sliced apple.  If he would eat tomatoes, we would have been in better shape.  Wren had the above + tomatoes.

Work was busy, as usual.  My morning of meetings was interrupted by numerous texts from Josh (who was working from home and waiting for the gas-fireplace-installation guy to arrive.  We had been told 9.30-10am and that it would take 6 hours.  The timing was significant because we were hosting Josh's work Holiday Party at our home at 5pm.

Here is the unfolding drama:

Fireplace ppl not here. We've reached the time where if it takes 6 hours it's awkward because our party starts
Wed, 10:58 AM
Can you call them?
Wed, 11:01 AM
what time did they say they would be here?
Wed, 11:02 AM
or 10-10.30 (earlier call)
Wed, 11:03 AM
He's 5 minutes out
Wed, 11:06 AM
Okay, tell him about party time. 
Wed, 11:06 AM
"5 minutes" haha. so predictable
Wed, 11:19 AM
there is much despondency about how to connect the gas
As always, the sales guy is much more optimistic than the person who actually has to do it
my idea of going through the column is more likely than fishing it through the wall, but he isn't confident about that either
Wed, 11:43 AM
Perhaps we should reschedule?
He was supposed to come and investigate the gas line issue before the install date but did not.
Wed, 11:48 AM
he's checking through the attic
he's also concerned that he doesn't have a long enough flex line to go up and back down
Wed, 11:57 AM
So, today is investigation day
Wed, 11:58 AM
Yeah, he was already concerned about the 5 deadline. And the investigation is taking a while
Wed, 12:02 PM
The pipe is being run through the column. Still planning on being home at 3? I need to do some shopping
Wed, 2:37 PM
Wed, 2:45 PM

I got home late.   The fireplace was completed around 7pm so we had the party in the kitchen.  However, it is lovely.   The nice thing is that this photo was taken this morning.  Wren loves to click the fire ON and watch iPad and then click it OFF.    He likes to adjust the flame height to TALL.   We now need new fire-centric lounging furniture.  This is the outside couch chair.

We also have a tree in the living room so we are doing pretty well.  All that is needed now are some gifts, spiced apple cider and snow.  Speaking of holiday cliches.  I thought you were supposed to serve camembert at parties.  Turns out it is BRIE.  Brie is mild and nutty.  I served camembert which Josh described as tasting like "stinky wet socks" according to his weak American palate.  I didn't even age the poor camembert.  It was still firm!  He hasn't seen me eat the kind where the insides drool out of the shell.  Sadly, my dairy-weak stomach does not plan to eat the remaining camembert alone.  I need help.  Others apparently shared Josh's derision of the camembert as it was the only food left behind - other than raw broccoli and raw cauliflower which are those dumb things stores use to fill out the veggie platter but nobody ever eats.

Frost wearing the holiday hat I made 2 years ago. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Good news at Cardiology

Today, Wren had his 6 monthly cardiology appointment at Children's.   We arrived for our usual 3 hour appointment and I promptly lost the green plastic registration form with Wren's stickers which caused us to be late.  We and the nurses looked everywhere but it had vanished!

After a short while, Nurse Julie came in and did an EKG and blood pressures.  The blood pressures are taken on Wren's feet and wrists and evaluated to see whether there is a significant difference.  A difference means that there is some kind of blockage in the aortic arch.

There was none!

Wren is growing well and the EKG was his usual abnormal pattern but nothing unusually abnormal.

Dr L decided Wren did not need an echo.  He explained that Wren had been stable in his moderate regurg on the mitral valve for 3 appointments and that even if there was an increase it was very unlikely to be enough to warrant intervention (intervention means surgery of some kind).

Wren is growing well, feels well and has had few headaches.  He is officially "Doing Well".

We go back in 6 months.  Hooray.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunday at Home

Seattle is well into Fall.  The trees are losing their leaves and the street-scape is a palette of golds and orange.   Mushrooms are poking up everywhere.  While a few weeks ago, it was still dry but now the mushrooms are along the roadsides, in yards and under almost every tree.  Here is a patch we saw on a walk in the neighborhood.  These are edibles but I was not hungry enough to regret that they were through the fence.

This morning I asked Wren to make pancakes.  He was not keen at this responsibility and cried and yelled a little bit.  Calming down, we read the pancake box and he mixed the batter without incident.  He is a very literal kid, concerned about doing things right.  He found the instructions on the mixture unhelpfully vague.  For example, it said "Mix until blended".  He complained that he didn't know what blended looked like.  It said "Batter will have some lumps" but he didn't know how many was correct.  Thankfully I was there to guide him to ignore these questions and just DO it.  

The Batter sitting for 2 minutes
Wren expected me to take over after the batter was done, but I set him up by the stove to poor batter.  He was very alarmed by the heat of the gas range and complained about the danger and how unfair it was for me to expect this of him.  After three pancakes he changed his mind and said "This is actually quite fun."

He pours the batter into the butter.  I explained that this pan was too hot because
the butter was browning too much.

My Pancake. I ate it in the style of my South African family.  With cheddar and honey
(I did not have Lyles' Golden Syrup)
The pancake Flipping took practice.  It was easy at first when
there was only on pancake in the pan, but more difficult
when they had company.

Wren burnt himself once, slightly on a finger.  After that he was much more careful to keep his hands back from the stove.

As if we do not have enough wild mushrooms, we also have two kits growing in the pantry.  These were from our mushroom weekend at Breitenbush.  The one on the left is yellow pleurotus and the one of the right is grey (I harvested them).  I have been amazed at how quickly they grow.

After breakfast, we did house-things (computer games, cooking, dog-lounging and watching football) and then went off to Bellevue Square to buy a Baymax stuffed toy for Wren. He was very happy to get one and enjoyed a pizza lunch at Zeeks as a final season closer for his soccer team.  

Since I have not yet posted a Halloween 2014 photo on the blog, I had to re-use one from 3 years ago.