Monday, April 29, 2013

Ribbons and French Crullers

G got her first ribbon since being in the "hot shots" group at gymnastics,

so we celebrated with a stop at Lafeens for a doughnut!

Mmmm, a chance for mama to eat a french cruller, she better get a ribbon every time....

House Project: Upstairs Deck

I wish I had a before picture, but I don't, so this description will have to do.  A stack of algae covered whale bones, an abandoned dining room table that was used as a tool bench during construction and  covered in peeling finish,  a stack of window screens and miscellaneous construction debris piled under the table, a milk crate with a fire escape latter heaped inside, and a dead bird.  This was our upstairs deck that leads out of our bedroom.  Officially the most underutilized space in our house.

After hours of deliberation over how we were going to furnish it, then saving up to splurge on said furnishings, and a zillion trips up and down the stairs carrying awkward and heavy objects - I present to you a habitable outdoor space!

We have a couple more potted trees to add and certainly some rearranging to do until we get it just right, but for now, we have margaritas on the "new" deck at the top of the to do list.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Dove Egg

Drew found a dove egg in our lawn today.  The girls in turn held it carefully in their hands.  Genevieve asked all of the questions that lead up to the inevitable, "well, this egg doesn't get to hatch into a baby dove."  She accepted its fate with a flicker of sadness and then asked if we could keep the egg to keep last year's swallow egg company.

YouTube talked us through how to blow it out, and Drew got down to the serious business of blowing raw egg out of a tiny hole.  Not easy, yet fascinating to his two littles:

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Here's my pro and con list for the day - admit it, you love pro and con lists too, I know you do!

  • Early morning coffee with Drew, sitting at the kitchen counter, girls sleeping in
  • Eggs benedict 
  • A walk to the bay by myself

  • Meeting new neighbors along the way
  • Finishing a project for work
  • Genevieve holding still long enough for me to braid her hair

  • Listening to Ray LaMontagne 
  • Marguerite calling me her best mama

  • Marguerite throwing up all day, not quite sick enough to sleep it off, too sick to play
  • Picking up a box of spilled spaghetti off the kitchen floor
  • No time for a shower
  • Picking up a box of spilled spaghetti off the kitchen floor for the second time
  • Persistent rain
  • Discovering yet another weird new bug on my maiden hair fern houseplant, followed by paranoia that they were crawling on me

Friday, April 26, 2013

Billable Hours

Here I am at my "office" cranking some work out while the girls rest.  I also am sneaking chocolate from the treat stash that I don't have to share with anyone.

I call that multi-tasking.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

We Can't Hear You!

The girls have discovered a new trick.  When they don't want to listen to me, they plug their ears and scream "la la la" in a shrill harmony.

It's equal parts rage inducing and hilarious.

Marguerite boycotted her stroller, so we went for a walk at her pace instead and made it all they way to the dike past the town dog Buddy's house. Those skinny little legs can hustle!

And she can kick back in a patch of sunshine and relax, too, even if that patch of sunshine requires balancing on the edge of the bath tub.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kindergarten and Cosmopolitans

Who ate dinner outside for the first time in 2013???  The Vallees did!

Shortly after this picture was taken I slipped away to the elementary school for the kindergarten parents meeting.  Whoa.  G is starting kindergarten in the fall and I'm already going to parent meetings.  And so it begins. 

I wasn't expected home until 8:30.  The meeting ended early.  So what does a mama of a soon to be kindergartener do?  She goes to the Edison Inn with her fellow mama friend for a cosmopolitan.  It would have been rude for us not to.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Circa 1981 and the April Garden

Aaah!  It's been almost a week since I've posted.  Too many colds, distractions, and over-commitments piled up.  C'est la vie.  Here I am. 

We unearthed these dresses from my childhood, sewn by my mom.

Mom!  Marguerite and I look like REAL American Girl Dolls in these dresses!

Here are my vintage 1981 dollies:

While they played in the sandbox I visited my plants.  Checking in on what's popping up.  I really should have been putting the broccoli starts in the ground.  It'll happen.

Strawberries are blooming strong:

Peonies are growing inches by the day:

Clematis keeps climbing (fingers crossed it makes it as far as the arbor to meet the climbing rose with a strong handshake):

Ferns to greet us on the porch:

Bleeding hearts haven't quite formed the bank I was hoping for, but the two on the end should fill out by next year:


Lily of the Vallee:

Lady's mantle is popping up in unexpected nooks and crannies:

And look at what's happening street side!:



Solomon's Seal:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Just Chuck It Down the Stairs

While Marguerite was napping (her 45 minute tantrum prompted by me reminding her that riding in her carseat was not optional really wore her out) G said, "Mom, I've got the best idea.  Let's organize my toys!"  Huh, I thought.  This is a first.  G taking the initiative on cleaning her room.  I'm in.

We started off congenial enough, having fun even, while dumping out basket after basket of miscellaneous out of the toy closet and on to the floor.  A Goodwill basket, a recycle basket, a garbage box.  We dove in and started sorting.  Then G declared organizing to be "gross and the dumbest thing ever" and decided to brush and braid her doll's hair instead.

There I was.  Stuck in a tsunami of kid crap.  Saddled with a personality that has to finish what she starts.  Next thing you know it's 6 p.m., I haven't started dinner yet and Marguerite is waking up from her slumber picking up where she left off with her grumpy pants on. 

Somehow I pushed through, stabilized Marguerite, and got dinner on the table.  While Drew was getting the girls into the tub I did one last sweep through their room and grabbed an unrealistically large armload of cast offs to bring downstairs.  I tripped on my way down, thankfully didn't fall, but instead chucked my armload down the stairs.

I stopped myself from curling up in the fetal position and declaring my day disastrous and futile and took a picture instead.  Deep breath.  Walk around the block.  Remember to laugh.  There's always room for levity. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hook Hook, Dunk Dunk

Going to the playground can be:
A: boring as hell
B: cold and boring as hell
C: cold, boring as hell, and then the kids decide they don't want to be there after all and start crying until you agree to carry them both home and all of the crap they insisted on bringing with them....


D: another kid forgot their basketball there, so you start shooting hoops, your kids play on their own, the sun comes out, and you can check "cardio" and "having fun" off your list for the day. 

It was a D day.  Common sense tells me to go buy my own basketball and to bring it every time.

First Look Cute, Then Pillage

I should have known better.

Our evening was wrapping up into a swell little package.  Happy hour on the deck, burgers cooking on the barbeque, sun blasting in the windows.

Genevieve pulled at my sleeve.  Mama, can sister and I please play with the big stroller in the house?  I'm the mama, she's the big sister, and Mae is the baby sister and we really need a REAL stroller.

Sure, sounds fun.  I'll grab it for you.  Just like that, two girls occupied, Drew and I having a conversation with full sentences and thoughts.  Family harmony.


We even took pause to notice how well they were playing together and were feeling pretty smug about how having two kids so close in age was really starting to pay off.

30 minutes later.

Big stroller turned into big shopping cart.  Kitchen cabinets ransacked.  Heaping mess of dried sundries to contend with.  

No longer feeling so smug.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Common Sense

Common sense is something I notice and admire.  I have enough of it to have become a relatively successful adult, but I usually acquire it the hard way. 

For example, I was driving to town with both girls, on our way to run errands.  I was deep in thought about my blog - thinking about adding something new to freshen it up.  I think mom blogs that include "how-to" advice regarding parenting are patronizing and annoying, so I was thinking through how I could include helpful tips gleaned from my parenting adventures without coming across as someone who is overly impressed with herself.

I decided to include a "Common Sense" page.  My first tip:  when running errands with little ones, find a parking spot as close as possible to the cart return.  That way you minimize the amount of time they are left alone in the car while you return the cart, dodging every lunatic who feels inclined to drive like a bat out of hell. 

I've really got this parking lot thing dialed, I was thinking.  Then, as I backed out of my spot I proceeded to scrape my bumper along the metal railing that corrals the shopping carts.  Let me refine my tip, park close to the cart return, and be careful not to smash your car in to the cart return.  Like I said, I figure these things out the hard way.

Quote of the Day

Genevieve:  Mom!  The bloody hearts are blooming!  Or are they actually dripping blood???!  I see tons of pink blood!

Their Wake

On a clear night, I love walking around outside, glowing windows and muffled laughter, frogs croaking sloughside, last haze of light over water. 

A peaceful conclusion to a big, loud, busy, messy day in the wake of a four year old and her two year old sister.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Real Time

Drew asked me what I had planned for this weekend and got bombarded with things like, "I need you to move the frig so I can vacuum behind it, and the couch too, and I have a load of stuff to drop at Goodwill, and maybe we can all go to Costco because I want to buy an umbrella for the upstairs deck but it's too heavy for me to lift in the car, but first we need to clean out the inside of my car because it's a pig sty, and I have a new grant proposal to bust out by April 29 so I'll need some work time." 

Sounds super fun, right??  On second thought, what I want out of this predictably rainy weekend is to watch a movie, take a long bath, sleep in, drink coffee in bed, eat popcorn for dinner, have a dance party to recirculate our blood, and trace raindrops on the windows. 

Surely something will play out in the realistic space between drudgery and luxury. 

I picked a few flowers from the garden this morning to bring Spring in while April showers lash.

The best kind of bottled beauty and happiness.

Quote of the Day

Marguerite:  (mid-tantrum) DON'T look at my beautiful face.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


April showers set in to stay this weekend.  We did our best to work around them.  G practiced gymnastics on the covered porch,

we played a mean game of hide and seek,

took a walk around town and to the school playground when there was a break in the rain, that digressed into a long crawl home,

sought refuge in a bamboo grove along the way that immediately turned Genevieve into a ninja waiting to attack her innocent sister.

We checked out the little free library, and my heart skipped a beat while I watched G thumb through the pages of Little House on the Prairie, and carefully tuck it in to her jacket for safekeeping.  If you don't have one of these little libraries in your neighborhood, you should. 

We watched Daddy make art,

rallied for a late night in the gallery for an opening,

and rounded off a busy weekend with a visit to Jess and Dean's at Harmony Fields to bottle feed a lamb.

Rain.  It knows how to get it done here in the Pacific Northwest, that's for sure.