Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Snowballs in Summer?

Yes, that's possible when you're talking about the Snowball Effect. Piles and piles of potential blogs and pictures are gaining on me. I don't even know where to start now.

Just to check a little something off my list, though, I'll give a snappy update on life here:

*The kids are in Splash Camp every day for the next 2 weeks, with swim lessons and water play, M-F, 9 to 4
*I teach pre-schoolers at Splash Camp (circle time, arts & crafts) from 9 to noon
*Because I teach there, my kids attend for free -- that provides endless amounts of satisfaction and happiness
*At noon I come home and work on my application for Soapstone Writer's Retreat that's due to be postmarked August 1st
*Soapstone is a $3/day 2-week retreat -- I want to go there in '08. It's very competitive, but it looks amazing. (Check out soapstone.org.)
*At 4 I pick the kids up, and if it's anything like yesterday, they'll be wiped out. Ready to lounge around for a couple hours.

Things I know I still want to blog about:
1) The kids' trip to WA and their extended visit with grandparents/cousins
2) Our week home alone without them
3) The kids' flight home (yay!)
4) Our impressions of possible future living areas
5) The kids' other weeks at camp
6) Our fun Friday night one-on-ones with the kids
7) The kids' new art scrapbook albums

See how big that snowball's getting? I'll see what I can do...

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Days 4, 5, & 6

More about Puyallup

Mema and Poppa (a.k.a. Mom and Don) hosted a great bbq for us on Monday night. Gram and Gramps were already over from Yakima (thank you!), Vi and Gran came over from up the road, Aunt Laurie and Uncle John came over from University Place, and Peggy and Nick and Zack came down from Issaquah (a looooong drive in traffic -- and when you miss exits while talking on your cell phone...!)

The kids played like crazy in the yard -- some form of hockey Poppa made up with golf clubs and tennis balls and mini goals. Earlier that day, Dane and Aubrey made full use of the yard with underwear sprinkler running, tent crawling, and general exploring (it's a terrific big yard). Oh, and, of course, they made jam. (See post below.)

I can't believe I didn't take pictures of the whole gang (sheesh! what was I thinking??), but I'll post some pix from our visit last summer. Same people -- some are just bigger, some aren't. And nobody's sucking their thumbs anymore (usually).

Note: The picture with Patrick and Peggy was taken by a kid (sorry Patrick!); the sprinkler pictures were taken in Yakima.

*Sprinkler-running makes me really, really miss having a yard. Obvious note to self: Come July '08, we will have a yard...
ROAD TRIP - Puyallup, Day 3
Makin' jam with Great Gram and Mema

June 29 thru July 7

Days 1 & 2
Hertz hooked us up with a Toyota Highlander. We've made the trip before in a Taurus, but since we were taking a bike and some scooters, and since we were four (headed north) with a cooler and a bag of car games, we decided to go SUV. We kept it for the whole trip and it worked well to keep the kids way in back for the long drive.

Of course we heard some "Are we there yet?" questions, starting in Novato, 15 minutes north of Sausalito. But once we described our drive with visuals -- a sheet of paper held up to represent California, above it a box of crackers to represent Oregon, and above that, a box of cookies to represent Washington -- we got questions like "Are we off the paper yet?" and "How far up the cracker box are we?" When we finally announced we'd reached "the cookie box," there were big cheers from the back.

Above: pictures of our first night, where we got to stay in Weaverville in our friends the Roths' cabin. Weaverville is up near Redding, two hours south of Ashland, and it's in Trinity County. The area's arid with lots of redwoods and huge pine cones; the cabin was a little house with two bedrooms, a big deck and a hillside to explore. Dane and Aubrey loved playing there: indoors, they played with Josh and Abby's toys and a felt board our friend Emily sent with them, and outdoors they threw a ball over the deck and made the mad dash through the gate and down the hill to grab it before it got out of sight.

Strangely enough, Mick got a surprising bit of cabin fever there (perhaps because he was reading too many trashy mags -- see photo) and we left after one night (instead of two) and a hike in the red clay. I think he was just excited to check out some possible future hometowns in Oregon on our way north.

Of course, on our way out of town, we had to drink some good coffee. The Roth's recommended The Red House, which had good coffee and the sweetest outdoor patio ever. Lots of tables and lawn chairs under huge trees, and fountains with boats and cars to float or sink. The kids also watered their plants (a lot).

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Music in the Fish Tank
Or, What Mom Thinks About When the Kids Are Gone For A Week

The bubbles rise. Water drips down. The fish swims low. He skims his belly against layers of pink rocks, all the same size as his eyes. He weaves his way through his plant, shimmying between the plastic stems, listening out of his fish ears – wherever and whatever those are – to the rhythmic trickle above him. Nosing his way along the edges, his fins and tail wipe at the glass. This fish swims a pattern known only to him – and, of course, to his friend, the ceramic carp blowing on the sax. For all his days, he’s under the same tones, the same melody, of that pleasant little trickle above.

I miss you, Dane and Aubrey. See you soon. XO, Mom

Sunday, July 08, 2007