Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In a single grimace

I had made a quiet pledge to myself this holiday season. I was going to be outrageously nice to people in the service industry- with a focus on delivery drivers and cashiers.

They deal with so much crap to make the holidays run and I always appreciate that. But I know that as I am turning into my cantankerous grandmother I can get snippy even when my right mind is begging me to chill.

But my attitude this year has been great. It has been easy to be patient and voice my gratitude so far.

Until this morning when I reflexively grumped.

I had the right to be annoyed. I placed an online photo print order to Target and got an email saying it was done this morning. So I decided to go in before work and pick it up thus avoiding a prime time Target visit.

We can all read the writing in the wall here. Of course my order wasn't actually ready. I waited. The machine had jammed (apparently hours before when I got the email that it was done) on my last print.

I could see the images I needed to finish two christmas presents and I needed to get to work. I offered to pay for the order and they could toss the last print. But they told me machines didn't allow it.

And without any warning, the crotchety old lady within me surfaced and I huffed off.

I guess it's good that life isn't all or nothing or else I'd be a total failure at taming the grumpy beast within. It is a work in progress but (especially for the sake of my dear sweet husband) I really want to squash my early onset cantankery asap.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

I like this baby the best

I am finding myself in a strange place right now. I am so goofy in love with Andrew. I have always loved him. He was so cute and tiny and didn’t know how to use his hands. But I actually like him so much more right now than I ever have (I didn’t know it was even possible). It is paradoxical too because he is 16 months old and a complete nut-job and he can drive me up a wall yet I find him so much more awesome than his previously awesome self.

I find myself looking at pictures and videos of him all the time. He is just getting so big and so cool. He is so sweet, saying “Please” and “Thank You.” He has so many new skills. He can take a whole clementine and break it into wedges all by himself. He is a really good (for a 16 month old) helper. He was washing lettuce with me last night and he is a wiz at picking up toys with direction. His sense of humor is developing too and he’ll invent little games and wordlessly instruct Michael and me on the rules as he sees them. During dinner he will often burst out in a serious monolog and he rarely takes a drink at the table without raising his glass to toast “Cheers.”

Life absolutely fills him with awe and it bubbles over. He is so excited by Christmas decorations or by a hard rain. He is finally at the age where he sees and delights at dogs on the trail or ducks in the water. We went to a gymnastics meet after a long day and he was so excited. He had every right to be pissed that we weren’t home, eating dinner and playing as usual but instead he kept pointing and squealing at the different apparatus.

I love that he is recognizing the people in his life. In his room we have a wall of pictures (cousins, aunts and grandparents) and he loves pointing to a person and trying to say their name. When we ask him about people he knows (ex. His daycare teacher) he lights up. He also so clearly wants to share his world with us. Every day when I pick him up from daycare he takes me on a tour of his art work.

He is more gentle with the cat than I could have ever hoped. He loves seeing her and uses such a soft hand when he pets her (98% of the time) and brings her toys to show her (she LOVES that(sarcasm)).

I’m not sure what it was in the past few weeks or months that make me like him better than his old self (who I REALLY, REALLY liked a lot). Maybe it is because I know him better now. We have a history and now I feel like he enjoys Michael and me equally as much as he needs us for survival. Probably helps too that we are meeting in the middle language wise, I have figured out what he means about a few things and he has made an effort to learn English.

I hesitated to publish this because I didn’t want it to seem like I think he is the best baby ever. I decided to go with it because it is just that he is the best Andrew yet (and I REALLY, REALLY already thought he couldn’t be cooler) and I’m feeling so happy and grateful for it and enjoying it too much not to share. The same way that newborn Andrew miraculously was interesting enough to validate the amount of work he required now makes up for how absolutely ridiculous he is (I could write an equally long post of the absurd crocodile-tears-when-his-cracker-broke episodes) by being so darn delightful.

I worried so much when I was pregnant about whether he would be cool and if I would like him. I’m so pleased to say, so far so great.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Wordless Weekend

This was a perfect crazy busy pre Christmas weekend. Probably should have included some gift shopping but that's a problem for later.

Friday night was cooking dinner and hanging out.

Saturday we had a very fun nephew sleepover.

We played games

Breakfast with Santa on Sunday morning.

Then we did Paschal family style advent.

Which includes eating, a bit of Christmas story telling and singing.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Tofu win!

I have a long history with tofu. It always goes the same way. I buy tofu with high hopes and good intentions. And then it sits and sits. Then I get to the point that it is bugging me taking up space in my fridge. Then it sits a little more. Then I toss it.

This pattern has repeated many times over the years with many brands and firmness levels of tofu. Sometimes I'll press it and it will sit that way.

I was in the end stages of this cycle the other day when I had an idea.

Give it to andrew!

I gave him the whole block and let him go at it.

He liked squishing it, crumbling it up and putting it back in the container.

It obviously devolved into throwing it on the floor but it was a good time while it lasted! And honestly was the most well used block I've ever bought.

So I will stick to eating it in restaurants but now maybe the random block I but will be put to slightly better use.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Wordless weekend

Redmond lights (hard to photograph but very fun)

They had four hot air balloons that they'd light up.

Saturday night after A was in bed we decorated.

And Sunday morning we BLEW HIS MIND!

Much hanging out.

We took a day trip to camano island to see somewhere new and do some geocaching.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014


A few months ago I came across and article about the Buy Nothing Project. It is a small community based gift economy. People give freely of goods or services that they have and no longer use or just want to put into the community. There is no bartering, no selling, no trading. All gifts are given freely. Everyone in the group lives in a tight geographic area to facilitate completing transactions and encouraging community.

I was intrigued. Mostly because I felt like I had a lot sitting around the house that I didn’t use but wasn’t suitable for donation. Also, I liked that it sounded like a better way of potentially getting people things they need without going through a big-box thrift store for distribution or sale. I thought I’d only use it as a back up to taking things to Value Village.

So I searched for my local one and (after they verified that I do live in the community) I joined up. At first I just watched. People were giving really lovely things and even lovelier services. One woman, an illustrator, gave 10 random families a custom cartoon of their families. She said she didn’t have much materially to give but she had been so touched by the community that she wanted to share her gift.

I jumped into giving by posting a large bag of beauty samples from my misguided Birch Box subscription. I got a ton of responses! And gifting was smooth and had minimal human contact because most gifts are placed on your porch and the recipient just comes and collects. It was fun! I cleaned out my drawer of things I couldn’t have donated and someone was excited about it.
After a few more giveaways I decided to put my name in to receive something. There is a TON (>10 posts per day at least) of baby clothes or toys and a rotating box of toys. I signed up for the “Round Robin” of 0-18 month toys. I put in a few things Andrew has outgrown and we took a shape sorter, a kiddie flashlight, a train and a push car. These are currently Andrew’s favorite toys.
I was so stoked. I had these dreams of rotating out toys for him but in reality that is tough to do and can get spendy. This was a fun way to introduce new toys and allow some of his to find new hands.

We even got one of those cool Dr. office pop up toys.

And this dinosaur that my oldest nephew had when he was a baby.

I have gifted multiples of cookbooks, cloth diaper supplies, an old alarm clock and a number of other items that I had around that weren’t getting any love or use from us.

They also have lending libraries for tools, cookware and other items that you only need for a one-off situation. We are currently borrowing an electric stapler from a neighbor (who we don’t know at all).

Last weekend the coolest give I think I’ll get to give happened. Buy Nothing Redmond (BNR) is helping a woman throw a Buy Nothing wedding. I offered her the wedding dress I bought and didn’t wear if she liked it and it fit. She came over a few hours later to pick it up. Not 30min after that, she sent a picture of herself in the dress, she and her daughters beaming. It was a perfect fit and she liked it. I am SO EXCITED to be able to do that for her. I have had that dress hanging in my closet. I have had intentions of selling or donating it for more than 3 years. So my road to hell was probably well maintained. But now she is so excited and we have closet space back.

I like being a part of this community. Everyone seems to have a different story and have different needs. Some people just want to get rid of stuff, some people want to be able to change things up more often than if they were buying (ex. d├ęcor, books, KID STUFF <—me) and some people have a true need for help. The woman who got my extra cookbook was so excited to have Christmas present for her teenage daughter. It is neat to be able to meet these needs for my neighbors with basically no skin off my back.

Check out a Buy Nothing group near you!

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Wordless (blissfully long) Weekend

Michael worked hard on expediting thanksgiving dinner

Andrew played with the Niblings

Friday was rainy fun

Saturday was snowy cold

My mom and I traded kids. I took the one on the right to see hunger games at the Cinerama (chocolate popcorn!)

Sunday geocaching in the freezing cold

Chicken watching with my little koala baby.

10pm, 60 second/ $6 advent calendar construction.

Four days went by in a flash!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I found it!

I have been REALLY struggling to get in gear lately. I just don’t want to run. It happens to me this time of year every year. Despite knowing that I will warm up and even enjoy a nice chilly breeze, I just can’t convince myself to go outside. That is majorly compounded by the fact that it is dark leaving for and getting home from work and I will not go out in the dark. Not to mention I just haven’t been enjoying it much anymore these days.
So I was stumped with what I should do. I hate bikes at the moment, swimming is good but labor intensive. I attempted to go hard core yogi; I did a one week trial at the Core Power Yoga studio that is steps from work. This was actually pretty great but I decided I like a bit more high energy and a whole lot less cost (yoga is pricey!).
With Michael at home right now he has opened up our evenings by having dinner ready or at least prepped. The extra hour this buys is SO FREAKING HELPFUL. It has allowed me to start going to the 7:30pm Group X classes at the 24 hour fitness down the street. The timing on this is great, the gym is really close so I can leave at 7:20 and A goes to bed at 8:00 so I am not missing a ton of playtime.
The downside though (or so I thought) was that the 7:30 classes were M/W Zumba and T/Th Yoga. About three Wednesdays ago I bit the bullet and went to Zumba. I was really nervous. I mean, Zumba has its own clothes. These people are serious.
Turns out I was nervous for no reason. It was so much fun. Almost everyone there was pretty terrible but hot damn, they were into it. Nobody seemed to care what everyone else was doing and just let it out. I danced as a kid but I would never have said I loved dancing (in the hittin’ the club sense) but it was really refreshing to just move. I told M when I got home that I could have gotten a better workout in the same amount of time but the mood boost made it totally worthwhile.

And it really is. The class is a ton of fun. I have since been to three more weekday classes and a weekend one. Zumba, for the uninitiated is a dance style cardio class set to Latin/hip hop music. After my first couple classes I thought that I still like step aerobics better because it seems like a better workout overall. But the Sunday class was insane. It was completely full which should have tipped me off to the quality of instructor. That class was perfect! It was a great workout, to the point I really had to push myself not to stop, while still being a ton of fun. It is fun to dance and I find myself dancing more emphatically in the car and dancing even sillier with Andrew .

Bad news, they switched the Wednesday class to 6:30. Good news I am asking Santa for the Zumba for Kinect and I am going to try to make the Sunday morning class a staple.
More bad news, I am signed up for the 12ks of Christmas in December, so I really ought to run. I am being sort of lackadaisical about it with an “eh, I can do 7 miles,” attitude. That might not end well.

Because posts without pictures are lame:

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Wordless weekend

Ready to go geocaching at St. Edward Park

Cool containers

My passenger

More cool containers

Good deed (I'll explain later)

Visitor adoration

Playing indoors

Playing outdoors

Laundry help

Art and leisure

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wordless Weekend

I'm ready for another, but here's what we did last weekend.

We got to play with baby Margot!

Finally found teeny tiny rain boots

Family pics

Poultry Predictor 5K (I ran super fast on accident and A was not amused by the cold)

So many blocks!

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