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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