Saturday, January 17, 2009

[day 17 ... january 17]

One of our favorite neighborhood outings is to walk to see the goats, Harry and Lucy, who live a few blocks down the road. We live in a rural area known for horses, but people also keep the occasional goats and chickens. Lucky us, we have some friendly goats close by who love the attention of visitors. The family who owns them has several young children, but of course, goats are always up for more company.

Often we bring a few branches from our yard (they love fir needles), and then we pick up some more greenery next to their pasture to feed them as well. The kids could do this by the hour!

Today, Niall worked for quite awhile making a "concoction" for them of fir branches wrapped around several other kinds of leaves to make a sort of "bowl." Harry and Lucy weren't as impressed as they should have been, but they nibbled on it politely. I think they've had an abundance of greens lately, with all the downed branches in our area from the recent weather events, so aren't as eager for food as usual.

After we spend some time with the goats, we walk down to the end of the road - another quarter mile or so - and then turn around and walk back up the hill, past the goats again, and onward home. If we're up for a longer adventure, we take one of the trails that lead past the road and loop back around on another trail. With so many equestrians around, there are lots of horse trails that are also fine walking trails, and we have our favorites of course. In the summer, we take longer walks. But these winter days are so short (and chilly), unless we happen to get out early and have lots of energy, we stick to shorter stints and call it good. At least we get some fresh air, and the goats get some extra love and greens to nibble.

The sun through the trees was spectacular. We've had so much rain and fog lately, even a glimpse of the sun is welcome. Today we had an afternoon of splendor. Who could stay inside?

Friday, January 16, 2009

[day 16 ... january 16]

Niall and Cory got these fun critters for Christmas. They start out very small (a few inches long) and after soaking up water for a long time (like a week or more), they grow BIG! If we had them in bigger containers, they would probably double in size, but this was all the counter space I was willing to devote to the project. I'm not sure how much longer we'll have them sharing our kitchen with us, so thought I'd share a picture while they're still impressive-looking. When you take them out of water, they slowly shrink back to their original size.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

[day 15 ... january 15]

Renee Motley-Colbert was a long-time teacher at Little School who died unexpectedly over the summer several years ago. Her only child, daughter Imani, was born just before Niall, and we shared the ups and downs of pregnancy. Imani was in class with Niall for several years as well, including the year before Renee's death when Renee taught next door to Stephen, Niall's and Imani's teacher when they were 4.

I had known Renee for many years, as she taught Kellen when he was 8 for his first year in the Woods Building. She was a warm, steady presence, always, and I miss her.

This bench was designed by students and others at Little School, and carved by a local woodworker. It sits under the trees next to the Big Field, where we see it every day when we arrive at school and can walk by to touch the smooth surface and admire the detailed carvings on our way to play after school. It's a wonderful reminder of a member of the Little School community who left us much too soon. She and I were the same age, with a child the same age, and her passing was an all-too-stark reminder that we really don't know when we'll leave this world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

[day 14 ... january 14]

Cheerios and the morning paper are standard fare here, continuing a tradition for me (especially the Cheerios part) that has rarely been interrupted for decades. When I was a teenager, thinking ahead to that lovely bowl of Cheerios helped get me up at the crack of dawn when nothing else sounded the least bit enticing.

I finally have a son who joins me in the Cheerios part at least, and is learning to enjoy the paper as well (starting with the weather page, as they all seem to). The big boys are up and gone early in the morning, to catch the bus to school in Seattle, and then Cory and I get up to have our morning Cheerios and milk.'s nice when some things stay the same, in the midst of so much that inevitably changes in life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

[day 13 ... january 13]

Before Cory came along, I didn't even know what a "nebulizer" was. But since he developed allergy-induced asthma before he was a year old, we quickly became all too familiar with this machine. He used to really dislike the treatments (not painful, just irritating to have that mask near/over your face and all this mist coming out), but we read books or (when we have to do a lot of the treatments, during a flareup) watch a TV show, and it goes pretty smoothly now.

Cory has been fine for weeks now, after a couple of bumpy months in the Fall. But Sunday he started coughing, and now we're in the midst of a full-blown flare-up. So I have him home from school and am giving him treatments every four hours. He's not much better, so we'll head to the doctor tomorrow and see what they say. Poor guy. So hard to listen to him cough and cough so much. :-(

Monday, January 12, 2009

[day 12 ... january 12]

Cory's class does so many cool things. Recently the kids got inspired to connect links together until they made a chain that looped all the way around the two-classroom pod: Out the inside door, into Jackie's class (next door), all the way through her class to the outside door, and then back in to Melissa's classroom. The kids were so thrilled! Today they made a long Uniflex cubes line that ran nearly the length of the classroom. And not long ago they were building big marble runs and then drawing their own pictures of what they saw, with dictated descriptions alongside. Melissa's posted the drawings and photos she had taken of their work. So fun to see the creative process that is a 4-year-old's natural way of being.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

[day 11 ... january 11]

We drove Tynor down to Laura's for a day of movies and hanging out, and on the way back, stopped by the Sammamish Slough to marvel at how high and fast-flowing the water is. We kayaked in the slough several times over the summer, and the current was so slow, you could hardly tell it was moving at all. Not so now. It's swirling and pouring along at a rapid clip. Trees and bushes along the banks are under water, and the river is quite close to the pavement of the trail at several points that we could see. And this is after it has receded somewhat, from the highs earlier in the week. Impressive. And a little scary, to see all that water where there is usually a sleepy little slough.

[day 10 ... january 10]

Dad gave me several old records (honest-to-goodness vinyl) of my high school choir, and I finally dug out the turntable from the garage (where it's been since we moved here, five years ago) so we could play them. Cory was fascinated. The turntable at school is used for creating spin art! Unfortunately, the stereo doesn't applify the sound for some reason, so we could barely hear the tracks. Will have to track down what's up with that. It was still nostalgic to have the records, with all the old photos on the dust jackets and the lists of songs I used to sing from memory with the choir.
Another two-photo day: Cory and Niall are now totally hooked on the online kids' game site, Club Penguin. Cory can hardly get the mouse to click where he wants it to, but he's bound and determined to play, just like Niall. Niall, of course, has investigated every nook and cranny and is lobbying for a full membership so he can play everything properly.

[day 9 ... january 9]

Dropped off Niall at the Little School turnaround as usual this morning. (Note the tiny little rental car - the van repairs won't be complete until nearly the end of January. :-( ) This morning he had gear and booster seat for every-other-Friday swimming in addition to his backpack. Usually I park the car, then walk Cory up to class. But today we headed to Seattle for an allergist appointment. Skin tests this time showed no reaction to dairy - even for fresh milk. That was a big surprise! As recently as eight months ago, he had a big response to the tests. So now we can embark on including dairy in cooked goods, and then - maybe, perhaps, dare we hope? - cheese and other good stuff. Here's hoping he really has outgrown the allergy. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

[day 8 ... january 8]

With the Big Snow over the holidays, we just recently connected with several people to exchange gifts. Niall and Cory had great fun tonight with the cool modeling clay Candi gave Niall for his birthday. They loved making these balls with various color combinations, and then branched off into creating critters and other things. Not the best project to start just before bedtime. They did not want to stop!

[day 7 ... january 7]

This is the first of three trips I'll make across the lake this week (dentist appointment, meeting at PSCS, Cory's allergist appointment). The water on the south side of 520 was really choppy, as you can see, though not even close to the big waves that pour over that side on occasion. It always fascinates me how the bridge neatly divides the rough water from the relatively smooth water. Not surprising, but still striking.

I've been going to this dentist office, Dr. Solhaug and (now) Wallace, for more years than I can count. We went to Dr. Solhaug Senior when I was just a child, and when I came back to the Seattle area after my (12 year) stint in California, I returned to them. It's hard to find a dentist office that you can trust completely and without any reservations! At least it is for me. :-) I've been going to Dr. Wallace now for maybe 15 years, and he's the best. Still not fun to go in for a crown prep but...probably better than continuing to walk around with a broken molar, as I have been for the past three weeks.