Friday, April 10, 2009

[day 100 ... april 10]

Cory received this little pot and some pea seeds from a classmate recently, in honor of her birthday. We finally got around to scrounging up some potting soil today and planted three seeds. Cory can't wait for them to sprout and grow!
Before long it will be warm enough to get our deck garden going again. But for now, this little pot and its seeds will remind us that it really is Spring and soon we'll be delighting in lots of flowers and fresh veggies for the new season (at the local market, if not from our own garden for awhile!)

[day 99 ... april 9]

This is Branner Hall, my freshman dorm at Stanford. What a fabulous, life-changing first year that was, and seeing or hearing about Branner will always bring back a flood of amazing memories.

Just a few of them:

The "Mr. Branner" vs. "We rule the world" feud. When the guys "cupped" the whole third floor (all girls, the year we were there), and the 3rd floor girls retaliated by somehow stealing underwear from most of them and then hanging it out "to dry" on clotheslines around the hall. Becoming "Stella" to nearly the whole dorm when the guy who couldn't remember my name at first started calling me that (the nickname stuck for years!) Late night chat sessions in the hallways. Watching late afternoon Star Trek re-runs in the lounge, or listening to Craig play the piano. Blocking off the drains in the girls' shower to create a steam room and drinking 7 & 7's (what were we thinking..??) When Jim (for a dorm contest) rewrote the lyrics to song (was it "Hey Jude"...?) to make it about me - so sweet! All those hours in Scott's room, listening to music and wondering what the heck we were all about..if anything...?? Taking 8 a.m. calculus (all the way across campus, too) because who could miss out on the fabulous Professor Mary Sunseri? Realizing I never, ever wanted to be a Chem E and dropping Organic Chem class spring quarter (but keeping the lab - that was that fun part). Climbing out Rolf's window with him and basking in the sun on the little lawn there (part of the RF's quarters...? I don't remember), talking about how the year was almost over and everything was about to change completely, again.

The photo above was included in a Stanford missive about Branner's recent rennovation, along with the news that Branner was going to convert to an upperclass dorm. Stern and Wilbur, two much bigger dorm complexes, are going to become all-frosh. I'm sure the kids there will have a fabulous experience too. But there was something about just 180 of us, where the community was small enough that we could (and most of us did) know every other person's name, but large enough that we could put on a spectacular musical (and we did: "Sweet Charity") and have enough diversity that nearly everyone could find a group of friends to hang out with.

It was an amazing year and I treasure the memories, the lessons along with the joys and victories.

[day 98 ... april 8]

I was so sad to find out recently (online, actually, not in the magazine itself) that Simple Scrapbooks, one of my very favorite magazines is closing its doors. I expect it's a victim of the awful economic downturn and just can't get enough advertising for its subscription rate. I completely understand why tough choices like these have to be mad.

But it still makes me sad. I eagerly looked forward to every issue and found that most of the content spoke to me more than other scrapbooking volumes like Creating Keepsakes. Still enjoy CK, no mistake - but often the scrapbook pages and techniques are way above and beyond what I would ever do, or want to do, when scrapbooking. My goal is always to have a great "space" for my photos (as many as possible!) and to tell the story behind them. I like the space to look attractive and balanced, but I don't get into all the artsy stuff like painting photos edges or making elaborate ribbon roses.

I guess I'll need to tap into the Simple Scrapbooking crowd online more now. But it won't be at all the same as having these great ideas come popping into my mailbox every other month. RIP Simple Scrapbooks. :-(

[day 97 ... april 7]

Cory had his first swim lesson ever today. I was so proud of him! He was so nervous, he was shaking like a leaf, but he stuck with it. I think most of it was that he didn't know what to expect, and was afraid his instructor was going to dunk him or something - poor guy.

But teacher Andy took everything very slowly and just tried out some different things with early stages of getting his face in, some float on his back time, and toodling around. Cory was still really nervous, so Andy finally gave him a fun ride around the pool on his back, telling him to kick hard to help them go faster. Cory really liked that, and finally relaxed and enjoyed it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

[day 96 ... april 6]

Spring is finally here! The big cherry tree in back sprang into blossom while we were away for the weekend. There were just some tiny buds when we left, but two days of full sunshine and warm weather brought forth blooms all over the tree. It's such a pretty sight - love greeting the new season with our gorgeous cherry tree heralding the way.

[day 95 ... april 5]

Another nice day at the Snapps. Started off by heading over to a pancake breakfast at a grange in the county - actually pancakes, French toast, or biscuits and gravy, plus scrambled eggs and sausage. Quite the meal!

After filling up the kids (and ourselves), we drove across to the other side of the county to Green Acres cemetery. It had been a long time since I visited Grandpa Rolly's grave and other ancestors buried there, and I wanted to be sure to fit that in on this trip. I wasn't quite sure where the family plots were, but Dad was able to find them first try (nice work!). There's a beautiful old tree that presides over the spot, so that's a clear landmark. But as Dad says, there are a number of grand old trees in the cemetery so it can be tricky to know which is the right one.

Later in the day, we drove around to Bloedel Donovan Park, around on the far side of Lake Whatcom from Dad and Marian's house. (You can almost see their house from the park, but several trees hide nearly all of it.) Another beautiful day to be outside. The boys played on the very cool climber for awhile, and then we checked out the old steam engine across the parking lot. Finally we headed over to the boat launch to watch the boats launching and returning. Cory especially was fascinated by how the trucks back the boat trailers right into the water and then float the boats onto them before winching them up.

We headed south for home around 3:30 in the afternoon. A satisfying and enjoyable trip all around, though concern about Star's recent illness shadowed our visit somewhat. They're taking her to the vet again tomorrow and hopefully will start getting some answers. She's down to skin and bones, and can't continue like this much longer. So we're holding a good thought that they figure out what's wrong quickly and get her back to good health again.

[day 94 ... april 4]

Drove to Bellingham this morning for an overnight visit with Grandpa Stan and Grandma Marian. Of course, visiting with the dogs (Hally, Star, and Cody) was an eagerly anticipated highlight. Niall especially can't get enough of them, and Tynor has a special place for these pooches after spending a lot of time with them at agility trials.

The Snapp grandparents have agility equipment set up in their small backyard: weave poles, several jumps that you can set to multiple heights, and a teeter board (that was not strong enough for kids but was oooh, so tempting!). Cory and Niall had fun running the weave poles and setting the jumps to various levels, and also tried to get Cody to do a run for them. He obliged some of the time, but was much too excited about company and playing to focus for very long.

In the afternoon, we drove over to Chuckanut Beach, south of Fairhaven. Grandpa was meeting with several local folks to walk the beach and talk about options for correcting some environmental issues.

We came along to play on the beach, and it was fabulous. Niall and Cory eagerly explored around the big rocks, finding shells and other signs of sea life. The tide was already out and heading farther out, so the mudflats extended out over the bay. The sun was out, and the scene was just spectacular. A train crossed the front of the cove as we walked up the beach, and we found some cool driftwood to climb on.

After we strolled back, the little guys found the mud irresistible and began making mud castles, walls, rivers. It was hard to tear them away when it was finally time to go. We will definitely be back.

[day 93 ... april 3]

This was so sweet. Cory was home sick from school one day this week. Just a cough, but bad enough that he was up all night so seemed like a bad idea for him to try a whole day at school. The next day when we walked into class, we saw this sweet note that his classmate Rachel had painted for him. Just melted my heart. The kids in this class are so concerned about and empathetic to each other - unusually so, IME.

Cory liked it too. He smiled and ducked his head when he saw it. "I feel a little shy about that, Mom," he said. But beaming. :-)