Friday, June 5, 2009

[day 156 ... june 5]

This is Cory's pet rock from the TLS Art Festival, perched on our deck railing. Just so cute, and he was so funny about treating it just like a pet. One that does just what he wants it to, and doesn't need food, water, or walking!

[day 155 ... june 4]

I don't take enough bathtub photos! Well - Cory is the only one who will let me take them these days, but I have few even of him. Here he is being adorable as ever, and...putting his ears in the water! This is a brand new skill, developed during swim lessons. Makes it so much easier to wash his hair now!

The musical dolphin floating by his head is part of a set given to us by Grandma Frances many years ago. She was enchanted by the idea of a set of bath toys that you could make music with. Each dolphin floats in its own plastic "inner tube" which you can link one to another, and as they float, you can bop them on the head and each makes a different musical note. It's pretty amusing.

[day 154 ... june 3]

The Little School parking lot on a typical day. This was after the morning rush, so it's not full. It's next to impossible to find a parking spot in the main lot during "rush hours" between 8:45 and 9 a.m. and anytime close to 3 p.m. Fortunately there is overflow parking by the old schoolhouse - but that does mean driving out to the main street again and making a (or another) left turn across traffic back into the school driveway.

I just thought it was cute seeing this Smart Car parked next to our minivan and all the other big cars at school. Someday we'll either wonder that there were ever such huge vehicles on the road or we'll remember the Smart Car and its ilk fondly as we trundle around in our electric cars of whatever size.

[day 153 ... june 2]

Here are Cory's cute little toes, but also a visual reminder of his "fruit leather toenail" - a lovely purple-colored toenail that resulted from an unknown injury several months ago. The toenail is finally growing out so we thought we'd better catch a photo of it before it was gone altogether!

Cory has one other special toe (on the same foot actually) that has only a wisp of a toenail. It's always been that way, since he was born. One less toenail to trim, is how I see it. He feels a bit less cavalier about it. But at least it doesn't actively bother him now like it used to.

[day 152 ... june 1]

Cory and I spent the morning yesterday assembling some IKEA shelves that I bought last Fall sometime. They go together reasonably fast, but it helps to have dry weather to work out in the driveway where there's plenty of room.

After we got them finished, I moved a bunch of boxes, tupperwares, etc. out of the garage, got Tynor to help me move the new shelves in, and reloaded them with everything. Much improved! Small steps toward more organization but we take what we can get.

[day 151 ... may 31]

Our new chicken tractor has arrived! Dad threw this one together in just a few days, and it looks great. Lots of room for the hens, and still light enough to move around to different spots. Also plenty of space for food and water, so no more having to replace those every single day without fail. Dad got a big hanging food container that goes under the roof area, and an ingenious waterer that you can fill through the top (rather than filling and inverting, as most of them work). It's a great setup and should work out really well. Thanks, Dad!

We had a bit of fun getting the hens moved to their new home. They thought we were "trapping" them or something - only one of them went directly into the new coop and the others wiggled their way out to escape! We chased them around the yard for awhile and eventually corraled them all into their new home where they wandered around looking perplexed. They'll get used to it soon enough, and will love having all that room, I'm sure.

[day 150 ... may 30]

I was roused this morning by Cory running into the bedroom and exclaiming, "The chickens' door is open!" Yes indeed it was, again, and the boldest of our hens was out wandering on the lawn. She must have figured out how to get the door to open by rapping on it with her beak and wiggling the latch loose. I should have known, since it's happened several times now - should have added some duct tape! But I didn't think it would happen regularly. Now I think she's got it quite figured out.

She didn't want to be caught this time, and the other hens eventually started venturing out when I left the door open hopefully. So finally closed them back in there and decided to wait until evening when hopefully our Alpha Hen would decide she wanted the safety of the hen house again.

Unfortunately, by evening she had discovered she could climb the deck steps and get to some very delectable young green beans, strawberry flowers, and other treats in our deck garden. Once she figured that out, nothing would deter her. I tried putting up a barricade in front of the steps, which she wiggled through. And when I reinforced it, she decided to just fly over it! So then I knew I had to catch her and put her back in the chicken tractor. I was not going to lose our precious few veggie plants to a silly hen on the lam - no indeed. She must have sensed that I was done having her out and about, because she actually settled into one spot (on the deck, of course) and let me come up behind her and eventually nab her, with just a minimum of squawing and protest.

She was not happy to be popped back into her "hen jail" though. Kept trying to fly out through the chicken wire, poor thing. But Dad is coming to the rescuse tomorrow with the new, bigger chicken tractor so it won't be for long. I'm relieved that our plants are safe, and that all the hens are back in a safe place for the night. Whew.

[day 149 ... may 29]

Today was the much-anticipated Pizza and Pajama Party at school, hosted by teachers Melissa and Donna as an auction fundraiser. Most of the kids in class came and they had such a fun setup arranged in the Center Room, including a "movie theatre" made from Ellen's equipment.

It was a bit crazy getting kids home, some kind of dinner made/arranged for everyone, then running Cory back down to school for the 6:00 start time for the party. But then I took a couple of hours and just relaxed, while Niall was home with the big boys (with clear guidance about what he could/should do while I was gone). I didn't want to make that roundtrip three times in one day. So I took some pictures in the school garden (great low evening light), then went to a local Starbucks and played with some photo collages while enjoying a nice hot cocoa for a treat. It worked out well for both Cory and me. :-)

[day 148 ... may 28]

Cory lined up all the watering cans at the faucet out back, all ready to water the plants on the deck. I had mentioned to him that we could fill all the watering cans with the extra water in the wading pool in the front yard. But he skipped right to filling them up the easy way, from the faucet!

[day 147 ... may 27]

Mary, Addie and Rachel's mom, signing them in for class in the morning. DSHS requires sign in/sign out for all classes that have any 4-year-olds so that is part of our morning and afternoon routine.

Cory is showing Addie the cool impression his hand made. Such a fun toy!

[day 146 ... may 26]

After a four-day weekend, today it was back to the routine, including swim lessons. The boys are making so much progress - it's great to see. I do get anxious watching them working at learning these new skills - especially Cory who is not nearly as thrilled with it all as Niall is. Not sure how much longer I'll keep doing lessons for him at this point, though I'm glad he's now able to put his head under and has learned to float on his back and a few other basics. I just don't think he'll be mastering actual strokes for quite awhile, and think if we come back to lessons in another year or two, it'll be just about the same as if we keep going for a year and then get to the same place.

I do want the boys to have more pool time, though. Thinking about joining the local Y so we have access to a pool nearby, especially through the long winter.

[day 145 ... may 25]

Beach day with Grandma Shannon, Auntie Garland, and baby Rolly! We met them at Juanita Beach in the afternoon for a fun time in the sand and water. Our first trip this year to our favorite beach.
We brought the inflated alligator and Niall and Cory enjoyed toodling around on that quite a bit. The water is still quite chilly though, so we weren't exactly swimming on this trip (though lots of wading in deep!) Mostly, though, the kids dug holes in the sand and tried to bolster the sides to keep the water from pouring out and other fun sand play. We brought our bazillion sand toys (note to self: time to weed out duplicates so we aren't hauling so much to the beach every time) which attracted a number of "friends" who enjoyed playing with them too. There were plenty to go around.

[day 144 ... may 24]

Our first visit of the season to Yakima Fruit Market (in Bothell)! A favorite local market from our years living in Bothell, though we don't get there nearly as often now that we're 15-20 minutes away in Woodinville. We loaded up with a bunch of fresh veggies and fruit, and the boys each had a turn on the painted wooden rooster, which used to entertain Kellen and Tynor too, back in the day.

Then we head outside to the flowers and plants area and rounded up plants for our deck garden: zucchini, cucumbers, tomato, parsley, chives, and (at Niall's special request) a jalepeno. He's convinced that he "loves" jalepenos but I think he's more intrigued by the idea of loving them. :-)

When we got home, I got the planters ready and we popped the plants into them straight away. Also planted green beans and sunflowers, so now our garden is complete and we just need to water and wait to harvest all that goodness!

[day 143 ... may 23]

Folklife 2009! A wonderful time, as always. Though the incredible weather brought out more people than I have ever seen there before. By the middle of the afternoon, there were literally walls of people on every walkway and open area. Niall, Cory and I held hands and managed to get through the masses but it was a challenge.

Niall enjoyed having a lamb gyro and eating an elephant ear - two treats he looks forward to at Folklife every year.

The boys loved playing in the International Fountain and in another, smaller fountain area that we found. Water play is always a highlight of the festival for us. But this year, they also were really intrigued by all the musical groups we encountered and we stopped and listened to many groups - really fun. So many great musicians - I just loved hearing them all. Wish I'd had the stamina to stay longer (we left around 4, after arriving at 11 or so) and/or return for another day or two. But it's a lot of work managing two little people at such a big event: a lot of walking and tracking and finding bathrooms and all the rest.

One of these years, I'm going to get back into contradancing at Folklife. I miss it!

[day 142 ... may 22]

Driving home this afternoon after picking up Cory from Grandma Shannon's, we saw this car with flames spewing out, just as we got off the freeway by Dairy Queen in Woodinville. There was (understandably) a big backup, though the fire had just started shortly before we crept by with all the other rubber-neckers. A fire engine was just fighting its way through traffic to the scene as we went past.

Someone was out directly traffic past the car, and I wondered if drivers going that direction (next to the car) were worried, as I would have been, that the car might become fully engulfed and explode while they drove past! I could see that the impromptu traffic director was gesturing vigorously so I imagine people were either afraid or so intrigued that they didn't want to keep moving.

[day 141 ... may 21]

Cory's construction and paperworks boom continues. Here he wrapped a box in colorful construction paper so he could put a "present" for me inside. The present was far less important than the carefully decorated gift box. He even made a construction paper "bow" to put on top. I could hardly bear to open it, he had put so much work into it!

[day 140 ... may 20]

This cute little bunny is apparently living under the deck. I keep scaring it accidentally when I walk down the stairs to feed the chickens. It scampers out from under the stairs and heads for the corner of the house.

We have a bumper crop of bunnies this year. In the early mornings or evenings, you can see a half dozen out munching grass and slowly hopping here and there. We will definitely need a bunny fence if we ever have a veggie garden down at lawn level, instead of just the pots up on the deck.

[day 139 ... may 19]

Did we just say summer had finally arrived? This is our payback! The rain just *poured* down tonight, and the gutter on the back of the house is really full so the water overflowed and pounded down on the kitchen windows. The sound reverberates through the house and sounds like thunder crashing inside - even up the stairs.

I really need to get those gutters cleaned.

[day 138 ... may 18]

Niall had a lemon bar at the Little School Art Festival, from the bake sale there, and he's been begging for lemon bars at home ever since. I finally got some fresh lemons and made a batch the other day. They were delicious!

Now I have a whole bunch of leftover lemons and I'm going to make fresh lemonade. I found a great recipe online and can't wait to try it out.

[day 137 ... may 17]

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day today. Really felt like summer might actually come, eventually. Cory was thrilled to head outside to play in the water, after a long winter of chilly weather.

Cory sprayed with the hose for awhile, and then locked it on so he could run under it like a sprinkler. He especially liked taking a towel with him and hiding under it while the water rained down, and then dashing out. Such fun!

[day 136 ... may 16]

Today we made pretzels from the kit that Allison gave Cory for his birthday. Niall and Cory loved rolling out the pretzel "logs" and then shaping them for baking.

They both tried the chocolate dip that came with the kit, and Niall tried the jalepeno cheese dip too. But in the end, we all enjoyed the pretzels plain the best. Yum!

[day 135 ... may 15]

Niall loves swimming days at schools. His class goes swimming about every other Friday - along with the other Woods Building classes, typically - at the Bellevue Aquatic Center pool. The school rents the pool for an hour in the afternoon so the TLS kids have it all to themselves.

Niall is enjoying the time even more now that he can put his head under and is learning the beginnings of swimming. Loves to practice and has great plans for improving quickly. I'm sure he will, too!

[day 134 ... may 14]

I love it when the lilacs are finally blooming in the spring. They are my very favorite flower. I love the color and form, but the scent of course is what really endears them to me.

We have one little lilac bush at home, planted by the previous owners, but it has never done much. I keep thinking I should look into how to properly care for lilacs and see if I can give it some encouragement. I would just love to have a big flowering lilac bush to enjoy every spring.

[day 133 ... may 13]

This is the lovely tie-dye t-shirt that Cory made at the Art Festival last weekend. He explicitly did NOT want to "tie dye" it ("Take the rubberbands out!") but did enjoy squeezing lots of dyes onto it - especially black. I was thinking it would turn out very dark, but some of the greens and other colors did manage to survive.

[day 132 ... may 12]

Swine Flu fear has really taken off, but from what I've read, it's not killing nearly as many people as regular flu does and those who get sick don't get any sicker than you do with the normal flu. So I haven't felt the least bit panicked.

Of course, they say that it is likely to come back with a vengeance in the Fall, so we should be on the lookout for that. But in the meantime, we're just continuing with our usual routine of lots of hand washing, covering our coughs, and everything else we do to try to keep the bugs at bay.

[day 131 ... may 11]

Cory has just been on such a roll this spring with making things from paper and constructables - at school and at home. These are some "puffles" he made that look amazingly like their real-life counterparts on Club Penguin, the online world that Niall and Cory enjoy exploring and playing games in.

Cory set these up so that we could "buy" them (just as you do in the game), and sometimes he'd offer some of them up for free. Then he had little homes we were supposed to keep them in, and he even created paper leashes so we could take them for walks and give them exercise. Just thinking it all through and creating, creating, creating.