Saturday, November 29, 2014

Giving thanks

Lately, I've been thinking about how holiday traditions change as I've grown older.

When I was little, it was my job to set the table and basically just play until Thanksgiving dinner was ready.  After a few years, I helped clear the dishes and then was taught how to hand wash (most of) them, and dry and put them away.  Slowly as time has passed, the traditions have been handed down from each generation to the next.  Little by little, our roles in this holiday have grown, but the traditions stand.

Thanksgiving has always been the holiday that our family has spent with my grandparents and there have only been a handful of years in my life that they haven't joined us.  This year was obviously a bit different - it being the first year of Thanksgiving without Papa.  Grandma still made the journey up to Spokane with the help of my mom, and though he was missed, he was ever-present.  Some people are just like that!

We left for Spokane on Wednesday afternoon, thinking it would be nice to drive Highway 2 and enjoy less traffic and better scenery.  WRONG.  As we ascended the hill up to Waterville, you could see a thick fog bank hanging over the flats.  I had an immediate panic attack, but kept it to myself except for the frantic clutching of the arm of my car door.  Mind you, it was daylight, which is worse with thick white fog because it is so bright and fog lights do nothing to help that.  Mark was as cool as a cucumber and the kids were engrossed in some Disney movie and had no idea that anyone else existed.  I'm pretty sure I panicked enough for all five of us.  For the rest of our lives.

My pictures are strange and not in any order, but basically we got to my parents house and I had a shot or two of Stoli (salted caramel...mmm) to calm my nerves and soon after the kids went to bed.

Thursday was relatively low-key.  Most of the cooking had been done and I had baked my pies and brought them so only little things were left.  I really like being in charge of the relish tray, probably because I still like to put black olives on my fingers.

As we waited for Beth's family to arrive, I got the football pools filled out nicely and we commenced our gambling by mid-morning:

The toddlers took turns emptying the Tupperware drawer while my mom worked around their mess:

 Keith did a small-children balancing act because that is what uncles (and dads) are for:

And our dinner was relaxed, very tasty, and full of good conversation and memories.

Friday we had no plans but to enjoy our time with my grandma (Gigi) before we left the following day.  AJ wasn't too sure what to do, so he frowned.  This was the best picture anyone got!

She taught the girls Old Maid and they played on and on until she couldn't handle it anymore! All three of them laughed the whole time and squealed when one ended up the "Cold Maid" as Ilsa called her.

My mom snuck in to catch the card sharks in action:


Jensen loved watching the birds out front and the people who were walking their dogs in the unseasonably warm weather.

I wish all of you a happy holiday season and hope you were able to be with your extended families to give thanks!

Friday, November 21, 2014

the first snow of the year!

Before we talk about the snow, let's all comment on how cute that pumpkin hat is.  I would wear one if it came in my size.  It's the only one Jensen likes at the moment and will walk around the house asking for his "punkie", even if it isn't time to go outside.  It's a must-have winter accessory.

This was our first snowfall - one I am happy to have shared with Jensen because he notices so much more now that he is almost-two.  We had just come back from a trip to town and when I set him down in the driveway, he was baffled (as you can see in the first picture).   After a few seconds of watching Coda hop through the leaves and bite at the snowflakes, he caught on and ran in little circles with her.

It was adorable.

Then we had to go inside because there were groceries in the car needing to be unloaded.


Flailing and kicking on the wet cement.

Running toward the street to get away from me.

Good times.

I wonder if the neighbors enjoyed the show...

Yay for snow anyway!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

them are some big shoes to fill, son

Jensen is finally in the wear-other-peoples-clothing stage of existence.  The big draw is Mark's shoes, followed closely by the girls' hot pink flashing-heel rain boots.  Those he enjoys when not wearing pants.  That is a picture for another day.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Most days, this is the view out of my kitchen window.

The cat has taken advantage of the patio table being pushed up against the side of the house. This gives it access to the kitchen window and direct contact with me, since I am the one in there most of the time.  Mark has called it the "Cat in the Box" because at night the glare from the lights inside the house make it hard to see outside to the deck and the cat will patiently wait on the table until someone walks into the kitchen near the sink and then will pop up and paw at the window.

It sounds like it would be cute but I've had several coronaries because of this.

We are still unsure of where it stays at night, but it always seems to have some pink insulation stuck to different parts of it's fur so it must be in an attic or garage?  I'm pretty sure ours is unreachable, but you never know!

And after being our stray for long enough, it finally allows the kids to pet it and feed it.  Jensen runs at it and meows loudly so he is not allowed to help take care of the cat anymore.

That's it for the cat update!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

throwback parenting

Did your mom (or dad) ever cut your hair when you were little?  Mine did.  I had many different hair styles over the course of elementary school, from a bob with bangs - you know, the bangs that start at the crown of your head and take up an entire third of your hair - to a mullet, and also a basic boy cut. This range of styles covered K through 5th Grade and once I hit middle school and begged for a perm, my mom had a family friend who was a hair stylist be in charge.  Not to say we didn't have professional cuts from time to time before then, but a good portion of hair cutting was done by my mom.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I decided to cut Ilsa's hair myself.

She had been asking to get a considerable amount of length cut off since Freya had her before-school major hair cut.  I kept putting off getting her an appointment until one Saturday when I was bored and she was agreeable to me being the hair stylist.

My girls both have pretty wicked cowlicks and their hair grows straight down in a sheet over their faces.  No amount of clips has ever done a good enough job and the longer the hair, the heavier and less manageable it became.

I don't know how the professionals do it, but I figured letting her hair part the way it wanted to (naturally a semi-severe side part) and then cutting was the way to go.

Ilsa was great.  She sat very still on the stool in the dining room and let me move her, tilt her head, and rotate her without complaint.  She was sad not to get the special sparkly hairspray that Kameon uses at her salon, but I promised her I would curl it and spray it to make it look pretty.

First picture, no smiling.  She is just now letting me take more pictures and not hiding from them so a non-smiling picture is better than nothing.

Second picture she is laughing because I said something weird.  Also, I told her this one was being sent to grandparents and they like happy pictures, not mopey ones.  

The second part to this post also reminds me of things my parents would do when my sister and I were younger.

They had an Atari gaming system that would be brought out for special occasions or days when we were particularly bored and had nothing else to do.  We didn't see it often, and it was only hooked up to the tiny TV in the living room so the graphics were black and purple for some reason, but it was thrilling, nonetheless.

Aside from having a Wii, PS3, XBox 360, and XBox One (I realize that sounds like we are rolling in the dough - we are not), Mark got a Nintendo 64 console years ago and then put it away in a closet.  I have no explanation for this other than it must have been a good deal because it was several years outside of being cool anymore.

So on our boring, hair-cutting-experiment Saturday, I dragged out the 64 and hooked it up to the TV in our bedroom for the girls to play.  The box it was in had about 10 different game cartridges, but they weren't really age-appropriate, though they looked fun.  The one that was more suited to their ability level was Donkey Kong Racing.  What a hoot!  Other than the fact that there is only one 'girl' character to fight over choose from, things went pretty smoothly. Freya was flustered by her inability to steer and follow the road while Ilsa thought it was hilarious to go the wrong way and run into her sister.  

We let them play for about an hour and I think they only did about four races total because no one could figure out the right way to the finish line.

I like having some parallels in my parenting to that of my upbringing - it kind of makes me feel like what I'm doing is the right thing.  Do any of you ever feel that way?  I sure hope so!