Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Welcome to February 29th! That only comes once every four years, so it's kind of a special feeling. I overheard one person say that it was a fake day so nothing you did would count. It's kind of an interesting thought. What would you do if it wouldn't "count" the next day? Tell someone what you really think? Cut off your hair? Try something you wouldn't dare before? Eat an entire cake? Run through town naked? Is the thought thrilling or scary? Happy Leap Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taxes '12

In lieu of a fun post this morning, I would just like to say that I finished my taxes! I know it isn't one of the more glamorous household tasks, but it's got to be done. This year it only took us a few hours (oh how long it took me to learn about creating a tax file from the very first doc received) and we actually get something back. R. is always saying that if you get a refund you're loaning money to Uncle Sam, and you need to change something about your withholding. Still, I can't help but be happy when that number in the corner of the screen stays green and does not turn to red. My 2012 tax dream for you: may you find all your documents, get lots of lovely deductions, and have a nice fat refund at the end.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Garden Show '12

It's been several years since we attended our first Seattle Garden Show.  Every year since, I've thought how I really ought to get tickets since we had fun viewing the amazing gardens when we first visited.  However, that's yet another thing I mean to do and then just let slid.  This year though, there was a Caspar Babypants concert embedded in the main event.  What I won't do for myself I will do for my kid, and so that's how the family ended up at the convention center on a recent weekend. 

The display gardens were quite impressive as always.  Some you love, some you goggle at, and some you just scratch your head, but it is entertaining to wander through them with companions.  This year Elder Niece was along, so it was really fun to hear her take on the more outlandish entries (spinning metal sphincter anyone?).  We also browsed the aisles for all the gardening goods available.  There were some incredible plants for sale, and I wished that I had more of a green thumb to work with.

The standout of the show for us was the kids area.  Was it there before and I didn't notice?  Is it new?  I'm not sure, but it is a wonderful place for the 2-? set.  The main attraction, after Caspar (who is always fab), is the birdfood sandbox.  The baby actually got distracted from the music by the need to dig around in there.  Then there are the live chickens and bunnies which you can actually pet!  All sorts of fun ideas are threaded  through the area, and we could have stayed much longer if lunch and naptime hadn't been beckoning.  We will certainly be back next year Caspar or no Caspar. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hooray! Gay Marriage for WA!

Just last week the governor or Washington State signed same sex marriage into law.  I am so impressed and happy to have that form of equality recognized.  I cannot imagine what it would feel like if I'd fallen in love with my husband, gone in to get a marriage license, and then been told "nope sorry you're not wanted and not allowed."  Gay civil liberties are THE civil rights issue of our time.  Hooray for Governor Gregoire for recognizing that fact.  Congratulations to all the couples who will now have the chance to marry.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Atheist: The Worst Kind of Person

Too sad to read this article on Slate about the challenges of being an atheist in America.  In talking to people about it afterwards, some expressed disbelief that anyone would feel the need to hide their beliefs in modern times.  However, in my professional life as a teacher, I've always been very circumspect about my lack of religion.  To do anything else would risk serious consequences.  Of course no teacher is supposed to preach from their desk, but many feel perfectly fine telling about their faith.  I can only imagine the fallout if I were to "come out" to parents, co-workers, or administrators.  Slate is not making this stuff up, and that is really a sad state of affairs.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's '12

Happy belated Valentine's Day!  Love to all our family and friends far and near.  We are celebrating by handing out puppy and kitty cards to our little friends.  A toddler does not understand the importance of this day, but that does not stop her from enjoying many of the trappings.  For dinner tonight with Daddy?  Mushroom mac'n'cheese, asparagus, salad, and then choc cake! What could be better?

Monday, February 13, 2012

House Hunting Round #3: Part 2

A little babysitting from granny (thanks!) and we were off on our very first round of house hunting with our new realtor.  We had seven properties to see, and the goal was to decide if we like anything in the more modest end of our price range.  I was quite prepared to see some sad small and dated houses, but I have to say that I was really fairly inspired!  We didn't  find anything we wanted to buy, but we saw more than one place that would work very well but for a few tweaks of location or lot.  All in all I think we are on the right track, and I am hoping that as the property market picks up going in to spring, we might have decent chance of finding something we really like at a reasonable price.  Yay for hope!

Friday, February 10, 2012

One Trick Pony

When you are a stay-at-home mom, you have to take joy in the small things. A child's smile, a home-cooked meal, or a bunch of bulbs blooming in your yard and all that crap, urm, important stuff. Then there are the days when you pat yourself on the back for having cleaned your child's sippy cup with a noodle. That's right, a noodle. My daughter loves her straw cups because she can have things other than milk or water. This time it was a blueberry banana smoothie (so popular and with only plain yogurt as the binder!). The only trouble is that ground up blueberries are hard to clean, and in a silicon straw they are nearly impossible. Thus the application of a noodle, uncooked of course, to tease out those last bits.  I have a graduate degree and a professional teaching certificate, but what really matters, in the here and now, is my noodle skills.

Monday, February 06, 2012

House Hunting Round #3: Part 1

M and I have once again decided to enter into that chaotic process known as the house hunt.  I know what you're thinking, we have a perfectly nice house, so why should we go looking for trouble now?  I agree that our current house is excellent in many ways.  I love the family room right off the kitchen, I enjoy having two bathrooms upstairs, and I love the yard.  However there are certain things I don't love about it namely the postage stamp of a kitchen and the 8x10 bedroom.  We always knew this house was a stepping stone to something else, but we thought it would work for ten years or more.  Then came the job change. 

When he rides the bus, M now spends up to 90 minutes (assuming he doesn't run into any full busses which does happen sometimes) EACH WAY on his commute.  If he drives that time is reduced, but then he has to pay for parking and tolls.  There's just no good fix, and it means that we see him less than we would like.  C spends a lot of time saying "Dada go work?  Dada come home?"  Thus we can reduce the commute considerably by moving closer to Goliath Corp.  All it entails is throwing around massive sums of money and packing all our worldly goods into boxes.  No trouble at all! 

This is how we find ourselves once again visiting (har!) with realtors and mortgage brokers.  Ahh it seems like only yesterday that I was hunting for my very first condo with  an incredibly nice and ineffectual young realtor named Eric.  How times do change.  At least the whole process is not nearly so daunting on the third time around.  Wish us luck!

Friday, February 03, 2012

Happy Balls

Delphinium is at that wonderful age where she really wants to help.  She loves to push a the little cart in the grocery store (a serious job, not a fun game) and unload the groceries from the bag when we get home.  Most nights she wants to set the table, and we give her first placemats, then silverware, napkins, etc.  You end up with this incredibly sweet little pile of items precariously balanced on the edge of the table.  May this helpful nature please, please continue!

The other weekend the urge to help was strong, but the chore M was accomplishing was shredding bills.  It's not like she can get anywhere near the shredder, so it was proving a bit of a challenge to keep her happy.  Then he hit on the idea of giving her a crayon, so she could "write" on things before they went into the machine.  She thought this was a marvelous idea and scribbled a way for quite some time.  Then she decided that it was more fun to draw circles on all the papers, and if you're going to do circles then you might as well add eyes and smiles.  "Happy balls!" she kept saying over and over.  I think this is the way to make peace with your bills; cover them with happy balls before pitching them. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Pre-School Preview and Surprises

M and I attended a pre-school preview recently (a place where various schools set up booths and try to woo you with their awesomeness), and we got to meet up with our friends R and J who also have a young child.  They were shopping around, gathering info, chatting with directors, and oh-by-the-way GOING INTO LABOR!  While they already have a little girl, they were also awaiting the imminent arrival of their second baby.  Every few minutes, J would stop talking TO HAVE A CONTRACTION, and then go back to calmly discussing whatever was at hand.  I was totally impressed.  When I was in labor I could barely remember to blink.  She is one tough chick if you'll pardon the expression.

It helps that the hospital was right up the street from the convention center, so it was no problem to head in (har!) once things got intense.  We parted company at about 6pm.  We went off to have sushi while they went off to have a baby.  By approximately 9:30 there was a picture of the loveliest little baby posted online. What a lovely way to begin.