Monday, November 30, 2009

Chanterelles

It's been an unusually rainy fall in Plain, which means monster Chanterelles! After lunch on Friday we went for a walk in the woods (to work off some turkey) and gathered these beauties:

This one is the largest Chanterelle I've ever seen.

Cleaned and trimmed, there were enough of these to give some away, eat a bunch, and STILL put some in the freezer for later. Delicious!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

Most of all, I'm thankful for Conan: my dear, sweet, enthusiastic, charming, healthy, talented and beautiful boy. I'm thankful for my loving husband, my wonderful family, and terrific friends. I'm thankful for abundance, safety, security, employment, housing, entertainment and beauty. I'm resoundingly thankful that I was lucky enough to be born into a time (and place) where the ravages of war, pestilence, famine, natural disasters or zombie hordes have not impacted me or my family.

I'm thankful that we'll be heading to Plain for a delicious meal and I don't have to bring anything but this little boy and his sweet smile.
But you know, everyone says those same things. I got to thinking about it this morning, and I realized that I'm really thankful for all the mundane miracles of my comfortable modern life. So here's a shout-out to all the little things (in no particular order) that I'm thankful that I have in my life, but that I usually take for granted:
  • Soap Seriously. It kills germs, removes oil and grease, and makes things smell better. Soap is incredible, and we take it for granted all the time.

  • Refrigeration Keeping my food fresh and safe day and night. From the farm to the store to my very own home, it's amazing what refrigeration does for us.

  • Hot Water Ooh yeah. I love hot showers. And we enjoy hot water at the touch of a lever, any time. No building a fire, no messing with kettles, it just comes right out of the tap.

  • Indoor Plumbing Often overlooked, but I dare any American or Canadian to live without it for long. Outhouses (even when well maintained) are not warm and pleasant. Having to melt snow to make your tea is only fun a couple of times.

  • Antibiotics An incredible medical breakthrough. Penicillin was only discovered in 1928, and in less than 100 years we have already begun to take for granted and abuse these amazing medicines.

  • Electricity I don't know how it works, but I sure do like having it available. Reliable, consistant, plentiful electricity makes so much of our modern lifestyle possible.

  • Tea Not too long ago, people spent years on risky treks and voyages around the globe in order to obtain tea. Now all I have to do is walk to the cupboard to enjoy a cup.

  • Telephones People complain about not being able to get away from their phones, but think about what it used to be like before they existed. If only there was some way to let the neighbors know that you needed help!

  • Public Schools Free education. I know, College isn't free. And some public schools are better than others. But still, we have a system in place where all kids are eligible to learn to read and write, and the basics of math, science, literature and more are taught. That's pretty amazing.

  • Washers & Dryers I'm so glad I don't have to spend hours down by the river, beating my clothes on rocks and hoping it won't rain until they dry.

  • Sugar I know, it's not good for us to eat a bunch of sugar. But it is sure nice to have available to put in my tea, or make cookies with, right there in my pantry.

  • Computers Seriously, how did people every get along without these? Just in my lifetime they have changed and improved so much that the old ones are nearly unrecognizeable. Why, I remember when a 14.4 external modem was a sweet peice of hardware!

  • Baby Formula It's come a long, long way. Like sugar, it has its drawbacks, but I am SO glad that safe, nutritious, balanced infant formula was available for us when breastfeeding didn't work out as well as planned.

  • Comfortable Clothes Boned corsets and hoop skirts, anyone? Powdered wigs and ruffled collars?

  • Fresh Produce all year long I *like* being able to go to the grocery store and buy Mangos and Avocados and Bell Peppers and Oranges in November in Washington.

  • Spices Like tea, people used to risk their lives for spices. Now I just go to my pantry when I want nutmeg, cloves, or cinnamon. Can you imagine not having pepper at your table?

  • Wood Stoves There's nothing like a nice fire NOT filling your house with smoke, or burning it down, while you enjoy its cheery warmth.

  • Books It wasn't too long ago that books were items of extreme luxury, available only to the weathiest few. Teen vampire romance novels might not seem like that much of a blessing, but there's also Calvin & Hobbes collections, The Joy of Cooking, and the Audubon Field Guide to North American Birds, to name just a few.

  • Water-proof boots I don't like getting my feet wet.

  • Sippy Cups How DID parents ever teach kids to drink out of cups before sippy cups? I mean, without having water spilled all over everything?

  • Garbage Pickup For a very reasonable fee, people come to my house every week and take my garbage & recycling away. All I have to do is remember to put it out at the end of the driveway. How amazing is that?

So... What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Birthday

Another year gone by; they just keep going faster and faster.

I had a lovely day. Dave and Anita took Conan for the evening so we could go out on the town kid free. Wooo! We started with beer & appetisers at Boundary Bay, then dinner at Pepper Sisters, and finally fancy cocktails and a free birthday desert at Nimbus. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Double Baby Day

Yesterday having both Conan and Chloe together all day was super fun. The cuteness was nearly deadly. They had lots of fun together - Looking out the window at the dog...

Climbing into the toybox together...

and of course playing with Grandma!

Here's a video collage of some of the day's activities.
video

In the evening we drove Chloe home for a pre-birthday gathering with several of her little friends. The highlight (at least for the toddlers) were the balloons. Jon got Chloe four helium balloons tied in a bunch with a clip that attached them to her shirt. She loved them; so did all the other babies.

It turned into a real mob scene, until Chloe retreated behind the dining room table so she could enjoy her balloons in peace. Conan's birthday is coming up soon, and I think I know what to get him! I had a good time as well, visiting with Jon and Nadege and the other parents, catching up with some old friends as well as meeting some new folks.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Visiting the Family

Conan and I are in Plain for a visit with my family. (Papa stayed home, he had to work.) It's really nice to be here, just kicking back enjoying a relaxed visit. Yesterday we went down to Wenatchee and had lunch with (L-R) my Uncle Kenneth, Aunt Eleanor, Aunt Patty, and Cousin Joyce. It was the first time Conan had met any of them, and I think it's safe to say he charmed the socks off all of them. My mom & dad and Nadege and Chloe were also there, at the other end of the table. We had a really nice meal, and afterwards moved outside into the restaurant's yard where the babies played in the flowerbed and the adults chatted and enjoyed the sunshine.
Chloe doesn't walk yet, but she doesn't let that stop her! She climbed all over the rocks, very bold and determined; not to mention cute. She will be turning one on Saturday. It's hard to believe it's already been a year!

Conan was a pretty tired boy by the time we got home. He and Grandma Debbie enjoyed some some nice snuggle time together.

Today Chloe is here at mom & dad's place; mom babysits her on Fridays. She and Conan had fun playing together for about and hour and then both went down for their morning naps. So now it's just me and mom, enjoying a quiet cup of tea and watching the snow fall outside. What a perfect way to spend my vacation!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Busy Weekend


The Taylor family came up to Bellingham for the weekend, and the Ericsons surprised us all with a Friday night visit as well. We had a wonderful dinner party over at the Guzstiltzman household. Conan and Kiah had fun playing together and baby Morgan was her cute cuddly self.

Luckily Aimee had packed some jammies so before we left we got Conan ready for bed and he fell asleep on my lap before we could even get him in the car. He was super tired, just zonked. I love that floppy warm baby cuddle time - I get so little of it with this busy little guy.
I have some more pictures but I'm just too tired to mess around with downloading them from the camera. The two above were both taken by Gabe; there are more on his site under the heading "Week 16, Nov 2009".

Update- I downloaded my pictures from the camera at last and I had to add this one of me and Morgan:

Sunday, November 01, 2009

First Halloween

Flight of the bat-baby:
video
Conan dressed up as a bat for his first Halloween. Mama and Papa dressed up as bat Biologists (Chiropterologists) and followed him around. We all went downtown and trick-or-treated in Bellingham with Brian and Chloe and some other friends. Chloe made a very convincing Yoda. Later we met up with Abby (Leia) over at Grandpa & Grandma Mapes house.

We all had a lot of fun. Conan didn't really get the trick-or-treat aspect of Halloween, although he enjoyed seeing all the kids and being downtown. He had a little basket and he sometimes waved it in the general direction of the person handing out treats, so we still managed to collect some candy. Of course as a good parents we took all his candy away and dutifully ate it ourselves. :)