Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Conan's Pink Star

When we decorated our tree, we found we didn't have a good topper. So I suggested to Conan that we ought to make a star. I grabbed the construction paper, and pulled out a couple sheets of yellow and orange paper. Conan eyed them skeptically. "No, Mama" he said. "It would look better made out of pink." Now it was my turn to be skeptical, but I went ahead and complied. We traced out a star-topped cone on the pink paper, and Conan helped me cut it out. Then we got out the sticker box to choose some stickers to decorate it with. I thought the dinosaurs would be nice, but Conan went straight to the pink fuzzy alphabet stickers. I was still pretty skeptical, but his design really came together in the end, and looks great on the tree.

 I will treasure it for ever.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Playdough Party

For Conan's birthday we had a playdough party.  It turned out really well, and it was simple to put together. I just made a dozen batches of playdough, went to the Goodwill for spatulas, mellon ballers, scoops, and potato mashers galore, and put a plastic table cloth over the dining room table.  Voila!

The playdough provided hours of fun for a dozen kids aged 2-5, including the birthday boy (who decided that his shirt was just slowing him down).



Some of the grown ups even got in on the playdough fun.  Because really, who can resist?


After we picked up the tools and the big peices of playdough, the plastic tablecloth made clean up a cinch.  We packed the playdough into medium-sized ziplock bags and sent them home with kids after the party.

Then it was time for cake!  We got a Thomas the Tank Engine cake from the grocery store bakery.  It was a big hit with all the kids.  I do feel a little guilt about not making a homemade cake, but realistically I just didn't have time to bake the cake as well as do the other preparations.

Conan got a lot of great new toys and books for his birthday, and had a tremendous amount of fun. All in all, the playdough party idea was a total success. 

Happy Third Birthday, Conan!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Photo Shoot with Aimee

A couple weeks ago Aimee came over for a visit and took pictures of Conan and Morgan.  We had a lot of fun, and got some great pictures of both the kids.  It took me a while to narrow it down to my favorites, there were so many to choose from.  Gabe has more shots of Morgan on his site here.
Click to pop through to see the larger versions on Picasa.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Birthday Thoughts

It's my birthday!  36 years of being me, and it just keeps getting better.  :)

Soon it will be Conan's birthday also, so we are talking a lot about birthdays these days.  This year will be the first birthday party where Conan really "gets" birthdays, so I've been thinking about ways to make it fun. 

Last night I asked Conan what his favorite part of birthday parties was.

Without hesitation, he replied "Eating cake!"
"OK" I said, "but what else do you like?"
"Ice Cream!" he shouted.
"Uh-huh, I know. What else?"
"Pie! And cupcakes!"
"OK" I said again.  "But what do you like to DO at parties?"
"Maybe have cookies?" he replied after a thoughtful pause.
"Right, but what about games?" I said, trying to steer the conversation away from desserts.  "What kind of fun games do you like to play with your friends when you go to parties?"
He thought about that for a little while, and then his face brightened. 
"Trick or Treat!  That's my favorite."
"With real candy, Mama." he added helpfully. "Lots of candy."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Playdough: It's Easy!

So it turns out that playdough is actually as easy to make as everyone says.  Who knew?

Well, OK, nearly everyone.  Despite frequently being told that it was super easy to make, I always thought it would be hard to get it to turn out just right.  This is probably because I have a vivid memory of my Mom making a disastrous attempt at playdough when I was a kid.  I'm not sure what we did wrong back then, but whatever it was, I was able to avoid it this time.  Our playdough turned out absolutely perfect, without a doubt every bit as good as the store-bought stuff.  And Conan loved helping to make it.
Cooking this stuff was pretty strange.  At first it really didn't seem like the goo in the pot could possibly work out, but after a few minutes stirring it on the stove it quite suddenly changed texture and voila! we clearly had acheived playdough.

The recipe said to add the color to the water, which did make it super easy to blend it in, but it also meant that all the playdough was the same color.  I used yellow, and then took about half the finished dough and worked in some blue coloring to make green.  (I would also have made some orange, but then I discovered we have no red food coloring - I think it all got used to make fake blood a couple Halloweens ago.)  It was pretty easy to work the color through, and kneading the dough while it was still warm helped to work it smooth.  Next time I don't think I'll worry about coloring the whole batch, and instead split it up after it is cooked and make several colors.
Conan's favorite thing to do with the playdough is to make cookies.  If I set him up with some cookie cutters, his toy rolling pin, a plate and a spatula, he'll really crank them out!
He's quite serious about the cookie-cutting process.  Here's a quick instructional video, in case you needed some pointers on how to make cookies from a real expert.

With cold, rainy weather settling in and lots of indoor playtime in our future, I'm really glad to have finally taken the plunge and made my own playdough.  Seriously, give it a try!  Take it from me: it's as easy as everyone always told you.

Here's the recipe we used:

Cream of Tarter Playdough Recipe

2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of coloured water
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens - just a few minutes. Keeps best in the fridge in plastic containers.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Click through for larger images, complete with captions.

I didn't get to spend very much time at all sightseeing, but the little bit of Peru that I did see was really nice. I was able to get out of the hotel for a few hours before the conference started on Wednesday and after it finished on Friday, otherwise all my time was spent networking and listening to presentations on various aspects of the international produce trade. My own presentation was the final one of the day on Thursday, and it went really well. I was a bit nervous - sweaty palms, a few mispronounced words, one flustery moment when I lost my train of thought - but everyone I spoke to afterwards kindly said that it didn't show. The best compliment I received was from an older gentleman from one of the large conventional growers, who approached me after my presentation and told me that he understood organics for the first time, but it had never made any sense to him (as a market or a production method) before. My goal at the conference was to present organics as a legitimate, logical, and profitable global market segment - to counteract the perception that it's run by wild-eyed hippies who want to turn the clock back to stone age agricultural technology - and I think I succeeded. :)

Update: If you're interested in the current state of the US organic market (or just a fan of power point) my presentation is now available online.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


I'm sitting in the airport at SeaTac, waiting for my flight, thinking about Conan. I'm heading to Peru (Yes, Peru!!) for a business conference. While I don't usually get to go to such exotic locales, business travel is an increasingly frequent occurance for me. I enjoy it, for the most part, but it's without a doubt the most difficult part of my career to balance with motherhood. Luckily I have a wonderful husband who does a great job holding down the fort, but it's still hard on all of us.

I've learned not to tell Conan about upcoming events too far in advance, because he doesn't really grasp the idea of waiting for more than a couple days of future time to pass. So I waited until last night, when I was doing my final packing, to tell him I was leaving. "Mama's going away for a few days, on an airplane, for work. Then I'll come back!" He's always taken this in stride before, but it's been less than a month since my last trip, so he remembers it clearly. This is the first time he's really understood what it meant that I would be gone.

He seemed OK with it at first, asking some questions about where I was going, and what kind of airplane ("A big one? A really REALLY big one?") I would be flying on. He played normally while dinner was cooking, but then he refused to sit down and eat. That in itself is (sadly) not that abnormal these days, but he didn't even want to play "hungry Tyrannisaurus-T-Rex", which usually gets him to eat like a charm. He really started to act out - yelling "You don't talk to me!" and "Don't look at me!" whenever I spoke or looked at him, stomping his feet, throwing toys, and generally being as bad as he knows how to be. So, as is our practice, we declared dinner time forfeit and moved straight to bedtime.

He continued to misbehave, physically trying to push me out of his room, crying and demanding that Papa ALONE handle bedtime. Somewhat confused, I stepped out and shut the door. I stood in the hallway, wondering what was up, and feeling sad that on my last night at home this week I wasn't going to get to spend any nice time with my baby. Then, with one of those sudden 180 degree reversals only a preschooler can manage, from inside the bedroom came shrieks of "I WANT MAMA!"

In that instant I realized what was going on. This was not a standard dinnertime meltdown. This was "my mama's going away and I'm mad and scared so I'm pushing her away but I also want her and this is NOT getting me what I want but I don't know what else to do." I went back in the room, got down at eye level with him, and asked him "Are you mad and scared because I'm going away?" "Yes" he wailed, and colapsed into my arms. So we cuddled and hugged. We talked about the things we would do together when I got back. He calmed down, and we got his teeth brushed and jammies on, and then we cuddled some more and he went to bed happily.

This morning I kissed him goodbye, and he waved happily as he drove off with Papa on the way to Preschool, his fears and insecurities banished, at least for now. But it was a real wake-up call for me, that as he's understanding more ane more about how the world works, some things which didn't previously cause anxiety are now pretty scary. I'm not sure what I can do to make my travel easier on him, other than to make sure I tell him very clearly that I'm coming back, and that I love him more than anything.

And bring him presents, of course.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Guemes Island Cabin

Conan and I just returned from a week's stay with my parents at the Westenhaver family cabin on Guemes Island. We had a great time fishing, walking the beaches, and just generally hanging around by the seashore. The weather was surprisingly good for late October on the northwest coast, only raining hard on one day; otherwise being generally clear with light breezes in the afternoon after the morning fogs burned away. Conan was thrilled to catch a "Peanut-Butter Fish" (the logical counterpart to the small jellyfish common in the water here), then watched, fascinated, as Poppy filleted it for dinner. We also had fun flying our fish kite (which Conan named "Potluck") off the breakwater in front of the cabin. It really was a wonderful vacation for all of us, and such a treat to be allowed to use the cabin!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Superboy C!

Conan got all dressed up in his finest Superboy outfit today to go to the Bellingham Comic Con. As you can see, he was well prepared to whack any bad guys that might be there.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Play & Imagination

Conan's imagination is really blossoming. His playtime includes lots of chatter, dialog and play acting both with real and imaginary participants in his games. I love it.

Here are a couple of recent examples:

Serving Cake & Ice Cream is one of Conan's favorite games. You can have it in a bowl, on a plate, or in a cone, your choice! Usually it is chocolate or 'nilla, but sometimes it is wild and crazy flavors like sunshine, grass, or purple.

Wee-Haw, ride'em cowboy! Cowboys know a lot about horsies. And they have hats.

Update: Since I had to re-upload both of these, I thought I'd go ahead and add a couple more:

Conan's new fingers come in lots of colors. I had to help him put the last two on, he tried for a really long time to do it himself but his new fingers just aren't as dexterous as his old ones. They do look neat tho!

Here he is combining riding his trike with tying knots in his "catchin' rope". Knots are really interesting to Conan, and he spends a lot of time tying and untying them. He still doesn't pedal his tricycle, but he's getting better at steering while pushing with his feet. And he loves to wear his helmet, whether he's going for a ride or not.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy Bellingham Demonstration


On Friday afternoon we went downtown for the Occupy Bellingham demonstration of support for the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. I brought some extra markers and reusable large white envelopes to make signs. Conan colored his sign, then asked me to "put letters on it" for him. I asked him what he wanted to say, and he shrugged. I suggested something about sharing and he immediately blurted "sharing is good!" I wrote that on his sign and he held it proudly througout the demonstration. I didn't have my camera with me, but with Conan's extreme cuteness he was naturally a favorite of the many photographers out documenting the demonstration, so I knew there were pictures out there. I found this shot posted to the Occupy Bellingham facebook page this afternoon. At the point when this picture was taken, Conan was feeling a bit shy, so I held the sign for him. I'll keep an eye out and maybe another picture (or two!) will show up on the site as more of the photographers share their images.
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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fruit Festival 2011

Sunday we went out to Cloud Mountain Farms' fall fruit festival, and it was a blast.  Conan got to eat an ice cream cone, put an apple through a cider press, paint a flowerpot, and pick a pumpkin - in that order.  We also brought home some delicious apples (Karmijn de Sonneville - a variety that's been on the top of my planting wish list for quite some time) and a bunch of nice squash and potatoes.

We also did a bit of dancing.  Conan was very eager to dance, and insistent that I join him, although he's a much better dancer than I am.

By which I mean I can't believe how silly I look. I'm pretty sure I was MUCH more rhythmic and graceful in real life.  But hey, I may look like a total dork, but I look like a total dork dancing with the cutest little dancer anywhere.  And we were having a great time.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Zoo 2011

Today we went to the zoo!  Conan and I met Jon, Nadege and Chloe and spent the day checking out all the animals.  We had a great time.  One special highlight was seeing the tundra wolves hunting squirrels right next to the viewing spot at their exhibit.  I've never even glimpsed the wolves before, my understanding is that they stay hidden a lot of the time.  But not today!  We also had a lot of fun watching the gorillas.  There was a young one, not exactly a baby - call it a toddler - who was nursing when we arrived at the viewing station.  It was such a sweet and loving moment to see between mama and child.  Very human, for lack of a better word.  Another gorilla came right up to the glass, sat down, and made faces and interacted with the kids for quite some time.  We also enjoyed feeding the birds in the parrot house, watching the elephants being fed, and watching the penguins swimming in their pools.  We saw snakes, toads, lizards (including komodo dragons), turtles, lions, tigers, kangaroos, meerkats, bears, eagles, fish, and lots of different kinds of monkeys.

I'm exhausted, but in a very good way.  It's been a year since we last visited the zoo.  I hope we go again sooner next time!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The kid I don't want

As a parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I want for my kid.  I imagine him being talented, charismatic, intelligent, athletic, kind, generous and thoughtful (not to mention tall and good looking).  I want him to have plentiful opportunities, wide-ranging experiences, and lots of fun.  It's fun to let my mind wander to the future, dreaming of the amazing things Conan could do - maybe he'll be an astronaut! maybe he'll be the poet laureate! maybe he'll be a TV chef!

On the flip side, sometimes I think about what I don't want him to be.  Oh, there's the obvious ones that all parents probably have: I don't want him to be a drug addict, or a gun runner, or a pimp, or a tabloid front-page celebrity.  I mean really, I'm his mom: I don't even want him to get dehydrated, let alone arrested.

But that's all in the future.  When I think about the short term, the kid I REALLY don't want him to be is the one that is good and nice and obedient when grown-ups are around, and then mean and spiteful and awful to the other kids the minute they are alone.  The one where his mom thinks he's a little angel and everyone else just rolls their eyes and wonders how she can be so blind.  Maybe even ALL the moms think he's a little angel, and it's only the other kids who know the truth.  I knew kids like that when I was young, and it was horrible.  It was incredible the way they could transform from angels to bullies the minute the adults left the room. 

For the record, let me say right now that I don't think Conan is now, or will ever be, that kid.  He's such a nice little boy.  Everyone says so! 

But then, I'd be the last to know, wouldn't I?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Conan started preschool at A Step Ahead in July, and he is loving it. It was a big transition for all of us, but we've adjusted now and couldn't imagine life without it. The school we chose is a really neat bilingual (spanish-english) language emphasis program, and Conan is learing spanish so fast, it's really incredible. The words just seem to magically appear in his vocabulary! So far, he has learned

  • hola
  • amigo
  • adios
  • por favor ("bor pabor")
  • muy bien
  • buenos dias
  • mamacita
  • agua
  • leche
  • manos
  • azul
  • and he can also count to ten!

Little children are natually attuned to aquiring language skills, and beyond the obvious benefits of simply being bilingual there is also a lot of evidence that early secondary language learning helps prime kids for better academic performance later. Not that it's all about the academic benefits - there's also a lot of fun to be had! The kids sing songs, play, eat snacks, play outside on the playground, paint pictures, and make whole hosts of things out of paper plates, glue and construction paper. (That's an octopus he's holding in the picture.)

Even more exciting than seeing Conan learning spanish, however, has been the improvement in some of his behaviors.  Prior to starting him at the preschool, mealtimes were a constant struggle for us.  Conan didn't like to sit still and eat, and when he would sit at the table he would fidget and play with his food, often knocking over his beverage and/or dropping food on the floor "accidentally".  At the school they make the kids all sit down together for snacks and meals, and they all have to be seated before the food is given out.  Then they have to wait until everyone has been served before they start to eat.  After just a few weeks, Conan started announcing proudly "I gonna sit at the table the WHOLE time!" when we'd sit down for a meal, and it just keeps getting better.  He now eats his food calmly, says please when he wants more, and asks to get down when he's done.  Most shocking of all, he often says "Thank you for making dinner, Mama!" without any prompting. 

He also has  gotten better about taking turns, made more progress in potty training, learned to put on and take off his own shoes, and generally learned a lot about social interactions.  He scolds me for not drinking up all my water, because "if you don't drink it, that's wasting it" and councils himself "you get what you get, and you don't throw a fit" when we're out of his first choice of popsicle flavor.  He's proud to tell us fun facts that he has learned at school, such as "fish breathe water" and "big trees grow from little seeds." 

He still frequently cries when he's dropped off in the morning on school days, but the teachers assure us that he stops after just a few minutes.  He often tells me in the morning that he's not going to have ANY fun, but then when I pick him up he tells me that I was right, he did have fun.  Some days he doesn't want to leave, or wants to go back again after we get home.  All this is perfectly natural, but that doesn't mean I won't be releived when he is consistantly cheerful about getting dropped off!

It's a little bit of a struggle for me to come to grips with the fact that my little baby is grown up enough for preschool, but overall I'm really thrilled with how well he's doing. He can't stay a baby forever, and I'm glad we've found such a great preschool program for him. 

Monday, September 05, 2011

Late Summer Garden

It's almost fall, and we're finally getting our first taste of warm weather. All the plants are hurrying to ripen up their fruits and seeds, and I'm hurrying to keep up with the harvesting. The main crop blackberries are on now, while the tayberries, marionberries, cascade blackberries, and raspberries are finally finished.


I've made a nice collection of jams and jellies from our berries, and even a big batch of pickles, all from our home grown cucumbers. I love seeing the pantry shelves so nice and full of good preserves.

I'm very excited that we're going to harvest our first ever crop of asian pears! There will be three of them. There were originally two fruits on each tree, but one of them dropped off. The three that are left are looking really delicious, though. MMMMM.

We are also looking forward to our first hardy kiwi. I was super surprised to see flowers this spring, there were about 6 of them. Only one set fruit, and it's still firm and green. I really don't know when to expect it to get ripe, so I check it every few days.

Our little tomato starts have grown into big, healthy bushes with lots of green 'matos on them, and a few are starting to turn color. I sure hope we have a good stretch of warm, dry weather so more than a couple of them can actually ripen this year. I'm not sure why I keep trying to grow tomatoes without a greenhouse in damp, cold Whatcom county, but looking at these bushes now I get hopeful all over again. Maybe this year will be THE year...

The sunflowers are huge and lovely this time of year. I planted them in a circle in the center of the garden, about 10' across. Standing inside the sunflower ring is pretty cool. When I planted it, my idea was that it would be a place for Conan to play, but he doesn't seem very interested in it. Fine by me if it becomes a sanctuary for me instead!
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Monday, August 29, 2011

Sequim Bay Super Ultra Campout 2011

We had an amazing time camping at Sequim Bay for four days with the Ericsons, the Taylors, the Guzstiltzmans, Mark & Elna, and Keely, Silas and Semra. More pictures (from other cameras, as well as ours) can be seen at Gabe's site.

 Highlights included:

  • beautiful weather
  • a beautiful, secluded group campsite, well away from the crowded 'regular' campground
  • our own "private" beach and dock (hardly anyone came over from the main campground)
  • phosphorescence in the water every night!
  • clear, moonless nights with ALL the stars
  • watching kingfishers and herons fish, and gulls catch and drop clams on the rocks
  • little crabs under all the rocks, and snails on top of them
  • giant bubbles!
  • a day trip to Dungeoness Spit
  • a whole gaggle of kids running wild through the campsite
  • kids taking pictures of each other (and their feet, the dirt, the sky, etc...)
  • good food (Woo! Sausagefest!) 
  • plenty of beer
  • great friends
This was the second annual group campout, and it's success means there will DEFINITELY be a third one next summer.

Monday, August 15, 2011


If you had asked me, 6 or 7 years ago, if I'd ever let my baby play with this cat, I'd have told you "No way." In fact, when we first met Sanford, everyone, adult and child alike, was wary of him. He was a badass and he didn't care who he had to scratch or bite to prove it. He got "fired" from his job catching mice in the lumber shed at the ReStore for scratching and biting the customers and the staff too often. Janet even needed stitches! He was great at catching the mice, but his customer service skills left a great deal to be desired, so he came to live with us at the Apple Pharm.

After he settled in at the farm (read: once he established dominance over all the other cats) he decided I was the person for him. He liked to get up on my bed to snuggle, but I had to abide by the rules - no petting below the neck, no sudden movements, certainly no blankets over him and no handling his feet or touching his belly. It was a bit tense. Breaking any of his rules meant hissing and running away at best, biting and scratching at worst. But slowly he started to be more tolerant and trusting, at least of me, though he still scratched other people quite frequently. He brought me the freshest, most tender young rodents, fetchingly displayed on my bedroom rug, to show his affection.

When the time came to move out of the Apple Pharm, we had a group meeting to divvy up the cats. Sanford was unquestionably mine. He moved with us to an apartment in town where we lived for a few years until the house was finished. He dominated the small apartment complex from the start. He bullied the other cats and even went after raccoons, dogs and deer. He walked into our neighbors' apartments like he owned them, and ate their cats' food. He memorably came home one evening with his white fur covered in blood - and not a drop of it was his own. We grew to be a family, and he accepted Iggy and Sprout as part of his pride.

He loved it when we moved to our current house. He loved the territory and the rich hunting grounds (mmm, tasty little bunnies!). He loved and trusted us. He was no longer the wild, ferocious alley cat fending for himself. We could pick him up, pet him all the way from nose to tail, even treat his wounds and pet his belly. But even so, when Conan was born, I was nervous about Sanford. Would he put up with a baby? A toddler? Well, I needn't have worried. Sure, Conan had to learn about boundaries, and got a few scratches in the process. But Sanford always, clearly, understood these were just teaching scratches. He wasn't trying to hurt the kid. He loves Conan as much as he loves me - even more, I sometimes think. I'm not so sure he'd put up with me using him as a pillow! They are truly buddies, and it warms my heart to think about just how far this wild, trust-no-one cat has come.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Platform Roofed

At last! The roof is up!

This picture is taken from across the swamp, from a little bit higher ground. The 'floor' you can see just above the tops of the shrubbery is actually the top railing 12 or 14 feet off the ground, so that roof is much higher (and more difficult to work on) than it would seem at first glance. It'd be a real simple roof to build if it were on a regular height shed - but it isn't and it wasn't.

I'm so glad to have that part of the project finished, so we can move on to other things, like an actual staircase that goes from the ground all the way to the platform. I'm also real glad not to have to mow around the roofing metal anymore. A heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out and helped raise the roof!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Sawing Logs

Have I mentioned that Conan snores? He does. I think most people assume I mean cute little tiny baby snores, but no, I mean the kid saws logs. Not that he *always* snores, but when he does, he REALLY does. Observe:

It's pretty damn cute, although it can be hard to sleep through if we're in the same room.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

He says cute stuff

On discovering he has leg hair:
C: Mama, I have FUR!
M: Well yes, you do. Where do you think it came from?
C: Owls put it on me while I was sleeping.
M: Really? You don't think it just grew there?
C: NO! Owls bringed it. Now I have fur just like Sanford!

Planning ahead:
C: I need pick huckleberries.
M: Ok, you can eat some huckleberries.
C: NO! I need pick huckleberries. Then we find Papa and say BOO! Then we say 'prise Papa! we bringed you huckleberries. Then Papa let me eat some o' him huckleberries.
M: Good plan.
C: Yeah. I like huckleberries.
note: his plan worked perfectly.

Horse facts:
C: Horsies make apples with their feet. They just kick their feet and KAPEW! apples go flying all around.
M: Wow, really?
C: Yeah. Also did you know horsies drink water? It true!

Suspicions of foul play:
C: Mama, there a dead fly on the windowsill.
M: Yep.
C: Who did it? WHO DID IT, mama?
M: Uh, did what?
C: I think cows did it.
M: Cows did what?

Family structure:
C: I have two sisters, they names are Moira and Kiah.
M: They're your sisters, huh?
C: Yes, they are my TWO sisters. And also I have a baby.
M: You have a baby?
C: I have mine OWN baby and she name is baby Trixie!
M: Oh? And who is baby Trixie's Mommy?
C: I am! She mine baby and I her Mommy!

Introducing Marcellus:
C: This my kitty 'cellus. He will bite you.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Poppy's 60th

We went to Plain for my dad's 60th birthday party and had lots of fun in the sun while we were there. Highlights included a backhoe ride, playing on the big swing, helping Poppy blow out his candles, and even a motorcycle ride around the garden for Conan. He LOVED it, but unfortunately it was too dark for good pictures. Here are the best shots of our weekend fun:












Monday, July 18, 2011

2nd Bee Sting

On the 4th of July, Conan got his first bee sting, right below his right eye. He got his 2nd bee sting yesterday, on his left ear. I have no idea why he keeps getting stung on the head, instead of on his feet like most kids. I guess he's just hardcore like that! This sting came from yellow jackets that made themselves a nest inside one of his toy trucks. Yikes.

His ear swelled up and turned bright pink, so for about 30 minutes he looked like he had some kind of toy clown ear on. We gave him some acetaminophen and applied a baking soda paste, made some popcorn (his request) and then cuddled and watched cartoons until he was feeling better. The swelling went down nearly as fast as it came on, and he had a matching set of regular little-boy ears again by naptime. Whew!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Super Boy, the movie!

Go Super Boy! But watch out for that dastardly Conan the Villain, he whacks people.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oregon Country Fair

We traveled this past weekend to the famous Oregon Country Fair, or as Conan likes to call it, the

Conan had a great time at the Fair. The last time we were there was in 2008 when I was pregnant, so technically this was his second fair, but who's counting? He enjoyed the parades, costumes, music, food, face-painting, as well as dancing, playing and riding around in the wagon with his "sisters" Moira and Kiah and Trixie. He went full hippie on us - flowers in his hair, a big smile, a dirty face, socks with sandals - the whole nine yards.

My beautiful boy.

It was a long long drive, but it was worth it overall for some great family entertainment. We were lucky enough to get invited (at the last minute) to work for Will & Keron so we received vendor passes into the fair in exchange for working in their booths. Not a bad deal at all!

Click through the slideshow for larger versions with captions.

There are a lot of stories to tell about all we saw and did at the fair, but you'll have to catch up with me in person to hear them - there's way too much for me to write it all out here. As fun as the fair was, it's good to be home!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Fourth of July Fun

We had a fun time at the Ericson's blowing bubbles and setting off little fireworks in the warm sunshine - Saturday was first day this year that it really felt like summer!  Then on Sunday we met up with my mom and dad at the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett, which is an amazing place for kids to play and explore.  We had a great time and totally wore Conan out - to the point where he almost fell asleep over his lunch at a nearby cafe.

Today we're taking it more slowly, enjoying a nice day at home getting caught up on yardwork and other chores.  Unfortunately, today Conan got his first bee sting while playing outside.  A kid's first bee sting is never fun, but Conan took it to the next level by getting his first sting on his face, right below his right eye. He was very brave about it and recovered after a half hour of cuddling and watching cartoons.  Poor little guy!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mountain Climbing

This past weekend the guys climbed Mt. Baker. Gabe's account of the climb is here with many beautiful pictures, so I'll just link to his site.

Conan was pretty interested in what they were doing, having watched all the preparations for the climb - gear sorted and tested, backpacks packed and weighed - so we went online and looked at some mountaineering pictures. That gave him an idea - he should climb a mountain! It didn't take him long to decide which one: Mt. Couch was the obvious goal. He geared up with a piece of rope and quickly reached the summit.
The Ascent.

Ready for the final pitch.

Summit shot!

Monday, June 20, 2011


Let me start by saying that I realize it was a bad decision to stop at the consignment store on the way home. I knew Conan hadn't had a nap during the day, and while I was chatting with Christy after I got to her house he threw his snack on the floor and REFUSED to pick it up. I told him if he didn't pick it up, we had to leave, no more playing - and when he didn't, we did. Not an auspicious beginning to the evening, certainly.

But once we were in the car he seemed his usual happy and cooperative self again, and the consignment store is right on the way home, and I had the drop-off bag in the front seat... I decided to stop. "It'll be really fast. No problem." I told myself.

And in fact, it WAS fine. Conan found some toys he liked in the play nook, and I dropped off the bag and picked up a couple pairs of jammies and some sandals for him. I told him I was going up to pay, and then when I was done I'd come get him and it would be time to go. He cheerfully agreed.

I paid for my items and returned as promised to collect him. "Time to go!" I said lightly.

"Nooooooo" he whined. "But I still playing, Mama."

"Yes," I said, more firmly. "Time to go, like I told you it would be. C'mon now."

"FUCKING FUCK NO!" he screamed at the top of his lungs. "I STILL PLAYING!"

[stunned silence]

"YOU BAD MAMA!" he continued. "I SEND YOU TO JAIL!"

I should mention that Conan has lately taken to "hiding" (usually just covering his eyes with his hands) when he knows he's done something he shouldn't have. It must have been pretty clear from the expression on my face that he'd gone too far. So in a way it makes sense that his next move was to dart past me and dive under the nearest rack of clothes, still screaming "I still plaayyyyiiinn!" It didn't make it any more pleasant to dig him out from under it, crying and struggling, however.

Thankfully, everyone else in the store was suddenly REALLY engrossed in whatever items they were holding, allowing me to haul my sobbing, struggling little boy through the store and out the door while maintaining the fantasy that no-one had noticed anything amiss. That was nice of them.

Predictably, he fell sound asleep in the car on the way home and is now tucked in bed for the night. 45 minutes of quiet weeding in the garden helped me to settle my nerves. I tried to think up some kind of wise, pithy parenting lesson to say I've learned, but mostly I'm just left thinking "I sure hope that never happens again."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2 1/2

Today was Conan's half-birthday, so I measured his height. He's 36 and 5/8 inches tall. According to the old wive's tale, at 2 1/2 he's half his adult height, which would make him just a little over 6'1" when he grows up.

Afterwards, I let him play with the tape measure. He had a lot of fun measuring things, most of which were reported to be "Seven, eight pounds."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Can't Blog, Busy Gardening

A few weeks ago, despite the unrelenting rain, we finally got the garden tilled up and since them I've been working hard to get it all planted.
Since then we've had a few warm, sunny days and it's so gratifying to see things beginning to grow. The spinach, radishes, kale, beans and lettuces have come up strong. The peas all got eaten by slugs, leaving behind sad little nubs. I have replanted; hopefully the second set will not suffer the same fate.
I laid out the beds with aisles going in both directions in order to make it easier for Conan to stay on the paths while walking through the garden. It's working - now if I could just teach the cats to stay out of the beds! The far left corner bed (with the truck) I left unplanted - it's Conan's worm digging place.
This picture is a bit underwhelming, it really doesn't capture the liveliness of the garden this time of year. With that in mind, I took a quick video of the bees working the raspberry blossoms. After the cold, wet spring we've had they are working double-time to catch up on their pollen collection. It's amazing to stand by the berry row and listen to them buzzing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Photo bug

Conan loves loves LOVES to take pictures. This explains why the camera batteries always seem to be dead...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Impromptu drum concert

Dean, Hank and Conan treated us to an impromptu after-dinner drum concert.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Tonight at bedtime as we were picking some books to read, Conan started pointing to the letters at the top of one of them. I was astounded when he read off to me "A-L-L A-B-O-A-R-D R-F-A-D-I-N-G". Ok, so he made one mistake, calling the E an F. But for 2 1/2 I think it's pretty impressive, and I just had to brag. :)

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Alphabet Puzzle!

Conan really loves this puzzle. He's completely mastered putting it together, and can do it all by himself now. Although there are still a few mysteries about the puzzle design for him - such as why there's a "beaver" on the W piece. (What, you think it might be a walrus, not a beaver? Pure nonsense.)

It also seems kind of odd that there's a "Polar bear caught in a net" representing the letter 'i'. I guess Iguanas are hard to draw, or something. And seriously, if you'd never heard of an igloo before you saw this picture, what would YOU think that was? I think a net is a pretty good guess.

Whew, this Alphabet Express is finished and ready to roll!