Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Index Trouble

Here's something I just don't understand: cookbook indexes. Today I was looking up the chocolate chip cookie recipe in my Best Recipe cookbook. I looked under cookies and then chocolate chip and found it. But instead of getting a page number I got redirected: "see chocolate - chip cookies". So my question is - as long as they bothered to list it where people are obviously looking why not just give the page number instead of wasting the print and everyone's time by making us look somewhere else? It doesn't make sense! And personally, I think chocolate chip cookies are more appropriately listed under cookies, not chocolate. So there.

The Downside

And one of the things I don't like about having kids is when they find a rubber stamp in one of your old boxes of teaching stuff and they lick the stamp which has dried up permanent ink from the time before you had kids and then they take the now wet stamp and press it all over your white duvet. Which all happened this morning. Urgh.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Yogi and the Bag

One thing I love about having kids is enjoying all the funny things they do. You never know what it's going to be next. Things like what they say, what games and scenarios they make up, how they make sense of the world and in Yogi's case, what he's going to be attached to for the day. Unlike Beck who always turns to Piggy for naps or to take in the car or for recharging after some particularly intense play, Yogi changes his special object almost every day.

A long time ago I posted a photo of Yogi napping with a toy hammer. Other days it's a book on cake decorating or a rubber froggy boot, or pretty much any old thing he decides on. Well, today he found a crumpled bag - an old gift bag, I think - that we found as I was going through boxes in the basement. The bag does have a big Buzz Lightyear on it, but it's also crumpled and torn. Anyway, I just looked in on him while he's napping and there he is cuddled right up next to that big bag, right there sharing the pillow with his head. It's pretty cute.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Photos

On the beach at Semiahmoo.

Lots and lots of lily pads on Tenant Lake. Yogi kept asking about the frogs.

Beck trying out those boots! This is actually where we launched the boat.

Cabin for the Weekend

Boy, am I tired this morning! At the last minute we decided to spend the weekend at the cabin since it was supposed to be sunny and warm on Saturday. We drove up very late on Friday - arriving past 11 pm and then returned late last night - around 10:30. It was fun - in a weekend warrior kind of way.

We managed to visit the Hovander Farm and later on Saturday afternoon did some beach combing. Beck wore his new boots: pink with kitty faces on the toes and some hearts and flowers around the word "Purrrfect" on the sides. It was either that or camouflage and he chose the kitties.

Yesterday we took out mom and dad's new rubber raft. Originally we wanted to go out on Drayton Harbor, but since the tide was too far out we opted for Tennant Lake which was quite an adventure! Lots of great blue herons and other strange sounding birds, lily pads which made for slow going and a few very low bridges which required that all of us flatten down completely on the bottom of the boat. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! Because of the late-afternoon boating adventure, we hit the road to return home after dinner. The boys didn't sleep a wink and there was quite a bit of yelling from the backseat, "Mama, I have an IDEA!!" or my other favorite, "I. AM. A. ROBOT!" Anyway, we were pretty weary when we arrived home. Hopefully I'll post some photos later today.

Now it's Monday and it's pouring a heavy drenching rain. Still no word on our baby.

Friday, April 25, 2008

After the Game: Ponderosa

See?! I told you that the best spot on Survivor is to make it to the first spot on the jury! Have you checked out the Ponderosa videos? Finally a peek behind-the-scenes and it looks to me like this is the best part of the game! This is where the final survivors go after they've been voted off and finish off the game as jury members, but you know that already, right? You do watch Survivor, don't you?!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Zoo Trip

It's only Wednesday and I've already been to the zoo twice this week. Don't I have the exciting life! Chris took the day off today so between applying coats of finish on the doors downstairs we popped over to the zoo and had a nice afternoon excursion. The baby gorilla was out and active today. Plus the weather was tolerable - even a few sun breaks, and there was almost nobody there - just how I like it!

Other than that I've been busy cleaning and organizing. I'm trying to accomplish at least one new task each day - one thing that isn't part of my normal routine. But let's face it: I'm moving forward at a snail's pace. And I think I've been staying up too late reading The Poisonwood Bible so I'm tired. We did manage to watch a real movie though. It took us two nights, but it was worth it. Match Point, a Woody Allen flick. Suspenseful. Oh, and I made that chocolate cake again and I decided that it tastes like ding dongs. You really should try it yourself. I love ding dongs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Baby Bear


I really liked this post by Rocks In My Dryer. It's nice to think of the potential we all have to make someone's day, to turn things around. Like so many things, it's about paying attention, I think.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Boxes

Even though we didn't do much this weekend, I feel excited like something fantastic has happened. And after so many years and so much of moving those boxes around, something fantastic is happening! I'm finally opening and organizing all those boxes. My parents bought me a 4 drawer filing cabinet so a lot of my teaching stuff has a home now.My own filing cabinet! Ahhh, I could go on, but I think this thrill and all the details are probably not so interesting to everyone else.

Yogi found that big bag of my childhood stuffed animals and picked this one for himself. I called it Binky, but he decided to rename it Quacky.

And here's Beck with his View Master.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring Snow

A Long Way Away

As the weeks roll by I've tried not to think about getting our referral or having our daughter home with us because it's too hard and just makes me anxious. So, life goes on and we're busy and mostly having a good time. But the bad part of it is that the longer it takes, the less it feels like it's ever really going to happen. And if it doesn't happen soon, we probably won't be going to Ethiopia until sometime next fall when the courts re-open. That feels like a long way away.

Weather Outlook

Here are some of the key words taken from the forecast for today and this weekend:

snow showers
cold air
unstable atmosphere
heavy with hail
ice pellets
Saturday's high should only hit 45 degrees

As I type this the ice pellets have made their appearance, hammered down for a few minutes, and now snow is falling. Actually snow mixed with rain.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Well. It's spring. I don't know about you, but spring is my least favorite of the seasons. The weather usually seems to be disappointing (we're back to the low 50's by the way)and I always feel some pressure to get things done! You know, like spring cleaning and accomplishing all those house projects that we saved up last winter and planned to do when the weather got better. That would be now, but now it's just rainy. Plus the weeds are growing like gangbusters. Every time I look out the window I get this little squeeze in my stomach and think how in the world am I going to get it all done? I know I should be out there pulling and plucking and trimming, but the weather. It's just no good I tell you. And I know this is messed up thinking, but the birds and all their singing at the crack of dawn? It's a little irritating. I have enough problems getting a good night's sleep around here.

And then there are the boxes that I'm trying to sort through. What do you do with a giant Glad bag full of my formerly loved stuffed animals? What should I do with the boxes and boxes of teaching stuff? Not to mention my teaching clothes. Or what about Chris's boxes labeled "Mostly Useless" or even better, simply "Useless"? He wants to hold on to them, of course. Ahh, the joy of cleaning out!

Ok, enough whining. I do enjoy all the pastel colored flowers popping up everywhere. Now, if I could just do something about those weeds! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008


I was just complaining to Chris that I had absolutely nothing to post on Homecake tonight and then he showed me this funny Lost video on YouTube. We've been watching since we stumbled on the very first episode while we were staying at a hotel for a wedding in the mid-west. Anyway, if you watch Lost, you'll love it. If you don't, I bet it'll still make you laugh.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Baby Gorilla

I know that writing about the weather is boring stuff, but the day we had yesterday was like a sneak preview for summer! It was just one day surrounded on all sides by rain and cold and damp. We're back to highs in the mid 50's again today with rain in the forecast every day this week. But yesterday... Even the air felt different to breathe - soft, warm, gentle, relaxing!

We decided to go to the zoo and as it turns out, everyone else with small children in this city made the same choice. The lines just to get in were longer than I have ever seen them; it was 35 minutes before we walked through the front gates. At least we got to see the baby gorilla and that was worth it. Sometimes the crush of people around here gets to me. We have to plan out almost everything we do around when it won't be crowded, when we're most likely to find a parking spot. It wears me out. If it weren't for my family and Chris's job, I'd be all for moving out of here. But at least there's the baby gorilla.

Here's Yogi and Beck peeking out of the house wren's nest sculpture at the zoo.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

That Cake

Let's get right to business: that chocolate cake was sensational! Seriously. So moist, so tasty, so easy! Take another look at the recipe - there are only two steps: mix the dry ingredients together and then dump in all the wet and mix it up. I'm normally a yellow cake with chocolate frosting kind of girl, but this cake - maybe with a little scoop of melting vanilla ice cream - is strong competition.Very strong. Mmmmm.

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Little Potato

I was looking at the photos I posted yesterday and realized that the first one with Yogi and Chris is very similar to a photo I took when Yogi was just a few weeks old. God, they change so fast! I'm sad to say that I hardly remember when Yogi was a baby. I was so busy and exhausted all the time. What a cute little potato he was.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I contacted our agency representative yesterday and found out that you don't start waiting until your dossier is logged in by the Ethiopia staff. So even though it feels like we started waiting when we turned in the dossier, we didn't actually start waiting until a month and a half later. But I guess all the fine points of "waiting" are beside the point. The real news is that it will probably be another month or so until we know anything. So, another opportunity to practice patience!

Birthday in the Sky

It's been a few days, hasn't it? My father-in-law was visiting for the last week and we were busy having fun together! He's back home now and we are back to our routine. It seems like most of what we did was celebrate birthdays: mine, his (we share the same day!), my niece who turned 12, and two preschool friends. For our birthday, we went to the Space Needle for brunch which was a super treat! The boys loved it as well -- with a rotating restaurant at 520 feet up in the air and an ever-changing view, who wouldn't?

Monday, April 7, 2008

On Writing

I just finished Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True by Elizabeth Berg. After enjoying her fiction so much, I was interested in seeing what she had to say about writing.

One piece of advice that caught my attention was something she got from the fiction editor at the Atlantic Monthly, Mike Curtis. This falls under the topic of having something to say. Apparently, he once described worthwhile content as being something you would tell someone in the car. I like that.

Writing comes so easily to her. I've had times where it flows, but especially here on the blog, I feel too self conscious and end up doing a lot of mid-sentence editing -- which, I'm assured in the book, does not make for the best writing!

Anyway, it was a fun, quick read and included a chapter of recipes! I'm including one here so you can snack while you're composing your next post; maybe Elizabeth Berg is on to something here!

Wickedly Delicious Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

1.Preheat over to 350 degrees.
2.Combine dry ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer.
3.Add eggs, coffee, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla.
4.Beat 2 minutes at medium speed - batter will be quite thin.
5. Divide batter between two well-greased 9-inch layer-cake pans. Because this cake is so moist, it's not always easy to remove from the pan. Be sure to grease and flour the pans thoroughly, or bake in a 9x13-inch pan.
6. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean, and cakes are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pans.
7. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.
8. Remove from pans to cool completely.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

An Afternoon for Painting

Notice the picture Yogi is working on. He started with the purple and then spent the rest of the session covering the entire page in red. Lots and lots of thick red paint.In the time Yogi worked on his one picture, Beck had finished six. In fact Yogi was still adding layers of red even after Beck had moved on to playing with cars.

As you can see, Beck works fast! And his lovely wild hair? Gone. These were taken last weekend and they got haircuts a few days later. Now they both look like they're ready for basic training.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Adoption Update

Well, yesterday we got the Ethiopia Update newsletter from our agency, but there was nary a mention of referrals or an expected date for the next batch. Do they come in batches? I'm not really sure - just as I'm not sure if we should expect to be in the next one! I'm hoping, of course, but trying not to get too attached. Hmmmm.

The New Bathroom

We bought our house in 2003 and it was described as a mid-century fixer-upper, built in 1957. Between the time we made our offer and it closed, I found out I was pregnant and so to say the least, it's been a very busy five years with two baby boys and lots and lots of fixing! We've done the remodeling projects in a few phases - the most recent was the basement and some of the exterior. And with that, please follow me to our new downstairs bathroom!

Vintage 1957 with the blue plastic wall tiles and shower insert added later -maybe in the mid-80's? Not sure when the bars over the window were installed. Nice touch, don't you think? Scroll down to the next picture for the same view today.

Now, if you'll just step into the bathroom and move to the back corner and then look back out toward the hall, you'd see this in 1957:

...and this today in 2008:

Ok, folks, thanks for joining me. You can exit through the doors on your right...and have a nice day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bloggy Answer

Thanks for the comments to those of you who responded! I did look into finding an "official" answer to this in Blogging Basics 101. They suggest either emailing your responses or leaving your answer to a comment in your own comment section under the post where the question was asked.

After thinking about it, that's what I plan to do (in most cases) since other readers may be interested in the answer themselves or find it helpful etc...Not that I get enough traffic to even be worried about this!

Bloggy Question

Just curious...when someone leaves a comment on your blog and they have their own blog, should you answer it in the comments section on your blog under the post where they left the comment - or - should you head over to their blog and leave the answer? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Anyone?

Art Museum

We recently took the boys to a small art museum. They like going anywhere new - even if it's just to run around and try out a new set of stairs, but I wasn't sure how interested they'd be in the art. But when I specifically pointed things out in the pictures they were very interested. Most of the paintings are huge which is exciting in itself and many have scenes unlike anything you'd find in the children's books we read. Of course, after looking at a few pictures they discovered the 3-way velvet covered viewing chairs and enjoyed those just as much!

Noticing the skylight in the vestibule.

They might tell you that chasing the pigeons outside the museum was the most fun of all!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

All Steamed Up

In the bromeliad house at the conservatory.

Into the Wild

We don't usually watch movies anymore. Sitting for two hours straight just doesn't work for us with the boys so young. But when I saw that Into the Wild had been made into a film, I just had to order it on Netflicks. I remember enjoying the book several years ago and thought it would be fun to see the film. But let me warn you: it was not fun. It was disturbing, depressing, and a little bit creepy. And the forelorn background music is still haunting me. I didn't really like the mother in the film, but she was the one I sympathized with. Really, I felt more sadness for her than for her crazy supertramp son. I kept thinking about how I would feel if it were Beck or Yogi. Please don't let it ever be Beck or Yogi. But, if you can get past all that, it was a good film. I'm still waiting to get past it.