Geoduck Shirt

Here is Mica in her Grandpa’s birthday gift to her. Ryan was unable to recognize a geoduck when he saw one, which means that we are long overdue for a digging session out on the mud flats.

Grandma

We’ve just finished a week with Grandma. A week always seems like a long time, and then somehow isn’t. We managed to do fireworks, pick blueberries, hang out at the park, and go to OMSI together, but that was barely starting on our list of potential activities.

None of the children particularly wanted to be dragged into a photo session. Can you tell?

Fun With Chemistry

Recently all kinds of interesting things have been delivered to our door for Dave, resulting in all kinds of fun chemistry experiments. Mostly these involve fire. In this matter I feel that Dave has an excellent understanding of our children’s interests, but let’s be honest, here — this also reflects his interests.

The pictures below are from lighting off some experimental bits of rocket candy. This is a simple concoction, made with sugar, that burns with impressive heat and very little ash. If packed into a PVC pipe, it can also burn for quite a while.

There have also been experiments with thermite, made of two not-very-flammable components that, when combined, produce something that burns hot enough to melt metal. Dave did a couple of experiments with some tinfoil and springs from our (sadly defunct) trampoline. He wasn’t able to weld the springs together (or at least, they broke apart again easily), but he really toasted that tinfoil.

Just A Picture

winter_bird

Taken on a recent walk with kids in the snow. One of the apple trees in the nearby abandoned orchard apparently doesn’t like to shed its apples, and has become a natural winter bird feeder.

New Year’s Eve Family Meeting

We’ve pulled off our second annual New Year’s Eve family meeting. Honestly, I think I’m the only one who really cares about these — it feels so nice and like everything is wrapped up. But I served dessert at it, so everyone came.

And actually, everyone seemed to enjoy the part where we walked through the highlights of last year. I had prepared by opening up a bunch of tabs to blog posts describing fun things we’ve done, and did a little presentation to kick things off. I heard multiple variations of “Oh yeah, that was fun!” as we worked out way through.

Our list for this year is fairly short, and mostly consists of “we should do that again” items, with a few other things thrown in. (For example, we got a metal detector for Christmas, and I floated the question “where can we imagine using this?”) None of the kids are old enough to do much in the way of planning yet. At this stage, I consider us to be building the habit of the meeting more than anything.

Quiet At Home

This year, for the first time in my life, I did not do Thanksgiving at my Dad’s house.

We have been sick, with a long, lingering, unpleasant illness. To be fair, it wasn’t nearly so long or lingering for the kids; they recovered within a week. Dave and I are clearly neither so young nor so resilient. When we hit Wednesday and still felt about as terrible as we had for the last five days, I knew it was time to call it.

Which is too bad but better than going to Dad’s house, being miserable all weekend, and leaving the illness behind with them so they could be miserable for weeks as well. Such is life.

thanksgiving

In an effort to make some kind of Thanksgiving-ish gesture, I hit the store yesterday morning. I was hoping for a chunk of turkey to cook, but no luck; instead we had a festive pork loin, baked with apples and rosemary and a scattering of cranberries. For dessert I made Crazy Cake, the simplest chocolate cake ever devised, with fall leaf sprinkles on top. I won’t say it’s a typical Thanksgiving feast, but it was easy and different and still gave me time to lie down with Mica for a while midday.

cake

Mica joined into the low-key festivity by asking to wear a dress, and Dave carbonated some of our homemade apple cider for a special treat. And that’s about it.

Just A Picture

NandH

Our bedtime reading and snuggling time is one of the boys’ favorite times of day. (Picture by Ryan.)