Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Here's some of what's happening:

  • C tried out a mandolin at Guitar Center this week--four courses of double strings.  It sounded FABULOUS.  C is somewhat interested in mandolin lessons--I suggested maybe next summer?  By that time she'll have had a lot of experience playing in the instrumental music class at school.  She says she wants to get better at ukulele--I told her she should be lots better in a year.   
  • We went to the children's museum this morning with friends and had a very nice lunch at the college cafeteria.
  • We also got back our KIA minivan from the dealership after some recall repairs.  We're starting to be able to write a book (or at least a long article) on KIA's customer service and mechanical sins.  Example:  we asked them to give an estimate for repairs for some door issues.  They told us that the diagnostics they need to do to give an estimate would cost $120...We don't think our next minivan will be a KIA.
  • C did a double ukulele practice today.
  • Baby T has been purging her room of unloved toys.  There was a huge pile outside her room this morning.  One of her organizing principles is apparently that if a stuffed animal has no name, it has to go.
  • I have been reading my Alaska cruise guidebooks.  Sounds fun!      

Saturday, June 25, 2016

No camp

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We have a loose schedule the next couple weeks, but my husband has been doing great keeping the kids active (swimming and climbing) and providing intellectual stimulus.
  • I have been reading the Alaska books I got--Alaska sounds like western Washington on steroids.
  • C went to the top on the college climbing wall!  SQUEE!  We had promised her $10 for doing it, and we delivered.
  • D is doing lots of lap swimming, just like daddy.  He used to get very chilled in the water, but hasn't complained of that for about half a year.
  • Baby T is great in the pool in her little life jacket and very good about getting in and out of swim stuff.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Yet more play doh

Here's some of what's happening:

  • We're having a couple of weeks with no camp.  We don't have a very tight schedule this summer.
  • I'm not quite done booking all of the kids activities for the summer, but I'm pretty close.
  • Baby T had a water play day at parents' day out, but they've decided not to do more, as one of the kids got repeatedly bitten by fire ants.  OUCH!  
  • C has been doing SAT practice tests.
  • D's swimming is suddenly very impressive.  He is swimming long distances (just like his daddy).
  • D's injured climbing hand is on the mend and he is cautiously getting back into climbing.
  • C has recently been doing Disney DDR.
  • We have booked C's birthday party for July.
  • Baby T continues to be into youtube play doh (!) videos.
  • I recently had a birthday, and as my gift to me, I ordered a couple books about Alaska cruises.  C and I will almost certainly be able to go in 1-3 years (C would be doing a ukulele program), and I hope we would also be able to take D.  I bet Baby T will also want to go, too...I've been encouraging the extended family to think about it, because it could be a lot of fun as an extended family trip, and we've never done anything like it.   

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Taking Play Doh to the next level

Baby T has been demanding youtube Play Doh videos at bedtime.  There are a lot of videos with adults opening up new Play Doh kits and excitedly rolling out Play Doh alphabets, making Play Doh My Little Ponies, etc.

So, today was the day that I tidied up Baby T's Play Doh corner (tossed out the dry stuff, etc.) and then went to my Bat Cave and pulled out fresh Play Doh and the big tub of pointy big girl Play Doh tools and cookie cutters.  We have ABC cookie cutters, numbers, and a vast array of animal and holiday oriented cookie cutters.

Baby Girl is delighted and is currently working through the Play Doh alphabet (with help).

It looks like I should definitely do gingerbread with the kids this Christmas.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Uke Club!

We have the green light from school and have approval and a faculty adviser for the ukulele club that C has been hoping to start at school.  Here's what's going on:

  • We've got half a dozen ukuleles and I believe that many cases (gotta check).
  • We've got around half a dozen clip-on tuners (thanks to a generous donor!).
  • C has the teacher edition of 21 Songs in 6 Days, which is meant to be used teaching 4th-8th graders to play the ukulele.  It has an online video component to supplement in-person teaching.  We still need see if this is the right book.  If it is, we'll get another five or six copies of the student edition.
  • I may also get a book of Christmas songs from the same author for the holiday season.  
  • C has had a few goes at teaching D a little ukulele.  It was a little rough the first one or two times, but he seems more positive about it now and is making progress.  (I pay C $2 per 15 minute lesson.)  I've told C that she can teach Baby T next year when Baby T will be 4.5.  C has been burning to give Baby T a ukulele for some time.  I haven't let her yet, though, as Baby T is still only 3.5 now.
  • We're going to be aiming at a once a month ukulele club meeting for this coming school year, as C will just be starting high school, so she may need a lot more time for school work than she has this year.  If that goes well and if C is still interested, we can bump that up to twice a month.  (Weekly seems like too big a commitment for everybody--C will also have her own weekly lesson, an instrumental music class, and practice at home--so much music!)
  • I'm also really interested to see how the instrumental music class goes for C.  I get the feeling that she's really interested in the idea of having people to play with.      


The big kids and I did about a 9 day trip to WA a few weeks ago while my husband stayed home with Baby T.  We saw my family on the Olympic Peninsula and Seattle and my MIL in Seattle.

Here's some of what we did on the road:
  • C took her ukulele on the road for the first time, along with four (!) books of sheet music, and got in a lot of performing and practicing.
  • On the Olympic Peninsula, we got to see the kid's 1-year-old cousin who is at run-around-all-the-time age.  We had a cookout (grilled corn!) with my sister's family and my parents, played Rook with great-grandpa, saw the beautiful contemporary-meets-Craftsman cabin the family is building, went to the beach (where the kids built a shelter) and visited the rain forest.
  • If you're eating brunch at Chestnut Cottage in Port Angeles and they offer you a pastry, GET THE PASTRY.  I went for toast but eventually got a couple bites of great-grandma's amazing cherry strudel thingy.
  • The kids got a lot of use out of their Kindles during our down time.
  •  On the last leg of our trip, we took the ferry back to Seattle and my sister met us at the ferry docks downtown.  We walked around, visited Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront (warning:  mummies and shrunken heads and weird stuff, but also a very nice Indian art display), went to Capitol Hill, checked our stuff into our massive Tudor B&B, and then had dinner at Rom Mai Thai with my sister.  (Very good, by the way!  Try the pad thai.)  
  • The only thing I have against Capitol Hill is...the hill.  Getting up and down from our B&B to Broadway was challenging.  
  • We stayed at the Shafer Bailie Mansion for three nights mostly with my MIL.  The only hitch was no laundry (it being a B&B) and exotic plumbing.  Otherwise, a very pleasant breakfast and cable for watching our now traditional HGTV on the road.
  • As on previous visits, we spent the bulk of our time at Seattle Center.  I had found out about the Star Trek exhibit at the EMP on the plane and the kids were clamoring for it, so we went.  The kids also spent a lot of time in the sound lab (a music space) at the EMP and we got to listen to some elementary school student steel bands.  The Star Trek gift shop was fantastic and I was able to pick up a couple of items for my husband for Father's Day.
  • We were finally able to have a good long visit to the Science Center.  We saw the Galapagos movie in 3D (which was actually pretty good--I'm not normally a 3D person), the LEGO art exhibit (very nice gift shop, of course!) and did other Science Center stuff (like the gerbil wheel in the water and the water cannons).  The kids also paid another visit to the massive newish playground near EMP.     
  • Basically, Seattle Center is one-stop shopping for tourists.
  • It turned out that our B&B was just a couple of blocks from Volunteer Park.  There's a good playground and a massive picturesque round brick water tower that you're not supposed to climb, but people totally do climb.  Volunteer Park has massive ancient trees and Craftsman (not making this up) public restrooms.  We didn't manage to go (just ran out of time), but it also has a conservatory and an Asian art museum.
  • On Saturday night, we went to Mass at St. James Cathedral downtown.  We were there for the blessing of about 50 pilgrims who are going to World Youth Day in Poland.  Beautiful church!  There's a lovely chapel--we lit a whole bunch of candles.
  • Seattle taxi service was good and fast.  
  • Thank you, MIL!  It was great fun!   

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Baby T is a hard mistress.  She has me drawing Nemo, Marlin, Dory, trains, trees, cats, rabbits, castles, water, etc.  She even wanted me to draw Wednesday.

I'm also supposed to cut stuff out for her, which is harder than it sounds with tiny plastic scissors.