Friday, June 30, 2017

Hurry Up and SPA!

Julie was bringing the kids WP_20170630_10_38_31_Proover late morning, so I was in a rush to get my summer pedicure before I went from 3 kids to 5.  There’s a typical-looking nail salon just a few blocks up from the ferry, butWP_20170630_10_38_40_Pro I was really impressed!  They had two kid pedicure chairs so Piper was very comfortable next to me getting her first pedi, and Kyla was close by getting a manicure. 

Did they need one?  No.  Did I need one?  Yes.  So, I logged Wesley into the store’s Wi-Fi and we all sat back to a little pampering. Had I made slightly better plans, I may WP_20170630_10_38_37_Prohave gotten the two outdoor spa chairs overlooking the water on a perfect Island day.  Well, I have about 11 months to plan my next annual pedi!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Perfect: One of Mama’s Best Cabin Days

Arriving Wednesday night, we had only one full day before my niece and nephew were to come and decrease my mobility, so I was determined to Get Out and Do while I could.

Wanting to make it a Perfect Day, I started by filling up the kids with a protein-and-pancake breakfast and invited our neighbor friends over—on the sunny deck, completely cutting down on the clean up. 

First, we headed for the Langley Library for a Animal Architect kids’ event.  My 3 teamed up and built a very successful beaver dam WP_20170629_11_55_22_Proout of twigs, rocks, and clay before making birds nests and spider webs.  While they were occupied, I found a new book by the author of Rooftoppers that I checked out and started on right there.



After lunch, I took mine and a few neighbor girls down to “our” beach.  Wesley and Abigail spotted an owl!  Can you?


There were also a few bald eagles down on the water, and the kids captured shrimp and swam for a few hours while I devoured by book and savored my favorite part of summer—reading at a beach with kids joyfully playing nearby.




We kept the cabin neater than usual by eating outside, making me saner and giving me more time to read. 


Piper demonstrates how good the day was by curling up on my bed and falling asleep before she could make it back to her own bedroom!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Piper’s Fairy Garden

Each kid gets a special Summer Starts gift—Wesley got Heelies (shoes + wheels), Kyla a used play kitchen with tons of food, and for Piper:

Ingredients for a fairy garden!

6-27 Piper's Fairy Garden

6-27 Piper's Fairy Garden2She has had lots of fun growing little plants and arranging the animals.



My phone camera is not quick enough to catch all 6 grandkids in a smile, so I caught myself an Amber smile and then clicked a few more times so we can have a few shots of the 6 cousins growing up together!



Monday, June 26, 2017

Last Day of School

Winter weather delayed the start of summer vacation until today, but that made it no less celebratory! 



Yes, that is Kyla wearing headphones, as she’s noise-sensitive and just wore them home among the cheering at the end of school (11:10 am!).  Yes, that is Wesley wearing a winter coat with helmet on a 70 degree day.  At this point, I’m just going to call Piper “normal”. 

Mama, however, had spent the entire 120 minutes of today at school frantically putting the Book Room to bed for the summer before co-hosting the Kindergarten classes at our house.  These last two weeks,  I hosted the 1st, 3rd, and 4th graders at separate Play & Popsicle parties at our house, on days I wasn’t subbing or running the school Book Swap or finishing the Book Room.  So I’m kinda beat and looking forward to a pleasant summer.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

We “Camped”!

Can I say how much I love KOA camping, er, “camping”?  First, I have to admit that the kids have asked on several Saturday afternoons if we could all go camping.  We redirected (“Sure, let’s set up your tent in the backyard!”), distracted (“Who wants watermelon?!”), delayed (“Not this weekend”), until we ran out of tactics and previous obligations.  So on Thursday night, I started looking for reservations for Friday and Saturday, and took one of the last spots at the Concrete KOA, a place my brother went to earlier this year.

Because I was at school all day on Friday and then hosted the 4th grade party in our backyard afterschool, we didn’t back out of the driveway until 7pm.  Wanting an appropriate Last Supper before the camping officially began, we lucked out at a lovely cafĂ© in Mount Vernon.




That interlude delayed us enough to pull in at 10pm, dark enough to set up our very-complicated 10-man tent with lanterns and headlights.  It’s the way we roll.

But, here’s the beauty of KOA.  Saturday morning, I paid for Dwayne and I to have the pancake and sausage breakfast and the kids ate free.  (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)

Kids had a morning of play—we were next to both a creek and a mountain trail.  I fed them all cheese –N- crackers, veggies –N- fruit, before we went to get our 1pm Italian sodas.  (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)


The kids loved the miniature golf.



We even got a hayride. 




I have to mention two more things about KOA:

1) Dinner—carrot sticks, roasting sticks for hotdogs and s'mores. (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)

2) KOA always has water, coffee, and hot water at the read so that I don’t even have to boil water to give my kids oatmeal for Sunday breakfast. (Inference: Mama didn’t cook.)

We couldn’t head home until we had explored the town of Concrete—Dwayne and I have a thing for small towns, mostly befuddlement how they survive.  But we found the 5B Bakery…and friends, I’m going back. 


I think Dwayne and I are trying to eat our way across Washington, because we also found an amazing chocolatier on return trip through Mount Vernon. WP_20170625_14_26_13_Pro


Very satisfying….wait!  Am I talking about the camping or the chocolate? At least the kids think of it as one of the best weekends of their lives!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Piper’s Pacific Rim Project

3rd grade cumulates in a WP_20170622_15_18_03_ProPacific Rim research project.  Piper did Australia.  There’s not much else to say—by the time Piper reads this blog of her childhood, she will have vague memories, probably none of which include Aussie imports and exports. But at least, there will be pictures!


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Dwayne Day!


How embarrassing—I forgot to take any pictures of Dwayne until the day after Father’s Day. But we didn’t forget about Daddy.  The kids made a list:

25 Reasons We Love Daddy

1. He lets us do fun things! W

2. He wrestles with us! K

3. He loves me. P

4. He cooks excellent dinners. K

5. He’s great.

6. He lets us watch Vultron.

7. He married Mama.

8. Helps us move heavy things

9. He’s the best dad in the entire world.

10. He plays with kids.

11. He jumps us high on the trampoline.

12. He’s great at art.

13. He loves making us mocktails. He’s a drink-making expert.

14. He loves our mom.

15. He takes us out to dinner. He once took us out to our favorite breakfast place. When Mom isn’t around, he takes us out for meals.

16. I like how he plays with us in the pool!

17. He’s the sole provider for our family.

18. He wants to teach me how to program

19. He’s an excellent trellis- and stair-builder. And he let’s me help him!

20. He lets us get toys at McDonald’s.

21. He takes us to great places, like Oregon and California.

22. He snuggles with us. He cuddles us.

23. He’s fun and happy and makes us laugh.

24. He loves us!

25. He’s nice to us.

By Kyla, Piper, and Wesley 6/18/2017


We celebrated by meeting my parents for a walk in Denny Park along the Kirkland waterfront, to prove to ourselves that, yes, walking up long, steep hills is hard.  The kids found trees to climb, streams to wade in, and worked up an appetite for celebratory gelato in downtown Kirkland. Grandpa didn’t seem to mind it either!


Sunday, June 4, 2017


Piper and Wesley had a great afternoon literally riding circles around each other!
6-4 Piper and Wesley playing around 2

6-4 Piper and Wesley playing around 3