Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making a Splash

I think that Washington is a better-than-average place to live.   I don't say that casually because I've lived in lots of places that I really liked a lot.  Iowa, for example, was quite wonderful.  I loved the green rolling hills, the picturesque farms, and the golden corn fields,  but I can guarantee that you'll never see a splash like this in any body of water in Iowa.

This splash is beyond the capabilities of even the largest pool-side cannon-baller.  

Unless you have a relative that's roughly 9 tons.  

Then maybe they could compete.

Out on the water today, the challenge was where to focus my camera, because there were whales everywhere.  Mamas and babies were a big hit with our girls,

but the big males didn't need to rely on the cuteness factor.
They were just impressive.

Sea World just can't match this.

We went home tired but happy.  And so happy to call Washington home.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

In the Genes

Yesterday Lyle turned forty and despite his mother's gentle reminders that he's not as young as he used to be, he celebrated the momentous day by running 26.2 miles.  His two youngest sisters actually bought plane tickets to fly to Seattle and join him in this suffer-fest.  (They descend from pioneer ancestors, that's the only thing I can attribute it to.)

Many months ago when I signed up to run the half marathon, I envisioned myself in top-notch physical shape, running as a birthday tribute to my husband.  Unfortunately, I didn't really envision the training.  Or if I did envision it, I certainly didn't do it.  So as I laced my running shoes at 4 AM, I knew it would not be pretty.  Not pretty at all. 

I was assigned corral number 32.  I felt the urge to moo.  Being in a corral was bad enough, but being in number 32 meant I would be crossing the starting line nearly an hour after Lyle way ahead in corral number 2.  In that case, he could conceivably finish before me, despite having run twice the distance.  That felt demoralizing, so the night before, I moved my start time up to corral 17.  Unfortunately, I was still in the Port-a-potty line when corral 17 began the race.  I believe it was corral 25 I jumped into and I saw the pacer for the 2:30 half marathon time.   Being that the woman was at least 65 years old, I thought maybe I could hang with her.  I did for a bit, but at mile four my body began sending subtle reminders that I hadn't really trained for any distance farther than house to mailbox.

So I quickly adjusted my goal (I think wishy-washy goal-making is the root of my problem) and decided that with walking breaks, I could finish in less than three hours and hopefully still make it back before Lyle.  That 2:30 group seemed a bit stuffy anyway.  There is no pacer for the three hour group.  What can I say, we're lone wolves.  

And so I finished, before the three hour mark and in time to meet Lyle, give him a kiss, and say happy birthday.  Then he told me he threw up in a garbage can on mile 24.  That was nice to hear. 

Lyle's brother-in-law took this picture of him somewhere along the course.  Lyle's smiling, so I believe it was before mile 24.  

Here,  I was swishing with water after the vomit revelation. 
My new haircut actually can look stylish, but like the rest of my body, 
my hair didn't quite know what to do with itself after about mile four.  

Lyle's sister, Laurel, however, can look quite lovely even after 26.2 miles.  

And Lyle's youngest sister, in the teal, looked strong coming into the finish.   This was her first marathon, only thirteen months after giving birth to a baby the size of a first grader.  (Did I mention the pioneer ancestors?)

And despite the blue lips, Lyle said he felt good.  I'm convinced that if he lived 150 years ago, he could have crossed the plains, cleared a forrest, built a cabin, and still had the time and energy to throw together a pizza oven.

From Seattle, we drove east to see three more of Lyle's sisters.  Lyle's local sister was due to have a baby July 18th, but she reasoned that it would be very convenient for everyone (since family was already flying in and all) to just have her water break a few weeks early.  With the arrival of the baby, two more sisters made the trek to Washington to help, and so it was a mini reunion, missing only Lyle's oldest sister and his younger brother.  

On Lyle's side, this is grandbaby number 29.  Despite being three weeks early, Olivia was a hefty 7 pounds 10 ounces.  She'll probably be almost ready for the next Rock and Roll Marathon.  She comes from healthy stock.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thyme Crunch--1 year later

Last year at the end of June we were putting the finishing touches on our courtyard.  
The concrete "stones" had just been colored and sealed and 
I embarked on the most time/thyme consuming planting job I'd ever undertaken.

Now, a year later, I can honestly say it was worth it.  As I walked across the courtyard this morning, the scent was heavy in the air and the colors of the wooly thyme, creeping thyme, "little prince" thyme, and elfin thyme had that tapestry look I was hoping for.

And thankfully a year later, there's still little red shoes clicking across the courtyard, 
but now Cholita would like you know that she's moved onto "high heels".

And there's still the same blankie, looking worse for the wear.  We're pretty much down to batting.

Last year, the fountain wasn't in yet and the whole place looked like a construction zone.

This year the fountain is in, although rarely running.  I've decided I almost prefer the birdbath effect.  Besides, did I mention how loud it is?
It's still loud.

But not quite as loud as this little one.

Now if weeds would just cease to exist, I'd almost call it perfect.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Time Served

Last weekend our family took our seats in the lovely Admiral theater for our youngest daughter's first dance recital.  I'd already dropped Cholita off in the big room backstage.  She was wearing a sequined red halter-style leotard that she deemed "immodest, but pretty" (a worrisome statement from my four year-old).  

I knew her dance would be right after intermission, so in the dim light of the theater, I scanned our program to see how many numbers we had before the break.  I turned the page.  I turned another page.  There were a lot.  A whole, whole lot.  My teenage son was already sulking and my husband was doing that foot shake thing he does when he feels antsy. 

But I still didn't see "Puttin' on the Ritz", Cholita's dance.  Then I saw it.  NO, they can't be serious!  There were TWO intermissions and Cholita's class was scheduled after the second, with about a gazillion dances between now and then.  I hadn't even given the poor girl dinner before we'd left.  Realizing that Cholita would be waiting a very long time, I slipped out to be with her in the kids' waiting area.  Nearly FOUR hours later, we were STILL there.  By that point, our poor Cholita had rubbed off her makeup, worked her hair into a sweaty frenzy, and tossed her tutu and gloves onto the cracker-strewn floor.  It was chaos back there, with numerous ballerinas in full-out tantrum mode, tutus a-flying.  During those long hours, I struck up a conversation with another mom.   She shared with me the story of her difficult and courageous childhood spent in a refugee camp in Cambodia.  I admire this woman as someone who could obviously handle hard things, but even she looked ready to blow a gasket after about the three hour mark.

When it was FINALLY Cholita's turn, I slipped back into the theater.  Lyle was fidgeting like a horse in the starting blocks and Bruder was near comatose.  Even my girls had a glazed over look in their eyes.

But our Cholita was wonderful.  During her two minutes on stage, she shook her little hiney in her immodest but pretty costume and made us proud.  Next year, we've agreed that the boys will stay home.  They've served their time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

What is it about my kids and the color red?

At least with Cholita it's just shoes.
As of today, we are now the owners of a "teenager car". 

Do these two look responsible?  
Granted, Lucy has a while until her learner's permit.  Sixteen months to be exact, which now that I think about is pretty much right around the corner.  (Hopefully she has a growth spurt before then so she can adequately reach the clutch.)

Because for reasons known only to those of the male persuasion, a stick shift is where it's at.

Lyle drove a stick shift when we first met.  A cute little two-door black Nissan Sentra.  That Sentra was our only car for years.  A two-door car with two car seats in the back. Car seats for the teenagers pictured above-- one who's now driving and the other who will be in driver's ed before I have time to hyperventilate about the whole thing.

So tonight they took their new (ten year-old) car out for a spin.
 Lyle says (with some pride) that our son is a natural.

I think I'll go inside now and sing "Sunrise, Sunset".

Friday, June 11, 2010

"Wow--and I'm not even a mother!"

Breakfast in bed for our birthday girl.

She was quite shocked as she thought this was a privilege afforded only to 
Mamas on their special day in May.

 Ahh, this is the life--waking up to german pancakes swimming in a delectable peach topping.
What could possibly ruin this scene of birthday decadence?

Apparently a photographer who's snapping pictures first thing in the morning
as you try to hold your robe closed to maintain modesty....

......well, some people find that annoying.
Go figure.

At any rate, Happy Birthday Morning to our sweet Rose!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

So that's what she's been doing in the pantry: What I Found in Cholita's Backpack

Various homemade trail mixes.
All neatly packaged.

All heavy on the baking chips and M&M's.
Some with a spattering of nuts,
you know, for health's sake.

A little something to warm your belly.

And accessories. 
We mustn't forget the accessories.
 Because even deep in the wilderness, you want to look your best.

So she's ready.
Bag packed.
By the door.
Set to go.

Too bad the camping trip's a month away.