Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Spirit

The Real Santa!
Lego Santa
Since he was pretty young, Cooper has loved Santa. Not just on a "the guy who brings me presents"love, but the long- lost-favorite- relative-who-knows-me-better-than-anyone love. Some of hi first words were "Santa Pom-Pom", complete with a little hand gesture to indicate the pom Pom at the tip of Santa's hat (in case you weren't bright enough to figure that out...) We listen to Christmas carols all year long ,and generally every third drawing Cooper has done is of Santa. He talks about traveling to the North Pole as his next vacation plan. This boy loves Santa. That said, until this year, he's not quite been able to follow along with the story lines for more complicated Christmas stories (think Polar Express), and his carols were pretty limited. This year, however, has been a banner year for Santa- not only have we had 4 or 5 official sightings, but he's added "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", "Silent Night", and "All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth" to his musical repertoire.
 The highlight, however, is a two part story: on Wednesday, we went to my mom and stepdad's YMCA for a "Breakfast with Santa" deal. Cooper spotted him before he'd even entered the room, and peppered him with questions: "Where's Mrs. Claus? Who's watching the reindeer? Are you going back to the North Pole? Where's your sleigh?" It was clear that the affection was mutual, and Santa chatted him up for as long as the elves would let him. BUT, here's the highlight: this morning, we were back at the YMCA, finishing up when who should walk in, ready for his workout, but Santa!! Sure enough, in case you wondered, Santa works out at the La Jolla YMCA on a regular basis! Cooper recognized him immediately, and rushed to greet him. He asked about the Claus family, the reindeer, and, of course, what kind of exercises Santa does.  It was a magical moment- to see that window of true belief, where Santa is as likely to be seen, sitting kids on his lap, ringing the Salvation Army bell, or going in for a workout. 

 And on that note, we send you our warmest wishes, with love and affection to each of you, and the hope that we each may work to see the good in people, and to act in ways that bring our dreams one step closer to reality.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Well, we've survived the first month of the school year- and it's been something. Millworks, the cohousing next door to us, opened this summer. We've more than doubled the number of kids on our block in less than a month! Ian started at The Cottage School. It's a little mixed age preschool for 3-6 year olds. I'm thrilled with it. Our neighbor, Leah, goes there as well, so they're getting a chance to build their own relationship. It reminds me a lot of the preschool that I went to as a kid, and feels like just the right match for Ian. Cooper had the opportunity to repeat kindergarten, and stay with the fabulous teacher he had last year. Sadly, two weeks into the school year we were told that Happy Valley was overstaffed, and Cooper's teacher had to move to an understaffed school across town.'s settled now, and Cooper's happy with his new teacher- when I pick him up, he tells me, "I like that new classroom!" He's doing great, and has already added two hours to his day compared to last year. I started at a new building too. I'm teaching 5th grade for the first time since 2005, when Cooper was born. We began with 38 kids in the class, but are now settled in with 28 ( which has never looked so small!) I'm just teaching language arts, working from 8:30-12:15. It's the perfect schedule because I'm home in time to pick up both boys from school, and enjoy the afternoon with them. This week, Cooper woke up at 2am with the croup. Wheezy, coughy, hard to catch your breath- yuk. Scared Chris and I, but once the spell was over, he was okay. t one point he said, "I'm sick and coughing, and I need Fireman Sam to rescue me!" hysterical. I finally have my 45 minutes a week for this project- Cooper has speech after school, and Chris is home in time to keep Ian at home. Hurrah!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Triple- Double

When we got this tandem in Spring, I was thrilled to be able to ride with Cooper. Of course, the dilemma I hadn't anticipated is that, generally, I'm home with both kids. I finally stumbled across a picture of a set up like this, and realized the bike seat in back was identical to here we are- the Triple-Double, so named by our niece, Molly. Let me just say that, while it's awesome, pedaling 100 pounds of cargo definitely limits my biking range, particularly when there are hills involved. Nevertheless, I can get them to school and to the park by myself, on the bike, which makes me really happy! Now if only Cooper would learn to pedal....

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Camping at San Juan County Park
We have been camping here for more than ten years now. Most years, the Orcas pass through regularly, and we sit on the bluff - everything coming to a silent standstill to watch. We throw rocks on the beach, walk in the nearby sculpture garden, sit by the campfire, and mostly, enjoy this first family tradition.

Bet you can guess the parents of Mr. I-don't-want-to-be-in-a-picture.....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bring on The Rain!

It's been quite the winter here (and elsewhere, too, I know). I feel like it's been 45 and raining for as long as I can remember, with little bursts of 55 and sunny to keep us from going off the deep end. This year, I realized that it's not so much the rain, as it is being cooped up with the boys. On top of that, we got our new bicycle and it proceeded to rain for the next 10 days straight. So, after much digging around, I finally found a solution: foul weather gear! One piece, rainproof oversuits that should allow me to throw the boys outside or on the bike no matter the weather... I even have one of my own from my pre- kid sailing days. So, bring it on, northwest weather, we're ready!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's here!

Yep, here it is, our fabulous new tandem that has foot pegs, shortened pedals, and a rear seat with back support. Cooper is thrilled, and I almost cried when we got out on our first ride. It's been such a struggle to get Cooper to even attempt anything with wheels- bikes, scooters....the trail-a-bike was a total, last summer I'd gotten to where I'd almost given up trying to ride with Coop. And that made me so sad- biking really is one of my favorite things, and its such a good family activity. But by the end of last summer, I'd pretty much given up....until we got this grant (and a big thanks to you, United Healthcare Children's Foundation) that helped pay for our new bike. So now, we can ride together, and Cooper can get practice balancing, and gaining the comfort and skills he'll need to ride on his own one day. Today, I feel like we won the lottery.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring fun

Highlights from this spring....where to start? A fabulous visit to Kentucky to see Chris's parents, a surprise
detour through San Diego on our return, Easter egg hunting, and, yes, you guessed it, more rock throwing.

Cooper started buddy soccer and an "adaptive" aquatics program this week ( on an aside, I couldn't actually say what's adaptive about
the swimming, but it's one on one time in the water with a pair of volunteers who can get way more out of Cooper than I can!)

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New bike

A friend gave us this balance bike over the weekend, and it is clearly the love of Ian's
life! For my own self, it means I can go on a fairly good paced walk without pushing a stroller or carrying a kid in a backpack. I'm Floored by how fast he's gotten the hang of it!

YouTube Video

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Saturday, February 26, 2011

One determined kid...

In case you haven't noticed, or heard, it's cold here. Cold, and snowy and icy. And for all of you who live south of me and are complaining about the "freezing" 50 degree winters, I have just one thing to say, "Whaaaaa!" Seriously. (And, to all of you who live where it's far colder than here- I know, I know, I shouldn't complain.)

Nevertheless, we're here, the chickens are scratching out grassy spots in the snow, Cooper's trying to build a snowman in 1/4 inch of snow, I've learned to park the van on the street anytime anyone mentions the word snow, and Ian, well, Ian's learning to milk it. He's banging on the door as soon as he's awake to go out, push his bike to the top of the driveway, and careen back down. Without insistence from his parents, he would do this in his pajamas, or even a t-shirt and jeans. I finally made the declaration that his clothing had to include at least a hat and coat. Sheesh.
Here are two videos that kept me laughing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fast Friends


Fun to see how much these kids change year to year...

It's coming into birthday season around here- Chris turns 46 this weekend, and Cooper will be 6 two weeks later. Late February/Early March brings a run of birthdays in our family/friend group that fills almost every day for three weeks. Crazy.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

MLK Day- Happy Valley School Garden Project

 A fabulous start to Cooper's school garden. I so enjoyed watching Cooper jump right in and work. He stayed focused on the project really the whole time- moving cardboard, digging & dumping dirt. One of the his favorite kids in class was there, which was awesome. A highly successful "day on!"


Sunday, January 9, 2011

My New Year's Resolution

I went to make our annual picture album this past December, and realized how much I use this blog as a reference. So, I'm thinking months between entries isn't such a hot idea. Hence, my resolution: Sunday night picture upload, and quick entry. Bug me if I fall of the wagon, please...

Woke up to snow this morning- just the perfect amount: enough to build snowmen, throw snowballs, and to keep my skis moving. The truth is that cross country skiing ranks right up there with sailing for me (and for anyone who knows me, that's saying a lot.) But opportunities are few and far between here in Bellingham.

I was spoiled by my six winter months in Wolverine, Michigan 15 years ago. I worked at an outdoor camp there, teaching inner city Detroit kids about snowshoeing, skiing, and how to build a fire in the snow. The camp backed up on 200 acres of state forest land, and every weekend once we'd cleared the remnants of the hundred or so kids from the week, we'd put on skis and head out into the forest. The snow was fabulous, the deciduous forest bright and silent-full of birds, porcupines, even a couple of ermine who kept watch on our movements. Trees bent over with the weight of snow.

Nevertheless, this morning was the kind I dream of and Ian and I made the best of it- skiing through town to the Firehouse Cafe for a cookie-and-a-coffee date. A perfect morning.
Cooper asked for a turn, but I'm thinking we wouldn't have made it far with him in the backpack- apparently he needs his own skis. Below is a picture from his first ski trip.

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