21 January 2015

A favorite spot

This week I toted Wyatt across town to the University of Washington Arboretum to get myself a little winter garden fix at the Witt Winter Garden.  No matter the time of year, there's always something blooming at the arboretum, or looking "just beautiful" as Wyatt declared Tuesday.  The sun came out for us as we sniffed our way around the garden several times -- the witch hazel and sarcococca smells are incredible -- then wandered off to see what was happening elsewhere and to find a few more things on our scavenger hunt list i.e. a tree with peeling bark and a singing bird. 

Wyatt wrangled my camera away from me and insisted on taking pictures, some of which I've included here.  Although many of the camellias had already come and gone, the witch hazels are at their peak right now.  Magnolias soon to come . . .

08 January 2015

Hurricane Ridge for New Years

After the Christmas holiday, the three of us needed a break from home, so we decided on the spur of the moment to spend a couple days on the Olympic Peninsula and to go snowshoeing at Hurricane Ridge.  We left on New Years Day but didn't arrive in Port Angeles until about 2:30 p.m., which was a bit late in the day to try to make it to the Ridge and do much of anything.

Instead, we opted to get an early start to the mountains in the morning.  We explored the kids' Discovery Room at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center before heading to town and checking into our motel -- the Port Angeles Inn.  The room was simple and clean, and had a nice view of the lighthouse, which was super interesting to at least one of us.  In search of dinner, we took a terribly cold walk the three blocks to downtown and chose between the few places that were open.  The Crab House it was.  All I can say is they have a tasty hot fudge sundae. 

In the morning, much to Wyatt's delight, we got to make hot waffles in the breakfast room of the motel.  Then we headed into the mountains.  We saw deer and lots of snowy trees and some great views despite the overcast day.  After stuffing Wyatt into his snow suit, we gave our snowshoes a spin and it began to snow on us.  It was Wyatt's first try at using his snowshoes and poles but he got the hang of it pretty quickly.  He answered to Yukon Wyatt most of the way. After about an hour of walking (mostly downhill) we headed back to the lodge.  Wyatt made it all the way albeit with a few rests and some motivational snacking provided along the way. The snowball fights made his day.

By two we had eaten lunch, snooped around the gift shop, and Wy had vetoed the sledding idea.  At his request we headed "straight back to the Port Angeles Inn," and he slept the whole way. Once back to town we managed to hit a great sale at the local Brown's Outdoor clothing shop and find dinner at Bella Italia.  Little did we realize we had chosen at a restaurant made famous by the Twilight books/movies.  The young woman filling our water glasses clued us in.  In any case, the food and wine were outstanding.

After another breakfast of motel waffles, we checked out and headed for home via Port Townsend for some wandering, lunch, and a stop at one of our favorite book shops. We had a really nice time on our adventure.  Nothing fancy or resort-like about this getaway, but it gave us quality time together playing and eating and goofing around.  Just right for the start of a new year.

07 January 2015


As has become our custom, we celebrated Wyatt's birthday this week with a small family dinner. Perhaps we are all too exhausted from the December festivities to do more, or just not organized enough to put together "a friends party" as Wyatt calls it.  In any case, we ate Wyatt's requested dinner (haystacks a.k.a. taco salad with fritos) followed by cake (the same one I always make) and ice cream and a few birthday presents.  Grandpa Herman, Aunt Becky and Uncle Darren joined us.  The Corvallis grandparents Face-timed with us before bed.

In truth, we also had a friend over for lunch and play date on his birthday, which totally made his day and wore him out.  Byron also came home a couple hours early on his birthday, and the two of them "watched space movies" at Wyatt's request for an hour or so before dinner. It was a pretty awesome day by Wyatt's standards.

I can hardly belive how fast we have gotten to four.  It seems like only moments ago that he started sleeping through the night and rolling over. 

But now that he's four, he has gotten quite interested in how and when he was born and where he came from. For weeks now, we've been talking about how he grew from an egg to an embryo to a fetus to a baby . . . about the day he was born . . . how he peed on dad during his first diaper change (cue the hysterical laughter).  Periodically, he will quiz me about what he was doing during any given time in my life that I mention.  Our exchanges often goes like this:

Me: "I remember my birthday when I turned four years old.  A girl named Julie and I became friends that day.  And I lived in a log cabin with grandma and grandpa, in the state of North Carolina."

Wy:  "Oh.  When you lived in a log cabin was I born yet?  Or was I still just an egg?"

Me:  "You were just an egg back then."

Wy: "Okay.  When you married my father, was I born yet?  Or was I still just an egg?"

Me:  "No you weren't born yet.  You were still an egg."

Wy:  "Oh. When did you decide to grow me?"

All historical occurrences are now measured by whether Wyatt was born yet or whether he was still just an egg.

And how crazy it is that just five years ago, he was, indeed, still just an egg.  How much life and love -- and, well, pretty much everything from my brain chemistry to my outlook on life has changed.  I knew I would enjoy this parent adventure, but I had no idea how much.

Here we are, four years in.  What an interesting person he is.  These days he is "really, really into space stuff" as he puts it.  He's just discovered Legos, which are pretty fabulous.  He counts everything in French.  He's learned to play games like Go Fish and The Scrambled States of America.  He can navigate utube and Apple TV like a pro (unfortunately).  We "sort, sort, sortie, sort, sort" everything thanks to Peg+Cat.  Salad people are all the rage with him (thank you Mollie Katzen).  He can snowshoe, order his own meal at a restaurant, and cut cucumbers with a serrated knife.  He reads.  He sits in a booster seat in the car now.  He can make phone calls and pour his own milk from the carton (definitely not at the same time, however). And if he holds my phone in the car, he takes great pleasure in announcing what businesses we are passing as he tracks us on Google maps. 

Happy fourth birthday, Wy!