Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Seattle trip

Things were starting to get crazy at Claire and James's with all the house-building, so for this visit to the MS Center, I took up the offer of hotel reimbursement. The hotel's TV wouldn't hook up to the Wii, but Cliff and the kids had a great time in the pool, watching DVDs, reading, and just hanging out.

We ended up in Seattle longer than planned because the pass was closed for a couple of days, but it worked out OK.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas day sledding

This was a beautiful day for sledding--you can tell by all the hats and scarves that were getting peeled off and hung on the tree. And Cassie made a new friend.

Wheeeeeeeee! (Is this what spoiled looks like?)

We wondered a lot about this decision--and the thing isn't even paid for yet--but no regrets after we saw this look of pure exhilaration! (Not to mention a few overwhelmed almost-tears!)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Oh, the beauty of inadequate insulation...

I wish more of our heat was staying in the house instead of seeping through the roof to melt the snow. But you must admit it's pretty.

Secret Santa time

It's always fun having an excuse to give your co-workers ridiculous gifts anonymously. It's even MORE fun catching them on film wearing their gifts so you can immortalize them on your blog! (Fortunately for Josh, my blog doesn't have much of a following. But he doesn't have to know that.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Journey to Bethlehem

It's just not Christmas without a trip to a living nativity. (This one even had a real baby! But they only let us pet the sheep.)

Fun at Fort Walla Walla

We can never decide which park we love more--Pioneer Park or this one. Pioneer is more elegant and beautiful, perhaps, but there's a lot to do here. When it snows, the BMX track, which is a blast in the summer (at least for 9-year-old boys), turns into the best sledding in town. (And of course there's the DOG park. Have I mentioned the dog park?) There's also a model air field, a remote control car track, a historical museum and lots of trails to explore. The icing on the cake is an outdoor theater where we go to see the summer musical and the best thing to come to Walla Walla yet, Shakespeare Uncorked.

Problem, solution

I felt a little like Paris Hilton shopping for pink boots for my dog. In my defense, they were less than six bucks, and if you could see poor little Cassie trying to get the ice chunks out from between her toes, you'd buy them too. We haven't tried them outdoors yet, but she isn't exactly thrilled by her new footwear. Maybe she'll appreciate my efforts once it dawns on her how useful her new boots are. (Or once she catches a glimpse of her stylin' doggy self in the mirror and notices how jealous the cats are.)

Thank goodness for digital

My parents never let ME take 682 photos just so I could make a stop motion video. (Though probably only because I never asked--I was pretty spoiled.) Of course, with rechargeable batteries and a digital camera, it's fairly painless. And oh, so much fun. Kept him busy for hours.

Terrier vs. Great Dane

Whenever one of the local Great Danes shows up, you can feel the excitement sweep over the people at the dog park. Well, something like that. The dogs enjoy this big guy too. Even the itty bitty ones.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday morning surprise (wasted on a snow Scrooge)

I'm too much aware of my mortality to be completely thrilled about the snow (hate to drive in the stuff) but I've got to admit, it's gorgeous. Extreme backyard makeover! Goodbye weeds, overturned wheelbarrows.... Wow.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My little skeptic

I think the middle picture shows Father Christmas putting Ethan and Bryson on the Naughty List for all their Santa teasing.

My current mission is to convince Ethan that he's old enough that he doesn't have to show off his "knowledge" anymore—he's old enough to go along and enjoy it. Bring back the magic! Ho ho ho!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Will spend evening at banquet for food

Can't complain too much about a nice dinner with a jazz band and two handsome dates (only one pictured...) but it helped make for a tiring weekend, especially for Cliff. Seven hours of supervising the decorating, plus a late night tonight. Hard to face Monday feeling tireder than you were on Friday afternoon!

Evil, evil ceiling

Surely there's a special place in hell for the person who invented popcorn ceilings? Extra hot? Itchy maybe? No chocolate?

Underneath the dingy popcorn mess with ridiculous sparkles (right side of photo) was a PERFECTLY GOOD ceiling! It had a nice texture and was even painted. A few spots needed touch-up (three bucks for some DAP did the trick), and of course repainting will be nice, but the room is already looking great. Why, why, why did someone do this evil thing?

Anyway, we finished the first half of the room and then learned from our mistakes enough to do much better prep work for the second half (note the plastic sheeting duct-taped to the baseboards and around the windows). At the halfway point, Teri celebrated and I had to go. (By "had to" I mean, man, did I ever want OUT of there.)

Another reason to love Walla Walla

Since the parade falls on holiday barrel tasting weekend and Walla Walla has become a practically swanky destination, the Seattle TV stations show up for it (whatEVer). But at least for the moment, the Christmas parade still feels like ours. Ethan and I walked with the Dog Park group and got to feel for a few moments like rock stars. What fun having excited little kids shouting "doggies" whenever we appeared! Cassie might not have won a popularity contest against the adorable doxie in the Santa suit or the sheep dog with Christmas lights shining through all that beautiful fur, but she thoroughly enjoyed the attention. Everything's more fun with a dog. Really. Go to the humane society RIGHT THIS MINUTE and get one. Tell them I sent you. Or go to petfinder.com.

P.S. Sorry about the demon dog photo...must learn how to use Photoshop and fix those eyes!

One of my favorite things about Walla Walla

The Dog Park. Watching a two-pound terrier romping around with a 200-pound great dane...it doesn't get much better than that. I was hoping it would be a social outlet--maybe I'd meet some people?--and that hasn't really panned out (I only know the dogs' names so far). But when I'm there, I can't stop smiling. This must be good for me.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The H.M.S. WHUMP (glub, glub, glub)

I took a ton of photos like this for insurance* (crossing fingers for coverage) but I will limit the blog to one. Too bad Cliff never got to ride in it, because he sure ain't going anywhere now! (Except maybe to the bottom of the lake....)

We had to wait until December to see the damage; checking out the kayak was too dangerous the night of the crash and we no longer had a roof rack to tie it to anyway. The Prosser DOT (which held it for us) is only open a couple hours a day, Monday through Thursday, in November. So Friday afternoon we jumped in the van (fresh from repairs--only took 24 days to put lipstick on this pig) and headed to Prosser.

*If you really want to see the mangled rudder, scraped sections, other holes, broken handles, etc., check out Flickr.

Pretty, pretty

This is the latest Buggy Barn flower quilt from the quilting ladies. I loved the batiks, but sometimes the asymmetrical pieces stumped me a little--batiks are good on both sides. We had to be reeeeeeally organized to keep things straight!

They're making another tomorrow, but my back is very tired and I'm pretty sure the recipient doesn't even know me. I'm sure there will be plenty of stitchers to handle it. (Still, I'll be feeling a little guilty about this time tomorrow...)

Monday, December 01, 2008

Happy chocolate birthday...

For Nicole's birthday, a few of her co-workers threw a chocolate tasting party. Can't comment on the bacon chocolate (it was real; I'm a vegetarian) but the Dagoba eclipse (87%)...yum. I also liked the stone ground chocolate. A little gritty, but good. The IKEA chocolate (three varieties) wasn't bad at all for how cheap it was. The chili pepper was kind of tasty, but too weird to have much of--it's a good way to enjoy some chocolate without any chance of getting carried away. And the Snickers...well, always a classic. Thanks to Josh for keeping us from getting too snobby about all this.