He was moving so fast I couldn’t even get a clear shot of him! “Ben, can I pleeaase talk to Daddy now?” We had a big day today – first we ran/biked down to a new playground and met up with mom and Richard for a late lunch/breakfast. I should mention that I am very proud of myself for all the fixin’ I did before we left – I had to patch a front tube on the stroller (Richard’s water feature by the front door came in handy to find the tiny bubbles!) then Sam’s brakes on his bike weren’t working right so we stopped by the nice grandpa next door (their neighbor Jim) to fix that up. Then we were finally on our way!
After lunch we did some pumpkin carving then had vegetable soup and headed out for trick-or-treating (we calorie-trade on Halloween when we know we’re going to feast on loot!). Mom took a lot of photos for us – as she helped Sam identify homes open for “business” and managed to grab Ben’s fireman hat when it fell off. It’s a lot of holding and helping and juggling to get a toddler safely around a neighborhood for trick-or-treat time. Not easy! I was overstimulated by the time I got back, and that was before we had feasted on our loot! I’m ready for bed but let’s see if I can sort through all the photos first so Dave can enjoy them. The boys did a great job – Ben didn’t freak out with all the decorations and spookiness, and Sam marched right up to the doors and said “HAPPY HALLOWEEEEEEEN! TRICK OR TREEE-AAAT!” Then a “HAALLLOOOOO?” if no one came right away. Then repeat the “Happy…” He was a real pro. On our way out he’d say “Have a good evening!” Yes, I bought costumes this year. It was so relaxing to go up to the door and have people say “Oh! You’re a big cowboy, and you are a little firemane!” without having to explain the contraptions I’ve made in the past for the boys. I think I am sold on buying costumes now. I am no Martha Stewart, that is for sure! Hope you all had a good evening!
Just a PR note – post-Ben best is 6500+ m in 30 min at 2:19.2 splits, 26 spm. Alden, I thought of you, of course. This is probably pretty lame compared to the women rowers you have known! But I was psyched this rowing machine is so smooth, and the seat does not give me tailbone blisters. I don’t have to sit on a rolled-up towel. Nice! Thanks mom, for watching Ben!
We had a great time at the petting zoo in SJC today. The little village of SJC is so quaint, and the zoo is super easy to get to. There were a bazillion bunnies and guinea pigs in a little fenced in area for the kids to feed and pet. Sam had a great time carrying one little guinea pig around. Ben was pretty interested, but not so much in holding just yet. We also rode the little train, Sam rode a horse, and then came home to nap/work/build. After nap Sam took Ben and I on a bike/run exploring another trail nearby. We decided not to cross the acqueduct again via horse trails since it was dusk and that’s when you-know-who with big teeth, soft cat-like paws, and a long tail is out looking for bunny snacks to eat. We’ll have to explore that option during full daylight. Mom and Richard made a great steak for dinner and a rice/cheese/pepper dish. Yum! Oh – Richard invited Sam to come along on a dump run where he got to see HUGE machines at work, then Sam got to blow out the truck with a big blower and get all the leaves out. That was really fun…thanks again for a great day!
Sam and I went on a big DATE yesterday – Sam on his bike and me on my two little legs with NO stroller! Wow. Wasn’t sure I could run without the stroller. We ran down the bike path along the San Juan Creek, then crossed over an acqueduct (is that the right word? one of those huge wide cement things with massive walls on either side where they do car chases in movies?), then on down the other side to the ocean. It was 5 miles one way, and lots of fun. Very easy ride. I think, though, that I need to have a GPS chip embedded into my neck so it’s easier for mom to do the pickup rendezvous. I’m on my cell trying to be quick about where I am since mom has her hands full with Ben, so I’m like “OK, Mom, ready to copy? We’re on the south side of the creek heading to the ocean. You’ll find us where the creek dumps into the ocean.” Thankfully Richard grew up here and can find us wherever we pop up. Dave says I should look into whether the URL www.wheresalli.com is available. ha ha 🙂 In other news, mom asked yesterday if I had to choose between a house cleaner or a cook, which would I choose. With some deliberation I said a house cleaner (because I’m not a picky eater and don’t need much to be happy). When I shared this with Dave, he laughed and said “Oh, tell the truth, though! You’d choose house cleaner because you HAVE a cook!” True. I am lucky! I just read mom’s blog – she has great pictures and funny observations on our expeditions: www.skeneclan.com
One last thought – friluftsliv means (translated literally) open-air life in Norwegian, apparently it’s a concept that Norwegians generally live and breathe by. Sounds good to me. Glad to know a culture that embraces it!
We got Sam a bike to keep at Gramma and Richard’s today! He was so excited – wanted a red bike, and a red helmet. We went out to the trails nearby and he got to do some jumps and really enjoyed himself. He raced right off at the bike store parking lot to check out his bike. Mom and I took lots of pictures and movies…click to left and see 🙂 Also check out mom’s blog for her perspective on the going’s on here – much funnier than mine, for sure! www.skeneclan.com
Richard is being very generous about all the noise and mess invading his home for two weeks! Grubby paw prints, rice on the patio in a 40 sq ft swath, loud yelling and romping, and EVEN giving approval to jump on the bed for just a little bit 🙂 YAY RICHARD!
Here we are on a short flight – only 2 1/2 hours! – to southern Cal where mom and Richard will pick us up and drive an hour north of San Diego to San Juan Capistrano (SJC henceforth). This flight was a wild one to catch – by the skin of our teeth we made it with minutes to spare – but we are happily ensconced with mom and Richard (and his son, Randy) in their big home with beautifully manicured backyard and “grounds.” It really is massive compared to what we’re used to. The boys love to splash in all the water fountains and there’s a great playground nearby for them. We will go out to get a bike for Sam so we can ride on the bike path just a block down the road as well. He will enjoy that very much. We’re all catching up on sleep slowly after the last 7 days in transit but we’re having a great time! We miss Daddy, though. Love you!!! Stay tuned for more pictures in So Cal. We have a long list of fun things to do.
We’re on Fidalgo Island, north of Whidbey Island and about 2 hours from Seattle. Our friends, Josh and Ang (who was the lucky target of the surprise baby shower) just moved in two weeks ago and are still unpacking some boxes upstairs but graciously welcomed us to come visit them. It’s wonderful to see them in their home, and I’ll be much better able to picture Ang and the little baby (gender is a surprise) in their nest. The boys are having a good time, and Sam especially likes all the fruit trees on the property – apple (delicious!), pear and a huge grape vine. We spent about an hour helping pick apples yesterday – there are probably 500+ on the ground! Since our flight got bumped from today to Saturday, we’ll get one more day here to play. Yesterday we found the most amazing playground on the planet – made by leathers and associates, which designed the Aikahi playground near us. It’s an Ithaca, NY company that does innovative designs then leads the community in the build portion of the project. Communities usually do extensive fundraising to support the playgrounds. Not sure what adventure we’ll have today yet…it’s grey and raining, about 50 degrees out.
We had another great day hiking around in the WA woods, this time at Grand Forest on Bainbridge. Tonight we had dinner with great friends from our Submarine NR-1 days – John and Christine and their kids. Man it was good to see them! They look so happy and healthy, adn are loving life in WA. The kids have grown about three feet in three years, and look fabulous! I cannot believe how big they are now. Christine reminded me of running back with Austin to our home in Poulsbo after some Viking Fest something with a bonfire in Poulsbo. I guess I was pushing Sam in the stroller and blasting Beethoven along the way. It all came back to me when she said that – I remembered being cold and Austin and I being in a hurry to get to the top of that long long hill!
Ben really loved John, who I must commend for very quickly figuring out how to amuse Ben so I could chat with Christine and the kids. He somehow managed to stay pretty clean despite wearing his nice work clothes to dinner. They actually said we could stay with them sometime when we next go through WA! Wow! I figured we would scare them to death with how wild boys can be but they were so awesome. I could just be myself and not worry. We love you!!! Click on the photo for today’s pictures. Looking forward to our next stop – Angela’s in Anacortes!
Ang, Molly, Becca, Jenni, Anita – where are you guys? I missed you today on a hike up Green Mt. I have so many fond memories of our adventures hiking together. We hiked up today in case our last day here in Poulsbo (tomorrow) ended up rainier…so carpe diem. We had such a great time. It was our longest hike together – 5 miles roundtrip and over 1000′ elevation gain – but Sam handled it like a pro – no hardships, nothing. He had an incredibly steady pace and hiked just shy of our girl gang’s pace, getting to the top in 90 minutes. One highlight was meeting Heike – a girl crouched in the underbrush to the side of the trail collecting mushrooms to cook and eat. I was astounded on so many levels – one, that there she was in the brush (I was keeping my ears open for other animals, so she scared the pants off me briefly), two, that she looked like a mushroom herself all crouched up there with her yellow dredlock hairs, and three, that her name was Heike! (pronounced Hike-a) Sam was like – “Did she just pick that name today?” i.e. knowing she was going to hike. I was thinking if we have a baby girl, Dave will have to go along with naming her Heike. There’s just no denying the serendipity of it all, is there? Click the photo for more pictures. The boys were real hams and we had a lot of laughs and big memories made today. We are so blessed.
We’re out for a jog on our old running route – so fun to have TWO boys now on the run with me! The weather has been mostly cloudy and 60 – perfect for a good run. My legs are still tied up in knots from being crammed on the trip so the run did not feel as good as usual but still great to be out and working. Sam jogged 2 miles back with me and stopped for pizza lunch. We also bought me some Born shoes (made in Denmark) that I can slip on/off easily at the airport but which still look cute with jeans. Would you believe we ran into a Danish couple while we were out jogging? I heard the faint accent when I said “excuse me” while passing and immediately turned around and asked “Taler du dansk?” We chatted for a bit in Danish but switched to English because their second language was way better than mine! It’s been about 15 years since I lived in Denmark so it’s hard to keep it at all brushed off when I use it for 5 minutes a year or something like that. But so fun to at least try. I keep resolving to do a better job of maintaining and learning languages but never seem to follow through on it. I do best with interacting with real people, not computer programs. (I do look for community groups of expats to hang out with but right now the time is just not handy. Some day!) Nice to have goals for when the boys are no longer as interested in hanging with me…a good fallback since I’m sure I’ll miss them.
We made it to Poulsbo, WA, literally hours before my dear friend Angela’s surprise baby shower. Her friends did a beautiful job hosting it and she was totally shocked. Malia did a great job staying quiet and maneuvering Ang to Poulsbo for the shower despite the fact that she recently moved 2 hrs away to Anacortes.
I managed to get to the shower by the skin of my teeth – the hostess had arranged for her daughter to come over and watch the boys for me, and I managed to get them both asleep precisely as the car pulled up to the door with the babysitter (Maggie) inside. Whew! I ran to the door, hair wet, and said “Hey! I’m Alli! There’s two of ’em, they’re downstairs, asleep!” In retrospect it was like a briefing on a 24 episode. As I was driving up to the shower, I only had a vague notion of where I was going from checking the map a week ago. The Garmin took forever to find satellites (thanks Washington grey skies!) but the sun broke through and the little Garmin lady’s voice beamed up at me with directions just when I needed them. I sprang into the house, having been beaten there by Ang, who had arrived early, and was delighted to surprise her. I really enjoyed catching up with friends from Poulsbo past, and Ang’s mom and aunt. Neat people.
The boys did great playing with Maggie when they woke up (after a brief bout of shock and disbelief that Mom wasn’t there by Ben). Then we went to the playground and ended the full day with the best clam chowder on the planet at JJ’s Fish House (Dave, are you jealous?). I am off to bed. I’m really tired – we got in this morning at 4am after a 6 hr flight to Spokane (where my cousin lives, but we weren’t even on the ground for an hour before heading out to Poulsbo via jam-packed minivan!). More on that miraculous coincidence in the pictures…click photo above. I still am having trouble believing I made it here after all the bumps in the road trying to catch a flight then the logistics of getting to a final destination over 300 miles from where I’m landing and no one who wants to do a one-way rental… Anyway, we are blessed upon blessed every time we travel, and I try to reflect on those blessings when I’m losing sleep the night before we leave stressing about how in the world am I going to do it. It’s a leap of faith every time. Maybe my faith will strengthen with all this exercising it? Good night world…going to snuggle in with my little men. Love you, hubby…miss you but enjoy the pics.
I can’t believe we’re off again…Can’t disclose my destination yet – it’s a surprise for a special friend. We are flying into one airport 6+ hours from where I need to be but miraculously, I met a girl in the terminal yesterday (our flight got bumped to today) whose mom is picking her up in a minivan and we’re going to try to make all our stuff fit! 4 adults and 4 kids plus gear! I came home and repacked. I’m as stuffed as I can get given that we’re going to be highly mobile for the next week. I am tired already thinking through the logistics. I didn’t sleep well last night. Sam is excited and Ben keeps saying “PAAAAY!” for plane. They are used to doing a “dry run” at the airport then waiting a day or two to actually catch a flight. Say some prayers this all works out. Will post tomorrow where we are…if I’m connected and my eyes are seeing straight by then.
Since today is a holiday, I had organized an outing up at Kualoa Ranch for the preschooler gang (plus a couple very grown-up 6 yr olds!). We hiked into the Ka’a’awa Valley, location for many movies and TV shows. The area just across from the ranch was also used as an airstrip during WWII and a huge bunker was built into the side of the mountains. The 15 kids and 12 grown-ups did a 5K hike to the bunker, an authentic recreation of a native Hawaiian village, learned about edible fruits, and checked out the movie locations. We had a great time and only had a few sprinkles despite heavy rain on the other side of the mountain. More pictures available by clicking on the photo to the left.
Their photographer did a wonderful job capturing the day, and grabbing a quick shot of us all dressed up before the ceremony.
We really enjoyed checking out a new waterfall hike with our friends today. It was really muggy, but the cool spray at our lunch spot was wonderful! There were enough breezes that the bugs weren’t too bad. Just about 20 ft from the end of the trail, almost back to the truck, Ben wiped out in a mud puddle. A fudgey, pudding-ey mud slop. Instead of loving it, though, he started crying, and crying. April and I worked quickly to clean him and get a new diaper on, mud out of his mouth, ears, etc. I have a funny picture of him wailing. I think that’s what made him most mad, recording his slip! The boys eat a pudding called “Liquid Fudge” for dessert sometimes. It’s really really good. Ben totally looked like he’d been dunked in it after this wipe-out. See more pictures by clicking on photo to left. We had a good time, and will add this to the list of good walks on O’ahu.