Monthly Archives: January 2012

Happy 7th birthday, Sam!

A tug-o-war to kick off an afternoon of fun and games with 10 of Sam's classmates. Click for more pictures...

Dear Sam – very happy birthday to you! We can’t believe  you are 7 already, but then again, we certainly can. We have seen you grow and mature so much each year, and have so many happy memories it is equally hard to believe it’s been a mere 7 years. Haven’t you been a part of our lives from the start? We hope you had a really fun time with all those guys over today. They seemed to enjoy themselves and we had a lot of fun with them. I’m exhausted now. I had no idea just how much physical work it is to keep up with 11 guys. I really loved playing kick the football with them, and soccer. We hope you have a wonderful seventh year, and we look forward to seeing what you do next. Just for the record – in case you ever want to know what you were up to when you turned 7 – you are soooo excited about marble runs, you play your electric guitar really well and even have a portable amp to go with it now, you are a great student in school and reportedly only get the “sillies” every now and then but quiet right down when you do, and have fun at recess. You are a mature, loving and intelligent boy. We couldn’t be luckier parents – we respect  you and admire you, and love you so very much. Happy birthday!


Loopy with family fun in the snow right in our own neighborhood! We are so excited! Click on picture for what we've been doing in the last few days. Our family thought for sure we were out of power because they hadn't heard anything from me all day. Well, here's why...and we do still have power thankfully, unlike 100,000 other WA customers. The wind and ice on top of heavy snow really make for heavy limbs. Of course this is all par for the course in a big winter storm event. I can't remember a Northeast winter without something similar. It's just so unusual for this area that the equipment is not readily available to handle it all. And some say the texture of the snow/ice/rain is different, making driving that much more difficult. Who knows - I beg to differ, having driven for years all over the Adirondack territory when I was working for Merck. Anyway - it's a good test of skills and rather fun. Thanks for checking in on us!

tying up a few loose ends

Sam made a monkey's fist stopper knot and spliced it to a longer twine to show how it is used to weight a line for heaving. I love the monkey's fist! Makes a good knob to stick through a bight on a necklace or bracelet.


Dave also tied up a bunch of loose ends by printing selected photos for these cubes on top of our organizer. This is what you see when you first walk in the door. We have THOUSANDS of special pictures so this was no easy project to sift through and select the best from each place we've lived. He also reorganized the organizer! Nice work - thank you!

a picture is worth…

We did a lot with just a dusting!!! We drove all over, had breakfast at a diner, bought a sled and saucers, then headed for some hills, after that we went for a hike. Then home for tomato soup, cheese and crackers after playing with our chickens and building a snow man. A great day off!

first snow!

This was a perfect morning, aside from being sick..."farm breakfast", chicken time with Sam, then football "practice" with Sam during which we discovered the first slush flakes coming down! We studied them on our collars and sure enough - mushy slush! We raced in to tell the others. The snow has been building over the last hour to better flakes, but the temp is still a bit too high for any accumulation. Oh well - very exciting for us!

Crowing in the kitchen!

I gave myself a new haircut, and I LOVE it! Lots of layers. It dries quicker after my early morning swims. Highly classified technique...

Instead of sneaking into the boys’ room and waking them up this morning, which seems to take forever, I decided to crow in the kitchen while I sliced their bagel and got it toasting. This made me laugh – so they heard crowing and laughing in the kitchen as they roused themselves from sleep. When I got into their room, Ben was sitting up and rubbing his eyes and Sam was lounging, I think with a smile on based on his tone when he did finally speak. I think that’s a good alarm clock – mom crowing! I lit their candles at their places and served up some blueberry kefir along with bagels and strawberries. Not a bad way to start a Friday. I even managed to send Dave away with a lunch bag, and Sam has a delicious lunch of huge Oli-Ednamode hard boiled egg, carrots and hummus, Greek honey yogurt and …something else…in that fourth Bento box. Not sure… Anyway – it was a lunch to be proud of. I always feel better when I feed my family well. Dave will be laughing as he reads this. Sometimes I do actually get the day off to a good start! That kefir was pretty good. It is made from fermented live microbes…Ben was burping a lot later. Hmmm…cold here – hoping for snow!!!!!!!!!!!

the mother of all kicks

Ooops! I was allowed to kick Sam's football using his new football tee and had a really horrible first kick. I begged for a second one and Richard teased "Is this going to be the mother of all kicks?" in response to my blustering about how big this one would be. Sure enough. It did turn out to be a good kick, solid contact, soaring right over the fence around the chicken run, then RIGHT THROUGH THE WINDOW OF THEIR COOP!

Thankfully the repair was fairly easily accomplished with a run to ACE (thanks Mom and Richard!), a piece of glass cut, glazing tacks and glaze. I learned how to do it. The glazing job is not pretty – kind-of “rough hewn” you could say. But it works. They chickens were very interested in all my tools. I had to rush in there quickly to ensure they would not eat the shiny glass. They love shiny objects. One of them grabbed a piece of glazing, though – the Rhode Island Reds (RIRs) are VERY piggy hens. They are not very sharp but very attuned to finding food. All four of our brown-egg layers laid eggs today – Jersey included! All in the same nesting box. There is a lot of clucking and talking down there when they are all feeling like laying. They all like the same box. Funny to watch them wait for another hen to be done. Like the line in a women’s bathroom – very tightly packed, poking beak into nesting box, clucking a “hurry up” every now and then.

We are planning a snowshoeing outing in the next couple weeks with another family, and Sam is back in school and doing well. He works on extra math or reading at home most days of the week, is attending PREP class at church (to prepare for first communion) and is taking guitar lessons with his dad on Thursday evenings. Over break he passed two swimming levels and is ready to pick up again when we enroll in class. He’ll be a sting ray in case anyone cares or knows the Red Cross swim levels! Cousin Leslie knows 🙂

I am really missing family – cousins, brother, sister-in-law, brothers-in-law, Dave’s parents. Now that my space-a days are over and Sam is in school it is a bit of a rough adjustment. I think over the summer I will pack the truck and go on “deployments” with the boys to see who we can visit. Family – please know we love you and think of you all the time, trying to figure out how to dig up enough money to build a bunkhouse or something so you can come and stay as long as you please and be comfortable. In the meantime, we have plenty of Hawaiian-style futons we can throw down in front of the fire in the large living room, and we have a guest room/office. Please make plans to come visit. I am also thinking about a kayak/camping trip in the San Juan Islands in the summer. That would be so much fun!

touch lamps and heat pumps

I am mystified by how heat pumps work. I figured out the septic system to my satisfaction, but heat pumps have defied my understanding for some months now. A cursory review only confused me more – “the heat pump extracts heat from air – even cold air – and pumps it throughout the house; the process is reversed when it is warm outside and you want the house cool” – or something to that effect. Ok – I get that but how exactly, at a molecular level, does that happen? I understand ion channels and NaK pumps, or at least I did and still basically get it (concentration gradients) so can I apply that knowledge to heat pumps? Is there a wizard in the pump with a wand? Dave tried to explain the thermoelectric principles behind it – that you can create an artificial thermal gradient – and the Peltier-Seebeck effect which has something to do with different metals in proximity creating a thermal gradient (and even a magnetic gradient). Anyway – can someone explain it in plain English to me? Oh – the touch lamp is another mystery. Thermostatic effect there Dave says…

The inaugural hubby with boys picture at the Seattle Aquarium. If we take one every January we'll see how much the boys have grown each year!

A star will be the sign

Happy 10th Anniversary to us - celebrating with our friends at a local microbrewery! Click on this picture to go to the Dec album. It's a new format - be sure to scroll down as there are new pictures under the folder thumbnails, plus photos in the folders.

From L to R: John Groves, me, Dave, John’s wife Christine (we’ve known them since NR-1 days in CT 10 years ago – they were at our wedding!), then in front, Melodie, Mom, Richard, Matt, and in back new friends and neighbors Jeremie and Beth. We were at Sound Brewery in Poulsbo enjoying a beer sampler then dinner at Campana’s across the street. I think that is a wonderful new tradition! We had so much fun catching up with friends and having a celebration before the night gets crazy with all the impaired drivers. We were home by 7pm! As I was doing year-end reporting for my business and posting pictures to the web, I was enjoying the happy sounds of Sam and Ben building Legos in their room, playing the electric guitar, and now reciting Twas the Night Before Christmas from memory! They are taking turns switching back and forth filling in the lines! How amazing they are together. A beautiful start to the New Year – reminders that a star was the sign long ago of good things to come and a promise fulfilled. May your New Year be full of promise as well. We remember those in prayer who could use a big bolus of good in 2012. God Bless!