Friday, September 30, 2011

Playground by the Sound--Open!

 The playground is done!  We took the kids over on Tuesday (the 27th).  There were still a few things that were unfinished, but they had their ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sunday as planned, and opened to the public.

I found my fish on the fence.  You may notice that it doesn't look like the picture I posted.  This is actually the back of the fish.  I was told that we were supposed to paint the backs, too, since they were going to be mounted on the slats of the fence and would be partially visible from the other side.  The back of my fish was deformed (you can see where the edge cut at a slant, on the belly) but I went ahead and did a slap-dash job on it.  (Which still took 20-30 minutes, but it didn't look nearly as good as the other side.)  I was kind of worried about this at the time, and hoped that whoever put it up would look at it carefully enough to figure out which was the right side.  They didn't.  (And the fish weren't mounted on the slats anyway--I should have just left that side unpainted!)  Apparently they were in a big hurry and just threw stuff up on the fence.  And my fish somehow got a smear of green paint on it, too.  Don't know how that happened.

I like the pine cone details and the roofs.  It was really cool to see things in progress and then the finished product. 

Bright sun!

Andy goes up the slide...

...and down!

Kate hangin' around.

I was kind of bummed about my fish, but I got to go back on Wednesday and paint a couple of orcas (not pictures--they're three-dimensional orcas), which was a lot of fun, and then I felt better.  I haven't made it back to get pictures of those.  I need to do that soon!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I went back to volunteer at the playground this morning and painted a sockeye salmon!  I didn't have my camera this time, but a girl there took a picture for me and emailed it to me. (Thanks!) 

When we were there on Wednesday, one of the girls at the child care center mentioned that they were going to have somebody come in and paint a mural at the playground, so I wanted to see if I could help out with that. No muraling today, but I did get to paint sea life! And I left my contact information so hopefully I'll be able to help out with the mural too. I think that would be a blast.

I'm pretty sure this is my first fish. (My sister Betsey got to paint four fish on the wall of our high school.)

I should have Kate name it, and then we can say hi to it whenever we go to the park. She'll probably want to call it Bob. Everything is Bob these days. (Or Sally.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The End of the Strike

The teachers and school board finally reached an agreement and went back to work on Friday. We ended up missing eight days of school all together--four last week and four this week. I'm afraid we weren't very consistent with our homeschooling program (or lack of program), but we did fill up Kate's book log--ten books that she read all by herself. We did some addition practice and some language arts (online Mad Libs!) and talked a little about counting money but didn't get very far into that. A lot of it was just feeding her random information--not like real school where you have a plan and things building logically on each other. We are not that organized.

Kate was enjoying staying home, so I wasn't sure how she going to take the news that school was back in session. I didn't have any trouble getting her ready in the morning, but she did seem kind of subdued going into the building. When I picked her up she was happy and smiling, and excitedly asked me, "Mom, did you know that everything in our world is made of matter?" (Science is fun!)

Doug went back to work this week (after a three-month break--they didn't give him any classes for summer. We are glad that he's going to be getting paid again!). This means that now when I take Kate to school in the mornings, Andy gets to come along in the stroller. He enjoys the walk but always cries when Kate goes into the building. I'm not sure if it's because he wants to go to school too, or if he's just sad that she's leaving. He likes to be with his family.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playground by the Sound

Wednesday evening we got to volunteer at the building of a new playground over at Chambers Bay.  They passed around a sign-up sheet at church, and we thought it sounded like fun. 

It was all very well organized.  They even had dinner for the volunteers--pizza from Papa John's and salad from Olive Garden. Papa John's sent along a dancing mascot with their pizza.  (Kate found the pizza guy amusing.) 

They also had child care, at a place across the street from the park.  After we ate we took the kids over and got them signed in.  Andy wouldn't keep his name tag on so they put it on his back. 

We lined up with the other volunteers and got our assignment.  Doug and I got to pick up garbage.  (Wheee!)

"If we only had a wheelbarrow that would be something."

Sister missionaries helping out.

Doug trims a cardboard cement mold. 

 Sunset!  It's a gorgeous area.

The playground is supposed to be finished this Sunday!  It was pretty cool to see everything in progress.  We'll have to go back when it's done and check it out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Experiments in Knitting

Something very odd happened recently--I was seized with the urge to knit.  I figured it would happen at some point.  I have mentioned before, "I'd like to learn to knit, too, more than a basic rectangle, but I don't see that happening any time soon."

The "basic rectangle" that I learned to knit before was back when I was 12 or so--I think it was for Young Women's at church, or possibly younger than that.  I remember making a cover for a wooden hanger.  It wasn't particularly exciting.  By that point I was already crocheting doll clothes, so I couldn't really see any point in knitting rectangles. I do remember fiddling around with it again at various times, for one thing or another, but it was all a very long time ago!

I'm not sure where this desire to pick up the needles came from.  Perhaps it was the appeal of focusing on something else for a while, without any expectations of how it was going to turn out.  Just playing.  Trying something new.  (Or perhaps it was just an avoidance technique--like my roommate at BYU who used to go on cleaning binges when she had a lot of homework.)

So I got online and found some videos--long tail cast on (which I love), basic knit and purl stitches, and more... how to yarn over and knit two together, how to do a slip-slip-knit, and even cables.  I don't have a cable needle so I just used one of my crochet hooks, slipping the stitches onto one end and off the other.  (Not ideal, but it worked.)  And everything turned out great!  (Except that bit in the middle where I was trying out the yarn overs and decreases in no particular pattern--that looks a little weird.)

There are two styles of knitting--English, or "throwing," holding the yarn in the right hand; and Continental, or "picking," holding the yarn in the left hand.  I'm definitely a picker.  In fact I've found that I hold the yarn exactly the same way that I do when I'm crocheting.

After practicing the yarn overs and decreases, I found a few basic lace patterns and had a go at those.  Nice!  At this point I find it takes a lot more concentration than following a crochet pattern, but that will come with practice.  I suppose the next step will be to try stranded colorwork. That should be exciting.

This is some Red Heart yarn left over from Kate's octopus.  Not my ideal choice to work with.  I'll have to try with something nicer, and maybe some different needles.

At this point I don't have any particular thing that I'm planning to knit.  (I already have another crochet sweater that I've started.) I'll probably just keep learning and practicing a little at a time, and maybe some day I'll knit Andy a sweater or something.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Home School

When we got home from the fair on Monday night, we had a message that the teachers had met for another vote and decided to strike after all, so school the next day was canceled.

We got Kate up at her regular time and had her put on her school clothes, and we had our own school at home. She did have some homework, so she did that, and then we came up with some other things.  (We tried some  apostrophe exercises, but I'm not sure if she was really ready for that, despite having read The Girl's Like Spaghetti numerous times.)

Kate thought having school at home was pretty cool, and she kept talking about the different things that we would do.  We had Math Time and Reading Time and Lunch Time, and Kate said that when it was P.E. Time she would be the teacher and tell us what to do.  (We ended up not doing that, since she just went out to play with her friends and had P. E. Time that way.)

We've had a little trouble lately with Kate not wanting to go to school--weeping and wailing "NOOOOO!  I never want to go to school again!  It's boring!" and then we'd have to physically stuff her into her clothes and get her out the door.  Twice I ended up actually carrying her to school, sobbing.  We put it down to general anxiety (and stubbornness), but now I wonder if maybe she was picking up on some vibes that things were not quite right at school.  I hope that they can get everything resolved quickly and be a happy school again!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fair Play

My cream pineapple sweater won a blue ribbon at the Puyallup fair!

And the little yellow sweater that I made for Kate got a red ribbon.

This is my third year entering.  (Some day I'd like to try a drawing or painting.  So far it's just been crochet.)

We went to the fair on Monday evening, after Kate got home from school.  I picked Monday because the rides were half price that day. Kate brought home a ticket from school, and I got two adult tickets at half price as a Groupon deal.  (Andy was free.)  We took along our own food.  We do the fair cheap!

We've usually gone in the Blue Gate, but this time we found a place to park for $5 that was about three blocks from the Green Gate, so we went in that way. (That's Green Gate One, for any Three Investigator fans.) It's kind of the back entrance. All the horse trailers are parked over there. So we had to walk all the way across the fair to get to the Art Hall to see how my sweaters did, and then the kids were all antsy and I didn't really get to look at anything else.  Next time I'll just go without the kids on opening day so I can check out all the other creations!

I spotted this dragon at the chainsaw carver.

Kate on the little dragon roller coaster.  I reminded her that she hadn't enjoyed it last time, but she insisted that she wanted to ride it.  She didn't enjoy it this time either. 

The canoe ride was well received by both kids. 

This was a fun house for smaller kids, and they let parents accompany the really little ones.

Big long slide!

Andy had such a great time he wanted to go again.  I took him through the second time, while Kate sat in Andy's stroller and groused about wanting a toy.

We didn't really want to spend any money on a toy for Kate, but we did spot this game that had cute dolphin-hammer prizes.  This being a special kids' game, you got a prize whether or not you managed to ring the bell, so we used some of our ride tickets on that. 

Kate had a little trouble with the heavy hammer, and got some help from Daddy.


This car ride was also a big hit.  (They only had four cars going and the line was pretty long--Doug took Andy on something else while Kate and I held a spot.)

The last ride of the day was this Wally Gator thing that just went around in a circle and over some gentle bumps. 

Waiting for the ride to start.

Andy seemed quite fascinated by all the rides.  He likes watching roller coaster videos, but I don't think he'd ever been on any kind of ride before.

Kate with her dolphin-hammer thingy.  (It's pink!) It squeaks when you whack things with it. She has named it Kissy.

Kate wanted to get a slushie at a particular place that was back on the other side of the fair, so Doug took her to do that while Andy and I went to get the car.  (At this point we were expecting it to be a school night, so we wanted to get home at a reasonable time.)

We were only there for a couple of hours, but we had a good time.  I realized--it's not so much the crowds, it's the noise. Makes it hard to carry on any kind of conversation.  "Do you want to go on this ride?"  "WHAT?"  "WHAT?"  And then I walked out the gate into the quiet cool evening and just kind of went "Ahhhhhh!"

I knew that Monday was Chuseok but I didn't really think of it till Andy and I were walking back up the hill toward the lot where we parked, and we saw the moon all huge and round on the horizon. Not particularly bright, right then, as it was still getting dark and it was also pretty hazy on the horizon, but still impressive.  A fall harvest moon and family fun!  A good day.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

15 years

September 6th (Tuesday) was our anniversary.  Our fifteenth anniversary, in fact. Seems like an auspicious number.

Catharine Tracy came over on Wednesday and took some pictures for us with my camera.  (We were going to do it on Monday, but Kate was in the middle of a major screaming fit, so we had to reschedule.) We went over to the field behind our apartments at about 7:00 and got some nice evening light.

"Look at the camera, Andy!"

Of course, we had to take some goofy shots too.

Andy loves being upside-down. (Sensory disorientation is fun!)

My family called and sang Happy Anniversary to us, and Barb and Kyle regaled us with their version (to the William Tell Overture). Doug's mom sent us this card that she made:

Fifteen years--how time flies!  For our tenth anniversary, Doug wrote something for me about what it's like to choose to spend your life with someone.  Five years later, here we are.  In some ways it seems like we're still in the same place, but there have been changes,  too.  We work together to find the best path for our little family.