• Disneyland 2014

    08.09.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off

    We went to Disneyland again this year. I had to admit that, while we love Disneyland, we also recognize that each trip is fairly different. There is usually one theme that we remember- the trip where we ran into that guy, Ben, over and over, the trip where Jude was a baby, the trip when the kids couldn’t stop talking about spending money, the trip we realized was too long for Jude, the trip when we were too tired- you get it.

    This was the best trip we’ve ever had. That’s this trips theme- sheer awesomeness! I said it it was our best since before we had Jude, which makes it our default best because everything is better with a lil Judelbop added in. We were like a well- oiled machine this time. We knew what we wanted to do, we’re faster now and we know how to work the day (get there as the gates open and leave around 1:00 when it gets hot and crowded, play at the hotel pool lthen go back for the shows).

    This was the first time we didn’t stand in all of the lines for the characters. It was close to 100 degrees for most of the time we were there, so we would see Mickey, get excited, then observe the line that wrapped around the corner and the kids decided to skip it. It was a little weird, a little less magical, but a lot less sweaty and we felt like we accomplished a lot while we were there.

    Jude was super cute as a dancer while we were in Disneyland. When asked if he wanted to dance for the Mad Tea Party, he said, “Don’t mind if it do!” Then proceeded to school us all in the art of floor work and expert level moonwalking. Whenever Phinneas and Ferb’s dance parade would make its way past us, Jude would scurry through the crowd to score and up-close and centered spot where he would showcase his acumen of their dance steps. By the end of our trip, he had partied with Phinneas and Ferb enough that he knew all of their moves!

    Gigi was a pleasure to watch as she un-grew up. She’s at that interesting age where at one moment, she is clearly a teenager- attitude, intelligence, sense of humor and all right there I my face, and the next moment she seems lie, she’s about four years old, a little mewling toddler with big eyes, wonder and a desire to purchase and wear a Jasmine princess outfit. In Disneyland she let her little girl out to play, wore a Jessie hat from Toy Story and it was so fun to play along with her and remember when…

    Bradley got to be the rebel spy on the Star Tours ride. While this may not seem like too big a deal, to us it was tantamount to meeting a celebrity or something. We’ve been waiting for years for one of our brood to be chosen, then it was our kind who got it! How perfect! Afterwards, Jude was making some decisions about which Star Wars cars he should buy, and he used his own saved-up allowance to buy his dad a Wookie/Chewbacca car as a birthday gift. We were both blown away by his generosity.

    As for me? I finally took Henrietta and the Lurid Giraffe on a real tour of Disneyland. Henrietta is an extremely appropriate English hippopotamus and the Lurid Giraffe is exactly the kind of character he sounds like. Anyhow, they have relatives that live at and work on the Small World ride and have stowed away before, but this time I photographed them all over Disneyland and it was a really fun ending to our trip. I felt foolish, at times, but the memory of taking them with us was pretty unforgettable!



  • Living is Good

    07.18.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off

    Our kids are just amazing, thus life is amazing of late. I’m in thrall with the beauty of these people I’m surrounded with. Gigi had to go away the other night for a birthday party and, while I missed her, having Jude all alone is such a unique thing. His kindness shines when he is not competing for attention. He is a gentleman, a clever boy with a million ideas and stories in development, but mostly he is a tender little love-bug. We curled around one another, sang songs, watched tv, tickled, swam and rubbed noses all night and morning long, and when I had to go back to normal us, it was weird and I missed just boy and us.

    Then, today, the same thing happened with her. He happened to be occupied with a Calvin and Hobbes treasury and little missy sneaked up into our room where a cat pile of mom, dad and Gigi occurred. We laughed and giggled and hug-o-warred for an hour or so while we pondered life. At one point, I realized that this moment was reminiscent of life before Jude. We had a special chemistry when it was just the three of us, just as we do when it’s just Jude, Bradley and me. It’s good to know I like my kids as much when they are apart as when they are together.

    We’ve been spending a lot of time outside this summer. We call it training for Disneyland, but really it’s just training for an active, healthy life. I wonder how often my family gets tired of me talking about an ‘active, healthy life’! Ha ha! But it’s true. I feel like our kids are learning the building blocks of how to upkeep this amazing machine that is our body. While we are out, we are also learning to appreciate our world. Jude considers himself a nature lover and is often talking to critters he sees in the forest (“Hello, friend of the forest!” He kneels down and says to a native, PNW, banana slug.) Guinevere gets irate when she sees trees being leveled for new construction. They love hiking and ask to go almost daily. I’m proud of their capable bodies!




  • Hiking Heather Lake

    07.17.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off

    I was 21 years old (or thereabouts- I just know I was of legal drinking age). It had long been a goal of mine to be a hiker. I love being outdoors in the woods, I love the mountains, it made sense that I should love hiking too… Except the fitness part, the climbing hills part, the switchbacks, the two-foot-high steps, the log bridges, and the slippery mud parts. Those were not appealing and, frankly, at my weight and level of fitness, they were fairly dangerous.

    But still. The spring when I was 21 was full of new friends. We lived in crappy apartments eating cheap vegetarian food while drinking way too much tequila. In fact, one of those tequila fueled nights lead to my first ascension of the Heather Lake trail. One night, after hearing my friend Amy wax on and on about the pool near the waterfall at the glacial end of the lake that looked as though fairies flew there, we drunkenly decided to go… and the next morning I found myself in a Volkswagen van with several people, my boyfriend included, headed through Granite Falls, fresh lunch packed safely in my backpack.

    We arrived at the trailhead and most of us gleefully ran into the forest. At that moment I got a little worried I was in over my head. They were literally running up the trail. Running. But nevermind that. I decided I could power through for the day. I would be out of breath, but I would fake my fitness and run up the hill alongside my slender and experienced hiking friends. I mean, we’re talking real salt of the earth types who did this all the time. These were people who hiked up to the top of the mountain with beer- the least potent alcohol- without a second thought to conserving energy. Hiking was fun for them. They did it every weekend. Easy. Me, on the otherhand? I was wheezy. Out of breath by the first switchback. Wheezing by the second, halted by the third.

    My boyfriend and one other kind friend stayed behind with me while the rest of my friends literally bounded up the trail. I pondered heading back to the car and spending the day there, but I really wanted to see the fairy pond and I really wanted to just DO IT. I decided to send the friend ahead, as it seemed way too embarrassing to admit to him what I was going to request of my boyfriend: to go as slow as I needed, to take lots of breaks and to make my way to the top. And eventually I did just that.

    As I sat up there, by the lake, I thought of my difficulty in getting up those 1100 feet of elevation. Ithought about my weight and my dietary habits. I realized then that I needed to change some things.
    I’ll admit that I did change my behavior after that to a degree. That spring prompted a lot of walking, a change of diet and a series of hikes that the boyfriend and I took throughout the Verlot area, but I have never returned to Heather Lake… Until Last week!!!


    I’ve had a hankerin’ fer hikin’ all spring, but we were too darn busy to hike out of the city. Yes, St. Edwards is outdoor trails and they are miles and miles long, but they are, like, 10 minutes from home and don’t actually remove one from the city. You often hear cars, rarely cross a stream and it is highly unlikely that I’ll cross through a mountain meadow or walk by a glacial lake. I’m not a religious person, but I am very spiritual. My church is in the mountains and and woods. My spirit is filled there and I feel that large, tearful kind of emotion when I find myself completely ensconced in the forest. I get giddy and so happy and so full of beauty. I know I’m so full of precious cheese right now, but I’m completely sincere about how I process hiking.

    Anyhow, Heather Lake has kind of been a litmus test for me. If I could hike it now, it means I made it. Today I sailed up the trail, parts of it I even ran. The trail is really hard. It’s a little over two miles, each way, of roots and rocks and treacherous ground. Some of the ‘stairs’ were waist-high to Jude, about thigh high to me. Leg lifting was important as was lifting ones feet high enough off the ground, but never once did I get exhausted or worn out to the point that I wanted to stop. Not even a little.

    And at the top, I made it around to the fairy pond. It was blue like the Mediterranean and cold like hypothermia. My little fairies didn’t fly, but they did splash, dive and swim through the water, my little water sprites! It was one of my most perfect days on record EVER. Like, ever.

    I have a friend called JOhn who hikes this trail year round, looking for birds and burning calories. I’ve seen pictures of this place in snow and under ice- it looks beautiful. Perhaps I’ll have to see this place again, but next time in winter.


  • Wild Waves

    07.16.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off

    We headed to Wild Waves Enchanted Village last week. Boy, if you want to revisit what 1987-1992 was like, you should go there. They have none of this new conservative nonsense that you find at Silverwood! Nope! Go to Wild Waves and it is still as wild as it ever was, with scorching asphalt, ancient hot tubs and attractions that, frankly, I’m amazed are still in rotation (hello, ‘black hole’ with huge drop at the end!!!). The girls and boys are dressed to stun, at the age of 14, with more curves and less wisdom than any teen should be blessed with… It’s a pretty awesome place, I gotta say. When you miss that feeling of being a latchkey kid with an expendable summer stretching out before you like you remember from the 80′s go. Go soon. It’s like a time warp.

    The rides at Enchanted Village are totally made for children. They are the kinds of rides intended to make you sick, I swear! They spin you, bounce you up and down, jostle you, swing you, all just a leeetle too fast… After a certain point, Bradley and I decided that the kids could ride alone. So they did! And no one got sick then.

    That biggest kid in the middle there got the whole boat chanting ‘LETS GET WET!’ the entire way up the ramp. Once at the bottom, the crown erupted into ‘WE GOT WET!’. It was a noise heard all through the park, and of course, my husband was at the center of it all. It was a proud moment for the Lj’s.

    All I said was ‘smile’. I’m not kidding.

  • Independence Day

    07.15.14 | Permalink | | Comments Off

    Our Independence Day was simple and sweet. The kids both declined to be in the kiddie parade (we’re too big!) or to go to the Kirkland parade (it’s just a bunch of old guys in classic cars, mom!) so we satisfied ourselves with a baking project. Gigi made beautiful pinwheel sugar cookies that were gobbled up as soon as we laid them on the table at the party, and Jude made red, white and blue spritzers. They are now his specialty, if you were wondering. ;)


    Once all of our baking was done, we barbecued some deliciousness, then headed down to the delaney’s home for an official throw down! There were a bajillion kids running around, so excited for the opportunity to assist with actual fire! The dads appeared to have a good time too. Everyone who wanted one got a sparkler, and then it started happening. After each firework was lit, a stream of kids would rush down the driveway. It was cute until, with each wave, a new kid started tripping on nothing we could see and slamming their faces into cement! After the third or fourth kid got a fat lip, the party broke up before anyone lost a tooth.



    Our night ended in the church parking lot, once again, lighting off our rockets and fountains with the rest of the yahoos. It was a fabulous fourth!


Gigi Said

  • Topless Tapas 2012-11-03 18:44:52-

    Tami was leaving to go out with her friend and the kids begged to go with her. I said, "you don't want to go with mom, she is going to the Tapas bar and we are going to stay here and play games."

    Gigi stiffened, "That's weird", she said as she blushed. I processed fast and realized the problem. "TAPAS bar. It means 'small plate', not TOPLESS bar!"

Jude Said

  • Nicknames 2013-01-04 21:30:33-

    The checker at the store asked our always conversational little boy what his name was. He replied "Jude" then added "but sometimes they call me pumpkin brown". LOL.

    And they are right. We call him that after the folksong that we sing sometimes.