Saturday, January 2, 2016


Happy birthday, Todd!  We broke with tradition and had doughnuts this year.  We kept up our tradition of not having a lot of fanfare for this birthday.  Who knew that Halloween would leave us such celebration fatigue?  We love you lots, Todd! I hope we do a better job of celebrating you the rest of the year than we do on your birthday.  
 We scored a bunch of different kinds of squash on the last day the Yakima Fruit Market in Bothell was open (Nov. 2).  It was a joint Knight-Christensen outing.  While we were at the fruit market, B tripped and had a nearly catastrophic collision with some corrugated tin.  His head missed the raw edge of the tin by a centimeter.  He got a golf ball sized goose egg, and he skinned it, but that was all.  You can see his war wound in these pictures we took at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie.
 This was a fun outing.  I packed each child a lunch of their own so that they could help themselves to what they wanted.  This was a new idea for them, since I usually pack everything together in a family picnic bag.  They were shocked and delighted to learn that they could eat the piece of Halloween candy they found in their sacks first if they wanted to!
 When we got to the museum, we learned that it is five miles long.  We didn't see all of it, but we did come at a very opportune time.  Volunteers were baking cookies in preparation for the arrival of the Santa train.  Since we were the only ones in sight at the museum, when the kids peeked into the club car to see what was cooking, they each came away with a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie.
 B was in train heaven.
 Here is my little crew waiting at the depot for the train.  They were happy to rest their legs for a minute before we walked the block back to the car for the 45 minute drive home.
 Eloise has an urge to create something new each day, so she can often be found coloring in a coloring book, cutting and gluing, or drawing with a pen and paper.  One day, B asked if he could color with Eloise.  He sat down with her in the sun room, and a few minutes later he came running out, very pleased with himself for turning himself into a tiger.  After this little incident, all markers were moved to a safe, out of the way location, that will not be disclosed.  He just looked so darn cute that it was torture for me not to laugh and hug him and take a picture right away to send to Daddy.  I got this picture when I had him show me his sandwich an hour later, so he wouldn't know I was recording his naughtiness.   B loves transforming himself into an animal.
 Wow, does he ever look young in this picture.  He reminds me daily, "I'm big!"  or "I'm bigger-nuff!"  Sometimes I forget just what a little guy he is.
 Boots and rain coats have become essential everyday apparel until next summer.
 Jared gives me a lot of defiant attitude.  He thought he was very clever one day when I asked him to write the date on his math practice sheet, and this is what he brought to me.  He strongly dislikes writing, and avoids it as much as possible.
 Jared loves tricks and jokes, and has shared this love with his siblings.  Eloise caught on, and started telling jokes.  She struggled with her delivery at first, but she practiced her jokes over and over until she could get the timing right, and now she has a pretty good sized collection of regular zingers, plus a few that she makes up on the spot.  Some of them work, some of them don't work, but I think every comedian would tell you that that is the way of jokes.
Our Japanese maple tree dumped most of its leaves in a good wind storm.  Power outages have become pretty regular twice a month events since the warm weather fled.  We had a little bit of raking fun in between rain storms.
 Our leaf blower helps to dry the leaves out a bit.  This is one thing you don't get to do in Arizona.
Jordanne left us in November.  Shortly before we left for Thanksgiving in Arizona, she packed up and moved back to Utah to be closer to her family.  We miss her a lot.  I don't know how I would have gotten through the last year without her.  Almost every day for a while she would walk in just as I was trying to make dinner and Sammy was inevitably needing a nap, a diaper change, or a meal and everyone else was begging for food.  Sammy would be crying, and Jordanne would rescue me by finishing dinner and entertaining older kids while I tended baby.  That was just one of the ways she saved me over the course of the year she was with us.  

We started our Christmas crafts.  Eloise made this skirt for her cousin Annie.  I found directions for making a skirt out of a t-shirt, and Eloise immediately thought of a shirt that she didn't like to wear.  B was the only one willing to model the skirt for a picture.  Other Christmas crafts included a joke book by Jared for Kenzie, a car mat with pockets for the cars for Ryan, James, and B, and finishing a baby quilt for the Christensens.
 Eloise loves to take pictures.  I liked the angle on this one.
 Sammy is getting FAT.  He gets up on his hands and knees and wants to take off, but he isn't quite there.  He is starting to be able to feed himself soft things, like small pieces of bread.  He still wakes up multiple times a night, but he makes up for it by being extra cute and charming in the daytime.  I'm looking forward to the day when I get an uninterrupted night's sleep again.  Maybe my productivity will increase when I'm not in a perpetual state of exhaustion.  I'm constantly amazed at what my body will do because it has to.
The picture above was taken right before everything fell apart as we prepared for our trip to Arizona.  The power went out while we were packing (around 1:00 p.m.).  The daylight failed just after 4 in heavy cloud cover.  By 5:30 we had no light, no heat, and no food left in the house except for what we had packed for lunch on the plane the next day.  All of the traffic lights in town were out, so Todd left work at 3:30, and wasn't home yet by 6.  Of course his phone battery had died, and my cellphone service had failed (possibly due to the fact that every single person sitting in stopped traffic at rush hour was on their phone telling someone that they would be late).  I took the kids to the nearby grocery store to try and get something from the deli, but, just as we arrived, they were throwing away the food that had been sitting out too long for them to sell.  We went home with all three hungry children screaming, and ate our peanut butter sandwiches and granola bars by lantern light.  Todd came home exhausted from abandoning the bus and walking the last four miles of his commute in the pitch black night just in time to kiss the kids good night.  The power was still out in the morning when we loaded into the car and headed for the airport to begin our Arizona adventure.  Fortunately we had good help taking care of our dog while we were gone.  Stacey turned off all of our lights that were left on and washed the load of dirty diapers I had been planning to wash last thing before leaving.  And with that, we became refugees of the cold and damp once again.  

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