Sunday, December 11, 2016

November between holidays

In November, autumn arrived in earnest.  Our trees unburdened themselves of about ten million leaves.  Part of the magic of owning a leaf blower is that it acts as a giant blow dryer for all of our soggy leaves as it rounds them up into a pile, so we don't get as wet as we otherwise would when we jump in the leaf pile.  Sammy was NOT a fan of the leaf blower, but he loved the leaf piles, after Jared showed him what to do with the leaves.  
 This kid.  He loves the sensation of falling, and he loves climbing on unusual things.  In the picture below, he had invented a game of climbing from the mattress in the playhouse bed onto the playhouse window, and then dropping himself backwards onto the mattress to bounce.  He laughed and laughed.  He also figured out that he could ease himself out of the window onto the floor.  He is a strong kid.
 He is also determined to do what the bigger kids can do.  Even B still likes to hold my hand crossing this log bridge, but Sammy insists on doing it by himself.  He has fallen off a few times, but he never cries about minor falls, and he insists on climbing back up and continuing.
 This was a big milestone for the month of November.  Sammy made a tenuous peace with the leaf blower, and even picked it up once, but not when it was on.  I guess the leaf blower and the blender are in the same category.  B taught Sammy how to announce that things are "Loud!" and cover his ears, but, of course, Sammy doesn't quite hit his ears with his hands, and puts his hands on the back of his head instead.
 Late on November 12, my brother, Seth, who had never been to Seattle before, came for a visit. . . and decided to stay.  Actually, he decided that he was going to stay two days before he came.  Jared and B moved into the same room, naming it "The Monster Bat Cave."  The jury is still out on whether or not that arrangement is working.  B wakes up much earlier than he did before, since he always wants to do what Jared does.
Within two days of arriving, Seth had two job offers.  We tried to cram in some fun before he disappeared into work.  He had to see Pike Place Market.  When Todd saw this picture he was horrified that Eloise was actually touching the gum wall.  I'm pretty sure she was just placing her gum on the wall.  At least I hope that is what she was doing.
 We walked around the market until we all had tired legs, and then we remembered that we hadn't posed with the pig yet.
 We picked up lunch to take with us to the locks, which were less exciting than they have ever been before.  Not a single boat came through while we were there, and the large lock didn't even have any water in it.  No trains passed, only one tiny fish was in the fish ladder, the museum was closed, and the blue herons were all sleeping.  The most exciting thing we saw was a couple of ducks diving.
Two days later, after a recovery day, we took Seth to Whidbey Island to see Fort Casey on November 16.  First trip highlight: the ferry ride.  Washington's islands are so beautiful.  
 Sammy didn't really know what to make of being on a boat, but he loved watching the cars.
 At the park, we were greeted by a family of deer grazing in the field, and some freezing wind.
Remember what I said about our islands?  I've never seen a view I love more than this one.
I don't think building codes were a thing when Fort Casey was constructed.  All of the stairs are extra tall, and there are no railings, so the kids go down backwards.
A gun mounting depression. . . or an amphitheater?
B went up this ladder with Uncle Seth, but there was no way he was coming back down the same ladder.  Seth had to walk him the long way around and back down the scary stairs.
Speaking of scary. . . toddler + no guardrails = my life shortened by about ten years.  Sammy had me on edge for the entire time.
After wandering around the fort for a while, we all wanted to see the lighthouse, but our legs were too tired to walk the quarter mile uphill, so we drove over.  Sammy and Seth had an instant bond.  Seth only speaks to Sammy in Spanish.  After only two days of being around Tio, Sammy heard something in Spanish and started calling, "Tio? Tio!"  Children's brains are amazing.
Yes, that is a five year old child in my baby carrier. She only weighs ten pounds more than her one year old brother (and only two pounds more than B).  Eloise, like me, does not function when she is tired.
We drove back down through Whidbey Island.  I had some serious Ragnar reminiscences as I drove through some of the places where I ran in July.  The sun set while we were on the ferry, and it got seriously cold.
We stopped on the way home to pick up a toilet for the final stage of our six(ish) week long bathroom remodel project.  I simply wanted to swap the giant vanity in the kids' bathroom for a smaller sink so that there would actually be room to turn around in the bathroom.  I should have known that nothing is simple where plumbing is concerned.  Actually, the problem was the floor.  When Todd pulled out the vanity, he discovered that there was a big section underneath it that didn't even have a subfloor.  Since he had cracked the toilet pulling out the vanity, he decided to just refloor, paint, and replace the sink, toilet, and baseboards.  He also wanted to take out and replace the tile around the tub, but I drew the line there.  Having the kids glide like specters through our bedroom in the middle of the night to use the master bathroom toilet was creeping me out.  They needed their bathroom back sometime this year.  
Here is the first teeth brushing in the newly completed bathroom. 
Notice how three people can fit around the sink without being pressed against the toilet and the door.  Todd did great work.  Now the house is ready for potty training round #4, sometime in the next two years.  

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