Sunday, May 12, 2019

Seattle's Snow Event

We started February with an epic birthday party for our twin friends, Carson and Brenna, who were turning six.  Face painting was very popular.  Rainbows are Sammy's number one thing.  
 Since we call B abeja (Spanish for bumblebee), and he occasionally signs his name "Bee," he has an affinity for bugs. 
 Eloise likes all marine animals, but I think she is particularly drawn to sharks since she doesn't have many teeth of her own left. 
 You know how we weren't sure we were going to get any weather this year since it had been extra sunny during our whole rainy season?  Well, on February 3 it started to snow.  We rushed out to take a picture with some snowflakes since it was bound to end soon. 
 It didn't end.  That night we had a snow throwing party with our church friends who came over for dinner. 
 The next day school was cancelled, so it was a snow party all day long.  Fortunately, everyone had snow gear that fit because of an upcoming snow trip we had planned, so we were all set for what turned into a major snow event. 
 Jared is really a very patient brother.  B wanted to see what he was doing, so he climbed into the unused portion of the chair. 
 No school again on Tuesday. 
 We mixed up our snow play (the kids spent HOURS on end outside every snow day) with a little bit of painting and art in the house. 
 Sammy discovered board games.  He can play approximately three games without any assistance (chutes and ladders, a candy land variation we have with My Little Ponies, and the Hatchimals game), and he begs to play them every single day.  He has caught on to Todd and Jared's fascination with games, although they tend to choose more complex strategy games.  Jared and B will play with him sometimes.  Snow days make them more agreeable to playing "baby" games.
 School started late on Wednesday.  Sammy and I saw the kids onto the bus and then headed to the temple.  Only later did we learn that the bus had broken down several blocks from the school, and the kids had waited on the bus for an hour for a mechanic to come and fix the bus.  Since Jared takes the bus to the younger kids' school and then continues on to his school, he didn't get to school until his class was already at lunch! The transportation department forgot to notify Jared's school about his late arrival, since they had put the other kids that ride from Sandburg to Thoreau on a different, functional bus, so Jared's school called me while I was in the temple and left me a message saying that Jared was not in class. 
Thursday was back to an ordinary schedule.  It was still cold and snowy outside, so Sammy and I had to keep playing games. 
 Friday also started as a normal day, but school was released two hours early because of forecasted snowfall in the afternoon.  I spent all day scoffing about the over reaction of the school district, but, sure enough, snow started trickling down around 3:30, and, by the time the buses would have been driving kids home, snow was accumulating rapidly.  More snow fun for the kiddos!
 Jared left me this cute, tiny snowman on the porch. 
 Because our time is compressed during school weeks, with school in session until 4, and then after school activities Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, we made our Valentines on Saturday.  The kids each picked out a printable Valentine online, which I printed at the library,  They then mounted them on cardstock and attached goodies.  Eloise picked a color by number that said, "You color my heart," and taped crayons to the back. 
 Jared, king of puns, had a Valentine that said, "Yoda best, Valentine!" He punched holes in Yoda's hand and stuck a glow stick bracelet in as a light saber.  B got dollar store dinosaurs and tied them to his "I think you're dino-mite!" Valentines, which I though was pretty kindergarten perfect. 
 Todd and I had been scheduled to go to a hockey game in Kent on Saturday, but we were snowed in.  Our street was impassable, and the weather was volatile.  On Sunday, Todd helped the kids build a snow fort. 
 Monday was another snow day with no school, so I helped the kids build a second fort, and we had an epic snow battle.  Todd had been working from home so he wouldn't get stranded at work.  Monday his bus wasn't even attempting to run, so he had no choice but to work from home, with the occasional snowball fight break. 
 The schools issued reading challenges to get the kids to use their snow days constructively.  A lot of the time we weren't playing in the snow was spent curled up in blankets with books, but I don't think the school challenges made any difference in how much reading the kids did.  Eloise did write a story about our snowball fight to turn in.  The kids could turn in reading minutes or written stories for raffle tickets for a pizza party with the principal. 
 Our favorite mountain biking hill in the woods turned out to be a neighborhood favorite sledding hill, too. 
 I was very prepared for more snow days.  The weather report was astonishingly accurate for the duration of our snow event, so I stocked up on crafts.  The kids helped Sammy paint a small wooden alphabet so that he could practice letter recognition.  Jared used to shun this sort of thing, but he informs me that public school art is "bomb" (like now kids are in too much of a hurry to use articles, so days of "the bomb" are over), so he is willing to participate in this kind of thing, after a great show of reluctance. 
 Siblings are more effective teachers than parents are. 
 On Tuesday, school was cancelled again.  Jared's teacher sent a picture of a funny little snowman she had built to the class and challenged them to build a better one.  The little hooligans decided to clear off the car instead. 
 Wednesday was Valentine's day, but school was still not back in session.  We had to make do with a wrestling/pillow fight/couch destroying party with Emily and Katie while their mom ran some errands. 
We were already scheduled to have Thursday and Friday off of school.  Those were the days when we had planned since December to go to the mountains and have our mini winter vacation and see snow.  We were faced with the possibility of being snowed in and missing our snow vacation! 

January

We kicked off our new year with the 2019 Greased Lightning run on the Sammamish River Trail in Kenmore.  There were a lot more people out on the trail on New Year's Day than there were on Christmas, and more than I usually see on this trail.  'Tis the season to start on resolutions.  Everyone had to pee at the end of this run, and the park had the bathrooms locked.  
 Later we drove up to Snoqualmie Pass to play in the snow.  Everyone had a great time hiking around and throwing snow at each other.  Todd, who just got snow pants, was rolling around in the snow like the kids, who seem to be incapable of staying upright when there is snow on the ground. 
 Jared went to the dentist and got his tooth repaired. If his teeth look uneven, it's because they matched his tooth repair to how his teeth looked before the damage, and his chipped tooth was longer than the intact one before.  Eloise got a filling. 
 At the end of our winter break, the weekend before school started again, Jared and Todd drove to Idaho to pick up some meat for our freezer.  The drive ended up being a little bit longer because Snoqualmie Pass was closed due to snow, so they had to change course and take Stevens Pass (you know, the narrower, higher, less traveled pass that stays open in extreme storms) instead.  Jared tells this story as a trip of answered prayers. 
 There was plenty of snow to see on this trip.  We had worried that we were having an exceptionally sunny winter, so we thought we might not see any snow this year. 
Benjamin started going back to full school days when school started again.  

 Sammy went to his friend Asher's third birthday party.  Three year olds play air hockey very slowly. 
 I ran five miles of a 50K relay in Bridle Trails Park. I didn't want to run in the dark, and my leg ended up being in the dark, but Bridle Trails has really smooth, wide trails, nothing like Big Finn Hill where I often run, so it was not too bad.  I was faster than I expected to be, since I had only been running occasionally since my arthritis diagnosis in October.  It was a lot of fun. 

We met up with the Christensens at the zoo.  Rebecca had a couple of little Blackwelder boys in tow.  Since they live on the same block, their families seem to have merged a good portion of the time. 
 I finally got around to hanging the pictures on the accent wall by the stairs that I have been planning since I moved in.  And by "I" I of course mean that I drew up a plan and let Todd do all of the risky work. 
 I think it turned out looking pretty cool. 
 Eloise and I had an activity days evening of candle making.  We had to make a practice candle at home to gauge how long the activity would take. 
 Jared performed in the cub scout talent show.  He played the piano.  He is really loving his piano lessons, as is Eloise.  Benjamin had his first lesson in January, but he wasn't able to start regularly taking piano lessons because piano teacher Sam only had available lessons in the late evenings, when B needed to be in bed.  B LOVES piano, and spends around an hour every day noodling around on the piano.  He was dying to get into lessons, too. 
This was not a winter of much rain. 
 It wasn't warm, but we still took preschool outside to jump. 
 We had a day off school, and our zoo membership was close to expiring, so we took advantage.  Jared was happy to come along to the zoo, even though he thinks the zoo is for babies, since it was probably going to be the last time we dragged him there for a while. 
 The highlight of last year was when the tapir peed on the glass of its exhibit just when we had moved in for a close look.  We watched the tapir for a while and discovered that it pees on just about everything, including the glass again, during the rare moments when it is moving around.  So our experience may have been a little less special than we thought, but it was still hilarious. 
Potty humor is king in our house.  It would be an exercise in frustration for me to try and correct that all of the time, so I just try not to laugh to loudly when Sammy calls Jared "Mr. Farty Butts."  Seriously, I can't even type that without snorting out loud.  What have I become?!  These kids will grow out of this, right?