Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Beach House Stairs

Over and over again, they prove themselves irresistible. The look-out point. A place where you can keep your eyes on everything and everyone in the house. A great view of the water and all of it's wonders. And if luck would have it, you might catch a little New Year sunshine. I have my own fond memories of laying on one of the steps near the top, eye level with the ceiling, pick pick picking away at the squishy popcorn coating of ceiling (cringe!).

He made it past the barricade, he got smothered with brother love, and then they took their stuffed animals away. Life's ups and downs begin early.

Monday, January 10, 2011

December was so fun!

It always goes by too fast for me, but we did our best to make the most of it. Here are some of the highlights....

This year my lifelong dream of hanging the BIG MULTICOLORED LIGHTS on the house was finally realized. During the month of December I became slightly addicted to the Goodwill's Christmas Shop, where they had an abundance of these lights and much much more. I also became more than slightly addicted to sugar. And cocktails. And eggnog.

Annual trip to Snowy Owl Tree Farm. New strategy for choosing a tree: show up 20 minutes before dark to avoid over-thinking the whole "this tree or that one?"

It seems like we hosted more parties this December than the rest of the year combined. I love parties. And sugar. And cocktails. And eggnog. The Howard cousin get together was one of my favorites.
No wonder my children are so good looking.
The cousin party was accessorized with custom crafted party hats which were a HIT! with young and old. Finn's had a bell on it which inspired some really creative dance moves that involved a lot of head shaking. Anyone else who even considered wearing the bell hat again got an earful, along with flying fists. He really loves that hat.

We started a new tradition this year called Christmas Camp Out, which of course means a crackling fire, popcorn, movies, and lots of blankets and pillows piled under the Christmas tree. Sometime around 11 o'clock I snuck up to the haven of my king size bed while Ben and the big boys tossed and turned joyfully all night long in their cozy yet unfamiliar nest. Ben and I have a constant competition going for "who got less sleep last night" the loser being forced to drag themselves out of bed to feed noisy boys, brew coffee, and more than likely do the dishes from last night's dinner, WHILE carrying a big ass baby on one arm who still believes his toes were not made to touch the ground. All this and more before the sun is even up. I think Christmas Camp Out night is the only really legitimate victory that Ben has had all year. Go Ben!
Huggin' it out for the joy of Christmas Camp Out.

Another new tradition...Santa Train!! Finn was sold, Leo was suspicious. But then again, when isn't Leo suspicious?

Cousin love, Santa love, candy canes and a train ride through the evergreen forest of Pt Defiance. Magical to say the least.
Along with starting some new traditions, we made a special pilgrimage out to Vashon to bid a sad farewell to the our favorite bakery, The Monkey Tree. A trip to Vashon is never all that sad, but we will miss the baked delights that this little gem churned out. It's no secret that self control is not my strong point and therefore it is a blessing that it requires a ferry to get to The Monkey Tree. Here we are on the Rhodedendron...I really love that boat.
Here is the pastry case of my dreams.
It is so warm and cozy in there, it's like a giant sweet smelling hug from a magical tree house full of croissants.

The ride home, which we made with about 2 seconds to spare, our car was nearly hanging off the back of the boat, such a good spot that we were happy to stay down below and watch the water pass underneath. So tranquil it could very easily put one to sleep. Not me though, I have this insane paranoia that I will inadvertently kill my car battery on the 15 minute ride across. It has happened twice before and is terribly embarrassing. Damn those modern cars with all of their auto on auto off lights and things!

After hanging out at The Monkey Tree, I just had to brew my own GIGANTIC batch of cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning. It may or may not have had something to do with watching the rather handsome bakery owner wrestle around with about 20 lbs of his own dough earlier that day. Remember? Making something amazing while looking good and talking nice....Yep, that was him. Inspiration is funny like that. Janice and boys came over for the fun of rolling in the dough. Oh the butter and sugar and cinnamon. Mmmmmmm.
Christmas Eve was at our house. We made an Indian feast that was pretty damn good. I wish I had a bunch of multicultural grandmas who could teach me all of their cooking secrets. I love my Grandma, but Norwegian food does nothing for me.
And finally Christmas.
Pop Guns, legos, playmobil, and boots. Chocolate, spa days, kitchen wares, and artwork.

The view that is infinitely more interesting than opening presents for one person.
And dont forget new bow ties to add to the collection. The boys were looking quite dapper for Christmas dinner at S and Rachel's.Impossible to see here, but Finn's bow tie has a little bluebird embroidered on one corner. Will joined in with his Graduate version of the look.
Last but most definitely not least, my BIG present... the bicycle I have been wanting for so long! My mom had one of the kids from her hot shop revamp a 1960's Schwinn, complete with basket and bell. It was a total surprise and now sits as a cherished centerpiece in my dining room. Everybody loves it and everybody wants to ride it, I cant wait for a little bit of sunshine! It weighs about 75 lbs. so my ass should be looking pretty good by the time Spring rolls around.

I love December. We had so much fun.