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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best of the Blizzard, December '08

Just a few more pictures from Last week's snow storm... All of these pictures were taken by Drew, and all are of our yard.

That's our house, peaking out from behind the Douglas Fir.
And that's our boy!
Shannon's dog Sparky, sitting in the rut created by her SUV when she exited the driveway. As is his custom, he stared up the driveway waiting for her to return for what seemed like an endless period of time. For some reason, this loyalty seemed all the more poignant, given the stark whiteness of the snow surrounding him.
Another of yard. The art studio is in the background, and the greenhouse, barely discernible, is in front of it.
Winter berries.
And one more from Snowman day!
Drew has a few more posted on his Flickr photostream, in case you're interested.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Adventures in Sledding

I took this video on the 20th, and it accompanies the pictures in this post. This was filmed the day before our big snow storm, and there is just a thin layer on the ground (but it's still a lot for Western Washington!). What fun Silas had that day despite the little tumble he took!

Friday, December 26, 2008

T'was the night after...

Christmas morning, 7 am... Silas discovered the presents by (and in) the tree. We waited till 8 am to remove the gate and let him open a few presents, and find the animals in the tree. Grandma and Papa watched him via video chat the whole time he was opening gifts and we all enjoyed Christmas morning together, despite the 2000 miles separating us.

Silas helped his dad empty his stocking. Thanks, Santa Shannon, for filling our stockings on xmas eve!

Silas got a cool kazoo.

And a pig! (adorable outfit courtesy of Grandma G, by the way). We talked to Grandma G and family in the afternoon and were able to wish everyone a merry Christmas.

Then, it was on to Patrick and Shannon's house for a wonderful evening with friends. Silas enjoyed hanging out with Ellen and Carl's dog Al, in particular. There were two other kids there as well, so it was quite a kid-powered time.

From today:
Silas loves the animals so much, he has to get right in the corral with them!

And from Christmas eve, a pic I meant to post with the others on the 24th, but forgot:
Silas calls the popcorn garland "cake and berries" because the popcorn looks like the rice cakes he loves so much. Needless to say, right after this picture was taken, I rushed to remove the garland from him before it was crushed to pieces and/or eaten.

I planned on taking down the tree today, but it looks so cheerful in the corner, we decided to wait one more night. It is a living tree, though, so we can't keep it inside too long, for its own sake.

This Christmas was so peaceful, joyful and all-around enjoyable (and we had electricity the entire day!). I could not have asked for a better day. We try to keep our celebrations and decorations simple, and the gifts few in order to create a stress-free holiday. It seems as though we succeeded this year. Plus, seeing the day through my son's eyes reawakened many happy memories of Christmases past. I hope your holiday celebrations, whatever they may be, were every bit as lovely!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

T'was the night before...

We brought in our live Christmas/Yule tree today, a blue spruce that we'll plant in the yard in the new year. I decorated it with cranberries and popcorn and the hand-felted ornaments that I made last weekend.
After Silas went to bed, I placed into the bows of the tree the little wooden animals that his grandma and papa sent. In the morning, he'll be able to hunt for them and discover them, one by one.
The little tractor, also a gift from the grandparents, is sitting on some of the squares I've completed for Silas' knitted farmland. I hope to have that project finished by his birthday in March.

We lost our power again today three times! Finger's crossed, we will have an electric-filled Christmas tomorrow.

Have a Happy Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As a child, this time of year was always about anticipation. I think it's the lead-up to Christmas, the waiting game, that really excites the imaginations of children and makes them all a-glow come Christmas eve. Silas is still too young to really get what the holiday season is all about, but he has experienced something in the way of an anticipation-builder...Shannon and Patrick got him an advent calendar. They took out the chocolate (poor us, we had to eat it all!) and placed small gifts inside each door instead. Silas soon caught on that each night we'd go their house and open "doors doors!" Tomorrow is our last "door." We'll also bring in our tree and decorate it with hand-felted ornaments and popcorn and cranberry garland. Silas might not be anticipating the coming days, but I sure am!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday is for Snowmen


Snow family

Silas was not certain about the snow. Too much of a good thing.

A little help...please?

Patrick was unaffected by the cold.

I'm ready to go inside now.

Despite the snow, a bird's still gotta eat. After Shannon thawed out the sugar water, we saw many a hummingbird.

Yesterday, about an hour after I emailed my parents to tell them we hadn't lost power, we lost power. We thought we were in the clear as we didn't loose power during the storm itself. Apparently, the weight of the snow eventually became too much for a tree, and it fell over a power line. Electricity was finally restored about 40 minutes ago, so we were out only about 27 hours. It could have been worse. And we still had heat, at least, and could cook. It is a drag not to have running water though. One gets used to such luxuries. Silas, in his short lifetime, has already been conditioned to assume things such as light and music should appear and occur with the flip of a switch or a push of a button. He was not too thrilled with the outage and walked around shaking his head "no" saying "power, power." At least he learned a new word.

So, for those of you in the Midwest, the snow shown in these pictures is simply typical winter weather. But for the Northwest folks, this storm was and still is a huge deal. This will come as a shock to non-Northwesterners, but we don't even own a snow shovel. Most people don't. We usually only get a few inches of snow and that usually melts away before the day is done. Not this time. This time, we've got over a foot. Drew and Patrick spent a good chunk of time using garden shovels to remove snow from the driveway. Still, my little car wasn't going anywhere today, and it's doubtful I'll make it into work tomorrow either. Only major roads get plowed (if that) and hardly anything gets sanded/salted, which means getting out of our neighborhood may be trecherous. We'll see what the morning brings. Right now, I'm just grateful for electricity. Fingers crossed, it won't go out again!

We took more pictures today as there was even more snow than seen in the pictures above. We'll post them at some point.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Saturday is for Sledding

Shannon dug up her old sled for us to use, and use it we did! We pulled Silas around the yard and then up on the trail for quite a ways. He was a very happy boy. I'll post a video from today soon.

Note, the lack-of-mittens problem we had last weekend has been remedied, thanks to a wonderfully quick pattern that I found and some leftover alpaca yarn.

Weather alert: I already missed 2 days of work this week due to ice and snow. Some time tonight, we're supposed to get more snow and a wind storm. It's the wind storm part that really has us worried. The whole island is bracing for a power outage. We've prepared the best that we can. The tub is full of water, our lantern has batteries, extra bread is baked. There's not much more we can do but wait and see... If you don't hear from me for a while, you'll know why. Two years ago, when I was 6 months pregnant, we were without power for a week. Let's hope it's not that bad and we'll have light and running water for Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silas vs. Vacuum --a love/hate relationship

Way back on Thanksgiving, I noted that Silas called the vacuum "gummy." I suppose you can look at the second syllable of vacuum and get the connection he's making. This video shows Silas using a little sweeper vacuum, which we got for Silas at my friend Jill's suggestion. It really is sweet to see how helpful he can be with his little sweeper, which he will push around all over the house. As you can see, he loves it, and we are hoping it eventually leads to him not being deathly afraid of "real" vacuums. So far, no dice. If our vacuum is even in site, he makes a pouty face and begins to cry. One time, I brought it downstairs thinking that if it was around enough, he'd just get over it. He started crying and shaking violently and I quickly nixed that idea. We'll stick with his little "gummy" for now and hope that he outgrows this fear soon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

21 months old! --Art reception

Our handsome 21 month old had a blast at his Dad's art reception on Sunday. There were grapes and crackers aplenty, so he was happy.
Despite the unusually harsh weather, we still got a decent turnout for the event, though a few friends coming from farther away had to cancel.
Here's Shannon, hanging out with Silas near the food. Silas stood as close as he could get to the grape bowl for much of the evening, yelling "grate grate!" (no matter how many times I enunciate the "p" sound, he insists on referring to them as "grates").
Drew and I both caught Si's cold, so sniffing, sneezing and coughing are the themes of the week. Hopefully, we will all feel better for next week's festivities.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The week and a half in review

Let's play catch-up, starting with today's events and working our way back a bit...
First of all, obviously, it snowed. These pictures were all taken this morning. It's our first snow of the season and since this is western WA state, it may very well be the last. So, we made the most of it.
Oooh, what is this?
Um, seriously. What. is. this. Any why haven't you made mittens for me?
And is this really necessary?
Okay. The other big thing going on today is Drew's and Patrick's art reception. Yea! Silas is resting up now from his time playing in the snow so that he'll be bright-eyed for the event.

Silas has the sniffles, but that's life. We've been running a humidifier in our bedroom, which seems to help.

And now, working our way back...We've received two Christmas presents in the mail so far. Thank you Grandparents! We are using the little table and chairs already. He has a very nice "work" area now for slicing his wooden vegetables, drawing, reading, typing on his keyboard, etc. I will have pictures at some point. The other gift will have to wait till Christmas morning...

Tuesday the 9th: Drew's birthday! A fine day indeed. I didn't get any stellar pictures of the two boys together that day, so I'm not posting any. But Silas did help his dad open his gifts, and Silas very much liked the boxes (and Drew very much liked what came in them).

Last weekend (the 6th and 7th): Drew and Patrick hung their show, which took quite a bit of time. So, Silas and I hung out together a lot, and went to several Christmas in the Country places. This is a weekend long event which takes place at various houses and farms around the island. People sell handmade goods, food, etc. There are activities like live music, pony rides, and Santa. I did point Santa out to him, but he was more interested in the water feature set up next to Santa's chair. Since we really don't care about getting a picture of him screaming his head off as we force him to sit on a strange man's lap, we took a pass on that and enjoyed the music guild's chamber ensemble. Silas LOVED that!

And finally, last Friday...Silas went to the doctor. He wailed the ENTIRE time, even though no shots were given. But other than the trauma he experienced simply by being there, the biggest issue he's facing is some eczema on his face. The doctor doesn't think it's food related, so we are just keeping it moisturized as best we can. Other than a minor cold, he is healthy and happy (when not at the doctor).

That pretty much catches us up. I'm hoping to post more frequently this week, but I make no promises :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Never enough time...

I asked Silas to stick out his tongue today. This was the result:I've been wanting to post an update for a number of days, but by the time I have time, It's late in the day and I don't have the energy to string sentences together in any kind of cohesive manner. Lately, my home internet usage is, at best, sporadic. I'll try to do a more lengthy post this weekend, should the winter storms we're experiencing not produce a power outage.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

a plug for Dad & Patrick

OK so by now you know I'm an artist... and well since I'm pretty well known and all I think its important to give a shout out to those artists toiling day after day with little recognition. So today's post is to announce a show happening this month at the Bainbridge library by two of my favorite artists: my dad and Patrick

If you can check it out, do... I know I will

For Papa

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wish List

I've added a wish list to the side of the blog per the request of relatives. This is not meant to be solely a Christmas list. I will add and subtract from it over time and it currently contains items that we will use or need well into the future, along with some fun items. As I have mentioned before, probably too often, we don't really need or want a whole bunch of things. We have a small house and sometimes it seems toys are everywhere, even though we have a conservative amount of toys compared to many families. So, quality over quantity is our motto.

My big gift for Silas, which will probably be a joint Christmas and Birthday present (since it won't be finished by the 25th), is a knitted farmland. I got the idea from another crafty blogging momma. I'm making it piece by piece, and will be sure to update you on it's progress. There are a few farm related items on the wish list, but I'm still searching for the right farm, and may see what I can find locally.

I hope everyone is having a low-stress holiday season so far!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

December 08 Book of the Month

Introducing Planet Silas' December 08 book of the month:

The Twelve Days of Christmas : A Pop-Up Celebration by Robert Sabuda.

This is an unusual choice for Book of the Month, not for lack of quality or kid-appeal, but because it is definitely NOT a toddler book. It is, after all, a pop-up book, and my toddler, like 99 % of toddlers worldwide, destroys pop-up books faster than you can recite "The 12 days of Christmas." But it's such a fun book, I couldn't resist highlighting it this month. Silas and I read it together, and it's safe to say that the words "don't touch, just look" are uttered from my lips as often as "a partridge in a pair tree." Still, it captivates both toddler and adult alike. Really, all of Robert Sabuda's pop-up books are incredible and are worth checking out. I've never come across one that didn't awe me. Seriously, he is a paper-engineering rock star.

Well, I probably don't have to go into a detailed summary of this book. It is the traditional song, as told through words and pop-up images. You can see a few pages here. We will be relying on this book to bring us some holiday cheer each night through this dark month.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hanging out on Thanksgiving

Holidays are the perfect occasion for me to unabashedly dress up my child in hand knits. Looking quite spiffy on Thanksgiving morning, here's Silas, sporting the v-neck sweater I made for him before he was even born, and which FINALLY fits him.

Hanging with Sparky:
And Shannon:
And friends...Hey, what's so interesting over here?
Oh, it's just those silly sheep. Blu is eating some alfalfa of of Audrey's back (and getting a mouth full of wool for his efforts too), which everyone thought was pretty funny.
We had a pretty restful, low-key Thanksgiving, which is just the way we like it to be. Silas talked to all of his grandparents on the phone, and we made a lot of great food, which we ate next door at Patrick and Shannon's house. And as you can see, we got to spend a fair amount of time outside walking around the yard and neighborhood. It was a happy Thanksgiving for us!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Silas' List of Thankfullness, '08

I've decided to start our own Thanksgiving tradition: Each year, Silas will make a list of what he is thankful for. Here's this year's response to the question "What are you thankful for?" Commentary and translation from Standard Toddler to Standard English, when necessary, are in parenthesis. Repetitions of words have been removed to keep the list from becoming book-length.

1. Mommy (I like how this is beginning!)
2. Pen (said while trying to grab the pen I'm using to write the list)
3. Ga-bige-a (bike)
4. Car
5. Tea
6. Coffee (You know your child is a native Northwesterner when this is one of the first words out of his mouth every morning)
7. Daddy
8. Fah (fire)
9. Ki-eeey (kitty)
10. Puppy
11. Gamma (grandma)
12. Pa (grandpa)
13. Pa-kwa (Patrick)
14. Shaaahn (Shannon)
15. Dolly
16. Llama (or maybe he ment Dalai Lama?)
17. Gummy (vaccuum--a story for another blog post)

And there you have it. We hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving. I'll post some pictures from today soon.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hangin' with my Mini-Me

We hear it all of the time -- "He looks just like you, Amber." Looking at the two of us together in these pictures,well, it's pretty hard to deny the resemblance. I had the same light blond hair as a child, and the same smile. And if you saw pictures of my father as a tot, you'd never doubt the power of genetics again. They could be twins, seriously. Drew has also commented that there are moments he sees his paternal grandfather in Silas.
So, Drew's side of the family is in there, too. You can see that Silas' eyes are darker than mine--closer to Drew's in color. I always say they have eyes the color of olives.
The boys also have matching beauty marks on their foreheads, which I think is pretty cute, considering that my mom, sister, and I all have matching beauty marks on our cheeks.

And if you ask me, Silas has Drew's feet. Drew says all feet are the same. He is wrong. Silas has his feet, for sure.

On another note, I've been asked several times if Silas has had a hair cut. No way! He's just got enough hair now that it is starting to stick up in the back and over his ears, and I LOVE it that way. I really want to see him with those cute little baby curls, like you see on a lot of little ones, so we are letting nature take its course for now. We'll cut it if it becomes a tangled mess, but otherwise, he'll be sporting a shaggy look. He's been bald, or nearly so, for most of his life, and his hair is still pretty thin, so I'm looking forward to it being crazy, messy, longish, and adorable for a while.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Harmonica, take one...

I expect we'll capture better videos of Silas playing the harmonica in the future. Right now, it's a little tricky, for two reasons. First of all, he only started playing about a week ago, so he tends to only play in small bursts, though he does occasionally go crazy with it, playing up and down the scale. Secondly, he has to be pretty distracted (as he is in this video), not to notice the camera. If he sees me pointing it at him, he stops what he's doing and yells "baby, baby" while grabbing for the camera. This is my fault, really. I made the mistake of showing him the pictures the camera takes and not surprisingly, these pictures are mostly of himself (the "baby" in question). So, he now associates the camera with seeing pictures of "baby."

Anyways, here's our aspiring musician at the spring of his career. One more thing to mention: He recognizes both guitar (he calls it "tar") and harmonica (he pronounces it "gumma") when it's being played in the music we listen to. He has been playing air guitar for some time now, and now he plays air-harmonica as well, holding one hand over his mouth and fluttering the other hand in front of it, and moving his head back and forth. Maybe I'll try to capture that on video some time too.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Daily Bread

Thanks to the generosity of Beth (at my work), we are the proud owners of a bread maker. We now bake all of our own bread (7 loafs in the last 7 days!), which has been really fun. One does have to get used to its strange shape due to the the kind of pan the machine uses, but the bread is undeniably delicious. We've made several different kinds --oat, french, and cranberry walnut(pictured). Silas helps by adding certain ingredients and pushing the start button. Later on, when we're eating the bread, we tell him "that's the bread you helped make."