Gilman Playground

How sweet is this? They decided (with no prompting) to slide together...ahhhh, makes my mama-heart proud.

We Heart Golden Gardens Beach

Beaching today with some lovely Japanese friends, Luna and Kai!

Greenwood Parade

A local parade...local friends...local flavor.

Kirkland Summer Concerts

The city of Kirkland and specifically Marina Park just off the downtown area has summer concerts for children every Tuesday morning. A couple of days ago, with our friends Hilary and Eli, we saw Recess Monkey, a group of summery carefree elementary school teachers that hit the band circuit on their off months.


Son of a Foodie

Matthew was glancing at a cookbook I borrowed from the library and asked, "Mom, is this your food Bible?"

Lightbulb Moment

"Seattle City Light: The first carbon-neutral utility in the nation."

So says the top of our light and electricity bill, a bill that can only be paid by sending in a paper check via snail mail. Paper snail mail that arrives in our mailbox, crushing innocent trees along the way. Snail mail that has to be driven in a truck to and from our house. A stamp that has to be made, wasting even more resources along the way.


And There Shall Be Light

Wow. You replace three lightbulbs that were burned out in the bathroom and all of a sudden you realize it's not quite as clean in there as you thought it was.

Kinda like when you think something is spotless...and then you put your glasses on.

Carkeek and Friends

Fun at Carkeek Park yesterday, this time with my college friend, Kristin, and her two kiddos.

Joel on top of the world...


7-week-old Coraline...Definitely a sweet pea!

How Does My Garden Grow?

Because we had such a long, cold, wet spring, gardens around here are still pretty much in their infancy.

One of my first maters coming in...

Yellow crookneck squash...

Zukes (courgettes)...

And a lovely dahlia by the back fence...

And speaking of lovely flowers, thank you to whomever dropped these off on our front porch this evening! The four of us just stepped out to the pocket park for a quick visit after dinner, came back, and were surprised by these beauties--no note to tell us who they're from.

Super Cool

As I helped Joel into his pajamas tonight, I read his PJ T-shirt to him: "My big brother says I'm super cool!" (a gift from Wisconsin grandparents).

Joel smiled and said, "I have super cool Daddy! I have super cool Mama! I have super cool Matthew!"

Woodland Park Zoo, Visit #5,274

OK, so granted, not all the pics are that great, but you take what you can when you've got beans on the run and admiring eagles, otters, tigers, elk, and especially the black crows in the brown-bear enclosure.

Big Me

I was sitting on Stephen's lap this morning and we were doing a wee bit of innocent smooching. Joel decided to climb up into our laps while saying, "Here comes big, big, big, big ME!" And then he stuck his face right into ours and laughingly said, "Don't do that, guys!"

Ravenna Community Center Playground

Gradually gaining energy back and so we took off for a park this morning. I've got a lot more pictures of Joel here than Matthew because the M-Bean is always on the go (running away from the camera!). I commented on how fast he runs and Matthew replied, "I'm so fast I didn't even notice!"

Thanks to my friend Hilary, several weeks ago I found out about this fun park with multiple play structures and and about the yummified bagel place around the corner on 65th called Bagel Oasis. Next time you go, get an everything bagel with a schmear of feta, garlic, and dill cream cheese and you won't regret it (though if you get close to anybody after that, they might!). That's about $2.50 but the schmear is quite a lot of cream cheese so you can share with any naked bagels lying around.

Kids Eat Free

I only found one restaurant option for us in our area, but you might find more (I saw quite a few listed for Florida):


Chasing a squirrel at Salmon Bay Park...

Friends down the street, Jaewha and her daughter, Lindsey...

Foodie Beans

Joel, as he grabbed my piece of bread and butter off my plate and took a bite: "I'll hold it for you!"


Abigail: "Would you like cinnamon on your sliced bananas?"

Matthew: "Maybe not. Maybe just salt and pepper."

Honorable Mention

Forgot to say that yesterday in our backyard ramblings we not only saw amazing things like a hummingbird, butterfly, and a wee rhubarb plant, but we also heard a ship horn and a train whistle.

Just wanted to toot the blog horn and tell ya about it.


Where have we been and what are we up to? Well, Joel got slammed with a stomach bug last Thursday and since then we've all taken turns in the boxing ring with it (and poor Maffa got hit twice). Fun times and lots of laundry. Even Polar Puppy has had to have a dunking and is now drying on the clothesline outside. (By the way, if you're interested in saving money and not having to go to the store to buy a rehydration solution, just mix 4 cups water with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and a splash of lemon and/or lime juice. I got this recipe many years ago from a Reader's Digest kitchen remedies book my grandma gave me and it's really come in handy on several occasions.)

Matthew, Joel, and I felt good enough to spend this morning in the backyard and I have to say it felt great to have the sun on my face. We also saw a hummingbird, a butterfly, and I got to say hello again to the rhubarb plant I recently found hiding in our garden. It's still tiny and spindly but I'm willing it to grow big and strong soon. We need some more rhubarb crumble ice cream, and if it was made with rhubarb from the back garden instead of the farmers market or grocery store, I know it would be even better (if that's possible).

The beans have been enjoying "making" tea and meals for me so I made them each a play stove out of a cardboard box and the pots and pans have been getting a workout. They've been plying me with "guacamole," "fruit salad," and other goodies and though I haven't felt like eating those kinds of foods this week in real life, it's been refreshing to sup on the pretend.

I've got a real roasted chicken carcass in a pot boiling away on the stove so I guess I now have a bone (or several) to pick...

Bye for now!

The Power of Kids' Brains

This TED conference presentation was reported by the BBC under the headline, "Using computers to teach children with no teachers". However, having recently read Weapons of Mass Instruction and as I am now reading An Underground History of American Education I am wondering whether the absence of teachers as children discover for themselves is more significant than the tools that facilitate this discovery?

Unfortunately, technologists will focus on the presence of the computers, and the corporations that produce them will surely jump on the chance to insist on a greater slice of the public pie to ensure all schools are equipped with their products, but I can't help wondering whether, as with almost all education innovations, the delivery vehicle itself will negate the positive benefit that these initial studies suggest is possible.

"I think we have stumbled across a self-organizing system with learning as an emergent behavior," says Prof. Mitra. Which surely simply means, "Children have an innate ability and desire to learn". So there is a question as to why this statement is such a revelation to the assembled intellectual elite at TED, thus also begging the follow-up question regarding why it is so rare to see this phenomenon in our institutional settings.

Perhaps the children themselves can tell us the answer?

In Cambodia, for example, he left a simple maths game for children to play with.

"No child would play with it inside the classroom. If you leave it on the pavement and all the adults go away then they will show off to one another about what they can do," said Prof Mitra, who now works at Newcastle University in the UK.

A Little Dinner Conversation

Abigail: "Hey, Matthew and Joel, you guys have haircuts scheduled for tomorrow at 11:00."

Stephen: "Or I could just get out the clippers and do some buzz cuts!"

Matthew (laughing): "What!?!"

Stephen: "OK, OK, I was just joking. But it would be cheaper!"

Matthew (still laughing): "Daddy, that's a cheaper joke!!!"

Ballard Locks

We had never been to the Ballard Locks (officially, the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks) before last week but our neighbor across the street highly recommended it for the fish ladder (the botanical gardens there are not to be sniffed at, either)...

We loved it so much we took Stephen back on Saturday and he took a few piccies as well...

Mommy, don't make us sit on that cold stone bench! We like to sit Japanese style!


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