Matthew the Photographer Bean

Grandma and Grandpa Have Arrived!

Grandma and Grandpa arrived from the UK on Wednesday and fortunately were sufficiently over jet lag to have professional photos taken this morning. The beans were great about the session and it flew by without a hitch. Hooray!

I also liked this one:

And this one:

I thought this one was really cute:

Oh, and this one, too!

Happy 72nd Anniversary!

Yes, you read that right: My grandparents celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary today and still seem to be in rare form.

They told me they went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch to celebrate. I knew I got my international palate from somewhere.


I've been keeping a wee list of things I've been enjoying recently and thought I'd share.

  • The Seattle Public Library system. It ROCKS! If I see any kind of media when I'm out and about I never buy it because I know I'll be able to find it in the library system. Their website rocks, visiting any of the branches rocks, their staff rocks, and the inter-branch loan system rocks. (Enough rocks, right? I'm sorry--I just can't help myself!!!)
  • "Stephen Fry in America", a 6-part TV show that we saw on the local PBS channel. Very wry, very insightful. Fun to see Americans and America from a different perspective. (Some of it was a bit edgy so I wouldn't wholeheartedly recommend it but most of it was very clever.)
  • We don't get tons of chances to just sit down and watch films but ones that we've seen over the past five months since we've been in Seattle have been very good. "The Grocer's Son" is a wonderfully sweet French movie with some great redemption thrown in, "Seraphine" is another emotive French one about an eccentric artist (I love her work and wish I could have one for our living room!), "Mostly Martha" was a German film we loved (and me especially as it had lots of cooking in it), "The Goodbye Girl" is a 1977 Neil Simon gem (Richard Dreyfus is superb), "Changing Lanes" is one we had seen before but is definitely worth seeing again for the ethical dilemmas and how they're worked out, I had seen "Roxanne" many years ago but I just adore Cyrano de Bergerac and Steve Martin so rented it again, "Music Within" is worth seeing if you're interested in Vietnam War-era history and it's a wonderfully encouraging true story of a beautiful friendship, "August Rush" blew me away with the music and fairy tale-style aspects and I guess for that reason reminded me a bit of "Lady in the Water" (which is another one I love), and last but not least, you MUST see "Kolya", a Czech movie about a musician who is (gracefully) sidetracked by a wee lad he must learn to take care of.
  • Books! In English! That are free to borrow (see first bullet point above)! Loads of books everywhere! Books running like milk and honey! I've been inhaling the Mitford series (and Mitford cookbook), anything by Barbara Kingsolver that I can get my hands on (loved Prodigal Summer and The Lacuna), a biography of one of my favorite people called Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God, My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams, and especially B Is for Bulldozer (OK, just kidding on that last one).

Five Today

Still thinking of five fun/positive/happy/grateful/exciting things every day, just haven't posted them in the past few days.

Here we go again!

  • Joel called me his "treasure" today (I call all three of my boys that).
  • Matthew is really pumped about learning to read more and more every day. He asks us to get out the reading book!
  • Both beans are super tanked about storytime at Green Bean Coffeehouse tomorrow morning (we were there three times last week: once for storytime, once for a puppet show, and once just to hang out). It's becoming a real community hub for all four of us, which is so lovely.
  • Had a relaxing afternoon after the beans' naptime spending time in the sunny backyard with them--doing some gardening, a tiny bit of reading (I've roped up the gates so they can't get out anymore and I don't have to watch them like a hawk every split second), and some playing.
  • Smiling right now as I'm thinking about Stephen's parents arriving in just two days from now! Yay!

Olympic Sculpture Park

Recess Monkey Rules

We've been going bananas recently for Recess Monkey, a band comprised of three elementary-school teachers from right here in Seattle.

Here we (and they) are at one of their recent concerts we attended at the Big Play Day at Magnuson Park.


The beans and I found them on YouTube and our favorites are their songs Marshmallow Farm and Jet Pack. Very catchy, clever songs and cute videos with loads of typical Seattle sights in the background (Space Needle and neighborhood scenes). Hope you watch and enjoy, too.

Staycation Continued: The International District

The best part about this day for the beans was the light rail ride and for me it was the inarizushi at Uwajimaya, a famous Japanese grocery store/cafe.

Oh, yeah, and the company wasn't bad, either.

Staycation Continued: Mercer Island

One of our staycation mornings was devoted to a trip to Mercer Island, a German bakery/shop there called Alpenland Deli (they have superb potato salad, coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate, and pretzel rolls!), and Luther Burbank Park on the northeast corner of Mercer, right on Lake Washington. Beautiful place. And fun for the beans.

Staycation Continued: Celebrate Shoreline with a Car Show

Shoreline, a suburb of Seattle and a bit north of here, had their "Celebrate Shoreline" festival a couple of weeks ago. The classic car show that went along with it is what drew us (and the old Metro bus, bounce house, and playground in the elementary school grounds)...

Take Five

  • I so enjoyed running around at Sound View Park this morning with my beans and some friends, chasing flying frisbees and playing a form of soccer.
  • Joel, looking at the corn-on-the-cob on my plate: "Mama, there's bumpy bits all over your corn!" Crack me up!
  • The fragrance of the 7.5-pound pork shoulder I roasted today was so comforting and for some reason reminded me of my grandma's house in Lakeland. I don't remember her cooking anything like that but today I just felt connected to her somehow through my cooking.
  • Another Joel cracker-upper: We were praying with the beans before bed and while holding Joel, Stephen said, "Thank you, Jesus, that Joel can grow up knowing you and full of your Spirit." And Joel grinned and gleefully replied, "Full of CHOCOLATE MILK!" We couldn't help but burst out laughing--that child has a one-track mind.
  • I love how Stephen carries the laundry up and down the basement steps for me. What a stud.

Swanson's Nursery/Alexa's Garden Cafe

There is still more posting to do for the Seattle Staycation 2010, but for now, here are the beans and I at one of our newest favorite hangouts, Swanson's Nursery. As in plant nursery. It's been around since 1924 and is such a lovely place to meander lazily (while chasing two little beans, of course).

They've got a fun cafe inside where you're surrounded by foliage and koi (Japanese carp). It's a great place for a special treat every once in a while, and in fact, we might head there tomorrow to meet some friends if it rains (if sunny, we'll be playing with them at Sound View Park, near the nursery).

The beans know how to clap in the Japanese way to call their fishy friends over for a visit...

Gimme Five

  • It makes me smile to see how much Matthew loves the combination of milk and peaches because that's what I ate almost every day of my first trimester when I was pregnant with him. It was just the right season in Japan for those big sweet juicy white peaches, and boy were they luscious. Just what a queasy girl needed.
  • I laugh at my goofball-self when I still try to get into the car on the right side. Reminds me of Colin, our right-hand-drive Odyssey. What a great vehicle! Not to negate our blessing of a new(ish) car, "The Big Red Car" (aka PT Cruiser).
  • Joel is always talking about chocolate milk, even telling me that he dreams of it at night, maybe because we don't give it to him very often. Tonight he looked up at me, smiled, wrinkled up his nose in his cute bunny way, and said, "Chocolate milk!" I told him that he was my little chocolate milk, and then he said, "Mama, you're BIG chocolate milk!"
  • We had a gorgeous walk around the neighborhood this evening and met three new (to us) families with kids.
  • Sweetness. As we were tucking M and J in tonight, I told them that they were our treasures. Matthew smiled and said, "We're not treasures. We're boys!"

Yesterday's Five

  • We got to chat with some Japanese tourists at the Ballard Locks and also see an amazing barge full of logs in the bigger lock. The sun was shining, a breeze was blowing.
  • Dinner was easy---mac and cheese in the rice cooker and kale chips in the oven! Both boys loved their green smoothies, too, and it was one of my favorites ever.
  • Lots of fun Lego building.
  • Stephen gives the best hugs. Period.
  • Received an email from a Japanese friend I hadn't heard from in a while and it made me smile.

Five Things Today

Still exercising...

  • Shirts in America have sleeves long enough for my arms! Yay! (Though I miss our beloved Japanese Uniqlo, nearby Value Village here in Seattle is quickly becoming a new favorite. And I'm definitely not going back to that department store. Ever. But I'm being grateful/excited/happy here in this post, so let's move on to the next item.)
  • Took the kiddies to MickeyD's yesterday (after lunch!) for them to play (while I had a cuppa!) and when we got home, Stephen had done all the morning and lunch dishes during his lunch break. Woo-hoo! (And he always does after-dinner dishes. He's amazing.)
  • I love it when Matthew says "Itadakimasu" before meals and Joel always says (about the food), "Thank you [for] making it, Mama!"
  • This morning was a beautiful time for walking/running through the Olympic Sculpture Park in downtown Seattle on the waterfront (pics to come later). And it was free!
  • Life is one big happy organic yellow peach from Wenatchee, Washington.

Staycation Continued: Pike Place Market

Stephen was back to work full time last week, but I'm still a bit behind on finishing up blogging about the week when he took some hours off each day for our Seattle Staycation 2010.

Pike Place Market is in downtown Seattle and started off as a local farmers'/seafood market in 1907, and still retains some of those elements, but now has a much more tourist focus. We decided to play tourists there, too!

Just outside the upper level we got to see some really fun street musicians and even took a pic of them from inside a deli where we sat just inside the window and had some coffee and strawberry rhubarb bars. A little piece of heaven--fun music and yummy grub!

Five Things

I was feeling kinda grumpy today and when I caught myself grumbling (to myself), I decided on the spot to start a new exercise in positivism. I'm going to (try to) daily post five things that I'm really excited/grateful/happy about. (Don't kick me if they don't appear on the blog every day, though--I'll be thinking of them, at least.)

Here are my five for today so far:

  • Matthew gave me a random, tight, out-of-the-blue hug this morning.
  • Joel sweetly kissed the orange cat in The Tiger Who Came To Tea while we were having a reading sesh on the couch.
  • I can afford to buy Real Change from vendors on a weekly basis (and I'm not having to sell it).
  • We live in a beautiful city full of wonderful cultural and artistic places and events.
  • The remembrance of the four of us heedlessly bopping and jumping around to Recess Monkey this past Saturday at Magnuson Park. Makes me smile!


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