He's Ready

Joel, while watching the Hankyu train DVD:

I'm ready to go back.

Vroom Vroom

Joel: "Daddy's a race car and he's got an engine in his body." (I told you, we watched "Cars" one too many times when Matthew was ill recently.)

Joel refers to himself as Frank, Matthew as Mater, and Stephen as Daddy Lightning McQueen.

Picture That

Matthew saw my Google profile picture today and said, "Mom, you've got chopsticks near your face! That is VERY dangerous!"

I've taught him well. Or too well.

Another Hot Chocolate Day

It might be good if I actually sat down and had some hot chocolate! Hmmmm. Just a thought.

So Seattle is abuzz with all sorts of snow news and tomorrow will be the third day all the schools have been closed (apparently this is all very unusual for this neck of the woods, but after wintering in Wisconsin last year it seems very tame--tame, but fun). The hill in Queen Anne and Capitol Hill are famous around here for cars doing "bad tricks" (as Matthew said when he watched this)--click here if you'd like a Capitol-Hill chuckle (I feel bad for the drivers, but thankfully nobody was hurt). (Thanks to our friend Jenny for the video link.)

We stayed put today--played in the snow (see following pics), ate roasted beets (no joke--the beans love them), consumed some of the goodies I had made for MOPS today that ended up being canceled anyway, watched the famous Veggie Tales hairbrush video, and read lots and lots of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin (a good one for Thanksgiving time).

The guys did a little shoveling of their own...

Snow Day in Seattle

Scroll down to see pics of the beans in Winter Wonderland...

You Betcha - More Quotes

  • Abigail, to Matthew and Joel: "You guys look so adorable in your coats, hats, and boots!" Matthew: "We look like a constable!" (I think Matthew thought "adorable" was "constable".)
  • Joel, when offered some greenery to go with his pizza: "Salad is made out of poop." (We've talked recently about what food becomes later and seems like Joel got the process mixed up a bit here.)
  • Matthew, as we were playing in the snow this afternoon with their plastic sand shovels: "Let's go to the beach!"
  • Joel said the letter "o" is called a "google".

Puzzles, Parks, and Play

A puzzle of Kenrokuen Park (Kanazawa, Japan, where Stephen used to live) that I bought at an estate sale next door recently. I put the border together and then my parents did the rest when they were here.

Stephen's rendition of Matthew, on one of those boards you erase by sliding the lever along.

At our house, we bring the outdoors in...

Matthew and Joel played "farmers' market" in our kitchen with 15 pounds of potatoes...Joel was trying to charge Matthew $8 per spud!

Jefferson Park...

Yes, More Quotes

  • Matthew and Joel, talking about their ages: Matthew said he was number four and Joel said he was number two.
  • Matthew, on seeing giant snowflakes falling this afternoon: "Look! Snowflakes coming down from heaven!"
  • Joel: "Oh, darn it! Oh, darn it! Oh, pirate!"
  • Matthew: "Mom, when I get bigger and bigger, I'll borrow your computer." (Maybe! What he doesn't realize is that my netbook is my third baby.)
  • Matthew: "When I become adults I will try asparagus."
  • Matthew, watching candles flicker at dinner tonight: "The two candles are laughing at each other!"


Want your kids to drink more agua? Fill a pitcher with water, slice up some lemons and limes, and let your kiddiewinks "help" by tossing the slices into the pitcher. (Might be a good idea to put the citrus in first, before the water, to limit the splashback. Not that I would know.) Put it on the table at dinner and voila! The water will disappear down their wee gullets. (Straws help, too.)

Kids won't eat scallops? Saute those suckers in some bacon grease (yes, I'm afraid you read that right) till browned and you'll have to hide the Tupperware box of them in the back of the fridge so they don't vanish too quickly.

Welcome to the Mamatouille kitchen. Where the doors never close and the sink is never empty.

Sounds of Seattle

Through a glass darkly: our backyard

What I can hear from our house/street:
  • chickens (yep, it's the city but...)
  • ship horns
  • airplanes
  • trains
  • seagulls
  • bells from a local church
Our neighborhood is actually pretty quiet and these sounds are not overwhelming but just a nice occasional background hum that adds up to some auditory comfort.

And another sound I can't forget: Puget Sound.

Two More Likes

Forgot to add these two to my "me likey" list yesterday:

Latest Beanie Quotes

  • Matthew (about dinner): "Very nice indeed!"
  • Joel (after watching the movie Cars a few too many times when the boys were sick): "I'm Frank the combine harvester and I want to catch Matthew Mater!"
  • Matthew (after I threatened him with another kiss before bed): "No, I think that's enough for now, Mom."
  • Joel (looking at my plate): "I want some of the cake called 'Mama's Cake'."
  • Matthew: "Mom, can you turn the TV off?" (Yeah, I couldn't believe this either.)
  • Joel: "I did a poo-poo for free."
  • When Joel got upset about not being able to see his maple syrup on his pancakes because it had already seeped in, Matthew said, "I bet there are little tiny holes in the pancakes and the syrup goes down in those." How did he know? We had never talked about that before.
  • Abigail: "Joel, I need you to sit in your booster seat so I can have my seat back. My bum won't fit in your booster seat." Joel: "'Cause your bum is too big?"
  • Joel is always looking for a laugh--last night he said something that he thought was hysterical, then looked at me and with a cheeky grin said, "Mama, did you laugh?"

Mimi and Pop Moments

Flying Heritage Collection...

The town of Mukilteo, right across the Sound from Whidbey Island...

Ivar's Seafood Restaurant in Mukilteo...

Our steamy front yard...

Me Likey

  • Zingo - Our optometrist's wife (who's also an optometrist) gave me this board game that was hanging around in their office. When I picked it up and read the back, she told me to take it because they have two more of the same at their house (she buys them at garage sales) and she'd bring another one in for the office. It's for 2-8 players, ages 4-8, but both our beans (ages 2 and 4) have picked up how to play very quickly. My parents, sister, and I used to play board games together (we deliberately didn't have a TV for a long time) and so when Stephen, Matthew, Joel, and I sit around and play Zingo, it warms my heart! Not only is it one heck of a fun game, but reminds me of my own childhood (though we didn't have Zingo back then).
  • The Best Story - Matthew's current favorite library book. It's not exactly Julia Donaldson level but it is clever and the illustrations are cute, too--fun to read with him.
  • Nora Ephron - She cracks me up! I just read Heartburn and I Feel Bad About My Neck And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman and thoroughly enjoyed them. If you like "When Harry Met Sally", read these gems. (Apparently, according to Ephron, women's necks start going south when they hit 43. I'm enjoying mine now, while I can--I keep looking in the mirror and admiring it.)
  • "The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio" - A flick based on the true life story of a woman (played by Julianne Moore) who feeds her family of 10 kids by writing jingles. Loved it--the camaraderie of the main character with her fellow female writers was enough to hook me in and the jingles themselves are extremely clever.
  • "Sherlock" - Stephen's parents brought the 3-episode DVD set to us when they came to visit and we've watched it twice so far. It's a modernized version of the classic; the new episodes are set to become a classic in their own right. The BBC does it again.
  • "The Visitor" - Surely I've posted about this movie before...but anyway, here I am again, singing its praises. Maybe because we watched it again recently. Where do I begin? The main character is a man lost in his own world of sadness but some unexpected people show up in his life and change his entire worldview (and he learns to play an African drum in the process, which is part of his metamorphosis).
  • "The Brothers Bloom" - Just watched this one over the past couple of days and it turned out to be a fun film. (Sort of fantastical and Coen brothers-ish.) Con. Big con. And the Japanese actress (Rinko Kikuchi) was hysterical.
  • Generra coffee at Diva Espresso here in Seattle. It's an espresso with a perfect blend of coffee and orange (with a nice sliver of orange peel in the bottom when you finish). We don't get out a lot but had a date there when my parents were here.
  • Cafe mole (pronounced moe-lay) at Natalie's Coffee. Spicy creamy espresso with a hint of cayenne pepper. Mmmmmm. Luscious.

Vids for Viewing

I posted yesterday with a link for a time-lapse video of fall leaves in Kyoto and I wanted to pass on two more that we've been enjoying in the past two days or so (both time lapse): the volcanic eruption in Iceland this year (the soundtrack is just as stunning as the scenery) and a building renovation (complete with plenty of exciting equipment).

These have been tested on four kids in our house so far and pass muster. Hope you like them, too.

Fall Leaves and Happy Hugs

Stephen found this fall-leaves-in-Kyoto-time-lapse-video to play on our TV for the beans this evening and as I watched it, the three boys in the house were surprised when I started bawling. Maybe it had something to do with my parents flying back to the Midwest this morning, or perhaps it was just that the images of Japan felt so natural and normal and home-like to me.

Anyway, Joel came over to me and gave me a hug. And then he said, "Now you're happy!" And I was.

Mimi, Pop, and the Gang

Mimi and Pop Have Landed

The Cheeseheads are here! Welcome Mimi and Pop...

We've had so much fun already: Playing Pop's ukulele...

Going to Carkeek Park (saw a Cascade Amtrak train, walked on the beach, played on the fish slide, and hiked up to the North Meadow) and also the Ballard Locks (where we saw the biggest barge I've ever seen coming through the large lock--the guy on the barge told us it was carrying 4500 tons of sand)...

Only pulled by one wee tugboat with loads of power...

On November 10 the locks will close for their annual draining and inspection for 10 days, so we got there just in time. It also means water traffic there is at maximum capacity right now to make up for the 10 days they will be closed.

And in other news, we had family photos done this morning--stay tuned!


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