Saturday at Bothell Landing

Saturday started with a distinctly windy feel. It was moist, as many Seattle-Area days start, but with a thick of dark grey quick-moving clouds in the sky. Fall has come quite fully, and leaves are collecting in earnest around most everyplace. The word of the day though, was “wind.” A strong inconstant wind, not quite gusty, but slower and rolling. Like someone was making tea… the wind would just steadily increase in speed until the whistle blew, when someone removed it from the fire, and it would stop abruptly. Within 15 minutes or so, the cycle began again, and the wind would resume the boil. Temperatures were in the high 50s and low 60s; certainly bearable, but given the wind, jackets seemed the order of the day.

Zoe, Lydia and I went to Bothell Landing (as has become the Daddy custom) again after a pancake breakfast. It was something of a chore to get them into coats and clothes and shoes and things, but once accomplished they seemed happy enough to be at the park. I required a coffee, as although I’d made coffee with breakfast, I forgot to actually drink any. I, with a mocha in hand, got the girls into the swings (despite warnings of “wet pants”) and began our “just got to the park” ritual. Both girls have become avid swing set fans. In Zoe, the change is more pronounced; when she was Lydia’s age, she didn’t want anything to do with swings. Lydia has always enjoyed them.

Once swinging had become less interesting, they jumped out, and began climbing and jungle-gyming, only to find that the jungle-gym was entirely too wet to be enjoyed. We decided to take a small walk, to look for leaves with interesting colors. The girls didn’t immediately take to the idea (moping about the wet junglegym seemed enough initially) until a lucky breeze gently blew dozens of several hundred leaves from one of the taller trees. Suddenly, eyes lit up as a miniature (yet also enlarged) snowstorm of leaves came towards them, and suddenly I was jogging after my toddlers, while they ran to catch anything still flying.

After a few leaf-storms, the girls found a tree that seemed suitable for climbing. Zoe, after achieving the third branch (a good 5 feet above ground) stated quite plainly that: 1) she had magically transformed herself into a Tree Princess, and 2) she would not be coming back home anymore with Daddy nor her sister and 3) as a Tree Princess, she was no longer bound to things such as “bedtime” or “consequences.” (Consequences = “punishment for less than desirable behavior.” in enlightedliberalparentese aka Heatherspeak.) As there were no further handholds above the one she had most recently reached, I acquiesced, indicating that I thought her mother might miss her.

Lydia kept trying to get to the bottom branch, but couldn’t quite negotiate it after a good 15 minutes of trying. It was ~2 feet up, but wide and thick, which made getting her arms fully around it to climb it the most difficult task. I picked her up and sat her on the branch, which seemed to satisfy her enough to begin a “tight rope walk” on the thick branch. Within seconds, she slipped, planted her butt on the branch, and told me that she was quite tired of tree climbing now, and had decided that Tiger Hunting should be the order of the next 20-30 minutes or so. I pulled her down, and we began a tiger hunt. Mainly, it involved Lydia finding an appropriate tiger hunting stick, and then striking trees with it. A few minutes into the tiger-hunt, Zoe realized getting down from the tree would likely involve some acrobatics (or at minimum, a more advanced tumbling skill.) While Zoe was retrieved, she indicated that she didn’t want to be a Tree Princess anymore.

The park hadn’t cleaned up too much after the Tiger Hunt, so we decided to head home, and get some lunch. The wind had gotten stronger, and more frequently gusty feel, and rain started to fall. Even a few of the “I run / bike / extremesomething everyday” folks were obviously packing it in. I wondered about lunch, but mostly wondered if Heather had gotten enough sleep. As we made our way home, the clouds were rolling more violently and quickly. The wind was howling a touch, and Lydia asked “Can I have hot chocolate?”

I didn’t know if we had any hot chocolate, but even if we didn’t and I had to stop at the store, the answer would be yes.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

With the nearing holiday, we’ve gotten distinctively more festive in the house. This weekend, we spent a date night on Saturday, and since there weren’t any movies out we wanted to see, we went shopping for the girls gifts at Target. On Sunday (when the Seahawks lost) we went and picked up a tree from Top Food (<$20, gotta love the price.)

We didn’t decorate it right away, rather saving that pleasantry for Tuesday.

Now, we have a highly decorated tree, with (as Heather puts it) an overabundance of lights. I can’t help it… I prefer lots of lights on the tree. I could even put more on, but Heather thought that 350 was a bit much. Still… the tree’s like six and a half feet tall, so I think it could handle the other 150 light set… but I digress.

The girls love it, alongside all the “extra” decorations that Grandma Elaine gave us last year (when they’re in the way, we describe it as the decorations we got “suckered into having.”) Just a note… a large wooden advent calendar with little wooden toys to hang up for every day in December is too much temptation for really little children. Low-hanging ornaments on the tree have that same impact, and one of my personal favorites, a mouse eating a piece of pizza, called ‘Pepperoni Mouse’, has been the subject of damn-near removal, because Lydia cannot tell that Pepperoni Mouse is only an ornament, and is not, in fact, an extension of lunch or dinner.

Yesterday, the girls made snowflakes out of printer paper and coffee filters and a tree-top star out of cardboard, aluminum foil, and glitter pens. The snowflakes are all stuck up on the main living room window, and we’re letting the star dry.

Friday last week, they also made a construction-paper chain (the ringlet kind), which is hanging off of the stairway bannister. There’s also a glittery wreath hanging from the paper-chain, and a tree that’s been colored with crayons. The whole living room is practically covered.

One thing that’s interesting… the mirror on the wall makes a rather bright room, when only the tree is lit. The room glows, and is absolutely wonderful. I wish I could easily get a picture, but our only camera has an automatic flash which is not easy to control. We’ll have to try to get a photo with the lighting adjusted in the room, so that it’s bright enough not to set off the flash, and that it’s dark enough to actually give an indication of the tree’s effect.