Thursday, January 28, 2016


Yesterday morning was Gareth's appointment with the tic specialist at Children's. I got his lunch made the night before (he was supposed to do it, but we forgot and then I just wanted him in bed since we had to be up early the next morning) and got up early and everything was going smoothly. We were set to leave the house by 7:15 so we'd have plenty of time to get to the appointment.

And then we got in the car and I realized I'd forgot to ask Ryan about the gas status and of course we needed gas. So now we were running late and I was stressed that traffic would be bad and we'd end up with our appointment cancelled. And of course the gas station was crowded and then the pump I ended up at I had to go swipe my card inside because it didn't work outside. So I was pretty grumpy by the time we were actually on our way.

But the traffic getting there wasn't too horrible, and we managed to get there just five minutes past our check-in time. You can enter pretty much anywhere and they have a desk where they'll take your license and use it to create a badge for you that gives you permission to be in the hospital. Then they tell you which elevator to take to get to where you're going, where you find another desk and your kid gets a wrist id thing and you fill out some paperwork. Mal really liked all the ocean decor - fish and whales.

The specialist was nice. I wonder how often she gets interesting cases, or if it's mostly people like us. Anyway, she chatted with us about what we've observed. Then she chatted with Gareth a bit. Then she did a neurological exam, mostly having him point back and forth at things and walking, but also using a tool to check for pressure on his eyes. All that was normal, so we got exactly what we were expecting - mild Tourette's. Which is what we were hoping to get from the appointment - rule out any serious things we hadn't considered and start a conversation in case the tics ever get really disruptive of his life. 80% of kids will outgrow their tics, and since there isn't a big family history of them chances are good that Gareth will be in that 80%. No medication or other treatment necessary at the moment. But if we're ever worried about something we can video it and email it to them, which is pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Jiu Jitsu

Gareth has started jiu jitsu. A while ago he had expressed interest in trying out something new. We'd watched several jiu jitsu and several break dancing videos with him (Massive Monkees are based in Seattle and teach kids classes), so we proposed those options. It was a tough choice and in the end he chose jiu jitsu. Took me a while to get in contact with this place, but so far the instructor seems good. We did a trial class last week and he liked it, so we were planning to go back on Thursday. But then water happened, so he didn't get to go. Which worked out okay because his gi wasn't going to arrive until Friday. So today he got to go back for the second time. Both weeks he's been one of two kids there (though different kids each time). There was actually a third kid there, but she told me she had a cold and so couldn't do class. She was there because her dad was starting jiu jitsu (and her mom already does jiu jitsu), so she was just hanging out while they practiced (she also told me all about the food at the brewery next door and how her favorite soda to get there is the blue one - very sociable kid). Anyway. Gareth enjoys it a lot so far and all the kids seem to have a great time in class. I'm interested to see how he progresses over time. Here he is trying to do a move with his leg to knock over the other kid. Last week he learned some arm bend thing. Hopefully he'll eventually remember some of these moves for more than a day or two.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


We knew when we bought our house that the basement might have problems. The people we bought it from had just finished the basement, everything looked really nice. But it was obvious it hadn't been through a Seattle winter yet. And because it was newly finished the things you'd typically look for (signs of previous water damage) were either covered over or no longer visible. For all we knew the basement would turn into a lake the first time it rained.

Shortly after moving in we had a couple big storms - lots of rain and wind, power out, that kind of thing. And we've had a very typical winter this year, with rain more days than not. So far there'd been no signs of water in the basement, so I'd figured we were good to go. Lucky us.

Thursday I got the kids off to school and sat downstairs to eat my breakfast. Headed off to school and picked Mal up afterward. I went to get some work done at the computer and thought, "hm, my socks must've got a bit wet while walking to my car/picking up Mal" (not surprising because my boots are old and have developed a couple leaks). But a few minutes later I realized that there's no way my thick socks got that wet, pushed back the chair, and saw that the carpet under the desk was wet.

I initially assumed it might be water coming up through the floor, because the carpet near the wall was still totally dry. But once Ryan got home and moved the desk I realized that where the feet of the desk had been - much closer to the wall - was also wet. We figured out how to remove the baseboard (which our contractor neighbor later told us may not have been necessary - oh well, new thing learned anyway!) and pulled back the carpet. In removing the baseboard we discovered a small bit of sheetrock with mold on it.

Our neighbor came over and since all the water was located almost directly under a window, told us he guessed it had something to do with the window - either the window was installed improperly and so water was getting in, or maybe the dirt making a bowl around the window was the culprit (almost certainly not helping the problem at any rate). After he left we got the padding pulled up and tossed it out, and propped up the carpet and set up some fans so it could dry a little faster.

So now we get to decide how much money we want to throw at this problem. Do we get the land regraded and install a pipe/drain thing or do we guess that perhaps a foundation drain has failed or needs to be installed and pay for that and the regrading? If we do option 1 then realize the problem isn't fixed, some of it will have to be dug up to do option 2. If neither of those solve the problem then we'd maybe have to dig stuff up yet again to determine what the actual problem is, wasting even more money. Argh.

Anyway, we had a landscape/drainage person come out and give us an estimate. We'll have another drainage company come on Thursday and see what they say. Our neighbor seemed to think we shouldn't worry about the possible mold inside the walls and just clean what we can see off with bleach. But I really don't want to go that route (we dealt with mildew/mold in our Indiana place, really don't want to again), so no matter what we'll at some point rip out that wall so we can replace any wet insulation and deal with any mold.

Our neighbor told us that they've had a river of water flowing through their basement a couple times, so apparently if this is the worst it gets we're pretty lucky. (And I can say from experience that this is better than 5 feet of water in the basement.) I'm starting to wonder if we'll ever get to do the projects we want to do on the house rather than just dealing with the unexpected problems that crop up. Home ownership is so much fun.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


We were invited to go along with our friends, the Redpaths, to Sequim (pronounced Sqwim) on Monday. Sequim is famous for it's lavender festival, but mid-January is obviously out of season for lavender.

Instead of lavender (though we did see some farms/plants, they were obviously not flowering at the moment), we were treated to some gorgeous views of the mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We saw a sleeping cow on our drive (there are lots of farms in the Sequim area), one kid said it looked like it was dead. Mal kept talking about how the cow died, which eventually morphed into something about it being a zombie. The kids kept trying to emphasize that, no, the cow was just sleeping, but Mal was insistent it was dead. Later he informed us that a person in a car parked next to us was eating a toy for breakfast.

After lunch at a local diner we checked out the Dungeness Recreation Area, which is both a county park and a national wildlife refuge. You can see Canada from the park, though the view was a bit cloudy yesterday. Looks like there are some camp sites in the park, some close enough to the water that you'd be able to enjoy the calming sound of the waves from your site. We couldn't find a way down to the water - there's some serious erosion happening near the path and climbing on the bluffs would be very dangerous. It's a beautiful area and would be worth a trip back when the weather is a bit warmer to explore the trails further. All told, a great way to spend the day. Photos courtesy of Mr. Redpath's camera.
On the Edmonds-Kingston ferry

Burgers at a diner were pretty tasty


Looking out at the Strait

Running on the trail

Scenic views along the trail

More running along the trail

Monday, January 4, 2016


We got a tiny bit of snow yesterday. It stuck to the road for approximately two minutes and then melted and stopped sticking. The kids bundled up and went out to play like it was the greatest thing ever. Mal was convinced we should be able to make a snowman. Gareth twirled in joy on the deck:

I think it's a good thing we didn't get any that stuck overnight. If they have this much joy over practically no snow, imagine how devastating it would have been to have snow just when you're going back to school and can no longer spend all day playing in it?

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year 2016

Our New Year's Eve was a busy day. I made up gingerbread for our houses while Ryan hosted a couple of co-workers to jam for a few hours. One of them brought his two oldest with him, so Gareth and Mal played with his kids while the adults baked/played music.

We didn't puzzle this year. In fact, due to our extreme lack of storage, we culled our past puzzles quite extensively. Instead, Gareth played Minecraft with the aforementioned kids until midnight while Ryan and I watched some shows and munched on cheese and crackers. This year we tried Manchego and a cranberry Wensleydale.

On New Year's Day we had friends over to decorate the houses. Typically I put the houses together the night before, but this year I ran out of time. The kids played for a bit while I finished building the houses, then decorated. I didn't get a picture of the one they all worked on, but it was covered in candy and frosting. The kids ate almost as much candy as they put on the house. They tired of decorating after one house, so I had mostly free reign with the second house, though Mal helped me quite a bit.

I didn't want to put a lot of effort into the roof, so hence the icing with sugar sprinkled on top. Pretzels work well to cover a lot of surface quickly as well as for making windows and doors.

After dinner Gareth informed me that the house wasn't decorated enough, so he added a few more candies. And that closed our New Year's Day. Mal was asking to go to preschool today, so I think we're all pretty ready to get back into the usual routine.