Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ruby Chow Park

Our friend, Mrs. Redpath, was having a plane she worked on tested down at Boeing Field yesterday. Mr. Redpath invited us along for a ride down to a park nearby where you get a great view of the planes. I rode the single and he hauled one of his kids and Gareth and Malcolm on the tandem-tagalong-trailer. Another of his kids joined us on a single, as well as a friend of his from the neighborhood.

It's always startling to me how easy rides feel when I'm not pulling a trailer. I've been having some neck/shoulder muscle pain for a week now, so was a bit worried about how I'd fare, especially since I opted to not take the drowsiness-causing muscle relaxants I got at the urgent care over the weekend. Oddly enough, I felt more comfortable on the bike ride than I have through the past week.

Here's Mr. Redpath's setup. He tried to switch Gareth to my bike at one of our pit stops, but despite several attempts I couldn't get the hang of the tag along wobbling behind me. Gareth and I ended up falling - on the grass thankfully - while attempting to ride. I'm hoping to get the tag along balance down at some point so I could put Mal on it. But we opted to keep Gareth with the tandem for this ride, meaning Mr. Redpath had to work much harder than the rest of us throughout the ride.

We stopped along the Duwamish River Trail for a group photo.

And another one once we reached our destination.

Rainier was out and we got several lovely views of it through our ride, which took us along the Elliot Bay Trail and the Duwamish River Trail. I took a picture once we arrived at our destination, Ruby Chow Park.

The park is named after Ruby Chow, who was a well-known Chinese-American restaurant owner and the first Asian American elected to the King County Council.

We could see the planes well and Mal was very excited every time a small plane would take off or land. Mrs. Redpath's plane was just doing ground testing. Her plane is the furthest away of the grey planes (3rd from right).

Then we grabbed some lunch at a nearby deli before heading back home. It was in the 80s, so we went through lots of water. 38 miles round trip. We got back to Redpaths' and Mal informed me that he'd worked very hard during the ride and that he'd had a great ride.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Random Tidbits This Week

Mal can be a bit hit and miss with loving foods. He'll eat whole cucumbers in one sitting for a few days and then act like they're poison for a month. And that's pretty much across the board with all food. This past week he's been loving tomatoes, so the other day he grabbed one off the counter and started munching away.

He let me put his hair in a pony tail for the first time ever last night. He was so excited about it and kept asking to look at it in the mirror. Not the neatest ponytail ever, but there was no way he'd sit still for his hair being combed and neatly pulled back. Looked super cute still.

And here's some not totally unusual summer attire for the PNW:

(And a not unusual posture for Gareth while making a request from a grown-up.) While the rest of the country is apparently dealing with heat and humidity, we're sitting comfortably in the 70s. Which evidently calls for pants and flannel.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Playdates

Planning a couple playdates for right after family left has helped to distract the kids from missing grandparents. The day Ryan's family left the boys spent a lot of time playing with Legos. I built Mal's spaceship, but Gareth built his own.

In the afternoon we headed to Target and grabbed some baskets for their shelves. Then went to a local park to meet up with one of Gareth's best friends from his new school - Gareth had already gotten annoyed with me that we hadn't followed through on our promise of getting them together in the week or two after school got out. As Gareth expected, she was surprised to see his haircut and his braces. The three kids had a great time playing at the park, despite the broken zip line. Last summer the zip line was broken as well, so that was very disappointing to discover.

The next day we met up with some friends from the old neigborhood and went bowling. I helped Mal a bit, but my help isn't really very helpful. Thankfully 4 year olds are just excited to knock over any pins at all. Gareth got a little frustrated that the ball would sometimes change direction part way down the lane. Gareth won the first game, but Mal won the second. Mal even managed to get a strike in the first game.

The bowling alley has a thing where kids can bowl two games for free during the spring and summer. I signed them up for that, so all we had to do was pay for their shoes. Kind of cool. This bowling alley was less sketchy seeming than many I've been to (not that I've been to all that many), so that was nice as well. And it was a fun way for the boys to spend the afternoon.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Phelps Family Visit

The second week of July we had Ryan's parents, youngest sister, and a brother arrive in town for a visit (his other brother was already here for an internship). I will admit I was a little worried about it, just because I don't think I've ever cooked for so many people before, plus the logistics of having so many people in our small house. But things worked out fine in the end - as usual I let myself get more stressed than I needed to be.

The first day here we mostly just hung around. People played video games together, and Ryan's dad and I headed out to get supplies needed for a project he wanted to work on (shelves for the boys' bedroom closet, which until now has just been mostly useless empty space). That evening Ryan and his brothers went to a Sounders game.

The next day they headed to the East side to check out Microsoft while I ran various errands with the boys. Gareth made fruit salad for everyone for dinner (though I did help with some fruit cutting just to speed things up a bit, otherwise we would've been eating at midnight).

Then we went for a sail on the Sound. There wasn't as much wind as some would have liked, but it was still a fun experience. We saw some dolphins (or porpoises, I'm not sure it was ever determined exactly which they were), so that was cool. And got to enjoy some lovely views of the city from the water.



Mal wanted me to take a picture of him, but then insisted on scrunching up his face.

Mal was getting pretty grumpy toward the end of the ride, so the deckhand told the boys they could turn these handles. At first Mal wanted nothing to do with it and kept crying, but eventually he recovered and then was more than happy to play with the boat.

 I've ridden past this boat many times on the other side on the bike trail. It's from Singapore. Loading grain into the grain elevator.

A couple sculptures of Olympic Sculpture Park with the Space Needle in the background.

After our sail we headed to lunch on the waterfront and Pike Place Market. We were all exhausted by the time we made it home that evening.

The next day I had a concert at the Ballard Locks. I knew that I'd likely be playing a duet or something similar and had requested that we perform it the week family would be in town. Everyone came and listened to the concert and then we watched the Locks in operation for a bit (Ryan's dad and siblings hadn't seen them before), then headed to the fish ladder and saw the salmon.

Their next-to-last day here I took Ryan's sister and mom and the boys to the Pacific Science Center to see the Lego exhibit as well as the rest of the museum. The Lego exhibit was a big hit with Mal, who asked to go see them again repeatedly (you only get to go through once on your ticket so we'll have to buy more tickets if he wants to see them again). Before we headed to the Legos, the kids checked out some other exhibits.

Mal, about to pop a bubble wall

Grandma, playing with gravity

Gareth, impressed by an air stream keeping a beach ball afloat
Then it was off to be impressed by Lego art.

Mal adored the dinosaur, but seemed a little nervous about standing next to it

Mal knew exactly what to do here. Not quite a perfect imitation, but pretty good for age 4

Gareth had to do it as well, of course. He worked a little harder to match the statue.
After Legos we checked out all the other exhibits. We got lucky and they were feeding the iguana, boa constrictor, and turtles while we were there. The turtles were big fans of their salads. The snake seemed the least interested in his meal.

The last day Ryan's dad worked hard to finish up the shelves (he still wants to add pieces to the front of the shelves, but we weren't able to get a table saw while they were here, so he'll finish that up next time they visit).

There are four shelves that go across the back length of the closet. Now we'll be able to store the boy's clothes in baskets on the shelves. Maybe a few toys as well. But the toys won't get as much room individually as Gareth has given them in the above picture. We also bought things we can attach as the boys get older so they can hang clothes. Right now they can't be bothered to hang anything, so we figured all shelves was the way to go for the time being.

A very fun visit. It very well might be a couple years before we are able to get together again, just because I'll be so busy with school. The boys had a wonderful time with their grandparents and aunt/uncles. Gareth made sure to get lots of Grandma hugs and Mal loved looking at pictures of his baby cousin and seeing what Grandpa was up to in the garage.

Monday, July 11, 2016


We've got one room in the house put together. Well, sort of, I guess. Every time I think it's finished I realize that we could paint it or put up some wall decor or something. But those things won't be happening in any rooms for a while, so the room is essentially done.

Behold, the foosball room:

Before stools

Ryan's wanted a foosball table for a long while now. It was his birthday recently and we knew he'd need some stress-relief activities during the next couple years, so I told him to get the table. We had the carpet made into an area rug for the room. I was worried about echo in there - the carpet seems to have helped a lot with this. After having the table for a few days Ryan realized he'd really like somewhere to sit. I'd already been thinking some stools in the corners of the room would be nice. So over the 4th of July weekend we headed to Pier 1 and checked out their selection. We knew from looking online that these were probably what we wanted. We spent a while deliberating color and then ordered them.

He and Gareth spend quite a bit of time playing. Mal likes to "play" once in a while as well. Gareth loves when Mal decides to be on my team, because Mal likes to play "defense" and try to kick the ball into his own goal.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

4th and Birthday

We celebrated the 4th by heading with Daniel to hang out with some local friends. Mr. Redpath had just returned late the night before from driving his daughter to the Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, OR, where one of her track coaches was competing in the long jump (he didn't qualify). She needed some shots for a film she's making. Anyway, we put together shishkabobs and a spinach salad and a watermelon and headed over in the afternoon. Redpaths made a lime sherbet punch, which Mal quickly became enamored with. That and the "salambe", which he made sure to tell everyone else to eat as they arrived.

Mal eventually left the food behind for a bit to play with bubbles (and we managed to tear the older kids away from video games for a bit with that as well).

It was in the 60s and overcast, which is more "typical" Seattle, but which we hadn't experienced on the 4th of July since 2010. We still sat outside in the evening to catch some glimpses of the fireworks. A very enjoyable evening with friends, though Mal struggled a bit with getting to bed once we got home. So tired and trying so hard not to be, but also extremely grumpy because he was so tired.

The kids slept in some this morning, but we still managed to get out the door in time to head to my appointment to get my second round of the TB test placed. I really know how to celebrate, don't I? Since we were back over in the old neighborhood again for that anyway, Mr. Redpath and I decided we'd throw Gareth on the tag along behind the tandem and put Mal in the trailer behind the tag along. Makes for a long bike, but it worked well. We were both able to get some errands run and get in a few miles.

At one point we ended up facing an extremely steep incline - at least a 20% grade. Partway up the hill we came across some guys driving a delivery van and they gave us shouts of approval. We all gave it our best, but did end up having to get off and walk the last quarter or so of the hill. Mr. Redpath has a heart rate monitor and he knows exactly what his acceptable limit is - once we hit that we stopped, which coincided well with when I was fairly certain I was going to keel over. Otherwise an uneventful ride. Gareth enjoyed it immensely and Mal was well-behaved.

We stopped at Redpaths for lunch, where Mr. Redpath spoiled the boys by making them octopus hot dogs and giving them blueberry ice cream. He even made faces on the octopuses.

After that it's been a pretty calm day. Just hanging around the house, taking Gareth to jiu jitsu, watching shows with Ryan, all the usual things. Pretty good way to spend a birthday.