Friday, June 8, 2018

Birthdays, Schools, and Teeth

Apparently having a full-time internship, assignments to go with that, additional school assignments on top of those, and a capstone to work on, plus the usual life stuff is bad for blog post writing. So, what's been happening the past few months?

Well, Mal had a birthday. This is probably the easiest cake I've ever made. We also had his first ever birthday party. We invited 3 kids, 3 said they were coming, but in the end, only 1 made it. Which worked out fine, because I've since learned that the dynamics between the 4 kids is a little messy at times.

The only thing he asked for was "masks", so I got him a variety of dress up things, which he loved. The cape and Darth Vader mask are definitely his favorite of those.

Gareth also had a birthday. We went for a purchased ice cream cake this year because life is crazy. And a simple sleepover with 2 friends a week or so after his birthday, though we'd had a couple other friends over the week before his birthday. Basically, things were barely holding together around the time of his birthday, partly evidenced by the lack of birthday pictures.

Even my take-out Chinese fortune cookie decided to give me grief for not having worked on my capstone report in a while!

Mal's class does a "Me Museum" for each student through the year. Since our last family picture was when Mal was about 18 months (not to mention Ryan was wearing a sling in the picture) and before that Mal wasn't even born as Gareth was 3, we had to take a quick, poorly lit family picture for his museum sheet. I knew it wouldn't turn out great with the light behind us, but I didn't have time to care.

I presented on my capstone at our annual Student Research Symposium. Trying to sum up my whole project in 5 minutes was no easy task! I wisely inserted a video of my formula running through a feeding tube, which I think added a lot to the presentation. I also received an award for leadership, which was unexpected, but nice. Here's my "I'm taking this on a crowded bus to send to Ryan" picture:

Spring lawn mowing is always interesting here in Seattle. The lawn starts growing, but by the time it stops raining long enough for you to mow it, it's a couple feet long. Which means you have to bag it, and then it requires multiple weekends to mow the whole lawn because you keep running out of space in your 96-gallon yard waste and overflow yard waste bins. But by the time you get the whole lawn mowed, rain is becoming less frequent, so you'll only have to mow a time or two more before the lawn dies and you don't have to mow again until the next spring.

It also didn't help that our yard waste bin was stolen twice within a month. Why anyone would want to take a yard waste bin is beyond me.

Memorial Day also happened. Coming near the end of the quarter, it was a pretty chill day. I did schoolwork all morning and then we grilled in the afternoon. Mal really likes watermelon and corn.

Gareth is starting to get excited to move to another school next year. They had a welcome event for incoming students this past week, so we took the route he'll walk each day, meeting up with friends along the way. He's incredibly excited about the library, which is occasionally open during lunch and has "so many books!!!!". He and his friends quickly made themselves at home there and had to be dragged away. Pretty sure we were the last people to leave the school.

While we were gone at that, Mal lost his first tooth! Ryan let him stay up long enough to excitedly show me when we got home.

And that sums things up. I'm working away at my capstone report this week and should be able to finish up my draft by the end of my break next week. Then it will hopefully just be a few edits and I'll be set to graduate in August!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Winter Break Wrap-Up

Winter break is wrapping up here, with the kids going back to school, Ryan back to work, and me starting internship. We've all really enjoyed sleeping in every day, so I have a feeling it will be a rough transition back.

In the final days of break, Ryan made toffee, which disappeared in no time, and I made fudge. This was my last attempt at fudge. What had always been a reliable recipe throughout my childhood and early adulthood had not been working at all the past two years. Each time, the butter would separate from the rest of the fudge, leaving a goopy mess. I was tired of wasting the effort and supplies (two sticks of butter, nuts, chocolate, etc) on it. But the kids really wanted it, so I gave it one last shot. And it worked this year! The only thing I can figure is that I'd been cooking it on the stove's "turbo boil" burner the previous two years and that this overcooked the sugar mixture. Makes sense in that we'd only had issues with it since moving to this house. As it makes two 9x13 pans of the stuff, I had to figure out how to get rid of it all. Buy Nothing to the rescue! I gave away a pan plus some to neighbors through the group, leaving just enough for the kids for a little while.

On New Year's Eve I eventually told the kids "no" about video games enough times that they gave up. They ended up building a fort in the basement out of boxes, blankets, and desk chairs. At some point they decided that I was an alien monster and they would periodically "sneak" upstairs to battle me with their (empty of darts) nerf guns. This kept them entertained for the whole afternoon and we let them sleep in there overnight. Sadly, the fort had to be taken down the next day in preparation for the return to school (and so we could have full use of the basement back).

On New Year's Day, as usual, we made our gingerbread house. I spent most of the day on it as I hadn't got around to making the pieces the day before. The boys and I had fun decorating.