Thursday, December 31, 2009

and, in the end...

This morning a 3/4 moon is thinly veiled by high, slow-moving clouds that make the sky something out of a Bulwer-Lytton novel, or at least out of "Young Frankenstein." But that's neither here nor there.

I'm not much for resolutions, so I'm not going to make any. For one thing, I've already got so many opportunities to fail to accomplish things that I don't feel a need to add to my load. For another, it seems somewhat artificial to me to set goals based on a somewhat arbitrary date. January 1 is the start of the year, it's true, but why? What makes a year a year?

Thinking about this I realized that for me the thing worth celebrating is that our days are getting longer once again. Yahoo! More daylight, warming temperatures.... I get why druids and other evil-non-Christian-unAmerican folk celebrate(d) the solstice. It's a celebration I can get into. What's not to like about lengthening days?

And one last issue with NY resolutions -- when I notice something I need to work on (and I do, often), I figure I may as well start working on it right then, when I notice it. So, I'm currently working on being more in the moment with the girls (with everyone, actually). It's so easy to get caught up in whatever I'm doing (washing dishes, trying to put my socks on) that I sometimes miss important moments like K telling me she watched an especially exciting episode of Saddle Club, or L telling me how she and K watched an especially exciting episode of Saddle Club.

Anyway, unlike resolutions, I have no problem looking backward. Probably to a fault. And looking back on this year, it looks pretty darn good, in spite of our needing to buy multiple new appliances (including a new furnace as of 2 days ago).

  • L - This morning I woke up snuggled against L, likely just as I woke up on 1/1/09. But still, she managed to sleep all night in her crib for more nights than I have fingers to count, so this is good.
  • K - K started Montessori pre-school and is getting a lot out of it. She can count past 20 and recognizes most of her letters now. Plus, she's learning about sharing and friends and projects.
  • M - M started horticulture classes and is getting a lot out of them. She too can count and recognize letters and has always been good about sharing and friends and projects.
  • me - I started paddling and am loving that. I also managed to keep my job during this... whatever it's technically called.
  • We have a president who, while not quite the gutsy political risk-taker I might have hoped for, is at least far far better than anything we've had for the previous 8 years.
    Note: Obligatory end-of-year, degrees-of-separation comment -- I had the same 5th Grade teacher (Mrs. Hefty) as Barack Obama, just 2 years before he did, and we both received "Most Improved Student" awards while in her class. (My younger sister was actually in his class, though she missed a chunk of the year with a broken leg.) Which leaves me.... having peaked in 5th grade and him POTUS in 2009. My sister's leg healed fine, by the way. End of brush-with-accomplishment/fame.
So all in all, it's been a grand year for me. And I'll end with this, one of the nicest comments I received this year, this one from my currently visiting mother-in-law:

me (chasing L for some important reason such as to get her into pants in our colder-than-normal, furnace-broken house): Hey, come back here you little monkey!
MiL: You look younger than ever. These girls are keeping you young.
me: Really? I don't look like a sleep-starved maniac?
MiL: No, you really look good.

And that leads me to my motto for the coming year:

Younger, then, in 2010!

Happy Solstice.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

one is the loneliest number...

I've been somewhat irregular with paddling over the last month, due in part to sick kids and in part to our full schedules. But last night we had a good paddle, and I'm still a bit sore.

The weather was calm and relatively balmy (for late December in the Pacific NW), so we were able to head out into Lake Washington, where we did a set of 12 x 1-off/6-on. The most notable aspect of last night's workout was that I sat in seat #1, which won't mean anything to most of you, but which meant that I was supposed to set the pace and keep it regular. Meaning I had to think more than usual while also gasping for breath and fumbling for my CamelBak(tm) drinking tube.

I've only sat #1 once before, and that was one of the most challenging/tiring workouts I've had in a canoe. So I was a little nervous, but willing to give it a go. And you know what? It wasn't that bad. In fact, I felt like I'd managed to not screw up too much, and I actually had some fun with it.

It helped that we were doing a pretty good job of moving the canoe. (We were just 5, with DougM steering.) Meg sat behind me, which was fair given that the last couple of tough workouts she's been the one stroking. We went out Montlake Cut and north along the Laurelhurst shoreline, toward Magnuson Park, making good time. The water was smooth and black and even though there were clouds, the moon occasionally peeked through. I focused on keeping my stroke rate regular as I listened to the quiet shussh of water against the bow and the harsh rasp of my breath in my throat.

OC2 route
(ours would be about the same)

It also helped that Sabine and DougN were keeping pace in the OC2. We pretty much went head-to-head for the entire workout (they took off after we made the turn and started back south, and we weren't able to catch them for 10 or 15 minutes, but eventually we got caught up and were pretty well matched all the way back to the beach). There's something about keeping pace with another canoe, especially one I know is being paddled by good, strong paddlers, that helps motivate me. Though if I were being honest with myself, I'd acknowledge that as 5 people, we probably should have been leaving them in the dust. Still, being able to keep up with them felt pretty good.

And it also felt good that we had a chance to do much of the course for the race I'll be participating in this coming Saturday. This will be my first try at an OC1 race, and I'm a little nervous. I don't like to not do well, but I also don't want to have unrealistic expectations, so my goal is to finish. Seems a do-able goal.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

he's a man, yes he am....

Happy birthday, Grandpa Biddle!

A.P. Biddle

My mother's father was a short, tough guy, an ex-boxer and ex-army man who could charm the women, tell wonderful stories with abandon, and had hands like baseball mitts. He might have seemed like a teddy bear if he wasn't so strong, so tough, so scarred with life experiences.

I don't know a ton about him, partly because he wasn't particularly forthcoming about his past (unless there was a funny story to tell, a story that usually had him as the punchline), and partly because I was too young to fully appreciate him before he died.

One thing I do know is he loved my grandmother like nothing I've ever seen, treating her with so much respect and kindness that it left an impression on me forever. I could tell he felt she was one of the best things that had ever happened to him.

Andy and Nina Biddle, Laie, Oahu - 1924

He and my grandmother lived with my mom, and toward the end, he began exhibiting dementia-like symptoms that may have been linked to his physical life (getting punched in the head isn't likely to help you retain your wits) and/or his drinking (he drank more and more as time went on, especially after my grandmother died). I was scared of him because he was so much a man, and I was so much not. Also, he took it as a personal affront that I'd come over to mow my mom's lawn.

What I (think I) know, from his stories and/or from my mom:

  • He was born in Austria, in a small town that either was destroyed in WWII, or was swallowed up by the expansion of a nearby city. I believe any birth/family records were destroyed in the second world war. (Note: not too long ago something led me to believe he'd maybe actually been born in the US, so this may need updating.)
  • He and his family immigrated to the US, to Philly, where he grew up in the slums with an alcoholic father who beat him.
  • He didn't finish much schooling and was dyslexic, though no one knew at the time
  • He had a sister (younger?) who came out to Hawaii once to visit... Aunt Louise?
  • He ran away from home multiple times, the last time at about 16yo, when he successfully escaped by joining the US Cavalry (lying both about his age and knowing how to ride a horse)
  • The only horses he'd seen before joining the cavalry were the ones pulling the milk wagons in the slums where he'd lived
  • In the cavalry, he was part of the Pershing force that went south across the border to Mexico, chasing Pancho Villa (Grandpa said "we never got close. We'd ride into a town and all the people would know nothing about him. He was a hero to them.")
  • He ended up in Hawaii (~1919?) with the 17th Cavalry and pretty much stayed on
  • He was a boxer, first in the Army, and then later a coach for the Hawaii Golden Gloves team. Ultimately he served as a referee at local matches until he was linked to a scandal that, according to my mother, he had nothing to do with except as a result of being somewhat naive and trusting.
  • He was blue collar all the way, working for the phone company as a lineman, driving an oil truck for Standard Oil (we have photos of him next to his truck on the Pali Highway, with the road looking like it's pretty brand new)
  • He hated unions because when they came in, he no longer had a good working relationship with the men in his line crew
  • He didn't much read or write (his dyslexia and lack of education) but he was a smart and funny guy and could get your laughing at him and his experiences
  • He'd had a dog in the cavalry who rode up on the front of his saddle
  • He had some wonderful army stories, none of which I can fully recall at the moment, but I hope to post these later.

Grandpa and my mom, Waikiki, 1929(?)

And one more, because I just can't resist these old family photos:

The Biddles (w/ Mrs. Lewis, Grandma's mom), Waikiki ~1929

Friday, December 25, 2009

we wish you...

A very merry Christmas...


...Festivus for the rest of us

Thursday, December 24, 2009

photo thursday: it's bound to make you smile...

There are few things as wonderful to me as watching K&L enjoy something together.

Don't these two look like they're up to something?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

will you go 'round in circles...

K&L and I took an hour this week to do the holiday carousel downtown, after which we enjoyed mini doughnuts in the "cool" weather. Here's how it went:
  • K rode a purple charger and loved it, laughing and smiling. She wanted to go again immediately after the ride was done.
  • L clung to a blue (and white) mount and partway through said quietly: "Get off now," her tiny cold hands gripping the metal pole in front of her. I carried her for the rest of the ride.

Post-circular mini-doughnuts

Other events of note: K has a fascination with rolling luggage (and I suspect Santa knows about this and may respond appropriately). As we walked to the carousel in a sharp cold wind, we passed a saleswoman pulling a wheeled sample case. K noticed of course.

K: She got suitcase.
me: Yeah, I see that.
K: K think she getting ready go some place. Maybe airport.
L (in my arms and shivering): Mebbe a-o-port.
me (hugging tighter): Maybe.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

double-definition tuesday: glubs / toe polish

more from the mouth of babe (L):

glubs - noun: clothing worn over your hands to keep them warm.

L: I need my glubs.
me: Your mittens?
L (holding up mittens): No! My glubs!
me: Glubs?
L: No! My GLUBS!
me: Your gloves?
L: Yeah. Need my glubs.
me: Why?
L: I need to go outside.
me: It's about 10 degrees out there. And you don't have any pants on.
me (helping her on with her mittens): Here are your glubs.
L: No, my glubs.

toe polith - noun: colored cosmetic lacquer applied to finger/toenails

L (as her freshly touched up fingernail polish washes off in the tub): Oh no! My toe polith!
me: We can put more one. Your mama can fix that.
L: No! No! No!
(total meltdown, ending in scooping her up out of the tub and into a big towel and up to get into jammies)

Monday, December 21, 2009

a horse is a horse...

To this point, the only real force to be reckoned with for K has been "the parents."

For example, if she wants to watch some Curious George ("CuddyGorge"), the main issue is whether or not she'll get the thumbs up from us. Even choosing an episode has been relatively painless because L has mostly been willing to go along with whatever her sister chooses:

K: Daddy, K want to watch Cuddy Gorge.
L: Watch Cuddy Gorge!
me (anticipating a 20 minute period of free time): Ok.
K: I want to choose!
me: You need to decide together. It's an opportunity to learn to compromise.
K: Want to watch "Muddy Monkey."
me (pointing to "Muddy Monkey"): L, is this one ok?
L (bouncing up and down on the futon couch): Yeah!

But lately some cracks have begun appearing in K's world as L develops her own tastes and preferences, and my suspicion is that she'll become less and less willing to acquiesce.

K is getting some Saddle Club videos for Christmas (we haven't been able to get PBS since the digital switch). If L decides she doesn't like horses, or doesn't want to watch cryptic Australian horse club videos, it's going to get interesting in the basement....

I blame Santa!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

just a small boy on her bike...

I love Dar Williams' music(*) and, as a father of girls, I especially love her awareness of (perceived) gender restrictions and limitations. She's got the kind of balanced outlook that is guaranteed to drive evangelicals of all religious stripes absolutely bonkers, and I love her for that, too.

For my girls, I'd like to especially call out her song, When I Was a Boy:

"I was a kid that you would like, just a small boy on her bike
Riding topless, yeah, I never cared who saw."

I hope K&L both have a strong enough sense of themselves that they aren't swayed too greatly by the expectations (limitations) of others. What they can do is limited only by what they believe is possible. If I can give them anything as a parent, I hope I can give them a sense of self. I hope I can help them learn to think for themselves and to stand up for the things (and people) they believe in.

* Actually, Dar is my secret celebrity crush, and when I was single I used to go to her shows with friends, warning them I might not be going back home with them.

Friday, December 18, 2009


(this one is for my father - Mele Kalikimaka, Dad.)

Weds. night as I was making pesto and K&L played (relatively) peacefully at the kitchen, some Bing Crosby came up on the iPod Christmas mix.

Now, I wouldn't have gone and explicitly sought out Bing, especially not his Christmas music, but it came up as an Amazon deal one day (BTW, if you're into music and don't check out the daily download special on Amazon, you're really missing out!). I think it was $2 for the album. So I bought it.

Why? Especially given that I don't like Christmas music (gasp!)*.

Mostly because it was something my parents, and particularly my dad, used to love to listen to when I was growing up and I figured for 2 bucks I'd see what I thought of it 40 (double-gasp) years later. Had it improved with age?

Semi-related Mark Twain quote digression:

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years."

(Note: There is apparently some question as to whether or not this is truly a Twain quote. See here.)

And I found that I didn't hate it. I disliked it much less than much of the Christmas music you hear these days. But that's beside the point. The point is, after a couple of songs, K looked up.

K: Daddy, K like this guy singing.
me (somewhat stunned): You do?
K: Yeah. This man and this woman. I like them singing.
me: Wow. That's cool. Your grandpa Van would be pleased to know that.
K: Why 'Grandpa Van?'
me: He was my father. Your grandpa. And he used to play this all the time at Christmas.

We let it continue on, through "It Came Upon..." and "Do You Hear..." and then "Rudolph..." came up.

K: We sing this!
me: You do?
K (excitedly): At school. "Rudolph Red Nosed Reindeer." We sing this at school!
me: Cool.
K: Yeah.
L: Rudolph Nose Deer.
K: I like this Daddy, this good music.
L: Good muthic.

"Frosty" was next up, and she liked that too.

It made my evening, her volunteering up this appreciation. She doesn't often seem to be impacted by music, not like L is, so to have her offer up an opinion, and a positive one at that, seemed, well, significant. Especially when most of the songs were things she's not yet familiar with.

Which gets me to this:

*Christmas music, especially the "classics," have been played so much, that even the best of it is long past it's expiration date for me. So much of Christmas music just plain sucks -- it's cheesy, predictable, boring. And even the stuff that's not bad, the stuff that's better written/better performed, is played againandagainandagain, year in and year out, overandoverandover ad nauseam. So even if it was once worth listening to, it has lost almost all appeal. (It's no different than with albums you loved that the guy next door in the dorm played over and over until you couldn't stand them. Even the best tunes get pretty well used up on repeated listening.

So Christmas music? Bah! And to rub salt in the wounds, the "season" starts earlier every year, and so too does the canned, schlocky music.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

photo thursday: just someone I used to know...

(historic) photo thursday:
"historic" only in that it's an old family photo, so family history...

Dad, with his father ("Van")
Approximately 1935-ish?
Possibly during their round-the-world trip

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

i talk to myself, but i don't listen....

Words matter.

That's my position for the day, and I'm not changing it.

I've been thinking about words a fair amount, partly because I write for my job, and partly because I have the wonderful opportunity to listen as K&L work their ways toward verbal literacy. It's a beautiful process, one that entertains us and amazes us. And in one of those sad examples of old-dog-new-tricks-failure, I seem to regularly have to relearn that the girls' vocal abilities outstrip their comprehension. This is especially obvious with L, but it's true with both of them.

So, words. Last night this memory came to me during a hard paddling workout:

age: 4th grade (more or less), which would have been Miss Tomita's class, for those of you who are keeping track. (How can I remember all my grade school teachers but not to bring my lunch?!?)
location: basement art room of Castle Hall, Punahou
actors: other boys, the cool ones, talking about surfing and surfboards
outsider: me, wanting to join in, and overhearing, offer up my comments on the "keg."

The other boys, the ones who'd grown up in Honolulu rather than the backwaters of rural Maui, whose families were members of the Outrigger Canoe Club and had summer houses on the north shore and paddled and knew the right things and the right people, they all jumped on my mistake. "'Keg?' It's not a keg!" Not even bothering to give me the correct word (skeg).

And so I faded into the background, focusing on my slightly off-center pottery project, never quite connecting with the cool kids, never even getting on a surfboard until high school, at which point I failed to really learn much in the way of surfing.

This photo captures my coolness apex, with regard to surfing:

Pretty awesome, no?

Not that I blame my lack of surfing skill on being smacked down by 4th grade boys, but the sting still hurts, apparently. (Curious how physical exertion, the exhaustion and lack of oxygen, can allow these long ago moments to bubble to the surface! There I was, gasping for breath on Lake Union, when all of a sudden I remembered not knowing the word for the pointy part on the underside of a surfboard....) For the record, I was a decent swimmer, and became a pretty good body surfer. Just never quite "got" the board thing in any way that mattered.

So, I want to remind myself that while I enjoy K&L's missteps in usage and pronunciation, I also want to be encouraging and supportive. I'll just need to find other people to belittle.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

double-definition tuesday: cared and cratchy

cared - adjective: to frighten

L: Do that!
me: What?
L: That thing! Do that!
me: (hiding to jump out at her) Ok.
L: (running past me as I jump) AAAAHH! You cared me! (loud giggles)
me: I cared you?
L: No, you cared me!
me: I scared you?
L: Yeah, you cared me!. (running back into the living room) Do that!

catchy - adjective: bristly or rough

L: Dada, you cratchy.
me: No I'm not, I shaved today.
L: You cratchy?
me: Nope. Feel.
L: (feeling my cheek) You not cratchy!

Monday, December 14, 2009

music monday: she's just a girl who...

me (dancing at the kitchen sink with the iPod going): Billie Jean is not my lover, she's just a girl who...
K (at the table, eating a bagel): Why Billie Jean?
me: ... says that I am the one. Um, because that's how he wrote it.
K: Why "not my lover?"
me: Uh, because I really wasn't there that night, dancing in the round.
K (quizzical look): Daddy?
me: Wanna dance?

Friday, December 11, 2009

talk like ... an egypthian?

more L-speak, or rather, L-sing:

ith thnoring ith pouring
the old mith ith thnoring
he bump hith head
didn't get up in the morning

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

double-definition tuesday: mote / bonzo

mote - noun: a device used to turn Curious George off.

L: "Dada, I turn off the dvd. Where the mote."
K: "Daddy, she wants the remote."
L: "I need the mote."

bonzo - noun: a pale, round bean frequently requested as a substitute for whatever is currently being served for dinner.

L: "I need more bonzo beans."
me: Try this.
L: "What this?"
me: It's tofu.
L: "I no like it. I need more bonzo beans."

Monday, December 7, 2009

i just want to hear girls talk...

There's something strange and wonderful about the sisterly relationship that's evolving between K&L. K is the eldest, and that automatically establishes her as the incumbent, but L is quickly learning to "tweak" her sister. L obviously loves and looks up to her sister, but she's starting to stand up and insist on her own point of view. And she frequently takes the initiative. But K is still the "big sister," so L has to find creative and non-physical ways to establish herself.

A recent conversation, as described by M

is on an antibiotic for her ear infection. K is fascinated by it and likes to "help" administer the doses by pushing in the plunger of the syringe to squirt the medicine into L's mouth. I suspect she's jealous of the special treatment L seems to be getting.

L: I take biotic medthin.
K: It's antibiotic.
L: (perhaps recognizing that there's no arguing with her sister on pronounciation) Ith my medthin.
K: But it's antibiotic.
L: Ith my medthin.

Discussion over.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

it's my party....

Birthday stats:

number of balloons: 12
number of balloons popped: 3
number of balloon given away: 1
number of cupcakes: ~12
number of cupcakes remaining: 0
number of family guests: 2
number of neighborhood guests: 3

Birthday girl and big sister, acting all growed up:

Things went well, presents were opened, cupcakes eaten (or the frosting licked off). We got to visit with friends and family and L is now officially 2 (as opposed to the 2 day 'gray zone' during which she was still 1 to everyone but her parents and the IRS).

We've had some interesting reactions to the news that we didn't bother mentioning to either her or K that Thursday was L's actual birthday, everything from 'why didn't *I* think of that when my kids were younger?' to 'you CAN'T do that!' But we can and we did, and I'm pretty sure no one was damaged or cheated by it. If they were, I can always plead ignorance. This is the very first 2nd birthday of a 2nd child I've ever been responsible for. How was I to know?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

... you're playing with fire

We're having a small (family-only) celebration for L this morning. 2 days after her birthday. And here's the thing: we didn't even mention on the 3rd that it was her birthday. How parental is that?

Thursday wasn't a day we could get family together, we were working and K&L had swimming lessons and we didn't want to do 2 celebrations, so we just quietly moved official recognition to Saturday. How parental is that?

Imagine the reaction of a 6yo: YOU CAN'T DO THAT!

But, hey, we're parents, and the realities of the world are our realities.

One bonus of this approach -- M and I talked more than once on Thursday, sharing memories of the day 2 years previous, when we left K home with her aunt and focused on the immediate task at hand. We didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, and and at the end of the day, there she was, L, our number 2.

Who knew she'd be so different from her sister? Who knew how she'd worm her way into our lives (and, frequently, into our bed)?

So, parental or not, M and I got to celebrate L's 2nd birthday twice, once on the 3rd, and now on the 5th. And neither L nor K has any idea how manipulative we've been. We may as well take advantage while the advantage is there for the taking. It can't be long now before they're the ones taking advantage of us....

Friday, December 4, 2009

blue.... seattle moonlight...

On Tuesday night we did a good workout in the crisp, clear, full-moon-lit evening. And it was good. There was almost no wind, so we were able to get out onto Lake Washington rather than paddling down to the Locks and back (which we do when the wind is blowing too hard), so that was a treat. And then add to this the fact that it was clear and a full moon sat in the east over the Cascade mountains, lighting up the black water with a silver sheen....

The workout itself was a challenge: 8 x 1min off/9min on.

Our boat felt good nearly the entire time, even with just 5 paddlers. Meg sat in #1 and I was in 2, the second workout in a row in which I was following her. I felt like I was doing a pretty good job of keeping in sync (except when I wasn't -- there were definitely times when I'd "come to" and realize I'd been somewhere else mentally and needed to focus on my timing). And because the water was so flat, glassy even at times, the canoe skimmed forward with the ama echoing the quiet slap of tiny waves as it moved with us.

Kristi sat in 3, 4 was open, Jack was in 5, and DougN steered in 6.

There's something really wonderful about paddling in a canoe that feels like it's moving well.

One thing I've begun to notice is how much of an impact water conditions can have on a crew. When we got out into a (slight) breeze, the smooth feel disappeared a little. It's hard to keep in time and in form when the water is choppy or bumpy. This is something I'd like to focus on personally, and something I think we need to get better at as a group -- continuing to work well as a team even when conditions are sub-optimal. For one thing, it's not that often glassy calm, and for another, if we hope to do decently in any salt water races (Hatless Island, Catalina, Napali Challenge) or at the Gorge, we need to be able to handle the conditions.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

happy birthday baby...

Two. 2, too.

How'd you go from this:

to this:

And in just a few months (it seems).

You're no longer a baby.
"I tod-del-ler" you say when we ask if you're a baby? a horse? a doggie?
"No, I tod-del-ler!"

And you are. You toddle around like a drunken sailor, 3 sheets to the wind, ever on the edge of losing it, yet rarely doing so.

And when you do, the experience is immediately incorporated into the family mythology:
L: "One time I fall down, bump my head.
me: "You head-banger."
L: "No, I tod-del-ler. Thool thlip and I fall down and bump my head."
me: "Yes, you're our toddler."

Oddly, though you pronounce words uniquely, when we repeat your pronunciation, you shake your head and insist we've said it wrong:

us: "You a tod-del-ler?"
L: "No, tod-del-ler."
us: "Tod-del-ler?"
L: "N0! Tod-del-ler!!"
us: "Toddler?"
L: (smiling) "Yeah, I tod-del-ler." Head tilted down against your shoulder in some strange mimic of shyness you don't intend. "I tod-del-ler."

You can occupy yourself with a doll, the Etch-a-Sketch, a sticker book, all the while singing to yourself:


You'll make up words if you don't know them or if you want to get a reaction.
"The boopy on the bus go round and round, round round, the boopy on the bus..." and the other afternoon I heard you:

Are you sleepy?
Are you sleepy?
Brudder Don?
Brudder Don?

You cried most of your first 6 months, but though those long nights are still clear for me, they seem the distant past, and what I have left of them is the memory of carrying you tucked into my sweatshirt, walking circles around the dark basement while singing "I Will" and "Sweet Baby James." Now your tears, when they come, come quickly and disappear just as fast. Squalls passing through a generally sunny area. You come running into the kitchen:

L: "Daddy, thow you thomething. Thow you."
me: "Ok, what?"
L: "Ith out he-yer."
me: "Out he-yer?"
L: "No, out he-yer," leading the way to the living room. "Look." Pointing to dampness on the couch cushion. "I cwy-ing."
me: "Crying? Are those your tears?"
L: "Yeah," laughing. "My tea-yers."

You love laughter, especially laughter you can draw out of us. You're a natural joker, playing for the laughs. Making up words to songs until you get a laugh out of your sister, running, "pinning" (spinning), laughing and pushing and suddenly turning into a sobbing mess if Lucy licks you, needing a kiss where ever her tongue touched.... You push limits, live outside the box, and do it grinning, laughing, dancing along the edge of unacceptable, ignoring "No" and "Sit Down" and "Come here" with so many giggles it's hard to really get angry.... Yet you seem to know where the non-negotiable lines are.

L: "That draw angerouth."
us: "Yes, it's dangerous. It's got the knives."
L: "We no touth it."
"Right. You don't touch it."
L: "It angerouth."

You also love snuggling, more so than your sister ever did, and we like it too. You're a great hugger, a skin-to-skin cuddler ("cud-del-ler"), a tuck in tight and hunker down tod-del-ler.

You're been a challenge and a joy and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy second birthday. We love you.

Oh yes, one more thing. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is "belinda."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

the mangos are sweet...

Another photo thursday wednesday, this one from the past:

Lahaina harbor sunset, w/ surfer and VW bug

I spent a fair amount of time in Lahaina, back when I was taking time off from college. I worked in a shop there and regularly took my camera with me on walks around town during my "lunch" which was really dinner.

This particular picture though, was taken on a photo-roadtrip with my mom, during Hurricane Fico. It's misleading how calm things look. I've got other pictures from Maalaea and Launiupoko Park that show more Hurricane-y wave action. Here though, the Lahaina Roadstead is protected from the south by Lana'i. Which makes sense given the history of the place -- it was the capital for some time, in part because of its protected waters and nice coast. It was also where the whalers could anchor safely. But I digress....

How cool is it that Mom was willing to drive around the island with me, hanging out while I took pictures of waves (mostly)? Mom was frequently cool like this, willing to adventure with me. I think it helped that the things I wanted to do (go look at the water, explore Hawaiian petroglyphs, go up to the top of Haleakala just for the hell of it) were things she wanted to do as well. If it'd been shopping she would not have been interested.

Unrelated info tidbit: Mom told me that when she and Dad were young marrieds, my Grandpa Van, the entomologist, would come over from Oahu and just for fun go walking in Puu Niauniau to look for bugs. A bugsman's holiday, if you will. With Dad working at HC&S, Mom was free to join Grandpa. And she says she loved those days of wandering with him up on the slopes of Haleakala, exploring and enjoying the outdoors.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

the first of december was covered in snow...

No, not this 1st of December.

This one:
1 Dec, 2007

So why mention a 1st of December from 2 years ago? Because it's L's birthdayweekmonth, and 2 days after this snowfall we were in the hospital doing a scheduled meet-and-greet.

In between the 1st and the 3rd was the 2nd, most notable for the enormous downpour (rain, not snow) that flooded our newly finished basement room. But that's another tale for another day that involves my getting stressed out because water was pouring in over the doorstep at 8pm and M telling me "we can't do anything about it, so we may as well not get stressed," and me realizing she was absolutely correct and going to sleep and M continuing to get up every 45 minutes or so to bail the stairwell in an attempt at keeping the (inevitable) flood from rising. Even though she was scheduled to be induced at 7am the next morning. And I was fast asleep beside her.

One more and done: