Hello, February

You might want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. This is a long, catch-up post.

Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse and Snowzilla are thrown about like confetti on weather forcasts for about a third of the country. I can’t wrap my mind around a blizzard idea with -50 wind chills when it’s bright sun, mid-40s on our island.

A Day at the Park
The closest I can come to snow-kissed fingers and something like a wind chill involves an early winter day at the park. The pictures tell their own story.
A three-year-old girl at the park with her little sister. She loves animal prints, dressing herself and, lately,

Not right now, Mama, I’m thinking about some things inside my head. My mind is busy.

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A baby who loves a good ride in a bucket swing and a push from her big sister. I wish I knew what she was thinking.
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Off-Island, Half-Way to 70
Luke’s 35th birthday began with a red-eye ferry to a neighboring island for a funeral. He was one good friend from work and the second taken by cancer in a short month’s time. Before this man worked for our local power company, he built chair lifts and skied in time’s spare afternoons. Olive didn’t want to sit quiet and still for tributes with guitar strums and endless loving words.
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So we walked in the cold, mid-island January air around the century old church, cemetery, forest.
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The girls and their girls kept Daddy company until it was time to load up and load onto mainland’s ferry.
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Great friends like family and family like great friends met us in a nearby city for cake, well-wishes and beer.
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Olive got to hang out with her closest in age cousin, Wyatt Luke. He’s a character. I can’t wait to see the places they travel once they get the hang of balance and put on walking shoes.
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In the spirit of the passed ski bum, we drove in near floods up towards Mt. Baker for a birthday celebration, slopeside. Even at ski area’s base, the rain was like a car wash while the nearby Nooksack River extended its fingers roadside. The complimentary ponchos wouldn’t have done the trick. Glacier is a tucked away ski town beautifully undeveloped and a fun place to get a good burger, although something tells us it just might taste better after a day on snowy slopes. When the temperature drops, we’ll be back.
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Friend of the Week

Each school week, another kindergartener is crowned and honored with the title Friend of the Week. Recently, it was Betty. Her classmates learned she loved meatloaf and pizza, cuddled an elephant and yellow blankie at bedtime and loves to ski and listen to books on tape. The icing on this honor is Show and Tell.
It didn’t take her long to decide what to bring for Show and Tell. Her trumpet-playin’-Daddy practiced and practiced for the big 10 minute show. She was so proud to hold the sheet music, share her favorite songs with her class. He played hits like Twinkle, Twinkle, She Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. He shared that he’d had the trumpet for 24 years; the kingergarteners thought it was an antique.
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Trumpet-playin’-Daddy made the most of Show and Tell, while Honey the Classroom guinea pig made the most of that weekend. Some time ago Betty signed up for a weekend visit unaware that our cat kills mice and our dog has been known to eat birds. Betty’s teacher was so funny – pointing out that a weekend visit is really a learning experience. She gave the example of a lost classroom guinea pig and how the students had just last year learned about grief and memorial services. I couldn’t imagine anything worse that having that on my shoulders. Reluctantly, Honey had a three night sleep over in the girl’s room.
The things we do for our kids.
It seems ridiculous to admit that I’m terrified of rodents. Their long nails, twitchy noses and the way they scurry make my skin crawl. But, Honey was alright. Watching the girls fall in love in such a short amount of time was cute. We learned that Honey loved to lap snuggle, have princess songs sung at bedtime and to exercise in the bathtub (that way, she couldn’t escape or hide).
The girls miss her. Remember when Honey slept over? I love her. Looks like we’ll be signing up for another weekend.
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Holidays, 2010

I can’t believe Christmas pictures sat inside my camera for a month. Oh well. Here goes a post rightly-so past its expiration date.
Betty and Lucy moved to the island when they were three and eight months old, respectively. If they live here until their eighties or nineties, they still won’t be an islander in the oldest sense of the word. Thank goodness Olive was born here and we’re truly thankful for cousin Grey who lives here and gives us something in common with just about every other islander that seems related to one another.
So, our recent birth and a cousin give us strong roots and the ability to call ourselves locals. We’ve been welcomed so authentically into a holiday tradition that allows us to feel a part of the island. I love dressing in holiday best, parking beside an old tractor or four and drinking pink punch steeped in a fifty year old tradition. I love the look on the children’s faces when Santa comes in to deliver presents.
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Olive didn’t much care for the moustache pacifier or the moth ball-y red velvet lap experience. Betty rocked her holiday sweater like she relished what I couldn’t help but think might be the last few seasons of belief.
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It could have been the holiday punch, but this season was all the more festive with music. Sitting beside a great mama friend holding a new baby you’ve only just met captures the magic of the season, while feeling the house shake when dozens do the 1950s social mixer classic Bunny Hop really bring on the good times.
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Christmas morning was mellow with just our small family of five tree-side. Amazingly, our girls slept past 8:00. I was so happy to have knitted five name-on-front stockings, and look forward to knitting a woof and a meow for our pets next year. Looking into the future, I made the stockings gigantic. I picture the girls grown and moved away, returning for the holidays while I slip a loaf of homemade bread or a half dozen soft pretzels in each on Christmas Eve. Or, once Santa’s identity is revealed.
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Betty wanted a donkey, having given up asking for a real one. Lucy wanted a stuffed squirrel, squirrel books and a doll that looked like her. Olive seemed to only want wrapping paper, the toys we already had and clapping when each gift was revealed. Luke’s side of the family delivered a huge trampoline. I was lucky to have my camera ready when we told them. They were shocked, surprised and bouncy with excitement.
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After pancakes and before nap, we went on a hike with friends while still in our pajamas. We accepted moss and lichen for snow and falling flakes. The girls looked for fairies, sang to their dolls and enjoyed our Christmas Day walk about.
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The next day, Olive’s favorite toy became the horse I got from Santa when I was one.
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On New Year’s Eve, we hired a sitter. We had an unhurried and uninterrupted dinner with friends and wondered if we’d make midnight’s ball drop. Unlike a decade ago, we returned home at ten. Olive was trying to make it, and gave it her best teething-induced try. We decided to turn in early and record the midnight news with The Space Needle’s firework show. We showed it to the girls when the woke in the morning and didn’t have the heart to shatter their excitement over making it to the ball drop. Silly.
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