Category Archives: General

May, Already?

It’s May. That snuck up on me quickly.

After a period of doing “not much” (we’ve done stuff but… there was a lot of time feeling like we didn’t do much), the end of March arrived and, suddenly, we were doing things again. Is that what it’s like to have seasons? In Seattle, there weren’t dramatic changes like there are here.

I thought I’d talk about some of the stuff we’ve been doing, but first… at the end of April, my husband, Joe started having a ton of stomach pain and gas problems. He ended up having his gallbladder removed. Evidently, it was more than time. When the surgeon tells you, “It was very difficult to remove,” you know you had a problem going on in there. At any rate, I’d like to mention that I’m extremely glad he’s still alive. Poor guy. (This is also part of the reason May snuck up on me. I basically camped out at the hospital, ferrying Kai back and forth between friends’ houses and the hospital. I’m so thankful for my friends, too, who kept Kai so he wouldn’t have to hang out at the hospital. Stomach-region surgeries are scary for Kai.)

Joe’s contract position ended but he was able to find a new direct-hire position and I’m very glad for that.

We’ve gone on some adventures lately, some as a family, some just my son, Kai, and I.

In March, we took our first trip to Eagle Creek Park where we checked our their ornithology center. Kai has been “into” owls for quite some time now and has expressed some interest in birding, so we’re trying to support that interest. (In April, he started becoming really interested in Northern Cardinals. So it helps to have a place like this nearby.) The park also has a bird sanctuary and we went hiking there.

Ornithology Center Eagle Creek Ornithology Center Bird Sanctuary

In April, we went to Marengo Cave . Kai and I had never been in a cave like that. It pretty fun. Afterwards, Kai panned for minerals (from a bag they had in the gift shop).

Marengo Cave Marengo Cave Marengo Cave

Kai did an Easter Egg Hunt at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was so cold that day! But we still had fun.

Easter Egg Hunt at IMS 2015 Easter Egg Hunt at IMS 2015

And Kai and I have been getting outside more. Yesterday, we went to Cool Creek Park and ended up playing in the creek for a few hours. Kai has some sensory issues and anxiety that can cause stuff like this to be tricky but yesterday, he was amazing. He loved playing in the mud and the creek.

Cool Creek Park Cool Creek Park Cool Creek Park Cool Creek Park

I think we’re starting to adjust to Indiana and getting to feel a bit more at home here.

The Badlands

Doesn’t that name just sound cool? “The Badlands.” It sounds like something straight out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie.

We spent two or three hours driving through Badlands National Park after we left Wall. The canyons and landscapes we saw were absolutely beautiful. Kai and I went into the center there and got to see some archaeologist working. But the beauty of the place… I don’t even have words for it, so I’m just going to leave a whole bunch of pictures (Clicking on any of the pictures will take you to bigger versions. Worth it for the panoramics.)

I hope you enjoy them.

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

The One With The Giant Heads

Originally, when my family started talking about moving to Indianapolis, we asked Kai if there was anything he’d like to visit. His request? Mt. Rushmore.

We started planning how we could get that in. Then, Kai found out that they don’t have really big glasses. And decided he didn’t want to go. If you’re confused, don’t feel bad. I was at first, too.

Blame Phineas and Ferb.

Roosevelt's_glasses

We decided to go anyway. Then, we had the incident with the cat and the gas station. And we’d decided we couldn’t go. Then, when we were on our way to Wall, we discussed how it really wasn’t that far away.

So, during late lunch/early dinner, we decided we’d drive out there to see Mt. Rushmore. Mt Rushmore

I still think it’s pretty incredible that someone saw a mountain and decided, “You know, I’d like to stick a few faces on it.”

We went, we took a few pictures, watched a short film about it, and headed back. I enjoyed going. You can see it pictures and everything but you don’t realize how huge it is until you’re there and realizing, “THAT’S HUGE.”

We got back to the hotel late-ish that evening. The next morning, we set out for the Badlands.

Mt. Rushmore

Sacrificial Celebration Cake to honor one month in Indianapolis.

Making cake

Mixing the ingredients.

A month ago today, our family arrived in Indianapolis. We wanted celebrate somehow and when Sandra Dodd brought up her page on cake as sacrifice, a page I’d read before but particularly spoke to me this time, we decided to make a cake today. We’ve been calling it the “Sacrificial Celebration Cake”.

This cake was a bit of a sacrifice. Kai put in a lot of hard work making this cake (I helped, but only minimally). And then, there’s the cost of the ingredients (because, with our food allergies, cake is not cheap – and money is tight right now). But also, there’s the concept doing something specifically to honor something that’s pretty big for us.

Making cake

Decorating the cake.

Note: this is not in any way a “religious offering”, but I do think that it does people to good to honor and celebrate things – big events, rites of passage, even just the passing of time. So we’re celebrating. Because we can and because it makes us happy.

Sacrificial celebration cake

Happiness is making a Sacrificial Celebration Cake… at least it is today, anyway.

And even though we’ve had some struggles getting here, we’re happy to be here.

The One With The Jackalope and The Giant Dinosaur Head

After we finally got some sleep in Missoula, we rearranged our trip. We realized that the cats could probably take no longer than six or seven hours in the car, so our trip lengthened a few days. Jackalope at Wall Drug Store

Missoula was beautiful. I loved our view from the hotel. It was really the first place I thought, “Wow. There’s so much sky!” There was also a really awesome dinner place called “Fat Cat” that able to accommodate our food allergies and sensitivities. I had a french drip for the first time in YEARS. We ate there for dinner after we woke up.

The next day, we set out for Billings. So, the thing about Billings is that there’s really nothing for me to say about Billings other than I wasn’t a fan. It was very industrial and our hotel staff was rude. The hotel was kind of cruddy itself, too. It was a place to rest our heads after driving across Montana. (Montana’s a really big state!)

After Billings, we headed out for Wall, South Dakota. On our way, I kept seeing these billboards advertising “Wall Drug Store”. Two things were weird to me about the billboards. One thing was that, in Seattle, most billboards have a “frame” around them and are high up. Probably because traffic is so bad, they want you to actually see it! The second thing was that they were all really kitschy. Things like “FREE ICE WATER” or “COFFEE 5 CENTS” and signs with dinosaurs or cowboys. Dinosaur at Wall Drug Store

We DID end up going to Wall Drug and it was so completely… an experience all unto itself. They have a huge animatronic head, lots of shopping areas, a restaurant area or two, and… a jackalope. That was kind of fun!

The other thing that Wall itself had was… Wait. I should back up: While I was booking hotels, I noticed that the ones in South Dakota were oddly expensive and oddly full. Then, once we hit South Dakota, I notice that, gosh, there sure were a lot of bikers out and about. Maybe they had nothing better to do? Maybe they were camping or something?

Well, at some point, Joe mentioned. “Oh. Sturgis is nearby.” Thanks to the power of internet on our phones (truly, that is an awesome invention), we discovered that we were going through South Dakota right during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. They have right around 400k people attending annually. We saw lots of them on the road. All the bikers I met were really nice (I’ve had some biker friends and they’re almost always super-friendly).

As we were eating a late lunch at Wall Drug, we made a decision to go see something we’d previously decided not to see (although we’d originally planned to see it before we’d rescheduled our trip)… Mt. Rushmore.

Covered Wagon at Wall Drug Store Riding Toy at Wall Drug Store

We’ve moved to Indianapolis!

At the end of July, we packed up our home in Seattle and drove across the country to Indianapolis.

Trip from Seattle to Indy by car. July/Aug 2014.

A map of our trip across the country in July/August 2014.

The original plan was to do it in three days. The original plan… got changed. It ended up taking longer than we anticipated, but in some ways, that made our trip better.

I’ll go into more detail about why it ended up taking us long and what we did during the trip on other posts, but I wanted to let everyone know that we’re here in Indiana, we have an apartment, and we’re starting to settle in. Even the kitties have calmed down and settled in (the poor things hated the car).

I’m looking forward to seeing what Indianapolis has in store for us.

May So Far, In Pictures

May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

Kai's Creeper Drawing

Kai’s Creeper Drawing

At his grandparents' second home, "Whispering Moon"

Drove to Wenatchee. This is at his grandparents’ second home, “Whispering Moon”. May 2, 2014.

Breakfast at Dizzy Dee's

Breakfast at Dizzy Dee’s. May 3, 2014

Having a snack during the Apple Blossom Parade

Having a snack while watching the Apple Blossom Parade

Apple Blossom Parade

Watching the Apple Blossom Parade

Free Comic Book Day

It was also “Free Comic Book Day”. So we popped into a comic shop in Wenatchee and this is what Kai picked up.

At Carnival

At the carnival.

May 3, 2014

He was heartbroken that he he couldn’t do the bumper cars on his own, but Nana helped him.

Apple Blossom Festival Food Fair

Corn dog and an elephant ear.At the Apple Blossom Food Fair.

Chilling after a long day

Chilling and playing phone games.

Breakfast at Shari's

Breakfast at Shari’s with Nana. May 4, 2014

Playing a giant Connect 4

Playing a giant Connect 4 with Nana.

Playing Tsuro

Playing Tsuro with Nana.

Playing Gravwell

Playing Gravwell with Nana.

Video chatting with his Aunt Melissa

Video chatting with his Aunt Melissa, who he last in September.

Waiting for dinner at South

Waiting for dinner at South, drinking root beer with cream on top.

Back home over the mountain. SNOW!

Going back home, over the mountains. SNOW!

May 5, 2014

After being away from his real cats for a weekend, he’s been attached to these three stuffed cats. May 5, 2014.

May 6, 2014

Talking about a Stampy Longnose video. May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014

On his way to Homeschool Park Day.

May 6, 2014

He wanted his cat to be able to look out the window.

May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014

May 7, 2014

May 7, 2014

Kitty love.

Golden Gardens

At Golden Gardens.May 8, 2014

Golden Gardens

He climbed all the way to the top for the first time.

Golden Gardens - Kai's at the top!

After his success on the pirate ship, he had the confidence to climb to the top here.

"This is the life." - Golden Gardens

He kept saying. “”This is the life. Me and my mother, on the beach, eating ice cream things. This is the life.”

Kai "buried" my legs.

Kai “buried” my legs.

Then I buried Kai's legs!

Then I buried Kai’s legs.

Golden Gardens

“You buried my legs more than I buried your legs! It looks like I have no legs!”

10 Days in the USA

10 Days in the USA

Toy Time Race Game

Toy Time Race Game

May 8, 2014

Sometimes, I can look at him and see the teenager he might one day be.May 8, 2014 

May 9, 2014

May 9, 2014

Baker's Reward

Baker’s Reward

Meatloaf

Making Meatloaf

Game night

Playing Tsuro with our gaming group.

He fell asleep in there while dressing

After staying up so late, Kai fell asleep while trying to get dressed in the morning. May 10, 2014.

YardMaster

Playing YardMaster.

Angry Birds puzzle

Working on an Angry Birds puzzle.

Playing a file folder game

Playing a file folder game.

Stop referring to it as “in real life”. Or: Yes, I want to see pictures of your lunch.

I’d sincerely like for people to stop referring to the “offline” world as “real life”. For me, both online and offline worlds are “real life”.

I know there are people who say things like, “No one care what you had for lunch. Stop posting pictures from it.” But I do. I do in the same way that I enjoy when my friends in the offline tell me, “I had the BEST meal yesterday…” and proceed to describe it. I care because I care about my friends.

And, yes, I do consider the people I know online to be my friends. Not everyone, of course, in the same way that you do not consider every person you know face-to-face a friend. But I have a several friends who I have known online for over a decade and have watched their pets grow old and die, children grow up, jobs change, move across the country or, even, across the world, marriages flourish… or not, and have even, sadly, watched from afar as people I cherished passed away – and I’ve missed their voices.

One friend, I met in junior high/high school online and then, because we lived nearish to each other, we became friends in person. I’m still her friend even though she’s lived all over the world.

Another friend, I find myself texting quite a bit – I met her online and sincerely hope to meet her in person – but even if I don’t, I feel like we’re close. I care about her struggles, about the things that make her happy.

I’ve also known people in the offline world who’ve moved to being mainly online friends. Two of my best friends from school grew up and moved away. We’ve kept in touch online.

So, please believe me when I say that, yes, I want all the pictures, all the updates, all the “shares”. I want to hear that you’re doing well. I want to hear that you’re happy. (Conversely, I want to hear when you’re not. I want to whole package, not just the happy stuff.)  I want to hear about – or even see – that fantastic meal you had this morning or the fabulous cake you made. I want the pictures of your kids, the ones of your cats, your dog, your spouse, your food, your vacation, your life.

Please DO share.

Because I want it.

I want it all.

This was all inspired by a post from tumblr that I found on Facebook via a friend from back-in-the-day on LiveJournal. If I could find the original post, I’d share it.

30 Days of Writing: Day 8

February 27, 2014

I’ve been participating in 30 Days of Writing, which started on February 24.

The way the challenge works is this: Every day, for 30 days, get up and write. It’s okay to shower, get a drink, whatever. But DON’T check the computer. DON’T climb onto social media. Get to writing.

So, most mornings, I’ve managed to get up early to write for an hour. Once or twice, I didn’t get up as early as I’d have liked. (Getting up early is REALLY hard for me. I’m not a morning person. But I’ve done it more days than not.)

I’ve written for an hour every day since the challenge began. I’m finding interesting things emerging in the words on the page. A lot of stuff has been bouncing around in my head and writing it down helps to clarify it.

An unexpected benefit is that my days are feeling more productive. Or, at least, I feel less like I’m wasting a chunk of my morning “waking up”. I feel better, too, in general.

Are you taking the challenge? If not, have you considered doing something similar? Or have you done something similar? How did it turn out for you?

Six. (Or, Happy Birthday, Kai!)

“But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever. So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever…”
― A.A. Milne, Now We Are Six

January 18, 2014

Dear Kai,
Six years ago today, you were being born. I was not there to see it. I do not have a wonderful birth story to share, no memories of bringing you home, no “you were such a cute baby” – other than a few baby photos I’ve seen, I never did see you as an infant.

But I did see you when you were three. My first memory of you is of you telling me not to get the carpet dirty. You always were way older than your years. Perhaps now more than ever.

I don’t know if five-to-six is so dramatic a change in everyone. You had some really hard things happen this year, so I don’t imagine it to be so.

This is the year you lost your first tooth, that you deepened your reading skills, that you made more friends, that we really started “focusing” on homeschooling, that you learned to read to yourself silently, that you started reading chapter books all on your own. This is the year you first got allowance and spent it – sometimes capriciously, sometimes saving for weeks for things you wanted. This is the year you stopped sucking your fingers. This is the year that you moved out of your toddler bed. There have been no nighttime accidents in a few months.

This is also the year that Mama died, that changes were made, that life looked very different. Once again. There’s been some stumbling, but you get back up and keep on going.

The other day, we went to the indoor gymnastics playground, you and I. When you turn six, you age out. So we went one last time. On our way out, you told the staff that it was sad that you couldn’t come back, but that you’d have fun getting to do other stuff you can’t yet do.

There are things I’m feeling wistful about. My little boy is getting older, growing up, outgrowing things. But I’m so looking forward to the fun things ahead in our lives. And I’m so lucky to be a part of your family.

I love you so much, Kai. Thank you. Thank you for being a part of my life, for being my son, for sharing Daddy with me.
Happy birthday, Kai. I hope you have many many more happy ones.

And may the odds be ever in your favor.
Family picture January 2014