Sunday, September 27, 2009

Daddy's boy

My dad didn't have a boy. Raised as the youngest in a family of sisters, and blessed with only two daughters, he is certainly not afraid to wear pink. But he is a masculine man with masculine interests. He had no other male in the family with whom to share his love of sports, so I became Daddy's little boy. I wouldn't characterize myself as a tom boy at all, but my dad succeeded in instilling me with a great appreciation for sporting events. Somewhere in a box in the garage are scorecards from the multitude of Seattle Mariner games we attended together. My mom and sister enjoyed the food and the chatting more than the action, but I meticulously recorded each and every out. Me and Dave Valle... fast friends.
When the Kingdome wasn't buzzing, my dad and I cheered on the Everett Aquasox AAA baseball team, the Seattle Supersonics, and most every sport played by a University of Washington Husky: women's basketball, men's basketball, women's volleyball, and my favorite, men's football.
The latter developed into a love for all college football. Danny routinely brags about the days he'll come home to find our Tivo filled with random games I've watched and saved for him to enjoy. As long as it's a good game, I can be entertained by any team from Purdue to Fresno State. My parents' birthday present to Danny then was every bit as fun for me as it was for him: tickets to the USC game. And not just any tickets, but 5th row, 35 yard line. Definitely a step up in my book from last year's gift!

I still carry some devotion to my UW Huskies, so this is the hat I had hoped to wear:

But last week's huge upset of USC, coupled with the fact that their opponent this Saturday was UW's biggest cross-state rival led me to choose this one instead:

Justify Full

Danny thought it might be the better option if I hoped to avoid being mugged. Either way, we had a wonderful time, the home team won, and Danny's entrance into his mid-thirties was significantly eased.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


So I have a number of oddities. Just ask Danny, I'm sure he could give you a long list of things that are weird about his wife. But perhaps the peeve he enjoys torturing me about most is my utter abhorrence of peach fuzz. Love the flavor of peaches... hate (yes, I'm using the word hate) the fuzz. Just thinking about that strange, almost velvety covering makes goosebumps run up and down my arms. If I actually touch it (or rather, if those who claim to love me succeed in rubbing it against my skin), the goosebumps make their way up my neck and down my legs. Think fingernails down a chalkboard times 100. As is clear from the photos of a recent trip to a peach orchard, my children have not inherited my fear and happily chow down on all things peachy-flavored. But the God who created peach fuzz and my peculiar phobia also graciously created nectarines. Praise God for nectarines!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another world

In 5th grade, Danny prepared his state report on the great state of Alaska. That little gem still occupies a spot in his sentimental box in Parker's closet, and the state has ever since occupied a place in Danny's imagination. Our upcoming 10th wedding anniversary provided an excuse to visit the land of his dreams, and I can't say that I was an unwilling participant. Thanks to a great deal on cruise travel and two sets of very willing grandparent babysitters, we thoroughly enjoyed a week away in a very beautiful, very different part of the country.

I'd visited Alaska as a little girl, but had not remembered just how remote the place is. The land is so rugged, so steep, that the population is confined to a few very narrow valleys, surrounded by impenetrable mountain ranges. Much of it is accessible only by boat or plane, and so few people live there that many towns don't even have a doctor. The tourists outnumbered residents 8 to 1 at two of our stops. Some still live without electricity, high-speed internet (gasp!), running water, or more than a very occasional glimpse of sunshine. I grew up in Seattle so I know wet and miserable, but Alaskans take it to a whole new level. As you might guess from the photos, we left the sun behind in California, but to us rain is a novelty so we didn't mind a bit. My only regret is that the fog made it even more difficult to capture just how vast and breathtaking the landscape really is (or at least I'll blame it on the fog - couldn't have been the photographer). Everything is just so big, but with nothing around to compare it to, all perspective is lost. We were fortunate to see a bear (that little black speck in the stream, second to bottom photo), salmon spawning, whales (or at least Danny did... I might have seen them too had I been willing to set aside my books in favor of exercise... apparently there were great views from the gym), and a couple of bald eagles. We saw glaciers, fjords, waterfalls, icebergs, and very charming towns. The boat wasn't bad either! We made a few friends among the retirees (we were most definitely the young 'uns, making it very easy to feel sexy on formal night!), ate well and often, and just as I had hoped... slept! All in all a wonderful trip, and already probably more than you wanted to know. Home is great though too, and I'm thrilled to be back with my babies. They didn't seem to miss us a bit, but a week without them is long enough.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Were you to ask my kids, husband, parents, sister, best friends – anyone who knows me well or has lived with me – about my favorite pastime, the answer would unanimously be… SLEEPING! I’d like to think that none would simultaneously characterize me as lazy, but sleep is indeed a cherished friend.
Even as a child I was a sleeper. My mom has often recounted her panicked conversations with my pediatrician about this baby who just slept and slept and slept. He wisely counseled her to just be grateful, and in 30+ years my sleepiness has not worn off. As a teen I remember routinely dozing until noon on Saturdays, and am still haunted by memories of being roused long before dawn on those dark, dreary Seattle school days. Torture I say. Pure torture. In college I embraced the night life in the dorms (wild as it was at my beloved conservative Christian school). But most every afternoon I made up for my night-owl ways with a cat nap. Fast-forwards to the months in which I was anticipating motherhood: the secretary at my accounting firm used to send me into an empty office for 15-minute power naps. I guess I looked like I needed it!
My mom worried that my sound sleeping habits would prevent me from being able to hear and care for my new baby girl in the night. Fortunately for me, God blessed me with a child that sleeps as well as I do, so those midnight rousings only lasted for a couple of weeks. And it really is quite remarkable how well I do hear the cries of my own needy children when I truly hear nothing else. Even now, seven years and two more kids later, I still occasionally follow the new-mom advice: sleep when they sleep. I'd pick a power nap over a daytime drama anytime!
The only other being that can disturb my sleep is the one I share a bed with. While perfectly adorable and an otherwise fabulous husband, Danny is the master of bed stealing and cover snatching. He is actually able to get the sheets wrapped completely around his body, leaving me with the option of either waking up entirely to unroll his 6’0” frame, or sleeping coverless. Even the advent of the sleep-number bed has not completely solved the “get off my side!” problem. The man has to roll uphill to steal my half… and he does!
So what do you think is one of the highlights of my anticipation of our vacation next week? Ding, ding, ding! You got it! Sleep. And not just any sleep, but uninterrupted, solitary sleep in my very own bed. We’re going on a cruise to Alaska to celebrate our 10th anniversary - our first ever big trip without the kids except for the few days in Vietnam before we picked up Reagan - and our perfectly dark inside cabin comes equipped with two beds! I’m fully aware that they can be squeezed together to make one queen-ish sized surface, but am very much looking forward to my very own space. Danny’s on board with this idea and knows that I won’t neglect the romance of the moment altogether. We’ll cuddle…etc… but then when it’s time to sleep, I will retreat to my own little sleeping cocoon! What could be better?!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Smoke gets in your eyes

By God's grace our home is relatively far from the fires currently devastating Southern California. But that doesn't mean that the smoke hasn't settled like a thick grey blanket over it, and everything else around here. The hauntingly beautiful pyrocumulus cloud we saw on Sunday has spread out to rain down ash and obviously unhealthful air. Most of the time, the sun casts the kind of yellowish glow you might typically enjoy only at sunset. Yesterday the sun was actually red, with no visible rays. Our inconvenience is truly minor, but it is a great reminder of just how easily the things of this world will slip away, and what a joy and privilege it is to store up treasure in heaven!