Thursday, January 29, 2009


Just as a disclaimer, I think PCC is a fine store, I enjoy their products, and would shop there often. The following, although completely true, is mostly for entertainment purposes, and possibly mostly mine. It seemed really funny last night when I was recounting the trip to Shane and we laughed a lot. It may lose something in translation, but here goes.

They recently opened a new PCC not too far from my house and I had been hearing rave reviews from my sister for some time. The newly re-finished inside, the wonderful deli, and the free fruit for kids policy. Apparently, when you shop with kids, they are each allowed to choose a produce item, free of charge. She said they were very proactive in their promotion and she had workers flagging her down multiple times each store visit, to inform her.
I pictured her walking down the aisle, workers sprinting like gazelles after her, waving their arms and breathlessly calling,
"Miss, Miss. Did you know we have a policy of a free fruit for your kids"

Finally catching up with her, he looks into the cart, where her beautiful, blond, boys are smiling and each holding a shiny red apple and he says,

"Oh, you did know. Well ,here, have some more" as in slow motion , he piles fruit into the cart up to the boys' heads, the boys giggling with glee, and a sunburst lights up their hair, giving them halos. She continues shopping and smiles at the other parents pushing carts with kids happily clutching an orange or zucchini to their chests. Fruit falling gently everywhere.

It sounded like a pleasant shopping experience, so when I needed some ingredients for a carrot-cream soup, we packed up and headed over. The kids had heard about the "policy" and were chattering all the way over as to what they would pick. I was happy it gave them something to discuss other than "that's my window, look out your window, Mom, he's looking out MY window" and our trip seemed to be off to a pleasant start.

I have to admit, I was actually very curious if the staff would be as enthusiastic about passing on their policy info to a mom with four kids as one with two. I know the co-op is not necessarily known for supporting large-family-friendly policies, but I was sure they wouldn't mind me shopping there. But would they share the fruit?

I parked out front and we paraded up to the shopping carts and got organized fairly quickly: Pippin in the big part of the cart, Kateri on the port, Cyril starboard, Audrey floating around and occasionally stepping on one of the other kids. We entered unceremoniously, and headed to the dairy section for some milk and heavy cream. We passed several workers who all seemed to be intent on their work, eyes lowered, moving quickly about. I thought I overheard one whisper into his headset "Quick, hide the Honey Crisps" but I could have been imagining it. After 10 min I started wondering if the "promotion" was over as I had not been accosted, or even acknowledged by a single employee.
Every once in a while one of the kids would ask when could they pick out a fruit. I told them when I was done getting everything on my list, we would head to the produce.

When one of the employees, who was stocking a shelf, accidentally knocked a box over on to Cyril (it only grazed his shoulder and was almost empty) I thought, this would be the time to say,

"Oh, I'm so sorry. Are you ok? You are? Oh good. Hey, did you know you can pick out any fruit you want from our store? Yeah! You can each pick one. Here let me show you the delicious oranges we just got in".

But no. He did say the first part and then a lady came over from the meat counter and started plastering Cyril with "special" stickers- the ones you put on the meats that are about to expire-and offering them to the other kids, all the while saying "And you're special today. And you're special today". But no fruit. I guess not that special. Afraid of getting smothered by too many "special"s we finally headed to the fruit section. The kids excited, me feeling a little slighted.

I had not anticipated how difficult it would be for them to choose just one piece of fruit. Audrey was in agony trying to decided between an asian pear and a honey orange. Cyprian had already chosen the latter and she, thinking he was the most malleable, was trying to get him to agree to give her half in exchange for half a pear. At the mere mention of cutting his fruit the deal was off, and Audrey was back to square one. She finally settled on the pear and we headed for the check-out, the kids each holding their fruit, me wondering if I was paying for it. Which would have been fine except the kids had been really excited about the program, and felt special when I had told them it was just for kids and I had to pay for my apples.

When we got to the counter Pippin, knowing how it works, handed the lady his orange. She took it and seemed ready to scan it, then said, in a sort of confused and not terribly explanatory way,

"Oh, he can just keep it."

So the kids were happy and cut up their treats when we got home, and I made carrot soup and remembered on the way home I had wanted wine so we stopped at QFC to ge a single bottle of reisling where the checker remarked,
"So that's the secret with four kids."

The little kids enjoying their oranges- Pippin did eventually share with Audrey, so she was happy.
And the carrot soup turned out very well. We ate it all and the french bread Cyril helped me make- he has been telling me he wants to learn how to cook more than just hashbrowns. And I did buy some Honey Crisps- they didn't hide them quickly enough- so I'm planning a little maytag bleu cheese and apple appetizer later to celebrate the start of the week-end. I love Shane's four day work week. And I am loving that he still has a  work week -period. Although Shane says if he did get laid off, it might be kind of exciting and might free us to do something crazy- like sell the house at a loss, buy a leaky boat, and travel the world. At least our Palau trip is already paid for so I guess that could be a good start to a new way life.
Oh, but I forgot to mention, they did inform me about a new promotion just starting at PC(C). For families, you can get a free 10 lbs bag of sugar. Seriously. Whatever kind of sugar you want. When you shop there you'll just see people walking around carrying 10 lbs bags of sugar. The checkers all know about so you can just walk out the door with your sugar and nobody says anything. Its really cool. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Birthday, a Ballet,and The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Cyril turned 8 on Jan 6th. More amazing than the fact he is eight, was his declaration of wanting to do his writing. I think it really helps seeing Audrey and all she can do. and even though we have been working little bit by little bit, we have been making huge progress since we started up after Christmas break. I have been daily amazed at how well and cheerfully he has been co-operating. We can see the same progress in 30 min as we used to see in 2 hrs.
He does still question why there needs to be 5 different ways to say "er" and how much easier it would be if there was only one. And why does "ch" have to also say "sh" when you can just use "sh". But even not seeing any logic in it, he still does it and making wonderful strides. (Finally) So, after 3 years, I very am happy to see the light. And so is Cyril.
We played some games so the kids could win prizes and I could give them their Christmas presents that were finally delivered.

I'm not sure who is blowing up who in this picture.

Cyril requested an oreo ice cream cake. And then cookie dough ice cream on the side.

Audrey had her Nutracker performance. She was a tin soldier. She did well and danced her hear out, as forgot to follow the other soldiers who were exiting stage left. She was also tired as they had two performances in one day. But it gave the opportunity for everyone to get to see it, including her friend Anna. Kateri was a little bored since the first half of the concert was made up of the other classes in the school. Everytime the little girls in their sparkly jazz outfits with sneakers left the stage she would ask "Is Audrey coming now?" I was a little tired of waiting too. And I was fully expecting a mini-stonhenge to descend any second. Actually, that would have been far more entertaining.
But the Nutcracker was sweet. Shane did get a video of her dance so maybe I'll post it later. `

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

But first I want to ask you and anyone and everyone you know to pray for a little baby named Jack and his family and doctors. If you were on the email list keep praying. He/they all really need it. If you have a prayer chain please add them to it.

I actually did make a few resolutions. Only a few. Hoping if I narrowed the targets down I would have a better chance of getting a 50% rate of success. One was to get up early, get the kids up early, and everyone get to bed....early. Shane instigated that one as he usually gets up much earlier and it would be nice if we were all on a similar schedule. So far it has been going well. I get the kids up by 7:30 and they go to bed around 8:00.

Another resolution was to move Pippin into Audrey's bed. Which was encouraged by a trip to Palau later this year. Alone with Shane. Pippin still slept in our bed and I was worried how he would do at night and figured if he was used to sleeping with Audrey, it would help a lot. He is kind of a funny sleeper and really likes to feel skin. During the night he would grab my face, my nose, my ear, preferably my arm, and then be able to go back to sleep. But the move has been pretty successful so far. Several nights he has gotten in bed with her, she reads a few stories to him, and he goes to sleep. It is hard to get to bed early myself when the evenings are so peaceful. But most nights we have and the new routine is great.

My third resolution was to exercise at least three times a week. The first two weeks I scored a big fat "0". But then on Saturday I worked out with Shane and again last night so this week is looking much better. This was also spurred on by the Palau trip. And feeling that 10 years from now, I will be glad i started when I did.

Last night's work out was a little distracted. I actually have some 10 min workouts that are great for anytime in a day I can fit one in. So, the kids were busy with some projects so I hunted down my weights and bands and went for it.

As I'm doing push ups I notice a big pink streak on the carpet.

"Oh great. I wonder how fresh that is. Maybe I should stop and clean it up. I hate markers. I hope its one of the washable kind. "

I decide not to clean it just yet. I move on to arm curls. Cyril comes in , sits down and starts asking questions. Like:

"Do you know how we could put the motor from the broken helicopter in the motor boat? I mean you could just tape it but that wouldn't work very well would it? Can you think of a better way"

My arms are getting sore. "Can we talk about this later?"

"OK." he says and goes back to the kitchen.

Ah. Sit ups. my favorite. My obliques are still sore from Saturday, which is good. As I'm lying on my back, I look up and see some dark blue smudges on the white trim. Higher than my head. I can't imagine how they could have gotten there. And not sure Id want to know. Or what what they are. It looks like ink. I hope its washable.

I finish. It takes longer than 10 min, but that's ok. I need it. As I'm spraying the rug, with Pippin hanging on my neck, I remember a similar colored mark on the couch. It did seem to be somewhat washable. As was the dark stuff on the trim. unfortunately the little yellow spot I discovered next to the pink one on the couch seems to have more staying power. Maybe it was older. I was glad I decided to work out so I could take care of the other spots before they set in for good. And if I consider the week to cover 7 days, I only have one more work out before Saturday.

My final resolution was to get Cyril through a good portion and the Sound Beginnings program. He is working through it fairly nicely and I am encouraged by his progress so far.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I thought this was cool

If you look up Images for Shane Patton on Google, the first picture to come up is my Shane, holding a crab in Panama. I think he is the second picture if you look him up on I thought it was neat.

Sun Peaks Vacation

We rented a house in Sun Peaks for 5 days of freezing and snow playing. We all had a really good time and would definitely do it again. Luckily the house was built on a slope and we could just sled down the side of it. And we were on an actual slope- lucky for me a gentle one- and could ski-snow board right out. The kids stayed out for longer than I could stand.

I guess Pippin was a little cold. It was so cold it took your breath away, as in it hurt too much to breathe. It was super dry and the kids would come in with bloody noses and frozen toes to warm by the fire. The first day it got down to -7 F. From there it warmed up to the single digit positives, which amazingly enough felt warm.

The house was amazing. I loved the timber frame construction and think I 'd like a house that style someday. Someday. The balcony behind the pillar was where our bedroom was located off.

This picture shows how tall the ceilings were. It was really too incredible and much prettier than the picures we had seen. The big hearth was perfect for sitting on and thawing after playing in the snow. The whole house was so cozy. The kitchen was great too and we make lots of toasty winter meals: champagne chicken, lasagna, corn fiest soup. pork roast with apples, french bread, cinnamon rolls, taco soup, and even the breakfast dish- which was not as tasty because the only sausage we could find were more like vienna sausages so the next mornign I picked them out and put bacon in instead.

The village at night. WE took turns with Tirzah and Aaron hitting the slopes. I tried snowboarding for the first time and had a couple successful bits. And some not so successful bits. My biggest bruise was, unfortunatley, trying to go up the little platter lift. I couldn't steer and ended up bailing on my bum, which really hurt. But I kept at it- snow boarding, not the platter-and was finally feeling like I could control the board, when of course I turned it and started going down heel side, which of course caused me to panic and catch the edge, and I landed flat on my back with a nice whack to the head. I was completely dis-enchanted so Shane took me our for some hot fries and a drink. I thihk I'll wear a helmet next time. But I was very pleased I finally go to use the snow gear Shane bought for me last year.
We had a hot tub but as it was outdoors it didnt' get much use. Cameron tried it and said his hair froze while he soaked in it.

The kids have been doing home ec lately. Cyril can make his own hashbrown. And i was not too surprised when Kateri came to me and asked for help- I am so glad she did- turning on the stove so she could cook her hashbrowns. She had already peeled and grated the potatoes by herself. So I turned it on and she cooked them perfectly.

I got an ebelskiver(?) pan for Christmas. Grandma makes them for the kids when they stay the night and they have have been begging me to get one. I hadn't. But trudy got me one so the next day while were all snowed in, we made some for breakfast. She also gave me her recipe- which is the best one- buttermilk is the trick. I tried some William Sonoma mix but they came out dry and muffiny. But I suppose if you used buttermilk they would be good. I actually didn't have buttermilk but it was too snowy to go out. Luckily, i had milk and lemons so we make our own and they turned out delicious.

Shane sledded a wee bit too far, shot over the cliff and landed in big snow filled ditch. I was inside staying warm, but Tirzah captured the moment. Once she stopped laughing.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Eve

We had fun, relaxed end of the year. Tirzah and Aaron with kids came for lots of treats and dinner. The kids- all six of them- got along very well. The boys had roman candle fights and then we all did sparklers in the back yard. WE turned it into a sleep-over after "Run Fat Boy' ended at 2:30am and so got to have breakfast too. Shane made delicious potato pancakes. With apple sauce and sourcream. He's been perfecting and changing the recipe each time. I think he finally nailed it this last time.

We had a few "pre-toast" toasts, while waiting for midnight.

Shane was brilliant and bought all the kids big bouncy balloons. It was great and kept them very entertained for hours.

The Guys- or Boys.

Somehow, we all were wearing black shirts, not planned and not a reflection on the passing year or coming one. Its just a good color.

For dinner Tirzah and I made: Homemade french bread,

Sauteed fresh greenbeans with a soy-sesame glaze,

Baked chicken with apricot-ginger sause

Lots of tasty snacks, some made, some not. Shane made a fabulousdungeness crab-cream cheese dip.