Thursday, July 30, 2009

Even Hotter

Our thermometer seems to be made in Seattle and had not idea what to do when it hit 100. So it flipped out and registered 120. It was actually around 104, which is quite warm enough for us. Tirzah and the boys came over and we stayed sane by jumping in the pool every 5-10 min. Finally I just got a nightshirt wet and wore that the rest of the day. I had to keep re-wetting is because it dried so quickly. As did the laundry I hung out to dry.
We decided the only things to do besides swimming were making iced coffees,

playing bubble breaker, and sitting in front of the fan. And doing all three simultaneously makes the temperature quite bearable.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Chuppah Hot

As Kateir would say it.
I has been unseasonably, unSeattley, and unbearably hot the past few days. Last night with all the doors open and fans running, we were able to cool it down to 80 degrees. This morning I've managed to get it down two degrees but the sun is getting higher and that might be all we get for today. The kids and I ran out to get more fans and the five stores we tried were all sold out. I finally did find four little personal sized ones and thought that would better than nothing for the kids to use at bed time. But their rooms were still too hot so we all slept in our room and used both box fans there. We slept well, except for when Kateri woke me up to tell me she peed. Fortunately she was on the floor, not the bed. I spend the days trying to beat the sun back, covering every window and door it peeks in through. But as it circles I have to move my defenses. I finally came up with this little set up for the breakfast area- which is actually our dining room, craft table, very important science research lab etc. I thought it was clever because I used straight pins and hammered them into the wall just above the trim, so unless you are 8 feet tall you wouldn't be able to see any holes.

I'm sure there are lots of ways to describe the over all effect of sheets pinned to your windows. But I am going with cool, cotton, fabric draped to form an oasis in a sweltering desert. You Can imagine camels and sheiks with long robes striding across a palm dotted watering hole just on the other side of your tent. If you have any imagination, that is. I'm pretty sure Restoration Hardware would approve. And I hoped, Shane.
He didn't get the oasis feeling at all, but did enjoy the small tempering of the setting sun. Maybe I should have ironed them before I hung them up.

Even with the drapes and fans running, its still hot. I was thinking how great it is to live now with air conditioning and fans. And not back in the day of petticoats and corsets and wondered how anyone survived back. Of course a lot of them didn't. Well, actually none of them. But I think some of them drank Mint Juleps. So since I have a ton of mint I decided to give it a try. I didn't have any Kentucky Bourbon so I suppose the test was not a true test, but as prepared and given the new rationing of liver usage, I would not choose to spend any of it on a Mint Julep. I'd rather have a Whiskey Sour.

The kids got very creative in their water play and Cyril fashioned their own little water fountain. IT was better later, when he attached it to a deck chair so the water spurt was at face level. The kids would walk in circles around the pool, while one of them would stop and then start the water flow. Like musical chairs only colder and wetter and in your face. I thought it was great game. Although I haven't played yet.

But we did find a good use for the sun and made some sun prints which the kids enjoyed.

And the heat has brought on some ripening of tomatoes. So that is nothing to complain about. I'm already planning what I want to do differently next year- aside from installing air conditioning. I want more garden boxes and definitely more SunGold tomatoes. They are so tasty. The kids like them too. My mom did Alpine Strawberries and I think I would add those our regular ones which quite frankly, have been a disappointment. They might be punishing me for letting them stay in their containers for a year. I said I was sorry.
So that's how we've been spending the hot weather. I think it is starting to warm up so I should batten down the hatches and see if I need to construct any more barriers. I'm thinking Shane's office could use some.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taming the Mane: Take 2

While we were in Palau, Auntie Courtney took Kateri to get her hair cut. Kateri loved the salon and has asked to go back often. So for her birthday I sent her again with Grandma and Auntie- because it takes two to manage that head of hair. I told her let them do whatever they think in necessary to get her mop under control. I didn't worry about the haircut much, Kateri would get to go to Gene Juarez and I would have less of her hair to manage so it would work out. And I trusted Mercedes. Here she is the night before making french toast for dinner. She did it all herself: cracking the eggs, dipping and cooking each piece. It was strange handing over dinner preparation to a 5 yr old but that 5 yr old being Kateri its actually not so strange. She announced dinner was ready to the kids and made sure they each thanked her for her work. Some of them were a little underdone, so we'll have to work on cooking time a little. But as you can see, Mercedes was going to be in for a big job the next day.
Here is the little elf. She looks so natural perched in tree.

I think I'll get her one of these dresses. She could use it to play hair salon at home.

She's definitely in her element here. Which may be a little concerning, and definitely a bit expensive.

I think she approves. But with $30 hair care products that smell so nice how could she not?

The finished product. I'm don't know how often I'll be able to spend the time re-creating the look. It took lots of blow-drying and flat ironing to achieve this level of smoothness. But Kateri does love to have her hair done so at least I know she'll cooperate.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Kateri and I made scones last week. I bought the heavy cream at Costco, so we ended up making and freezing a lot of scones. Its great to have them ready to pop into the oven anytime. Although lately its been so hot I don't want to use the oven.
Pippin decided he wanted to help too. It being hot and the pool being set up, he mostly runs around Mowgli style. Which helps in the toilet training department too. I did put a diaper on him, but it reminded me of this TED talk on letting kids do dangerous things. The speaker did not mention cooking naked, but I'm sure that would qualify.
I thought it particularly funny a couple days later, when Shane found this article on why you should not let your kids play in the beach sand. And how washing their hands off in the sea water will only compound the risks of getting ill. And if you finish the article you learn the chilling fact that such risky behavior results in 7% of children getting diarrhea. I thought for sure it would have been cancer, given the sternness of their warning. But no, just a few extra trips to the toilet. I can just see all the kids at the beach now. Sitting on a pristine, antiseptic blanket, being careful not to touch the sand, and every 5 min washing with hand sanitizer. Fun. I'm sure most kids would pick the small risk of and upset digestive tract over a lifetime of- not living. The scones turned out well and amazingly enough, no one got hurt.

Shane got this enormous solar balloon for the kids. Laying it out on the road was great for heating it. We tied strings on the ends so it wouldn't float too far and it was pretty cool. Until Pippin ran right into it, tearing the super thin plastic. Then it wriggled its way down, like a convulsing worm. But a really neat one.

I finally finished Cyril's nightstand. It did not get as dark as I wanted but it works. I told him he was not to carve boats into the nice shiny top, like he did his dresser. So far so good. I am glad it was free. I probably spent $30 on supplies to strip and finish it. I would not have paid that much to buy it. But somehow because I do got to do the work it was worth it. Now I need one for my side of the bed.

We took a trip up to Jetty on Saturday. The wind was crazy and I remembered that when its windy enough to kite, its too windy for playing. It was actually too windy for kiting too. The guys all went out for a bit but then gave it up as it was too wild. The kids did eventually play, but Kateri just wanted to sit huddled under her towel while I hand fed her Cheetos.
But the trip did remind me to set up some swim lessons for the big kids. Which I did yesterday. And of course being last minute we were stuck with whatever time slots no one else wanted, meaning we'll be going at traffic times. Twice a week, as there were no back to back times either. But at least its on 15 min so the other kids will not have to wait too long before getting back in the car to wade our way home. And hopefully we can get a better time slot once school starts.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trip to the Gorge

Neither Shane nor I had ever been to the Gorge. And as Tirzah and Aaron very generously offered to stay with the kids and encouraged us to go out for breakfast too, Shane bought tickets to see Coldplay this week-end.
The scenery was incredible and as always, the pictures don't do it justice. I would go there just for the view. We were lucky and got fabulous weather.

We got to watch a beautiful sunset, and then the constellations slowly popping out. And it was still warm and cozy.
I have actually never been to a concert that wasn't in the Opera House, so it was a doubly new experience for me. I was very pleasantly surprised. We were in the seats so maybe the general admission area was more rowdy. I didn't get a picture, but in the parking lot they had a sign saying,
'No Drugs, Alcohol, or Vending- in the Parking Lot'
But I guess that only applied to the parking lot.
It was lots of fun, and the band moved to s mini stage just a few feet from us, so that was cool.

We hadn't decided what to do after the concert so on the way home I called the Salish and they had 2 rooms available- 1 King and 1 with twin beds. We got the King and finally at 1:30 collapsed on the soft, smooth, feather bed. ( Shane asked why our room couldn't be like that. I guess I'll see what I can do.) When we checked in I asked if they had a table for breakfast. She said they had one cancellation that evening, so we were able to sit and have breakfast before we left.
The weather was overcast and misty and just after we sat down they lit the fire by our table and we got to enjoy the warm crackle with our hot coffee and pancakes.
Just as the concert was starting, Tirzah sent us a text message saying the kids were in bed, they were having dinner, and to relax and enjoy. We definitely did. Although we are both tired today. Shane is building me a support for my tomatoes today. They are doing really well but need to be up off the ground now. I can't wait until they are ripe.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fourth of July Festivities

We had a fantastic Fourth, complete with lots of fireworks, family, food, and some other extras.
The Boys set of some daylight fireworks for the kids before dinner. The kids loved scrambling to catch the falling parachutes. Unfortunately, we didn't think ahead and let them out by age- the kids. Or set a quota on how many you could catch. With about 15 kids all running, there were a few skirmishes and skinned knees and not everyone got to go home with a parachute. Lesson learned for next year.
The big boys made some home made fireworks lit them off, and then ran for cover, laughing and giddy from the excitement.

Our BBQ is not working, but luckily I had found a recipe for slow roasted spare ribs. They cooked in the oven for about 3 1/2 hrs. Then you wrap them in tin foil and put them in a paper bag to rest for another hour. We were pretty hungry by the time they were done.

Cyprian ate 4 ribs and 2 ears of corn.

The little boys had fun burning leftover left over fireworks and wrappers with their sparklers. That is until a self-appointed Smokey the Bear came over with a hose. Adults these days!
So now we are enjoying a visit from some cousins and unfortunately cooler weather. It was incredibly warm on the 4th, which is rare around here.
I'm back to wood working and watching my back.
The other day Kateri stated that she was going to marry Papa. We discussed the obvious obstacles there but she was undaunted. Shane pointed out he is already married to me and you can only be married to one person at a time.
"What if Mama dies?" she asked. Then turned and gave me rabid furry critter look. Complete with claws, teeth, and a snarl. Of course we all laughed. However, the next day I was doing the dishes and Kateri came in and held up her hand to show me a bug she caught.
"That's a cute little, beetle" I said guessing at the little ball with squirming legs she was holding.
"It's a fly" she corrected me. "I pulled off his wings."
"Oh. That wasn't very nice. Well, take it outside."
"Ok" she said smiling and heading out the door. "I'm going to put him in the pool now."
Later I watched as she finished the water boarding treatment and then disposed of the carcass. In the garbage can.
So yes. I am definitely watching my back.