23 February 2014

8/52 - Sweaters, Socks, Sleepovers and Sports

Corinne has been knitting up a storm recently. Back in November, she finished this red sweater for Anders.

As is often the case, she had some yarn leftover when she was done. So she decided to make matching socks. But alas, she ran out of yarn when she was down to the toe of the second sock. Rather than trying to find another skein of that same yarn (and continuing the never-ending cycle of leftover yarn), she decided that she would finish it off with leftover yarn from a different project. Anders chose the color from three different options.

Crazy socks!

Anders's favorite sock is the crazy one.

She has another project already underway, which is a larger version of a sweater knitted by our friend Davy. We affectionately call it the "Sock Monkey Sweater."

She has a great teacher and consultant, too. My mom recently made Anders and I these "matching" sweaters.

Thanks, mom(s)!

Friday night we had our first multi-child sleepover: three 5-year olds (including Anders) and a 2-year old. According to the kids, they were not going to sleep at all that night. As Anders explained to one of the other kids while driving to preschool the prior morning:
"We're going to stay up all night. We will close our eyes and pretend to sleep until everyone else goes to bed. Then we can get up and play and do whatever we want!"

It should be noted that while this conversation was happening in the back seat, I was in the front of the car driving, and Anders was speaking in a normal voice.

Lauren had a different idea:
"We're going to slap our foreheads and eat chocolate before bedtime."

Anders was more excited for this sleepover than we have ever seen him before - more so than even Christmas or his birthday! They all had a great time playing together, with only a few incidents needing any mediation. By the time everyone was ready to get into bed, it was close to 10pm. We set up a futon mattress in our great room and put all of the kids together.


We're not sure what time they finally fell asleep; the 2-year old was first to go, but I think the older kids were still awake when we fell asleep. According to Anders the next morning, they didn't stay up all night but they didn't sleep very well because one of the other kids "kept waking them up." Staying up all night is one of those things that isn't as fun as it sounds; just wait until college...

Everyone tucked-in

One of the kids awoke at 6:20am, and just minutes later everyone was up. The morning activities included the last youth basketball practice of the season, and all of the kids participated (sans 2-year old). For the first time, they played an actual scrimmage game. Anders was pretty good on defense and has a good defensive stance. His stance was so good that he decided to use it for the entire game, regardless of whether they were playing offense or defense. After practice, the kids went home with their parents.

That afternoon, Anders just wanted to "take a rest and watch a show." We took his cue and spent the afternoon relaxing and catching up on the Olympics. We sampled the highlights of most sports; Anders chose curling, speed skating and bobsleigh as his favorites. After the previous 24 hours, we were all ready for some relaxation. (Thanks, BBC!)

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders

17 February 2014

7/52 - Christmas Tree for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! Anders wanted to put a boat on his homemade Valentine's cards this year, and it's always a fun challenge to come up with a design. Here is one of this year's results:

Of course, each card is unique and hand-crafted. Anders did the majority of the cutting, drawing and gluing for his cards, though it was broken up into shorter sessions over the span of about two weeks.

By the end of the task, he grew tired of all of the cutting and gluing, so he switched media for some of the latter ones. Here's one that was inspired by his model truck videos: it's a toy boat being lowered into a bathtub by Anders's giant hand.

It is pretty interesting to see the variety, creativity, and different themes of the cards that he received from his friends.

As for Corinne and I, we had the evening to ourselves with Anders at Grandma's house. We watched a movie, ate popcorn, and were in bed by 10:00pm. In other words, a perfect evening.

Valentine's Day is the traditional end of the Christmas season in our household, so it was time to take down the Christmas tree. Yes, that's right, our Christmas tree was still standing and fully decorated! The tree takes so much effort to put up and adds so much warmth to our space that we want to enjoy it for as long as we can.

With the late arrival of snow this year, keeping our tree up this long allowed us to pretend that we had a white Christmas.

One last look... hey, snow!

Our tree stays fresh for quite a long time, but it did stop taking up water several weeks ago. As a result, the branches aren't nearly as pliable as they were when we brought it in. Removing the tree requires disassembling more than just the lights and ornaments.

As expected, heavy rains melted the majority of the snow fairly quickly. The rains also triggered quite a few rock slides in the area and closed several major roads. I-84, which is the main interstate from Portland through the Gorge, was CLOSED for 5 days! With all traffic redirected to the much smaller road on the other side of the river - which was also closed for a while due to slides - there were long lines of cars and snarled traffic throughout the Hood River/White Salmon area. Days like this make us appreciate our short commute even more; there is rarely any traffic in the 10 feet between our bed and our desks. Unless you count LEGO vehicles, of course.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders

13 February 2014

6/52 - Snow!

There was one noteworthy event in the past week that towered over all others: Snow! After a long wait, winter finally arrived in Trout Lake. It was a slow accumulating storm which doled out a new allowance each day; Friday morning, there were 7" on the ground and the storm had paused. Snow started up again by mid-afternoon, and by Saturday morning, another 8" had fallen. Then another 5" by Sunday morning. Snow! This is certainly not considered a "big" storm by Trout Lake standards, but it's the first we've had this year, so it still counts.

Snow clearing duty

Fun in the snow!

On Saturday we all took a snowshoe walk through the forest. Every once in a while the wind would blow a "snow bomb" off the trees, resulting in a heavy shower of snow on our heads. Eventually we started triggering them intentionally.

Even though we taught him to duck his head down when the snow fell, Anders never truly got comfortable with the idea. Perhaps it had something to do with my explanation of avalanches.

He did enjoy sliding down the slide on his play structure into the snow, at maximum speed. At the beginning of the video, you can see a mild "snow bomb" in the background.

Sunday we spent more time outside in the snow, this time sledding. We haven't explored the local sledding hills yet, but so far Anders is pretty content with being pushed down the gentle slope in our driveway.

Then came the most polite snowball fight ever. We stood a few feet apart and each took turns tossing snow into the air at another person. Anders would tell us whose turn it was and at whom they were to throw snow.

He always has a big smile, even after getting smacked on the top of his head with a giant ball of snow.

Hood River actually got hit with this storm as much as we did, and Anders's HR preschool was closed on Friday and Monday. We typically work from home except on days when we take him to school, so we had no reason to go into the "big city" (aka White Salmon or Hood River). In fact, Corinne hadn't left Trout Lake in 12 days!

We saved lots of time driving, but we did have to dig a little deeper into the freezer and pantry for our meals. We ran out of eggs over the weekend, but a 1 mile cross country ski ride later fixed that. Thanks, Green Pastures Farm!

The snow, however, may be short lived. Temperatures spiked up above 50, and the rains poured down. Within the span of only a day, most of the snow disappeared. We hope that there's at least a little more of winter still on the way.

- Mike, Corinne, and Anders

03 February 2014


Anders, with Corinne's help, followed through on his interest in making a stop motion movie. And now, in his directorial debut, Anders presents: Building a wall, a short film.

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the artist in action.

Anders made big strides in his roller skating skills this week. Without any prompting from us, he would let go of our hands and skate on his own! He would only be able to make it about 10 seconds before falling down, but he would immediately start laughing when he hit the ground.

Impressive progress from his his first outing just 3 weeks ago.

Anders, talking about his stuffed animal, Twilight the cat:
Anders: Twilight is so brave that she can even kill nightmares. When I am having a nightmare, I tell her that a nightmare is near. She just creeps into my dreams and kills it and eats it. Then she creeps out again.

Parents: How does she kill it?

Anders: Her teeth are strong enough to eat teeth and to bite skin. Her claws are sharp, so she claws its eyes out.

Twilight, the Nightmare Slayer

Speaking of nightmares, I think I might have one now.

We are longtime Daft Punk fans, so we're happy to see them recognized at the Grammy Awards this year. Anders is also a fan and can often be seen dancing when their music comes on, though he doesn't always get the lyrics right. His favorite song of theirs right now is "Mexican Ducky", which also happens to have won the record of the year. ("Oh Mexican Song... Oh Mexican Song... Oh Mexican Song... Mexican Ducky")

We are also a bit enamored with the group Pentatonix, the stellar a cappella group and the winners of a previous season of the music competition show The Sing-Off. Corinne recently spent a good portion of an evening listening and reading up on their story. If you haven't heard them, you must see their Daft Punk medley.

Here are some quick home repair related stats from the week.

  • Number of bathtubs caulked this week: 1.

  • Number of times that bathtub was caulked in the last two weeks: 2.

  • Learning to make sure that the caulk you purchased is white and not clear: Priceless.

  • Anders quote:
    It's funny how our mailbox is bigger on the inside.

    I'll take that as my parenting win of the week.

    Anders was able to attend his second basketball practice this week, where they learned offense and defense for the first time.

    Anders and his fierce face

    This weekend was also the Trout Lake "Cabin Fever" Festival. Of course, we still haven't had any snow this year, so no one has really been held in by the weather. Still, it is a good chance to interact with the community. So after basketball practice, we tasted the submissions to the soup competition and listened to some dang good old-time music at the Trout Lake Grange. Anders did an art project - a paper barn - at the local artist studio's open house and then we headed for home. And all no more than 3 miles from our house! Awesome.

    Yes, this was a pretty Super weekend in the country, no television required.

    - Mike, Corinne, and Anders