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Recipe for an Amazing Morning

Ingredients:
1 Toddler
1 Mommy
1 Nana
1 Car

Instructions:
Combine all ingredients between 7:00 and 7:30 am. Drive to Kenmore Air Harbor. Observe activity for 30 to 60 minutes, or until bored.

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Yes, that is a fork lift carrying a sea plane.

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This is a vintage 1924 float plane, the only one of this type in the world still flying.

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When bored, walk 1/4 mile to Cemex factory. Find safe place to observe cement trucks.

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When thoroughly chilled, return to air harbor, use bathroom and warm up. Observe mechanics repairing planes. Watch out: Toddler will likely start getting very hungry, and express this problem vehemently.

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Drive to breakfast, eat a huge pile of eggs and toast, and change diaper. Go to Blyth Park to play on the tire mountain. Coincidentally, you may encounter another child you know from church.

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When tired of the park, return home to find street repair crew working on patching the road a block from home. Go observe, taking care to examine backhoe loader carefully.

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Mommy may be required to put toddler down for a nap 30 minutes early, due to extreme tiredness.

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Practically Perfect

It’s real tough going around here these days, let me tell you.

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Ian and Benji wear hard hats while playing construction site, a game inspired by all our visits to…

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…a real construction site. Benji was oddly thrilled when a bored excavator driver, waiting for dump trucks to come back, pulled out and ate a banana. We immediately had to eat a banana while wearing a hard hat when we got home.

This morning we went for a fairly easy trailer ride, and the conditions were exceptionally nice. Benji tolerated our time on the trail, but perked up when we got back on the road with all the cars and trucks. If we could, he’d probably have me ride on the freeway. In lieu of that, as a compromise, we ride busy roads that have bike lanes.

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My phone does some auto-HDR when it detects the appropriate conditions.

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I have a cold, but honestly, I’ve got nothing to complain about. Life is good.

OH! I meant to add this: We must be a really weird family. This morning Benji asked (through pantomime and sign) about how the washer and dryer worked. So I drew him a picture on the chalk board:

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As I drew I narrated the story (by the way, this is a summary. My story to Benji was way longer and more detailed): First you get your clothes all dirty; then you put them in the washer with soap, turn it on, and water comes in and swirls it around; when it’s clean, you put it in the dryer, where it’s spun with hot air blow drying it.

Fine… But then somehow I ended up explaining how soap works. I had Benji acting as dirt, while I was soap; I grabbed Benji and some water (in a sippy cup) and off we went to have adventures. I drew it in the diagram, too. And included a real water molecule with two hydrogens and one oxygen. Somehow I don’t think normal parents do this with their 2-year-olds.

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Benji’s Weight in Cereal

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This is what 25 pounds* of freshly-milled (as in, August 13, five days ago) farro wheat porridge mix looks like. It’s grown by a farm in the Methow Valley called Bluebird Grain Farms, and they process and ship it directly to the consumer. I’ve tried several of their hot cereals, and liked this enough to make a big commitment.

I love this farro wheat; it’s delicious, slightly nutty and sweet. But it also has a significant amount of protein (unusual for a grain) and, naturally, tons of fiber as well as much less gluten than other wheat. I’m not anti-gluten, by any stretch, but if that matters to you, this is a wheat that fits with a low-gluten diet. I eat it for breakfast with in-season fruit of any kind and topped with an extremely generous serving of yogurt, but I’m also excited to try the pudding recipe enclosed in this shipment.

In short, nutrition-wise, this is serious fuel that keeps me going on long bike rides or, more important, on long mornings with an energetic toddler.

* In unrelated news, Benji had his 2-year checkup and now is 35.5″ tall and 25.2 lbs. I didn’t get the “compared to other kids percentile” numbers, so I can’t feel irrationally proud and/or bummed at his percentiles. He’s healthy and normal, got one shot, and we were outta there. See you next year, doc!

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Back Yard Construction Project

It seems like we’ve had construction of one sort or another going on in our back yard for ages. Actually, it started June 23 with the fence coming down, and – mark it on the calendar – finished today, August 9.

Incidentally, today is my and Ian’s 11th anniversary. Yay for Team Ferguson!

Anyway, today we got home from our sunny Seaside interlude to a completed trellis and bench. Jim continued working while we were gone, and here’s what our finished product looks like.

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I’m going to have to live with it for a while, as some things weren’t exactly as I envisioned (the 2x2s feel really long; the corner of the long beams doesn’t meet and cross, sticking out a bit, as I imagined). But overall, I’m really happy with it. We feel that this really helps define the deck much more, giving that corner a sense of being a room to spend time in, not just an open expanse of boards.

Our current idea is to hang potted plants from the beams, and put some kind of lattice in, possibly along the lower 1/3 of the open area (specifics remain a matter of much continued discussion).The bench is a place where we can entertain, chat, hang out, keep an eye on kids in the yard… I’m happy with the trellis, but I love the bench already.

As always, the yard is a work in progress, and we now have a lot of cleanup to do from these projects – gotta find any nails before running around barefoot – but we’ve taken a step I’m very excited about. Next up: Planting some big trees for future shade and privacy.

The Beach, and Stuff

The garden here is a little crazy, but lovely in the sun. Actually, everything looks nicer in the sun. Funny how that works.
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We went to the beach yesterday; pictures follow. I think somebody’s going to be very sad when our vacation is over. Benji might miss it, too.

Oh, I should also mention that Benji is fascinated with Grandpa Gary’s coffee bean grinder, and waits eagerly for bean grinding in the morning. Then he periodically tells us about it with great enthusiasm during the day.

Also still receiving great enthusiasm is the story of following a street sweeper around, a memory Benji continues to remind us of daily. He and Mom saw this almost a week ago, and still he gets excited. No memory issues for this boy, that’s for sure.

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Benji has started calling Gary “Papa,” which hardly seems fair for my dad, who somehow became “Boo-boo”… But at least now we know when Benji talks about them. He still can’t/hasn’t said “Grammy,” despite our diligent efforts to teach him. The “gr” sound seems to continue to stymie him. Other new words include cracker, uh-oh (often accompanied by an intentional drop), apple, all gone (usually for all done), ice, car, blue, red, big, doggie, truck, bus, and bleck or my personal favorite variation, bleck-a-bleck-a-bleck.

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Even More Seaside Vacation!

Earlier this week, we found a park on the south end of town that never had any other kids, but does have a really fun rock wall to climb.

As an added bonus, blackberries grow profusely behind the building next door. Benji enjoys picking and eating them, but still has to practice sharing. Mom asked him to give her a berry, do he picked one, put it in her hand, then immediately snatched it back and popped it into his mouth.

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We’ve also made it to the beach a few more times; despite low, misty clouds plaguing us every morning, must afternoons fine up and allow us some play time.

This coming weekend (I think) is a big sand volleyball tournament, with 2,000 teams and 140 nets. I mention this because we got to watch the Bobcat tractors with giant drill bit thingies drilling holes for those 280 poles. Benji’s been talking about it (using primarily elaborate charades supplemented with sound effects) for days.

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Yesterday Ian’s parents came down to join us for a couple days. Here are some miscellaneous pictures from these days.

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Dulcius Ex Asperis