Date With My Dad: The Seattle Great Wheel, Dahlia Lounge, and…A Mishap

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My dad and I have a tradition of going out for a “Daddy-Daughter Date” for my birthday. We’ve done this every year since I was a little girl, and it’s something I always look forward to. My birthday is not until June but, with our big move looming on the horizon, we decided to do our date a bit early this year before things get too crazy.

I wanted to do something Seattle-y, so we went downtown for a little adventure. We started at the Seattle Great Wheel, a giant new ferris wheel on the Seattle waterfront.

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My dad had called ahead and scheduled us for the VIP treatment at the wheel. We got to go to the very front of the line where they had some nice cushy chairs–thrones, if you will– waiting for us so we didn’t have to stand while we were waiting to board. Then we got to ride in a deluxe “pod”–instead of the usual benches we got nice leather chairs with seat warmers, we had a port where we could plug in our phones for music, and we had a glass bottom on our pod so we could see below us as we lifted into the air and over the water.

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We even got T-shirts and a champagne toast! The views weren’t too shabby either.

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It really was a fun experience and I would definitely go back there with my tourist-friends (hint, hint–anyone want to come up for a visit?!).

After the Wheel we hailed a cab (my first time actually waving one down–can’t believe I’d never done that before!) and headed back downtown for dinner. We dined at Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Lounge and it was incredible. We had fresh baked bread from the Dahlia Bakery, Tuscan Bread Salad (probably the best salad I’ve ever eaten), and spice-rubbed pork. Delicious. Everything was just amazing. We finished off the meal with the most decadent Coconut Creme Pie, also from the Dahlia Bakery. Everything was perfect.

Until…

After dinner my dad walked me across the street to the parking garage where I’d parked my car (such a gentleman!). When we got there, however, there was something a bit strange–all of the garage doors were shut. Hmmm….

We took the elevator down to the level where my car was parked and saw that the parking attendant was still in his kiosk. Alright, I thought, they must just close the garage doors when it’s getting late so nobody else will come in to park. Well, that’s partly true. But they also close the garage doors when it’s getting late so nobody will go out.

Turns out my garage closed at 8:00 (who closes anything at 8:00???) and we were there at 8:03. And that parking attendant? He was just locking up the kiosk and in the 1 minute (literally one minute, I was parked as close to the exit as you could be parked) that it took me to get there, he was gone. Vanished. Never to be seen again.

All of the phone numbers in the parking garage took me to centralized answering stations somewhere NOT in Seattle and all they could say was, “Well, someone will be back tomorrow.” Tomorrow. Uggh.

So, long story short (OK, long story long) my helpful dad drove me all the way back home (in the opposite direction of his home, by the way). Then, at 5 AM this morning (WOOHOO!) my ever-endearing husband drove me and two sleepy children back down to Seattle to retrieve my poor, caged-up car before Dear Husband had to get to work. Lesson learned: always know when things close if you need them to be open.

It was a birthday date we will always remember–for better and worse!

How To Prepare Yourself For Parenthood In 138 Easy Steps

Jacob week 1 - 0182I have about a dozen friends who are currently pregnant with their first babies. That’s a lot of new babies, and a lot of people who are about to enter the hallowed role of “Parent”. There are many things that run through your mind when you’re about to become a mom or a dad: What are babies like? How do I know what the baby wants? What do I do with a baby?

Well I’m glad you were wondering, soon-to-be-parents, because I have all the answers (get used to that one, because soon enough you’ll realize that everyone else seems to think they have all the answers for how to raise your child). So, in no particular order, here are a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare yourself for parenthood.

Preparation For Labor And Delivery:

  1. Run a marathon. Backwards. Or on your hands, for all I care. Do this while getting jabbed in the gut by a UFC cage fighter every 2-5 minutes. Repeat for 12-48 hours.
  2. Don’t let your husband sleep for 2 or 3 days. Then, at the peak of rush hour, insist that he drive you across town in 1/4 the time that it usually takes during no-traffic. Turn up the heat in the car to 90 degrees. Yell at him the whole time he’s driving, and continuously insist that he drive faster.
  3. Forget holding an ice cube in your hand–go to Alaska and jump into the frozen ocean. Stay in the water until you don’t think you’re going to die, and then stay in the water because you know that it’s what is best for your unborn child.
  4. Have a sumo wrestler sit on your stomach while someone reminds you to breathe calmly.
  5. Take off your clothes–all of them–and invite your closest family and friends over to witness you walk naked through the house while shouting obscenities.
  6. Pee or throw-up on the floor and expect your husband to clean it up with a smile on his face while he says, “You’re doing GREAT, Honey! Keep it up!”.
  7. Pull down your pants and sit in a pile of poison ivy or stinging nettles. Have fun trying to pee for the next couple of weeks.
  8. Roll around on shards of broken glass while practicing your hypno-birthing mantras.

Preparation For A Newborn:

9. Set your alarm clock to go off every 2 hours around the clock. Every time the alarm goes off, get out of bed and repeatedly pinch the most tender part of your body for 30 minutes.
10. Put a cat in a paper bag. Blindfold yourself. Gently and swiftly wrap the “happy” cat in a tight swaddle.
11. Find some moldy food in the back of your fridge and smear it on your shirt. Don’t change, because you know that a clean shirt will just get dirty again.
12. Turn on your kitchen faucet to a low stream. Wrap the faucet in a towel. When that towel gets soaked in a few minutes, take it off and wrap on a new towel. Continue doing this, night and day, until you run out of towels. Then wash the towels and keep doing it.
13. Hold a 10 pound sack of flour while you do everything: get dressed, go to the bathroom, cook dinner,  eat.
14. Squirt mustard on all of your favorite clothes, your carpet, and your furniture. Have fun trying to get the stains out.
15. Search iTunes for an annoying sound: nails on a chalkboard, screeching animals, or grinding metal would all work. Have your husband play the sounds any time you start to doze off to sleep.
16. Read “Goodnight Moon”. 5,468 times.
17. Forget to eat breakfast, be too busy to eat lunch, and be too tired to eat dinner.
18. Take all of your showers at 5 AM or midnight because they’re the only times that you’re free.
19. Buy an entire wardrobe of adorable clothes that are 3 sizes too small. Get frustrated that you can’t wear any of them.

Preparation For A Toddler:

20. Take all of your favorite possessions and either lock them away or break them.
21. Take a pick-up truck to Goodwill and buy out their toy section. Back the truck up to your front door and dump the toys into your living room. Don’t ever pick them up.
22. Make a big batch of spaghetti. Throw all of it onto your walls, ceiling, floors, and furniture.
23. Gather all of the items you think you would need if the world was ending and you needed to get out of town. It will be a lot of stuff. Load those items into your car every time you leave the house, and unload them every time you get back home.
24. Cover every outlet in your house with duct tape. Get annoyed every time you try to plug something in.
25. Make an important phone call with a boombox playing heavy metal music at max volume in the background.
26. Do a load of laundry. Take your clean laundry directly outside and dump it into a mud puddle. Wash it all again. Repeat 7 days a week.
27. Go to the grocery store with a pair of fighting dogs. Tie them up inside your shopping cart  and calmly complete your shopping trip while ignoring the evil stares of the other shoppers.
28. Go to Costco and buy a box of Goldfish crackers, a box of Cheerios, and a bag of raisins. Dump them all out in your car, smash them into the seats, and stomp them into the carpet.
29. Wake up at 6 AM every. Single. Day.
30. Spend time away from your home exactly 1 evening per month. Return home by 9 PM because you know that you’ll have to wake up at 6 AM tomorrow.
31. Put honey on your hands and smear them over all of your windows.
32. Withdraw $400 from your bank account each month. Burn it.
33. Start drinking massive quantities of coffee each day to kick-start your caffeine-dependency.
34. Repeat the following words to yourself until they don’t phase you anymore: poop, pee, booger, snot, puke. Take it one step further by posting about these topics on Facebook.

OK, so it’s not exactly 138 steps–but it sure feels like it. Hey, nobody ever said that parenting was easy!

Haircuts: A Retrospective

I have a tendency to let some things go until they are absolutely driving me nuts. ‘Tis the case with David’s hair. It’s been a few months since his last trim and David’s head was starting to look like an overgrown jungle. So, it was decided: today would be haircut day.

David must have known it was haircut day because he decided to pull all of our photo albums off the shelf while I was putting Jacob down for his morning snooze. As we were looking at some of the old photos I came across these gems from David’s very first haircut, a year ago almost to the day.

Here he is before his first cut:

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And after:

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I couldn’t help but notice how little he looks in these photos! Which is funny, because when it was actually happening I thought he was so big. Here he was–my BABY–getting his very first big boy haircut. I remember thinking how old and grown up he looked after the haircut…and I remember being a little bit sad that he was already growing up (OK, I’m still a little bit sad that he’s growing up).

And then there was today. We usually do David’s haircuts at home now, but we decided to splurge and take him back to the same place where he got his first haircut. But things were a little different this time. He sat still (quite the improvement!), he held a conversation with his stylist, and he came out looking even bigger than after that first fateful cut.

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I know that some day in the not-too-distant future I will look back at these photos and think about how little he looked. But, at least for today, he seems so big to me.

To my handsome boy David: I hope you continue to change and to grow and to become your own person. As long as a little part of you still wants to be my baby.

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Lessons From A Garbage Can

This is a garbage can.

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It looks like an ordinary, run-of-the-mill garbage can, and it is…and it isn’t. You see, this garbage can has become a bit of an extension of our family. We spend time with it, we care for it and it has taught us many things. This all sounds a bit strange, so let me explain.

Several months ago at church we heard a sermon that challenged us to fix the problems that we found. The message was basically that if you see a problem and it is bothering you, then maybe you should be the one to help find a solution. After all, if it’s bothering you that much then it’s probably something that’s already near and dear to your heart.

The first problem that came to mind when I was listening to the sermon was our park. We have a wonderful neighborhood park across the street from our house that is well-loved and much-used by kids from the surrounding area. There is a playground and a basketball court in the park, so we spend many, many hours there–rain or shine. I know all of the kids who play there and they all know us. I spend so much time there that I feel like it’s “my” park.

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You can imagine my annoyance, then, when I would get to the park each morning to find piles of trash lining the basketball court and littering the fields. How dare these kids come to my park and leave such a mess? Who was going to clean this up? And that’s when it hit me: I was annoyed by this problem because I needed to be the one to fix it.

We had an extra-large garbage can from when we were doing some home improvement projects and I got permission from our homeowner’s association to chain it to one of the hoops in the park. Then we went to work.

I started by gathering together all of the kids who frequent the park and showing them the garbage can and how to use it (I didn’t want to leave it up to chance that they’d actually know how to put their trash in the can). Then I had them all help me tidy up the park. I told them we were going to have a race to see who could get the most pieces of trash in the garbage can in 5 minutes–they all won! (wink, wink).

It’s been about 6 months now since we first put the garbage can in our park. David and I still go to the park almost every day, but now the first thing we do when we get there is collect litter to put in the garbage can. David has taken ownership of the park that he uses so frequently and he enjoys lending a helping hand.

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I explain to David that when we pick up litter we are helping the environment and helping to keep our park safe and clean for everyone. More importantly, though, David is learning that he can solve problems. He can do his own little part to be Jesus’ hands and feet in a world that is full of problems. And, some day, he will find his own problems–and instead of running away from them he will fix them.

Reasons My Kid Is Crying

Last week my sister-in-law sent us a link to this blog called “Reasons My Son Is Crying”. It’s pretty stinking hilarious. Basically, the boys’ parents just post photos of the ridiculous things that their toddler is crying over. It’s really funny but, the reality is, any parent of a 2- or 3-year old knows that life with a toddler is just a series of tantrums, almost-tantrums, and just-got-over-tantrums.

Since David throws a fit about once an hour, I thought it would be pretty easy for me to do my own post on the ridiculous reasons my kid is crying. Turns out, I was able to snap all of these photos in just a few days–piece of cake. And, since it’s a lot more fun to laugh at a crying kid than to join him, here are are the reasons why my kid was crying this week:

dontwantmyhoopdownstairsHe wants the net on his basketball hoop to be “tangled”.

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He wants the string off his balloon.

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He doesn’t want me to sing Jesus Loves Me.

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He wants me to put the basketball hoop in the other room.

youtookawaymyhoopHe doesn’t want his basketball hoop in the other room.

photo (2)He wants to throw his brother’s toys outside to the dog.

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He wants to sit on his bed (note that he is sitting on his bed).

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His basketball hoop doesn’t fit inside a box.

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Daddy tried to say “Hi” to him.

And, last but not least…

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The dog won’t sit for him.

It’s tough being a toddler, but somebody’s got to do it. Thanks for humoring us, David!

Modeling At Zulily

Yesterday we went down to the Zulily headquarters in Seattle for a fun little photo shoot. Zulily is an online daily deal site that sells items for moms, kids and home. I love the website and shop there frequently, so I was excited to learn that they are actually based right here in the Emerald City. I have several friends whose kids have modeled on the site so I decided to look into it. Turns out, all you have to do is sign up on their website and if they need models in your kids’ size they’ll contact you to come in for a photo shoot. The models get “paid” in juice boxes, toys, copies of their professional photos, and gift certificates to the Zulily website.

This is the second time we’ve gone down to Zulily for photos. David actually had a lot of fun last time and has been talking about it ever since we went a couple of months ago. So, when they asked us to come back again this week, we were happy to return.

We brought along my friend Diana for moral support and extra hands. Since Zulily is literally across the street from Starbucks headquarters we thought it would be fitting to pick up some coffee and cocoa before our photo shoot.

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When we got to Zulily we had a few minutes before our stylist (yes, even my baby was assigned his own stylist) was ready to bring us on set. They have a pretty sweet playroom for the model-kids to hang out in while they’re waiting:

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Then it was time for “lights, camera, SMILE!”. They ended up doing separate photo shoots for David and Jacob this time. I had to stay with Jacob, so Diana went along with David to help him.

Jacob got to baby-model a baby sling. Here he is posing oh-so-sweetly with his model-mama and his patient photographer:

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I didn’t get to see any of David’s shoot because I was in a separate studio with Jacob this time. Since I don’t have any photos of David from this week, here’s a little peek back to his shoot from the last time we went to Zulily:

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So dapper! If you want to see the boys’ photos “live” on the Zulily website, head on over there today (Tuesday) to see David (he’s modeling “Candyland” kids apparel) and Wednesday to see Jacob (he’ll be modeling for “Slinglings” baby carriers). I have to say, I think they’re the cutest little models I ever have seen!