Museum Day

When I lived in Pittsburgh, I made a weekly habit of taking my children to a museum every Friday.  Since my employment at the library got me into lots of museums for free, it was easy to do.  But then I quit my job, moved to Salt Lake, and the kids grew up and went to school.  Museum day fell by the wayside.

Fast forward a few years — I decided to bring a little Katie into the world, and we moved to Seattle.  Suddenly we have all these new museums to visit, and a little girl to share them with.  Museum Day is back!

So today: the Seattle Art Museum.  I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the inside of the place, because Katie was so excited to be there that we dashed right by the sign showing the museum’s photography policy without reading it.  Just rest assured that we saw lots of amazing Georgia O’Keefe paintings and painted thunderbird totem poles.  So here we are with Hammering Man, outside.


And can I say how friendly people are downtown?  I maneuvered my stroller to a door, and someone leaped forward to open it for me.  I paused for a moment to look at at street sign, and a man in a suit immediately asked if I needed help getting around.  Nice, right?  I’ve read that Seattle had a reputation for courtesy, but it’s great to see it in action for myself.

On the way there, we stopped at Soundbridge, the education space for the Seattle Symphony.  They have a big room full of different instruments for kids to play.  Katie was scared of the cello and double bass (too loud, maybe?) but she loved the 1/4-size violin.


Cute, right?  She was also a little too shy to play the xylophone for very long, but the red ukulele?  She loved it so much I had to pry it out of her hands when it was time to go.

Next time I’ll plan to stay longer so I can take advantage of the wicked set of gourmet food trucks I passed on my way back to the parking garage.  There was even a GRILLED CHEESE TRUCK.  *swoon*

Katie Update


Katie . . .

  • Has learned how to get a drink for herself from the water dispenser in the fridge.  She usually takes a sip, then spits it out all over the kitchen floor.
  • She also knows how to get pears for herself from the fruit bowl.  I’ve slipped on three half-eaten pears this week, all left on the living room floor.
  • Pears are obtained by moving around the kitchen step-stool.  She usually does this by picking up the stool and yelling “I’ve got it!” which is now one of my most dreaded phrases to hear
  • Insists on wearing a princess dress to the park (see picture, above.  Her dress is stuffed in the swing)
  • Insists on carrying a little travel-sized bar of soap wherever she goes, including trips away from home
  • If you forget the soap, she yells “DOAP DOAP DOAP” until you get it for her
  • Has discovered how to get into the sugar bowl in the pantry, which she usually goes after with double-fisted sugar-munching action.  Last time she had a big wooden serving spoon to get more of it.
  • She’s so euphoric with sugar that any attempts to discipline her (scolding, time-outs) are pointless, since she’s just laughing madly and chuckling “SUGAH!  SUGAH! SUGAH!”  until I give up.  (Yes, I should move the sugar to a higher shelf, but that would require cleaning out my Tetris-like pantry entirely)
  • Frequent viewings of Sesame Street led to a habit of laughing like Ernie whenever she thinks she’s done something clever
  • Lately there’s a high interest in using the toilet.  Except she often confuses her consonants, and so calls the “potty” a “cubby.”  And whenever someone else uses the bathroom, she gets possessive.  “MY CUBBY!  MY CUBBY!”
  • Insists on helping fold clothes (usually unfolding whatever I’ve already done)
  • Insists on helping wash floor (usually by spitting water all over the floor first)
  • Insists on helping to re-organize china cabinet (today she dropped a glass goblet into a crystal pitcher.  The goblet broke, but the pitcher’s fine)
  • Went totally ballistic when she saw the merry-go-round during our most recent trip to the zoo.  She got to ride it (see picture, below) but the resulting tantrum when it was time to get off caused my other three children to say, “Mom, I like the zoo, but I think Katie needs to go home.”
  • Asks to snuggle on my lap with a sippy cup while watching My Little Pony.  She does this by grabbing my legs, batting her eyelashes, and asking “A ba-ba?  A pony?  A lap?”
  • is pretty much irresistible.  Thank goodness she takes 3-hour naps.


Katie Turned 2; Here’s the Birthday Party

Woodland animal cupcakes!


Owls, hedgehogs, bears, raccoons.  The hedgehogs were the most popular.  Because sprinkles.

And Aunt Kristen was there!  Grandma was there, too, but somehow wasn’t in any of my pictures.  My latest dithering efforts with the ice cream maker meant we had three kinds of sorbet: meyer lemon, blood orange, and kiwi.  Blood orange was the most popular.  Because blood.


And we didn’t have any birthday candles, so we just used regular candlesticks.  Katie enjoyed this, but when it came time to blow them out, she opened her mouth and SCREAMED.


Yeah, this picture makes it look like her mouth is open in a state of gleeful surprise.  No, she’s shrieking.  This may be my favorite new method to blow out birthday candles.

” . . . biiiiirth-daaaay toooo youuuuuu–”


We gave her a doll for her birthday.  Katie was thrilled enough that she spent a good 15 minutes at bedtime singing it a nonsense-sound lullaby.  D’awwwww.

Eleanor also spent all of dinnertime creating “party stations” upstairs.  There was a station for making paper flowers, one for a beanbag game, one for a puppet show, one for drawing.  She used colored tape on the floor and hung handwritten signs to show where each activity was to take place.  I’d have commended her more if she hadn’t used this project as an excuse to skip dinner (we were eating something she didn’t like).

But: this paper airplane.  How can you stay mad at someone when they make this for their little sister’s birthday?


She Done Turned One

Katie’s first trip around the sun was celebrated with chicken enchiladas, cake from Granite Bakery, and lots of family.  The funny thing is, nobody photographed anybody but Kate.

She cheered when everyone sang to her,

found the icing flowers fascinating,

and perfected the double-fisted cake-grab.

Presents are still kind of a mystery, but with assistance, she found cute clothes and fun toys.

This is a kind of building block called “Wedgits,” from Brian’s mom.  I gave her a toy smartphone, which lights up and plays music when you press the “apps.”  I only mention this because I have a daft fantasy that my blog will be read by some archaeologist 100 years from now, and this mention of toy smartphones will come across as quaint and charming.

My favorite moment of the evening was how she clapped, cheered, and crowed with the whole family surrounding her — and then how she got a little bashful when we all sang “Happy Birthday.”  She couldn’t have cared less about the cake just then.  Thank goodness big brother William was there to extinguish the candle.

In fact, why not watch a snippet for yourself?

Miss Snuffleupagus

Katie has started doing this thing where she squnches up her face and snuffles.  It only happens when she’s excited about something, not upset or unhappy.  Her face looks like this:

I even managed to get a squidgen of video showing Katie doing her snuffle thing.  But it’s brief.  I have many, many more videos of Katie surrounded by her siblings, all of whom are snuffling away, trying to get her to do it, too.  In fact, in this clip, you even hear me snuffling behind the camera, trying to get a repeat performance.

My parents are charmed by the snuffle face.  They say I used to do it, too, when I was a baby.  This is kind of nice to know, since Katie doesn’t look much like me or Brian.  It looks like she’s going to have gray eyes.  Gray!  Or maybe a gray-hazel . . . grazel?

Hooray for Baby Girl

Last Sunday was Katie’s baby blessing.  I’m all in favor of baby celebrations, although they are kind of a cruel joke for a new mother.

“Hey!  You look exhausted!  Why not throw a lavish luncheon for your closest family and friends?”

I never had to uphold this tradition with my first three kids — they were born in Pennsylvania, far from family, and so there was no pressure to play the hostess.  But to tell the truth, I kind of missed having a bit of a party to celebrate my new little ones.  So, with Katie, I decided to throw a party on such a level as to represent the births of all four kids.

Also, it gave me a reason to finally try out some recipes I’ve been had in my To Be Cooked pile for ten-odd years.  I mean, is my cookbook shelf a warehouse, or an vibrant contribution to household information?  (Yeah, that’s the libarian talking.)

Both sets of grandparents were able to be there, as well as all three of my brothers and their significant others.  Cousin June was thrilled to sit with Eleanor and William during church services, and likewise Jeffrey was by Uncle Alex the whole while.

Katie, being the mild-mannered girl she is, was quiet and complacent during her blessing.  Someone (I can’t remember who) said that she spent her time slowly gazing from one face to another during the ceremony.  What a lovely girl.

I can’t quite remember everything Brian said during the blessing, except that it was very touching and sweet.  I just remember one thing: about Katie growing to love her brothers and sister as much as they already love her, so they can all learn and grow from each other.  This has always been my greatest wish for my family, so it was very heartwarming to hear it in Katie’s blessing.

Afterwards, we all trooped over to my house for a splendiferous feast!  Featuring:


Yellow Pepper Frittata (with artichoke hearts, yum)

Steamed Asparagus with creamy dill dip


Fruit Salad with honey-lime-mint dressing

Smoked Salmon Bites!

I put the exclamation point here because this was by far my favorite dish of the day.  They were very easy to make and TASTY.  I know it’s kind of pretentious to use caviar in a dish, but I’ve never done it before and CARPE DIEM.  And the cost isn’t all that bad when you’re only buying one ounce, OKAY?  Here’s the most perfect one I made.  It was consumed shortly after taking this photo:

And for dessert?  Carrot cake, which I’ve been craving for a whole month.  Speaking of which, I think I might go carve myself a leftover slice right now . . .

The post-luncheon entertainment included acrobatics performed by Grandpa and various little grandchildren.  A class act all around.