Logan

Goodbye, Washington

Only two days before we needed to head home, we finally started to get our energy back and feel a little more human. We took advantage of that by hitting yarn stores (as mentioned before), but also driving around the area to take in the sights.

One such sight was Snoqualmie Falls. At only a short walk away from the parking area, and very near the highway, it was a low-energy-commitment way to see an amazing natural wonder. The sun did not shine on the falls themselves, but we did find a nice location near the falls to get a few group shots of us (which we had been waiting to take until our noses weren't all chapped from blowing them). Well, we got shots of the adults, anyway--Levi had WAY too much energy to sit still for a photo. Yep, he was pretty much back to normal. :-)

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington. I was having fun with a slow shutter speed on my camera to get a smooth, silky look. This was the slowest I could go before the whole thing went blurry, since I was just hand-holding the camera.

This gorgeous shot had all the effects provided by nature--no post-editing required! This was looking toward the tourist walkway by the river, with all the mist rising from the falls.

Here are a few other shots from the trip that I absolutely love. Apparently, I was quite fascinated with the greenery. I really loved all the interesting textures and the way the light played with the moss and ferns on the trees.

This tree looked so interesting to me, like it was going to start waving its branches around like arms.

I just loved all this lush texture!

Most of the tree shots were taken on a walk we took. Levi pushed his own stroller for almost the entire 2-mile jaunt!

On our way home, we stopped over at the Burdicks' once again, but unfortunately with very little time to visit. However, we were comfy and cozy in their little guest cabin, and got an early start home the next day for the long, final stretch of our journey. (Since the snow had melted, no sand required to exit the driveway this time!)

Besides The Cold (which still lingers), and the yarn we gathered, and the photos, we have memories that are so precious, and will last a lifetime. And even though I still have a great deal on my plate, this break was just what I needed to do a mental "reset" and come home ready to tackle my responsibilities with new zest.

How has your February been so far, friends?

Home, Sweet Bachelor's Home

My brother purchased his first home last year, and since I hadn't been to visit him in Washington since 2009, this was the first time I got to see it.

It is so, so adorable. (Sorry, Logan, it just is.) The yard completely surrounds the squarish two-story house with green and grass and loveliness. The house has a partial wrap-around deck/patio. It was built with large windows on all sides that let in the light and take advantage of the beautiful landscaping, but said landscaping makes the property almost completely private.

I'm sure constant rain would get old fast if you lived here, but for us, it was a nice break from snow and cold.

A bench and some dormant flowers on one edge of the patio on a grey, rainy day.

Sometimes the sun would break through, and the results were spectacular!

One of the few places one can see the access road from the house.

View through a kitchen window.

This "stump chair" sits by the driveway.

There is a little play set in the yard, which Levi made good use of once he was feeling better!

Some of the neighbourhood dogs--they were pretty cute!!

By the time we left, spring had arrived in Logan's yard, and some of the flower bushes were blooming.

At night, the frogs would sing a loud neighbourhood chorus. Levi thought they were a little scary at first, but I think he got over it eventually.

Also, his newly-redone kitchen made me seriously green. (All the mess on the counters in the photos was brought by us. The kitchen was beautiful and clean when we arrived.)

Cooking lesson: instructing my brother on the art of soup, perfect for treating The Cold.

It felt like we had gone on vacation to a cabin in the woods, and it was so peaceful and relaxing, it was hard to want to leave. I don't think he is planning to start a B&B anytime soon, though! Sorry to disappoint. ;-)

Yarn Everywhere!

There is probably some irony in the fact that I spent nearly two weeks around the greater Seattle area, and the only time I actually entered the city proper was on our way home from Vancouver Island, when our GPS stopped working and we ended up taking the freeway right by downtown before we figured out what was happening. It was a really pretty view at night--so glad we drove by that way. :-)

However, we did get to visit a fair number of communities around Seattle, not least of which being Redmond, where the Microsoft campus is--of course Logan took us there! We even got to eat lunch at a couple of their on-campus ethnic cafeterias. I opted for Indian food, and was pretty sad that my cold prevented me from fully enjoying the flavours I knew were present. (Side note: I gained respect for Microsoft as a company when we went to throw out our plates and found that nearly everything on my tray was compostable plastic or paper, and MS has two bins for compost and only one for the landfill. Honestly, I don't know what ever gets put in the latter. Maybe if someone brought their own plastic cutlery, just to be a jerk?)

My mother and I both being knitters, we also wanted to visit a couple of Local Yarn Stores (LYS) to bask in glorious yarny options. Living in the North, most of our yarn shopping is done online, so we often take it on faith, or just take the risk, that the yarn we are ordering will be the softness, colour, or look that we want when we buy it. To actually touch the yarns and see all the options available before buying them was a huge treat, especially as many of these stores carry yarns that are quite specialized and luxurious. When a quick internet search turned up scads of yarn stores in the area, the idea of visiting a yarn store or two morphed into doing a "yarn store crawl."

My social media usage was seriously curtailed during my trip, but I did manage to post about the stores we visited on my My Secret Wish by Talena Facebook page as we went, so I am simply going to repost those posts here for posterity. (Posty posted posting... :-D)

February 13:

I have been doing a yarn store crawl in the Seattle area while visiting my brother here, although it has been hampered by all four of us (my mom, brother, 2-year-old son, and I) having one of the top 3 Worst Colds Ever.

We started at Serial Knitters in Kirkland, which was a lovely store with friendly service. The ladies knitting together in the back looked like they held that position often, and the customer I mistakenly took for staff laughingly explained she only lived there, not worked there.

Great place. Check it out next time you are in this neck of the woods.

Project-in-progress: Revolution Mitten for Levi, first of the pair.

The next store we went hunting for was no longer in business--that's what we get for trusting a GPS that hadn't been updated in 5 years! It was a combination tea/yarn store, but we weren't out of luck yet--there was another one of these awesome combination stores in Ballard, and we headed straight over there instead (after calling to make sure they still WERE in business!) Jean and Patricia at The Tea Cozy were wonderful to deal with, and we got some luscious yarny treats from here.

I picked up my first ever skeins of Madelinetosh yarn, something long-coveted on my wish list.

Project-in-progress: my mom's first cable project. (Oh, yes, she did choose a travelling cable stole.)

February 15:

Yesterday, we were feeling a little healthier, so we headed out and about again. We had three yarn stores south of here on the roster. As it turns out, Tolt Yarn and Wool was the only one of the three still in business--but it made the whole trip worthwhile on its own.

Found in the little town of Carnation, Washington, it is bursting with charm, character, and comfort. The spacious interior is reminiscent of an old-fashioned hardware store, with yarn tucked into wooden crates and boxes and acid-etched cement floors. The selection was stunning and a feast for the eyes. In the back, the Saturday knitting crowd happily shared their projects-in-progress with us as they clicked away by a roaring fire in the wood stove.

As I checked out with my Donegal Tweed yarn in a yummy shade of Kelly green (really from Donegal, Ireland!), one of the two ladies on staff that day gave me an amazing tip about how the yarn washes from her own personal experience with it... and lovingly wrapped my skeins in tissue and sealed the package with a sticker before popping it into a lovely paper shopping bag. (I'm a sucker for great presentation.)

If I ever open a yarn store, this is going to be high on the list of stores I try to emulate. Another store I highly recommend!

Yes, this is a gauge swatch. Eep--I was between mittens, and tradition dictates that a project-in-progress photo needs to be something ON THE NEEDLES. Mom was swatching to start the new Snow for Lorelai Boot Cuffs. :-)

February 17:

One of the knitters we met at Tolt Yarn and Wool recommended that we stop at Mount Vernon's WildFibers on our way home the next day, so we did. And we are SOOO glad. What a lovely little shop! The yarn selection is stunning, and arranged around the walls by weight, so it is easy to find what you are looking for. The samples on display around the shop were beautiful, and the lady working that day said they were mostly knit by the owner and her mother. With yarns from Rowan, Madelinetosh, and more, this is one yarn store you won't want to miss.

...Not to mention the rest of the town, which was oozing with vintage charm. We have now put Mount Vernon on our "places to come and explore" list for our next visit to Washington.

Project-in-Progress: Pink Hawaii socks--a pattern I will likely make available when I finally finish the pair!

And so ended our yarny adventures. I had planned to do much more knitting on the trip than I did, but The Cold sapped all my energy, including my will to knit (!). However, I did finally finish the mittens I started for Levi on the way down the day after we got home:

3-Colour  Revolution Mittens ! Fun project for my little man!

3-Colour Revolution Mittens! Fun project for my little man!

Logan was a really great sport about chauffeuring us around to the various stores, and also helped with entertaining the whiny, sick toddler so we could actually look. What a great brother/uncle! Thanks, Logan! This was definitely a fun part of our trip!

Rough and Buff

Thank you, Colleen, for these. Although I didn't actually use any today, they were humourous enough to help me back on the path to sanity.

It's been a heck of a week. On Sunday, I woke up with a sore throat and a runny nose. Bummer. So Jason said we should stay home ("If you go to church, you'll just sing with all the songs, and talk a lot, and then sing on the way home, and then sing while you play the piano this afternoon, and then..."), and I agreed this was probably best. However, this meant that I would not be getting out on my last chance for socialization before he needed to use the van to drive to work again for three weeks. (His car-pool buddy's wife just had a baby, and he's taking three weeks off.)

So. I've been fighting a cold all week. I took most of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday to sit on my butt as much as possible, occupying myself with watching the boys and our new puppy play in the yard, or making sure Suri didn't have an accident in the house, or making sure Noah wasn't picking her up by the tail, or making sure Jude wasn't chasing her around to the point of utter exhaustion ("Jude, she's just a baby! She needs lots of naps, still!") and reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

I thought I'd finally make up my own mind on the whole Harry Potter thing, since Heather Anne loves the series so much. I have to say, I can see why J.K. Rowling is so successful from it. She weaves a good tale. As far as the controversy--I can see the points on both sides. Jason read it too. I think we're going to have to think about it. However, if I got rid of my copy of A Wrinkle in Time because of the New Age leanings in it, I'm guessing Harry Potter won't be surviving in this house. We'll see.

By Thursday, my cold didn't feel any better, but I knew I had guests coming for the weekend, so I had to make some sort of an effort to put the house in order. So I spent the day working. A lot. And still doing all the same Suri-and-kids-related activities as before.

To make things more fun, I think Jude may have been fighting the cold, too, because he took a nap almost every day this week, even though he seldom takes them anymore. And his attitude has sucked.

And oh, the LIES!! This kid has a serious lying habit that I am at my wit's end about. And he just lies about stupid stuff he doesn't even need to, sometimes. What sucks is that he's the only kid that can talk somewhat articulately, so I kind of rely on him to tell me what happened in a situation I was not an eye-witness to. But how can I trust the kid when he just LIES first thing?

Jabin seems to have been getting up unusually early this week, as well. And the naps have been all wonky--I think there was one day where all three children, and the dog, were sleeping at the same time, so I got to have a little nap--I had been asleep for maybe half an hour and the phone rang. I forgot to unplug it because I am not in the habit of taking naps anymore, either. This woke both me, and Jude, up.

So between the cold, the short nights, the napless days, preventing the kids from torturing the dog, and getting completely frustrated by the liar with the bad attitude in my house, it all built up to the screaming-through-my-keyboard that you were witness to this morning.

Only because if I screamed in real life, it would scare all my kids and the neighbours would call the police.

However, there is a sunshiny end to this dismal week: my brother and father arrived tonight to visit for the weekend. This is the first time Logan has met Jabin, as the last time I saw him was only weeks before Jabin was born at my grandfather's funeral last October.

I found out something really cool about my brother tonight. He entered a strongman competition. And he pulled a bus.

You have to realize: my brother is a self-proclaimed computer geek. He has been a computer geek for as long as I remember. And although he has always been a semi-active guy, he's not the guy I had ever visualized pulling the bus in those strongman competitions.

But apparently, this is one computer geek that refuses to be totally out of shape. (Visualize Dilbert's paunch.)

Instead, he really is buff! Check out this post for pictures of the competition. My brother is the one in the blue shirt that says "I'm made of meat" on it. (You might not have been able to read it in his photo--I only knew that because he is wearing the same shirt tonight.)

Also, he has this interesting goatee look going. Tell ya, Bro--cut your hair really short, add a gold earring or two, and I'd mistake you for a drummer, not a computer nerd. (I'm thinking most people don't guess your true profession by looking at you, do they?)

My baby brother. *sniff* All grown up.

Maybe that's why I keep getting his name mixed up with Jude's: I keep forgetting he's not a baby anymore. Dang it!