Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Winter of our non-content...

Oh, right, we have a blog...

It amazing how quickly this blog has fallen off our radar. I think that between both Sarah and I being heads down in our jobs and with day-to-day life, and with that "instant gratification machine" called Facebook, how rarely either she or I think to post here. It's not that we don't have anything to post, but instead the events of our lives these days are more, well, normal. Work. Kids. Date Night. Work. Wine Making. Work. Kids. Cleaning. Repeat. Suddenly, two or three months have past. And, once those months have past, getting caught here seems like a chore. And, once something seems like a chore... well, it never gets done.

So, in hopes of getting this blog back in order, I'm letting Sarah and I off the hook. I won't try to do some sort of comprehensive catch up session. Just trust us that we had a great Christmas and wonderful New Year. And, to help you imagine, here's a couple photos...

Riding the Holiday Merrry-Go-Round in downtown Seattle.

Picking out our Christmas tree at the Dunshee House in Seattle, a family tradition.

Standing in front of the same tree a couple hours later.

Stella playing in the snow... in Texas! I might be mistaken, but this could have been the only snow we saw this Winter. It was a surprisingly mild Summer in Seattle.

Stella hugging her Great-Grandma (my Grandma), Gloria, at our family Thanksgiving get together.

Also, I'll talk a little bit about the kids, since -frankly- they are amazing. Back last December, as a sort of spur of the moment decision, I took the two of them to Vashon, while Sarah worked. It was one of those special days that I'll look back on fondly, not just because of the fun we had, or because of the opportunity to hang out with just them, but also because of what a perfect little snapshot it was of where they were at the time.

Exploring the beach.

Stella had just turned four, and what a fun age it's been. Having finally emerged from all the awkwardness and frustration (learning to walk, talk, toilet training... etc, etc) of being a toddler; she is now an amazing, inventive and inquisitive little girl. As someone who has always valued my creativity, and enjoyed the creativity of others, it's awe-inspiring to watch her creative spirit bloom. Her days are filled with imagined ballet performances and trips to outer space; and as a little illustrator she grows by leaps and bounds daily. Four is definitely a fun age.

How old are you Stella?

Stella and friends at her party at the "Bouncy Place." A party she'd been planning for most of the year.

As a side note, one of the incredible things about this age is watching her friendships form. She's moving from that age where she'll just sort of play next to whoever is near her to actually having true friends, who she'll play complex, imagined games with.

A close up at a wine-bottling get together from a month or so ago. I'm not sure what parenting professionals would say about having your pre-schooler help make wine, but it's definitely something she is fascinated in helping with this year. From helping de-stem grapes, to pushing down caps during fermentation, to helping with corking... Stella now probably knows more about wine making than a lot of my friends.

As for Otto... well, you know all that "awkwardness and frustration" I just mentioned Stella emerging from? Well, he's right in the mix of it. Sarah and I had sort of (maybe deliberately) forgotten how trying that stage from about 18-months to 2 years can be. Otto is developing by leaps and bounds... walking (well, running and jumping... and dancing) now, and talking more and more. And, recently, at his Child Care's urging, we've begun toilet training. But, the side effect of all that development is that he spends a lot of time really, really frustrated. He's developed enough to see his limitations, but the struggle to overcoming them is just that... a struggle. He wants to do things himself. He wants to make his thoughts known. But, he's just not quite there.. yet.

But, Otto, we are all rooting for you!

Otto, meet otter!

Riding piggy-back on my shoulders. And, oddly, looking less than amused.

Getting his first haircut. Again, not amused.

If one things saddens me about mine and Sarah's neglect of this blog is missing recording all the little moments with the kids. During our first year or two with Stella, we used these entries as sort of an unofficial baby-book for her. And, while in entries like this, we can hit some highlights, it largely misses out on the little details, like Otto's obsession with metal measuring spoons. Or playing "gelatinous cube" with Stella.

The other reason I wanted to post here, beyond catching up and clearing the slate a bit, is to also mention our next big adventure! Before Sarah and I had the kids we promised that we'd still continue to travel. And, that instead of using the kids as an anchor, we'd use them as an opportunity to see the world through new eyes. But, while we have traveled a fair share in the United States over the last couple years, and while we've been to Hawai'i twice since our big trip, and even taken Stella to Mexico, we've probably been a little more domestic than I think either of us had thought we'd be. But, that's going to change in less than one months time, when Sarah, Stella, Otto and I head to Iceland and France for three weeks!

We're all very excited about it. Or at least Sarah, Stella and I are. Otto's cheerfully oblivious. Stella, in particular is excited about Paris. Here own personal cosmology hinges on the binary stars of Disney Princesses and Fancy Nancy, and to quote Nancy herself "everything in French sounds fancier." Ooh lala! The plans right now is to divide the trip up into three parts: One week in Reykjavik. One week in Paris. And one week somewhere else in France (likely Provence). We are renting apartments in each place, so the kids will have some space to play, we can have some place to hang out while the kids sleep, and we can have a kitchen to make the kids various cheese and bread meals when the inevitably revolt against the local cuisine. And, after using trips like last years trip to Hawai'i as test runs of sorts, we've adjusted our expectations. No running off to a different city or country each day, like in the old days. Instead, focusing on exploring the area we are staying, just focusing on being and staying someplace new. We are really looking forward to our upcoming adventure together!

Let's go team!

And, hopefully, it means this blog will get more use! Because, honestly, it means a lot more to me than my unending stream of Instagram photos and Goodread reviews over on Facebook.