Sunday, December 28, 2008

Levi turns four

Happy Birthday Levi! Today you turn four years old. You are truly an amazing child. You surprise us everyday with how fast you learn concepts and with your astonishing memory. Not only are you creative and curious, but you are considerate of others and a very loving boy. You play very well with other children, but especially with your sister. You are a remarkable big brother and Claire is lucky to have you as a sibling.

I asked friends and family members to give me their one-word description of you. I think that they sum you up perfectly.

Grandma Kay: inquisitive
Grandma Ann: sensitive
Grandpa Jim: thoughtful
Aunt Veronica: considerate
Aunt Lora: thoughtful
Uncle Ben: intelligent
Aunt Kari: smart
Aunt Cyprianna: charming
Uncle Christian: concerned
Lesley: tall
Donna: tender
Jennifer: dinosaur
Nicholas: a play friend
Spider: my friend
Eleanor: dinosaur
Khalila: silly
Tina: mature
Joachim: silly
Mama: talkative
Papa: unique

Levi, you are all these qualities and much more. Thank you for being a helpful and loving son. I love watching you play with your sister; I love when you help me make dinner; I appreciate when you clean up yours and Claire's toys. I love you to pieces; you are a wonderful boy.

Monday, December 22, 2008

He's Back!

Josh's plane actually left San Francisco only an hour late! He is now home and happy to be here!

San Francisco Update

So Josh landed in San Francisco just fine at 2am. Then at 6:20am United cancelled its first two flights out of SF to Seattle. Josh is confirmed on the third flight scheduled to leave at 11am. We are just waiting. Well, he is waiting and I am making breakfast, changing diapers, washing dishes, making beds and dressing children.

Right now we have two options.

1. Take the United flight to Seattle, or

2. If the flight is cancelled, Josh will rent a car and drive to Portland. Once in Portland he will stay the night at a friends house and then Tao and Jamie, who are driving to Seattle on Tuesday anyway, will bring Josh as well.

So the absolute latest Josh will get home is tomorrow afternoon. Only five days late.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Claire

Happy Birthday to my baby girl!

I can hardly believe you have only been with us for two years. Your presence in this family seems familiar and normal. Your extraordinary personality is sometimes a challenge, but your smile and your kisses make your tantrums worth it.

I thought it would be fun to have your friends and family describe you in one word. Here they are!

Grandma Ann: persistent
Grandpa Jim: affectionate
Grandma Kay: determined
Uncle Christian: defiant
Aunt Veronica: feisty
Eleanor: funny
Uncle Aaron: charismatic
Uncle Ben: cute
Aunt Cyprianna: spunky
Aunt Lora: headstrong
Sbeenti (godmother): active
Khalila: playful
Donna: determined
Leeanna: feisty
Papa: flirty
Mama: "o-tay"

As you can clearly see, while these traits are tiring and difficult at times now, they will serve you well in adulthood. You make everyone around you smile and laugh. Your voice is sultry and husky; bringing faint smiles to those who stand next to us at church. You love to sing; you know so many songs it would be impossible to list. Miraculously, you love playing with Levi, but definitely need your space from him. There are many times when I find you playing by yourself, perfectly content driving a car on your garage, or pushing a train down the tracks.

Incidentally, you like much of the same things Levi likes. However, you do like one thing that he despises: talking on the phone. It does not matter who I am talking to, you always have to say Hi. Your "hi's" last a long time, and you often carry on a full conversation with whomever is at the end of the line.

You are extremely active. Your favorite activity is swimming, and I am constantly amazed at the risks you are willing to take. That goes for out of the pool too! Many times you are copying your brother, but once you discover you can jump off the couch, or put your face under water, you become so proud of yourself and keep right on going.

I cried the day you were born out of sheer joy, and you still bring tears of joy to my eyes. I love you so much.

P.S. I don't know why nobody stated the obvious, but I will. Bitty, you are loud!

The rest of December

As usual, December is a very busy month. Here are some of the month's highlights:
On December 5th, St. Nicholas made his yearly visit to church. This tradition is a lot of fun and the kids have a blast. St. Nicholas brought Levi and robot and Claire a Christmas book.
Later in the month Grandpa Jim came to Seattle. He had meetings for two days downtown, so the kids and I picked him up at Sea-Tac and then he took us out to dinner. Levi and Claire had fun watching Veggie Tales videos on YouTube with him!
Sometimes I feel really bad that my children don't know there Alaskan Family as well as their Washington Family. Luckily Levi and Claire are very lovable kids. They were sad when we took Grandpa to his hotel later that night, and Levi cried on the drive home.

Finally, right before our snow storms, C & V and their kids, and Lora and Addison, and me and my kids all went to downtown Bellevue for their Christmas celebration. Beginning at 7, the Bellevue Marching Band puts on a great sing-a-long and drumming party. All the kids had fun dancing and eating their free lollipops. Eleanor got to meet the Snow Princess. She was in heaven!

After the Bellevue thing, we drove to the Botanical Gardens in Bellevue. This place is amazing. They have a whole garden made out of Christmas lights. It is called Garden d'Lights.

Snow day? More like 'Snow Week'

Desperate Housewives is not on, so I may as well catch up on blogging...

The snow in Seattle started last Saturday night. By Sunday morning, it had melted and then froze enough to leave a layer of ice on the roads. Only after dressing for church and warming the car did I realize it was worse then I thought. I could not get out of our driveway! Now, I did not aggressively attack that hill as well as Josh may have, but I did have two kids in the car and a wimpy attitude. Needless to say, we skipped church and had a snow day.
Monday was supposed to be Levi's birthday celebration at preschool. Preschool was cancelled Sunday night. Tuesday we made it to work fine and the roads were fine. It was bitterly cold though.

On Wednesday every meteorologist in the state was declaring an imminent storm. Don't go to work, they said, don't go to school. So the school districts complied and school was cancelled. Of course, nothing happened Wednesday. Nothing. Not until everyone went to bed that night...

This is what we saw when we woke up Thursday morning.

It may not look like a lot to you Alaskans, but it was enough for the city of Seattle to shut down. I think that day we got almost 3 inches. I ended up not having to go to work, so another snow day.

Levi loved it. Claire, not so much. Levi played outside for over two hours before coming in. He stayed in his snowshoes the entire time! He went out again after lunch.

By Friday, nothing had melted. In fact, I don't think Seattle has gotten above 25 degrees all week. Anyway, Friday schools were cancelled as well, as roads were still treacherous. This happened Friday afternoon. Saturday we knew another major storm was heading our way. Early Saturday morning the kids and I packed up for Kirkland to Christian and Veronica's house. They got even more snow than we did and had a spectacular sledding hill a short walk to their house.

That was a blast. A quick crash in the ditch brought things to an early close. Don't worry, the kids were fine. We left Kirkland by 2 and it was a good thing that we did. The snow started falling in Seattle by 4pm. And it just came and came. Vespers was cancelled that night and shortly before 9pm I got the call that Liturgy would be cancelled the following morning.

Here is what greeted us in the morning.

Sunday morning we had 5 inches at our house. Knowing we were getting tons of snow, Jule and I made plans the night before to go skiing. Cross country skiing! I took the kids to her house at 8am and her husband watched all four kids while we skied the ghost-town of Seattle. It was amazing!

Joshua's Travel Woes

If anybody out there remembers... Joshua has been gone since the beginning of December interviewing for residency positions on the East Coast. His last interview was on Friday at Maine Medical Center. Here is a re-cap of his weekend.

1:00 pm: interview at Maine Medical Center finished. Get in rental car and drive to Boston to catch 6pm non-stop flight to Seattle.

2:30: arrive in Boston, minutes after large snow storm hits the area. Travel out of Boston-Logan airport is impacted. Airport leaves one runway open for arrivals and departures.

6:00: Jet Blue flight to Seattle is delayed till 7pm.

7:00: Flight to Seattle delayed again till 9pm

9:30: Passengers are told they can board the plane. They all get on.

10:30: Flight starts to taxi to runway. Airport shuts down all runways for quick snow removal.

11:10: Airline opens runway.

11:15: Jet Blue flight crew has now worked past their mandated time and flight returns to the terminal and flight is now cancelled.

12:00: Since Jet Blue only flies once a day to Seattle, the flights fill up fast. Naomi finds a United flight on Sunday at 11am. Josh cancels Jet Blue flight and gets a hotel in Boston for two nights.

1:00 am: Josh arrives at hotel.

Josh kills time in Boston and changes flight out of Boston to 9am.


7:30: Josh arrives at airport.

8:30 Passengers begin boarding plane.

9:00: Plane is now broken and maintenance is called.

10:00: United flight finally leaves.

12:25: Josh's connecting flight in Washington DC departs.

12:30: United flight arrives at Washington DC.

12:45-5:00: Josh stands in line with a million other people trying to get to the West Coast. Josh calls Naomi a zillion times with various crazy ideas how to get home. The best one? Rent a car and drive to Seattle. From DC.

5:00: Josh finally gets confirmed on a flight at 10:30pm to San Francisco, but is told to wait on standby for the last flight of the day to Seattle.

5:15-8:00: Josh waits on standby for the flight. At one point they begin boarding and he is only the 20th person on the standby list, then the plane breaks and the flight is eventually cancelled.

8:15: Josh goes to the San Francisco departure gate and waits.

11:00: Josh boards the plane, and, since he has not called me in the past five minutes, I am assuming it has left the airport.

Josh is supposed to arrive at San Francisco around 2am on Monday the 22nd (Claire's second birthday.) Flights to Seattle start to depart at 6:30, and that is when he can start to standby for those flights. Hopefully he will get home in time for birthday cake and for his interview at Virgina Mason on Tuesday!

What a trooper! The only time he totally lost it was after he missed his connection in DC. He swore to me that all East Coast schools were getting ranked last. Apparently we can never visit Boston or DC again. He even wanted me to buy him a ticket to Seattle for $2000! That is when I called in the reinforcements: sister Lora and brother Christian. They obviously had more success than I, his attitude has been stellar since then!

As for the kids and I, this could not have happened at a better time. Seattle got 5 inches of snow last night and we are expecting another 3-8 inches tonight. We have been sledding and snowshoeing all day! I even got a cross-country ski in early this morning! And on that note, now that my kids are in bed and asleep, I am going skiing again. I may never have this opportunity again to ski out my front door in Seattle! Love it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ba Humbug!

Isn't' that beautiful? I think so, it's my front porch. But, alas, I have been asked to remove my Christmas lights. Apparently the University housing handbook specifically says: "Materials may not be displayed or hung from or out of window exteriors or outside of your apartment." I guess Christmas lights fall into that category.

Maybe if I call them Holiday Lights I can keep them up?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The best of 2008

Well, 2008 is almost over. It is still boggles my mind to think that it is almost 2009. Wow. In my opinion, the end of a year is a perfect time to make a "best of" list. Everybody does it! The best books, the best movies, the best actors; you get the picture. My "best of 2008" are all things that I learned about, or purchased within the past 12 months (okay, there are two exceptions). Some things have been around a long time, and I am just now discovering the joy they bring into my life. Just shows how out of touch I am!

I am proud to introduce Naomi Knight's Greatest Things of 2008:
(p.s. there is no real order here, just the order that I uploaded the photos)

1. Technically, I did not discover Virgin Airlines, Joshua did. He flew to LA earlier in the year to take Step 3 of the USMLE. But when Josh came home raving about the plane, I knew it was a good one. I just wish they flew more places! Anyway, the plane has all leather seats, each seat has its own tv, and everything is ordered off of these touch-screen tvs. Totally a tech-persons plane. Josh loved it!
2. This is not your grandmother's boxed wine! (did our grandmother's even have boxed wine? I don't think so...oh well). One Black Box is equal to four bottles of wine! And I can always find them on sale at Safeway for under $20. Great deal. And the wine is great. Perfect for relaxing after putting two kids to bed.
3. I just bought this olive tapenade two days ago at Trader Joe's. Whoa. Why did I wait so long? So heavenly, so salty. Perfect on crackers. I ate half the container in one sitting.
4. I got my first i-pod a couple years ago, but after the car accident, Josh surprised me and got me an upgrade to the nano. I love this thing. Not only is there a color screen, perfect for missed tv episodes, but it has solitaire. I waste many hours playing. Currently, I have $9,576 in my bank. I am desperately trying to reach $10,000. I know, my goals in life are amazing. Mine is pink.
5. More food... These are caramels that are hand-made in Montana. The company is called Bequet Gourmet Caramel. I am not kidding when I say that this is perhaps the best thing I have ever tasted. Ever. Totally serious. Buy them. Lots of them. I know Metropolitan Market in Seattle has them; for all you crazy Alaskans, maybe you can buy online or something. The shipping will be so worth it and you will call me thanking me for your purchase. I promise.
6. I am possibly the last person on the earth to try mineral make-up, but am glad I tried it. I was at the Alderwood mall one day and a girl in a kiosk asked if she could show me some products. This stuff goes on so smooth and easily, it is amazing. But the real reason why I love it is simple. I always fall asleep without washing my face. Just tired I guess (wonder why!). Now I don't have to feel guilty!
7. How can I leave out Blogger??? It is the perfect way to stay in touch with my fan base (mom) and post pictures of my angels. Plus I get to see what long-lost and new-found friends are doing and how their kids are growing. I love it and am addicted to it. Blogger and Facebook. Addicted.
8. Wow, more food. But, like the others, worth it! Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream. Expensive, but delicious. So delicious. No yucky stuff it it either. A green company too! Located right here in Washington. Blackberry and Coffee are my favorites.
9. My first rule-breaking entry. Technically I did not discover Lululemon pants in 2008. Josh actually bought a pair for me for Christmas 2007, but really, only a week away from 2008, so close enough right? Right. So I have a pair of workout pants, but they have a full line of exercise clothes. But women go to Lululemon for their pants. Why, you may ask? It is all about the butt. Your butt looks perfect in a pair of these pants. I have no idea why, and I really don't care. All I need to know is that I can reach butt-perfection (well, close enough for me) while wearing my pants. Plus, they are SO comfortable.
10. Second rule-breaking entry. And another Christmas present from Josh in 2007. Not much I can say about Coach's perfume, except that it is perfect. I am not into smelling like a flower garden, but I do like to smell nice, and this perfume does it. Coach used to give out free samples... not sure if they still are, but worth researching.
11. Wow, this is a big picture. This is a new phone by a company called LG. the phone is called the VU. With Josh being gone a lot and me being gone a lot, the one cell phone family was not cutting it. So we upgraded. I think we went to the highest rung possible! But, I do have to hand it to Josh. He totally did all the research and found these phones, which retail for over $300/each, for free. That is right: FREE. All we had to pay was the overnight shipping charges of $14.95. We even got car chargers and extra memory cards for free too. Josh has unlimited Internet on his phone and I have unlimited tv on mine. Seems crazy I know, but I already used the tv this weekend on the ferry ride to visit Will and Luke. Sponge Bob was one and Levi was entertained while I read a book. Another great buy.
There you have it, my top eleven discoveries of 2008.

Amazing Levi

Today was the fourth day in a row that Levi woke up with a totally dry diaper. Kind of amazing how this worked out. One night he just stopped peeing! I think we may try underwear tonight. Wish me luck.

Mr. Dirty

Introducing the newest member of our family... Mr Dirty!
Levi has a new pet. And, since we can't have cats or dogs, or any other imaginable animal in our apartment, he found a pet that he can keep. At least for now. A worm. We found him on our porch as I was sweeping the massive amounts of dead leaves away. And since it always rains in Washington, a soaking wet cement porch covered with dead leaves is a perfect place for a worm.

Levi found a bowl and filled it with dirt for the worm. Last night he had a complete melt-down because Claire fed the worm strawberry Gatorade and Levi thought the worm died. He has now been moved to a new bowl, with non-strawberry flavored dirt. And I have been repeatedly assured that this worm is a boy.
Levi actually is pretty creative with his names. He has several stuffed animals that have names; a bat named Goofy, a two-headed dragon named Fire and Cargo, and a triceratops named Snotty. Our car is named George. Although not creative, he was in a Curious George phase.
On another note...we are barely surviving now that Josh is gone. The kids have not seen him in over a week and he does not get back until next Saturday! He says the interview are going well, and he is flying to Rochester as I type.
I was quite POed at my hubby yesterday. Rochester turns out to be a very expensive place to rent a car and hard to find a hotel with airport transportation. I spent at least three hours trying to find a car for him, a hotel for him, transportation to the interview and dinner, when he calls me and says... "oh, I just checked my emails and Rochester Hospital is providing all transportation and hotels" WHAT! Seriously, now that I am single-momming it AND Christmas is two weeks away, I have much better ways of spending three hours. Not to mention that this email was sent November 3rd! ACK! Is it really that hard to be organized?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, it is Thursday morning here in Portland. Josh had another interview today. He was supposed to be there at 7:45 am, which is easy considering our hotel is 1.03 miles from the hospital.

But, of course, I got the wrong directions off of mapquest and we were driving all around Portland totally lost. And totally yelling at each other.

Josh was 20 minutes late to his interview. That is so embarrassing. And it was all my fault. I feel terrible!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I Love Portland

Okay, lets make this quick and easy. I love Portland. Must I say more?

Josh and I came down for a couple days so that he could interview at Providence St. Vincent and Legacy Emmanuel Hospitals. They are both first year programs. Christian and Veronica graciously offered to watch our gremlins, oh, I mean kids. V says it is going okay so far. Claire only woke up at 4:30 this morning screaming for Mommy and would not go to sleep and Levi smashed his fingers in the door. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. But let's talk about Portland.

Okay, well I guess I don't really know a lot. All I know is that we went to the Pearl District and the Alphabet District. AMAZING. For anybody who likes cute, unique, small boutiques, these are the places to be! We found a fabulous restaurant called McMemamins. Josh had the beer-battered fish and chips. He said it was great. He did not want to share. I had the hummus platter which was warm pita bread, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and, of course, hummus. It was to die for! Plus we both had their seasonal beer on tap. WOW. I would come to Portland again just to eat there.

Then, as we walked around, we found a place called Moonstruck. It was a chocolate cafe! Yumm! Another reason to go to Portland was found.

Josh says that my reasons for where we go to residency are not really based on anything substantial. I disagree. I mean, you do have to eat and sleep, right? Why not have a nice house AND eat at nice restaurants? And shopping, just an added bonus.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Midnight Adventures

As Josh, Aaron and I were civilly discussing politics last night, we heard a strange sound. Water. At first we thought our neighbors were running their dishwasher really late (it was midnight). But soon enough we realized the problem was within our apartment when water started dripping from our ceiling onto our dinning room floor.

We all three ran upstairs and sure enough, our toilet had overflowed so much that our bathroom was full of water. Since we have forced air heat and our heat duct is on the floor, that is where the water went, into that big hole. From there, it went onto my dinning room floor.

Thank goodness we are renting! The University immediately sent over the night maintenance worker.

She determined that we have a really old toilet. Really??? Our entire house is old; anybody could determine that. So basically, the toilet never wants to turn off. It just keeps running! So now, we have to physically turn off the water once the bowl fills in order to prevent this from happening again. Oh, and I get a new toilet today! And the special Mold Patrol will come and inspect everything and clean the ducts. And I will get a new ceiling.

Here are some pictures:

The hole in my ceiling. Look, you can even see a drip!

The bucket and towel catching water.