Saturday, August 29, 2009

General Update

We have been in Spokane for two and a half months now, and I have to say, we really like it. Perhaps the best thing that has happened since we moved here took place last Thursday night. A large moving van parked itself in our driveway. Out came the dad and two of their three boys. Mom arrived an hour later.

We officially met them the next day and we have been hanging out ever since. Obviously, those who know me and talk to me often, knew of the heartaches and general horribleness of our previous neighbors. Ever since they moved, I prayed that our new neighbors would be good, kind, normal, decent human beings. Okay, that is not entirely true. The truth is, I actually prayed that the place would stay vacant for our year tenure in Spokane. I guess our landlords did not like that suggestion. Can't imagine why...

A vacant house is clearly not what I, or my children, need. I'll tell you what we do need though: the exact family that moved in.

The dad is in law school, the mom stays home. Their boys are 7, 5 and 3. They are polite, friendly, sharing, and super awesome people. They are possibly only in Spokane for a year also. Plus, they brought with them a huge trampoline. It is our backyard and it is amazing. The boys play Indiana Jones, Army, Star Wars, and any other "boy" game they can come up with. They even entertain themselves by watching each other play Lego Star Wars. They explore our swamp, the surrounding woods, and each other's rooms daily.

It is crazy to admit this, but their move into our duplex will make my year in Spokane fun. After my friend Lesley and her boys moved, there was a serious hole in our lives. Even if we did not see them everyday (which I really liked if we did) just knowing that Levi's best friends were a 10 minute drive was comforting. We still miss them. This new family is a great transition.

Okay, enough ranting and raving about my perfect neighbors... Other things.

Lately I have made some serious decisions regarding eating habits. The first thing is that I have decided to ban conventional cereals in my house. Sorry, I just cannot justify spending $4-5 on a box of cereal! Unfortunately, my children love cereal. Fortunately they love granola. And double fortunately the recent issue of Family Fun Magazine (love it!) had the best home-made granola I have tried. So far I have made three batches and it disappears fast.

The other decision I made is that I am going to ban dairy from my diet. I kinda think that I am lactose-intolerant, barely. Anyway, I have not eaten cheese in a while and I was slowly decreasing my milk intake. When I was younger my mom used to make almond milk. It was super yummy. I will make some Monday.

Levi and Claire finished up swimming lessons on Friday. At the end of class, the teacher gives them a progress report. Oddly enough, the stubborn traits that my children have always possessed were clearly obvious to their teacher. They are graded in 5 categories:

1. Is confident
2. Listens to instructions
3. Follows directions
4. Accepts constructive suggestions
5. Demonstrates caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

Since the sport of swimming involves water Levi scored pretty low in the confidence section. A 6. Claire? A perfect 10. I would expect nothing less of a girl who can put her entire face under water for 30 seconds. And loves doing it. Again, and again, and again.

Naturally, both of my children got 10's on being caring and respecting persons.

How about listening and following instructions? This is a no-brainer. Claire: 7's in both. Levi: 9's in both.

We will take another round of swimming lessons. Plus, Levi has expressed an interest in soccer, so he his signed up on a team through the Y.

We are staying busy, enjoying the rotation Josh is on now, and having fun. I am enjoying the development of my domestic diva skills: quilting, canning, sewing, baking and blogging. Life is good!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Heidi & Peter

The nice thing about having this new and big house, is that I get a sewing room. Sure, it doubles as the guest room and occasional play room, but ultimately, it is my sewing room. We have only been in Spokane for a little over two months and I have already finished my first quilt.

We went to Montana a while ago, and Claire really fell in love with two goats at the farm: Heidi and Peter. They really were super cute. Very gentile and always together. Anyway, she talked about them non-stop. So Heidi & Peter became the theme of my first quilt in Spokane. Naturally, it was for Claire.

I hand-quilted her name in the squares.

Here is Claire pointing out Heidi & Peter on the back of her quilt.

And here is a close-up of Heidi & Peter.

And now I get to start Levi's next quilt. Any guesses on the theme? I will give one hint: it involves light sabers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God Did What?

Yesterday as we were leaving swimming lessons at the YMCA, there was a man with deformed legs and crutches coming out of the family changing area as we were going in. I held the kids to the side and let him pass through the door in front of us.

The kids could not stop staring. They were not shy about it either. In front of this man, Levi asked me what is crutches were for. I told him that the man needed help walking and that is what crutches are for. Luckily the man was out of earshot when Levi asked me his next question. He asked me why his legs were like that (deformed). I told him his legs were like that because God made him that way.

Levi then replied to me. "Well, if God ever made my legs like that, I would be really mad at him."

Later that night, after the kids were in bed, I told Josh the story. And here is where we disagree.

Josh did not think that it was appropriate to tell Levi that God made the mans legs deformed. He thought that it would send a message to Levi that God is randomly choosing people to be hurt, or different, or deformed. He instead thought I should tell him that the man was born that way.

In my defence, at the time I thought it was the perfect way and time to teach Levi that no matter what we look like, we were all made in the image and likeness of God. And even though we look different, or deformed, God loves us. I was hoping that it would be a way to teach respect for humanity.

I can totally see Josh's point. I think Levi took it the way Josh suggested too. Now I just have to figure out what to say the next time we see somebody in a similar state.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Take that Spokane Recycling Dude!

So, we have established that Spokane has arcane recycling rules. They will not take cereal boxes, but will take the brown cardboard that my lunch meat was packed in. They will not take milk boxes, but will take milk jugs.

After living in Seattle and being able to recycle most things, this change has been difficult. My solution? I am storing all the things that Spokane will not recycle for my trips to Seattle, where I will, very proudly I might add, recycle them!

However, I got the new Family Fun magazine yesterday and they had a super cute and fun activity for used milk/juice boxes. Any size works, but I just had half-gallon sizes. They took about 3 minutes to make, and Levi loves these little boxes! Family Fun suggests using them to pack school lunches instead of plastic bags, but since we don't do the school thing yet, Levi is using them to store toys and such.

The directions are so easy. Find your boxes...

Cut off the top and half-way down the four sides...
(I made my tops smooth and rounded)
Attach velcro dots to the top lids...

Big Government. Matthew Good Style

I first found this on a friend's facebook page. I liked it and thought I would pass it along here as well. Be sure to check out!

A friend emailed this to me. It’s priceless…

“This morning I awoke to the sound of my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the Public Power Monopoly regulated by the US department of energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the Weather Service of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration determined the weather would be like today using satellites designed, built and launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. I did this while eating my breakfast of US Department of Agriculture inspected food and taking drugs determined safe by the Federal Drug Administration.

At a time that has been kept accurate by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Naval Observatory, I got into my National Highway Traffic Safety Administration approved automobile and set out to work on roads built and maintained by local, state and federal departments of transportation. I checked my mail delivered by the US Postal Service and dropped the kids of at public school, then stopped for fuel of a quality regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

After work I drove my NHTSA car on DOT roads back home, which has not burned down because of state and local building codes and a fire marshal’s inspection. My house has not been plundered in my absence because of the local police department.

I then log onto the internet which was developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration and post here on AWE, in and of course the Fox News forums about how socialized health care is bad because the government can’t do anything right.”

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Seattle Visitors

On Friday afternoon we had two families from St. Paul's come for a weekend visit. Tina and Jabran and their girls, and Jared and Leeanna with their son and daughter. Levi and Claire have been anxiously awaiting this weekend! They were so excited to see their friends and to have them spend the night. And we all fit perfectly into our house! Each family had a bedroom!
Movie Time:
On Saturday we did a hike called Painted Rocks:

And then we went to Green Bluffs to the Peach Festival:

Sunday before church we took a group photo:

Seattle Weekend

This past weekend I took the kids on a little road trip. We left Spokane on Thursday morning and drove two hours to Ephrata to Will & Luke's new home. Of course, they all had a blast playing! We went to a couple of parks, but for some reason, I forgot to take pictures! Oops!
On Friday afternoon, we left Ephrata and drove to Gold Bar where Josh's mom lives. We stopped in Leavenworth for some ice cream before we headed over the pass. We got to Kay's fine. Her cat had kittens last week, so that was naturally one of thefirst things Levi & Claire wanted to see.

On Saturday morning the rest of the family came to Gold Bar to hang out. The kids played, watched a movie, went to the river, rode bikes, and had a great time being together again. Veronica and I got to go on a bike ride into Index and I got to do a morning run (outside!!)

Sunday morning we woke up early and packed everything up and headed to our old church in Brier. It was so nice to see everybody! After church we drove to Seattle and visited our old neighborhood and friends. Blakeley looked the same! The couple that moved into our old house even have a boy named Levi. Weird! But Levi and Claire did not miss a beat playing with the neighbors and at the
playground. It was like we never left! Being back made me realize what a wonderful place it was to be. I am grateful for the three and a half years we had there. Jule and I even took the kids up to Zoka's for some wonderful coffee!

After student housing, we headed further south to Ikea. Now, Ikea has a wonderful playroom for kids where they can play, for free, for up to an hour. The only problem? Kids have to be three. So on the way down, I asked Claire how old she was. She, naturally, said "two." I told her, no Claire, you are three. She bought it. I had her convinced that she was three. Then Levi chimed in. "No Claire, you are only two. We are just pretending you are three so you can play."

I tried to tell Levi that he can't tell anybody that. To forget about our conversation, etc. He couldn't! It was really upsetting him that I wanted Claire to lie about her age! I guess I should be proud that he was finding it hard to lie, but in reality, I was annoyed! Turns out there was a half-hour wait to even get into the playroom, so all the lying and frustration was for naught.

Oh well, Ikea was fun! I specifically wanted to get fabric and I
was super ecstatic to find that they had fabric on sale for $0.99/yard. What a steal! I got 20 yards! Also, for the beginning
of August kids eat free at their cafeteria. So our entire dinner, for all three of us, was $3.28.

The kids actually did really good at Ikea. Well, until we were leaving that is. Claire has this annoying habit where she likes to walk forward, but look to the right. So basically, she does not watch where she is going. She is always walking into things like walls and couches. It was only inevitable that her "blind walking" would get her into trouble. It happened at Ikea. She was walking, and not watching, and she walked right into somebodies cart. That person obviously did not have kids, or grandchildren, or nephews, because they decided that the best place to put their can of paint was in the child seat holder of the cart. On the edge. Right next to the leg opening. Claire bumped the cart and gravity did the rest. The can of paint fell through the leg hole and spilled all over the floor. Whoever had the cart was nowhere to be found, so I just left a pathetic note. "I am so sorry, my daughter bumped into your cart and the paint fell out. Again, so sorry."

What I really wanted to write was "what kind of idiot leaves a can of paint there? Do you not understand physics? Big leg hole, small can of paint, paint can fit through hole, must not put paint next to hole." So all in all, not a bad trip to Ikea.

After Ikea we drove to Kirkland to meet Christian and Veronica and the girls at a criterium race in downtown Kirkland. This
road bike race was 45 times around a closed-off loop of downtown. One loop was .6 miles. Crazy! These bikers were flying by us!

We spent that night at C&V's in Kirkland. But before bed we had a delicious blackberry pie that V made earlier in the day. She and Levi had picked a bunch of blackberries at Kay's the day before.

On Monday I got to go to Trader Joe's and stock up on some precious groceries. The best buy was definitely Kashi's cereal Mighty Bites. Levi and Claire LOVE that cereal!

We had a great time on our first trip to Seattle since we moved!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Levi's Art List

Maybe it was the Sponge Bob episode 26 or, maybe Levi is just really creative and expressive. Either way, this is what happened at the Knight home Sunday morning.

Josh got up with Levi and got him breakfast. Claire and I apparently needed our beauty sleep, so we were totally undisturbed. So, after a hearty bowl of Life, Levi told Josh that he wanted to play. Josh asked "play what?" Levi made a list.

This is actually super cute. Since he obviously cannot write, he expressed the games he wanted to play with Josh in art. As you can see from the picture, they had quite a list of things to do! And, after each game was completed, Levi put a check-mark by the photo, and they would move on to the next game.

For those who cannot decipher 4 year-old boy drawings, this is what they played.

1. Bats. Levi really likes bats. He loves the beginning of Scooby-Doo where the bats stream out of the haunted house, he likes the bat portion of the Earth movie and he likes to pretend to be a bat. Notice how he drew the bat in black. That is because bats are only out at night, and night time is black.
2. Breakfast. Okay, so this is not a game, but Levi drew a picture of his cereal bowl. Apparently they played bats before they ate breakfast.
3. Cars. Need I say more?
4. Church. Yes, they played church. Josh told me that Levi told him all the things that a priest is supposed to say, got a cup and then had Josh serve Eucharist. This was Sunday morning after all. His mind was in the right direction!
5. TV. We have a strict no tv rule on Sunday mornings, and Levi got around this by having Josh and him take turns being tv shows.
6. House. Actually this is a picture of the headless snowman monster from a Scooby-Doo episode. In the show, you know the snowman is coming to your house because he blows cold air down your chimney, which blows out your fire, and you get really cold. This picture is the snowman outside (notice the snow-y color) and inside is a chair and a fireplace.
7. Dinosaurs. Again, another staple in our house.
8. Light sabers. Another thing that is constantly being played in our house.

Oh! I just discovered that if you click on the picture, you can see it bigger! Whoo Hoo!