Friday, July 25, 2014

Joe Turns Eight Months Old

Joe is eight months old today! He started officially crawling two days ago. We are so proud of our baby Joe!



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Biking from Downtown Seattle to Saint Edward State Park

Last Thursday, Anastasia, Jasper, and Joe went to Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore to attend one of their Summer Concert Series nights--this one featuring The Polyrhythmics, a group that is hard to label, but describes themselves as "original hard-driving, modern afro-beat and syncopated, horn-driven funk." So, there you go. Anyway, it's good stuff (and free!) and we love exposing Jasper (and now Joe) to live music whenever we can.

I decided to meet them there after work by biking from my office in downtown Seattle, a 19-mile ride, mostly along the picturesque Burke-Gilman Trail.

I didn't take any photos until I had left downtown behind me, skirted the bottom of Queen Anne Hill via the heavily traveled bike corridor of Dexter Avenue, and crossed the iconic blue Fremont Bridge. 

Looking out over the ship canal connecting Lake Washington and Lake Union to Puget Sound.

Passed by the J.P. Patches statue. Hi, Patches!

A view of the ship canal beneath the Aurora Bridge. The famed Fremont Troll resides under this bridge.

Lots of quaint little houseboats along here.

"Dreamer of World-Peace" statue. I was very happy to have run into this statue and plaque, given everything going on in the world today.

The plaque reads:
"Dreamer of World-Peace"
Sri Chinmoy
"O dreamers of peace, come. Let us walk together. O lovers of peace, come. Let us run together. O servers of peace, come. Let us grow together.
-Sri Chinmoy
Fremont - Center of the Universe For World-Harmony

Aurora Bridge and Fremont Bridge panorama:

One great thing about the Burke-Gilman Trail is that there are a few bike shops positioned along the route in case you need some maintenance done, or simply a snack.

Looking back at downtown Seattle across Lake Union.

The Wall of Death, a public art installation beneath the University Bridge.

The absolutely gorgeous University of Washington campus.

Another bike shop along the Burke-Gilman trail.

Once one gets north of the University District, the trail begins to feel much more disconnected from the city itself. A canopy of trees provides welcome respite from the summer sun and an easy grade allows for a cheerful, stress-free ride.

Looking directly across Lake Washington. Difficult to make out (hence the added arrow), but up there peeking above the trees is the water tower, sort of mocking me and how far I had left to ride. Not to mention the big hill I would have to go up.

Still quite a lot of lake to ride around before heading up to the park.

Log Boom Park, the northernmost point of Lake Washington. I stopped here to rest and have a snack and some water before tackling the last part of the ride. I saw a lot of people fishing or simply relaxing. Some of the fishermen had their own bikes parked next to their tackle boxes.

Gratuitous bike shot.

Crossing the Sammamish River, looking out toward Squawk Slough and Lake Washington beyond.

Immediately after crossing the Sammamish River, it was time to get into a low gear and find the right pace to keep my heart and lungs happy because it was time to ride up Juanita Drive.

After much huffing and puffing, I had arrived. 

The dominant feature of 316-acre Saint Edward State Park is Saint Edward Seminary. Follow the link if you'd like to read the interesting history of this place. Additionally, here is a link to a fascinating video tour of the inside of the building. And here is a link to a video by our friend Josh, a lovely aerial view of the park from the vantage of his RC plane.

There's my lady! Since the event had a pretty big crowd and Anastasia and the boys were meeting up with a few other parents and kids from preschool, they made a plan to bring and meet "at the three red balloons." Genius.

It was fun seeing how relaxed and happy Joe was in this environment. I think he really likes being outside and the music didn't bother him at all. He was just rolling, sitting, playing, and doing lots of investigating. We did have to keep an eye on him because he kept scooting over to the edge of the blanket and pulling out big handfuls of grass, likely to munch on.

 Jasper and Aparna had fun dancing!

Anastasia packed the bike rack with her so that I wouldn't have to ride all the way home. Tired legs! I love this thing and really enjoy putting it to good use. And there's plenty of room on this rack for more bikes. I look forward to one day filling it up with mom and kid bikes!

From the office to the park: 19 miles.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Last week was hot! Don't worry, we know how to keep cool around here.

Share a whale sprinkler with friends.

Take a bath.

And we've been playing, as usual.

Jasper's tower skills are impressive.

Blocks in odd places.

Farm animals on a ferry ride.

Lately, Jasper has the same question about every toy animal or animal he sees in a book, "Does it have sharp teeth?" I thought I was shooting him straight (based on pointyness) until he told me that he has sharp teeth. It seems we have different definitions of sharp. Joe still has no teeth, I'm always reminding Jasper to sit and chew his food thoroughly, and he might be figuring out the some animals eat other animals. I guess that's a lot for a three year old to make sense of.

We make deals with Jasper. An example, "When we get home you can pick out a piece of fruit and then it's time to get ready for bed. Deal?"

Sometimes he makes deals with us and they are often very reasonable. Last night he seemed to apply a fine print to his offering. "When we get home I will" -this next part spoken very quietly, "play with toys and watch TV." Back to normal volume, "Deal?"

Um, no deal Jasper, no deal. We tried not to laugh. We failed.

One morning Joe work up too early and would not go back to sleep. I brought him into bed with me and that seemed to do the trick. Sweet little guy...



Monday, July 14, 2014

Doing Summertime Right

We've been experiencing a bit of a heat wave here in the Seattle area, with temperatures in the upper 80's and 90's. For a region with generally mild conditions and almost no one with home air-conditioning, it can get a little oppressing. What to do? Well, get outside and enjoy it. After all, hot or not, this is the time of year we all look forward to when we're hiding inside our rain jackets and avoiding puddles.

I'd been itching to get outside and I think Jasper had too (baby brother Joe doesn't make it easy to get out and play as much as we'd like to). So, on Saturday, as soon as Anastasia got home from her part-time gardening work, Jasper and I loaded up the bike and headed out. I packed snacks, sunblock, sandals, and plenty of water in the bottom pocket of our child carrier backpack, strapped that to the back of the child seat on my bike and off we went.

A short ride from our house is Meadowdale Beach Park, a gorgeous 108 acre park accessed via a 1.25 mile hike down Lund's Gulch. The hike itself is very lovely, as it meanders down a well-maintained dirt trail, winding its way alongside a babbling stream where salmon spawn every fall, while Douglas-firs tower overhead.

I don't know where Jasper gets his inspiration for these poses: 

Here and there, evidence of the truly massive trees that once lived here still exist and offer many photo-ops:

Jasper has always been a ham, but lately has really cranked up the sillyness when his picture is being taken:

I don't know where he gets it.

Jasper made it most of the way down the trail on his own. He slipped a number of times, but I was holding his hand so we avoided any scraped appendages. About 3/4 of the way down, he got tired, so I plopped him in the carrier.

At the bottom of the gulch, the park opens up to a large, grassy field--a perfect place for tossing a ball or Frisbee around. There are many picnic tables--some sheltered, some not--and some grills. I sometimes see people with all kinds of picnic supplies down here, including full coolers and I think, that sure can't be fun carrying all that stuff back to the parking lot 450' up.

At the west end of the park, there is a tunnel used by both fish and humans to get access to the beach on the other side of the train tracks:

They just recently installed this metal grating over the water that flows through the tunnel. The 18" of concrete on the left side used to be the only place to walk without wading through the stream. Even with the grating, however, you must be prepared to possibly get your feet wet traveling through here.

Whenever Jasper enters a space like this, he yells, "Echo! Echo!"

Beach time! This beach is situated alongside Brown's Bay on Puget Sound. It is pretty much right in the middle between the Edmonds ferry terminal to the south and the Mukilteo ferry terminal to the north. Standing here, you look out at the south end of Whidbey Island, the north end of Kitsap Peninsula, and the towering Olympic Mountains in the distance.

The water felt nice, but I don't think Jasper was too keen on feeling the seaweed touching him:

And of course, when a train goes by, every child stops whatever they're doing and watches:

Snack time:

Beach panorama:

Someone was very sleepy on the hike out:

Hey, it's Joe! This was Sunday, while Anastasia was away volunteering with the Master Gardeners. I'm very proud of my Master Gardener wife.

On Sunday evening, "Nana" (my mom) came over for taco dinner and brought Jasper this cool stegosaurus shirt. Jasper had fun handing out blueberries to everyone that he'd picked himself in the front garden.

After putting Jasper to bed Sunday night, I left his room to find the house all lit up in a strange pink glow. I walked outside and... Wow.