Friday, February 26, 2016

Birthday Boy

Our cute little fatty turned two this month! We made him a yummy cake and put all his favorite characters on it. 

He loved that Tom wore a Ninja Turtle shirt for the occasion and he spent a really long time pointing at all the characters.

For his birthday party, we had his two friends, Grayson and Lydia (and their parents) over for a waffle dinner and some cake. We also got fresh pineapple because Caleb loves pineapple. He didn't even eat his waffle. All he ate was pineapple! And this is the way he often smiles now when we ask him to smile for a picture:

Caleb loves trains and buses. He spends a great deal of time in the car yelling "BUS!" or "Dee-dee- BUS!" (City Bus). He builds with trains at home quite a bit. And Buddha is one of his favorite toys. Tom's brilliant caption to this picture is: "Derailed on the track to enlightenment."

Caleb has an obsession with shoes. As soon as the girls put down their boots or tennis shoes, he puts them on. He's worn my shoes and Tom's shoes all over the house. It makes leaving the house quickly difficult because no one can find any shoes! Recently, Tom left his big boots in the hallway and Caleb was in heaven! It was hilarious.

We took 2-year-old portraits of Caleb one afternoon. This is our "Best of" series. 

Showing off his oversize tongue:

He was very interested in the light umbrellas, and even gave them kisses.

In this one he's woofing like a dog.

Before too long he started going behind the backdrop... we got out his trains to keep him in frame. He would drive them very slowly over the hill, then suddenly throw them off the cliff.

Sometimes he really hams up his smiles, and he squints his eyes so tight he closes them.

Then he suddenly became interested in the camera itself, and very seriously came in closer to have a better look.

Caleb is a crazy man, but plays really well by himself. He loves to build with Legos and spends a lot of time playing with Legos or building train tracks. Oh, and tupperwares. He loves getting out all the tupperwares and stacking them and re-stacking them. And then setting the lids on them. One day we opened the tupperware cabinet to see two small tupperwares, each with one of Caleb's dirty socks inside, with the lids on the top. He loves to throw himself onto things. He has to do a front flip into his bed. But he's still a cuddler. He still carries his Olaf blankie around sucking his thumb. His current favorite show is Octonauts (he loves the song) and though we watch very little TV around here, he often gets on the couch, gets all settled, and then starts screaming "My NOTS!" and pointing at the TV. He's very demanding. When he doesn't get his way, he does one short, high-pitched scream in protest. It's hilarious. He doesn't have any fears when it comes to climbing and jumping, but the vacuum recently has started scaring him and he gets nervous during scary parts of TV shows or movies. He has to come cuddle during those. His vocabulary is expanding, though there are still only a few words an outsider would probably understand. Ee-AA=Celia, Mina=Sabrina, Nah-nee=Peanut Butter sandwich, Myo-myo=oatmeal, etc. He is just getting to the point where he realizes we should understand what he's saying, but we often don't and that's frustrating for him. Before, we could always change the subject and distract him from what he wanted. Now he keeps saying the same thing over and over getting frustrated that we're not guessing correctly. He loves to listen to singing and stories. He still frequently makes us sing the chorus of "Angels We Have Heard On High." If he says "oh-ee-ah" we have to sing the long "gloria" part, and when he says "dee-dee," he's asking for "in excelsis Deo." If he gets on a reading kick (at least once a day), he will bring book after book after book for you to read. This past week, he found a bowler hat I have for a Mary Poppins costume and he's insisted on wearing it when we go out. So, now he's our dapper little 2-year-old man. We love him, obviously.

Oh, and then Tom had a birthday, too a couple weeks later. He made himself (and us and some friends) delicious dessert crepes with ganache and homemade ice cream and the two of us finally went to see the new Star Wars movie for the occasion. Happy birthday to the boys of the family!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sockeye Salmon!

The week after we got back from visiting the grandparents it was time for our annual fishing trip. In mid July every year thousands of Alaskans (and almost as many seagulls) descend on the mouth of the Kenai river to stick their nets in the river in the hopes of taking home a truck-load of salmon. This year Marel's parents came up to witness the spectacle, and we were also joined by our friends Luke and Ashley with their kids. The day we set up camp was grey and damp, with rain coming in bursts. We got our tents and canopy set up just in time for the first cloudburst, so we could stay dry while we waited it out. We didn't mind waiting because we fish on a schedule based on the tides, so we had a while to wait before we were going to start fishing anyway.

After a few hours, once the tide was right, we donned our raincoats and waders and headed out. There are all types of folks with all types of equipment out there. The only regulation is that the widest part of the net can measure no more than 5 feet, and there's a maximum depth for the net. Aside from that, anything goes. Everyone has their own method that works for them. Some people have nice, lightweight aluminum poles, and others have homemade, taped-together wooden ones. Most people wear warm waders to keep warm when standing chest-deep in the glacial river and ocean water, and thick boots to protect against the rocky and gravely river bottom. Here we are geared up in our heavy neoprene waders:

Then there was this guy who fished barefoot with just his tank top and shorts. He was out there chest-deep with the rest of us. He's seen here with a more standard net, but most of the time we just saw him fishing with a hoop attached to a rope.

And he was catching just as much as the rest of us, which just goes to show that if you're there at the right time, it doesn't matter what you're using--you're going to catch fish.

Both of us were able to go out fishing this year since we had help watching the kids. And the kids, as usual, loved playing in the sand the whole time, though it was certainly messier this year because of the rain.

But we all had loads of fun nonetheless. And after camping on the beach for the night we woke to see the sun out.

We got up early and did some more fishing, then cooked up a delicious pancake breakfast before packing up and heading out.

Here is our catch from the first evening:

And the morning catch:

In total we caught 35 sockeye salmon, which beats our old record of 26. The fish were smaller on average than usual, though, so poundage-wise we ended up with more meat in the freezer the year we got 26. But it was a successful trip by any measure. (Of course our family limit is 65, but we would need a bigger car, a bigger freezer, and a bigger house to take home that many fish.)

Monday, February 8, 2016

Nana and Papa's House

After our visit with Grandma and Grandpa, we took the train down to Oregon. We like taking the train because it's much more laid-back than air travel, and being on the train is quiet, roomy, and comfortable. The tracks follow the Puget Sound all the way to its southern end so it's a scenic ride, and they pass right underneath the Tacoma Narrows bridges.

The stations are also scenic of their own right.

From the station we went to OMSI for some science, like levitating balls and some chemistry.

The kids always enjoy playing in the little stream and pond at Nana and Papa's house. Though while most kids just put their feet in the water and play with the rocks...

Caleb had no problem getting all the way in.

Caleb loved his corn on the cob.

While in the area we were able to attend Cousin Issy's first birthday party.

Caleb got some help from Cousin Mark on the rocking horse.

He also thought it was a hilarious joke to throw water on Mommy.

Another day we went to a splash park. Caleb loved it.

Celia was a little tepid about getting water in her face.

And Sabrina seemed to like to take the jets right in the bum.

We then went out to the beach for a few days for the Fourth of July. When we first got there is was grey and cool, which is fairly typical...

But on the Fourth it was hot and sunny.

We got to march with our cousins in the local parade.

And the kids got to participate in the reunion pageantry.

Caleb was really interested in Cousin Ivory's pacifier. Since he stopped using a pacifier before he was one, it was new to him again, so the whole time he played with her he gave her this confused look.

We spent a lot of time down at the beach, playing in the sand.

Caleb ended up messier than the rest.

After nightfall the kids got to stay up and watch the fireworks. We had a great view from our cousins' rental house. All these fireworks were lit from the beach where "Fireworks Prohibited" signs are displayed prominently at the entrance, so local law enforcement apparently turn a blind eye to these large, conspicuous displays on Independence Day.

After the Fourth it was time to head back home to Alaska. There was much grief expressed on the internet over the replacement of the Portland Airport carpet. But maybe in 30 years our kids will be just as upset about the replacement of the new carpet.

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