Sunday, December 28, 2008

Let there be lights!

Knowing Summer's interest in artificial lighting, I indulged her with a visit to see the Christmas lights at Temple Square. Summer's mother was still a bit under the weather, so I brought along some of her other peeps to compensate.

Summer's dad, grandparents, and aunt and uncle.


Summer's Christmas gift from mere-de-mere: A hot pink snow suit. Some how, we've missed the major storms this year in both Seattle and SLC, so we may not get as much use from it as we could have. Also, Summer's gait (yes, she walks now) is a bit impeded when wearing the snow suit making her rather dangerous in public.

Shots of Nativity  scenes around Temple Square.

Meeting Kellyn

Last Sunday, I paid a visit to Pleasant Grove to meet Kellyn and participate in her baby blessing. Unfortunately, Emily was under the weather and Summer had a hard time leaving for church at 8AM, so I flew solo. It wasn't until a couple days later that Summer met her one and only cousin for the first time. The encounter was anti-climactic, since Summer really only likes things that move (or things she can move). I'm predicting more fun for both babies in another 6 months.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Announcing Kemmelie!

Behold the happy couple. Congrats you two! In my book, Ken (i.e. Emily's brother) and Emmelie picked an almost ideal date for a winter wedding*. Had it been a day later, I would've been writing some sad lament while looking out the window at 16 inches of snow in Seattle. Fortunately, we left the Pacific Northwest hours before the blizzard hit and found our way to Salt Lake City.
Summer seems to enjoy her 4th wedding of the year.

Bryan teaches his daughter how to dance. Well, as close to dancing as he can get.

* I use the phrase "almost ideal" because Emily's brother Owen didn't make it out of Rochester before the blizzard grounded his flight. Sad face.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eye candy

The concept is simple:

1 Zoo + 3 million light bulbs + $6 = fun.

It may not be obvious, but Summer evidences symptoms of cabin fever if she doesn't get out on a very regular basis. Thus, following a hot tip from Matt KA Brown, we took the infant phenomenon to see the Zoo Lights at Point Defiance.

Heretofore, I've always felt those vendors hawking junk at various public venues were merely capitalizing on  widespread parental inability to say no. Imagine my horror when Emily went and purchased a retina damaging fiber optic light stick without Summer even asking.

For Summer, however, the light stick quickly became the attraction. Her fascination with the light stick was so strong that she instantly ripped off her gloves so she could stroke the fiber optic strands. Imagine the joy when I ultimately had to pry her new found love from her cold fingers later that night.

Hmmm.... seems like the kind of girl that'll demand big, sparkly diamonds one day.

Summer, still not interested in the other lights.

[James Earl Jones voice] Summer, I am your father.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

santa claus is coming to town

all the little children run and hide!

Monday, December 08, 2008


sigh. ponytails and braces. where do the days go?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

welcome baby kellyn!

meet the newest member of the wheeler family:

born december 5, 2008 to james and michele wheeler.
summer's very first cousin!

Friday, December 05, 2008

fish and coffee

to get the best of both, visit pike place market in downtown seattle. one of our favorite stops on the tour-go-round for family and friends who visit us. yes, that's where the hot young fishmongers throw the fish.

here they are in action.

cindy and peter pose in front of the very first starbucks.
topless mermaid included.

emily loves the local art.

summer loves to plan her escape from another one of mom's carriers.

and who could resist a ferry ride?

seattle skyline: where grey skies meet grey waters.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Monday, December 01, 2008

get your bowl on

somehow, back in 2004, the wheeler clan was forced into a tradition of thanksgiving bowling. while the rest of the family would probably not complain if we left the activity behind, it's a great time for me as i usually win (and i do so love to win). however, this year, we welcomed peter to the family along with his myriad skills, one of which happens to be bowling. and out of the blue, bryan appears to have been skipping work and secretly sharpening his own bowling abilities.

peter tied me for the first game -- gimp ankle and all -- and bryan ripped me to pieces in the second.

ah well, winning isn't everything.

...whatever, that's a lie promulgated by losers, and i shan't rest until i reclaim my crown!!

summer. enjoying her first family bowl.

peter. obviously distressed by his spare.

emily. bowls like a flamingo.

mike. hates bowling.

bryan. well on his way to a strike.
who knew left-handers could succeed in this right-handed world?

Perfection is overrated

With company in town, Emily really hoped to raise the bar for the traditional Thanksgiving repast. Armed with all the best recipes from all the greatest Food Network superstars, she went to work Wednesday night and didn't let up until Thursday at 4PM.

Imagine everybody's delight when the turkey simultaneously had crispy, tasty skin and succulent, juicy flesh (note for the uninitiated: these are opposing goals). After taking a couple of bites, I had an epiphany: I prefer my poultry cooked until it's quite dry.
Likewise, many of the "semi-exotic-but-sure-to-please" recipes came up short. Conclusion for next time? Maybe a nice lasagna dinner instead.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Deliberate haste

Over our roughly 5 years of matrimony, I've discovered that once Emily has convinced herself of a course of action, she'll pursue it with all fury until she's just barely made it past the point of no return. At that point, she'll become momentarily overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation and wish it had never happened. Fortunately, passing the point of no return means that you have to finish the job, no matter how large.

This file photo was taken shortly after the greatest moment of despair in the "Great Book Liquidation of 2008." Emily decided we needed to clear out several hundred books to make room for more baby playthings. She was working under the assumption that we could sell all our books on Amazon and make out like bandits. She immediately started pulling the books off the shelf and listing them on the internet. We made our first sale within an hour or two. Unfortunately, after the books were arranged in piles all over the house, we discovered the going rate for most books in our collection of hundreds was one cent.
Key statistics to date:
  • $200+: Money made selling old textbooks on Amazon
  • $100: Money made selling a box of 30 teaching books on Craigslist
  • $23: Money made from selling 23 books to the Duvall Bookstore
  • 3: Tubs of books rejected by the Duvall Bookstore (we had more, but couldn't take the rejection any longer)

Monday, November 10, 2008

CPR saves lives

actually, not really, electricity and intravenous drugs save lives. BUT CPR does immeasurably increase the rate of success of said shocks and drips. and the Heimlich fo’ sho’ saves lives.

which is why i am now officially certified as a lay rescuer in infant, child and adult CPR, including conscious and unconscious choking.

my motives, of course, were not purely focused on the lady who drops out cold at the grocery store. you see, summer chokes. a lot. we have at least one emergency scare and three to five mild scares every day. thankfully, nothing has ever been lodged in her throat, but i decided to take action in case something ever is.

the boy scouts stole my mantra: be prepared.

for your trivial pleasure, here are some interesting facts about the new and improved CPR:

--DO NOT check the pulse of the victim. if they are not breathing normally, begin chest compressions. if they don’t need compressions, they will most definitely let you know.

--the rate of compressions is about 100 compressions per minute. this is the same rate as the beat in the bee gees song “staying alive.” coincidence? i think not.

--don’t worry about doing CPR incorrectly (i.e., doing 32 compressions instead of 30 at a rate of 97 instead of 100). researchers found that many “certified” individuals did not feel comfortable performing CPR in an emergency situation due to fear of making a mistake. remember, a person who is not breathing and has no heart beat is clinically dead. it’s only up from here.

check with your local hospital or fire department for class offerings.

Friday, November 07, 2008

happy birthday, summer!

november 6, 2008

birthday roses from dad.

birthday favors.

birthday bounty!


birthday cake.

birthday song.
(somehow summer knew it was all about her and loved every minute.)

birthday mess.

birthday games.

birthday love.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

birthday eve

a year ago today, i was going for walks and making plans for baby announcements. a year ago today, the world was quiet. time was mine. a year ago today, i had no idea what tomorrow would bring.

baby summer.

her birth was remarkable. unusual. she would do things her own way even then.

to describe our relationship, summer’s and mine, my husband would say, “an immovable object meets an unstoppable force.” summer is strong. she’s smart; she’s willful. she’s bold and audacious. and so she has been from the moment we met.

summer loves to laugh and is an easy smile. she hates to sleep. she loves the sound of her own voice, and her screams have unparalleled volume and stamina. her favorite foods are sugar and cheese. summer doesn't snuggle much. she is constantly on the move. she loves people and wants to be where the action is. summer cannot play by herself, and she does not care for stuffed animals.

on the age-old nature versus nurture debate, i find myself comfortably on the nature side. summer’s temperament and personality are very much the same as they were on november 6, 2007 – and i sense, even before then. nothing makes my skin prickle quite like someone, usually a generation or two older than me, saying that summer is “x” because i “y.” heavens no. summer is “x” because she dug her claws in and firmly decided to be so.

as for the nurture, my piece of the puzzle is to help her reach her fullest, most excellent potential and to teach her to use her God-given faculties for good. (and my more specific role, as summer’s mother, is to r.e.m.a.i.n...c.a.l.m.) if i do my job right, then summer, true to form, will be a powerful and immovable force for good.

a year ago today, i had no idea what tomorrow would bring:

a fiery burst of joy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

summer rocks the vote

It's go time!

Get out and vote!

Election day is an exciting event at Lots of people have been putting in crazy amounts of overtime. In my opinion the results are fantastic. In the interest of full disclosure, my immediate team is one of the few in the company that's had essentially nothing to do with elections. Nevertheless, I'll be in the office late tonight, monitoring election results (let's just say it'd be a disaster if our automated systems screwed things up and reported the wrong numbers).

Interesting fact: Despite what you may think, tries to keep coverage unbiased (it may help to bear in mind that we're a separate entity from MSNBC TV). In fact, our editorial team is under the strictest orders to neither celebrate nor mourn as the results come in this evening. Anybody who feels they can't contain their emotions must leave the newsroom and vent outside.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

an apple a day

having lived in washington for two years now, we finally decided it was time to try our hand at apple picking. unfortunately, as with most of our family plans, this decision came a day late and a dollar short. the peak of the apple-picking season is generally around the first of september -- a whopping two moons ago.

not easily deterred, we made some phone calls and found a u-pick farm that was still harvesting, though most of the biggest and best apples had already been plucked. while in the orchard, we tried several varieties -- not quite all 200 -- but found that after awhile, most tasted rather similar and a lot like "apple." still, we came home with fifteen pounds to can and store.

for her part, summer enjoyed gliding rockily along in the wagon. she did not, however, enjoy the occasional visit by the owner's dog.

  bryan masterfully maneuvers the rickety wagon.
he picks a few apples, but is soon replaced by emily's more discerning eye.

"she took of the fruit and did eat."



emily wonders why these apples are so dirty.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

meet the flintstones

for halloween this year, i used my rather crude sewing skillz to fully outfit the family as fred, wilma and pebbles (of the flintstones variety). we then took summer to downtown duvall for her first trick-or-treating experience. the costumes were a big hit, but summer seemed more than a bit confused by the whole ordeal. that is, until we got her home with the candy. then it somehow all made perfect sense.