Monday, June 29, 2009

to russia, with love

little schmatt turns 21 today.

in honor of his birth, we thought we’d share this video of summer saying one of her favorite words:

yes, she’s pronouncing it absolutely right, “gwakgwas.”

because of his extremely poor eyesight, matto basically came out the womb wearing eyeglasses. however, for the longest time, he did not know how to say “glasses,” and he called them “gwakgwas” instead. this newfangled word, in turn, became an integral part of family lore and was used intermittently growing up.

when bryan and i married, i brought him in on the “gwakgwas” action, which he took to rather effortlessly, and it has since become the only word we use for glasses.

and now, with baby summer eagerly playing along, the legend continues.

happy birthday, matt.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Old Man Power

As a wee lad of 14, I never understood how my old, out of shape scout masters could keep hiking mile after mile, even after the boys were long spent. And now, at the tender age of 29, I think finally get it: “Old Man Power.”

On Friday, I had the singular honor of leading the scouts on our first overnight hike of the summer. One upside of living in the Seattle area is our proximity to spectacular wilderness areas. Within an hour's drive, we can make it to a surprising number of trailheads. The downside is that one million other people also have easy access.

We reached Pratt Lake in good time. Nevertheless, the two lakeside camping areas were already taken. Longing for a little solitude (as well as our own lakeside access), we pressed forward to Lake Tuscohatchie. Upon arriving, we found the perfect spot nestled between some boulders and the lake's outlet. Unfortunately, another group had already staked their claim.

I glanced at my buddy's watch and was surprised to see it was already after 8:00PM. The boys were hungry and tired. And then it hit me. I felt great. I had it. I had the “Power." Turns out that Old Man Power is mostly in the mind. It won't get you there quickly, but it'll keep you going long after all the young guns have burned themselves out.

The boys trudged back down to Pratt Lake, grumbling about fatigue and hunger. I, on the other hand, had a nice steady, walk.

Left: The encampment near Pratt Lake; Top right: View of Mt. Rainier; Bottom Right: Ollalie Lake (we took a swim here – note the snow on the far shore)

Saturday, June 27, 2009


june 26, 2009
dear diary:
today i stole my first cookie.

when mom wasn't looking, i reached up and grabbed the sugary, buttery, chocolaty goodness right off the counter.

looking forward to more cookie capers in the future.

baby summer

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's day feast

It was only a year ago that I thought I had entered the ranks of grilling purists around the world. I knew that charcoal was the only method of cooking meat that would cross my lips. Ever supportive, Emily and Summer indulged me with the world’s smallest grill. And so it began.

In reality, my relationship with that grill was tumultuous from the beginning. After a string of dismal performances, we agreed to take a break and pursue other interests. During this interlude, I reflected on what I wanted out of life. I realized that I didn't want the perfect grill. All I really wanted was perfectly grilled food. Enter the grill pan. Easy. Idiot proof (mostly). Year round.

To celebrate my fatherhood this year, Summer convinced her mother to produce an amazing array of dishes that put the grill pan to good use.

The cheesecake didn’t fit the grill pan theme, but was delicious nonetheless (5 packages of cream cheese tend to have that effect).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


so every several months, i get an incurable urge to make something. you know, be “crafty” or whatever. i was bitten by the bug a few weeks ago when i decided to make summer a church bag.

i found a pattern and fabric, borrowed a sewing machine, and got to work.

my crafting usually follows a distinct course of events. first, things go smoothly, and i feel confident – i wonder to myself, why don’t i be crafty all the time? next, the project becomes more intense (wow, this is a lot more work than i signed up for!), and i am consumed with working on it for days. and then, disaster strikes (when sewing, the disaster is frequently the fault of zippers). during this phase (which bryan refers to as the craft massacre or craftacre), i lay around on the couch and bemoan my inability to finish the venture.

but finally, after much self-coaxing and a few reminders from bryan about how much my little endeavor has cost, i persevere and eventually get the job done – but not without a vow to never craft again.

so for now, sewing machines and i are going our separate ways.

here is my parting gift:

drunken dance

summer has found a new musical fascination with the ting tings, and their techno, repetitive songs put her into a zombie-like “twirling trance.”  the end of this dancing clip makes me laugh out loud – she seriously looks like she’s coming home from a bar.

WARNING: motion sickness sufferers watch with caution.

first ear infection

Monday, June 15, 2009

time's up

all right ladies and gents, the polls have officially closed. and we are yet again much impressed by the mental prowess of our faithful blog followers.

there were many imaginative and whimsical (after my own heart) name guesses submitted, and – against the odds – we do have a winner to be crowned. thank you all for your participation; our new name champion will be revealed simultaneously with baby wheeler’s debut.

in the meantime, here are the top three reasons why this pregnancy is so over:

1) i’m finding it nigh impossible to shave my legs (during swimsuit season – eek!!)

2) it can’t be good for my long term health to continue eating two bowls of ice cream a day.

3) summer’s injury incidences have been doubling due to my slowing reaction time. it’s just unsafe for toddlers to have pregnant moms.

so cross your fingers that it won’t be long!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


guess who was kicked out of nursery today for biting?

(hint: it wasn't bryan -- at least not this time.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

a house of order

this morning, as i was pouring some honey nut cheerios for summer's breakfast, some of the cereal got away from me and spilled onto the floor.

summer ran over, pointed at it, and with disappointment in her eyes, looked at me and said, "mess."

i just know her first full sentence is going to be something like, "now, clean it up!"

i guess that's what having an overbearing, compulsive cleaner of a mom will learn ya.

serves me right.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

baby name game 2.0

it’s finally that time.

time to guess what outrageous name we have come up with for baby girl number two. and ya’ll better be in top form for this one because i have it on good authority that our previous name champion (christina) is going for a clean sweep.

to help with the guessing this go 'round, i’m offering up some insight into my relationship with names. first off, my own name is emily anne young wheeler. solid. simple. common. and, as i felt for most of my life, boring. in fact, i absolutely hated my name until falling in love with the lower case “e” at the age of thirteen (thank you, mr. cummings).

so naturally, having some angst about my own “normal” name, my naming tendencies tend to go a *bit* too far to the other extreme. here’s a sample of the most notorious names (according to bryan) that i came up with for summer’s sister: lux, bay, ever (it was very hard for me to let go of that one), and v (yes, just v).

bryan’s role in the whole baby naming process is usually just to reign me in. he’s out there stumping for the julies and audreys whilst i’m lost in never-never land with the azures and callas, and somewhere in the middle (well, maybe not quite middle…) we agree.

so without further delay,

here are the clues:

1) begins with the letter A (anna, you should have an advantage here)
2) has fewer than seven letters
3) according to the SSA, in its most popular year, it barely made the top 1,000 names
4) despite its apparently low popularity, bryan and i know three people with this name – each in a very different age group

here are the rules:

1) between now and monday, june 15th, leave a comment on this post with ONE guess at baby wheeler’s name (if more than one guess is given, only the first guess will count)
2) be sure to look at previous comments because only the first person to guess the correct name will win
3) as always, we will not post comments from people we don’t know, so no secret identities please
4) if we find our friends and family to be totally missing the mark, we will re-post the game next week with additional clues, so keep second guesses in the back of your mind

wanna know what you’re playing for?

first and foremost, the coveted baby naming crown, but additionally, your choice of:

1) cold stone gift certificate
2) see’s candies gift certificate
3) jamba juice gift certificate

(if, perchance, my rural and foreign friends, you do not live near any of these establishments, we’ll work with you and come up with an equally desirable treat.)

all right people, get your name on!

Friday, June 05, 2009

the cat's away

while bryan was off hitting the trails with his dad and brother in whistler, the ladies and i decided to take advantage of the freedom and hang out for a few days double x-chromosome style:

we painted our nails.

went shopping.

ate chocolate.

and dined out.

but oddly enough, even though we had his credit card, we still missed daddy.
after all, to whom else would we show off summer's manicure or my dazzling new shoes?

that's what daddies are for.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Postcard from Whistler

Dear Summer:

After braving Vancouver's rush hour traffic as well as rampant pre-Olympic construction along the Sea to Sky Highway, we finally arrived in mountain biking Mecca. Grandpa Mike wasn't quite ready for lift-served biking, so we hit up some local trails instead.

Behold the mad skills of your dad as he nails the teeter totter:

Behold the courage of Uncle James even though the teeter totter refused to cooperate: