10 December 2014

Please Put a Penny in the Old Man's Hat

Just in time for the most wonderful time, this year's school photos:
2014 School Photo

ILC Class 2014
Warms my heart.

Speaking of which, it's also that time of year when I try to take stock of what we've been doing with our money and whether any of it's been well spent...

So, here's the latest breakdown:
2014 Giving Distribution
More going toward those most in need and less toward music and whatnot. And yes, if you're tracking it from the last couple of years, that's partly on account of Peter Singer and his damned compelling reasoning. Not only that, but some friends hosted a book club meeting a couple months ago about his book The Life You Can Save, which really only made things clearer...

Anyway, I kind of struggle with what to say in this kind of blog post.

I mean, I want to make this somehow more than an annual ritual of congratulation and flagellation, but it's hard to get past those superficial moments. Yes, I am proud of the fact that we are giving away this much of our income. And yes, I am disappointed when I do the math and see that we spent more on vacations in 2014 than we did on helping others...
2014 Giving Percentage
To put that another way, although I can pat myself on the back because we give to the King County United Way at the "Leadership" level, we're still not even close to giving 5% of our income.

Also not even close to the recommendation from the Life You Can Save website...

Well, damn it. Here's a commitment to up our United Way and Oxfam giving in 2015. 5% or bust! Damn it!

Meanwhile, where are we spending money on ourselves? Let me count the ways ;)

How about: Had some fun watching KU come back and win against Florida last weekend:

(And how about that win at Georgetown yesterday?)

And a little holiday fun at the West Seattle Farmers Market:

Horse-drawn carriage? Mule-drawn carriage? Whatever—it was charming and they had jingling bells on...

Hope you're feeling that holiday spirit, reader! More soon!

04 December 2014

Just your average, restful weekend with Franklin...

Hat & Scarf
But seriously, who wouldn't want to spend a long weekend with that guy?
(Pictured there in the hat Emily made & the scarf I made!)
(Sounders colors, by the way, at Franklin's request...)

So, okay, Wednesday before Thanksgiving it was volleyball, UW vs. Stanford:
UW Volleyball

Souvenirs too:
Volleyball for Franklin

At the UW Volleyball Game
Thanks for suggesting it, Pete!

Back home, we were all about the pumpkin pie:
Butternut squash to be specific, but pumpkin's pumpkin, right?

Pie Crust

Pie Crust 3

Stirring in the Spices

Pumpkin Pie!
He was so into it he ate it for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving. Rightly so!

Carving the Turkey 2

Small party, but it was great to spend the holiday with family & friends:
Thanksgiving 2014

And I'm also grateful that we had the chance to talk on Skype with even more family (not pictured, alas).

Happy Thanksgiving!

This video was actually from a few days before the holiday, but what the heck, I'll include it here too:

Rain came in on Friday, but luckily we found out that our local YMCA does a kids' gym setup most days. Awesome:
At the Y (3)

At the Y (3)

At the Y (2)

At the Y

Saturday, at long last, we took Franklin to see his first movie:

He loved the popcorn and pink lemonade. And did laugh a couple times at the movie (including that bit in that trailer with the crunchy snacks...).

Sunday we got our tree:
Decorating the Tree

I worked on the scarf pictured up top:
Sitting and Knitting

We finished the leftovers:
Last of the Cranberries
And then, finally, we relaxed... and got ready for Monday. Well, there you have it. More soon!

18 November 2014

Towering Over Your Head

Tower Building
Experiments in building, courtesy of Emily and Franklin.


Not only that, but here's a new coat:
New Coat

Or, as I like to think of it, definitive proof that dad's can't tell big kids what they should wear...
New Coat (back)
Still, what a cutie!

Just wore that jacket to his first dentist appointment by the way. Amazing visit. Not because his teeth look good—given how much we focus on brushing I was expecting that. No, the shock was that he didn't even come close to crying the whole time. Only rough patch was when part of the balloon sword they gave him popped... But then he popped the rest with his teeth, laughed, and we were back in business :)

What else? Trip out to Olympic National Park a few days ago. Lovely couple of nights in a cabin at Kalaloch Lodge.

Nice beach outside too:
Sandcastles at Kalaloch

Kalaloch Beach

Drove up to the Hoh Rain Forest.
Hall of Mosses 2
Such a great spot. Man I love living out here.

More pictures over on Flickr by the way.

Hiking in the Hoh


Grandma with the world's largest Sitka Spruce:
World's Largest Sitka Spruce
Bigger version of the photo here.

Roosevelt Elk too:

And a chance to hang out and throw a few rocks at Ruby Beach:
Ruby Beach

Franklin on Ruby Beach

Throwing Rocks at Ruby Beach

Rocks at Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach With Grandma

Only real downside was the amazingly efficient wood stove in the cabin. Chilly night + Yancy having too much fun with the fire meant that before we knew it, the room was like 80˚ and we were panicking because we thought Franklin had a fever... Anyway, took off the fleece pajamas, opened a window, and soon all was well again.

On the way home the next day we stopped for lunch at Lake Crescent Lodge. Food was pretty good, scenery was great; but most exciting of all was the stuffed Olympic Marmot (sound familiar?) for sale in the gift shop:
Olympic Marmot!
Oh yeah!

Also took a nice little walk over to Madison Falls:
Madison Falls

Madison Falls 2

Finally, didn't get great pictures but I'm glad we finally got to take a look at some of the Elwha restoration project.
Very cool. Can't wait to go back.
Cheers, reader.

25 October 2014

You Clean Up Nice

Busy fall, but let's just take a quick break to admire how nice Franklin looks in autumnal hues:

I can't decide—would that look better cropped? Like this:


Some of this is out there already, but what's fall without homemade apple pie?

And Halloween of course:

For weeks he's been saying he wanted to be a crocodile. Living the dream.

(Though I should add that on the day before the costume arrived he said he'd rather be a Spiderman Bee, so...)

But speaking of cleaning up well, have you seen this new series on PBS, How We Got To Now?

By far the best thing I've seen on TV in weeks (years?). That bit about raising Chicago up on jacks to install sewers? Amazing. Very cool show.

Emily's in Arizona on a mothers/daughters/aunts/cousins trip, so I just might indulge in another episode tonight as my reward for a day full of hard work and serious fun with Franklin.

What did we do? Main event was getting a pumpkin up at our friends' little farm north of the city. Sadly I didn't get a chance to take many pictures, and I so far have no record of the pumpkin itself, but the shot up top features one of the main fun prizes they hid in a pile of hay for the kids. And here are a couple from their tree house play apparatus:

Cheers, reader. Hope you're having a wonderful October!