in a perfect world of yancies: December 2014

31 December 2014

Happy 2015!

Not Times Square or the Space Needle, but I'll take it. Happy New Year!

Popped some poppers, popped some corn:
New Years Eve Popcorn

Good chance for slo-mo, no?

See You in 2015!
That's it. See you in 2015!

29 December 2014

It covered everything as far as he could see

Thanks to Emily B. and Pete for a great weekend in a snow-covered cabin!

(And a belated thanks to Ezra Jack Keats for the amazing book that I'm quoting in the title of this post.)

I was glad that Franklin's snowsuit (which was pretty roomy last year) fits perfectly this year. He was pretty happy too:

What? A river, with rocks for throwing? Yes, someone had a fun weekend.
Middle Fork Teanaway River
In the Teanaway River Valley. Read about it here:

Walk In the Snow

Pete, Emily, Franklin, and Emily
Pete, Emily, Franklin, and Emily, looking for ice to crunch through.

Crunch Crunch!

And just like magic (just like a picture book?), it was snowing when we woke up Saturday morning:
Throwing Snow with Pete

Snow Men

Of course, the only thing he liked wearing more than the snowsuit was the KU jersey he got in his stocking on Christmas morning.
Kansas Jersey, Day 4
In his stocking Christmas morning, and on him for the next four days straight :)

The only time he wasn't having fun at the cabin was when he remembered that we didn't bring the dinosaur puzzle that he got for Christmas. This is within five minutes of returning home:
Dinosaur Puzzle
Thanks Magen, Dave, Braxton, Amelia, and Evan!

Oh, and if you want to brush up on dinosaur names, here's the online Picture Legend.

Speaking of Christmas presents and whatnot, here's a quick look back at the holiday:
Molasses, Butter, Sugar

Working on gingerbread cookies, mostly as a gift for Franklin's teachers at daycare:
Flour, Ginger, Baking Soda, Nutmeg


Decorating the Cookies


Franklin's Cookie

And then it was Christmas morning:
Snowman Pancakes

Opening the Forklift
One of his favorite presents, a forklift from Nana & Papa.

Christmas Morning

And for dinner, eye round roast, Moroccan Sweet Potatoes, deviled eggs, and more!
Eye Round Roast, Moroccan Sweet Potatoes, Deviled Eggs

Hey, so did anyone happen to read that New York Times piece about Religion Without God? It hit almost exactly how I had been feeling, especially this bit:

... two anthropologists, Caroline Humphrey and James Laidlaw, go so far as to argue that ritual isn’t about expressing religious commitment at all, but about doing something in a way that marks the moment as different from the everyday and forces you to see it as important. Their point is that performing a ritual focuses your attention on some moment and deems it worthy of respect.

I had in fact been considering asking Emily to bring us to mass on Christmas, but couldn't quite get there. And the logistics were tricky...

Anyway, we settled on singing some carols together, just to make the point a little clearer:
Christmas Carols

I hope you won't mind one more quote from that article:

Atheists trust in human relations, not supernatural ones, and humans are not so good at delivering the world as it should be. Perhaps that is why we are moved by Christmas carols, which conjure up the world as it can be and not the world we know.

May the spirit of Christmas be with you, however you understand what that means.

Merry Christmas!

22 December 2014

A Cheery Grin Will Get You In

At Myrtle Reservoir Park
I think Franklin is basically guaranteed admission to Santa Claus' party, at least according to these lyrics:

For whatever reason, that seems to be Franklin's favorite Christmas song... He heard it on one of our CD's, but it's not one I know very well, so I'm happy to have that video to help out!

Meanwhile our holiday festivities will take place under some great new decorations:
Kuta Family Painting
Santa & reindeer from Grandma Christine, plus super cool painting of Grandma Christine (third from right) with the rest of the Kuta family:
Kuta Family Painting Closeup
Franklin's Great Aunt Pauline, Great Uncle Al, Grandma C., Great Grandpa & Great Grandma Kuta, Great Aunt Dorothy in her Sisters of the Resurrection habit, and cousins (once removed) Alex and Louis in front.

Great painting, and great idea to hang it there, Emily!

And in front of that painting, we will toast and celebrate and listen to even more Christmas music. A little incongruous but here are a couple of my current favorites:

Also heard some nice music last week on Alki Beach during the Christmas Ship Festival. No sound, but here are a couple of photos:
Christmas Ship Approaches

Christmas Ship

And now, at last, I'm on holiday break. So, let's see... how about story time at the downtown library?
Library Story Time

Franklin was really into the puzzles afterward:
Puzzles at the Library

Very Hungry Puzzle
I'm pretty sure he did this by himself. But can't be positive: he was really in the zone, and when I came over to see he said, "no, you go away!" :)

Also time to do some complicated cooking! Like this delicious Winter Vegetable Curry from the Times:

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Even time, as you probably heard, to join Franklin's class from the Intergenerational Learning Center on their first field trip!
On the Bus

Bus ride!
On the Bus with Anson

To a park!
Pax at Myrtle Reservoir Park
Myrtle Reservoir Park. Definitely have to go back there soon!

On the Ropes

Climbing at Myrtle Reservoir Park
All right, I'd better go wrap presents! Have a great holiday, reader!

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!