Friends & Family

30 for 30: Visit Leavenworth, WA

I didn't actually take any pictures in Leavenworth, so here's a cute one of the boy in the snow the next day.
I didn’t actually take any pictures in Leavenworth, so here’s a cute one of the boy in the snow the next day.

We hosted Thanksgiving this year. Four grandparents and an uncle spent the weekend doting on Sam: he loved it. I made the best turkey I’ve ever made (this recipe is going to become traditional in my house) and we all ate and talked and laughed and it was really wonderful. The next day, instead of participating in Black Friday, we all hopped in a nice, big, rental SUV and headed up to Leavenworth: the idyllic little German town that Ian and I have been wanting to visit since we each moved to Washington.

There was snow on the ground. That was pretty cool. All the architecture in town (or, at least, downtown) is very Bavarian–even the Starbucks and the Cold Stone. There are lots of little German restaurants with beer and schnitzel and sausage, but utilitarian that I am (correction: utilitarian that I’ve become since having a child), I chose the first little restaurant I saw. It did have German sausage on the menu, which I ordered. There was no wait, and despite the tiny dining room, they did have a table big enough for us. Sam was very happy there and ate a nice grilled cheese sandwich and a whole lot of sauerkraut off my plate (I’m so proud of my boy’s strange palate). From there we wandered the streets, saw some nutcrackers, bought some taffy. We visited the Christkindlmarkt, which was sort of why we went on that particular day, though it turned out to be little more than a wintertime farmer’s market. There were some carolers, which Sam loved. I’d say it was an okay time. Not the overwhelming success I’d hoped for, but not a lost day, either.

It’s interesting to think about how the trip would have gone if we didn’t have the baby. I doubt we’d have hauled our family two hours there and two hours back again in the first place. If we did, we would have waited for a table in a German restaurant and ordered beer and eaten at a leisurely pace with no screaming at our table. I might have looked up more often to see the sights instead of tracking my toddler as he moved through the crowds, refusing to hold anyone’s hand.

And yet Sam’s reactions were the best part of the trip. He loves to be out and about. He loves to see new people and new things. He had no idea where he was or why it was supposed to be special, but he was happy. Which made the rest of us happy, too.

Goals & Challenges

30 for 30: Take Voice Lessons

First learning to play the guitar. (Several years later, I'm still learning.)
First learning to play the guitar. I’d show a picture of me singing, but I don’t have any of those.

Over the past couple of weekends, I took voice lessons. Two lessons, in all, which is plural, and thus technically fulfills my goal to take voice lessonS. So–that was fun.

I have always loved singing. I’ve been in three musicals (with a very very very short solo in one of them), and auditioned for quite a few more. As a kid, I got tremendously car sick whenever we’d drive anywhere (a malady made worse by the twisty mountain roads we had to traverse to get out of our 300-person town) and to help battle that, I’d sing. I probably know next to a billion songs, or I did before childbirth started turning my brain to Swiss cheese (I know this is a lot of parentheticals, but I swear, having a baby makes you stupider, and I really want the world to know it). I used to sing in the shower and on the toilet until I went away to college and lived in a dorm where I didn’t want everyone to hear my bathroom singing. Partly because toilet singing makes you a dork, and partly because despite the good acoustics bathrooms have to offer (Weird Al recorded his first track in a bathroom with his drummer beating on a suitcase)(damn parentheticals)(okay I’ll stop), I have never considered myself a particularly good singer. So I thought I’d study up. Continue reading “30 for 30: Take Voice Lessons”

Goals & Challenges

30 for 30: Read a Book I’d Never Think to Read (First Try)

Cover_(Hound_of_Baskervilles,_1902)I have never been into mysteries. My parents read us quite a few Hardy Boys books when we were little, but I mainly enjoyed those because my parents were reading them to me. Even as a kid, I often thought there’s a lot of silliness that goes into mystery writing, and not the good kind–this is silliness that doesn’t seem to know it’s silliness. Put on a feathered hat and dance around: great. Put a pair of boys with flashlights in an old mill while they wonder what the heck this place is for three pages: [eyeroll].

That’s sort of how I felt about the TV series Midsomer Murders when it was introduced to me a year or two ago. I came in on the SILLIEST episode: a group of bell ringers were being killed off one by one because–can you guess?–some other bell ringer wanted to win a bell ringing competition. Totally solid motive, right? For mass murder? I hated it immediately. But we were at my parents’ house and they wanted to watch it. And then the next night they wanted to watch another one, which was a little bit better but which lulled me to sleep (partially the TV show, partially I was pregnant).

I never thought I would watch that show again. Continue reading “30 for 30: Read a Book I’d Never Think to Read (First Try)”