Friday, December 20, 2013

Linnea and Peter’s snowy day

We’ve had snow forecasted twice this month, and today it actually came! We woke up to a beautiful blanket of white, and scrambled outside after breakfast to take advantage of it. Tim headed off to work with the chains on his tires, but the roads weren’t too bad. I was hoping for more snow so that he could stay home and play; maybe next time.

To my surprise, Peter wasn’t super enthralled with the snow (last time it snowed, he was a newborn), and after stomping around for a bit he hung out on the porch. Then he asked to be let inside. ;) I did let him go in by himself for a few minutes while we finished our snowman. Carrot nose, dried flower centers for eyes, gravel and raisin buttons, with an assortment of accessories. No romp in the woods this time, as it started raining after lunch and poor snowman did a face plant in the yard. We still have snow on the ground but I’m sure it will melt off this weekend. Pretty close to a White Christmas! It was lots of fun.

(We had so many birds around the feeder today…mostly under it since the Steller’s Jay always knocks seed out of the feeder. About 15 juncos, 2-3 towhees, some sparrows, a chickadee, and a varied thrush made up the party. It reminded us of the book The Party That Grew which Grandma Mary gave Linnea for her birthday. We need to take the screens off the porch windows to get a better view, but it was fun being outside with them too! We were mere feet away and they still foraged happily. I sprinkled bird seed on and around the snowman and that’s when the thrush was lured out. We have seen him once before. And boy did they all scatter when the snowman fell over!)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Happy Birthday, Peter!

Our buddy is 2 today! We celebrated with a special concert for kids at the Seattle Symphony, followed by lunch out, a nap, presents, homemade pizza and cake & ice cream. We’ll have a small party with a few friends tomorrow. It was a VERY cold day with a couple unexpected hang-ups but everyone ended up having a great time, most of all the birthday boy!

Here’s an album with the day’s photos…

Symphony, were the kids got to play some instruments in the lobby beforehand (Linnea even made a sound on the trumpet!) and do a snowman craft

Pete’s gifts after nap

Some family photos gone wrong…still trying for the Christmas card!

Birthday cake and ice cream!

Thank you to everyone for the birthday calls and messages! We came up with some favorite things about Petey at dinner, and here they are:

--his obsession with John Deere tractors (Tim)

--how he thinks about things (Great Grandma Jean)

--kisses and hugs (Linnea)

--how affectionate he is with everyone, family and friends (me)

--saying “Naina” and climbing up in her lap (my mom, Naina)

--saying “mama!” when I wake him up in the morning (me)

--saying “great grandma Jean” (GGJ)

--sitting and reading with mama (me)

--his mouth like Papa’s (Naina)

--our goofy jokes about him being a duck & a pepperoni pizza (Tim)

We are super thankful for Peter and just what a fun, lively, compassionate, sweet guy he is. He really is a treasure and we love him so much! At cake time, he said excitedly, “It’s my birthday! That’s my cake!”

We love you buddy! Happy 2nd birthday, Peter!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Our friend the grouse (and other stories)

Meet our neighbor, The Grouse.


I know that picture is a little blurry, so here’s one from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:


(copyright Tim Lenz,

This guy is our buddy. We look for him every time we go outside, since first seeing him in a rush of wings when Mary was here and we were dragging the tarp full of leaves to dump down the ravine. He’s a Ruffed Grouse and frequents the buttercups that grow near our holly tree in the back of the house. Kind of like a chicken, the grouse bobs his head as he walks along, nibbling his lunch. We’ve seen him 5-6 times now, usually close to the house like this, but once in the woods too. I’d love to find the nest (though, as I’ve been saying “he,” we really don’t know that for sure…) and some others, if it has a family. But I don’t want to scare it/them away, so right now we’re just excited observers – though we can get really quite close and he doesn’t seem to mind!

Ah, yes, the local wildlife. (I did look up how to roast grouse, by the way, and the ruffed kind is supposed to be creme de la creme of game birds. But now that we’re on a first name basis I just couldn’t do that.)

We also have a mama and grown baby deer that like to come visit. This past Thanksgiving weekend we saw them twice, once right in the driveway. We went out onto the porch and they stood and looked at us for a while before nibbling their way back into the woods.

We’ve seen wrens, a hummingbird, a bunch of robins, Northern Flickers (a kind of woodpecker), chickadees, and some other birds around our house. Now that it’s Project Feederwatch time I pay extra close attention. We don’t get any at our feeder except the hummingbird at the nectar feeder, but hopefully changing out the seed today will change that. Here in Duvall we see a lot more birds of different kinds, but the irony is we don’t have as good a view from the house as we did in Kirkland. Stay tuned for more birding adventures!