Happy 2012!

And welcome! This will be the first Loveoirs post of the last year of Earth’s existence, or the first Loveoirs post in Earth’s glorious new dawning, or it will be just another New Year’s Loveoirs post, like all the rest, but better. In any case we’d love to see the planet undergo a geomagnetic reversal because it just sounds cool. Happy New Year!

If you remember our post from last year, it was marked by super elation because Miles was born and super stress because we had moved across the U.S., started new jobs, started preschool, and didn’t sleep much. This year was much more stable for us. Can we get an amen? How about a word up?

We’re not sure when sleep sanity finally returned to our household, but 2011 was much better in this regard. We had at least twenty or so nights of no wakeups, that is, nights when both boys slept through the whole night. Of course, those were interspersed with 345 nights of illness, bad dreams, accidents, and crying for the hell of it (Harry and Kathleen, not the boys), but we appreciated the sleep nights immensely and look forward to maybe forty or so this year.

In April we moved from our paper walled Queen Anne ice box to a lovely rental house near Green Lake. It has one story (thank goodness, no more children tumbling down the stairs). We have a backyard with trees, great light, and lots of room for flowers, vegetables, and little bulldozers. During the warmer months, the boys practically lived in the backyard. We enjoy having friends over, walking and jogging around the lake, going for coffee at Zoka, and donuts at Mighty-O. Our neighbors have been very welcoming. In short, it feels like a place we could stay for a long time and this has been the biggest and most positive change for us.

Harry worked from home the whole year. That was amazing and hard and amazing and great and hard for all of us, for all of the reasons you might expect. He started work later in the day, ended earlier, and spent flexible time with the family. Knowing now that this works for us, it would be hard to go back to a full time job with a commute and all of the little extra bits that come with working for someone else. Of course, there were many times we wished we had the security of a full-time job and its benefits, but working a flexible job, having the family together, and being free to call the shots have made it worth every penny we might have given up.

Kathleen journeyed from pure survival mode to moments of thriving in her roles this year.  She has regained most of her sense of taste and some of her sense of smell, which has helped dramatically with increased desire to pursue some of her passions, like cooking and gardening.  And with a toddler in diapers, it’s not the worst thing in the world to not be able to smell well.  She has felt luxuriously spoiled with our recently acquired gym membership at the YMCA that has childcare the boys love and allows her to exercise during the day however she’d like.  Swimming has been incredibly cathartic and totally worth dealing with the colorful experiences of a gym locker room.  Kathleen remains torn about whether or not she’ll return to a typical speech-pathology role somewhere, but is thankful daily for a degree that has helped her tremendously with parenting.

Charlie turned four this year and started his second year of preschool, this time at the Seattle Children’s Theater. He’s loved it so far and it really plays to some of his strengths. He’s riding a bike now and has gone around Green Lake a few times (~3 miles or ~4.8 km). He loves and despises his brother depending on the day and the activity, but they’re really great pals.

Miles started walking and talking this year and has become quite rambunctious. In the fall the boys invented a game of dropping themselves over the back of the couch onto little play furniture and sometimes just onto the floor. Miles enjoys this as much as Charlie. He tries out new words and phrases just about every day. He follows his brother around like a puppy sometimes. He’s totally charming and he knows it. And given his current size, we’re pretty sure our food budget is going to eclipse our college savings in ten years.

So, 2011 was great for us. We’re happy, getting healthier, getting wiser, and getting more sleep. We hope the start of the new year finds you well. As is our tradition, we’ve included some of our favorites below. Enjoy!

Favorite Books

Kathleen: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese was the most heart-wrenching, gory and beautiful story I’ve read in a long time. I almost stopped reading after the twins’ birth story, had to take a several day break, and returned to start at a different chapter before going back to it, but I’m glad I regained my composure and read every word. Half way through I didn’t want to do anything but read. And the ending. I loved the ending.

I’m also very pleased to be a new owner of a Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook. As I grow in my knowledge of cooking and baking, I’m longing for the scientific understanding of why certain things work and others don’t. I am also thrilled to have 2,000 recipes that have been tested so thoroughly! With this book in hand and a new skillet, I had the confidence to try pan-searing scallops that were served with browned lemon butter and butternut squash ravioli. Yum.

Harry: The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe, Book 1 – The Phenomenon of Life, by Christopher Alexander. In it, Alexander identifies and measures the properties that create life in the built world, from leaves to art to buildings to neighborhoods and beyond. I’m grateful to have these new eyes as I experience the world now. I’ve read the first two volumes and I hope to read the other two this year.

Charlie: The Three Snow Bears. My Father’s Dragon. “I like reading new books that I haven’t read before.”

Miles: My First Word Lift-the-Flap Board Book and Goodnight, Seattle were requested quite frequently.

Favorite Music

Kathleen: I have really enjoyed Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Iron and Wine, and The Autumn Film this year. Not just new stuff, but the albums that I keep returning to because they speak to my soul. I have also loved the precious few minutes that I’ve had to play piano all by myself. Granted, I’m half-watching the boys to make sure the dissonant, non-piano noises I’m hearing aren’t resulting in either of their serious harm, but it’s happening. Sometimes I even get through an entire song.

Harry: You can listen to my favorites below. This past year the themes were nostalgia, introspection, and the reinvented 1980s, except for the last song in the list, in which one group traveled to the year 2025 and returned with its dystopian hip hop. My favorite was “Beth/Rest” by Bon Iver.

[mp3-jplayer tracks="Helplessness Blues - Fleet Foxes@06-Helplessness-Blues.mp3, Like the Wheel - The Tallest Man On Earth@03-Like-the-Wheel.mp3, Up in Flames - Coldplay@11-Up-in-Flames.mp3, Beth/Rest - Bon Iver@10-Beth_Rest.mp3, Peace on the Rise - Chad VanGaalen@02-Peace-on-the-Rise.mp3, I Am Dead (CFCF Remix) - Jori Hulkkonen@I-Am-Dead-CFCF-Remix.mp3, Before and After Life - CFCF@01-Before-and-After-Light.mp3, ccore - Jacob 2-2@ccore.mp3, An Echo from the Hosts That Profess Infinitum - Shabazz Palaces@02-An-Echo-from-the-Hosts-That-Profess-Infinitum.mp3"]

Charlie: “Crocodile Dock. Huey Lewis & the News. U2. The fireflies song. And 5-4-3-2-1 Blast Off.”

[mp3-jplayer tracks="Faith (Hebrews 11:1) from Crocodile Dock - Jay Stocker@06-Faith-Hebrews-11.mp3, Doin' It All (For My Baby) - Huey Lewis & The News@03-Doin-It-All-For-My-Baby.mp3, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of - U2@02-Stuck-In-A-Moment-You-Cant-Get-Out-Of.mp3, Fireflies - Owl City@06-Fireflies.mp3, Rocketship Run - Laurie Berkner@13-Rocketship-Run.mp3"]

Miles: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. He sings this a lot.

Favorite Movies/Shows

Kathleen: My only steps into a theater were for a viewing of 50/50 with Angie. I absolutely loved it. I laughed so hard that I cried, cried so hard that I was snotty and doing the ugly cry. I looked hideous at the movie’s end, but it was worth it. Had I been at home without reservation, I would’ve blown through an entire box of tissues. At home I enjoyed The Trip, Kings of Pastry, Outsourced, The Secret of Kells, Exit Through the Gift Shop and Pressure Cooker. Next year I will certainly tell you how I loved The King’s Speech and other grand movies that came out because they will finally be on Netflix streaming!

Harry:The Secret of Kells, Pressure Cooker, The Trip, Lenny, Exit Through the Gift Shop, At Close Range, Sling Blade, Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind, Who Is Harry Nilsson?, Mesrine: Part I and Part II, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (the Swedish versions of those; I haven’t seen the David Fincher version). Yes, I still loves me some movies.

I loved watching season 1 of The Cosby Show. I will also admit to watching every episode of every season of thirtysomething. Both shows make so much sense now as a married parent of two.

Charlie: Kipper, Caillou, Busytown Mysteries, Pingu, Cars, Charlie Brown.

Miles: When he thinks he has a chance at watching a show (which is extremely rare), he requests “Elmo” (referring to anything from Sesame Street) or Thomas the Tank Engine.

Favorite Games

Kathleen: The games that make my heart melt usually don’t involve me. They’re the games resulting in the best giggles I’ve ever heard. Recently, Miles and Charlie spent at least ten minutes running around the house laughing like crazy while they took turns dragging a sheet and pulling on it. At Thanksgiving all those under ten laughed hysterically at Harry’s silliness. The games I love to instigate are based on whatever’s going on at the moment that can be made fun. Sometimes it’s when one of the boys makes a weird noise and we all keep trying to make it. Other times it’s me dancing in the kitchen with a colander on my head while I feed them a meal.

Harry: Being silly with Charlie and Miles. Whatever we’re doing, there’s always an alternate, ridiculous way of doing it that makes them laugh. They’re also big fans of my “going down the elevator behind the kitchen counter” sight gag (thanks, Mike Myers). I also enjoyed Glitch, Real Racing, and Machinarium.

Charlie: Heroica. Chutes and Ladders. Busytown.

Miles: Climbing on the couch. Basketball.

Moments of Beauty and Inspiration

Kathleen: There is too much to share here, so I’m going to pick the first five that come to mind. Fasten your seat belt, I’m about to bullet:

1) Harry and I choosing to fix up this rental has provided unexpected fun for our marriage, often while we’re covered in paint or dirt. Being in a free-standing home for the first time since our immaculate and basically brand new Colorado home led to some unexpected shock and grief for me because this place was far from clean and pristine. I was inspired by Harry’s encouragement and our subsequent devotion to make our shelter a place of beauty, however we could. If the carpet has to be stained and teal, let the walls be clean. If the grass has to stay put and be moss-filled, let the weeds be pulled and eventually replaced with vegetables and flowers and mulch. Bit by bit, it becomes more lovely and life-giving. It was hard at first to think about pouring so much time and energy into a rental, but it makes sense why it’s been such a gift to us to do so. It is our home.

2) Charlie learning to ride his bike without pedals made me tear up because I know what a huge mental feat it was for him (much more so than the physical challenge). He had taken a few falls, was scared and wanted to give up. When Harry and I told him how many times we fell and that we still sometimes fall, and let him know that he had to decide to tell his body that it was worth a few bumps and bruises, he decided to go for it and the look on his face was amazing.

3) Miles learned to walk this year. And talk. And run. And throw balls. And build train tracks. The joy Miles expresses with any new experience is so contagious I always end up smiling with him.

4) A very tall, lanky, tattered homeless man wearing a feathered hat walked to the front of our church sanctuary during a morning service with a big bunch of flowers and a toilet plunger in hand. The flowers looked like he picked them out of people’s gardens on his way in: loose, mismatching, and hand-picked. Everyone was standing and singing, Harry and I were in the balcony and could see him walk up to the front stage and lay everything down, retrieving the plunger from the midst of the flowers and putting it in his back pocket. He then sat awkwardly and raised his arms to worship, seemingly singing a different song because his mouth wasn’t moving to the same rhythms. A very well-kept older woman left her pew unnoticed but returned to the stage with a large pitcher of water. She leaned in towards the man, I assume to ask him permission, and put the flowers in the water. I completely lost it, overwhelmed by the love of that moment.

5) So many simple things from nature: sprouting seeds, pulled weeds, turtles on the logs at Green Lake, flavor grenade pluots and other divine stone fruit, changing leaves, harbor seals, sea stars, waves…

Harry: I have loved watching our boys grow into playmates. It’s taken them a long time and only recently did they start playing really well together, but for the most part they enjoy each other’s company. They giggle a lot together. They hug goodnight. It’s amazing watching two beings who came from my DNA ask to embrace each other without prompting.

I’m fascinated by Charlie’s paintings: the subjects he chooses, how he depicts them, his use of color and size, the whole bit.

Miles has a fantastic smile and sense of humor. If you need cheering up in 2012, we rent him out at $26/hour, up from $19 last year. Still a great bargain!

I’m inspired by Kathleen’s love of cooking and her blossoming as a chef. I’ve reached the point where I prefer her food to just about anything, save the hoity-toity places we go on special occasions. And even with some of those places, I prefer her meals. I tag along just so we can say hoity-toity once in a while.

Charlie: “I remember you [Papa] blowing the biggest bubble. And we went to the beach. I remember moving into our new house. It has more space than our old house.”

Miles: “This doesn’t count as beautiful, per se, but I was moved by the zeal of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, regardless of their tactics or effectiveness.” [Miles is a realist.]

Best Surprise

Kathleen: We enjoyed a pretty incredible year, including moving back to our favorite neighborhood (close to our first home). It was also filled with lots of high-quality family time, my brother getting a job based out of a Seattle that led to many great experiences together and the beginning of us really knowing each other as friends, loads of fun play dates, evenings with dear friends and bellyaching laughter, a few lovely getaways and the amazing day-to-day pleasure of having Harry work from home. But my heart jumped the highest when my dear friend Kristine, our Siberia teammate and first Seattle friend, called to let us know that her family’s return to Seattle was finally happening. And it beat fastest when two dear friends went into labor early, one with twins. Thankfully, all the teeny-tiny babies are thriving.

Harry: I really enjoyed having Dave, Kathleen’s brother, stay with us for a couple weeks after his duties on his ship were finished. I think all of us had a great time. We shared lots of great talk, drinks, and meals, including a dream night at Canlis for Dave, Kathleen, and me on my birthday.

Charlie: “I remember trying to cheer up girls at the gym that we went to today. I really like the little bug that I got for Christmas. One of my favorite things about Uncle Dave visiting is that I was sleeping and then I woke up and I saw Uncle Dave sleeping there right in front of my eyes!”

Miles: “Hi.”

Favorite Websites

Kathleen: All of last year’s sites still remain favorites, but I add Ashley Rodriguez’s Not Without Salt to the mix. This is now my go-to blog for very unhealthy but delicious desserts or anything chocolate related. (Try her chocolate chip cookie recipe. I dare you.) I can’t wait to make more of her recipes since those I’ve made have all been incredible. I also really love Ashley’s photography and writing. If you haven’t figured it out by now, if I’m not on email or Facebook, I pretty much spend my online time reading food blogs or watching food related shows.

Harry: I read the misnamed Hacker News on a daily basis. Glitch is filled with good, creative quirk. Netflix for shows.

Charlie: PBS Kids.

Miles: Arts & Letters Daily.

Favorite or Funniest Thing Miles Says

Kathleen: It’s pretty hilarious that any time we talk about the Seattle Children’s Theatre (which is very frequent because it’s where Charlie attends preschool), Miles says “monorail!” This sometimes refers to the monorail, but usually refers to the Space Needle, which remains strongly mislabeled despite months of proper modeling. He also says monorail to anybody who talks to him on the phone. I think he’s figured out how cute it is and is getting a lot of mileage from it. I also love that he used to say “dakuum” all the time (for vacuum, which referred to anything with a motor and wheels). He wanted us to make Tinkertoy vacuums and he’d drive them, fly them or vacuum with them. Lastly, I love that he answers yes with a strong, quick “heh” and yells “ai ai ai” when he’s mad about something.

Harry: What’s not to like? His word for yes is “huh” with a big nod of the head. He tries hard to say basketball because he received a small hoop for Christmas. His best friend is a little stuffed animal called Tiger and he often says, “Tiger, where ARE you?” in a kind of sing-song voice. When he’s giving you something he says “he go” (Here you go), also in a high-pitched, sing-song voice. His typical greeting to someone new is to say “monowaya” (monorail). But I have no idea why he chooses that as a greeting over, say, “coffee” or “backyard” or “hi” or something less arbitrary.

Charlie: “Here are some of his faces that I think are funny [Charlie now shows us some of his funny faces]. My favorite face to make Miles laugh is this.”

Miles: “Monorail.”

Favorite Toy

Kathleen: Our camera’s new lens is quickly becoming a favorite! I also probably love my new immersion blender/mini food processor more than one should love an appliance.

Harry: I bought an iPad for my business. In its spare time iPad likes to double as a music recording studio, a game machine, a movie theater, a magazine and book container, and several other nouns.

Charlie: “The marble track. The magnetic block cars. The orange tool box.”

Miles: Train tracks. Tinkertoys. Marble tracks. Basketball hoop.

Plans for 2012

Kathleen: I have a huge stack of books waiting for me at the downtown library, mostly about education, learning and child development. Reading these will be my primary focus during my free time for the next few months as we contemplate what Charlie will do for kindergarten. I have signed up for an indoor sprint triathlon in April and plan on doing an outdoor one in late summer. This means I will be exercising much more regularly than I do now or I will be immobile in early April. I plan on becoming a better gardener, cook, baker and photographer. With lots of help I will grow in grace, patience and my ability to savor the moment instead of worry about the future or pursue perfection. And I will take at least one really big risk that scares me silly and makes me rely on my faith. I am really hoping to not move homes this year. Or the next, for that matter.

Harry: This year I plan to grow the business with a couple products of my own. For learning, I’m still completely engrossed in non-fiction and this is unlikely to change this year. There’s so much to know! Sitting on my table right now are Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Guns, Germs, and Steel, Philosophical Investigations, Unix Power Tools, The Unix Programming Environment, Concrete Mathematics, and The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. If I get through them all by next year, it will be a miracle. Finally, I plan to ride in the Seattle to Portland bike race in July. Wish me luck!

Charlie: “It does make me really excited if we would go to the Pacific Science Center and I could use the digger. And we could go and see those crazy bugs that we have now that run around on the track.”

Miles: “raf.” [Giraffe]

That’s a Wrap

Finally, here are some of our favorite pictures from 2011.

Love,
Miles, Charlie, Kathleen, and Harry

Happy 2011!

Happy New Year!

After a hiatus last year we are excited to bring the annual Loveoirs update back. 2010 has been the most eventful year of our lives. At the end of December last year we drove from Boulder to Seattle with Kathleen six months’ pregnant and Charlie buckled into his car seat for hours on end, and arrived on a snowy New Year’s Eve. We found our current rental shortly thereafter, Harry started a new job, and we unpacked our stuff all within that first month. In March we managed to sell our house in Colorado long distance via fax, prayer, and heavy drinking. In April Mr. Miles William Love joined our family. In early fall, Charlie started preschool and Harry left his job to start a new business.

1,300 mile road trip and move. Two jobs. One new child. One new business. One house sold. We’ve hosted family four times. 27 mental breakdowns. The only things missing were death and divorce. And we apologize to you for that. We really tried to pack as much stress into this year as possible.

We continue to struggle with sleep deprivation. Not only that but we continue to struggle with sleep deprivation.  (Miles sleeps best in the early evening, while we’re still awake.  Then from about 10pm until 6am he’s up every 2-3 hours.  This, in spite of many attempts at crying it out and learning how to fall asleep unaided.  It’s been incredibly challenging.)

But if you want to know the truth about our lives (using only adjectives), we are incredibly thankful, happy, satisfied, tired, petulant at times, glad, and wonderful. 2010 was a full year.

Favorite Books

Harry: Light Boxes. Everything else was non-fiction. Of those I can recommend The Inmates Are Running the Asylum for the techies in your family.

KathleenGood to the Grain.  Every recipe I’ve tasted or made has been breathtakingly delicious.  Sadly, I think the only fiction book I read all year was The Help.  I highly recommend Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child for all people regularly interacting with children.  As Charlie’s behavior has grown more and more challenging (warning: parents of toddlers, 3 is a much harder age than 2!), this book has provided tremendous guidance in helping me refrain from discounting his feelings or desires.  I fall short often but do see overall growth in this area of my life as a mom.  I imagine that it will be a book I reference for reminders my entire life.

Charlie (interviewed and dictated by mom while he holds the pilot of his Tinkertoy airplane): “Um…uh…mmm…Clifford books.” Any other books?  “I’ve really enjoyed music books.” Alright, what kind of music books?  “Um…record player music books.” (We don’t have a record player.)  Any others?  “Well, I have a new friend and his name is Airplane Driver.  And I fly my airplane.  And it’s right over down there.  And the red seat is where I sit and drive it.  And the lever makes it turn and turn.  And the red one makes it go super fast.”

Miles:  Believe it or not, Miles chooses books and has done so for many months now!  Initially he did it with just eye gaze, but now he grabs the one he wants when provided with a few choices.  His go-to books include Good Night, Gorilla, Goodnight Moon, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, Blankie and all books with pictures of babies in them.

Favorite Music

Harry: This year it’s been a mix of Electronica/Chillwave and Alt/Country/Folk, whatever those mean. And a little bit o’ Pop/Dance. I fell in love with Pomplamoose for about 10 minutes in March when someone posted a link to their cover of Telephone. Really loved that and their version of Single Ladies, which was sung in our house as “All the Little Babies” after Miles was born. And of course, The Autumn Film, who played a live show at Sam and Angie’s house a few weeks ago! But here’s a mix of stuff. Apologies if you’ve heard these already. Just skip around. There are 19 songs: you’re bound to like something.

Kathleen: Hands down, The Autumn Film.  Their music sinks to the depths of my soul.  I could use a little break from U2 and Huey Lewis, thanks to Charlie requesting them one hundred times a day.

Charlie:  “Beautiful Day!”  Any others “Um, Huey Lewis.”  Others? “Um, the, um, the radio in the car.”

Miles:  He definitely lights up when we sing Old MacDonald.

Favorite Movies

Harry: Food, Inc., Nerdcore Rising, Three Days of the Condor, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man, More Than a Game, Julie & Julia, Lonesome Dove, It Might Get Loud. Also, I just want to remember this year as the one in which we started streaming Hollywood movies to our phones. When Netflix released their movie player app for iPhone over the summer, I sat with my mouth wide open for an hour watching Jaws. On a phone! In real time! And it looks and sounds great! I’m happy I get to live in this age and not, you know, when color TV was invented or something like that. Although I’m sure they sat with their mouths open, too.

The last movie I saw this year was Tron and I don’t recommend it. Very disappointing given the originality of the first one. Some of the music was okay, but I expected so much more. And it just hit me, the music reminds me of Jan Hammer’s score for the first season of Miami Vice, with a little more studio processing, but not as inventive material. So yeah, disappointed, but that’s probably why I like some of the music.

Kathleen:  I don’t think I went to any movies this year, but I do recall watching a a few on Netflix in bits and pieces.  I smiled the whole way through Babies.  The most haunting and memorable was Sicko.  We made the enormous mistake of watching it while researching our own health insurance prior to Harry resigning.  We were an inch short of moving to Europe.  And I almost cried when I saw that French moms get six weeks of in-home help with their babies.  The government-paid nanny will do laundry, meals, baby care, whatever!  And don’t even talk to me about Sweden.

Charlie: “Kipper and Caillou.”  Any others?  “No. I have here some important things for me to spend some time in my airplane.  So, I gotta go.  See you later.”

Miles: Groundhog Day.

Favorite Games

Harry: I like making up games with the boys. On my phone I’ve enjoyed Angry Birds and Osmos.

Kathleen:  I was totally obsessed with the Canlis menu scavenger hunt.  The best restaurant marketing tool ever.  I absolutely loved the game.  It took me back to the season of Harry & I dating and all the scavenger hunts he sent me on.  We almost found the menus a few times. Those times were hard to swallow ( <– pun ), but I’d really love to take part in something like that again.

Charlie: “Cariboo.”

Miles:  Bonking Mama with his head while in the Moby.  Coughing at Papa.  Making crazy noises at Charlie.

Big Challenges or Most Difficult Aspect of this Season of Life

Harry: Lack of sleep. Almost no exercise. Feeling like I have no time for myself and feeling guilty when I do take time. Kathleen and I try to help each other with these, but really, we’re just parents of small children and it’s part of [Elton John voice] the CIRCLE of Life! [end Elton John voice].

Kathleen:  Oh, sleep, how I miss thee.  If you read my August post, you’ll know how bad it got.  I’m doing much better, but there were really bad days for far too many weeks.  I also got in the awful habit of rewarding myself for exceptionally bad nights with treats and we live two blocks away from one of the nation’s best bakeries.  So, I never lost the extra weight I gained in pregnancy.  Plus, I almost always choose sleep over exercise if I’m given the choice.  Icing on the cake: I haven’t had much of a sense of smell or taste since May.  For a long time I could only taste super sweet and bitter.  Fruit, chocolate and coffee were all the more appealing.  It’s been a vicious cycle.  Here’s to better rest and health in 2011!

Charlie: Answering for Charlie, we would have to say: moving and having a baby brother.

Miles: Sleep. Getting mistaken for Mr. Stay Puft.  Getting five teeth at once.

Name Something You’re Particularly Proud Of

Harry: Kathleen and I celebrated 10 years of marriage in June. I think we took naps to mark the occasion. And I make a pretty good dad.

Kathleen:  Asking for and accepting help during our really hard months with Miles.  Learning to voice my needs instead of expecting others to anticipate them.  Surviving intense sleep deprivation and a 3 1/2 year old without hurting anyone.

Charlie: Charlie’s doing really great at preschool and he loves it. We don’t know if he’s proud of that, but we’re proud of him.

Miles: Miles has a great smile, a great laugh, and he likes to be silly. Despite driving us insane at night, we love him so.

Best Surprise

Harry: Miles’ personality. Charlie bonding with his brother.

Kathleen:  This year included an abundance of lovely surprises, so here’s the top ten that come to my poorly functioning mind in chronological order:

  1. Being able to rent on Queen Anne, just blocks from Angie.
  2. Savoring Chocolate Covered Chocolate at Canlis while listening to stories and letters of encouragement about mothering two young children from dear friends weeks prior to Miles’ arrival.
  3. Arriving at the hospital to discover that I was much farther along in labor than I had anticipated and being able to complete it without intervention.
  4. Receiving incredible gifts of time, food, play, presents for Charlie, meal delivery service for weeks, a (drooled over!) standing mixer and even a beautiful sculpture to celebrate and help us through Miles’ early months.
  5. Charlie thriving in preschool.
  6. Harry being able to pursue his own business again.
  7. Charlie enjoying babysitters, even if we bribe him with mac n’ cheese from a box.
  8. My brother David’s visit with us during the Seattle snow storm.
  9. Connecting with old friends and making new friends in more meaningful, deeper ways.
  10. Watching Charlie learn to ride a bike on Christmas morning.

Favorite Part of Being Back in Seattle

Harry: Friends! Water! The color green! Coffee! Macrina! The farmers markets! Getting to spend Thanksgiving on the beach in Oregon with friends.

Kathleen:  Knowing it’s home.

Favorite Foods and Most Frequented Recipes

Harry: Kathleen makes really great red lentil soup, enchiladas, pizza, and pancakes. Thankfully, not all in the same meal.

Also, It puts the Roly-Poly in the basket or else It gets the hose.

And we just discovered Le Reve Bakery and I’m pretty sure the Twice Baked Chocolate Croissants should be illegal. Also, thank God for red beans and rice and beignets from Where Ya At Matt?

Kathleen:  The Collins Family Farm stone fruit (purchased at our local farmer’s market) was consistently the best fruit I’ve ever had.  It was also one of the few healthy things I could really taste this summer, so it was an incredible treat.  I would pay $10 for one of their peaches in the middle of winter.  Anything from Good to the Grain has made me very happy this year.  Fran’s Chocolates, Le Reve and Bakery Nouveau twice baked croissants, Macrina chocolate orange coffee cake…oh my.  I’m telling you, friends, Seattle has amazing food.  And it’s not all sweet.  I also had a delicious happy hour meal at Emmer & Rye with my brother, along with many other mouth watering meals.

My most frequented recipes are mostly from inpraiseofleftovers and include quick pizza dough (upon which I usually throw sauteed spinach, onions, sundried tomatoes, cheese and maybe some kalamatas or roasted red peppers), roasted vegetables, fritatas, Asian noodle salad, birthday barley salad, and red lentil soup.

Charlie: “Mac and cheese.”

Miles: Bananas and pears make him say, “mmmmm, mmmm, mmmm, mmmm!”

Favorite Websites

Harry: TeuxDeux (my to-do list), Dribbble, and Command Capsule!

Kathleen: NYTimes, inpraiseofleftovers, orangette, 101cookbooks, epicurious, facebook, twitter and flickr.

Charlie: Starfall, Netflix (for Kipper and Caillou), and Curious George games on PBSKids.org.

Miles: The Economist.

Least Favorite Activity You Must Do Daily

Harry: Wake up.

Kathleen:  Ha!  I just read Harry’s answer.  So sad but true.  We are just ridiculously tired.

Charlie: “Being in a bad mood with you guys.”

Miles:  Sleep would be a good guess.  Or getting changed.

Favorite or Funniest Thing Charlie Says

Harry: “… bands and a minion stein.” (translated, “… bands with a million styles,” a lyric from “The Heart of Rock and Roll”; Charlie has his own language when it comes to rock music. My second favorite part of Charlie’s version of that song is when Huey shouts out “Detroit!” Charlie has replaced that with “Detract!”

Kathleen:  I love how time has been referenced this year.  We had months of, “When I was a little boy I used to… (fill in with something Harry and I do now).”  Quantity has also been fun: “I had to use so much toilet paper because I made hundreds of tinkle!”  There were lots of really funny comments about #2 during potty training, too.

Miles:  “Bleh!” (Charlie says this to try to make Miles laugh)

Favorite Toy

Harry: iPhone 4. I don’t care. (Search for it, but be warned.) Seriously, though, I love my iPhone.

Kathleen:  Miles’ chub.  I love to squeeze it.  And he’s definitely my favorite source of play these days.  Too much cuteness.

Charlie: “Windup things.” He also loves blocks, wooden trains, riding his bike, puzzles (he’s a master), and Miles.

Miles: Whatever you’re playing with looks good.

Plans for 2011

Harry: Fewer life changing events would be nice, unless they involve large deposits of cash. I am looking forward to releasing version 2 of Jetrecord and having just one person sign up for monthly payments. That will be a great day.

Kathleen:  I plan to get more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep whenever possible.  I really look forward to celebrating Charlie’s 4th birthday in February and Miles 1st in April.  I hope to return to some form of SLP-related work this year, but I’m not sure of exactly what I want to pursue.  I hope we get to visit Colorado and Florida this year.  We look forward to several visits to the Oregon coast, one for just our family and another for Thanksgiving.  Our day to day life will be lots of playing, cooking, cleaning, walking, diaper changing, teaching, disciplining, laughing, and deep-breathing.

That’s a wrap! See you next year!

See the fullscreen slideshow on Flickr!

Love,
Kathleen, Harry, Charlie and Miles

The Food Journal: Part I

I have decided I want to start documenting a bit of our journey with food.  I’ve had a lot of discussions with various people and it seems prudent to begin sharing why and how we’ve made changes so far.

Harry & my first big shift with food came as a result of a year of very limited income.  We did not want to sacrifice quality or health and live off Top Ramen and mac & cheese, so to help stretch our food budget we either eliminated or significantly reduced consumption of meat, juice, alcohol, and other unhealthy foods.  We also stopped eating out or buying coffee and pastries (one of our favorite weekend traditions), apart from special or rare occasions.

Through that year we got quite used to eating this way and maintained many of the habits once Harry had a full-time job.  I don’t enjoy handling nor cooking most meat so the only forms I began incorporating semi-regularly were ground buffalo and wild salmon.  Additionally, I learned much more about gardening, had a huge amount of bed space to do so, and quickly fell in love with growing food.  Last summer and fall I barely ever bought vegetables at the market because our garden produced enough for our family, and often enough to share or store.  This perpetuated our mostly vegetarian diet because it was the most convenient, healthy and economical way for us to eat.  I also believe this helped me become a much better, more flexible cook.  I had to learn new ways to use the same vegetable without us going crazy at the sight of it or how to incorporate a bunch of random veggies into a dish before they went bad.  I now have several meals that I can cook without following a recipe that work as great vehicles for leftover produce (homemade pizza, pasta dishes, salads, enchiladas, frittatas, etc…)

The next steps we took came because of articles, books, and discussions about the food industry.  Not fast food (we’d watched SupersizeMe years prior and have successfully avoided McDs, as well as most of it’s equals, since), but the major players behind most “food” products on the USA grocery stores shelves.  Food, Inc. was probably the most powerful catalyst for change, but Pollan’s articles/books and other key players in the slow food movement have all contributed to our baby steps.  Each bit of knowledge has led to either a softening towards change or immediate change.  It’s definitely a bit like peeling an onion-layer after layer reveals something new, usually equally pungent.  Sometimes we’re ready to digest what we learn, other times we’re not.

We have found the process extremely rewarding.  I am really enjoying providing healthier, more sustainable food options for our family that are balanced out by delicious treats.  (In our home, very little sugar in the three big meals a day leaves plenty of room for some sweet treats as snacks!) I am definitely doing a lot more dishes, pots & pans nearly every meal, but the truth is that only adds about 5 minutes of clean-up per meal.  I have grown very accustomed to the bulk food sections of stores and now know which stores I can no longer shop at for just about anything.  Recently, several grocery store clerks looked at me like I was crazy after asking if they had spelt flour.  One questioned whether it truly existed and followed up that question with “Is it for Passover?”  So funny.  Also, none of us are missing our old breakfast staples like I anticipated.  We are enjoying our oatmeal, granola, pancakes or eggs for breakfast.  Charlie has stopped asking for boxed mac & cheese unless he sees it in the grocery store.  He got it as a treat with a babysitter one night and we’ve decided it’ll be saved for just that occasion for two reasons, to please the child’s palate and help us get out the door without tears.   I have seen substantial improvement in his willingness to try new foods and eat what’s put before him.  This has probably been a big enough reward in itself to keep us motivated.

It’s an exciting time for us with the baby on the way but I feel like these changes are sustainable.  Additionally, we will probably have groceries delivered to home for awhile, which along with buying a bit more time and keeping healthy foods coming our way, will probably lower our grocery bill because there won’t be any impulse purchases.  I’ve also stocked our freezer with lots of beans, soups and breads that we can pull out as needed.  (To help prevent us from going to the grocery store and buying a frozen pizza, for example…but again, there’s room for grace.  There will undoubtedly be those days.)  There are no vegetables growing in pots on our front porch, like I’d hoped to have, and at this point I wonder if I’d have any chance of keeping them alive.  (I think we’ll be ready for summer veggies but missed the cool weather spring veggie window.)  I am sad I won’t be able to rely on my own produce like I could last year, but hey, at least we’re in Seattle surrounded by farmer’s markets in every neighborhood come May!  And the year-long Ballard market is so fantastic.  It helps tremendously to be in a community filled with believers in the importance of changing our food system, and even moreso to have close friends walking the same path, sharing recipes and meals with us.  (Have you watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution?  Such a great start…)

Harry and I are not black and white about this, and Harry’s particularly good at keeping me gray given my tendency to be all-or-nothing about choices.  We’re going to eat whatever meals people share with us and be thankful for that time of fellowship and food.  We’re going to enjoy meals at restaurants.  And while we’d like to support restaurants that avoid factory farmed meat, it won’t always happen or be possible.  (We are discovering that vegetarian options at restaurants often taste better, though!)  We’re striving to do our best but there’s plenty of room for grace.  This is a journey.  We understand that others may not agree, are at different spots in their own journey, or don’t know about the situation.  It is all relatively new to us, too, and we’re very aware of how much more we have to learn.  We love to dialogue about it and have gleaned tremendous amounts of insight from those further along this road, as well as from those who aren’t on it at all.

There is so much more to write about, but I’ll end with a little of what has been required to make this happen: careful time management and planning of social events during the week, a definite dedication to cooking, reading more recipes to expand my repertoire, and initially, more trips to grocery stores because I couldn’t find things I needed at certain ones.  It all requires a mindfulness that wasn’t necessary when I knew I had some packaged item in the freezer we could cook up.  In a crunch, stovetop oatmeal or plain whole wheat pasta just isn’t as appealing as potstickers and frozen pizza.

Provision

Tonight I share a few unrelated items with our readers.  Wait, do we have any readers besides dear, faithful Juliet & Jessica?  I think even my mom stopped checking out loveoirs after I stopped writing regularly.  Hmmm…chime in, people.  Just once so that I know I shouldn’t just keep a journal and photocopy it for Juliet & Jessica.

Our to-do list is slowly getting smaller.  What we have completed in the past three months makes my head spin a bit.  I’m going to do some self-indulgent reflecting on all of these tasks for a minute: house ready for market, maintaining cleanliness & neatness for showings, Harry interviewing, lining up movers, packing our stuff-including sorting, donating, shredding, etc…, celebrating holidays and birthdays, moving, finding a rental, unpacking, finding midwives & doctors and going to appointments, registering our car, getting driver’s licenses, surviving all of us being sick, finding a dentist, finding a preschool, Charlie’s third birthday, dealing with a water back-up in the basement and no washing machine for a week, dealing with a broken dryer for nearly two weeks,  getting insurance quotes, trying to find someone to cover our vacant home, and probably a zillion other things I’ve forgotten because half of my brain is somewhere near the interstate in Utah.  Plus, just regular life stuff like laundry, cooking, playing with and nurturing Charlie, and getting groceries.  And Harry adjusting to a new job.  Oh yeah, and I’m 33 weeks pregnant and feeling rather large.  Please know that I’m aware how whiney that all could sound.  While it has been exhausting,  I know our problems and task lists are luxurious and that most people would love to trade us for their own.  I’m just wanting to record this so that I’m reminded of how well cared for we’ve been during such a full period of life.  It is not a complaint, although admittedly I have entered that zone many times during the past few months.

The harder times have been well balanced with lots of beautiful, fun, and exciting times, like enjoying conversation and meals with friends, exploring our new neighborhood in our old city, savoring delicious coffee and baked goods, relishing being back at our church, and soaking in the most beautiful February week Seattle has ever known.  (I don’t know if that’s really true, but it has been phenomenal.)  What I have learned these past three months is to rely more deeply on God’s provision.  He provided for us in amazing ways by getting us here so quickly and ultimately with perfect timing (although we couldn’t see this at the time).  Our friends and church here have taken such good care of us- helping us with everything from providing places to sleep, meals, unpacking, playdates, to sanding and priming tables for goodness sake!

On one of the beautiful days this week Charlie and I took his bike out for a spin.  Since we were out of beans we stopped at Macrina for me to grab some java.  Charlie entered and Ellen, who is probably his favorite worker there (and she admits to having a crush on Charlie), happily greeted him and commented on his cool helmet.  He proudly displayed it for her and proceeded to tell her that his bike is cool too and that he’d like a treat.  He is really comfortable in stores now and loves to order his own items, with or without his parents’ permission.  Thankfully, the workers usually confirm with us.  After Macrina and some playground time we biked back home, only to see backhoes and dumptrucks down the street.  Charlie and I ended up sitting on someone’s stairs for nearly a half hour so he could watch.  Near the end of our stay he started playing his sippy cup like a guitar and called it his milk guitar.  He cheerfully made up a song, played air guitar and watched the backhoe.  The sun was shining, an enormous cherry tree was within my view, the Olympics were also within sight and all was perfect.  Well, except for the fresh, wet bird poop that was on the stairs right next to us, tempting Charlie to finger paint.

After having read a summary of the book, engaging in conversations with many friends about it, and wanting to read it for months, I FINALLY have “Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child” in my hands!!!  I am so excited.  I feel like this could be one of the most important books Harry and I read as parents because implementing Gottman’s ideas into our parenting might be the most emotionally formative choice we make.  I am already slightly familiar with some of his principles from my graduate school training, particularly the counseling course, and have tried to acknowledge and validate Charlie’s emotions, so I’m thankful that I don’t feel like I’m being repeatedly hit over the head with all of the ways I’ve parented poorly.  But, geez, it’s humbling.  It is such a balance to keep their emotions in mind, respect their needs and desires, and still get out the door in time for appointments.  Maybe this is why we were late to our first visit to the new pediatrician.  Yes, it was that I favored emotional well-being over promptness, that’s it!

After doing research on pediatric dentists and discovering that those recommended by friends here or ranked high on the websites I viewed were not in our plan, I called a random dentist office today and asked about his pediatric experience.  His receptionist actually said, “Well, he’s getting better.  [I'm silent in disbelief and she continues]   He has a four year old now and he seems to be more understanding.”  Clearly, not someone I’m going to send him to, especially after reading the Gottman book 12 hours prior!  I get off the phone, talk with Aaron about our completed coffee tables (I am *so* excited to have these sanded & primed, ready for our fun new paint colors!), and he recommended their dentist.  In our plan, scheduled perfectly, and with a view of Puget Sound!  At least one of us will enjoy that part.  And I can reward Charlie with a trip to the beach after his dental visits.

Lastly, I have been thinking a lot about America’s food industry.  I watched a few more clips (one was a Katie Couric interview with Dr. Kessler and Eric Schlosser, another was a TED.org lecture with Jamie Oliver, and the last was a Michael Pollan lecture available on hulu.com) and engaged in conversation with Angie about Eating Animals, a book she’s reading.  I am becoming increasingly convinced that our food choices are not only important for our health and for the environment, but for the well-being of our neighbors…mostly our poor, third-world, developing country neighbors who are at the mercy of our choices.  Taking the steps to live more sustainably and responsibly are not easy.  They require giving up convenience (boxed cereal in the morning or stovetop oatmeal? mac & cheese for kids or a prepared lunch?), weaning ourselves off the sugar and salt we’re accustomed to in processed foods, and learning to find entertainment and pleasure outside of eating out at restaurants that serve questionable food (which is most of the affordable ones).  We’re going to take a few more small steps…starting with getting rid of cereal and macaroni and cheese.  We’re going to regularly have stovetop oatmeal and alternate with granola.  I’m going to try to make some homemade mac & cheeses and see if Charlie takes to any of them, but if not, he’ll slowly forget about his love for the boxed wonder.  And we’ll all be healthier because of it.

Alright, I’m not editing this, so my apologies for errors.  I’m tired but I want to post.  Good night!

Giving Thanks

I am finding more and more that fostering an attitude of thankfulness requires a consistent, deliberate practice.  Without a conscious effort to remember all that is good, it is far too easy to get sucked into the abyss of sadness this world brings.  Even my own current simple challenges–wondering how and when our job/move situation will pan out, feeling pregnancy related pain, and listening to Charlie’s wails and demands when he’s not at his best–can feel life-sucking. Sometimes I almost can’t see my way out unless I talk to someone wise enough to listen just as I need or who happens to be having a worse time.  This is not how I want to foster thankfulness.  I want my heart to know, not just see, the beauty and good in life, regardless of whether my struggles are relatively easier or harder than those of people I interact with.   We are surrounded by such intense pain and suffering that there will always be someone having a harder time somewhere.  Yet, their heart may be in a better spot, more willing to accept life for its ups and downs and trust that life isn’t about the ease with which we get through it.  We are created for so much more than just getting by.

Thanksgiving lends itself to much beauty, not the least of which is that it encourages so many people to stop and think about what they’re thankful for before they stuff themselves silly.  I celebrate this part of Thanksgiving and love that it is a part of Harry and my tradition to share these thoughts.  Additionally, I like that it’s a call to return to or strengthen a practice of meditating regularly on our blessings.  Without giving thanks, I am sure to grow bitter, forgetful, and weary.

There is also plenty about Thanksgiving with which I don’t care to identify or celebrate.  I just read this article about the historical atrocities associated with this holiday and reminded of how deep the pain runs for many Native Americans when our nation recognizes only the happily-presented (elementary school version that many adults still believe) pilgrim part of the story.  Highlighting his years of being bonded by anger, the author’s last line is perfect:  “And we’ll give thanks that we live in a country where remembering the past need not shackle us to it.”  It seems a good balance to discuss the truth and then choose to celebrate the ways that love has triumphed over hate, thankfulness over ungratefulness.

I also find it difficult to swallow the costs associated with Thanksgiving–physically, financially, environmentally, and sadly, for many, spiritually and emotionally–that could be lessened by making a few changes.  (I feel this way about Christmas, too…particularly store bought obligatory gifts.)  I’m all in favor of a local, organic, sustainable Thanksgiving meal.  Not a feast, but a minimalist, stress-free meal that allows people to engage in relational activities and enjoy the day.  This does not have to be any more expensive than a conventional meal.  In fact, by not having a turkey (which wouldn’t bother me one bit), the costs are decreased significantly.  If turkey is a must, getting a heritage turkey seems worth the extra cost.  I’ve heard the flavor is significantly better (maybe I’d actually want turkey annually if I tried one of them) and they’re not packed with hormones.  In fact, they can actually reproduce on their own.  (Isn’t it horrifying that conventional turkeys can’t reproduce!?)  You could cut costs elsewhere by having fewer sides, no alcohol, etc…  Or, don’t eat meat for a few weeks prior and after.  This would also help off-set the environmental impact of the holiday.  We have a very long way to go in celebrating this way, but I believe it is a gift to the world to do so.  It is an acknowledgment that our choices impact the whole world and by choosing simplicity, we are respecting our global neighborhood.

So, I’m done with my truth sharing and moving on towards focusing on love.  We have so much to be thankful for that it’s almost embarrassing.  Yesterday I had a twenty week ultrasound for our littlest Love.  The baby is healthy and growing well, already 11 inches and over 300 grams.  (It also seems to be following in Charlie’s shoes for head size.  Great…can’t wait for labor again.)  The appointment length was going to make Harry’s work day challenging and we both opted for him to stay at work.  So that we could still learn the baby’s gender at the same time, I arranged for a bakery near Harry’s office to prepare a half dozen chocolate coconut cupcakes for a boy and strawberry milkshake ones for a girl.  The ultrasound tech had me turn my head every time I could’ve been informed, praising me all the while for doing a good job not cheating.  She was pretty cute in how proud she seemed of me.  And she was happy to make the call even though she’d never been asked to do so before.   Harry met me at the bakery after the appointment and we eagerly opened up our box and tearfully celebrated our news with a pair of really delicious cupcakes and shots of espresso.  After a few minutes by ourselves, the delightful Tee and Cakes owner, Kim, generously brought us a onesie for the baby.  The staff there couldn’t have treated us better.  I think they liked being in on the secret.  And they probably liked my tears, too.

A few of many other things that keep me singing praises, in no particular order:

Sweet baby Caroline, who has triumphed through a very rough first year of life that included heart failure, feeding tubes, and open heart surgery.  She is as cute as a button and melts your heart with her smile.  She is recovering beautifully and beginning to really hit her stride.  Her parents,  my dear friend Leslie and her husband Mike, have been amazing.  They have inspired me countless times with their optimism, endurance, strength, advocacy, and profound love.

Our friends Lonnie and Juliet finally got to pick up their son from Ethiopia and now have him in their arms on a daily basis.  I got the pleasure of meeting Daniel in October and almost couldn’t believe that he’s cuter in person than he is in his pictures, because his pictures turn me into jello.  The kid is as adorable as they come.  Brightest eyes I’ve ever seen.  Man, I want to hold him right now!  It is such exquisite beauty to see friends who have longed for a family holding their baby in their arms.

My core group girls.  I have absolutely loved getting to know these college women by having them into our home regularly for study and fellowship.  Had I known I would be pregnant or that we might be moving, I probably wouldn’t have signed up to lead a group.  It has deeply enriched these past few months for me.  They have taught me so much with their passion, exuberance, energy, vulnerability, and eagerness to grow.  I will dearly miss meeting with them if we move.  You girls better take a road trip!

Harry’s job.  While it has created a new source of difficulties, it allowed us to stay in our house, rebuild our savings a bit, and take a deep sigh of relief after our year of limited income.  It also gave us the freedom to feel like we could start trying for another child.  Now, it seems, it might be leading us to another source of thankfulness…a return to Seattle.

While leaving Colorado will be heart-breaking and extremely difficult on many levels, we are thankful that jobs exist in Seattle for Harry’s line of work.  If we had to move somewhere else, I can’t imagine how upset I’d be.  But a return to Seattle feels like a return home.  We have never stopped missing our friends and church.  We also have discovered that we’re not suburbia folks…we like city life, even the nitty-gritty.  It is only in the joy of returning to people we dearly miss and love that we can face the pain of leaving others behind.

With that, I hope you all find a moment to reflect on what is good, beautiful, and loving in your life.  If you have read this entire post, you are certainly a good friend to me!  Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Happy New Year!

Here are some of our questions and answers from 2006. Happy to say we got all of them right.

What are you happiest about?

Kathleen: Having a baby.
Harry: Yep, I concur.

What’s the baby’s name?

Kathleen: Justin Uhlotta
Harry: Asurp Rize

No, really:

Kathleen: …
Harry: …

Share a memorable laugh you had:

Kathleen: Photo booth pictures
Harry: More photo booth pictures
(yeah, we did this for hours)

If you could walk through any door, what would you like it to open to?

Kathleen: My gut-reaction response is that it would open to our little boy…sans labor & delivery! On a deeper level, I’d love to walk through the many doors of unbelief, pride, and fear that keep me from experiencing life to its fullest. However, I’m also thankful that this journey involves a more dynamic path.

Harry: Sainte-Chapelle, the night we saw the concert there; Zoka, my favorite coffee shop.

Who is your favorite neighborhood cat?

Kathleen: Even though he sprayed my friend, Copper takes the cake (for letting me rub his enormous belly on a regular basis).

Harry: Tough call, but I gotta go with Chester.

Will you be happy to say goodbye to anything from 2006?

Kathleen: Pregnancy-induced heartburn.
Harry: TV.

Who has inspired you?

Kathleen: Countless people, including strangers, friends, and family, through beautiful acts of generosity, perseverance through difficult times, faithfulness, and sacrifice. Maya Angelou’s Seattle visit, during which she recited poetry, sang, and shared about life, was also deeply inspirational to me.

Harry: Kathleen: it’s been amazing to watch her experience pregnancy. Guy Kawasaki: I read The Art of the Start in 2005 and now I follow his blog. Very motivating. Maya Angelou was fantastic.

When do you feel like time flies?

Kathleen: Dates with Harry. Watching our son move in my belly. Reflecting on the past year.
Harry: Reading. Watching movies.

Any favorite movies or videos?

Kathleen: Millions, Akeelah and the Bee.

Harry: Casino Royale, Tony vs. Paul, everyday, Martians Descend on Sesame Street, Bein’ Green, Evolution, Pythagora Switch, Imagination.

Any favorite music or books?

Kathleen: Some Wildflower in my Heart. Re-reading Maya Angelou’s early autobiographical works. I’ve continued to play many of the same albums from last year over and over again this year: Garden State Soundtrack, Illinois by Sufjan Stevens, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2, and anything by Coldplay. Harry also made me a fantastic iTunes digital album for Christmas that will probably be overplayed during 2007.

Harry: The Tale of the Unknown Island, Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century (still reading this one), The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology (still reading this one, too), Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joni Mitchell, Understand by Pete Rock (watch out, this might be too funky for you), and most recently, Black and Blue and Numb All Over by Graig Markel. Also, by way of video: Drifting, and The Wind and the Wheat.

Favorite web sites?

Kathleen: I’m not much of a web surfer, so my vote is for my email account. Harry always shows me funny sites, so I get to see the good stuff without searching for it.
Harry: Line Rider, Animator vs. Animation (choose Watch this Movie)

Other than the baby, what are you looking forward to this year?

Kathleen: I could write paragraphs to answer this question…but I’ll spare us all the time! Instead, in a nutshell: growth and development in my relationships and new roles, watching the same in others, Harry launching his business, and returning to gardening & physical activities (besides waddling around the lake).

Harry: Opening the doors to my web business (still under development). Ocean’s 13. Writing more. Adding more fiction to my non-fiction-leaning book list.

As always, we update Loveoirs from time to time with our thoughts so you can keep up with what we’re doing. When the little boy is born we will post an update here, so check back in the first few weeks of February. Our photos are still on Flickr. Here’s a collection of some of our favorite memories from 2006.

We wish you all the best in 2007. We hope you get at least some of the best. We’ll rock-paper-scissors you for it.

STP Countdown: 400, 700, or 4000 days?

Plans have changed! Although the STP will undoubtedly occur, it will do so without us this year. A huge surprise, fabulous as can be, has quickly transformed most of our summer engagements.

So, need STP registrations? We’ve got 2 to sell, including reserved spots for bikes on the buses back to Seattle. We’ll take the best offer we get.

We now hope to do our first STP in a year, two, or ten… but it’s going to happen!