Friday, December 26, 2008

Yuletidal Chart

When Christmas morning rolled around, Miles discovered a special present that was too big to fit under the tree.

Mommy was standing by to monitor his reaction via videocam. What could it be?

Ta-da! The budding chef unveiled his new kitchen.

He quickly got started on breakfast.

Someone was very excited. Thanks, Santa!

He had to call up his friends to tell them all about it.

Then the Grinch and his Reinkid loaded their sled to visit Whoville....

... where Mommy helped to unload the stockings.

Then it was off to visit Tess and Sam for Christmas crab cake dinner.

Oh yeah, there was an adults' table, too.

Miles checked out the local rail system.

He helped make sure that everyone's presents got opened...

...including, of course, his own.

The long day came to a close with another visit to Mommy to wish her a Merry Christmas night, followed by a quick visit to Candy Cane Lane.

And with that, we're calling it a Christmas!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lutefisk, Lutefisk, Lefse, Lefse

Neither snow nor sleet nor hail nor rain nor the City of Seattle's decision not to salt the roads could stop a certain family tradition from taking place as scheduled: the annual Christmas Eve lutefisk feed. But they tried. They really tried.

After visiting Mommy in the hospital, Miles declined his afternoon nap and decided to take on the holidays on adrenaline alone.

The drive up to Uncle Jay and Aunt Mary Lynn's provided plenty of that. A warming trend and some rain turned what had been a stable snowpack on 25th Avenue into a sloppy soup of slush. Even our trusty Subaru struggled to maintain a steady trajectory as we climbed through the narrow gauntlet of parked cars for six knuckle-whitening blocks.

That wasn't the whitening going on. Jay, Mary Lynn and Grandma Ba-Ba-Ba were hard at work assembling the evening's snow-blind menu of lutefisk, mashed potatoes, crispbread, and melted butter.

Was that Miles trying his first bite of lutefisk? No, sir. Just a cracker and some smoked salmon. Maybe next year.

But plenty of other willing participants lined up to take their share of the lye-soaked wonder food.

Whether you're a newbie or and old Scandinavian hand, the inimitable sensation of lutefisk hitting the nervous system is a moment to savor.

Sometimes, however, it is best to disable the nervous system...

... with an appropriate dose of aquavit.

Miles' cousin Tess gets her glee ready.

Fortunately, the kids' table offered some lye-free alternatives.

Then it was present time, followed closely by another harrowing descent on the icy slopes of Capitol Hill.

Finally, with his son abed, Daddy closed out Christmas Eve in Santa's Workshop, frantically assembling Miles' toy kitchen just before the reindeer invoked the overnight shipping cutoff.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weathering the Storm (Part 3)

When the snow finally stopping falling for a few minutes, the neighborhood that emerged was hard to recognize.

Our big tree took on Seussian dimensions.

Miles helped to dig out the Subaru.

And gamely took the helm.

63rd Street sported half a foot of fresh powder.

Miles was so cooperative running pre-Christmas errands that he got a special treat...

...hamburgers from Dick's Drive-In! Mmmmmm.

Later in the day, Miles pulled out my cross-country ski boots. Was he sending a message?

We suited up for another snow adventure.

Good news -- Ravenna Boulevard was open for night skiing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weathering the Storm (Part 2)

After more than 5 weeks with Lisa in the hospital, Miles and I were somewhat accustomed to living "on our own." Of course, that wasn't literally true. We had lots of help from both Miles' grandmothers and two babysitters, as well as Lisa's motherly guidance from the Command Center at Swedish Hospital.

As the snow piled up, however, our regular caregivers were immobilized, and communications with the Mother Ship became more tenuous. Suddenly, we really were "on our own."

But when the going gets tough, that's when the bachelors get mobilized.

For two years, the cross-country ski kit for Miles' bike trailer had sat in the garage, waiting for a nordic family vacation that had yet to arrive. Now, the snow had come to us.

The first thing we had to do was to ensure our material survival, come what may. On the morning of the big snowfall, we intrepidly set out on skis for Whole Foods, whose equally intrepid employees had somehow managed to open for business. We loaded the sled with all the necessities of life two guys could imagine needing for a snowbound week.

Back in the neighborhood, the local kids had taken prudent measures to prepare a defense against any snowball-armed invaders. Miles pitched in to help complete the igloo fortifications.

We were snug and secure in our house, but we knew that if a power outage hit, we would need to move our encampment to a place with guaranteed generator power. Fortunately, we knew just the place -- Mommy's room at the hospital! Time for a reconnaissance mission.

We set out in our trusty Subaru to scale the icy slopes of First Hill to Swedish Hospital, where we arrived in style.

Lisa was overcoming mobility challenges as well. For the first time since her admission, she was authorized to take an every-other-daily wheelchair ride in the corridors of the hospital.

We seized the opportunity to get her a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of Seattle's whitest Christmas in years.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weathering the Storm (Part 1)

Thursday's snowfall turned out to be a mere dusting in comparison for what was to come.

Fortunately, Miles was equipped for winter.

The white stuff on the ground was a little disorienting at first.

But it did not take long for Miles to get in the swing of things.

As he went down to sleep, the snow continued to pile up.

And our cars began to disappear.