Thursday, December 31, 2009

thanks for sitting by the river with us

I'm sitting here on the couch in the basement with a much too strong rum and diet coke and 2009 playlist trying to find the last album for the best of post. I have it narrowed down to three records but more plays are necessary. Beautiful's family has all left and made it home by now and it was a really great Christmas having them here. Our housemates were so amazing with all our family in town. Joining in where they could, helping with hospitality and giving space from time to time. We invaded their holiday but they made ours richer and with the year nearing a close I am thankful for their presence in our lives. We extended our lease for another 6 months and when that time comes to an end we will have lived in community for 2 years now. It has been great, and at times hard and stretching. It looks like Beautiful will have a full time job starting in late January and we might just make it though this 6 month period of un-employment/under-employment and a big part of making it, along with our parents, has been our house mates. So as the year comes to a close I think I am most thankful for them this year. Jesse and Carly you have made our lives richer and helped us grow as a family. For our dinner time conversations, fireside chats, fights over who's turn it is to buy milk, Dance show watching, and morning coffee pot meetings I am thankful. Thank you for letting us live life with you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

snowy porch

It is snowing here in Portland with seemingly no warning. Henry and Ian got out to enjoy it but quickly got cold and cranky. We have a winter wonderland here and it is beautiful.

it's a mcgrail family christmas

We have had Beautiful's family in for Christmas and it has been a full, warm, and fun house. Here we are fresh from opening the mountain of presents with only baby Milo missing. We have people sleeping in just about every inch of the house and the recycling box looks like we had a frat party. The boys are loving having Grammie and Tom Tom to jump in bed with each morning and Aunt Heather has been encouraging the delinquency of a minor with Henry by teaching him to throw his food at a restaurant. Even Ian is getting some extra attention with all the aunt, uncles, and grand parents he can handle. We have been having a good time and so far the full house has seen little to no conflict. That is a Christmas miracle as anyone knows with a large family.

Friday, December 25, 2009

you see beauty in everything

One of the things that I really love about my dad is his ability to take something ordinary and make it beautiful. He does it with old wood from a barn and license plate long since abandoned making a bird house. He does it with small logs and twigs making a reindeer for Kendra's Christmas present. He has an eye for things others no longer have use for and he turns them into treasures. My brother, Mark, is his father's son. From the blue collar capability and aptitude for mechanical things that men know how to do, to the artistic eye that finds the beauty in the ashes. Mark has his father's soft heart and hard hands. He is equally at home wiring your house as he is crying with you during a tough time and I am amazed by them. They are special men. This Christmas we drew names to exchange gifts and Mark got me. Above is the present I he made me out of discarded electrical wire that he brought from Arizona and found at my parents house. It is a copper tree twisted with a power drill and it is beautiful. Thank you for a wonderful gift Mark, your are a gifted, strong, loving, and capable man just like your father.

Monday, December 14, 2009

happy anniversary

IMG_2873, originally uploaded by gylcol.

36 years and still in love. You two are an inspiration to not just Mark, Zonda, and I, but a whole group of kids that you helped raise. I ove you guys and I am in awe of your relationship and commitment to eachother. Happy Anniversary mom and dad!

henry, dog whisperer

Henry went with Beautiful to visit his great grandpa and grandma in Iowa. While there he met some four legged friends that spoke his language. They just wanted to eat, crawl around and sleep. That is just about Henry's speed of life.

zoo lights

We went to Zoo lights last night at the Portland Zoo and it was amazing. The place was packed and we had to gently push our way through crowds but there were lights everywhere. It was a magical scene and Finn was soaking it up. He was running and skipping around he was so excited and when we saw the train all lit up his joy bubbled out into a spinning little dance. The train had a line half way around the park so we decided to hold off on that trip until next time we come and with out membership that will be sooner then later. Finn decided that his cousin Jake would love this but Milo and Toby might be too little. He thought about it a bunch, how much those guys would like this and what part would be the best for them. He said we would need a bigger stroller to bring the babies in, maybe two strollers. It was really great for me to see the lights but even better to see how much Finn loved them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

he hates tailgaters

he hates tailgaters, originally uploaded by gylcol.

This picture cracks me up, I picture Henry muttering "are you freaking kidding me? why dontcha back it up pal!" Like he is some Jersey Shore holigan that is about make Finn pull over so he can take care of this. Finn meanwhile is just happy to be driving.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

searches and states

This blog has been around for a bit now and it has seen readers come and go. For the past 30 days the most unique visits on any given day was 24. There were times last year when that number would get over 30 but it has stayed the same for years. The whole thing started from some emails I sent during the last week of work for my job in Santa Barbara before getting married. Every now and then I have look at the stat from Google Analytics and some interesting things stand out:

Search Terms that led people to my blog
  • James Rohl Blog - Pretty straight forward there
  • Bongee's Restaurant - this one is always there every month and the post I did about this restraunt is probably the most visited post on this blog. For a time my post on the restaurant came up in google searches before the web page for the restaurant.
  • Diningroom Improvements - not sure why I would come up on that but it had to be way down the line
  • Mayger Beach and Skeeter - This is awesome. My uncle Skeeter lives at Mayger beach and I think I have written about it a couple times. I wonder who it was that was looking for him.
  • What does a mango taste like - this one comes up a bunch in different forms and it leads people to a video of the Blond one rejecting mangoes. I don't think it helps anyone but I bet they get a little smile.
States visitors come from
  • Oregon
  • Minnesota
  • California
  • Iowa
  • New Jersey
Indiana is way down the list and this seems odd to me. When we lived there it was always number one but I guess since we have left we have been forgotten.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

henry explains it all

A little video of Henry to remind us that he is cute and we love him. After this weekend we need a reminder.

a not so fun weekend

Hey wouldn't it be fun to take the boys up to Seattle for the weekend? No, no it wasn't fun. It wasn't fun at all. We got a cheap room on priceline and headed up early Saturday afternoon from my parents house and the nap we hoped the boys would take never materialized. We sat in some holiday traffic and were starting to fray when we made it to the hotel. It was nice and centrally located but small with two double beds. We walked around, got some dinner and rode the monorail from the mall to Seattle Center where the boys had some fun in the rides. Well the blond one did anyway. The redhead was less then thrilled with the jeeps. We rode the monorail back and walked to Pike Market and watched some fish being thrown after trying to do a little looking around downtown. The boys having not had their naps were not patient with any non movement. Beautiful needed to stop in a store on the way home to pick up a couple of things and the boys disagreed with that decision. Back at the hotel room they were not going to bed and there was no where for Beautiful and I to get away to let them work it out. We loaded them into the car and set about driving around a bit. As any parent knows this is the secret weapon that all parents have, the night time drive. They were soon asleep and we had quiet for the first time all day. We just kept driving out to Ballard, back downtown, up capitol hill, down Broadway, and along the waterfront. The boys were both up a ton through the night and we left after breakfast feeling anxious to get home. It was a poorly planned trip, and with two toddlers planning is important. Beautiful and I are spur of the moment people but that is harder and harder with the boys. Well we learned something for sure.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

let there be light

Our house has Christmas lights for the first time in my adult life. We have always had a tree and lights in the house but this was my first time putting lights on the outside of the house. I crawled out the upstairs window and on to the roof. There are three different roof lines on our house and we have lights on the top one and the roof above the porch. Beautiful and I had two different ideas of how the lights should go up, no surprise there. She always has a better way to do things and will always share it. I know Kris will relate to that, she is her father's girl. After talking it through we agreed on a layout and I clipped the lights on the top easily enough. The porch roofline was a bit tougher. I ended up belly down on a slanted roof clipping lights over the edge. I was super stable but still felt like I was falling at any second. No falls though and we tested the lights and they work great. After it gets dark we will take the boys outside and do a countdown to unveil the lights for them like we saw at Pioneer Square on Friday night. My first outside lights are a success so far.