It has been wildly hot here. When we first started telling people that I was pregnant and the baby was due in August, many people were quite theatrical (I thought) about the prospect of heat during late pregnancy. My line of reasoning was that Seattle was a 70’s-in-the-summer kind of place and how bad could it be? Well, yesterday we set a heat record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Seattle (since they started keeping track 115 years ago) at 103° (and it was higher in some of the outlying towns). Oops — I understand now, and I’ve been moving impossibly slowly, mentally and physically.

Everyone and everything else appears to be struggling with the weather, too. Apparently wildfires are a huge risk right now so they’re very worried about thunderstorms. Our lawn is scorched and our bushes all look pathetic with drooping leaves. I was amazed this afternoon to see that the greenery that we’re generally surrounded by has turned brown and gold – not Seattle colors, and it’s incredibly startling. So far we’ve managed to avoid the brown-outs, which is very fortunate, and while the humidity has been high at night, it’s stayed below 40% during the day, so that’s helping too.

We’ve been on a mission to keep the house as cool as possible, partly for ourselves and partly for the fishtank. Step one was tarping over the kitchen window – not terribly classy, but it keeps that room at least ten degrees cooler in the afternoon and evening. I meant to follow that up by finally making the curtains for the picture window, but I lost steam after buying the heat-blocking lining. (My major block was that it’s just too hot and I’m too ungainly to measure, cut and sew large pieces of fabric.) So, we used blue painters tape to at least hang the lining over the window – again, not the most stylish thing but very effective.

I bought extra lining, thinking I might try to figure out some sort of roll-shade option for the kitchen garden window, which is now taped over our living room windows.

Right after taking this photo, I found a bedsheet to tape over the remaining windows to the left.

The fish are doing pretty well. We started with our fans and making fresh water ice cubes, but that wasn’t keeping up. I mentioned the problem to my new boss (knowing that he also keeps tanks and could probably relate), and he suggested filling a cooler with ice and running coils of airline tubing through it, then pumping tank water through the tubing to cool it down. A *really* smart idea. So now the tank looks like this:

With the two fans, lots of fresh water, and the cooler system, we’ve been managing to keep it under or at 82° — not too bad when the house is over 90 and the outdoor temps are over 100! Ideally, we try to keep it at or under 80, so it’s been a little warm for the dudes but they seem relatively unphased.


On Sunday we had a nonstress test (which the baby passed and then some – he was moving so much that they were having a hard time establishing a baseline for his heart rate), and then we braved the heat to go over to the Bellevue Art Fair. The second booth we stopped at had a painting that we both just loved, so we bought it.

It’s a print on canvas of the Bellevue skyline with the Lake Washington in the foreground and the Cascades in the back. It actually fits well in several spots so I’m not sure the fish room will be its permanent home, but we’re both enjoying it there for the moment. When we first put it up, we just sat on the couch and admired it and said all of the things we liked about it. It took us several minutes. 🙂

It’s obviously not photorealistic, but it captures so much of the way it feels to live here in the summer, complete with mountains towering over the view, the greenery, all of that blue sky and water, the outdoor activity, and even a crane on the skyline. It’s unusual to find art or photos of the eastside – usually you see either Seattle or nearby mountains and national parks. It’s such a pretty place to live and such a nice thing to have a permanent rendering of it.

Baby knitting: Check.

The Yarn Harlot has a theory that babies don’t come until their knitting is done, and so with that in mind I made a concerted effort to finish the hydrangea sweater this weekend. I finished binding off the last few stitches during the 9th inning of the Red Sox game, and immediately took a few more minutes to sew on the buttons. So just in time for 38 weeks, the knitting is all wrapped up. 🙂

I was starting to deeply resent this sweater while working on it because it was moving so very slowly (the hazard of knitting at 7 st/in.) and I wasn’t loving the colors. But now that it’s all bound off and the lime buttons are on it, I love the colors again and the pattern strikes me as cute.

The pattern calls for garter stitch all around, but I was feeling iffy about knitting at such a tiny gauge without being able to see the stitches, so I changed the yellow on the fronts and sleeves to stockinette. I left the blue in garter throughout, so it provides some textural contrast. You can see the stockinette on the backs of the sleeves and the garter on the back of the body here:

Next project will be something for me – I’m thinking a lace cardigan. Something big/fussy enough to be impossible to work on with a newborn. Perhaps we can use the jinx of a big project attempt to lure him out?

Indecisive Hydrangea

The hydrangea by the driveway is flowering, and we’ve been impressed to see that each bloom is a different color.

The range includes dark blue, light blue, purple, lavender, and pink (sometimes in a gradient across one flower), and while the effect is slightly Technicolor, it’s also exceptionally pretty.

I’ve heard occasionally that the color has to do with the acidity of the soil, but I thought that applied on a bush-by-bush basis, not a branch-by-branch one. If anyone has insights into the mysteries of hydrangea flower color, we’re fascinated.


We ended up with quite the stash of plain white onesies. A few years ago, I’d needed some sort of baby clothes as a size reference for a sweater I was knitting for a gift, and the packs of white onesies were the cheapest option by far, so I bought five short sleeve and five long sleeve. Then Kevin’s mom sent us two more packs of four in newborn and three month sizes, and it started to feel a little bit too institutional. My original plan was to applique cute things by hand.

But it took way too long and looked sort of wonky, so v2 was geometric shapes and the sewing machine.

Here’s the first batch:

And the second:

Not professional grade sewing, but colorful and happy. I realized after the fact that I probably should have used a walking foot (or something along those lines?) because it was very hard to keep the stretchy onesie fabric lined up properly with the non-stretchy cotton. Oops.

Vibrant little things

A month into our CSA program, we’re doing a much better job than last year of keeping up with things as they come in. I’m particularly loving the fruit right now – peaches, nectarines and plums – but the vegetables have also been great for the most part. We’re starting to fall behind a bit on the cucumbers, and I’m still not entirely sure what to do with all those radishes, but we’re doing well on the whole.

The exception so far has been beets – they keep sending a handful of different varieties, and I’ve been completely at a loss. Last year I tried to make soup but it wasn’t really a success – the beets stained everything else bright pink and I didn’t like their flavour. On their own, they aren’t appealing to me – they smell like dirt. And they keep piling up.

I mentioned the difficulty to our friends Shawn and Sanna (veritable foodies), and they were raving about how great beets were for you and how they boil them down with honey and a bit of butter, a la mashed potatoes except using the water you cooked them in instead of milk. So I gave it a shot. They’re such bright and lovely colors when you prep them (I was so careful about not getting the juice everywhere, since it really does stain impressively).

They’re wiry enough that they don’t really boil down to anything smooth (or, at least, I got bored of adding more water before they got that far), but the end result was surprisingly good. So, success, and I know how to cook a new food!

Earning a spot

More awesome flower photography from Kevin!

We have rose bushes on the back side of the house. They’re in a slightly odd position because you can’t really see them from indoors – it’s only when you’re doing yard work at the back corner that you notice they’re there. Last year, I’d debated pulling them out and replacing them with something a little bit more productive. But several people pled for sparing them after seeing photos, so I left them in. With all the hot weather this year, they seem so much happier and they just exploded in flowers last week.

It seems that near-total neglect suits them. This bush had grown to about 10 feet tall last year in two spindly branches, so I cut it back to about 5’ at the beginning of the fall, and cut back again to the highest buds of new growth in the early spring. Otherwise, I haven’t touch them (including watering).

The flowers are the prettiest salmon color, with accents of yellow and pale pink when the sun shines through them. They’re completely spectacular, and I’m so glad I didn’t tear them out.

Full term

Saturday was my birthday, and we had to interrupt the all-important waffle preparations to take a few photos of how big I’ve gotten. Saturday was two days shy of full term (37 weeks), and 3 weeks before my due date. My favourite photo of the set was one that Kevin took from my perspective:

Imagine the steady movement of hiccups (he’s still getting them pretty close to hourly), plus some pretty impressive acrobatics, and that’s been my view for the last few weeks.

This is an odd stage of the game – he could come tomorrow (unlikely, but not impossible) or five weeks from now. That’s an enormous span of time to be sitting in limbo. We’ve crossed off nearly all of our must do items before he arrives, including installing the car seat this afternoon. So now we’re down to a steady stream of less urgent house projects, figuring out handoff for projects at work, and generally whiling away the time until he decides to make his appearance.

Major Improvements

When we bought the house, all three of our bedrooms had the same stained, unravelling Berber carpet that we’d had replaced in the family room last winter. I’m not sure when it was put in – it seems slightly unlikely that it dated all the way back to the family room addition in the mid-eighties, but not impossible given its condition? The previous owners had all of the carpets cleaned professionally, which really didn’t make much of a dent, and then we did our best to cover the worst of the stains with furniture and ignore the rest. Once we knew that everything was going to be moved around for the baby, though, it didn’t take us very long to start talking about using that opportunity to replace the bedroom carpet as well. We decided to go with the same carpet we installed in the family room, just different colors.

It’s hard to photograph expanses of horrible beige berber, but here’s a sample before photo:

The guys showed up, took out all of our old carpet, and revealed this linoleum loveliness underneath:

(Who puts linoleum in a bedroom??) Glad that we covered that right back up. 🙂 Kevin took advantage of the exposed subfloors/linoleum to fix a bunch of loud squeaks, especially in our room and the baby’s room. It makes such a difference to have silence while walking.

While the guys were working, we had an unexpected visitor fly in through the open front door:

He was quite determined to get back outside through the (unopenable) living room windows, but we managed to coax him off his perch and out the door pretty quickly, and without a mess. The carpet guys seemed amused by our efforts.

The new carpet looks amazing, and we love the colors we ended up with. Here’s our new shared office – I really just love the way that this one works with the pink walls.

We have the guest bed and trundle moved back in, and have started assembling our new desks. The closet is where we’ll store most of what’s now in the family room once we weed it down a bit, and my guess is that it will be a work in progress for a week or two.

Here’s the baby’s room, with its pretty new carpet and paint:

The paint color looks yellow in the mornings, green at night, and varies remarkably in brightness during the day depending on the light. There’s one part of the day that seems to bring out a color that I can only describe as “lime yogurt” and that I’m not that fond of, but other than that one shade we’re both quite pleased with it. Between the north-west exposure and the fact that the garage blocks almost all direct light, we worried about finding a color that would have some saturation without making the room too dark. I like the end result. Here’s the view looking from the window to the closet:

(Unfortunately the new carpet and pad are higher than the old, so we’re going to have to remove most of the doors, sand and paint the bottoms, and rehang them. Ugh. Nothing like unanticipated extra steps.)

And we chose a medium blue carpet for our room:

I was afraid that the new carpet color wouldn’t work with the existing wall color, but I’m actually a huge fan. We were both especially impressed with the work they did in the closet, installing around all of the parts of the built-in and modular shelving. (This photo came out pretty yellow, so the carpet looks greyer than in reality).

Here’s the view from the door with all of the furniture back in…

… including the baby’s bassinet!! Very exciting to see that waiting for his arrival!

Such a huge improvement!

Furniture Mayhem

We had to move everything out of the three bedrooms so that the new carpets could be installed, which included emptying the closets of the front bedrooms, since the Closet Maid shelving in there has posts which rest on the floor. While it doesn’t look like it to me when everything is packed away in its spot, it appears that we have a LOT of stuff. And all of those books aren’t light. Luckily we started clearing things out early last week, because between Kevin’s shoulder and my size/shape/endurance, we needed lots of breaks. Exhausting, but at least we were laughing at ourselves together – it’s nice to both be able to see the humour in that sort of situation.

Now everything is sitting in the living room and family room. The view of the living room from the front door and bedroom hallway:

And looking towards the dining area:

And the view of the family room from the doorway (you can see about 2/3 of the stuff here, the rest didn’t fit in the shot).

We moved the bed out of our room the night before the installation and just left the mattress to sleep on, which lent an odd/happy feeling of camping out to the whole affair. The only drawback was that my current elegance getting out of bed is magnified when I’m also trying to get up from the floor. I’d definitely say I’m past the “cute” stage of pregnancy.

Like all projects, this one seems to be a case of two steps forward, one back. We found that one of the screws for our bed was stripped to the point of uselessness. The closest match at the hardware store was about a sixteenth of an inch too wide for the bracket. We thought the store we’d bought it from (Underhills) had closed last fall, but it turns out the son has reopened a new version of it so we took a field trip up to Lynnwood after work to get more screws. (We were both so happy to know that store is still around in a new incarnation – love the furniture and the customer service.) Now we at least have one of the three bedrooms back in standard condition.