Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sleep Over

The Fabritius Boys came for a sleep-over with Aunt Jenny and me a couple weeks ago.  It is likely that at some point in history our 101 year old 500 hundred square foot home housed a family of four rather comfortably, but times have changed and so have children.  At 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 Carter and Taylor are busy, curious, and constantly asserting themselves as individuals as they seek their place in the world.  That is nice-speak for they are both completely nuts! 

Jen and I kept the boys on the run and showed them how we get around in the city and have fun doing it.  We took a bus ride and an urban hike to the best park in North Seattle.  We walked to the local Elementary school made up some games with a baseball bat, a rubber chicken, and a Nerf ball.  We took a bike ride to the lake and went for a swim.  Aside from a few time-outs, scraped hands, backward diapers (my fault) and flying shoes,  the weekend went smoothly and I had a really great time with my nephews.  I hope they enjoyed the time with me as well. 
The more time I spend with these boys that I love so dearly, the more I respect and honor people who make the commitment to bringing children up in this crazy world.  Parenting is the ultimate in self-sacrifice and the most courageous and introspective adventure anyone can ever embark on.  I respect those who are brave enough to walk the path and I am thankful that my sister trusts me enough to let me be a part of my nephews' lives.

Livin' the Dream


 Pit stop at Carkeek Park in North Seattle.  The boys both walked over 4 miles without complaint from the bus stop on Greenwood and Holman the Puget Sound.  

 When you're this cute, you get a ride from a sucker now and then!

 Rock art was an unforeseen big hit with Carter.  I watched him lift a stone equal his body weight, carry it 20 feet plop it down on the patio and begin madly scribbling rainbows of chalk.  Stone after stone was carried, colored and lifted to display on Grandpa Bench.

 Carter, preparing for the Art Show.

A well designed developmentally appropriate play structure at the Greenwood Elementary playground.   Notice that the design of he structure is conducive to the body geometry of a two year old child.  According to Dr. Larry Bruya of Washington State University,  level of challenge must be be equal or slightly higher to the skill level of participant to retain attention and encourage play.  Taylor threw himself at  this balance and coordination implement  over and over  for nearly 15 minutes.  He begged to stay longer, but Carter called Code Brown and lunch was ready at home.

 Aunt Jenny's homemade smoothies are good.

 Not to sure about the ride in the chariot to Greenlake.

Attitudes improved dramatically after a swim and an ice cream.



Among my many marital duties is planning Jenny's and my annual anniversary adventure.  While it is true that this trip has historically included a sufficient amount exercise, I hardly think it deserves the "Jenny proves she is tough enough to be married to Matt another year trip" designation it has come to be known by among Jenny's co-workers and friends.  I guess that time Jenny got a moderate case of Rhabdomyolysis  on a climbing trip and hobbled around work for a week left lasting impression.  That which does not kill us make us stronger.

I have become wise over our four years of marriage and learned that what is fun to me is not always fun to my lovely wife, and planned this year's outing accordingly.  The first Adventure Cycling Magazine I ever picked up listed the Canadian Gulf Islands as one of the best bike tour destinations in the world.  Being within easy striking distance of our home in Seattle, the islands quickly moved to the top of the Front Door Adventure tick list.  

While a cyclist could easily spend a month exploring this beautiful and unique archipelago, Jen and I were limited to 5 days by the constraints of time (damn those jobs!).  Without too much of a plan, we caught the Victoria Clipper in Seattle and were deposited on Vancouver Island three short hours later.  Despite being the most expensive aspect of the trip, the convenience of not having to deal with car was well worth every penny paid.  The best thing about traveling by bike from home is that you are on vacation the second you lock your front door and hop in the saddle.

The Gulf Islands certainly lived up to their reputation and did not disappoint in any way.    Jen and I spent  five sunny days riding, eating, drinking and getting to know each other a little better.  My Dad always told me it is better to be lucky than good, and I certainly got lucky when it comes the woman I married.  Beyond beautiful, kind and smart, Jen is tough as nails and  an excellent companion both at home and on the road. 

Livin' the Dream


Built in Bergen, Norway the Clipper IV catamaran can reach speeds of 30 knots.  The 5 am start and gray Seattle skies produced such inspiring photography as seen above.

The Galloping Goose Regional Trail starts less than 1 km from the Clipper terminal and begins a network of regional bike trails that connect Victoria to Sydney BC and the Gulf Island Ferry Terminal at Schwartz Bay.

The Galloping Goose Trail gives way the Lockside Regional Trail, a network of paved and gravel paths, bike lanes and shared use roads.   35 km of care-free, low-traffic pedaling! 

Fulford Harbor, Salt Spring Island.

Ruckle Provincial Park on Saltspring Island.  With over 75 walk-in/bike-in sites on the water, an operating farm and clean toilets, Ruckle is popular destination for cyclists and families alike.   

Although my wife is a trained chef, cooking by the Jetboil is an art born out of experience.  The time I spent living in my truck has really paid dividends in my life.  Jenny enjoying steamed cous cous with fresh zucchini, salmon and Parmesan. Bon apatite!

Many artists call Saltspring Island Home.  Roadside Toad was my personal favorite piece.

The original Green Roof.

Despite being nearly 100 miles north of Seattle, Saltsping Island enjoys over 85 days of sunshine a year.  Often the Gulf Islands are referred to as "Canada's Banana Belt".  Jenny enjoying ripe blackberries the second week in August, a full month before we do in Seattle.

You can't go far on Saltspring without running into a roadside stand of fresh produce or home baked treats.  

I bought Jenny a peanut butter ball that was almost as big as her head!

Another rainy day on traffic congested roads with terrible scenery.

 Jenny loves it when I grab her bottom rib.

My soon to be released sports nutrition book will be titled Bread, Butter, Beer, Bacon and Coffee:  Your Path to Nutritional Salvation.

Oh yeah, eggs too.

After two days on Saltspring, we hopped a Ferry to Galiano Island.

Jenny enjoying the view from Bodega Ridge Provincial Park, Galiano Island.

Spotlight Cove, Galiano Island.

Retreat Cove, Galiano Island.

Laughlin Lake Reserve, Galiano Island.  An unmarked trail led us through a 1/4 mile of swamp grass to the largest body of fresh water on Galiano, Island.

At first I thought that the ground was covered with crickets, but closer inspection revealed thousands of tiny frogs so thick that one had to be cautious of stepping on them as you walked.

The Hummingbird Pub on Galiano operates a school bus shuttle service between Montague Harbour and the center of commerce on the island free of charge.  Smart Business!

While Victoria is a great place, something about the city makes me a little uptight.  Beer makes everything better.

Off into the sunset., Victoria B.C.