Sunday, November 2, 2014

Batman goes to preschool.

Remember that time when I started an MBA program? And it took up all sorts of time, especially the "free" sort? 

I remember that time too.

But while I'm on a pause from my regularly scheduled FIFO-vs.-LIFO programming (only my accountant friends will laugh at that one), I thought I would sprinkle the Internet with pictures of the Batman in our house.

Batman artfully decorating with Halloween-themed stickers...

Batman goes to preschool.

Batman painting a Seahawks-themed pumpkin...

Batman goes to preschool.

Batman enjoying a pumpkin cookie while Mommy refueled with some coffee, with Batman's trusty white bucket at his side...

Batman goes to preschool.

It should be noted that Batman requested a trusty pumpkin bucket, but when Batman's Mommy frantically arrived at the store, 5 minutes before the Pre-K Halloween Extravaganza, the QFC was out. A kind soul ran to the bakery and washed out an olive bucket for me, and I put on my best this-is-the-coolest-thing-ever routine when I told Marshall, "Look bud! I brought you a white bucket!"

He loved it...

Batman goes to preschool.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The latest.

The most recent happenings a la Team Thompson, sorted by player, in order of "Awwww"--

The latest.

The latest on the Preschooler.

In the last few weeks Marshall started PreK, upgraded his coloring style from All Over Scribble to Almost In The Lines, and discovered that Daddy is way more fun of a commuting partner than Mommy. He learned to expertly maneuver his push bike, and subsequently learned to terrify his mother in an entirely new way.

M navigated his way through his first trip to the dentist with no tears. He fell for the "food causes sugar bugs" story (hook, line, and sinker) and was so terrified of the thought of bugs in his teeth that he asked the hygienist to double check that she flossed every tooth.

The latest

Marshall recently began a new obsession with telling jokes. He has two in his repertoire. I don't want to spoil it for you, but they are gooooood. "Orange you glad I didn't say 'banana'?" good. (Ask him about a skunk's favorite letters. I dare you.)

The bell pepper still holds the title of Marshall's Favorite Food, and his most prized possession is still the glass Pyrex mixing bowl he uses as a steering wheel, for firetruck rescue trips and ferry boat adventures.

The latest on the Daddy.

Daniel has been the hero of the household lately, getting Marshall ready and out the door in the mornings, taking Marshall back and forth to school, and cooking most of our dinners. In the last few weeks he has perfected his homemade pizza skills, bought shoes that are not for running (a very rare occurrence around here), and acquired some new Excel tricks, which will be coming to a dinner party conversation near you.

The latest

Daniel still remembers every piano piece he's ever learned (just ask our neighbors), and his favorite game is still 2048.

And the latest on me.

I am wrapping up the first month of MBA-land with no major disasters. I've worn my shoes on the right feet, I've only answered to "Mom" a handful of times (sorry, confused undergrads), and the buses have run (mostly) on time. I'm spending my days (and nights) thinking about networking spreadsheets and discount rates and consumer decision-making and accounts payable, which I like just fine. I have a team, fancy grad-school business cards, and a new fondness for all hours that start with "happy."

My least favorite game is still...2048.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five fall favorites, with a little sprinkle of thrift

Here it is: The season all Pinteresters and SEC fans eagerly await--Fall. (Marshall thinks it's cooler to call it "Autumn," so I'll just throw that in there for the grandparents' enjoyment.) 

Five fall favorites
Marshall being Marshall, Fall 2013.

Whether you're a burlap connoisseur or just one of the not-so-crafty gals (like me) waiting in line for some kind of pumpkin-flavored beverage, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement of Fall. I'm celebrating the change of seasons by sharing five of my favorites, with a little sprinkle of thrift.

And a little disclaimer about the "thrift" part. Before you read any further, you should know that I was not motivated to write this post out of sheer autumnal-equinox love alone: asked if I was interested in blogging about this topic. I was not compensated for this post, and the thoughts, scarecrows, and husbands mentioned below are purely mine.

Fall Coats, Seattle's Way To Recognize Its Own | Something we learned really quickly in Seattle--True Seattleites do not use umbrellas. (At least, that's what they told us.) They either use coats with hoods, or add a hat to a jacket. Umbrellas? A sure sign of a tourist or a transplant. I am especially excited about this draped fleece cardigan I found at Nordstrom Rack. It adds a little bit of fun to an Emerald City necessity.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, Nutmeg Lovers Rejoice | If you have ever aspired to combine the best of Autumn into one loaf pan (in this case, two loaf pans), then this recipe from is for you. It's easy. It can be modified (example: swap walnuts for chocolate chips). And it makes a fantastic gift for friends and family.

Scarves, The More The Merrier | A few years ago, during my piano teaching days, a student's mom gave me a big box of scarves for Christmas. "I notice that you wear a scarf for every lesson, so I knew you would love this!"

#1. I didn't realize I was that obvious about my penchant for draped fabric.

#2. She was spot on.

Scarves take up the majority of my closet space. (I have my eye on this one from Banana Republic.) It's getting a little out of control, especially considering I'm still wearing a pair of jeans that I bought during the Bush administration.

The Wedding Scarecrow, Gracing 6 Residences And Counting | My stepmom gave us this scarecrow right before Daniel and I got married. She knew that, in those early years of mortgage payments and utility bills, I probably wouldn't spend the money to decorate our apartment, so she wanted us to have something cheerful and festive. This scarecrow has been in every apartment we've lived in--6 now--and I always look forward to taking it out of its box in September (and truth be told, get a bit sad when I have to put it away).

Five fall favorites

This Guy, Surviving 8 Years Of Lauren | This fall, Daniel and I will celebrate 8 years of marriage survival. We got married in late October, and honeymooned our way through every seafood restaurant in Portland, Maine. I write, with every bit of honesty I have, that I am not sure how he has managed to put up with me for so long, but I am forever grateful.

Five fall favorites.

So now you might be thinking, "Lauren! I also like scarves and Fall coats, and Autumn decorations!"

And then, you might find yourself wishing for a way to save a bit of money while adding to your fall collection of your most favorite favorites.

Well. offers an online marketplace to buy and sell gift cards (to places like Nordstrom Rack and Banana Republic) at a discount. Click right here to check them out. It's a great concept.

Happy Fall shopping (or selling), y'all!

Monday, September 15, 2014

5 Websites That Will Make Your Monday More Bearable

Aaaaaaand it's Monday again. I was digging through some old posts, trying to toss organize old posts, i.e. "How badly will this embarrass Marshall one day? Just a little? Ok. It stays!" I found this little pick-me-up and thought it deserved a repost. This week, I'll be reacquainting myself with subject matter I haven't thought about since before Facebook was invented, so I imagine I'll need a manatee or two. What about you? Crazy week ahead? 

5 Websites That Will Make Your Monday More Bearable

5 Websites That Will Make Your Monday More Bearable

After I wrote Friday's post about trying to find moments of calm, my good friend Leah posted a comment about a site she and her daughter love called Calming Manatee:

"When you go to the website, there is a picture of a manatee with a thought bubble about being calm and taking a deep breath. Then every time you click the screen, you get another manatee and another calming thought. Enjoy!"

I was instantly in love, and not just because of my deep-rooted fondness for manatees. (I started a Save the Manatee club in 6th grade. You can imagine what that did for my popularity.)

Calming Manatee motivated me to look for other similar sites on the Internet, sites that have no other purpose than to make you feel good.
Brace yourselves.

5 websites that will make your Monday more bearable:

Calming Manatee--My personal favorite is "Sit down, let me brush your hair while you talk."

Emergency Compliment--This site does just what its name implies: it generates instant compliments with the press of a button. Just keep clicking "I still feel crappy" to your heart's content. Click the "Thanks! I feel better" button, and you'll have the option to order one of the compliments as a print.

The Nicest Place on the Internet--Sometimes you just need a hug. Visit this site to get virtual hugs from friends all around the world. It's not the same as your mom, but you'll see the earnest expressions of kindness on these huggers' faces. Very heartwarming. If you're feeling like sending some love, you can submit a hug too!

Do Nothing For 2 Minutes--Need a calming breath? Time to disconnect? Here's your chance to do nothing for 2 minutes. If you click your mouse or press any key on your keyboard, the timer starts over. Try it!

Cute Roulette--If you're an animal lover, this site is for you. Cute Roulette is a compilation of short videos to make you smile. I highly recommend Dancing Dog. (I woke up my husband from his deep post-run sleep to watch this one.)

Maybe you're home with a new baby and you're in your 3rd shirt of the day before 9AM.

Maybe it's your first day of work without your little one.

Maybe your coworkers are difficult. Or your commute is. Or your career itself.

Maybe you're scrambling to get out of the door on time and feeling guilty that your child's "lunchbox" is a reusable shopping bag with a piece of painter's tape with his name on it. (That would be me.)

Maybe you're missing someone you love.

Take 2 minutes to grab a cup of coffee and an emergency compliment, and let's tackle this Monday.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A weekend of just us.

It's 9AM on Tuesday morning, the Tuesday after Labor Day, and I'm sitting in an empty apartment. My son is off for his first day of Pre-K, and my better half is making the world of e-commerce a better place. In two days, I'll start my own adventure conquering another Master's degree, one syllabus at a time.

With all of the impending change that Fall will bring, we decided to spend this past weekend just the three of us. We ignored any BBQ invitations, work emails (almost), and piles of please-organize-me clutter. Even your most hilarious status updates and albums of Labor Day fun were no match for the Thompson determination to squeeze out the last days of summer, just us. #eyesonthefamilyprize

On Friday night we ordered Chinese from our favorite take-out place and washed that goodness down with our juices of choice, orange juice for M and the $2 Chuck variety for Mommy.

A weekend of just us.

Saturday morning we had biscuits and gravy at Citizen Coffee, where Marshall scored extra strawberries by mesmerizing our server with his best "What's your name? I'm Maaaarshall." (Insert flirty smile.) Then we each got haircuts in preparation for the main event: Fancy Restaurant Night.

A weekend of just us.

Marshall really wanted to go to a "fancy restaurant," so I made reservations under his name at a crabhouse a couple of blocks down from Pike Place Market, overlooking the water. After afternoon naps, we got all dressed up (Marshall in his Jimmy Fallon coat and bow tie), and headed downtown. The staff made a big deal, treating him as our host. M brought one of those junk mail credit cards with him so he could "pay," and the servers brought him ice cream with chocolate syrup for dessert.

A weekend of just us.

Sunday we made pancakes and then took the bus over to Discovery Park, which is all kinds of beautiful. We hiked leisurely, eating wild blackberries along the path, explored the woods, and threw rocks on the beach. Daniel and I were so excited about Marshall's amazing restaurant manners, from the night before, that we decided to go out for fish and chips for lunch. That ended with Daniel escorting a cranky Marshall out for a heart-to-heart. You win some, you tantrum some.

A weekend of just us.

Sunday night we made this pasta, which was light and delicious and tasty, and Daniel and I watched The Help after Marshall went to sleep. (I know, I am the last person on the planet to see this movie. I'm also still crying my eyes out.)

A weekend of just us.

Monday we spent roaming downtown, shopping for back-to-school items and eating burgers. Marshall ran into one of his best friends at the jungle gym in the park, and then we took M to his first movie in the theater. I have no pictures to document this, because I was worried I'd be that person with the cell phone. Given that Daniel was already that person, playing 2048 all the way through the previews until he felt my now-stop-that Southern woman glare, I should have just gone for it.

I was that person at the bus stop this morning, though, balancing my sweaty yoga mat in one hand while snapping iPhone shots with the other. Marshall's parting words to me as he and Daniel boarded the bus to Pre-K: "And Mommy, if you see a spider web, just kick it. You know your job."

A weekend of just us.

See ya, Summer 2014.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Less on the grid.

I slipped away these last 3 (ok, maybe 4) weeks.

Into hectic but exciting work.

Into places of preparation away from the busy-ness of megabytes and status updates.

And in between those two extremes of intense work and peaceful quiet, between not having enough time to savoring the vastness of it, our Superman turned 4.

Superman turns 4.

We celebrated with a family outing to our first Mariners' game.
First Mariners game.

We spent some time with these giants of creation, older than all of us.

The redwoods.

We explored our city more, a favorite pastime for us, from buses and trains to planes and ferries.

Exploring Seattle.

Although I never achieved anything close to "off the grid," I was "less on." "Less on" was exactly the right spot.

And, in the words of Pete the Cat, "And I will do it again tomorrow. Because it's all good."

Monday, July 21, 2014

July raves & faves

Oh July. I long for you all year, and then when you get here, I realize how hot you are. Then by September I've forgotten again, and so the cycle repeats, over and over.

I find it terribly ironic that I have become addicted to hot yoga, a practice in which I subject myself to  extremely challenging poses in a 102-degree room, just inches from the next sweaty person, but find myself complaining about the high-80s in my non-air-conditioned apartment.

My hypocritical nature aside, here are some July favorites in the Thompson house:

July raves & faves

We are all about Neverland on Queen Anne Avenue right now. I got Marshall the DVD of Peter Pan for our flight to North Carolina, and he is hooked. (Right?) Marshall's new favorite game is to play Peter Pan and Wendy. Marshall always insists on being Peter Pan, and Daniel makes a very gracious Wendy. Marshall loves reenacting the scene where Peter Pan loses his shadow. Daniel also loves reenacting this scene, because his main job as Wendy, in this particular part of the story, is to sleep. (Sometimes I get called in to "Wake Wendy up, Mommy!")

This simple hummus recipe from my friend Claire is a keeper. I like it best wrapped in a flour tortilla with cucumber and carrots.

My aunt Nancy, a.k.a. Coolest Person Ever, introduced Marshall to Monkey Lunchbox. I have it on my iPhone for situations that are particularly hard for impatient preschoolers, like last week when we were stuck in rush-hour traffic on a very, very hot bus with the all of Amazon and Marshall decided a a fortissimo "Why aren't we moving, Mommy? Why aren't we moving, Mommy?" ostinato was in order. Monkey Lunchbox to the rescue!

I've been accompanying for a choral festival the past week, and I've fallen in love with Corigliano's Fern Hill. Spend some time with it, if you have the opportunity.

And because Daniel and I were both working with the choral festival, we've also become fond of I list when and where I need a sitter and how much I'm willing to pay, and sitters respond with their availability. We've found three different sitters so far with this site, and all three have been amazing. If you live outside a 50-mile radius of a set of grandparents, you might consider checking it out. (If you currently live within a 50-mile radius of a set of grandparents, do not move away. Ever.)

Happy Monday, friends.

Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links that will take you to Amazon, and if you choose to purchase items, I will receive a small (very small) amount of commission on your purchase. The price is exactly the same for you.

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