Friday, January 30, 2009

Our First Princess!

My niece Hannah is a junior in high school, and due to some work being done on her high school's football field/track, they didn't have a traditional Cadillac/Prom Dress/Drive the princesses around the football field kinda Homecoming.

Instead, between the girls' and boys' basketball games, they had a coronation of Homecoming princesses and princes.


The brilliance of this, is that three of the six princesses are ON the team, so they got to go directly from the court (That's Hannah front and center in the court picture: To cleaning up just enough (and throwing tiaras on) to being crowned to the Homecoming Court.

It was neat to stay after and take some pictures of her with her friends Bree and Amanda (her teammates and fellow princesses)...

And of course one with her escort, Prince Tyler, who I'm pretty sure would have laid a big ol' kiss on Hannah if he could have gotten away with it...or did he when I wasn't looking?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Girl Circuit

When Nora saw the Lion on this sweater yesterday, she gasped, then ROARED!

One of the best things about having little ones, and having friends, is having clothes magically show up in the mail so we don't have to buy much if anything.

My friends Delois and Tammy have both been great resources of clothes, and now that Delois is expecting another girl, I'll get to send things back to her (via her sister who also has a daughter between Nora and Delois' baby due this June).

Our friend Tammy from Alberta sent Nora some clothes to grow into. Her daughter Bug is growing out of her 4's, so we got a bunch of stuff from her in Nora's NEXT size: 3! Can you believe it? I still struggle with it, and I'm here every day...

Oma sent Nora some 7th Generation diapers, made of recycled materials...and Nora this time not only unpacked the box, but continues to pull a package of the diapers out of her closet and carry them around the house, like she has some business with it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Just For Fun

1. Do you like bleu cheese? yes

2. Have you ever smoked cigarettes? Yes, and rather regretfully I still would today if they wouldn't kill me, weren't so freaking expensive and didn't stink to high heaven, or wouldn't kill other people. I've decided to start again when I'm say, 75 and it doesn't really matter anymore and my Mom will probably be dead or at least 102 and too senile to give me any pushback about it.

3. Do you own a gun? Yes, a SuperSoaker 2000

4. What flavor Kool-Aid was your favorite? Raspberry or grape

5. Do you get nervous before Dr.appointments? Yes, especially anything that requires a speculum.

6. What do you think of hot dogs? I like them, at games, covered in ketchup, mustard and onions.

7. Favorite Christmas movie? The Santa Clause or Miracle on 42th Street

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Coffee, and I like it taupe, like my men.

9. Can you do push-ups? One probably, before losing conciousness.


10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry? Besides my wedding rings, I'd have to say the earrings I got at Macy's in New York City.

11. Your favorite hobby? Sewing. I can't wait to have time for it again someday, when I'm retired.

12. Do you have A.D.D.? What? Yes. I probably do.

13. What's one trait you hate about yourself? I'm right a lot. And I know that's not possible.

14. Middle name? Yes.

15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment? I really wonder who's going to read all this. I wish TurboTax website would come back up so I can finish my fat refund, I should be in the living room playing with Nora and DH.

16. Current hate right now? The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day, and I want to sleep for half of it.

17. Favorite place to be? Paris

18. How did you bring in the new year? Sleeping

19. Where would you like to go? Back to Europe, or Vietnam.

20. Name three people who will complete this? Gina, Annie and Kelly

21. Do you own slippers? Yes.

22. What shirt are you wearing? My husband's Seahawks sweatshirt.

23. Do you like sleeping on satin? No. Flannel.

24. Can you whistle? Yes

25. Would you be a pirate? Sure. They travel a lot, don't they?

26. What songs do you sing in the shower? Rubber ducky, by Ernie.

27. Favorite girl's name? Jane

28. Favorite boy's name? Daniel

Whoa - what happened to #29??? It left for greener pastures

30. Last person that made you laugh? Melinda

31. Best bed sheets as a child? Any.

32. Worst injury you've ever had? Physical: Anything that required surgery: appendix, tonsils, c-section. Emotional: Losing a few people I really loved, including my Dad and my boy.

33. Do you love where you live? No. I like it ok though. I'd love it if I could get my family to live in Denver.

34. How many TVs do you have in house? 2

35. Who is your loudest friend? My brother Jeff, who is probably going to give me some crap about this.

36. How many dogs do you have? 1

37. Does someone have a crush on you? Yes.

38. What is your favorite book? Parenting for Dummies. I like the common sense.

39. What is your favorite candy? Chocolate, straight up.

40. Favorite Sports Team? Denver Broncos forever.

41. What song do you want played at your funeral? I don't really want a funeral. I want a wake.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

I'm sorry I haven't blogged as methodically as I have in the past. I'm taking 7 credits at the local community college, 10 of which are for an anatomy/physiology class.

I'm continually amazed at how parenthood shrank my brain, but more importantly, how it rebounds once a little effort is put back into rehydrating it with information.

As much as I grumble about studying, I enjoy challenging myself to do better, study harder, and learn about the human body, and I marvel even more at how MUCH is going on in each of our little cells every day, and what a miracle it is that more doesn't go wrong.

And then there's the stuff that goes right: I am amazed at Nora's growth and penchant for learning. She knows the sound an elephant makes, and raises her arm and makes that noise whenever she sees one on Sesame Street, in a book, at the zoo, online at YouTube (we look up elephants on oregonzoo.org too), and a host of other animals.

More pictures in the next couple of days...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cute Picture Of The Day


There was a time when I took DOZENS of pictures in a day, and most of them would turn out.

Not so much these days. Nora rarely stands still unless Elmo is on TV, which just isn't something you want to photograph for posterity necessarily. And of course I can get her seated in the bath tub, but even then, she's starting to figure out how fun it is to try to stand up in the tub and chase her rubber ducky around.

Lately I've been trying to get ONE picture of her that involved her actually looking at the camera, NOT moving, NOT closing her eyes, or smiling AFTER the flash. LOL

Anyway, here's one I got this morning with her PALP blankie.

She's growing up fast, huh?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Moment

CNN has outdone themselves this election...first with the holographic image ala Princess Leia that they did during the election and now this:

The Moment, a 3D image collection of photos taken throughout the inaugural ceremony, allows you to look at every aspect of photos submitted by what appears to be a very large contribution by John Q. Public.

Anyway, I thought it was neat. You have to install a QUICK "syncing" mechanism to make it work, but it's COOL.

Hope Over Fear

This morning amid Nora's breakfast and playtime, I've watched the swearing in of President Barack Obama, and listened to his speech.

I'm thankful for this moment, and await with the rest of the world what's next!

Did you know the last line of our national anthem isn't a statement, but a question?

"Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?"

And the answer has yet to be seen. There are times when I think as individuals we feel free, and that in our acts of bravery that we contribute to the perception that we are brave.

It's not a question that needs to be answered right here, right now. I think it's a reminder to us that we always must ask ourselves the constant question of working towards freedom for all and the bravery to be just, not just brave in war or conflict.

On to a new day.

Nothing is impossible.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend Fun!

My friend Jenny and her daughter Morgan flew up on a mother-daughter weekend to play with Nora and me while Brian was in Denver.

We shopped a little, we ate a bunch, and we went to Portland to see OMSI where Morgan and Jenny bonded over blowing things up in the Chemistry Lab.

We had a great time, and this morning we dropped them off at the airport at the same time we picked Brian up.

Thanks for coming Jenny & Morgan! We enjoyed your visit!

Anticipation...

I scarcely have had the time to really think about tomorrow.

This weekend we've had company, with Jenny and Morgan visiting from Albuquerque, and somewhere in all this I'm studying, driving back and forth from Portland to do airport runs and touristy stuff with my friends.

This afternoon, I'm at Starbucks making good use of a few hours when Brian can watch Nora, finishing my Computer Science homework for the week and studying mitosis for Wednesday's quiz.

In the midst of my trying to determine the difference between chromatin and kinetichores, the big thing on my mind is tomorrow's inauguration of our 44th president, Barack Obama.

I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with people lately, some passive by reading boards of what people are thinking and saying, and some active as some of us Obama supporters discuss amongst ourselves how excited we are about tomorrow.

I took just a few minutes during lunch to watch a little CNN and see what the coverage of the inauguration is bringing, and I delight as I watch so many of my lucky countrymen and women converge on the capitol.

I feel sorry for those who don't "get" the hope for the future that Obama signifies to many of us, really I do. I wonder if they could put themselves in my shoes for one minute, not adoring Obama as some savior -- not at all. But thinking for a minute about the profoundness of the moment that he just might be able to set a new course for America, even if/when he isn't able to fix it all.

It makes me want to ask people who doubt him, to think for one minute about the possibility that those who support him are correct in our estimation of his character and vision for this country. That maybe we are right in wanting to be less hawkish in war and more willing to work with those outside our borders. That maybe just maybe, the pursuit of peace and environmental stability are good things, even if they're hard and come at a cost.

We'll see. I find myself quietly contemplating so much about this coming 24 hours, that I can't possibly put it all into words.

But as I read about "No drama Obama" as he goes about his day kissing babies and promoting national service, I wonder if people can sieze on the good he's asking us to put forward in ourselves. We're not going to agree on everything. But can't we look for the common ground?

I still hope we can.

We are not all black and white, good or bad. We're all shades of gray. And somewhere in here is a common thread of decency that sews us all together into one country. I hope people will take a minute and look for THAT in themselves and those who are different from themselves.

And for now, I anticipate the future, with its tentative hope that the ship can be righted.

Just for a minute.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Next Guest in Nora's Fort Is....

As Brian and I were cleaning house this past 24 hours, he took down the fort and blanket and Nora was a bit out of sorts this morning when she realized her favorite play place was GONE!

So this morning, I set it back up after we vacuumed and cleaned the blanket, and within a matter of seconds, she was in there like a shot with her books.

We went and picked up Jenny & her daughter Morgan from Portland today, and within a few minutes of being home, Nora had Jenny in her fort, reading a book.

I'm wondering how long it'll be up, but really, who cares?? A couple of D batteries for the flashlight, and she's in heaven!

Only If They Promise To Take Him With Them...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Brian's Day At The Zoo With Nora

While I went to my lab and studied most of the day today, Brian had the day off and he took Nora to the zoo!

Brian said she couldn't take her eyes off of them for the LONGEST time!

Nora's been working on learning animal noises, and she knows how an elephant sounds...so when she saw a REAL elephant, she spent half of her time at the zoo with the pachyderms, talking with them and imitating them.

The weather was cool and cloudy for a good part of their trip, but the zoo has lots of indoor enclosures scattered throughout the zoo, where cold-blooded animals like crocs need warm air, so they hung out with them for lunch, and saw some of the fish and starfish in the tank.

Did you know starfish aren't starfish anymore? They are now "sea stars".

That's right. There's even a politically correct name for the star-shaped creatures that Really Aren't Fish.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Is it a Fort? A Tent? Who Cares! It's Fun!

Nora's obsession with blankets being toys instead of well, blankets, went another level today.

I put a quilt over the card table today, and Nora (and the cat) moved right in.

She brought her books with her, and I crawled on in there with her as best I could, and read books with her over and over and over.
One of them is a book about sign language, and as you can see in the second picture, Nora's getting it! She's practicing "hat" which is patting your hand on the back of your head.

Another favorite is a book called "Hugs and Kisses" and we got it from the library this week.

The cutest thing? Nora's figured out that hugs and kisses are kisses and hugs. So if you ask her for a hug you get a kiss, and if you ask for a kiss you might get a hug.

This picture was from when Brian got home and got into her fort and they started reading the hugs and kisses book, and I said "Nora, give Daddy a hug," and she turned right for him and laid a big kiss right on his cheek.

Daddy's first kiss from Nora.

I think that's about the most beautiful thing in the world, watching your kid give the love back that they've been given all this time, don't you?

Cute Picture Of The Day

Nora's learning how to brush her six teeth!

It's amazing how when they watch you do something, they pick it up so quickly.

Every morning, she follows me into the bathroom when I ask if it's time to brush teeth, and I get the toothbrush out and take a few swipes at her teeth before she takes the brush and decides to do it herself.

It's pretty cute...

Ahhh, T-Minus 8 Days and Counting...

I have to say something mildly political here. It won't attack Republicans, but it will at least point out a flaw in an idea that many conservatives seem to have about many of us voters of the mainstream Democrat variety.

My friend Kristy was here the other day, and we were talking about how the news reports has Republicans upset with Obama over this or that, and what was REALLY funny, was that Democrats were upset with Obama over his choice of cabinet posts -- saying that we all think that he's putting too many Republicans into cabinet and other responsible positions.

Let me be the first Democrat to tell you that we are EIGHT days away from putting the "My way or the highway" thinking that marks this last president into our rearview mirror, and I'm personally thankful for it.

I don't believe for a minute that Republicans should be OUT of power when there's a Democrat in the White House, as it has been for most Democrats during the past eight years.

I DO believe that the president-elect is doing his level best to deliver on his promise to involve EVERYONE in the discussion and implementation of changes that need to be made.

If ever there was a time for people to understand that "United We Stand, Divided We Fall", it is now.

I've seen a few spots in online groups and other places that try to accuse us Democrats as thinking that all will be solved now that Obama's taking office.

Hardly.

In fact, I think most of us agree that the dire situation we're in politically, economically, globally, environmentally, is not going to be saved by one man who's got a four-year license to lead.

But we do believe that of the two who we voted for the office, he's the one who's going to do the most to try an change course before it's too late. Whatever plans are put in place, whether his plans and leadership succeed has less to do with him than it does with us.

And in eight days, it all begins.

Sleepy Time Girl

Nora's sleep patterns have definitely moved away from the usual two-a-day nap schedule to just one, and she's been able to stay awake a lot later so she can have a regular lunch and then an afternoon nap as toddlers are supposed to.

I've been meaning to get a picture of Nora sleeping for some time, but it's not as easy as you'd think...

First of all, in her room you would need a flash, and it's a VERY rare day that you want to stick a camera in her face while she's sleeping and take a picture. Or six, as I did the other day.

As they say "Let sleeping babies lie..."

But finally the day finally came when she had slept LONGER than I wanted her to in her afternoon nap, and I was willing to deal with the fact that a flash just might wake her up.

But it really didn't. I took this and a few other pictures of her sleeping, with the flash, made plenty of noise doing it, and she barely stirred.

So I left the door open, turned the TV on in the family room and went to the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher.

And she finally woke up, at 4 p.m. And of course stayed up til 8:30 p.m. that night!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I Say It's Never Too Late To Write A Thank-You Note:

I mailed this letter today. I just wanted to share because I've had a lot of people who don't know our whole story and might like to know it from this perspective. Also, it's a reminder that it's never too late to thank someone for whatever they've done for you. She was our first nurse in the NICU when Nora was born in a Portland hospital.

January 6, 2009

Dear Linda,

I have been meaning to write this to you for some time, but as you can imagine with a baby, it’s easy to let writing notes go to another day. I’ll apologize in advance for typing this, but my handwriting isn’t the best, and I have a story to share with you.

On September 17, 2007, I gave birth to a baby girl named Nora. Aside from the glimpse I got of her following my emergency c-section, you were the first person to be photographed with her, as you were the nurse who was in charge of getting her care in those first minutes of life.

She was born at 34 weeks, 1 day, after I had been in the hospital with a placenta previa for five weeks. She was just under five lbs., and while she probably wasn’t even close to the most serious emergency birth you’ve ever been a nurse for, she is the biggest miracle of our lives.

You see, Nora was my fifth pregnancy, but she is also my first and only living child. I had three early miscarriages in 2002, 2004 and 2005. In 2006 we had a pregnancy that ended after our son was diagnosed with Trisomy 18. He was stillborn at 22 weeks on July 7, 2006. The nurses at the hospital in Denver were so very kind to us too. His name was Jacob, and as you can imagine, we were beyond heartbroken, not to mention done trying to have kids despite the fact that we had no diagnosis for why these losses kept happening to us.

We were stunned to find out I was pregnant in February 2007. As a result of all our previous tragedies, we decided to move closer to family in Oregon & Washington. My husband took a job based out of Oregon. I was only here for a couple of months when I was hospitalized at 29 weeks with bleeding due to the previa that up til then had not been diagnosed, despite many ultrasounds.

On September 17, I had enough bleeding that the doctor decided it was time to take Nora. I suppose you can imagine how terrified I was that something would go wrong at the last minute--that maybe she wouldn’t be breathing or maybe she’d have something wrong that tests and ultrasounds hadn’t found. It took everything I had to gather the strength to stay still for the epidural.

The first cries Nora made as she came out were the best sounds any mother could hear. It took a very few minutes for you all to check her out enough that I could be reassured that she was ok.

This is the part where you come in. I was going over a number of pictures the other day, looking for pictures with people in them to put in an impromptu album for our girl, who is now 15 months old and obsessed with pictures, particularly those with Mama and Dada in them.

I had scores of pictures I had gotten printed from the hospital and those early days and weeks at home. Quite a few of those first two days we had you watching over Nora and me were in the stack of photos.

I just want to say thank you for what you did for us. As a new Mom who’d seen so much heartbreak, your confidence and comforting personality helped me tremendously in those first hours and days. Even now as I look at pictures of those first moments with our daughter, I remember your kindness and help with our precious girl, and it is deeply appreciated.


Our Nora is a delight. We went home after 11 days in the NICU, and she has grown quickly and is thriving beyond our wildest hopes. She was on the regular baby scale by 2 months, was in the 50th percentile for regular babies by 6 months, and by a year, she was off the charts for height, and in the 75th percentile for weight. She walked at 10 months, and is saying her first words. She is bright, sunny, friendly girl who loves pictures, her Elmo doll, and trips to the children’s museum, OMSI, the zoo and the library.

I have also made a change in my life because of our experiences. I’m currently in the first of a series of anatomy/physiology classes for the pre-nursing program at the Community College here in my home town. After all we’ve been through, I’ve decided to become a nurse to help others as well.

Thank you again for everything you did for us. I just wanted you to know that your kindness and professionalism has not been forgotten, and never will be.

Sincerely,

Jules

P.S.: Enclosed are a few pictures of our girl, and please feel free to share any of this with your colleagues and supervisors, who were also fantastic during our stay.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Sisters

It's funny to me how for YEARS, Jill and I didn't think we looked at all alike.

I've been scanning and saving some old favorite pictures, and posting some of them on Facebook. Brian's been doing the same with some of his photos.

It's funny to look back at old pictures. Brian at some point bought a bunch of picture albums and loaded the couple-hundred he owns into them, and voila. Done.

I, on the other hand, own about 10,000 pictures, which are largely unorganized. I've started a system of putting them into envelopes marked with different half-decades, since my life has largely gone in five-year increments as we moved home from Brazil when I was almost 5, we lived in Oregon for five years, then another 6 or so in Washington before going to college. My marriage even lasted 5 years.

So I can't quite bring myself to catalog my life into books yet, so I'm doing some of it digitally by scanning some favorite/awful photos.

This one of my sister Jill and me is a favorite. Mostly because I used to think we look NOTHING alike, and now I think that aside from the 20-30 lb. difference between us these days (she's the lightweight), we do look basically like twins.

Well, except she's older. We have to keep reminding her of that, since she tans better than I do and got the other grandma's thin ankles.

I did get the dark hair that doesn't start graying at 30 though. So that's good.

Love ya sissy! Thanks for not killing me as a child...I know you and Jeff thought about it more than once...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bathroom Renovation




Brian is a very patient husband, for those of you who don't already know...Wednesday night I told him I wanted to make the main bathroom "more pleasant, you know, so people will actually use it, including me..."

And once he said "OK" as he does to most of my household improvement ideas (and knowing that's the bathroom he was about to start using) the very next morning I'd taken down the broken shower doors and started the process of prepping for paint.

This bathroom needs to be torn down to the studs and started over. I think its fixtures are original to the house, and the white trash panelling must be too.

We didn't want to spend $1500-2000 on materials for a complete overhaul, so a paint job, re-caulking and spitshine polish was going to have to do.

By the time it was over, and for less than $100, we have a second functional bathroom that as Brian said when he went in to use the facilities "actually just feels like a normal bathroom instead of a closet the cat box is kept in."

I guess that's somethin'...

Flood

It really isn't a proper Pacific Northwest winter unless there's some snow, followed by rain, followed by localized flooding, which in this case, managed to put four inches of water in our sister-in-law Julia and her husband Gary's basement.

Brian, Jeff and I went up to help them remove the carpet, pad and edging, then mop the floor.

Of course, as the towels got wetter, they were harder to move around with our feet, and before we knew it, Class Clown Jeff was doing a Frankenstein imitation that was actually quite good.

In the end, there was a pile of soaking wet carpet and debris out on the deck, and the restoration people should be out Monday to replace the damaged wallboard and flooring.

We're guessing there won't be any carpet going back in there again...

Cheerio!

I totally made up the words to go with this slideshow, but I couldn't resist...

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Phone Pix

This first picture of Nora is still in my phone...I posted it on my Mommy's board and Suzi said something about the "Frankenstein walking" she was doing, and I've never been able to forget it or erase this picture from my phone. It's just so proto-Nora to her walking skills today...

As you can see by the second picture, her face has matured so much in just 4 short months, it's amazing, isn't it?

Nothing like the saying "They grow so fast" has been truer as it is when you watch your own children grow. I was telling Oma (Brian's Mom) how Nora's so tall, she's not going to be able to sleep stretched out in her pack & play much longer...These things are supposed to last a couple of years?! Not in this family...not with these genes...

Speaking of which, Moppet Miriam has grown up so much, it's amazing to me...I was scanning a few baby/cute kid pictures of her and her sister Hannah, and their cousins Erik and Miriam, and in 9 short years, Miriam's gone from pre-Kindy moppet with a head of hair to young adult (I will not dare to venture to call her a lady, she'd probably kill me with her Peterson laser stare).

My apologies in advance to my friend Shannon, who I was dying to see in Everett on the way home from Vernon...We had barely gotten on the road when we realized that we'd hit Seattle in time for my Favorite Restaurant On The Planet, Thai Heaven (52 Roy Street, Seattle, WA 98109, order Paradise Chicken, you'll thank me later).

So we did. I love this picture of Brian with Nora. They're happy. I'm in my happy place. When I die, I'm going to Thai Heaven, and that's that.

I've mentioned before the drive around Western Washington and Oregon was crazy...but the craziest part seemed to be Oma and Opa's driveway.

Sister-in-law Judy got my Mom and Hannah and Miriam there in one piece, but dang if she didn't get hung up in the driveway.

I believe she was quoted as saying "I got it this far. Someone else can dig it out and get it the last 20 feet." And they abandoned ship. I called Brian and Trevor who were out in the Subaru and told them not to come ripping into the driveway too fast...because their shovels were needed and they'd need to move the car.

There was the drive home to contend with too...This car was along the freeway in Everett, and pretty much sums up the depth of snowness that we got.

I can't call it "the white stuff" or if my former editor John DeLeon from The Seattle Times ever reads this, he'll drive down here and shoot me himself.

My Mom took this sweet picture of Nora and me on Christmas Day when she was in a rare snuggly mood with Mommy. Those fleeting post-nap moments before the lights come on and she's back to Full Tilt are wonderful.

And there's got to be one last bath of '08 picture...Last night taken well before New Year's came. Our Nora was in bed by 7, and we weren't far behind her.

Happy New Year Everyone!

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