Friday, July 31, 2009

Cute Picture of the Day

Last night a bunch of the family came over for dinner with Oma and Opa, and we grilled salmon and had a wonderful meal together in the back yard.

This morning, Oma and Opa left with Jeff, Judy, Hannah and Miriam to go to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival there, and we had a few minutes as Nora flitted around from relative to relative.

Nora wasn't feeling great last night, so it was neat to see her back to her happy self this morning, and she loves being in her Oma and Opa's arms!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Busy Busy Beach Days

We just got home from a few days on the road...Brian has been working in the southern part of the state, and when he said he'd be ON the beach for a couple of nights...Nora and I drove down and spent a couple of nights there, seeing him in the evenings and doing our own thing during the day.

We went to an animal safari thing that was just sort of weird...OLD, and they even let kids get close to some of the cubs...

Nora sat there a little frozen at the sight of the leopard cub, just fast enough for me to get the picture, then we were out of that area. So neat tho to see her run after some deer and goats, and boy did we wash hands after THIS adventure.

THEN...we went to the beach. Nora HATES sand and water. The Oregon Coast really is counter-intuitive. I call it an "acquired taste...you know, kinda like beer."

Anyway, she started out not sure about it, then started to enjoy it, then ran to play in the water...and promptly FELL into the ocean (2 inches of water, but she was soaked)...so I got to walk her ALLLLLL the way back to the car, drive her to the hotel, and get her cleaned up. What an adventure!
Now we're back home, where it's supposed to be 102 or 105 or something god-awful. And it's 88* and it's 11 p.m.



I would love to go back to the coast again, but I know I'm not the only one thinking of it, so hotel prices must be going crazy.

And I'm done with my psychology class for summer quarter. Taking my last Anatomy class and a Sociology class on Death & Dying for the fall. Can't wait to get near the end of my pre-req's for nursing, so I can apply for next year.

Nora's doing great...TALKING like crazy. Brian got her saying "Blackberry!" tonight. I can't even begin to tell you how great it is to say "Nora, do you want to eat?" or "Nora, do you need a new diaper?" and she says "DA!" for yes, or "NO!"

And for the record -- look at this last picture and see that this is the LAST picture I snapped of her right as I was yelling "NO!" and she tripped in the wave...Doesn't she look like she's taking on the entire Pacific Ocean?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

We Have A TALKER!




There really isn't much more thrilling than watching your kid's milestones...whether it's their first steps, first words, first run through the water sprinkler...

And Nora has not been anything less than a complete joy to watch grow and change.

Three days ago? She said "Mama", "Dada", and "Baby", and not a whole lot else.

And today: she was talking like this:

Brian was so happy that the past couple of days she's started talking -- she said "water" and "rhino" and a number of other words...

And then he left town this morning, and this afternoon after classes and nap time, I took Nora to the Kids Club and I asked her if we should change her diaper first. I said "can you say "diaper"?" and she said "Diapuh"

So all the way to the kid's club, and to the fountain for cooling off afterwards, I asked her what she could say. "Can you say "store?" "Stoh", she said.

"Can you say "Car?" and she didn't say car, but she gave me the sign language word for car (like you're turning a steering wheel).

"Can you say "dinosaur?" "DINO!" she says back.

Can you say "Barney?" "BARNEY!" I get from her little rocket seat in the back.

I even taped some of it and put it on Facebook...it truly is amazing. In my developmental Psychology class, they were talking about the "naming explosion" that happens with toddlers. One day they're all "dadadada" the next they're trying to say "CALENDAR!" (seriously, she tried to say Calendar with the babysitter today.

Our girl is verbal! Hang back everyone, 'cause the next thing she could be talking about is YOU!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

RHINO!

Nora went to her first birthday party (that wasn't hers) this weekend, and it was Sullivan's 3rd birthday. He's in this picture, somewhere, along with a bunch of other boys...and Nora is pretty easy to pick out because she's wearing a shirt.

Sully's parents (Mike and Patti) have a great house with a swing set/play yard/ slide thing out back. The best thing I liked about their party was how SANE it was for a kid who's three. I mentioned to Mike how great I thought it was...not overplanned, but perfectly done with several kiddy pools and Slip-n-Slide they had set up. You really couldn't do better for a slew of 2 to 4-year-olds.

Anyway, the kids had a blast, we had a blast, and barbecued hotdogs and hamburgers and a yummy cake with ice cream.

And upstairs playing with Jamey and Nora and Morgan, we saw Sully's awesome bedroom with a jungle/safari type theme, and on the wall was a giraffe, and as Nora walked up and pointed to it and said "RHINO!" without any prodding from me!

Several new words followed last night and today...baseball, Hannah, Mimi...

The cascade of words has begun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I Talk. I Read. (Just A Little)

Nora had a few surprises for us at the zoo this Friday!
During our climb out of the zoo, we often go past the turtles and duck pond that is on the lower level of the Northwest Trail hike...

Brian said "Look, Nora. Turtles" and she pointed at the turtles and said "TURTLE!"

We were so excited we practically high-fived each other on the spot!

Later, we walked through a water fountain area (it's just a few minutes from the exit), and Nora loves to get soaked there on sunny days. It's kind of funny how many parents stare at us like we're insane to let her get so wet, but we bring a change of clothes and a towel, and she LOVES playing in it...PLUS it was 90* that day.

Anyway, as she was playing in the water, I said "Nora, that's water, can you say water?""

And sure enough, she touched it and said "Wada".


And while our little kid is walking along, she sees things that we didn't even notice...

In the dark descent into the Stellar Cove area of the zoo where the sealions are, there is a dark carpet with the word "LAB" on it.

And she pointed at it and said "A. B."

Of course I didn't see it right away, so I'm looking for what she's talking about, and there it was:

She also knows C, D, and is working on E and F!

Fair Day

We went to the Salem Arts Festival today at Bush's Pasture Park. I don't know if you realize how BIG Bush Park is, but it's MANY acres in the middle of Salem that houses the Willamette University stadium in one remote area, and the rest is a series of gardens, tree groves and open fields that used to belong to the Bush family.

This park has a number of local events each year, and this summer we got to go to the Arts Festival for a few hours.

In addition to booths for the local symphony, theatres and a great play area, there were NUMEROUS arts and crafts people and their beautiful displays of the various things they make and sell.

Nora, who is just beginning to use words that aren't repetitive syllables (like Mama, Dada, etc.) yelled "BALLS!" and headed right for these glass blown balls and various bugs and other yard art.

She did very well touching them gently (the artist was very kind and said they were hardy enough that she could touch them), and loved the ladybugs, snails, etc...

This picture of a glass mosaic artsy mirror was just one of many on display -- I couldn't stop looking at them all and wondered if I could possibly make one myself!


There were also a lot of funny people, including this "Parade of One" of this guy in a big old lady get-up...he was just walking around "Because it's an art fair"
and Nora just wasn't sure what to make of him, but eventually she thought he was cool...


The clown, who is a nice old man named Frank who says he's a great-grandfather, could NOT, however, win Nora over. His tricks just freaked her out and she thought nothing of hiding behind Daddy first, then Mommy, and was quite happy to get away from him.

At the end of our morning, we had lunch of Greek gyros at the Greek Orthodox Church booth, and headed over to what we discovered was the most fun for Nora -- an entire area just for kids, with the AC Gilbert house having a hat-making booth (all free) for kids to make and decorate hats, face painting, a library story book reading area (Nora enjoyed it for a few minutes before trying to make off with another kid's balloon), and then finally, the Kroc for the new Kroc House (a brand new community center here in North Salem).

Brian and I were VERY impressed with how BIG the fair was, and how great the booths were. The art was very expensive, but very beautiful. As WEIRD as we think this town is sometimes, it has a very active arts community and a lot of people who take pride in their city. It was fun!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cute Pictures of the Day


Nora LOVES playing in the sprinklers. We've had a pretty warm summer so far, and she just loves being outside! We've found some public fountains that kids can play in too, but sometimes it's just nice to go out in the back yard and play!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tired

Poor kid -- she was up at 3:30 a.m. when her Ibuprofen wore off, and Brian got up with her for a little while and put more in her.

Her mouth is really bothering her as she pats it a lot...and I found she's gotten two new teeth this week. There might be more on the way!

This morning we decided to stay home and watch the Tour de France a bit, and I got tired and took a short nap -- and when I got up, Nora was napping in Daddy's lap!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cute Picture of the Day

Miriam snapped this one as Nora tried on sunglasses at the zoo gift shop today. We went to the zoo with Miriam and Hannah today and had a blast! (more later)

Nora also went around the store and hugged darn near EVERY stuffed animal, then put them back on the shelf.

I secretly high-fived myself as I realized my daughter still hasn't figured out that stuff is for sale and that Mommy holds the keys to buying it or not buying it.

Not sure how long that will last, but...for now!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The 48 Hour Fever

Nora went to bed Tuesday night with a touch of a fever, and I gave her a little Ibuprofen and off to bed she went.

The next morning, she woke up with a raging 103.4* fever...and was so listless it scared me! There's nothing like watching your bouncy-like-Tigger daughter run around and then suddenly sit there like a bump on a log...

She was sick all day Wednesday -- so we just stayed home and I got some housework done and she watched more Elmo than she probably should have -- and then Brian got home last night and fortunately had part of Thursday off so he watched Nora while I went to class this morning (she was still running a pretty good fever).

She HATES the medicine until it's in her mouth...then she realizes it's grape-flavored candy and it's not so bad. I put some of it in a bottle last night just so I wouldn't have a fight over it. She's also decided I can go pound sand if I think I'm going to get her temperature with that in-the-ear thing, and I want to say "Do you have ANY IDEA WHERE MY mom put a MERCURY-FILLED THERMOMETER? HMMMM?"

But of course I don't yell my kid, at least not yet...

This afternoon after her nap she was back to her normal self. We played with Play-Doh, drew with crayons and pencils, and mowed the lawn and she wanted to play in the sprinkler.

And just like that...she's back.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Daddy

Nora woke up with a 103.4* fever this morning...I'm not sure why, but she did...

It's amazing to me how you can forget your kid CAN get sick it's been so long...what a blessing that is, as I know people whose kids are sick ALL the time, or they have several kids so it just seems to move in waves through their household.

Nora was warm last night before I put her down, so I gave her a little Ibuprofen before bed, and she slept through the night...but woke up on fire this morning. Instead of my plans to take her somewhere cool like the coast or the zoo, we ended up staying home all day.

Brian's been gone all week too, and near dinnertime tonight he called from the road and said he was on the way home. Nora grabbed the phone and aside from the occasional "Hi!" and "DadddyyyY!" into the phone, she didn't say much, but she wandered ALL over the house listening intently to Daddy's voice as she held the open phone up to her ear.

Fortunately we're on one of those cell plans that allow us to talk to each other for free!

After she hung up, I gave her a bath and eventually Daddy came in the door, and the two were able to hang out and do the things they do together...like get the electric guitar out and play together.

She's become a lot more "intentional" in her play, and Brian showed her the volume switch tonight, which of course she turned WAY up...

She loves it best when we're all together at home...and so do we.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Can't Let The Day Go By

Thanks to everyone who let me know we were in their thoughts and prayers today. It may seem like a long time ago to most, but for those of us who lost a baby boy, it can feel like yesterday sometimes. I know it's late. I know it's probably past the point of people thinking about it. But we will never forget.

Today was three years since we had Jacob and lost him...I don't think of today as his birthday because a birthday implies that life followed that, and it didn't.

Our boy was stillborn on July 7, 2006. No life followed, and no, I don't think about what he would be like if he had lived. Not for any reason except that his Trisomy 18 diagnosis meant that he just couldn't survive, so thinking about him as a healthy boy would have meant he was someone else -- if that makes sense.

The past couple of days were especially hard. Mostly as I anticipated the day alone because Brian and my Mom are both traveling this week, and because they were there with us, I wanted them near me today, and it wasn't to be.

But I had my Psychology class this morning (which is at least a diversion considering the rather CRAZY yet entertaining antics of my professor), and this afternoon I took Nora to the Kid's Club and we played in the sprinkler outside after that.

As I talked with Brian on the phone tonight, I started to cry when he asked how it went today and how I was doing, and for the first time ever, Nora came over and gave me a hug in direct response to how I was feeling. It is amazing to see empathy come from YOUR child when it's directed at you. AMAZING.

Of course I also realized I probably shouldn't cry in front of her again. Then I realized that maybe I should just so she doesn't grow up thinking I'm not human or something...Ah, the rotating mind of a parent...

She didn't last long tonight, went to bed early and all that. But we spent the day together and tried to have fun, and in the back of my mind I imagine Jacob watching over his little sister as she climbed every ladder, threw herself down every slide, and eventually played outside and wallowed in the joy of summer and water from the sprinkler.

It's late...I'm tired. But thanks again to all of you as you've supported us through it all.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fab Fourth

This Fourth of July was a special one -- a return to see old friends (with a new wife!) and enjoy a night of festivities in my adopted hometown of Seattle.

My friend Lenny lives on Capitol Hill in Seattle -- overlooking Lake Union -- and he throws a party every year that is always a pleaser.


My friend Teri flew in from Utah and I came with my family -- including Mom, Jill, John and the boys, and Hannah and Miriam too from Oregon! Brian stayed home with Nora since she wouldn't be able to stay up anyway, and we didn't want to travel with her...

Right as things got dark, a couple of Lenny's friends put up a homemade balloon, which eventually rode so high in the sky, we lost track of it! It was SO neat! Illegal? Sure...But it was NEAT!
This picture of Hannah and Miriam was a favorite of mine from the night. If you click on the pic you can see the Space Needle in the background too. I watched them as they stood on Lakeview Blvd. together overlooking Lake Union with their arms wrapped around each other. Sisters.

Happy Fourth everyone!

If You're Reading This...

You're in the top 100.

HA.

I have had recent activity on my blog that I want to stop, so as of last night I made my blog "invitation only".

Despite my efforts to block a troll from seeing my blog, she keeps coming back and getting through so this is what has to happen for now til she gets another hobby.

For those who don't know what a troll is -- it's someone on the Internet who acts like a troll -- who tries to belittle or cause problems where problems don't exist.

I have been patient and now I'm done. This blog is for Nora and friends of ours, not for some person who gets their jollies out of giving me a hard time.

Movin' on...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Footprints On My Soul

I find it hard to believe in some respects that it has been three years. Sometimes it feels more recent, other times it feels like light years have passed. As you can imagine, Nora's bright and cheery disposition has done so much to heal our hearts that it makes it hard to dwell on the sadness that hit us so hard three years ago.

And then it hit me harder today as I realized that three years ago this evening I was already going into the hospital, and Tuesday marks the date of Jacob's birth and loss.

While I revel in happiness at my daughter and her unquenchable spirit, I mourn the loss of my dear boy at the same time. Anyone who's walked a few feet in my shoes understands. There is no replacing those lost, only resolving to move forward and to make your life mean something in the face of personal tragedy.

This weekend as we celebrated the Fourth of July in Seattle, I found these earrings of tiny baby footprints at The Pike Place Market, and I couldn't resist buying them in memory of our boy. They weren't expensive, and the woman selling them was unusually kind even though our transaction took just a moment and no stories were shared.

As I read the instructions on how to care for the jewelry (it's only silver, but when something is handwritten and hand-crafted, I'll read it anyway!) and at the very end it simply says "Live with intent and peace in your heart."

That's all I can do.

We miss you Jacob. Nora holds your blanket every night, and loves the one toy that was ever yours. We love you with all our hearts.

News of The Weird...

It's a funny day, and sometimes politics don't get any weirder. Here we have celebrities dropping by the score, so much (and yet so little) to think about this news bit, but I feel the need to write about this anyway...

Yes, this is political, so please move on if it hurts you to read negative things about Sarah Palin specifically.

I found it highly interesting yesterday to see Sarah Palin is quitting as governor of Alassska 18 months before her term is over. Even Rush Limbaugh had to say it was "risky", which my Democrat-to-Republicanspeak Decoder Ring says is code for "swan dive into political oblivion".

As I hoped would happen post-election, a healthy chunk of people with a brain on the right side of the aisle have come to recognize Palin for what she is: A political opportunist whose public service ethic and feminist ideals extended only as far as it would get her. But she failed to do her homework, and anyone who watches the Katie Couric interview and proceeds to blame the media for that debacle in public relations I would argue needs to get a few screws tightened in their head and watch it again...

Not a lot of people would argue against me that Palin was done shortly after that interview and ones like it. Once the election was lost (or perhaps a few weeks in advance of that), the Party itself had already started to blame her for the loss.

Still, she managed to stay in the news a little longer, especially with the rather schizophrenic combination of "Isn't my family fabulous?/Stop reporting on my family! Pay attention to me because I'm still relevant!/Leave me alone!"

While I can hope this is a swan song of her political career only because I truly LOVE America...I can't help if this is just a ploy so she can go write her book and do her fundraising and "consensus building" among the anti-Choice wingers without having to deal with pesky taxpayers and constituents who want her to do her job.

But secretly, there's a part of me that wonders if everyone has underestimated her, only because it's taken slightly longer than the 15 minutes most of us anticipated for her to become a cocktail party joke.

I'm not sure who she's listening to, but perhaps she understands that governorship of a sparsely populated state isn't power, but the money is...and sitting around approving legislation and plotting one's political future while the media has the audacity to question your money spending and motivations behind every move you make isn't going to get you anywhere either. At least it's a lot harder than making a few million from a book/speaking deal.

Plus, she'd be better off reading a few copies of the The Washington Post, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for a while -- you know -- to get her bearings on what is actually happening in the world while there's still newspapers to report it.

My main wish for ALL Americans, including any future leaders -- like say Palin -- is that the next time she opens her mouth about Russia that she doesn't sound nearly like the ditzy Wasilla High School cheerleader that she has in the past.


Maybe then she could run for Senator from her state and give someone a plausible run in 2016 after President Barack Obama's eight years are up in The White House. Being a Senator isn't executive experience, but it seems to work for a lot of Presidents...

Plus I think it's going to take longer than four years for her to catch up and do her damage control/wheel reinvention, and a few more of her kids can be out of the house by then and able to make decisions for themselves about whether or not they want to be part of the campaign rather than trundled out for consumption.

But you can count on me to be among those who won't be holding their breath for it, but at least I can say I didn't count her out when even Rush was ready to.

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