Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The New.

While we were in California last month, my Aunt Kathy and my Mom went in on some new sheets and a new Woody doll for Miss Nora.

I got her the comforter, and this week, after Mom left for vacation and Jeff & Judy moved off their farm, she left her twin trundle bed for Miss Nora.

With the blink of an eye, Miss Nora's crib was out of her room, and her toddler bed went bye-bye too.

We put the mattresses on the floor for now, to get her used to sleeping in it, but that hasn't been a problem at all...

The real problem was trying to find a way to get her very boyish Buzz Lightyear stuff from Toy Story to go with her lavender baby room, and it was a No-Go.

Instead, I decided to sell a bunch of her baby stuff, including her high chair, one of her strollers, and a pack & play, and buy the paint we needed to make her room a little less baby and a little more Big Girl.
And just like that, it's happening.

Miss Nora's sleeping in a big girl bed (tonight in her twin mattresses are on the floor in our room while her room is being painted) and it's like she's always slept that way.

Just this week, she's said the ABC's without any mistakes, jumps into the pool at the Community Center without any fear, and is thrilled that her room will be "New Buzz Colors".

And today she went potty in the potty for ME for the first time (although she's done it for Daddy once or twice before!)

Here comes my little kid, world! No more Baby in this house!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Popsicle Picture of The Day

Nora loves popsicles...she just recently discovered them of course, since it's summer, and she's finally figured out that cold = good.

Today we went out into the yard and had a fun time eating popsicles together and playing in the sprinkler. Later I took her swimming at the community center nearby, and a bunch of other stuff I don't possibly have the time to blog about tonight happened after that.

It's 11:40.

I'm tired.

I just came here to post this picture.

'night all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Bye Bye Hannah, Loves Me So Much. M."

Miss Nora's cousin Hannah (left, in the photo) just graduated from high school last week, and she and her best friend Ana are taking a gap year to work in Guatemala for Habitat for Humanity.

Nora loves her cousins -- and she's "double cousins" with Hannah and Miriam, and it's always fun to watch her and remember what H & M were like, and wonder out loud about how she looks or acts and how it may or may not be like her older cousins.

Hannah came by this week to see us, and then went with us to the movies. Afterwards the girls came over for some time in the back yard.

We sure will miss her...and we know Hannah will miss Nora. Hopefully she'll be able to keep up on this blog, and we will with hers!

After Hannah left, Nora said "Bye Bye Hannah. Loves me so much, M."

I'm not sure what the M is for. She's been saying that at the end of "Loves me so much."

But it's cute.

Toy Story 3

We took Nora to her second movie ever in theaters, and we had a nice big entourage go with her (there's just half of the small crowd in this picture), and boy was it fun!

Nora is on the young side to sit through a movie, but fortunately we weren't the only ones bringing small children to a new Pixar movie, so she didn't disrupt things too much.


Since it just came out, I'll avoid any spoilers, but I will say this: If your kid is smaller than 3, I'd preview the movie before making decisions about them seeing it. There is a rather extended "scary" part at the end that got Nora walking around a lot to avoid it, not that she probably understood what was going on.

Aunt Julia got her a Toy Story 3 t-shirt before we left for the theater, which was a HUGE hit. We saw the movie on Saturday, and she's worn it almost every day since. When it came out of the laundry the other day, Nora hugged it.

"BIG HUG!" she said.

First Professional Hair Cut!

Miss Nora got her first professional haircut earlier this week...

It's summer, and her little bob was getting in her face, and I needed some help with styling because she wasn't sitting still for me -- with or without M&Ms in front of her.

We went to Great Clips near our house, and Sofia did the honors of cutting her hair. She has a 3 year-old daughter, so she knew what to say and do to get Nora on board.


Having a big mirror in front of her and giving her a comb to "help" helped get Nora's attention and keep it long enough to give her a nice short layered 'do.


The cutest thing was afterwards -- sucker in hand -- as she danced in front of her reflection in the retail complex as we left. She was very excited to tell Daddy all about it!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Big Girl Bed

The last week or so, Brian and I have been putting Nora to bed with our usual songs and goodnights, but starting out in her "big girl bed", her toddler bed that I bought on Craigslist almost a year ago when she first put her foot up to get out of the crib (then never did again).

Within a few seconds of putting her down, however, I heard her crying and when I went in, she was literally trying to climb into her crib!

Well, tonight, with Daddy gone, I put her down our usual way, starting out in her toddler bed, and I left the room, and stayed nearby so I could transfer her to the crib.

She came out with a book.

I said "No, it's bed time. Do you want to sleep in your crib or the big girl bed?"

"Big Girl Bed" she said.

OK....

So I put her down again.

I even peeked in and she was still there 10 minutes later.

Then tonight she was out.

Just like that.

Tonight will be an interesting night! Will leave lights on so she can find our room if she needs it!

Wow.

And yes, I snuck in and took these photos, with a flash, after she'd been down for a while. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cute Picture of The Day

I tried to get the tent up today to see what shape it's in, and it looks like, even though it's seen better days, that it will make it on our camping trips this summer.

The next couple of nights are going to be very sunny so I'm leaving the tent up in the yard so we can get used to being in it. I'm going to Febreeze the heck out of it, give it some cleaning and of course, a new coating on the rain fly.

Brian got the tent up after work tonight, and Miss Nora moved right in with all her toys. She had so much fun once she was done with dinner and her bath, and Daddy helped set up a "bed" with a pillow and blanket, so she could pretend to sleep there.

We are SO excited that she's old enough to start camping for short trips. Very soon we're going to go up for a one-nighter in the woods, and then we'll be off for a weekend if that works well, and we'll go from there!

Here's to years of happy camping!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our Father's Day 2010

Brian is well, of course, The Best Daddy in these parts. There's nothing quite like watching him BE a Dad after all we went through to have Miss Nora. For me, it is pure joy as he teaches his daughter about things like moss, or bees, or the joys of strawberries that grow in our back yard.

Today we did a little work this morning, and got the grill cleaned up so we could take off to the park and have a picnic, despite the weather's rather bad prediction of a summer that still hasn't quite shown up.

Rain, mostly this afternoon...and here in Oregon, Rain means Rain. Not sprinkles, not mist. Rain.

So we went to Silver Falls and didn't dawdle too much over our lunch, and Miss Nora escounced herself in a lawn chair, and cuddled with me while Brian got our picnic set up.

OK, the picture looks like he's just sitting around, but he wasn't for long. Brian, as always, takes care of his family and works hard not just at his job, but often takes a second shift when he gets home in order to spend time with us and not just plant himself in front of the tube, as I would at the end of a long workday.


Nope, we work together a lot. I made some mean guacamole, and we ate chips and fed Nora Pirate's Booty while we waited for our bratwursts.

After our picnic, we didn't dawdle much -- just took a nice long walk along the paths and over the creek, and enjoyed a little time in nature. Along with some lost kids from Virginia who kept crossing in front of us, which was cute...you can't really get lost in this area, since you can always see cars, but it was cute to see them over and over again as they pleasantly greeted us (again) and said how cute Nora was (again).
Today, as we drove home we marveled at the fact that the rain in Oregon should have let up this time of year, at least a little...and we're SO glad we got the roof done when we did -- during that three day break in the rain last MARCH...

And at the end of the evening, Nora took her card-signing VERY seriously and worked to sign her Father's Day Card to daddy with LOTS of flourish.

Happy Father's Day Brian...this day is extra special to us because of where we've been. We know parenthood isn't easily achieved.

Summers Coming, RIGHT? Strawberry Season!

It's late, but it's here! And we have "wild" strawberries growing all over the back yard this summer.

It's hard to call this summer summer, despite the fact that tomorrow's the first official day, and usually by now we've had a few 80* days to let us know it's coming.

My wildflower garden I planted has been coming in strong. I put in WAY too many seeds but I didn't have any faith they would grow, and here they are...

This is the spot where our willow tree used to be, and after the dog is gone (someday, not planned at this poing) the fence will come down and I'll put a nice little border in.

So it's late in the season and the strawberries are finally in. Nora's cousin Hannah came over and played with Nora a couple of times this week, because she's heading off to Guatemala soon, and Miriam came over one day too (after a movie, which is another post entirely).

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Hail of a Zoo Day

Nora and I went to the zoo yesterday...it was one of those days where she's been recovering from a rather nasty cold/pneumonia-like bug, so I didn't want her to get WET (like swimming), so I thought, since it's been a month or more, that going to the zoo on a questionable weather day might be fun, but if it got bad, we could just leave.

Wrong.

We arrived at the zoo to find Nora THRILLED to be there...First the eagles were CLOSE to the entrance where you could almost reach out and touch them...Nora discovered the "eagles nest" which she announced was "Big Bird's nest" from Sesame Street, and she stood in there so long we had to ask her to move along just to give other kids a turn.

We saw SEVERAL animals out and active that we never usually see -- an ocelot (small spotted cat looking guy), and some turtles, the mongoose, and SEVERAL little alligator/crocs, who are usually off doing other things apparently, but this time came out for quite some time AND held still for photos..

Speaking of cooperative for photos...Nora was in RARE form for pictures, letting me take a few pictures like this one in the barn near the petting farm. She climbed on this horse, named it "Bullseye" (from Toy Story), and then said clear as a bell "GIDDY UP!"



The day at the zoo (well, most of the fun part anyway) ended with a hail storm when we were at the BOTTOM of the zoo, as FAR from the car as we could humanly be.

I had taken Nora into the restroom for a diaper change, and I could hear the hail start. Having spent seven years of my life in Colorado, I wrongly assumed this would be over in a few minutes.

So, we walked out and waited under the eaves of the snack bar nearby...and waited...and got cash out of the cash machine with a $2 charge...bought some chocolate...ate it...waited...then finally decided to make a run for the "Bamba du Jon Swamp" building which offered air that I couldn't see my breath in, and something new for Nora to look at besides falling hail.

After witnessing a 12-year-old boy sobbing over the storm (scaring the little kids), I finally decided that before Nora got an earful of his fears, that we would head up and get to the car.

Lucky for her, I had a blanket and just put her in the stroller and rolled up to the top to the car. We were both soaked -- and she had a couple of changes of clothes, so we changed her in the car before we left.

I, on the other hand, 30 hours later, am still drying out. It was a fun day though! She danced and thoroughly enjoyed being back at "her" zoo, and now we just wait for the summer weather to arrive!

The Sprinkles Discovery:

Nora and I went to the grocery store today to get some (surprise!) groceries, and as we headed through the cookie/cake/baking aisle, I couldn't help it but buy some cake mix and get Nora involved in the whole thing.

She does pretty well -- I cut open the bag of mix, then put an egg at a time into a measuring cup so she could dump them one at a time into the bowl, and she loved dumping the water and oil into the bowl too, and even held the mixer for a while before deciding that two minutes was a bit long to sit there just mixing.

She helped put the paper cups into the muffin tins, and even helped me put the batter in (with limited success, since she's sort of "all or nothing" about letting me hold something, and, well, we made what she says rather clearly: "A big mess."


But we baked and cooled and I whipped up some chocolate frosting (a cube of butter, a pound of powdered sugar, a bunch (1/2-3/4 cup) of Hershey's cocoa powder, a dab of vanilla and 1/2-1/3 cup of milk), and then the work begins!

I quickly frosted the tops and introduced Nora to SPRINKLES. Sprinkles, of any kind, are AWESOME to a 2.5 year old. She'd call them other things, like "balls", but she "got it".

And just before bedtime, we got to sit down and enjoy a nice fresh cupcake, and boy were they good!

I loved her face as she discovered the beauty of chocolate cupcakes.

Every night, as we're getting ready for bed, we talk about what we did today, and despite a very exciting morning of going to the DMV and the Bank for Daddy's stuff, the first thing to roll out of her mouth was:

"CUPCAKES!"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Graduation, Party, Drive, Graduation, Drive.

What a busy weekend around here!!

My niece Hannah graduated from a high school near here, and she's off to a small Central American country for a year of working with Habitat for Humanity before she heads off to college...
She and her friend Ana graduated Friday night, then Saturday we had a big party in Portland for both Hannah and John Michael.
The party was great because we had both nephew and nieces there, and as much family as we could cram into Julia & Gary's Extravaganza! Palace, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect for a back yard barbecue and family photo shoot.

Afterwards, Brian took Nora home, and I went north with Joel and Jeff to Jill's house, and today we went to John Michael's graduation at the Tacoma Dome.


Lots of pictures afterwards (without Nora there to protest/turn away, we were all pretty darn cooperative with all the people trying to get a shot of the graduates with various combinations of girlfriend, family, family, family, brother, parents, you name it.
I think the last few of the day were my favorites -- one of John all by himself, one with his girlfriend Ashley (who's just about as sweet a girl as can be, and very tolerant of us crazy people/family).

Even Joel flew in from New York, so we had all of us 5 kids together at once!

Congrats to John as he heads off to college, to Hannah as she leaves for Guatemala, and to the parents who got you here!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Pneumonia!

Miss Nora's cold that started in mid-May didn't go away entirely, then last week she got what sounded like a barky cough. Having had bronchitis before, I figured it was that...so I took her in.

A week later (yesterday) I woke up to her having not only a very wet sounding cough, but a fever of 101.5. I called the doc for advice, and they asked to see her, and we saw a new doctor to us, since Dr. A was booked for the day.

This new doctor prescribed a Z-pack, and it took WELL over an hour in the pharmacy to get it, then on home. By the time we got there, Nora had spiked a fever of 103.6 and was not doing well at all.

I gave her some ibuprofen and waited a bit, and when that didn't work I gave her some Tylenol. STILL 103...so I finally put her in a tepid bath, which brought her down to 101.7.

After all that, she rebounded for a bit, and we had about an hour where she was a bouncy little 99.7 degree kid. Mom came over and I went to the store, and by the time I got back, Nora had had some diarrhea (ahhh, antibiotics...) and it wasn't long before her fever spiked up again.

It was a rough night last night, because she was SO sick...By the time I put her down at 8 last night, I couldn't get her fever below 102, but I couldn't give her anything more.

Fortunately, she slept ok, and I checked on her at midnight, 2 and 4 a.m., and she had a fever at midnight, but not at 2, so it broke at some point.

The Z-pack seems to be working, and today she's hungry and has a normal temp. Will have to keep her as inactive as possible, which is a challenge!

The funny thing about yesterday was the doctor trying to chat with Nora, but not waiting at ALL for her to answer, so then she turns to me and asked me if Nora COULD speak, and how well she could be understood. THEN she offered to have Nora's HEARING tested...

Say what?

Apparently mine needed testing too.

I let her know Nora talks plenty -- and quite understandably -- to those she knows, and even better when she's not so sick! It is weird how sometimes people can go on tangents like that!

Here's hoping Miss Nora is better soon!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Nora Sings Karaoke!

BRASIL!

Miss Nora is visiting her Aunt Jill this weekend, and she gave Nora her first and only Brasilian soccer uniform!

Jill, Joel and I were all born in Brasil when our parents were Lutheran missionaries there in the '60s and early '70s...and so we get a little passionate about our soccer.

It's World Cup Time, kids, and Nora is dressed for success in this authentic uniform from New York City.

The size?

6.

Yeah. Thank goodness there's a drawstring on those shorts, but otherwise she can pull it off!

We even wore it over to Ashley's house, where John and Ashley got ready for prom.

Miss Nora brought them numerous flowers and of course, resisted getting a picture taken that involved her looking AT the camera, but we got a few shots.

For those friends on Facebook, look there...in the meantime, there might be a few more posted here in the coming days!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

On This Day, 25 Years Ago:

If I may say so myself, I think I was fairly cute coming out of high school.

Considering I started 6th grade with bifocal owl-sized glasses, a bad Raggedy Ann perm wearing plaid and overalls...I think I came out the other side of my public/formal education all right. (Yes, I have a picture documenting that entire ensemble all at once, but I will save everyone the cyber eye burn...)

One of my classmates asked something on Facebook about "how far we've come" and it took a few minutes to dig out a few pictures, and have a fun time looking back on 25 years, and try to put into words how much I've learned.

The problem is, all the stupid cliche's you hear about -- that the end is just a beginning -- that the path we all go down is never what we planned, but we wouldn't undo most of it --

That garbage is all true, to some extent.

I started college at the University of Washington in 1985. I met some fantastic friends, many of whom would remain lifelong friends, which isn't easy to do in a pre-Internet era.



I have some friends I kept in touch with since childhood, and some I did not.

My friend DHan and I have been friends since the fourth grade, and we are still in touch (she's the one in the middle with the good hair...

And Mary Rohrman -- I lost contact with. And when I was in Hermiston, I drove by the old Rohrman Ford dealership where I used to spend a few afternoons helping to sweep the showroom floor with her...and it's been bought out by someone else.

Suffice to say, college for me was fun. I wasn't ready to study academically as much as I needed, which is why I dropped out my Junior year (trying to hold on to financial aid while working 3 jobs and attending school full time was a grade-killer).

But I *did* finish, when I was 32 instead of 22.

And here I am at 43, once again going back to school to make yet another career.

I've been married twice, but the second one took.

It took me 5 years and 5 pregnancies to have one healthy baby.

In 25 years I've lost two grandparents, one father, a few friendships, and countless pounds (which I gained back again, some of the time).

But despite the disasters, I've had family and friends who have helped ride the storms with me.

I consider myself a good person who, although mouthy as hell and not anywhere near above reproach, doesn't intentionally try to hurt anyone. When I get knocked down, I get back up again.

Every.
Single.
Time.

And I love my life.

A good glass of wine and a hug from my little girl at the end of the day, after 25 years of adulthood, that's how I can say my day's been good, and overall my life is a successful one.

So for those of you heading out into the big wide world, my speech to you will be short and to the point:

Realize fame isn't nearly as fun as it sounds. Sometimes obscurity is much more interesting and freeing.

Notoriety and respect cannot be obtained by simply obtaining wealth or a certain age. It's always earned.

Most of the time, life is a game to be played, while realizing that you are not exempt from the rules. Personally, I never met a rule I didn't want to bend, and sometimes break. But realize that they're there for a reason, and sometimes those reasons make sense and sometimes they stink.

Don't rush into anything, whether it's a marriage or a burning building or other things that are hard to get out of.

No matter how old you are, there will always be someone older and wiser, until you're 116 and the oldest man or woman in the nursing home, and then everyone will just be waiting for you to die. You don't want to be that person.

Aim for something between the doormat and the bulldozer.

And whatever you do, make sure you have fun and be nice to people, especially if they can't do you any good.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Fine. Great. OK Jenny, This Blog's for YOU! :)

We're doing fine.

Not great: I didn't get the first cut into nursing school, but I'm on a short list of wait-listed students, and will know later this summer what's going on with this fall. If I don't get in this fall, I will next fall.

Not bad, good even!: Nora and I just got back from a long vacation in Sacramento/San Francisco, which was a fantastic break, seeing my beloved Aunt Kathy, her sons and families, and enjoying some really great times traveling!

Not horrible: Miss Nora has "a touch" of bronchitis and an ear infection, which earned her her first non-well-child visit to the pediatrician yesterday. She's on meds and will survive, hopefully...She is SUCH a trooper about being sick. I put my hand on her forehead yesterday for probably the 100th time and she said "I fine Mommy."

But fantastic: Nora's talking more than ever, using full short sentences, our home is a happy one, and our life is overall a good one.

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