Thursday, January 31, 2008

Please Get The Carrots in The Carrot Hole, Mom.

This picture makes me look like I am the worst aim ever at getting food into my girl's mouth, dontcha think?

Nora's been learning new solid foods. First it was rice cereal, then oatmeal cereal, and yesterday was her first round at CARROTS!

OK, first of all, they are MESSY. Not because I am bad at aiming, but because my daughter likes to "help" and get her hands involved, and sometimes just likes to shove the whole bib into her mouth while I'm trying to get the SPOON in there.

She does love eating though. The new high chair is a source of lots of fun for her now. She has already figured out what it's for!

Sunday, January 27, 2008


My sister Jill came down from the Seattle area today and helped me paint my are a few pictures to help illustrate what we got done, but none of it does any justice to the amount of work we did!

The first two pix are of the before/ after of the living room area. The guy who owned it had done a one-coat painting job on a wall that requires 2 1/2 to really cover it. Once there's a new light fixture, new carpet and moulding, I think it'll look better instead of the two-toned nightmare it once was!

We also painted the dining room from a pale yellow to the same taupe, and it looks fabulous!

We also painted the family room a better blue than the one it was before, and converted the master bedroom from a pale yellow (ugh) to a bright blue.

I think the favorite of the days was Nora's room. The old owner had it as a storage area, with a few things including a crappy fake wood mini-blind and plain white walls...
Our family's big on color, so we wasted no time painting it a nice bright lavender.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Let's Just Say I'm A "Super Fan"

I have a sickness.

It's called TDM Madness.

That's Taco Del Mar Madness.

The very first Taco Del Mar opened not far off of Fairview Avenue North & John Streets in the '90s when I was a cute young thing selling advertising at The Seattle Times.

Since then, the TDM empire has grown and grown, extending into several states, and even reaching Colorado and the northern 'burbs of Denver.

I sense they knew they had me there, and should open a store that would be wildly successful.

Last Tuesday, Brian and I were driving to Lowes to do some shopping for paint for the new house, and for carpet. As we rounded the corner I saw a Panda Express (ugh, my distaste for fast food Chinese is just a whole 'nother post) and I wondered out loud, "You know, what this place REALLY needs is a Taco Del Mar. I mean, I'm going to be LIVING at this Lowe's in the coming months and years. I'm sure I could support it."

And around the corner we went, and there, in all its glory, stood a massive semi truck with an even more massive TACO DEL MAR sign plastered to it.

I about had a stroke, as Brian reported to our real estate agent later that day.

You see, I am what they call a Super Fan. That kind of person who is so over-the-top supportive of something, that it becomes just a tad bit OCD. I probably shouldn't actually get a job at a Taco Del Mar because I'd not only eat all their profits, but I'd very likely scare customers with my excessive enthusiasm.

But that's ok. I mean, all I really want to do is support the cause of the Mission Style Burrito and the ministry of Fish Taco Friday.

And now, I can live in Salem and go to TDM and not commute all the way to Kaiser.

God Bless America.

God Bless Taco Del Mar.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nora Tours The Mile High City

Nora took her first flight (and watched her first movie on my iPod -- Mickey Mouse classic "The Brave Little Tailor". She flew very well all things considered. One scream or two on the flight in (I will fly non-stop with her for the foreseeable future), but otherwise she was remarkably well behaved.

What a long time waiting for all of us last weekend. Over the past 5 years, Brian and I had suffered through three losses and the loss of our little Jacob in 2006...and our friends in Denver were there through all of it. So you can imagine how much it meant to us to be able to take our Nora to Denver and have her meet all these friends.

She got dragged around a lot. She was really quite patient about the whole thing. Like our friend Scott said "She's like the Holy Grail. Everyone has to SEE HER.

And see and hold our girl is exactly what a lot of people got to do!

We stayed with Wendi & Marcello in Aurora. Wendi, who's mom to Mateo, was a great set of extra arms for me...Which is very important when you're traveling and don't have all the usual toys and swings, etc. to divert your baby.
On Friday we went to our old house on Perry Street to say goodbye. It was sad to say goodbye to the house. Almost none of our neighbors were home, but we did get to see John from across the street.

We peeked in the windows to see the hardwood floors had been done and circled the house a couple of times.

Goodbye, house. We felt at home there and so did many others. We will miss you.

Nora didn't stop learning new skills on her trip. Here, we practice sticking our tongues out at each other. Along with blowing raspberries, Nora now has the second "skill" of sticking out her tongue at me. For some reason, she thinks this is VERY funny!
After we signed off on the house, we went to Delois' house in West Denver to see her and her kids. Delois and I go way back to 1999 (Delois, can you believe next year it'll be 10 years since we became friends?) when we worked at a newspaper in Washington State. I shared a cubicle with her husband, who's now a Denver Post reporter.

I remember thinking Delois was so quiet...then found out what a wild child she was. I have figured out that that's the truth of a lot of my friends. But I knew Delois was one of those people I'd want for a friend, and I'm so glad to still know her!

Then later on Friday we headed over to Doug & Susan's place. Here we met up with them and their son Louis, who gave Nora her VERY FIRST KISS. He liked her a lot, and I started calling him my "future son-in-law".

Susan & Doug have suffered losses similar to ours, and it was bittersweet to have that dinner together. Their son Louis was due the same week as Jacob, and I caught myself realizing how big Jacob would be, and wondering how he would have looked if all had gone so differently.

Before we left, we had a good cry. But oh, how wonderful it was to have the picture taken of us with our kids. I still cry when I think about how long a road we've all come, and how long a road so many others have gone too to make their families.

On Friday night, we drove through a bit of a snowstorm to get home. I had dropped Brian off in Lakewood (Western suburb of Denver) to go to Southeast Aurora (which is aptly called "Saudi Aurora" because it's just that far out there). The city was obviously taken by surprise as to how much snow was falling, so I drove through quite a bit in a rental car with only 2-wheel drive. The nice thing was that I knew by the next morning, Denver being Denver, the roads would be cleared due to the all-night work of highly professional snow removal, so when I woke up to go to Shiela's I was glad to see I was right.

So Saturday morning off to Golden Nora and I went.

Shiela snuggled and snuggled with Nora. She talked on the phone with our pastor's wife and said "I'm holding Nora RIGHT NOW!"
Shiela was there for us at the bitter end of Jacob's life. When I gave birth to him, and I could see he was gone, Shiela kept my Mom company during the birth, then came and baptized him and cried right along with us.

To be able to bring her our girl -- well, you can imagine how many hearts Nora got to heal on this trip.
After a WONDERFUL breakfast of quiche and OJ and coffee, Nora and I packed up and headed to Carrie's house up in Northglenn. After a few wrong turns, I finally found her house, where Jenn came too.

As many of you know, I belong to an online support group for those of us parenting after a loss. Several of us live(d) in the Denver Metro area, even though there are about 60-70 members, some spanning the globe.

It was neat to be able to see Jenn & Carrie, and I met Carrie's Mom too! We sat and talked for a few hours, just catching up and watching Nora get a little wound up.

As you can imagine by the time we were at Door #3 -- at Scott and Laura's -- Nora was about to have her occasional evening meltdown. We waited for Scott & Laura to come back from a friend's funeral, then we had pizza.

I held her, Brian held her, I held her some more. Scott took her, then finally, Laura took her.

Konk. Somehow (perhaps through attrition, surrender, or perhaps Laura's superior skills), Nora was out asleep for a while. It gave us all a chance to visit for a while, and then it was time to go home to Aurora.

Sunday was our time to stay put and let our friends come to us! Meg, another friend from PALP, came with her two boys, and it's been TOO long since we saw her. What a great time it was to see her and have her hold my girl!
Concetta stopped by too, and we got to hear about her new boyfriend and talk about her going icefishing with him. If you knew Concetta and how she borrows air mattresses to put in a tent while camping, you would find this especially entertaining as I did.

Barb, who has a nephew the same age as Nora, hadn't held a baby that small, but given that Nora was having a good time, I placed her in Barb's lap and they both did great!

Then Monday morning it was time to go home!

It was only 7 degrees outside that morning, so we had to start the car and let it run a while...Nora got her first cheek-burns from the cold in the few seconds we waited to board the shuttle from the rent-a-car place to the airport terminal.

Thankfully Daddy thought to cover her carseat with a blanket so she wasn't further exposed. Man, it was amazing how quickly those cheeks turned rosy, then stayed that way with a little "cold burn".

With a 30 minute stop in Phoenix (we didn't even get off the plane), Nora and Brian and I flew home to Portland.

I'm tired just having typed all this, but suffice to say, we had a great time!

Thanks to everyone who saw us, and thanks especially to Mars and Wendi for putting us up!

The Girl Can't Help It

Man, every morning, Miss Nora wakes up in a GOOD mood. She's definitely got Daddy's gene for that trait.

At 6:30 this morning there was lots of fussing but no crying, just a 4-month-old's way of saying "WAKE UP, PEOPLE! IT'S A BRAND NEW DAY!"

The good news is, she's sleeping at 6-7 hour intervals if she gets her cereal at night, and she LOVES eating her rice cereal, so it's an easy sell.

Today, Princess Buttercup and I are headed in to the doctor for her 4-month appointment.

We'll see how much she's grown, and get her shots done (ugh, who likes to do that to their kid? I know. I know. It's necessary.)

But here she is in all her pre-shots cuteness.

She just can't help it.

Monday, January 21, 2008

We just flew in from Denver (and boy are my arms tired!)

Just holding Nora and keeping her occupied or asleep on the plane(s) was quite a bit of work...Overall she did well though. DH and I took turns and did great with her especially on the last flight figuring out what it took to keep her quiet. Which is something, considering she's MY daughter. LOL. There were a few screaming episodes here and there (boy isn't that fun to be THAT parent) but overall she was ok and slept through quite a bit.

We had a ball seeing so many friends who have waited SO long along with us for her to come to neat to see old friends and had a good cry with a couple of them.

The house closing went well. Unfortunately I met the new owners. The guy was fine but the lady was the coldest fish I've ever met. We were trying to tell them nice things about the neighbors etc, and while her DH was conversational and excited, she acted like we were beneath her or something, or like this was a business deal, and WHY on EARTH were we speaking to her?? Oh well. I hope the washing machine doesn't break on her the first time she uses it. ROFL...we should see the $$ tomorrow and then close on Friday with the new house.

Nora was such a good baby...had her tough time around dinner time like she always does, but really tolerated all those strangers holding her and all the in/out in the car (even in a snowstorm) very well...all things considered!

Friday night I was driving home with her after dropping off Brian to spend the night at a friends, and she was SCREAMING in the car. It was snowing like crazy, and I finally started talking very loudly to her.


(She gets quiet).



She had fallen asleep on me in her little rocket seat...and that was that.

I'll publish some pics here in the next few days.

It may be only 10, but I'm exhausted.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy 4 Months To My Girl!

I cannot believe the milestones she's hit the past couple of weeks.

Last night she SLEPT 8 HOURS IN A ROW. Then I fed her at 5 a.m. and she slept for 3 more hours! So did Mommy!!!! I feel like a new woman!

She's been rolling over now and then for about a week. Then today she's just rolling over from back to front anytime I put her down! I can't leave her on the bed anymore because she scootches around too it's the floor, the crib, or the pack & play from here on out!

She's eating rice cereal at breakfast and dinner. She doesn't eat much but she loves it, and lunges for the spoon sometimes. Ah, the first sneeze came this morning with cereal in her mouth...I sense an uptick in the amount of laundry to be done!

Tomorrow we fly to Denver. I can't wait to meet up with Delois, Sheila, Susan, Doug, Laura, Wendi, the girls, and Carrie, Jenn and hopefully Meg too. I get all misty just thinking you guys finally get to see my little PAL BABY!

Suweet 500

Today is a great day!

Aside from the fun of taking embarrassing bad-hat pictures of my wee one, two 500s happened:

First and foremost, my DAUGHTER gave me 500 MINUTES of sleep last night. IN A ROW.

Yes folks, that's just over 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Then I fed her at 5 a.m., and she slept another three hours.

And so did I.

I think I'm almost giddy from that much sleep in one night!

And my other biggie is...This is my 500th post on this blog!

This blog has gone from just a little entertainment venue for me, to a great way for family and friends to keep up with us. I thought of looking at my 100th, 200th, 300th and 400th posts to see where I was in each of those times, but that is going to have to wait for another post another time.

Today (besides trying on silly hats), we're packing for a trip to Denver to visit our friends and close on the house this weekend.

I can't wait to see how Nora travels. To see how she flies. How she deals with stewardesses and getting the shakedown at security.

What an adventure!!

OK. Back to being cool.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The House is OURS!

It's a small blue house on a quiet street.

It's got 2 bathrooms and a family room.

It needs paint and a new roof this summer, but as of the end of the month, it's OURS.

I'm going to be b-u-s-y the next couple of weeks as we plan to clean, paint, and move in sometime in February.


Beauty Sleeping

My DARLING daughter has decided it's time for her to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time.

Thank you LORD.

Nothing frazzles ones nerves faster or more efficiently than not getting anywhere NEAR 4 or 5 hours of sleep in a row for MONTHS at a time. I honestly wonder how anyone could possibly want a subsequent child once they've been through one round of infant sleep deprivation.
Yes, I know she's cute and all. Heck, she sleeps anywhere. In this picture she's sleeping in her cousins pappasan chair, listening to Rap music on Miriam's iPod.

As Hannah says "She so chill."

That means cool, people. Or laid back.

One of the sweetest things is when she sleeps on US...which happens fairly frequently.

At 15-some pounds, she's not light load to carry around anymore. Sooner or later you feel the need to sit down with that sack of sleeping baby.
But the only thing that beats snuggling with our little one is waking up at 4 in the morning realizing that you've had 6 hours of sleep in a row, and after a quick diaper change and a feeding, you're about to get 4 more.

Which is what happened to me this morning.

That, my friends, is just a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

This One's for Aunt Gretchen!

Auntie Gretchen lives here in Oregon. She is a horse breeder and lives on a farm far away from me, but at least we're in the same state now and have a mid-point meeting spot that makes seeing each other possible at least!

She bought Nora this lovely blanket and some really cute farm-themed clothes, including this sleeper.

Nora's really into being naked these days. She gets too warm in the footed sleepers sometimes, and would prefer to be hanging out sans Pampers and Jammies.

But, alas, it IS January and she needs to wear something...

Tonight I went through her outfits and found this one. What a great compromise!

Nora's happy. Mama's happy she's not freezing.

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the blanket. The back is satin, the front is this super-soft fleece.

Nora is on it still, just grabbing it!

Let Me Help You Shovel That Into My Mouth

She's not 4 months til next week, but I was reading about how to tell your baby might be ready to try solids, so I bought some special rice cereal, a bowl and the little rubber-tipped spoons, and waited these past couple of weeks.

Well, she has been doing everything and is so big for her age now, I thought we'd give it a shot.

She LOVED the cereal! You would have thought I was giving the kid crack! LOL

My Mom fed her while I took pictures...we gave her just a teaspoon or so, and she wore the rest. Then she finished off the bottle that the formula for the cereal came from...Now we wait to make sure it "goes through" ok!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cute Picture O' The Day

Nora smiles at Grandma/Bestema.

She's talking more everyday! (Nora, that is)

I have to say there are pictures of Nora that look eerily like my Dad.

A lot of people say she looks like me from the nose down, but through the eyes she looks like my husband.

The weird thing is, when Nora raises her eyebrow on one side, it's something my Dad used to do.

It's like looking into my father's eyes, and it's just plain freaky!

It made me wonder too how my brother Joel would look to his mother if his birth Mom got to see him.

How we each go on in our children...wowie.

Nora's Emerald City Tour

This past weekend, Brian was supposed to go to the Seahawks game (the Wild Card playoff game against the Redskins that we WON), so I had plans to go up to Gig Harbor to see my sister and then take our daughter Nora to Seattle during game time to meet a few friends and hang out in the city.

Well, the plans for Brian fell through, but I decided to go anyway. My Mom asked if she could go with me, and I was thrilled...anyone who's driven an hour in the car with an infant strapped into a rear-facing rocketseat in the back of the car knows how hard it is to keep said infant happy without some form of entertainment sitting in the back seat beside her/him.

In fact, I'd actually packed earplugs in the diaper bag just in case she went ear-splitting on me before I could get the car pulled over in a safe spot.

So off to The Harbor we went -- and had a wonderful visit with my sister and her family. John (who's holding her in the picture above) and the others had a great time holding her, and she got lots of cooing and fun time with all of them.

Then it was off to Lenny's house in Seattle. Lenny is an old friend of mine from waaay back in the '90s somewhere. I met him when he started working at The Seattle Times as one of the web designers for what was then a fledgling

We had a mutual friend Nikki who had a knack for bringing in all sorts of lost souls, newbies in town, and anyone else in need of a friend, and even though Nikki has moved out of our lives, the rest of us have stayed good friends.

I don't think I've seen Lenny since about 2002 or so - I know it was the same year my brother got married, as my husband and I went up to Seattle and spent a few days at Lenny's house after the wedding to enjoy the city a bit.
After all the coffee we could drink, we headed down the hill towards my FAVORITE restaurant of ALL TIME -- THAI HEAVEN.

Thai Heaven is at 352 Roy Street in Seattle -- at the base of Queen Anne Hill in the shadow of the Space Needle.

Go there, eat Paradise Chicken. It's just the best, and unique to this particular Thai restaurant.

There, we met my friend Kim from college. Kim and I went to the University of Washington together, and while I don't think we ever lived together, we had a few roommates in common, and we shared a LOT of good times.

Kim's a doula now, and has two beautiful girls. It was so neat to see her, and she said she was thrilled to get her 15 minutes of fame on this blog with her picture.

Wave hello to Kim, everyone!

After lunch, Miss Nora had had all the fun she was going to pull out of several hours of sitting in a carseat, only to be removed and body-passed around, so we headed back to my sister's.

The next morning, we had breakfast at a local restaurant, and we headed towards home.

I have to say, it was amazing how Nora slept all the way to Portland, and only woke up to eat when we pulled into a Target in Jantzen Beach for a feeding before heading on home.

As my Mom said, "She's absolutely perfect."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Where Did My Tiny Baby Go?

Nora is almost exactly 3 1/2 months old now...I can't believe how fast she's growing.

My niece helped me weigh her yesterday and Nora is 15 lbs. now.

Brian was tossing her in the air the other day (just a little airborne since her head still isn't 100% her own) and we all laughed at how vulnerable she was just a few months ago, and how we would have NEVER done that then.

Now here she is holding her head up most of the time, smiling up a storm and just lovin' life.

She even flipped over from back to front for Bestema, and last night was swinging her legs to get over to her tummy.


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