Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Artsy Picture of The Day

My sweet girl.

She looks so cute, sitting on the steps.

We've had some lovely spring/summer-like weather these past few days, and she's discovered the horror of sunscreen and the bliss of sitting on the steps: waiting for whatever it is to come by and catch her fancy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Last Is First

Nora got a lot of pictures of her taken today. She's back into realizing that if she just holds still and smiles, it's over faster.

But that's not what this is about.

This photo is one of her very first real conversation with Daddy on the phone. It involved her actually taking the phone OUT of my hands and yelling "HI! HI! HI!" into it as she heard his voice (he's out of town on business this week).

And when he talked to her, rather than just walk around pushing buttons until the call was lost, she ACTUALLY put the phone to her ear so she could hear his voice!

Just too cute.

Today was a big day spent in the yard...

We went to the store and bought sidewalk chalk, and spent a LOT of time playing with it, dropping it in the grass, putting it in (and out) and in again to the plastic holder...

And of course trying to eat it.

A tour of the yard shows everything that should and should NOT be up is growing and doing great...
Being that it was 80degrees here today, we grew EVERYTHING.
My favorite part though was digging out my REI tent and putting it up in the back yard, and finding a place for it where it wouldn't kill the grass, but where Nora could still play with it.

She took some animals in with her and of course, it has a few chalk marks...

But she thoroughly enjoyed her "outside fort". We have a date for tomorrow after my exam to play in it a LOT before the weather changes again on Wednesday!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Elephant LOVE...

I don't know what it was about the video I took (it's below/available on YouTube for the world to see), but I keep watching it and I just keep thinking "Wow".

Maybe it's just that my girl is growing up. Maybe it's that she saw something she thinks is FABULOUS (elephants!), and instead of playing shy, she dove right in and just enjoyed -- scratch that -- LOVED LOVE LOVED her new elephant friend.

But seeing her just light up and hug and play and hug (and even push other kids away so she could get BACK into the elephants arms) was well, just a thrill for me as a parent.

Today was a VERY special day at the Oregon Zoo. Oregon's oldest elephant and the first elephant to be born in the Western Hemisphere is named Pachy, and he turns 47 with a great party today.

We were so lucky to make the last minute decision to go today. We almost never show up on a Saturday, since we usually try to go Fridays to miss the crowds, but today turned out to be the best weather day this weekend. AND Brian's taking off for a few days for a seminar in the midwest somewhere...so we decided to go!

Nora saw "Packy" the first time and just lit up. We tried to pry her away from him and have a snack and after a change of clothes, we couldn't get down to the other animals we wanted to see, so we had to go BACK by the elephant costumed guy, so she ran up and gave him a HUG.

THEN she proceeded to try to run AROUND the elephant as Brian tried to catch her so we could leave!

It's by far the most "involved" she's been with anything outside her normal family, and it was just so dang cute!

So here's the video: If this doesn't warm your heart, nothing will.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Welcome to My Family's Insanity.

And before you hear my brother Jeff point and yell "she started it!"

I started it.

Sometime a long time ago, I borrowed a coffee mug going out of my brother's house one day. It wasn't intentional stealing. I borrowed it with full intention of returning it.


Well, last weekend my brother Jeff road shotgun with my sister to the store, and since I was blocking a couple of cars in the driveway, they took my car. The Peet's mug was in the car...and:


Our family being our family, it meant that Jeff couldn't just take it back. No. That would be way too easy.

Instead, he had to give me loads of crap about stealing his mug (which really, isn't possession 9/10ths of the law?). He crawled right up on the cross and was all victim-like about it. It was a really good performance.

So of course, me being me, I couldn't just give it back to him.

I started taking pictures of the coffee mug in various places like my college campus, and sending them to him on his phone.

Then I got another Peet's mug (I ordered some replacements online -- one for him and one for me), and that's when the fun started...we have one of them hanging out in the back yard, then one where I donned them with shower caps before going into the dishwasher.

So finally today I sent the new mug over to him in the original Peet's box, and as a joke left the sunglasses on it so Jeff could recognize him from the photos...

So today, I get a picture from Jeff, and it's of his new Peet's mug, sitting on the swing at his farm, with the caption "Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!"

I know. We're sick...but we have fun doing it. :)

Hi Mommy!

This week Linda, our regular babysitter for Nora, called to let me know her elderly mother is near the end, and asked if my Mom could watch her this week so she could spend time with her.

So my Mom, aka Bestema, jumped right in from being away at my sister's for a week to taking care of Nora a few hours a day for the time I spend in class.

Mom said to send her a message when I'm getting towards home, and this is what I came home to today. Miss Nora thrilled to see me drive up!

Nora is understanding so much more each day. One of my favorite things about having her Bestema and other people around her is how each person brings new things to her life. Bestema and Nora spent a lot of time outside this morning exploring the yard, and Mom said "I answered about a thousand "what's this?" questions from Nora!"

Miss Nora has hit the "Whatsthis?" stage, where she points at everything and wants to know what it is. And if you ask her later where this or that is, she is able to point at it quickly. While she doesn't talk much beyond "whats this?", Mommy, Daddy, and of course, "Hi!", she clearly is understanding the bulk of what we say.

She lights up like a Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center when we come home. There really is nothing quite like seeing your kid plaster herself to the glass in glee over your arrival home!

Thank you Bestema, for watching our girl!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tankini'd Thanks To Auntie Sarah

Aunt Sarah didn't have to buy this for her. In fact she didn't...

But I remember some very sage advice from Aunt Sarah last summer as Nora played around in her one-piece bathing suit. She said (and I'm probably paraphrasing here) "By next summer you're probably going to want to get her into a bikini instead of a one-piece because she'll be so tall anything that fits her width-wise will just give her a big wedgie like it did Odette".

And sure enough.

Today I took Nora to Target, not really planning on buying a swimsuit just yet, but it's going to be near 80 this weekend, and even if we just turn on the hose, we're going to have to have a photo op with her in her swimsuit in the back yard.

So today as I went through the various suits, I heard Sarah's advice playing back in my head, and realized that a 2T one-piece would do exactly what she predicted...

So it's Tankini season around here!

And she's growing up WAY too fast.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Happens When Balloons Attack

Crazy Weekend!

There's really going to be a tough time to top this past weekend!

John Michael, my oldest nephew, turned 18 this weekend, and anybody who could get there did, and then some!

His cousin Natasha drove over from Boise, and she was our FIRST surprise!

I had never met her before (she's a daughter of my brother-in-law's brother) but I knew her parents and met them at Jill & John's wedding when they were expecting her. Natasha is so beautiful and it was so neat to see her and the joy on John's face seeing his cousin for the first time in a long time.

Then his cousins Tien and Kevin came with their Mom (John's Aunt Kathleen) from near Jackson Hole...and we thought we were done with surprises!

(Tien is second from right and Kevin is on the left, with Erik and John in the middle and Tasha there on the right).

This one of Nora with her cousins was neat. Tashi ended up playing with Nora a TON and really watching her a lot of the night! Nora just took to her like she was a cousin she's known all her life!

Then Saturday was John Michael's birthday!
Then the surprise to ALL of us as my brother JOEL flew in to town from New York -- and he didn't tell ANYBODY!

We were all so thrilled to see him!

I love this picture of Joel and Jill.

Mom was a little stunned that she had her five kids together, so we of course had to get the group shot to prove it all. In order of importance, (or in order of reverse importance, as the middle child it makes NO difference to me, LOL!) That's Jeff, Jill, Julie, Joel, and Jeremy, with Mom in the midst of us...

And this morning Joel and Mom were very nice about smiling and keeping their eyes open for the picture, once the flash was turned off. :)

Well, any weekend that starts with lunch at Thai Heaven with my friends -- three people I went to high school with -- all of whom are friends on Facebook including Auntie Helen, who was brave enough to pull Nora out of her high chair, then follow her around the restaurant as she wandered into table tops and the like (Nora, not Helen).

Helen made Nora some very nice little blankies when she was born that we still use (Blankies by Helen), and if you want one, contact me and I'll put you in touch!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Sad Day

It's amazing how someone's death can impact you, even when you don't know them all that well.

My friend Patti, who I met last year after moving to town, invited me out for a couple of "First Wednesdays", a downtown Salem tradition that is parlayed into a "Girl's Night Out" for Patti and some of her long time friends.

I got to meet Ginger, Sharrie, and a few other gals. And a couple of times Sharrie's sister Michelle joined us too.

Michelle and I bonded over our NICU experiences with our children. Michelle's son was born WAY earlier than Nora -- I want to say about 26 weeks, and is now 4 years old.

When I met Michelle, she was already fighting cancer -- first breast cancer -- and later she found out it was back.

I knew a few months ago that they hadn't given her much time, so I knew today would come.

And with one little message on Facebook today from her sister, I saw that Michelle is gone.

There are no words to express that will make anyone feel better. I hope wherever Michelle's gone that she is at peace and without pain.

For those who go on, all we can offer is our sorrow at their pain of loss of a wonderful mother, sister and friend.

She had many loyal and true friends who loved her very much, and I think that's the best thing you can leave behind, is a group of people to say "She was loved".

And she was loved, very much.

Hugs to those who knew her best.

Godspeed Michelle.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Park From The Past

I was in kindergarten when my parents moved home from Brazil, and that year I also went to kindy in Salem. So sometimes when I was a kid and visiting my grandma (who lived down on High Street in South Salem), we used to come to this very park to play.

It used to be a crooked house with crooked flooring if I recall correctly. But of course that's probably a health hazard or something now, so it's not quite like that anymore.
I took Nora to the to Bush's Pasture Park today, and parked across from the playground, so we had to cross the grounds that used to be the pasture. Of course, Nora had to run up and down and all over the grass, and of course: chase birds.
The cool house that used to be there has been rebuilt and repainted, but it's the crooked house, with a nice ramp, which Nora had a bunch of fun running up and down.
And just so you understand this outfit: We went to Lowe's first before the park, and Nora dumped the entire contents of her sippy cup onto her new shorts and shirt, which were QUITE perfect for a photoshoot/play time at the park, and these were the only pants/shirt I had in her diaper bag. Striped shirt/flower power pants.

But rather than not go to the park, or worse, not take pictures, we went anyway and decided that all the funny looks from the other Mommies at the park meant they were just jealous that we were that avante garde, or perhaps they just figured I let Nora dress herself this morning...

Who knows.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

If We Build It...

Brian and I have been in this house over a year now, and we've had a few things that needed fixing, and a garage and shop FULL of crap that doesn't fit in the house...

I'm quite proud that we've downsized a LOT of stuff from moving from Denver. We used to fill a VERY large truck, and a good half of Jeff & Judy's barn with our stuff.

But since we moved into our small house with the small mortgage, we also needed a smaller amount of stuff.

So we've been crowded in for a while, and several times now I've asked Brian if we could do this or that, or fix this or that, or how about getting to the lawn mower now that it's spring and the grass is growing? And his answer was pretty consistent:

"I could if I had a shop workbench built."

So yesterday we started unloading everything out of the shop space, and this morning the garage was emptied, and this afternoon Hannah came over and watched Nora, who gleefully ran around the yard and sometimes came to see us, all while keeping her away from saws and thumping herself in the head with the 3/4" plywood because she wasn't watching where she was going...

And many hours later, Brian has his work bench, and for some reason, perhaps the loss of all those piles of lumber, and getting rid of a few extra items to Goodwill, the trash and other places...but we can actually walk through both the shop and the garage, and it's not NEARLY as crowded as it once was!

We're both bone tired, but it was worth it! Like Brian said, if he'd been asked Friday if he'd have his workbench built by the end of THIS weekend, he never would have said yes!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Cool Picture of the Day

Nora and her cousins went out to the barn so they could feed the horses and Nora could check out the whole adventure.

The best thing about going to Jeff & Judy's Pizza Night Thing (PNT) was when I put her in the car and I said "we're going to Uncle Jeff & Aunt Judy's, and Miriam and Hannah's house too..." and she settled right in, and ran to Hannah when she saw her in the house.

It's so neat to have her near family where she knows them, and is old enough to remember them and trust them and have fun with them!

Fun day!

Cherry Blossoms!

Nora and I met our friend Patti and her boys Sullivan and Keaton at the park in front of the state Capitol today, and we got LOTS of gorgeous pictures...

She posted nice pictures of Nora for me, and I'll post a few of hers that I got too, along with some beautiful pictures of the capitol grounds.



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