Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cruising

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We just bought Lorelai a bike; a gorgeous, baby blue, Electra cruiser.

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We spent the evening parading up and down the street; the girls on their bikes and Lizzy and I on the Taga.

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Every once in a while Lorelai would stop me so that she could give Elisabeth a smooch.

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And while we rode up and down the Avenue, Donald changed light bulbs...

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...and the dogs lounged in the front yard.

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But all too soon the sun set,

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and it was time to put away our bikes and head inside to get ready for bed.

I love summer evenings.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ginger Peach

My new makeup from Everyday Minerals arrived in the mail yesterday. After the children were tucked into bed I opened my package and went into my bathroom to try out the new colors I had ordered.

Donald found me there a few minutes later and [due to the late hour] asked why I was putting on makeup.

"My new stuff arrived today and I wanted to try it out." I explained.

"Oh.....new flavors," he replied back (completely serious).

I busted up laughing.

New flavors...ha!...that's one way of putting it. Come to think of it, the new eye shadow I was putting on was named Ginger Peach. Sounds delicious, doesn't it?



Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Miss Food

I am still thinking fondly back to my final feast one week ago today. Our big backyard BBQ with burgers and watermelon.....mmmm.....I miss that; I miss food.

I was so completely naive to think that getting my wisdom teeth extracted wouldn't be that big of a deal. But I figured, 'eh...the c-section with Elisabeth was nothing, how bad could this be???'

Let me tell you.

Bad.

So, so bad.

My mouth is still incredibly sore and tender and I won't dare eat anything that isn't soft. Pretty much I've been living off of soup and Carnation Instant Breakfasts. Which isn't all that bad, but I want something to crunch, ya know?

But, as horrible as it was, there were a few perks to this whole experience and I mustn't let all the negative cover them up.

The silver lining is as follows:

> I spent all of last weekend in sweatpants. Why don't we all live in sweatpants, all the time? They are seriously comfortable.

> Eating no food (of substance) means that my weight has been dropping like crazy. This is most definitely a good thing. Maybe there's something to this not-eating-24/7 business (like I usually do).

> I sat. I sat in the recliner for 3 days. I rarely just sit. I am a busy body who is always doing something. Sitting is good. Especially in a recliner.

> I read. It's been a long while since I've read anything. Probably because I never sit long enough to get lost in a good book. But I think I'm going to change my ways. Reading is so enjoyable. I'm glad that I remember that now.

> I got caught up on all the 200 some-odd episodes of Say Yes to the Dress that my DVR has been recording for me. Well, probably not 200 episodes, but it seems like it. Love that show.

And now for a picture that I debated posting. Strongly, strongly debated. But finally I figured, 'why not?'.

Here is me:
At. My. Worst.

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Sorry if that scares you. It scares me for sure.
Yikes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Meet Rody

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It's no secret, shopping for Elisabeth is not easy. I always find myself wanting to buy new toys to spice up her life a little, but that's easier said than done. You see, there just aren't a lot of toys that either a) interest her or b) she can use.

However, on rare occasion, we happen upon something that is just meant for her. Like the Taga for example.

And now

.....[drumroll].....

Rody
the inflatable horse!


(To give credit where credit is due, my sister had a hand in discovering both of these gems, the Taga and the Rody.)

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Here is why I am so thrilled about Rody:

> Elisabeth loves to bounce, and Rody is all about bouncing!

> Elisabeth does not like to use her feet or legs. In fact, her feet permanently stay in an extended position. And the idea of putting pressure on them...ha!...Elisabeth says 'no way'. But when she sits on Rody her feet [toes] touch the floor. And while she's not ready to put pressure on them [yet] I am hoping that sitting on Rody will encourage her to use her feet and legs to bounce.

> Rody can hold up to 400 lbs! Not that I am planning on testing its weight capacity at all, but it's interesting (and amazing) none the less.

> The 4 feet (or should I call them hooves?) on the bottom help keep it stable, unlike sitting her on a ball.

> The ears make perfect little handles.

> Rody is helping to strengthen Elisabeth's core by forcing her to balance herself. We are also hoping that it will help correct Elisabeth's back which is becoming severely hunched due to her right side being so much stronger than her left.

> It's made in Italy. Have you noticed that Europe seems to produce some of the best toys?

> We purchased the Original Rody, but it is also available in an even larger size for children 5+ years old. So that means when Elisabeth outgrows this one we can upgrade her to the big one.

> It's available is a wide array of colors. I love choices. And color.

Adorable, don't you think?

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ciao!

Sunday, mid-morning.

The telephone rings:

Me: Hello?

Jennifer: Hi Bear! (Jenn's nickname for me). I have a question for you.

Me: Yes?

Jennifer: How would you like to take a week off from being a mom next year?

Me: Go on.....

Jennifer: I want you to go on a trip to Italy with me. We'll spend the whole week eating ridiculously fattening foods and exploring museums.

Me: Ummm.....yes! Count me in. Wait, I'd better check with Donald. Donald! (calling down the hall) would you mind taking a week off of work next year to watch the children so that I can go to Italy with Jennifer?

Donald: What?! Italy? (Thinks about it for 2 seconds) No, I don't mind.


**********Later that same day**********

Donald: You know, if you get to go to Italy for a week, I think that I should get to go with Justin (best friend) to a Seahawks game.

Me: Oh?? (I am amused because Donald never misses an opportunity. And this was an opportunity.)

So here's the deal.

If I get to go here:

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He gets to go here:

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Sounds fair to me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

My Family

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[Alexandra, comforting Elisabeth, mid-seizure.]

Families are amazing.

They just are.

How everyone is there for each other.

For example, last Friday when I got home from having my wisdom teeth extracted. Blood was puddling up in my mouth and I was begging for someone to bring me new gauze. At the same time, Donald discovered that Elisabeth was a having a huge seizure in her crib.

He carefully [and calmly] carried her downstairs, put her on the floor, retrieved her Diastat from the medicine cabinet, and administered the medicine.

Then Alexandra jumped in to take over Elisabeth's care. Snuggling her and telling her stories while waiting for the convulsions to stop.

Once Elisabeth was safe in Alexandra's care, Donald came to my rescue. He delicately pulled the soaked gauze out of my mouth, replaced it with new white little bundles, and brought me a dose of medicine too.

Everyone taking care of everyone.

That's what families are all about.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Final Feast

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Last night we had all of Donald's co-workers over for a BBQ. I fondly thought of it as my final feast because today is the day.

The day that they are extracting my wisdom teeth.

Surprisingly, I am okay with this, which is so uncharacteristic for me. Because honestly, dental work usually falls into the same category as bees in my book: terrifying.

But the fact that I will be sound asleep is making this situation bearable. And the fact I've got Donald home for three days. That's good, right?

Wish me luck!

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Suitcase (with spunk)

Remember a few days ago when I said that I conquered my to-do list last weekend? Well, I guess that was a slight exaggeration. There was one thing that I did not cross off my list: buy new luggage. I did try though. While I was at the mall with Elisabeth I searched all the department stores and even stopped by a specialty luggage shop. But everything was so boring!

Yawn.....ZZZZzzzzzzz.......

Really people, enough black and neutrals already. Give me something to be excited about. I am going on vacation for goodness sakes!

So I went home (empty handed) ready to do some online shopping.

*******************

Yesterday I looked at the calendar. Our NY trip was only 13 days away. Okay, I needed to get serious about this luggage quest I was on or just give in and choose something plain (a.k.a: boring).

I went online and began searching.

That's when I stumbled upon this:

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That is exactly...I say exactly...the kind of thing I was looking for. A 29-inch upright suitcase that says something! A spunky piece of luggage that looks like it's ready to embark upon an adventure!

But I wondered....what would Donald think???

I decided I had better consult him before making my purchase. Afterall, it would be toting his clothes around too.

I shot him a quick picture and email that said,

"Would you be horrified to be pulling this through the airport?"

Within 2 minutes he replied,

"I don't care too much. We'll be all together when we use it anyways."

Just the response I was hoping for.


(It's mine!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mission Accomplished

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Elisabeth lives a different life than the normal two-and-a-half year old. Brain damage has left her with severe physical and mental limitations. For Donald and I, this presents a challenge; finding ways to enrich her life....finding things that she can really enjoy.

You see, she can't run or climb or even crawl. She can't see past a foot or two. She can't eat food. She can't comprehend stories or children's TV programs. She can't even use her imagination because there really isn't a thought process there.

So we are always on the lookout for something that she can do. It's our quest in life.

This week Donald and I found just the thing: a parent/child swim class. One half hour every evening for Elisabeth to play with Mommy and Daddy and splash to her heart's content. She might not be learning to blow bubbles like all the other children in the class, but that doesn't matter, not in the least. What matters is that Elisabeth is having fun.

Mission accomplished.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Cool It

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I received a package in the mail from my sister a few days ago. This water bottle was inside. She spotted it at her local market and knew she had to get it for me; not just because it's adorable (don't you just love that retro look?), but because it represents everything I stand for:

1st > Life is a gift, embrace it.

2nd > Don't stress. Really, just don't (except when there are bee's around).

3rd > Don't focus on the negative, search for the good.

4th > Be happy.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Daddy-Daughter Camping Trip

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About mid-day on Friday Donald loaded up the van with sleeping bags, fishing poles, a tent and our two oldest daughters. They then headed south to a lake in Oregon to go camping with best friends Evelyn, Lilly, Tessa and their father, Stephen. It was there that Lorelai caught her first fish! It now resides in my freezer, which is fine, except that fish and I do not get along (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that before.). But Donald says that he'll cook it up for himself one of these days and assures me that I won't have to have anything to do with it.

I opted to stay home from the big adventure with Elisabeth and boy oh boy the time I had! Remember that to-do list I wrote about on Friday? I completely conquered it; I dusted and vacuumed the entire house (top to bottom), did a gazillion loads of laundry (and got it all ironed and put away) and balanced the checkbook/payed some bills. After the chores were done I rewarded myself by going shopping at the mall with Elisabeth for a few hours. I got some adorable back to school clothes for the big girls (and perhaps a few things for myself too).

That evening I ordered some take-out from my favorite Mexican restaurant, put Lizzy to bed, ate my food, and stayed up til 2 am reading.

I think I might send them camping more often...

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[Evelyn, Alexandra, Lorelai, Tessa, and Lilly]

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"The Big Catch"

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Friday, July 16, 2010

A Recipe-a-Week in 2010

Week 27
Party Chicken

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Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 slices bacon
1 (4 ounce) jar dried beef
1 cup sour cream
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

Directions

1.Shred beef, and spread into the bottom of a greased 8 inch square baking dish.

2.Wrap each chicken breast with 1 strip of bacon, and lay on top of beef.

3.Mix together undiluted soup and sour cream. Pour over chicken.

4.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes to 1 hour.



***Recipe recommended by Diana....thanks!

The To-Do List


I have a ton of stuff on my to-do list for today and tomorrow. You know, all the little things that I have been meaning to get around to for the past few weeks but haven't. Like the mountain of laundry in my room waiting to be ironed (not such a little thing, that one). And new luggage. I need to go shopping for new luggage. I meant to do it a few days ago but it was one of those little things that I didn't get around to. (And seeing as the zipper is busted on our current suitcase, this is a must-do.)

Okay, I'm off to accomplish a thing or two now.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Parlor

Welcome to our music parlor...

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...a highly frequented room in our house.

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It is formal yet functional and (more importantly) kid friendly.

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This is the place where our children come to make music and enjoy music.

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This is my favorite room.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Catching Up with the Times (finally)

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A few days ago Donald, Jennifer and I were looking through the TV listings trying to decide what to watch. Donald was trying to convince me to watch Zombieland (or something like that), but I really didn't have much interest in it.

Then we saw that Twilight was playing on Showtime.

Hmmmm.....

'Should I watch it?' I thought to myself.

Jennifer voted a strong yes because she had read the books and watched the movies and knew it was something I would like.

Donald was hesitant, but willing.

My only hold back was that I hadn't read the books yet and I wasn't sure I wanted to watch the movies before I had read the series.

(And the only reason I haven't read the series yet is because I still haven't finished all the Harry Potter books. It seems like there should be some rule about getting involved in a new series before finishing the last, doesn't it?)

But.....

I decided to watch Twilight anyways.

And I loved it.

The screenplay was very well written. I don't know how it compared to the book, but I thought it did a great job of plot development. Especially in comparison to the last movie we had watched (just the night before). It was a little film by the name of Because of Winn Dixie. There was so much wrong with that screenplay that it made me cringe. All Jennifer and I could do the next day was list all the flaws in the storyline....and trust me, there were many.

So Twilight was great; even the once hesitant Donald would agree with that.

In fact, the next day when we were at his parents house I heard him asking his brother if we could borrow his copy of New Moon. And as soon as we got the kids home and into bed we settled in to watch it.

Another fantastic experience (I only wish Edward had more screen time, because I find him stunningly handsome. Jacob......not so much.)

So then yesterday Donald tells me he wants to take me out on a date.

To a movie.

And I say (with a grin),

'What movie were you thinking of? Eclipse?'

And he smiled back with a smirk that said, 'of course, what else?'

So on a date we went. And as expected, Eclipse did not disappoint. In fact, we thought it was wonderful. (I think Donald's favorite thing about the film series is that Edward drives a Volvo. Donald drives a Volvo too. You know how men are about cars...)

Now I'm left hanging with no movies left to watch; I think it's time to crack open Breaking Dawn and get reading.

A Story About a Shoe Tree

Once upon a time, Donald and I came across a magnificent tree unlike any other we had seen. For instead of leaves, this tree was covered in shoes.

A collective piece of art, standing along a lonely stretch of highway in the middle of Oregon.

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************

Earlier this year my brother David came to visit. On his way up to see us he stopped at the tree and added his own worn pair of shoes.

While he was there he discovered that the tree had even been given an official sign:

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************
And then in March, tragedy struck.
We heard that the tree had burned down.

On our drive to California this past month we confirmed the rumor:

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**********

So we had a plan: to start a shoe tree of our own, in memory of the fallen.

But alas, we weren't alone in our thoughts. About 30 miles away we found a tree with 3 pairs of shoes dangling from it.

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We stopped the car and Donald got out to decorate it with a few old pairs of our own:

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And so begins the life of another shoe tree.

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