Monday, August 25, 2008

Oregon Zoo!

This morning we hit the Oregon Zoo in downtown Portland. It's one of our favorite places and we really looked forward to sharing it with the Bills Family. The weather turned out great for us and we enjoyed a lot of action from the animals because we got there so early (yawn).

Of course, some of the critters were still snoozing (see the polar bear behind the glass). 

I do recognize that this is an awful picture of Geneva; however, it really captures the crazed response every time I offer "Zoo Popcorn." My mom bought the girls cute cups from the gift shop on one of our first visits to the zoo. I bring them back each time we visit and they enjoy filling them (over and over) with popcorn while we tour the zoo. We made sure to buy Natalie her own little cup as soon as we arrived. Popcorn cheers!

Ride 'Em Cowgirls!

Piper is so chill at the zoo. Give that kid some popcorn and stroll her chubby tooshie around to check out a few animals... and she is good to go. 

We followed the trip to the zoo with a quick lunch and stroll on NorthWest 23rd. We really squeezed a lot into the day before nap time and all the girls held up beautifully--the Daddy's did too as a matter of fact. Staci and I picked a pot of face mask from Lush so we can have some home facials this week in SunRiver while the kiddo's are napping and the hubby's are golfing. To kick start our facial rejuvenation project we headed to the spa for a professional facial while the rest of the brood was napping--I'll tell you what, we are good at getting some fun stuff done when the rest of these monkeys are snoozing!

Shopping, Lunch and...

... lots and lots of LOVE!

We spent the morning shopping at Bridgeport Village. The girls made wishes in the fountain and I made wishes in lots of the shops. It's a really nice place to spend the morning hours when the weather is nice. The playground got a lot of use from the girls and we really enjoyed ourselves. I did wiggle out with a new nail polish I've had my eye on (Illegal Purple by MAC). Obviously, we dined at CPK (wink).

I'm sure they were conspiring about something. 

The morning activities wore everybody out. Staci and I forwent a nap (unlike the rest of the bunch) to treat ourselves to a mani/pedi (with Illegal Purple--of course!). 

After dinner, with Auntie Jessica and Stephanie joining us, we put the girlies down and Staci and I got down to work making a little gift for some friends they are visiting while they're in town who are expecting a baby girl soon. We had a lot of fun "crafting" and came out with a pretty cute result--if I do say so myself!

Staci worked hard on water coloring each and every card in greens, pink and a purple-hued brown (is there such a color?). In any event, they are very sweet and we had a ton of fun making them or maybe it was the wine (note the empty glasses above).

The Bills Have Landed!

The Bills Family made the 9 hour drive (11 hour trip) up to Oregon to visit us on Saturday. Natalie climbed out of the car and into the arms of her BFF Geneva. The family made it up in great shape--they even enjoyed themselves along the way! We are so happy to have them here; we have so much fun planned for the next few days.
 
After Geneva's greeting, Avery and Natalie shared some love. It's so nutty to see Piper trying to keep up with the big girls now... very different than when these three were together in Sactown on a regular basis. Natalie outsizes Avery by about 6 inches but only 2 pounds. Not much has changed!

Well I guess one thing has definitely changed--Baby Norah is so big and so sweet. She is such a trouper! I'm amazed every time I look into that beautiful face and see brilliant blue eyes. Natalie has all of Staci's coloring and Rusty's face; Norah has more of Rusty's coloring (still Staci's black hair) and Staci's face. Great combos.

Obviously, we have been enjoying some amazing Talent Shows with three little ones gracing the "stage." Singing, dancing, gymnastics, and running have topped the show programs. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls... please welcome to the stage..."

"Yo yo yo... I'm Pipes--and I'm not the smallest kid around here anymore." These little p.j. bandits are at odds when it comes to how much "loving" Norah can handle from Avery. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but Avery is a "Babyholic." She would like to kiss, cuddle, hug, hold, and love a baby as much as possible. Poor Norah.

More to come!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Great sale!

I just got home from the Denim Sale at Old Navy and I'm so happy with my purchases! I found out about the sale yesterday and headed on down this morning at 9am. A few weeks ago I came across an article that I think was in In Style magazine listing the "best" jeans for a "real" woman's figure (read: has some curves)... Surprisingly, they listed Old Navy's "The Flirt" cut as their number one find (against such labels as Citizens of Humanity, Seven for All Mankind, etc.). I stopped by ON later that week, tried on, and purchased a pair of "The Flirt" jeans and I love 'em. Today I picked up two more pairs in different washes--and sizes (yippy!). While they are limiting each person's purchase to three pairs, the manager on duty at my location let me buy 2 pairs each for Geneva, Avery and I, plus a pair for Greg. I also picked up two long-sleeved shirts and a sweatshirt for Greg and a pair of pajamas for Geneva. I spent $107 total--that's 7 pairs of jeans plus the other stuff!! I can't get out of Nordstrom with one pair of jeans for that price! Anyhoo... I hope you're reading this in time to take advantage of the sale. You can enjoy this sale online too if you don't have time to run around today.
Happy shopping! 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Oh Dear

This morning at breakfast, Geneva finished her very nutritious Eggo's and was still working on her sausage... she had gobbled up the rest of her syrup by dipping her fingers in it and licking them. I came out of the bathroom and saw this. Here is the exchange that followed:
Me: Geneva, can you please not eat like that; it's really bad manners and also it's gross.
Geneva: It's not a big deal mom.
Me: Actually, it is a big deal when you're three years old and you're eating like your one.
Geneva: I'm fourteen mom; I'm not a child.

Oh, my bad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Visiting Great-Grandma and Grandpa Gowin

We took the girls to Santa Clara this weekend to visit my grandparents. I wish the circumstances for our visit were happier. My grandmother is not doing well--cancer. Grandpa just had a bout with pneumonia and is unwilling to give up the oxygen tank, though some suspect he doesn't really need it--other than for peace of mind. The trip was very nice. My brother, Toby flew out from Florida and my other brother, Bobby took the train down from Sacramento. In a lot of ways, it was great to be together again in the house where we were raised.

Avery and GGMa seem to have a special connection. Grandma sleeps most of the time on this couch in the front room. At least once an hour, Avery would find some reason to visit GGMa, whether it was to give a kiss, play a "song" on her recorder, show her a cracker, etc. A lot of the time Avery would just sit and play on the carpet right in front of GGMa while she slept. It was as sweet and heartbreaking as you could imagine.

We were able to get together at Central Park with my friend Kerri and her two girls. This is Chloe who is about 3 weeks older than Geneva. Dani is 4 months younger than (and just as tall as) Avery. Chloe and Geneva usually get to play together when we come to town for a visit and it is very sweet to see them together. They ran to one another and exchanged hugs when we got to the playground! The two of them play so well together Kerri and I even get a chance to catch up with one another too. 

Geneva had an allergic reaction to something on Saturday. Good thing I never travel without Benadryl (especially when there is a airplane trip involved!). She is so much her father's daughter with her sensitive skin (and tummy and feelings--wink). She looks awesome--don'tcha think? This picture doesn't even do it justice.

Our flight home was delayed but we made it safely and Crazy Piper managed to have somewhat manageable meltdowns on the plane. It's really a good thing that she's cute or there may have been some conspiring between other passengers as to what to do to with her to quell the high-pitched protests she was "sharing" with everyone. How is it that the kid always manages to take a dump on a flight that is less than two hours? It is my understanding that some of the newer planes are actually equipped with changing tables these days... not any that I've been on lately! (Did I mention the bangs? Seriously.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Things I Love Thursday

  • How big and lovely and colorful my hanging baskets have become in this gorgeous Northwest weather!
  • The idea for this blog: "Things I Love Thursday" which I borrowed from another blog that I read every week. It's a list (in no particular order) of things that make me feel happy, grateful, inspired, etc. (you get the gist). Most of this blog has become a place to share news about the kids... On Thursdays, while there will be a lot about the monkeys--fo sho, there will be more about ME and what I've been thinking about...
  • Avery's new bangs. The kid looked undeniably cute with her bangs pulled to the side in a barrette... however, the trick was getting her to keep it there (which never happened). Here's a before and after: 


















  • Reading my (high school) friend, Clisty's blog. She is so funny and grounded and "real." You should check out some of her stories--and with 5 kids she has plenty! Cee Can't Sleep
  • Knowing that I will get to hang out this weekend with my BOTH of my brothers at my grandparent's house in Santa Clara. 
  • The prospect of having a casual dinner out with my husband this evening while his mom stays home with our girls.
  • My new monogrammed Pottery Barn pajamas on clearance at: Pottery Barn right now for $19.99 (not including the monogram--I recommend the blue stitching!)
  • Playing Scrabble with Joe Milner on Facebook.
  • Fitting into more of my old clothes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two Firsts

So the good news first: Here are Geneva's first pair of "legitimate" pigtails. She was as excited as I was about them. Although the curls were a bit chaotic, I think the result was pretty cute. With a bit more practice for both of us, I'm hoping things might improve from here.  ;)









Does this picture display a bit more of her natural mischevious
ness? It should. Here's the other first we had today: She lied. Up until now, we have enjoyed her thorough honestness. For example,
Daddy: "Geneva, why is Sissy crying?"
Geneva: "Because I pushed her down."
However; lately, she has ben obsessed with the bathroom sinks. She loves having tea parties and prefers to have some water in her teapots when she's pouring. It's the same with pretend cooking, giving her baby dolls baths, or simply washing her "dirty" hands. Anyhoo, we've been trying to keep the water play at a minimum (soggy carpet and wet hardwood floors is getting a bit troublesome). Tonight she and I were playing in the playroom. She came across her plastic Diego sea turtle.
Geneva: "Mom, I need to put him in the bathroom so he can have his bath with me."
Me: "Okay honey but I don't want you to turn on the water. Do not turn on the water."
Geneva: "Okay."
She came back a minute later: "Mom, don't go in the bathroom okay?"
Me: "Why? Geneva, did you turn the water on?"
Geneva: "No Mom."
We played and read books for another 20 minutes before bedtime. Entering the bathroom for potty and teeth-brushing, I immediately noticed the turtle in the sink with the water dribbling over him. 
Me: "Geneva, I specifically asked you not to turn the water on. When I asked you, you told me that you did NOT turn the water on. Th
at wasn't true. When you say something that is not true, it is called 'lying.' It's not okay to tell lies Geneva."
Geneva: "Okay."
Me: "I'm a little shocked right now that you would tell me something that was not true when you have always been so good about being honest with me. Why did you turn the water on and lie about it?"
Geneva: "Well Mom, there was a witch in here and she turned me into a waterfall. I had to turn on the sink so I could splash her hat and she would stop. Also, the turtle needed his bath."
Now I ask you, when your 3-year-old lies about lying with an amazing Witch Story... what do you do with that?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Crazy good time...

...with my hubby last night on our date. We started with a drink at Centanni's. We hadn't been there before but had heard a couple good reviews. Also, it's located in the same area as the restaurant where we were having dinner (more on that soon). The outside of the building did not portray what was to be found inside. From the outside, it looked more like a pizza place than the swanky lounge we discovered upon entering. The brick pizza oven, covered in blue mosaic glass and chrome accents was a functional art sculpture. The martini menu was a bit overrun with "fruity" choices and the accommodations were slightly crowded with heavy barstools and a few too many tables for the space. On a better note, martinis were generous and we bumped into some friends who arrived to test the pizza (it's starting to feel like "home" around here). 

After our drink we headed over to Restaurant 503 (that's the area code for West Linn) for our dinner reservation. The weather was great so we decided on a table on the front patio. While the patio did overlook the parking lot, West Linn is so abundant in trees, flowers, and greenery of every hue, it hardly mattered. The service was excellent and the food was delicious. Tuna tartar for a starter; we shared a butter lettuce and phyllo wrapped goat cheese salad. I had seared Dayboat Scallops over heirloom tomatoes with oyster mushrooms, fresh corn and a light basil sauce. The side of polenta was creamy and buttery. Greg ordered braised short ribs with a horseradish crust over wilted greens and smashed gold potatoes. Yummy! The bottle of Gypsy Dancer pinot was amazing. 

With absolutely no room for dessert, we headed over to our friends' house for a glass of wine and a couple more hours of "grown up" conversation. We visited in the backyard next to the fire pit and under the Big Dipper--have I mentioned how beautiful it is up here??? 

The evening was so much fun. It was nice to get a little dressed up and have some one-on-one time with my husband. It was great to be out in our 'hood' and have it feel more like home. I enjoyed every bite of my meal and hope it doesn't do too much damage on the scale when I weigh-in on Tuesday morning! I hope this might inspire you to make a date with your honey and get it on the calendar today!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I've Got...

... BIG HAIR and I cannot lie!

Someone thought it might be a good idea to brush Geneva's hair. Let it be known: Geneva gets her hair brushed after her bath when it is wet; and that is it. 

It was pretty amazing to watch it "bounce" when she ran around the house!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Falls



With family in town from Arizona, of course we had to go to Multnomah Falls. Greg's uncle Tom, aunt Trisha and cousin Jill came out to visit us--and cousin Stephanie (obviously). We get to enjoy them for 5 days and we have lots of plans. Of course the single, independent ladies of the family (Stephanie and Jessica) were a little late in meeting us at our destination this morning... sadly, they are missing from this fabulous photo--the other things missing are my children's faces... we are struggling with looking at the camera these days.



Did I mention the struggle with looking at the camera? In any event, here are my loves! The weather was fabulous; we finally got it together enough to dress appropriately; and the crowds were minimal considering how early we arrived. Following our short hike, we met up with Jess and Steph at the Multnomah lodge for a great brunch. 



Home now, the girlies are sleeping. I've got dinner braising in the oven. Jill just got back from a walk in the neighborhood in which she managed to collect an entire basket full of ripe blackberries for our fruit salad and cobbler (now she's out in the backyard sunning herself and enjoying a magazine). Greg took Tom to the club for a round of golf and Trisha and I are relaxing on the couch. Jessica and Steph will be over later for dinner and I'm sure I'll have more to report on our visit/adventures very soon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Potty Training?

It seemed like such a good idea in theory... 

Geneva is just getting to the point where I don't feel like I need to "check" her business (every time) after she tells me she used the potty. Now we are introducing Avery to the idea of using the potty. 

I figured if she was finding a clean diaper and bringing it to me, taking me by the hand and laying herself down on the floor, while saying "caca," she was definitely ready... The reality is that it can be quite a bit of chaos in the bathroom! 

When we consciously made the decision to have them so close together (4 days shy of 18 months) we adopted the motto: "Embrace the chaos." I guess this is what we signed up for?!