Thursday, October 30, 2008

Things I Love Thursday

  • The relief of having a healthy baby (I can still call her that because technically, she's just one). And the notion of gratitude over that fact that my baby only suffers from croup for brief moments in an otherwise strong and happy existence.
  • Solving problems. Geneva and Avery's favorite thing right now is a new show on Disney called "Imagination Movers." For Halloween, Geneva decided she would like to be a mover... I thought, "easy enough." Unfortunately, it was not so. The costumes are sold out until May! And go ahead and try to find a coverall pattern to fit a three-year old! I finally came across this costume online and ordered it (in the only size available--WAY too big) which arrived just in time. A few hours split between the craft store, my sewing machine, and a good ol' needle and thread, I have a pint-sized costume just in time for Halloween!

  • Living in a community that decorates the public road/bridge (tiny, two-lane, country-setting--I promise a picture next time) with a dozen jack-o-lanterns. Seriously, it started a few days ago with 6 jack-o-lanterns lining the concrete rail along either side of the bridge over the Tualatin River here in West Linn. Each day someone adds another few jack-o-lanterns--and now we're up to twelve. Someone has lit them with a fresh candle every evening this week. Amazing.
  • Children enjoying sweets. Thank you Auntie Jessica for bringing cupcake surprises for the Jones Girls!

  • Soup.
  • Finding my knitting needles and reminding myself how to knit.
  • Fall.
  • The last dry day in Oregon?
  • Geneva's curly ponytails.

  • The hope that our country will choose the right leader on Tuesday to restore America to a place I want my children to grow up in.
  • The prospect of sisters holding hands and trick-o-treating door-to-door.
  • Avery in a hat.

  • The "still" of my house when my children are sleeping.
  • The chaos of my house when my children are awake.
  • My new flannel sheets... (cocoon-like, so cozy!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Avery's Procedure Went Well

First of all, thank you all so much for the amazing expression of love and well-wishes that came our way since the last post. We felt it all and it made a huge difference! We love you, love you.

Based on Avery's history of Croup, her ENT wanted to perform a laryngoscopy (visual examination of her throat and vocal chords) and bronchoscopy (air passage and lungs) to determine if there was anything abnormal contributing to her excessive Croup cases.

Here she is after being admitted this morning.
She's showing you where the doctor is going to have a peek.

The Children's Hospital came very equipped with lots of interesting toys. In her loopy state (they gave her some kiddy-valium) she became fascinated with this helicopter. They also gifted her a teal and magenta beaver named, "Chewy."

Her procedure lasted all of 20 minutes. Her doctor came out to the waiting area and showed us several pictures from her procedure. The great news is that she handled the anesthesia with flying colors and that they did not find anything serious. The "good" news is that Avery's lower throat near her bronchi is on the narrow side (which explains why an "average" inflammation that would cause discomfort in another child becomes a Croupy mess with Avery). The reason this is "good" news is that she does not require further medical intervention--she will grow out of it naturally by age 4-5. The reason this is not "great" news is because we are probably looking at more Croup in our future... 

I've had a paradigm shift: I've decided after our brief stay in the family waiting area of the Children's Hospital with all the other people worrying and waiting for really sick and serious cases, to be grateful that my otherwise strong and healthy baby only gets Croup once in awhile.

(She seriously hated her IV.)

(But managed to forget about it momentarily while enjoying 2 bright orange popsicles and watching a "show" on her very own tv above her bed.)

Finally, we were given the "go-ahead" to head home. We took some orange-stained cheeks and fingers with us to remember our morning.
We were even done on time to pick up Sissy from preschool!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Send Your Happy Thoughts to The Pipes

Avery is having a minor procedure tomorrow morning at Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital in Portland. If you've been reading our blog regularly, you are probably aware that our little Monkey has a tendency to get Croup. We took her to the pediatric ENT a couple weeks ago. He wants to have a better look in her throat to see if there are any abnormalities that might be contributing to her developing Croup at such a high rate.

They will have to put her under in order to do the procedure. I was on the phone with the anesthesiologist earlier this evening which gave me some measure of peace about the prospect of handing over my baby under these circumstances. The procedure should take about 45 minutes. Greg is dropping Geneva off at preschool early and meeting us at the hospital before Avery goes in. According to the timeline we've been given, we should be finished and on our way home in time to pick Geneva up from school on time at 12:30pm. 

I know she'll be fine. I hope that her procedure provides some answers and a simple plan that will give our Pipes some relief from the Croup that racks her tiny body from time-to-time. With winter quickly approaching, it will be nice to go into the season with the hope that our trips to Urgent Care and the Emergency Room might be lessening. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Festivities

We started our weekend with a little Halloween Party at the Club. I knew there would be tons of kids and running around, so rather than dress Piper in her actual costume (furry and warm for trick-o-treating) I put the little monkey in yet another hand-me-down: Geneva's costume from last year.

We "pre-partied" (heehee) at our neighbor's house. A handful of the families on our street that also go to Club Sport attended. We ordered pizza and the kids ran around and had a ball. Here's Geneva  in an intense game of CandyLand with Sydney and Izzy.
(Note she is wearing one of her dress-up outfits: mermaid... because her actual costume of choice this year is not ready yet.)

When we arrived at the Club for the big shindig (so much fun for the grown-ups and the kids) it did not take Avery long to find the music. The dance floor was swarming with kids and the music was blaring. Here she is in the MIDDLE of the dance floor with a couple "big kids" mimicking their moves and getting DOWN. Several strangers commented about how well she moved and how entertaining she was... too funny!

Here's Geneva on the dance floor... 
Well how do you think a mermaid dances???

Avery also enjoyed her time in the area designed for Cutie Pies just her size. She must have run this "maze" 50 times before I could talk her into trying something else. Actually, I only coaxed her away by promising we would find the cookie stand next.

It was a great night. 
We were exhausted.
The kiddos slept great!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

M.A.C. Preschool Open House

Geneva's school had an Open House last night.
We got to meet a lot of her classmates' families and check out all the projects they've been working on.

Sissy Piper got to play with all kinds of great things.
She had a ton of fun (even though Mommy mistakenly brought her without any shoes--yep, I'm that Mom).

This is Geneva at her favorite school activity: painting.
She's working on a spooky bat with nice thick paint.

Avery enjoyed the Halloween-themed play-doh.
(Note to self: Learn to make homemade play-doh... it smells so much better!)

Daddy met us there after he got off work.
We all had so much fun.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dress Up

Avery is getting into "dressing up" these days. 

Clearly, she's mostly into accessories... who needs clothes when you have:
a great bag,
new boots,
and fabulous jewelry???


Sunday, October 19, 2008

In the kitchen with Nana

Nana and Geneva decided to have a cooking project yesterday.
Cinnamon rolls seemed like a good choice, something Geneva could really "get her hands on."

Crescent rolls + butter + cinnamon and sugar (pinch of flour) = Delicious mess

I think Geneva's favorite part was licking flour off of the counter.
Not sugar.

The cinnamon rolls turned out great.
Nana and NeeNee had a good time and we enjoyed a sweet treat after nap time.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Things I Love Thursday

  • Taking the girls on our daily, post-nap walk around the block to see all the spooky/scary Halloween decorations our neighbors have added to their yards to accompany the standard pumpkins, cornstalks and bales of hay. The creepy additions include: huge spiders, black birds, rubber rats, giant webs, McCain/Palin signs, bats, mummies, ect.
  • Listening to Avery put words together into her first mini-sentences. I asked her to go find her shoes in the mudroom and put them on, "No Mama, shoes car" she said. Oh, I forgot we left her shoes in the car when we got home. I asked her to pick up her puzzles and put them in the drawer. She said, "No Mama, upstairs Ma-maw." Clearly she had a date with her grandma and couldn't be bothered with my request. Me: "Avery do you need more water?" Avery: "No Mama, chocho milk yes (nodding emphatically)." If you're wondering, "Do all of Avery's sentences begin with 'No Mama'?" The answer is, "Yes, just about!"
  • The fabulous dessert I ordered at Lulu's dinner in The Pearl. I cannot stop thinking about it. It was a take on S'mores (homemade graham crackers, toasted marshmallow, and chocolate fondue). Seriously...

  • Having a healthy family again. Okay, semi-healthy at this point--and I'm grateful for our lingering coughs and minor-drippy noses. The point is: everyone is feeling better and in much happier moods!
  • The prospect of picking up my mom from the airport tomorrow for a 5-day visit. Linda is heading back to California for 7 days and we are getting Nana in exchange... these little Jones girls are lucky, lucky!
  • Avery wearing her hand-me-down cap "gangsta style" and thinking she is super cool! We put it on and she immediately turns it this way. Too funny.

  • Watching Leanne Marshall of Portland win the 5th season of one of my favorite Bravo series: Project Runway. Yippy!
  • Adding fresh sweet basil from the garden to a fall bouquet snipped from the yard--Thanks Grandma Lulu for the inspired idea; it smells as great as it looks.

  • Welcoming new babies to the world with homemade crafts (little cards below). Congratulations Jamie and Angela on your third addition: Breslin David. (I know right?, what a great name! His older sister and brother are Brooke and Blake--too cute.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Lulu!

Happy birthday Grandma Lulu! I hope you like your scarf!

Greg's mom is moving to Oregon to be near her children and her grandchildren. We are so happy to have her! We celebrated by having a great dinner downtown in The Pearl at a restaurant called "50 Plates;" delicious food and great ambiance. Greg and I were still really sick, but managed to drink and eat our way through it!

On her actual birthday, I made a "fancy" dinner. Linda requested grilled flank steak. I made roasted veggies (red potatoes, carrots, and beets) with olive oil, garden-grown thyme and blood-red orange juice--topped with crumbled goat cheese. I also tried a new carrot ginger soup recipe and served it in these roasted squash "bowls." If you decide to try the recipe, I added about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and a generous tablespoon of brown sugar at the end (it was missing "something").

I baked and decorated this birthday cake. Yep, from a box and a tub of store-bought frosting. Don't kid--it was delicious!

We even christened the dining room. The little Jones ladies joined us for our fancy birthday dinner. As it turns out, Geneva is not a fan of beets but Avery is; both love steak (but we knew that already). Avery only had a few timeouts durning dinner and unfortunately, missed the cake and ice cream portion of the meal... seriously, I don't know what to do with that pistol!

We squeezed the highchair in right where I was standing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall = Scarves

It's a good thing we're coming into fall up here in the northwest--I'm even more into scarves than I've been in the past. 
My latest crafty experiment has been "pieced" together from a few different ideas I've seen done. The great thing about this project is that you don't even have to sew a very straight line to make it turn out cute! 
Most of the idea came from this online article. However, I had to make adjustments based on the neckties my husband would donate to the cause and the ones I was able to find at the secondhand store to coordinate (in the 10 minutes Avery let me look).

I invested in a rotary cutter and small cutting mat, then began deconstructing the four neckties with my new seam ripper according to the instructions in the aforementioned article. Because I had only four coordinating fabrics to work with, it was necessary to use smaller "scraps" to piece together my scarf.

Without worrying about a pattern, I began sewing my pieces together in a somewhat straight line until I had a piece long enough to call a scarf. Note from the picture below, that it didn't matter if some of my scrapped panels were longer than others--as long as they were at least 7 inches wide through the "middle" part of the scarf.
It took a bit of ironing to coax my edges into laying flat. 
Before I modified the original instructions by adding a nice soft, warm backing of black fleece, I cut the extra-long edges off to more closely "match" the 7 inches I was going for. I also trimmed again before pulling the scarf "right-side-out."

Oh, I also added a little felt applique of the bird pattern I made before. I used a little button for his eye and modified the tail feathers. It's hard to see from this picture, but the colors actually do compliment the overall aesthetic of the scarf.

Obviously, getting in the time to do a project like this means other things are sacrificed. Take a look at the playroom behind the "craft table" where I set up the sewing machine. My girls clearly kept themselves well entertained while mommy did her sewing!

Stay tuned for pictures of the scarf-present giveaway!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Things I Love Thursday

  • Making new friends. Greg and I had plans Friday night with a great group of people to celebrate one of our new friend's birthday. We met a lot of new people/couples. I then received an email on Monday inviting me to a "Bunk-no" party on Wednesday with a few of the ladies from Friday night... (apparently, they gave up on the game some time ago and now just have dinner, drinks, and great conversation). I had a great time! Yea... making friends...
  • My new iPhone and taking pictures wherever I am of the sweet moments in front of me:

  • Getting "Boo'd" by our neighbors (if you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it!). I really love our new neighborhood. Seriously, 95% of the people I've met in Oregon are so freakin' nice!
  • Training with my new gym friends for the Hawthorne Sprint Triathlon!
  • The little applique bird onesie and matching burp cloths I made for my friend Scott's new baby on the way (sex to be discovered on the big day--yippy for not "peeking"). UPDATE: "The big day" turned out to be today! It's a boy: Elijah.

  • Little Jones girls learning to play together (finally).
  • Baby cows.

  • Thinking about my grandfather making a road trip to Oregon to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. Tradition has held Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house all these years. This first year without my grandmother, Grandpa will be with us.
  • Reasons to make and decorate holiday cookies with my three-year old who is old enough to "get it" this year! Fun, fun, fun!

  • Having my mother-in-law stay with us during her transition to Oregon. Yep.
  • Sweet potato fries.
  • Footie-jammie weather and consistently buying my girls "boy" pajamas.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lee Farms

Geneva's preschool class (plus siblings and parents), "The Dolphins," had their first field trip this Saturday to Lee Farms. The kids have been talking all month about farms, animals, crops, etc. The morning started of a little wet and chilly but it turned out to be a beautiful day. Avery stayed home with Grandma Lulu and Geneva had Greg and I to herself for a special day.

After we toured the farm we carefully selected several pumpkins to decorate the front porch. It's a good thing they had carts and wheel burrows because we had a great time getting a variety of sizes in our collection.

NeeNee also enjoyed her pony ride on "Misty."

The "walking rope" was really cute. Geneva shared a handhold with her friend Cecilia and held onto Dad's hand too.

Geneva (in the ball cap) enjoyed all the baby animals. We saw chicks, a foal, four calfs (so fuzzy and soft), two-dozen piglets, a few kids, bunnies, and puppies. We left with pumpkins, raspberry preserves, apple cider, homemade fudge samples, and muddy boots. It was a great morning.