Friday, January 30, 2009

A Royal Delivery

The most amazing package arrived from the Armstrong Family Wednesday afternoon...

As it turns out, Miss Olivia has grown out of her dress-up gowns and she has generously handed them down to Princess Geneva and Princess Avery.
You would not believe the extent of our new royal wardrobe!
Belle (check)
Cinderella (check)
Jasmine (check)
Ariel (check)
2 purple velvet/tulle numbers (check, check)
sock hop girl (check)
flamenco dancer (check)
I wont even try to describe all the accessories... (pom pons, tiaras, bracelets, earrings, rings, necklaces, purses, boas, etc.) There are even Hannah Montana items (!!!) included.
Grandma Lulu described the girls' reaction best:
"This is better than Christmas!"

Here are a few highlights of just the first night... it's actually been non-stop dress-up every waking moment the girls (well, mainly Geneva) are home.

Her Majesty contemplates a royal decision... what to wear next.
A new look and a new attitude... at this point, she started calling Greg her "prince" which would have been very sweet if I weren't so distracted by the fact that she was referring to me as her "servant" (awesome).
With her bouquet and shoes... she's ready for her royal wedding to the prince who agreed to marry her.
Princess Avery busied herself accessorizing to the fullest.
My favorite outfit is the "sock hop girl." When she asks if she can wear this one out and about, I'm going to tell her yes.
And last, but not least...
Senorita Piper.
Thank you, thank you, thank you Armstrong's for many blogging hours while my children entertain themselves with your box of goodies!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things I Love Thursday

  • ...that my children think Graham Crackers are a "treat."
  • Blue skies in January.
  • The amazing "box of delight" Betsy Armstrong just sent the girls (a future post on that very soon).
  • Artistic concentration:

  • Anticipating six whole days of grown-up vacation with Greg in warm, sunny Cancun.
  • Hearing how much my friends are enjoying the Twilight series as well.
  • Slides:

  • A&E's Intervention. You got me hooked, Staci Bills!!!
  • The knowledge that I will be relaxing with some of my great friends next week.
  • Greg teaching Geneva how to swing:

  • Listening to Geneva sing songs I've never heard before that she's learned at school.
  • Watching Avery dance to the songs that Geneva sings.
  • Naked tooshies in the tub:

  • Snow, freezing fog, sunshine, and rain all in one week!
  • Looking forward to watching the Super Bowl with our neighborhood.
  • Sisterly encouragement: 

  • Hearing about the great ways my family and friends are responding to the call to become more involved in taking specific action to change our country/world for the better.  I'm so happy to feel like we're making a difference together. Be the Change!
  • Naptime.
  • When Geneva asks her Daddy to "marry her."

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

McGough Visit

Avery "Moose" Jones - 1 day old
Madelyn "Teensers" McGough - 3 weeks old

We had the pleasure of hosting Janelle and Madelyn McGough for a weekend this month.
It was so much fun for Janelle and I to have some time to catch up and it was amazing to have all the girls together.

We watched TinkerBell and enjoyed popcorn,

practiced doing our pee-pees together,

had bath time,

enjoyed a chilling afternoon at the park,

and even made it to the zoo (though it was too chilly to pose outside and all the animals were hiding in their warm barns--lunch in the cafe was nice).

I also put together this video that I think "captures" how quickly the time passes with kids...

We look forward to another visit this summer from the entire McGough clan!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Someone you know has never had a haircut... Granted, she didn't even have hair until she was nearly 2! It has been growing and is incredibly long when it's wet (like down to her shoulder blades). The "problem" with it is illustrated pretty well in this picture:

It's been growing unevenly. The hair on the crown is much longer than the hair at the nape of her neck. The sides are longer than the center. It's basically a big curly mop of a "mess" that I LOVE!
However, it was time. So my big-girl saddled up for her FIRST haircut on Wednesday.

My fabulous neighbor (I know what you're thinking... "Which one??? You have sooo many fabulous neighbors!") Michelle told me about the salon she takes Sweet Abby to: Sit Still Salon just around the corner... 
NeeNee chose the pink cadillac and the adventure began.
Obviously, I was nervous... curly hair is tricky. We had invested three and a half years into these curls... we just mastered the pig-tail look... Geneva has been known to remark, "Mom, everyone loves my curls" on more than one occasion... These curls are part of her identity.
I could not have been more pleased with the outcome:

My sweet girl has the most precious curly "bob" you have ever seen!!! 
(Yes, I do say so myself!)
Everything is "uniform" and cleaned up. Her curls are really showcased now--especially because I got suckered into the mousse ("That's a weird name Mom... like reindeer...").

Note: This has added a good 10 minutes to our morning routine (which honestly never before included a brush) with the water spray-down, mousse application, brush-through, and scrunching/finger curling... but it's worth it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be The Change

I loved watching almost every moment of the inaugural coverage yesterday on CNN. I skipped out on my spin class so I could hear Obama's inaugural speech... 
It was what I thought it would be: inspiring, hopeful, honest, and "real." I was not disappointed. I loved the overall message that we need to work together to get this country back to a place we can feel proud of. I know a lot of people feel that Obama is just a "media darling" who can give great speeches. Maybe. I think his gift is his ability to inspire people to action. I appreciate the theme of service that is such a huge part of Obama's message. The "we" is what is so special about him. He makes me want to be a part of the solution.

Which brings me to Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore's Presidential Pledge video. I know, I know, it shouldn't take celebrities to get me motivated to actually get off my tooshie and get involved... but this video has a lot of big and small ideas to get everyone started. ("I pledge only to flush after a deuce. Never after a single." Jason Bateman--LOVE him!) I'm hoping you'll take a few minutes and watch the video... I'm adopting several of the ideas for myself. I'd love to hear what you're doing!!!

In addition, I came across a great website that identifies service opportunities for your community. Visit and enter your contact information. Then enter your zip code to see a list of organizations and events in your area that could use your help. Many of the events and opportunities in Portland are single-day events. It might be a great way to spend your Saturday if you're wondering what to do with your afternoon.

By the way, how great was Reverend Joseph Lowery's speech (benediction)??? That voice!
"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The "F Word"

Yep, you know the one... I am guilty of using this word much too often. I know, I know, I'm a total Potty Mouth (ask any of my friends--in fact, you don't even have to ask my friends; ask anyone who knows me even socially and I'm sure they'll report that they've heard some profanity fall from my lips). 

To my credit, I hardly ever say my "bad words" in front of the kids. Of course, there are slip-ups. And then there are consequences. For example, about 3 months ago Geneva and Avery were playing together at the kitchen table. Geneva's crayon rolled off the table and fell to the floor. "Shit," she said in exactly the correct tone to express this little annoyance. Avery went right on coloring and after retrieving hers from the floor, Geneva continued with her artwork as well. I kept my mouth shut. I haven't heard anything else along those lines from her since**. 

I do acknowledge that I need to clean up my language. In an attempt to do so, I figure I need some good substitutes for my expletives and I should start with the "big dog." So, here we are back to the "F Word." As it turns out, Avery Piper has accidentally come up with one for me. I think you should try it too...

Her word is "foop" (sounds like "poop" with an "f"). 

She sometimes uses it as a substitution for something falling. For example, when she drops her unwanted food off the tray-table on her highchair, "Uh-oh... carrot foop" (all innocence and solemnity--fake). When her blankie falls from her lap in the car-seat, "Momma! Blankie foop!"

However, she also uses her new word all the time in much the same way I use my word (sounds like "duck" with an "f"). For example, If something falls off the table, Avery says, "Foop!" When her shoe falls off, "Foop." Or, like the instance below, when she drips syrup on her naked chest at breakfast-time:

**(That's me knocking on wood.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Vampire Breakfast

We have a new favorite album in the house this month. The band is Vampire Weekend. Their self-titled album is great! "Jones Family Dance Party" is often kicked off when one of their songs happens along in the iPod "shuffle" mode. Avery gets super-excited when she hears one song in particular:

Eggo's always taste better with a side of alternative rock. 
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

OUR Birthday

My birthday began very sweetly. I woke up to kisses goodbye from my lovely hubby, dozed another 20 minutes and then rolled over onto my birthday card (best card ever). After reading it I reached for the phone to call him. Geneva woke up and came in the bedroom, saw the phone in my hand and wanted to tell Daddy "good morning." I could see in her face the moment he reminded her it was my birthday. Her eyes lit up and she said, "Happy birthday Momma!" while throwing her arms around me.
We headed downstairs to have our breakfast/coffee and get ready for school.
While I was curled up on the couch with my coffee she asked if I would go upstairs to the bonus room with her to find a book. (We have about 100 books downstairs--but I smiled and went along.) She dug around for about a minute and then exclaimed, "Here it is! The perfect book!" and handed me this:

In case you're not familiar... it's actually Five Little Monkeys bake a birthday cake for Momma. I know, she's amazing. I haven't even SEEN that book in about 3 months. On our way downstairs we heard Piper waking up. Geneva burst into her room and shouted, "Happy birthday Skooky Minookie!" (which is what she often calls her sister). The three of us trotted to the couch to read the book. Then it was time to take Geneva to school. 

Avery and I spent the morning at the gym. They gave her this sticker and she was happy to wear it all day on our errands. When you ask her how old she is she holds up one finger and says, "TWO!"

Look out! Momma got new chefs' knives!

The birthday girls.
Tammy 35; Avery Piper 2

We invited the neighborhood over to help us sing, eat cake and ice-cream, and sip champagne in celebration.
(Yep, store-bought this year.)

Here's the littlest birthday girl supervising the candle-lighting.
(We skipped the candles on my carrot cake because there comes a point when you you just run out of room!)

This is her first bite of birthday cake...

... and here's the chocolate hitting her taste buds!

Geneva was genuinely excited for Avery and I to have our special day. However, she was challenged in letting Sissy open up her presents all by herself. She was challenged in letting Sissy play with her toys a little bit first. And at bedtime, when I was tucking her in, she quietly admitted, "It's hard when it's someone else's birthday."

Everyone always tells me how much Avery looks like me (I love that). In this photo, she REALLY looks like me:

The Birthday Girls

Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Two... Too Fast!

My baby, Avery Piper, turns 2 on Wednesday.
It sometimes feels like we just brought her home from the hospital to meet her sister.

She was not a small baby (8 lb. 13 oz.)... but my goodness, it does go quickly doesn't it???

In my memories, Geneva seemed like such a "big girl" when Avery was born.
She was 18 months--that's 6 months younger than Avery is today!

Soon her little belly-button "fell off" and it was time for her first real "soak" in the tub.

I don't remember the occasion... but here is the ONE picture of me "done up" in the months that followed Avery's birth.

She had big blue eyes and a generous smile.

She got to spend a little time with her Great Grandmother.

She even got to meet her Great-Great Grandmother (100 years old when this picture was taken).

One of the best days I remember from those hazy first few months was when Avery found her thumb!

She's had this blankie since day one. It's a bit more worn these days... but I'm sure you'll recognize it some of the recent posts (and in those to follow too!).

Toy + Thumb = Happiness

Tummy Time

Avery's first swim (in Florida visiting Uncle Toby, Auntie Terry, Cousin Tyler and Cousin Griffin--along with Papa Clyde, Grandma Debbie, Chrissy, Felicity, Jackie, Nathan and Marissa)!

Yummy... rice cereal for the first time.

Piper learns to sit.

And graduates to her first big-girl bath (with Sissy of course)!

Daddy and Piper

First taste of pumpkin pie with GGMa.

Chillin' with NeeNee

Learning to pull herself up.

Moving on to sippy-cups.

Standing up.

First birthday!

Learning to walk in Oregon.

Learning patty-cakes with Geneva's tutoring.

Solo slides.

First carwash.

First haircut.

First Play-Doh experience.

And first ponytail.

It's too fast.
It's too fast...