Friday, December 6, 2013

Sunny Thanksgiving

We were able to take a week off to go to Arizona for Thanksgiving this year. We arrived in the middle of some substantial rain, which always makes me excited and filled with dread. Excited, because I get to be entertained by south westerners freaking out about these weird drops from the sky--and dread because every person I see who finds out where we are from asks if we brought it with us. It cleared up in time to eat Thanksgiving outside, which is always wonderful. Theo rode a donkey at Jon's aunt's house and Jon touched the rope, a big deal for someone very afraid of equines. All equines. Probably also mini-horses.

Among the highlights was a visit to a butterfly farm (technically called butterfly "experience"). The actual butterflies swarming around you was pretty amazing, but the best part was the 3D movie beforehand. I have vivid memories of watching Captain EO at Disneyland and it being so awesome that I reached out my hand to touch that weird little furry dude. I was six at the time, but I still had a high standard. This movie totally fulfilled it. We were in the front row of the main section of the theater, and Theo and his cousin Paige were standing up, hands in the air trying to touch the swarms of butterflies. I hope he remembers this in the future when he is disappointed by Avatar 11 in 3D in 15 years.

I was pretty busy prepping things to open my Etsy shop, but while I'm in Arizona it seems I can always find time to watch random people look at houses on HGTV. I used to watch other things on Cable but that's about all now. The only bad thing about Thanksgiving in Arizona is that we always eat around noon, which means I always miss the dog show after the parade, which is my favorite. And I always forget to record it. I really only want to watch the Toy category, so it's usually not that big of a deal.

Theo was so busy having fun with cousins that he hardly ate any food the whole time. I don't know how that works out but it somehow does. Margot ate a ton of food and really warmed up to everyone around her. She loves to be a little ham and make people laugh. She also has really taken to shrieking and being very assertive about what she wants. Before we got off the plane on the way home, Theo and Margot started randomly giving each other huge bear hugs, the kind that made you want to laugh and sob at the same time. I love how those two are really starting to have fun together.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bow ties out in the world!

If anyone ever sees Theo at church, he is usually wearing a bow tie. When he was a baby Jon found an amazing clip-on one at an estate sale that seemed to magically grow with him--he still wears it. Inspired by the vintage one I had and not being able to find anything like it, I started making my own. Several prototypes and about a year of testing them later, I couldn't find the specific patterns I was looking for so I decided to make my own. I applied paint to some of my favorite cotton solids and I was excited with the result. These bow ties have been a staple in our lives, so I have been excited to share them. They are easy to attach to a wiggly toddler, stay in place, and will be worn for years (and years!).

Now that Jon is done with school, we wanted to find more ways to become involved in charitable giving, especially charities benefiting Cystic Fibrosis. This cause is close to our hearts as Jon's brother passed away from its effects five years ago. We will be donating 20% of the proceeds to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, which funds research and medical advances with the goal of curing Cystic Fibrosis.

Here's a link to my shop!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Everybody knows...his bright red van...?

There was a fall and a wheel mishap that almost ended trunk or treating before it started. Duct tape to the rescue! He was one perturbed delivery driver, though. Also, we are not good trunk decorators. One thing at a time. 

Turns out you only get one shot and five seconds to paint a 17 month old's face--you have to be happy with imperfection.

Halloween is so much better with kids. And not just because you get to eat their candy. I used to never decorate or anything, but this year I actually bought those fake spiderweb things. Well, I bought two and only used one, because it turns out they are extremely annoying to put anywhere. Theo and I also made some fake spiders out of styrofoam balls and pipe cleaners. This is pretty amazing considering my history. This was the first real year that Theo understood Halloween costumes enough to choose what he wanted to be, and he immediately fixated on being a pink car. Then it changed to a pink van. And then pink van with Postman Pat. Then finally after double checking during our daily Postman Pat viewing, he decided that he wanted a red van like Postman Pat. So he wanted to be Postman Pat. For most everyone who doesn't know, here's a link about the show. Theo started watching it and has seemingly never stopped. (And Netflix is taking it off next week! I don't know what we'll do.) I found a super sturdy moving box and duct-taped a van together, spray painted it and added some straps. The tap lights were a handy find from Target but made it a million times cooler. His whole outfit is stuff he already had except the hat that Jon found on one of his many lunchtime trips to the thrift store. I don't think we encountered one person who knew who he was, but everyone loved his costume anyway. I was just extremely happy that he loved being exactly what he wanted to be.

And Margot? Well, she was a cat. I didn't know how this Postman Pat costume would shape up, so I figured I would make something easy for her. Postman Pat's sidekick is a cat, after all, albeit a black and white one (I didn't feel like explaining two costumes) named Jess, although Theo will swear on his life that his name is "Chest." He is very, very (VERY) stubborn on this fact.

We had a church trunk or treat thing, which was denounced as boring by the old-timers but was still fun for us. Margot loved her plastic pumpkin bucket and dropping in a huge amount of candy. Until she found out that she could eat it and then just stuck to eating chocolate bars. We went trick or treating as a family for the first time ever on Halloween, and it was amazing. Theo's costume came in real handy from a safety standpoint, and Margot absolutely loved trotting up to the door with her pumpkin and picking out candy from strangers. Theo's "trick or treat" timing was a bit off--often saying it before the door was opened, but by the end of the night he was a pro. We were home by 7:30 and I was completely exhausted. Theo was on a candy high and didn't fall asleep until 9:00, I think.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Doughnuts are in season!

I've always loved fall, well scratch that. I think growing up spring was my favorite, because of my birthday. Which didn't make too much sense because I had a love/hate relationship with my birthday because I had to share it with my twin. But now I know fall is my favorite, mostly because I hate feeling hot in anything I'm wearing. I've been living in solid summer since May, and my fall last year was highlighted by me stopping by two deciduous trees that changed color practically screaming "LOOK! TREES!" And driving an hour and a half to sweat it out at a pumpkin patch. Then going back home to my cactus patch. Winter arrived soon after and along with crazy wind storms  and a chill that carried away suitcases full of money used to heat our house with propane. There was just no savoring fall. This year a rainstorm of winter-like proportions in September scared everyone, but then two full weeks of sun balls on my iPhone and warm weather saved the day. I forget this is what a normal pacific northwest fall is like--tacking on a few amazing weeks to apologize for summer's late start. Technically it's not a late start, as summer always starts in July here--but we always have a small glimmer of hope that this year will be different. There are still some sunny days around but a chill has definitely set in, and the rain won't be too far off. And I still have dining room chairs on the back porch needing refinishing so I'm feeling a little panic. We are kind of the worst d.i.y.-ers ever so a seasonal push (or shove) is probably good for us.

But on to the real reason for this post--pumpkin patches! There are so many to choose from here and they have become so much more fun as my kids get older. We found a favorite out in Woodburn, visited twice (once with our visiting cousins) for its amount of activities (truth be told, we did not pick any pumpkins) and proximity to some good Mexican restaurants and ice cream shops. The kind we never quite found in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Mexican ice cream, paletas, agua frescas, and mini paletas are home made in this family run shop. We are coming back here for sure!

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Don't touch spiders. They sting you."

Theo and I were sitting in his wagon on the patio today, just talking. He wanted me to play with cars but we ended up talking about everything we were seeing around us. I was pointing out a large spiderweb a foot away and the pattern it made.

Theo said, "It spins round and round and round. Like...the planets around the sun. In space."

He's constantly saying things lately I don't realize he knows, so I asked him, "do you know any names of planets?"

"Jukiter. And Neptcan. And we live on Earth."

I'm amazed at everything he remembers. And this week at the park he was playing with his ride on Thomas train with some other kids and told me afterwords how they had, "Persevered around the sidewalk. It was long but we persevered with Tommy!"

I've always talked to him after preschool, trying to glean any information about anything he does or learns. He usually says a few things but holds back a lot. When there are moments when I sit and listen to him talk and talk (which don't happen often enough, I realize), I hear the greatest things.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Summer's last light jacket

The beginning of September was full of last minute swims and wearing tights to church when it was seasonably inappropriate. All seemed well and good until my coconut oil abruptly changed states from a liquid to a solid. And a million inches of rain fell. I'm glad we took the last possible opportunity to go camping on the coast a week after labor day. The weather was perfect, which was good because after our last soggy camping trip I was skeptical (it was a while ago). Our family has outgrown our four man tent in the time since, but luckily we have the all wonderful minivan that Margot slept in right outside of our tent. Camping with two kids is quite the event--so much stuff to bring! But they somehow make camping magical again, getting the biggest kick out of all the hot dog roasting, marshmallows, camp chairs and sleeping bags. We stayed in Nehalem and the beach was at its best, which means for me sweatshirts and little wind. We of course slept terribly, the kids slept great (besides Theo's 5:00 wake up), but we had such a great time talking with friends next to the fire that it really didn't matter. Because the next night we would be home.

The next day the guys went crabbing in a bay nearby. Apparently the best crabbing season is October, and apparently crabbing is so easy and fun, which must be why they caught not a single crab that was big enough. We watched everyone else cook their nets full of crab while we bought one to eat. We had spent time, money, and napping hours devoted to what amounted to a lot of chum smelling. I ate my first crab heart (don't worry, it just tasted like crab) and Theo kept yelling "I'm gonna eat you!!!"  Then refused to take a bite. He took one tiny one, after a lot of coaxing.

On the way home we bought some huge chocolate chip cookies from a chocolate cafe in Cannon Beach, and what do you know? Both the kids were asleep so we had to eat them both.

*Side note: On the way there we went through Tillmook and decided to check out the other cheese factory next to the Tillamook cheese factory, because it was different and had animals. It was pretty lame, but there were those animals. Actually Margot kept touching their noses, which was a little scary and hilarious.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The figurative carrot, literally

The other night Theo went to bed as usual, but unusually after Jon left his room he started crying out. Jon had to home teach, so I went in to give him what he always asks for, water. But he was not asking for water.

"Carra... I want a carra!"

I tried to figure it out--"Carra? What does that mean?" I asked him the only word I could think of that made sense. "Carrot?"


"You want a carrot?"



"Because... I want a carrot."

"We can't eat a carrot right now. We need to go to sleep," I said, very confused. I didn't believe him. He's never asked for a carrot in his life. Instead I tried to give him a toy wooden carrot on the floor. Maybe he wanted to sleep with it? But it seemed to make matters worse. I left him, thinking that like a midnight delirium, he would forget all about it after I walked away. But he didn't, wailing for a carrot for ten minutes. I went back in, and the tears were real, the carrot still desired beyond all else in that moment. I figured that giving in to a toddler's very unusual request for a nightcap vegetable wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

So I got him one. And in the dark I heard a silent, content crunching, followed by sleep.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Theo had his first day of preschool today. It was a success, because I am sitting here while he is asleep in his room, something that has not happened in a very long time. I always thought it was a little crazy to have three-year-olds start preschool (only because that wasn't the norm when I grew up, but now I think it's great), and he's going to one held by a mom in our church with a small group of boys his age. Theo loves any social gathering so I could throw him into anything and I think he would be just fine. His teacher is very enthusiastic and loves what she does, which I find amazing because running a preschool is not at all something I would be good at. He came home and told me how the sun is made of gas and has black spots on it. He also just straight up wouldn't leave preschool, so that's something we have to work on. I'm really happy for him, and surprisingly not sad. Margot and I ate a chocolate croissant and leisurely grocery shopped after we dropped him off, so we had a great morning. I love being able to focus completely on her for a little bit, it makes me realize just how seldom it happens.

We also started him in a gymnastics class. The first few minutes he was shy and hesitant, which was understandable because he was in this huge overwhelming place with all this crazy equipment. We also got there a bit late and I was unbelievably frazzled, especially when we were trying to watch him on the floor and there was nowhere to stand and an instructor asked if we would like to move to the observation deck on the second floor? There's nothing that makes me (literally) sweat more than showing up to a place that has a distinct routine and method and not knowing any of it. Which is probably why Theo and I needed about ten minutes before we were comfortable. Soon I was up in the observation deck feeling like a dance mom and Theo was jumping into the foam pit and hanging on poles with enthusiasm. Our little boy is a full on kid.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

No weeds were harmed in the making of this weekend.

I used to think Labor Day was a pointless holiday, a day off from school just days after you started anyway, ruining the fun of new schedules and seeing new people. But then, that was probably because my family took the meaning of "labor day" pretty literally. This year Labor Day was more like a reduction of all of the feelings and activities of summer put into one day (minus swimming, pools were all closed already) so we could be ready to jump into our sweaters far too early. We spent it in Boise with my family and the best part was watching the cousins play outside until after dark. It helped bring back memories of when being outside and running around with no purpose other than the activity itself was the greatest thing in the world. However, the summertime adult activity of sitting around outside and doing nothing for the sake of doing nothing is also the greatest thing in the world. And no yard work was involved! Double win.

*Also, when I have a weekend like this, I usually only take two or three terrible phone photos. Just shows I was relaxed.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Smunch is the new everything

A family night out recently--Theo couldn't help but come outside to make Margot laugh. Also, Margot has started screaming a lot lately. Happy screams, but loud screams.
Theo has entered an age that I am much more comfortable with--reasoning and conversation! It is very exciting to me to be able to tell him why something happens and he gets it. Or I ask him how he feels about something and he can tell me. Even though he's not a docile little infant, I am relieved already by the ways he can help and listen, and most importantly that I can listen, believe, and validate the emotions and feelings he has about something. I also love that I now have a remote that opens the minivan door next to his car seat as he quickly runs inside and climbs aboard, only one buckle assistance needed. (I love minivans. Love love love them.)

Theo loves Cat Stevens probably more than me right now. We have plenty of other kid friendly records, but Cat is the favorite. We used to try and prevent Theo from touching the record player, but since it's a toy version anyway that we bought for $10, he has eventually learned how to work it, including moving the needle back to play his favorite song over and over. Theo also loves pink, and he has a new pink guitar that he strums along to the music. He also loves to dance, and basically it's a very cute thing to watch.

Theo has made up a new word recently that has quickly become one of my favorite words of all time--"smunch." I'm pretty sure it's a combination of "smoosh" and "crunch." Or "scrunch." It was introduced by Theo yelling, "I'm going to smunch you!" Followed by a body slam.

Theo can of course be as unruly and tantrum prone as any three-year-old, but he can be surprisingly polite, always saying "bless you!" after a sneeze and if that phrase is said to him, says "thank you." He's stopped napping completely--it's been several weeks since I read him to sleep in the afternoon, but he will fall asleep in the car.

He loves to look at Jon's old anatomy book, he calls it the "skeleton book" and will sit and look at it, asking what things are and describing you how food travels down the body until "the bum." He's starting a small preschool in a few weeks and I think he will love it. He also loves anything Margot does now and wants to do the same thing, which means he sits in restaurant high chairs again. Not a bad thing.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Mar 14 months

I can't tell if this is a terrible picture of Margot or an amazing one--but it makes me laugh. Most of my pictures are like this, as she would rather try and grab the camera than patiently look at it.

Margot started walking this past week at 14 months, and has about dropped her morning nap. She has decided that this baby business does not suit her anymore, and would like to be as wiggly as possible. Theo and I play a game where she walks back and forth to us, and when she gets to Theo he wraps her up in a hug and drags her away until she wants to walk again. She loves to slide down slides, and has learned to climb up our little mini one at home. She says "mama," "dada," "wa-wa," (water), "k-hee," (kitty), and signs "all done." She loves to be friendly with anyone, until they try to hold her. But she went willingly to a friend who was staying with us recently, which is pretty amazing to me. She usually eats more than Theo and loves to eat our food when we go out. I am counting down the days until Christmas until I can give her a baby doll. To see her lovingly hug something is one of my greatest joys of my life.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Here's to the meaning of life, and discernable triceps.

We were at the beach with The Goonies rock--Thanks to my friend Vanessa who told me later. I had no idea.

Boathouse on the Willamette River.

I was told recently by a friend that your late 20's to early 30's are prime "figure yourself out" time. My reaction was, "Crap." Because it's generally true. While my early twenties were devoted to discovering I liked wearing the cast offs of nursing home patrons, this point of my life seems to be all about figuring out my inward emotional stuff I avoided for ten years. It probably comes with being a mom. Children can bring your best and worst qualities to the surface, and once you see them they must be dealt with or accepted. Also, you actually have to divide your time efficiently among your interests/chores of life. But what are they? Will I fail? Why am I suddenly upset at things I used to not care about? Why do I have so much anxiety and shame and embarrassment when a lifegaurd yells at me? (It happened to me yesterday when I tried to go down a slide with Margot that was too small, and I wanted to shrivel up and pretend I wasn't born.) Life was so much easier when I was childless and self absorbed to the point that I was in complete denial of myself!

But while I don't have many answers yet, (just potential therapy bills) I have discovered how much I love water. It may have been living a year in a state almost completely devoid of it, although living above a beautiful but far away lake view often spared my sanity. This summer I love being in and around the water. I've been taking rowing/crew lessons, which I am loving and may always be a part of my life now. It gives you such a zen feeling while giving you a great workout. I've realized it's kind of the chess club of water sports, with speed boats towing wakeboarders zipping around you in circles and college boys chanting "Row! Row! Row!" And that somehow makes me all the more enamored. I've also tried paddle boarding recently, and I'm not very good but I like it. We also went to the beautiful Oregon coast this week and it felt so amazing to be there. Mostly because I love wearing a sweatshirt in the summer. Being on or around the water somehow dilutes (har) all that busy thought in my head that keeps me on the edge of a panic attack lately. It sorts my life into priorities, and makes the drama less dramatic. It's not a new tactic, I know, but it works.

I know I can't row a boat continuously until I'm 35, but while I'm in the middle of figuring out if I need to let go of a few old lady dresses (already know the answer to that--NO) I will take advantage of my four hour weekly water therapy. And Jon will take advantage of being able to run on the treadmill while watching his favorite zombie shows that I hate.

Now, what do do when the rain comes back? Maybe I'll take up seed bead necklaces or knit a huge blanket. Suggestions are encouraged.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Oh, Disease. You didn't!

I have no picture to post with this. Because if I did it would be of a house that looks as musty as it likely smells, with three of four sad people in it all suffering from a summertime enemy called Hand Foot and Mouth disease. It isn't quite as bad as it sounds, we got a version that gave us all sore throats and fevers. Which is pretty bad and painful, but the name implies something you would get in medieval times when you drink from a communal water bucket, skin covered in blistering sores and turning green. Our communal germ factory was (I'm guessing) the library, when we saw a magician perform with about 60 other menacing illness-breeding children. I missed both my rowing classes, Jon gave up his only full accrued day of time off when I was incapable of getting out of bed, and we have basically missed a whole week of Oregon summer--almost impossible to make up. Water, yogurt, crackers--anything but pure whole fat vanilla ice cream and pudding makes Margot cry when it passes her lips. So ice cream has been on the menu for breakfast and lunch today. And Theo had some for lunch. Theo's feeling fine now, but just try to put a bowl of ice cream in front of your baby without your toddler noticing and throwing a giant fit. I had ice cream for breakfast too, then a hot dog for lunch. Ice cream does actually get old eventually, and I needed something extremely salty but equally unhealthy to balance it. It did sting a bit, but I'm an adult so I can power through.

Last winter we were hermits and our illnesses were infrequent and conveniently spaced. I think this is my first true experience of sickness with more than one kid, and it was not fun at all. The first day when Theo cutely cuddled on the couch watching shows was dear and heart warming. That night when he woke up screaming and writhing in pain and going to urgent care at midnight--not so much. I think I have watched every episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood at least three times. Mind melted.

However, I think we are on track to have a healthy, event filled weekend. But we might spend most of that cleaning our apartment and throwing away empty ice cream buckets.

It's not fun to continually stay home when you're sick, but sometimes you have to do it for the good of mankind. (Hear me, moms who take your sick kids along with your healthy kids to the library?!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Party in the office

Do not attempt unless you have help, i.e. Dad.

Thanks to a recent doctor visit, I now know that when I lug both children from the car into our apartment building, I am carrying an extra 48 pounds 10 ounces. The 18 and 10 ounces are Margot, Theo is 30. Theo is 37.25 inches, which is .75 inches away from heaven, meaning the play area at IKEA.

I have thought a lot about this doctor visit. I scheduled it probably a day after I knew we were moving for sure. I find security in the familiar--and I knew that in Portland I had a wonderful, Harvard-educated-but-used-to-be-a-schoolteacher pediatrician and that her assistant Helen would sling the fastest rounds of shots I have ever seen in my life. These type of details become paramount when I remember how I sat and watched poor Margot scream as a previous assistant in New Mexico gave three shots in two legs with long pauses between. Horrors!

So when I saw Helen's friendly face calling us back to the exam room, I almost got misty-eyed and I definitely gave her a side hug when she remembered us. I knew the potential for awkwardness was high but I did not care one bit.We were back! For reals.

Not every part of our move has been this hug filled. Sure, I was so happy to be back but the first week or two I did not anticipate how out of kilter and out of place I would feel, moving to a different part of Portland (technically not even Portland) that was not what I was used to. Even though the Portland  I was used to was living in a dark, tiny, ant-filled cave off of a busy highway across from an Albertson's, and now we live in a much bigger lighter place that is still off a busy highway down the street from an Albertson's. I drove past our old place in the first few days and I missed it. I worried that this huge life decision of settling down in a location possibly for life may have been wrong. I was experiencing what you could call moving anxiety, which happens even when the change is highly positive and exactly what you wanted. Malorie from six months ago would have slapped me. Multiple times. But it just happens, turns out. It's a highly google-able condition and luckily passes quickly. I of course did not contract a full blown case of moving depression, which definitely happened in T or C and caused me to blow through almost all my placenta pills, which are magical little hormone capsules but did not magically transport me back to Oregon IN a tiny capsule. They can only do so much. Or so little?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Belated and Double Birthdays

First of all, we are back in Oregon. It's awesome, and it feels like we never left. Except we did and it seemed like we were gone forever. Pretend that makes sense. I always need a significant pause in blogging after or during a cross country move, because well--it's a cross country move. While it made for some stressful moments and two table leaves that have not yet resurfaced, we spent about three weeks visiting our families and friends along the way, which was highly enjoyable. I hate catching up on blog posts, all my creative thoughts get turned into mush and I turn into a version of my grade school journals--"We went here, it was fun." So things will be out of order and posted however I feel like it. Here's a birthday post.

Margot and Theo are showing some true glimmers of playing together. Theo loves to make her giggle and they chase each other around the house and through tunnels, or yell at each other in the car,  Theo mimicking Margot's monkey sounds. It makes me really excited for the future, which will hopefully include more sharing and less of me acting as a referee who decides who had what toy first.

Theodore is truly a boy in every way now. He has really lost most of the shyness that our isolation brought upon him, telling random strangers rambling stories that they pretend to be interested in. He loves to sing and dance (right now he loves to pretend to play the guitar to Cat Stevens), do flips and other things that have me looking into gymnastic classes. He says hilarious things. A while ago Jon and I were dancing in the kitchen like a couple on Lawrence Welk as he sat at the counter and he suddenly blurted, "Mama, Daddy, stop--I'm trying to eat!" He calls a box of Cap'n Crunch "Cap'n Scrunch." (He reads the box while he eats oatmeal.) He calls a hockey stick a "hockey pocket," which also leads me to think he doesn't know the difference between the stick or the puck. He loves to repeat anything older kids say, and after a month of being around girl cousins pink is his favorite color. He loves his dad more than anyone on earth. He's not always very gentle with Margot but he truly loves her and loves when she gives him attention. 

A small update on 13 month Margot--she loves to repeat words, make more signs, walk with assistance, and climb to the top of our tall two-step stool in the bathroom by herself in the dark. She loves to scare me.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The one year toddler thing is a lie.

In a matter of days Margot will be one year old, and I don't really believe it. She still feels like a little baby to me, although she is rapidly learning new skills that would prove otherwise. She is going through a snugly phase where she rests her head on my shoulder constantly, which comforts me when I feel like she is growing too fast. And it melts me into a mommy puddle. She still is hesitantly cruising and not close to walking, making gray dirty patches on her knees and hands. She is very good at vocalizing and pointing at anything she wants. She's still clingy, but we're working on that. Margot's favorite word to say is "hi" while waving. She claps and loves to laugh when other people are laughing. She sleeps about 12 hours straight without waking up, still takes two naps for about 3-4 hours total (her napping is amazing, I never experienced that with Theo!). Her front tooth just broke through with the other one imminent, so total is 3 teeth now. Her hair is much lighter now, so she may be a blonde after all. She is my joy.

We are in the middle of moving, and will be in the process of moving for several weeks. Theo's and Margot's birthday parties will be on the road in multiple places. Theo is going to love it--birthdays everywhere! He wants a pink cake.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A lot can happen in a year.

Top: Theo then and now.
Bottom: Margot then and now.

 Once when I worked at a company our team had this big meeting/presentation all about the book "The Secret." It's a mysterious sounding book and concept that basically boils down to--"If you think about something constantly and make it a main goal in your life, you will achieve it." And they applied this technique to making money, achieving career goals, and finding a front row parking spot. If you believe, you will achieve, they said. Of course, it's common sense that if you put all your positive thought and energy into something, most of the time you can achieve a lot. I thought the whole meeting was a little silly but decided to go all in on this concept, and at the time Jon was applying to dental schools. "We will live in Oregon," was my constant thought. And sure enough, it happened. And I guess it worked again because we have never stopped thinking about wanting to go back to Portland, taking jobs that would help us get back there, etc. Serendipitously and through a very round about way a job opportunity came along, Jon interviewed and we waited and waited and waited, me with too much hope and expectation and also little hope and no expectation. On the plane en route to Mexico Jon was offered the job, and I started sobbing two feet away from a flight attendant. We never expected to have two moves so close together, but we are so excited about this opportunity and could not pass it up. Jon gets to work in public health, which he loves, and we get to move back to what we consider our home. In less than a month. So a lot has to get done between now and then, but luckily we never fully unpacked. Soon we will be back in the clouds just in time for berry season, and get to reunite with friends that feel like family to me. I'm really excited to meet new friends too, although in our short time in Las Cruces we have met some really wonderful people. We will always remember New Mexico and our time here, and I will always put green chiles on my burgers and pizza for the rest of my life. (And you should too, it's delicious.)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

There was far too little Mexican food involved.

She climbed up my legs rather than touch the water first, but we got there. And I am about to talk a lot about ice cream, which brings me to my #1 travel tip--buy a blousey swimsuit. Hides an impressive amount of coconut laden sins.

Arlo loooooves sand.

This is what a beach vacation with kids looks like. Cap'n Jon at his finest.

Taken by my sis Kenz

My mom made robes for all the grand kids. An idea I had earlier but laughed it off because it was so crazy. My mom is pretty awesome.

Right before we went to Mexico with my whole family I started to get nervous. There were a lot of things that could possibly go wrong--and as the person who planted the "let's have a family vacation!" seed into my parents brains, which then sprouted and grew in to a trip to Cancun with six children five and under--I was worried that I would regret suggesting it in the first place. But, if you have the right set of expectations, a vacation can go well with three babies who nap twice a day. First of all, take all relaxation expectations and just get rid of them. I love a beach vacation merely just to sit under an umbrella and listen to the waves and have no responsibilities whatsoever. I think one afternoon I had about two hours where this came true. It was awesome and unexpected, and appreciated. Mostly we tried our best to all be in the same place at the same time, letting the cousins play and just following their lead. We stayed at the resort and ordered countless non-alcoholic mojitos, and went from beach to kid pool to hotel room to nap. Theo loved it all and loved having his grandparents to swim with, and copied his cousin's every move. Margot hated the pool, ocean, and sand for the first few days but gradually swam with me willingly and touched her hands into the sand (you can't win them all). It was an all inclusive resort so the kids were able to eat whatever they wanted for five days. Margot subsisted almost exclusively on lunch meat, as she likes to pick one food group when we travel and stick to it. Theo ate...well, some days I'm not sure if he ate more then fruit loops, fries and ice cream, but I didn't care too much. The ice cream was delicious, and self serve (not to be confused with soft serve), and Margot and Theo (and I) fully enjoyed eating coconut ice cream for both lunch and dinner. And maybe because it was magical vacation time--but I loved giving it to them. Caution to the wind! Endless ice cream for all! I'm not eating much ice cream this week.

The most exciting thing we did was sail on a catamaran, a boat that is as fun to spell as it is to ride. Jon learned how to sail it and loved taking us all out on the warm ocean. Cap'n Jon now wants to buy one, but I'm pretty sure all the splashing may make it less fun in colder waters.

We had a really good time and I'm so grateful to my parents who undertook this huge event. It was good to spend time with my siblings and respectfully make fun of my brother who tried to wind surf with no prior experience. It was so entertaining. Jake, you have more courage than I!

Also entertaining--our trip home. After being delayed in the Cancun airport for two hours (which while very clean, is hot, humid, and lacks free wifi) we had to sprint through the "express" customs lane after a baggage claim jammed and held our carseat hostage, barely made our connecting flight after they closed the plane door and started retracting the walkway. (Is there a bigger, more spread out airport than Dallas? I don't think so.) We made it to El Paso at about 10:00 pm, then found that our car battery was dead. After jumping the car I realized I lost the parking ticket, and the generator we used to jump our car blew out the fuses on our head lights. And that concluded possibly one of the last times we take very young kids out of the country. Now I know why America bought Hawaii. Customs!