8th Halloween

It's my baby's 8th Halloween. Ack! Sometimes she seems so grown-up and other times, she seems downright helpless. This morning she asked me to help her get her tights on. "When you're off at college, will you still need me to do this?" I asked, gathering up each leg of the tights and sliding them over each foot in turn. "I'll have to show up at your dorm. 'Oh, hi! I'm here to help my daughter with her tights.'"  She shrugged.  I actually don't think it would bother her at all.

I asked her if she wants to walk for trick-or-treating this year. "No, you can pull me in my wagon," she responded. "I might walk when I'm 13." I don't mind, though. I have some coffee herbal tea mulled wine which I will heat up and pour into a thermos.  It will keep me warm as I pull my child through the streets of our 'hood. Or at least I may not notice the chilly temperatures quite as much. 

On the way home from work yesterday I was driving behind a van that had a set of those stick figure decals. I'm sure you've seen them - they depict the family that owns the vehicle. Sometimes even the family pets are included via stick figure. Anyway, this particular vehicle seemed to have an awful lot of stickers on the back window. There was a mom and dad, as expected. It took me a few moments to count the children, though. SEVEN.  SEVEN CHILDREN (plus three cats).  I just cannot even begin to imagine. We can barely handle the one tiny taskmaster who lives in our house.  When you have that many children, do you just let the little things go? I'm assuming that all of the stuff we hound our daughter about ("Turn off the light when you leave the bathroom. Don't leave the empty wrapper on the table - what do you think the garbage can is for? Did you brush your teeth? Why are you naked?") . . . just sort of flies out the window. With that many kids, I imagine that one would just focus on keeping them all alive each day and not worrying so much about whether they've made their beds.  I'm going to try not to think about it too much.  I have issues with clutter and I think that's why the universe knew I could handle only one child.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to make my daughter work the streets until she gets me a Peppermint Patty.

The Beginning of the Beginning!

Hello, world!

Well, I guess I have some news to share.  I'm 5 weeks pregnant as of today!  I just found out last Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.  Mark and I got pregnant during our second month of trying.  I am so happy that we didn't have any trouble conceiving-check one worry off the list!  But now that I have known about this pregnancy for about a week, the number one emotion dominating my thoughts is fear.  A pretty much all consuming anxiety, apprehension, worry.  And guilt about feeling only anxiety and not excitement! 

I decided to start this blog as a way to communicate pregnancy updates, belly pictures, etc with family and friends.  Our support system is so spread out!  We have loved ones in Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, California, Arizona, Washington State-that's a lot of long distance calls to make!  So I hope that this blog will grow into a fun way to share news of our expanding family.

I told Mark that I was pregnant last Thursday by buying two pairs of baby socks from the gift store at work-one pink, one black (the store did not have blue, can you believe that??) and wrapping them up with the pregnancy test.  I asked him which one he thought the baby would like more.  He was so excited he threw out the dinner he was making and whisked me off to Chick Fil A to celebrate.  He knows me so well, and I have to say, he has been nothing short of wonderful the last week, always asking me if I feel ok, and buying me healthy foods to eat and helping me relax after work. 

In the meantime, I really need to learn to relax, and find a way to connect with Nugget, which is what we have affectionately nicknamed the little cluster of cells growing inside me right now in honor of our Chick Fil A meal.  According to one of the three (yep, count 'em-three!) apps I have downloaded, Nugget is the size of a sesame seed or an apple seed, depending on who you want to listen to.  I choose to go with whichever one is bigger! Also according to these apps, my little baby's heart will start to beat this week, and I could start feeling symptoms of pregnancy at any time.  

I know that there are risks with any pregnancy.  I know that a positive pregnancy test is not a promise of a "happily ever after" and that is the source of at least some of my anxiety.  Maybe it won't feel really "real" until after the first doctor's visit, which isn't until Nov. 20, when I will be just about 8 weeks along.  Thank goodness Mark can go with me-I have this fear of going in (after taking 2 at home tests!) and them telling me I'm not really pregnant, or that they can't find a heartbeat.  And I think that fear is what is stopping me from feeling more excited.  Am I trying to protect myself from getting too attached, so that if the worst happens, I won't feel so bad?  I can't believe that's true.   I know that I would be devastated either way. I have to believe that this feeling of being overwhelmed is normal.  This will be such a huge change for our lives!

Keeping a secret like this is just the worst!  I am so anxious to share this news with our parents and families!  I actually think I would feel better if we did share, just because then I would have more people around me to be excited-keeping it a secret adds to my feeling that we are waiting for something bad to happen.  We're aiming to tell our parents at Thanksgiving, when we will have our first pictures of Nugget, and extended family and friends at Christmas, when the first trimester will be essentially over.  Just a few more weeks to go, really!  According (again) to my apps, my due date is July 3, but of course the doctor will confirm that.  A potential fourth of July baby!  As Mark said, that would be neat for Nugget, because he/she will always have a day off at or around their birthday! 

I can't wait to publish this, and share it with our loved ones.  And I can't wait to share our Happily Ever After with the people who love us.

Although you are reading this a few months from now, when I'm writing it, thanks for reading it.  :)


PS-Don't you love this blog background?  It's called "Ethereal", and I love it because it is pink AND blue!  Don't tell anyone, but I'm secretly hoping for more "pink" than "blue". :)

My weekend in Montreal.

On Friday night after Nana and Megan got off work, they picked me up and we headed to Montreal.  We arrived at the hotel at 1 AM, but the girls had a hard time finding parking, and did not make it to the room until 2 AM.  We did not get much sleep, since we had to get up early to move the car so it would not be fined or towed.

On Saturday morning after breakfast, we went for a walk on a very popular downtown street.  I took pictures, we watched street performers, and we bought some beautiful art from a street vendor.  And then we met up with a friend for lunch at Reubens.

After a wonderful meal, we went back to the hotel (where I decided to stay since I had a stomach bug).  The girls went to the Village and got their nails done, and then came back to the hotel - where we met up with Catherine (who was going to stay with us overnight).  I sent the girls to dinner, and watched TV.  And then I took a walk to a local store and bought cheese, crackers, veggies, hummus, beer and wine.

By the time the girls got back, I had a nice little spread put out.  Another friend stopped by to say hello (but Nana gave her the wrong room number so she ended up a few doors down!).  And then the giggles started.  I went to bed earlier, since I was still feeling pretty crappy.  And the girls stayed up laughing and watching TV.

The next morning we checked out of the Marriott and went out for breakfast.  And then we headed to Old Montreal and Chinatown.  I took it all in...surrounded by yellow fall leaves all over the ground, a windy Fall day, cobblestone streets and amazing old architecture (and some new!), Chinatown, statues...it was simply amazing.  We ended the day going to pick up some famous Montreal bagels for Kerri, and then headed home.

Hubby called constantly, and sent me messages on Facebook, and emails.  He said Kerri was behaving, but I could tell he could not wait for me to get home.  I talked to Kerri on the phone several times a day, and she sounded happy. 

When we arrived, we could hear them in the bathroom through the slightly open window upstairs.  Kerri was taking a shower, and hubby was rinsing all the extra soap she had used in her hair.  They sounded happy, and normal.  And then it happened.  Hubby told Kerri that I was at the door, and she went into full blown RAD meltdown.  She started screaming "Daddy you're burning me!".  It was all I could do to get into the house to try and calm her down before someone called the police. 

Of course Kerri was not burned.  She was absolutely fine.  Hubby was not hurting her at all.  But as soon as she knew I was home, she put on a show - tears and all.  Thankfully, my neighbors have heard her freak out before, so no one called the police.  Nana has seen her like this before, and knows hubby is incapable of harming Kerri.  Megan on the other hand seemed a bit concerned - but if you did not know about Kerri, you would be too.  It breaks my heart that even after all this time, and all the therapy, Kerri still has issues.  It doesn't happen often anymore, but it is a painful reminder of all she went through.  And how, no matter how much we love and comfort her, there is still a hurt and traumatized child deep in her psyche that has not healed.  RAD stinks.

We decided hubby will no longer help Kerri in the bathroom.  And I don't think I will be going away again.

Life with Kerri sometimes hurts.

Pretty, yes. Punctual, not so much.

My Christmas cactus...I mean... my Thanksgiv......no, my Reformation cactus is blooming!

Montreal pictures.

I don't know why, but I loved this statue.

 The Cathedral of Notre Dame (also known as where Celine Dion got married).
 The plaza in front of the cathedral.  Cobblestone streets, horse and buggy rides...and fall leaves on the ground everywhere. 

 Chinatown in Old Montreal.  It was very interesting to see and hear so many Asian people speaking perfect French. 
 One of the side streets in Chinatown, where I bought a very pretty Chinese dress for Kerri.
A man meditating in a plaza in front of a kite shop.
Graffiti art on the side of a building.
Life with Kerri absolutely loved visiting Montreal, and will tell you all about it tomorrow!

Coast Adventure

Our short time at the coast was dominated by abysmally cold and wet weather.

But this coastline is spectacular in all kinds of weather.


And as true Oregonians, the weather didn't interfere with the boys' enjoyment of the beach.

Kites, sandcastles, playing in the waves, bike rides...they fit all of it in to their day.

We took one hike during low tide in an attempt to find some sea creatures to show our visitor.

First stop was a look out point on a cliff where the wind made umbrellas impossible.

After which we found a sketchy trail that led down to a rocky beach protected from the wind. During high tide this area would be mostly underwater.

We were slightly disappointed that we couldn't find any tide pools.

This was the hill we came down to reach the beach. Going back  up was another matter.

Samuel scrambled up like the monkey he is. The other two boys also managed to make it.

This old lady had a bit more trouble.

And I had the evidence to prove it.

When we reached the top, the boys declared that it was the best adventure ever!

Immediately, when we reached the car, the sun broke out in blue sky. But of course.

Buttering Up

(click image to open larger version)

I think someone is planning to ask for a pony for Christmas.

Ugh. A rant.

A famous hockey team is coming to Kerri's school.  We really don't even know why or what they intend to do.  We did not have much notice (just found out this afternoon when she came home!), because the school called (automated message just telling us to return the release form) and sent home a media release form that is two pages long.  It is ridiculous, and is asking us to waive all rights, even after our deaths, so they and all companies associated with them can use anything they tape, photograph, or record with Kerri in any advertising or any future purposes whatsoever and we have no say in what they choose to do with it all. 

Ugh.  We cannot believe what they are asking us to sign.  Hubby refused.  Kerri cried.  Hubby then tried to explain to Kerri what the waiver form meant, and how it could haunt her in the future.  And then Kerri actually agreed with him.

So to our displeasure, and with not much time to prepare our 8 year old child (who will most likely be left out because she cannot appear on TV, video, or in photographs since we did not consent), Kerri has to face her peers and explain why she is not going to participate in whatever this hockey team has planned.  And why we did not have time to buy her the team's jersey that they asked the entire school to wear, or their colors (which we unfortunately did not have in her closet).  Because instead of going out shopping last night, Kerri was at her Brownies' Halloween costume party, which was way more important.

Considering this famous team is locked out, (why do athletes think they deserve millions?  They are not saving the world, leading a country, curing the sick, doing something heroic, or teaching our young for crying out loud!) maybe they should be spending their obvious free time doing some charity work instead of interrupting my kid's education and making my kid feel left out because we won't allow them to use her for their propaganda.  Or maybe they should be looking for a real job.

Life with Kerri is not impressed.

Do you ever wish . . . ?

Last week I watched a new episode of Pit Bulls & Parolees. As a rescue volunteer myself, I fully appreciate what Villalobos Rescue does for animals. The rescue is run by a woman named Tia, her adult children, and a slew of other dog lovers - including several parolees, of course. What struck me as I was watching last week was something akin to a feeling of jealousy. Tia and her daughters sport tattoos, piercings, and rainbow hair. The daughters seem to have piercings in places that one wouldn't normally think of as far as piercing options go (I'm reasonably certain that the youngest daughter has her hips pierced in the back - right at the top of the sacrum).

Now, I do not have a desire to tattoo my neck or anything like that. However, I do imagine that it must be very liberating to be able to roll out of bed and go to work looking however you want to look.  Since no one will pay me to pet doggies all day long, I have to work a legit, office-y kind of job. On days when I don't have meetings with clients, I can wear jeans.  But I can't wear, say, a mohawk. Or vinyl hot pants. Or whatever.  Even if I could, I don't have that kind of "this is who I am so you can just kiss my vinyl-covered ass" confidence and bravado it would take to pull it off.

You may recall a concert that I attended a few weeks ago. I meant to write about it right after the show. I had a head cold, I drove very far, I got a speeding ticket, I was awake for almost 24 hours - it's all coming back to me now! Anywho, the concert was headlined by a band called Gossip. I am a huge fan of Gossip and, more specifically, Beth Ditto. Simply put, she kicks ass.  She really does.  Her voice is one of a kind and she's just . . . I don't know . . . larger than life but not pretentious. During the show, she mentioned that she was suffering from a cold and as she wiped her face with a towel, she made a comment that she wasn't sure if she was mopping up snot or sweat. But, as she happily noted, "they both come from my body."  She put on a great show and her confidence is inspiring. I don't think Beth Ditto ever has to put a dress back on the rack while thinking, "Well now, I could never wear that." I always, always put the dress back.

It was an interesting crowd, that's for sure. I think I was one of about a dozen straight people there. What can I say? I tell my gay friends, "I love the music of your people!" Well, except Lady Gaga. I'm not a huge fan, which probably prevents me from gaining full membership in the club. Well, that and not actually being gay.

Anyway, it was an amazing show and was worth the stupid speeding ticket, the lost hours of sleep, etc.

I'll leave you with a couple of Gossip songs I dig.

October Pot Luck

We had a fun Halloween themed pot luck where everyone brought a snack to share.  The kids had fun playing and eating...as did the moms. :)

Dig In

Snack Time

Catching Up

So cute!

Playroom Fun

Dance Party!

Puzzle Time

Big kid legos!

Hex Bug Fun

October MNO-Game Night

We had a fun night staying in, eating Halloween treats and playing Taboo.    
So cute!


So good!

Eyeball Cakeballs 

Game on!!

Game On!


Fun at Xtreme Air

Cassie at Xtreme Air was so nice to get in touch with us for our group to have a free hour of bouncing.  We did it over fall break so the big kids could come join in the fun too.  We had a great turn out and can't wait to go back!

Having Fun!

The moms catching up and kids resting!

Fun with friends!

Game On

Taking a break from all the fun!

Catching up in the toddler area.

Snack Time

Ready to roll!