Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Praise God For Weird Architecture

We woke up to a loud crack and boom and rumble in the middle of the night last night. In a daze, I thought maybe it sounded like an animal being dropped and then scrambling to run away. A cat with a poorly judged jump, perhaps? Or a branch maybe? Well, the baby was still sleeping in her bassinet, so we both fell back asleep.

In the morning, glancing out the windows, nothing looked different. There was a twig the diameter of my pinkie resting on one of the ceiling windows, but it couldn't have been that. Bryan went out to shovel snow for a bit, and came back in and said the snow was very sticky and heavy. "Oh, and that noise last night? A tree fell on our roof." Wait... what?!

There is a big tree just a couple of feet away from the wall of our bedroom. The master bedroom was an add-on 10 or 15 years ago, and there is a strange pop-out section with a low roof that makes absolutely no sense. It was part of the add-on, and didn't match up with any existing structure, and we couldn't figure out why it had been built that way. Maybe the people who built it wanted a cozy nook for a desk? And up until this morning, I had always thought it a bit of a nuisance.

We had a bit of a blizzard last night, with some small drifts here and there, but only a few inches of snow accumulated. For some reason, the ol' tree decided to give out in the middle of the night. It split at the base, where it had grown two main trunks, and one side fell. Since it was so close to our house already, it only had a couple of feet to fall, and couldn't have gained much momentum on its way. And, wonder of wonders, it looks like someone gently placed it on the corner of the weird pop-out of our bedroom. No crashing through the roof or ceiling. No tearing up the deck or siding. Maybe jostling a bit of insulation in the upper walls, but very minimal damage, considering.

Chloë's bassinet is a foot away from where the pop-out ends, with our bed on the other side. We praise God for His odd ways of protecting us and our home.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chloë's First Christmas

We all had a wonderful Christmas. My whole family came to town, along with our long-time friends, the Loewens. Before anyone arrived, we already had 50 presents under the tree. On Christmas Eve, we had around 170. It was like a 3D puzzle getting them to fit around the tree.

My mom brought the stockings that I woke up to every Christmas until I got married. She made them years ago, and I hope I can remember that I need to make some real stockings more than three days before Christmas next year.

The evening of Christmas Eve, we each opened one present. Here is Chloë opening her first Christmas present. Sort of. I had to help her.

And then we stuck the bows on her and she just becomes the most adorable baby in the whole wide world.

Christmas morning! This baby looks awfully adorable when she's just woken up.

Tasting her stocking.

Poor Samuel was so sick. He had been throwing up all night, but he managed to join us for a while.

Aunt Katie reading Chloë the German baby book that she gave her.

After some of the chaos.

John and Sherrie and my parents.

We had a fabulous Christmas morning with my family and the Loewens. In fact, this was the first Christmas morning I had had with my family in five years. It was good to have everyone together, even if poor Samuel was sick.

So then we loaded the car with food and gifts, and drove to Bryan's parent's house.

Mama and Daddy helping with more presents.

Aunt Laura helping Chloë ride the reindeer. She has never had a more "Blakey" expression than this one.

Listening to Grampa sing.

Christmas is so much fun.

Then she got all tuckered out, and took a little nap with Aunt Christa.

Our Christmas Feast. Chloë even joined us in her brand new highchair that her daddy assembled that afternoon. We were just sorry that Katie, Samuel and Christa weren't able to join us.

Chloë was not a fan of the apple slices in her new feeder contraption.

Aunt Jessie got some smiles and giggles out of Chloë.

The grandmas looked on while I tickled the baby.

Chloë had a wonderful first Christmas. Too bad she won't remember any of it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Humpty Dumpty Slipped On The Ice

It really is unfortunate that we don't have hidden cameras around our house and yard. Then we could have captured the hilarious moment of yesterday, and I would have a picture to accompany this post.

Since my parents bought the house next door (oh yeah, news flash, my parents bought the house next door to us!), we now have a driveway on both sides of our house that we can use. My parents driveway is actually much more convenient for unloading groceries. My own driveway means I have to walk down a few steps, into the basement, then up a flight of stairs into my kitchen. My parents driveway ends right next to a gate into our patio area, and then it's a few short steps to the door of my kitchen. So last night, it made sense to try the new route to unload a car full of groceries.

After a couple of slow attempts to make it up the icy non-plowed driveway, I succeeded. I should have listened to reason and decided that maybe it was too slick. But noooo.

So I carefully stepped out of the car in my leather boots; the cute trendy kind with zero traction, not the practical kind with major tread that Santa might be bringing me for Christmas. The closest thing to me was the crate of five dozen eggs. "I'll be safe and just take these instead of balancing and juggling several things." After all, I was holding them safely against my body with both hands. What could possibly go wrong?

I carefully stepped towards the gate. While reaching for it, I lost all traction of the slight incline, and in one graceful plop, dropped the eggs and did a belly flop right onto them. I think every one of them might have been lost, had it not been for the skin of my hand sacrificed while grabbing at the the chain links of the gate.

I laid on the eggs and snow for a moment. Wind knocked out of me, I wasn't sure if I'd broken any bones. I concluded that I must be okay, and picked myself up, expecting to have egg guts everywhere. Only snow. It looked like I'd tried to make snow angels on my belly on top of a crate of eggs. I was annoyed.

I carefully made my way inside, and beckoned my husband to fetch the rest of the groceries, but suggested he shovel the five yards of sidewalk first. I brushed off as much snow as I could, and examined the eggs. Only four fatalities. Four. Out of sixty. I really have to hand it to the egg packaging industry. Those cardboard crates are indestructible.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mimi Reading

Mimi and Papa like to visit. And they are so great with Chloë. It's like they've raised children just like her or something. Actually, there are a few quirky things that Chloë does that my parents say I did. Like arching her back, especially when she's tired or grumpy. And loving to grab handfuls of flesh. And here she is, listening to Mimi read to her. She's quite the curious baby.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friends in Bend

We drove to Bend, Oregon this last weekend. My best friend Shannon had baby Josiah in September, and we were finally able to introduce him and Chloë.

For those of you who don't know my amazing friend, here is a brief history of our friendship: Our parents were all buddies in Oklahoma in their college days, and our moms were roommates. After they were paired up and married, our moms jokingly promised to have babies at the same time, only to have it end up that way. Shannon and I are the secondborns, and two months apart. When we were little, the Ewers moved to Texas, and we moved to Kentucky and visited each other when we could, and then they moved to Oregon, and we moved to Oregon when I was six. Shannon and I have been best friends our whole lives, and when we moved to Idaho when I was 13, we wrote long letters to each other every week, mailing them every Monday. We visited several times a year, and always talked about being roommates like our moms, "someday" getting married, being each other's Maid of Honor, and having children. And lo and behold, all of those things have come to pass.

I'm bummed that we didn't get any more pictures of the four of us together, but this will have to do. Shannon with Josiah, and me with Chloë.

The Dads, Bryan and Andy.

Chloë, six months old, was totally into Josiah, 2 1/2 months old. We know they are going to be great friends.

Playing together at Josiah's house.

In the ski lodge at Mt. Bachelor. I got to go snowboarding for the first time in almost two years. We had a fun crowd; Shannon, Andy and Josiah, Shannon's sisters Laura and Johanna, Johanna's boyfriend Michael, and my brother Samuel. Bryan and I took turns watching the baby most of the time, which actually worked really well.

Chloë with her Uncle Samuel.

Josiah had lots of smiles for me. He even gave me some adorable little giggles.

Out to dinner. Apparently Chloë can read upside down and was checking out the menu.

Spit bubbles have never looked so cute.

We drove home on Monday, and it was a beautiful day for a drive. (Although Chloë could have cared less about the scenery, she was sick of her car seat, bless her heart.) While we were driving, I snapped a few pictures through our dirty windows, and I was pleasantly surprised with how well some of them turned out.

It was a great trip, and it was so wonderful to finally meet Josiah and see Shannon again.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Smacking, Bouncing and Rolling Over.

She loves this new smacking sound she can make. And sometimes there are cute scrunchy faces to go with it. She still likes to flail her arms aimlessly, talk to her hands, and bounce every once and a while.

As soon as I hit record, she rolls over. Then she pretends like she's interested in her toys.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

EMSI Christmas Dinner

This post is especially for my dear Grandmother. Whenever I get dressed up and do something considered fancy for this small town, I can't help but think of Grandmother's many stories of glamour and high fashion; working in New York City and Paris, sewing herself fabulous gowns that were sure to turn every head in the room, and wining and dining with some fantastically interesting people. My life is not quite so glamorous, but I do enjoy a fancy evening out every now and then.

Yesterday evening was the highly anticipated EMSI Christmas Dinner. The company Bryan works for is extremely generous with their annual profit, and every year they put together a fabulous Christmas party. The attire is semi-formal, and I really like to get all dressed up once and while and even, perhaps, wear my new blue suede pumps. I wore the little black dress that I wore as Matron of Honor almost exactly a year ago, although I was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. It fit a little more comfortably this time around. And my jewels. Ah, yes, the tangled mass of beautiful (fake) pearls: a birthday present from my 16-year-old brother, Isaiah. And of course I had the most handsome date in town. Put the man in a tie and dress shoes, I've got myself a hot date for the evening.

We arrived at the historic 1912 Building in town, and mingled a bit with friends before sitting down with more friends. Nearly all 83 of us in attendance (as well as the dozens cooking and serving) just happen to go to our church, or one of the many good churches here in town, which really makes for an amazing room full people.

The dinner was catered by the fantastic West of Paris. A local, gourmet French restaurant, they certainly have the best food in town. They served a delectable five course meal, and Chef Foucachon himself came around offering seconds of the superb lobster bisque. I had cheese puffs, more bread and butter than I could handle, the bisque, steak and potatoes, salad and cheeses, and lavender crème brûlée. And wine. It was a glorious feast.

Every year a couple of the men put together the prestigous "EMSI Awards," which are always good for a few chuckles. Bryan won the "good-job-on-being-the-head-of-your-department-and-still-wearing-your-skate-shoes-and-BMXing-to-work" award. Maybe we shall frame it and put in the study.

Bryan's parents came to babysit Chloë, and they snapped a couple of pictures before we ran out the door. We had a wonderful time, and it was indeed, a grand evening.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I realize this is a couple of weeks late, but I didn't want to exclude Thanksgiving!

We all went over to Mike and Penny Rench's, and we had quite a grand feast, complete with a smoked turkey. Everyone brought food, and we had a wonderful day of feasting. Let's see if I can remember everyone that was there. Greg, Diana, Katie, Samuel, Daniel, Isaiah, Patch, Deb, Austin, Laura, Christa, Jessie, Mike, Penny, Sam, Susanna, Charlie, Amy, Josh, Abby, Elliot, Lux, Greta, Maria, David, Alisha, Lewis, Eco, Bryan, Chloë and myself. That's only 31.

Mr. Rench carving away.

Almost ready.

Katie, Susanna and Charlie. And this was before the wine was corked.

Chloë has some rice cereal for her thanksgiving meal.

Eating time.

Chloë and Greta discuss the feast.

Me, Susanna, Katie, and Laura. Suz and Sam came up with these great props, and we had a lot of fun with them.

My sister and I are strange. I have no idea where we get it.

Greta, Suz and Sam.

Some of us have participated in the Great Thanksgiving Weigh In. We pulled the scale out of the bathroom, and did a weight check before we started eating, and then weighed back in after an hour. I managed to gain four pounds, which I was very happy with. Last year I was fighting morning sickness, which made for a lousy Thanksgiving dinner.

Great family, great friends and great food. Yes, I was thankful.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

30 Years Of Marriage

A couple of Sundays ago, we threw a little Anniversary party for my husband's amazing parents. Patch and Deb celebrated 30 years of marriage on November 22nd. They are such a remarkable couple, and I am very blessed to have them as my second set of parents.

Bryan's sister Jessie made an amazing cake, and we had a lovely little spread of tasty food.

30 years and still mushy.

Chloë really does like her Aunt Laura.

We had a great crowd of people show up, and had a fabulous party. We are glad that Mom and Pops decided to get married.